Smudge is Here to Announce the Results of the Birthday Pledge Drive

Smudge in the yard, walking toward the camera.

Two days ago I encouraged people to donate to RIP Medical Debt, a non-profit that wipes out medical debt here in the US, and in return I would (if pledge goals were met) write a short story and do an audio version of the story as well. This pledge drive was in commemoration of my 50th birthday, which was yesterday.

The donation window is now closed, and when I tallied everything up, plus or minus processing fees, and including employer matches to donations, you folks donated $16,600. Which is amazing. When we add in the $2,000 that Krissy and I also donated ($1k at the outset, $1k when we hit the $10k goal), the entire drive netted about $18,600. Because RIP Medical Debt buys outstanding medical debt for pennies on the dollar in order to forgive it, that means our $18.6k will erase up to $1,860,000 worth of medical debt.

Let’s say that again: One million, eight hundred sixty thousand dollars of medical debt, erased. The folks at RIP Medical Debt said to me (in a tweet) that our donations will wipe out the medical debts of hundreds of US families. And I have to say, making life easier for hundreds of families is a pretty great way to spend one’s 50th birthday. Thanks to every one of you who made this possible. You’ve given me what is genuinely one of my best birthdays ever.

So, now, on my end, here’s what I owe you:

  • A brand new short story of at least 2,000 words (and probably more);
  • An audio version of said story;
  • And because we passed $15k, some other probably goofy thing related to the story above.

Making good on my pledges will be my first priority after I finish writing The Last Emperox, which is the final book in the Interdependency trilogy, and which is scheduled to come out next April. That absolutely has to get done or else my editors will strangle me. But! The second it is done (and, uh, I get some sleep), this story is next on the agenda. Look for it, the audio and whatever the third thing is, some time in June (probably) (hopefully).

In the meantime, please enjoy the above picture of Smudge, and also, the warm satisfaction of knowing you did a very good thing for people who could use the help. Again, thank you. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift than this.