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Let’s explore Sarah J. Maas’s trademark applications

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The Trout Nation Discord has been positively aflame discussing the recent trademark applications filed by author Sarah J. Maas’s company, Fireheart, inc. (“There’s a Trout Nation Discord?!” you may be asking yourself. Yes, there is, and no, you don’t have to be a Patreon patron to join it).

What is Maas trademarking?

A screen shot of the US Trademark office's website, showing "Velaris" "Feyre" "Throne of Glass" "Illyrian" "Nesta" "Suriel" "Bryce" and "Umbra Mortis" listed as pending trademarks
A screen shot of the US Trademark office's website, listing "Fireheart", "Sarah J. Maas", "Lunathion," "ACOTAR," "Rhysand," "Hunt Athalar," "SJM," and "Aelin" as pending trademarks.

Ever since Cockygate, authors have been pretty suspicious of trademarks. Sarah J. Maas’s popularity has, inexplicably, grown into such an unstoppable juggernaut that trademarking some of her IP is a necessary step, and in some of these cases, not an overreach. As members of my Discord are currently discussing, there’s a real problem with conventions and events that freely market to fans of Maas’s books, even going so far as using imagery and names from her books to sell high-priced tickets.

An Australian company, Celestial Events, offers “unique events taking inspiration from some of our favourite authors.” But these “authors” seem to be pretty solidly just Sarah J. Maas (with the exception of the “Celestial Riders Gathering” that is clearly seeking to cash in on Fourth Wing‘s fandom). While these aren’t named quite so brazenly as the “Velaris Starfall Ball” in the US, a peek at the Eventbrite pages for these events feature photos of cosplayers in recognizable “Bat Boy” get-ups and references to “Under the Mountain” and an invitation to “meet up together and make the historic journey to Mass-Verse [sic]”.

You can really feel the dedication to fandom when they can’t bother to get the author’s name right. Totally not a cynical money grab. Definitely just a celebration of a cherished and beloved author.

These events usually feature professional cosplayers interacting with the guests, and as the Discord discussed…that’s not always a great thing. I know from my experiences at the now-defunct Romantic Times convention, things go bad when a very attractive man, who gets paid to be attractive, is introduced to an environment where he expects that every single woman in attendance will welcome his sexual advances. Because of incidents that took place at past romance conferences, an event organizer I know refuses to allow cover models to attend her events, even as a guest. It doesn’t take a huge leap of logic to imagine that dropping a Rhysand or a Tamlin into one of these unlicensed book parties could be monumentally unsafe.

The exorbitant ticket prices for these rip-off “bookish festivals” (The already sold-out Valeris Starfall Ball, which doesn’t even bother to be coy about the IP they’re infringing on, charged over $400 USD a head, while $366 USD will get you into any of the Celestial Events parties) demand protection of the author’s brand. While the fine print on these unlicensed conventions admit that there is no affiliation with the author, it’s impossible to overestimate just how much that doesn’t matter to the average fan. If someone pays $400 to go to an event branded as an ACOTAR ball and it turns out to be (please, please forgive me for the pun I’m about to make) a Feyre Fest debacle, that could reflect badly on Maas. Think of the recent “Willy’s Chocolate Experience” in Glasgow; while they didn’t expressly use Wonka trademarks, the books and movies are now inescapably tied to memes and jokes that tarnish the brand. This won’t sink a beloved children’s classic, but Maas’s success is still very new. While she’s teflon in bookish spaces (where readers simply don’t care about things like, for example, using Breonna Taylor’s death as a marketing gimmick), she hasn’t quite reached household name status yet. Outside her too-forgiving, ever-excuse-manufacturing fandom, if her books were linked to a scam, or a high profile sex crimes case involving a hired Rhysand hit the press, she could face even more backlash than her own shitty antics have earned her already.

Fan created merchandise has also been a long-running, unofficial arm of the Maas brand. If you own a Cricut, you can cash in mightily on Etsy by applying your fanworks to everything from journals to glassware, and market these specifically as ACOTAR products. This is something Maas has been open to in the past, but these filings seem poised to put a swift end to unlicensed fan merch. Which makes sense when we take into account the heat she got over a subscription box including unlicensed soap designed and molded to represent, I shit you not, Rhysand’s erect penis. The viral scandal can be credited with relaunching the “is it YA?” debate and reinforcing the reductive “fairy porn” label that has bafflingly attached itself to these incredibly tame fantasy romances.

While these are all very real concerns and a great reason to file for trademarks, when I investigated these trademark claims…some of them are absurd overreaches designed to grant Maas legal rights to things that don’t belong to her. Much like Cockygate, we’re seeing an author seeking trademarks to things she’s simply an asshole to try to claim.

Let’s look at them one at a time, from a layman’s perspective. I’m doing research here, including consulting people who are definitely more knowledgeable in this than I am, but corrections, especially from people with degrees and who specialize in Trademark and IP law, are so, so welcome in the comments. However, keep in mind that some of these remarks are just opinions on whether or not it’s ethical or even just rude to trademark some of these things, a la the Cockygate debacle (for example…should Maas really have the balls to trademark Bob Marley’s middle frickin’ name?). I don’t conflate morality with legality, so if I say, “It’s shitty of her to do this,” that’s not me claiming it’s not legal. Just shitty.

(Note the bold, red text before you continue. I’ve had a few really awful things sent to me on social media from people who skim, rather than read, and hurt their own feelings.)

VELARIS
This solves the issue of something like the unlicensed Velaris Starfall Ball, since it’s filed under class 41, which specifically covers “organization of balls, party planning” But they didn’t include that in their uses, and I’ve found conflicting answers regarding whether or not statement of intended use is more legally binding than a complaint that use of the mark will cause unreasonable confusion. But it will shut down the ability of that event to put its name on swag bags and other merchandise related to these events, as well as preventing unlicensed jewelry, candles, blankets, t-shirts, basically anything that could be fan made.

Feyre
Thank god there’s only one Feyre. Maas’s trademarking of this name shouldn’t be a problem for anyone but the babies named Feyre, if they grew up to own a billion dollar makeup company. I would be interested to know why they didn’t include actual paint in their uses, though. They claimed class 2, but didn’t include paint under uses. If I want to go out right now and create a Feyre branded watercolor palette, Could I? I mean, if I could even paint with it. And I know I never could paint it.

Throne of Glass
This one is another no-brainer. If granted, one of the uses is simply “books.” You could not title your book Throne of Glass. And while you might be thinking, “It would be pretty silly to give your book a title that could be confused with a much, much more popular book and potentially risk the ire of ultra-protective fans, you’d be shocked at how many people would do just that. Titles aren’t protected by copyright, so this is a necessary step.

Illyrian
Absolutely not. She was not responsible for the creation of Illyria or Illyrians, as the Illyrians were an actual civilization written about in history books long before Maas could even read. It’s pretty fucking bold to want to claim that you’re the only one who can use that word ever again in a book or on physical products.

Nesta
Maas’s claim on this is absurd and insulting. It’s Bob Marley’s middle name. Bold of Maas to assume that it’s hers for the taking, especially in books. However, the trademark on the word Nesta was granted in other categories for other uses, so if anyone wanted to make a “Nesta’s Ball” event, they’d be violating someone else’s trademark, and that trademark holder would have to pursue them accordingly.

Suriel
Suriel is literally an archangel that has been written about for centuries in mythology and folklore. This is another one where claiming the word can only be used in her books is beyond the pale.

Bryce
What the entire fuck. If this is granted, woe unto thee who might have a personalized necklace made, or who wants their name embroidered on a bag.

Umbra Mortis
Considering the number of perfumes and candles with this name, themed specifically to Maas’s work, this makes sense. But it’s pretty shitty to claim it for video games, when there’s already a video game titled Umbra Mortis.

