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.

#Team Blankie Post 2!

Hello, everyone!

I promised you more #TeamBlankie photos today, and here they are! Today’s post is fraught (I just love that word – “fraught!”) with unorthodoxy. Two of today’s featured writers have unorthodox blankies, but they are blankies nonetheless. Despite appearances, these unorthodox blankies are no less loved by their owners, and I am proud to count them among Blankiedom.

First up we have writer Stephanie Weippert. Her blankie began life as a scarf. She is pictured here with the both her blankie!scarf and her son’s baby blankie, as well as Galaya, the polydactyl cat that owns her. Stephanie writes on the less-conventional side of things (my favorite!). According to her Livejournal, that’s everything “from love stories to dystopias, including magic and space invasions.” She’s an awesome writer!

Writer Stephanie Weippert, with the muse that owns her and blankies!

Writer Stephanie Weippert, with the muse that owns her and blankies!

Thanks for sharing your pic and blankies, Stephanie! (And your furry muse!)

Next up we have one of the writers directly responsible for this fun-and-evil. The writer who coined the hashtag #TeamBlankie in the first place, Lindsay Robertson. She is pictured here with all that remains of a blankie that’s been loved for almost twenty-four years.

Lindsay graduated from university this summer with a B.A. in English (cue the song!), and instead of finding a job right away she decided to spend more time (all right, most of her time) writing YA urban fantasy. When she’s not being terrible at blogging regularly (she said it, I didn’t!), she enjoys impersonating a mummy.

Writer Lindsay Robertson impersonating the mummy of a 1970s police officer.

Writer Lindsay Robertson impersonating the mummy of a 1970s police officer.

Thanks for the pic, Lindsay (and for the cool hashtag I totally stole, and for the evil idea, and for making it fun, and for including one of my anthologies in the background of your pic. Flattery will get you everywhere. What? Of course I’m shallow! I’m mostly evil! Shallow = evil, right?)!

Rounding out this batch of unorthodoxy is #TeamBlankie participant Johanna Harness. She writes YA dystopian fairytales and MG contemporary. You want to talk about cool hashtag coinage? Johanna coined the whole #amwriting chat community thing, and is awesome at helping writers both professional and aspiring with their writing goals. She’s brilliant and pictured here wrapped in her blankie with her laptop on her head. She literally has writing on the brain here, people. You could only hope to be so dedicated to your profession!

Writer Johanna Harness with her laptop on her head, and her blankie around her shoulders!

Writer Johanna Harness with her laptop on her head, and her blankie around her shoulders!

Thanks for your awesome, Johanna! (And the pic, too!)

Keep those fantastic pics coming, writer peeps! You know who you are!

Until next time, go #TeamBlankie, and remember, there’s no “i” in “team!”

“There is a ‘me’ though, if you jumble the letters up a little bit.” – House, M.D.

#TeamBlankie Inaugural Post!

Hello, all!

I put out the call for photos of writers with their blankies, and behold! Responses! Awesome responses!

As promised, I post for your viewing pleasure, #TeamBlankie victims! “Participants!” I meant “participants!” In order to avoid image-heavy posting for those who might have slow or unhappy connections, I’ll keep these in batches of three #TeamBlankie writers per post!

Since I’m the one “hosting” the #TeamBlankie party, I figured I should probably pony up and start us off. It’s only fair, right? To ask you all to do something I’m not willing to do myself…that’s just not right. So! Here you are!

Here I am. Dina James, herself. Also known as “Our Lady of the Blankie,” pictured with the Blankie of Ultimate Softness.

Dina James, Our Lady of the Blankie

Dina James, Our Lady of the Blankie

Here’s another of Our Lady of the Blankie, being not so reverent:

Dina poses with her books and the Blankie of Ultimate Softness.

Dina poses with her books and the Blankie of Ultimate Softness.

I’m sure if you’re here you know about pretty much all you need to about me, but in case you don’t I’ll reiterate for you. I am Dina James, Chronicler of the Paranormal (which is cooler than saying “I write about vampires and other things that don’t supposedly exist.”), tea junkie and mostly evil. If you want to know more, check out my website to learn all you could ever hope to know about me.

Our next #Team Blankie vict- er…participant is none other than the wonderful (local for me!) PacNorWest author of the undead, Mark Henry. His blankie has EYES! Check it out! It’s alive! ALLIIIIIVEEE! Mark said I could have his blankie, but I had to share, so here it is! I’m sharing! Just like we learned in to do kindergarten.

