Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Wow, it’s been a crazy few weeks. I’m just back from Worldcon in Dublin and then vacation throughout southern Ireland, and I leave on Thursday for DragonCon! I hope to post some notes and pictures of Ireland in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, I hope to see some of you in Hotlanta at DragonCon in just a few days. Finding me shouldn’t be hard! My panel schedule is below, and between times I can be found at Bard’s Tower (booth #2719) in the dealer’s room hawking my Latter-Day Olympians books and at least the first book in my Vamped series!

FRIDAY

10:00 am YA of Yore: Classic YA; Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Come reminisce with us as we remember all your favorite YA fantasy of yore: Tamora Pierce, Peter Beagle, Madeline L’Engle, Francesca Lia Block, & more!
Panelists: Rebecca Moesta, Jeanne P Adams, Ashley Poston, Lucienne Diver, John G. Hartness, Marghie Parsons(M)

11:30 am The Best Worst Villians; Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Who is the best (worst?) of the worst in YA? Is Voldemort more evil than the White Witch? Could President Snow outdo Dolores Umbridge? Share your thoughts, & then your votes will decide!
Panelists: Ashley Poston, Lucienne Diver, Hanako Ricks, Casey Fiesler, Jenn Clack(M), Alledria Hurt

1:00 pm To Market, to Market; Location: Embassy CD – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: I’ve written it. What’s next?
Panelists: Nancy Knight(M), Lucienne Diver, Anne Sowards, Claire M. Eddy, Holly Sullivan McClure, John G. Hartness

3:30 – 7:00 Bard’s Tower

SATURDAY

11:30 am Now Hiring: Compelling Characters; Location: Embassy CD – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Memorable characters are essential. A great character will grab an editor/reader’s attention & keep it. Make sure your characters do the work they’re hired to do.
Panelists: Lucienne Diver, J. Gregory Keyes, Nancy Knight(M), Katherine Kurtz, Holly Sullivan McClure, Jonathan Maberry

1:30 – 3:30 Bard’s Tower

4:00 pm YA & Adult Urban Fantasy: The Differences; Location: Chastain 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Each of the authors on this panel have written urban fantasy for both teens & adults. They will share how their approach differs for both audiences & discuss the challenges of being an author for both.
Panelists: Eric R. Asher, Lucienne Diver, Mari Mancusi, Jennifer Morris(M), Tamsin L. Silver, Jonathan Maberry

SUNDAY

12:00 – 5:00 Bard’s Tower

7:00 pm Dealin’ with the Devil; Location: Embassy CD – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Do you have to sell your soul to the devil to get published? Editors & agents discuss what they look for from new writers.
Panelists: Lucienne Diver, Anne Sowards, Steve Saffel, Claire M. Eddy, Jonathan Maberry, Chris A Jackson, Lee Martindale(M)

8:30 pm Behind the Scenes; Location: Embassy CD – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Editors & agents discuss what happens when they’re interested in a book.
Panelists: Bill Fawcett(M), Claire M. Eddy, Anne Sowards, Toni Weisskopf, Lucienne Diver

I don’t even know how to start this blog post, because I don’t want to be a writer or an educator or anything else at this point. I just want to be a mom and do leaps and cartwheels and shout from the tops of buildings that my kid is back. My kid is back.

Abby’s only a week out of surgery (well, a week and a day), and despite the swelling and bruising and lingering pain – because you don’t go through major surgery and spring back instantaneously, Abby is laughing and smiling. She’d giddy. For the last few years, she’s barely wanted to leave the house except for work and school. It’s been difficult to get her to go to the movies with us let alone anywhere she’d have to be social. When I didn’t get it, she explained it like this.

Me: But you don’t have to “people” at the movies. You just sit in a dark theatre and watch a show.

Abby: To you going to the movies is no big deal. To me, I have to deal with how people will respond to me in the parking lot. At the ticket counter. In concessions. I analyze every look, every reaction. It’s exhausting.

To her, every venture out of the house and encountering people was like running a gauntlet, afraid that she wouldn’t be accepted and that someone would make an issue of her very existence. I can’t even imagine living like that. The closest I can come is that as an assault survivor, as a woman, I have to be constantly on guard about who’s around me, how I might be vulnerable, what I can do if someone grabs me or breaks into my house. But I worry about those things when I’m alone or it’s dark and isolated. Not all day, every day. Exhausting was probably putting it mildly.

