Nan DeVincent-Hayes, Ph.D             [ Back ]    [ Home  [ Next

Literature by Mouth

Literary artist Mary Cox-Bilz starts out her book, At the Gate Called Beautiful, (At Your Service, Inc Books, 2001) with the words, “I was born crippled. My arms and legs are deformed.”  By the photo of her on her book covers, we see that though this is true, that she is a quadriplegic, but that it is her smile that cuts right through all sorrow.  Perhaps that’s due to her faith.

In her 2001, At the Gate Called Beautiful, Cox-Bilz invites readers to go on a spiritual journey with her where the inner part of ourselves is jolted, awakened en route to reaching “the Gate.” Along the way we meet different people with different problems.  Her central character is Aeneas with whom she identifies: “And he found a man by the name of Aeneas, who was bedridden and was paralyzed for eight years” (Acts 9:33).  She does a fine job of making her point via supportive information as well as a sense of her own feelings and those of others. In Chapter Three titled “Lame,” she writes, “Powerless: Raging with fear, Aeneas longed to be somebody...yet for eight long years his shell of a body had laid as still as death.”  Just as his body is immobile, so is Cox-Bilz’s who writes pieces with her lips.  She is a versatile artist, creating  not only inspirational book-length works but also greeting cards, poetry, broadsheets, and prints of her original art “suitable for framing.”

This is not her first book; she has four others to her credit: Your True Friend Always, Louisa; 1861-1865 is a treat for Civil War buffs, especially those who enjoy journaled entries, such as: “September 20th ‘63: Life has been a nightmare...I’ve been too depressed to write....My earthly days have been turned upside down....Who can prepare for the loss of one’s mother?”. Louisa comes to life for us just as the author describes her on the book cover as  “a frightened young woman whose battlefield lies within the four walls where she lives” with her mother who we later learn through the diary is dying while Louisa’s brothers and father are off to the war. Equally entertaining is Cox-Bilz’s  other work, Love, Aunt Alma, which is another journey for readers who visit with a widow during the Great Depression, as she struggles through frustrating and dismaying times.  Both of these books are published White Oaks Creations.

Cox-Bilz’s most recent co-authored nonfiction work, How to Promote, Advertise & Market Your Published Book, is a promising read for the thousands of wannabe writers who desire to pen “The Great American Novel” but don’t realize they have to promote it in a world gobbled up by six corporations who own all the media, and in a market where publishers seldom set aside an advertising budget for new writers. But Cox-Bilz manages to zoom in on the problem and offer step-by-step ways to get the word out about one’s literary baby.  She discusses such major issues as how to sell one’s books through the mail, online, or in public, along with the best ways to schedule and do book tours, join Internet circles, and deal with the major media.  This is a woman who’s been there, done that; and her advice is topical and useful. In fact, her words could well serve anyone needing a strategy to promote anything.  It’s a good buy for $9.95, and is published by Cambridge Books, 2001.  Considering the author’s professional background in marketing, it seems normal to trust her judgment on this topic. Additionally, Cox-Bilz is a graduate of Woodrow Wilson Business School in Virginia, with a diploma in accounting; Salisbury State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology; along with studies in the Bible from various sources.  Recently, the author moved to Maryland where she now works on writing through the use of a mouth stick.

I give the Cox-Bilz’s three books discussed here six mighty pens!

Nan DeVincent-Hayes, Ph.D. 

Copyright 2002 Nan Hayes