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Jodi Moore: 12 X 12 Featured Author February 2015

Jodi Moore: 12 x 12 Featured Author February 2015

12 x 12 Member Jodi MooreOne of my favorite parts of running 12 x 12 is choosing featured authors. I get to ask myself, “Who do I want to learn from?” Then ask them to teach me (and fellow 12 x 12 participants of course!). 

When author Jodi Moore burst onto the 12 x 12 scene a few weeks ago, she brought a special brand of contagious energy and enthusiasm with her. I’d already been a fan of hers since my kids and I both adore WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN and cannot WAIT for the sequel this fall. 

I was thrilled when she accepted my invitation to be a featured author, especially since I like to put the spotlight on 12 x 12 members in all ways. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Jodi’s post was so inspiring and heartfelt, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bring a tear or two to my eye. I know you are going to enjoy it as much as I did.

AND, if that’s weren’t enough, one lucky 12 x 12 member will win a picture book critique from Jodi at the end of the month! Quick commercial: 12 x 12 registration is open until the end of this month. After that, you have to wait until 2016, so please join us while you can!

Now, please help me welcome one of our own — Jodi Moore!

Before we begin, please allow me to extend buckets of love, hugs and thanks to Julie Hedlund, Kelli Panique and all of the hard-working elves for providing such a warm place for us to share ideas, information and inspiration. I’m thrilled to be a part of this group and honored to be asked to share my thoughts with you as February’s featured author.

How long have you been writing for children?

I started creating stories from the moment I picked up my first crayon, drawing them long before written words were even an option.

How many years did it take before your first book was published?

The short answer: 50 years.

The longer one: Although I spent most of my childhood and teenage years writing, it was never presented to me as a viable career option. It wasn’t until I started reading to my own boys that I realized how much I missed sharing stories. I returned to my first love. I began writing picture books. I began submitting.

I began getting REJECTIONS. Although some were positive (I actually received a hand-written note from Kent Brown), I only saw the “no”s. They crushed me. I buried my dream and busied myself writing articles for magazines instead.

Despite my own issues with confidence, my husband Larry and I both recognized how important it was to nurture the dreams of our children. Both boys displayed talent and an interest in the arts at an early age, and we cheered them every step of the way. It won’t be easy, we told them, but you can’t let anyone stop you from pursuing your dreams. Before we knew it, they were accepting their high school diplomas. Empty nest threatened to hit hard.

“It’s time for you to get back to what you were meant to do,” Larry said. “Writing for children.”

I shook my head. “It’s too hard to get published.”

“What?” Both boys looked at me. “Have you been lying to us all these years?”

Yep. They called me out.

Larry made me a deal. “Hit it hard for the four years the boys are in college,” he said. “Go to conferences, hone your craft, submit your stories. If you aren’t published by the time they graduate, we’ll reevaluate the situation.”

My hubby likes deadlines. His favorite line? “Projects without deadlines don’t get done.”

Fast-forward four years. Our family celebrated two degrees…and one Dragon! When a Dragon Moves In Again crib spot

(In the words of the great Frank Sinatra, it was a VERY good year!)

I never could have done this without the love and support of my family (which incidentally is a perfect segue to answering the next question).

Do you have any advice for your fellow writers regarding the patience and persistence required to succeed as a picture book author? 

Writing may be a solitary thing, but the road to getting published is NOT.

Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.  It’s important to learn your craft, but what will keep you afloat is the human connection. The shared passion and compassion.

Join SCBWI, go to conferences, participate in challenges (like 12×12!) Connect with other writers – not only for critique groups and other writerly things, but for friendship as well. We need those all-important hugs – celebrating the good news and healing the hurtful stuff. I never would have given myself permission to reconnect with the writer in me if it hadn’t been for the encouragement and support of my family, my writer friends and the entire kidlit community…and I never would have survived the rejections! Don’t listen to the “no”-it-alls. I’m telling you “yes”. You can do this!

Oh. And chocolate. That’s important too.

Can you talk a bit about how to take a perennial favorite subject (dragons) and make it fresh enough for publication?

First of all, I must give credit where credit is due. The idea for WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN rests on the foundation of a real sandcastle….and something my husband said. Building sandcastles with our boys was an activity Larry looked forward to each summer. Understandably, the first time we went to the beach without them was a sad day for us. (There’s that empty nest issue again.) But Larry brought his sand toys anyway and started to create. He soon had the “assistance” of a bunch of kids. When one little boy stuck a piece of seaweed in the mouth of the castle, Larry smiled. “That looks like a dragon tail. Our castle is so cool, a dragon moved in.”

And the clouds parted and the angels sang. A story concept was born.

When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi MooreIt’s important to be open to the ideas that surround us every day. Look. Listen. Absorb. That’s why I love Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month. She challenges us to allow our minds to wander, to capture those elusive thoughts.

But here’s the thing. We’re all out there waving our idea nets. And sometimes we grab a fantastic little gem, only to do a Google search and find out there are already 1,258,329 books out there on the market. So, how do we make ours stand out?

As the amazing Kate Messner said in one of her workshops, sometimes ideas fall out of the sky. Other times, we have to work for them. She offered this exercise: Write down several characters. A few different scenes. A variety of plots. Now shift them. Shuffle them. Drop a character into an extraordinary setting or situation. (We used charts in class to keep things organized.)

The jump from the usual to the unique is but the twist of a Rubik’s Cube away.

One of the devices you employ in DRAGON, which I love, is the ambiguity. The reader gets to decide… Is the dragon real or not? Do you have any favorite reactions from kids on that subject?

Aw, thanks! This makes my heart happy. The liberty of deciding whether the dragon is real or imaginary was such an important component for me, yet it was this “haziness” that caused a couple of publishers to turn it down. How do you draw a character that may or may not be there? I will be forever grateful that Shari Dash Greenspan (my amazing editor at Flashlight Press) embraced my vision. She and brilliant illustrator Howard McWilliam took Dragon to heights I had never dreamed possible.

Kids are always passionate about their opinions – there is no ambiguity for them! – and when I ask during school visits, it’s often a 50/50 (rather vocal) split. Of course the sweetest stories come from those who believe Dragon is real. I had one child (his face the picture of sincerity) tell me he built a really cool sandcastle over the summer, but the dragon had to pass it by because “it was a little too small”.  One mother told me that she was recommending the book to another parent and mentioned it was about an imaginary friend. Her daughter burst into tears. “Why would you say that?” the little girl cried. “The dragon is REAL!”

