Sunday, September 19, 2021

No Trivial Matter

"No Trivial Matter" might be an example of litotes. When one aggrieved party takes the time, trouble, and expense to go before a judge, it cannot be trivial to them, can it?

A slur could be Tweet-length, and yet be profound in its impact. A photographer's copyright could be infringed unseen, and not be legally "De Minimus".

We'll start with the short form slurs (my own characterization, chosen for the sibilance... and to digress, one online dictionary defines "sibilance" as "having a sibilant quality" !) 


From an influencer with a self-alleged botched bottom, to a rural parking dispute (and much more) legal bloggers Emily Cox and Paloma Kotecha  representing the UK law firm of Stewarts LLP tell a series of defamation-related stories:

The Rise And Rise Of Defamation On Social Media.

Lexology Link
Original Link


Defamation on Facebook seems to be a hot topic Down Under, with indications that media companies with pages on Facebook might be held as liable as any publisher, as far as Australian law goes, for defamatory content posted by Facebook users on the media's pages.

Christine Wong and Greta Ulbrick of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP explain the latest thinking on defamation law for the digital age:

Lexology Link:
Original Link:

The media allegedly tried to claim a defense of innocent dissemination.

All bloggers and writers and publishers should take note and beware of "innocent dissemination". Moderating comments would be a good start.

Apropos of nothing...except perhaps running your own small business website, possibly as an author, the Eastern District of New York has recently held that stand-alone websites (not linked to your own bricks-and-mortar bookshop, for instance) are not subject to the Americans With Disabilities Act.

If that was a concern for any of our dear readers, find out more from an Advertising Law blog article by Caren Decter for Frankfurt Kurnit Klein and Selz PC.

Original Link:


Finally. for the law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (which I am delighted to get my tongue around), legal bloggers Benjamin E. Marks and Michael Goodyear ask "Is There a De Minimus Defense For Trivial Use of Concededly Infringing Material...?"

Can't you just picture Dirty Harry asking that question?  Seriously, the well reasoned answer might surprise at first reading.

Lexology link:
Original link:

There's a lot to unpack in the case (pardon the pun), but when it comes to copyright, if you copy the entire work, you cannot claim a De Minimus defense. The.pdf version is especially well done and easy reading.  And, if you happen to have lost track of the photos on your long-abandoned Facebook pages, you might not be in the clear if any belong to another copyright holder.

All the best,

Rowena Cherry 


Friday, September 17, 2021

Karen Wiesner: The Stories Behind Classic Fairy Tales (Woodcutter's Grim Series), Part 4



Classic Tales of Horror Retold

This is the fourth of eight posts focusing on my Woodcutter's Grim Series and the stories behind classic fairy tales.

For the ten generations since the evil first came to Woodcutter's Grim, the Guardians have sworn an oath to protect the town from the childhood horrors that lurk in the black woods. Without them, the town would be defenseless…and the terrors would escape to the world at large. 

THE DEEP, Book 8

 by Karen Wiesner

Supernatural Fantasy Romance/Mild Horror Novel

 ** Very loosely based on “Metamorphoses: The Story of Pygmalion and the Statue” by Ovid. Cheyenne Welsh can't forget her past and the disappearance of her younger sister. When she returns to Woodcutter's Grim to sell the family property she grew up on, she's confronted with all the nightmare-realities of her childhood, still alive and well, still right where she left them--down in the darkness the Deep dwells inside. Her home... **

All of the novellas in the Woodcutter’s Grim Series thus far had been loosely based on popular, traditional fairy or folk tales, myths, fables, parables, nursery rhymes, poems, or some other literature. When I told my son I wouldn’t be following that theme for THE DEEP or any other Woodcutter’s Grim Series novels, he promptly insisted I was cheating and changing the rules midgame. I thought long and hard about that and ultimately worked like mad, pouring over all of the above to find something appropriate. I finally chose a loose interpretation of Metamorphoses: The Story of Pygmalion and the Statue by Ovid. Now I can’t imagine the story would have worked—or at least wouldn’t have been as effective—if I hadn’t followed my son’s advice.

The heroine’s father in THE DEEP had been introduced at the beginning of the Shaussegeny miniseries (WOODCUTTER'S GRIM SERIES, Volume II), so I was able to expand on his character as a professor of demon lore and introduce his penchant for fetish statues. If you’ve ever seen one and you know its purpose, you realize this is creepy stuff.

