I Got Nothin’

Urgh.

Blargh.

*grunt* *point*

Stuff. Things. Whee.

I suppose I should just go chronologically, since it’s been a couple months since I’ve said anything here. Okay. *sigh*

November – eh. Stuff and things. Holiday. Gorgeous smoked turkey at a friend’s house (thank you!).

December – Birthday. Sithmas. Made a Boxing Day pie with hot water crust pastry. It was actually pretty good, though I learned a few things about the springform pans I used.

January – Friend came to visit for late Sithmas vacation. Stayed three weeks. Made another Boxing Day pie. Learned more about my springform pans.

Also lost my dog of nearly 11 years that I raised from a six-week old puppy.

This was my dog. His name was Elrohir. He was named after one of the twin sons of Lord Elrond in Lord of the Rings. (They weren’t in the films, thank God; they only get a short mention in The Silmarillion – Elladan and Elrohir.) We called him Ro for short. Mostly we called him Ro-Pup.

He was an awesome dog. He had his share of demons, let me tell you. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia — yes, dogs can get it too, and he had a severe case of it. He had both neuroses and psychoses (neuroses are more behavioral/emotional responses while psychoses are generally physiological in origin, resulting from trauma or disease such as a brain tumor or cancer). We managed what we could as things presented themselves, and last year was the worst of them. I was advised to consider euthanasia earlier in the year due to his increasing unpredictability and aggressive outbursts, but I was selfish and wanted one more holiday season with my special boy.

Fuck yeah I was selfish, and I don’t regret a fucking moment of it. And for all his issues, there is a hell of a lot more sadness than relief in this house. Not even Bee was this difficult to say goodbye to, and she was my bestie.

A friend tells me it’s because I couldn’t see the pain Ro was in like I could with Bee, and she’s right. I couldn’t. I knew it was there, and could see the aftereffects of his mental anguish (and sometimes while it was happening — lights on, no one home), but it wasn’t like he was physically broken. Sure, he had a little arthritis and some spondylosis going on, but he was an older, medium-sized dog, and those were normal for his age.

I know it was the right time to say goodbye, but damn it I didn’t want to. I, and the entire house including my friend who was here with us (thank God – I’d never have been able to get through it without her here; she was there when we rescued the little brat) was a wreck the entire week leading up to the appointment. (I wanted a specific vet who’d known him all his life to help him and be there with us.)

We made that last weekend we had with him special. We’d stopped leaving the house with him because of his anxiety and fear of (and tendency to be aggressive toward) strangers, but we made sure his favorite beach was fairly well empty and took him to see the ocean. He had his customary 10 minutes (he’s was never a fan of the sand) and then tugged us back to the car. We got him all his favorite foods and fed him from the table (a huge no-no). We did everything fun we could think of for him the last few days and gave him lots of hugs. We played as much as he’d tolerate (he was, after all, an semi-old man in dog years and didn’t much care to chase your ball, thank you very much). We napped a lot those last few days — his favorite thing the last year or so was to “take a nap.” He’d get his favorite toy (Lambie) and run to the bedroom, waiting.

The James Household is so empty. It’s amazing how much of our daily routine revolved around Ro and his special needs. I can’t go more than a few minutes without being somehow reminded he isn’t here, and it sucks so much.

Though there is more sadness than relief here, like I said, there is relief (and guilt for feeling relieved, of course). Relief that when the wind shakes the house and the rain pelts the windows my poor dog isn’t cowering in the corner, shaking in fear, wide-eyed at the noise. That I’m not running for the Thundershirt and putting on relaxing dog music I bookmarked on my iPad every time the weather comes in off the ocean, which is frequent where I live. (He was already on medication, so I couldn’t give him anything else to help calm him during his fearful episodes, which there at the end were near daily.) I’m not praying every time I go outside that there isn’t someone getting out of their car across the street and slamming the door, or the people building a house up the block aren’t using their nail gun or throwing boards around. (He wouldn’t go outside/go pee if he heard any kind of bang or pop or smack or crack.) I do still cringe every time I hear a whistle blown on the TV (they sent him into an absolute fit) and look around to see if he heard it, which is followed by relief that he didn’t, and then sadness because he isn’t there to hear it.

