Work in Progress: Mary is a published poet and freelance photojournalist. Check out her online article on Rainwater Harvesting. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Pacific Northwest Writers Association. Her current work in progress is a novel about strawberries, pesticides and murder in the Pajaro Valley.Visit her writer's blog to learn more as this project unfolds at Writing about Pesticides and Salmon: The Fruit of the Devil
Fruit of the Devil. …a romantic eco-thriller Coming Soon. The as-yet-unpublished manuscript has been honored as a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2014 writing competition and as a finalist in Barbara Kingsolver's 2014 Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.
Recipe for FRUIT OF THE DEVIL: Mash together a beautiful teacher, a courageous priest, a demigod, true love and wild sex, ghosts, Native Americans, illegal immigrants, surfers, gang bangers, billionaire "ag" boys, salmon, some strawberries and pesticides. Stir it up in a National Marine Sanctuary. Serve with fine California wines. Season with murder, magic and mystery. La Fruta del Diablo, the Fruit of the Devil, is what immigrant children at Ms. Aurora Bourne's school call the strawberries their parents harvest. When Santa Cruz surfer and organic gardener Aurora Bourne discovers that the strawberries surrounding the elementary school where she teaches are being fumigated with a dangerous chemical, she begins to ask questions. But she's silenced by the district administration and threatened by powerful corporate forces. A courageous priest joins Aurora in her fight to protect the children and the environment. Aurora struggles with her feelings for the priest, while they work together to uncover connections between the underworld of gangs, drugs, human trafficking, immigration, and high-level corporate crime. The CEO of DieCal Pesticide Company, Sean Stark, wants the meddling teacher and priest silenced, permanently. When the priest is shot and falls under the waves, Aurora dives into the surf to rescue him. Uncertain whether she's in a drowning-induced hallucination or a true alternative reality, Aurora awakens in the warrior priest's home in the Village Under the River, to discover that he is actually an ancient nature god of the Pacific Northwest. In this magical world, Aurora finally understands that the stakes she faces are greater than her own life or death. Will she choose to return to the mortal world to help restore balance to the Earth, at the risk of losing her soulmate forever? FRUIT OF THE DEVIL is inspired by a true David and Goliath story about corporations poisoning school children with pesticides, and the parents and teachers fighting to protect their children, their food and water, their health, and a priceless natural environment... and it's not over yet!What would you do if you knew that your child were being exposed daily at school to a known Category 1 acute toxic chemical – a carcinogen, neurotoxin, and more? That is happening right now in hundreds of schools throughout California.Author's BLOG ... Follow the Author on TwitterMore Sharing ServicesShare | Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on delicious
". . . a story that needs to be told, a clear and poignant example of the economic age that we live in, in which corporate profits are more important than human and environmental health and well-being. ... a book that will raise awareness... I believe that it is critical that you get your book published ASAP." Dr. Ann López, Director, Center for Farmworker Families – author of The Farmworkers' Journey
"Fine wine aficionados, bird watchers, fishermen, foodies, gardeners, history, romance, and natural history buffs will find details that delight in the masterfully rendered sense of place. We loved the subtle brush strokes of magical surealism."
"I am going to write a novel, in which will be set forth some...experiences in a way to move people's hearts. People will read a novel when they will not read serious books." Helen Hunt Jackson, 1885 Muckraker.
FRUIT OF THE DEVIL is written in the American Muckraking Tradition.
"Noir thriller wedded to erotic romance, brushed with myth and magic"
FRUIT OF THE DEVIL is based on true events, which catalyzed the transformation of a group of elementary school teachers and parents into accidental environmental activists. Methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting chemical, a potent greenhouse gas, and a deadly pesticide banned in the 90's by the International Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the California Birth Defects Prevention Act, yet still used today on the strawberry fields of Central California, continues to be a hotly debated topic in the multi-million dollar world of California agriculture, Steinbeck country. The science and political economics of the pesticide are well researched and accurately presented in the novel.
"More than a Roman á Clef. FRUIT OF THE DEVIL is a well-plotted thriller."
"Nevada Barr, Sylvia Day, and Margaret Coel go salsa dancing with C.J.Box, the Lorax, and Gaiman's American Gods"
"A large and mythic tale, infused with romance and the legendary beauty of the Pacific Northwest, FRUIT OF THE DEVIL portrays every-day people caught in a heroic life-or-death struggle to protect their children, their food and water, their health, and a priceless natural environment."