But I think the most adorable story came from a librarian friend of mine who read the book to her two-year old grandson. A few days later, her daughter mentioned something odd was going on…that the toddler was making funny hissing noises right before he did something naughty. After listening closely, they realized he was making the “heh-heh-heh” sound of the dragon’s laugh! It wasn’t him doing the deed…it was his dragon!

The sequel to WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN releases this fall. What were the rewards and challenges of writing a sequel?

*squee* !!! I’m totally Tigger tap dancing about WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN AGAIN! The notion that readers want to spend more time with my characters is beyond thrilling, and the chance to work again with the collective genius of my editor Shari, my illustrator Howard and the entire Flashlight Press family is a dream come true.

But yes, writing a sequel has its challenges. It has to stand on its own. It has to echo the flavor, humor and voice of the first one, yet be its own fresh and unique creation. I pitched four ideas for sequels before this one stuck.

What’s on the horizon for you? New books coming out? Writing goals for 2015?

In addition to planning activities and visits for WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN AGAIN, I’m revising a YA novel as well as several picture book manuscripts. I’d love to do more speaking engagements, both at conferences and in schools, so that I may (hopefully) inspire others to live their dreams. And of course, I’m hoping to sign with an agent, someone who will champion my work and “get” the weirdness that is me.

As a published author, can you tell us a bit about why you joined 12 x 12 and how you’ve found the experience so far?

I’m so excited to be a part of this group! As I said earlier, it’s important to surround oneself with positive people. I’d heard nothing but great things about this community…which I am finding to be truer than true. So much talent, information and encouragement packed into one place!

What’s more, I need this challenge. I’ve been scribbling ideas down for PiBoIdMo for the last five years (yep, add ‘em up) and could use a push to get more of them developed. Too often, I’ll write a manuscript and then edit it to death. It’s time to cultivate a garden rather than over-prune one plant.

Let’s grow together, shall we?

Thanks, love and happy writing to all!

Jodi Moore is author of the award winning WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN (Flashlight Press) and GOOD NEWS NELSON (Story Pie Press).  She writes picture books and young adult novels, hoping to challenge and inspire her readers by opening up new worlds and encouraging unique ways of thinking.  Jodi is the proud, (admittedly) neurotic mother of two talented young adults and never ceases to be amazed at how far the umbilical cord will stretch. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Larry, and an ever-changing bunch of characters in her head. Look for WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN AGAIN Fall 2015!


This Post Has 647 Comments
    1. I’m a very late bloomer and have great difficulty with the computer but I did finish a draft!
      tell me where to post that i did. I need all the help I can get.
      Thank you all of you who share this compulsion.

  1. Let’s grow together! Talent, and information and encouragement… yes! The shared passion and compassion here is such fertile ground… I feel like a new seed that has just dropped into the most beautiful garden!

  2. It’s nice to hear that other people struggle with rejection and have piles of manuscripts in “drawers” as well. It’s also encouraging to hear the story of someone breaking through and realizing their dreams. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What an awesome post– Thanks for sharing Jodie!! I love dragons, so I will be looking out for your book! I have one or two stories that might have a dragon in them myself ! 😀

  4. Inspirational, I keep feeling I missed the window of opportunity, I was busy raising kids…it is good to know that its possible at any stage of life.

    1. The window is always open, Gina! Enjoy those precious children of yours…as you can see from my story, they are instrumental in “raising us” as well. 😉

  5. Boy! So nice to hear even published authors anguish over plot, characters, and rejections. This was a great question and answer session. Hopefully we can all have a little success in finishing manuscripts and revising them to be able to submit.

    Thanks for the pep talk Jodi Moore! Looking forward to your new book coming out also!

    1. Thanks, Deborah. I don’t think the anguish ever ends, but it’s because we care so much. And that is a good thing. 🙂

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s especially meaningful to me, right now, since I’m feeling discouraged about my writing and being faced with some challenges in my life (my mom just moved in with me). It’s so inspiring to know that if you don’t give up, you can eventually succeed.

    1. Aw Andrea, I’m sorry you’re facing some challenges right now. It’s okay to take some time to do what you need to do. The writing will be waiting for you to pour your heart into it when you’re ready. And we’ll be here to cheer you on! <3

  7. Thank you for sharing all of this, Jodi! I can definitely tell those of you who do not personally know Jodi that she is a gem of a friend and a truly inspirational source of encouragement to all who know her! In fact, Jodi is part of my own success story. She was sitting right next to me several years ago when my idea net was out and a morsel of LOVE, TRIANGLE (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins) was born. Love you, Jodi! Can’t wait to see you soon. xoxo

    1. *wipes eyes* Aw, Marcie! Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so happy and blessed to be your friend…and I can’t wait to get my hands on YOUR babies!!! <3 See you soon! Love you! 🙂

  8. What an amazing post. So positive and filled with great advice. Love your line “let’s grow together.” 12 x 12 is an amazing community and so supportive. Thanks and all the best.

    1. Thank YOU, Bev! 🙂 It’s so much easier – and a lot more fun – when you have people to share the journey – and tend the garden – with! 🙂

  9. Thank you so much for your positive outlook and inspiration. You are right, this group really does give a prepublished writer hope.

  10. Wow. The support of family can be life-changing. I love how your boys called you out; how your husband helped with goal-setting, and how you all inspired one another. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  11. What an inspiring story, Jodi! I’m thrilled you’re part of the 12×12 and I especially like this: “Don’t listen to the “no”-it-alls. I’m telling you “yes”. You can do this!” This is important for all of us as writers to remember.

    1. Thanks, Kirsti! I use that line when I visit schools and conferences. There are too many “no”s out there, deflating dreams. It’s important that we be the “yes”s for each other.

  12. Thank you, Jodi, for your encouragement. It always helps to hear the personal writing journeys of others.
    I can’t wait to meet your dragon! And welcome to this group!

  13. Great post. Thanks, Julie and Jodi. Love hearing how WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN came about. Also this: “[Shari Dash Greenspan] and brilliant illustrator Howard McWilliam took Dragon to heights I had never dreamed possible.” One of the most anticipated things, for me, is getting that first PB contract and seeing what an illustrator can do with my words.

  14. Really enjoyed your post, Jodi! Lots of good stuff in it. Looking forward to reading the sequel to When A Dragon Moves In!

  15. Thank you for sharing your story- It’s helpful and inspiring- Congratulations on all your success! Looking forward to your next book 🙂

  16. I love that you admit that some of your best ideas have fallen from the sky. And knowing how to nurture those through multiple conferences and critiques is what makes them work. I’m keeping at it!

  17. This book is a perfect example of how the text can contradict what’s actually happening in the illustrations. It’s brilliant! I love it!!!

    I also think Kate Messner’s exercise is awesome. Thanks for sharing it!