However, even since the surgery, even with the bandaging, the discomfort, the healing still to be done, Abby is more herself than I’ve seen her in years. She’s wanted to go out and meet the friends I’m reconnecting with who live in the area. She’s let me take pictures, all of them with her beautiful smile, dimples out in full force.

She’s happy. She’s comfortable. She’s our full-of-life kid again. I know there will still be ups and downs. Her doctors have warned that sometimes people get depressed after the surgery because they think it will change their lives, but they have the same lives to go back to, and we’ve seen this in people we know. However, right now it’s like the sun has come out from behind the clouds after months or, really, years, of overcast skies and torrential downpours, and the whole world is new and beautiful and glowing. And so is our daughter.

Our Journey*

Posted: May 7, 2019 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

I write about all kinds of things—myth, magic, murder, the publishing world. Occasionally about abuse or depression. I haven’t yet written much about absolutely the most important thing in our world—our daughter and her transformation. It’s hardest to write about the things closest to you. For me, at least. But the many conversations I’ve had recently lead me to believe that it might help others going through this to open a window onto our experience. I hope that people can use this as a jumping off point to understand or identify or help others empathize, because, as I’m learning, transgender is more common than people realize, largely because it’s talked about so little, and almost always in private.

To begin, my husband and I had a beautiful baby boy almost nineteen years ago. I didn’t write for almost two years, because the only thing I wanted to stare at when I wasn’t working was that little face. Certainly not a notebook or computer screen. Our child was a joyful little imp, always wanting to play, usually acting as director and dramatic lead, generally some kind of superhero. Pete and I were always the bad guys. For some reason, I was usually Green Goblin. I think she liked the voice. (It’s difficult for me to even think in terms of male pronouns for her now, though not as difficult as it is for her to hear them or her old name—dead name as she calls it, which absolutely broke my heart the first time I heard it, but I digress.) She was always in costume. Always so full of life and joy that before long we’d have all the kids on the playground running around with us. A lot of kids enjoy costumes and crime-fighting as kids. I never wondered why she always wanted to be someone else.

When we moved from New York to Florida, which we did when she was just seven, she suddenly went from being the cool kid to being the new kid. She got bullied. A lot. Many of the insults hurled at her involved being called “gay”. We’re changing, but our society still seems to see that as the gravest insult. We didn’t know where the idea came from. As far as we could see, she’d never shown any interest except in girls. Back in New York, she’d had a ton of girlfriends and even a “fiancé”. (She understood that she could only have one of those and was devastated the night we wouldn’t take her to Chucky Cheese because they’d decided that they were going to get married there that night and we were ruining everything. I think she was five.)

In Florida she became a target. We’d never have moved if we’d known.

Being bullied changed her. She withdrew into herself. At one point, she only wanted to wear black without any logo or wording on it that people could use to inspire their assaults. As we found out later, she’d reached a point where she was actually inviting people to hit her so that she could absolutely not react and they’d see that she couldn’t be hurt. She developed a reputation for it, and people stopped. Administrations had done little about the bullying, despite “zero tolerance” policies, and Abby is so sweet and empathetic that when it came to a third strike for one kid, she refused to be the reason that he got kicked out of school despite the fact that he had made her life a living hell. She felt, as so many never consider, that she didn’t know what he was going through at home or what getting kicked out would do to him, so she couldn’t be a part of it.

We ended up moving her the next year from the private school we’d sent her to when the bullying first started, where she’d never fit in and found her new bully waiting, to the larger local high school where there were more kids and different cliques where she might find her place and her people. She did, and we were thrilled.

When she first came to us at fourteen to tell us that she was non-binary (she doesn’t feel tied to one gender) and pan-sexual (she loves the person, not the form), we accepted it. For one, we don’t believe that sexuality and orientation are either/or propositions, but that they exist along a continuum. However, we did wonder how much was coming from her and how much she was influenced by her new friends, because we hadn’t seen any signs at that point. I think it was partly that she was hiding her true self to fit in and partly that she was still figuring out who that was. But her new group was a lot more gender fluid. Sometimes, Abby would feel more feminine and would wear dresses to school or out with her friends. Sometimes she’d wear more masculine clothes. We didn’t know at first whether it was a phase. We hoped she’d grow out of it, not because we weren’t supportive, but because we were always afraid that people wouldn’t understand. That they’d hate and that the bullying she’d been fighting all her life would escalate into real bodily harm or even death. We couldn’t be with her all the time. We couldn’t protect her.

