Thursday, July 18, 2013

I Need A Hero


Maybe you remember the summer of JAWS?  I was 14 and had just seen The Movie of the summer before going to Florida to stay with my grandparents like I did every year.  They lived in Sarasota near Siesta Keys white, sandy beaches.  Like most teen girls at the time I was into sunbathing before anyone considered that dangerous.   

I’d stretch out on my inflatable raft day dreaming and drifting in the ocean, usually not very far.  Eventually, the waves would pull me in to shore, but on this particular day, I drifted out almost to the boating lanes on my inflatable RED raft.

You remember that scene don't you?

When I opened my eyes, nobody else was in the water.  They were all standing on shore screaming, "Shark!"  I spotted two dorsal fins near me, and as I fell off the raft, all I could think about was, chomp.  I swam for shore, expecting to feel jaws lock on to me at any moment.

A lifeguard met up with me in about waist high water.  I’m crying hysterically.  He's in his late teens or early twenties, yelling and screaming at me for leaving my raft in the boating lanes.  

I was about as mortified as I was terrified.

He MADE ME get back in the water and go after my raft.

He swam along side me praising my swimming, reassuring me the dorsal fins belonged to a couple curious dolphin.  He's kind of mean from my teen perspective.  Finally, he tells me I can turn back and he kicks out after the raft.

My grandparents coddle me as soon as I hit the breakers.  When the lifeguard walks up to return the raft,  my grandfather lays into him.  This young man very calmly explains I wasn't in any danger.  That they been experiencing this mass hysteria all summer because of The Movie.

More importantly, because I was in SHOCK, he had to get me back in the water or I might NEVER have gone back in the water again.

So you see, even before the Navy and Navy SEALs, my hero's have always worn swim trunks.

Thanks to a quick thinking lifeguard, I retained my love of the ocean.  But shark nightmares continued to haunt me into my early thirties.  Until I created a hero who could swim with sharks.

THE FROGMAN, PRINCE comes from deep down in my psyche.  To me he's perfect in his own very dark and flawed way.  This book is eighteen years in the making.  Rejected by every publisher out there.  And yet it’s the story I return to again and again.  
Thanks to self publishing I can finally see it in print. 
I was hoping to announce Frogman’s release this month.  But I’m under contract and must complete another book before I can finish revisions and get it off to my copy editor.   

Coming soon…this will be my summer of The Frogman, Prince…

Everyone who leaves a comment will get a copy of The Frogman, Prince as soon as it’s available.      

What strengths does your perfect hero need?


Summer 1965…

The Straits of Florida: Somewhere between the Florida Keys and the Coast of Cuba
Under the cover of darkness, Toad braced himself in the helicopter’s open hatch, marking time as seconds ticked away.  His flippers tipped close to the edge.

Exactly the way he lived.

Anticipation pumped through his veins.  Perspiration gathered beneath his wetsuit.  He ignored the discomfort like a hundred, maybe even a thousand times before.

Flying low over the water to escape radar detection, wind-whipped backwash pelted the tense lines of his face as salty trickles ran into his eyes and mouth.  Blinking back the sting, he scrubbed a gloved hand over the stubble on his chin.  

What the hell was he doing here?  Time spent in a Cuban prison still echoed in his nightmares.

What choice did he have?

This was his job.

He lived it.  And he loved it.

“Listen up,” he shouted to his team above the whirring blades.  “The only easy day was yesterday!”

Flashing the pilot thumbs up, he leapt through the hellhole.  In the descent from air to sea, seven men followed his lead and the CH-46 SeaKnight veered sharply left, and then out of sight.

In the eerie glow of chem sticks, he accounted for every member of his team before fitting the breathing apparatus of the chest-mounted Dräger LAR-V to his mouth and setting a grueling pace for their two-mile ocean swim.  The rasp of exertion filtered through the rebreather like some sci-fi creature on The Twilight Zone.  

When a murky shadow stirred the phosphorescent algae in his path, he reached for the K-bar strapped to his thigh, but the hammerhead moved on as if sensing a far more dangerous predator in the water that night.

Sixty minutes later, the frogmen surrounded their objective.  The hull of the OSV Lily Pad measured two hundred and twenty feet from stem to stern.

As his team bobbed silently in the water, Toad waited to give the man nearest to him the signal to board.  Once issued the command would pass from frogman to frogman without fail.


  1. My hero would need to be someone I can trust and depend on whenever I need him even when I tell him that I don't need him.


    1. Hi Kai;

      Trust is very important in any relationship. I hope you find your hero (or have found your hero already ;)

  2. My perfect hero has to have a strong sense of right and wrong, a code he lives by and isn't ashamed of. And, he can't be afraid to be emotionally connected to someone.

    Thanks for a great personal story. I, too, had my relationship with the ocean transformed by the movie, Jaws. Wish I'd had your lifeguard around:) Good luck getting your book printed!

    Jonettaallen77 at yahoo dot com

    1. Ahhh, the Summer of Jaws, Jonetta. I still can't watch that movie and never saw #s 2-5 or whatever--lol. I was lucky to meet up with such a quick thinking lifeguard :)

      It was a very weird day. When we got home from the beach we found my mother had been trying to call because my little brother had a dream I'd downed and insisted on talking to me. Very, woo woo.

    2. I believe in the woo-woo! That is spooky.

      I invested in Jaws 2 and then realized if I didn't stop, I'd never go in the ocean again:)

    3. Yup, I believe in the woo-woo, too :)

      My boys think the movies are hilarious. I guess that's how much times and technology have changed.

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  4. Geez, Rogenna! I was like, YOU ALMOST GOT EATEN BY A SHARK? OMG OMG OMG!!! I wonder if lifeguards that year got special training on how to deal with folks who saw the movie.


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