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Supporting my local wildfire relief fund

I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t afraid of fire.

Slash-and-burn crop fires used to darken the sunsets over my African home during the spring months, glowing along the horizon for nights on end.

Before I even started grade school, I had lived through two dangerous home fires in my rural community in Africa. Every spring for many years I watched out-of-control crop fires consume the fields around my own home. I used to wake up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, convinced I had seen a flicker of flame in the reflection of my nightlight on my dresser across my bedroom.

I’m older now, and I live in a different place, but fire danger is still real. In the last year while I’ve been preparing my manuscript for publication, no less than three local wildfires have threatened places and people I love.

The Marshall Fire darkened the sky over my skating rink on the afternoon of December 30, 2021.

I took this photo from my skating rink on the windy afternoon of December 30, 2021, the day that the Marshall Fire tore through my local community. Teams of (mostly off-duty) firefighters from hundreds of miles around raced in to help, finally stopping the fire during the night only about 2 miles away from my house. But not before it had devastated so many nearby neighborhoods, consuming almost 1000 homes in under 24 hours.

My upcoming novel, Skate Cute, deals with the reality of fire danger in a community like mine. I want to recognize that reality, and more than that I want to give back to the place that I love, the place that shaped both the book and me over the last 1.5 years. A place that is full of resilient heroes like Kriss and Chase, both community leaders and ordinary people like me whose stories I want to uphold. 

A darkened sunset, a persistent blue sky. The Marshall Fire, December 30, 2021.

In light of this, I’ve decided to donate 25% of my author proceeds from each sale of my book Skate Cute to support victims of the Marshall Fire through the Boulder County Wildfire Fund

Chase and my inner wannabe hero wanted to donate to the local fire departments to support first responders. Kriss and my inner scientist very sensibly reminded us that we could donate to support climate science to fight the problem at its source. We worked out a compromise: we’ll donate to our local wildfire fund and mention the others in case readers want to extend their impact.

I know what it’s like – sometimes you don’t have extra pennies to buy books or give to good causes, and that’s okay. You still can have an impact! Find the social media pages of causes you support and give them a like or a review, or share their work to your networks. (Somehow I’ve already become a Top Fan of the Louisville Fire Department’s Facebook page simply by liking a few posts in the last few months…) 

Whichever you choose, I hope you’ll join me! If you’d like to donate as well as read the book, you can pre-order Skate Cute from Champagne Book Group here. If you prefer the more direct option, you can donate to the wildfire fund here

Stay safe, do some good, and Find your Fun,

Melissa J.

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