The title came about for the fetish statue that I created in the story, which has a name, Die diep (African for "The Deep"), and that statue has had a long, bloody, chilling history.

Writing this story gave me no end of trouble, requiring multiple revisions and overhauls, setting the book aside to brainstorm on ways to fix it, getting a critique partner involved so I could see what I was doing wrong… Well, eventually I did get the story to work.

The story behind Ovid's "Pygmalion and the Statue" was apparently inspired by the famous sculptor Praxiteles who created a statue modeled after his lover, a famous courtesan he'd seen rising naked from the sea like the goddess. He duly fell in love…or lust…or worship or whatever, lol.

 Reviews and Honors for THE DEEP:

Editor's Top Pick from BellaOnline

5 star review from Huntress Reviews

5 star review from BTSemag

5 star review and Reviewer's Top Pick from Readers' Favorite

5 star review from MBR Bookwatch

5 star review from Linda's Reviews

I've always found African death masks and some of other tribal pieces, like fetishes statues, frightening. How about you? Leave a comment to tell me about it!

Happy reading!

Find out more about this book and Woodcutter's Grim Series here:

Karen is an award-winning, multi-genre author of over 140 titles and 16 series. Visit her here: 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Advice on "Breaking In" to Publishing

Cory Doctorow's newest LOCUS column discusses the beginning writer's obsessive quest for tips from pros on how to get started in publishing. In particular, we love to read about how successful authors landed their first sales:

Breaking In

The major premise of this article: The publishing field changes so fast that a veteran author's story of how he or she first got accepted for professional publication isn't likely to be of any practical help today. As Doctorow puts it with reference to his own early experiences, "While I still have an encylopedic knowledge of the editorial peccadilloes of dozens of publications, most of them no longer exist, and the ones that do have been radically transformed in the intervening decades." What Doctorow supplies instead is "meta-advice," advice on where to find the best advice. According to him, novice writers can get optimal assistance by pooling their knowledge of current publishing practices and trends with other novice writers, sharing what they've discovered through researching markets and submitting to editors. "Just as a writers’ critiquing circle should consist of writers of similar ability, so too should a writers’ professional support circle consist of writers at similar places in their careers."

He does offer some general guidelines applicable to everyone, a more specific, pragmatic version of Heinlein's well-known "rules." Doctorow also narrates his own "breaking in" story with mention of several publishing veterans who assisted him, including Judith Merril. He declares that an established author's most "powerful tool for helping out new writers" is encouragement.

My first adventure in professional publication (my only previous published work being limited to short pieces in our high-school newspaper), in the late 1960s when I was just over twenty years old, certainly has little if any practical application for writers today. I didn't have the benefit of mentors or networking of any kind. I knew nothing about submitting manuscripts except that they had to be double-spaced on only one side of the paper and had to include a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope, for those who've never submitted a paper manuscript). My sole source of information about the industry came from the annual WRITERS' MARKET reference volume in the public library. Today's novice writers are so fortunate to have the resources of the internet. I assembled a collection of stories for a vampire anthology, wrote an introduction, and sent the package to Fawcett in New York. After a year of silence, I mailed them a humorous "haven't heard from you" greeting card. Now that I know better, I'd never think of doing such a thing. Yet they responded promptly, apologized for the long wait, and offered me a contract. In view of my total ignorance, the editor had to explain to me how anthology payments worked and how to arrange for reprint permissions. That proposal became my first book, CURSE OF THE UNDEAD, a mass market paperback.

My first professional fiction sale came about in a more conventional manner that still applies to today's markets, other than the shift from snail mail to e-mail submissions and communications. I received a call for submissions to Marion Zimmer Bradley's second Darkover anthology, FREE AMAZONS OF DARKOVER, probably because the rudimentary fan activities I'd started doing had somehow gotten me on Bradley's mailing list. The zip code on the envelope, however, was wrong, and the letter had reached me barely in time to meet the deadline, if I worked very quickly (for me—I wasn't quite as slow then as now, but I haven't been a truly fast writer since my teens). So this sale had an element of luck, too; the submission invitation could have been lost completely. Without much hope of success, I wrote a story and mailed it just in time. To my surprise, it was accepted. After that, I had stories included in numerous later Darkover anthologies. They stayed in print for many years and, for a long time, supplied my most reliable (although modest in amount) source of royalty income.

Doctorow's "advice" for beginners may be broadly summarized in the eloquent statement, "Writers blaze their own trails, finding mentors or not, getting lucky or not, agonizing and working and reworking, finding peers and lifting each other up."

