Anyone who has read “From These Ashes” knows how very important the forests of Eastern Washington, Idaho and Western Montana are to me. Anyone who knows me at all, knows how very hard it is for me to be so far away and so very helpless when this part of my heart and soul is in flames.
What can I do?
Being so far away, I can’t offer up my home for evacuees, I can’t bring much needed supplies to the local church clothing and food drives, I can’t even buy a firefighter a cup of coffee and offer up my thanks.
I can donate some money, and I have, but with my limited finances, how much good can I do? All I have left is my time and my talent. And I asked myself, “What good are any of those in a situation like this?”
That’s when I came up with an idea. Or more, I came up with a tweak of a few ideas I’ve been involved with before. The first part of the idea came from when my editor N. Apythia Morges and I gathered story prompts from New Orleans Librarians and then got Harry Potter fan-authors and fan-artists those prompts to create something that we collected into the anthology “Ripple Effect” to raise money for the NOLA libraries to help rebuild and re-supply after Hurricane Katrina.
The second part of the idea came from a thing called Fandom Aid where all sorts of artisans (writers, artists, cooks, bakers, musicians you name it) listed the talents they would offer up to people who donated to a charity helping the current cause. For instance, I have offered a story to help support Hurricane Sandy, and offered to send a postcard a month to someone for donations to the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
What can you do?
So, here’s how I’m thinking it will work. You donate to any of the listed donors at the bottom of this post throughout the month of September and send the confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to see an example of how to screencap and white out personal information. Email me if you have any questions. Also send me a prompt for a story you’d want to receive from me and I will write a story just for you and send a PDF version of that story by no later than December 1.
How long the story is depends on you. For every dollar you donate, I will write 100 words of a story. So, if you donate a dollar you get a 100 word story, 10 dollars and you are guaranteed a story of at least a 1,ooo words and so forth. Some stories might go over the word count paid for, but they will never be under it.
The prompt can be anything: “I want a story about rain” or “I want a missing scene from your novel” or “I want an action adventure about gnomes and dwarves.” You get the idea; character, location, genre, all of these can be prompts. Song lyrics can be prompts, quotes can be prompts. The story itself is up to me, but I do always try to consider my audience (in this instance, you) in the stories I write.
What can we do?
In starting this, of putting this out here, I have two fears: that no one will take me up on this and that EVERYONE will. I’d really like the second fear to be the reality. So, if all of you–whether you wish to participate or not– could do me a favor and help me spread the word? I’d really love if we could get enough stories collected to be able to compile them all into an anthology, all the profits going to help even more.
Places to Donate:
These links will take you directly to their page where 100% of the donations will go to these communities:
Pacific Northwest Residents:
There are a number of ways you can help. Donate you time, donate things, donate money. Find places to help. Let me know and there will be a story for you.
*If by some happy chance that there are more than 500 dollars worth of donations (50,000 words!!) than I will extend the deadline to get those stories to the recipients by the end of the year.
Firefighters, EMT’s, Smoke Jumpers, Loggers, any and all on the front lines–it should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, PLEASE give me a prompt. You’ve done so much and writing a story as a way to thank you would be my pleasure!
*Pictures for this post were taken from William Emily’s amazing essay and album Eastern Washington on Fire. I highly recommend reading it and perusing the other pictures gathered there.