What is this?!

Honestly? Even after reading the book’s description, I still can’t figure out what’s going on here!

Hidden Truths (My One-Night Stand #3) by Giovanna Reaves

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The Week: 4th – 10th June

Winter Lake Burley Griffin Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 9th June 2018 Carillon Nature Sunset pink

Winter Lake Burley Griffin Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 9th June 2018 Carillon Nature Sunset

Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin – with the National Carillon (a gift from the Queen that she personally opened in 1970) – late on Saturday afternoon.

It was a surprisingly dreary week here. Usually winter is really sunny, but the last few days felt like winter! At least it got sunny on Saturday afternoon!

This week in the book world has been full of drama, which I seem to have written a few thousands posts about. Sorry for the spam!

My review of A Cowboy of Convenience (Sheridan Sweethearts #2) by Stacy Henrie

A Cowboy of Convenience (Sheridan Sweethearts #2) by Stacy Henrie

A Cocky Weekend

cocky-final-2 Cocktales the cocky collective cockygate cover

Book Stuffing and Author Ethics

Book Stuffer Kindle Unlimited Scammer

Why “outing” someone makes you an utter arse – #1

and

Why “outing” someone makes you an utter arse – #2

_86601698_authorandbook Richard Brittain used Facebook to track down the reviewer, a teenage girl from Glenrothes, and drove all the way (some 800 kilometres) from the south of England t

Cover Love

Someone to Trust (Westcott Book #5) by Mary Balogh

Book Stuffing and Author Ethics

If you keep up with dramas in the publishing world, you’ll probably have already heard about the scammers infiltrating the Kindle Unlimited program.

You can go to this Twitter thread to understand in detail what is going on.

Authors who enter their books into the Kindle Unlimited scheme must agree to sell exclusively through Amazon. They are paid via page reads, from a pool of money that is shared between ALL authors.

In order to make lots of money, some “authors” have been employing all sorts of tricks to make their readers skip through thousands of pages per book. By doing this they get paid a great deal per book – at the same time as stealing that money from their fellow authors. Having only one pool of money means there’s only so much of it to go around.

Book Stuffer Kindle Unlimited Scammer

A book with heaps of other books stuffed in the back.

The #cockygate drama helped to bring the scammers to attention (Faleena Hopkins, of cockygate infamy, is a book stuffer and system cheat).

One of the worst scammers, Chance Carter, has *finally* been removed from Amazon, after years of making his fortune by cheating the system in every imaginable way. His porny “romances” shot to the top of Amazon’s romance bestseller lists with thousands of fake or solicited reviews, stuffed books, and offers of diamond jewellery for positive publicity.

He was also collecting a bonus for being one of the “All-Star” bestsellers.

Chance Carter Book Stuffer Amazon Scammer

Chance Carter offers diamonds in the middle of a book!

Unfortunately the Kindle Unlimited scheme is full of male romance authors looking to get rich quick. They pose as women and publish books stuffed with five or six other, previously published books, often written by ghost writers.

This is especially troubling as when they pose as women they also go to social media with questions like this for their readers:

Kira Blakely Book Stuffer Kindle Unlimited Scammer

It’s creepy, and shows an agenda that has NOTHING to do with a love of the genre.

Many readers have uncovered these men’s identities when alarm bells started going off in the sex scenes of their books. The scenes contain revolting things no self-respecting woman would *ever* write, not even those writing kinky stories (I’ll spare you the details, but they’re on Twitter if you look). The lack of respect for women is appalling, especially considering the books’ target audience.

Cockygate looks to have tanked Faleena Hopkins’ career, but she’s managed to do even more than that. Now she’s set off a chain of events that have widely exposed many other unethical authors.

Why “outing” someone makes you an utter arse – #1

In the ongoing trademark wars, it seems there’s a new drama every day.

In court last week, the lawyer for trademark troll Faleena Hopkins attempted to have the real names of authors under attack made public. From what I understand, this is an ongoing dispute.

