Wednesday 25 July 2012

Copyright Education! Are you clueless about what images you can use freely on your blog?

My picture taken of one of the 83 old water fountains
 in Paris then  edited in PicMonkey
SORRY! If you came looking for my IWSG post, sorry, it posted a day early so I sent it back to draft. If you haven't read this important post, you may like to read it before you go...

Now unless you've had very pressing reasons not to have been around the blogosphere in the last days you couldn't have missed Roni Loren's post - Bloggers Beware You can get sued for using pics on your blog. 

Links to Roni's post abound, as do re-postings. It's been a wake up call to many bloggers who 'innocently' decorate their blogs with what they thought were free Google images. Alas, they are not free - everything on the Internet is owned by someone and they are cached, so chances are you will eventually be brought to task. Hopefully you won't be sued like Roni was, but at the very least you'll receive a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice - Take it Down, or Else! One lawyer's blog states that you can be sued up to $150,000! *shiver*

I've received two DMCA notices, one from Google and one from an American firm hired by artists just for this purpose.  Both were for photos I'd had up for over a year and forgotten about. (Notices can be issued years after you put up an image).

I've now gone through all my blogs and deleted any image where I wasn't sure of the copyright. Another option is to save to Draft if you want to keep an image to refer to.

In my DMCA notice from Google,(this was for a badge I'd posted for a blogfest for someone else, so that's another area of concern - do we need to assure everyone that the blogfest badge is okay to use?), I was told that if it happened again, there'd be penalties. From now on, I'll be using my own photos. I have literally thousands from around the world so why risk it? Further to this: Awards. Where do the awarders get their images from? The awardee will be liable if it's illegal and found on their blog.

I trolled through nearly 400 comments on Roni's blog and was quite shocked. I followed up some of the comments from the photographers and found they were true. 

So this is what I've learned about Copyright Infringement regarding the use of, in this case, images, picture, photos, without permission.

In case you think this is boring and are about to move on, it seemed that the owners of these images many of us have been helping ourselves to are angry at us for stealing their bread and butter. Some are hiring firms to track their images down and issue infringement notices to illegal users. They, themselves, can do a simple Google search and find all the places on the net that their images have been used. You can use it too:
You drop the image in, and voila! (Well, that's what they said. I haven't been able to sort it out, but you're probably smarter than I am!)


  • Assume that an image is Copyright Protected until proven otherwise
  • The Copyright on virtually all photos belongs to someone - you must seek permission to use it/them 
  • If you don't know who owns the photo, don't use it
  • Just because something is published on the Internet, it doesn't mean it's Public Domain - that only refers to a work that is 70+ years old
  • In terms of law, ignorance is no excuse
  • Never use pictures from Google Search. (This is where Roni's troubles began). Google passes on responsibility for copyright to the website where it is used (I used to think that if I did a Google Free Image Search it was okay to use - I've since removed all these 'illegal' images)
  • If you get permission to use a picture, keep records, in case you still get sued (copyright changes hands)
  • All pictures are the intellectual property of the creator
  • Fair Use mainly refers to schools and other educational institutions, not the fact that you only stole 1 of 10 photos from a particular photographer
HERE IS WHAT RONI LEARNED ABOUT FAIR USE (re-posted with Roni's permission):

  • if you link back to the source and list the photographer's name
  • if the picture is not full-sized (only thumbnail size is okay)
  • if you did it innocently
  • if your site is non-commercial and you made no money from the use of the photo
  • if you didn't claim the photo was yours
  • if you've added commentary in addition to having the pic in the post
  • if the picture is embedded and not saved on your server
  • if you have a disclaimer on your site.
  • if you immediately take down a pic if someone sends you a DMCA notice (you do have to take it down, but it doesn't absolve you.)
NONE OF THAT releases you from liability. You are violating copyright if you have not gotten express PERMISSION from the copyright holder OR are using pics that are public domain, creative commons, etc. 


None of us wants an image-free blog, so what's the solution?


