Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Don't Mess With Christie Craig

Normally, when a crit partner has a new book, I post the cover and the blurb on release day.

This situation with Christie Craig has been anything but normal.

So I waited to see how Judge Sparks ruled at the emergency TRO hearing on Monday.  TxDOT's request for a temporary restraining order was denied.  I can't say anymore than that since the official position of Hachette and Christie is 'No comment.'

[Edit to Add: The actual ruling hadn't been posted on the federal court's website, but the Austin Business Journal had the gist in an article posted this afternoon.]

[2nd Edit to Add: Here's a copy of the Request for Restraining Order and Injunction.  What's interesting is that no other major bookseller, such as Amazon or Books-A-Million, was named in the Request.]

However, for more info, here's some sites:

As far as I know, the Houston Press broke the story Tuesday morning.

A few hours later, the Dallas Business News added a few more details.

Then the romance community started commenting:
Something Wicked
Cheeky Reads
Dear Author
Beyond Her Book
Boxing the Octopus
Killer Fiction

[FYI: Houston, TX, is the headquarters of Romance Writers of America, and the home of three RWA chapters.]

By 2PM, the Twitterverse and various author loops had exploded with the news.

Magdalen at Promantica talks about the legal issues.

The news hit KHOU-TV, Channel 11, a little after 5 PM.


What I can say is that Don't Mess with Texas is another of Christie's wacky romantic suspense books. Three cops were unjustly sent to prison. Once exonerated, they become P.I.s with two missions: find the crime lord who set them up and help innocents accused of wrong-doing. And since this is Christie, there's the wild pets.  In this case, it's Budweiser, the coffin-lovin' bulldog.

Nikki Hunt thought her night couldn't get worse when her no-good, cheating ex ditched her at dinner, sticking her with the bill. Then she found his body stuffed in the trunk of her car and lost her two-hundred-dollar meal all over his three-thousand-dollar suit. Now not only is Nikki nearly broke, she's a murder suspect.

Dallas O'Connor knows what it's like to be unjustly accused. But one look at the sexy-though skittish-suspect tells him she couldn't hurt anyone. The lead detective, Dallas's own brother, has the wrong woman and Dallas hopes a little late-night "undercover" work will help him prove it . . .


  1. I'm sure Christie appreciates your support, Virginia. Thanks!

  2. I just ordered it too -- I don't usually read het contemporaries, but this sounds like fun and it might not be available for long.

    On the title thing, though, "Don't Mess With Texas" is a trademark of the Texas DOT, which means they have to defend it. They don't have a choice; if they see someone infringing and ignore it, they could lose the rights to their trademark. Ms. Craig should probably have done some more research into where that saying came from and whether it was protected before she used it on her novel (or her publisher's legal department should've), although I can't swear I would've researched what I thought was a common-use saying, so.... [wry smile] At any rate, I can't really fault the TXDOT in this case, even though the situation is sucky overall.


  3. All I can say, Angie, is that a lot of people are making assumptions about all the parties involved without bothering to learn the facts. *sigh*

    Let's just say some people are asking the right questions: Why wasn't any other major retailer named in the Request for the same reasons B&N was named? Why didn't TxDOT file a similar Request when Newsweek used the alleged trademark on the cover of their magazine earlier this month? Why didn't TxDOT file anything regarding the 2008 short film about a lesbian couple entitled "Don't Mess with Texas?"

  4. Suzan -- I dunno, this is all I've heard of the case, the kerfuffle about this particular book. Is the trademark "alleged" in any kind of legal sense? It seemed it was an actual, registered trademark.

    I can imagine they didn't hear about the movie, since short films don't get a lot of press. And if one is implying that they were upset about the romance novel because of the OMGSexTrash! aspect (which I've seen in a couple of places), then one would have to assume they'd also have objected to the film about lesbians if they knew of it, since that sort of mindset generally lumps GLBT people together with *SEX!!* as though that's all there is to them or their lives.

    I can imagine someone who's ignorant of the book industry assuming that B&N was the only significant book retailer left these days, and therefore the only one worth suing. Silly, of course, but I can buy that some executive type whose field is transportation being just that ignorant. Their lawyers should've done some research, I would think, but if they weren't paid to do it? [shrug] I see ignorance here rather than malice.

    No clue about Newsweek. Maybe they were afraid of taking on a major media entity? Fearful of bad publicity, maybe? :D

    At any rate, I saw that the judge decided book titles were exempt from this sort of thing, so the book is safe. Which is awesome; my copy should show up tomorrow in any case.


  5. I say "alleged" because yes, TxDOT registered the trademark, but they haven't been vigorous and consistent in their defense of it. If you aren't vigilent in the protection of your trademark, you can eventually lose it. It's the reason George Lucas sics his lawyers on EVERYBODY. If I didn't have a book to finish and another to edit, not to mention school starting, I'd take the time to look up the time limitations. *grin*

    On Bing (which is a sucky SE in my opinion), I found 3 different country songs, a rap song, three different rap/hip-hop compilation CDs, a Bobby Flay recipe, two other book titles, and numerous clothing articles that weren't not sanctioned by TxDOT, in addition to the things I've already mentioned.

    LOL If TxDOT thought taking on Newsweek would be bad publicity, then they underestimated the political activism of Texas female writers.

    Five years ago, Fred Head ran against Susan Combs for Texas Comptroller. Head played the "family values" card. He said Combs was incapable of performing the duties of a public office because she wrote "porn." Combs had written a couple of books for the old Kismet line, books that were tame even by 1990's standards. Romance authors started a grass-roots movement to make sure this guy didn't win.