Hey, Christine Feehan! You don’t own the Carpathians!

Ивано-Франковская_область_Горно-лыжный_курорт_Буковель Bukovel Carptahian Mountains Ukraine

Ukraine’s Bukovel ski resort in—you guessed it!—the Carpathian Mountains.

I’ve been too preoccupied with other things to bother posting about this, but now Christine Feehan (as in the NYT-bestselling author credited with inventing the paranormal romance genre back in the 1990s) has now confirmed it: she has personally filed applications to obtain trademarks for all the words associated with her various books series. (#Cockygate, anyone?)

The word everyone has gone mad over (for obvious reasons) is “Dark”—as in, she’s trying to ban anyone from using Dark in their book titles from now on.

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Me on a farm in my grandfather’s village in the foothills of the—you guessed it!—Carpathians. The woman is his cousin, Pani Anna, and that’s her farm.

However, I’m here to rant about the issue of her also filing to appropriate the word “Carpathian”.

The Carpathians are a mountain range in Eastern Europe, covering seven countries: Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary and Serbia. My family is from the Ukrainian Carpathians, and have a distinct culture and fiercely proud heritage. Now, if I wanted to write a series of any sort with the word Carpathian in it, Feehan can take me to court. (Feehan is estimated to be worth millions.)

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A bear I saw in the Carpathians in September this year. Because—yes—the Carpathians still exist, and they still don’t belong to Christine Feehan.

On Twitter I mentioned that the situation has shades of the American bar owner who obtained the trademark for the Fijian word Bula, forcing the Fijian Government to take him to court to try and get the rights to their own word back.

Huculy_1933,_Verkhovyna_district Hutsuls Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains

The Ukrainian Hutsul people of the Carpathian Mountains.

People randomly trademarking stuff is disgusting, selfish, and totally bloody unnecessary. Having some author in California claim ownership of my heritage just because she named her rapey fictional vampires after my family’s homeland makes me sick.

RWA and Cockygate

Remember Cockygate? The drama that unfolded last year when a romance author somehow obtained a trademark for a common word and then took legal action against her fellow authors? (I did post about it rather a lot!)

Well, the trademark was surrendered some months ago, after the author realised that all she had achieved was the ruination of her career, but the anthology other authors put together in response to it, to raise money, was a success.

Romance Writers of America announced this week that a large portion of those funds have been donated to them:

rwa romance writers of america cockygate trademark dispute 2019

The Week: 23rd – 29th July

Friday afternoon drinks on the patio near the lake at the National Library. Canberra put on a sunny and surprisingly warm day. It was a gorgeous end to the week.

Australian Parliament from the car on Friday afternoon.

There was a terrible fatal accident involving a truck, three cars, and many people right near where I live yesterday morning. It’s on a patch of the Monaro Highway where, recently, I’ve seen a car run off into a paddock, a huge truck overturned, and, a few weeks ago, it was the exact spot we nearly got cleaned up by an aggressive male driver who ran a red light several seconds after ours turned green. And that’s before mentioning the endless kangaroos/foxes/wombats/possums that have been hit by vehicles and now line either side of the road.

We had to drive past the scene yesterday (and will have to travel past there twice today), and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

The Monaro Highway is the thoroughfare for interstaters going to and from the Snowy Mountains, the country, and Sydney, and is also where all the reckless ute-driving workmen (who’ve never met a road rule they won’t break) travel from early morning through to late afternoon.

I had a lot of posts this week, with all the news floating around!

#Cockygate Resolved

Tara Crescent Cockygate Resolved Thank You

The Bridgertons are coming to television!

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RITA Awards 2018

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

A Buffy Remake?

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Dear Canberra Writers’ Festival: Barnaby Joyce is NOT a writer, and you know it

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The Trump Effect on Books

Tessa Dare Donald Trump Paper Costs Canada Trade War 1

Roswell Trailer

Roswell New Mexico 2018

On this day: Prisoners of War in Ukraine

20th Anniversary of Ever After

The Week: 25th June – 1st July

Australian Parliament on Saturday afternoon.

Winter Evening Light Eucalyptus Tree Gum Tree Sonya Oksana Heaney 28th June 2018 Canberra Australia Nature

Winter Sky Sunset 2 Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 28th June 2018 Nature

Winter in Canberra

Yesterday we finally made it to the National Gallery for the Cartier exhibition. I’ll do a post about it next week, but – WOW. This wasn’t just random stuff; it was Kate Middleton’s wedding tiara, and some of the Queen’s favourite jewellery, and Grace Kelly’s tiara, and Elizabeth Taylor’s necklace, and tiaras belonging to Queen Victoria’s daughters, and a clock belonging to a US president…

Followed up with lunch at Canberra’s oldest Italian restaurant – good start to the weekend.

My review of Someone to Care (Westcott family #4) by Mary Balogh

To China

Chinese Embassy Australia Canberra

The next trademark drama.

Cockybot cockygate trademark for Secret Garden

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All the Boys I_ve Loved Before by Jenny Han Movie Tie-In Cover

What is this?!

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

The Week: 18th – 24th June

Winter Sunshine Blue Sky Sonya Heaney 19th June 2018 Eucalyptus Tree Gum Tree Canberra Australia Australian Capital Territory Nature

Winter sunshine in Canberra.

And at the cemetery near the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory state border on Friday afternoon.

And Lake Burley Griffin on Saturday afternoon.

R.I.P. Errol Pickford

Errol Pickford as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet © Leslie Spatt Royal Ballet Royal Opera House

Happy Birthday to an Icon

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My review of Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

My review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Beyond my limit!

How much more ridiculous can it get?

Cockygate apllication to trademark the word BIG cockybot

How much more ridiculous can it get?

The #cockygate saga has brought trademark trolls to the attention of the publishing world. The selfish practice of trademarking common words and phrases to shut out competition is not new, but it does seem to be getting more ridiculous every day.

Cocky, forever, rebellion – all words nobody should be able to “own”, and yet all words people are currently trying to take away from us (along with many others).

This weekend it came to light an application has been filed to trademark the word “big”.

Yes, really. BIG. A word that appears in titles all over the place, and has for as long as it’s been in existence (which is – oh – about 768 years).

I’m not sure what can be done about this, especially as most of the trademarks are coming out of the United States and not my own country, but clearly someone needs to put a stop to this nonsense.

Cockygate apllication to trademark the word BIG cockybot

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.