A Little Update :(

Stormy Night Publications are having a 5th Anniversary Giveaway of over 40 books, including Her Daddy and Her Master, which is available here (you may have to scroll). Sadly, Instafreebie won’t let me download any of their books from where I am, so this came three days too late for me to get any free books.

We arrived in China last Saturday. Since then, we’ve been trying to get everything set up for living here but mostly got railroaded by my husband’s new job, which comes with a huge gamut of mandatory social engagements.

I got offered a job as a librarian based on a random conversation one evening, and started working a couple of days later.

My husband’s job is pretty intense, which we knew it would be, and my job involves some on-call work because I got employed based on my tech skills.

The main problem with moving here has been this: I knew it was going to be the arse end of the world, but everything’s so much harder to do and some really simple things are impossible.

My YouTube channel, for example, has had to go on hold because I can access their search page, but I can’t access my own channel to manage my videos or upload new ones. Sorry.

The new time difference makes it EVEN MORE difficult to be online when everyone else is, because the Internet in China frequently goes down in the afternoon/evening due to so many people being online. Many sites in China are blocked by their government and free speech is heavily censored. Even using means to get around the Great Firewall of China, so many websites are precious (yes, including some of the places hosting author websites), and won’t let me access their sites because they’re racist or xenophobic something. Luckily my site is self-hosted so I can still get to it.

Then there’s the problem with mailing lists compiled through MailerLite, who won’t let me view their site at all or unsubscribe from people’s mailing lists. Not only can I not use their site to manage/design my own mailing list (which I was sorta counting on), but I also get all these emails I can’t read from authors about new releases I can’t buy (I suspect I’m also not receiving a bunch of emails because I was signed up for some ARCs that never materialized; not that I can download them any more since Instafreebie won’t let me get books from them).

So I’m using MailChimp for my own mailing list and am extremely glad that SNP does their own emails because I can still get the free serialized novels. If you sign up for their big Instafreebie giveaway, you can access this stuff too!

Amazon China doesn’t sell any books with even slightly racy content and anyway, I can’t buy any Kindle books from any Amazon site, because the billing address for my card no longer matches with a country where I could buy books. Amazon is really precious about who can buy Kindle books from which sites, which you might not know if you’re American and used to being able to buy books from every buy link you see. If I get my card and Kindle account relocated elsewhere, I won’t be able to access all my old Kindle books from UK Amazon.

Mostly, though, I’ve been feeling a bit depressed the past few days. I don’t know if it’s because the sun has gone in (this is the rainy season but it’s not really rained much… thanks global warming), or something to do with jet lag, or because the full reality of my situation has finally sunk in, but my mood plummeted quickly since Friday when I was quite happy. I literally have no energy to do anything today and I just want to go back to bed and cry.

I’m living in a foreign country with no local currency or means of getting any. I’m working here without a visa so I won’t even get my own salary paid to me. I still don’t have a tax identifier for my writing, and without it, I will eventually have to stop writing. I miss my rabbits. The food is hit and miss. There’s no chocolate here and crisps come in weird flavors like squid (you can also get fried squid flavor. I don’t really care to find out if its different, I’m still not eating it). They have things that look like donuts but they’re chewy and I’ve eaten sweeter bagels than these “donuts”. I’ve only been to a shop once, however, since I got here, because we’re in a ginormous industrial district. I don’t know how to get to an ATM to get money out because virtually nowhere accepts western cards and banks don’t have ATMs. And, after making the decision 2 years ago that it was in the best interest of my mental health to not have an in-person sort of job ever again, I went and took a job. Admittedly, it’s an interesting job, but it comes with a raft of regular overtime work. So I now feel very pressured and after a week of all this, it’s really getting me down.

It’s also not helping that I can’t use Facebook Messenger very easily and sometimes Facebook itself doesn’t load at all, and people don’t like writing emails. So I’m now getting left out of 90% of the conversations I was previously a part of. 🙁 Thanks, guys.

Also, my phone hasn’t worked since I got here and I can’t talk to anyone I knew IRL in the UK, including the person who has my rabbits. I got given a new sim card for China Mobile but I don’t know how to set up the payments for it, because I don’t have a Chinese bank account, so it doesn’t work either.

Then there was the saga with the washing machine which I detailed on Facebook. That got me down a lot.

I sent back the edited version of the Last Rancher this weekend and I was filling out the cover form when I realized it was fundamentally pointless trying to give the amount of detail I usually provide. 4-6 hours of work gathering images etc has become 12+ hours. For every book. I just don’t feel like I’m listened to so it’s not worth it. In fact, a lot of the times I try to help people are completely wasted because no-one listens to me until something goes so badly wrong that it’s a ballache to fix. And sometimes not even then. I guess this was the work-from-home version of that time I just got up and walked out of my job.

I finished another project this weekend, too. Now I only have one more project to finish of the ones people were expecting and which had deadlines, then I can… do what? Tick off the empty days stretching before me as they fill up with doing stuff for other people, while I get further away from the things I wanted to do. None of my story planning is working out at the moment, I’m getting about 30% through each of the books I need to plan, and thinking, ‘now what?’ then changing to something else. I just can’t see the shape they should be right now, if that makes sense.

I feel like I’m constantly wrapped up in this cellophane of obligations for other people, constantly trying to break through it to reach out and touch the things I wanted to do, and every time I tear a hole in the cellophane, a new layer gets wrapped around me.

I should be happy. A lot of things are still going to plan with my writing, and yet, I actually feel like a large chapter in my life is closing before I’m ready for it to go. I feel like something inside me is tearing apart, and I’m not sure I actually want to write any more. I’m not sure I want to do anything. I hate getting hit in the face with depression.

So Many Changes (and the latest Katie Reads video)…

So some readers already know that yesterday was my final exam at university for my master’s degree. It was the toughest exam I’ve ever sat, and afterwards, I went to one of my friends’ houses and we all partied until quite late at night.

Waking up brings a fresh perspective on reality, though. My master’s degree isn’t actually over yet; I still have to do a piece of research and hand it in. Our group doesn’t graduate until late late late in the year, by which time, I will be living in a different country.

My husband got a job abroad, way wayyyy outside Europe, and we’re going there for the foreseeable future. Whether I can fly back for graduation or not depends on how much flights cost to and from my new country (I promise I’ll tell you where I’ve gone once we get there… I just don’t want to accidentally jinx it). But, before then, it’s all happening.

We’re actually leaving before the hand-in deadline for my research, so it’s been non-stop recently; ditching our worldly goods, trying to find someone to rent the house, and trying to pull yet more money out of anywhere to get repairs made to the place so our future tenants don’t have to worry about anything when they move in. Then there’s keeping this website running, making a webcomic every week, writing my books (actually, I have such a long backlog of books waiting to be published at this point that I seriously don’t need to write anything for AT LEAST a couple of months, but I do have edits to make), then there’s the monthly YouTube videos, and lastly, there’s my research, for which I have to go across the country and collect field data this week.

SO it’s hard to tell if I’m coming or going at the moment! But I’m looking forward to it all, even if it’s going to be complicated to get it all sorted out in time.

One of my friends said yesterday, “Not having to pretend like you have your shit together — because it’s actually together — is a sign of being a grownup. Then it’s game over and everything becomes predictable and boring.” Perish the thought. So maybe a bit more chaos is a good thing.

And with that in mind, here’s the link to this month’s Katie Reads video – where I read an excerpt from my F/f/F menage, “Serving the Immortals.” And I call it by the wrong title. 😂 When I tried to fix it, I discovered that YouTube has helpfully removed annotations, like, it’s not a thing any more.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-iaLFkafQY

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx