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In my senior year at the Atlanta College of Art in 2006, I entered a national publishing competition, hosted by Red Cygnet Press based in San Diego, California. Their mission was to publish upcoming talent in the children's book arena. Students from all over the United States were asked to submit a manuscript [which had to be 3,000 words or less] accompanied by a page of illustration for every page of writing. It was a call for picture books. I'd written a short story for an Urban Fantasy internet contest, Quest for the Dragon Stone.   With the encouragement of my illustration professors, I created the artwork under their guidance. Needless to say, I won a contract, and subsequently was asked to create a second book. Although Red Cygnet was a small press who had to close their doors, these books became my senior portfolio showcase for graduation while providing me an internship in publishing.