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Bad Calls

Today's topic is "Bad Calls" around the World: by an Australian Troll, by Apple in going after an allegedly notorious international trademark troll, by a Tobagoan mimic in the early morning hours, a breathtakingly daft reTweet, and more.

"Hello?" I said at 6:00 am when a call interrupted my early morning quiet writing time.
"Hello?" my almost inimitable voice replied.

I would have been creeped out, but my daughter has Mynah bird mimicry skills and it amuses her to take the mickey over the phone, although, not usually before noon.

"Deborah?" I did not say, because that is not my daughter's name.
"Deborah?" My exact intonation echoed the name I actually used.

I fell silent. If my Mynah-like daughter had been messing with me, she would have said something original in exasperation that I had stopped playing. The caller from Trinidad and Tobago waited for several minutes to see (I assume) whether I would say something a sight more useful to an identity thief, but I did not and the caller eventually gave up.

At that point, I looked at Caller ID, which showed "PORT SPAIN TR", and I did some research.

Area Codes you never want to call back, if you receive a curiosity-arousing call:

A lot of banks and brokerage houses are pushing clients to agree to use Voice Recognition to validate telephone access to account information. Don't do it. 

Legal bloggers too numerous to link to (but whose names should show up) for Troutman Pepper have published a very thorough and extensive article --"More Privacy Please"-- on what the USA is doing about Robocallers, hackers, ransomeware, Zoombombing, the Solar Winds hack, for profit dossiers on private citizens,  Macy allegedly scraping faces, Ancestry's use of yearbook photos, and other outrages, scams and  scammers.

Kim Kommando blogs about privacy hacks (in the tip sense of the word) to do with irrevocable bad calls in chosing your free and convenient email provider.

Cari Sheehan, of counsel at Barnes and Thornton is holding a webinar (one has to register to attend, but anyone can read the blurb) about the special need for lawyers to refrain from wildly liking comments or pages on social media.

When a lawyer likes something, the legal ramifications can be damaging.

The same, apparently, might apply to politicians and their staffers. Liberal law professor Turley recently described a retweet as "breathtakingly daft".  One could probably search for the phrase.

Representing the law firm of Walder Wyss Ltd., Markus Frick and Manuel Bigler discuss  Swiss law and the case of the Patent troll

With trademarks, one has to use the mark or risk losing it. In Switzerland, anyone can apply to the authorities to cancel someone else's trademark if the trademark owner does not actively use their TM.
That's why I always put my TM below my name when blogging, and dear reader, if you have a TM, you should do so, too.

Trying to cancel someone else's trademark can be considered abusive. Do it often, and one may be called a troll, or even a notorious troll as is reported in this case, which Apple appears to have lost.  The Walder Wyss commentary is very interesting.

Meanwhile, down in Australia, Mhairi Stewart and Nikki Randall report with great nasal-mutilaton-wit for Bennet + Co on the case of an apparently scorned, would-be plastic surgery recipient who was not very good at concealing her identity, and her bad call in trolling the reputation of the unwilling surgeon cost her a very large judgement and her anonymity (not necessarily in that order).

It is a very good story. It's also quite teachable. One is never as anonymous as one supposes one is, especially give the points that Kim Kommando and others make about privacy.  Better not to hide behind an illusion, perhaps.

All the best,

Friday, September 10, 2021

Karen Wiesner: The Stories Behind Classic Fairy Tales (Woodcutter's Grim Series), Part 3


Classic Tales of Horror Retold, Volume II Collection

 by Karen Wiesner

Four Supernatural Fantasy Romance Novellas

 This is the third of eight posts focusing on my Woodcutter's Grim Series and the stories behind classic fairy tales.

For the ten generations since the evil first came to Woodcutter's Grim, the Guardians have sworn an oath to protect the town from the childhood horrors that lurk in the black woods. Without them, the town would be defenseless…and the terrors would escape to the world at large.                                                

The second volume of the Woodcutter’s Grim Series focuses on a miniseries within the overall series dealing with a curse on the Shaussegeny family (who were mentioned in the previous three books as well as "The Amethyst Tower").


