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My Life as an Author

So according to Ann Bauer, female authors can only afford to be authors if their husbands “sponsor” them. Well, she might have privilege and a wealthy husband on her side, but that isn’t what makes her an author. Pity she seems to have missed this rather vital point. I’m not going to rant about Ann, though, because Libbie Hawker has done it better.

Kameron Hurley has stated exactly why she isn’t giving up her day job. This is the reality for a hell of a lot of authors. I don’t have a day job. I am, and have been for several years, unemployed and looking for work. As I’m British, that means I get government benefits – an allowance every two weeks for “signing on” plus child benefits. I have my housing and council tax paid for. We live in a house provided by the local council. This is my privilege.

I’m not going to state how much the government pays in. The figures are on the internet for those that want to know. But on that money, I pay for gas, electric, water, TV licence, telephone and broadband, and vehicle insurances. I raise my five children and support my husband. My time is divided between job hunting – because “scrounging” isn’t what I really want to do – and writing.

I’ve a decent-sized backlist. But I’m small press published. I don’t get advances. Royalties are small and quarterly. This is how the last three and a half years have shaken down in terms of payments:

  • Aug ’12; £4.93
  • Feb ’13; £214.48
  • Aug ’13; £20.53
  • Nov ’13; £39.43
  • Feb ’14; £21.46
  • Aug ’14; £22.54
  • Jan ’15; £23.53

Crass? Perhaps. I’m a small name, with no agent backing (as yet) and this is my reality. But I knew this going in and I have no regrets. I know establishing myself will take time, more writing, and more novels. I know I need to up my output. I’m in the process of setting up an office (well, desk) in the kitchen so I’ve somewhere relatively quiet to work towards that.

TL; dr – no, my husband doesn’t “sponsor” me. I guess the Great British Public does, as it did JK Rowling. I figure that’s pretty good company to be in.

SFFS – 17/01/15

SFFSat is a group of authors posting snippets from either WIPs or published work. To read the rest of the posts for this week, please click on the image above.

Hello! It’s been quite a while since I last participated in SFFSat, hasn’t it? One of my many WIPs is an historical fantasy strongly inspired by my love of Austin, though it has my own unique style (ie, it’s weird, lol).

Marianne Vincent wafted her fan and looked for an escape. The ballroom of Merriton House brimmed with dancers; young women in dresses far more fashionable than her own, young men passing between them with all the attitude of a cook choosing the best goose. Being older and poorer than most of the ladies meant that few men contended for Marianne’s attentions – a fact which suited her just fine; she’d no intention of weighing her current freedom down with a husband.

As the band drew the music to a close, the dancers broke up and chatter filled the room. Marianne used the swell of people to mask slipping from the ballroom and into the quiet of the hall beyond. She knew it was terribly rude to leave without bidding farewell to the hosts, but she really couldn’t stand to remain a moment longer.

Thanks for reading. Comments are appreciated.

Writing Disability in Sci Fi (when science is ever-evolving)

As someone aware that there are many different stories to be told, I know that as a writer I need to be telling as many of them as I can. That is, not just stories of white, straight, able-bodied people, but those of colour, differing sexual persuasion, and disabled. I’ve talked about science fiction “cures” before. Well, real science has just made writing that little bit harder.

A team at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) has developed a flexible implant designed for the spinal cord. It bridges the injury and provides both chemical and electrical stimulation. Though currently only tested on rats, the test results so far have been extremely positive.

Clearly, science is going to keep evolving and could very well provide answers to many disabilities in a time-frame that covers the next few years to decades in the future.

So what does this mean for sci fi writers who want to remain diverse? Telling stories that represent disability is important. There are disabled readers who want to see themselves as heroes, as villains, as strong characters that aren’t defined by their disability. As authors we have to fill that need while imagining the future.

 

My personal view is that we can fulfill both demands. Consider the implant. When it comes to market, will everyone be able to get it? Will there be cases it can’t cure? How much will it cost? What effect would having it have on a person’s life – will they lose benefits, will they need extra check-ups? What if it goes wrong?

These problems will occur for any “cure” dreamed up by scientists or indeed writers. I think we can and should create methods of beating disabilities. But one solution cannot work for every person. That’s a scientific fact.

The team at EPFL have given one glimpse at a possible future. It’s exciting and challenging. But we are sci fi writers. We’re up for the challenge, right?