But we could be proud of the bravery it took to express herself, to show herself to the world. At fourteen, I wouldn’t have had the guts to do what she did and to find a way to face down and silence the haters as she had building the reputation of imperviousness.

We had some troubles with her from fourteen to sixteen as she was figuring herself out. Trouble with school, with authority, with a destructive relationship. I won’t say they were hell years, but they were close. The worst was the self-loathing. Abby was so good to others and so horrible to herself. She didn’t like to look at herself in the mirror, didn’t have anything kind to say about herself, didn’t believe anything kind you might say about her. Growing up, we used to call her “boychild” like a nickname. But she started to cringe every time we used it, and she asked us to stop. Likewise, it seemed she winced every time we used the male pronoun.

I never said anything to her, but internally, I’d chant, “Please don’t let her want to be a girl; please don’t let her want to be a girl.” Again, not because we wouldn’t be supportive and love her no matter what, but because we knew what a tough road it would be for acceptance. Not to mention surgery, hormone replacement, and a lifetime regimen of care. And we worried about the haters.

At sixteen, she told us just that. Well, she told me. Pete and I were out, and she called, asking if she and I could talk when I got home. I told her that of course we could. We were five minutes away. She met me at the door and asked if we could go for a ride. We got back into the car. She was worked up, visibly wired, and I had no idea what was coming…except that maybe I did.

She told me almost as soon as we started moving. I’m not sure exactly what I said, but I think it as something wise and pithy, like, “Okay.” From the corner of my eye, I watched all the tension go out of her. She’d been geared up, afraid but determined. And it was okay.

Or it would be. You think you know. You think you’re prepared and you’re good because you’re loving and accepting, but it’s one thing to accept something in the abstract and another when it’s your own child and you think of everything she has to face and you fear. Fear is a killer.

She wouldn’t let me tell anyone at first, but that didn’t last. It would be hard, I said, to call her by the feminine pronoun and not have people notice. She agreed. The secret didn’t last. Some people accepted. Immediate family was amazing. I won’t talk about the others. The weight that dropped from her shoulders was amazing. The relief…I’ve never seen anything like it. Having her huge secret out in the open and not have it rip apart her life made a huge difference.

But it was just the start. For one, I wasn’t prepared for the grief. No one tells you that it feels like losing your child a bit at a time. Bear with me. I know she was still there, but it hurt her to hear old stories, so we stopped telling them. Or we had to revise them to use her new pronouns, and that felt like editing out the kid we knew and loved from our history. She hated to see pictures of herself, so one by one I’d replace them or shuffle them behind other pictures, and that face I so loved was gone. Those dimples. That impish smile. The unmitigated joy. Those had been fading as she’d been struggling with herself, but now the reminders, the face that made me smile back every time I saw it, in two dimensions or three, was being swept away. Facebook would keep coming up with memories from five years ago, six, seven, and they would shred me. I’d cry every time.

Abby had started sleeping in her living room area—we have a house with a “child suite” with a little living room for the kids, of which she’s our only—rather than her room, which was a disaster. After many attempts to get her to clean it and many fights and ultimatums, I finally waded in to take care of it myself. It was a multi-all-day-every-day process to get through everything, but what I realized was that she couldn’t sleep there because it wasn’t her room. The clothes, the signed pictures, the former homework assignments all belonged to someone else, and she couldn’t sort through the reminders. Going through everything—washing it, bagging it up for donation, throwing things out or boxing them for storage—it felt like I was packing my child away. That kid I’d loved for years, that I’d held in my arms and breathed in and chased around playgrounds and… You get the idea. I was in mourning.