Fireheart
Another wordmark claimed for use in books that is predated by other media. This is getting tiring, honestly. Is it fair, if other authors have used “Fireheart” as character names or titles, for Maas to claim it as her sole property? As stated above “fair” and “legal” aren’t in the same ballpark, but god damn, is this disrespectful.

Rhysand
I was expecting to find out that this was some kind of common Welsh name, but it does appear to be of Maas’s own invention. Knock yourself out, Sarah. I wish you well.

Hunt Athalar
This is really the name of a character in one of Maas’s series. That’s a choice she made. But she does seem like the first and only person to use it, so trademarking it, in my mind, seems fine. In fact, it protects other authors from using that name, a move I fully support. Because what in the 1990s paranormal romance fuck?

Aelin
Another case of a name Maas seems to have thought up. Trademarking it seems reasonable and fair.

SJM
Bill Compton, she’s coming for your monogram. One expert I consulted described this application as “a waste of money and time,” as they believe the trademark office will reject it on the basis that… it’s just a bunch of letters and the application for the wordmark in any possible font or text is too broad. If it were more narrow, like a specific logo, the trademark would more than likely be granted. So, this is an interesting one to watch.

Lunathion
This one makes sense. She made it up, but unlicensed merchandise bearing the name is everywhere. If I were in her shoes, I’d trademark it, too; imagine a Lunathion make-up palette that blinded its users, or a Lunathion candle with too high an oil content that’s responsible for burning someone’s house down. Though Maas wouldn’t be legally liable, having her IP connected to unregulated products would still link her and her books to these events in the public mind.

ACOTAR
I’m of two minds about this. ACOTAR is an abbreviation that was first thought up by fandom. Is this something that anyone could hold a trademark for? Or is it in such wide use already that it would be the same as trying to trademark “omegaverse”? Speaking of which, do not use “Alpha’s Claim” as a title; while searching “Omegaverse,” I found it as a registered trademark. But I’m also aware that ACOTAR is synonymous with Maas’s brand. If you’re heavily involved in any kind of fandom (because I’m not sure any ACOTAR fans hang out here), I’d love to know your take in the comments.

Sarah J. Maas
I think you know exactly what my opinion on this one is. If possible, trademark your author names. Trademarks are prohibitively expensive for most authors, but protect your name at all costs. If Sarah A. Maas rises from the depths, could Maas sue them if she’s granted this trademark? I hope so. I hope that’s how it works. Because people who use similar names for grasping, career-building purposes are more disgusting than the expired Walmart meat Joe Exotic fed his employees. They are the hair clogging your drain after you wash your dog, who rolled in something rotten and messy. They are the human equivalent of accidentally touching used gum under a table at a Panera Bread. Get ’em, Sarah. It will be the only time I root for you.

While I loathe Sarah J. Maas as a person and as the author of misogynistic, racist, homophobic bullshit novels built almost entirely out of other people’s IP, I’m interested to watch where this goes, what the reactions will be outside of fandom, and how this affects the industry. What do you all think?

Noel Fielding makes me want to be a better person.

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If you haven’t been watching The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin, it’s either because you don’t have Apple TV or because you don’t like joy. There, I said it. While I’ve seen numerous people online refer to the show as the spiritual successor to the sadly (and ridiculously) canceled Our Flag Means Death, fans of The Mighty Boosh will recognize it as an extended high-concept episode of that series, minus the unfortunate Blackface.

I became a fan of The Mighty Boosh in the ’00s, when it was shown during Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block of programming. The show is “of its time,” with some cringe-worthy transphobia and the aforementioned unfortunate Blackface that plagued British comedy for far too long. But it was also enchanting and whimsical and outrageously bizarre. I’ve recommended it as “Monty Python if those guys had done less coke and more acid,” but it’s truly its own thing and needs to be experienced as such (though, like most shows, it didn’t find its groove until season two). The entire cast is incredible, but there’s one breakout star character: Vince Noir, a stylish, confident, utterly chaotic leprechaun of a manchild whose good nature and positivity seem to be the only qualities that keep his roommates from punting him onto the street.