New Year, New Look

WordPress have released their latest layout – Twenty Fifteen – and I’ve adopted it for my site. I like this layout: it’s simple, yet has enough tweaks to make it personal, and I love the “header” that is really a sidebar background. And it looks… professional. Which is something I want for the upcoming year.

Talking of, my plans for 2015 are as follows:

  • line-edit GENESIS DUSK and start subbing to agents
  • a word count goal of 250,000 overall
  • write and submit COUP DE GRACE
  • complete a first draft of THE QUICK AND THE UNDEAD
  • complete a first draft of MAKE BELIEVE IN ME
  • read 40 books
  • listen to 5 audio books

I’ve the errata for SAVING GRACE, which will be turned in soon, then COUP DE GRACE brings my Amazing Grace series to an end. I do have another series of short stories in mind, though this needs more development. With my attention on more novel-length work, I’m not sure I’ll get to that series, especially as TQ&TU has series potential.

But the one thing I really want to achieve is mostly out of my hands. I can’t say I will have an agent by the end of 2015, but I certainly want that, but there’s not much I can do beyond querying, waiting, and an awful lot of hoping.

Farewell 2014

And, for most of it, good riddance. This year has been a pain in the butt for myself and a great deal of my friends. To those who’ve also suffered – I hope 2015 will be kinder. Personally, though I’m honestly glad to see the back of it, I’m using this post to look on the good side of 2014.

archangel-thbJanuary saw the release of ARCHANGEL, then most of my Amazing Grace series. It also saw me finally finish GENESIS DUSK. This is how my totals stacked up (note these are finished works – I wrote more that are languishing on my hard drive):

Second Star on the Right; 1,023
Acts of Grace; 7,519
Heirs & Grace; 7,793
Red Riding; 10,898
Grace Falls; 9,609
Saving Grace; 6,254
Genesis Dusk; 73,327

In October, I attended my first BristolCon, and though I didn’t sell anything I had such a good time, I’ll be going back in 2015. At the moment, it’s the only convention I’m planning to attend, but  maybe something else will turn up.

As to 2015… well, GENESIS DUSK is out with betas. Once I hear back, I’ll be starting edits, and then starting to send it out to agents. On the schedule to finish are THE QUICK AND THE UNDEAD and MAKE BELIEVE IN ME. There are others I intend to get more words down in, but I’ll be more concentrating on finishing next year, so GD isn’t the only novel I have to offer.

And that’s me. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, and wish you the very best for 2015.

Cover Reveal: Even Villains Have Interns

evenvillainshaveinterns_600x900Bootleggers, drug dealers, crooked cops, and dirty politicians… Chicago has always had a reputation for indulging in the finer vices of life. That’s why Doctor Charm’s favorite daughter found America’s Second City so appealing, criminals are never boring. As second in command for the powerful Subrosa Security group, Delilah Samson finds opportunities to use her superpowers at every turn. Whether it’s stealing a priceless French painting from a mobster or stopping a drug deal, she’s game.

In fact, the only thing she doesn’t care for is Chicago’s favorite native son, Deputy Mayor Alan Adale, the man who made Lucifer jealous. Sinfully handsome, or possibly just sinful, Adale has been pursuing Delilah since she first arrived, and she’s been dodging.

When she finds ties between the new kingpin in town and a drug The Company wants to buy so they can create more superheroes, Delilah takes the gloves off. Teaming up with the spooky Spirit of Chicago, she aims to take down the dealers, the mobsters, the kingpin, and The Company. All without falling in love with the one man capable of capturing her heart.

No Angel Blog Tour

Pippa Jay is here again! Today we’re celebrating the release of her paranormal romance, NO ANGEL.

NOANGEL_1650x2500How far would you fall for love?

Centuries ago, guardian angel Lucien committed a terrible sin. He gave into his own desires and revealed himself to the mortal woman he’d been charged to protect. By kissing her, he condemned himself. Torn of his wings and his angelic powers, thrown down into the City Below, Lucien now serves Satan as an incubus who claims souls for his master from the City Above, and who feeds on the energy stolen from his mortal lovers. Dark, sexy and charming, he’s been top of his league for decades uncounted.

Until His Infernal Highness decides to send Lucien looking for a lost angel. Lucien has no idea what he did to deserve such a punishment, and the touch of an angel could destroy him. Yet the challenge and the potential kudos of seducing one of his former heavenly kin leads him on.

But when he finds the angel, he learns he still has more to lose than his already forsaken soul.

BUY FROM Breathless Press

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