Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Martha Miller  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1947 in Springfield, Illinois


-- Website -- http://www.marthamiller.net
-- Martha Miller on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=martha+miller


Illinois Connection

Miller was born and raised in Springfield. She still lives there today.

Biographical and Professional Information

Award-winning Midwestern writer Martha Miller is the author of four books: ''Skin to Skin: Erotic Lesbian Love Stories'', ''Nine Nights on the Windy Tree'', ''Dispatch to Death'', and ''Tales from the Levee''. Her stories, reviews, and articles are widely published in anthologies, magazines, periodicals, and newspapers. She writes a monthly column for ''Out and About Illinois'' called “Martha [Lesbian] Living,” a lesbian send-up of that other, more domestic, Martha. She is a winner of a Raymond Carver Short Fiction Award and the Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowship, among others. She loves to read and she loves basketball. She teaches writing part time at a local community college and lives a quiet life with her partner Ann and two dogs and two cats.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Skin to Skin: Erotic Lesbian Love Stories
ISBN: 0934678863

New Victoria Publishers. 1998

Book by Martha Miller

Nine Nights on the Windy Tree
ISBN: 1892281112

New Victoria Publishers. 2000

Book by Martha Miller

Dispatch to Death
ISBN: 1892281201

New Victoria Publishers. 2003

Cabdriver Trudy Thomas picks up a fare one fateful day, the beautiful and mysterious Anita Alverez. The next thing she knows, the dispatcher at her cab company is killed in cold blood, and Anita starts looking pretty suspicious. Despite her best intentions, Trudy is irresistibly drawn by Anita into an intrigue of drug running and shady politics. But if Trudy doesn't save Anita, who will?

Tales From The Levee (Southern Tier Editions)
ISBN: 1560232978

Harrington Park Pr. 2005

Hate, lust, bigotry, love—it all happens in that place in town called the Levee.

When the Orpheum Theater in Springfield, Illinois, was demolished in 1965, it marked the end of one era and the beginning of another. On the street where it stood, lesbians and gays found a haven in a strong, caring community, built from the need to separate from a society unwilling to accept them. Tales from the Levee tells these peoples’ stories, spanning the years 1965 through 1976, when the Fifth Street Levee emerged as a thriving Midwestern center for the lesbian and gay culture of that time. It’s all here: entertaining and outrageous real stories of love, lust, bigotry, and death.

Tales from the Levee centers on Casey, a masculine, part Apache lesbian born and raised in a small Midwestern town. Always knowing inside herself that she was not like others she knew, she escapes, moves to Springfield, Illinois—to the center of town, where she discovers an area known as the Levee. The street, infamously sprinkled with several gay bars, a massage parlor, a hamburger stand, and apartments, becomes her new home. There she befriends and lives and loves with lesbians, drag queens, prostitutes, and gays also seeking a place they too can call home.

The book recounts the stories about the now-legendary characters that live there. Stories like:

the tale of the Cajun dancer, and the firestorm she caused

how Casey discovered the Levee

the Halloween party that ended in murder

how Little Red and Queenie finally broke up

Ella’s funeral

how Tinkerbelle got her black eye

Babe’s "specialty" at the massage parlor

and many more stories from the Levee!

Smoothly written with a constant eye on entertaining the reader, Tales from the Levee tells these stories and many more that are sad, funny, and at times disturbing.

An excerpt:

Casey’s paternal family was West Texan Apache. Her father was killed in an oilrig accident when she was four. And her Irish mother returned to the small Southern Illinois town of her birth to raise her plump, dark-featured daughter among a large family of transparent-skinned redheads. Casey’s earliest memories were of feeling different—not belonging. She remembered her aunts and uncles as detached and uncaring. They seemed to hold something against her from the start. When her cousins teased her, for being fat or for being different, she was hurt and stunned.

One Sunday after mass her cousin Gerald called her a "half-breed." He’d heard the word on the Roy Rogers show. Then he threw a rock at her. She sat under a shade tree in the churchyard stoically. Her pink dotted Swiss dress was dirty and her black patent leather buckle shoes pinched her toes. She didn’t fit in her family and didn’t fit in her clothes. When her mother came to comfort her, Casey said as much, and then burst into tears.

The fair-skinned woman knelt and pulled the child to her. Casey could smell sweet lavender sachet on her mother’s breast. She snuggled into it.

"Honey, this is just one small place in a great big world," her mother stroked her hair. "This is just one dull family in a world full of all kinds of people."

"I’m not like them," Casey sobbed.

"Being like other people is nothing. It’s not even interesting. The only thing it is, is safe." Her mother told her. "Gerald and the rest are mean and rude. Who would want to be like them?"

Tales from the Levee takes a place and time of historical reality and through velvet storytelling makes it almost mythical, all while showing that people can thrive no matter what the challenges, as long as they belong to a community that cares.

Retirement Plan
ISBN: 1602822247

Bold Strokes Books. 2011

What do you do when you fall through the loopholes in the system and all you have to rely on are your own wits?

Lois and Sophie have scrambled and saved for years, planning for their retirement in Florida. But now they've lost it all, and Lois's sniper training from her long-ago service as an Army nurse leads to a desperate career choice.

When Detective Morgan Holiday is assigned to investigate a spate of sniper killings, it's just one more stress point in her already overburdened life. But as she grows increasingly solitary—coping with an Alzheimer’s-plagued mother who refuses to be confined to a nursing home, and a police partner counting the days to retirement—she comes to realize that these murders may cut close to home.

A modern morality tale of justice, retribution, and women who refuse to be politely invisible.

Widow (A Bertha Brannon Mystery)
ISBN: 1626392145

Bold Strokes Books. 2014

County Judge Bertha Brannon’s life blows up when her partner of twelve years, police sergeant Toni Matulis, the love of her life, is killed during a domestic violence call gone bad. Bertha is still trying to accept what’s happened when she gets the first of several threatening phone calls. This is followed by one dangerous incident after the next, one dead body after the last. The police are no help, so Bertha starts her own investigation and learns that Toni was working on a case that no one wanted her to solve, a case of corruption that goes all the way to the top.


Awards

Illinois Arts Council, Artists Fellowship, 1997 Poets & Writers Lila Wallace Award, 1996 Springfield Area Arts Council Award for Fiction UIS, Craig Brown, Outstanding AST Award for her development and teaching of a seminar of Memoir Writing for People Dealing with AIDS

Tales from the Levee

  • Friends of Lincoln Library Writer of the Year, 1995
  • At the Last Minute

    - short story

  • Raymond Carver Short Fiction Award

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)