Of Spammers and Asshats

Last night before heading to bed, I check my email. This arrived, subject line “Hi Dina, how are you today?“, along with the little paperclip icon that indicates an attachment.

Now, normally, I don’t even bother looking at such things. I don’t open emails with attachments, or with idiotic subject lines like that, but something…I don’t know what…compelled me to open it. Go on, laugh. I don’t mind.

Finished? Onward then.

Here’s the email [sic], with specifics redacted, as I don’t want to give any undue attention to this spamming asshat:

Here is a book that you might consider reading and reviewing for me.

I have just published < REDACTED > at 21000+ of mostly dialogue and very descriptive and erotic in nature.

I am working on another 2 series also ..
< conveniently provided links to Amazon and their blog >

Now, this email rubbed me the wrong way for various reasons. Mostly in the “Oh HELL NO YOU DO NOT SPAM ME WITH YOUR SELF-PUBBED BULLSHIT” way, but I’ve learned to let things sit for awhile before writing something in anger. So I let it be for a day, and wrote back today. Here’s my reply (again, particulars redacted):


I think perhaps this email has been misdirected, for surely it was not intended for me. I am a writer, not a book reviewer of any kind.

However, perhaps this email was intended for me. I noticed a few days ago you added me on Google Plus. It often happens that people add me there because they are friends or fans of my work, but it seems you have added me for another reason – because I have “writer” in my profile. With that in mind, let’s assume this email was for me. As such, I will address it line by line in reply. My responses will be in red (ETA: italics for this blog post) for your convenience.

On 4/15/2014 12:26 AM, < SPAMMING ASSHAT > wrote:
> Here is a book that you might consider reading and reviewing for me. Actually, no, I wouldn’t consider reading and reviewing it for you, as you have sent it to me unsolicited. This means “I did not ask you for it.” This is considered extremely rude in the writing community – it’s rude in general, known as the “hard sell” – and only serves to set you apart as an unprofessional salesman and alienate your target audience, which, by the way, I am not. Why would a paranormal writer wish to read and review erotica?

> I have just published < REDACTED > at 21000+ of mostly dialogue and very descriptive and erotic in nature. This sentence is incomplete. You have just published what? I am guessing you mean “book,” but at 21,000+ (I am guessing again here that you mean “words”), it’s actually a novella, which is anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 words. Also, if all you have to say about this work is that it’s “mostly dialogue and very descriptive and erotic in nature,” you might want to look into how to pitch a novel. There are a hundred websites out there that will help you figure this one out.

> I am working on another 2 series also .. Here you conveniently provide me with links to your work. I cannot begin to describe the absolute rudeness and audacity of this action. Not only have you sent me your work unsoliticted (some refer to this practice as “spamming”), you have also shown me where to purchase your work, with three links to various incarnations of Amazon, and one to your blog, ostensibly so that I may keep up with your progress because I am bound to be so enthralled by your work that I will wish to keep tabs on you. As I said…this is beyond rude.
> < POPULAR BLOGGING PLATFORM LINK REDACTED > Really? And you want me to take you seriously as a professional author? Also, “< REDACTED >” is synonymous with “basic,” which you might want to look to in you’re not of a mind to call the intelligence level of yourself or your audience into question. FYI.

Then, after all of this, you attach a free PDF copy of your work for my reading consideration, in the hopes that I will not only read it, but review it for you as well. < REAL NAME >, I don’t work for Fiverr. I will not be giving you a review of any kind, ever, for anything. You have just guaranteed that with this email. I will, however, remember your name, and know to steer clear of you from here on in. (All links are broken to get around spam filters, because I want to ensure you get this email, so take out the spaces and replace [dot] with a period.) [ETA: link restored for the purpose of this blog post) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-shaffer/five-stars-for-five-dolla_b_3997107.html

With this email, you have just done the complete opposite of what you hoped to accomplish. You have ensured that I will never, under any circumstances, have anything to do with you or your work. Now, maybe this is an innocent error. Maybe you just read on some idiotic self-publishing site or forum that this is the way to do things/get sales/promote yourself. Listen to me very carefully - THIS IS WRONG. This is very, very wrong, and you are only hurting yourself as a writer by doing things this way. This, by the way, amuses me, because you refer to yourself being somehow above other writers in one of your Amazon reviews. My views on self-publishing aside (which you would know, had you actually investigated who I am instead of just mining G+ for writers), your behavior is exactly what gives self-pubbers the reputation they have.

If you want to ever be taken as a professional writer of any sort (and there are professional erotic authors out there), you will stop this idiotic spam attachment campaign immediately. Most people will delete this kind of thing without reply. I have taken time out of my evening to answer you, in the hopes that you will educate yourself and stop being such an ignorant douchebag asshat. (Again, if you'd bothered to investigate me at all, as I've done with you, you'd know I am an evil bitch who does tolerate bullshit like this from anyone.) Please be advised that I will be writing a blog post using this email (with details redacted, as I won't be giving you any kind of promo whatsoever) to illustrate what NOT to do as a writer. I thank you in advance for your shining example of douchebaggery. I am also as of this moment blocking you on G+ because of this email.

Here are a few links of my own in return for those you kindly provided me (again broken to get around spam filters):
[ETA: Links restored for the purposes of this blog post - they were originally broken in the mail]

On “the hard sell.” Please read this and pay close attention to it – https://www.lilithsaintcrow.com/journal/the-hard-sell-doesnt-work-redux/

On wordcount – http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/wordcount.html

On how to be a professional writer – http://www.dinajames.com/writing/how-to-be-a-professional-writer/

How Not To Be A Douchebag Author (bookmark this site and keep an eye on it – it’s full of writing advice weekly, though they are on hiatus this month)- http://evilwriters.blogspot.com/search/label/HNTBADBA


P.S. It’s spelled “Vader,” not “Vador.” His Lordship would Forcechoke you for your misstep. Though I suppose it’s better than “< OTHER USERNAME REDACTED >.” Are you seeing a pattern here, < REAL NAME >? The Internet is forever, and Google is an amazing tool.

Dina James
Chronicler of the Paranormal


Spamming Asshat didn’t take too kindly to my reply. They wrote me back with various – I can only call them “illiterate,” despite them considering themselves a writer, as they clearly have no reading comprehension whatsoever – threats and comments, culminating in them posting the above email, my address and all, on their own blog. I’m not really sure what that was intended to do. Show I’m a bitch? That’s kind of obvious.

All I did was call them out on their spamming. They did the rest. I won’t repost the threats and other charming responses this individual sent, but thought I’d put this here as an example for other self-published writers of what not to do.

Hear that, writers? DO NOT SEND YOUR STUFF TO RANDOM PEOPLE UNLESS THEY ASK FOR IT. See the links above. (I’ve restored them so they work for this blog post.) DO NOT SEND YOUR STUFF TO PEOPLE YOU HAVE NOT RESEARCHED. They could be someone offended by your work, or an evil bitch like me, or not a fan of self-publishing, or whatever! Research people before you send them anything. This spamming asshat just mined G+ for anyone with “writer” in their profile and sent them their book out of the blue FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN TO GET REVIEWS/GENERATE SALES. This is SPAM. DO NOT DO THIS.

And so, as promised, here is your cautionary tale about spamming people with your shit.

The end.

A Reward and A Dare

I was updating the perks at the Evil For Julie fundraisers. I saw the numbers.

Dean Holy Shit Eyes

$3330 [ETA April 16 - $3425] for the Writer Edition.

$6705 [ETA April 16 - $7545] for the Reader Edition.

If my math is correct (and unlike Tony Stark’s, it usually isn’t, but I digress), that puts us at $10,035 $10,970 for both campaigns.

You know, when we were pulling this together and deciding on a target number for our goal, I made the comment that if we raised $10,000, I would make a video of me dancing like a freak (I can’t dance…no, really, I can’t. I just wiggle my butt and flail my arms.) at various Oregon Coastal landmarks within driving distance of me.

