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.

New Year, New Shiny Things!

I know, it’s been a bit since I’ve posted here. I’ve been busy, all right? Nothing terribly exciting…just mostly things offline. Well, and a few things online, like the

SHINY NEW DIGS FOR THE EVIL LEAGUE OF EVIL WRITERS!

ELEW_logo

Man, they’re awesome! It’s been a trick, getting things sorted over the ELEW’s annual holiday hiatus. We had to extend our launch by another week to get all the ducks in a row, but that’s over and done now, and look at all the shiny!

My co-founder, Bitchstress Dreamkiller Skyla Dawn Cameron is a graphics designer and website-sorting master. She made all the shiny happen. I just poked at some stuff and made it give me the webspace.

So yeah, the ELEW is still a thing and I’m still posting there every other Monday. Go see the new place! We’ve got all sorts of bits and bobs there now for your writing motivational and eviltry needs. We just launched this week, so the blog part of the site is a little sparse on content, but there’s a link to the archives for older posts. Also, it’s not as shiny as we’re planning, so new things will get added as we go along, but for the most part it’s there and done.

And it’s SO PRETTY!

My launch post for the new site is here if you’re interested in the read.

Hope you all had an awesome Sithmas (I did! Darth Claus brought me MINK YARN! MINK!) and that 2015 isn’t being rude to you.

I’ll Have A Beige Sithmas

No, really. I will. It’s…it’s beige, Jim. See?

Beige-Sithmas-Full

Of COURSE I have the One Ring on my tree as a Sithmas ornament! What did you expect?

Of COURSE I have the One Ring on my tree as a Sithmas ornament! What did you expect?

It’s okay. Just. I’ll be all right. I think. I hope. I mean…it’s still my Sithmas tree, only now the walls behind it are beige instead of red because of the De-Gothening. Hopefully by this time next year, we will have a new house in which the walls will NOT be beige. But it is not this day.

Still. I can manage. I can cope. OHMYGODIT’SBEIGEIT’SFUCKINGBEIGEICAN’T-

*ahem* I’m fine. Really. I have bigger problems to deal with than a beige Sithmas. I mean, my cat put me in the ER. I’m not kidding! Look!

Inch-long laceration on my forehead.

Inch-long laceration on my forehead.


Another about an inch long on my ear.

Another about an inch long on my ear.

It was this guy, right here: tman

I mean, his name is literally “Trouble,” so I shouldn’t be surprised in the least. How did this happen? Well, I’ll tell you.

I don’t know.

I was asleep then I heard a crash and he landed on my head and tore out of the room like demons were on his ass. I sat up and switched on the lamp, both instantly awake and aware of my ear hurting. He Who Enables My Crazy was instantly awake at the noise as well.

Him: What was that?! *looks around for broken things*
Me: Trouble, I think…fell or jumped off the headboard onto my head! I think he got my ear. *turns head to the side to show hubby*
Him: Oh, God. He sure did.
Me: *feels something wet dripping down my nose and turns to face hubby* Did he-
Hubby: JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! *grabs tissue and presses it to my forehead* Into the bathroom, now!

Seconds later we determined that an ER trip was necessary. Facial lacerations bleed like hell, but this was a deep one more than an inch long, and those need medical treatment. We managed to get the bleeding stopped rather quickly, but the wounds needed to be cleaned with more than we had on hand and possibly glued. Stitches and faces don’t really go well together, but there were other things that could be done to repair the damage. Plus my ear was torn all to hell as well, plus this was done by an animal. Cats – even indoor-only housecats whose shots are kept current like mine – harbor nasty bacteria in their claws and teeth, and we all know Dr. Dina believes in tetanus shots. Mine was technically all right as it was updated within the last 10 years, but the medical community likes it to be done every five years, so it was time to get that done as well.

So, off to the ER we went.