    1. Again, I must bow to the genius of my editor and illustrator. They embraced my vision and made it soar! And yes, Kate’s exercise is so helpful. If you ever get the chance to take one of her sessions, DO. She’s a fantastic, inspirational teacher…in addition to being a brilliant author! 🙂

    1. Never too late! But…enjoy those kids while they’re home. You blink, and they’re grown. *sniff* (So advises the one suffering from chronic Empty Nest.) 😉

  18. I just loved hearing your story, and I have to agree that chocolate is a wonderful and delicious part of the writing process! Thank you for a heartwarming, inspirational post!

  19. Jodi, thanks for a great post. I love WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN, but also LOVE your second book, GOOD NEWS NELSON. It’s such a heartwarming tale. It’s great to have you part of the 12×12 family – this post is inspiring – it’s so easy to get dejected on this journey to publication!

    1. Thanks so much for the Nelson love, Debra! That story is so near and dear to my heart too. It’s so important that children realize that no matter how small they are, they can make a BIG difference in the world! <3

  20. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! It wasn’t until I started encouraging my children to follow their dreams that I realized I needed to take my own advice and set a better example. Your post gives me hope that I too can someday achieve my dream, even if it takes 50 years. 🙂

  21. I love this post, Jodi! And I love the stories about the reaction’s your book gets from kids. Priceless! Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  22. Nice encouragement with a twist of humor! I like how your personality could be heard between the lines. And thanks for giving 12×12 a huge pat on the back. As a newbie, you never know if you did the right thing by joining. Now I know.

  23. What a great post! Thanks for the inspiration. I have always loved to read, and I imagined writing a book of my own one day. At the age of 50 last year, I finally decided it was time to realize the life-long dream of being an author. After much reading, studying, entering challenges, and taking a couple of writing courses, I have joined 12×12 and am ready to get started!

  24. Hi Jodi,
    Thanks for sharing your writers journey. I especially love ‘it’s time to cultivate a garden rather than over-prune one plant.’ I think I’m guilty of that.

  25. First, welcome to 12 x 12, Jodi!! It’s an amazing group! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It’s encouraging to hear about someone who was published without having an agent. It’s also nice to know that other empty-nesters have a shot at the brass ring

  26. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story! It’s so nice to hear such positive words (and from a fellow Pennsylvanian!). I’m looking forward to reading your newest release.

  27. Such an amazing post that resonated on so many levels. I’m glad that you were supported on your path back to your passion. Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. Just like everyone else, I’m thankful for your inspiration. This is my second year in 12×12, and the reason I stay is because of the accountability and the incredible support. This will be my first year submitting anything, and I’m honest enough to admit that I’m not looking forward to (inevitable) rejections.
    (Not looking forward to= some degree of fear).
    So, once again, thanks for telling your story and giving me hope that I can do it too!

  29. You have a wonderfully supportive and loving family! “Making room” for WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN helps make you an empty nester no longer ;). Can’t wait to read WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN AGAIN!

  30. Great post Jodi! Truly inspirational! Your journey to getting published is extremely encouraging. Thanks for sharing it with us:)

  31. Thank you for the great info. It is great to hear someone say “yes you CAN!”
    i have been writing forever and at 62 joined 12 x 12, and learning so much in just 4 weeks. Thank you.

  32. How true about “deadlines” to move us forward productively and the support of positive people to cheer us on, as we also cheer them on. Thank you, Jodi.

  33. Jodi, I’m delighted you joined 12 x 12. I had so much fun studying “Dragon” in the Debut PB Study Group. Thanks for these wise words and I can’t wait for the sequel!

  34. We own WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN! It’s one of our favorites! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I loved the story about the two-year-old who was imitating the dragon’s naughty “heh-heh-heh.” And I loved that your sons called you out. My kids call me out on stuff all the time.

  35. “Writing may be a solitary thing, but the road to getting published is NOT. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.” Love this quote. It is so important to have family, friends and critique groups support along the way.

  36. I agree it is nice to have other writing people to bounce ideas off and see what they are tackling and having
    success with. It always helps to have a cheering section to help you hone in on the important parts of
    your manuscript before you revise that part out of it. This 12 x 12 group has shown me many new fresh
    ideas to think about and authors to buy books from and see what they found success writing. And introducing new agents that actually like picture books is nice, too.

  37. Jodi, I loved reading your post & story. My husband did the same for me in Dec. 2010. I’ve written so much since then. I have to admit I haven’t been as diligent in submitting as writing. I love him so for knowing before I did that writing stories is what I always wanted to do. We are both lucky to have such great husbands. Thanks for the post. It is encouraging. I’m smiling!
    Nina Johnson

  38. Jodi, thanx for a great post and sharing your experiences. They are a reality check for all of us, that publication can and will happen and our rejections are not unique but just stepping stones to success. You are so right that the 12 x 12 community is one of the best things going for having human contact in a solitary profession.

  39. Thanks for this, Jodi, I really enjoyed it, and it was timely. I find I still battle those “voices” that ask what the heck I think I’m doing and so related to your comments about confidence and giving in after the rejection but dreams are something that burn within us – and for good reason. I also loved that you shared how long it took, my birthday is tomorrow (the 3rd) and there is a part of me that always cringes when I think of how much time has already passed me by…but this is a reminder that it is never too late. 🙂

    1. Tracy, wishing you the happiest of birthdays…and a loud voice (overriding any doubtful ones) yelling, “Yes! You can do it!” <3

      1. Somehow I missed this ~ I’m so sorry, how rude. Thanks so much for the birthday wishes and the cheerleading! (I will tell those voices that Jodi says: I’ve got this! 😉 ) Thanks again! Loved the post.

  40. I love the idea of cultivating a garden rather than pruning just one plant. After practically raising a bonsai when I first started, I’m happy to have a good little garden going, but it never hurts to plant another row! Thanks for the great post and congratulations on the sequel!

  41. Thanks SO MUCH for this inspiring post, Jodi! Was feeling down that I probably wouldn’t be published till 50 or later (in my mid forties now) but after reading your story I feel immensely better! It’s really ok to be a late bloomer! Will look for your book in the library . . . God bless!

  42. So many gems of wisdom in one interview. I love the line, “The jump from the usual to the unique is but the twist of a Rubik’s Cube away.” Congratulations on the sequel and thanks for inspiring us all, Jodi!