"Moonlight Becomes You", Book 4 

** Very loosely based on “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse”. When her child becomes deathly ill and none of the doctors and specialists can help him, Heather Rowe rushes to Woodcutter's Grim, hoping the boy's father can help their child. But Lance Shaussegeny's explanations terrify Heather, even though she's intensely attracted to him all over again. She soon learns that nothing in Woodcutter's Grim—including Lance—is what it seems. **

When I was putting together the first collection of Woodcutter’s Grim Series stories, I wrote a story based on the children’s poem "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse"—something I adored as a kid and also when my son was very young. The story didn’t work out at all like I planned, so I set aside, figuring I could brainstorm and try to come up with another angle for the story that I liked still and didn’t want to forget. Well, later, when I was deciding on my contributions for the 2011 Jewels of the Quill anthologies, I remembered this story. I’d always been intrigued by the Shaussegenys, who were mentioned in all of the previous Woodcutter’s Grim Series stories. There were hints that the family was cursed by the evil in the town and made into werewolves, and I really wanted to explore that angle.

Even after I had the concept for this book worked out, I couldn’t think of a good title beyond “A Friend in Need” (which is what it was called when I first wrote a version it this and then found out it wasn't working and so shelved it). One day while playing a computer game, I was trying to brainstorm on the opposite side of my brain while I was playing. I toyed with the idea of moonlight, since it’s what brings werewolves out. Under the Moon, Moonlit Reflections, Reflections in Moonlight… Then I realized that the heroine Heather spends most of this story trying to deny what she subconsciously knows. “Moonlight Becomes You” struck me like a lightning bolt.

The classic nursery story "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse" is probably a moral story warning against envying those who are richer than you and instead being content with your lot, but my point with "Moonlight Becomes You" was the parallel in learning to live with monsters in our midst. 

"Bewitched", Book 5

 ** Very loosely based on “The Little Mermaid”. Glynnis Shaussegeny becomes bewitched by the mystery man who appears out of nowhere on the abandoned property across the lake from her family’s estate. But does Aric Sayer have even more dark secrets than she does? **

“Bewitched” continued the miniseries with Glynnis, the daughter of Marnie and Gav, and the mysterious new man who appeared across the lake. “The Little Mermaid” is one of my favorite fairy tales and so I knew I wanted to do a spinoff of it for my little horror town Woodcutter’s Grim. How to do it perplexed me for a long time because many of these stories are so loosely based on a classic fairy tale. It’s very difficult to fit a modern story into an older mold. I'd already set a precedence with everything that came before of not forcing something that doesn't want to go. In essence, I consider those "loosely based". For some reason, “Bewitched” perfectly fit into one aspect of the old fairy tale of "The Little Mermaid" and, after I realized that, the story pretty much wrote itself. It’s a fun, paranormal twist on a beloved story.

Glynnis had been in previous Woodcutter’s Grim Series books as a villain (since she’s the woman Kurt cheated on Diane with). I like to redeem characters, and I gave Glynnis motivation for her actions in that affair: Under the Shaussegeny curse, she believed Kurt was her chosen mate. In this book, she realizes he isn’t and never was when Aric Sayer appears. Since this miniseries become more paranormal romance than romantic horror, I wanted to start using some of the “lighter and softer” fairy tales as a basis for my modern retellings.

"The Little Mermaid" classic fairy tale that we all know and love has several contradictory interpretations by scholars. On one end, it might speak of a female only gaining a soul through marriage (say what?) or a self-sacrificing action that proves true love exists and therefore magic happens to reward the selfless act. On the other end, female empowerment--breaking free of the male conventions that can bind all females in some ways--are the order of the day in "The Little Mermaid". Or this story could simply have been prompted by the myths of malevolent mermaids preying on lonely sailors. 

"One Night of Eternity", Book 6

 ** Loosely based on “The House That Jack Built”. Gavin has broken the covenant with his wife. Although he regrets his faithlessness, the house he's built for himself is beginning to tumble down around him. Only his mate's undeserved forgiveness will free him from his punishment to re-live his betrayal over and over for all time. **

I’ve always been intrigued by the children’s poem, "The House That Jack Built", and when I started brainstorming on fairy tales that would make a good transition into my Woodcutter’s Grim Series, this poem was one of the first that I wanted to use. I came up with a simple, line-by-line outline of the story based on the poem, and the book really wrote itself after that. I just found it such a cool, circular idea. I especially enjoyed writing the story of a couple who has endured marital infidelity and how sin becomes so twisted in a paranormal situation like theirs. Their obsessive love for each other was obvious to me from their first moments thinking of each other in the opening chapters.