They took me back and cleaned my wounds with a strong antiseptic solution. They gave me a tetanus/diptheria/pertussis booster (TDaP) and set about cleaning the wounds. The ear was the most painful because it’s cartilage and there’s not a whole lot they can do for it besides clean it really, really well. Cleaning the wound meant removing the scab that had formed when we got the bleeding stopped, and that meant it bled more, which meant it had to be stopped again, and direct pressure is the best way to get bleeding to stop for most lacerations.

And by “direct pressure” I mean that the gorgeous male nurse wasn’t enough to distract me from the OH MY GOD THIS FUCKING HURTS death-grip pinch he had my ear in. Don’t worry – numbness sets in after a few minutes and so you don’t feel anything until they move or release it to check the bleeding has stopped and OH MY GOD HE’S DOING IT AGAIN FUCK FUCK OW–

Eventually the ear was sorted out and he moved onto the forehead. Compared to the ear, this was nothing. Much wetter, but I had a towel to catch the drips. I couldn’t appreciate the male nurse while he cleaned my forehead, because the solution and my eyes (which we discovered when I closed them that the left one had the tiniest nick right along the lash line – he cleaned that too). When he had everything good and clean, the doctor came in to see about how to treat it, and agreed with Pretty Male Nurse’s treatment plan of using Steri-strips to hold the edges of the forehead lac in place. You really don’t want to sew the face if you can possibly avoid it, because scarring, and cat scratches have a terrible tendency to get infected. If that happens, you have to take the stitches back out to deal with the infection, la la la…it was just easier to leave it to heal on its own, with the adhesive strips to give it a little more stability while it did that. My wound had cleaned up really well and the edges had good approximation, and less is really more when it comes to wound care. First do no harm and all that. The less you can do to disturb the wound, the better it will heal. Even cleaning too often or with the wrong solution can slow healing down. I know, it sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s true.

So a little more cleaning, a little more tidying, some adhesive glue and a few strips later, and I was good to go. They gave me a prescription for some extra-strength antibiotics and sent me on my way to heal on my own. Pretty Male Nurse said to leave the strips on for five days, and this happened on Tuesday, so I’ll be staying in the house until Monday next week. I really don’t want to go out looking like this:

War-Wounds-Healed-1
War-Wounds-Healed-2

Oh, and the best part is…I’m going to scar! That’s right! Yours truly is going to have a Mark of Badassery right between her eyes (and on my ear, but that one shouldn’t be all that visible). I scar very, very easily (hi, extremely pale skin), so it will be interesting to see what this one will end up looking like.

You know, I’m all for permanent literary marks on the skin. My tattoos are proof of that. However, while I am a fan of Harry Potter, I really didn’t need a scar on my forehead to attest to that.

Guess I’ll be knitting that Slytherin House Scarf sooner than I planned.

Pretty Male Nurse advised me to stay out of the sun, as it will make the scar show up more clearly.

Me: Yeah, not really a sun person. I’ve got no problem staying out of the light.

Out of the light! Brilliant!

*turns off lights in the living room*

Ahh! There we go! Sithmas proper!

Beige-Sithmas-1

Wow. The beige reflects the red lights really well.

And of course, the Darth Vader topper for the Sithmas tree:
Beige-Sithmas-Topper

There. Much better. And I have official advisement to keep out of the sun. Thank you, Pretty Male Nurse! You’re so going in a book someday!

And now it’s time to take my antibiotic.

The Holiday Card Post 2014

(I’m totally recycling this holiday post. Like I do with the decorations!)

SITHMAS IS COMING! SITHMAS IS COMING!

Dina's Sithmas Tree

My Sithmas Tree. It’s a black tree with red lights and a Darth Vader nightlight for a topper.

Okay, yes…I’m one of those people who started humming Christmas songs back in October. I know, I know. But I really love the holidays. Halloween used to be my favorite holiday until I came out of my Goth closet and could dress how I wanted to every day of the year and not care about being seen as a freak (for the record, I was 25), but now Christmas is my favorite.

