I read a book earlier this month that caused an urge to write a salty email to an editor who should have done a lot more work than they did and sugary emails to the editors who’ve kicked my ass over the years and taught me to self-correct a lot of problems before a manuscript leaves my hands. I won’t do either because (a) unproductive and (b) kicked my ass, but I need to rant and—what ho!—I have this nifty spot for just such an occasion.
Happy New Year! For 2019, I’m going to try posting these book roundups at the end of each month instead of every other, and I’ll also take a stab at describing what a book is about before launching into the usual litany of grievances. Don’t let the smooth start here fool you—I still hate (almost) everything and will tell you all about it.
Links go to Amazon and are affiliate coded.
STILLHOUSE LAKE by Rachel Caine: Gina Royal arrives home one day to find a drunk driver has crashed through the wall of her garage, but the police are much more interested in questioning her about the dead woman hanging from a noose in the middle of her husband’s “workshop.” Thus, Gwen learns her husband Mel is a serial killer, her family’s life is a lie, and the world is full of rotten people who will never let her and her kids escape the legacy of The Kansas Horror.
I woke up earlier this week to find that all of my spoons were gone. I had to declare spoon bankruptcy. I felt for several days like I would never be able to acquire another spoon for the rest of my life. As a result, I crawled into my shell and bolted the doors closed to wallow in spoonless isolation.
I woke up this morning mildly surprised to find that I was capable of experiencing an emotion as intense as mild surprise. I poked my nose out of my shell to see what’s been going on outside and quickly discovered I’m capable of ⚡MUCH MORE INTENSE EMOTIONS⚡ and should probably spend a little more time by myself.
Because I was away long enough to forget the internet is a cesspool sensitive little turtles should stay out of, the first thing I saw was a dude who’s read a handful of romance novels by one author and thinks he’s figured out the formula to write his own but just has a few questions for the lady writers to clarify this super simplistic genre so he can dive in and make a fortune.
I set my 2018 Goodreads Challenge for 24 books because 2 books a month seemed achievable even in a disaster situation. Since they count every type of “finished,” including “I’m not reading another page of this dreck,” I was done for the year in April, according to them! 🎉 🎇 ✨ 💪 💃 🐙 🎆 🎊 🌟 But if you’re going to do that, you might as well count samples I looked at and decided not to continue, so I’ve imposed my own criterion of all-the-way finished. Going by books I’ve actually read all the way through, I’m at 23, so the official victory parade will have to wait just a teeny bit longer.
Links go to Amazon and are affiliate-coded. I buy all my books and have no involvement, professional or personal, with any party named below.
The Ripped Bodice is once again hosting Summer Romance Bingo! Print your card, follow along on social media with the #rippedbodicebingo tag, and even enter to win prizes. They have suggestions for each square, and this post at Smart Bitches may also be helpful on your bingo quest.
Because this is my site and I’m almost comfortable shilling here, I’ll point out that Gin and Lex being stranded by a blizzard qualifies Silent Song for the Forced Proximity square, and Tally and Ben are both back in their teeny town of origin if you need What Comes After Dessert to occupy Return to Hometown.
Cockygate. Courtney Milan generously ordered the stat transcript of Friday’s hearing for the injunction relating to #cockygate and shared with the world. I believe this link will automatically download the PDF, so if you don’t want to do that, maybe find some of the fine people online sharing screenshots of the highlights using the hashtag. To summarize, Kevin Kneupper’s challenge on the trademark of the common word “cocky” can proceed. Tara Crescent can continue selling her cocky books. The Cocktales Anthology can continue to be sold. The judge described the trademark’s validity as “weak.” The real names and addresses of the defendants (who are, by the way, NOT the “I bought this word so no one can ever use it” side) can be submitted to the court as sealed if necessary so the plaintiff (the “I bought this word so no one can ever use it” side) can’t dox them. One of the defending lawyers will move for dismissal, but otherwise, it’s back to court in September for Round Two of “I bought this word so no one can ever use it.”
I’m going to say something about trademarks in general. I am not a lawyer, so this is obviously not going to be a legal treatise on the subject, but I do have reason to have a basic grasp of the subject. These folks who are applying for trademark on single, everyday words like to protest when called out that they’re “not going to enforce it.” This reflects one of two things: (1) A lack of understanding of how trademarks work. If you don’t defend your trademark on Occasion A, and you don’t defend your trademark on Occasion B, but you decide to go after Occasion C for some reason, Occasion C gets to use Occasion A and Occasion B in defense of common usage. If you don’t defend a trademark, you basically invalidate it, so you’ve wasted a lot of money acquiring it, only to throw it away. Who would do such a thing? Which brings us to: (2) Lying liars who tell lies. They did something shady, they got called out, and now they want everyone to calm down just long enough for their application to go through so they can start wielding their bullshit one-word trademark like a hammer. So when you see these trademark applicants for generic single words that are common usage and should be available to everyone crying “But it’s not like that!”, they either need to belatedly educate themselves about this legal process they’ve blindly initiated and halt it in response to their newly gained knowledge of the ramifications, or they’re full of shit and should be treated as such.
ETA: Some pretty high-profile outlets are treating this one hearing like the whole debacle is over, which is… wrong in every way. There are multiple legal cases involved, and Judge Hellerstein merely ruled here those multiple cases can go forward. Kneupper is still going to court to challenge the validity of the trademark of a single, commonly used word. The trademark holder is still pursuing her grudge suits against two parties who used the single, commonly used word, one before the trademark application even happened and the other as parody. Nothing is “over.”
Book Stuffing, Incentivizing Reviews, and Other Shenanigans. While the writing world was enjoying the cocky transcript, Amazon dropped new, clear rules explicitly prohibiting book stuffing (no more than 10% “bonus content”) and incentivizing reviews (no promises of gifts), theoretically cutting the heart from the bosom of KU scams. They also issued a separate warning that those not in compliance immediately will not get the KU bonuses of up to $25,000 free money per month that make cheating extra worthwhile. David Gaughran reports at much greater length on the whole shitshow.
No one really believes Amazon has the will or the means to enforce this, but for one evening, we enjoyed the dream that these people who stuff every book they’ve ever published into every “new” book they publish and tell their Facebook groups to click through all 3000 pages so they get paid $13.50 for a book that’s often sold for 99¢ (net 35¢ royalty) will find their scam no longer profitable and fuck off to sell timeshares or whatever their next get-rich-quick scheme will be. (I saw right away how they’re going to get around it, and Amazon won’t hire human beings to vet files, but it’s a glorious dream.)