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Mary Deal
  • Scottsdale, Arizona
  • United States
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Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Mary Deal

Mary Deal, a native of Walnut Grove in California's Sacramento River Delta, now resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was Founder and past President of Kauai Writer's Roundtable. She is also an artist, photographer and former editor of a print magazine and newspaper columnist.

She is the author of six suspense novels: "The Tropics," an adventure/suspense trilogy, "The Ka," a paranormal Egyptian suspense, "River Bones," a thriller that takes place in her childhood hometown area, "Down to the Needle," a thriller, taking place along the West coast, "Legacy of the Tropics," a re-write and expansion of The Tropics, and "The Howling Cliffs, a Sara Mason Mystery" and 1st sequel to the award winning River Bones. She has also published "Off Center in the Attic," a collection of over-the-top short stories and flash fiction pieces. "Write It Right - Tips for Authors - The Big Book" (a Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards) is a writing reference. Her latest book, Sea Cliff - A Love Story, is a romance novel set in San Francisco.

"River Bones" was a winner in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards competition and a Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Books Awards. Her short story, "The Last This I Do" was nominated for the Pushcart Prize., offers free promotion to author/writers, artist, and photographers. She also accepts articles about the craft of the writer; also has submission calls and so much more.



What makes you proud to be a writer from (Honolulu, Hawaii)? Hawaii is a special place were many people can only wish to visit or live. It’s remote, difficult and expensive to get to from great distances. Once you’ve lived in the Islands, the excitement simmers down a little. However, I do get to live out my dream of being here. With the powers of the Internet, the remoteness doesn’t bother me – except for traveling - and publishing is managed as easily as anywhere else. Oh yes, networking brings other writers here and I can help them have a vacation of a lifetime. When writers, family and friends arrive for a vacation, I play tourist with them to assure their stay is exciting and, of course, Hawaii offers limitless photo opportunities.

What or who inspired you to become a writer? Stories have always rumbled around in my mind since childhood. I wrote everything and still have many old notes and numerous tattered pages. I’ve always been aware of the plights of others and wanted to voice my opinions but wasn’t sure how. Becoming certified as a Clinical Hypnotherapist was to be the answer, and I was able to help quite a few people. Mostly, they were adult children of abuse who had transcended their traumas and wanted to express creatively. I had also begun to take my own creativity seriously and began a novel in 1990. Then, being rear-ended in an auto accident and three years of physical therapy ended my practice.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? After the auto accident in 1991, I wasn’t able to move around without some pain. I mostly sat still. My body was temporarily weakened, but my mind still ran full speed. It was then that I finished that first novel. However, feeling uncertain about my future as a writer, and having heard you don’t get published with only one novel completed, I began to write another, even as I ached sitting at my computer and was having physical therapy. But by the time I had plunged into that second novel in order to either forget or transcend my problems, I was hooked on writing. Ha! I was hooked writing that first novel and didn’t realize it, but it was what made me jump into the second one.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? As a child, I was made aware of many things I find people just don’t know or understand in today’s world. I had a rigidly strict father and a mother who carried out his teachings. I didn’t like it then, but I certainly appreciate it now.

Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? I usually have a working title to begin, though it may change once the story is completed and I feel the title doesn’t fit. Some sort of title is necessary for a PC file. I hold much of my notes and information in my mind and a working title is like a beacon that directs my thoughts toward a certain book or story and nothing else. As elements of other stories pop into my mind while working on another, I know to which plots those ideas apply and go right to the outline or page and drop them in till I can work on them later.

Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? This is such a leading question. My primary genre is mystery/thriller, though my first novel (unpublished) was a long tragic romance. I’m drawn to people situations and their emotions. Solving a mystery seems to satisfy those feelings. For example, I once read some information about a man who was given lethal injection though he wasn’t proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. In an instant, that gave me the whole story for one of my novels. I do not write true crime due to the interviewing and travel involved. Plus, my muse conjures enough crime and mystery that enables me to solve the situation my way, addressing the human element and emotions of people involved. Still, I consider myself a multi-genre writer because I love crafting articles to benefit writers. Also, due to my past work as a therapist, I’m moving into writing techniques and reference books in those fields. Researching and exploring new topics to write about is exciting and, at the moment, have no preference for one genre or another but will keep writing mysteries in addition to the rest.