    1. LOL, thanks, Suzanne! I kept putting that line in, then taking it out, and putting it back in again – wondering if it made sense. 🙂 Glad I left it in. 😉 (See? I even agonize and over-edit my blog posts…) *grin*

    1. Thanks, Marcie. We always tell our kids, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Of course, it’s easi-ER when we have support along the journey. 🙂

  43. Thank you so much for sharing your story and encouragement. I love the story of how your PB came about – that your husband and you were still playing and making sandcastles when you were empty nesters. What a great way to keep the child alive within you and be open to stories. Congratulations on all of your successes and I’m thrilled and honored that you have joined 12×12! It’s fun rubbing virtual shoulders with such talent.

    1. Aw, you’re so sweet! Thank you! And if there’s one thing about our whole family…we may grow older, but we never grow up. 😉

  44. “It’s time to cultivate a garden rather than over-prune one plant.” <– Hey, ithis is why I joined 12 x 12, too! And dang, Jodi, that's a nice turn of phrase. You should consider going pro at this whole writing thing.

  45. This was a tremendously heartwarming and inspiring post. I cannot wait to read Dragon! I loved hearing about your process of working and gaining the confidence (and skills) to publish. I’m somewhere in that process and determined not to give up. Thank you for sharing your journey and your work!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Maria. You’re further ahead than you know. So many “talk” about “wanting” to write. YOU are DOING it. Keep going! 🙂 *shakes pom poms*

  46. I think this may just be my most favorite ‘Featured Author’ post yet … for so many reasons! Wonderful, insightful, humorous, touching, inspiring post! And, huge congrats to you … can’t wait to read the sequel!!

  47. Hi Jodi,
    Thank you for the inspiration. And, who couldn’t love that little guy on the cover? I enjoyed reading your story about sand castle building. When I checked out your Web site, I was even more impressed. Your design is easy to navigate and drew me in instantly. Congratulations on your book and platform.

    1. Thanks so much, Pam, for your sweet words on the blog post AND on my website! My theater son designed it for me. He’s also the one who did my book trailer and created the “dragon” I bring with me on my school visits. I will pass on your compliment! <3

  48. Thank you, Jodi, for sharing your journey with us. I’m a late bloomer, but have found such inspiration and support from wonderful people like you-let’s all grow together-love that 🙂

  49. DRAGON is one of my all-time favorite PBs. In fact I just bought it for my baby nephew, who has a knights and dragon-themed nursery. I’m so thrilled to hear there’s a sequel. Thanks for sharing your story, Jodi!

    1. Oh, Kirsten!!! Can you share pics? Would love to see the room…and of course, the precious little guy! (I think you’ll get a kick out of the new one…it features the same boy and Dragon…but this time, a “baby moves in” and havoc ensues…) 😉

  50. Jodi,

    You’re such a genuine, talented, warm-hearted soul. Can’t wait to read your Dragon sequel. Thanks for sharing such encouraging words!


  51. Wonderful interview. I especially love the fact that your husband brought his sand toys to the beach. How fun is that! I love your story about the dragon, it’s clever and imaginative. Look forward to the sequel.

  52. I’m so glad you dared to live you dream after all. I loved hearing about the passionate responses from your young readers. I too, enjoyed your DRAGON book, very much. I look forward to the sequel.

    1. Thanks, Alicia. Some time back, I saw a sign that said, “Dare to fail gloriously”. It’s stuck with me ever since. 🙂

  53. Thank you for sharing this! I loved it! The first part of your story is the same as mine. I’m still working on my happy ending though. 😉 Three cheers for dreams coming true and for supportive spouses! So wonderful!

  54. Thanks Jodi for sharing your journey with us! What a wonderful, supportive group of family, friends, and colleagues you have surrounded yourself with. It’s inspiring that you pushed on through the rejections in order to share your stories with the world. Best to you in all you do!

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Aijung. You do realize that now YOU are one of those wonderful, supportive colleagues. 😉

  55. I finally had the time to sit and read your interview. It was delightful. It was so much fun to be taken to that beach with you and your husband. There is something contagious about the imagination and energy of children. That you were able to sense it and write a delightful story from sand and seaweed is just beachy. Congratulations.
    Thanks for the interview gals.

    1. Thanks so much…and in the midst of all of this wintery stuff, I’d say another trip is in order. 😉 Who’s up for a beach excursion? 🙂

  56. Jodi, thanks for sharing your journey with us. How blessed you are to have a husband who believed in you, and wanted to encourage you to go for your dream. And how precious were the comments of the children who read your book, and identified with your story. Ultimately, it’s all for them, isn’t it?

  57. What a wonderful interview Julie and Jodi. It’s stories like these that keep us going. Congratulations on the sequel, Jodi and give that husband a big 12×12 hug from all of us that you inspire!

  58. What a great interview. Thanks for the reassurance that its not too late to keep a dream alive even after many years of it not being realised.

  59. It was so encouraging to read about the support you’ve gotten from your family to follow your dreams. And I loved the reminder to “cultivate a garden rather than over-prune one plant.”

  60. Now I know why they all thanked their families when saying their speeches at awards nights because they really do and share their parts in the making of excellent picture books or whatever artistic masterpieces in the house. Congrats for waiting so long and finally succeed. We look forward for more of your books to come.

    1. Family support is invaluable. That being said, “family” doesn’t have to be blood relatives. I have so many writer friends that I now consider to be family. <3

  61. Thanks for such a positive and inspiring post! I love that your husband will take sand toys to the beach even after your children are grown. And how wonderful that he did and that a dragon moved into his creation and that you turned it into a story. Brilliant all round. 🙂

  62. I loved reading your interview. There was much to learn there. Your road not much different from mine, though my support has been ??? It hasn’t stopped me from writing and honing my illustration. I feel the time is near. The one comment of yours that really, really motivated me was this one:

    “It’s time to cultivate a garden rather than over-prune one plant.”

    “Thank you!” Those are words I needed to hear. More than enough editing and on to the next story.

  63. Just by reading your post, I can see you are a great storyteller. So clear and vivid with lots of valuable advice hidden inside for us too. Look forward to reading your posts on 12X12!

  64. Jodi, what an inspiring story! Your school visits must be amazing. Students, teachers, and parents are lucky to hear your story of hope, courage, and creativity…and the strength of family and friends. Thank you for sharing your journey with the 12×12 group. Looking forward to your next picture book. PS: I agree, chocolate is important too. ; )

    1. How sweet – thank you! I love doing school visits. 🙂 And yes, I consider chocolate to be one of the food groups. 😉

  65. Thank you so much for your inspirational post. Many of my story ideas have been simmering for years and it’s helpful to hear your story of perseverance and moving forward. Thanks for being a part of this great community of folks who nurture writers.

  66. Favorite line… It’s time to cultivate a garden rather than over-prune one plant.
    I remember meeting you, Jodi, in a shuttle on the way from the airport to the LA conference. I loved your enthusiasm then and love it even more now. Congratulations on all your accomplishments!!!

