let's start at the very beginning...

When you're a kid, it's easy to dream.  Anything seems reachable.  The possibilities are endless.  And then somewhere along the road to adulthood, we lose our dreams.   We become afraid to try new things for fear of failure, fear of criticism, or fear of rejection.  We cover our dreams up and tuck them away, deep into our souls where they often times are forgotten. 

But sometimes our dreams are not ready to be tossed aside so easily.  Sometimes our dreams hold on tighter to us than we were willing to hold on to them.  They end up turning into tiny embers of a fire that are quietly holding on, just waiting to catch onto something bigger than themselves.    And then one day, maybe many years down the road, those embers burst into an uncontrollable fire.  They refuse to be put out.  They refuse to be ignored.  And the flame is born...

I have always had a love for writing, poetry mostly.  I loved the flow and the challenge of writing sentences that rhymed, and coming up with stories that way has always been my thing.  I enjoyed getting lost in the words of whatever it was that I was writing.  I always thought it would be amazing to be able to write a book.  More specifically a children's picture book.  But I got married young, had babies, life happened, and I tucked that dream deep, deep inside where it was almost forgotten.

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, and I love being a mom, but it's hard not to lose yourself and all that you once dreamt you would accomplish, among the daily routines.  It wasn't until about 15 years later that the embers of my dream decided it was time to catch hold, but they did, and they did with ferocity.

I knew that I needed to write.  I knew that I needed a story.  So I would write whenever I had the time.  My kids were now older, and my second marriage had blessed us with twin girls, so finding the time wasn't always easy.  But with life came inspiration, and with inspiration I was able to write my story.  At this point, I knew that I was going to need an illustrator, because while I have always enjoyed art, I wasn't confident in my drawing skills for a children's book.  The timing must have been perfect because I had a friend contact me who was interested in illustrating for me.  We met up, we clicked,  and we shared the same vision for the finished product of the story.  

Over the next few months we were able to get together several times, talk about our obsession for the hard cover picture book, and brainstorm illustration ideas for the story.  Here are a couple of the very first sketches for the book.  These will always be special to me because they are a reminder of the beginning of an amazing adventure.  

 Original story boards.

Original story boards.

 One of the first character sketches.

One of the first character sketches.

 Some of the very first color illustrations.

Some of the very first color illustrations.

So here we are, nearing the end of illustration and getting ready to send everything to layout and printing.  My hope is that the book is completed, printed and in my hands by early Spring, 2016.  I have some amazing friends and family who have cheered me on along the way and supported me in my dream-chasing shenanigans, and for that I am thankful.   I wish everyone could be so lucky.  And I am most thankful to my dream embers, who never gave up on me, who stuck around until the timing was right, and who re-lit that fire of fierceness in my soul.