A Stormy Little Book

POED, the third Candy’s Monster, went live on Amazon while Sandy stormed up the east coast of the United States. A few minutes after I checked the link, the lights flickered and I heard the Con Edison transformer blow on East 14th Street.

A little more than a week later, Bill of The Bookcast interviewed me about Poe and POED. The tick, clatter, tick, tick, tick of frozen rain from the Nor’easter that followed the supercharged hurricane, became the soundtrack for our Poe-ish talk.

POED is truly a stormy little story!

Weather — from the classic “dark and stormy night” to the oppressive stillness of the air on a summer afternoon — creates a backdrop for many frightening tales. Snow, sleet, fog, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, thunder & lightning, dust storms, flash floods, mudslides, avalanches and every other weather phenomena can be a threatening, if unspeaking, character in a story. It’s not surprising that storms are described in Monstrous terms. Sandy certainly was! The combination of hurricane, full moon high tide and northern cold front was called a Frankenstorm. The London fog permeates every good Jack the Ripper incarnation. And where would all those stories that begin with a car breaking down on a lonely road be without a good soaking rainstorm?

All this extreme weather in such a short time frame has planted a seed in my story-writing imagination. I’m wondering how far I can take the malevolence of a natural phenomena? What if a tornado “chose” its spot to land? What if lightning skipped one tree and aimed at the next? What if a mudslide was selective — the houses, cars and trees swept in its path, purposefully buried down the hill or pushed onto the highway?

It’s something to think about on a nice clear night like tonight. Maybe it’s a bit too much to contemplate when there’s a storm brewing?


  1. A thinking storm selecting it’s targets for maximum effect is a horrific thought, especially when you think what Sandy could have done under those settings. What a convoluted brain you have. x
    Hope POED is doing well, x

    • Candy

      When the transformer a few blocks from my home blew, I did feel a bit “targeted” so maybe I have a little bit of Poe’s paranoia? LOL…

  2. When you think about it, Nature is the ultimate monster. We have learned to shrug off its malevolence but at some level we are always aware of how much we are at its mercy. Hitchcock’s The Birds is terrifying for that very reason. What if Gaia is not all warm and snuggly? What if She is sick of us and is trying to shake us off like a dog with fleas? Scary.

    • Candy

      Years ago there was a series of very funny TV commercials in the states with the tagline “Don’t mess with mother nature” (or something like that). Mother nature is the MOTHER of Monsters, too! Monster earthquakes at sea that send giant waves onto the shore, wild fires that engulf everything in their path… and more.

      The idea of a consciousness behind the violence is truly scary.

      If you want a good scare — check out the Daphne du Maurier story that inspired Hitchcock’s movie, The Birds. Some friends and I read the short story out loud at a slumber party. I must have been 11, maybe 10. We were terrified. I haven’t reread it since, but now that you’ve mentioned it in this context, I think I’ll go find it. I have very distinct memories of how and why I was so unnerved by it. She was a master of that kind of subtle terror.

  3. Metan

    Weather really is the ultimate monster isn’t it? Unpredictable, uncaring and unstoppable.
    I am sure your recent experiences were great fodder for future stories and I guess now the early days of POED have burnt themselves into your memory!

    • Candy

      You are right on target. POED will always be linked to Sandy in my memory — although the novella was written before, the “birth” was a storm story.