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.

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Author trademarks common word and threatens other authors with lawsuits over its use.

I tend to stay out of book dramas these days, but something has been unfolding over the last few days that I want to mention.

Self-published author Faleena Hopkins (heard of her before now? Nope, neither have I) has somehow managed to trademark the word “Cocky”, and is going after any other romance author using it in a book title, threatening them with lawsuits unless they rename their books and series and buy new covers. She’s even going after authors whose books were around years before hers.

Note: the word in question was first recorded in the 1540s!

To add to her awfulness, the font she has copyrighted is actually one she stole from someone else.

She is also upset that everyone is “copying” her book covers, both because of similar stock photos used, and because… well I don’t even understand.

Here are a few examples of Ms Hopkins’ oh-so-original cover designs:

Faleena Hopkins Cocky.

Faleena Hopkins Cocky..

I bet no romance reader has *ever* seen covers resembling those before, right?

I’m not going to say more here, but you can read all about it on many sites. I think these explain everything you need to know:

Cocky Writer: Romance Author Faleena Hopkins Trademarks ‘Cocky’ and Tries to Shut Down Others Using the Word

Don’t Do This, Ever: Faleena Hopkins Cocks The Whole Entire Fuck Up

Cockygate: Faleena Hopkins Has Registered a Trademark on Cocky, and is Using it to Threaten Other Romance Authors

Now the big US organisations (e.g. Romance Writers of America) are getting involved from a legal standpoint, and surely common sense is going to prevail. As for Ms Hopkins (and her earlier pen name Sabrina Lacey), she’s earned herself a spot on my “Nope” shelf on Goodreads, and I hope to never hear her name again.

The Week: 30th April – 6th May

Blue Sky Autumn Sunshine Canberra Australia 24 Degrees Sonya Heaney Eucalyptus Tree Gum Tree 1st May 2018 Garden Nature

Still looking beautiful in Canberra, even though it’s the last month of autumn!

My review of A Devil of a Duke (Decadent Dukes Society #2) by Madeline Hunter

A Devil of a Duke (2018) (The second book in the Decadent Dukes Society series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

My review of Baby on Her Doorstep by Rhonda Gibson

Baby on Her Doorstep by Rhonda Gibson

Release Day for Mary Balogh

Someone to Care (Westcott Family #4) by Mary Balogh

Tribeca Film Festival Gives Russian Propaganda Film Major Award

Make Tribeca Film Festival Deprive Anti-Ukrainian Movie Of The Award Phone Duty Russian Propaganda Movie

Fund in Honour of Miranda Neville

Miranda Neville Frances Mallary Historical Romance

Release Day for How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation

How I Resist Activism and Hope for the Next Generation

A Devil of a Duke (Decadent Dukes Society #2) by Madeline Hunter

A Devil of a Duke (2018) (The second book in the Decadent Dukes Society series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

HE MAY BE A DEVIL

He’s infamous, debaucherous, and known all over town for his complete disregard for scandal, and positively irresistible seductions. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, is obscenely wealthy, jaw-droppingly handsome, and used to getting exactly what he wants. Until his attention is utterly captured by a woman who refuses to tell him her name, but can’t help surrendering to his touch . . .

BUT SHE’S NO ANGEL EITHER . . .

Amanda Waverly is living two lives—one respectable existence as secretary to an upstanding lady, and one far more dangerous battle of wits—and willpower—with the devilish Duke. Langford may be the most tempting man she’s ever met, but Amanda’s got her hands full trying to escape the world of high-society crime into which she was born. And if he figures out who she really is, their sizzling passion will suddenly boil over into a much higher stakes affair . . .

A Devil of a Duke (Decadent Dukes Society #2) by Madeline Hunter

Madeline Hunter is one of a few historical romance authors who I think write “mature” stories – not mature in the age of the characters, but mature in style and structure. Along with the likes of Mary Balogh, Hunter stands out because she creates a strong sense of the era, and writes characters who believably operate in that world.

This is the second book in a series, but can easily be read on its own. A Devil of a Duke develops steadily as our hero duke and thief heroine dance around each other and learn each other’s secrets.

I’m not usually a fan of heroines who come from a criminal background, as it’s usually presented as being a bit of fun and the books turn into anachronistic romps. This one is different because the seriousness of the situation is considered, and neither character approaches their affair as something that would ever work in society. The hero considers keeping the heroine as his mistress, and both acknowledge the huge gap in their social standings.

A favourite aspect of Hunter’s writing is the friendships. Both her male and female characters have strong connections with people of their own gender. The women support each other and have interests beyond marriage and men, and the men are SO aristocratic and have ties that go back years. It makes the stories more complete, and we get to see the whole of the Regency world in operation, instead of just ballrooms.

This is another solid historical romance from a reliable author.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Fund in honour of Miranda Neville

You may remember that well-respected historical romance author Miranda Neville died in October last year.

Now a fund has been set up in her (real) name: the Frances Mallary Memorial Fund. You can donate through the link above; I’ve posted the full information about the fund at the bottom of this post.

 

Miranda Neville Frances Mallary Historical Romance

On October 26th, 2017, Frances “Fanny” Mallary, also known as Regency romance novelist Miranda Neville, lost her two year battle with colon cancer. Her death left a hole in many communities, from the tiny village where she grew up in Southern England, to Romancelandia (where her future novels and witty tweets are sorely missed), to her champion trivia team, to her adopted hometown of Newbury, Vermont. 

Fanny was easy to love—in no small part because of her charm, wit, and her breadth of knowledge that seemed to touch on almost every subject—and we all miss her every day. That’s why we’re asking you to help us create a lasting tribute to her at the Tenney Memorial Library in Newbury, where she was a board member.

Anyone who knew Fanny knows that she loved books. Not just romance novels like the ones she wrote, but all books—children’s books, young-adult books, mysteries, gigantic non-fiction tomes, 19th century historic novels (come on, did anyone love Jane Austen more than Fanny?), and everything in between. Which is why we felt there should be a way to keep her name, and her spirit, and her passion for great books, alive in her Newbury community.

We’re establishing the Frances Mallary Memorial Fund, which will allow the Tenney librarian to purchase books, audio books, or e-books in Frances’ name with a particular focus on the genres she loved most like history, historical fiction, and romance.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 by what would have been her sixty-third birthday, August 26, 2018. Reaching this figure would allow the Frances Mallary Memorial Fund to become an endowment—a self-financing vehicle that will continue to buy books in her name for as long as the endowment survives.

So please, think about how much you loved Fanny, how much Fanny loved books, and how much a fund in her name would have meant to her. We’d love for you to contribute as much as you can by making a tax-deductible donation here, or by mailing your donation, designated for the Mallary Fund, directly to the library: Tenney Memorial Library PO Box 85, Newbury, Vermont 05051

We all loved Fanny, and we all miss her. The Frances Mallary Memorial Fund is just a small way of paying some of that love back.

Baby on Her Doorstep by Rhonda Gibson

Baby on Her Doorstep by Rhonda Gibson

The Rancher’s Temporary Nanny

Laura Lee has longed for a child of her own—but she never expected one would suddenly appear on the school steps. With a note begging her to raise the baby girl, the teacher must find a new home since there’s a rule against children in the boardinghouse. Her only option is becoming a temporary live-in nanny for a rancher.

Widowed single father Clint Shepard needs a nanny for his daughter immediately—even if hiring Laura means he’ll have to find someone else in a few months when school starts up. But after spending time with her and the little girl she’s raising, he starts falling for them, and wishing their arrangement could be permanent.

Baby on Her Doorstep by Rhonda Gibson

I started this book a little distracted, as the heroine shares her name with one of publishing’s most famous erotic romance writers. This wasn’t the best choice for a chaste Christian book!

Baby on Her Doorstep has all the hallmarks of Harlequin’s Christian romance line: the abandoned child, the match of convenience, the single father trying to make ends meet in the 19th century Wild West.

I struggled to connect with the story in the beginning, because all the plot points seemed to be happening in a hurry, before we got to know or like these characters.

In the space of about an hour:

  • The heroine finds an abandoned baby, with a note attached telling her to care for her.
  • She meets with the sheriff, who gives her permission to keep the baby (it occurs to nobody to find out why the child was abandoned, or to find the mother).
  • She meets the hero and his daughter.
  • The hero offers her a job.
  • Hero, heroine, and both children go out to lunch.

After that there’s a time jump where we discover she has accepted the job and is moving in with him.

If you like books with these themes, there’s nothing wrong with this one, but it felt more like paint-by-numbers than others I’ve read in the Love Inspired Historical series.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Release Day for Mary Balogh

I have been really excited about this book that features a middle-aged heroine – a first for me in historical romance. Mary Balogh’s Someone to Care is out now. Blurb beneath the cover image.

Someone to Care (Westcott Family #4) by Mary Balogh

No one has felt the death of the Earl of Riverdale more keenly than his wife, the now dispossessed countess Viola Kingsley. On her way home alone from Bath, Viola meets an adventurous aristocrat at a country inn. Since she is being forced to stay for a day and night, she goes to the village fair with him and impulsively gives in to his suggestion that they run away together for a while—a brief respite from their lives of duty and responsibility. What they discover together is the last thing Viola would have ever expected…