The origin of the nursery rhyme, sometimes titled "This is the House that Jack Built", seems to merely be one of repetitive, progressive verse.

In my modern retelling, the hero has to enduring his night of infidelity for all eternity, over and over again, progressively as punishment. How can he ever break free? The title came to me even before I worked out all the details in the outline.

 "Beauty is the Beast*, Book 7

 ** Very loosely based on “Beauty and the Beast”. When Ransom Shaussegeny attempts to cure the family curse, he becomes a werewolf trapped in beast form and isolates himself inside the family fortress. Upon meeting a beautiful enchantress, he falls under her spell. Will the evil in Woodcutter’s Grim have the last laugh by dooming him, the woman he loves, and his family for all time? **

Another huge fairy tale favorite of mine has always been "Beauty and the Beast", and it was the obvious choice for the final story to wrap up this miniseries. Ransom’s family had accepted the curse they live under, but he’d never been willing to. He wanted to break the curse and he certainly didn't want to pass it on to a woman he’d fallen in love with. The idea that the hero is trapped in his werewolf form was beyond compelling to me, mingled with the mystery of a heroine who isn’t all she seems. In that situation, who is the beauty and who is the beast?

This title was one I chose for a modern story I wrote a long time ago and one that I can't imagine will ever see the light of day. In that coming-of-age tale concerning a young girl too beautiful for her own good, beauty *is* the beast. But it was the perfect title for this story, so I had to steal it off that book.

Ironically, the twist in this story of Tess's origins worked so perfectly in HUNTER'S BLUES, Book 9 (A Mirror Darkly World Novel) that I wrote much later for the series.

The origin of the classic fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast" seems to have stemmed from the Cupid and Psyche chronicle from an ancient Latin novel in which a woman is banished by a jealous god and forced to marry a beast. What followed is more than a little convoluted but makes for interesting reading nevertheless.

 Reviews and Honors for WOODCUTTER'S GRIM SERIES, Volume II:

5 star review and Top Pick from The Romance Reviews

5 star review and Reviewer's Top Pick from Readers Favorite

5 star review from Huntress Reviews

5 star review from Linda's Reviews

4 1/2 star review from Love Romance Passion

Have you ever written a series that came to you in a non-linear order? Have you read any that were published out of order? Leave a comment to tell me about it!

Happy reading!

Find out more about this collection and Woodcutter's Grim Series here:

Karen is an award-winning, multi-genre author of over 140 titles and 16 series. Visit her here: 

Thursday, September 09, 2021

More Futuristic Forecasts

"Prediction is hard, especially about the future." Over the past week, I've been rereading LIFE AND TIME, a 1978 collection of essays by Isaac Asimov (some of them written as early as the 1960s). In contrast to the imaginative speculations in his fiction, these articles include serious forecasts about potential developments in technology and society.

Most strikingly, he anticipated the internet, a global repository of information anybody could draw upon. He envisioned everybody on Earth having a personal "channel" just as most people now have individual telephone numbers. We sort of have that system now, considering the unique IP address of each computer as a personal channel. Also, an individual tablet or smart phone serves the same function. Incidentally, J. D. Robb's "In Death" SF mystery series anticipated today's smart phone as the pocket "link" most people in her fictional future carry with them, long before such devices became common in real life. Asimov hailed the future possibilities of lifelong, customized learning through the worldwide computer bank. Granted, many people benefit from the internet in that way, yet the satirical lament too often holds some truth: We have a network that gives us access to the entire accumulated knowledge of humanity, and we use it mostly for political rants and pictures of cats. Asimov suggested computer learning could overcome one of the main disadvantages of our educational system, the necessity for one teacher to instruct a large group of students, making it impossible to adjust lessons to the comprehension level, interests, and learning style of each individual. Computer education could effectively give each pupil a private tutor. Although we've recently had over a year of experience with online education, it's still been mainly a group-oriented activity. Advanced AI might fulfill Asimov's vision. He also foresaw cashless monetary transactions, electronic transmission of documents, and virtual rather than in-person business meetings, all of which exist now. Unfortunately, his expectation that these developments would greatly reduce travel and its attendant pollution hasn't come to pass yet, probably because many employers are reluctant to embrace the full potential of remote work.

On some topics, he was too pessimistic. For example, he foresaw the world population reaching seven billion by the early 21st century, a point we've already passed. However, we're not forced to survive on synthetic nourishment derived from genetically engineered microbes, as he speculated might become necessary. We still eat a lavish variety of fresh foods. He seemed to believe a population of the current level or higher would reduce humankind to universal misery; while many of the planet's inhabitants do live in abject circumstances, Earth hasn't yet become a dreary anthill.

Not surprisingly, Asimov favored genetically modified agricultural products, which already exist, although not in some of the radically altered or enhanced forms he imagined. He also focused on the hope of cleaner energy, perhaps from controlled fusion or large-scale solar power. He proposed solar collectors in orbit, beaming energy down to Earth, far from a practical solution at present. And, as everyone knows, fusion-generated power is only twenty years away—and has been for a generation or more. :) Asimov predicted autonomous cars, almost commercially viable in the present. He also discussed the potential advantages of flying cars, however, without apparently considering the horror of city skies thronged with thousands of individual VTOL vehicles piloted by hordes of amateurs. Maybe self-driving vehicles would solve that problem, being programmed to avoid collisions.

To save energy on cooling and heating as well as to shelter inhabitants from severe weather, he proposed moving cities underground, as in his novel THE CAVES OF STEEL. This plan might be the optimal strategy for colonizing the Moon or Mars. I doubt most Earth citizens would accept it unless it beomes the only alternative to a worldwide doom scenario. Asimov, a devoted claustrophile, seemed to underestimate the value the average person puts on sunshine, fresh air, nature, and open space.

In general, he tended to be over-pessimistic about the fate looming over us unless we solve the problem of overpopulation right now (meaning, from his viewpoint, in the 1980s). As dire as that problem is in the long run, the decades since the publication of the essays in LIFE AND TIME demonstrate that Earth is more resilient than Asimov (and many prognosticators at that time) feared. Moreover, the worldwide birthrate is declining, although the shift isn't spread evenly over the world and for the present global population continues to rise through sheer momentum. Asimov analyzed the issue of whether a demographic pattern of old people far outnumbering younger ones would lead to a rigid, reactionary culture. He maintained that the mental stagnation traditionally associated with aging could be prevented by an emphasis on lifelong learning and creativity. He devoted no attention to the more immediate problem of declining birthrates some nations already begin to face now—a young workforce that isn't large enough to support its millions of retired and often infirm elders. Encouraging immigration would help. (But that's "modpol"—shorthand for modern politics on one list I subscribe to—so I'll say no more about it.) In the long run, however, if and when prosperity rises and births decline worldwide, there won't be anyplace for a supply of young workers to immigrate from.

Asimov seemed over-optimistic about the technological marvels and wondrous lifestyle we'll all enjoy IF over-population and its attendant problems are conquered. He envisioned the 21st century as a potential earthly paradise. Judging from the predictions of such optimists over many decades, just as controlled fusion is always twenty years away, utopia is always fifty years away.

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Absolutely AWFul

As America celebrates Labor on Labor Day, I'm reminded of the little red hen (who did all the work), and all her neighbors in the barnyard who did not want to share in the effort, but expected to enjoy the fruits of her labor.

In copyright terms, who is the Pig, who the Cat, and who the Rat?

However, in copyright terms, the wheat-seed-to-loaf analogy doesn't hold, because bread is finite and perishable. Not so much with royal wedding cake.

But again, it is the original that is being auctioned. Apparently, the original copyright-infringing works might be untouchable.  One digresses.

Suppose the little red hen had take a photograph of her loaf of bread? That would be a copyrightable work of photographic art. "Barnyard Loaf" would not be in the public domain, even if Pig, Rat, and Cat saw the photo.  Little red hen, after all, created the bread, posed the bread, chose the angle from which to photograph the bread, chose the time of day and the light quality and the direction of the sun and the cast of shadows, and she also chose the type of camera equipment and the film (even if she used an iPhone).
She put a lot of work into her "Barnyard Loaf".

Suppose Cat asked for a limited license to copy the photograph for the reference of an unnamed artist for ephemeral use in "Farmyard Times" to illustrate an article on The Staff of Life.  The artist was Rat, and rat liked to take other artists' photographs, copy them multiple times to create a compilation work (which Rat called "transformative" and "original expression", and conveying a different meaning and social commentary or some such thing.... and was therefore "Fair Use".  Perhaps Rat gave the wholesome loaf a wash of orange, purple, yellow to make it Rat's.  Then, Rat made prints, and sold them, probably for a lot of money, because Rat was well known for that sort of thing and got away with it.

