Some Big News and Not So Big News

I have twenty minutes to spare. Can I tell you all my news in such a short time? I will try.

Ready, set, go….

Last Friday we finally sorted out all the formatting and publishing details… We published my first children’s novel. It’s called The Angels of Abbey Creek.

Now we’re waiting for the proof copy to land in our mail box before we release it for sale. Will anyone buy a copy? I don’t know! I don’t suppose I’ll make my fortune with this book, but I had great fun writing it. And my children will get such a thrill seeing my story as a real book. They were the inspiration for many of the adventures in my novel. Would you like to read the first chapter of The Angels of Abbey Creek? I posted it on my Sue Elvis Writes blog quite some time ago. It’s called The New Year’s Resolution. It’s easy to work out on which day of the year my story begins!

I have a second piece of exciting news. I’ve been asked to speak at the Catholic Digital Media Conference in Sydney next month. That was unexpected! The conference runs from 19 – 20 August. I shall have to travel to
the big city. Will I get lost? Will I catch all my connecting trains? Will I have a big adventure?

 If you are able to get to Sydney, why don’t you come along? Here’s a short description of the event: 

Whether you’re a digital native, or just starting to find your way in the world of new technologies, CDMC is the place to explore the new ways the Gospel message can — and should — be shared. 

Two of the keynote speakers are Greg and Jennifer Willits who host The Catholics Next Door. I’ll be rubbing shoulders with famous people! I’m sure I’ll learn lots.

What’s next? I know! I almost joined a local homeschool support group this week. Almost? We planned to attend our first meeting tomorrow, but the girls aren’t well. We won’t make a good impression if we turn up bearing nasty germs, will we? We’ll wait until next week when we are all better. Is this big news? Oh yes! I haven’t been to a support group in years. The last one I belonged to disappeared. All the families, except for us, ran out of children to homeschool. All the other children grew up and moved onto new things. I suppose the parents did too.

I suspect this new group contains much younger mothers than me. They probably weren’t homeschooling when I belonged to that first group.
Will this matter? I don’t suppose so. So why are we venturing out into the bigger world after homeschooling in isolation for so long? I woke up the other day and moaned to my husband, “I haven’t had a conversation with a person I can see for so long.” (The shop assistants at Big W don’t count.)  Later that day, I found a contact number for the local homeschool group. This introverted family is being brave and heading off to socialise!

The cold germs have appeared at rather an inconvenient time for another reason. Piano and singing exams are almost upon us. The girls should be doing some serious practising. It seems to happen every year: Just mention the word ‘exam’ and the colds appear.  But it’s no use worrying about it. If the girls don’t perform their best, the world will still continue on. Exam results are not really all that important in the whole scheme of things, are they? And regardless of the grades the girls obtain, we’ll still enjoy our customary post-exam morning tea in town. That’s the best bit about taking exams!

I was going to mention one more thing but time is running out. I will just have to write about this in a post of its own: Minimalism. We’re going to get rid of all our ‘stuff’. Is that big news or not so big news? I suppose it depends on how much stuff we throw out! If you’re interested in this topic, watch out for another post soon!

Hey, look! I’ve written another post in twenty minutes. Success for a second time!


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    • Hwee
    • July 15, 2014

    Wow, that a lot of news for one day! Congratulations on your book and on the speaking engagement! Each is quite an achievement. I'm also happy for you about the potential of meeting up with other homeschoolers near you. Sometime it's nice to talk to 'real' people who share the same situation. Hope you'll meet a few kindred spirits at the new group!

    1. Reply


      Thank you! Sometimes we are very surprised where life leads. I never imagined I'd be writing books or speaking at conferences, a few years ago. It's very exciting!

      Maybe I will meet some kindred spirits. The coordinator of the homeschool group is very friendly. I haven't met her yet but we have exchanged a few emails, and she has invited us to lunch. Isn't that lovely of her?

  1. Reply

    It all sounds like big news to me! Congratulations indeed on your book and speaking engagement!

    We belong to a (not so local) homeschool group and my girls and I have made many friendships there in the almost five years we've been members. It has been such a blessing to be part a supportive group of homeschool mothers that continually reassure me that I am not alone!

    I am really, really looking forward to your minimalism post. I have been inspired for quite some time to do the same but haven't managed to continue in earnest. Maybe reading about your plans will help nudge me in that direction at last.

    All the best as always.


    1. Reply


      It's so lovely to hear from you. You have been on my mind. Sophie never answered your question about her video interview. I've been feeling bad about this. Sorry! I do try and keep up with everything but this time I failed. But there's still time!

      The proof copy of my book arrived in the mail this morning, so we are all very excited at the moment. Gemma-Rose said, "It looks like a REAL book, Mum!" I guess it does!

      I will definitely write that minimalist post. We can encourage each other as we try to adopt a new way of life!

  2. Reply

    Wow, so much good (and exciting) news! I hope colds are all gone soooooon.

    1. Reply


      The exciting news is helping us forget how sick we are feeling. But yes, I too hope the colds are gone soon!

  3. Sounds like a great conference! Sorry about the colds. We have never found a support group that fits – but they always sound interesting. Congrats on completing the self-publishing process…I can only imagine the work involved!

    1. Reply

      I didn't know we have such conferences here in Australia (until I was asked to speak!) Everything seems to happen overseas. I'm looking forward to attending!

      Hopefully we'll all be better in a few days and off to our first homeschool meeting next week. I'll have to report back on how we get on!

      Thank you for your congratulations!

    • Eva
    • July 15, 2014

    Congratulations to both successes! I hope the children will feel better soon. Who will be giving those music exams? A music school? I hope it will go well.

    1. Reply


      Thank you!

      The girls will be taking their exams through a national board: The Australian Music Examination Board. Music teachers enter their students for the exams. Then examiners come out to various centres, usually at schools. Our girls will be going to one of the local schools where their teacher works, for their exams.

  4. Reply

    Congrats!! Sounds like good news all around…minus the colds part. We have all been sick here, too. Plus, for some strange reason, my shoulder has been hurting. Getting old is not so much fun at times.

    I too have been minimizing. I have to. I just can't keep up!! Too much I want to do, but I need to prioritize. And getting rid of things helps me do just that…and think. Ack 😉


    1. Reply


      Yes, lots of good news! I'm so sorry to hear you've all been unwell too. I hope you're feeling better soon. And your shoulder too.

      We used to prune back our possessions regularly because we moved house frequently, and never wanted to cart stuff we didn't need from place to place. But we have been in this house for nearly 6 years and it's our own home so it looks like we might be here for quite some time… and things are beginning to pile up! Yes, time to minimise. I'll write a post and perhaps we can all share!

  5. Reply

    We have recently started to minimize our stuff as well! It is hard at first. I'm taking the slow approach and tossing/donating/selling 4-5 items a day. The most exciting thing is that my kitchen counters are now completely clear except for the coffee pot, dish rack, and paper towel holder! It's so wonderful. By getting rid of the bowls and plates and other kitchen items that I just don't use (and that was only my top shelves), I was able to find a place for everything else.

    My next big project is books. Oy. I recently bought a Kindle Fire and it is my goal to sell as many books back to Amazon that I can, and buy Kindle versions. We live in a small apartment and we just can't handle 4 bookshelves filled to the brim!

    Good luck with decluttering! It's very refreshing after awhile.

    1. Reply


      Oh I like your gradual approach. I can imagine it might get very overwhelming trying to throw out everything at once. Just imagine all mess, and the bags and boxes waiting around ready to take to the charity store or recycling centre.

      I like clear kitchen counters too. Much easier to wipe them over. They look good too. I know I have kitchen items in my cupboards which I haven't used for a long time. Time to donate them to someone else!

      I've been thinking about books too. We just don't have room for any more bookshelves. (We have 11. plus a number of baskets). I've also been trying to buy ebooks instead of paper ones. Kindle books don't take up any space and never get lost. I get so frustrated when I can't find a book!

      Thank you for sharing all your ideas. I'm definitely going to follow your example!

  6. Reply

    I wrote a nice long comment but it disappeared. So maybe a shorter one now. 🙂

    First, congratulations on your book! That is the culmination of much hard work and dedication. The one other blogger I read just published her first book as well. She writes a lot about the long process and it sounds exhausting. You might enjoy her blog for many reasons:

    Also, the support group sounds like it will be a nice place for you to connect. I was part of a close group, but then we moved away and I've been going it alone for 8 years now. I've missed my friends terribly. Just last week I learned of a Catholic moms' book club beginning nearby so I think I'll join up with them.

    I hope the girls are feeling better. Again, congratulations!

    1. Reply


      How frustrating losing a long comment. That's sad! Thank you for trying again. Sometimes if I've written a long comment, I copy it just in case it doesn't post. Then I can paste it into a new comment box, without rewriting it. I don't always remember to do this though!

      Conversion diary… That must be Jennifer Fulwiler. I read her book recently and enjoyed it immensely. So good! It does take a long time and lots of work to put together a book. It's satisfying though when it all comes together. Now I have finished this book, I can start on the next one. I have several other books in draft form!

      I hope the moms' book club suits you and you make some great new friends. We'll both have to report back!

      Unfortunately everyone here is still very unwell, but we can't stay sick forever. In the meantime we're just taking things easy. I'm sure we'll all be fine in a couple of days.

      Thank you so much for your congratulations and for your comment!

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