Let Us Be Clear

I do not respond well to threats.

loki-elbows-in-the-face

Threats are the refuge of cowards, just like name-calling, insults, and personal attacks are the default of small minds who know they are wrong and have nothing else to fall back on.

There’s been a lot going on lately in various arenas involving asshats who think they’re big and bad by taking down those they perceive as somehow less than they.

I have strong opinions that I share when asked, and not everyone appreciates that. I call bullshit when I see it. Not everyone appreciates that.

I do not care if you are one of those who don’t appreciate whatever it is about me that offends you. If you find me offensive, go away and play with others who don’t offend you. I will not change who I am for you, or back down, or get off my soapbox, or whatever it is you want from me. I will not accommodate you, when YOU are the problem.

YOU MOVE.

butthead-shut-up

If you are here to do anything but play nicely, leave now. That is all I have to say on the matter.

Of Spammers and Asshats

Last night before heading to bed, I check my email. This arrived, subject line “Hi Dina, how are you today?“, along with the little paperclip icon that indicates an attachment.

Now, normally, I don’t even bother looking at such things. I don’t open emails with attachments, or with idiotic subject lines like that, but something…I don’t know what…compelled me to open it. Go on, laugh. I don’t mind.

Finished? Onward then.

Here’s the email [sic], with specifics redacted, as I don’t want to give any undue attention to this spamming asshat:

Here is a book that you might consider reading and reviewing for me.

I have just published < REDACTED > at 21000+ of mostly dialogue and very descriptive and erotic in nature.

I am working on another 2 series also ..
< conveniently provided links to Amazon and their blog >

Now, this email rubbed me the wrong way for various reasons. Mostly in the “Oh HELL NO YOU DO NOT SPAM ME WITH YOUR SELF-PUBBED BULLSHIT” way, but I’ve learned to let things sit for awhile before writing something in anger. So I let it be for a day, and wrote back today. Here’s my reply (again, particulars redacted):

Dear < SPAMMING ASSHAT > (may I call you “< REAL NAME FOUND VIA GOOGLE-FU >?”),

I think perhaps this email has been misdirected, for surely it was not intended for me. I am a writer, not a book reviewer of any kind.

However, perhaps this email was intended for me. I noticed a few days ago you added me on Google Plus. It often happens that people add me there because they are friends or fans of my work, but it seems you have added me for another reason – because I have “writer” in my profile. With that in mind, let’s assume this email was for me. As such, I will address it line by line in reply. My responses will be in red (ETA: italics for this blog post) for your convenience.

On 4/15/2014 12:26 AM, < SPAMMING ASSHAT > wrote:
> Here is a book that you might consider reading and reviewing for me. Actually, no, I wouldn’t consider reading and reviewing it for you, as you have sent it to me unsolicited. This means “I did not ask you for it.” This is considered extremely rude in the writing community – it’s rude in general, known as the “hard sell” – and only serves to set you apart as an unprofessional salesman and alienate your target audience, which, by the way, I am not. Why would a paranormal writer wish to read and review erotica?

> I have just published < REDACTED > at 21000+ of mostly dialogue and very descriptive and erotic in nature. This sentence is incomplete. You have just published what? I am guessing you mean “book,” but at 21,000+ (I am guessing again here that you mean “words”), it’s actually a novella, which is anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 words. Also, if all you have to say about this work is that it’s “mostly dialogue and very descriptive and erotic in nature,” you might want to look into how to pitch a novel. There are a hundred websites out there that will help you figure this one out.

> I am working on another 2 series also .. Here you conveniently provide me with links to your work. I cannot begin to describe the absolute rudeness and audacity of this action. Not only have you sent me your work unsoliticted (some refer to this practice as “spamming”), you have also shown me where to purchase your work, with three links to various incarnations of Amazon, and one to your blog, ostensibly so that I may keep up with your progress because I am bound to be so enthralled by your work that I will wish to keep tabs on you. As I said…this is beyond rude.
> < LINK REDACTED >
> < LINK REDACTED >
> < LINK REDACTED >
> < POPULAR BLOGGING PLATFORM LINK REDACTED > Really? And you want me to take you seriously as a professional author? Also, “< REDACTED >” is synonymous with “basic,” which you might want to look to in you’re not of a mind to call the intelligence level of yourself or your audience into question. FYI.

Then, after all of this, you attach a free PDF copy of your work for my reading consideration, in the hopes that I will not only read it, but review it for you as well. < REAL NAME >, I don’t work for Fiverr. I will not be giving you a review of any kind, ever, for anything. You have just guaranteed that with this email. I will, however, remember your name, and know to steer clear of you from here on in. (All links are broken to get around spam filters, because I want to ensure you get this email, so take out the spaces and replace [dot] with a period.) [ETA: link restored for the purpose of this blog post) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-shaffer/five-stars-for-five-dolla_b_3997107.html

With this email, you have just done the complete opposite of what you hoped to accomplish. You have ensured that I will never, under any circumstances, have anything to do with you or your work. Now, maybe this is an innocent error. Maybe you just read on some idiotic self-publishing site or forum that this is the way to do things/get sales/promote yourself. Listen to me very carefully – THIS IS WRONG. This is very, very wrong, and you are only hurting yourself as a writer by doing things this way. This, by the way, amuses me, because you refer to yourself being somehow above other writers in one of your Amazon reviews. My views on self-publishing aside (which you would know, had you actually investigated who I am instead of just mining G+ for writers), your behavior is exactly what gives self-pubbers the reputation they have.

If you want to ever be taken as a professional writer of any sort (and there are professional erotic authors out there), you will stop this idiotic spam attachment campaign immediately. Most people will delete this kind of thing without reply. I have taken time out of my evening to answer you, in the hopes that you will educate yourself and stop being such an ignorant douchebag asshat. (Again, if you’d bothered to investigate me at all, as I’ve done with you, you’d know I am an evil bitch who does tolerate bullshit like this from anyone.) Please be advised that I will be writing a blog post using this email (with details redacted, as I won’t be giving you any kind of promo whatsoever) to illustrate what NOT to do as a writer. I thank you in advance for your shining example of douchebaggery. I am also as of this moment blocking you on G+ because of this email.

Here are a few links of my own in return for those you kindly provided me (again broken to get around spam filters):
[ETA: Links restored for the purposes of this blog post – they were originally broken in the mail]

On “the hard sell.” Please read this and pay close attention to it – https://www.lilithsaintcrow.com/journal/the-hard-sell-doesnt-work-redux/

On wordcount – http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/wordcount.html

On how to be a professional writer – http://www.dinajames.com/writing/how-to-be-a-professional-writer/

How Not To Be A Douchebag Author (bookmark this site and keep an eye on it – it’s full of writing advice weekly, though they are on hiatus this month)- http://evilwriters.blogspot.com/search/label/HNTBADBA

Best,
Dina

P.S. It’s spelled “Vader,” not “Vador.” His Lordship would Forcechoke you for your misstep. Though I suppose it’s better than “< OTHER USERNAME REDACTED >.” Are you seeing a pattern here, < REAL NAME >? The Internet is forever, and Google is an amazing tool.

Dina James
Chronicler of the Paranormal
http://www.dinajames.com

Spamming Asshat didn’t take too kindly to my reply. They wrote me back with various – I can only call them “illiterate,” despite them considering themselves a writer, as they clearly have no reading comprehension whatsoever – threats and comments, culminating in them posting the above email, my address and all, on their own blog. I’m not really sure what that was intended to do. Show I’m a bitch? That’s kind of obvious.

All I did was call them out on their spamming. They did the rest. I won’t repost the threats and other charming responses this individual sent, but thought I’d put this here as an example for other self-published writers of what not to do.

Hear that, writers? DO NOT SEND YOUR STUFF TO RANDOM PEOPLE UNLESS THEY ASK FOR IT. See the links above. (I’ve restored them so they work for this blog post.) DO NOT SEND YOUR STUFF TO PEOPLE YOU HAVE NOT RESEARCHED. They could be someone offended by your work, or an evil bitch like me, or not a fan of self-publishing, or whatever! Research people before you send them anything. This spamming asshat just mined G+ for anyone with “writer” in their profile and sent them their book out of the blue FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN TO GET REVIEWS/GENERATE SALES. This is SPAM. DO NOT DO THIS.

And so, as promised, here is your cautionary tale about spamming people with your shit.

The end.

ETA April 19: Apparently our lovely spammer did indeed follow through with their threat to spam their mailing list (which is looking like it was collected via mining social networks for certain keywords), as I’ve heard from a writer previously unknown to me that they were spammed with my name and reply mail. So there’s that.

