Well, friends. Here we are at the end of another year. It’s been nearly two months since I last posted anything on here and what a two months it’s been! I suppose there have been two major events since my last post: I had fairly significant. abdominal surgery (thankfully all successful and will hopefully mean I’ll be feeling a little more healthy!) and I published my debut book. Yep. An actual whole book that I wrote an illustrated all by my little self.
It has been a rollercoaster, I’ll tell you.
The book really started when I first launched this blog all those years ago. I started Thrive In Chaos as a positive space when I was finding life a little chaotic and overwhelming. Despite all I was struggling with I was determined to find a way to focus on the good things and cope with the difficult stuff in an optimistic way. There was really no particular focus in what I posted. Bits of poetry, random musings, links to stuff I found and liked, the odd review – anything I wanted really. Over the years there are a handful of things that came to have a regular appearance: poetry, short fiction and book reviews. There’s still some random stuff on here as well but it has become a site very much centred on the written word. And those bits of my own writing that I started sharing were well received and, generally, things I was pleased with and proud of. Increasingly, I wanted to bring that work together in a more coherent way.
I had actually been working on a novel for a little while but it was slow going and not a form that can very naturally to me. Having finished a first draft of it during NaNoWriMo last year, I soon realised when I was reading through it that what I had written was just not right and needed an awful lot of work. It is something I am still working on but to give myself some variety and a ‘lighter’ creative outlet, I started pulling together the short fiction and poetry that I had written over the years, and writing more. Soon I had a collection of short-form pieces that I truly loved. I ummm-ed and ahhh-ed about whether to pressure traditional or self-publishing with this collection but, in the end, it felt too personal to hand over to a publisher – strange as that may seem – so I settled on self-publishing.
As I prepared the manuscript for uploading to my chosen platform, Kindle Direct Publishing, I realised that something was missing. I wanted illustrations to go with my words. And so, I got down to the business of illustrating. It has been a very long time since I did anything resembling ‘real’ art – doodles in the margins of meeting notes and in the pages of my planner were just about the most I’d managed since leaving school. But it didn’t take long for my love of it to come rushing back and I completely lost myself in creating visual accompaniments to my words. Originally, I was only going to do a handful of visuals to scatter through the book but I soon felt compelled to have something for every piece. As the artworks mounted up, I could suddenly see everything tying together and I knew this would be a collection I would be proud to put out into the world.
And so, I am thrilled to present Thrive to the world. An illustrated collection of poetry and micro-fiction capturing all the grit and glory of life: odes to the highs, laments to the lows, reality under a lens and pure flights of fantasy for when you want to escape. This little book is for anyone who has ever felt the chaos of life overwhelm them but clings to the will to thrive anyway.
I am a published author. It’s honestly still a little surreal for me to be able to write those words. Even more surreal is the fact that people are buying and reading my work. And not just people I know! It’s a little nerve-racking putting it out in the world. It’s made me feel more vulnerable than I expected. But it is a piece of work that I am excited to share. And, wonderfully, the feedback I have had so far has been overwhelmingly positive. You can see some of the lovely early reviews I’ve received below.
I’m so incredibly grateful for all the support that has got me to this point and for the ongoing love and encouragement I have received following publication.
If you would like to buy a copy of the book, in paperback or ebook, you can do so here. If you read it, please consider leaving an honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads – it really helps to promote the book and help more people see – and hopefully read – it!
You can also help spread the word on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook by tagging me, sharing any of my posts or sharing posts of your own using the hashtag #ThriveBook – every interaction helps get the word out and is hugely appreciated.
Finally, thank you so, so much to everyone reading this. It is you, my wonderful readers, who have helped me feel that there might be an audience for my words. The book is for you, with my eternal love and gratitude.
Wishing you every blessing as we close out the year and head into another.
Go gently. x