I have a fan, a fan who likes my children’s story: The Angels of Abbey Creek. I don’t have many fans unless you count my family, and they have to be my fans because that’s their job.

I wrote The Angels of Abbey Creek a few years ago when a friend encouraged me to write something for children. At first I thought, “I can’t write children’s stories." However, my friend’s words floated around my mind and I started thinking... And one day I decided to try, and soon I’d written a little story called Sunday

I faxed it off to my kindred-spirit-author friend, Father James Tierney. (We often share each other’s writings.) A short while later, the phone rang. It was Father Jim: “Write some more!” (He is such an encouraging person.) So I did. I tried each story out on my children and they loved them. But I'm not surprised they liked my little tales. Most of them are really just events from their lives, disguised a little. My girls recognised lots of special family moments scattered throughout the stories and so of course, they loved reading my book. 

But real fans…

I put my Angels book online more than a year ago. It has been sitting quietly out there in the blogosphere, patiently waiting for visitors. There haven’t been many, not that it has worried me. Mostly I never think about my Angels blog.

But I do have one real fan. Her name is Robyn and she is 11 years old. She recently discovered my book online and read it… all of it. Her Mum wrote: Robyn has finished all twenty chapters of your book now… She thoroughly enjoyed each of the chapters, and wants me to ask you if you will add to it so she can read some more!

More Angels? The funny thing is I have an exercise book full of scrawled ideas for a second volume of Angel stories. For the last year, I have been meaning to turn those ideas into chapters of a new book.

My dear friend and author Suzie Andres has been trying to get me to write more Angels stories too. (Oh yes! I have two real fans. Suzie kindly shared my stories with her son.) Some days ago, Suzie wrote and told me about something she’d recently read in a writing book: 

“…one story by a grown daughter told how her mother always had the most wonderful stories and was someday going to write a book...but never did...and the daughter wishes she had...and said something like (at least this is how I heard it) "Please write your stories. Give them to your children and the world. No one else can write the stories of your heart - but you can!" 

Isn’t that wonderful? Doesn’t it make you want to start writing for your own children?

But for some reason, I haven’t started writing. I guess NaNoWriMo and blog post writing has distracted me.

I had another message from Robyn: “An enchanted book like this should be much longer than twenty chapters! I enjoyed reading all the chapters. I especially liked it when they went camping…”

“An enchanted book”? You should have seen the huge smile lighting up my face.

And then about a week or so ago, Sophie and Gemma-Rose came to me and said, “Mum, when are you going to write some more Angel stories? We really want to find out what happens next.” I hadn’t mentioned my book to them for a long time. But they hadn’t forgotten my vague promise to write more.  Another huge smile appeared on my face. I remembered Suzie’s words:  Please write your stories. Give them to your children and the world. No one else can write the stories of your heart - but you can!

So Robyn wants more stories and so do my girls, and Suzie says I should write more. I resolved to start writing.

And last night I completed the first of the new Angel stories. It's called Wilbur and it’s dedicated to Robyn and her beloved guinea pig. I read the story out loud to Sophie and Gemma-Rose before I emailed it off to my young friend. Sophie eyes filled with tears as she listened, then she said, “That was good!” Later when I went to say goodnight to the girls, they were in bed reading. They were reading my Angels book! They'd gone hunting for my home-bound copy.

So why am I sharing all of this? Do I want you to rush over to my Angels blog and start reading? Nice as that would be, that’s not the point of my post. No, what I want to do, is encourage everyone to write stories for their children. Yes, I know we write about our children all the time on our blogs. But stories are different. They are written for our children. I discovered it's not difficult to write stories if we use our own children and family events as inspiration. We just have to write about what we already know.

My characters aren’t a carbon copy of my own family but they're very similar. They live the same kind of lives. They go to Mass and have the same values as us. My children identify completely with my characters. Sometimes they recognise events that have actually happened in their own lives, which makes them smile and gives them a sense of ownership. Other times, they are totally surprised by a story. But all the stories are theirs. Their mother wrote them and so they are special. And I have decided that even if I never have more than 2 real fans, I am going to keep on writing because my children love my stories. Writing for my own children is much more important than being a famous author.

And there is a second point to this post, and it has everything to do with that huge smile that appeared on my face when I read Robyn’s message. Robyn’s words sent a big wave of joy all around the world from the US to me here in Australia. It’s that Amazing Power at work again.

This Lent while I am busy giving up this and giving up that, why don’t I also take the time to make little moments of joy for other people?

Here is a little excerpt from Poppy, one of my Angel stories:

“I am so glad we have Poppy,” says Kate. “Everyone loves her, even Dad. She’s the first pet we’ve had that’s become a real part of the family. But I just can’t believe we actually have her. I was so surprised when you suggested we went to the pet shop to look for a cat.”

It was a really special moment, wasn’t it? replies Mum. “It was a magic moment. Every now and then things happen that you never expect. You remember those moments forever.”…

…Then Kate realises that magic moments don’t just happen. People make them happen. It was Mum and Granny and Edward who’d given her all those special moments. And then Kate thinks of something else. Perhaps she can make a magic moment of her own for someone else.

