Monday Mentions: Cute Animal Pictures, Writing Scams, Trademark Woes & Thrilling Videos



I’m a “sometimes” photographer and am completely blown away by the timing of that capture (above). Real life is filled with such moments that come an eye-blink at a time. My camera never seems to be within reach, or the battery is dead, or my skill lacking. But even though the camera may freeze the moment, but the memory leaves indelible paw-prints in the heart.

What “eye-blink” moments do you carry in your heart that you wish had been captured in film? Do tell! And don’t miss some of the other PAW-some cute animal pictures in the link, listed below.

You’ll notice that any picture posted on this blog includes a Copyright notice, usually with link back to the online source, having ensured it’s okay to use that image. When there’s no notice, that means I own the image. But did you know you can also get in trouble for using WORDS without proper attribution? Late Friday night, I received this Email cc’d to the sender’s attorney. I didn’t read it until the next day because it went in my spam folder since the subject line was blank:

Hello Amy,
I believe we spoke a the cat-writer’s event….and I am writing today about my trademarked term, PitchCraft. In preparing my trademark renewal, I see your name and Pitchcraft can be Googled, and this is actually a violation of trademark law, dangerous because trademarks must not be used by other parties, it waters down the brand, and allows for even more use from other writers, even where there was no intended violation or damage. And we all need to value copyright and trademark in our industry. Let me suggest – other than simply removing my trademarked term from your website….be certain to add Pitchcraft is a trademark owned by Katharine Sands. That way, it will appear on Google, and my trademark will be protected. And you will not be a writer who publically scoffs at creative theft. Katharine Sands

I was surprised, to say the least, and conducted my own search to find the single instance (in describing one portion of my Media Training for Authors Webinar) in which I used her trademarked term without the requisite notification. I removed it, and rewrote the description, and then replied:

Hi Katherine, Thank you for the warning. I was not aware the term was trademarked/owned since I have not seen it used with the (TM) designation in any of the 15,000+ google listings. I wish you the best in containing the flood. The term has be removed. For what it’s worth, I take creative theft very seriously and find your characterization that I scoffed at your ownership surprising but very pointed. I will certainly share with colleagues and followers how you protect your property.

So this begs the question–in your blogging, writing, creative-icity endeavors, do you search for trademark terms and include the (TM)? Have you ever received a notice like this? Perhaps I should have trademarked the terms I made up years ago that now fill the blog-osphere, terms like PETIQUETTE and COMPETABILITY, and…heck, WRITER-ICITY, HISSED-OFF and FICTION-ING. I’ve a feeling my future blogs will be peppered with appropriate initials every time Seren-kitty gets the the sniffles and needs a Kleenex(TM) but most certainly not a Tylenol(TM) or I make a Xerox(TM) of my manuscript filled with Post-It(TM) notes or edit marks from my Sharpie(TM).

I’m having a bit of fun here, but it is a serious business. While I’m a bit hissed-off at the tone of her last sentence, she has every right to protect her property and use whatever means necessary. She uses the term to market her own work and terrific speaking engagements–not about media training per se, but still close enough that whiskers got singed. My bad.

What do you think?

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. I’ve also included another Thrillerfest video from last year’s panel as well as an interview with the terrific James Scott Bell . For new followers to the blog, welcome! and you can expect more cat and dog specific schtuff later in the week on Wednesday and Friday.


Writer Beware! All Classic Books et al a roundup of nefarious links of related book publishing scammers, yikes!

 Surveying Readers from the great thriller writer Alma Katsu

Some of the WORST Social Media Tips I’ve Read what do you think? The premise that “social media” doesn’t work…well, here’s why. How many things can you count that this person suggest you do WRONG?

Word On The Street Festival & Author Solutions


Shout-Out to fellow Cat Writers’ Association Member Patricia Fry’s Debut Mystery, CATNAPPED available in Kindle conCATSulations!

Dog Hero Awards Time! VOTE VOTE VOTE for your pick-of-the-litter (all are winners, of course!)

36 Purr-fectly Timed Animal Pix thanks to Piper Bayard for this gem! (that top picture is from the list…)

Morris Animal Foundation Answers To Dog Bloat: Dr. Rozanski will discuss her promising research findings on Wednesday, August 21 during a public webinar. Register here for the webinar.

Turtles, Dogs & Kid Life Lessons a touching and spot-on blog from Myndi Shafer

Bissell Pet Foundation Helps Animals

Red Star To The Rescue! the American Humane Association’s program makes a huge difference

How to Stop Cat’s Scratching from certified cat behavior consultant Marilyn Krieger (she has a terrific cat behavior book, too!)

