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

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 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

The Year of Eviltry

It’s been 2013 for almost a month now. There have been resolutions made and already broken (not necessarily by me, but you know who you are), some kept, some still going strong. I have dubbed 2013 the Year of Eviltry for various reasons, not the least of which is that it has “13” in it.

There’s a lot of year left ahead of us and while randomly talking with the man who enables my crazy (AKA “my husband”) about all the random things we have to celebrate this year (and the representative costs thereof), we decided to combine them all into one big celebration extravaganza at the end of the year.

We were over in the United Kingdom visiting family in 2007. We’ve long planned to go back, but it seems like every year something or other comes up and we just can’t manage it. This year, though, we’re starting the planning early and hitting it hard, so we can spend the holidays in Scotland this year. With all that’s going on (and has gone on!) this year, we’re both deserving of a little something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. We haven’t had a real vacation together in years and this just seemed like the thing to do, so we put our heads and determination together and decided we’re going to make it happen this year.

THIS YEAR WE ARE GOING TO SCOTLAND.

There. I said it. In big bold letters. And I’m posting it on the internet, which is FOREVER.

Now, there are a few caveats to this goal.

Travel is expensive no matter when or where you go, and flying first class is one of the more expensive ways to do that. (What? I SAID we deserve a treat, and if we’re going to do this, we want to do it in style. Go big or stay home, I say!) This is going to take some major savings, because the James household in no way shape or form has that kind of money, now or ever. But there’s hope. I’ve worked out a shoestring budget that will allow us to meet this goal over the course of the year if we’re very, very conscientious about sticking to it.

“Conscientious” is a…loose term. “Sacrificial” is closer to the word I’m looking for here. I was talking on Twitter about the yarn embargo I’ve enacted.

You read that right.

I have agreed to not buy yarn for THE ENTIRE REST OF THE YEAR in order to save money for this trip to Scotland.

I know. I KNOW, ALL RIGHT? But! I made a list of the knitting projects I have planned and have made sure I have all the yarn I need for them. I have enough yarn for the year. I have enough projects for the year and beyond. On the off-chance that I don’t (I hear you laughing over there), I comfort myself with the knowledge that THEY HAVE YARN IN SCOTLAND. Good yarn. Nice yarn. Yarn I will buy when I’m over there. I can do this. I CAN DO THIS. I will not buy yarn. I will not buy yarn. (Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t be gifted yarn or gift cards to yarn stores like Webs if some wonderful lovely people take it upon themselves to bestow them upon me. *cough*plznoRedHeart/LionBrand*cough* Just sayin’. Yarn Embargo only applies to me spending money on yarn.) NOTE: I’m just kidding about this, by the way! DON’T DO THIS. I SEE YOU PLOTTING YOUR EVIL OVER THERE, AND I AM JUST KIDDING. MOSTLY. NO, REALLY, I AM.

Now don’t think this is unfair. Husband is also giving up spending money on things he loves in order to make this trip possible. We’re both very committed to the new budget we’ve worked out (WE SPEND HOW MUCH ON PET CARE?!) and that budget requires sacrifice from each of us. There are a few things that are non-negotiable (like both human and animal medications), but a few things are.

Like, you know…my yarn. I don’t need yarn. Okay, I do, but not like that. I don’t need to buy any more. I have everything I need and then some, and plenty to keep me busy with projects throughout 2013 and beyond. When I looked at how much I spend on yarn, I was…um…yeah. That money is going into savings this year.

This budget thing is also going to require a few things be put on hold until next year. I had planned a few home improvement projects this year, but if we’re going to make this trip, they’ll have to wait. The bedroom doesn’t really need to be painted. We sat down and really looked at what we want to do versus what we needed to do and found we could save a lot more money if we cut some things like painting the bedroom out. I can deal with the horrendous wallpaper in there another year. For Scotland.

A few things, though, need to be done, and they’re budgeted for. Like the downstairs/library floor. That just has to be done this year. HAS TO. That horrid carpet down there isn’t going to last another year with all the crap it’s been through, so that just has to be included in the budget. More on that as it develops.

