Authors Share Tornado Stories

Barbara Vey -- May 2nd, 2011
Tornado picture from Marilyn Puett

Tornado picture from Marilyn Puett

I was supposed to spend this past weekend in Huntsville, Alabama attending the Heart of Dixie Luncheon.  The deadly tornado that decimated the south on April 27th made that impossible.  Obviously, that was the least of the worries that hit the area.  Hundreds dead and massive loss of property had us all praying for those caught up in this disaster.  I was extremely grateful when I heard from Kimberly Lang that she was fine, but everyone was without power and expected to be for the next 5-7 days.  I was able to get a message to Kimberly and her writing pals from The Writing Playground to give us all an idea of what they encountered on that day and what has happened since.

Marilyn Puett

Marilyn Puett

Marilyn Puett: I’ve lived in north Alabama since 1980 and we had a pretty bad tornado go through here in November of 1989.  This was before the days of Doppler radar and the forecasting and warnings they are able to give us now.  I have a healthy respect for the weather and when my weather alert radio began going off Wednesday morning, I went into storm mode.  I got my bathroom ready with pillows, blankets, candles, my battery radio and extra batteries.  But I had no clue we’d have 3 supercells come through here and spin off so many tornadoes they haven’t even been able to count them all yet.  I’ve been without power since Wednesday afternoon and am sending this from a Starbucks in a town about 12 miles west of here.  I’m charging everything up – my Kindle most of all so I can read at night!

Marilyn's Shelter

Marilyn's Shelter

The destruction is unbelievable and out of 7 states affected and 300+ deaths, 250 of thosedeaths are in Alabama.  I’ve had to go in search of gasoline for my car, charcoal so I can grill the contents of my freezer before they spoil, batteries to keep my radio going and non-perishable food.  I’ve been very pleased at the level of cooperation amongst our folks around here.  There’s been no pushing and shoving, no hoarding, no ugliness.  Folks around my apartments have thrown block parties and shared their food rather than have it spoil and go to waste.   One of the Playfriends even invited me over for a hot shower yesterday (she has a gas water heater) and I couldn’t believe how much that lifted my spirits.

I don’t have photos because the damage close to me isn’t really that bad – just a few trees down and some shingles off the apartment roofs.  But here’s my little storm shelter I stayed in Wednesday afternoon.

I went to church today and the minister asked the few of us there this question:  What have you learned?

I’ve learned I can be very self-sufficient when I have to be (and I’m darned proud of it, too!).  After a moment or ten of initial panic, I assessed the situation, determined what I needed and set out to get it.  I’ve learned the early bird DOES get the gasoline and ice.  <G>  I’ve also learned the night sky is astonishing when there are no city lights to compete with.

To all of you out there in the blogosphere, please keep our state in your thoughts and prayers.  It’s going to be a long recovery, but we will recover and be stronger as a result.

Kimberly Lang

Kimberly Lang

Kimberly Lang: Most of our area has no power and won’t have any until Tues. But I’m one of the lucky ones- no damage and no loss if loved ones.

Wednesday was a long scary day- tornado sirens blaring all day. I did see the funnel cloud heading toward me- right before I jumped into the closet under the stairs! Thankfully, it turned away and missed us.

Today, I’m volunteering with a local restaurant, providing hot meals for first responders, who are working around the clock, clearing debris and trying to keep order in a city with no power. (and no traffic signals either). It makes me feel like I’m doing something useful. (I’ll get a picture and send it)

I don’t know when the luncheon will be rescheduled. Once we get power back to everyone and can communicate, we’ll make plans and let folks know.

Kira Sinclair

Kira Sinclair

Kira Sinclair (sent from her cell phone):  Wednesday was a day that I’ll never forget.  Neither will my children.  I watched a funnel cloud rotate and reach for the ground right in front of my office. We are all so lucky.  We’ve been inconvenienced but not having power for days is nothing compared to losing loved ones or everything you ever owned. today I drove through an area that is literally wiped off the map. Foundations and piles of two by fours are all that’s left of someone’s life. It’s going to be a long recovery but we’ll come through okay on the other side.


Danniele Worsham

Danniele Worsham

Danniele Worsham: I live above Huntsville in extreme northern AL. Currently we have no power (day 5 now), limited gas and ice, no land lines for phones, no tv, and cell service was only restored late Saturday night. We spend our days checking in with neighbors and family, sharing generators and food, until the dusk to dawn curfew forces us to our candlelit homes once more.

But we count ourselves very lucky! Less than 10 miles from here, there are communities where not a single house was left standing and loved ones are dead. Doors are painted with an F for fatalities inside. My heart simply breaks for these people. Then just last night, 4 days after the tornadoes, a survivor was rescued from a collapsed house!

