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Part of a series: Cassie Edwards 1: The First Post | Cassie Edwards 2: Savage Longings | Cassie Edwards Part 3: Running Fox | Cassie Edwards Part 4: Savage Moon | Cassie Edwards Part 5: Savage Beloved | Follow-up: Penguin (Part 1?) | Official Statement from Signet | AP Article Contains Response from Edwards  | RWA Responds to Allegations  | A centralized document for the Cassie Edwards situation


After I received the email from Candy indicating her friend Kate had found passages in a Cassie Edwards novel that were identical to other sources available online, I went upstairs to my stash of Cassie Edwards (Gee, Thanks Lilith and Candy!) and flipped through them to see if I could find any language that didn’t fit, or any sections that did not match the prose immediately preceding or following.

Below is what I found.

From Running Fox by Cassie Edwards
Copyright: 2006
First printing: December 2006
ISBN: 0-451-21996-1
Signet Historical Romance, a division of Penguin Putnam

Page 94-95

“There are small cakes made from berries of all kinds that are gathered by my people’s women, then dried in the sun. The dried foods are used in soups, to, and for mixing with the pounded jerked meat and fat to form a much prized delicacy.”

He saw her eyes move to the vegetables. “You can eat a strip of teepsinna. It is starchy but solid, with a sweetish taste.” He smiled as his eyes dropped to her waist, and then he gazed into her eyes again. “It is also fattening.”

“What else is on the platter?” Nancy asked, still hesitant about what to eat and ignoring what he had said about one vegetable being fattening.

“There is also some wild sweet potato, which is found in the riverbeds….”

“Tiny mice gather wild beans for their winter use,” Running Fox said, smiling slowly at her reaction. “The storehouses for these beans, made by the animals, are under a peculiar mound which the untrained eye is unable to distinguish from an anthill. There are many pockets underneath, into which the animals gather their harvest. Usually in the month that white people call September, a woman comes upon a suspected mound, usually by accident. The heel of her moccasin might cause a place to give way on the mound. She then settles down to rob the poor mice of the fruits of their labor.”


From Indian Boyhood by Charles Alexander Eastman
Copyright: Bibliobooks 2007
First printing: 1902
ISBN: 978-1-4264-7279-4

Available via Google:Books and World Wide School.org

Chapter 10, Section III: Wild Harvests

“After all, the wild Indians could not be justly termed improvident, when their manner of life is taken into consideration. They let nothing go to waste, and labored incessantly during the summer and fall to lay up provision for the inclement season. Berries of all kinds were industriously gathered, and dried in the sun. Even the wild cherries were pounded up, stones and all, made into small cakes and dried for use in soups and for mixing with the pounded jerked meat and fat to form a much-prized Indian delicacy.

Out on the prairie in July and August the women were wont to dig teepsinna with sharpened sticks, and many a bag full was dried and put away. This teepsinna is the root of a certain plant growing mostly upon high sandy soil. It is starchy but solid, with a sweetish taste, and is very fattening….

There was another root that our people gathered in small quantities. It is a wild sweet potato, found in bottom lands or river beds.

The primitive housekeeper exerted herself much to secure a variety of appetizing dishes; she even robbed the field mouse and the muskrat to accomplish her end. The tiny mouse gathers for her winter use several excellent kinds of food. Among these is a wild bean which equals in flavor any domestic bean that I have ever tasted. Her storehouse is usually under a peculiar mound, which the untrained eye would be unable to distinguish from an ant-hill. There are many pockets underneath, into which she industriously gathers the harvest of the summer.

She is fortunate if the quick eye of a native woman does not detect her hiding-place. About the month of September, while traveling over the prairie, a woman is occasionally observed to halt suddenly and waltz around a suspected mound. Finally the pressure of her heel causes a place to give way, and she settles contentedly down to rob the poor mouse of the fruits of her labor.”


From Running Fox by Cassie Edwards

Pages 173-174

“I shall begin by explaining my people’s religion to you. The religion of the Lakota consists principally, but not wholly, in the worship of visible things of this world, animate and inanimate. We know of a god and a devil. We call the god Wakantanka….”

Page 175

“Our people’s chief object of worship is Unkteri, the mammoth. We have pieces of the bones of the mammoth in our possession…. The species of mammoth that we worship resembles the buffalo or ox but is of more enormous size than those that wander the earth today. Since it so much exceeded other animals in size, it was only natural that we Lakota adopted it as our chief god. To his worship, our most solemn religious festivals are dedicated….

Even I have found fossil bones, as a young brave…. I found them at the bottom of a river when I went there during water challenges. Those bones are highly prized for magical powers….”

