Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A Tale of Research and Copyrights #WriterWednesday

Photo by Gail M Baugniet

While writing my first mystery novel, FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences, I wanted to use the above picture on the book's cover. Several scenes within the story, set in 1968, take place in Chicago's Civic Center plaza (since renamed Daley Plaza) at the site of Picasso's unnamed sculpture. Not wanting to subject myself to a possible lawsuit, though, I decided to do some research -  and found more information than I'd bargained for. 

In 1963, architects representing the Civic Center Commission asked the artist Pablo Picasso to design a sculpture for the plaza. Picasso completed a model in 1965 which was taken to the Art Institute of Chicago without public notice. The Commission was given a private viewing of the model and then passed a resolution to pay Picasso a sum of money for the right, title, and interest in the model. Picasso refused the money, stating it was a gift. He signed a deed in 1966, giving his model to the Art Institute of Chicago and his design for the sculpture to the people of Chicago.

It seems everyone was happy with this arrangement.

Publication campaigns were begun and press showings were conducted. No copyright notice was affixed to the model placed on public exhibition, though a notice was posted that all rights of reproduction were reserved. Press photos were published in newspapers, and later in magazines such as Holiday, Fortune, and Business Week, as well as in London's Tate Gallery.

The monumental sculpture, billed as The Chicago Picasso, was dedicated in the plaza on August 15, 1967. A booklet containing drawings and photos of the model were given to 96 guests at the ceremony. A public relations press release was sent out by the United States Steel public relations office. Later, the Art Institute sent out 40,000 annual reports with a picture of the model on the cover.

Um, right, no copyright notice on any of the photos.


1. As belated damage control, a copyright request was submitted in January of 1968.
2. Common law copyright covers the creation of any work of art until the proprietor of the copyright publishes the work.
3. If statutory protection is not obtained when common law copyright is terminated, the work falls into the public domain.
4. By the time procedures to copyright the sculpture were started, according to a subsequent court decision, Picasso's work was forever lost to the public domain.

An exception to the public domain rule is known as limited publication: communication to a select group for a limited purpose.

Notwithstanding the court's decision, I decided to use an alternative design for my book cover. My original cover designs I am displaying here merely as a record of progress in the publishing process with all rights of reproduction reserved.

Second Cover Design
after title change
Photo by Gail M Baugniet 

Original Title and Cover Design
Photo by Gail M Baugniet





Since FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences first appeared in print and eBook formats, protagonist Pepper Bibeau has starred in a series of soft-boiled mysteries. You can check out all of her stories at Amazon. FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences is available in eBook, at Amazon for $0.99.  Just click on this link: FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences 


Friday, January 22, 2021

KOKUA: The Spirit of Kindness #AlohaFriday

Double Orange Hibiscus

Any time you ride TheBus in Honolulu, you'll hear the announcement: "Please kokua, continue to move to the rear of the bus so others can board." We don't have a Hotline in Hawaii, it's a Kokua line for help, assistance, and support. Kokua is a Hawaiian word meaning the spirit of kindness, a desire to help others without expectation of anything in return.

When I worked as a Security Dispatcher for the state's largest shopping mall, much of my day was spent taking phone calls from people requesting help. If a store lost their electricity, I would ask Maintenance to help restore their power. When someone's child disappeared - always into a toy store! - I dispatched a Security Officer to kokua, help find the child.  Shoplifter? Request HPD (no, the Honolulu Police Department isn't officially called Hawaii 5-0).

While I enjoyed that particular job for 12 years, I also spent my spare time writing, with a goal of one day publishing novels. Now I have much more time to write, and have less opportunity to help others. But I'll always remember the satisfaction of offering kokua whenever possible, and the urge to help others will always remain with me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

HONU - Hawaiian green sea turtles

Continuing with my "Cruising on a Sea of Words" Series, which features words listed in the glossary of my latest novel Island Cruise Homicide, the Hawaiian word for turtle is honu.

Anyone who has had an opportunity to snorkel in Hawaii can describe the feeling of euphoria that overtakes you on meeting up with one of these reptiles as the green sea turtle glides past you on its lazy path of daily adventure and search for food. One place for excellent snorkling to view the only indigenous reptile found in Hawaii is at Hanauma Bay on Oahu. (New rules for entry: New entry procedures coming for Hanauma Bay (

For Hawaiians, the honu or green sea turtle is a symbol of good luck taking the form of a guardian spirit and depicted in ancient petroglyphs.


Excerpt from Island Cruise Homicide

A short swim out from the beach, we discovered a colorful variety of indigenous sea life. Most noticeable were a few honu, the beautiful green sea turtles we had spotted during many of our water adventures. These amphibious-like reptiles, with their heart-shaped shells, had survived the age of dinosaurs and a ravaging ice age to guide the first voyagers to the pristine waters of Hawaii.


Below is a link to a great article about honu on Maui from October, 2020:

The Magical "Turtle Aquarium" | Maui Jungalow

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Lava flows - pahoehoe and a'a: Cruising on a Sea of Words series

My fascination with volcanic activity and lava flows began decades ago, shortly after I moved to HawaiĘ»i in the late 90’s. The names distinguishing the different types of flows especially captured my interest, the pronunciations always generating a smile. 

When lava flows out from a volcanic eruption in smooth or ropy-textured trails, the flow is called pahoehoe. The rugged, faster-moving and higher temperature flows that can cut right through your rubber slippahs are called a’a lava - the word also sounding like a warning: “a’a, no can step there!” 

I’ve walked on pahoehoe lava still warm to the touch, but in an abundance of caution always avoided the jagged points of the a’a flows.  

Surveying the ancient lava at Ka'ena Point on O'ahu
(check out the CAUTION stenciled into the lava off to my left)

An excerpt of a calming moment from Island Cruise Homicide:

Beyond the final stretch of sand jutted a blanket of lava. Waves rippled onto blackened rock, molten flows hardened to pahoehoe smoothness in some areas and sharp-edged a’a in others. The boys claimed a spot between the man and the water’s edge. We approached at a more cautious gait, Rick taking a slight lead. 

A mild trade wind ruffled the surfer’s hair and tips of graying strands brushed his shoulders. As we neared, he stiffened slightly. Rick reached out his arm to stop me about ten feet from the group. With rapt attention, the boys continued to watch the man, their backs to the rhythmic lapping of ocean waves. Chirping birds aligned atop sun-heated boulders fell quiet. The wind ceased. Silence echoed across the fresh air of eternity Nate had mentioned earlier.

You can find Island Cruise Homicide and all the Pepper Bibeau mysteries in print or ebook format today at: