The Great Project Reveal

When I was 14, I decided I wanted to be a writer.

When I was in my twenties, I learned that I was a writer. I was sitting among a small group of devoted writers at Orson Scott Card's literary boot camp when he explained that writing made us writers. We wrote stories, essays, poems, plays, novels - and we were writers. What we weren't, yet, was authors. That came with publication.

Ladies and gentlemen, today I am an author.

Five books. Written and illustrated by yours truly.

This is no small thing to me. I have always wanted to write and illustrate my own children's books. To pull a book with my name on the cover off of my bookshelf to read to my children.

I did that last night.

Since Bill and I were married, we've wanted to collaborate on a book project. Last night, the culmination of weeks and months of long nights (and quite a few all-nights) of collaboration were realized into a final product - a final five products - that, frankly, made us dance around squeeling like school children.

The possibilities this project has opened up for us. The possibilities!

It all started with a Monster.

Wyatt's best friend was turning One. We were invited to the party. Well, we couldn't go empty handed! And Bill had the car. I danced around the house trying to figure something out that would work as a passable gift. Something told me that a one year old wouldn't be too excited about a loaf of banana bread (though - a few of her visits since this day have proved me wrong on that point).

I had a bunch of fabric scraps left over from an apron that I had sewn for Lizzie and the tablecloth I had made for my mother. So I began to fashion a monster from the charmingly mismatched fabrics.

Megan came to visit. She saw the project mid-complete - and I heard her whisper under her breath "I want one".

Well, I remembered that almost-uttered wish, and so for Megan's birthday two months later, I created this:

Rischelle saw this friend (and, later, the Monster my dad won from my first blog giveaway) and the gears in her ever-working brain began to turn. 

There is no stopping Rischelle. I'm pretty sure her mantra is, "Well, and why not?!" She pretty much moves through a room and leaves successful businesses in her wake. She's created her own business doing gift baskets. Later: wedding videos. She helped create (and run) a charter school near her home - all of her school-age children attend. She currently has a medical billing business. She gets a good idea, and she turns it into something real and successful.

Which is basically what she did with me.

Those gears of hers started turning, she said, "Well, and why not?" and she commissioned me to make a monster for each of her four children and her husband - and to create a children's book to go with it, tailored specifically to each child (and Shawn).

I've been wanting to write books forever (or since I was 14, which is basically the same thing). However, This project and the accompanying deadline finally forced empowered me to do it. I think that before yesterday in the parking lot of the publisher when I held those five books physically in my hands, there was a part of me that believed I would never actually do it. Part of me believed that writing books was just an unrealistic dream. Something that happened to other people. So many want to be writers, and so many fail. Who was I to transcend that common catergory? 

But I did it. Start to finish, I created five books. They were published. They were purchased. 

No, we did it - because this was just as much Bill's project as mine, and just as many sleepless nights for him. I wrote and illustrated the books. But we both colored them. And Bill did all the layout design, the typography, the technical side of getting the illustrations from my sketchbook into the computer, into a vector image, into photoshop to color, into a workable PDF (with page bleeds!), and on to the publisher. Without him, these ideas - like all my others - would have remained piles of drawings in my sketchbook. 

But now we've done it. Now we know how. Now there's no stopping us.

I was just an idea, and now I am something real. Author.

The monsters:

The Monsters and Books with thier rightful owners:

The monsters and books are copyrighted and the rights belong to their owners. Copy and die. The ghost of my sense of injustice will haunt you all your days.

The books were professionally published by these guys. Great experience. I will definitely work with them again. Tara Jones, the publishing agent in charge of my project, was phenomenal.

Because, yes! I will be doing this, again!

Because - don't you want your own custom made monster and accompanying children's book?

Could this become an actual business?


Kristie said...

Stepper!! Congratulations!! They look fantastic! and yes! you could do it as a business!!! Can I be your first customer?!?!?! For real?!

Nicki said...

That's awesome!! I'm so excited for you. And yes, I do want my own "custom made monster and accompanying children's book" :)

Matt and Carolyn said...

That is so very very cool!!!

Clinton and Elisabeth said...

Wow! That's awesome! I definitely think you could make a business out of this.

craftyashley said...

Yes! It could become a real business because I totally want one! (or all of them!)

MikkSolo said...


Once again I am "BLOWN AWAY" by your creativity. I love my superhero Monster! Perfect for me. I love to read them to all the kids who enjoy them sooo much. Thank you! Thanks you!
PS I think Rischelle is ready to go into business with you and Tara for Real! THESE WOULD KILL! Everything is about "custom" these days. I know from the business I'm in. People will pay the price too. Probably not the Walmart Type customer, but the Pottery Barn type folks would go crazy over these. I'm just Sayin...

Ro Ro Riot said...

Congrats! That is so wonderful. I'm extremely proud to be related to you.

Tamsin said...

As somewhat of a Pottery Barn type (maybe?) I would very much like one of these. 4 rillz.

Lee, Ashley, Makenzie said...

You guys are so stinking creative, it makes my head spin just looking at these masterpieces. Awesome. I want every single one of them they are so cute. You guys could make money with this. How did you make the books?

Queen Scarlett said...


Rachel said...

Stepper I'm a little behind on your blog, but this is amazing!!! You'd be totally silly not to make this into a business! Literally had to remove my jaw from the floor. I mean, I knew you were talented but this is above and beyond! Go Stepper and Bill!