Summer Travel With Your Cat a guest post from Vicki Fisher the prez of The International Cat Association

EntirelyPets - Discount Pet Medications, Pet Supplies and more

From last year’s 2012 Thrillerfest

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!


Monday Mentions: Cute Animal Pictures, Writing Scams, Trademark Woes & Thrilling Videos — 23 Comments

  1. As you, I also take creative theft very seriously…but I’m MOL-ing at your response and newfound commitment to TM-ing anything and everything. haha!!! LOVE it!

    I’ll never look at another Kleenex(TM) the same.
    ; )

    • There are specific requirements for obtaining a trademark, which has to be attached to a specific product, not just a name or slogan. Many popular items have lost trademark protection over the years by being used as generic terms. I have lots of information about his on my website, in the copyright section.

      No one can be blamed for using a term unless it has been clearly marked with the TM symbol in all legitimate utterances (except infringements, of course). If this term doesn’t show up in Google searches with the TM symbol, I doubt very much if it is an actual trademark. I think this person who complained has misused the term. She thinks she owns something she doesn’t. We can trademark or copyright names, titles or slogans!

      • Thanks Bobbi. I did find the trademarked reference in one of the google searches, don’t recall now how I used the term (maybe caps?). I was informed that it DOES have the TM designation, but I didn’t find that.

        Now I’m a bit aggravated that it’s inferred that I also was “influenced” to use THE REINVENTED WRITER, when actually I’d been using that phrase and similar for many years. Yes, there’s been a couple of back-and-forth emails but now I’m done. It’s a no-win conversation at this point. That’s too bad, I would like to be able to recommend savvy and pro-active professionals to readers…but they can make up their own minds. *shrug*

  2. Hmmm. I’m surprised that “pitchcraft” could even be trademarked. It’s used in many fields, not just writing. I just googled and got nearly 29,000 hits. The first one is a software program for audio pitch correction and the second is a “turf renewal” company that spiffs up sports turf. For what it’s worth, I just searched the term on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website and it didn’t come up. Doesn’t mean it isn’t registered, but had you searched before using it, you wouldn’t have found it.

    • I just received an email reply, Sheila, noting since there’s no conflict with the sound engineering or turf reference, that’s not a problem–only those of us in the literary community. So I suppose that I could use the term with a seminar on engineering my audiobooks…naw, it’s simply not worth it. 🙂

      GloGirly, glad I could provide a kitty grin today!

      At one point I received a nonfiction book proposal on to blurb on the EXACT SAME IDEA/CONTENT/OUTLINE that I’d submitted to my then-agent. When I complained (it wasn’t trademarked or anything) my agent told me that happened a LOT…and had nothing to do with deviousness or theft but more of a weird “consciousness” that prompted more than one person at the same time to come up with a concept. So although my titles, concepts, ideas and suchlike I believe are unique and I’ve used ’em for years–when someone new comes along and also uses them there’s no way I’d accuse them of theft or copying. *shrug* It’s just that great minds think alike!

    • Hi Chris, you’re very welcome. This is not something I want to repeat, it’s been upsetting and could have been easily resolved with a cordial message–was resolved, I thought, but has continued to go on and on. Oh well, live and learn.

  3. Very enjoyable blog, Amy, and an important topic. I take creative theft very seriously as well, but I do think Ms. Sands would get more cooperation from others who aren’t as professional as you if she changed her tone.

  4. Well I’m not a writer but a devout reader and follower of this blog and this ticks and hacks me off for you Amy. Remember, this too shall pass. Tomorrow will be a brighter and greater day.

    • Thanks Patricia. Really I’m sure no offense was intended but it’s a good wake up call to be aware of how our words (without a face-to-face smile/expression/whatever) can be interpreted. As far as I’m concerned it’s all over now–other than “cached” Internet pages that can’t be removed, I’ve done all I can.

  5. Amy, she does hold the trademark and here’s the webpage—

    I think she’s targeting you because you are easier to get to than most of the thousands of other “offenders” but I also think you’re right to let it go because you’ve done your best to satisfy her. If you have to, block her email.

    As a blogger, I don’t fret over trademarks. I figure, if the Coca-Cola folks want to come after me for writing Coke instead of Coke (TM), they can have at it.

  6. Great blog, Amy, although as a writer I’d be peeved with her insinuation that writers “publicly scoff at creative theft.” When I was an editor at S&S, I remember working on a book that mentioned the Barbie doll. I called Mattel, who refused to let their dumb doll appear in the book, even with (TM). The author had to use another reference. So I wonder if this person targeted all 15k of those Google listings?!

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