In these days of digital photography,it's easy. At the very least use your camera phone (they're so great and always at the ready.) Take your own photos, then use free editing software to pretty them up, add text, shapes etc. 

I was a great fan of Picnik until Google+ took it over and called it Creative Kit, joined at the hip with Picasa. Kept most of Picnik's bells and whistles but no frames available. I recently found PicMonkey which is pretty good, fun, easy to use, but restricted re font choice (Creative Kit much better here). I have fancier programs such as Corel Draw and Paint Shop Pro but they are too unwieldy if I just want a quick edit.

You can also offer your photos on Flickr and other photo-sharing sites for use by others.I'll do this if I ever find the time! 

Further to that, believe it or not people often have to prove the photo they've used is theirs. If your camera doesn't have time, date, place embedded on your photos, how do you prove you own it? It sounds crazy to me, but if you google 'eiffel tower' you'll see lots of practically identical photos taken by different people. Buildings don't change much.


CC on Flickr - Search: http://www.creativecommons, or

Usually if you find an image you want in CC, you have to link to the source. Use CC with great caution as some of these images may be stolen and shared illegally anyway. Also rights change hands.

Check out: Joleene Naylor - and


Remember, Flickr, Facebook, Photobucket etc are photo sharing sites - no guarantee of provenance of photos.

USE LOW-FEE PHOTO-SHARING SITES - costs start at $1.00 (Crucial for book covers etc)

FREE PHOTO-SHARING SITES (no attribution needed)
wanelo (My favourite - fantastic for romantic, suspense, scenes and general photos - only free if you're not making money out of the image and you attribute. For commercial use, you pay).

MICROSOFT OFFICE CLIP ART is still there too.I'd nearly forgotten they existed.


Roni got a gazillion questions from book reviewers re the legality of using book covers. This was generally accepted as okay as what publisher would sue you for publicising their client's book? On the other hand, someone was probably paid to create the cover and may get snarky. Hmm.


There was no definitive answer to this one. I'm not a great fan of putting up videos on my site as they slow it down too much. I was under the impression that if the youtube video could be embedded,it was okay to use. Sometimes there is a copyright notice on a video and you can't embed it. Do you have any info on this one?


So...the furore created by Roni's predicament highlighted the danger of Pinterest and Tumblr, (luckily I've resisted their siren call), where images are pinned from anywhere and everywhere. There were suggestions to google this phrase: 'Why I tearfully deleted my Pinterest inspiration'. Pinterest's terms and conditions state that legal liability of pinning is 100% on you, the user. Plus you have to cover 'their' legals if someone sues them!


There is a lawyer/indie author/legal guru called Ruth Carter who has an upcoming book - The Legal Side of Blogging. It's sure to be a bestseller when it's released. Meanwhile you can check out her tips on her blog. So much info! (The latest post is about her issuing a DMCA notice to Google for a blogspot user who'd stolen a photo from her site.)Ouch!

Rush on over here after you leave a comment, of course. I really want feedback on this post.

Created using a Kakadu photo of Australian Aboriginal Rock Art, edited in
 PicMonkey - no copyright on ideas, Ruth Carter. Or is there?

  • What do you think of this debate?
  • Do you have a favourite photo-sharing site?
  • Have you ever received a DMCA notice?
  • What photo editing programs do you like to use?

Sunday 22 July 2012

Ernest Hemingway, the Marrakech Express and more...interview at Imagine Today.

Knocking on Hemingway's door
  in Paris

Today I'm being interviewed over at Kathy McKendry's blog, Imagine Today. This is a result of being a joint winner of The Knights of Micro Fiction monthly competition. My winning story is here if you'd like to read it.

Both Kathy and I would love your support in checking out the interview.

At the highest point of the Sahara Desert in Morocco with my Toureg guides

And before you go, why don't you download Burnt Offerings? It's the latest in the Roland Yeoman's list of ebooks and it's available FREE! It contains four short stories in Roland's lyrical prose and some beautiful interior artwork.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Reading, 'Riting and tRavelling in Fiji. What have I been reading? Heaps of books!

When I'm not reading or writing I'm checking out the islands. Here's the singers welcoming  us to  South Sea Island
So this holiday is a bit different from my usual travels, where I spend every waking moment sightseeing. Seeing I have such a long time in Fiji, I'm able to pace myself - a day at home to read, write, blog, fb, tweet etc and the next day to hit the road, the towns or the islands.

It's been a good plan. I've had time to keep in close touch with my Writing Group which meets at the Queensland Writer's Centre in Brisbane. We're collaborating on an epic fantasy novel. At this stage we are world building, profiling our characters and plotting. All good for pantser me. 

Partly in preparation for writing my fantasy characters, I've been reading fantasy novels. Several.

Nas' daughter had a Tamora Pierce lying around - Alanna, the First Adventure. This was timely, as I imagine my female princess character sharing some traits with Alanna, a girl pretending to be a boy training as a knight. Now I'll have to look for the rest of the series.

Free ebook
I also read Nancy Williams' Magic of Windlier Wood. I've had this beautiful little fantasy short story with enchanting characters and settings on my TBR list for sometime now. Nancy, whose novel Treasures of Carmelidrium was gorgeous, certainly knows about world building, something our Writing Group has spent a long time on. 

Blogger India Drummond's Contemporary Urban Fantasy, Book 1, Blood Faerie has been languishing in my Kindle for several months. I'm finally getting to read it. I haven't finished yet. It's not the sort of fantasy our group is writing, but I'm learning a lot about India's fantasy writing and world building. The main character Eilidh is on the run from faerie land, escaping a death sentence. But she finds herself having to make some big choices when she lives amongst humans and a mutilated body is discovered. (You can download India's book now from Amazon USA andAmazon UK  

Click to buy
I also caught an interview with Linda Gillard on Talli's blog. I instantly bought her book, The Glass Guardian. It's a romantic ghost story. Very intriguing. I loved it. It has some similarities to a romantic ghost story I've been writing to submit to Entangled Publishing. Can ghosts love? Good question.

Another romantic ghost story I read was a free ebook A Romantic Ghost Story by Jason W Chan. An entertaining read about a grandmother who's dying, but has died before. Now she's going to meet her love, who many years ago, died that she might live again.

Click to buy from Amazon
Then there's Love Knows No Bounds. A great anthology of novellas from Enchanted Publishing
I came across this anthology when I was checking out writing opportunities at Enchanted. Love Knows No Bounds is EP's current Featured Release. This is a fabulous anthology in their Flirts Category. Strong on romance, but full of quirky intrigue. It contains 3 stories:  TWEET by Boone BruxBITTERSWEET by Brooke Moss and REMEMBER ME by Nina Croft. 100% of profits benefits the charity Autism Speaks.

Speaking of EP did you catch the fabulous Pitch contest over at Brenda Drake's? Several EP editiors will be on board to take their pick from several Pitches.The contest closes when the magic 200 pitches is reached. Just checked - they have 191, so closing soon!

So that's my reading for the fantasy/paranormal genres. I've been reading heaps more. I'll talk about them some time soon.

Nobody asked me to read or review these books. I bought them myself and thoroughly enjoyed them all.

  • What have you been reading lately?
  • Have you read any of the books I've mentioned?
  • Did you enter the Enchanted Publishing Pitch Contest?

Sunday 15 July 2012

Knights of MicroFiction - 'City of the Dark Gods'.

My story has just been named joint winner! 

This month I've joined the blogfest, the Knights of Micro Fiction challenge hosted by Kathy and Jess McKendry   Knights of MicroFiction
You have to post on your blog sometime on the 15th of the month, then add your link to the comments on the prompt post. A couple of days before, Kathy will post the new prompt on her blog. 
This month's prompt is:
In 200 words or less write a flash fiction using the phrase:  The sky darkened...
then for an added challenge include a sound that surprises one of your characters and a foul smell.
As I've been studying up on fantasy writing for a group project with my Writer's Group, I immediately thought of having a go at a little bit of magic.

