He is best known for his best-selling works of fiction, which include Handling Sin (1983) and Foolscap (1991) as well as the murder mystery First Lady (2001). He is proud of his Piedmont heritage and sets many of his stories, including First Lady and the other Justin & Cuddy novels, there.
Malone is also famous for his very successful stint writing the soap opera One Life to Live. He wrote the series from 1991 to 1995 and garnered much critical acclaim for his storylines, especially one involving the tight bond between an ostracized gay teenager and a preacher. His next soap writing job, was with Another World in 1997. He returned to write One Life to Live in 2003 and 2004.
While writing One Life to Live, he wrote a novel called The Killing Club, which was tied in to the show. For months, viewers watched character Marcie Walsh (Kathy Brier) write the book. The book was published in February 2004 with the authors listed as Marcie Walsh and Michael Malone. To explain this, Marcie said she took the book to "Professor Malone" at Lainview University, who helped her re-write it. After Malone's departure from the show, Dena Higley continued this storyline, as a copycat killer murdered characters on the show exactly as had occurred in the book.
- Michael Malone. (1976) The Delectable Mountains: Or, Entertaining Strangers. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1402200064.
- Michael Malone. (1980) Dingley Falls. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1402200072.
- Michael Malone. (1983) Handling Sin. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1570717567.
- Michael Malone. (1989) Time's Witness. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1570717540.
- Michael Malone. (1991) Foolscap: Or, the Stages of Love. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1570717575.
- Michael Malone. (1993) Uncivil Seasons. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1570717559.
- Michael Malone. (2001) First Lady. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1570719713.
- Michael Malone. (2002) Red Clay, Blue Cadillac: Stories of Twelve Southern Women. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1570718245.
- Michael Malone. (2003) The Last Noel. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1402201478.
- Michael Malone. (2005) The Killing Club. Hyperion, ISBN 1401301568. (co-credited with Marcie Walsh, Based on a story by Josh Griffith)
- Red Clay (can be found in Best American Mystery Stories of the Century, published by Houghton Mifflin) (Recipient of the Edgar Award)
- Blue Cadillac
- Murdered for Love