Stacy Kreycik Miller of Kreycik Elk and Buffalo Ranch near Niobrara has recently published a children’s book named Suzie Saves The Day.
Miller has been part of the covered wagon tours for years on her family ranch, seeing many visitors each year. The tour takes tourists and locals out in the pastures to get an up close and personal experience with elk and buffalo.
There is one special elk, named Suzie, who will quickly approach the wagon. Forget about personal space, Suzie doesn’t know the meaning.
She was a special calf, she needed to be bottle fed which requires a lot of special attention. Miller’s father, Kennard Frank Kreycik, raised Suzie, making her the friendly elk she is today.
“The story is based on the true story of when all the elk got out of the pasture, someone had opened the gate in the middle of the night,” she explained.
Miller’s parents found the elk the next morning on top of a hill two miles away from the ranch.
Kennard hollered for the elk and Suzie not only followed the sound of his voice, but led all the elk back to him.
In Miller’s story, a naughty elk named Sally convinces the heard to escape from Farmer Frank’s ranch.
“I added some drama, theres coyotes, they get lost, Sally leads them astray,” she said.
Miller says the moral of her story is that God keeps you safe like Farmer Frank keeps his elk safe in the book.
Suzie Saves the Day can also be used as a learning tool. It is filled with many facts about elk, which can be very fascinating to children who don’t know much about elk or have never had the pleasure of seeing one in person.
Farmer Frank is based on and named after Miller’s father. She got a little emotional as she explained that the book is a tribute to him and Suzie.
Miller had always dreamt of writing a children’s book.
“I just never knew what to write about, and this story was right in front of my nose the whole time,” she said.
The entire book, besides publishing, was done by locals, people right here in Nebraska.
“The backgrounds of the pictures were done, originally by Madisen Randa,” Miller said. Randa graduated from Verdigre Public School a few years ago.
“My cousin, Chase, drew the elk. He’s in Lincoln,” she continued.
Her goal was to have everything done in Nebraska, including the publishing. But like many authors do, Miller ran into some issues.
The publishers she was in contact with had told her they could not combine the drawing with the backgrounds and that she would have to pay someone to Photoshop them together. This is no cheap feat, so Miller agreed to have the publishers illustrator redo the pages.
The publisher proceeded to list their workers as the illustrators of the book, which Miller had to disagree with. She ended up getting her cousin and Randa credit as creative designers.
Sharon McGlynn also helped Miller with the story. McGlynn proofed the book and added her input. Miller added more detail and explained more about the elk that isn’t common knowledge to others, per McGlynns request.
Miller’s goal was to have this book done in early summer in time for the elk and buffalo tours. But with the unexpected struggles, the book has come out too late. She is looking forward to selling the book on tours next season.
A sequel has not been ruled out, regardless of the struggles she faced in publishing book one.
“As far as sequels go, I got a few ideas,” she said.
Suzie Saves the day is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at www.covenantbooks.com/books/?book=suzie-saves-the-day. Be sure to meet the real Suzie in person next season at Kreycik Elk and Buffalo Tours.