Christmas in August.

Sample illustration for Christmas Goodnight, illustrated by Yours Truly.

I have waited two years to write this post. Well, maybe my lifetime!

So the story goes like this:

At a very young age (the ripe age of 4 I believe) I knew I was going to be an artist.

When I was old enough to write, I started writing books, poetry, anything I could wrap my ideas around.

I made hand-made books by the dozens. Flip books, chapter books, you name it.

I continued to study art through high school, privately and academically and loved every second.

And when I was 13 years old, I was told by a very wise man that if you write down your goals, they will happen.

So that is what I did: I made a list (75 items long) of all the things I wanted to do in my lifetime. Wanna peek in my journal? Come on, you know you do...

I had to blow the dust off this had been years since I revealed to myself all my pre-teen ambitions!

Don't you love the bubbly 13 year old handwriting?

Illustrating children's books was only second to #1: Getting Married. Golly, I was serious!

It all started with writing it down.

But after going to college and graduating with a BFA in Musical Theater, teaching voice lessons at BYU, and then dabbling in performing, the babies started coming. And I wanted to get back into my art again.

But how? I kinda missed out on the whole art school thing. Oops!

So I started a blog.

And I was encouraged by my readers and my dear husband to open an ETSY shop.

Um...I love you ETSY.

And from having a shop, I started making contacts.

The first being Molly O'Neill at Harper Collins who stumbled upon my ETSY shop one month into my business and asked if I'd ever be interested in illustrating children's books.

That was a 1 1/2 years ago. And after a lot of study, and hard work (with a lot of bumps along the way) I have landed a contract to illustrate my first picture book!

Christmas Goodnight, written by Laura Godwin and published by Katherine Tegan books, an imprint of Harper Collins to be released Fall 2011.

This might not come as a surprise to you. I have mentioned illustrating has been my ultimate goal for a while. But it isn't an easy road, and there are a lot of hoops to jump through. So much more challenging than I had imagined at 13, but I couldn't be more thrilled about it!

Molly O'Neill, the assistant editor I have been corresponding with over a year now, is brilliant and amazing and I can't thank her enough for the hard work and chance she has put into me. It's a dream come true!

The text is perfect....a poem in fact...similar to the feel of Goodnight, Moon but with the Christmas story. A classic for sure. I feel so honored to illustrate it!

It will take the next 9 months to work on this, but no won't interfere with the shop at all! But what it will change is the amount of Christmas music being played in the house...we might just be starting Christmas in September just to get in the mood:)

The hardest work is ahead of me now, but I can't think of a better challenge. I know it will be so much fun though. It's been a life long dream. The 13 year old me is nodding right now and saying, "I knew you could. I just knew you could do it!"

For those of you who have been with me since the beginning, I can't thank you enough for your listening ears, and your support. For a young mom who doesn't get out much any more due to 3 beautiful and crazy side kicks, it's meant the world to me to have a springboard here where I've made a lot of friendships and learned so much from you. Who would have ever thought that behind a screen I could gain such genuine acquaintances? Gosh, I love you guys!