In Which I Give In To Peer Pressure

(Translation: “Skyla made me do it.”)

Now, you all know how I feel about self-publishing. However, in response to those wishing to purchase my work, I have agreed to offer my previously-published short stories for sale in a new format. (I justify doing this by telling myself and being assured by others that it’s not really self-publishing because these stories have been previously commercially published, so this is a re-release rather than self-publishing. GO WITH IT. I NEED TO BELIEVE THIS IN ORDER TO LIVE WITH MYSELF/THIS DECISION I FEEL SO DIRTY OH MY GOD.)


This is the first of three planned volumes of Legends of the Destrati (formerly published in the Mammoth anthologies and my Light In A Dark World collection, so if you’ve already read those stories, there’s nothing new for you here).

This volume features the first two stories, “Play Dead” and “In From The Cold.” The shiny cover was done by the lovely tyrant enabler Skyla Dawn Cameron of Indigochick Designs, as was the formatting of all the necessary files. Because she rocks. Go use her for everything you need done digitally. She’s amazing and worth every penny.

So here you go. I’m not quite sure when the next one will be out, but I plan to have all three parts out by the end of the year. Plan, mind you. It might not work out that way. But here to kick off your October are some lovely, lovely vampires. You’re welcome.

I Come Into The Out Now

For those who don’t get the title, go see this.

IT’S SEPTEMBER! IT IS IT IS IT IS! I have my Scensty warmer going with a gorgeous scent (discontinued one…WHY?!?!) and am kicking back welcoming the start of fall.

It’s been an interesting few weeks. I had a little adventure with appendicitis and that’s over now. I’m fine – all is well. I’m sans appendix now, that’s all. But that’s neither here nor there. I have RANT FODDER to kick off my return to the darkness.

Cut here for length and those who aren’t ready for a Dina!Rant quite yet. Continue reading

So Done With This Already

I made it to the middle of June. I DID! And the only reason I made it this far is because we finally gave in and had air conditioning installed last month. After last year’s summer endurance trial, it was a priority.

But that’s all I can stand. I go now to hibernate for the summer.

Actually I just have a mega-uber-shit-ton of things that are about to happen all at the same time and my online time is going to be seriously curtailed. I’ve got a lot on my plate already and it’s about to get piled even higher, so if you need something from me, e-mail is going to be your best bet until…oh…say…September. That ought to do it.

I’ll try to update the blog at some point, but really, you all pretty much know about me and summer by now. Like I said, you’re lucky I’m still here this late in the year. I usually hibernate/bugger off between Memorial Day (end of May) and Labor Day (beginning of September) because I despise the hot season and everything that comes with it.

I am still over at the Evil League of Evil Writers every other Monday – I don’t give that up for summer.

See you all in a few weeks. Like…twelve or so.

DOg Drags Blankie Bed

In Memoriam

My dear friend Skyla Dawn Cameron lost her aunt this week.

My contribution to the Evil for Judy tribute was to write a short story using Judy’s favorite character of mine. She was a huge fan of Billy and the Stranger Things series, so before she passed I wrote her a Tuckerization vignette that Skyla took to the hospital and read to her. I’m told Judy enjoyed the story.

Judy passed away shortly afterward, but the thing about stories is that they are forever. Judy the human may have gone on to the next adventure, but her memory lives on. Now, through fiction, that memory will continue to live. That’s one of the cool things about fiction – it can immortalize someone as much as eviscerate them.

I debated awhile about offering this story for my readers. I talked with Skyla about it, and she tells me Judy would appreciate it. I didn’t want to share it without approval – it was a personal thing; meant to be read only by those directly involved. But if no one else ever reads it, they won’t know Judy.

This story was written for her, but I offer it here for everyone to read. The only thing I ask in return is that it not be uploaded anywhere for sale. Other than that, share away. Spread her memory far and wide. I have immortalized her in fiction. Share her with the world.


Click the pic to download the PDF. This is the only format this story is going to be available in, and it will always be free. Cover art and formatting by Skyla Dawn Cameron of IndigoChick Designs.



Those who have followed me for awhile know I’m not the best at taking pictures or sharing them. Mostly because it involves tech and I’m not only horrible about taking pics, but I’m crap at getting them off the camera, then resizing, then all the other crap that goes along with it. As such, I don’t update with pics much (though I did pretty well during the De-Gothening).

Having said that, you’ll understand why these pics date back to September and I’m just now getting them posted. Because reasons, okay?! I do take pics with the intent to share them with you all, but I’m crap about it, so that’s why you get these pic!spam posts. They even have their own tag, so yay for that! Continue reading

Return of the Internet!

Stuff and things have all been sorted and the techy things work again! Hopefully we used enough duct tape to hold everything together for awhile.

Nothing much exciting happened while things were out of commission. I’m okay with that. “Exciting” around here can lead to jail time. What?

Projects abound. In addition to my usual up-to-no-goodness, I continue to post every other Monday over at the Evil League of Evil Writers. I’ve resurrected the Ask Dr. Dina “writer’s guide to medical mayhem” series in response to negotiations (those posts take a lot of time to properly research and cite).

Other than that, there’s not much to report.

