QSFer Eric Schubach has a new FF paranormal book out:
There are many things that Marina, lieutenant in the US Coast Gurad, doesn’t know. Among them are exactly who, or what, she is.
Her whole life she hidden her abilities in water. Able to swim faster, dive deeper, and hold her breath for almost fifteen minutes at a time. The webbing on her hands and feet make her feel as if she was some sort of mermaid.
She doesn’t know how accurate that feeling is, until her a mysterious and powerful woman comes calling, bringing the storm of the century to the Washington and Oregon coast.
Marina is faced with a choice. Either join this woman she is convinced is evil, or let hundreds of thousands of people in the Pacific Northeast die.
The Coast Guard Cutter, USCGC Steadfast had been in our home port for three days now for maintenance, refueling, and resupply. I was itching to get back on the water again as I sat under a pier near my boat in Ilwaco, Washington. Just a stones throw away from where the Steadfast was in Astoria, Oregon.
It was a seventeen mile drive or a fifteen mile swim, but as fast as I could swim and how easy it would be for me, it was still faster to drive over the Astoria Megler Bridge. The Kraken, old retired research vessel I lived on would take over an hour to eat up the distance at it’s top speed of twelve knots. Overland it was less than half that time.
I inhaled the air, I could feel the barometric pressure dropping quickly. I could taste it in the air, a storm like no other was coming. I didn’t need to listen to the weather reports that were talking about the freak storm that was roaring in toward the west coast, nor see the dark clouds roiling beyond the horizon, to know it was out there.
But what those reports didn’t tell us, was that something was off about this storm. It wasn’t right. I could feel the water temperature dropping too fast from where I sat. It was unnatural and the wrongness of it set my nerves on end.
It wouldn’t be long before the first calls would start coming in and the crew would be called up to head out to assist sailors caught off guard by the sudden violent weather system.
I sighed, they didn’t know just how bad this one was going to be. The Steadfast had only about a four hour window before the storm hit landfall, and five hours maximum before we needed to get out past the jetties and the Columbia River Bar, and into the Graveyard of the Pacific before the corridor will become unnavigable.
That only gave me an hour or two to swim. I started to reach for my jacket as I stared longingly at the water when I hesitated at a voice behind me. “Mera?” I chuckled at the old nickname that was bestowed upon me by my high school swim team. Mera was Aquaman’s wife in the comics. I got it because of my ability to stay submerged for longer than any of the other swimmers.
I chuckled at that. If they only knew. Actually, my name is just about as ironic as that, Marina, Marina Caliban. Mom knew even back then.
I looked back to the blind man making his way between the pylons, his white cane tapping them and the concrete pilings of the seawall I was sitting on. By the brackish waters of the Columbia delta, where the waters of the Pacific Ocean mixed with the fresh water of the Columbia River.
I brushed my long brunette hair over my shoulders to dissuade the rising breeze from blowing it in my face, “What is it Max? You shouldn’t be down here, the tide is coming in.” The tide differential here was only a couple of feet, but that was still enough to rise above the sand covered concrete I was sitting on.
Maxwell Eddie Preston, or Meep to his friends, and I have been thick as thieves since the first grade. He lives below decks on the Kraken with me and seeing or not, he’s one of the best mechanics on the waves. He earns his keep on my floating home by keeping it floating for me. He is also the only person besides my mom who knows… well, knows everything about me. For a geek he is funny as shit and my best friend.
He nodded to me and came over to sit beside me, “I know. But I just wanted to come out to tell you that that storm is coming in faster. They are saying it will hit landfall in around four hours. I smiled at him and nodded to myself. “I know Meep.”
He chuckled, “I thought you might.” I’ve got the Kraken battened down and brought your pager.
I blinked at that. Oh crap, I patted my left arm, how had I forgotten that? I’m sure it would be flashing and buzzing soon, calling me back to duty.
I took the bright yellow waterproof box from him. Thanks Max, you’re a life saver.
He beamed at me and I shoved his shoulder playfully. He had been sort of an awkward boy growing up, and he had grown into an awkward man. He still had his baby fat that never seemed to leave him, and he had that mop of hair of indistinct color, stuck half way between blonde and red. His crooked smile and just as crooked laugh were to me, his most endearing quality.
Unfortunately, not many girls as we grew up would look past his affliction or his slightly chubby appearance. It was their loss, my buddy was one of the smartest people I knew and had a sharp wit, and was as loyal a friend as anyone could wish for.
I told him, “I’m just going to take a quick swim before I get ready for the call. I need to clear my head. Something isn’t right about this storm coming in.”
He nodded and said, “The air pressure and water temp are both dropping too fast.” I smiled. He could see more than any sighted person at times.
I started stripping off my leather jacket and my clothes, handing them to an amused looking Max as he started stuffing them into the mesh bag I had tacked above the high tide mark on the piling we sat by. I stuffed my panties and bra in it myself to his snickering.
I gave him a crooked smile and teased, “Take a good look perve. It’s the only free show you’re going to get.”
He chuckled and placed both hands over his heart, “You cut me to the quick, Mera.” Then he added, “When I write my memoirs, this is where I’ll say I brailled your body.”
I rolled my eyes as I stood there naked, with only the pager strapped to my left bicep, the clothing would just slow me down. I looked at my hands, spreading my fingers wide to look at the webbing membrane between them up to the first knuckle. When I was a child, the doctors kept telling mother they could cut the webs out surgically so my hands would look normal. Mom kept refusing, saying if it didn’t interfere with my development, then not to ask again.
I flexed my double jointed toes outward to examine the webbing there before I turned to Max, “Get back aboard the Kraken, the tide is coming in and I’m sure the storm swell is going to top the charts on this one.”
He nodded and stood keeping my leather jacket with him. He smiled my way as I just stepped back a step, over the edge of the concrete and plunged into the water. The water was in the mid fifties this early in the fall. It was invigorating for the few moments it took my body to acclimate to it.
I sank to the silt bottom and closed my eyes and just listened to all the boats cutting though the water on this side of Sand Island. The stress of my day, of my caged feeling from being on shore for so long, just bled away.
I got my start writing novels by accident. I have always been drawn to strong female characters in books, like Honor Harrington. And I also believe that there is a lack of LGBT characters in media. So one day I came up with a story idea that combines the two… two days later I completed the manuscript for Music of the Soul.
My writing style may not be the most professional nor grammatically correct, but I never profess to be an English major, just a person that wants to share a story. I maintain that my primary language is sarcasm.
Each of my books features strong likable female characters that are flawed. I think that flaws and emotional or physical scars make us human and give us more character than simply conforming to some “social norm”.