Another thing this budget entails is a lot less going out to eat/ordering take-out and a lot more making food at home. I admit we’re pretty bad about eating at home because it’s just the two of us and our schedules are often out of synch, so it’s easy just to order a pizza or grab a sandwich while out and bring it home instead of making something. But all that adds up.

It’s not just food, either. We can save quite a bit of money doing a lot of things ourselves we normally pay others to do. We just both need to stop being lazy and actually commit to doing things ourselves.

Is there a chance of failure? Huge. Vast. We may find that we’re just not able to make our new budget work for our household. Disaster may strike and wipe out our savings (this has happened on more than on occasion, so let’s be realistic here). You never know. But, that’s why it’s a goal.

You have to work to achieve goals, and this one is ours. It’s going to be interesting trying to reach it. But with a little luck and a lot of effort, we’ll make it.

I mean, I’m giving up buying yarn for this. I’m going to be COOKING for this. I’m SACRIFICING.

It’s going to totally be worth it though, to buy Highland wool in THE HIGHLANDS. (I have a thing for Highlanders. Shut up.)

But I’m totally not sacrificing my tea. There’s a limit.

Now, if you hear me whining on Twitter about the #yarnembargo, you’ll know why. And you can remind me I’m doing it #ForScotland.

General Updatey Thingy

I know it’s been awhile since I blogged, and even longer since I’ve vlogged, and for that I’m truly sorry. I’m exceedingly busy with a lot of offline stuff, as well as deadlines and so on. (I hear you over there! “Well, Dina, you have time to knit!” SHUT UP! I need my sanity time! I also play World of Warcraft…what of it? Better I do those things than other things that would earn me jail time!)

Anyway, here’s an updatey post. I was going to do Five Things Make A Post, but I don’t think I have five things, so we’ll just carry on, shall we? Continue reading

Knitted Evil

For those who may not know, I kind-of have this little obsession thing with knitting. It’s been going on about 8 months now and I see no end in sight. It’s cathartic and helps me work through plot tangles (HA HA! YARN JOKE! Yeah, I’ll stop that now).

So, when Skyla Dawn Cameron expressed a desire for a knitted Mr. Pointy (a Buffy the Vampire Slayer thing – Skyla is a mega!fan of the series), I…

Well…I….

Okay, I had to learn a few things, which just makes it all the more wonderful for me. I mean, I’d never really knitted in the round or used some of the techniques detailed in a rough guide/pattern Skyla found for me, but it didn’t seem all that hard and I had done most of them messing around with various stitches.

I’d never actually made anything with those techniques.

Well, this is where practice yarn comes in. I bought the right size and type of needles (a trip to the yarn store? Oh, TWIST MY ARM) and began simply.

Um…it didn’t turn out like I wanted it to.

Now, I’d like to take a moment to point out that basically everything I’ve learned about knitting, I’ve learned from YouTube. My sister-in-law may have started it, but YouTube has been invaluable in continuing my education. So, I went to my trusted knitting tutor of the Intarwebz and found alternative ways to do as the guide suggested that I liked better.

I scrapped the first attempt (okay, I made a cat toy out of it, and Bee-girl loves it to pieces) and started over with the modified stitches/technique. (I learned to do and used Magic Loop knitting if anyone is interested.)

It worked. I modified an existing pattern to suit my purposes, and it FREAKING WORKED. This is like knitting geekery for me and I can’t help but be immensely pleased with it. It’s a huge step in my knitting development.

Now to the point of this post.

I have finished the knitted vampire stake.

Knitted Vampire Stake

Handknitted Vampire Stake

How can you win this bad boy? Well, head over to Skyla’s giveaway page and see. Also up for grabs are books, a gift card to a bookstore, movies, another knitted item of your choice and color (from a list!) made by me, and more! Go check out what you can win!

Now back to my edits. It hasn’t been all knitting around here you know!