Gail Oberst, longtime newspaper and magazine writer and editor, has completed two novels. Valkyrie Dance is now available on Amazon!
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valkyrie Dance – An impulsive young woman moves back to her childhood home in Anchorage, Alaska, looking for adventure. She finds it after she quits her sales job and becomes a stripper on the city’s infamous Fourth Avenue. The party quickly turns serious when her teen lover murders his roommate as part of a mob-ordered kill. Woven into this fast-paced adventure are questions of loyalty, love and responsibility during the “Me Generation’s” 1980s free for all. PURCHASE PAPERBACK OR KINDLE EDITON HERE.
San Souci – An impulsive young woman searches for answers to age-old questions: Who am I and where do I belong? During her frenetic adventures, she discovers family secrets, both tragic and intriguing, that answer her questions and disrupt her love life. This novel is a blend of history (the story includes her Native American great-grandfather’s trek west), and adventure (the story is told from the deck of a commercial fishing boat, where she is working), with a dash of magical realism (her ancestors have visions of a cougar, following them).
Get your sea legs under you. Loosen up and dance with it.
Excerpt From San Souci
Coos Bay, Oregon
Mayim wouldn’t have recognized Michael if he hadn’t introduced himself. It had been seven summers since she had seen him last, her hopes to live forever in Bandon dashed when her father decided that Roseburg needed a new church.
Michael was the first one to greet her as Mayim arrived at the boat the next morning with her duffle over her back and her feet unsteadily anchored in place on the San Souci’s deck.
“I heard they had hired you,” he said, taking the load from her back, freeing her hand to grab the rail of the gently bobbing vessel. She stared at him and half-smiled, her expression revealing her lack of recognition.
“Michael,” he said. “Michael Charles from Bandon. Our moms were best friends.”
Mayim looked at him, his long dark hair hanging in his eyes, most of it tied into a short braid. He was taller than Mayim, and slender, his face tanned with crinkles around his brown eyes as if he’d been laughing or staring into the sun too long. His full lips parted, crookedly flashing across straight white teeth. Mayim looked up past his muscled arms and shoulders, into his eyes, and felt her stomach contract and expand, like a silent sigh.
Michael was holding tight to her hand, which he had taken to help her aboard. Then as her balance shifted, she stumbled toward him, into his arms.
“Whoa there, girl,” he laughed. “Get your sea legs under you. Loosen up and dance with it.”
Mayim grimaced, just as the memories came back to her in a frightening flood. This was the Michael who lived next door to her in Bandon. He was Michael Charles, who lived above the gully, who showed her his makeshift sweat lodge. This was Michael Charles whose grandfather told the heron story, the Michael Charles whose mother, the Coquille Indian, was Mayim’s mother’s best friend from childhood. Mayim could hardly believe the skinny dark boy from her neighborhood was this man holding her hand, telling her to dance with the sea. Shy and surprised at her own shyness, she pulled her hand out of his and stumbled back.
“Michael Charles from Bandon,” she managed to say, before she fell to the deck. “What are you doing here?”
Excerpt From Phoenixtism
The dream chapter
They were all together, on the barge, having been gathered up and exposed to their own simple truths, that they were gods, heroes, and those with great power. The day around them was clear and crisp. It could have been any season that held the promise of a beautiful day. The water seemed to settle with each new body that came on to the ship, which was nearly flat but with slightly upturned sides so as to stay water bearing. It seemed like it was crafted from a dark wood, hard and almost metallic in its density. There was no seeing to the other end of the bay, and while there were no implements present as to guide the boat, they all knew that the boat knew how to take them to where they were going.
They had approached each other in embrace, as though old friends, even though they’d never met. It was he who had found them, in their various locations and nuances, had activated that which was buried deep inside, and brought them together. His whole life had been dedicated to this moment, to see them leave the world that they were a part of and to journey on into their future. All of them different, wearing garbs from different lands, almost like from different times. They came in all colors, sizes, ages, and beliefs, but upon that boat there was only family.
As the ship started lazily gliding away towards their destination, a few looked back to wave at him. He waved back, unable to keep back the tears as the purpose for his existence now seemed to be at an end. He wished, as he often had in life, that he too had that special capacity for power and influence that he had witnessed and shaped in so many others. He watched as they disappeared from view, almost all of them now with their eyes forward toward the horizon, or in what was likely thrilling conversations with each other.
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