TONIGHT IT BEGINS!

Well, according to timeanddate.com, the daylight will progressively, incrementally, get shorter and shorter each day until the middle of winter.

That’s right, bitches. It’s the Summer Solstice, or Litha, or Midsummer (in the Northern Hemisphere – Yule/Midwinter for the Southern), and that means THE DARKNESS RETURNS! (Shut up – I know it’s not the fall equinox, but it’s a start, and I’ll take it!)

In celebration, I wanted to let you all know that the Hauntings anthology I’m in with Skyla Dawn Cameron is up for sale, wherever you choose to buy books, in whatever format you desire. Go. Enjoy some ghosts and chill.

For tonight, darkness begins to fall….

Hauntings-kindle

Oh. I almost forgot. This blog used to cross-post to Livejournal, but given their recent asshattery, that’s not happening from now on. I’m looking into moving everything there over to Dreamwidth. We’ll see.

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good

So…there’s this…thing. It’s not really a SEKRIT thing, it’s just a…work in progress thing. My enabler handler friend Skyla Dawn Cameron has a project coming out soon [Patreon link: PAY UP, BECAUSE SHE IS MADE OF WIN] and has, despite both my better judgment AND willingness to participate in such shenanigans (who am I kidding? I’m always up for shenanigans!), convinced me to join her in its fruition. (She has a knack for doing this – she knows what buttons to push/tribute to offer.)

I can’t say much right now, as it’s still in development, but once the details are hammered out, I will share it with you.

I am up to no good. There will be vampires involved.

Trick or Treat!

I’ve spent the last few weeks brewing up this Halloween treat in my cauldron of doom, just for my mischievous readers. I’m not going to blurb what goes on in this story, because Halloween is about spooky surprises and scary monsters. And candy. And pumpkins.

Enjoy!

Click the pic below to download the PDF. (As this is a free story, this is the only format it’s going to be available in.)

TreatMeRigh-lg

Cover art and formatting done by the wonderfully talented IndigoChick Designs.

In Which I Give In To Peer Pressure

(Translation: “Skyla made me do it.”)

Now, you all know how I feel about self-publishing. However, in response to those wishing to purchase my work, I have agreed to offer my previously-published short stories for sale in a new format. (I justify doing this by telling myself and being assured by others that it’s not really self-publishing because these stories have been previously commercially published, so this is a re-release rather than self-publishing. GO WITH IT. I NEED TO BELIEVE THIS IN ORDER TO LIVE WITH MYSELF/THIS DECISION I FEEL SO DIRTY OH MY GOD.)

Anyway.

This is the first of three planned volumes of Legends of the Destrati (formerly published in the Mammoth anthologies and my Light In A Dark World collection, so if you’ve already read those stories, there’s nothing new for you here).

This volume features the first two stories, “Play Dead” and “In From The Cold.” The shiny cover was done by the lovely tyrant enabler Skyla Dawn Cameron of Indigochick Designs, as was the formatting of all the necessary files. Because she rocks. Go use her for everything you need done digitally. She’s amazing and worth every penny.

So here you go. I’m not quite sure when the next one will be out, but I plan to have all three parts out by the end of the year. Plan, mind you. It might not work out that way. But here to kick off your October are some lovely, lovely vampires. You’re welcome.

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.

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.

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.

Shiny Evil

Just a quick little post to let you all know I’m still blogging every other Monday at the Evil League of Evil Writers. I’ve been doing a series of posts called “Ask Dr. Dina” that cover various medical things you should keep in mind when writing. (Things like what really happens when your character gets knocked unconscious that you need to be aware of if you’re going to write realistic fight scenes.)

Today I’m talking about burns, and a regular reader and fan of eviltry is offering a SHINY THING in the comments! Check it out!

No Promises, But…

…I have this idea. Well, sort of. I was randomly looking at something and then someone who enables my evil suggested something and and one thing led to another and….

Here’s the thing. I want to know if anyone reading this would be interested in a Billy short story.

If I were to write a Billy short and put it up here as kind of a donation/fundraiser/penny-tossage thing, would anyone be interested in that? It would be totally self-serving. Because there’s Something I Want. As all the pennies I’m saving this year are going For Scotland, this would be an extraneous thing to indulge a completely selfish “Dina Wants A Shiny” thing.

Normally this wouldn’t be an issue as I would just tell He Who Enables My Crazy that “I wish to own this shiny thing” and it would appear because he loves me. However this year, I am being good. I have forsaken my yarn. I have said “no” to new Lord Vader things for my collection.

But this shiny I want. This I greatly desire. No, I’m not telling you what it is just yet, but those who have seen it have all said the same thing: “You must own that.”

For this shiny, I will write an exclusive short story I will offer to you, my readers, in exchange for some pennies tossed at the Shiny Thing Fund I will set up if this idea generates enough interest.

Now, I’m busy writing Stranger Things III (Death Knell), so I need to know if there’s enough interest in a short in order to spend time on it. So, I created a poll:

Feel free to comment. I don’t discriminate between encouragement and dissuasion.

Do keep in mind that this eviltry is still in the “idea” stage, and I’m just gauging interest. It might go absolutely nowhere, so don’t get your hopes up. We’ll see. If there is enough interest, I will post a link/pic to the shiny thing I’ll be raising the money for.

Signal Boost – Helpers for Boston!

This was on my Facebook feed, via author Jodi Meadows:

(Please RT: This is an open letter to all my friends in the #writing community.)

Hello,

My name is K.T., and I’m a born-and-raised Bostonian. I’m also a writer, looking to our beloved writing community for some much needed support.

As you know, the tragic events at the Boston Marathon on April 15 at 2:50 PM left 3 dead and 176 people injured, plus countless more traumatized. These bombings rocked my hometown, and I can’t sit idly by.

I’m writing to you today to ask for your help. I’d like to organize an auction, with all proceeds going to the Boston First Responders Fund, a fund organized through the Boston Firefighters Credit Union. 100% of the proceeds go to benefit the victims and their families. But I can’t do it alone. So I’m asking if you and/or anyone you know (fellow writers, agents, editors, illustrators, etc.) could donate. It could be your time (Skype chat, phone call, etc.), some swag, a book/ARC, critique or service, anything that others can bid on over a 5 day period. All winners will donate directly to the fund, send a copy of the receipt to me, and I will organize and facilitate everything–from the official auction postings to putting winners in touch with the benefactors–through my personal website.

If you or anyone you know can participate and if you could spread the word, I, along with the countless people affected, would be forever grateful. You and anyone else interested can contact me directly at crowleykt [AT] gmail [DOT] com. If I can get at least 10 donations, the impact could be huge. Please feel free to pass this message along.

Let’s show Boston just how amazing this writing community is.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

K.T. Crowley

I’m going to offer something. A book, maybe some knitted evil, something. If you can help, or even just boost the signal, that would rock.