A Thrilling Dive Off a Ship

On Saturdays, you can check out a snippet from my latest writing efforts. All excerpts are copyrighted. This text from my writing is first draft, unedited, and may not appear in the final work.

This is another scene of the new Stargazer Conservatory novel I’m working on, “Bonds of Iron.” As promised, Kai and Maryn make a reappearance.

Parisa smiled weakly. “[…] I leapt off the ship and […] planned to hitch a ride with anyone who would take me. Rand and his friends happened to be leaving.”

“That’s incredible,” Maryn breathed. “I’m a mermaid and I’m not sure I would have dared a dive like that.”

“Right, because you’re not desperate, or a thrill-seeker,” Kai pointed out, his tone warning her not to try it. “That dive could break your neck, never mind that you’re a mermaid. It’s one thing to dive that deep once you’re in the water, but the change from air to water affects the rate at which different parts of your body decelerate.”


“You dove from what deck?” Requine asked, returning to the original subject.

Rand was curious too—he’d never pressed Parisa for the details. […] Based on what Kai said, what she did was incredibly risky. She was lucky to be alive. Imagine being so close to her and having never met her. The thought sent a chill down Rand’s spine […]. His hands twitched involuntarily, seeking contact. Trying to be nonchalant, Rand leaned against the table next to her, his leg brushing hers and he stretched out.

“One of my friends helped knot some sheets and tie them to one of the lifeboats. I climbed onto the lifeboat, used the sheets to lower myself as far as I could toward the water, then dropped in feet first. We calculated it was about a two-story drop…”

Disclaimer: Do not try this at home or on a cruise ship. Teacup Publishing does not accept any liability for the act described or any attempt to do something similar.

We are putting the finishing touches on a cruise trip plan, and I couldn’t help doing some research on how high the decks really are. This is a surprisingly difficult detail to find online. Obviously I have no interest in jumping off a cruise ship, but recent stories in the news talk about the fatalities and injuries experienced by people who have fallen, either deliberately or accidentally.

Of course, Parisa’s daring escape violates all kinds of safety codes, but I wanted to make it believable that she could have succeeded. I did a little bit of research on the right way to dive from a great height.

Amusingly, a lot of the guidance I found talked about how successful Rose and Jack might have been doing something similar during the sinking of the Titanic. Cruise ships today are much larger than the Titanic, so what might have worked for Rose and Jack might not work under similar situations today. Oh, and obviously, they wouldn’t have been trying to save their lives in such a manner if there were enough lifeboats, as there are today. Anyway, I digress.

If you need to see the whole scene, I understand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uFlzTvUnjE

The first piece of advice for amateurs diving from height was—duh—get as low to the water as you possibly can. If the distance Parisa dove really was two stories, her likelihood of injury from the dive itself lowers considerably. The other advice was not to dive head-first, for the reasons Kai described above.

I guess this falls under the category of the weird stuff writers research for their books. I just hope our cruise line doesn’t have an inside track to my browsing history.

A New Stargazer Conservatory Novel: Bonds of Iron

On Saturdays, you can check out a snippet from my latest writing efforts.  All snippets are copyrighted.  These excerpts from my writing are first draft, unedited words, and may not appear in the final work.

This is the opening scene of the new Stargazer Conservatory novel I’m working on, “Bonds of Iron.” It continues in the same world as the Sea Deception series, and I’m not done with Kai and Maryn yet.

Parisa ran out of the surf as fast as her legs could manage the waves. She couldn’t believe she’d made it this far without being caught. As soon as her feet hit the sand, she sped up, disregarding all the curious looks and running past the line of restaurants to the sandy pavement where the parking lot began. Water dripped down her legs, making tiny rivulets along her skin as she looked around wildly.

The doors to a minivan stood open, the seats filled with a group of laughing boys and a girl. Their damp suits and tired, reddened faces indicated they were leaving, not arriving. She noticed all of this without slowing down.

Perfect, Parisa thought. She ran to them, reaching a hand to rest on the upholstered seat where a guy was dusting sand off a flipflop. “Please, can you help me? Just pretend I’m your girlfriend or something. I have to get out of here,” she gasped out.

The group in the van all looked at her like she was mad, which she supposed could only be expected. Here she stood, barefoot, clad only in a wet bathing suit, water still dripping from her hair. She had no bag, no towel, no money… What was she going to do if no one agreed to help her? She couldn’t go back there, not again. They would punish her worse than before for this most successful escape attempt.

Parisa turned her gaze to the nearest boy. “Please…I have to get away from them.”

“Get in,” he said, extending his hand to her. “Let’s go, dude. We can text Matt to catch up with us later.” He gently tugged her until she was perched on his lap, much like the other girl on the far seat. The long legs of the three teenage boys along the bench seat readjusted so she could fit in.

“You sure, man?” The driver still hesitated.

The boy holding her studied Parisa a moment longer. “Yeah, I’m sure. She needs our help.”

Parisa let out another breath, this time in relief. The stitch in her side, the cramp in her leg, and the fear of still being caught all combined to leave her dizzy. The boy’s steady hands on her waist and his warm skin under her legs inexplicably calmed her. As the vehicle lurched forward, his hands tightened, one arm slipping protectively around her waist. Almost as if he really were my boyfriend, Parisa thought.

I’m well into this new novel! “Bonds of Iron” is a small departure from my mermaid series, “Sea Deception,” but it continues the story. Have you read “Sea Dreams” yet?