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.

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.

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:

The Week: 3rd – 9th October

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Partially storm-damaged – but still pretty – flowers mid-week.

Wow. Something weird happened this week, and my half-done draft of this post went up days ago!

More or less back to proper spring weather here, apart from a freak storm that came rolling in over the mountains with over 100km an hour winds, lasted about ten minutes, and brought down trees everywhere. This year… record low temperatures for the months we were in Europe, and now record storms in Australia when it should be hot…

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Wednesday evening in Canberra

Many have people have died for many terrible reasons this week. Here are a couple of things that haven’t been making many headlines:

Marriage of former nuns saddens Pope, says Vatican Deputy Secretary of State.

The best part was this quote:

‘Federica, 44, comes from Italy and Isabel, 40, comes from South America. They said they could have done what other nuns did and live together in a convent while hiding their relationship, but said this would have been “false”.’

In other words: there’re gay nuns everywhere!

And this little new piece of Putin propaganda:

Giant Putin banner appears on New York’s Manhattan Bridge

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Authors MUST Use Social Media?

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Ellora’s Cave Closing…?

however-it-seems-that-revolutionary-erotic-romance-publisher-elloras-cave-who-invented-the-now-largely-redundant-term-romantica-is-closing

Coming Up for Joanna Shupe

Baron (The Knickerbocker Club #2) by Joanna Shupe

My review of A Countess for Christmas (Maids Under the Mistletoe #1) by Christy McKellen

A Countess for Christmas (Maids Under the Mistletoe #1) by Christy McKellen

Sarah MacLean: Bashing Romance Novels Is Just Another Form Of Slut-Shaming

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Ellora’s Cave Closing…?

  however-it-seems-that-revolutionary-erotic-romance-publisher-elloras-cave-who-invented-the-now-largely-redundant-term-romantica-is-closing

I’m not going to outline it here, because this is a big, ongoing drama that has been unfolding for years.

However, it seems that revolutionary erotic romance publisher Ellora’s Cave (who invented the – now largely redundant – term “romantica”) is closing. Mind you, if you Google them, the top result is still a call for submissions:

elloras-cave-still-asking-for-submissions-even-though-it-has-shut

And apparently authors are being given the option of getting their rights to their books back as long as they give up the money they haven’t been paid.

elloras-cave-closing-olivia-march

elloras-cave-closing-olivia-march

Ellora’s Cave has been in all sorts of trouble for a while now, and when Dear Author reported on it a few years ago, they ended up being taken to court over THAT (read it, if you already haven’t).

It’s all a big mess, but head to the big book blogs – and the Twitter hashtag #notchilled – to find out what’s going on.

The Week: 26th September – 2nd October

queanbeyan-nsw-30th-september-2016-sonya-heaney-sky-storm-clouds-nature

Stormy sky on the way home from Queanbeyan, NSW on Friday afternoon.

We had a public holiday on Monday, and I went out to the pub on Friday, so this seemed like a very short week! We have ANOTHER holiday this coming Monday, too!

I spent the public holiday visiting the Australian War Memorial, and then the Kingston Foreshore. It was a nice (if windy) day, but then the craziness started. South Australia had this freak storm, and the entire state lost power – South Australia is 1.5 times the size of Texas. The tail end of the storm reached us a couple of days later, which meant our Floriade spring festival and night festival had to be closed for a couple of days.

This time last year I was in full summer dress!

Congratulations to my cousin, who danced her final National Irish Dance Championships yesterday, held in Hobart this year.

This article disgusts me. Having been to school through the early John Howard years, where public education was stripped and stripped and stripped of money, to the point they couldn’t even afford to maintain the toilets, and all our textbooks were fifteen years out of date hand-me-downs from the private schools… I’m so angry about this:

Some private schools receive nearly three times the funding they are entitled to

In other countries it’s illegal to use government funding for private education!

That’s my rant for the week!

Australian War Memorial Canberra

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Lisa Kleypas’ Upcoming Book

Devil in Spring (2017) (The third book in the Ravenels series) A novel by Lisa Kleypas

The thirty-second anniversary of…

Ghost of a Chance by Jayne Ann Krentz

My review of Dark Fancy (Noble Passions #1) by Sabrina York

dark-fancy-noble-passions-1-by-sabrina-york

My review of A Fabrication of the Truth by Katie Kaleski

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Elizabeth Gaskell’s Birthday

1832 portrait of English writer and biographer Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65)

Dark Fancy (Noble Passions #1) by Sabrina York

dark-fancy-noble-passions-1-by-sabrina-york

When Lady Helena Simpson flees an unwanted marriage to a revolting lord, she finds refuge with James, a charming, handsome man unlike any she’s ever known. Helena concocts the perfect solution to her problem. She asks—begs—James to ruin her. Surely her betrothed will repudiate her if she is no longer pure. And if all her efforts fail and she still ends up married to a horrid man until the end of her days, she will at least once have known true passion.

But James is not all he seems. He is, in fact, a wicked lord with a dark fancy. When Helena awakens his desire, he becomes determined to take everything she has to offer and more.
No matter the cost.

Dark Fancy (Noble Passions #1) by Sabrina York

I think there might be too many Sabrinas writing historical romance! I started off this book expecting one sort of story, and ended up with something totally different. The beginning, with the runaway bride who accidentally runs straight into the clutches of the man she’s escaping, was a great one.

However, I was expecting romance, and instead I got erotica! (A note: it is not listed on review sites as anything other than historical romance.)

Once hero and heroine had met (where he mistakes her for a child), they take about an hour before they start having sex – all kinds of sex.

I put the book aside, slept, and when I woke up in the morning I had a light bulb moment: I was thinking of Sabrina Darby, not Sabrina York!

I sort of wish I’d read the book I’d been expecting, because it would have been a great story. Don’t get me wrong; this is well-written erotica. However, I didn’t realised I’d signed up for the hero watching the heroine be spanked by a duke!

Well-written if this is what you’re looking for, but it’s an ARSE, thank you very much!

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.