Vince loves himself unconditionally, often praising himself for his great cheekbones and truly unique fashion sense. He’s utterly baffled when his own behavior results in any consequence at all, like when his habit of piling garbage in the alley attracts a menacing, drug-addicted urban fox, or when an unsolicited nighttime haircut gets him and his always-suffering companion, Howard, kicked off a cruise and marooned on a deserted island.

These themes continue in Noel’s portrayal of Turpin. Fielding’s highwayman is loathe to commit brutality (and does so only by accident), wants to assure that the targets of his robberies are satisfied with their experience, and outwits an enemy gang leader by knitting comfy mittens. He blunders through the criminal underworld with confidence, assuming that his unorthodox approach is simply ahead of its time instead of extremely reckless, foolish, and dangerous.

If these types of characters appear to be Fielding’s wheelhouse, his hosting job on The Great British Bake Off sheds some light as to why. The positivity and confidence of his outlandish characters shine through in interactions with the contestants as he bops playfully from one station to another, coaxing smiles from otherwise stressed-out contestants. It’s easy to imagine that the Fielding you see frollicking around the fabled tent is who he truly is, and even easier to see the parallels between that seemingly real-life persona and the characters he plays. Eventually, you begin to question how much of it is acting and how much of it is just showing up and letting his own character shine through.

In a 2015 interview with The Independent, he insists “‘I’m not Mr Weird,'” only to later confess, “”I don’t know what’s wrong with me. There is something wrong with me […] You know in Asterix when Obelix fell into the magic potion? I think I fell into a pot of LSD. I’ve always had a good imagination.'” Despite not believing he’s “Mr Weird,” he certainly comes across that way, and that’s what’s always drawn me in (a sentiment shared by most fans, I assume). But lately, I’ve come to appreciate him and his fictional characters in a new way. Beyond their weirdness, I’ve noticed the kindness. The positivity. Qualities that I admire, but which I find lacking in myself. I’m quick to anger. I’m hypercritical. I’m abrasive.

Recently, I got on Threads and almost accidentally replied to someone who had unfollowed me some time ago on Twitter. On that platform, she’d soft-blocked me, but I’d seen a tweet in which she’d described me as “so annoying” and lamented, “I wish Romancelandia would just shun her already.”

This person was one of my earliest supporters. She’d often commented on this blog and we were mutuals on Twitter. I saw this post two years ago, at least, but it still sticks in my mind. Somehow, I’d gone from someone this person liked to someone she wished ill. She didn’t just want to no longer follow me on social media or consume my content. She wanted me to be shunned by my professional peers, to lose my entire career. I’ve wondered ever since, with each installment of a Jealous Haters post, each grumpy sentiment expressed on social media, whether that’s what I deserve. Maybe I am just an unpleasant person who should be shut out from the world (although, I would argue that I turned my back on the “Romancelandia” clique long before they ever got a chance to discard me). Maybe I’m not experiencing the inevitable slow down after years of success, but I’m reaping the harvest of the ill will that I’ve sowed.

But watching an episode of The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin the other night, I had a revelation. Despite allegations otherwise, I truly am more positive and supportive than I am jaded and critical. But it’s the jaded and critical part of me that became my brand. And as it became my brand, it mingled with the personal resentment I felt toward others in my industry. Instead of embracing my weirdness and my kindness (which does exist, despite popular opinion), I decided that I would weather the storms visited upon me by others in my profession by hardening myself, becoming immoveable and never wrong, and focusing constantly on the unfairness of the industry I began to feel trapped by.

