Alphabet Stew (‘Cause Soup Ain’t Gonna Cut It)

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! WE HAVE OUR WINNER! Congratulations to Johanna Harness! She was the first to guess correctly with QUIT, CAMP, and GOLD. Thank you all for playing. This rocked. We’ll play again in a month or so!

Clarification/Disclaimer: It’s well-known I hate people. I like individuals, not people. I’m anti-social and possibly something that ends in “-pathic.” This should not surprise you.

Still here?

Carry on. There are things to win!

Today, I am INAMOOD. Today, I am homicidal. Today I want to sit and knit and play World of Warcraft (I’m in DEEPHOLM, DAMN IT!) and drink tea and NOT do anything on my very long to-do list. (This may be partially why I’m INAMOOD – I have to go out and deal with people, and I’ve had enough of them today reading the news. I should not read the news.)

So! In order to combat my annoyance with the race that claims to be human (I’m still looking for the “humanity” part), I offer you awesome individuals a fun little something.

I was messing about downstairs and came across my signing tote. This is a large plastic bin that I keep my signing/appearance/swag in, and upon looking inside it, I saw that I have a signed copy of The Eternal Kiss YA anthology left in there. Now, the story I have in it, “All Wounds,” has become a novel and will be out from Mundania Press in October, so I feel kind of bad offering it for sale at signings and stuff when the full version is so close to being available (even though you should totally buy it for the other authors that are in it with me!).

This is good news for you! Why? Because you can have it. All you have to do is solve a little puzzle.

You can do that, right? I mean, it’s a word puzzle (hey, I’m a writer – what did you expect?). If you’re a fan of Scrabble, Boggle, Lexulous, or Babble, this should be cake for you. CAKE I SAY! Cupcakes, if that’s your thing.

Remember these?

Alphabet Magnets

Come on. You remember them.

I have a set of alphabet magnets on my fridge. Well, I did, until the cats stole 9 of the 26 letters. They’re probably under the fridge or the stove or something. Who knows where they are. I bought the magnets and kept them on the lower half of the fridge for my Gothdaughter to play with when she was little. Also, we have a thing for magnets (don’t ask – it’s something my husband started), so…yeah. They’re still here.

Now, of the 17 letters left on the fridge, I have made 3 words of four letters.

Your job? Tell me what those words are.

I’ll give you the letters you can use, and the letters that are missing. The first person to tell me via a comment on this post all three of those words wins the signed copy of The Eternal Kiss. (Also, anyone who has won things from me before knows I always throw random fun things in my prize parcels, so yay!)

Disclaimers: Now, you can’t play this game if your state/country/whatever prohibits such, but this contest is open to all, wherever you may live. I’ll ship anywhere. Also,
you can’t play this game if you’ve been to my house/seen my fridge
. (You know who you are!) I was going to be evil and say that you can’t play if you’ve already won something from me, but what fun is that? Enter away! If you win, you win.

Here are the letters still on my fridge:


Out of those 17 letters, you need to tell me which 3 words (four letters each) are on my fridge. As these are magnets, you’ll use each letter only once. (See? I’m making this SO easy!)

To make it even easier, here are the letters that the cats have misappropriated:
E F H K N S V W Y <--Not to be used! Easier still, I'll tell you that once you've made 3 four letter words, you'll have 5 letters left over from those available. Got all that? Here's a quick rundown: 1. Tell me the 3 four-letter words on my fridge made up of the letters available. 2. Comment on this entry with those 3 words. 3. The first person to tell me ALL THREE words correctly wins a signed copy of The Eternal Kiss anthology. If you all like this game, I might make it a regular thing. "Regular" being subjective. I'm already planning a giveaway thingy for the October release of All Wounds, then I'll probably do something fun for January's release of the Destrati anthology. Ready to play? No deadline for this. The game starts as soon as you read this post and ends when someone gives me the correct 3 words. Annnnnd, GO!

Dina Leaves The Lair. In Broad Daylight. On Purpose.

I know, I know. I’m shocked too. Don’t faint. I know it’s a rare occasion. I usually hide between the spring and autumn equinoxes, not only from the daylight, but from tourists and kids out of school for the summer. I emerge sometime after Labor Day and celebrate the return to normalcy.

