It's that season: Hurricane Season.
If you live in South Florida (like me) or anywhere in the Gulf area, you know we have five seasons: Spring, Summer, HURRICANE season, Fall, and Winter.
We're in the midst of what is typically the worst part of Hurricane Season - the last two weeks of August and the first two weeks of September. Today, is also my younger daughter's birthday (she's 18 today so please wish her a very happy birthday). She gets upset when she gets a hurricane for her birthday, when it cancels her birthday parties, and it traps her inside a boarded up house for days and she can't even see sunlight. I can't really blame her. I wouldn't want that for my birthday, either.
I grew up in Ohio which is tornado country, not hurricane country. We didn't pay much attention to hurricanes. They seemed like a vague storm down in the tropics, a long long way away from us.
Just last week, my day job was shut down for two days because we were under a tropical storm warning for T.S. Fay. When we got back to work, of course we had a ton of messages from angry people for being out of the office. Even when we returned their calls and explained, a lot of them were still angry. They seemed to have no grasp just how dangerous a hurricane can be. They wondered why we'd have to hunker down at home instead of braving the weather to serve them.
If you're in Ohio or in another state prone to tornadoes, you know how terrible they can be. I'm sure they strike fear in your heart. They devastate neighborhoods. They weave big paths of destruction.
Imagine, now, several tornadoes all occurring in a 6 to 24 hour period, relentless, bashing, killing. Now add angry, swirling, flooding waters, sometimes so much that it fills the first story or higher of houses. This is a hurricane.
Then after the hurricane is over and you finally venture out to see the damage, it's on a wide scale. Every other house (maybe every house) in ever neighborhood for miles has roof damage, usually extensive. Most of the trees have been ripped out of the ground and flung onto houses and cars and block roads. Electricity is usually down - in some parts of town for weeks and in some for months. Water is not safe to drink so must be boiled.
It's dangerous to drive as most of the traffic signals are down, debris and trees and even live wires litter the streets. Most of the businesses are closed either due to their own damage, or their employees personal damage, or because it's not safe to drive. Or maybe because they cannot get gas. There are usually long gas and grocery lines - for weeks, but little food and gas to buy.
Usually curfews are set in place during hours of darkness. Looting takes place, unfortunately. The area is usually put under military law.
No, it's not fun, before, during or after. That's why we go into such a tizzy when we see one of these storms coming our way. When Hurricane Wilma (a category 3 storm) hit my area in 2005, my house was out of electricity for one week. It was hot, sticky, and miserable, and that was in October. It would've been much hotter had it hit in August. My employer sustained a lot of damage thus I was out of work for a week, too. Then we could only work partial days for another couple weeks. Departments had to double up desks while the damaged parts of our buildings were being rebuilt.
I'm writing this post several days before my turn thus, this is before Gustav has hit the continental US (if it does) and here is what my long-time friend who lives in Baton Rouge says about the coming storm:
|"The NO mayor has asked all tourists to evacuate now. He has suggested that residents prepare to evacuate. There are buses and trains evacuating people from NO now. We have filled up w/gas, bought supplies and are as ready as we can be. Yes, we are keeping up w/Gustav's location and wind speed. We have a cork board hurricane tracking chart that I started marking the location on last night. I am listing location and wind speed on paper to keep up with things."|
My friend went through Katrina and several other tropical storms with me when we lived in Biloxi.
Why do I call it the "ABC Game"?
As you know, the first tropical disturbance of the season starts with an "A" name and it goes down the line to Z. Rarely does it get that far but we got there the year Wilma visited my town.
As I write this, at least two tropical disturbances are lined up in the Caribbean brewing up steam. They're trying to get strong enough to get their names, starting next with "I", and then with "J".
And then we start watching, and waiting, and praying they'll bypass us and leave our homes intact. At the moment, I'm watching Gustav, Hanna, and tropical disturbances #1 and #2. Fun fun fun.
I'm not only for my family and neighbours in Florida, but for my friends in Biloxi, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge, and for my cousins on Florida's Gulf Coast.