I’ve mentioned before that pain makes me angry (oh, all right — angrier than usual), and I am in vast amounts of pain. This sucks and I’m so angry. He was my brat-face. I slept on the couch for six months with a little area of my living room cordoned off with baby gates and puppy pads, taking him out every few hours until he was potty trained. He was also crate trained when he got older, and when he got older still, we abandoned the crate all together except for when we left the house. It was “his room,” and he loved it. It’s still here, in my office, the door still open from the last time he was in it. And damn it I hate the idea of moving it, so it’s just going to fucking sit there until I’m ready to move it, which may be never. It makes a nice end table.

We do know under no uncertain terms that we do not want another dog, no matter how old/whatever condition they’re in. Not because of any kind of bias against them, but because my husband and I are both disabled, and taking care of a dog isn’t at all like taking care of a cat, special needs or no. I’ve mentioned on Twitter that I volunteer with our local animal shelter three days a week now, and am also a foster for neonatal kittens (those too young to be adopted/have been abandoned/have no mother/need bottle feeding) when they come into the shelter system. When we first brought Ro home, I’d just been diagnosed with MS, and my disability was a lot more manageable. Now it would be totally unfair to try and meet the needs of a dog. I just don’t have it in me anymore. I can barely walk unassisted myself these days. Ro was an old man who wasn’t interested in walks or ball (arthritis, people, harumph harumph) that often, though we made it a point to mosey to the mailbox and back a few times a week. That’s all he wanted, and more than once these last few months we had to stop on the way back to rest (him, not me).

Cats, even bottle-fed kittens, are wholly different from dogs, and I’m still able to care for them. As it is, all my cats are special needs animals. Two are seniors themselves, and I will likely lose one of them before the year is out due to his health problems (fingers crossed that doesn’t happen, but it’s a possibility if we can’t sort him out again).

It’s only been a couple weeks since we said goodbye to our special, wonderful boy, but it feels like forever. We’ve gone through his toys and given away the majority of them to the shelter to help them raise funds for other dogs who don’t have the home he did yet. We took his food and medicines to the vet’s office and donated them to other dogs in need. His beds are still here as I can’t bring myself to part with them yet, and his favorite toys are still where he left them. I keep stepping on one when I get out of bed, and I don’t care. I used to step on them all the time when he was here (he had a lot of toys – our boy was spoiled rotten) and I’m not ready to move them, either.

His remains are on the shelf in the glass cabinet along with those who’ve gone before him. We’re getting pictures together to make a memorial wall above it – one portrait for each animal who has passed on in the eighteen years we’ve been married. Ro’s passing has hit us the hardest, because he’s been the only dog either of us has had that we raised from a puppy. He was our boy. He was with us for over a decade, through events both horrific and joyous. We were with him through his bouts of illness, both physical and mental. We held him through nights of terror and days of fear. Saying goodbye to him was, without doubt, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and those of you that know me know I don’t say that lightly. It took the two people closest to me at my back to give me the strength to walk into that room where they’d made him a lovely bed complete with velvet pillow for his head. I have no shame in admitting I have cried every day both leading up to the appointment and every day since. I’d really like to stop, but I keep getting angry, and I cry when I’m angry or in pain.

And this fucking hurts. Then I feel strange, because I honestly didn’t cry this much for my Bee-girl, and she was my baby. Nor did I do this for my Daddy, who has been gone seventeen years today, and he was my best friend in the world. I miss him all the time. Hell, I even signed the order to take him off life support and held his hand as he died there in the hospital, and it didn’t hurt this long, or this much.