What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for? For several years, I lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean. I had always dreamed about moving back to my childhood hometown in the Sacramento River Delta and buying and remodeling one of those old Victorians along the levee. Admitting the financial impossibility of it, I tried to write a story based on that but it wasn’t enough for a book. Yet, I had another story about a woman moving “back home” and solving a mystery but could neither make that one long enough to make a whole novel. When I happened to go back for a class reunion, a former classmate asked, “Why don’t you set one of your stories here in the Delta?” At that moment, the two unfinished plots careened together in my mind and River Bones was born.

What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? In a word: Acceptance. I’m never sure how my stories will be accepted. I understand that some will like, some will hate, and some will love them. But they read them.

Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? After attending a writing conference, I signed on with a literary agent who wished to see my current manuscript. It was in first draft form but she said she could give me insider pointers. She loved the story as written (it was really rough) and she promptly sent it out to twelve big houses without seeking my approval. Eight rejected it and the rest didn’t reply. The rejections were that the manuscript seemed to be from an author who needed to learn the value of polishing a story. I knew that. The agent was over-zealous but ruined me with that book for all the big houses. I do not seek the services of literary agents any longer, but for those who do, everything that agent does needs to be in writing first and strictly adhered to. Do the research on agents before you contact them.

What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Learning how to format and publish my own books is a great reward. It’s a door standing open, never again locked, allowing me a feeling of accomplishment at getting my books published.

Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? I’m told the price of one of my books on Amazon cannot be lowered to compete with today’s prices, so the book languishes with no sales. Amazon says the publisher must request the price reduction and that the request must come from the same email address from which it was submitted. That publishing company moved from one state to another and the email is no longer valid. The print-on-demand company says the book was published as an “opt-in” and can no longer be changed – though they can’t seem to explain what that entails. It would seem both publisher and Amazon should work together to get this resolved, and lower the book price to allow more sales. As it remains, I will be pulling the book and republishing it myself soon as my current work-in-progress is published.

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Perseverance. Write, if that’s what you truly wish to do, and promote yourself. If you do not find great acceptance for your good effort, learn what it is you need to improve upon and attack it. Even if you think your writing or book is great as is, be humble enough to know that none of us are perfect grammarians. Improvement must be an on-going effort, even with yours truly.

Who is your favorite author and why? Originally John Steinbeck. He wrote the Grapes of Wrath at a time when my mother’s family crossed the United States during the Great Depression. He wrote about the human condition. The book was banned at the time Mom was reading it. She explained it all and said it was exactly what people went through, including her family of 13 who crossed the country in a run-down school bus as they followed the crop seasons. Mom said people suffered as did her family. I think that’s why I feel so keen about people’s emotions and struggles in dire situations.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? Oh yes, I love it when people email from my website and ask questions about writing. If I do not have an article already written to send them, then I research and write one to post on my site. We both win.

Please add questions and the answers to any questions that you believe your readers would like to know.

  1. How much do you research for your books, either fiction or nonfiction? For fiction, I need to find items, topics, occurrences and so forth that help flesh out the plot without any of it being non-essential. To make my settings authentic, if they take place in real locales, I research as much history and culture about the place as will fit my plot. However, most of it never makes it into the book. It just helps my mind conjure the story details to fit that locale. In nonfiction, details from research must be accurate simply because of the genre. It allows no room for fiction or supposition.
  1. What do you see as your future in publishing? Well, first of all, I’ve had some bad luck along the way, but I don’t intend to quit. At one time, I thought I’d never be able to write all the stories I have rumbling around in my head and in rough notes on PC. Thinking I didn’t have enough time in this lifetime was to set limits on myself and that feeling wasn’t comfortable at all. Now I intend to keep writing for as long as I can and I have enough stories in queue to keep writing for eons. Also, along the way, I have gained knowledge and research about writing and other nonfiction topics. That is information I can pass along to help others, either in books or through my website.