Mum is also thinking about magic moments. She is thinking that when you make someone happy, you feel really happy yourself…

So this Lent I am going to arrange a few magic moments for other people. I am going to try and keep Robyn's wave of joy moving. I will start by writing some more Angel stories just for my children, a few close friends and my two real fans.

I grab my Angels notebook. “Do you want to hear my ideas for some new Angel stories?” I ask my girls.

“Oh yes!” they exclaim, their faces lighting up. I tell them about Auntie Jenny's wedding, the birth of the new baby, Kate's Magic Moment, the hospital visit, Mum's get-fit campaign... The girls look excited and ask, “When are you going to start writing?"

"Today," I reply. The girls smile.

The magic has already started flowing…


Update: 
My Angels book is no longer online but it will be available to buy very soon. The proof copy arrived in the mail today! 

Also, I did write that second volume of Angels stories. I even have a third Angels book in draft form. Now that The Angels of Abbey Creek is published, I must get the next book in the series finished!


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  1. WOOO HOOOO! I can't wait to let Robyn read this tomorrow. She is going to be thrilled. Thank you Sue! :)

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  2. Susan,

    I was so thrilled by Robyn's words!!! She made me feel very happy. I hope she enjoys the post.

    God bless!

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  3. There are many books written and published every year and for your book (or mine) to be noticed you need an agent; someone to promote the book, to market it and to let the world know it exists. The best agent I could find when I published my first book "Visions" (in the USA - but that's another story), is God. I dedicated the book to Him and asked Him to make sure it reaches the right hands.

    The second point I wish to make is that I believe every parent should, as best they can, write a book ABOUT their family. It need not be published to the world at large but kept in the family, one copy for each child. Life is changing fast these days - technologically, ecnomically and in every other respect - and children grow up not knowing the experiences, trials, tribulations and joys and hopes of previous generations. A book explaining family background, family trees, where and how one grew up, went to school, met one's spouse etc ... would be invaluable in years to come for future generations to understand how their parents lived in times gone by when we didn't have life in high definition, multi-colored and in surround-sound. In them old days life was in black and white and we heard in non-stereo what was being said quite clearly and no matter the obstacles life put in our way we knew just how to trust God.

    May He bless you and yours always.

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    1. Victor,

      I agree with you entirely! God is the best agent of all. Anyway, I am hopeless at self-promotion so I could never go out there and 'sell' my book by myself. Yes, God ensures the right people read our books. And I am quite happy if the right people turn out to be my children.

      I guess many people are blogging their family stories. They are recording their family history in the form of a blog rather than a book. I like the idea of a book myself but blogs are so attractive and easy. I wonder if many people make a book(s) out of their blogs.

      One day I would like to write about my childhood for my children. As you said, life changes so fast. My childhood is so different in many ways from my children's.

      And I rather like the idea of making a book for each child. Each child would have a book of stories about him or her. Maybe I could use some of my blog posts and add others.

      I often wonder about all the blogs sitting out in the blogosphere. Will we all die and leave our stories here online for future generations to read?

      God bless you!

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  4. I'm a fan too Sue! I love your writing style. You should definitely spread joy to the world through your writing!

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    1. Noreen,

      Thank you for your beautiful words. You have spread some joy my way!

      God bless you!

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  5. Now I want to read it! Can I read it to my boys, ages 6 and 3? Is there any way to get it on the Kindle? Thanks!!

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    Replies
    1. Elisa,

      You have made my day with your comment. Thank you for wanting to share my story!

      I intend to make a Kindle version of my book but at the moment there is only a PDF version. You can download it from this link: http://www.box.com/shared/x7iqnqvlf5

      It can be read on a Kindle if you change your viewing option: rotate the screen sideways to make the font as big as possible.

      The stories are also online at http://thenicklebys.blogspot.com.au/

      There is also a download link in the side-bar of that blog.

      I hope your sons enjoy my stories.

      God bless!

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  6. Sue you have inspired me to write stories for my children! They love when mom or dad make-up stories to tell them instead of reading one from a book. I expect they would be thrilled if we wrote these special stories down and made our own "books". Just for them. :)

    I agree with Victor too. Keeping a journal or book about our own family experiences etc. would be an incredibly valuable thing to have and hand down through the generations. I suppose most of us would agree but just don't take the time to do it.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tricia,

      Yes, there is something very special about stories that are made up and told or written just for our own children. I am so glad you feel inspired to write down your stories!

      I made a PDF book of my stories. I'd like to make it into a Kindle book one day. I also printed off a copy and my husband spiral bound it. Frequently the girls take it off the shelf and read it, which makes me feel good!

      I write in my journal every night to keep a record of my life with my family. I love reading old entries and remembering. I write just for me so it's all rather basic, probably not something I'd make copies of and hand on to my children. I would like to print off all my family blog stories though and bind them together. Yes, I do agree that a family journal would be a valuable thing to have.

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog and commenting!

      God bless!

      Delete

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