Still Here! #Update

Most of Southwest Florida looks like this picture of Fort Myres

Just wanted to let you know we are still here. While the generator kept us going most of yesterday, we lost internet shortly after my last check in. Without internet, we had no way to keep up with the storm, and it was a long, scary afternoon and evening. Ran out of gas for the generator during the middle of the night, so Mark is gone to see if he can find a gas station with power at the pumps. 

Spectrum is back now, but if we can’t find gas, we’ll be without power again, and I won’t be able to get online. I WILL at least be able to check news on my phone apps as long as internet stays on. It was horrible not knowing what was going on. 

In spite of this, we are SO blessed to have been spared. I’m just seeing the most recent pictures out of south Florida and they are unbelievable. In my LONG life here, I’ve never seen such terrible devastation over such a large area. It breaks my heart! Entire communities of homes are either smashed flat or  COMPLETELY submerged beneath the flood water! 

Will check in later, if we still have power and internet.  I’m hoping it lasts long enough for me to respond to earlier posts, but we’ll see. In the meantime, please stay safe, especially those of you who are still in harm’s way as the storm moves north! 

#HurricaneIan – #Update

Just wanted to let you know we are alive, and mostly well. While Ian had slowed to Tropical Storm speeds when it passed over us, we still got a ton of wind and rain, and for the first time that I can remember, flash flood warnings were issued for our county. We still came through remarkably well, compared to southwest Florida.

We did, however, have a TREE FALL ON OUR HOUSE AGAIN!!!! This time, it was a very tall, spindly live oak that the tree people said didn’t need to come down. It was all the way at the back of our property, and Mark didn’t think it would catch enough wind to fall. But with all the weeks of daily heavy rain, the soil was totally saturated, and it just plan FELL over, roots and all. It is lying across the master bedroom roof, but doesn’t look like it damaged it. We won’t know for sure until the rain and wind gusts finally stop and Mark can take a closer look. He might even be able to cut it in pieces and drop them over the edge himself, thus saving us $800 – $1000, and a LONG wait in line for a tree service. We’ll decide on that as soon as he can get up there and assess the situation.

For now, we have lost power, but the generator is working like a charm.  We also lost internet for about an hour, but it’s back, at least for now. The important thing is WE are safe, our house is safe, and best of all, my son & family is safe, too! (They are two hours north of us, and didn’t get nearly as much wind and rain as we did. YAY!)

With the power not restored, we are having to cope with heat, as the main a/c is too much for the generator, and we have an enormous clean-up job ahead of us, once it finally stops raining. But the bottom line is, we are alive and safe, and our house is still standing! I’m filled with gratitude for that, and praying for those who haven’t fared as well.  Also sending prayers to those still in harm’s way as Ian crawls northward, bringing more storm surges, wind, and rain to others in the path.

I’ll probably be pretty scarce for a couple more days, but I’ll check in with updates when I can.  Stay safe, everyone!

#HurricaneIan – #LatestUpdate

Ian is slamming the holy heck out of southwest Florida, and things are looking grim. Over 1.1 million without power (with more coming), and terrible storm surges. It’s very sad!

For us, a bit of good news. I mistakenly posted the maps for the Tropical Storm winds percentages earlier, instead of the  ones for hurricane force winds. Now that I’ve taken a look at the correct map, I see that our odds for the hurricane winds are lower, plus, the storm will likely decrease as it moves north. So we might be dealing with tropical storm winds here in Seminole County. That’s still a miserable mess with plenty of opportunities for damage, but much less dangerous than a Category 4 hurricane, which is what Ian is right now as it pounds Naples, Cape Coral, and the nearby islands. (We are sitting on the cusp between brown and orange so 60% chance of hurricane strength winds, instead of 90%.)

Again, the worst things about this storm are 1) the astonishing size (it covers the entire width of the Florida peninsula), 2)the flood surges it’s causing along the coastline, and 3) the fact that it is moving so slowly. (That gives it longer to slam the heck out of every mile it covers.

It has rained all day today with some heavier gusts of wind in the last hour or so, and only time will tell what’s ahead. But I’m feeling better that the correct map says we are not as likely to get the full hurricane up here as I’d originally thought. Maybe I’ll get some sleep tonight, after all! 

Quick Update – #HurricaneIan

Looks like a Category 5 now as it comes ashore near Ft. Myers/Cape Coral. That area of the state is being devastated, with flood surges of up to 18′ predicted. This storm looks to be following the same path as Charley (which passed directly over our house), but the difference is, Charley was by us and on the east coast in about 30 minutes. It galloped. Ian is out for a stroll. Much slower passage means more time for damage. PLUS, it is the biggest (widest? tallest?) storm to ever hit the U.S.  So, it’s moving slowly and covering much more ground as it goes, with 155 to 175mph winds.

For us, the slower it moves, the more the chance it will weaken before hitting our area, but it’s still going to be a horrible mess, and I’m afraid there will be loss of lives in addition to damage.  Oh, and we have been getting torrential rainstorms daily for weeks. (Tallahassee records say 40 straight days. Hmmmm. That sounds dire in several ways.) The result of the rain is that the entire state is waterlogged, and that’s when big trees start falling over.

I’ll check back in later if I can, hopefully with better news, but Ian is going to be a record breaker, I’m afraid, and not in any GOOD way.  Please, everyone here in Florida, STAY SAFE!! Don’t go wandering out during the eye of the storm and after the storm has passed, stay inside and let the pros handle the initial clean-up. Be aware of downed lines. (Somebody makes the fatal mistake of trying to move them every time! 😨

That’s It For Now!

#ThankYou & #Update


Raining here this morning, and only gonna get worse as Hurricane Ian makes landfall and marches across the state. We are located directly under the “L” in the updated header image, so we’ll be in the thick of it all. Flood surges from south Florida past Tampa are predicted to be as high as 12 to 16 feet, so  potentially deadly for any in those areas who didn’t heed the evac orders. They are now saying this is going to be worse than Katrina!!

We will have more flooding than usual in central Florida, too, though our area should be okay in that regard. The usual power outages will probably happen, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to remain in contact or not. But, we have done all we can to prepare, and now it’s a question of hunkering down until it’s over, which could be few days.

I want to thank everyone who responded to Jaye Marie’s guest post yesterday! And I want to say thanks in advance to all who respond to Mike Allegra’s #TenThings post today. I’ll be checking in when possible, but doubt I’ll be able to respond to much. 

You guys ROCK!! 


#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – Children’s Author #MikeAllegra

It’s time for another #TenThings guest, folks, and I’m very happy to say that today’s guest is a truly funny guy who loves some of the same things in life that I do, most notably, capybaras! I’ve been a fan of them for many years, and am looking forward to the release of Mike’s new book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles. I know you are going to get a kick out of his hilarious #TenThings list, so let’s get to it. Mike, the floor is all yours!

Thanks, Marcia!

I Once Owned A Gerbil Escape Artist:
Over my lifetime I have owned seven gerbils. All of them were awesome, but Little Alcatraz was easily the awesomest. He was smart, fast, and personable. He also escaped his cage on multiple occasions—not to get away, really, but to show off. As soon as he broke out, he would search the house for me so we could play. Seriously, how awesome is that?

I Got Sidetracked On My Way To Buy My First Car:
At 17 I had earned enough money through my many retail jobs to purchase an automobile. But when it came time to buy, I decided to get a rolltop desk instead. All of my friends found this purchase bewildering and stupid, but, 30 years later, all of their crappy Chrysler K-Cars have eroded to dust while my gorgeous oak desk—still polished and pristine—holds a place of honor in my living room.

My Car Should Be Dead By Now:
My current transportation, a 2004 Kia Spectra, is probably the smartest purchase I have ever made. Eighteen years and 180,000 miles later she’s still running strong. Sure, she might be a little pokey climbing hills. Yes, the air conditioner is a bit finicky. And I admit it’s getting a little hard to ignore the growing rust patches. She also kind of farts when I push the gas pedal too quickly. The radio is shot. And the Check Engine light glows in perpetuity. But as long as she runs, I’m keeping her. Here’s to 18 more years!

I Consider Harrisburg, PA, To Be The Perfect Vacation Spot:
I feel this way primarily because of the Midtown Scholars Bookstore. I love that store most than most people. I love the coffee and the book selection and the architecture and the chairs and the smell of the baked goods and I wish I could live there and all I need is a little apartment in the basement and can somebody please make this happen?

I Hate The Giving Tree:
I hate that selfish kid. I hate how the tree doesn’t know how to say no. I hate how unconditional love is paired with self-destruction. And I really hate how the kid never reflects on or regrets his unforgivable behavior. The Giving Tree a terrible book that advocates toxic codependence.

Could someone please write a sequel? Suggested title: The Giving Tree 2: Stumpy’s Revenge.