Author Mary Deal’s Current Published Books (in mo particular order)

Sea Cliff - A Love Story

Hypno-Scripts: Life Changing Techniques Using

Self-Hypnosis and Meditation

River Bones - Sara Mason Mysteries Book One

The Howling Cliffs - Sara Mason Mysteries Book Two

Down to the Needle

The Ka

Legacy of the Tropics

Off Center in the Attic - Over the Top Stories

Write It Right: Tips for Authors - The Big Book


Sea Cliff - A Love Story

Emotionally crippled by childhood abuse, a young woman must overcome her distrust of men, or lose the man who loves her.

Rachael Connor is a young woman who has great looks, money, and a home of her own. She is reclusive, dealing with emotional scars of childhood abuse that left her fearful of men. Her father’s censorious teachings guided her into adulthood. It’s all she knows.

With a superior mind, having been through therapy, she counsels others to help them end their noxious situations. She creates perfect lives by writing novels. When she meets Matthew Knight, she is stumbling on how to better depict her story’s male character. She decides to pattern him with Matthew’s personality and mannerisms.

Matthew has other plans and knows what he wants. He pursues Rachael and falls in love. Rachael rebukes him, living by the rules established by her father that supposedly helps her maintain a respectable image. In understanding her misgivings of relationships by writing them as part of her book characters’ lives, she realizes she has loved Matthew all along, but has pushed him away. The realization causes Rachael to have a epiphany about how to overcome her father’s grip. The next time she falls in love, she will know how to deal with it. But will Matthew let her get away so easily?


Hypno-Scripts: Life Changing Techniques Using Self-Hypnosis and Meditation
by Mary Deal

The human mind is capable of miracles and people are finally opening to that fact. Or maybe they aren’t miracles at all. They only seem that way because for so long powers of the human mind have been denied.

Do you wish you had the power to become all that you can be? Discover your potential through unleashing the power of your mind. All good intentioned programming works best when you reach a deeper state of mind. The secret is in accessing those states through easy life-changing techniques presented here, in thoroughly explained examples.

A thin window of consciousness differentiates two states of the mind – self-hypnosis and meditation – and this book will show their similarities, and define each condition and accessibility. If curious enough to at least peruse this book, then the ability to learn these techniques are already a part of your consciousness and soon to be recognized. Lucky you! Your subconscious is prompting you to investigate. It is saying that you are capable of deeper states of mind.

Many have tried to focus to learn either self-hypnosis or meditation and failed. Applied concentration and knowing what to expect once entranced may be what was missing. The instructions in this book are meant for those wishing to learn and use the techniques of self-hypnosis and/or meditation for self-improvement. Easy yet powerful scripts are provided to produce desired changes. You can change your life now!

Cold Coffee Press Book Review For Hypno-Scripts - Life Changing Techniques Using Self-Hypnosis and Meditation - by Mary Deal

Retired Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist Mary Deal helps the reader understand the power on one’s subconscious. Quote: “A thin window of consciousness differentiates two states of mind-self-hypnosis and meditation – and this book explains their similarities and defines each condition and accessibility. “If curious enough to at least pursue this book, then the ability to learn these techniques are already a part of your consciousness and soon to be recognized. Lucky You! Your subconscious is prompting you to investigate. It is saying that you are capable of deeper states of mind.”

Section One-Hypnosis speaks to the issues of unintentional Childhood Training-My Early Practices, using Inductions and Scripts and Terminology that the lay person needs to know. Quote: “Hypnosis: A technique to still the conscious mind activity of the analytical left brain. To protect us, the conscious mind, the left brain, censures all we receive, know, or transmit. Truth is cloaked in order that we may not be hurt by that which we do not understand or are not ready to comprehend or accept. Our conscious mind protects us from ourselves until we are ready to learn. It is the conscious mind we make quiet in order to access hypnosis.”