    1. Jan! *waves* Good to “see” you again and thank you for your lovely comments. Are you coming to LA this year? Hope so – we can rock the shuttle again! 😀

  67. Thanks for sharing your journey to publication. I relate to your empty nest and rediscovering our true selves and passions. I love your comment, “It’s time to cultivate a garden rather than over-prune one plant “. I am alternatively excited and apprehensive about this new 12×12 experience. Thanks again for your candor.

  68. Very interesting post and encouraging thank you – I think I’m suffering a little from pre-empty nest syndrome. Three teenage kids who are full of life, and like you I try to encourage them to follow their dreams. Guess it’s about time I looked at mine again!

  69. I can’t believe I nearly missed this post I didn’t see it till today the last day of February. Thanks for the great post and for the encouragement to follow your dream. My nest is still full at the moment and I don’t look forward to the day it will be empty. Who will I play, imagine and get ideas from then. I better get cracking on becoming a published author :-).

    1. Sharon, enjoy that nest while it’s still full! 🙂 And don’t worry, the little birdies come back to roost from time to time…with tons of love and inspiration. 😉

  70. I have been writing children’s stories since high school. I am no in my 50’s. I never had the courage to move forward. Hearing all the great advice and encouragement has finally propelled me to get up and do something. My four daughters are all out on their own so now I have the time. Thank you for your advice and encouragement. You can never know how much it means to hear it and to see your successes.

  71. What an awesome post! Thanks for such an encouraging, honest look at the publishing journey and idea inspiration. I love how supportive your family has been of your dream, too! And, I totally get this about (over)editing: “It’s time to cultivate a garden rather than over-prune one plant.” Congrats on the sequel coming out, soon!

  72. Thanks so much for your up-beat, encouraging post. I love your quote about cultivating a garden. I have a stack of manuscripts that I just can’t seem to infuse with the right spark. By starting with a whole batch of fresh ideas (by participating in PiBoIdMo), and then developing them (in 12×12), I’m finding that my new ideas have that spark I was looking for.

    1. I definitely find it helps to start something new when the spark begins to flicker. 🙂 Thanks for your sweet comments!

  73. What a great interview! It was wonderful to hear how your idea for When a Dragon Moves In came about. Your interview was inspiring, motivating and full of optimism! I will reread many times! Thank you!

  74. What an inspirational piece to read! I am bookmarking this for myself to return to on those days when I feel “it’s just too hard.” Looking forward to the sequel & thanks so much for sharing!

  75. How inspiring! I’m particularly draw to the ideas around how to infuse a fresh angle into an idea that’s been done a million times. Thanks so much!

    1. They say there’s no new ideas under the sun, only new ways to share them. I’m always inspired by others’ stories as well. 🙂

  76. Thank you, Jodi for your encouraging words! I am so glad that you returned to your first love and didn’t keep your dream buried forever. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, experiences, and passion!

  77. Oh my goodness! You have no idea how encouraging it is to read about your journey. I’ve had a similar experience of being personally crushed by the “no’s” and I’m finally returning with renewed determination. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  78. I am joining the party a little late, as well, Jodi. I’m not an empty-nester yet, but sending my oldest off to college this fall (gulp!). I can’t wait to read Dragon; it looks adorable! I subbed to Flashlight, but no response (sigh). I will keep believing, though! Thanks for sharing your story.

  79. I LOVE ‘When a Dragon Moves In”. It was such a great treat to hear from the author herself about one of my favorite books. Thank you!!!

  80. I’m so glad your husband encouraged you to dive in for the four years your boys were at college. You are so talented and such an inspiration to your children and all of us. I also have two boys (2 and 3) and I hope they’ll always work hard and follow their dreams like I’m trying to do now. Great interview!

    1. Thanks so much, Jamie! Yes, my hubby and boys are keepers for sure. 🙂 And you are the inspiration your children need. <3

  81. Thank you for reminding us that time can be our friend when it comes to writing, and even when the kids are gone, we can still create a childcentric world with our imaginations.

  82. We loved your book! We’ve checked it out from the library many times. When I asked my kids if they thought the dragon was imaginary, they looked at me like I had two heads. Of COURSE it was real! Silly me. Can’t wait to see the sequel!

  83. I needed your uplifting comments. I too am diving into this dream later in life. It has felt very discouraging at times, the way through often obscured in pea soup! But you are so right how connecting with positive like-minded people makes such a difference. Networking, and the sharing of experience and support of others has allowed me to finally feel like I am making steps to ward both developing my craft, and how to navigate the pre-published environment. Thanks for further illuminating the journey!

  84. Jodi – Thank you so much for your inspiring words. After a big move and a couple of rejections, I found myself avoiding my writing for a few months. I feel like I’m ready to write again and your interview has given me that extra push.

    1. All of us need a break at some time. (I enjoy mine with a bowl of ice cream.) 😉 Glad you’re back in the saddle. 🙂

  85. Thank you for this. This is a time I need such encouragement as I feel like my struggle to find writing time is getting to be more of a struggle and less of an actual occurrence…. so many other things in life are taking precedence right now and at age 46, I just wonder if it will ever happen. This gives me some hope. Thank you.

    1. Carol, it WILL happen. Sometimes life takes over and that’s okay. Your passion will be waiting for you when you’re ready and able. <3

  86. This was wonderful to read, so upbeat and encouraging. My #1 takeaway: “Don’t listen to the “no”-it-alls. I’m telling you “yes”. You can do this!”

  87. I always enjoy hearing a story of the process before publication. Thank you for sharing your story. Great post! Congratulations on the sequel!

  88. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m also a new empty nester who has focused on magazines. This year with the 12 x 12, I’m setting my sights on PBs. Thanks for the hopeful message about your journey.

  89. Great post, Jodi – so glad your passion and perseverance – and the support of all your boys – has paid off. Your comment about surrounding oneself with a writing community especially resonated for me – loving 12×12 for that.

    1. Thanks, Lindsey. 🙂 It really is important to believe in yourself, but surrounding yourself by those who believe it too is priceless.

  90. First off, I LOVE ‘When a Dragon Moves In’! Such a wonderful story and I’m excited to find out there will be a sequel. Thank you for sharing your relatable and inspirational story. It’s great how 12 x 12 provides the opportunity to learn from and interact with published authors.

  91. You are so “write” that we must surround ourselves with positive energy and 12 x 12 and PiBoIdMo are fantastic for this. also great inspirational stories such as yours which show that it is all about perseverance. 50 years is a long time to wait but as you said well worth it. I have a few more rejections to get to catch up.

