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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - Playing It Safe

The Lean Dog

If you read my blog, you by now know how much I adore Sherlock Holmes. My favorite adventure being The Hound of the Baskervilles - or "The Hound of the Baskervilles" if you're watching it. Long have I been fascinated by the black dogs of British folklore, the spectral dogs - the crossroads demons, the hellhounds, the heralds of death - who haunt the moors and back roads of the Isles. The legend of the black dog is pervasive; there's been a concentration of sightings on Dartmoor, but they are said to haunt other quiet places. In Hertfordshire, the malevolent spirit of a huge black dog with glowing red eyes, said to be the spirit of a chimney sweep hanged for murder, haunts a roadside where a gibbet once stood, sinking into the road when anyone lays eyes upon it. Locally, it is known as the Lean Dog.

I love the sound of that: Lean Dog.

I love that it resides in Hertfordshire, the setting of my all-time favorite literary novel, Pride and Prejudice.

I bring up the legend of the Lean Dog because I have some news regarding my Russell novels and my upcoming Friday release. When I first wrote God Love Her in 2008, I knew I had to name the motorcycle club "The Black Dogs," my special tribute to sinister folklore and Sherlock, too, if I'm honest. I searched online, and could not find an outlaw club by that name. But I didn't publish God Love Her then; it was only released last year, and the copyright stands only from that point forward. I've recently realized that there now exists a law enforcement MC that has copyrighted the name "Black Dogs MC," one founded before my book was released.


What are the odds a club would care about my books? About me using the name? I asked myself. But I've been thinking on it all week, and I realized something: the name of the club in my novels isn't as important as being respectful of other people's copyrights. It's just not.

In my writing life, I've had the bejesus plagiarized out of my stories. It's a terrible feeling. I never want to do that to anyone else. I never want anyone to think I stole something from them.

So, moving forward, The Black Dogs of my novels are still the Dogs - they are still steeped in mythology and folklore and the bar in Keeping Bad Company is still called Baskerville Hall, but their name will now be the Lean Dogs Motorcycle Club. They're still black dogs, and bear them proudly on their cuts; they're just not Black Dogs.

I hate the idea that this might cause any confusion, but it's something I felt was important. I have already gone back and adjusted the name in God Love Her, will do so for KBC, and Friday's release is ready to go as the Lean Dogs.

So, the Black Dogs are now the Lean Dogs, and all the novels should now reflect that. Sorry, everyone. I thought it best to rectify the matter before going any further, especially since Friday's release is so chock full of Dogs. :)

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