Prior to that, we’d found a wonderful organization called PFLAG, which is a support group for the family and friends of the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s a national organization with local chapters all over the country. We found the one in Tampa. At our first meeting and many after there was a family with a child the same age as Abby, though transitioning in the other direction. When the meeting started and we all told our stories, I was struggling to hold back tears, and Elena, the mother, told me, “It’s okay to grieve.” Those were some of the most amazing words I’d ever heard. She understood. It was okay. It was expected. I’d felt so guilty, because there my child was right there and I felt the loss. I didn’t yet see Abby. In one way my kid hadn’t changed, and in another everything had changed and I was mourning a person who was right there and I couldn’t let on. Or so I thought.

I cried as though someone had blown a hole in the dam. Abby cried too. She hadn’t understood what we were going through, which was okay, it wasn’t about me or about Pete, but now that she knew, she let us come to terms with things more on our time. We didn’t have to entirely stop telling stories or getting rid of pictures. But really we did, because we could see how much it hurt her. At least, though, we could go more slowly, come to grips with saying good-bye to one reality and hello to the next.

PFLAG helped us in so many ways. It gave us a support group, but we also learned from other peoples’ experiences and journeys. It put us so much further ahead so much faster than we would have gotten on our own. We had a wealth of resources and people we could lean on and friends and events… It’s really just an incredible organization.

Back to the transformation, about a month after Abby came out to us we marched in the Pride Parade in Tampa with PFLAG, and that was the day Abby chose her name. A month after that we found her a new therapist because the one she’d been going to wouldn’t sign off on things so that Abby could start hormone replacement therapy. Abby keeps things close and holds things inside (like with a lot of the bullying that we discovered the extent of after the fact). I don’t think she’d really shared her struggles with the doctor, so she hadn’t seen Abby’s thought process and come to the conclusions with her. We found a doctor who specialized, and he turned out to be amazing. And he led us to the doctor who started Abby on her hormone replacement regimen.

A little over two years later, Abby had her name legally changed. And now, three years later, we’re on the eve of her gender confirmation surgery. We’ve traveled to another state to work with a doctor who came highly rated and recommended, and who we liked very much when we talked with her via Skype. We met her in person today and trust her and her staff as much as expected.

This too sounds a lot easier than it was. The first time I started researching doctors, I had a panic attack, only I had no idea that’s what it was. It felt like a heart attack. Chest pain and pressure as though an elephant had sat on my sternum, trouble breathing. I was panicked and an instant away from asking Pete to take me to the hospital. Only, I don’t go to doctors or hospitals unless absolutely necessary, so I closed my computer and tried to distract myself while I waited it out. Thank goodness it subsided. It took two more panic attacks to figure out what was going on, and a conversation with the wonderful Janice Hardy to realize that the reason I was reacting this way stemmed from an incident in my childhood. Friends of my parents had a son about my age who went in for knee surgery and never woke from the anesthesia. My family has odd reactions to medications; I was afraid Abby might as well. She’s never had surgery, never been under anesthesia. Once I realized what was going on, I was able to breathe through the panic attacks and they weren’t nearly as severe, but the fear never went away. It’s been a year of breathing through sudden anxiety, being fine one moment and crying or hyperventilating the next. Not on a daily basis, but with each new step. Friends have been amazing. Close family has been incredible.

We’ve made it. We’re here.

Now we just have to get through the surgery and the recovery and supporting Abby to the very best of our abilities. Abby herself? She’s incredible. Excited. Nervous. But so amazing. This past week especially, as she approaches the date she thought would never come, she’s coming out of her shell, talking excitedly (finally) about the future. Allowing the thought of shopping for bathing suits and clothes. She hasn’t worn shorts or a bathing suit in at least four years. She feels too self-conscious shopping for clothes, so mostly wears what people buy her or I try on in her stead. It’s going to be life-changing for Abby to feel like herself and to see herself in the body she belongs in.

We can’t wait.

*A quick note, since I’ve been asked – I asked Abby’s permission before ever posting this blog! I’ve been open, though not voluble, and as uncensored as possible about our journey as we’ve gone along, all with Abby’s blessing, because we believe familiarity breeds understanding. At least, that’s our hope.

The_Countdown_Club with border The blog’s been on hiatus while I’ve been frantically trying to get everything done by the end of the year. However, my latest novel has just been released, and I can’t keep quiet about it! THE COUNTDOWN CLUB is a young adult suspense novel close to my heart, just out from Bella Rosa Books. I hope that you’ll check it out!