I Watch Carpet Cleaning Videos On YouTube:
I can’t even begin to understand how I fell down this rabbit hole. All I know is, once upon a time I watched this elfin Ukranian guy tackle a filthy antique area rug that was once used to line a chicken coop. I watched in awe as each pass of his power washer lifted away a new layer of dirt and grime. When he was finished, the carpet looked almost new. I was gobsmacked. From that moment to this, I’ve been hooked.

I Like To Yell At The New York Times Crossword Puzzle:
Once you get past Wednesday’s puzzle, Will Shorts at the New York Times shows off his devilish side. It’s maddening and exhausting and cuss-worthy and I kind of love it.

I Am Accident Prone:
I wouldn’t mind being accident prone if my injuries were the result of me doing something manly, but they aren’t. I once broke my toe descending a single stair. One. Single. Stair. On another occasion, I fell up the stairs onto the vacuum cleaner I was carrying, crushing it to pieces and turning myself into a human-sized dust bunny. My most notable injury, however, was when I tore the ligaments in my finger while tucking in bedsheets. I had to wear a splint on my hand for six weeks because I like hospital corners.

I Am Probably The Only Person On Earth Who Thinks Rabbit Is The Best Character In Winnie the Pooh:
Poor, put-upon Rabbit is the smartest and least-appreciated resident of 100-Acre Wood. Sure, he’s crabby, but I think he has every right to be; Tigger keeps jumping on him and Pooh’s fat butt is blocking his front door. Cut the bunny some slack, okay?

I Was Into Capybaras Before It Was Cool:
I first read about these ginormous rodents when I was six; I was enchanted. I always loved rodents, but the idea that there was a rodent in South America the size of a dog was just too wonderful for me to contemplate. Someday, I told myself at the time, I shall tell the world about these amazing critters.

Mike’s new picture book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles (Page Street Kids) will hit store shelves in October 2022. You can preorder it HERE  now!

Author Mike Allegra

Mike Allegra is the author of 17 books for children including the picture books Scampers Thinks like a Scientist (Dawn, 2019), Everybody’s Favorite Book (Macmillan, 2018), and Sarah Gives Thanks (Albert Whitman and Company, 2012). He also wrote the chapter book series Kimmie Tuttle (Abdo Books, 2021) and Prince Not-So Charming (Macmillan, 2018-19; pen name: Roy L. Hinuss). Scampers was the winner of Learning Magazine’s 2020 Teacher’s Choice Award and was selected for inclusion in the Literati Kids subscription box. His story, “Harold’s Hat,” was the winner of the 2014 Highlights fiction contest and was published in the July 2015 issue.

A Few More of Mike’s Books to be Found on His Author Page

You can reach Mike on Social Media here:

Amazon Author Page

#HurricaneIan – And Here It Comes!

Tonight will tell the tale, folks! Florida is going to feel the impact of Hurricane Ian starting after midnight, and the latest NOAA info indicates it is going to come directly across Tampa and over us in central Florida. In fact, it is going to pretty much going hit every portion of the state at some level or another. They have even predicted flash floods in central Florida, especially along the rivers, though so far, we haven’t been asked to leave. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be caught on the highway when the winds and rains really start pounding.

I will post again (maybe) as it gets closer then check in with you after it’s all over, if we have power and internet service. That’s a BIG “if!” They are now calling Ian “The Storm of the Century” for the Tampa Bay area. It appears it will be the worst hurricane to hit that part of Florida in over 100 years, unless it loses strength. Believe it or not, that can still happen. Last night, it was a Category 4 storm and now that it is pounding Cuba, it has dropped to a “mere” Category 3, so we can continue to hope it lessens more.

Thanks for all your kind comments, and sending love and prayers and positive thoughts to everyone in the path of this destructive storm! Hope to see every single one of you safe and sound on the other side!


#BonusGuestDayTuesday – #BlogTour – #JayeMarie – #GhostOfAChance

Please help me welcome Jaye Marie to The Write Stuff today. Jaye is sharing her thoughts on writing her newest DI Snow Mystery Thriller, Ghost of A Chance. I know you’re going to enjoy Jaye’s post, and as well as her  latest book, which, by the way, is already available for pre-order. With all of that in mind, the floor is all yours, Jaye. Take it away!

The Making of Ghost of a Chance

Initially, I wanted to write something different this time.

David snow, my favourite detective from my first three books, had already twisted my arm to be the lead in what would be book #4 of this series, so at the beginning, I wasn’t sure how different this story could be.

I must admit, I was a little disappointed with Snow’s performance in CrossFire. I thought giving him a female antagonist would spice things up a bit. But they didn’t like each other, and no matter how I tried, I knew that plot line was doomed. I won’t reveal any spoilers, but I didn’t care about the ending either. A shocking admission, but I blame myself; I should have had more control over the situation. This is why I wanted this new book to be different.

At the end of CrossFire, David Snow was severely injured while apprehending a serial killer, putting him out of action for a while, so there had to be a few changes in the new story.

I needed to talk to him, find out how he is and what he thinks he could do next. I knew Snow hadn’t enjoyed being incapacitated and was still not ready to return to work, so talking to him might be a waste of time.

I didn’t think I should talk to his wife, Jane as it would somehow feel disloyal.

The news of her leaving reached my ears, causing alarm bells to clang. What was happening to my Snowman? Had he been damaged beyond repair? I thought it must be bad for Jane to abandon the ship.

Not wanting to upset the apple cart any more than it was, I waited to see what would happen. Would he withdraw even further, or would Jane leaving trigger a positive response?

I watched David struggle to pull himself together, battle through the pain and try to join the human race again.

Could he put the past behind him, or would the pain of his injury haunt him for the rest of his life?

I had faith in my Snowman, but no one was more surprised than me when I realised where the story was going. Where did that ghost come from?

Ghost of a Chance was a new angle for me, but I enjoyed writing it…


A damaged detective, out of a job
A relationship on the rocks
What does the future hold for David Snow?
Just when he thought life couldn’t get any worse
A ghost with a grudge adds to his pain
A ghost hell bent on stopping him from rebuilding his life…

PreOrder Ghost of a Chance HERE or HERE

Author Jaye Marie

I came to writing rather late but have always loved reading books. For someone who loathes computers with a passion, and I suspect this is mutual, I have managed to master the beast well enough to publish our own books.

I enjoy reading many different genres, so was very surprised to discover a passion for detective thrillers. I have written four of them to date with more to follow.

I also enjoy running a joint website/blog with my writer sister, Anita Dawes, and meeting all the lovely people who drop in to say hello!

My other love is bonsai, and my small trees demand a lot of attention in the growing season, or they will die. Sometimes, it is just like having children!

You can check out the full DI Snow series HERE

You can reach Jaye Marie on Social Media here:


Amazon Author page
You can email Jaye here:


To  preorder Ghost of a Chance, go here:

Amazon UK
  Amazon US    

Another Quick #Update – #Evacuation? – #HurricaneIan

Thanks to all of you who are wishing us well here in Florida! It’s greatly appreciated!

Nancy Homlitas mentioned evacuation ahead of Hurricane Ian in her response to my earlier post, and I thought maybe I’d best clarify what’s going on currently. They have just ordered a mandatory evacuation order for Hillsborough County, because it includes Tampa and other communities that are on either the Gulf or Tampa Bay, and they are very likely to have heavy flooding and storm surges there.

Evacuation has never (that I know of) been ordered for Seminole County/Orlando area because we aren’t on the coast, and seldom have major flooding, though we can certainly get plenty of wind. The damage we received during Hurricane Irma was from a tornado spawned by the storm, but those can and do pop up randomly with or without hurricanes, and can’t be predicted.

When it comes to evacuating, it is not a good idea to do so if you aren’t told to, because the roads will already be jammed with those who really NEED to get out of their area. I just heard over 300,000 people are expected to be moving out today. I know the traffic on major northbound highways will be bumper to bumper. Because of that, we will not evacuate unless we are told to. It would just complicate things even more. But we also will NOT IGNORE evac orders for our area, should they tell us to go.

Basically, our best option right now is to lay in supplies (did that yesterday) and hunker down to ride it out. In my life time, I’ve been smack dab in the middle of some of the worst storms in Florida’s history, and being smart about our safety during them is just automatic. So far, in this case, our best bet is to stay here, though of course, there are no guarantees. Hurricanes are fickle, fickle things. 

If the situation changes, and we have to grab the cats and go, I’ll do my best to let everyone know. But I haven’t given up on the storm changing course, or even weakening considerably after crossing Cuba. You just never know with these events.

Thanks again for ALL your well wishes, and rest assured, we will do everything we can (even evacuating if necessary) to stay safe. I’ve still got some things on my To Do list, and I want to be around long after this storm in order to take care of them. 😁

I’ll be sending prayers out to all of you in the potential pathway of this storm. Please stay safe, folks, and don’t ignore any evac orders that might come your way.  We’ll try to do the same!

See You After All the Wind & Rain Dies Down!