There are, obviously, grudges that I will never let go of, that I feel I’ve earned the right to keep. But I want to keep them to myself, now. I want to focus more on being me than begging for understanding from people who, frankly, cannot understand anything but their bank statements. I don’t want to be Jenny Trout, Jealous Hater anymore. I want to be “Mr Weird” (minus the dedication to wild fashion and thick eyeliner). I want to be publically the person I am in my real life, the person who dedicates most of their free time to teaching children to be confident in their skills on stage. The person who serves as chair of the Inclusion and Diversity committee for a local theater that welcomes everyone into every production, regardless of ability or disability, race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The person who, after returning home last night from a high school production of Shrek the Musical that starred two kids I’ve previously directed, received a private message on Facebook saying that their child’s theater journey began and continues because of me. Because I’m a positive influence in the lives of others.

Noel Fielding’s comedy, the way he builds his characters, the way he presents Bake-off, is vulnerable. It’s authentic. He is “Mr Weird,” and despite his protestations, he seems to know it. But that weirdness is packaged with kindness. And that’s something I’ve been shamefully lacking in, in my public life. Maybe I’m afraid to let the kindness and caring I exhibit in my private life show through my “I don’t give a fuck” public persona, specifically because kindness is impossible without vulnerability and fear. Vulnerability to being labeled a hypocrite for spending a decade in a prickly funk if I try to seek out less judgemental pastures. Fear that if I stop strongly condemning the right people, I’ll be canceled (in fact, I’m worried about this post, knowing that someone will absolutely brand me a pedophile apologist owing to the fact that, during his hard-partying ’00s, Fielding was photographed kissing a then sixteen-year-old Pixie Geldof). Vulnerability towards allegations that I’ve joined the mindset I dubbed “The Sunshine Sisterhood” if I express any understanding for high-profile author slip-ups. Fear that the people who appreciate my sarcasm will lose interest, fear that those who hate me for it will cynically assume I’m “rebranding” after some imagined disaster.

I’ve built a platform out of anger and pessimism, imagining myself as a bold outsider who’s unafraid to say “fuck you” to the establishment and blaze my own trail. I realize now that I don’t have to blaze that trail through a briar patch. Trails can go through meadows, too, and enchanted woods, and fields of wildflowers.

And yeah, it’s weird that it took a fictional highwayman (and non-fictional baking show host) to make me see that.

The Business Centaur’s Virgin Temp chapter 14

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Need to catch up?

RELEASE DAY!

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It’s release day for THE OGRE’S FAIRYTALE BRIDE! You can pick it up in eBook and Paperback today. I’ll include links, but if you’d prefer to shop brick and mortar, ask your local bookseller to order you a copy.

The cover of The Ogre's Fairytale Bride. Dark green, with dark vines entwined with flame and sparklies all around the title.

I’m so excited to have this book out in the world! I can’t wait for everyone to see Fablemere and get as lost in the world as I already am! Everyone says you should write the book you want to read. Well, I wanted to read about a fat, over-forty enby with epilepsy have a portal fantasy adventure and getting absolutely railed by a hot ogre. If that’s the book you want to read? WELL YOU ARE IN LUCK, FRIEND.

AmazonBarnes & Noble

Of course, I’m having surgery. Why wouldn’t I?

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After ignoring severe abdomen and chest pain for about forty-eight hours, I was finally moved to visit the ER late last night. As it turns out, I have an enormous gallstone. If I were an oyster and you cut me open and found this thing, you’d be psyched. What this means is that my gallbladder needs to be removed very, very soon. This was totally unexpected and will throw a major wrench into my schedule. I will try to continue to post everything I need to post on time, but please be patient until this whole thing is over. I’m on pain meds and frankly, I don’t feel like doing a damn thing but lay around complaining until this thing is out. But I promise I will try hard!

If you enjoy an orgy of breakfast meats, I would recommend Roxie’s in Kalamazoo, MI. They have a meal called The Viking, which includes three eggs, sausage biscuits and gravy, pancakes, ham, sausage patties, sausage links, and hashbrowns. I’m not saying these things are related, I’m just saying that I ate it and now I’m getting an organ removed and it was delicious (the breakfast and not the organ). Zero regrets, highly recommend.

