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Mary Deal

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The Tropics: Child of a Storm-Caught in a Rip-Hurricane Secret
by Mary Deal   

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Books by Mary Deal
· Write It Right-Tips for Authors - The Big Book
· Write It Right - Tips for Authors, Volume II
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· Off Center in the Attic - Over the Top Stories
· Legacy of the Tropics
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Literary Fiction

Publisher:  iUniverse ISBN-10:  0595156835 Type: 


Copyright:  Aug 30 2000

Two women face death at sea and are tested to the limits of survival as they fall prey to nature's wrath during inclement tropical weather.

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Perils and inherent dangers of the sea, and of island living, are cloaked behind a facade of sunny beaches, balmy tradewinds and swaying palm trees.

In "Child of a Storm" during the late '60s, the ketch "Mercy" sinks during a sea storm off Culebra near the Virgin Islands. Ciara Malloy assumes custody of her drowned fiance's son and learns a devastating secret about the boy that changes her life forever.

In the late '90s, underwater photographer Lillian Avery gets "Caught in a Rip" current and swept out to sea off Kauai in Hawaii. In facing death, she finds a way to leave a message behind.

A few years later, in "Hurricane Secret" the two former neighbors from Puerto Rico are reunited on Kauai. A hurricane wreaks havoc in both their lives and threatens to expose secrets tightly held since the sinking of the Mercy.   


Book II: Caught in a Rip

She struggled to distance herself from becoming ensnared in the drift net. But each time the current shifted, the net moved perilously close. She treaded backwards to stay away and kept her face in the water to keep guarded watch. The snagged dead turtle flopped each time the current rolled it first in one direction, then another. It's long front flipper beckoned like Captain Ahab's arm when he was caught in the ropes and bound to the side of the great white Moby Dick. The weight of that dead thing riding it out down there pulled at the net and released; pulled at the net and released. Then something bumped the side of Lilly's head, one, two, three times. She froze all movement. A net full of captive fish was predator bait. She envisioned herself getting eaten by something or tangled in that net and never having a chance. Just like that gentle Honu.

Something nudged again. In anger, the only response Lilly could muster was to ready herself to face what was about to have her for lunch. She raised her fists, bit down and screamed through the snorkel as she forced herself to turn in the water, poised for the fight of her life.

Professional Reviews

Comments from The Tropics' first Editor
This is wonderful work. Actually, this is probably some of the best literary fiction we’ve had through this imprint. I’m not surprised you got the good reviews you share at the start of the manuscript.

I am always partial to strong women characters, and yours are no exception. You have definitely developed them and made them extremely relatable while still allowing them to be admired. The conflicts they face are both internal and external, and this gives your writing a sense of maturity. You also use your settings and diction to truly symbolize all of the feelings of your characters.

You do have talent and your writing merits publishing. I hope it garners the audience it deserves.

--Elizabeth vonRentzell, Editor,, Inc.

A Screenwriter discusses The Tropics

Dear Mary:

By all means you should turn your stories into screenplays. I studied screenwriting at USC - graduate school -- and can and will readily say that your stories (I read part of 'Child' last night) would make fine films, better than most out there today, which I find thin. I recently did an adaptation of a book by a man named Denne Petticlerc. You can look him up on (International Movie Database). Denne adapted Hemingway's 'Islands in the Stream' for Paramount back in '78. The movie stars George C. Scott and Claire Bloom. Denne wrote a book about his experiences at Hem's finca back in '58. He went there to celebrate Hem's 59th birthday. It's great stuff and reminds me in some ways of your writing, although you do not shy away from the emotion in your stories. That's what I mean when I told you some weeks back that you're 'the real' thing. I meant writer, a real writer really writing, not someone who is just talking about it, but one who is making the kinds of sacrifices one needs to make in order to 'be' a writer.

So, there's plenty of strong dialogue in your story; and strong emotion; also, great visuals; adventure; uncertainty; the exotic struggle to overcome so many different obstacles going on simultaneously -- a real reward reading your work. Great job. I can honestly say that I look forward to reading more of it. It's like returning to a good friend, a good book. You know?

Great job, Mary. You really nailed it.


--P.S. If you need any advice re screenwriting please let me know. I'd be glad to help.

--Additional on 1-18-01

I'm liking your book such that I chucked Robert Stone's 'Damascus Gate' aside in favor of reading yours. I like the way you tackle emotions. I like your descriptions of natural beauty based on your surroundings, too. I feel alive when I read your work. Your sense of enjoyment is never ending. You really enjoy life. It's infectious and cheers me up, which is great!

--Ziggy Darlow, Screenwriter, Los Angeles, CA

Two writers say...
Dramatic sea survival and island life stories set in the Caribbean and Hawaiian Islands.
--David Penhallow, author of After the Ball

Amazing adventure stories heralding the courage of everyday people coping through tragedy.
--Jan Oshiro, author of Divorce Through the Hearts of Women

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Reader Reviews for "The Tropics: Child of a Storm-Caught in a Rip-Hurricane Secret"

Reviewed by Chrissy McVay 12/9/2005
I love your book's setting and it sounds like a good read full of tension. By the way...the Ahab scene where his arm flops back and forth will stick in my mind forever. I got a visual on it right away. You know how to put the reader right there 'in the scene'.
Chrissy K. McVay
Reviewed by A. Keith Barton 4/28/2005
Belatedly, I want to thank you for your notice of my book on Kauai and to ask if you've written any new poetry. I'm preparing my first chapbook of poems for lovers, entitled "Silly Little Love Poems." Aloha. Keith

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