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Category: Chatting

WTFery: Trademark on the word "Cocky" in romance

Well, here we go.

Authors, publishers, cover designers, and really, anyone in the…world should care about this.

The Story:

Many of you already know this, but a romance author has trademarked the word “cocky,” both as its specialized font, but also the word itself (i.e. a wordmark).

Please don't tell me she can't: she has. It's a done deal, was approved May 1.

Although titles cannot usually be trademarked (or copyrighted), one author who contacted the USPTO was told that a “likelihood of confusion clause” would probably apply, allowing them to not only apply the trademark to a SERIES titles, but BOOK titles too. 

This is an incredibly unsettling precedent, that someone can be granted the exclusive right to a COMMON USE word. Additionally, a word already used on a plethora existing book titles in the genre. 

This is insane. If other authors begin trademarking common use words–oh, say, “warrior” or “duke”–we will be left with nothing but prepositions in our titles. 

Equally important: this does not seem like a move designed to protect her own brand. 

It feels like a move to suppress competition.

That's not what trademarks are for.

She is in the process of issuing cease & desist letters to other romance authors, claiming they must change their titles, or they will be sued and they will owe her all their earnings.

She has indicated that this is “no big deal,” and should only take the authors “one day” to do.


We'll see what happens.


For your continued reading pleasure:

And/or, you can follow #cockygate, #freecocky, and similar threads on Twitter.


Elizabethan Slang

I've been remiss in sharing some  behind-the-scenes stuff for you.

I do A LOT of research for my historicals. And then use…oh, I don't know…EIGHT PERCENT of it. 😫

I researched Elizabethan sexual slang for CLAIMING HER, but it turns out Aodh didn't need it. 

But it's wasn't a complete loss, because I came out of it with this Extremely Fun list!

Unnecessary Commentary

Pay her the shot (Okay, well, that might work. Or it might not. This one seems all about technique.)

Put the devil into hell (That sounds exciting, doesn’t it??)

Pup-noddy  (That doesn’t sound exciting.)

Make butter with one’s tail (Um, I've got nothing.)

Fucking (Best. Word. Ever. Was there ever a better word in the history of wording? :admires fuck:)

Fucker (Defined for us as “one who copulates.” Ah. So that's a what fucker is.)

Fadoodling (Light-hearted, yet with an undertone of dirty.)

Sluice (Um, eww.)

Please (I like that!)

Which is your favorite??

Medieval Women-Ælfgifu, Queen Regent of Norway (for awhile)

Reading An Annotated Index of Medieval Woman.  I really dig having these little snippets of history, that I can sail through, or pause and dream a little…maybe do a little extra research because…  

💎Story ideas! 💎

Viktoria, by artist Eve Ventrue

My most recent fire was lit by the tidbits I got about Aelfgifu (Ælfgifu) of Northampton. 

→ This picture is not Aelfgifu.  This is from artist/designer Eve Ventrue and OMG! →

Aelfgifu lived 1000-1040.

She was the daughter of a powerful family in the North, Wulfrun & Earl Ælfhelm of Northampton.

Her father the earl was killed, probably on orders  of the English king Æthelred the Unready. Her two brothers were blinded by the Unready king as well.

The Danish king didn't like trust the family much either, and when Swein Forkbeard, King of Denmark, invaded England in 1013/14, even more of Aelfgifu's family members were killed.

Then Forkbeard married Aelfgifu to his son, Cnut II of Denmark, as one does.

I cannot imagine how she felt about this.  Truthfully.  Maybe she was resigned, because this is the way politics happened.

Maybe she was happy, at being married to the man who could one day be king.

Grateful at not being killed herself.

Furious at being wed into the family that had murdered some of her family.

Forkbeard died soon after and Æthelred the Unready decided to try his luck at being king again. He forced Cnut back to Denmark. By some accounts, Cnut left his wife and baby behind with her family.


The family had no intention of turning their daughter and her son over to be killed, so they sent Aelfgifu, the baby, and the body of Cnut's father back to Denmark.  She got pregnant again and gave birth to Harold Harefoot, who would become King of England.

Cnut rolled back into England, took it over, became king…and promptly married Emma of Normandy, the widow of King Æthelred the Unready.

Hoo boy.

This was fine with the English Church, as they didn't recognize the first marriage. It was likely acceptable in Aelfgifu's world as well. Still…it's gotta hurt.

Turns out Cnut's other wife, Emma of Normandy, really didn't like Aelfgifu.

About 1030, Cnut sent Aelfgifu and their young son Sweyn back to Norway to rule for him as Queen Regent.

Her rule was extremely harsh, and Norwegians finally rebelled, forcing Aelfgifu to flee, but a lot of historians believe her most unpopular decisions and heavy taxation were probably ordered by far-away Cnut.

Then Cnut died.

Wife #2, Emma, wanted her son Harthacnut to be king of England.

Aelfgifu wanted her son Harold to be king.

You see where this is going?

There are rumors of murder and other intrigue, but none substantiated. 

In the end, Harold Harefoot did rule England. For about 5 years. Then he died.

Harthacnut rolled back into town (lots of rolling here) and took over of kingdom pretty peacefully, although he apparently still had some bad feelings toward his step-brother, because he unearthed Harold's body from where it was buried in Westminster, threw it into a fen, then dumped it in the River Thames. It was picked up by a fisherman who took it to the Danes, and Harold was once again given a decent burial in London.

The last time Aelfgifu is mentioned is in 1036. It is not known how she died.

This doesn't seem right.  Daughter of a great family stripped down by two kings, wife of a king, mother of a king, Queen Regent, and we don't even know about the end of her life. 

I'm not saying she was a paragon of ideals we'd aspire to today…although maybe she was.  And honestly, I'm fed up with people anyhow, and find our aspirations pretty low & base a lot of the time.

But Aelfgifu was clearly a strong, vital, powerful women who lived in a brutal time and she persevered to marry a king, father a king, and rule a kingdom.  That takes moxie.

(Postscript: I did a search for “moxie woman,” looking for a nice image to wrap things up for us here.  I…didn't find one. I  found a lot of pictures of small dolls, a surprising number of full-sized naked women who didn't appear to be doing anything that required ‘moxie,' and one happy woman holding a big-ass check in the amount of $16,423.69.  Perhaps she was a moxie award winner.  In any event, nothing quite captured what I was going for, so we're signing off bare of pictures.  Let me know if you have any!)