I said it sarcastically. Because, you know…$10,000? Yeah, right. We’d be lucky to make half that, but we decided to go for it anyway. $5000 was lofty. $10,000 was laughable.

Sarcasm or no, I said it, in front of witnesses. As such, the video will get made. It will be finished and uploaded sometime in May, after all this is over.

Just so you know, I made another comment about our fundraiser goals, and this one is on the Internet, WHICH IS FOREVER.

The price? $50,000. The perk? I will karaoke Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On,” get it on film, and post it to the Internet.

Try reaching that one, evildoers. I DARE YOU.


ETA: Upon conferring with my enablers, I have agreed to do the same with Air Supply’s “All Out of Love” at the $25,000 mark. Because Dean Winchester. BRING IT.

The Power of the Dark Side

YEAH, BABY! That is what I am talking about!

Shamelessly ripping off this awesome post made by our Bitchstress Dreamkiller over at the Evil League of Evil Writers blog:


Yes, you read that right. Just four days into the Evil for Julie campaign, and both the reader and writer editions are entirely funded. As of writing this:

Reader Edition: $6085 (of a $3500 goal)

Writer Edition: $2275 (of a $1500 goal)

That’s $8360 total. [ETA: UPDATE - Now $8440!]

Loki thumbs up

On behalf of the Evil League of Evil Writers:


$5000 was our initial goal because that was what we raised last year for Crestline with our Evil Auction. To surpass that in just a couple of days is tremendous, and everything, minus the Indiegogo/PayPal fees, go directly to Julie and her family at the end of the month.

Of course, we shall not stop there. No, because we have TONS of other perks here to list and twenty-six more days to raise some more cash.

Please head over to the campaigns to have a look at the new additions and stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.

Thank you again to everyone sharing, linking, buying, donating, and supporting this endeavor. Vader says, “If you only knew the power of the dark side.” For anyone paying attention, I’d say you guys know. Excellent villainous work, everyone.”

I just have to add:

LOki Yeah

Make It Rain

NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN APRIL FOOL’S DAY PRANK. THIS IS A REAL THING. PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE COINCIDENTAL DATE. Today is also the anniversary of the Evil League of Evil Writers. Long story. Read on.




(We’re having some minor issues getting the Paypal account accepted, but we’ll deal with that in the morning. For right now, it’s credit cards. No worries! We have the whole month!) We’re good now! Carry on!

I’m going to shamelessly copy and paste from the Indiegogo Campaign Description here:

Why We Need Your Evil Help
On Sunday March 23, Julie Butcher’s husband had an accident around the home involving a chainsaw and his leg a grizzly bear that he fought off with his bare hands*.

Mr. Julie is, thankfully, fine. But this is a family with six kids now facing skyrocketing medical costs. Costs WE can help with. If everyone gives a little, it can add up to a lot. This, obviously, seems like a job for the Evil League of Evil Writers to do some fundraising.

*It was a chainsaw but apparently fighting grizzly bears sounds less embarrassing.

What We Need & What You Get
In a nutshell, we need money.

Well, Julie and her mister do: he’s already had a couple of surgeries, and a nurse is required for home visits to help. End of the world insurance is covering some costs but not all, and this is a very large family facing a sudden influx of extra expenses.

We at the Evil League of Evil Writers aren’t big on handouts; we want your assistance, but we want to offer you stuff in exchange for it.

Note: There are two campaigns – the Reader Edition and the Writer Edition. Each has different perks based on if something would apply to a reader or a writer. Because if you’re not a writer, what would you do with a 50 page critique of a manuscript? I mean, there’s no stopping you from donating for that perk if that’s what you want to do, but…hey, your eccentricities are your business!

All of the money–less the fees from Indiegogo and PayPal–go directly to Julie and her family, and will help with medical and living costs during this difficult time. We picked $3500 as a goal for the reader campaign and $1500 for the other to hit $5000 total as that was what we managed to raise for last year’s fundraiser, but it is in no way final. If more comes in, all will be able to be put to use by the family.

Who Is Julie?
Julie Butcher lives with her husband and six children on the fringes of Utter Chaos. The sister of #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher, who she adores, she writes because her sister-in-law said it was time to learn, and Julie doesn’t argue with women who own guns. Her super-powers involve sugar and ninjas and will be revealed on a need-to-know basis.

She is a contributor to BuzzyMag.com and huge supporter of the writing community. When not writing, she’s inspiring others by volunteering at a local food pantry.

Seriously, you guys, Julie is so much more awesome than the rest of us, but now is your chance to be almost as cool yourself and help out.

What’s This About Evil?
This fundraiser was started by the Evil League of Evil Writers to support our beloved Senior Pie Coordinator and Clubhouse Keeper during a time of need. It is our second large-scale fundraiser as a group, the previous being 2013′s Evil for Crestline Auction.
Everything we do is evil, including online fundraising.

Aren’t Charitable Endeavors Inherently Good?
Of course not. Have you MET Julie Butcher? The woman is capable of the most terrifying Scary Mom Eyes known to humankind. She is pure evil, and the less she worries about money right now, the more time she has to continue terrorizing writers with her eviltry.

Also, by supporting Julie’s family, it might make them cry happy tears. Making people cry is of course evil.

As a friend said, when the universe kicks one of us, we kick back twice as hard. And we invite you to be bad guys and kick back with us.

Other Ways You Can Help
If you can’t give money, and robbing a bank is still illegal where you live, please help get the word out the fundraiser. Tweet, Pin, Facebook, Tumbl, blog, skywrite, sacrifice virgins to the dark ones in order to boost the campaign power: whatever it takes.

The response to this fundraiser has been beyond our wildest expectations, with over 100 donations and counting. Indiegogo only allows us to offer twenty at a time, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see yours offered. Once a perk is taken, we’ll replace it with another. This fundraiser is going throughout the month of April, so it might be a little bit before it’s up for grabs. Stay tuned!

You can also follow the Evil League of Evil Writers for updates on the campaign. We’ll be talking about it a lot during the next month, as these campaigns go through the 30th:

Blog (Here’s an awesome page about the fundraisers)
Twitter (we’ll be using the hashtag #evilforjulie if you want to follow that)

So there you have it! Now go! Go and be evil! Bring the pain! Make it rain with their tears! BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!

evil laugh gif Tom


March 28 ETA: (borrowed from Skyla Dawn Cameron) Okay, folks, this has gotten crazy big and unwieldy like a chainsaw I mentioned below. Despite shifting our plans around a bit with the fundraiser to accommodate, this is still massively huge (thank you!), and we do have certain limitations with how many perks we can list during the campaign at once. As such, a lot of items are on a wait list and might be combined into larger packages. There is a chance not everything from the past twenty-four hours might make it to the campaigns. We will do our best to use everything offered but well over a hundred donations of goods and services is staggering.

We don’t know how things are going to go when we kick off next Tuesday. We might fly through the perks, add more, fly through those, and keep going. Or we might not. So please do not be offended if the fundraiser goes live and you don’t see your item yet. It doesn’t mean we don’t want it or it’s not good enough, but it just might pop up in the second (or third) round. If you’d still like to offer something knowing this, please feel free to do so.

Thank you again for the support. ~ Skyla & Dina


Look, it works in the movies, okay? And ya’ll know I’m evil, so…yeah.

I solemnly swear I am up to no good, and you know how misery loves company, so I want you all to join me in wreaking a little havoc.

Here. Skyla Dawn Cameron says it perfectly. Of course she does – she’s evil! She does an excellent job of covering everything I’d just repeat, and even though I have her permission to steal her post, I’d rather not copy/paste, so go read what she wrote then come back here. She’s got all the cool links and everything (bitch beat me to EVERYTHING this time!).

Go read! I’ll wait. *amuses self with Smash Hit for a few minutes*

Finished? Good. Like Skyla said, ur stuf, we wantz it. Okay, she didn’t say that, but that’s the idea.

Short version: Beloved Evil League of Evil Writers member Julie Butcher needs help. Julie is awesome. The ELEW is known for getting up to no good, and we’re at it again, this time via an Indiegogo campaign. We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty. We’re going to fix this, and want your help doing it. Give us your stuff, then make other people give us their stuff. Because we’re evil.

What stuff do we want? Whatever you’re willing to give. Some examples:

Writerly things – critiques (query letter, manuscripts [whole or partial]), time with a (commercially published) author/literary agent (lunch, drinks, dinner, a movie out…whatever you want to offer), etc.

Books and swag – signed, personalized, blank, hard to find, autographed first editions, you get the idea

Handmade things – art of any media, crafted items, graphic design, website setup…any skill you have and want to donate, we’ll take!

Anything else legal to offer – gift certificates, entertainment tickets, vouchers for your business services/commissions, etc. Children, slave labor, sexual favors (I think this includes surrogate motherhood), heavy weaponry, and certain pharmaceutical substances aren’t allowed by Indiegogo

So that’s it! Feel free to forward this perk request to any and all you know who might be able to offer things to help our beloved Senior Pie Coordinator & Clubhouse Keeper. We’re looking to take this campaign/fundraiser live on our ELEW anniversary of April 1. That gives everyone time to get an idea of what they’d like to offer (and please don’t feel bad if you can’t contribute…we know you’ll do what you can to promote this when it goes live) and get us your info. Right now we’re just gathering info/perks to offer those who donate.

Here, we’ve even made it super easy to give us your stuff. Thank you in advance for your awesome.

ETA March 28Okay! Okay! It worked! We’re good now, thank you! See above!

The Sky Is Falling! Well, Sort Of….

Something is falling from the sky, anyway, and it’s strange, and fluffy, and COLD. Holy wow yeah it’s cold. I mean, for here. Not for like…Canada. Or Iceland. But here? Where our winter temps are only below freezing maybe a week out of the whole winter, and we might get snow in late December or early January for twenty minutes? Yeah. This is cold and weird! (But climate change doesn’t exist! Oh no! *sarcasm* *eye roll*)

Here, have some pics. First, the weather forecast.


Next we have a confirmed visual of the accuracy of the above photo:

From my kitchen window:

My back deck:

And then, just because I liked the visual, I went outside (I KNOW!) and took these along my front walkway:

Regular “auto” mode, no flash:

“Night Scene Handheld” mode:

Oh, and I took a crappy little video with my phone of the snow falling. You can see it here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dinajames/12354855603/in/set-72157640610130285

So, yeah. Bit cold around here. I have my tea (gorgeous tea from Scotland!) and my warm, fuzzy robes, and a new microfleece blankie that’s so utterly wonderful to wrap up in. We’re all warm and cozy here, despite the temps. Even the cats are happy.

Probably because they love my new blankie as much as I do. (Sorry, no pic of that, but trust me, it was cute.)

The Rumor Mill

This is Rumor Control, here are the facts (points if you get the reference):

As of September 2013, I was granted a Release of Rights to both the Stranger Things series and the Destrati anthology from Mundania Press. What this means, in a nutshell, is that my publication contract was cancelled, they agreed to stop publishing/selling my books, and the manuscripts of those books are mine to do with as I wish.

This was a mutually agreed-upon decision – I was not “fired,” nor “asked to leave.” I initiated my RoR (release of rights) in the form of a request, and it was granted by the publisher. Simple as that.

Let’s answer the most often asked questions I get in order, shall we? It’s been over 90 days now (the length of the contract termination agreement), so I can talk a little about what happened.

First: “Where are your books/why can’t I buy them? Etc.”

The books are, officially, nowhere. It’s been 90 days, and after that period no reseller (like Amazon or B&N) has the legal right to sell any new copies they don’t already have in stock. The books are no longer in print. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE NO LONGER COPYRIGHTED OR ARE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD AS A FREE BOOK ANYWHERE. All this means is that Mundania Press no longer holds the rights to print those books. Who does? No one. PERIOD. No one except me, and here’s the fun part –

I HAVE NO INTENTION, NOW OR EVER, OF SELF-PUBLISHING THESE BOOKS. Despite rumors to the contrary (we’ll get to that in a minute), this is not happening. EVER. I do not self-publish. I have no intention of self-publishing. Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows how I feel about self-publishing, and this is so not going to happen. NO, NOT EVEN THEN. NO.

If you missed these books, I’m sorry. I really am. You might be able to find a used copy on Paperbackswap or eBay (a legal, print copy, please, not some bullshit downloadable pirated e-copy so prevalent on that site) or even Amazon, but that’s it. Like any book that goes out of print, them’s the breaks.

Second: “Why/What happened?”

Nothing. Sorry, but that’s the answer. Nothing “happened.” There is no “why.” Publishing is a relationship. Sometimes you want different things. Relationships grow and change, and sometimes it’s not always for the better. As I said above, this was a mutually agreed-upon thing. It’s like a break-up. That’s all. I moved out of my old place. That’s really it. They’re not horrible people. They weren’t mean or bad to me. It was just time for me to go, that’s all. Really. Sorry to disappoint you, but really, that’s it. When you move out, you take your stuff with you, and that’s all that happened. I wanted out of the relationship, they let me leave in peace. No ugliness or angst or anything. So there you have it.

2.5: But WHY? If they weren’t bad or mean to you then WHY?

*sigh* I just said! Things change. We wanted different things, that’s all! Nothing horrible or traumatic, so stop dramatizing! Sheesh!

Third: “So what happens now/what are you going to do?”

The same thing I always do – write. Just because I’m not currently with a publisher doesn’t mean I’ve given up, or that I won’t have one in the future. Just because you break up with someone doesn’t mean you stop dating! You learn from your relationship issues and find another one! Right now, I’m in between relationships, and I’ve admittedly taken some time to adjust to being single (so to speak – metaphorically – I’m still happily married to He Who Enables My Crazy; don’t get any ideas) again (helllooooo, Scotland!), but it’s a new year and I’m back on the horse.

That’s really the thing, too, people. You don’t give up if things don’t go your way. (And guess what…things in this business aren’t always going to go your way.)

Fourth: “I love the Stranger Things series! Will it be back? Are you going to self-publish?”

*death glare* Read the fucking blog, for fuck’s sake.

Scotland Stuff

I’m still recovering from my trip (yes, it was THAT awesome, people!); i.e. I’m still sorting out crap that accumulated over the weeks I was away. I’ve gotten my inbox down to fifty-something emails, so that’s something. Snail mail is mostly dealt with. I still have a lot to take care of (STOP STARING AT ME WITH THOSE ACCUSING TOWELS, LAUNDRY!), but it’s slowly getting sorted.

I did get some pics resized and posted, so click here for those – have a ball. Live vicariously.

Now there’s something about food being discussed. I should go see what that’s about…

I Have Returned

The land of kilts and pipes was amazing, and I’m very glad to be home. I’ll have more later, but here’s the short version:

- Jetlag is a bitch
- I have lots of pictures, some of which I’ll share eventually
- I have lots of email to catch up on
- I have lots of snail mail to sort through
- I have lots of phone calls to return and people to visit
- I ruptured my left eardrum on the flight home, so that’s been fun to deal with

My animals are all alive and well. We had a house/pet-sitter stay with them, and despite their various issues and medications, didn’t have any problems or make her crazy.

Mostly I’m tired, grouchy, and have a lot to do, so things are going to be slow for awhile until I catch up on everything that piled up while I was away. Three weeks is a long time to be away from home, and a lot of things offline need to be sorted out before I can get to the online stuff, so my presence will still be spotty for awhile. I hope to have everything back on track by the end of the month.

Jetlag suuuuuuuuuuuucks….