It has also come to my attention via a friend that our dear spamming asshat has ragequit the internet. Checking the folder I filtered any of their future spam to, they had indeed sent me the same message this blog post from a book reviewer details wonderfully – chucklesbookcave.blogspot.ca/2014/04/rude-authors-1-gn-grayson.html. So, despite “threatening” to remove me from their “friends list,” they apparently kept me on it. Big shock there. This “threat” *cough*butthurtragequit*cough* was apparently true as well, though. Their webpages and profiles have indeed been deleted, as well as both of their blogs, and the links to their books are no longer working. I guess I wasn’t the only one to tell them to call them on their asshatery.

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.

Darkness Falls

Yet another SOPA post. This one is just to remind regular readers of my blog that my site, along with thousands of others, will be going dark tomorrow in protest of SOPA and PIPA. If you’re not familiar with what these things are, click here and see what all this is about.

There’s more about it here: http://sopastrike.com/.

Just a quick reminder. See you when this is over. For awhile anyway. If this bill passes, I may not be seeing you at all, ever again.

So if the internet is important to you, get involved. You know I hate politics. This isn’t politics. This is the criminalization of innocent people (like me) in order to punish a few assholes. This is Hollywood studios not wanting to get off their lazy asses and spend the money to go after these fuckwads on their own. Instead they’ll spend billions of dollars in lobbying Congress and the Senate to pass these stupid bills because they think it’s better to punish everyone to get their way instead of doing what “regular people” like me and you do in order to stop online piracy. You know, sending notices and so on. Tracking down pirates. Whatever. There are already laws designed to protect the copyright holders and stop online piracy.

THIS IS NOT THE ANSWER.

I’ll stop ranting now. Enjoy it. It might be one of the last rants you hear from me. Freedom of speech is under attack, so if you like my rants, scream at your Congressperson/Senator. TELL THEM YOU WANT YOUR DINA RANTS!

That is all.

WARNING: RANTAGE

Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Like the pirate talk? It’s appropriate, because I’m going to rant in this post about e-piracy. This post will have language and various other “Dina has been sent into orbit” visuals.

You have been warned. NSFW, 18+, etc.

Still here? Read on. Continue reading

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

Reloaded – In More Ways Than One

First, in case it has gone unnoticed, I have returned from my offline hiatus. Life has been insane lately, compounded with extended seclusion in the Revision Lair. Things are normalizing now, and it appears I am slightly worse for wear.

And by that I mean “I’ve gained a few pounds”.

Nothing major. Nothing in the double-digits or anything. But, as my jeans were already tighter than I am comfortable with, this does not bode well. (And the last round was declared invalid due to extenuating circumstances on the parts of all involved.*)

Also, I intend to attend Dragon*Con over Labor Day weekend, and at this point, the costumes I wish to take with me will not fit over my expanding bottom.

Hence, a new round of #dietgame. Start date for this round is Monday, March 15, 2010 (this should give you time to not only get used to the idea, but to clean out your fridge/pantry/go shopping for healthier choices, join the gym, etc.), ending Sunday, June 6, 2010 for a 12 week (or 3 month, if that works better in your head) round.

What is this #dietgame of which I speak, you may ask? Well, here. I’m so recycling this post from the previous ones on the subject.

Welcome to your doom.

Just kidding.

If you’re here, you probably want to know about #dietgame on Twitter. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Background: Last year, on September 3, my Wii Fit made bad jokes about how much time had passed since my last workout and made the Noise of Disappointment when it did my body test that morning. So, of course, I wrote it a nasty tweet in return, announcing my weight loss goals in an effort to ensure some kind of accountability besides that of the Evil Wii Fit. (That thing is EVIL, I tell you, and not in the good way!)

Long story short, #dietgame has been invented. It’s like #wordathon for weight loss.

In that regard, here are the “rules”.

1) You must have a weight loss goal.

2) You must start as soon as possible/as soon as you find out about this.

3) The start and end dates are posted above.

4) You must TELL ME (in addition to your mom/significant other/morale support groups as I keep track weekly on a spreadsheet so I can determine repercu- I mean – see who hasn’t given their results yet) that you’re participating.

5) You must tweet your progress (or comment here if you’re joining us via somewhere else and aren’t on Twitter) at least once a week (Monday is good, as it’s the day we’re going to end this round). Use the hashtag #dietgame so that the rest of us playing can kick your – um…”offer encouragement”.

Other things:

Your weight loss goal does not have to be pounds. It can be inches, body fat percentage, clothes size, whatever. This is a motivational/accountability exercise/encouragement/ass-kicking group, “sponsored” by yours truly and @Zombie_Joe.

This is a FRIENDLY competition, but those of you who play #wordathon know I have an alter ego in the form of #gunnyjames. This is my R. Lee Ermey-style motivation-by-degradation, and you will get screamed at and told to get your lazy ass on the treadmill if #gunnyjames is in-or-pro-voked. Mocking by other participants may also be involved, and there will be no sympathy to be found here. You want sympathy, you shouldn’t be taking on #dietgame.

Like #wordathon, there is no “winner” or “prize”. This is about reaching a goal, and that goal can be in pounds lost, percentage lost and percentage of goal reached. Suppose we reach the end date and the best among those playing #dietgame have only reached 80% of their goal? Well, that person “wins”.

Now, this is not a “diet” or “weight loss plan”. You do your own thing. Whatever works for you/however you want to lose weight. There are no suggestions, we’re not all joining Weight Watchers or going on the South Beach Diet or Atkins or whatever. This, like the way we #wordathon players write, is highly individual. You do whatever works for you. Some of us do a daily thing, some of us push hard a couple days a week, some of us wait until the last minute, whatever. However you want to do it. Up to you. This is a motivational thing/friendly competition, NOT an advice column. Play at your own risk, etc. etc., no one assumes any liability for your weight loss or lack thereof, blah blah blah, etc. etc.

So, you in?

Good. Now put down that donut and go clean out your pantry before I kick your ass.

So there you are.

Cheers,
DJ

*All right, we’re pretending it never happened. HAPPY?

We’re Sorry

The person you have reached is experiencing technical difficulties. If you feel you have reached this message in error

GUESS WHAT? YOU HAVEN’T!

/frustration

Anyway, yeah. My laptop is fried. It’s a long story, but the short of it is that it has to go in for repair, and that will take anywhere from two weeks to a month to get back. Hopefully – HOPEFULLY – it will be done and sent back in a week or so, but this being the holiday season, “7 business days after we receive it” may as well translate to “don’t expect it anytime soon”.

But there’s always hope, right?

Right?

I mean, the laptop is less than a year old and still under warranty, so I’m not going to have to take out another mortgage or anything to pay for it, or buy a new one (that I know of…yet). I don’t even have to pay shipping, so that’s good. This came at a seriously unfortunate time, but it’s not the end of the world, no matter what it feels like (and it does feel awful – everything is on that laptop, but the really important things are saved and available, namely my manuscripts! Weekly external hard drive backups FTW!).

So it’s not the end of the world. It’s just the (hopefully very temporary) end of the lifestyle to which I’d become accustomed. Yeah, I’m bummed bigtime – I has a BIG sad 🙁 – but I’ll bounce back soon enough.

I’m trying to look on the bright side of this crisis/fiasco/craptasticness (and believe me, I did NOT need this today on top of a few other…issues I’m dealing with that I won’t detail here.*sings* “Always look on the briiiiiiiiiiiiiight side of life!”) – lappy is under warranty, I don’t have to shell out big bucks, it will come back nice and shiny and fixed, it’s good that it’s in because there’s obviously a big problem that needs serious attention, I have the most important things backed up or otherwise available, I have access to other computers, etc. – but anyone who knows me knows I’m a pragmatist, and I adapt well and make the best out of a situation and make do with the tools I have.

If that means mustard ends up on the ceiling, well, that’s your fault for letting me in the kitchen, isn’t it? It’s not like you weren’t warned! It doesn’t mean I’m unaffected by the situation or that I won’t complain about how much it sucks before I get on with it.

Sometimes “getting on with it” isn’t ideal, but it’s what you’ve got, so stop whining already and go. I believe the phrase is “suck it up and move on”. I’ve had my frustration vents and moved through the stages of grief already. This note is just to let you all know, really, that I’ll be scarce the next however long, as I’ll be borrowing computers and connections to get what needs doing done.

So being a pragmatist helps. As do cupcakes and a borrowed laptop.

Cheers,
DJ