“His Lakota people concluded that unkteri’s dwellings were in the water.”


From “The Dakotas in Minnesota in 1834”
From Collections by the Minnesota Historical Society Volume XII
Published in 1908
Original from The University of Michigan

Accessed using Google:Books

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The religion of the Dakotas consisted principally but not wholly in the worship of visible things of this world animate and inanimate. Their chief object of worship was Unkteri the mammoth though they held many erroneous opinions concerning that extinct species of elephant and did not know that the race was extinct. They had seen bones of the mammoth pieces of which they had in their possession and they were too well acquainted with comparative anatomy not to know that it was a quadruped. They described the species as resembling the buffalo or ox but of enormous size. As they worshipped many other animals it was natural that the mammoth which so much exceeded the others in size should be adopted as their chief god.

To his worship their most solemn religious festivals were dedicated. They supposed that the race was still in existence and as they were not seen on land and their bones were found in low and wet places they concluded that their dwelling was in the water. Their bones were highly prized for magical powers and were perhaps as valuable to them as relics of a saint are to a devout Catholic. A Dakota told me that he had discovered some of the fossil bones in the lake opposite Shakopee but was unable to raise them without some boat larger than a canoe.”

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  1. 1
    Sara Ann Mitchell says:

    You people need to get lives!  Shame on you for attacking authors the way you do.

    The name of your website tells exactly what kind of people you are!

    One day someone is going to sue you and when it happens a lot of people are going to be very happy!

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:

    Everyone, start chugging your beverage of choice!

  3. 3
    Charity says:

    This is a test, and only a test, you may remove it whenever ya want.  I just wanted to see if my website or e-mail shows up when I click my name.  Cause the Edwards fangirl up there had me wondering so I clicked her name and was taken to e-mail her.  YIKES.

    I haven’t read Edwards, so I can’t comment on her one way or another.  I will say of course the reading community needs to be aware of this stuff.  There are a TON of authors out there that write legitimately good stuff, and they get over looked by some in favor or bogus writing.  Sad.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Nora Roberts says:

    All writers need resource material. We need/want to make the story ring true. But the process of creative writing, of story telling,  means that information should be woven through the story (basic rule against info dump), and that the information must be given in the writer’s own words and voice—and most importantly—in the voice of the character if the character is imparting the information.

    Wholesale copying of resource material is simply not allowed. Not creatively or ethically.

  6. 6

    Of course authors need to do research. But I’d like to know how she got away with this total cut and paste business – without even an acknowledgment of her source material? I have to look up all the trademarks if I so much as mention a brand name product in my stories…

  7. 7
    Sara Ann Mitchell says:

    oops!  Gave the wrong email address.

  8. 8
    Carrie Lofty says:

    Everyone, start chugging your beverage of choice!

    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.

  9. 9

    What bothers me the most is I love historical research, and it’s not difficult to take the factoids you love and re-write them to work into your story.  That’s part of the writing process. 

    We all have moments where we’re reading a history or the Audubon Field Guide or a biography of Alexander Hamilton and say, “Oh, that’s just too cool.  I have to work that into the story.”  The key is working it in, not cutting-and-pasting it.

  10. 10
    Gwen says:

    Sara Ann Mitchell – the title of the blog is “Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books.”  Not “Gullible Bitches Who Forgive Lazy Writers.”

  11. 11
    kate r says:

    Those poor mice. I mean yeah, the info I understand. In fact I’m pleased to learn she read something other than romances for research. But, O, but think of the MICE who did the hard work.

    Reeks of plagiarism—the lazy sort, not the sneaky gonna steal the whole story kind. The why hardly matters and actually, come to think of it, the lazy sort is more despicable in a way because it’s less desperate.

    How much work does it take to change the words or ideas into your own? Too much, I guess.

    Kills me that you guys did all that typing. Geraldo! Expose city!

  12. 12
    Robin says:

    What bothers me the most is I love historical research, and it’s not difficult to take the factoids you love and re-write them to work into your story.  That’s part of the writing process.

    I haven’t read Edwards, and I don’t know if the passages quoted would have set off my alarm bells if I had read them in Edwards’s novels, but I do know that to anyone in Native American studies many if not all of those sources would be recognized.  Grinnell is particularly well-known, because he was one of the first American anthropologists to take the customs and history of the Plains tribes seriously (as in a sincere desire to record their culture in a respectful and “authentic” way). 