About half way through the book I learned something that I could put into immediate practice to lower my stress. I share with you an important quote from Dr. Andrew W. Weil, American medical doctor, teacher and best-selling author on holistic health says on an internet post: “People who are stressed or anxious are actually chronically under-breathing, because stressed people breathe shortly and shallowly, and often even unconsciously hold their breath. By extending your inhale to the count of four, you are forcing yourself to take in more oxygen, allowing the oxygen to affect your bloodstream by holding your breath for seven seconds, and then emitting carbon dioxide from your lungs by exhaling steadily for eight seconds. The technique will effectively slow your heart rate and increase oxygen into your bloodstream, and may even make you feel slightly lightheaded which contributes to the mild sedative-like effect. It will instantly relax your heart, mind, and overall central nervous system because you are controlling the breath versus continuing to breathe short shallow gasps of air.”

This book deals with many topics. I found the Through The Gate: Problem Solving, Allergy Control, Tinnitus Reassignment, Immediate Stress Reduction and The Attic Trunk-Finding Your Gifts most enlightening.

Quotes of Interest from Section Two-Meditation:

“Even the smallest shift in perspective can bring about the greatest healing.” by Dr. Joshua Kai, ND

“Mediation cannot be induced manually. It is the ability of the inner mind or soul when conditioned and trained correctly, and when conditions that prevent us from seeing our true nature are removed.”

It is my impression that whether you believe in Hypnosis or Meditation this book will show you ways to reduce stress and become more aware of your surroundings. Keep this Kindle reference book handy, learn from it and develop your own Hypno-Scripts.

I leave you with this thought from Mary, “Life may not be that joyous, but believing that it is moves you quickly to it becoming that way.”

Cold Coffee Press Endorses For Hypno-Scripts - Life Changing Techniques Using Self-Hypnosis and Meditation - by Mary Deal for her educated guidance with Hypno-Scripts and her concise writing ability that brings the subject into the readers grasp for self-help. We purchased this book through Kindle. The review was completed on August 1, 2015. For more information please visit Cold Coffee Press.

Book Genre: Self-Help; Hypnosis

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The Howling Cliffs – Sara Mason Mysteries Book Two (1st sequel to River Bones) by Mary Deal

Sara Mason’s dedication to solving missing person cold cases with love interest, Huxley Keane, includes accompanying him into the Vietnam jungle searching for his MIA brother’s remains. Their friend, Esmerelda, accompanies them. Her daughter was abducted along with Huxley’s brother. Scant remains are found and await identification.

Sara has purchased a home on the island of Kauai for use as an R&R stopover by the veterans who make frequent trips between the U.S. Mainland and Vietnam. Sara learns that a six-year-old neighborhood girl went missing ten years earlier and strangely, dogs howl when taken high on the forest cliffs. Accompanied by a neighbor’s retired forensic dog, Sara wants to learn why dogs react in the forest.

Someone wants the missing child cold case to stay cold. Attempts are made on Sara’s life and continue as she investigates the little girl’s disappearance. Sara is gravely injured after being run off the road and later pushed over a cliff. She is dazed and alone at night on a narrow ledge over a thousand foot cliffside where she discovers a frightful scene. The forensic dog leads Sara and the police to a second disgusting site that brings the case to a shocking closure.

The Howling Cliffs: Sara Mason Mysteries Book Two (1st sequel to River Bones) by Mary Deal Is A 2015 Bronze Global Ebook Awards Winner Under The Suspense Fiction Genre.

Book Genre: Thriller

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Down to the Needle by Mary Deal

From the day her five-year-old was abducted, Abigail Fisher vows to never stop looking until her daughter is safely returned. Despite multiple searches, twenty-three years have passed without a trace of Becky Ann. So when Abigail learns that death row inmate Megan Winnaker is the same age as her daughter, she can't help but wonder if the kidnapper-her ex-husband-had Becky Ann's face surgically altered to prevent identification.

Megan Winnaker maintains her innocence, but she will be put to death immediately if she loses her final appeal. As Abigail launches her own investigation to determine if Megan is truly her daughter, someone wants nothing more than to stop her in her tracks. Suddenly, the house of the witness who landed Megan on death row is burned to the ground. Then Abigail’s home explodes in flame leaving her fighting for her life. An alcoholic witness skips town and another is found dead from a drug overdose. To add to her plight, Abi could lose the love of her life when his former love distracts him.

While Abi waits for DNA proof, she is desperate to free an innocent inmate who might just be the one who can fill her empty arms once again.

Book Genre: Thriller

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River Bones by Mary Deal

A mystery surrounds the lush orchards and farmlands of California’s Sacramento River Delta. As Sara Mason returns to her hometown in order to start a new life, she learns that a serial killer is terrorizing its residents.

Despite battling the memory of the drowning deaths of her younger sister and alcoholic parents, Sara is determined to make peace with her past. However, she soon learns that the elusive psychopath who strangles his victims, snaps their necks, and then buries each along with a dead animal, is now stalking her. Sara’s attempt to rebuild her life is hindered even more by the discovery of skeletal remains both on and near her property. She must move out as the criminal investigation focuses on suspects like the gravedigger Crazy Ike, a cat-killing vagrant, a Peeping Tom, and several others who may be connected to the twenty-eight victims. After several attempts on her life, Sara discovers critical clues and bravely volunteers to be a decoy for the sheriff’s department.

Sara Mason is a woman whose destiny has brought her back home, but her decision may lead her down a path lined with danger and straight into the arms of a madman in this captivating thriller.


  1. 2009 Winner (Honorable Mention) in Eric Hoffer Book Awards (In 2009, these book awards sent everyone from Honorable Mention up a Winner’s sticker.)
  2. 2011 Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards

Book Genre: Thriller

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The Ka by Mary Deal

California archaeology student Chione Ini-Herit has vivid dreams about the discovery of an opulent tomb. After learning that Chione’s dreams are playing out in Egypt, the founder of the California Institute of Archaeology accepts an offer to examine a mysterious site in Valley of the Queens. When they discover a tomb, things begin to unravel.

Magical spells encoded in hieroglyphs on the tomb’s walls transport Chione and her former boyfriend—fellow archaeologist Aaron Ashby—back 3,500 years to ancient Egypt. Even stranger, Aaron and Chione begin to morph into Tutankhamon and Tauret, a priestess in Pharaoh’s Court, after learning that Tauret coded the magical spells into the hieroglyphs to keep her and Pharaoh irrevocably joined in the afterlife.

When other team members speak the spells aloud, they, too, are affected in unfathomable ways by the Ka—the spirit of the entombed person. Chione and Aaron learn that Tauret has conjured powerful spells to provide Tutankhamon with a living heir, and Tauret has chosen Chione and Aaron to complete her destiny.

Book Genre: Paranormal Egyptian Suspense

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Legacy of the Tropics by Mary Deal

Stories that shatter the myths of stereotypical islands of paradise; a rewrite and expansion of the novel, “The Tropics,” where two women fall prey to nature's wrath during inclement tropical weather, face death at sea, and are tested to the limits of survival.

In Promises, during the late 1960s, the ketch, Mercy, sinks during a sea storm off Culebra near the Virgin Islands. Ciara Malloy assumes custody of her drowned fiancé’s son and learns a devastating secret about the boy that changes her life forever.

In Adrift, in the late 1990s, 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.

Years later, in Reunion, the two former neighbors from Puerto Rico reunite on Kauai. A hurricane wreaks island-wide havoc. Ciara is missing, presumed dead. Among the rubble, Lillian finds Ciara’s memoirs; a life history that threatens to expose secrets tightly held since the sinking of the Mercy.

Book Genre: Thriller

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Off Center in the Attic – Over the Top Stories by Mary Deal

Humor and nonsense, flights of fancy into other realms, fright, disgust and disappointment, silliness and wonderment, and the sadness of reality and heartache. It’s all here and more in stories that may leave you a little Off Center in the Attic, conjured through a mind that may be a little Off Center in the Attic.

