The Summer of Jaws... [Catch and Release Episode IV]

This is not our author's first shark encounter...

Jaws Junior is here today because, well, he loves a good shark tale.

Summer '75 was known as The Summer of Jaws. Jaws was the highest grossing blockbuster ever until Star Wars came along two years later.

That year our author went to stay with her grandparents like she did every summer. They lived in Sarasota, Florida near Siesta Keys white, sandy beaches. Like most tweenies and teenies at the time she was into sunbathing before anyone considered that far more dangerous than our dorsal finned friends.

She spent her days day dreaming and drifting on her inflatable raft. And when she wasn't at the pool she was at the beach––a real fish––as you well know.

On this particular day at the beach, she drifted out almost to the boating lanes on her little RED raft.

You remember that scene don't you?

When she woke up and took a look around, nobody was in the water.

They were all standing on shore screaming, "Shark!"

She spotted two dorsal fins near enough to touch, and then promptly fell off her raft.

You can imagine what she was thinking, swimming for shore at a mad dash, expecting to feel Jaws lock down on her at any moment.

A lifeguard met her in waist high water. She's crying hysterically. He's yelling and screaming at her for leaving her raft in the boating lanes where it could wind up in boat propeller.

Nice looking kid in his late teens or early twenties.

Our teen author was mortified. He was that cute. She was terrified. And scared.

Yet he MADE HER get back in the water and go after the raft.

He swam along side praising her strong strokes, reassuring her the dorsal fins belonged to a couple curious dolphin. He's kind of mean from a teen perspective. But then he tells her she can turn back and he kicks out after the raft.

Our lifeguard might have even grown up to be a Navy SEAL :)

Her grandparents are there to coddle our young author as soon as she hits the breakers. When the lifeguard walks up to return the raft, Grandpa lays into him. This young man very calmly explains our author wasn't in any danger. That they'd been experiencing mass hysteria all summer because of The Movie.

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

So you see, even before she entered the Navy and learned about Navy SEALs, our heroine's heroes have always worn swim trunks :)

Thanks to a quick thinking lifeguard, she retained her love of the ocean. But shark nightmares continued to haunt our author for years. Until she created a hero who could swim with sharks.


FYI, the fear of sharks is called galeophobia. It's all Greek to me. Galeo means weasel and galeophobia is also the fear of weasels.

I guess you could apropos to say our author is afraid of sharks and weasels. Or at least she was...

I'm her perfect hero in my own very dark and flawed way. This book is twenty years in the making. Rejected and blocked from sale. And yet it’s the story she retuned to again and again throughout her writing career.
I hope you get the chance to read it. In fact it's my job to make sure you get the chance to read it.

Lookie what I've got. The map to The Frogman, Prince manuscript!

Nice work, Chum! Chum?

Has anyone seen Chumly? And what about our author?

Excuse me while I track down our wayward pair. I'll see you tomorrow...