November Theme: GIVING THANKS by John Claude Bemis

With Thanksgiving just two weeks away, I’d like to share my gratitude…

I’m grateful I get to be a professional nerd.  There was once a time in my life when my thoughts would drift to things like how to fight a monstrous mechanical hound or how a robot might look and function if it had been designed by Leonardo Da Vinci, and I’d keep these those flamboyantly geeky thoughts to myself.  Now, not only do I think about complete nerdiness as part of my job, I publish it for all the world to see.

I’m grateful my wife earns a regular paycheck.  While I've been happy about my book sales, they certainly aren't making us rich.  I appreciate how she helps support our family financially and allows me to focus on my writing career.  She’s the best!

I’m grateful how my writing career gives me flexibility.  Not having to go to a day job means I get to volunteer in my daughter’s kindergarten class, I get be active on various boards, I’m available to help my parents as they wrestle with health concerns, I get to do school visits, present at conferences, and teach writing workshops.  But mostly I get to write adventure stories, and that’s pretty sweet.

I’m grateful I found an inspiring critique group with fellow children’s book authors Stephen Messer, J.J. Johnson, and Jennifer Harrod.  What a talent power house we are!

I’m grateful to have an agent who cares about my career and about me as a person.

I’m grateful to get to meet writers such as R.L. Stine, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Tom Angleberger and talk shop with them.  That’s the best part of going to literary festivals.

I’m grateful to be part of a talented network of children’sbook writers in my home state of North Carolina.  We cross paths often and support one another. 

Likewise, I’m grateful to be a part of this creative community of writers of middle-grade books here at Smack Dab In the Middle.  Thanks in particular to Holly Schindler who works tirelessly to pull this all off.

I’m grateful to readers who have picked up my books.  Nothing is more gratifying than getting an email or meeting a kid who has gotten engrossed and obsessed with my books.  I wouldn’t be able to do any of this if it weren’t for my readers both young and young-at-heart.  Thank you all!

So no matter where my writing career goes next, I often remind myself how lucky I am and how fortunate I’ve been to have so many talented and caring people in my life.  So a big thanks for this Thanksgiving.  I should say it every month. 


  1. What a lovely post! I'm grateful we've got you here at Smack Dab, John!

  2. Thanks for sharing, John, and amen. Where would we writers be without those who support us? Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Thanks for this, John. It's so easy to forget all the good things; thanks for reminding us about them.

  4. Great perspective. What a terrific bunch of things to be grateful for! I'm glad we have your books to read! :)


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