News & Other Tidbits

Do You Know This Author? Probably not, BUT YOU SHOULD.

Somewhat of a renegade and independent author of fiction books and other short stories who uses the 'Halfway to' theme.  Readers of all genres are welcome to enjoy his work and invited to provide reviews and/or comments.

HONORED to be added to the  Illinois Authors Wiki, a project of the Illinois Center for the Book. It is a comprehensive resource for information on authors, photographers and illustrators who have published books and have lived in Illinois or written about Illinois.

Anthony's third novel, Halfway to the Truth, received the LiFE (Literature for Environment) Award for his use of electronic waste as its storyline. This fictional thriller moves the reader from the shipyards of Savannah, Georgia to a hazardous electronic waste site in the horn of Africa and explores its environmental and health impact.

Anthony Mays, the author of the 'Halfway to' themed books, chose to use the 'halfway to' expression based on his road travels around the country. Seemingly, he was halfway to his destination when a character, plot, or location came to his imagination taken from things he saw along the way. Throughout the remainder of the trip, a strong, mental outline followed on how he planned to use those elements.

Writing books became a natural extension from Anthony's career in the U.S. government where he wrote briefings, operating procedures, and instructional guides. His biggest challenge in making the transition was moving from writing succinct, factual, bulleted ideas to writing prose narrative for a fully developed novel.

Along with his wife, Sherry, he lives in southern Illinois and enjoys sharing the experiences of their three children, their significant others, and four blessed grandchildren. Most vacations are spent near water where Anthony envisions finding the next great treasure trove. In the meantime, he is excited to take pieces of his life experiences and mold them into fictional works of art.

What's Happening

Calling All Illinois Authors (project is made up of several parts):

In 2018, Illinois' Soon to be Famous committee opened another cutting edge chapter with the addition of the new Manuscript Contest. Self-published authors may enter a completed, unpublished manuscript to be judged by library professionals. The 2018 winner is Hollie Smurthwaite for The Color of Trauma and she will receive professional editing and cover art courtesy of partner Biblioboard.    

Use this link to learn more:

The second part is the Illinois Author Project. Now in its sixth year, this contest just keeps getting better. Submission of self-published works are being accepted through May 31, 2019 with the winner selected later in the year. I have submitted my first novel, Halfway to a Southern Heart, for this competition (read my journey below for the story).

Use this link to learn more:

As an added bonus, STBF Illinois authors may compete in the Indie Author Project which is a national contest in competition with the winners of California, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

My journey from concept to finished product: How I came to write 

Halfway to a Southern Heart

It all began while traveling along I-55 on one of our many trips from our home outside St. Louis, Missouri to Memphis, Tennessee. Not long after crossing into Arkansas, I noticed the first set of road signs depicting towns named Lepanto and Marie. A few miles later, two more towns were named Victoria and Luxora. I casually remarked to my wife that they would make good names in a story. Nothing more was said of them until our return trip when we saw the signs again. I asked my wife to describe what she thought Victoria might look like and then Marie, and what setting would she place them in. Soon, she grabbed a notebook we use to record our travels and jotted down a few of our thoughts.

The next trip, those signs reinvigorated our conversation and a few more notes were added.

On our third trip, we exited the highway to visit the towns. Three were the size that if you blinked they were in your rearview mirror. However, the very rural town of Lepanto was more interesting. On the edge of town, we discovered the location of a property used in a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation based on the book, A Painted House by John Grisham (still stands today). Our imaginations now stoked, we bought the book. Not long after our reading, the first chapters of my novel began to take form.

Over the next several years, the cotton fields continued to be a draw to the area, especially during the fall harvest season. On the many visits to Memphis, we often pulled off to the side of the road and I ventured into a cotton field where I could touch and smell inspiration. Memphis and the mighty Mississippi River, rich in history, cemented their own place in the story.

My book would be more than five years in the making, in part due to the stresses of a career. I even threatened to delete the entire project at about chapter 19, but my wife pleaded with me to just set it aside. It sat for over a year before I touched it again.

After retiring in the summer of 2013, thankfully, a newfound energy swept over me to complete the book. It all came to life when published on Amazon.

Now you can enjoy some of our journey and meet Victoria and Marie. You’ll also learn that the Mississippi River separates more than states, it also separates hearts.


My short story Witches, Trolls, Elves, and Goblins of Elsah is now published You can read it all right here,-Trolls,-Elves,-and-Goblins-of-Elsah&id=9664491


Anything on your mind? Please, send me an email. Always open to discussion.

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