Before anyone says anything about grief and grieving, I’ll repeat what I said when I lost Bee:

You know how there’s these supposed stages of grief? Yeah, those don’t apply to me. I have been viciously wounded, and pain makes me angry. (All right, fine – I realize “anger” is a terribly vague word to use to describe me, because that’s my default setting. This is a little different.) I have…interesting responses to pain. By “interesting” I mean…uh….

Yeah. I’ll come back when I’m able to drink tea with another person again. That might be awhile*.

Anyone who is stupid enough to think (let alone say aloud in my presence) “she was just a cat,” I refer you to John Wick.

Farewell, Ro-pup. May all your demons be vanquished. You tried so hard to be a good boy, and you ended up being the best. We love you.

*comments closed

NaNo-What Now?

NaNoWriMo.

For those unaware of this exercise in insanity, it’s short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s every November (because nothing gears you up for becoming a professional writer like writing to a deadline in one of the busiest months in the United States) and the gist is this: you have 30 days to write 50,000 words on a brand new novel. I have NO idea what possessed me to attempt it this year. I avoided it for years, did it once (and won, tyvm) in 2011, then walked away, satisfied that I could do such a thing despite my condition.

As I said, I have NO idea what possessed me to do it this year. I’m even coming to it a day late – most participants started last night as proper. No, I had the brilliant idea to participate just this morning, and I’m still mystified as to why. But hey, if I’m moved to do a thing, there’s usually a reason behind it. And I’m moved to do this.

Never mind that my garage is still full of Halloween decorations that need putting away, my master bathroom shower stall is currently occupied by three half-feral kittens (two of whom have upper respiratory infections that require twice daily medication), I’m watching a friend’s house while they’re out of town, and volunteering two days a week at my local animal shelter. Sure, why not, let’s write a novel too! Throw another log on that fire!

If you’re feeling up to joining me in my insanity, I’ll scootch over. There’s always room at the bar for more crazy. You can find me on NaNoWriMo here.

Latecomer

So, it’s FINALLY September again. You all should be fairly familiar with me and deep and abiding love for September by now. I know it’s the middle of the month right now, but that’s because we had a bit of a late start to fall this year, owing to summer not wanting to fuck the hell off. September won finally, and summer crawled back into the hole in which it belongs.

It’s blissful here now. The temperature is under 70F (21.1C) every single day (and dropping!) and it’s back to our typical Oregon weather out here on the coast. I’ve written about it before, but the true arrival of fall is glorious for me. I have more energy, more creativity, less hostility (okay, this one is relative – go with it)…fall is my least vengeful season.

Earlier this year someone pointed me to this article about reverse seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and honestly, it’s pretty spot on when it comes to how I feel about summer. Right around mid-March/beginning of April I start getting an uncomfortableness, and it just worsens until my beloved September returns. There are many, many reasons I loathe the warmer months, but reverse SAD would explain a lot of it. But all that’s over now for another six months or so.

Here are some links to things to kick off the end of my reverse hibernation:

My friend Valt is still in need of some help for his surgery! If you could sacrifice that (pumpkin spice!) latte today, that would rock.

The anthology I’m in with Skyla Dawn Cameron is now available in print! Clicky the linky to get the shiny!

Go forth and enjoy September!

Sacrifice Your Latte Please!

So my friend Valtinen (you may have heard me mention him before) is finally, after more than a decade, getting to be himself!

Me And Valt Terrorizing The Villagers

He needs a little help, though, and I know my friends and fans are awesome at helping people. Valt has come a long way in his personal journey, and this step is finally here. It’s amazing and I’m very happy this is happening for him.

But you don’t need to hear me talk about it. Go here and read his story for yourself!

Help Valt Get His Surgery!

TONIGHT IT BEGINS!

Well, according to timeanddate.com, the daylight will progressively, incrementally, get shorter and shorter each day until the middle of winter.