Mark Henry and his little dog too!

Mark Henry and his little dog too!

Thank you, Mark, for being awesome and having a great sense of humor! (And sharing your blankie!)

The next victim to fall prey to the power of the blankie is writer Jess Ring. She writes many different genres. However, science fiction and fantasy for young adults is her favorite. She is also a screenwriting student and enjoys that medium a great deal. Check out her Twitter feed here! Jess has an awesome cat and fantastic color on the wall behind her! I want that room in my house!

Writer Jess Ring and her cat Meow Meow

Writer Jess Ring and her cat Meow Meow

Thanks for the pic, Jess!

Need more blankie!love? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post featuring more writers and their blankies.

Go #TeamBlankie!

Blanket Post

I know, I’ve been absent from the blog for awhile. I’ve been absent from most online things for awhile, so don’t feel as though I’ve just been neglecting the blog. Oh, no. I’m an equal-opportunity neglector, however this is not the point of this post.

This post is about blankies.

More to the point, I was on Twitter tonight broadcasting the fact that I have in my possession, wrapped around me at this very moment, a thing of awesome.

It is a blankie.

Not just any blankie.

This is the Blankie of Ultimate Softness (+25 to snuggles and waylay for those playing at home).

As I said on Twitter, it makes me want to run up to random strangers yelling, “FEEL! FEEL THE SOFT! OMG!”

This led to a discussion about blankies and being too old for blankies and to make a long story short, the hashtag #TeamBlankie was born, coined by writer Lindsay. Another contributor to this latest Evil Idea is writer Marissa, owner of a Blanket of Coolness.

So this got me to thinking about writers and blankies. #TeamBlankie people all seemed to be writerly people who love their blankies…. Writers on blankies….

Well? What would you do with that information? Writers don’t have calendars and layouts and stuff like heavy metal bands with hot chicks on cars. So you know what I decided?

I decided writers need a PHOTOSHOOT.

This is the official call for those photos. The topic?

THE WRITE BLANKIE. (Yes, yes, I know, but this is creativity late at night after a long day on short notice. Shut up and take the photo already.)

Here’s what this is about/for/what to do:

1) You must be a writer. You don’t have to be published, but if you’re not yet, you do have to have aspirations of that nature/be of the writerly sort. Yes, poetry counts, as does non-fiction. Writing is writing.

2) Take a photo of yourself on/wrapped in/with your favorite blankie (or blankies). You can be as creative as you want here. Toss some of your books (or your favorite books) on your blankie with you. YOU MUST BE IN THE PHOTO, not just your blankie(s). Don’t give me any excuses about how you’re not in shape or you hate how you look or whatever. Take the bloody photo, wuss. Wrap yourself up in your blankie if you don’t want anyone seeing anything more than your face. Wear sunglasses. I don’t care. You just need to be in the photo.

3) KEEP IT CLEAN. I don’t care if you want to pose on your back deck in your bikini or in your altogether with one of your books over your junk, but PLEASE do make sure your naughty bits are covered. These pics are going to go up on this blog/my FB/online, etc. so keep that in mind when you take it. I’m not going to post amateur porn here, people. This is supposed to be fun.

4) Send your photo to dina {at} dinajames {dot} com with the subject line “#TeamBlankie Photo.” Send your pic in the body of the mail – NOT AS AN ATTACHMENT. I get a lot of spam and I don’t want your photo to be caught in the filter or deleted. Also, I don’t open attachments, so if you want your photo up on the blog with your blankie, send me a photo the proper way! Also, by sending me your photo, you’re giving me permission to post it on my blog, so be aware of that before you send it! If you’re okay with me using your photo for a possible calendar or something creative later, tell me that too.

5) Tell me when you send the photo how you want to be credited on the blog. If you have a link you want me to include, I will do so. I’ll write something like “This is _____. S/he writes ____, and can be found at _____.” Then I’ll include some clever/witty/evil comment about your awesome.

If I get enough photos, I may think about putting together a calendar for people to either buy or maybe just for fun. Who knows where this could go! I need photos first!

Come on, writer peeps! Let’s have some fun with our blankies!

EDIT: There’s no deadline for these pics, really. Whenever you get a minute would be cool. We’ll just keep this thing going however long we want to! I think two weeks ought to do for word to filter around and fun pics to start rolling in, so whenever!