  92. Love, Love, Love the Dragon!!! My husband’s business (and mine also!) has a dragon as our logo! So of course I am attracted to dragons and dragon stories, but the humor of your story draws me in. I am deeply inspired from your career as a writer. When teaching writing to young students we tell them to take an idea and run with it. Your story about how ‘When a Dragon Moves In’ came to be is one I will use again and again in the writing classroom! Thank you for this!

  93. You wrote a lovely blog and I can’t wait to read your books. I have just joined this community but can already see it is going to be fun. I don’t have a supportive family. They think I am out of my mind persisting in the folly of writing when it is impossible to get published. 12 x 12 will have to be my family.

    1. Elizabeth, sometimes our families try to protect us from the hurt of rejection. I know they’re proud of you! Until they can see through the fog, we’ll be there cheering you on! 🙂

  94. Love! Love! Love this story and the dragon! (My husband’s business has a dragon in our logo, so I am naturally drawn to dragon stories!) What inspired me is YOUR story of how this story came to be written. As a teacher, teaching writing to young, young writers, I encourage them to write their own stories about silly things they see and do. Permit me to use your story about writing ‘When a Dragon Moves In’ when prepping my students for their next writing assignment!!!

  95. Love love love this book, Jodi! Thank you so much for sharing your journey and your excitement…I feel the same way about 12×12 – what an amazing community!
    And I love that you came back to your dream and made it happen…and please please please may I borrow your husband’s brilliant mantra: ‘Projects without deadlines don’t get done!’…oh yes, I believe that! It’s why I find myself signing up for writing challenges even though I already have enough on my plate…I know, at least for me, the looming deadline and accountability factor spur me on to succeed. 🙂 Wonderful post, Jodi…so glad you found your bliss!

    1. Thank you for your enthusiasm and comments, Vivian. And I know Larry would be thrilled for you to adopt his mantra. 🙂

  96. All good advice. I think the most important lesson is the willingness to keep going when faced with rejection and other less than fun things. That’s what makes the difference. Thanks for the reminder.

  97. It is so true that writing is a solitary activity, but having a support system makes doing it soooo much easier.Thanks for all your encouragement and honesty about the real world of wriing.

  98. Hi, Jodi. I really appreciated your comment that while writing is a solitary endeavor, getting published is not. That’s why I took on the Challenge, to surround myself with encouraging and knowledgeable people. I also liked your comment regarding story ideas and characters that “the jump from the usual to the unique is but the twist of a Rubik’s Cube away.” That’s already got me thinking about March story possibilities. Thank you.

  99. Great advice, Jodi. I can relate to the empty nest. So glad you followed your journey and didn’t give into the no it alls. Thanks for sharing your writing journey.

  100. Thank you for a wonderful post and inspiring story. I LOVE When A Dragon Moves In! So excited that there will be a sequel! YAY!

  101. thanks for sharing your inspiring journey. 12×12 has helped me “cultivate a garden” too. This interview gives me hope that I will someday find a place in the sun for some of my “flowers.” 😉

  102. Dear Jodi, thanks so much for sharing your story – you have inspired me and motivated me to get going and make some art!!! Wishing you continued success – and looking forward to the adventures ahead of me!!!

  103. Jodi,

    As a recent empty nester myself, I loved your words of wisdom. Here’s to planting a garden and hiding the pruning shears for a while!

    Think Spring!

  104. We LOVE When a Dragon Moves in and my 2 kids are solidly divided on the real/imaginary opinion 🙂 I relate to your journey – writing and creating for children for years but not really believing it was a viable option. So thanks for the reminder that with focus and dedication it can be! Looking forward to your sequel!

  105. Jodi, thank you for sharing your insights! I particularly found helpful the goal setting remark of your husband and the idea for exploring ideas you learned form Kate Messner. Thanks

  106. I already commented on the post, but for some reason Rafflecopter is making me do it again. I LOVED the post though!! Definitely worth commenting twice!!!

  107. Thanks for sharing your story, Jodi. So true. Thank you very much for the inspiration and motivation.
    With best wishes and good luck with your writing!

  108. I love 3 things in particular about this post: how you say it took you 50 years to get published, how the dragon idea came to you that day on the beach, and how passionately readers believe that your dragon is “real.” Thank you!

  109. Aside from the fact of how inspiring this post is, I can see why Julie liked it so much. Probably sooner than she expects she’ll have an empty nest when her kids grow and flourish! At least she knows she’ll always have her fellow 12 x 12ers!

  110. Thanks for the insightful post! Children are great for both inspiration and the being some of the truest sounding boards – their laughter is gold. Congrats on the second book!

  111. We have so much in common – writing with two inspiring boys in the house, being tempted to quit, questioning the possibility of publication, and then persisting and achieving. Thanks!

  112. Jodi, your story resonates with me in many ways. An empty nester, I too made a recommitment to craft…and with a graduating senior, and with 12×12, I’m hoping this is the year! I love the idea of the ambiguity of your ending…teachers and librarians definitely will like that!…and so happy for you that you found an editor who loved the possibilities of your story. Congratulations!

    1. Lisa, I hope this is your year too…! Keep that positive attitude! And congrats on the graduating senior. 🙂

  113. Jodi,
    I love how your kids called you out. You taught them well. I also love how you found your concept for your book. Isn’t it wonderful when the clouds do part and the angels do sing?
    Thanks for a great article, and all the great advice.

    1. You’re welcome, Sandy. I, too, love how the story really was a family venture…especially with it being my first. <3

  114. What a great husband you have! Not only does he encourage you, he gives you fantastic story ideas. And what an inspiration you are to your sons, and to hard-working writers who share your dream of one day finding a home for their stories.

    1. Thanks so much, Suzanne. This is what happens when you have a husband (and two sons) who refuse to grow up. 😉 And I wouldn’t want it any other way. 😀

  115. Jodi
    I loved your details on how the story idea came from a real life experience. I agree it is so important, and wonderful, to be able to just remain open for ideas to come from anywhere! Thank you for your great article!

  116. Jodi, your thoughts are so comforting and reassuring to us all. The feeling “crushed” at rejections resonates so much with me. I think your husband’s nudge/push was just right: “Projects without deadlines don’t get done.” A simple concept that needs to be utilized, for sure, in this business. Look where it has gotten you. Congratulations on your diligence and wonderful success. All the best for your future!

  117. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us! I have only just recently realized that I also must be brave enough to pursue my dreams- petal to the metal- if I expect my children to do the same for themselves. I kept telling myself for awhile there that I needed to wait until my kids were grown or I had done this or that. It’s just not true. Today is always the best day to chase down your dreams. Looking forward to the sequel!

