March 02, 2014

Hurricane, No Crimes

On March 5th (Wednesday) Hurricane Crimes will be having its Word Wide Release. To celebrate, I am doing a special post to recall my experience with Hurricane Frances, the storm that inspired Hurricane Sabrina. I didn’t write this as eloquently as I wrote my story, and it’s not as thrilling, but I hope you enjoy this insight into the real-life events that sparked Hurricane Crimes. I also included a timeline just for fun.


As Hurricane Frances inched her way to the Florida coast, a vast net of gray clouds overtook the sky. Standing on my driveway, with my hair and skirt blowing in the wind and my head tipped back, I could see the circular motion of the clouds. The wind picked up and I watched a neighbor’s forgotten trashcan go rolling down the road.

For the rest of the day, I watched Dinotopia and played dominoes while I waited for the hurricane to hit. The TV would go in and out, and I remember cheering when it fought back to life. That night, the winds became so strong that the transformer in my backyard started sparking. Glowing embers rained down into the darkness below. I eyed the transformer like a ticking time bomb. Not long later it popped with a blast of yellowish-blue light and a sheet of darkness draped over the house.

While I was sleeping, rain dropped in heavy ribbons onto the roof. Wind slammed into the boards covering the windows next to my bed, prying me out of my sleep several times, and I was always relieved to see the walls were still standing around me.

When I woke up, Hurricane Frances was gone. In the light of day, which was obscured by layers of clouds, I found my neighbor’s fence flat on the ground, the roof over my porch torn, and my garage door crumpled.

I spent a week with my family without power. The temperature was high, but Hurricane Frances left behind a nice breeze. To battle the heat, I dragged my mattress to the middle of the living room and slept with all the doors and windows open to create cross-ventilation.

Days after the storm passed, my sisters and I ventured into the city where we heard FEMA was handing out supplies. Driving down deserted roads was surreal. We didn’t pass a single car on our way into the city. All the lights were down and uniformed soldiers stood at busy intersections to navigate the few cars toward the relief stations. We received MRE’s for my whole family to last a few days.

After several days, the wait for our power to be restored became unbearable. Then finally Florida Power and Light workers came to our aid. The sun had retreated down the sky by the time the lights winked on again.

And that was the end of Hurricane Frances’ reign.


Tropical Storm Fay, while she wasn’t as powerful, also made a big impact. She released so much rain from her cloudy hands that the road and field across from my trailer flooded, making it look like I lived on a tiny island. I watched the water rise with growing anticipation. When the water lapped at the top step, I was afraid it would spill over and leak across my living room floor.

While I nervously kept an eye on the water, a cat fish swam up to greet me. He hung out around my front steps for several minutes before swimming away. I remember hoping he’d find a lake or pond before the earth swallowed all the rain, but it continued to rain for days. I was strained in my trailer for about a week, writing and suffering from cabin fever.

Tropical Storm Fay also had another impact on me. Shortly after she decided to leave, I came up with the last name for my pen name: Fey. Although I chose it for its magical meaning, I still believe the storm gave my muse a nudge in the right direction.

2011: I started writing Hurricane Crimes on Christmas Day. (No, writers never take a break.)

The first page of Hurricane Crimes from my notebook. Errors and all.

2013: I got a publishing contract from The Wild Rose Press.

Image by Chrys Fey.

Thank you for reading my hurricane post, sorry there were no crimes in it, but there are plenty of crimes in (shameless plug) Hurricane Crimes. ;) 

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  1. Hurricanes are scary - great timeline of what happened, I could totally feel the tension and worry and it brought back memories of having the same kind of fear for me but with typhoons. Congrats on your book!

    1. Hurricanes are scary. Even if you're prepared. Thank you for your comment, Kimberly!

  2. Hurricane Frances sucked rotten eggs!! We were without power for two weeks--meaning no pumping station.You can imagine what that means. I could've been just fine without lights, but not that. *grr* I hope we never have one like that again! But hey, it inspired your book, so.... awesome?

    1. Frances was fierce and certainly made an impact.I was without power for a week or so. I can't imagine two whole weeks! I wouldn't want to experience another hurricane like her either. Awesome, indeed, but I don't need to write another hurricane story. haha

  3. So interesting! Out here in California we get earthquakes and fires, but no hurricanes to worry about. We did weather out one or two when we were sailing though--a big one in Samoa that flattened surrounding islands. I read your "Hurricane Crimes" too and really enjoyed it. Nothing brings people together like a disaster!

    1. I'm so happy that you read Hurricane Crimes, Deborah! I think it's neat that you live in California, too. The story I'm writing now is actually set in California...and involves one of the things you mentioned. ;)

  4. Hurricanes make for great book settings because they can cause so much damage and drama.