The Business Centaur’s Virgin Temp chapter thirteen

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Need to catch up? (I don’t know why the links highlighted and went wonky. It’s WordPress. It acts in mysterious ways.

FABLEMERE IS BACK!

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Fablemere season two begins today on Vella, Ream, and Patreon! If you’re already subscribed to the Fablemere tier or higher on Patreon, you don’t have to do anything extra. You’ll continue to get the posts in your Patron feed. If you’re reading on Vella, the chapters of season two will post in The Ogre’s Fairytale Bride serial. If you’re a Ream reader, you may need to follow the story to get updates, but no other changes to your tier or subscription need to be made. I’m trying to keep this as easy as possible!

Season two is going to be a total trip. Read on for the blurb!

A city is missing. So is her best friend.

Tabitha was having a normal day at work, until she found out her slacker boss is the legendary wizard, Merlin. Now, she’s in a fairytale land, on a mission to bring her best friend back to the real world. A mission that’s complicated by the disappearance of an entire city and a millennia of accidental time travel.

The only way to survive… is to die.

Out of medication and options, Vanessa knows it’s just a matter of time until she must become a vampire or die the kind of death that doesn’t involve a cool cape. But she can’t stop thinking about the ogre she left behind and the daring escape she promised him she would make. All she needs now is for Baron Scylas to make her one of his undead concubines—and he’s certainly taking his time.

He’s used to being alone. He’ll need help to rescue his true love.

Droguk won’t stop fighting for Vanessa until the day he dies. That day will come sooner if he doesn’t rely on a mage and his assistant, who claim to know Vanessa from her world and want to take her back there. Working together could mean rescuing his mate from the Baron’s clutches only to lose her… forever.

STATE OF THE TROUT: The sea is awful, I was very brave, and other news

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Hey there, friends! Have you heard of this thing called the ocean? Well, I have. And it is awful.

Last week, I did a big, scary thing. I traveled on a plane, all by myself, to South Carolina to spend a whole week in the Sea Pines neighborhood of Hilton Head Island with a friend and a group of seven other strangers who would not, my friend assured me, be mean to me.

I was so afraid someone would be mean to me. I am pleased to report that they did not.

I am also pleased to report that, although this opportunity presented itself on my connecting flight, I did not rush in and start flipping switches hither and thither, despite the nearly overwhelming temptation to do so:

A view from the first row of a plane showing the aisle and the open cockpit door. Inside the cockpit are just like, so many buttons to push.

There are switches on the ceiling. ON THE CEILING. I knew I could reach those bastards before the pilot could even stand up. I had this vivid image of smashing my hand on those buttons and just pressing everything frantically as they dragged me off the plane.

Since I controlled myself and did not get air marshalled straight to federal prison, I got to see the sun come up while I was in the sky:

The sky underneath looks like a frozen pond with cracks in it, but the cracks are clouds. The sky up above is really clear and blue, and the horizon is like, this bright orange line ripping between the two.

Can I just interrupt this previously scheduled post to rant for just a second about people on airplanes? Not, you know, the fact that I forgot my mask on my return flight and ended up next to someone who sneezed constantly, loudly, and with alarming force and therefore I am now ill, myself? I need to address the jaded flyers out there. I know some of you are reading this thinking, “I fly all the time for work, so yes, I’m a jaded flyer.” You’re who I’m talking to, okay? With love, I’m talking to you.

YOU ARE IN THE GOD DAMNED SKY. I get that it happens a lot. Maybe you’re a pilot or a flight attendant and it’s all in a day’s work. But you’re in THE GOD DAMNED SKY. It’s a miracle! Imagine explaining this to your caveman ancestors. Or walking up to a medieval knight and being like, “Yeah, I was IN THE GOD DAMNED SKY FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS, but no big deal.”