The City of the Dark Gods

The sky darkened as Prince Ysandir and his knight Gareth entered the City of the Dark Gods. Only blackness remained beyond the North Gate. The desert sand had disappeared; inside the City the streets were paved in black. The horses hooves made a dull frightening crack with every step closer to the Temple.

Then the smell hit them.

The heads of the dead were dangling from the alien buildings, a ghoulish touch to the beautiful and intricately carved timbers. Amongst them was the wizened head of the Princes father, King Naxan.

My father has given his life for our people. We will not fail.

No, my Lord. Your father lacked magic. Our magic will defeat these Dark Ones.

Their horseshooves were silent. The Temple loomed before them.

Prince Ysandir? You would enter our sacred domain?

From a balcony carved from glassy stone, a black figure stood, finger pointing at the young men.

Aye, demon, we enter to vanquish you and your Dark Ones.

Come then, Prince. Your mortal weapons will not touch us.

Gareth and the Prince dismounted and clasped strong hands. The magic flowed strong between them.

Mortal weapons, demon?

Holding hands, they entered the Temple.



Image -

  •  I hope you liked my first attempt at fantasy writing. 

Friday 13 July 2012

#RomanticFridayWriters - Challenge No 40- GREENER PASTURES.

It's Friday!  Time for the RomanticFridayWriters challenge. This week all the participants are up for the Featured Writer award. For the FW award, the word count has been upped to 600, and there are particular guidelines set by the tricky Donna Hole:

This prompt is about long-term love; perhaps suffering a mid-life or 7 year itch crisis. The couple recognizes it is time for a change; but how drastic does the change need to be to rekindle the relationship?  Who wants the change; husband, wife, mutual?  Who would suffer the most from either a break up, or from the status quo?

For older lovers:  perhaps this is the retirement of one or both, or one is suffering a physical or mental health change.
For mid-life lovers:  perhaps this could be an empty nest syndrome, or a male mid-life crisis, or female menopause.
For younger lovers:  perhaps there is an unexpected pregnancy to upset the balance; or a career change –promotion or firing or company move; or the sheer boredom of routine.

What we want to see is when the romance loses it shine, and the eye wanders, but what our disgruntled lover finds so appealing in another is the qualities that the old flame has lost.  Does he/she realize this on their own?  Or does the jilted lover or new love point it out?  How is the situation resolved?  Or is it too late?

 I'm continuing my saga of Geffron and Marsilia. Since my first story, I've added the characters Luigunia and now James...I hope you enjoy my story. You might think it's a bit abrupt at times - this story wanted to be 1,000 words so I had to edit much of the life out of it...

Greener Pastures

Marsilia’s stomach clenched. She patted it gently.



She and Geffron had been trying for three years. But for some time they both knew they were relying on a baby to save their marriage. Was it too late?

God! Why did they get married?

She’d come to London four years ago for her modelling career, not marriage.  But she’d believed in Geffron’s love – he’d followed her to Italy to win her back after his fling with Luiginia. How he’d charmed her Nonna and Madre. She’d gone along with the romantic idea of a medieval hill-town wedding, with the whole village celebrating. Craziest three days of her life.

Back to London. Once she wore Geffron’s ring he tried to smother her with his old-fashioned expectations.

Their marriage was over.

But what about the baby?

Out of bed my girl. Can’t lie here all day.

What will I do? The immediate answer was provided as she dashed to the bathroom, vomiting last night’s crackers. God! Was this being pregnant?

Washing her mouth, Marsilia stumbled to the fridge. Limp lettuce, Diet Coke and Geffron’s herring fillets. Stomach spasm.  


‘Who is it?’ Marsilia snapped.

‘James. You’re late.’ Bollocks! She was to be at the blinking Canary Wharf.

‘It’s nine-thirty. Old Davey will have my head.’

‘I know. I know –‘.

‘Just get here sweetheart. I’ll cover with Davey. I’ll use Luigina. But hurry. I need shots of you together. The light’s perfect.’

Si, si.’

Dry crackers. Quick shower.

Acne skinny black jeans, Kain silk tank, Alexander McQueen black wool peplum, Jimmy Choo pumps, Row oversized sunglasses, Marni leather shoulder bag. Aha, Etro crystal-gold necklace in bag, just in case.     

In the tube, she lurched from one stinky underarm to the next, her stomach heaving.  When she reached Canary Wharf station she was feeling foul.

Buon giorno cara! Come va?’ Luigiana chirped as Marsilia rushed in.

The shoot was exhausting. Whose idea was it to use the financial heart of London as a location? She shrugged and strutted her stuff in front of the Canary Wharf Tower. Even though a weak sun was shining, she was shivering. The spacey short skirts and skimpy tops weren’t helping. Be easier doing covers for Parenting Today.

Luiginia cheered her. The pair of them giggled and wiggled in front of the skyscrapers. They were the Italian IT girls. I’ll no longer be an IT, Marsilia thought, I’ll be OUT.

Shoot over, Marsilia lingered.

‘Hey, Luiginia, wanna grab a bite?’

‘Sorry, got that night shoot at the Eye, remember?’

‘Crap. Well buon giorno.’

Marsilia was trudging towards the tube, when tyres screeched beside her.

‘Marsilia!’ James and his yellow Ferrari.

‘What’s up James? No chick to pick up?’

‘You’re the only chick I want. Food?…at…Amata.’


‘Yep, just googled it. New Italian place, Manchester Road?’

‘Whatever. I’m starving.’

‘What’s new? Hop in.’

‘Great idea,’ she said as she looped her gold necklace around her cheating neck.


Marsilia shoveled in forkfuls of delicious seafood pasta, smacking her lips in delight.

‘Amazes me how you stay stick thin. More?’

‘Can I?’

Sated, Marsilia sipped her very good Borolo. Only then did she catch the look in James’ eye. Whoops! ‘Do I have tomato smear on my face?’

‘Marsilia, you’re beautiful, outrageous and I’m way over my head. I’ve kept my hands off you till now, but I’m not sure I can any longer.’

 ‘I like Italian red wine, Jimmy Choos and American blues, how about you?’

‘I like fast cars, U2 and I love you.’

‘James, it’s too late.’

She imagined Geffron’s dinner – perfectly poached salmon, fine Pinot Blanc and wanted to scream.



Girl pics:

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Monday 9 July 2012

Bula from Fiji!. Bollywood in Fiji, Hollywood in Fiji and free ebook!

Bula from Fiji!


If you missed him on facebook,
this is the Fijian policeman
next door. Cute uniform!
Bollywood has overtaken Hollywood as the biggest movie maker in the world and I was surprised to see a Bollywood takeover of Fiji. There are currently several productions taking place (four simultaneously) and locals count themselves lucky to be asked to play extras for the princely sum of $30 (AUD $15ish) per day. Wages in Fiji are very low, even for professionals like policemen and teachers, so the Fijians are happy to earn a little extra to be an extra (pun intended). Anything that helps a struggling economy is a positive if you can get over the fact that to most of us such low wages reek of exploitation.

I shouldn’t have been too surprised at the popularity of Bollywood movies here, as 37% of the population of Fiji is Indo-Fijian compared to 57% of native Fijians. Every day there are Bollywood movies showing wherever you go to visit or eat as most of the businesses are owned by the Indo-Fijians. There are Bollywood movies on the television if/when I turn it on during the day. Not to mention the shops and handicraft stalls where you can buy saris and look the part! (Psst, I got to try on a sari of Nas’ and report it is very uncomfortable when you’re not used to it!)


Fiji consists of two largish islands, Vanua Levu and Viti Levu (where Nas lives and I'm hanging out). Vitu Levu has Nadi (the tourist capital) where Nas has her home, and Suva, (the political capital). However, these are just 2 of 300+ islands. The scenery is what most people consider paradise – golden sandy beaches, reefs, jungle-type mountains complete with waterfalls – all making beautiful locations for movie making.

