The colors of the trees were about right for this time of the year. The raging wildfire could almost blend in if not for the smoke, the roar of the fire, out of control. And the fear and the loss.
On November 23, the Sevier County, Tennessee, wildfire started small at Chimney Tops Trail a few miles south of the town. But just overnight, 20 mph winds fanned the flames consuming the three acres to blaze through more than 500 acres. On Tuesday, the winds increased to hurricane force, as high as 80 mph. Eastern Tennessee had suffered a drought over the summer and fall, creating dry conditions ideal for the out-of-control blaze. The result was catastrophic.
In the destruction, an estimated 700 homes and structures were ruined and nearly 18,000 acres have burned. Fire crews, helicopters, and a total of 458 personnel rushed to Tennessee’s aid, but the fires were beyond control. The residents of Gatlinburg were forced from their homes as the flames raged toward them. And, while many people escaped with their lives, some were not so lucky. The death toll rose to 14 this morning.
I watched the news coverage of the people in despair, and stared in horror as the flames inched closer to peoples’ homes and the lives they had built. I cannot erase the images from my mind. I cannot imagine the terror they must have felt in having to flee for their lives, leaving their homes and possessions to burn behind them. Life for them will never be the same. Tennessee will be marred for decades to come—both in the loss of her people’s homes and also in the region’s beautiful landscapes.
The Southeastern part of the United States is my home. I have lived here most of my life. I truly have the need and the responsibility to help replenish Tennessee’s landscape, in raising money to bring trees and plants back to the areas that were ravaged by fire.
I ask you to stand beside me as I provide efforts to help Tennessee. Starting November 23, I will donate 100% of all royalties from the sale of my book, Pinnacle Lust, to the relief efforts in Tennessee. I would like to shoot for the moon and set a goal of $25,000 to be donated toward the cause—that comes to about 5000 copies that must be sold (as an average of all formats).
I envision myself traveling to Tennessee and helping to plant trees. If possible, I’d love to involve a school and the children in the process of rebuilding their state’s landscape after this disaster. Even children who are rocked by this tragedy must learn and understand that life goes on even when it seems the world has stopped turning.
As December holidays approach, people are buying gifts for their loved ones. Now, each purchase of Pinnacle Lust carries with it a promise to help restore the beauty of the landscape of Tennessee. Pinnacle Lust is a book that will be a wonderful gift this season—both with its powerful story about human resilience as well as with the good your purchase will do in benefit of this worthy cause.
Tennessee needs our help. I implore you to stand by me in reaching this goal by purchasing a copy of Pinnacle Lust today.