posted on August 18, 2017 by lauramariealtom

Shark Attack–Terror or Treat?

The opening shark attack scene in my new release, FORSAKEN, is 100% true–at least that’s the way it played out in my mind! LOL! I’m horrible with dates, but waaaay back in maybe 1999? Hubby and I decided to become certified divers. The training was fairly straightforward, aside from far too much math, and culminated in our first open water dive in Lake Tenkiller, which is about an hour south of Tulsa.

This was in early spring and the lake was cold and murky. Visibility was about a foot in front of my face, and I got the you-know-what scared out of me by a bluegill darting toward me from the deep! Aside from that incident, the dive was uneventful and I earned my C-card.

Fast-forward a few years and while vacationing in the Bahamas, Hubby and I took our first official dive where we’d actually be able to see anything. Not gonna lie–I saw JAWS at a very young, very formative age and sharks aren’t my thing. They’re great to watch during Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, but sharing open water with them? No thanks!

Before leaping from our perfectly safe dive boat, I asked our dive master if we’d see any sharks? His answer was to laugh–then he jumped in. I was left on deck wondering if now was the time for me to bail on this mission?

Hubby and I and about ten other divers descended to a depth of fifty-feet. The water was so clear, the sandy bottom so white, the coral canyons so breathtakingly gorgeous in brilliant hues of oranges, yellows and purples, that I forgot all about sharks–until I looked up to see a MASSIVE black tip swimming straight for us!

Hubby’s an engineer, and says the shark was nine-feet, I’m thinking more like twenty-feet, but whatever the creature’s true length, I froze, as did Hubby. My heart pounded hard enough for me to hear in my ears and I thought, This is it, we’re both going to die. I was literally frozen with fear. Maybe ten-feet beneath us was a teen diver who was clearly panicked. He flailed and waved about–not good. I squeezed my eyes shut, terrified for this child, knowing there wasn’t a thing I could do to help him.

But then a funny thing happened. Just when I’d prepared to die, the shark sharply veered right, vanishing into deeper water. As fast as our encounter started, it was now over. We stayed under another fifteen minutes, playing follow-the-leader through a coral cavern, rising up through a swirling silvery school of minnows that had to number in the tens of thousands. The sun shone on their scales and to date, this has to be one of my top-five life experiences ever.

Upon reaching the surface, most divers had run out of air, but I still had plenty. I suppose years of playing clarinet helped me regulate my air consumption. While the rest of our party removed gear and downed snacks, I was treated to a second shark sighting–this time a lemon shark. Again, there was no bloody attack, merely a curiosity on the part of the creature. Once it figured out I was neither food, nor threat, it vanished.

While I certainly wouldn’t recommend being around a shark feeding frenzy like the one in FORSAKEN, I learned that day that most sharks get a bad rap. They’re stunning creatures and I feel privileged to have met one up close and personal and lived to tell about it.


SEAL Team: Disavowed Book 6


Three years earlier when former Navy SEAL Briggs Denton had a vacation fling with a hottie Turks and Caicos shop owner, he never dreamed they’d meet again—only not as a couple, but targets.

Her desperate call for help leads him into troubled tropical waters swarming with man-eating beasts and gun-toting modern-day pirates. A dark family secret could lead to untold riches or their watery graves. Will Briggs keep them alive long enough to discover who wants them dead?

Laura Marie Altom

Laura Marie Altom

Laura Marie Altom is the author of nearly 50 books in three different genres. She's been happily married to her college sweetheart (Go Hogs!) for 25 years and believes their boy/girl twins actively plot to drive her crazy! Now that her kiddos are in college, Laura spends her days contentedly writing and chasing after the family menagerie of pets, ranging from a mutt named Sweet Pea, a mini-long-haired dachshund named Cocoa, a Yorkie named Daisy, and Domino---a black-and-white stealth cat she rarely sees. There are also plenty of ducks and geese who live in the backyard pond but would like to live in the house! When night falls, Laura steals a few romantic moments for herself and her own hunky cover stud! Laura loves hearing from readers and may be reached via email at or snail mail at P.O. Box 2074, Tulsa, OK 74101.

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