Today I wanted to write. It’s the first time since the fire.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an author of young adult novels and a college professor. My family and I recently went through a terrible tragedy—a fire took our house and most of our belongings on July 5th. The first place the fire destroyed was my home office where I wrote, read, and recorded my Indie Chicks publishing podcast. Knowing that all my books, my trusty microphone, and writing mementos, including gifts from fans of my books, were gone was deeply upsetting. But that was nothing compared to knowing that my daughters, aged 15 and 11 and my 2yo dog, Zoe, were inside the house when the fire started. My husband and I were not.

My therapist says that writing helps people to cope with difficult feelings. I think it’s time to do that. I want to share it with you because of the incredible support you all have given me and my family through social media, purchasing my books, and the donations to the page that my incredible friend, editor, and podcast co-host, Jeni Chappelle, started. I’m overwhelmed by the support of the writing community, my colleagues, friends, and family.

The fire started around 1pm on Sunday, the day after the Fourth of July. Mark, my husband, and I started our day by hitting some golf balls at a driving range. It’s a hobby that has been fun for us to share. I’m, of course, still learning to make proper contact with the ball. Afterward, we went to our local gym, down the street from our house. Our daughters, Emma and Sarah, like to sleep in, especially on the weekends. They’re night owls to begin with, a trait they share with their dad. So, they were at home, snug in their beds.

I was at the end of my workout, listening to my Spotify playlist for my YA Ashwater series (lots of 80s tunes) while on t