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EXPLOITS OF THE VOLEQUEEN

On Being Creative, A Mother & Bipolar

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Unbound Publishing

The Poverty Line

I haven’t been sure whether to write about this. It’s intensely personal, embarrassing, exhausting and is contstantly stigmatised. But I was explaining the situation for the first time to a friend and thought perhaps I should blog it.

To try and arrest the stigma, maybe. Anyway, here it is.

My family and I are living below the poverty line.

We receive £198.00 per week (thank you, tax payers) for our family of 4 out of which everything has to be paid. Food clothes, school meals, electricity, gas, BB, mobile bills, kids clothes. Everything.

The boiler broke in October last year and we can’t, obviously, have it fixed. So this winter has been interesting – we all stayed in bed as much as we could and took extra Vit C but it’s not been the most fun I’ve ever had. The children are majestic in their ability to surf everthing thrown at them.

Love does help enormously in these situations and though we’ve had some bitter, hateful rows practically hissing through our teeth at each other (I had no idea how colourful and creative my profanity could be) I can say I don’t think I’ve ever loved my husaband more.

I hear so much anger at the welfare state and I can only talk about how grateful we are for the help. Without it we would be absolutely up the creek.

How did we get here?

Well, the fall from grace is surprisingly easy as it happens.

We lost a lot of money over some bad choices and bad luck.

My husband had a breakdown and can’t return to his profession because teaching played a huge part in it. He is still too anxious to work.

He isn’t always well enough to look after the children (3 and10) which means I can’t take a full time position so instead I’ve have started an independent press that should pay dividends soon.

And we both have pretty hardcore mental health issues.

That’s how easy it is for a family to end up under the poverty line.

How is the poverty line calculated in the UK?

This calculation is used throughout Europe, and is taken to mean households where the income is 60 per cent or less of the country’s median household income, which in the UK is currently around £25,000. So, if your household is bringing in less than about £15,000 a year, you’re in poverty.

We are receive a little over 10k with the tax player’s generosity.

I had never given it proper thought – it’s been tough, of course, but seriously, living with Bi Polar and all it’s interesting variables has made me grateful for the good days, the stable days, the present days.

I am also grateful  for Stirling Publishing and all the help and support I’ve had from writing community. This is year should be amazing with our BAME anthology and Lesley Glaister’s, Aprha’s Child, being published.

I thank God! That I’ve enough ambition to have the energy to pull this off although there are days when I can’t raise my head to do more than a few lines of editing.

My publisher, Unbound, and my amazing editor, Scott Pack, are very understanding but I am continually frustrated with my own lack of consistency.

This post isn’t about pity or sympathy or ‘poor us’.

I’d like to think it’s more about finding yourself in a situation one day that has no resemblance to how you had envisaged your life.

It’s about saying ‘Sod it’, I’ve been lucky enough to have been given gifts – lets use them. Banishing those ‘I’m a middle-aged woman will anyone take me seriously’ thoughts and keep on creating opportunities until you pass out at night with your toddler snoring in your ear.

Most of all it’s about support. All the people that I’m involved with on social media, in real life, in publishing, in writing who have never seemed to doubt I could do these things.

I thank you for that.

We are underneath the poverty line but poverty is not defining us.

x

 

50 percent funded!!

Lovely Blog Followers.

I am now 50 percent funded with my novel, Blood On The Banana Leaf, on Unbound.  This is the same publisher who is responsible for the best-seller, ‘The Good Immigrant’.

Halfway there is a huge milestone and I would like to thank all of you who have supported my novel on Unbound or who support my writing by following this blog.

Pledge rewards have been lowered recently so you can have amazing stuff like a personalised, original poem written by me. You never know it might be worth a quid or two one day 🙂   You can click here to pledge and remember even at entry level your name or, if you choose, the name of a loved-one will be printed in the back of the book of every edition.

It would be marvellous to have some of you who follow my blog featured on the Patron page of the novel because you will accompanying me on this thrilling literary journey.

Recently Accepted Work

It has been a great couple of months for acceptances. My flash fiction, Plague Song, was accepted by Literally Stories. I’ve had poetry published in the Feminine Collective and will also be published in their new Chapbook in February.  A zombie story of mine will be published in Twister Sister mag soon.  I love the zombie genre and have a much neglected 8 chapters of a zombie novella, Light Crisis, on Wattpad.  Why don’t you have a look if you like zombie literature.  It’s unusual because there quite a bit of dark comedy written into it.  I’d love to know what you think!

Thats all for now but thank you so much for reading and think about pledging.

Love, Tabby x

Plugging Art for Pledges!

As you probably all know I am currently crowdfunding my novel, Blood On The Banana Leaf, on Unbound, the literary crowdfunding platform.  I am on 45% with nearly 100 supporters already but really need to push through to 50 percent.

So, two things really.  Firstly, if you pledge for the novel on my Page before the 18:00 GMT on 24th December you will be in with a chance of winning one of two original Christmas Flower prints designed by me!  In any size and in any colour variations (frame not included).  Just show me proof of the pledge!  Good Luck!

grandma-flowerAnd secondly, back by popular demand, I have started making my personal lyric posters again.  Any words will do.  Could be song lyrics, a poem, the start of a famous novel or even an excerpt of Winston Churchill’s ‘fight them on the beaches’ speech.  I  can turn any words into a completely unique and thoughtful present (Christmas is still coming!) which look awesome when hung on your walls.

If you pledge any amount on my Unbound page not only will you get your name in the back of the book when it is finally published BUT you will also get your choice of lyric poster for free.  This offer will run until December 31st (frames not included).  Check out the two examples below.  They really are special.

 

farv-present

 

muv-lyrics

One of the most lovely things is seeing my writing supporters on my pledge page and knowing that you will be immortalised (in the literary sense!) once my book is published. Because we are doing it together.

Thank you so much.

Love, Tabby x

Jack’s Day

I’ve been horribly neglectful of my blog and I apologise to all my followers.  As you know, I am now an Unbound author and raising pledges for my book, Blood On The Banana Leaf.

One of the rewards for being my 50th supporter was a personalised poem for my friend Jilly.  She was keen to have something to read to her 4 year old, Jack.  He is a wonderful boy and they are very nature-friendly and outward bound so I hope the poem below reflcts that.

Jack’s Day

See, Jack, see the rosy sun begin to rise

A morning mist gives little drinks to bees

The birds begin to sing their first,

the moon will rise before their last.

See how the mountains range & beam

In their Sunday best they are proud to gleam

Goats a bleating on hillsides green

Chewing softly, they are gentle things.

 

See, Jack, see the wind that runs on speedy legs

Through tree tops full of nests & speckled eggs

Look! A lizard sunbathes in the tea-time sun

It’s tail sways in time with nature’s dozy hum.

The lawn is green, the sky so blue,

The stone so cool, the sweetpeas new

The long shadows begin their journey old

As afternoon blazes green & gold.

 

See, Jack, see the Swallowtail on a flower

Taking sips before flying on, hour after hour

See those fields of corn, yellow glinting in the sun

Ripening quickly through the Summer’s run

Field mice squeaking, tails a leaping.

Dusk comes down and from the dark a-peeping

A wise old owl of many years, hoots and swoops

Til glowing moon dips low and he must roost.

See, Jack, see your comfy bed & toys all near

The stars are out, the night is here

Cuddle up with Mum and Dad,

Read a book and feel cosy glad

A glass of milk to bring you happy dreams

You’re eyes are sleepy, droopy things

Smile once more & stretch your toes

Goodnight, our Jack, we love you so.

And please remember to pledge for my novel & at the very least have your name in the published book as a supporter @ https://unbound.com/books/blood-on-the-banana-leaf.  Thank you x

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