So why don't we move out of this zone?
I would in a heart beat was it only up to me. But my hubby can't take the cold and he gets to play year round softball here. Besides, where else is totally safe? Way north has blizzards. Ohio and Nebraska had bad tornadoes. California where my mom used to live had earthquakes. One of my friends thinks Chattanooga is pretty free of storms (she was only looking with the US). But I don't think everyone would squeeze into one city.
I haven't written a book featuring a storm for TEB, although I have written one that's out with one of my other publishers. Unfortunately, although it was written before Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma hit (I lived through several hurricanes when hubby and I served in the US Air Force in Biloxi, Mississippi so I'm well versed in them) it was due to be published right after. Some readers weren't too happy reading about a disaster as they lived through one.
Here's a blurb of my most recent TEB release, "Submissive Dreams", in which the only storm is between the hero and heroine.
Excerpt: Submissive Dreams
By Ashley Ladd
Stacey disguises herself to fool her ex-husband, the Internet king of porn, but he's not the only one who gets a shock.
Stacey Cooke can't believe her eyes when she sees her ex-husband Brand on the Internet—and he's the new king of porn. She divorced him for being too boring in bed and out and so she's stunned. Much worse than stunned, she's jealous and it hurts. She wonders if she gave up on him too early.
She can't stop peeking at her ex with all his film partners. When an ad pops up for a new partner to have sex with Brand on film, her friend Lilli persuades her to apply. Donning a mask, disguising her voice, Stacey decides to see if she's still in love with him.
“You’re not gonna fuckin’ believe this,” Lilli whistled long and loud while she shook her head. The late afternoon sunlight filtering through the grimy windows glinted off her multi-coloured hair streaked blonde and red through her auburn locks.
Used to her friend’s over-ebullience, Stacey Cooke gave an obligatory smile. However, she didn’t blink an eye. “Uh huh.”
“No, I mean it. This is fuckin’ unbelievable! Sit down. This is wild.”
With an arched brow Stacey double checked her seating arrangement. “I am sitting. So what is it I won’t believe?”
Reverently, Lilli placed her laptop atop Stacey’s legs. “Look closely. Recognize anyone?”
Stacey gulped. Naked bodies writhed together, kissing, caressing, shagging their arses off… Women were tied up while men enjoyed their wicked way with them.
“Uh, why do you want me to look at this?” Despite herself, she couldn’t stop staring at the huge hard cocks fucking the moist pussies, from creaming her own panties.
“Come on. Don’t you see it?” Lilli jumped up and down as if panicked. She jabbed a finger at the screen.
“Look at the man’s face. Don’t you recognize him?” Her friend’s voice reverberated with frustration and excitement.
Stacey hadn’t exactly been studying faces. Those muscles, those cocks were mouth-watering scrumptious and she was squirming on her chair.
Lilli tapped her pointy, chipped fingernail on a man’s face
Stacey’s eyes dilated on the face she knew so well. It went blurry before her eyes and her heart skipped several beats. She couldn’t breathe. It couldn’t be. She had to be hallucinating. Or this was a trick. Was it April 1?
The caption under the bald-headed man proclaimed him to be “Tyrannosaurus Rex”, but it was unmistakably her ex-husband—on steroids. Or maybe some great graphic air brushing was in play. Still, she laboured in disbelief as she struggled for air. “Th-that couldn’t be him. He’d never, ever…” Gobsmacked, she couldn’t finish the sentence.
Lilli leaned close enough to kiss the screen. “Dominate women? Tie them up? Shag them in public? Be a porn star?”
All of the above. Stacey couldn’t help herself and so she stole another look at the man’s face. It certainly looked like Brand but she still couldn’t wrap her mind around all this. Hell no! Her husband couldn’t be fucking other women. Especially not so many other women where everybody could see him. “They say everyone has a double…”
“If it was me, I’d be finding out for sure.” Lilli waved a dismissive hand and paced before her.
The hurtful truth slapped her between the eyes, and she dragged in a deep breath. She uttered, “We’re divorced. He can do whatever the hell he pleases.”