But! I don’t pick the times or dates for certain things, and if there’s something I want to go to scheduled in the middle of summer, well…I have to leave the lair. One of those things is a writing seminar scheduled for this weekend (June 3-5) that I’ll be attending. It’s James Scott Bell’s Selling Your Novel and Screenplay Intensive Seminar in Sherman Oaks, CA.

While this doesn’t technically count as “an appearance” as I’m there for the seminar and not to sign books*, I plan to have a drink or two at the hotel bar in the evenings if you want to come say hi! I’ll warn you all now – I have dinner plans both Friday and Saturday evening, so I’m not sure when I’ll be at the bar. Watch my Twitter for when I’ll be there. I’m a night person, and so it will probably be late. Like toward closing time. Unless I stay out late at dinner partying or something. Hey, I’m a writer. Things could happen.

I’m not taking my laptop, so I won’t be checking email or Facebook or anything. Please hold all catastrophes and end of the world events until Monday, June 6. I don’t have one of those fancy phones or an i-Thingy that lets me do all that stuff, either. I have a cell that sends text messages to Twitter, but I can’t read Twitter on it. So there you have it. I will be…*gasp*…out of touch!

So there you have it. I’ll be gone this weekend. Plan accordingly and have the mess cleaned up by the time I get home. I’m outtie. I solemnly swear I am up to no good. There will be witnesses. Hopefully there will not be news coverage or jail time.

(*Though I won’t be offended if you bring books you want me to sign when I’m not “in class.”)

Con Artist -or- Surly Writer’s Con

It’s amazing what random things inspire a writer. This morning it was a hashtag on Twitter about yet another convention I’ve never heard about, and it made me scowl. I mean… Continue reading


(Today’s post is cross-posted from the Evil League of Evil Writers blog. You all do know I’m a member of the ELEW, right?)

My turn to continue our two-week theme of self-care tips for writers. No, I’m not going to talk about being sedentary or not killing the person in the house playing a musical instrument while you’re trying to solve a plot issue.

I want to talk about eyeballs. Continue reading

New Book Annoucement!

News, I has it.

Yeah, I was supposed to write this post before April 29, when I had a guest interview at the lovely Sarah-Jane Lehoux’s blog (thanks again for the fun, SJ!) that announced a new shiny thing, but I got busy with things and before I knew it, it was April 29! I was industrious and got the interview done early, but um…kind-of neglected to post to my own blog about it.

What am I talking about? Here…I’ll excerpt the part of the interview that I was supposed to blog about.

… “Light in a Dark World: Legends of the Destrati.” It’s a collection of my short stories focusing on the vampire clan Destrati. Clan Destrati is unique in that the whole of its members have turned away from the one they traded their soul to in order to gain immortality. Destrati feel that the parasitical cost of their existence is too high, and have sworn to redeem themselves in the hope that the soul they traded for immortality might find salvation. Destrati work to keep others from being coerced into trading their own souls, alone or with the guidance of others. These are their stories. Coming from Mundania Press, January 2012.

Yeah. Um…Dina!fail on the announcement there. Time just got away from me. I still need to update the website and send a newsletter and and and….

But! It’s announced now! Here, as penance for my tardiness, I’ll give you a little more detail about this upcoming project.

Light in a Dark World: Legends of the Destrati will be Kyle-centric, but will also feature others associated with Clan Destrati. There will be five or six short stories (this still hasn’t been decided yet – it will depend on my verbosity and the wordcount I end up with) set in various parts of the Destrati world, told from various points of view.

I’ll give you all more specifics as they develop. I know January seems far away, but in the writing world it really isn’t. A lot has to happen between then and now, and I have other projects I’m working on as well.

I love it.

What Makes A Writer Evil?

I was going to post this on Monday, but I completely forgot about the crossposting thing I was going to do.

What am I talking about?

Well, a couple weeks ago I announced the launch of the Evil League of Evil Writers website, of which I’m a member. Monday saw my first blog post. I’ll be posting there every two weeks and crossposting those entries here – in theory; we’ve already seen how well I remembered to do that!

Anyway, better late than never, so here you are. Warning: Language and no sympathy. (Hi, Mom!)

Monday’s blog post, crossposted to the ELEW. Continue reading



This rant, as those of you who follow me on Twitter may know, has been simmering on the back burner for awhile. Well, today it boiled over and that means…you guessed it!