It’s a big deal. Don’t let routine destroy the wonder and joy that you experience. YOU GO IN THE SKY.

I was pretty tired on my way down, owing to the fact that just hours before my flight, I got bit by my dog. It was an accident, she felt horrible, she would never bite me on purpose, but boy howdy, she’s an enormous pit bull/great dane mix and she got me BAD. I will spare you a photo, but suffice to say that after an ER visit, a shit ton of painful wound cleaning, and a prescription for enough antibiotics to permanently destroy my vaginal biome, I had just enough time to stop by the house for my luggage before leaving for the airport with a gauze-and-pressure-bandage wrapped hand. By the time I arrived in South Carolina, I’d been awake for thirty consecutive hours (with a light nap in the Charlotte airport). And by the time we went out for dinner that night, I was coming up on hour thirty-seven.

The food was worth staying awake for:

However, I do believe they were a bit stingy with their grits. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but the sauce-to-grits ratio was definitely off.

At the end of the day, I returned to this lovely little room. The picture over the headboard factors into the story later:

A nice little finished attic room with a bed that has a lovely wicker headboard and and two bedside tables. All of my luggage is on everything. Above the bed is a photo of a boardwalk leading down to the beach.

The next morning, refreshed from a brief, exhaustion-induced coma, I decided that I would venture to the ocean.

“There are paths to beach that run between the houses,” my friend Stella, who booked the trip and had experience staying in Sea Pines before, told me. There was a path behind our house, so that’s what I assumed she meant. I left the house with a little bowl of raspberries to munch on and followed the path.

It lead me right onto someone’s pool area.

Those were not the paths she was talking about. Later in the week, I noted that these little paths behind the houses were actually so landscapers and such could move about without being too visible. You know. Like how you want servants to be invisible when you live in a place where the five bedroom, five bathroom, over 3,000 square foot house we were staying in is a shack in comparison to everything else.

Yeah. This:

A gorgeous brick patio with a plunge pool, surrounded by palm trees. There's like, a tenth of a ridiculous, three story, big ass house visible through the trees, and a little bit of the aforementioned path.

…is what passes for a modest home in Sea Pines. This gorgeous, heated pool and lushly landscaped patio area. You can see the path behind one of those chairs. Also, a giant ass house that I mistook for a hotel when we first arrived. Some of these places have legit hotel-sized mechanical systems outside for like, their A/C and such.

The actual beach access path was somewhere else, and I did not find it until later that day. When I did, I found this:

I’ve been to the ocean before, but never in South Carolina. I was a little shocked to learn that it looks about the same as it does in New England. I thought it would be, I don’t know, slightly different looking? Like how in some places it’s like this but in other places it looks blue or green? But it was like something out of Moby-Dick about 99% of the time I was there.

It’s also incredibly spooky, as each day that I visited, the ocean had picked something new to murder. The first day, the beach was covered in dying sand dollars. After that it was like, scallops, another day was horseshoe crabs just bashed to fucking pieces all over the place, and on one day, the whole thing was a jellyfish graveyard.

A dead cannonball jellyfish on the sand like a gross blob of goo.

I learned that the sea is full of murder and gross stuff and I don’t feel like I need to interact with it further. Disgusting.

I got a lot of work done on this trip, lest you think I was just fooling around and writing negative reviews of the ocean. I came home with a little bit under 20,000 words written across three projects, and a whole bunch of knowledge from my new friends, who are all indie authors. We shared our tips and tricks (and I don’t have a lot of them) for sales and promotion and having successful signings, which made this not just a good trip for writing, but for network and branding and such.

And nobody was mean to me! I came home with new author friends, and we’re already planning to do it again next year.

Now that I’m back and not exactly rested, since my mask mistake resulted in creeping sickness (yes, I’ll test for Covid), I have good news!