Here is one reason why it’s so awful to take away an author’s anonymity:

Schooled by Deena Bright

In 2012, erotic fiction author Deena Bright was “outed”. Her real name was not only revealed to her employer, but she was dragged through America’s national news because of the genre she wrote.

Bright (that’s not her real name) was suspended from her job as a high school teacher because of this, and subjected to public humiliation for no good reason.

Hopkins would like to do this to other authors who she sees as competition. Already, she is forcing them into the courtroom to shut down their careers (good God, her me and nobody else attitude is such a reflection of the Trump era!).

Authors use pennames for a million and a half different reasons, which I’m sure I don’t need to explain here. Add in the misogynistic stigma attached to the romance genre, and the issues surrounding the use of real names double or triple – or quadruple.

That this is an inherently petty and nasty thing to try to do to someone is obvious.

Dragging innocent names into public view to “punish” people for doing nothing wrong can seriously damage an author’s life. Especially so if she’s a woman. And especially so if she writes romance or erotica.

A Cocky Weekend

The book world had quite the start to the weekend, with the #cockygate trademark drama making it to court on Friday afternoon New York time (Saturday morning here).

E L James Fifty Shades Cockygate Cocktales Trademark

Even E L Fifty Shades James stood up for the authors by promoting the Cocktales anthology that has been released in support of Faleena Hopkins’ victims and of Romance Writers of America.

RWA stepped up for the authors under attack, providing the legal assistance they needed.

Faleena Hopkins, the author who started this mess to begin with, didn’t turn up in the courtroom and so missed seeing her lawyer try to argue – with the help of giant poster versions of her books – that her oh-so generic topless guy covers and oh-so generic titles were unique enough to warrant both trademarking AND her taking out restraining orders against her rivals.

Disgustingly, she is also trying to have the other authors’ real names (rather than their pennames) revealed.

Court documents from Friday afternoon are floating around the internet, and make for pretty hilarious reading. The poor judge!

Cockygate court document.

Cockygate court document.1

 

More #cockygate

To follow up on yesterday’s post about author Faleena Hopkins trademarking the word “cocky” in order to bring down her competition and force them to remove their books from sale, I’d just like to point out that one thing you can do to help is buy the books of those other authors.

This is not a little Romancelandia drama; it’s something anyone in a creative field should be worried about. If one overreaching author nobody had even heard of until the weekend can inflict this much damage on other people’s careers, imagine how much more harm someone powerful and well-known could do if they decided to go around trademarking common words.

Already, Amazon is taking down authors’ books after threats and complaints from Hopkins, and some can’t even access them to retitle and republish:

Tara Crescent cockygate Faleena Hopkins copyright trademark

However, in the past couple of days, people in the romance community (and others) have managed to propel one of the victims of Hopkins’ staggering selfishness to the bestseller list.

Hilariously, look how she’s retitled her book!

Jamila Jasper The Cockiest Cowboy cockygate Faleena Hopkins Amazon

Jamila Jasper had previously received threats from Hopkins (notice she didn’t even bother to spell the author’s name correctly):

Jamila Jasper The Cockiest Cowboy cockygate Faleena Hopkins Trademark

How can someone be this perfectly awful? It’s not the sort of thing you usually see in this community, and it goes without saying Hopkins has permanently ruined her brand.

Fifty Shades is still going…

I honestly forgot about Fifty Shades of Grey, so was surprised to see another film trailer on the television in the last few days. This is the final movie… correct?

I’ve since read a few articles discussing the Fifty fad, and one point comes up time and again: the story – about a kinky billionaire stalking a young woman – seems extra creepy now. This is because the United States now has a lecherous billionaire as President, and the #metoo and other movements have exposed how many men of Christian Grey’s ilk wield their power to become sex abusers.

In the space of only a few years, this series’ always uncomfortable power dynamic is coming off as ten times creepier than before.

So far, early reviews aren’t promising: