Thursday, January 06, 2022


As I've mentioned before, I haven't done New Year's "resolutions" in a long time. Thinking of the coming year in those terms feels discouraging, a potential set-up for failure. What I like to think of are "goals," and preferably modest enough to be fairly sure of accomplishing. Positive reinforcement for one's efforts is always a good thing. So here are a few goals I have for the near future:

Transcribe and release this year's vampire fiction bibliography update by the last week of January at the latest. Write a story in collaboration with my husband to submit to the forthcoming Darkover anthology well before the end-of-summer deadline. Write a brief essay the editor of a vampire journal asked me to compose for the magazine's "Notes" section. Discuss with one of my publishers the possible re-release of my erotic paranormal romances "orphaned" by the demise of Ellora's Cave that I haven't already self-published. I'm also awaiting reprint of a few more "orphaned" non-erotic romances contracted with a different publisher, but the schedule for that process isn't in my control. I don't have any active plans for original fiction in progress right now. Whether I produce any in 2022 will depend partly on whether one of my publishers comes out with a submission call that intrigues me. I considered adding "get through the manga in my TBR stack" to this list, but that objective is probably unattainable, because it's infinite; new books keep appearing. (Heavens to murgatroyd, I wonder how that happens?)

In terms of the bigger picture, I recently read an article about society's goal in regard to COVID-19. The question under consideration was: What do we expect when we anticipate the end of the pandemic? What do we mean when we talk about an "end," and what would it look like? What we do know is that the virus will probably never disappear from the face of the Earth. Which numbers of case rates, hospitalizations, and deaths would we regard as a sign that the pandemic is over? Most likely, it will subside to an endemic level like ordinary flu, kept in check by annual boosters. In another recent article about how pandemics end, examples of past infectious disease threats and their outcomes were analyzed. Some were eradicated, some died out on their own, some had their risks drastically reduced by vaccination, and some became endemic (always present in the environment but not a serious danger to most people). All we can be sure of is that COVID-19 won't last forever—even if it's beginning to seem like it.

Whether in our personal lives or on a nationwide or global scale, we can't meaningfully achieve goals unless we define them in specific, measurable terms. Unless we're sure where we want to go, how will we know when we get there?

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Resolution 1: Don't Get Fooled Again

Scams are all around us. Maybe mixed in with your Christmas cards is a tiny white postcard from Cochran et al v. The Kroger Co.
Maybe don't toss it without more than a glance. Perhaps you don't need another --likely concurrent-- year of free credit monitoring, but this class action settlement also appears to offer cash if you claim before March 5th, 2022.
Apparently, some authors are receiving cold calls from someone rejoicing in the name of "Powell's Books" (or something similar) that has nothing to do with the reputable bookseller Powell's Books. The reputable Powell's Books does not offer publishing/promotional services... at least, not through telephone solicitations.
Other authors allegedly are having their names taken, and their brands allegedly damaged on Amazon.
Mitzi Szereto has a fascinating an informative blog post about how some scammer on Amazon is allegedly infringing her brand, and stealing her identity to sell their own, allegedly inferior quality porn.

For authors whose brands are perhaps not strong enough to be given specious credit for someone else's allegedly substandard work, there is a chance that their works are being pirated, substandard covers are being slapped on, thinly disguised titles are being attached, and improbable author names are being applied.
Concerned authors may spend hours reading Amazon offerings (in Search, and in Look Inside), and have to get to at least the third page to find out if their works have been pirated.  Then, victims of the piracy have to go through the hoops of the Amazon KDP "Copyright Infringement Report".

There is a brief blog by two lawyers from Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer Baratz that reports on the alleged (my word) fact that millions of "invalid and false copyright infringment claims" were received by another very popular site.

The problem with the DMCA is that copyright owners of limited financial means are in a bind. One can make a genuine copyright infringment claim, but if the creative user --on a site that appreciates the uploaded content-- files a counter claim (as he/she is often encouraged to do), the copyright owner is up fecal matter creek unless they file a lawsuit.

So-called transparency reports are not necessarily accurate.

The mother of all fecal matter creeks was recently obliged to settle with a very small fish on what the court ruled was a clear cut (or "straightforward") counterfeit case.

Legal bloggers Jeffrey A. Berkowitz and  David K. Mroz of the law firm of Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett and Dunner LLP report on the historical victory of Israeli firm Maglula in winning orders from a court:
  • denying Amazon’s multiple challenges to Maglula’s complaint in the first instance;
  • granting multiple inspections at Amazon warehouses (over Amazon’s strenuous and repeated objections)—ostensibly a first of its kind in an IP case against Amazon; and
  • finding Amazon destroyed evidence after Maglula filed its complaint—another first in an IP case against Amazon.
Lexology link:  
Could this be a turning of the tide?

If you buy self-defense-related accessories online, be very careful not to buy a cheap knock-off that might malfunction.

Another word to the wise: use "alleged" and "allegedly" a lot when reporting on other people's dirt. It may not make for the most readable of prose, but it's prophylactic writing.

If you feel like "being activist" for the New Year, there is a hashtag you can use to share warnings and entertaining or salutary experiences, and help others not to get fooled: #SlamTheScam.

Visit for more information. Alternatively, you can follow SSA OIG on Twitter @TheSSAOIG and Facebook @SSA Office of the Inspector General for the latest information on Social Security-related scams. Visit the Federal Trade Commission for information on other government scams.
OIG is the Office of the Inspector General.  They are happy to receive emails, calls, or texts that report scams where suspicious individuals claim to be from the Social Security arm of the Government and wanting to help you.
Happy New Year!
Rowena Cherry 
EPIC Award winner, Friend of ePublishing