Legal bloggers Sarah Bro  and Ewa Wojciechowska for McDermott Will & Emery walk through the Second Circuit judges' thinking as they decided on a Fair Use case which inspired the above extended analogy.

For good measure, here is the Lexology link:

It's interesting to know how judges weigh the four "fair use" factors, and why LGL prevailed against AWF.

Not in the least Awful, but much less clear (to this writer, who is not an online game enthusiast) is Lawrence Veregin's discussion about copyright in a deck of cards (a compilation), where perhaps every one of the sixty cards in the deck might individually be the copyrightable artwork of someone else. I would not include something I don't understand, but perhaps the discussion is of interest to alien romance followers of Jacqueline Lichtenberg's illuminating series on writing from the Tarot.

Original Link:

Lexology Link:

Thinking of the copyright in a deck of cards reminds me of cover model CJ Hollenbach who once worked with a full pack of romance writers to create a deck of pink cards of romance-writing tips. One hopes that he copyrighted his compilation. He was/is a charming, creative, and hard working gymrat (self described).

All the best

Rowena Cherry 

Friday, September 03, 2021

Karen Wiesner: The Stories Behind Classic Fairy Tales (Woodcutter's Grim Series), Part 2


Classic Tales of Horror Retold, Volume I Collection

 by Karen Wiesner

Four Supernatural Fantasy Romance/Mild Horror Novellas

This is the second of eight posts focusing on my Woodcutter's Grim Series and the stories behind classic fairy tales.

For the ten generations since the evil first came to Woodcutter's Grim, the Guardians have sworn an oath to protect the town from the childhood horrors that lurk in the black woods. Without them, the town would be defenseless…and the terrors would escape to the world at large.Ts collection includes Books 1-3 in the series along with The Final Chapter: 

"Papa", Book 1

 ** A horrifying rendering of “Hansel and Gretel” in which revenge is served up sweet...Less than a year after Rand left his family for Amy, his ex-wife and two children are killed in an accident. Ever since then, Amy has had terrible nightmares in which Rand's children return to exact revenge. When Rand convinces her to come away with him to an isolated cabin in the woods, Amy's guilt-filled nightmares turn into pure horror. **

The Woodcutter's Grim Series started officially when my family went camping and everyone was telling scary stories around the fire one night. The idea for a terrifying “Hansel and Gretel” is what I came up with. The scariest part of my pitifully weak rendition around the campfire that night was Hansel and Gretel calling in their thin, ghostly voices, “Papa” to their father, who’d abandoned them. After this, I had a nightmare about a spooky town that seemed completely deserted. The only thing the hero could find were little piles of sugar everywhere. Later, he realized those were all that were left of the townspeople. That was the jumping off point for the story “Papa”.

The basis of the fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel" is a deeply disturbing, tragic story of famine, disease, and infanticide but could also have had something to do with a successful female baker in the 1600s that another baker (a male) grew jealous of and so accused of being a witch. You can probably guess the rest, but if you want to know more details about this travesty, visit:

"Blood of Amethyst", Book 2

** A bloodcurdling answer why Rumpelstiltskin wanted a child of his own... Amethyst's father disappears and Sheriff and Guardian Gabe finds him drained of blood. When Amethyst herself grows pale, cold, wakes only in the night when her taste for blood overwhelms her, Gabe becomes aware something in the woods is stealing her life. He'll face his deadliest foe yet when the woman he loves falls prey to a nameless creature who wants her very soul. **

Okay, so who doesn’t wonder why the childhood fairy tale creature "Rumpelstiltskin" wanted the queen’s child for his own? His reasons couldn’t be good. They had to be horrifying. I’d always wondered about the answer to that question, and so it was natural in this “a modern rendering of a classic fairy tale” to explore that angle, as well as establish the inner workings of the fairy tale horror town Woodcutter’s Grim first introduced in “Papa”. Since Sheriff Gabe Reece (leader of the Protectorate) made his first appearance in that story, it seemed natural to make that character the focus of this one.