Though we have tornado warnings all the time here in the spring, I’ve never been so scared as I was huddled in the halls of my children’s school while a tornado blew by less than half a mile away. Or during a later wave when my husband’s family huddled with us in a basement shelter, with our only warning of the next tornado was text messages from my sister, because we had no power, no cell phone connections, and the local tv and radio stations had lost their towers.

But we are alive. We have homes. Our southern hospitality is evident in spades as we feed neighbors, share information, and carry cans of gas to people in need. Alabama will recover. HOD will move on and the Luncheon will resume, but I’ll never forget both the good and bad of this experience!

Alexandra Frost

Alexandra Frost



Alexandra Frost: Barbara, I can’t do better than that!



Bottom Line: To help out those who need it, please consider donating to The American Red Cross.

Monday Giveaways

From Kiera Soleore:  This week at Cogitations and Meditations, I’ll be giving away  copies of “Sweet Revenge” by Andrea Penrose, “To Tempt a Rake” by Cara Elliott, and “My Favorite Countess” by Vanessa Kelly.  Just leave a comment to win.

From Samhain Pubishing: In May, Samhain Publishing has three sizzling-hot, sexy and romantic ebook giveaways on Kindle at and Nook at

The first date is the day the book price flips to $0.00 and the second date is the final day when it will return to regular price.

Begin Date

End Date Book Title Author

5/1/2011         5/31/2011      Long Hard Ride                  Lorelei James

5/1/2011         5/14/2011      A Little Harmless Sex         Melissa Schroeder

5/15/2011       5/28/2011      Fortune’s Deception           Karen Erickson

53 thoughts on “Authors Share Tornado Stories

  1. Leanne

    I send my prayers and heart out to those who were affected. I also opened my wallet and made a donation this week. I understand what many are going through I was part of a horrific hurricane years ago, 6 days with no power and neighbours sharing everything together to survive.
    Know that everyone is thinking of all those who have been affected. We Canadians are donating and trying to help from our end :)

  2. Keira Soleore

    I’m so glad these writers were safe and able to check in. It’s wonderful to see communities band together to survive in the face of a disaster of such monumental proportions.

    Thank you, Barbara, for posting the giveaway announcement.

  3. Kimberly Lang

    Things are getting a little better each day. More power is being restored to the area, and that makes communication easier, at least. I’m still catching up, counting noses, and finding out which areas are affected.

    I’m sorry you couldn’t come down, Barbara. Hopefully, we’ll be able to reschedule and you’ll be able to fit us in for a visit!

  4. joysann

    Thank you so much for your reports. I was very young when I’d seen that kind of devastation and only barely remember; your experience is the stuff of my nightmares. I send my heartfelt regards to you and your neighbors.

  5. Danniele AKA Playground Angel

    I have power today!!! I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful for a hot shower, though we are still being asked to conserve power and water so as not to overload a strained system. :) Coordinating to take care of family who still doesn’t have power and friends I know in nearby communities.

    Thanks for letting everyone know about this, Barbara! I’ve learned so very much — things I never thought I’d need to know. Like how to hook up and run generators, that solar lights left outside during the day will light your living room at night, and that my children can survive 5 days without electronics and actually enjoy it. :)

    Hope we do get to see you soon, Barbara!

  6. Marilyn AKA Playground Monitor

    I’m still without power but managing okay. I’m sure loving my Kindle cover with the light. It’s kept me company at night. I’d just finished reading a book last night when my son texted me to tell me Bin Laden had been killed. I turned on my battery radio in time to hear the President’s address. It’s been a challenge, but my situation has been minor compared to those who lost loved ones or homes.

  7. Alexandra Frost

    Sorry for the short response. I can only access email on my phone because power, phone and Internet at still out in my area. Everyones description pretty much sums it up, though. It was very scary and devastating. I hope to never see an outbreak like that again.

  8. Nancy Naigle

    Blessings. We must count them! So glad all of you are safe. It must have been so frightning. The devastation has been so amazing. We need to lend a hand wherever we can … right here with our neighbors.

    Thinking of all those folks in the affected areas.

  9. Bertrice Small

    My hat is off to the romance authors in the South where I have many good friends.
    I checked with them and everyone escaped unscathed. Like all Americans Southerners know how to cope in a crisis. My prayers are with you ladies, and I
    hope to see you in NYC next month at RWA. Hang in!

  10. Colleen

    Prayers to all affected. I can not imagine being there and seeing and knowing all the destruction and devastation that has occurred. My heart goes out to all, sending out positive vibes. Wishing all the best!

  11. Heather M

    My heart, prayers, and good thoughts go out to everyone affected by the terrible storms. It is nice to hear how so many have pulled together to deal with all that has happened.

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