Long before Bollywood invaded Fiji’s sparkling shores, Hollywood was here! Here are some movies made on the Fijian islands which you may recognize:

  • ·         Robinson Crusoe (1932)
  • ·         The Blue Lagoon (1948)
  • ·         The Blue Lagoon (1979) - remake
  • ·         The Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)
  • ·         Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004)
  • ·         Cast Away (2000) – the island (Monuriki) is now unofficially called Tom Hanks Island and after a day trip there everyone wonders how Tom and his volleyball could drag themselves away. There is actually an island already called Castaway Island so they can't change it to that!
  • ·         Contact (Jodi Foster’s ‘heaven’ sequence)

For the Bollywood fans, the major movie currently being shot around Suva, Nadi and the islands, is Table 21, starring Rajeev Khandelwal and Tina Desai.

The reason why Hollywood stopped choosing Fiji for locations is because of the instability of its government. Since independence from the Brits after 96 years of colonial administration , then the first steps to Fijian self-government in 1960, there have been four coups, with Commodore Frank Bainimarama in charge since he declared himself President in 2006. Democratic elections are set for 2013. Registration is currently underway. Great news!

Maybe Hollywood will return!
As will I. On our go-to list for next week:

·         Cocktails, dinner and watching the fire dancers at Denarau (an island close to Nadi Town)
·         A bus trip all the way around our island, Viti Levu – via the Queens Road to Suva, then return via the Kings Road through the mountains.
·         A full day sailing on the Seaspray 83 foot classic schooner, visiting 9 islands, including a traditional Fijian village.
Plans are known to go awry, but that’s the plan for now! As you can imagine, there’ll be some awesome snaps.

The lucky couple at Denarau where you catch the boats for the islands.

Moce (Goodbye) and Vinaka (Thank You) for reading a little about Fiji.


Carole Anne Carr is offering her ebook Candle Dark for free for three days from 6th July until 8th July. She is also offering her ebook First Wolf free for two days—July 12th and 13th. So be sure to check them out!

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group - Writing with Passion. I'm passionate about Fiji and shouting out for bloggers like Roland Yeomans...

Hello! Happy Independence Day, Americans! You're very passionate about your nation, so I've chosen Passion as my topic today seeing the founder of IWSG is Alex J Cavanaugh, American citizen.

This month I'm talking about passion. Who can live without passion? Passion for life, passion for food, passion for family, passion for friends, passion for God, passion for travel and passion for writing. Well, you can put them in order to suit yourself. Each one of us will have a different priority. But if you're reading this, chances are somewhere in the hierarchy you have a Passion for Writing. And you therefore need passion to permeate your writing...

Here are some quotes on passion from

It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.
Oprah Winfrey

Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.

T. S. Eliot

Roland Yeomans:

Someone with a huge passion for writing is our friend Roland Yeomans. Roland has a competition going and there's just 1 day left to enter his End of Days contest..

Basically all you have to do to be entered in the contest is to post about the contest.  However, if you have read his novel End of Days and post a review on Amazon, you will also be entered into the contest.  Do both and you're entered twice.

The prize:  A signed Robert Downey Jr poster, or a signed hard copy of The Art of Michael Whelan.

See Roland's blog for complete details, and for links to all his published novels, including the latest New Orleans Arabesque.

So at the moment I'm in Fiji. Many of you know I'm passionate about travel. I'm visiting with blogger friend Nas Dean from Romance Book Paradise. Now I know Fiji is a paradise. Thanks Nas for having me and trusting me with your home while you head to the U S of A! Bon Voyage. I'm able to spend a lot of uninterrupted time writing in paradise.

Nas and I on Wailoala Beach, Nadi, Fiji

Sharing Indian nibblies for morning tea in Nadi, Fiji.

So I'll be combining my passion with travel - meeting new people, experiencing new cultures - with my passion for writing . Can't wait to set some of my stories in this Fijian paradise. 

Sunset over Denarau, Nadi, Fiji. 

  • What are you passionate about? Where does your passion for writing fit on the hierarchy?
  • Thanks for visiting my blog. Click on the IWSG badge to find more posts on various topics.