Just some stuff about site updates, and me not being homeless (temporarily, anyway), which is nice. Short version: I’m not dead, and I <i>am</i> still writing fic. Hurrah!
I don’t usually post blog updates here. I have a dreamwidth journal where I (very infrequently) mutter about things, and I figure those of you following or happening across this blog would much rather just have the fic. So, apologies for the interruption, but I thought it was probably worth doing a full post rather than a quick update in the sidebar.
What’s going on?
Well, you may have noticed updates on my two main series, Feasting on Dreams and Justice in Surrender have become slower and slower. I know, and I’m sorry. The good news is that, as of May 2013, I have slightly more consciousness and time with which to write, and my internet’s fixed (yay!), but things may well (and probably will) slow up again before either series is completely finished. There are reasons for this, which I’m going to go ahead and talk about here, though they’re fairly personal, but the main purpose of this post is to say that, yes, I’m still here, still writing, and I absolutely will finish all of my ongoing titles (even The Laurel and the Rose, which has been on hiatus forever because of my Jane-Austen-hates-Fanny-Price-style antipathy towards the protagonist. Poor Isobel.).
But whyyyy is it taking so long?
The thing is, in addition to my usual crappy health, I’ve had a lot of extra things-going-horribly-wrong recently, including the very strong probability of needing to move house due to a) worsening health b) government reforms of disability benefits slashing my income and c) my new landlords hiking up the rent. The most fun and exciting part of this has been being told by several rental agencies that – because I am benefit-claiming scum of the earth and therefore likely to scrawl on the walls of any rental property with a combination of my own feces and Irn Bru (I paraphrase, but only very lightly) – I have to pay six months’ rent in advance, as well as all the usual fees, deposits, and associated things estate agents like to milk out of clients.
Obviously, when you’re long-term sick/disabled and the only means of income aside from state benefits you have is writing,** you tend not to have several thousand pounds just lying around. So, trying to scrape together the cash for this move that needs to be done is… interesting.
Subsequently, I have been writing my butt off and trying all possible avenues to raise some cash. The good news is that I’m not actively being thrown out of the house I’m currently in (which looked like a scary possibility for a while), however, I still need to save money/earn money/win the lottery to avoid this becoming a problem again before the year is out. The fact this place has three storeys and more stairs than Big Ben is also an issue for me and my useless body, but I have to put up with that for now.
Well, that’s crappy! How can I help?
Aw, that’s sweet of you. If you’re interested, you certainly could help me out. As you’re reading this, it’s possible that you don’t utterly hate my writing, so maybe you’d like to take a look at my pro fiction. I write a wide variety of stuff, from mystery, humour, paranormal/speculative fiction, and horror, to romance, and downright filthy, kinky smut and erotica (you were warned, ‘kay?).
There’s short fiction (available for ereaders, or in print collections) and full-length novels (digital or print formats).
For the not-smut (may still contain occasional bare bits), you need to head over to www.annareith.co.uk, where you can find a bunch of short stories, also available in the collected print volume, Black Ice. There is also my (in)famous paranormal-glam-rock-murder-mystery Dead in Time, which is available in paperback. (Don’t bother buying the ebook version unless you really like me/really want to, as Dead in Time is currently available 100% for free on Wattpad.com. I’m a featured author over there for a limited time.)
Coming in June, I also have a story in the Bloody Parchment anthology, which is a collection of finalists’ and winner’s fiction from the most recent South African Horror Fest. More details on that to follow.
If you’d rather read a whole lot of m/m / LGBTQ fiction, go to www.thenakednib.com, where you’ll find everything I write as M. King. (Mostly 18+, NSFW) Again, lots of short fiction with an emphasis on fantasy and speculative fiction (angels and demons, magic realism and folklore-related things; no vampires or werewolves yet, I’m afraid). I also do a lot of contemporary gay romance/romantic drama, with varying degrees of sex scenes.
Novels including Breaking Faith and its sequel, Passing Shadows (Montana-set interracial romantic drama with a fairly heavy plot; also some really fun powwow scenes I did a ton of gratuitous research for, and developed an obsession with Northern-style grass dance because of) and Light and Water (half-gay-erotica, half-architectural-porn-involving-Venice) are available in paperback or digital formats.
Filth, a novel exploring gender identity, poverty, panic disorder, and the problems of tucking with maxi pads, will be out in a second edition paperback (also for ereader) later this year.
For the filthy smut in many flavours (even occasionally vanilla!), including lesbian, gay, bi, and straight erotica, BDSM, sensual femdom, rope bondage, and other cheerfully pervy things, go to www.chastityvicks.com (entirely 18+, NSFW).
Under this name, I write cheeky, filthy smut. It’s usually kinky. Violet wands, shibari, BDSM, sensual D/s, public sex… all manner of bare bits and associated rudeness. I’m also in various permutations of the Mammoth Book Of… erotica titles, published by Constable & Robinson / Running Pres (USA). Lots more Chastity Vicks titles in the pipeline for this year. You were warned.
If the thought of so very, very many nipples frightens you, I have an Etsy thing I’ll be starting up soon. http://woollyreddog.etsy.com (not live yet) will be where I’m putting the odds and ends of jewellery I’ve made, vintage things I may yet bring myself to part with, and paintings that I am honestly going to get around to finishing this month. Ack. Check back for that.
I also offer freelance services for aspiring and self-published authors, including editing, formatting, cover art, and various other stuff. See further details at www.annareith.co.uk/services.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled elves, mages, and mud.
**This is something I’ve blogged about a lot on Dreamwidth: to provide a shortened, simplified version, the UK benefits system is not set up to cope with royalties as income. Money I earn for 12 weeks’ worth of sales is treated as earnings for a single week, which then tends to push me over the threshold of what I’m allowed to earn without having benefits taken away, and means the government tells me to “stop working or reduce my hours”. Obviously, when you’re paid for sales you have no control over, this isn’t an option, and leads to problems. I’ve been arguing with the Department of Work and Pensions over this for three years. Now, I’m in touch with my local MP and campaigning to change the legislation regarding royalties and “permitted work”, so that more disabled people can actually try to earn a living, even if they can’t take conventional jobs.
If you’re in the UK and think that those who can’t go out to work should be allowed to try and work themselves free of dependency on disability benefits via other means, including self-employment such as writing, painting, photography – anything for which royalties, advances, or similar earnings are not directly correlated to hours worked – please consider writing to your local MP, especially ahead of the changes coming in with the Universal Credits system. Currently, the law is categorically and demonstrably unfair. Let me show you why.
Example: if someone works 15 hours a week in, let’s say, a clothes shop, earning £6 per hour, they earn – and are allowed to keep – £90 per week without it affecting their disability benefit. If I receive £200 from a publisher, which is my percentage royalty on sales of a book (that took me, let’s say, six months to write, not counting editing, promotion, and all that jazz) for the period January 1st to March 31st, then – in real terms – I’ve earned just under £17 per week for twelve weeks. But, because I receive the money quarterly, the Department for Work and Pensions decrees it is earnings for a single week (in this example, the week ending March 31st), so they take away everything over the maximum weekly limit (£99.01, for some reason) I am allowed to earn.
So, using this example, I’m left with £99.01 of the money paid to me from January 1st to March 31st. The person working 15 hours a week in a clothes shop is left with the £1080 they earned, with no deductions.
Can anyone tell me how this is deemed to be fair? If you are as appalled by the current legislation as I am, please do get in touch with your MP. The bit of law you want to whinge about is the Social Security Benefits Computation of Earnings Regulations.
Rant over! : )