  118. Jodi,
    Thank you for sharing your story. Supportive families are a blessing. The idea of shuffling characters, plots, and settings helped me find the right story for my character.

  119. Jodi, it was so nice to read your interview, and learn a little about your inspiring journey. There was so much I related to – your idea of cultivating a garden, and your husband’s point of view of having deadlines for projects really spoke to me. It was great catching up at NY SCBWI – hope we get a chance to catch up in town soon. Wishing you the best on your journey in 2015!

  120. Thanks for sharing your very inspiring and true to life story. You have a wonderful family and I applaud their support for you and your passion. Congratulations on your success.

  121. Jodi! I love When A Dragon Moves In! I love Flashlight Press and many of their illustrators. Your book is PERFECT! One of my faves. And now my kids love it too! How exciting to read a post by you. And to see how much we have in common. Thanks for sharing 😀

  122. Congratulations on your sequel, Jodi. While I enjoyed reading the whole interview, two things really jumped out at me:

    1) “Although some were positive (I actually received a hand-written note from Kent Brown), I only saw the “no”s. They crushed me.” Isn’t interesting how we sometimes only see the “no”s.

    2) I couldn’t help but smile at “And the clouds parted and the angels sang. A story concept was born.” Thanks for sharing your story.

  123. Thanks, Jodi for sharing your very inspiring story! It makes me want to keep digging deeper and moving forward. Thanks, again!

  124. Thank you, for for sharing a little about yourself, Jodi. It’s awesome how our children inspire US to follow OUR dreams while we are trying to guide them. Also, you’re right, 12 X 12 is a wonderfully support group of writers.

    May your future be filled with sandcastles!

  125. So inspiring. Learning to be open to “ideas falling out of the sky” is so important to the whole process.

  126. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story with us. I know what you mean about working on the same story over and over while neglecting stacks of new ideas. Guess both are necessary. We all need clones, I think. Keep up the great work.

  127. Thanks for sharing your story with us Jodi – it’s always so inspiring to hear other writers success stories. I can’t wait to read your new Dragon book – congratulations! Now I think it’s time for a piece of chocolate!

  128. I loved the inspiration for this story. You never know when it will happen, and it can be the smallest thing. “From tiny acorns…….”

  129. Thanks, Jodi, for the inspiration! I agree — let’s cultivate a garden, not over-prune one plant. That line really resonates with me!

    1. Thanks, Gabi. And it helps to have a story to work on…I certainly lack the garden-variety green thumb – lol! 😉

  130. Hi Jodi,
    Thanks for the inspirational post! Congratulations on your success.
    Looking foward to your new book. I love dragons!

  131. “When A Dragon Moves In” is a favorite bedtime story at our house. Thank you for taking the time to pass along some words of inspiration and encouragement Jodi!

  132. Wow, thanks so much for this Jodi! I don’t know which was my favorite part: the confirmation that long and winding paths can still lead to treasure, or the moment I read “and chocolate” while simultaneously popping a Cadbury Mini Egg into my mouth…

  133. I too am lucky that I have the support of family and colleagues and bosses. I teach high school English. I feel that everyone (my husband, children, students, and administrators) knows that I’m a happier person when I write. Thanks for reminding me how lucky I am.

  134. Jodi – thank you so much for this article. I especially love the whimsy of how your dragon story came into being. Through 12×12 and mentors like you, I’m hoping to bring that kind of wonder and delight into my own stories. Thank you for the inspiration. Can’t wait to read this (now) series of dragon adventures!

  135. I love how you taught your boys to follow their dreams and they then pushed you to follow yours. Also kudos to your supportive, castle-building, dead-line imposing husband. And congratulations to you, I am sure the road to publication would have been a struggle but you give us all hope!

  136. We all take such long, circuitous journeys. Hopefully, we’re happy where we end up, published or not.

    1. Kathy, it’s the journey that counts. I know publication is (usually) the goal at the end, but if we can remind ourselves to stop along the way to live, learn and love, our lives will be so much richer. And in turn, we’ll have so much more to write about. <3

  137. Jodi, Thank you for your sharing your journey. I love your story and the ambiguity. I am glad you found the right editor. Can’t wait for the sequel.

  138. Jodi–I just joined 12×12 today and your post helped confirm that this will be a great place to be–so here’s to cultivating gardens–and a supportive network.

  139. Jodi, I enjoyed reading your blogpost – thank you for your inspiring words and sharing your journey!

  140. Jodi, thank you for sharing your writing journey! It’s stories like yours that motivate and inspire us to push forward.

    1. Thanks, Elaine. I think that’s what we’re all here for. Those little pushes add up to HUGE inspiration. 😉

    1. So true, Sarah! I remember my grandfather (who was quite the artist) drawing extra little tidbits in my coloring books…I hope I’ve made him proud. 🙂

  141. Jodi— What a journey you have had as a writer. Learning of others’ success makes our own seem possible. Best wishes on the next Dragon book— I know I will be buying it for my 2 and 4 year old boys– and thank you for taking time to inspire the rest of us along the way!

    1. Mandy, it was my pleasure…and thank YOU for the lovely comments and for giving my Dragon a loving home. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Karen. Very proud to share that WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN was an NSW Premier Reading Challenge Book in Australia. 🙂

  142. Thanks, Jodi, for sharing your journey. I love your publishing story, and that you recognize the importance of chocolate! 🙂 I also love when you said, “The jump from the usual to the unique is but the twist of a Rubik’s Cube away.”

  143. An excellent post. Great to see many different roads to publication. I hope you get an agent soon. Also I love the idea of cultivating many manuscripts at the same time.

  144. Jodi this is a great post. I think you got an amazing illustrator for your book! I wondered if you had any say at all in who should illustrate and in what style… I would find it hard if my illustrator didn’t fit my vision. But you didn’t have that problem!

    Thanks for your post!

    1. David, I think this varies in different situations, but I didn’t have a say in selecting an artist. That being said, I definitely hit the illustrator jackpot! 🙂 And it’s because I have a brilliant editor. <3

  145. Love your book and your blog. I can relate to the part about it never being considered a viable plan in our household when I was growing up and writing and illustrating. It was actually more like, “Shari, quit wasting time and get down here,” often followed up by “You can’t make a living writing or drawing. Engineering is where you belong.” But you simply cannot mold a person into your vision. If you are born a creative not creating only left me unhappy. So here I am a late bloomer with starts and stops for years. Your words are very encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

  146. Jodi~ Thank you for sharing your journey. I especially love the bit about your boys calling you out! Lucky for us and all the Dragon fans they did!