That’s right, bitches. It’s the Summer Solstice, or Litha, or Midsummer (in the Northern Hemisphere – Yule/Midwinter for the Southern), and that means THE DARKNESS RETURNS! (Shut up – I know it’s not the fall equinox, but it’s a start, and I’ll take it!)

In celebration, I wanted to let you all know that the Hauntings anthology I’m in with Skyla Dawn Cameron is up for sale, wherever you choose to buy books, in whatever format you desire. Go. Enjoy some ghosts and chill.

For tonight, darkness begins to fall….

Hauntings-kindle

Oh. I almost forgot. This blog used to cross-post to Livejournal, but given their recent asshattery, that’s not happening from now on. I’m looking into moving everything there over to Dreamwidth. We’ll see.

Ebooks Sent

Hello, all!

Quick break in my summer hiatus to say that if you were a contributor to my veterinary bill fundraiser, your e-book ARC of Hauntings has been sent in PDF format.

Hauntings-kindle
Thank you again, very much, for those who contributed. If I owe you a hat, it’s in the process of being knit. I have 3 down, 9 more to go. Ya’ll kicked ass there. AND MADE ME KNIT WITH PINK YARN OMG. Sadists. *sniff* I’m so proud!

Torture Love

Shiny Things and Summer Sign-Off

It’s that time, all. You know the time. The bright thing is in the sky for way longer than I’m comfortable with, and the Fahrenheit temperature outside is flirting with numbers starting with 7. (Shut up – it’s a big deal where I live!) The tourists are lurking, the shrieklings will soon roam unchecked, and it is time for me to go to ground until my beloved September returns.

DOg Drags Blankie Bed

I leave you with a parting gift to tide you over until the darkness returns. My enabler handler platonic murder wife and fellow evil author of awesome, Skyla Dawn Cameron, blackmailed me asked me to contribute to her short story anthology, Hauntings. Look at this shiny cover. LOOK AT IT!

Hauntings-kindle

Doesn’t that look awesome? Of course it was designed by Skyla. You should hire her for your graphic design things. Also, you should support her on Patreon, because without her, this story (and practically everything else of mine you’ve read) wouldn’t exist. You owe her, my darklings.

So what’s going on with that shiny thing up there? Well, here:

A drafty old house, or the steps of a creature lurking in the dark?

A trick of the light, or is the shadow in the corner of your eye something more?

A natural wind, or was that a whisper in your ear?

Read two tales of haunted houses that are not what they seem from (evil) paranormal authors Dina James and Skyla Dawn Cameron.

In RITUAL, a novella in Dina James’ Key to Hell series, Kyle Carillron knows every trick across the realms when it comes to dealing with the supernatural. Once a demon himself, the vampire has seen it all. When a divine assassin, half-angel Sebastian, comes to him with a scrap of paper discovered in a supposedly haunted house where some teenagers are playing Ouija, he can’t help but roll his eyes. But the paper has an unfamiliar symbol on it, written in human blood. Very little on the planes mystifies Kyle, but upon investigating the premises, he discovers evidence of a ritual with far with deeper consequences than humans attempting to contact the souls of the departed.

ASHFORD’S GHOST follows part-time adventurer and full-time mom Olivia Talbot in a novella continuation of Skyla Dawn Cameron’s Livi Talbot series. Four months ago, Livi successfully killed the afreet who abducted her family and tried to murder her. Then she took over his villa and made it her base of operations/home, as any respectable treasure hunter in need of better digs is wont to do. But this house is haunted, and she’s starting to think the ancient murderer she used the Seal of Solomon to destroy might not be entirely dead after all. Isolated in the house by a violent snowstorm, Livi is trapped with a dark force gathering strength by the hour, threatening not only the safety of her family but possibly her very sanity.

That’s right. Mine is a Kyle story. You’re welcome.