Another thing I've always wondered is where the name "Rumpelstiltskin" came from and what it means. There are several ideas about the origin. One idea is that it stems from a childhood game in which children took turns assuming the role of a noisy goblin with limp. The word could also describe a mischievous poltergeist. There's also a crude suggestion that the name has a phallic interpretation in the story. In other words, an impish creatures forces a woman to "make gold" with him and then tries to take her firstborn. This story could have been a warning to easily manipulated young women of the time. Check out the full attempt to discover the origin of the classic tale here:

"Dancing to the Grave", Book 3

** Loosely based on “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”. The children of Woodcutter's Grim are changing...and only one person, music teacher Diane Anders, realizes the truth. Can she and her husband, Kurt Jones, a member of the ancient lineage of the Protectorate's Chosen Seven, save them and the future of their town? **

 Another children’s fairy tale that’s always fascinated me is the "Pied Piper of Hamelin". Why would he want to lure all those children away? I came up with an explanation here in this modern retelling. Isn't having all your children taken away the very definition of horror? I also liked exploring the early phases of a couple reuniting after one of them had cheated. The title was another no-brainer, since it was based on the Pied Piper story.

 I hope to never have to research rats again! That was pretty unpleasant and made me itchy the whole time I was writing the story. The heroine Diane was allergic to rats, and I have the same condition, but it's not relegated to just rats. At the time I was working on this story, we lived in an older house, and I kept smelling something dead in the basement, where my office and computer were. My husband wouldn't believe me, but we found a newly deceased carcass of a bat not long later…when a bunch of live bats started flying around my head one night while I was working down there! Needless to say, my office was moved upstairs the very next day.

The story behind the fairy tale "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" might be just what you'd expect, following the story closely to events that took place in 1264 in a Germanic village. When the town elders reneged on the deal, one potential explanation (or myth) is that children could have been compelled by the piper into missionary service, via the Children's Crusade. Did they in fact cross the sea to convert Muslims to Christianity, or did they never reach their destination, either starving or being sold into slavery?'s_Crusade/

"The Amethyst Tower", The Final Chapter

** Loosely based on “Rapunzel”. The isolated maiden meets her knight in a time-traveler who's come into the future to rescue her from the Warlock Lord holding her captive in the amethyst tower. Where else but in the fairy-tale-horror town of Woodcutter's Grim? **

While I really wanted to come up with more Woodcutter's Grim Series stories, I didn't really have any ideas and so assumed it would end with four novellas. But, later when I unexpectedly dreamed up more stories to fit in this series, "The Amethyst Tower” gave me a focal point and a boundary to write the rest of the “middle” stories inside, knowing where the series would end.

At the time when I was outlining "The Amethyst Tower", I’d been lamenting for years that Disney still hadn’t done a movie for the fairy tale "Rapunzel" (Tangled came out years later), so I wanted to do a scary version. The end of “Dancing to the Grave” provided the perfect segue into "The Amethyst Tower". The hero in the story, Prince, wasn't someone I wanted to make a typical hero. For countless years, he'd tried to fulfill the prophecy about him being a savior, with no idea how to go about it. He was discouraged and depressed, not to mention a little defeated. It wasn't until much later that I realized how important this story was to the series when I tried to "write backwards" with new tales that fit before the events of "The Amethyst Tower". Trust me, there is nothing fun about painting yourself in a corner and having to stay within it to tell the rest of the stories in a series.

Some fairy tales are based on sad tales of religion gone wrong, as is the case with Rapunzel. A pagan merchant father couldn't bear to have his daughter marry (his reason for that can't be good) so locked her in a tower. After she converted to Christianity, her prayers were so loud, the merchant was informed of them by those in the town below. When he dragged his daughter in front of the Roman pro-consul, he was told he either had to behead her himself or he'd have to give up his fortune to shut her up. Can you guess what he decided to do? Sigh. But at least he got his just due when he was struck by lightning right after the evil deed against his own child was done.

Reviews and Honors for WOODCUTTER'S GRIM SERIES, Volume I:

2008 Dream Realms Award Winner

Best Book of 2010 Nominee from Siren Book Reviews

Recommended Read from Dark Angel Reviews

5 star review from Howling Good Books

5 star review from BTSemag

5 star review from Linda's Reviews

5 star review from author Jenna Whittaker

4 1/2 star review from Siren Book Reviews

4.25 star review from Huntress Reviews

4 star review from RT Book Reviews

4 star review from Paranormal Romance Reviews

4 star review from Coffee Time Romance

4 star review from The Romance Review

Do you love telling or hearing scary stories around a campfire? Have you ever dreamed about something that made you want to write a story on the basis of the dream? Leave a comment to tell me about it!

Happy reading!

Find out more about this collection and Woodcutter's Grim Series here:

Karen is an award-winning, multi-genre author of over 140 titles and 16 series. Visit her here: