Enterprise

Author plans St. Jude’s fundraiser


A Summit author is planning fundraisers to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. And that’s just for starters.

Vanessa Stephens has formed a nonprofit organization called Our Little Guardian Angels and will hold her first fundraiser 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at the old Rocking Willy’s in Fernwood.

The event, billed as a “family fun day,” will include hot dogs, nachos and other food and drinks along with games for kids. Admission is $5 for ages 12 and up, free for under 12. All proceeds will benefit the two hospitals.

“It’s mainly going to be centered around kids,” Stephens said. “This is the beginning.”

Stephens is the author of three books: “The Naughty Neighbor,” an erotic novel coauthored with her mother, Flora Douglas of Louisiana; “Emily and the Magical Ferret,” a children’s book for ages 8 to 12; and “The Evil Inside,” which she describes as “a family drama suspense story.”

A trio of books

Stephens, 43, grew up in Louisiana around Covington, Mandeville and Madisonville, with frequent trips to Summit, where she moved at age 17. She enjoyed writing as a teenager, so when her mother proposed coauthoring a novel, Stephens agreed.

“My editor said it was like ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ and ‘Sex in the City,’ ” Stephens said, noting it’s also “a tough abuse story.”

Then her niece, Emily Polk, now 13, of Columbia, asked her to write a children’s book. So Stephens wrote a story about a girl who gets a ferret for her 11th birthday, only to find out the animal had magic powers.

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“She took Emily on a magical journey to the magical forest,” said Stephens.

Next came an adult novel, “The Evil Inside,” which deals with physical and sexual abuse. “It’s a hard read” but “something that needs to be told,” Stephens said.

The plot involves a girl who suffers abuse at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend starting at age 7.

“He starts abusing her, little things here and there. She’s mentally messed up,” Stephens said.

The girl is diagnosed bipolar, institutionalized, and attempts suicide.

“All she wants is to find happiness,” Stephens said.

The books are published by Kingston Publishing.

Little Guardian Angels

Stephens formed Our Little Guardian Angels after talking with her uncle, Sam Robertson of McComb, who came up with the name.

Stephens’ best friend, Vickielynn Drury of McComb, is vice president, and her daughter, Jamie Norris, does a lot of volunteer work.

Stephens’ plan is to raise money for a host of causes, starting with the children’s hospitals. Another fundraiser for the children’s hospitals is planned for May 28 at Biere Bar in Marrero, La., in memory of Kaley Beth Wilkerson, who died of brain cancer at age 8. Kaley was the daughter of Josh and Jessica Wilkerson of Bogue Chitto. 

Stephens has already raised $400 through donations and a recent car wash.

“It all hinges on donations. I keep nothing from it. Everything that comes in goes out for the cause,” she said. “And if anyone would like to volunteer their time also, they can contact me.”

Stephens also has a heart for abused animals and hopes to get involved helping them as well.

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“It breaks my heart when I ride down the road and see some poor defenseless cat or dog trying to make it on its own,” Stephens said.

For more information, go to Facebook pages for Our Little Guardian Angels and Vanessa Stephens Author.

 





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