    The sources cited here are older, and I wonder about that, since the late 19th to mid 20th century constitute what I refer to as the “romantic period” in Native American studies (i.e. a tendency to romanticize Native American cultures, probably in direct opposition to the demonization that came before), and much really wonderful work has been published since the 1970’s on.  But in any case, you’re certainly right that it doesn’t take a whole lot to incorporate non-fiction research into a fictional work without virtual transcription.  And it takes even less, IMO, to offer attribution.

  13. 13
    Gwen says:

    Robin said: And it takes even less, IMO, to offer attribution.

    Which, in fact, lends quite a bit of creedence and authenticity to a novel when I see such attributions.  Tells me the author gave a shit and bothered to actually research an issue.

  14. 14
    Helen M says:

    Not having read any Edwards, I wasn’t going to comment, despite my default ‘crush all plagiarists’ setting, but I just had to say, the name of the poster of the first comment almost gave me a heart attack. Just one ‘h’ away from my one of my best friends. Who doesn’t read romance and never reveals her middle name on the internet, but still – I thought I was going to have to bitch out one of my favourite people. Thank goodness it’s not her.

  15. 15
    Peggy says:

    Maybe someone should just buy her a thesaurus.

    I do see a lot of this in books and I always assumed that the writer was paraphrasing. Makes me wonder now.

  16. 16
    Candy says:

    I have a hard time determining whether Sara Ann is being sarcastic or not. Hmm!

  17. 17
    Chrissy says:

    Yes, please, call Alan Dershowitz and tell him people are blatantly telling truths.  It’s not to be born, I say!

    I think the gag reflex on this one comes from two sources:

    1.  It’s so obvious that this was copy and paste research.  Which isn’t research.  And if you don’t even edit the copy before you paste it’s just plagiarism.

    2.  The reason I always despised her was her ridiculous portrayal of American Indians.  As somebody of indigenous lineage it made me all pukey.  The names and usage of the word “SAVAGE” alone are criminal.  Heap lazy research on top and whurf!!!  BLERGH!!! ***hurl!!!***

  18. 18
    quichepup says:

    My question is “how does she or her publisher make restitution?” Since most if not all of these authors are dead and may not be able to bring suit against her and her publisher then who does that? The original publishers, the author’s estate?

    I’ve not read Edwards either but she’s such an obvious wannabee it sets my teeth on edge.

  19. 19
    Daisy Adaire says:

    Yes, Bitches! How dare you shine a light on foul acts of plagiarism? You SHOULD be sued for mentioning (in a very non- accusatory manner, btw) that someone did something not only illegal, but morally reprehensible.

    /sarcasm off.

  20. 20
    sara says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Running Fox is an asshat for being all “don’t get fat on my indigenous carbs or I won’t wanna bang you”? I would respect Nancy just a little if she’d replied, “Look, Stands With a Caricature, I’ll eat what I like and you’ll love my fat ass!” But then she wouldn’t be a TSTL Cassie Edwards heroine. Ah.

  21. 21

    “Look, Stands With a Caricature, I’ll eat what I like and you’ll love my fat ass!”

    *falls out of chair laughing @ sara’s comment*

    Making note to lift that quote and put it word-for-word in a future book because it is Teh Brilliance!

  22. 22
    MT says:

    Not only did we steal the American Indians’ land… we stole their prose.

  23. 23
    sara says:

    Use it in good health. More points if you can work in a little Jennifer Holliday action. Because that’s really what that song was about, anyway.

  24. 24
    Julianna says:

    Sara, you made me laugh today – I just had to put my cat down this morning, so that’s not easy.  I was just thinking that Mr. Fox was, as you say, an asshat.  Thank you.  MT is also damn funny.

    Isn’t it interesting to see how different the comments sections have become?  Some funny, some technical, some impassioned?

  25. 25
  26. 26
    kate r says:

    My favorite comment from the JaneyD link:

    I can’t tell the books apart unless the model wears an especially bright loincloth.

    (Anne Marble, since we’re all about attribution)

  27. 27
    Ehren says:

    Sara – “Am I the only one who thinks Running Fox is an asshat for being all “don’t get fat on my indigenous carbs or I won’t wanna bang you”? I would respect Nancy just a little if she’d replied, “Look, Stands With a Caricature, I’ll eat what I like and you’ll love my fat ass!” But then she wouldn’t be a TSTL Cassie Edwards heroine. Ah.”

    Thank you! XD I was thinking similar, but more importantly of the fact that a bigger woman meant that he was able to provide for a big family.

    and Sara Anne… please refrain from driving or, indeed, doing anything in particular that involves either heavy machinery or sharp pointy objects until the medication wears off, okay dear?

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