Thanksgiving, however, is not to be overlooked. I mean, a foodie like me ignore a holiday that’s all about FOOD? PIE? LOTS AND LOTS OF PIE?! (Not to mention leftover pie!)

Anyway, what was I writing about? I mean, before my stomach started doing the writing? Oh, yeah! The holiday spirit!

Here’s the deal: I’m making my holiday card list, and lo and behold, I’m actually managing to do this in a timely manner for once in the last *mumblemumble* years! (I blame all the DeGothening I had to endure this year.) Hopefully by the time I get the list done and cards mailed, I’ll be right on time!

In order to make sure of that, I’m setting a deadline for you all.

If you want to be on my holiday card list, post a comment on this entry (on my website, not the mirrors) by Wednesday, December 3rd with your snail mail addy (don’t worry, these will be screened!) or e-mail dina [at] dinajames [dot] com with it and I’ll send you a holiday card. International is okay!

If you got a card from me last year, you’re likely still on my list, but if you’ve moved, don’t want one this year, or otherwise changed your address, let me know! I keep the list for subsequent use year to year (like this post!), but I realize people move about and change names and such.

If you’re feeling in the holiday spirit yourself and would like to return the favor, here’s my address:

Dina James
5 N Hwy 101 #360
Warrenton, OR 97146
USA

Bite Me: A Stranger Things Story (Free)

As promised, one man-wolf (not wolf-man), free for your viewing pleasure.

It’s hard not to be resentful when someone comes along and takes everything over, and Billy has had enough. Just because someone saved your life doesn’t mean they own it.

Set between Time Heals and the unpublished Death Knell, this story focuses on Billy the man-wolf (not wolf-man) and his uneasy relationship with Noth, the young hellhound with whom he must now share all that’s dear to him.

BiteMeST

Bite Me: A Stranger Things Story
(Note: This story is only available in PDF format for the foreseeable future. If you would like another format, I’m sorry. You’ll have to make do.)

Here is the promised story I wrote for the Dina Wants A Shiny Thing “fundraiser.” I put “fundraiser” in quotation marks because this isn’t really about raising funds. Raising funds is a side effect of this story. Why a side effect?

Because it’s completely up to you to toss some pennies my way for this story.

This story is for you. Absolutely and totally free. Go on. Open it. Download it. Save a copy to your hard drive for your reading pleasure. All I ask is that you not upload it to pirate sites/torrent it. Why not? Because pirates are assholes and THIS IS ALREADY HERE FOR FREE. Also, you can’t upload the “donate” button to a torrent site, and it’s right here on this page with the story for everyone to see. Pirates don’t pay for things. Because they’re pirates. You get it. However, if you want to sacrifice your daily latte to the Shiny Thing fund today, I’d be appreciative.

Now, I’m not going to suggest an amount – I’m going to leave that up to you. I would remind you that the average price of an entire paperback novel is somewhere around $8.00US while a hardcover runs about $25.00US, and this is a short story. This is maybe a tenth of a novel here. When I talk about donating pennies, that’s exactly what I mean. However, your pennies are exactly that – yours. I’m not going to tell you how to spend them.

Here’s the button to do that:

Now, what’s the shiny thing I want? This. I want this:

Image by Design Toscano

Image by Design Toscano

You expected it to be yarn, didn’t you? I can understand that. Tell you what. If this little story makes enough, I’ll get the statue AND some yarn. Hell, I may go wild and buy yarn AND tea with my newfound riches. You never know what no-goodness I’ll get up to with cash in hand.

But I don’t expect something for nothing, so here’s your story. If you want to read it before you dig through the couch cushions for loose change (no old M&Ms, please – they are not accepted currency in my country. Don’t ask how I know this.), go right ahead. This story is free to everyone. Should you decide at some point that you wish to fund the Shiny Thing, click on the “donate” button you see up there and put a few coins in my tip jar. And hey, if you can’t or don’t want to fund the shiny, that’s cool. The story is there for you to read for free.

When the shiny thing comes, I will remove the donate link and print out every donor’s name on a sticker and affix it to the bottom of the statue, so that I will always remember those who made it possible. It will rest in a place of honor by my desk and inspire me to write more.

Thank you all in advance for your pennies. I very much appreciate each and every one of you.

Something Shiny This Way Comes

So, remember this post from last year where I talk about how Dina Wants A Shiny Thing and I did a poll to see if there was any interest in a Billy short?

Yeah, that.

Well, stuff and things happened, and the short got pushed to the side, and more stuff and things happened, and now, well….

Let’s just say Something Shiny is on the way. I don’t have an exact date yet, but it shouldn’t be long now!

Why am I posting this here?

Because I feed on your sweet, sweet torment, that’s why!

The De-Gothening – Kill Shot

It is done.

The de-Gothening is complete. There are no more rooms in my house left to makeover to the mundane. We’re planning a house-mourning party to bid the Gothdom farewell.

Warning – this post is very long and picture heavy.

The last three rooms are featured in this post, because we did one right after the other. Continue reading

Good With Ketchup

We interrupt the de-Gothening posts to bring you a special bulletin….

I want to give a disclaimer/warning here: this post is going to talk about abuse and other graphic things. There will be language and other disturbing imagery, so if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, this post isn’t for you. Go read a webcomic or watch cute kitten videos on YouTube. This post is also going to talk about self-publishing, so if you have Strong Opinions on the subject, might want to skip it. This is your only warning. Continue reading

The De-Gothening Part Sept

THE END IS NIGH!

No, really, it is. At least, I hope it is. I’m pretty sure it is. We’ll see. Anyway, here’s the story so far:

Part Un
Part Deux
Part Trois
Part Quatre
Part Cinq
and Part Six (Same in English and French)

You can also click on the “adventures in remodeling” tag to see the collection of horrors on the same page. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s why I label these posts in French.

This week’s adventure is my office!

Remember once upon a time I told you that the office was previously wallpapered and its removal had revealed a terrifying shade of yellow? Yeah. Here you go:
Office-Before

The floor in here was carpeted when we first moved in, and the people who lived here before didn’t bother putting down dropcloths when they painted (as they were going to carpet), so it’s covered in old paint splatter.

My friend S. and I spent days removing the wallpaper earlier this spring, and despite our best efforts, there was still a lot of glue and other nastiness on the walls in here, so before I could paint, the walls needed another good scraping/scrubbing. That took an entire evening in itself to finish. Next up, the taping around the windowsills and so on (you can see that in the pic above). Removal of the outlet covers, and onto the first cover-up coat.

We were a little short on paint here for this. I had an entire gallon of Glidden Ultra-Hide white, which the ceiling, trim, and baseboards stay, but there was a little accident with the paint can and a great deal of paint ended up being taken from the dropcloth instead of the can. Fortunately we had just enough to cover the ceiling and trim for the first coat. I ended up going to Home Depot for more paint and tape the following morning. You can see the results and the fact that it’s now nightfall here:
Office-Cut-In-Taped

After this, it was still technically early, and we had enough beige paint for at least two coats, which – this room being lighter than the others we’ve previously painted – we thought should be plenty for this room. So, we got to work on the first coat and called it for the evening.

The next day while I went to Home Depot to pick up more paint, He Who Enables My Crazy knocked out the second coat of Fucking Beige (hereafter abbreviated “FBOMGIC” – pronounced “effbombgick” for “Fucking Beige OMG I Can’t”). I forgot to take a picture of the first coat before I left, so here’s one of what it looked like after he finished the second coat:
Office-Second-Beige-Coat

We let his second coat dry for an hour or so, then I went back in, taped off the windows so I wouldn’t ruin his new paint around the trim, opened the new can of white I picked up and got to work on the second coat around the windows. I let that dry the rest of the day, then later that evening pulled all the tape off and that was that. The office was complete:
Office-After

For those following along at home, the completion of the office brings the upstairs to 90% complete.
Office-Checked-Off
All that’s left is our bedroom and the Last Remaining Bastion of Gothdom in the hallway. I NEED THAT BASTION. It’s my only sanity in this Mundane Makeover.

I will say, though, that the beige in here – though not a color I would ever choose to live with – is vastly more endurable than the terrifying shade of yellow this room used to be. That yellow was so garish, the FBOMGIC is almost bearable.

Almost.

What’s next? Well, it’s going to be a busy couple weeks. Lots going on. Shout-out here to Awesome Friend R. for her help in organizing the chaos in the garage. I’d have no idea what to do with that giant mess if it weren’t for her expertise in the realm of re-homing items, and I am grateful she made the time to come and sort things out with me.

As you can see from the schematic, the Cat Room/Library is nearly complete. There’s just a few totes to go through and some cleaning to do down there before we can prep it to be painted. We also repainted the stairwell FBOMGIC because reasons, and I’ll give you pics of that later. The utility room is done and now serves as something of a staging area for Things To Go To The Storage Unit. The workshop is coming along at a nice clip, too, so I can now see light at the end of the de-Gothening tunnel.
Floor-Plan-Downstairs-Perce

Oh, I promised you photos of the twenty-plus totes of books I’ve taken to the storage unit. I kept forgetting, but the last time we took a load over, I snapped one. Here you go:
Books-In-Storage

Now, not all of those totes are full of books. (And there are some totes not pictured.) The majority of them are, and there are still a few downstairs to take over. We’re still working down there, and sorting out the “keep” books versus the “Powell’s tote” versus the “donation” ones, so I have no doubt that once we’re finished (soon, now), there will be more to go over. I’m guessing by the time we’re done, there will be at least thirty totes full of books over in the storage unit. DON’T JUDGE ME. WE LOVE OUR BOOKS. WE’VE GOTTEN RID OF SOME. (SOME!) We’re also going to keep some books here because reasons.

So that’s all I have for you right now on the de-Gothening front. I am so sick of boxes and totes and papers and everything that’s accumulated in this house the last *mumblemumble* years. I’m angry at myself for letting it get this bad. I’m trying hard not to slip into a malaise of mundane, but every room that joins the Mundane Makeover pierces my dark and evil soul. Fortunately my friends and family are keeping me sane with movies and Vaders and tea and chocolate (thank you, D.!) and pretty Goth things, like these awesome handmade tiaras made by my friend Valtinen. He’s taking commissions, too, so if you’ve got a wedding coming up or anything else (Halloween is around the corner, so if you need anything cool like this for your costume or just everyday wear, get your order in now!), drop him a line. His prices are excellent and the workmanship brilliant. Go. Give him money. Get something beautiful. If flowered tiaras aren’t your thing, he has other awesome stuff for sale. If you have an idea in mind for something Gothy you want and you don’t see it, mail him!

It’s almost over. I keep telling myself that – it’s almost over. I’m planning to list the house in a couple weeks, and we’ll see what happens then. I’m really proud of all we’ve done over the summer, and I’m actually really glad that the things we put in totes and boxes to “go through later” are being dealt with, but holy hell am I tired of it.

But every time I want to quit, the neighbor’s little yappy rat-dog starts barking, or the neighborhood hellions scream by on their skateboards and motorcycles, or I hear someone setting off illegal fireworks and scaring my animals, or sirens start blaring, or some idiot cruises down the street with their bass turned up so loud it rattles my windows and deregulates my heart rhythm, and I want to go get another paintbrush and start on something else. Because every room finished brings me one step closer to getting the fuck out of this place, and that’s what all this is about.

Soon, now.