Mariann E. Danko

As a kid, I thought I would become a teacher. By my teens, it was all about following my creative urges. By the time high school graduation rolled around, I never once considered teaching as an option. The world of graphic design was calling, so off I went to art school.

After college graduation I jumped head first into the world of advertising. All was good in this world till I hit my thirties and found myself burnt out on all the hurry up and wait scenarios.

Plus, the guilt of pushing products I wouldn’t partake of myself onto innocent consumers started to trigger my quilt complex, which began to throw my moral compass off.

Added to this was sleepwalking through a dead-end marriage that was causing me great stress and depression.

I knew I needed to overhaul my life. I just didn’t know how.


After much soul searching, I decided to take a leap of faith. At the age of 35, I left my husband and moved in with my Mom. Once out, I felt the brain fog begin to clear and my creative juices begin to stir again.

I had dabbled with writing for years, nothing major, but with urging from my family I decided to explore my options. What style of writing was the question though? A trip to the bookstore would answer that question.

I stumbled upon Lew Hunter’s “Screenwriting 434” and Syd Field’s “The Foundation of Screewriting.” The minute I cracked the spine I knew I was onto something.

I fully immersed myself into the world of screenwriting.

Two years later, with my divorce final and two feature length scripts completed, I felt it was time to pick up stakes. The West Coast was where I needed to be, but I wasn’t quite ready to leap that far. So, I decided to move to the beach, where I could bartend by night and write by day. I could focus on honing my writing skills and master the art of bartending while working my way to the West Coast.

In theory, it seemed like a perfect plan. What I didn’t count on was meeting the man of my dreams. Swept off my feet in my first year at the beach, my writing was put on hold as the romance escalated. We fell madly in love, couldn’t stand to be apart. Both of us in our late thirties, and me regretting never having children, we decided to give it try, figuring it would take awhile.

Again, in theory it sounded good. Within two months we were pregnant. This was the Spring of 1999. Our amazing Son was born that December. The following Spring the relationship fell apart. (I was living a screenplay!)

mom and baby

I’ve been flying solo since that Spring. Not that I hadn’t hoped for a rekindling, it just wasn’t in the cards. In the Summer of 2003, the love of my life, my Son’s father, died from an accidental drowning.

As if my writing hadn’t already taken a hit, this most certainly did it in. That was until a health scare in 2009. This was the wake-up call I needed. It reignited my creative juices.

Since then I have completed two more screenplays, even won a competition with one. It was this win that opened the door for a flurry of agent queries, but when nothing came of them I decided to move into a new direction.

I attempted to convert one of the winning scripts into a novel. Figuring Hollywood would buy a novel from an unknown well before they would purchase the script the novel was based on. I say attempted because I only got into the first chapter before I realized I was hardwired to write scripts.

Shelving the novel, I decided to go back to my original passion, screenplays. That was until the idea for my first blog, “Waking the Walker – a Mother’s quest to survive her Son’s zombie years – AKA his teens” was born the beginning of 2014.

Waking the Walker

This idea was spurred from my Son and my newfound bond over “The Walking Dead.” I had discovered by using examples of life lessons mined from the shows storylines I could break through the fog of my teenage Son’s brain, AKA zombie brain. I endearingly referred to this as my “TWD Apocalyptic Parenting Tactic.”

For five years I poured all my creative energy into “Waking the Walker.” Even promoting it with t-shirts handed out to the stars at conventions. It became like therapy for me. I was writing and working through issues with my Son. It was a win-win situation. Plus, it forced me to push my writing style and find a new writing voice.

But, I knew when my Son graduated from high school and headed off to college “Waking the Walker” would need to be retired. My walker had awakened.

As I worked through the last posts, I thought more about what would happen to me when I was left with an empty nest. That’s what sparked the idea for a transitional blog. A blog that would not only help me work through being by myself, but also rediscover the parts of me that got buried during my single-parenting years.


So, that’s how “Waking the Woman – a Mother’s quest to rediscover herself after her Son leaves for college” was born.

So, there you have it, the Reader’s Digest version of my life.

My posts will give you much more backstory and help you understand the roots of my blogs. Especially if you checked out posts from “Waking the Walker” – the two sites are most definitely intertwined.

In addition, if you’re interested, you can also learn more about my scripts at

I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I do writing them. I also hope that maybe, just maybe, you garner some valuable nuggets of insight or wisdom too.

Thanks for visiting,


Follow me on Twitter @Danko818