Tag Archives: Jersey Shore

Hurricane Sandy Update – My hometown isn’t there anymore

I had a post all set for today, but I’ll send it to you some other time.

This is one of those events that really puts your life into perspective.  I finally got in touch with my sister today.  She lives on the water at the Jersey Shore, in my home town.

She evacuated to my brother’s house, where there was little damage.  They are just without power.

Yesterday, she drove through what she called a “war zone” and got as close to her house (the house I grew up in) as she could.  She then had to wade through hip-high water for several blocks just to see if the house was still there.

Luckily it was still standing, but the waters had surged over 20 feet higher than normal and flooded the basement and garage. She was very lucky.

My home town is flooded several miles inland.  The church I got married in is under water.  The elementary school I went to is still under water and probably a total loss.

My nephew took a canoe out toward the ocean and got as far as he cold before the national guard stopped him.  A huge house floated down the canal and rammed into the bridge that separates the beach side of town from the boro side.  The ocean/beach starts at the base of the bridge now.  Miles of houses between the bridge and the former line of the ocean are under water or just plain gone. The boardwalk where I worked as a teenager is not there anymore.  Structures that are standing are past repair.  Highways suddenly stop and turn into beach.  Where there are still roads, she said she couldn’t navigate because so many trees are down.  She called the street my husband used to live on “a war zone”

Seaside Heights and Bay head are still on fire.  Some houses survived, but now they are burning because there is a river of water between them and the rescue workers.  The national guard is just trying to get any survivors to the other side of the bridges.

My sister is a hospice nurse, and has been working since Saturday relocating/evacuating/saving patients.  She then worked on finding homes/shelters for eight of her coworkers whose houses are a complete loss.  One of her friends is missing.  She waded to the girl’s house, but it wasn’t there anymore. It was just gone.

This is insane.  This is the type of thing you hear about in movies, or see on the news in “other places”.  This kind of thing does not happen in your home town.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have suffered so little damage where I am.  So many lives will be changed forever.

Please pray or send positive energy to all those effected by this horrible storm.

It is very surreal, knowing that the places you grew up with, the places where you worked and played … are just not there anymore.

 

Hunkering down for a Hurricane. AKA Go Away Sandy.

Hurricane, Huh?  Isn’t hurricane season over?  And I don’t live in Florida.  Wait a minute the eye of the storm is heading where?  Straight for me?  Whaaaaaaaat?

Normally, I don’t even blink about hurricanes, unless I am in the Caribbean, since I always seem to vacation during hurricane season.  But now what they are calling the mother of all storms is heading right at me.  I’m kind of inland, but not far enough inland to be out of the danger zone.

The storm isn’t here yet and the schools are already closed.  The power company, the gas company, and the insurance company have all called with directions about what to do.  Yikes.

Luckily for me, I grew up on the Jersey shore, and know how to batten down the hatches.  I know that just about anything can turn into a projectile.  In a family group effort today, everything that could move in the backyard became safely stowed in our garage.  Our Halloween decorations are all down, and piled up in out living room (The chances of them getting back up are slim)

So now, we sit and wait.  It’s already raining.  At this point, there’s really not anything more we can do but see what happens.

For everyone else in Sandy’s path… keep safe, and stay inside.

For everyone outside the danger zone, prayers or positive energy is always appreciated.  Hopefully, this will all just blow over. (no pun intended)  🙂

Safe wishes to you.

Scoping out locations for your novel #1

First of all, if you’ve noticed that I haven’t responded to comments since Thursday, it’s because I am on a writer’s retreat.  Yay!  Another one?  Yeah, I am giving it a go.

I have higher hopes for this one, and I am not up against a super-steep deadline, so I’m not in a panic about time constraints. I’ll be back on Monday.

Okay… back to today’s topic…

In general, I am a Sci-Fi/Fantasy writer.  The settings of my stories are different planets, or fantasy worlds.  For my new novel, though, I decided to try something different.  Yes, it is Sci-Fi, but instead of taking my readers to the alien’s planet, I decided to bring the aliens here.

Has this been done before?  Yes, of course.  I’m just putting a little different spin on it that I think will be fun.

So, I need a setting.  Since we are on Earth this time, I can’t make everything up, so I am trying to force the story into buildings and locals that actually exist.

I have to admit… it’s a lot easier to write about another planet.  If I need something for the story, I just create it.  I’m grinding my teeth looking at maps and judging distances.  It’s so much easier to build a world from scratch exactly how you want it.

Where’s my setting?  I chose Southern New Jersey on the East Coast of the USA for two reasons.  #1:  I’ve been there a lot, so I can relay the “feel” of it.  #2:  I need four separate “places” for the story to develop.  South Jersey has all four.  Easy breezy, right?  Well, not entirely.

As I’ve done in the past, I’m going to split this post up into a couple of weeks, because otherwise this post will definitely get too long.  We’ll start next week with the road trip I took with my kids … driving the route my characters would be walking.

What about you guys?  Have you ever tried to develop a story from REAL places?  How’d you do?