Who would you be if you lost everything? Hollye Dexter and her husband Troy woke one night to find their house ablaze. To escape the fire, they had to jump from their second-story window with their toddler son—and then watch their house and home-based businesses burn to the ground. Over the next two years, the family went bankrupt, lost their cars and another home, and got dropped by their best friends. As the outer layers of her life were stripped away, Dexter began to unravel emotionally; but then she found herself on the brink of losing her marriage, and she realized that if she was going to save her family, she would have to pull herself back together somehow.

As she fought to reassemble the pieces of the life she’d had, Dexter discovered that a shattered heart has the ability to regenerate in a mighty way; that even in the midst of disaster, you can find your place; and that when everything you identify with is gone, you are free to discover who you really are. Poignant and inspiring, Fire Season is a story for anyone who has ever lost hope—and found it again.


Praise for Fire Season

“Fire Season blazes onto the page from the opening scene and never lets go. Compelling, beautiful and human, it teaches an essential truth we all need to know: it’s only when you let go of everything you think you can’t live without, that your life truly begins.”

LAURA DAVIS, bestselling author of The Courage to Heal and I Thought We’d Never Speak Again

“Filled with revelations, humanity, poignancy, balls-out courage and humor. “

AMY FERRIS, screenwriter (Mr. Wonderful, Funny Valentines), playwright, author of Marrying George Clooney

“Dexter did what so many of us can only imagine: literally rising from the ashes and beginning anew. This memoir is a reminder that the joys of life are based not on what we possess, but what we appreciate.”

VICTORIA ZACKHEIM, author of The Bone Weaver and Exit Laughing

“Fire Season will take your breath away and singe your fingertips from turning the pages so quickly. Dexter’s prose sings in this beautiful and complicated love story, a story that inspires both tenderness and courage, and a deep belief that we can all, like the phoenix and the author, rise from the ashes.”

AMY FRIEDMAN, author of Desperado’s Wife: A Memoir

Shame is a powerful thing. It can weigh on your heart and mind, diminish your sense of self-worth, and impact the way you live in the world. But what happens when you share that secret burden?

Amy Ferris, Hollye Dexter, and the writers they brought together are all ready to let go of shame. In Dancing at the Shame Prom, twenty-six extraordinary women—Lyena Strelkoff, Teresa Stack, Monica Holloway, Nina Burleigh, Amy Friedman, Marianne Schnall, Victoria Zackheim, and more—take the plunge and say “yes” to sharing their stories. These brave writers, journalists, musicians, artists, directors, and activists have offered up their most funny, sad, poignant, miraculous, life-changing, and jaw-dropping secrets for you to gawk at, empathize with, and learn from—in the hopes that they will inspire others to do the same. Letting go feels good!

Freeing, provocative, and audacious, Dancing at the Shame Prom is about flaunting the secrets that have made you feel small so that you can stand up straight, let the shame go, and finally—decisively—move on with your life.