Right now, it’s up for ebook pre-order from your favorite bookish places: Kobo, iTunes, B&N, and The Evil Empire. It’s planned for release by the end of the month (May 2017).

For those who prefer print (I AM ONE OF YOU!), there will be a print edition as well, available sometime in the first or second week of June. I’d give you a firmer date, but it will depend on techy things that make my head hurt, so let’s just say “mid-June” and call it good.

This is the anthology promised to those who donated to my fundraiser. Those who donated $10 or more will be getting their ebook advanced copies before the end of the month, so if you want it early, you know where to go. You all have kicked ass when it comes to helping us out, but there’s still room for pennies and openings for some hats. (I’m up to 14 hats, ya’ll. FOURTEEN FUCKING HATS! HATS FOREVER! I can honestly say I did not expect this, but I am totally not complaining. It’s for my babies. I will knit ALL THE HATS for my babies.) If you missed the part about the fundraiser, clicky the piccy to see what the fuck.

YouCaringDina

Help Me I'm Poor

So that’s it for now. Go forth. Do shiny things. See you in September. (Possibly sooner. I have been tempted out of my reverse hibernation before, so you never know.)

Crow Pets Cat

Reinforcements Needed

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know about this because I have awesome, evil, enabling powerful friends.

YouCaringDina

You can click the image link to get the whole story, but the gist is I need help with a vet bill in the thousands. That’s where reinforcements come in.

Uh…you’re the reinforcements. Well, your pennies are. Dimes, too. Quarters if you can spare them. It’s not even a tip jar I’m putting out here, it’s a collection plate.

Help Me I'm Poor

As the graphic above says, though – don’t think this is all for nothing. I’m offering cool stuff in return for your assistance. (And don’t forget I offer a brutal critique service for writers as well!) The fundraising site gives you space to explain what you’re about, so head on over there for the whole story so I don’t repeat myself.

I Need Help Penny

Thanks in advance for your help. If you can’t help out with pennies, a signal boost would be just as appreciated. I have awesome friends, fans, and family, and you all know I hate beyond words asking for help, but this isn’t about me. This is for my animals.

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good

So…there’s this…thing. It’s not really a SEKRIT thing, it’s just a…work in progress thing. My enabler handler friend Skyla Dawn Cameron has a project coming out soon [Patreon link: PAY UP, BECAUSE SHE IS MADE OF WIN] and has, despite both my better judgment AND willingness to participate in such shenanigans (who am I kidding? I’m always up for shenanigans!), convinced me to join her in its fruition. (She has a knack for doing this – she knows what buttons to push/tribute to offer.)

I can’t say much right now, as it’s still in development, but once the details are hammered out, I will share it with you.

I am up to no good. There will be vampires involved.

Can’t Talk, Resisting

2016 was a hell of a year for many reasons, not the least of which was the United States Presidential election. Now I’m not going to say much here, because I still despise politics [This went on way longer than I thought], but I will say this:

RESIST, MOTHERFUCKERS. Make no mistake – this is what tyranny looks like. This is what fascism looks like. NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL. Bigoted Nazi assholes being appointed left and right with zero Senate confirmation, people being fired because they won’t enforce illegal orders (huh…why does that sound familiar? I guess they should consider themselves lucky that they weren’t hung in the town square on public television, but baby steps, amirite?) on and on and on and on. And we’re only 10 days into this shit.

SPN Not Cool

It’s easy to compare things we don’t like to Nazis. But the current administration (not duly elected, but that’s another issue) is straight up, self-admitted Nazis, and yes, you should be worried.

Hate Nazis

More than that, you should be angry. It doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on (unless you, yourself, are an actual Nazi as well, in which case you are the problem being discussed here and need to leave before somethin’ bad happen to you.), this affects you.

Punch Nazi

This bullshit travel ban thing? Yeah. That applies to me, to my overseas friends wanting to visit, to anyone and everyone living here or who wants to leave here.