The complete list of thirty over-the-top stories included in Off Center in the Attic, with their descriptions, meant to bend the mind:

Acting in a Coffin - A director plays a prank that backfires on a movie set.
The Wallflower - A woman compares herself to one who is the life of the party.
Pupule - A neighborhood gets a lesson in humility from a crazy old Hawaiian man.
To Soar - What a bird drops.
Out of Body - A man is shot and his brain goes through a metamorphosis.
Looking for Life - Never the right one.
Most Wanted - The killer of young boys remains at large.
Grandpappy’s Cows - Antics of backward backwoods relatives.
Boy at the Crossroad - The making of a monster.
Cafeteria Science - How to lose your lunch.
Indoctrination - A daring woman gets her wish to experience something different.
Explosive Day - No escape.
The Smell of Death - A clue to the dying.
Legacy - A woman in mourning changes her life to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
An Urgent Message - A plea to a writer.
Rituals - Neurosis as a way of life.
Watched - Being watched can kill.
The Swimmer - A man losing his sanity.
Thanatos - The urge to die.
Alien Footprints - An invisible perpetrator.
Vibratory Rates - Visitations from heaven and hell.
The Voodoo Kit - A Jamaican hex follows a woman home.
Pekoe - A newborn kitten abandoned in a portable toilet.
Great Lady of Wisdom - A holy goat.
The Last Thing I Do - The end of making memories.
Future Winner - A little-known artist gets a break.
Innocence - A high school girl on the verge of betrayal by her innocence.
Sister Fly - Karma
Homeless, Not Heartless - A man and his dog.
Roots - What you may find when tracing your family tree.

Book Genre: Fiction Short Story Collection

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Write It Right – Tips for Authors – The Big Book by Mary Deal

Write it Right - Tips for Authors, written and compiled by an award-winning novelist, is a major source of information for breathing life into your prose. Learn how to polish your work with a collection of extraordinary tips and examples for making your writing the best that it can be.

In writing your opus, you may have encountered myriad questions about imperfect areas that you stumble across in the composition. The thoroughly explained tips offered in Write it Right - Tips for Authors clarifies those worrisome issues instead of simply taking a chance they’ll be acceptable.

These thorough and sometimes humorous tips were written in response to the need for articles that explain various problem aspects of composition. They not only cover grammar and punctuation but information for preparing to write, to narration, to character development and dialogue, and finally to preparing the manuscript for submission, your public image, and so much more. If your writing has not been perfectly smooth, chances are, you’ll find answers to your compositional questions in Write it Right - Tips for Authors.

Book Excerpt:

The End of Sagging Middles

<You’ve heard the term sagging middles, right? Many books begin and end in a spectacular manner but the middles offer little. In order to keep your story from developing a sagging middle, you must keep the action going.

In a crime investigation, have some clues show up, only to be disproved. Or have the perpetrator almost caught but gets away.

In science fiction, when the hero flies to a distant planet to rescue his love, have him meet with landing bays locked down tight with no other access to the dying star which will eventually explode. He further meets resistance from ships guarding the planet who want to see it explode into oblivion, taking all inhabitants with it.

In a romance, have two people falling in love, only to have one person come in contact with the person with whom they were previously involved in a obsessive and addictive affair.

The prescription for sagging middles in all genres is to bolster the action by keeping it going. Anything new can happen in the middle of a story as long as it follows the rest of the action and is written in such a manner as to not look contrived to hold the beginning and ending together. Whatever happens must be natural to what was offered in the beginning. Whatever is offered in the middle must also be instrumental in bring about the plot’s stunning conclusion.

What action is included should serve to keep the conflict and great tension building throughout. By building in intensity, you not only hold interest through your story middle but set up a more dramatic ending.


Finalist – 2014 National Indie Excellence Books Awards (NIEA)

Book Genre: Writing and Publishing Reference

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Something About Me and My Book:
Sea Cliff - A Love Story is a romance novel and my latest book. It's a powerful story of transcendence from the effects of child abuse to finding love. Memories of childhood abuse keep reclusive Rachael Connor from allowing a man into her world. Meeting Matthew Knight turns her life upside-down.

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At 2:13pm on June 19, 2018, Mary Deal said…

After a long down-time, and open heart surgery, I am back working full steam ahead. I have updated my page and information, also my albums and such. All that's left is tweaking when I find someplace I can improve. Looking to be active again. Looking to meet new friends and renew former acquaintances.


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