The Authors Guild and the Trademark Fracas

Author Kevin Kneupper brought this to my attention on Twitter yesterday. This post is an absolute must read for everyone because, sooner or later, we’ll encounter some misguided author who firmly believes s/he can to pull a Faleena over a word or title and we all end up watching another boozy video by someone who thinks eliminating all competition is the pathway to fame and the #1 spot on the NYT best seller list.

And since I invoked her name, Faleena has reluctantly settled and is withdrawing her trademark applications. She made a (mercifully short) video where she plays the martyr (does she ever not ) and wistfully murmurs about trying to protect her family, the Cockers, who are fictional) and how she was brutally attacked for doing so.

Refresh my memory, wasn’t she the one sending out fake cease and desist letters to indie authors using the word “cocky” in their titles? Wasn’t she the one who managed to get Amazon to remove books using “cocky”? Wasn’t she the one that applied for a TM for the word cocky in a specified font that wasn’t hers to TM? But she’s the victim, riiiight.

Anyway, go read it and save the link somewhere for when you encounter the next Faleena or Michael Scott Earle.



Justin Tranchita, Church Ladies, and Happy Third To Me

 Today is the third anniversary of my blog. None of my lazy felines thought to buy or bake me a cake so I’ll just have to drink beer.

I have mostly given up performing but recently have given some consideration to going back to dancing but that would mean classes and costumes and rehearsals and that would mean far less reading. I like reading. Dancing is downright painful at times.

Yesterday, I got a chance to get back in front of a camera. What can I say? The idea of live performances still scares me but in front of a camera where you can repeat a scene over and over and over until the director is satisfied or you die from exhaustion I love. I love it. Not that I was the star. No, that honor goes to someone else.

Brian J. Trim & Spectrum Theatre Productions  based in Ann Arbor invited me and my BFF, Peggy, to  Whitmore Lake to participate in the filming of two scenes of the video for Saturday Night Beauty Queen by Justin Tranchita. Justin has a new album, American Man,  to be released early this year.

Peggy and I arrived in our Sunday 1960’s best because we needed to be church ladies of that era.  We looked suitably suitable. Brian had assembled a wonderful group of local people to fill the pews and wave arms in unison. It sounds easy but what it was was a vigorous, synchronized upper body workout. For 2-2.5 hrs we waved, smiled, looked prayerful, looked shocked and scandalized, and swiveled our heads on cue.

Justin and Makenzi Cochran arrived about halfway through after filming earlier at a different location. And we repeated the waves, smiles, etc with them now adding their parts.

We broke for lunch and Justin thanked us all for our efforts. He was very charming, funny,  and a pleasure to work with as was Makenzi. We all lunched together then Justin graciously posed for pictures with any of us who asked (and we weren’t shy about asking!).

Most participants left but a few of us stayed for a scene that involved cards, a cane, and a very funny chase scene. I want to thank June who taught the rest of us at the table how to play Dummy Rummy. So for three hours we played cards (sort of), laughed, and reacted on cue. Brian ran a tight production, and things moved fast but had to be filmed from here, there, and everywhere.

Finally it was done and we dragged our tired selves home. I want to do it again.

Thank you, Brian. Thank you, Justin. Thank you, Dear Readers.

The highly anticipated  Saturday Night Beauty Queen debuts on #CMCHAT with Jessica Northey on Jan. 25.

And now, pictures.


Justin got to drive this 1967 Mustang.


Brian J Trim – producer, director, actor


Part of the crew


Eminently respectable Church Lady (I do not photograph well)


Who is that handsome man? Could it be Justin Tranchita? (the Church Lady II)






Immortalized in Pigeon

Screenshot (4483)

I’ve decided that my handsome little friend needs a name. He’s a discerning little bird, and an expert on pigeon, uh, excrement.

I’ve decided he must be a he, for a close up shot like this I think a female would have had a little gloss on her beak and a little liner to accentuate those gold eyes. So my pigeon is a male. If I have a pigeon expert in my followers feel free to tell me if I’m wrong. (Annie Rice is now telling her people of the Page there’s only 9 or 10 of you so we’ll not be posting pictures of our end of summer party, that would seriously agitate the old girl)

I wanted to give him a name but not just any name, one that would show how I honor those special self-published authors. You, dear readers, know the ones I am referring to. And then, like a post popping up on Amazon, it came to me.

(drumroll please)


And now, the moment you all have been waiting for, meet-

Screenshot (4483)


Further Adventures in Margoland

Eat, Drink and Remarry: Confessions of a Serial Wife - Margo Howard“There was something else about my column that was unusual:  my stuff went straight to the Tribune lawyers to be vetted. Dr. David Reuben, for example, author of Everything  You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask), threatened to sue me if I ever wrote about him again. All I had said was that his Q & A format read like a cross between Helen Gurley Brown and Popular Mechanics, that I found his to be a cutesy-Kinsey approach, and that his competitiveness with other authors regarding sales struck me as unseemly”-  Margo Howard, Eat, Drink and Remarry

She can dish it out but evidently can’t take it.

Finally she decided to divorce her cold, distant, alcoholic, cheating husband. There was an interlude with PIs and cameras and Howard tracking #1 down to the house of the other woman and how said PIs were impressed with her calm behavior after they left the scene of the dirty deed.

So now you might be thinking the divorce was on, right? We-ell, it yes and no, the lawyers had hammered out all the necessary agreements for children and finances and #1 begs for another chance “for the children”. Does our plucky heroine say oh hale no? Not hardly. Howard figures WTH and moves to his little large Tudor in the country for the summer, after all it wouldn’t mess with the financial agreement.  Nothing changed, except her address for a few weeks, and she returned to finalize the divorce.

At last. This woman is slooooww. Oh, she gave #1’s $15,000 camera to one of her elevator men because fuck you #1 and she didn’t need to sell it, money was no problem.

Okay, money seems to be a big problem because she keeps telling us, one way or another, how it isn’t. She has this thing about money, she can’t stop talking about it. And name dropping, yeesh. I think it is fascinating that she met so many well known or important people but the way she writes it is more like “I know all these people and you don’t”.

Howard waxes something or other as she tries to write off her first marriage as good experience for when she became an advice columnist. Somehow I just feel we haven’t come to the end of her bad decisions.

So she finally, finally is shed of #1 and is finally happy and has a “generous monthly allowance” (see what I mean about the money talk?). What’s next? A wedding of someone she grew up with and a meeting with his cousin, Gene Siskel. I regret that I’m not keeping count of the names but there has been Humphrey, Kennedy, and Stevenson. Dr. Bob Stolar, Henry “Scoop” Jackson, George Smathers, Wayne Morse, bought a house from Henry Marcus, Don Budge, Jonas Salk, Tish Baldrige was a neighbor, Arnie Morton, Hank Bradford, Gene Siskel. Notice anything? Yeah, at a quick glance so far only one woman on the “drop list”.

So she connects with Gene, they talk, and he introduces her to his editor and Howard starts writing pieces for the Sunday features section of the Tribune and now we are back to my opening paragraph.

Three more husbands to go.


[reblogged from Spare Ammo]

Kids Today-The Joe Gazzam Story

You all are familiar with Joe Gazzam and his spamming as a twelve year old girl, right? If not, try Shelby’s blog and her other blog,  this blog by 1st Avenue and  Cameron’s Utube video. It seems that Joe wanted to promote his book and the best way to do it was as a girl or several girls. I am not sure why he thought this might be a good idea.

My review of his book, Uncaged. I posted that on the 7th and today in my GRs mail I find this:


I’m hesitant to write this as I’m afraid you might misinterpret my tone as aggressive, when I don’t mean to be.  If it weren’t for my niece, I wouldn’t risk it, but here it goes.  I don’t think Cameron is a bad guy or means to hurt anyone.  Nor do I think you are.
But you are hurting people.  Someone in particular.
The 12 year old that wrote a glowing review for my book was…a 12 year old.  She is my niece.  Her mother is very strict, hyper conservative in extremely weary of the internet.  Thus, she is not allowed on Facebook and not allowed to post pics on anything.
So, she joined goodreads and pulled a pic off the internet to use as her sig pic.  Just like half the people on Goodreads use pics off the internet and not their own.   Unless there really are vampires on this site.  Now, she then did go overboard and messaged a bunch of people telling them to check out the book.  I believe so much that she was marked as spam and kicked off.
I had no knowledge of this.  Was I mad about it?   To be honest, no.  How mad could I be?  She was trying to help.  I was actually flattered and honestly though that was the end of it.
Problem is Cameron, without any facts, without any knowledge whatsoever — assumed the worse.  He decided that it had to be me — the author — who was doing it.  But it wasn’t.  The conclusion he jumped to led to a bunch of really, reallllllly creepy attacks on me.  And then all of his friends — assuming Cameron was acting on fact — joined in.
Again, I can take it, I’m a grown up.  Problem is — my niece now knows about it.  She still goes on this site and has seen all the attacks. She literally was crying to my sister the other night.  This is a 12 year old who thinks she’s the cause of all this stuff.
Again, I don’t think Cameron is a hateful guy.  He actually seems like a pretty nice guy.  But you can’t make accusations like this on a hunch.  You can really hurt people.
Anyway, I hope my tone came off okay, you never know when you are writing.  I would send this to Cameron, but ironically, he doesn’t accept messages.  If you would pass it along, I would appreciate it.  If he wants to talk to me personally, I will call him to discuss.
I’ll try and send this note to a couple other people as well, hopefully it registers.
Thanks for listening.  Take care.

Joe had reached out to me. It’s a nice post, isn’t it? One polite post deserves another, my reply:

I will consider your post but-12 yr old are not allowed on GRs. At all. So if this all is true and I am not dismissing you without more consideration, your sister, the strict mother, violated GRs TOS by letting her daughter on this site.

” This Service is intended solely for Users who are thirteen (13) years of age or older, and any registration, use or access to the Service by anyone under 13 is unauthorized, unlicensed, and in violation of this Agreement. If you are under 18 years of age you may use the Service only if you either are an emancipated minor or possess legal parental or guardian consent, and are fully able and competent to enter into the terms, conditions, obligations, affirmations, representations, and warranties set forth in this Agreement, and to abide by and comply with this Agreement.”

The easiest solution to this then is for your niece to stop visiting this site. Age limits are there for a reason. But I will give your post more consideration.

I did give Joe’s post consideration, I considered it right into a an email to GRs customer service. Because I have a few problems with Joe’s post to me, let’s start with this:

“The 12 year old that wrote a glowing review for my book was…a 12 year old.  She is my niece.  Her mother is very strict, hyper conservative in extremely weary of the internet.  Thus, she is not allowed on Facebook and not allowed to post pics on anything.”

Aside from the obvious mistakes in construction, Joe would like me to believe that a very strict, hper conservative, internet wary, I assume it is wary that he meant, mother would allow her daughter to create an illegal account on a website that I am assuming she would know next to nothing about and then let her roam free to spam until she got banned for doing so. And then she then returned to GRs under another account and is now “crying to her mother”, whatever that means.

All of us who had strict mothers raise our hands. I ask you all, would you have been able to pull this off? Not only would I not have been able to I shudder to think of the consequences of getting caught. And I had a healthy respect for the rules, children generally do.

But it seems that Joe’s niece doesn’t have to worry about any of that and since Joe is pleading for me to change my review it must be because she will be returning to read my gentle gibe again? Why, yes, ” She still goes on this site and has seen all the attacks. ” Oh, Joe, rest easy, she won’t be returning because I complained to GRs that it is not my problem if an underage child of a very strict, hyper conservative, internet wary mother creates a second  account, violating the TOS yet again, was upset by my review. GRs takes a dim view of these activities.

Dear readers, all three of you, if you detect a slight note of skepticism on my part for Joe’s story, I must sincerely apologize. I do not have the slightest bit of skepticism, I think Joe is lying like a cheap Wal-Mart rug. I do not think Joe can take getting one star reviews and/or people talking about his little masquerade(s), I think Joe is handling this, or mishandling this, in a manner that would have that niece of his rolling her eyeballs at the great lameness of Uncle Joe.

“But you are hurting people.  Someone in particular.” Yes, Joe, but the only person you’re hurting is yourself.