Welcome to my new look website and to the first blog post of the same.
I hope you like the makeover and find it easy to navigate. Any questions/comments or suggestions, contact me via the contact page and I will get right back to you.
So, let’s get to it… Welcome!
What has been happening? Plenty actually, where to start is the dilemma… maybe I will just jump right in where the biggest stuff began.
Some of you know that I have multiple health issues (more on that in an upcoming blog post about authors with chronic illness). Well, a month after my first book, Mikah’s Big Move was released in July last year, I had a small stroke. This caused me to lose feeling in my face, have trouble with balance, have swallowing problems, trouble walking lifting my left foot/leg and it was dragging so I tripped a lot, trouble with speech/muscles, the use of my left arm and hand, terrible fine motor skills, thinking skills and I was generally very out of it and unwell.
After many sessions of Physio, Speech and Occupational therapy and plenty of self-led (I’m stubborn) therapy at home, I have *Pic- Near end of therapy* been able to slowly get back on track.
For me, writing is like air. A Lot of the things I do, revolve around my writing. I think about writing, I write, I talk about writing and I breathe writing. So when this event took away my ability to think, to speak properly, to hold a pen, to write and to untangle and sort my thoughts into some sort of an order and have the words make sense, I was frustrated, confused and devastated.
I tried to type and even that was not something that I could manage for a while. Every word was coming out * l k e th s * although I believe it looked * like this *
What do you do when this happens? When your abilities are taken in an instant? When you can do something one moment and then the next you cannot lift your arm or leg?
You go to hospital, you go to therapy, you do what you need to do, and you keep at it, however frustrating, hard and uphill it is.
It is so much better now. I can talk, walk, and I can write!
I do still have moments when I will have problems eating and food will get caught and cause coughing episodes, but these are not often anymore.
I do have moments when I stumble over words, but these are larger words or words with many syllables, rather than most words.
Some days it is harder to talk, on these days, I just tend to be a bit quieter (yes, I can be! Stop giggling 😊)
Occasionally I will be off balance and have trouble with my left foot dragging, but again, it just means I need to concentrate harder and move slower.
All in all though, it is so much better.
I do however, appreciate your understanding if you come across any spelling, grammar, typing or other errors in my posts.
Recovery is an ongoing thing after all.
I was worried, while going through this last years therapy and the long hours of writing and rewriting the alphabet and moving pegs from one side of a cup to the other with my weak hand/ the side that was affected (fine motor skills therapy) which also happens to be my writing hand (arrrggg) that my second book would not be released as planned due to the upset in my health, again.
I am so blessed to have an awesome illustrator however and things were kept on track while I was recovering.
My second children’s picture book- Forever Friends, was illustrated by the amazingly talented Alexander Kulieshov, who also illustrated my first book Mikah’s Big Move.
He carried on working in the background and getting the book finished while I was away and sending him strange messages with big errors and gaps in words (as above), the poor man! Sorry Alex!
So, by May this year (2019) Forever Friends was ready to launch into the world, on time! And launch it we did!
Last weekend, on Saturday the 1st June, I, along with friends and fans gathered at Cody’s Café in Manor Lakes, the place where I wrote the book and together, over a relaxed coffee and some laughs, we released it into the wild.
The morning saw me making sure that I had everything prepared and going through my checklist. I do love my checklists.
Books, Merchandise, Business Cards, Tablecloths, Tape, Scissors, Stands, Signage, Paper, Change and Colouring pages oh my!
Must take all the things!
Anything I forgot? My marbles! Of Course! hehe
I arrive promptly fifteen minutes after I planned to but by 12:45pm I had the large table inside the café set up and looking fabulous. The new book sat proudly on the table and my first book and some other merchandise sat in their places next to it. The other end of the table held book themed colouring pages and pencils for children who would be attending, and I was all set!
The nerves had well and truly set in when my first attendees arrived and I tell you, it was perfect time for them to walk around the corner. My friend Lauren and her young daughter Lizzie were just what I needed, and she reminded me to breathe, which was perfect. She also reassured me that, whatever happened, there was someone there (the two of them) as I had started to panic that no one would show. So the worst case scenario had already been halted in its tracks and it could only get better!
As more people began to arrive, we took over the front part of the café ( big thanks to the café staff and other customers for putting up with us).
I chatted to people, sold books, signed books (with my handwriting over the previous twelve months, the therapy came in handy and it turned out great!) and wrote messages in books, I sat and chatted to children who came along about writing, reading, illustrations and my books and characters and I must say, that was my favorite part.
I love sharing my love of writing and imagination with the younger generation. We need to encourage them and accept them and their loves and ideas.
We need to help them grow, they are the future after all!
All in all, I had an amazing day and was so happy that I was able to go ahead with the launch. It was different to my first book launch for Mikah’s Big Move, which I held online, but different is sometimes good, don’t you agree?
Being an introvert, this event took me out of my comfort zone, but I came out of it feeling good. Exhausted, but good 😊
This event also had the added benefit of showing me just how far I have come since my health decline last year and showed me that my hard work has gone a way to bringing me closer to my old self.
As Dory would say ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming’.
I would like to say a huge and grateful THANK YOU to my best friend for all her love and support over the last year, for her support with my therapy, everything medical and with her supporting my writing and just for being amazing.
A big thank you also to Jess for being so inspirational, I was so honored to be able to dedicate Forever Friends to you and I hope that you will continue to inspire others in your work within the disability community and as you strive to bring more awareness to important issues.
Also, a huge thank you to Chris and Kim and all the staff at Cody’s Café for the coffee, the supportive ears on days when thinking and writing is hard and for allowing me to hold my launch in the Café.
And to all who came to the launch, those who have purchased my books, sent kind words and reviews and have just been awesome through my writing journey so far.
Thank you all so much!
For now, keep on keeping on and check back soon for another blog post 😊
X x Tab
*Please note: All credit for photos go to those who took them, I do not own all of these photos. I have posted photos without a lot of people in the background for privacy reasons. If you would like a photo removed, please let me know*