The Business Centaur’s Virgin Temp is coming back from hiatus! You have until Friday to refresh your memories, because that’s when the next installment posts. Also, if you’ve been following Fablemere, season two, The Vampire’s Willing Captive, begins on Vella, Ream, and the $3 (USD) Patreon tier TOMORROW! On Vella, season two will be attached to The Ogre’s Fairytale Bride, so you don’t have to go looking for a different link.

The Ogre’s Fairytale Bride will be available in ebook and paperback on February 29th. You can pre-order the ebook now on Amazon, but printing issues with the paperback has pushed that pre-order back on other platforms. Hey, if a book release of mine ever ran smoothly, I would probably pass out from shock.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print right now. Stay tuned to find out what disease I got from going maskless on a plane.

SURPRISE! The Princes of Pleasure and Torment releases THIS WEEK.

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Remember when I was like, here is a handy graphic that says The Princes of Pleasure and Torment (Fablemere Fae #1) will be on Radish in February? Yeah, funny thing about that… I found out last week that it will actually be out on FRIDAY. As in THIS FRIDAY.

Here’s a blurb that I cobbled together in a panic upon learning that the book is being published a month earlier than I expected:

Shattered by the murder of her mother, Cenere knows that she cannot rest until the killer is brought to bloody, terrible justice. When a faery from her mother’s past offers his help, Cenere knows she must accept. But the fae give nothing freely, and the price Luthian of Mithrax asks is nothing short of the total surrender of her body and spirit.

Exiled from the Court of Pleasure and Torment, Luthian seeks to return to the life of hedonism on offer there. Cenere will be his most seductive weapon in a court ruled by depravity and indulgence, and the sadistic King Arcus won’t be able to resist her.

But Luthian has secrets, and when his true motivations are revealed, they will change the course of Cenere’s life forever…

I don’t have a cover or a link to share with you, that’s how fast this is suddenly happening. They’re releasing it much sooner, I think, than either I or Radish expected. I found out on the 19th and I stumbled around in a bit of a daze like, how do I even promo this thing, right?

Well, I’m gonna do it in the most honest way possible. Here is a bulleted list of stuff that is in the book and you can choose whether or not to read it or you can recommend it to someone who likes freaky stuff. Because this book is dark, and way different than anything else I’ve written as Abigail Barnette. This is very much a “Dead Dove, Do Not Eat” situation.

Read this book if stuff on this list interests you. Don’t read this book if it doesn’t interest you. Definitely do not eat the dead dove if you don’t like the taste of dead dove. I cannot deliver a clearer warning that this book is dark romance and not like The Boss or The Ogre’s Fairytale Bride.

  • rape, dubious consent, consensual non-consent
  • violence, gore, murder
  • needle/piercing play
  • exhibitionism/voyeurism
  • group sex
  • orgasm torture, orgasm denial
  • lesbian mermaid group sex
  • minotaur sex
  • humiliation
  • literally any combination of genitals in various quantities getting together
  • foot torture
  • fluid play (including a bathtub full of cum)
  • ritual sexual torture
  • sentient plant sex
  • morally dark-gray characters
  • borderline necrophilia, honestly
  • flying sex
  • 24/7 unconditional submission

I feel like that’s it? I honestly don’t remember. Look, I went full on feral writing this one. Just anything I could throw in there, I did. And if that’s your jam, well, good news. On Friday, you can read the entire serial on Radish. They’re foregoing a chapter-at-a-time release with this one.

Meanwhile, I’m going to breathe heavily into a paper bag and not freak out about having a surprise new release come as a surprise to me.

The Week In Video!

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I don’t know where the week went, I will tell you that for free. It was eaten by book formatting, that’s where it went.

However, I’ve struggled so hard with technology of all kinds this week. I’m pretty sure a witch did it. As a result, I don’t have Bridgerton for you all this week, and the Patreon-only uncut Buff The Vampire Slayer react is delayed due to captioning problems. We’ll get back on track next week, just in time for me to take a flippin’ hiatus for a writing trip like two weeks after that.

But we do have two new videos!