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About the author

Melissa DeDomenico-Payne has spent a lifetime developing her skills as a writer. Before she could even read, she would produce scribbles on a page and "read" the stories to her grandmother. She has been most prolific in writing poetry, but has also written a multitude of essays, research papers, and short stories over the span of her life.

Through employment and volunteerism, Melissa has been able to develop writing skills for various business materials including, but not limited to: grants, press releases, policies (personnel, volunteer, and board), marketing materials (brochures, fact pages, etc.), by-laws, articles of incorporation, material for web pages, appeal letters, speeches, curricula and tests for training, client information summaries, meeting minutes, newsletters, and correspondence.
Melissa holds a B.A. in English, a B.S. in Psychology, and an M.A. in Psychological Services - Counseling. As an undergraduate at Shenandoah University, she won the distinguished S. Gordden Link Poetry Prize for an unprecedented 3 years in a row. Melissa's first novel, Releasing Me, represents her first concerted attempt at publishing her creative works beginning in 2015. The novel is available on Amazon. Her second book, Valley Voices, is a book of poetry also released in 2015.

Melissa was born in New York. With the exception of a brief residency near Nashville, Tennessee, she has lived in various parts of Virginia for most of her life. She has been married to William Payne since 1993 and has a son, daughter, three stepsons, and a large extended family.Melissa has served as Executive Director of three different non-profit organizations in Virginia and also served in Quality Assurance, Grantwriting, and Development positions with other large non-profits. The organizations where she has worked have addressed such complex issues as domestic and sexual violence, child abuse, homelessness, human trafficking, mental illness, disabilities, substance abuse, and child abduction.

Following recovery from Urachal cancer, Melissa switched career endeavors. She currently serves as a contracted Director of Development for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Virginia; is completing her Doctorate of Public Administration; and continues to be actively involved in her community. She has developed a platform, Payneless Projects, from which she launches her writings and community projects.