I’ve got a guest blog and giveaway going on right now on Deborah Blake’s blog here. I’ve got a “meet my character” post up with Lily’s Reviews for Jack, the harder-edged of my POV personas in THE COUNTDOWN CLUB, and a post on why I write what I right up on Slippery Words. But if that’s not enough, you can learn more about the book and read an excerpt below.

About the Book

“Mysterious and cleverly plotted, The Countdown Club is a must read for fans of One of us is Lying.” ⸻Amy Christine Parker, Author of Gated, Astray, and Smash and Grab

Making her way through high school in her art geek bubble, Rayna Butler is used to being largely ignored by her classmates. Sure, she marches to her own beat—her Kool-Aid dyed hair and her edgy paintings make that perfectly clear. So when she arrives at school one normal Monday morning and finds a handwritten note in her backpack that reads “Six days to die,” she’s sure that it’s just a friend playing a prank on her.

Jack Harkness is one of the toughest guys in school, a loner hiding his painful home life. When he also receives one of the threatening notes, he doesn’t take it for anything he can’t handle.

Rayna and Jack soon discover that even more students have received threatening notes, although each has a different expiration date. “Six days to die”. . . “Two days to die”. . . “Twelve days to die”. . . there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. And none of the kids appear to have anything in common.

The students take the threats with varying degrees of seriousness . . . until the first murder. Class salutatorian Liam is the first to go, when his house mysteriously burns down around him and his mother as well. Certain that their days are numbered, Rayna and Jack convince the others to join together to track down the killer before their time is up.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

RAYNA

 

Six Days To Die.

The note was handwritten in bold, angry lettering, the pen nearly slicing through the page and the “i” in Die dripping blood-red ink. It stared up at Rayna from just inside her backpack. Her breath caught, and she whipped her head around to catch anyone watching or aiming their phone to record the moment their sick joke hit home. Because it had to be a joke, right? Anyone who could get close enough to slip a note into her backpack without her noticing could surely have done worse.

But no one was looking or laughing.

She wanted to shrug it off. She wasn’t the kind of girl who made waves. Or enemies. But the news was full of people bullied or beaten just for existing. Being different. Saying no.

Six Days to Die.

A chill ran straight up her spine, raising the hairs on the nape of her neck beneath her Kool-aid blue ponytail. Her heart was pounding, and her breath was coming way too fast, and yet didn’t seem to be bringing any oxygen with it. If she kept up like this, she was going to pass out. She needed to calm down.

Now that she thought about it, she’d left her backpack unattended at lunch while she ducked out to the ladies’ room. Well, not unattended exactly. She’d asked Evan to keep an eye on it, but he wouldn’t have taken that too seriously. Why would he? He could have gotten distracted talking or even… Evan was always pulling pranks. He could even have done this himself. If so, she was going to kill him. Literally. Today. Screw the six-day waiting period.

But her breathing didn’t slow. There was no relief at a mystery solved. She knew in her heart Evan wouldn’t do this. It was too mean-spirited. And on top of that, there was no pay-off. They didn’t have fifth period together, so he’d never get to see her reaction.

But no one was paying any attention. Or if they were, they were damn good at hiding it. Just in case, maybe she should tear up the note to show how little it meant to her. To prove that she wasn’t freaking out.

As soon as she could bring herself to touch it.

The bell rang and Ms. Ibrahim told them all to take out their textbooks and turn to chapter twelve. Still Rayna stared at the note. It was just a piece of paper. Probably harmless, but what if the note itself was the threat? It could be laced with poison or powder or something that would mess her up on contact. It would have to be a slow-acting poison to make her suffer for nearly a week. But wouldn’t that be too unpredictable? How could the killer know it would take six days, no more, no less? And why give a warning so she could get a head start on a cure rather than wait, thinking she had the flu or something?

Unless there was no cure.

“Vanessa?” Ms. Ibrahim said sharply. “Something wrong?”

Available now!

Blog Hiatus

Posted: August 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

It’s to be expected, I suppose, that the busier I get, the less time I have to devote to telling you all about things! I’m still active on Twitter, and hope you’ll follow me there (@LucienneDiver). Agent-me can still be found at www.knightagency.net, and Author-me will continue on at www.luciennediver.com/, but it seems that new blogs will be an uncommon occurrence for the near future, though of course I’ll keep up with links to articles and other resources for authors! Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to seeing you around the Internet or in person at various conventions.

stone sky It’s been insanely busy around here, so while I’ve tweeted and Facebooked (yup, today it’s a verb), I haven’t yet blogged my HUGE congratulations to N.K. Jemisin for her Best Novel Nebula Award win for THE STONE SKY! So well-deserved! And congratulations to the other amazing nominees and award-winners!

curse on the land In more recent news, Faith Hunter’s second Soulwood novel, CURSE ON THE LAND, read by Khristine Hvam, won the Audie Award for Paranormal!

the mermaid THE MERMAID by Christina Henry is deservedly one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Month: Science Fiction & Fantasy!

BoneDriven Happy Book Birthday to Hailey Edwards for the release of BONE DRIVEN, the second novel in her wonderful Foundling series from Piatkus Books!

BONE DRIVEN by Hailey Edwards (Piatkus, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Books-a-million)

The bayou is burning, the battle is just beginning – and Luce Boudreau is smack in the middle of no-man’s land . . .

Life as a cop in Canton Town, Mississippi, is never dull – particularly when hiding deep within you is a demon bent on the apocalypse. Luce is doing her best to pretend her two worlds aren’t crashing into each other, but what should be a routine arson investigation takes a shocking turn when Luce discovers a link between the suspects and her own dark secrets. There’s no turning back, even though her search for the truth threatens to burn her old life down around her.

Lines are being drawn in a war Luce barely understands, and she just might be on the wrong side of them. Now she must embrace her powerful destiny, or the ones she loves most will pay the ultimate price.

Book Two in the powerfully addictive fantasy series The Foundling, perfect for fans of Ilona Andrews, Jenn Stark and Helen Harper

What readers are saying about Hailey Edwards:

‘This is a well written and entertaining story, full of humour and suspense, that I found to be a terrific read.’
‘A fast-moving journey filled with the unexpected.’ (RT Book Reviews)

‘Hailey Edwards has exceeded all expectations.’ (Goodreads)

‘Well-plotted fantasy with intriguing characters, heart-pounding action, suspenseful intrigue and subtle romance. (RT Book Reviews)

‘Edwards has this way of writing that makes you feel like the narrator is talking to you and that you’re old friends.’ (Goodreads)

‘The world building is fresh . . . The characters are well-drawn and easy to root for. And the romance really hits the spot. ‘ (Red Hot Books)

‘One aspect of her writing I enjoy is her ability to take the mundane and with a few changes, turn it into something unique and unexpected. She builds dynamic character bases, using common mythology but takes it one step further using previously unseen species or imbibing currently known species with skills and know how that offers readers something new in the paranormal world.’ (Smexybooks.com)

So, there seems to be an exciting new trend in publishing (not) where people are trademarking or attempting to trademark perfectly common words already in widespread usage throughout the industry in titles, series, imprints, etc. A friend on Twitter recently asked for my thoughts, and since I have yet to figure out how to do threads and link tweets (yes, I know, I’m waaayyy behind the times) and since Twitter only gives you so many words, I’m going to share thoughts here. First, according to the Trademark Office’s website, “A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.” Choosing a word that’s already in widespread use already undermines the intent of a trademark to distinguish your work from other work of a similar nature. If your trademark is “water” for instance or “chocolate” or any number of words just as common as those being chosen, no one is going to automatically associate this with you. It’s unlikely to truly work for branding. Now, if you have something like the “Harry Harridan series,” you’ve got a name that’s distinct and worth protecting in case someone comes up with something that might legitimately cause confusion, like the Harriet Harridan series or the Harry Harrison series or…well, you get the point.

Now, in order to maintain a trademark, you have to show continued use and that you’ve taken steps to protect your trademark, which means taking action if such similarities exist to avoid confusion in the marketplace. This means monitoring the market and dealing with any potential violations of your trademark. For a common word, you may a) be at this all the livelong day and b) really affect the livelihood of others and invite accusations of restraint of trade.

In short, trying to trademark common words is not a good idea from any angle. It’s likely to be expensive, ineffective and detrimental to your own reputation and to others.