No, this is not alarmist rhetoric, and no, it will not all work out in the end. As I said in one of my previous posts, I am on the list of undesirables. I am broken, mouthy, and intelligent, and these are all things the current administration wants to be rid of. Next up, they’ll be getting rid of the internet and other social media, because those are tools used to fact-check, scrutinize, call bullshit on, and organize the resistance.

If you think this doesn’t affect you, you are wrong. Even if you live in some remote area, or another country, you are wrong. I could provide you link after link of stories around the world showing how this shit-show is affecting everyone, but I’m not your fucking mother and you can find out this shit for yourself if you bother to look.

If you can bear to look.

SPN Dean hands a tissue

The UK is protesting Orange Fuckwit’s planned visit and petitioning Parliament to refuse him a state visit with the Queen. China is gearing up to nuke us (also, we owe them a shit-ton of money, and they could call in their loans any second and we’d be shit out of luck, because who do you think is going to pay for that?). Canada just had a shooting at one of their mosques by some fucking ignorant white supremacists asshole (IN CANADA! CANADIAN!) who is a supporter of Douchnozzle McTinyhands of the Towers.

alien-chestburster-scene_o_GIFSoup.com_

As I said, I could go on, but you don’t need me telling you which way the wind is blowing. I’m posting this now because there’s a better-than-average chance I won’t be able to before the year is out. These are dark times. This isn’t a game or a joke or one of my stories. This is real life, which is stranger than any fiction.

My household and those of my extended family on both sides runs almost entirely on money from the government. We are military, and former military, and retired military. We are public servants and disabled veterans. Someone you know besides me depends on their Medicare, Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, and other programs put in place to support those in need. Those who have served.

This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats. This is about the humane versus the inhumane.

Now you all know me. I don’t have a lot of respect for humanity as a species, but injustice and bullying and cruelty don’t fly with me. The current administration is nothing but a bunch of outright liars, thieves, con artists and bullies. I will fight them with everything I have, which granted isn’t all that much these days. I’m little and broken and will still fight. And I will win.

Misha SPN Fuck You

Fight with me.

Do not be silent. Do not cower in your homes, hoping the coming storm spares you (hint: it won’t). This is happening. You want it on your feet, or on your fuckin’ knees?

Is it all too much for you? Here. Read this, take a breath, make a cup of tea, watch an episode of your favorite show, get back to the fight. Everyone needs a cookie now and then.

Cats laser pong

But get back to the fight. Here, I wrote something to help you all clarify things.

My personal holy book says the world will end in fire. While I’m not convinced this Tangerine Menace is the Beast, I have to admit the description is fairly accurate. After all, even the experts are breaking with tradition and calling him out on his absolute fuckwittery.

Someone needs to remind this little fascist wannabe dictator that he and his fucking cronies are (TEMPORARY!) public servants and work for us. WE pay their salary, and we will not let our country (OUR PLANET) be stripped of fucking everything so he can live in his gold-plated tower and look down on us like some bad 70s dystopian movie.

So that’s all for now. I’m still alive. However, that may change in the coming few weeks, especially if I can’t get my medication thanks to Douchenozzle’s next idea pulling assistance from veterans. I could (and very likely will, but I hope not) lose my home as well because we won’t be able to make the mortgage if he pulls their pay for whatever fuckwit reason he comes up with to “keep Americans safe.” (WE ARE NOT PAYING FOR YOUR FUCKING WALL, ASSHOLE!)

burning car

RESIST, MOTHERFUCKERS!

P.S. Yes, I’m still writing. It’s amazing, but I am. So there’s that. I will write until I die. You want more stories, it’s in your best interest to fight with me and make sure I stay alive. Just sayin’.

(Comments closed because I don’t want to engage in a debate. There’s nothing to debate. Your arguments are fucking invalid and RUSSIA STOLE OUR ELECTION IN ORDER TO BRING ABOUT THIS NIGHTMARE. FUCK YOU!)