The Dina Rant is ready!

Today’s rant is brought to you by self-publishing, “indie” writers and viewers like you.

This is a rant. You have been warned. There will be language and screaming, with a chance of blood, guts and gore. (Hi, Mom!)

Still here? Okay. At your peril. Warning: Length. Possible TL;DR. Continue reading

Evil, Evil, and a Book Giveaway!

No, this is not an April Fools’ Day joke. It just happens to be April 1, and with today comes the launch of the website that Skyla Dawn Cameron and I have been plotting for quite some time. Special thanks to Skye Forbes for the domain names.

What am I talking about, you ask?

The Evil League of Evil Writers.

We went live today with our first evil interview with our Bad Horse – our Patron of Evil – Lilith Saintcrow.

We’re also giving away one of her books to a lucky commenter. Be sure and include the words “Lili is Evil” in your comment for a chance to win one of Lili’s awesome books.

So, go! Go! Don’t stand around here listening to me! Go visit us!

It’s a good day to be evil!

Wait…that’s every day.

I’m Blogging This

It’s interesting (and dangerous, really) to not only be friends with (or married to) a writer, but to go out anywhere with them.

Writers are reclusive by nature, so when we leave our hidey-holes…yeah.

So I was out tonight (don’t faint) with a friend (I have them!) and we went to one of my favorite local restaurants. I do so love this place.

Tonight…well…a lot of things happened tonight that just….

Yeah. Continue reading

The Last Gasp of Winter -or – Curl Up With A Book Giveaway


Raise your hand if you’re tired of winter! (Or in the case of our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, tired of summer!)

Well, you’re in luck. Here it is, the time of year when the seasons (no matter what hemisphere you’re in) change. For us above the equator, the days are getting longer, the nights are getting shorter, and the temperatures are getting warmer.

For you all below the equator, the opposite is happening.

Now, me? Come on. You all know me. I mean, I live for autumn! I’m a freakin’ icon when it comes to wrapping up in blankies, sipping hot tea, warm fires, darkness for the majority of the time…that’s BLISS for me, people. BLISS, I SAY!

This time of year…this last gasp of winter…I mourn. The change of seasons means I’m going to have to hide from the daystar, slather my fair skin in sunscreen, find my big floppy hat…TOURISTS. *shudder*

It’s inevitable, I suppose. So…what will Dina do with more light and less cold? Well, besides making iced tea. That’s a given.

If winter’s going out, it’s going to go out in style. I’m going to give people one last hurrah with the season. I’m going to give my beloved blankie weather a good and proper send-off.

Welcome to the Last Gasp of Winter Blog or Curl Up With A Book Giveaway.

Today is Daylight Savings here in the US. Other parts of the world set their clocks back later or have already done so. Some states here don’t bother, but my state does, so last night we set our clocks ahead an hour to take advantage of more daylight. This, of course, means that my cats waking me up at dawn will actually be somewhat more correct with their timing. The ass-crack of dawn is NOT breakfast-time. As of today, however, it very nearly will be. *hiss*

This giveaway starts today, Sunday, March 13 in celebration of Daylight Savings Time (you should have already done so, but if you haven’t, set your clocks ahead an hour, for those participating states/countries) and goes through Sunday, March 20th (the Spring Equinox here, the Autumn Equinox to those below the equator, Ostara to those who celebrate it).

Here’s the deal:

In order to celebrate (or in my case, properly mourn) the change of seasons, I’m going to be having a fun little giveaway.

The first prize is just what this giveaway is about. Books, blankies and tea.

1st Prize includes:
TWO books, signed by me – The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance featuring my short story “Once a Demon” and The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2: Love Bites featuring my short story “Deliver Us From Evil”
A specially-procured box of a tea much-beloved by Dina
A big red mug and
A red fleece throw

The second prize is almost as nice as the first, only with it you have take your own book with you and get your own tea.

2nd Prize includes:
A special blue mug (you’ll see why it’s special if you win this prize)
A green fleece blankie and
A $15 gift card to that one place I won’t name but is everywhere, where you should buy TEA, not their horrid coffee

With the third prize, you pretty much have to make your own fun; you’ll make your own “tea” and write your own book. You’ll have to brew the tea-like beverage in your own cup too, but least you’ll be warm and the house will smell nice. Or the basement. Or the drafty attic. Or wherever you’re writing.

3rd Prize includes:
A depressing grey blankie
A pretty scented candle
Some writer’s supplies and
A Lipton knockoff that doesn’t even count as actual tea but is in theory better than not having any tea at all. (This is, however, just a theory and is best left unproven, IMHO.)

Plus those who have been lucky enough in the past to win stuff from the infrequent contesty things I have know I always throw in surprises, and fun random swag in your prize packages.

Never know what kind of evil I get up to with these things! Now for some basics:

This giveaway is open to all. (Parents, this means that you’re responsible for what your child is doing online, not me. If they win the books and you get upset that there’s sex and blood in them, that’s on you, not me!) Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere…if the Random Number Generator tells me that you’re the winner (because I’m letting that impartial bad boy make the decision for me on this one) and you’re in New Guinea, I’ll send you your prize parcel. My giveaway, my postage. I can send to wherever I choose to, and I’m not being exclusionary here.

So, what do you have to do enter this giveaway?

I’m going to make it hard on you. You may have to copy and paste.

There are four ways to enter this giveaway.

1 & 2 – You can enter by commenting this blog entry (here on the website or over on the mirror at Livejournal) with the words “Hey Dina, I’ve read the rules. Enter me in your Last Gasp of Winter giveaway” somewhere in the post. You can mix them up, insert your own creatively between them or just copy/paste the words between the quotes. Whatever. All I ask is that you leave the comment with those words and a way for me to get in touch with you.

– OR-

3 – You can enter by going to my Facebook fan page, hitting “like” AND leaving the comment “Hey Dina, I’ve read the rules. Enter me in your Last Gasp of Winter giveaway” on my wall. It MUST be on my fan page and there MUST be a like AND a comment. NOT my personal page where I have to friend you. Entries left on my personal page will be null and void. (That means they won’t count.) Look, I’ve even linked you above so you’ll have the right page. (I’m not saying you’re not welcome to friend my personal page if you want to bother finding it and sending me a friend request with “I’m not a psycho stalker” in the personal message box. It’s just that those won’t count toward this giveaway.)

– OR –

4 – You can enter by going over to Twitter and sending an @ reply to me with “@dinajames Hey Dina, I’ve read the rules. Enter me in your Last Gasp of Winter giveaway.”

Now for some rules/disclaimers:

1) I’m not going to hunt you down to give you your prize if you win. You want to enter, you leave me your e-mail or username or something so I can contact you, and respond if I do. If you win a prize, you’ll have one week to get me your contact information via my e-mail [dina {at} dinajames {dot} com] once I announce the winners on Monday, March 21. If I don’t hear from you in a week, the prize will go to the next winner on the list. If you leave me your e-mail in the comments or somewhere public, please type it out like I did above so that your e-mail address isn’t skimmed by a spammer bot. I hate spammers and don’t want them getting your stuff/crashing my party.

2) One entry per person. You can’t enter four different times by going to all four places and leaving comments to enter.

Got all that?

So that’s the giveaway!

Here’s the short and sweet for those who like it that way/may want to repost wherever:

What: Dina’s Last Gasp of Winter Blog or Curl Up With A Book Giveaway

When: Sunday, March 13 – Sunday, March 20

What’s Up For Grabs

1st Prize: Dina’s good tea, red mug, red throw, two signed books – MBOPR, MBOVR2
2nd: blue mug, green blankie, coffee card
3rd: grey blankie, candle, Lipton knockoff, writer’s supplies

Possibly surprises and maybe random swag in the prize parcels upon sending. I make nice parcels. I am also modest.

How To Enter:

Do ONE of the following

– Comment on this blog entry, here on the website or at the mirror on Livejournal with the words, “Hey Dina, I’ve read the rules. Enter me in your Last Gasp of Winter giveaway.”

– “Like” my fanpage over on Facebook AND comment on the wall with “Hey Dina, I’ve read the rules. Enter me in your Last Gasp of Winter giveaway.”

– @reply me on Twitter with “@dinajames “Hey Dina, I’ve read the rules. Enter me in your Last Gasp of Winter giveaway.”

When The Winners Will Be Announced: Monday, March 21.