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Kizzie Jones’ Oregon vacation became a book

Kizzie Jones’ vacation a few years ago at Yachats on the Oregon Coast led to her children’s book, How Dachshunds Came to Be: A Tale about a Short Long Dog.

Kizzie Jones

Kizzie Jones displays her children's book at Annual Meeting.

At a restaurant, placemats told tall tales.  Her friend, Edythe Stromme, a fiction writer, assigned her to write a tall tale that weekend.

Because there were some of the seabalason’s lowest tides, they walked out and looked at the sea creatures.  She looked up names of creatures visible at varying tide depths.  It was the third week of July and for three days, gray whales could be seen from her hotel room.

Kizzie, who loves dachshunds, decided to make a tall tale connecting the sea life, whales and dachshunds.

She asked Scott Ward, an artist who is director of community life at Magnolia UCC, to provide illustrations for a fable about sea creatures that would be true to life.

Her goal was to instill creativity in children while they learned both about sea creatures on the beach and about kindness, compassion, collaboration and honoring diversity.

In choosing a publisher, she decided self publish with a company, through which she could print on demand.  Since it first published in October 2012, 500 copies of the book have sold, and she is selling the next 500.  It has received four national awards in 2013, including first place in children’s books in the Beach Book Fest and first runner up in the New York Book Fest, and first place for cover design in the National Indie Excellence Awards.

Kizzie, who is director of spiritual care at Horizon House, said writing the book adds balance to her life and work of dealing with grief, loss and elder care.  Now she’s also involved with children’s writers.

As one of two associate directors of spiritual care at Horizon House, she leads support groups, devotions, one-on-ones and peer conferences to help people with transitions, grief and loss and caregivers.

Kizzie previously worked more than two years at Providence St. Peters in Olympia.  For 10 years, she has written nonfiction about spirituality.

“The book reminds me about the job of being in tune with what gives joy in everyday life, so I don’t lose touch with it,” she said.  “It’s easy for pastors who are busy caring for others not to know what makes them happy.”

Having three dachshunds, she said her sequel is  How Dogs Came to Be:  All Dogs Are Dachshunds in Costume.

“When I was writing, it seemed to be the hardest.  Finding a publisher next seemed hardest and now marketing seems hardest.  Everything is a huge learning curve,” she said.

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Copyright @ June-July 2103 Pacific Northwest United Church of Christ Conference News.


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