  147. I liked reading Jodi Moore’s encouragement of people joining 12X12 Challenge for purposes of friendship in addition to the writing support and learning that goes on. Having new friendships among people that all share a passion for this endeavor of writing PBs is important to me and helps take out the feeling of competitiveness that sometimes intimidates me. I also think it is great that she reminded the readers to pay attention to the momentary ideas that flit through our minds, as we never know when one of those might be the light bulb that turns on and turns into a lovely story.

    1. Thanks for your lovely and thoughtful comments, Shelley. I think the kidlit community is one of the most giving and generous groups out there. So many have helped me along the way – through information, inspiration, guidance and yes, friendship. I can only hope to pay it forward… <3

  148. Jodi-
    Thank you for your encouraging story. I love “cultivate a garden rather than over-prune one plant.” My revisions are actually a case of over pruning. You have inspired me to move ahead. Thank you!

  149. Kudos Jodi, on this honest, refreshing post. I appreciate your
    sharing Kate’s exercise. The ideas do fall from the sky
    — and land in our laps, even when we aren’t writing.
    Can’t wait to see WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN AGAIN!

  150. Your comment about cultivating a garden is so true. I spent the past two years working on two middle grade novels, and I wasn’t feeling too productive or satisfied. Since starting 12 x 12, I’m working on several different things. I’m definitely more productive and happier with my progress. I think the revisions on one of those MG stories will go better when I get back to it, too. I’m more comfortable with deleting now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  151. So inspirational, love it that childrens stories live in your head even when your own children have left home. Great advice on finding inspiration all around us and I just adore how the dragon story was born!
    Thank you for sharing with us.

  152. Jodi, garden imagery is highly motivating. Thank you for the inspirational and informative post this month in 12 x 12. Texas weather has been dreary, so your post was uplifting!!

    1. Yep, the man will never grow up. Not that I ever will either… 😉 (Or our sons…) Hmm. Definitely a family trait! 🙂

  153. Yay! I really needed to hear all of that. I am approaching the empty nest as well and will really rely on my writing to get me through! The rejections and the grind have gotten to me lately but finding a local community of writers as well as the my online 12X12 cheerleaders has definitely helped!!!

  154. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It really shows how organic everything is, from the process to the writing to getting ideas. It is all nestled in everyday life! Makes it seem doable not in spite of but rather alongside the days in and the days out of life.

  155. Thank you for sharing your writing process and story. It’s good to know it’s never too late for follow your dreams.

  156. I love how your husband and your kids support you and cheered you on to your first published book! My hubby is my biggest fan too, and my little girls are always asking me, “did you win yet mom?” Meaning, have I gotten someone to like my stories and illustrations yet? I will be jumping up and down the day I can tell them that yes, I “won” my first contract! 🙂

    1. Awww, I LOVE that! And while I already think you’re a winner (how could you NOT be with that sweet family???), I hope you “win” a contract soon! 🙂 <3

  157. Thanks, Jodi! I love that your story came out of a beach experience with your family… I try to notice those things when they happen and now I’ll pay even more attention! Thanks for the inspiration – and for following your dream!

  158. This is such an inspiration to read. Going to have to keep coming back to read this everytime those awful doubting and discouraging voices pop up in my head. Thanks!

  159. I’m not only a late bloomer, I’m just dragon in under the wire for commenting on this blog post b/c of a snafu in getting properly registered. Not sure what to do next, but hopefully will find out soon!

    1. Peter, I think our minds are hard at work – even in the lulls. We just don’t realize it until we’re “out” of them. 😉

  160. It was really inspiring to read your story and it gives me confidence that I am on the right path. I too have been making up stories since I was a young girl, and when I started making them up for my (now grown) son when he was a small boy, I write some of his favorites down. I’ve only just begun to get them published, but it is so heart-warming when I find out that a child has loved love hearing my stories as much as I loved creating them. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to checking out your dragon stories.

    1. Thanks, Lucy. Admittedly, patience is NOT one of my virtues (lol), so I try to throw myself into writing new things whilst I wait. 🙂

  161. An absolutely wonderful interview! Your love for both your family and your writing comes shining through. Thank you for sharing!

  162. Thanks for sharing your personal story and your dragon. Never doubted the dragon was real. Loved that a writer and illustrator could do such a great job of letting everyone else in on what they were seeing. Can’t wait for the sequel.

  163. Nice interview, Jodi! I loved what you said about how it’s important to be open to the ideas that surround us every day. Nice advice.

  164. I love how your story idea came right out of your husband’s mouth! Most of mine come right from my children..I follow them around pen/paper! One of them has to work one day…50 years or not! 🙂

  165. Hi, Jodi! I’m a little late in joining 12×12, but am glad I finally took the plunge. How wonderful to see your smiling face again and to learn about your moving, inspirational journey. Can’t wait to read your next book!

  166. Thank you for your post. My lack of confidence has kept me from pursuing what I love too, however, after discovering this group I became determined to jump in. So, thanks for sharing about your experience.

  167. Thanks, for your inspiration, Jodi. “Life has happened” for me also along the road to writing. Hope I can soon publish a children’s story! I’m determined to travel there…

  168. It was inspirational to hear your story. I connected with your comment that it took you 50 years to get published! I try to be hopeful but I am running out of gas! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Gas is over-rated. 😉 Besides, it’s springtime (at least that’s what my calendar tells me.) We can walk, jog, bike, swim…together, we’ll keep each other moving forward. 🙂

  169. “It’s time to cultivate a garden rather than over-prune one plant” Exactly where I find myself this year! Thank you for your insights – this was a fantastic post, and really relatable!!

    1. It’s like we tell our kids…if it were easy, EVERYONE would do it. 😉 (At least what we do is fun…well, for the most part anyway.)

  170. I’m in the midst of being down from an unflattering review of a manuscript (not from anyone in this group of course!) and I thank you for the inspiration in your article to nudge me back to my feet. Thank you so much!

    1. Aw, I’m sorry you were feeling down, Jill. It’s tough when someone doesn’t give our “babies” the love we want them to. Sometimes we need time to reflect before revising. Ask yourself…did the person’s critique resonate with you? Is it someone who’s opinion you respect? Do they know the field? Do they want you to be successful? These are hard questions, but important ones. I’m glad you’re writing again. (((hugs)))

    1. Thanks, Kim. I feel like 12×12 is the natural progression from PiBoIdMo. 😉 Glad you’re making headway with your ideas too.

  171. What you said about writing being a solitary thing, but the road to getting published NOT being so, is sooo true! CBI and my critique group and 12×12 are such a help in keeping me motivated and learning. Thank heavens for community in writing!

  172. Thank you so much for sharing! I love what you said about being open to ideas around you. It’s all there we just have to listen:0) Thanks!