Busy Dina is busy! More as it develops.


LOki Yeah

A Lull In The Crazy

So things have been a little busy around the Lair of late. I went to California and spent time with the lovely Audry and David, and have been up to my usual no good offline. The crazy should keep it down to a dull roar through the weekend, but the way things have been going lately, that’s not likely, so I’d best write this while I can.

I want to tell you all about this awesome thing. I should also note here that I have not been paid in any way to endorse this product. This post is made of my own volition, and I write it with those of us whose lives are insanely busy in mind.

Writers, especially, are notorious for neglecting their health, whether or not they’re busy. That’s what makes what I’m about to tell you about so freakin’ awesome. The last thing crazy, busy people want is one more thing to think about or take care of.

EMeals takes care of everything but the cooking when it comes to eats. Seriously. This service is the BEST THING EVAR and you all know I don’t give props to just anything. I don’t flog anything for anyone I don’t believe is worth it, and it’s taken me over six weeks to even consider telling you all about this. Why six weeks? Well, the first two weeks were a trial period (free), and I wanted to be sure we stuck with it.

Not only have we stuck with it, we’re really enjoying our nightly dinners. Dinnertime has become a highlight of our day at the James household, when it used to be a real chore. We had a set of about five things we would rotate through when we didn’t order a pizza or get something from a local restaurant. He Who Enables My Crazy (AKA “Mr. Dina”) is a fantastic cook and has an entire bookcase dedicated to his cookbook collection. He loves cooking. However, we’re both busy (also lazy), and our schedules tend to contradict more often than not, so dinner wasn’t really a meal. It was more a “we’re hungry, what shall we eat” thing, and it was always the same few ideas. Convenience was a big factor in our choices, also.

With eMeals, the guesswork and planning are out the window. Each week we’re emailed a list of seven dinner recipes, along with cooking instructions and a detailed shopping list. And you know what?

We fucking love everything.

The recipes are fantastic. There are over 15 meal plans to choose from (Budget Friendly, 30-Minute Meals, Vegetarian, Paleo, Slow Cooker, and more – HWEMC and I chose the Clean Eating plan), and they’re amazing. EASY, too. Aside from the slow cooker meals, none of the recipes have been over an hour cooking time, and you spend that much time waiting for a pizza to be delivered.

The shopping list. OMG. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the shopping list. So user-friendly.

Now, while they do have a 14-day free trial, eMeals is a subscription service, so it’s kind of like a gym membership – if you’re going to pay for it, use it! (If you change your mind after you sign up, they’re nice about cancellations though, unlike the gym.) You can also change your mind about the plan you select on sign-up. Depending on your location, some plans might not be available to you because they use specialty stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, which not everyone has access to. (Don’t worry – the plan you select will tell you if it’s specialized. You can also pick a plan based on which store you shop most at.) You can also tailor the service to plans for just one or two people, or more than four. It’s brilliant.

For those with small humans, they have (for an additional nominal fee) a packable 5-day lunch recipe option and a dessert option. We just do the dinner option, and that’s plenty for us. And holy…wow. We’ve tried some things I never even looked twice at, and once hadn’t even heard of before. And it’s been amazing.

We look forward to dinner every night now. It’s become “our time,” and we enjoy cooking and eating together. For the first few weeks, we ate in the living room as usual, watching a movie or whatnot as we tended to do. Then, at HWEMC’s suggestion (not mine, so that tells you something about the magical power of this service), we turned off the TV and ate at our dining room table like civilized people for a change, complete with black silk placemats and candles in crystal sconces and classical music playing in the background.

Yes, darklings…it’s exactly how you envisioned I always dined (sans bare-chested manservant – he wears a shirt).

Each week we look forward to what new thing we’re going to try, and each morning we peek at what we’re going to make that night. The shopping is done weekly, so we always have the ingredients we need on hand for that night’s meal.

Having sung the praises of this plan extensively, let me illustrate a few caveats:

1 – subscription service. This is a paid thing, and it’s worth every penny. The cost for a year’s plan (which we signed up for) is less than $5 a month, and that pays for itself in weekly savings on your grocery bill the first week. So, so worth it. The recipes also build on one another, so that container of grape tomatoes you bought will be used in more than one recipe, and that package of walnuts you bought last week will be an ingredient in this week’s recipe. Like I said – it pays for itself.

2 – a bit of effort on your part is involved. YOU have to do the shopping. YOU have to find the things on the list. YOU have to put them away properly and YOU have to prep and cook the ingredients. That said, it’s all made extremely easy. Each list has a little sidebar detailing what each meal requires in the way of “staples” (flour, spices, oils) so you can make sure you have those on hand as well. Each recipe is easy to follow (though they do have a gourmet plan that was a little more complicated), and some of the ingredients might be harder to locate, and you may venture into parts of the store you never set foot in before, but it’s worth it. One day of shopping is a whole week’s worth of meals, so minimal shopping effort there really. Most of us go shopping at least once a week anyway, and for those who shop daily, this will cut that shit right out if you’re looking to do that.

If you want to see what I’m talking about, go sign up for the free trial. They do require a credit card to sign up, but they don’t charge you until you activate your subscription after your trial is over. Some of the recipes might have ingredients you’re not keen on, and you can just alter those. There have been a few flops in our house, but those are the exception, and likely due more to operator error than any fault in the recipe. (We have learned we’re not fans of much thyme, so we substitute Italian seasoning for that, which has a little thyme in it.) There have also been a few recipes that we just refused to cook outright, but again – exceptions, not the rule, and those were a matter of preference. (I’m sure they were perfectly lovely for people who eat those ingredients.) We manage to make about five out of the seven weekly recipes (because again – schedules), but they’re staggered so that we hardly ever miss a day. We’ll finish up the previous week’s recipes before starting a new week, and so on, so there’s some overlap.

We love this service, and it’s become an integral and exciting part of our day. We’re eating better, eating well, and love all it’s done for us. We love everything about eMeals, and wouldn’t change a thing. Now instead of “what do you want for dinner” or “what do you feel like,” it’s “what are we making tonight?” “It’s Wednesday! New recipes today!” Dinner isn’t a chore any longer, but an experience. The meals are so easy, we use very few pots and pans, so clean-up is minimal. We have made meals you would pay top dollar for in a restaurant, and they were fast and ridiculously easy to prepare.

I admit, I’m spoiled now. We ordered pizza for the first time in weeks the other day, and neither of us enjoyed it. I don’t think we’ll be ordering pizza much anymore.

Go. Give it a try. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Introducing Sadistic Crits!

Logo by Indigo Chick Designs

Logo by Indigo Chick Designs

After speaking with my cadre of enablers, I have decided to open my own special brand of writing critique services. Keep in mind, this is not your average feedback. This service is for those writers serious enough about their craft to brave the merciless blade of the Gothic Goddess Herself.

You really think you have what it takes to be a professional-grade writer? Because this shit ain’t for the thin-skinned. Professional writing is a tough business and, to survive it, you need to be even tougher.

Think of the toughest person you know. You’ll have to be TOUGHER THAN THEM.

I do not use a red pen. I use a flail and scalpel. Your work (and through it, you, personally) will bleed, and possibly die. If you survive, you’ll come out better, stronger, scarred, and without any illusion at all about your work.

Having said that, do keep in mind I am not purposefully cruel. I am honest, and honesty can (and should) be absolutely brutal. If your writing is solid, I will say that. I do not intentionally look for things I can pick at. That means more work for me, and while I don’t shy away from hard work, the less I have to do, the better I like it.

So, if you’ve the courage and fortitude to enter my lair, have a look at the options below. A great deal of thought and consideration has gone into this price guide, so I don’t want to hear any whining about it. If you whine at all, this is not the place for you. As the credo of the Evil League of Evil Writers says, I do not tolerate whining, crying, sniveling, whimpering or bawling about writing, publishing, or any aspect thereof.

Still here? Very well. Here is how much my time and attention will cost you. I am open to any genre (including erotica).

(Please note I require a 50% down payment for all services below.):

Query Only – $25.00

Query + 1st Chapter – $45.00

Query + 3 Chapters – $100.00

Query + 5 Chapters – $150.00

Choose Your Query Package (Down Payment)

The balance will be due upon completion of the crit. You can also pay by credit card through Paypal if you don’t have a Paypal account.

Chapters Only – $25.00 PER CHAPTER (up to 20 pages per chapter – limit 10 chapters). Email me at crits [at] dinajames [dot] com if you wish to purchase this option.

Whole Manuscript – $500.00 or $1.00 per page, whichever is greater (125,000 word limit)

Note: If your full manuscript ends up going over $500.00, the balance will be billed to you upon delivery of your crit.

Refund Policy
If I cannot complete your crit for any reason other than your manuscript sucking so bad I can’t read another word without vomiting blood (in this case, I will send it back to you with a “fuck this shit” note and keep your money), you will be entitled to a full refund of your down payment. Other than that, all sales are final and no amount of whining at me because you don’t like what I said will avail you.

What You Get Back:

Your crit will include comments and a 1-2 page summary of my thoughts. If you did well, you’ll get a kitten picture with your crit summary.

All materials submitted for critique are required to be in manuscript format (double-spaced, 12 point font, .doc file).

Turnaround Time:

This depends on my schedule, how many people are ahead of you in the queue, and what package you choose. You’re welcome to email me at crits [at] dinajames [dot] com and ask about my current availability.

Your material will be returned to you with one of the following grades:

A-GradeReady. The Force is strong with you. You are ready to take the trials. Go query an agent and stop wasting time and money on pats on the head.



B-GradeCoherent. I can see what you’re trying to do here. Clean yourself up and you’ll be ready.




C-GradeLegible. You can make words, I’ll give you that. They don’t make any sense put together, but you can make them.



D-GradeSordid. You can spell your name, and you’ve got some words written down here. I think they’re words. It’s hard to tell.



F-Grade – Disgusting. You’re not capable of writing your own name, let alone a novel. Stop abusing the keyboard until you learn to not make it cry.




Who Are You To Offer This?
If you have to ask, you really shouldn’t be here.


Have a question I haven’t answered here?

Email me at crits [at] dinajames [dot] com.