I have two crappy things first, then happy, silly, and interesting (I hope) things after, to soothe the crappy rage a little.
GUESS WHAT. People are still attempting to copy books, switching a few words or more than a few, and publishing them as their own.
AND GUESS GUESS WHAT WHAT ELSE. They get caught. By readers! Who read books!
THE DEVIL YOU SAY!
Grab your copy of The Plagiarism Workout so you're ready, k? You never know when you might need it.
First, via a reader who alerted both me and Jane at DearAuthor: passages from Marilyn Lee's 2008 book Skin Deep magically appear in almost identical fashion in Leila Lacey's 2014 book, Vixen's Curves:
Corrected comparison. Marilyn Lee's book orig published in 2008 / Lacey's copy pubbed in 2014. pic.twitter.com/g4Zmrp0H3K
— Dear Author (@dearauthor) February 11, 2014
Here's the visual comparison, via Jane's feed:
Vixen's Curves from Leila Lacey appears to be for sale still, but the 1-star HEY PLAGIARISM reviews are collecting like the snow accumulations forecasted for tomorrow.
This comparison, sent to me by reader T., is probably my favorite in the absurd department:
Plagiarism: it's all about the balls.
But wait. There's more. Dammit.
Kate Rothwell outlines another case of probable copy copy paste paste with additional edit edit: JB Lynn's Nearly Departed features a plot that is alarmingly close to Wendy Roberts' The Remains of the Dead, the first book in her Ghost Dusters series. Except in the JB Lynn book, there's a switch in pov. Lynn's book is in first person, while Roberts' series is in third.
Lynn has been pretty silent since Rothwell's post went up, though she has been mentioning how well Nearly Departed has been doing since its release, and was very happy with all the five-star reviews it's received. Since the post went up, nothing. I attempted to contact her via Facebook as there's no email contact method on her site, but haven't heard back.
Lynn's book has been removed from retailers, however. The book was published by “Gemma Halliday Publishing,” a boutique publisher of mystery and romance run by author Gemma Halliday. The book also appears to have been removed from Gemma Halliday's site. Lynn has published several other books, including two in her Neurotic Hitwoman series with Avon. I'm guessing readers and authors armed with combs and Google are going over those other works, too.
Kate Rothwell's entry also has a note from Wendy Roberts' Facebook post about the matter, which indicates that, yet again, the similarities were noticed by a reader:
I appreciate all the discussion and support. I've sent an email to my editor and agent and will let them decide if anything should be done. I'd like to believe that it was all coincidental but that may be my inner pollyanna lol!
The email from a fan pointed out these similarities: “her heroine does crime scene clean up and she hires an ex cop to work with her. She has a dead brother. She talks to ghosts and tells them in order to help them ‘move on’ she needs to know what unfinished business they have. She cleans a meth house, a hoarder house and drives a van. She gets all 4 of her tires flattened. She gets grossed out when a ghost runs through her body. She describes a lot of how hard it is to clean a shotgun suicide in a small bathroom”
How may similarities constitute blatant plagiarism? I have no idea and I have a feeling that nothing will come of this. I'm just glad the 5 books in my series all came out long before her new book.
This is the part that makes me roll my eyes so hard my eyebrows are now serving as goalies for the rest of my skull. Readers almost always find these similarities. Because readers, well, read so much, stuff gets noticed. I'm definitely a reader who notices patterns quickly – this is the source of my hatred of repeated cliches and repititious descriptions and adjectives in the same book. I notice the patterns very quickly, and I'm definitely not alone.
So how is it that this still happens, despite ample evidence that readers will notice sooner than later? Cripes. It's enough to make me extremely cranky.
Ok, that left a crappy taste in my mouth. I haven't got time for crappery like that to take up residence in my brain. Shall we move on to silly and fun things so as to salvage the morning?
YES. YES WE SHALL.
First: I'm over at Kirkus today, and I realized I neglected to link to my last column there as well (bad Sarah, Bad). In my 29 January column, I talk about Contemporary Comedy Romances – my term for the contemporary romances that make me snortlaugh:
These are the books I recommend when someone asks me for a book that will make them laugh, and possibly scare the dogs. Some I've mentioned before, but if you're looking for a chortling good time, these authors and/or books will give you plenty to laugh about.
If reading about plagiarism allegations makes you cranky, too, I hope that list of funny books helps!
Today, I'm back at Kirkus (HI KIRKUS! How are all your Kirks?) talking about naming genres when the labels we have don't adequately describe the books within them – including contemporary, or paranormal, or even historical:
Readers want to be able to communicate what we're looking for, and many of us use author names to describe something we want to read: “small town contemporary romance like Susan Mallery.” “Emotional historical romance like Meredith Duran.” “Futuristic romance like those Elizabeth Lowell novels.” It's useful to have author names to refer to, but perhaps one of the developments of readers talking to one another online is that we'll also develop more names for the styles we like and to describe those groups of books we love.
Perhaps, since I love me some turkey comedy from Ripped by Sarah Morgan, there should be a “poultry comedy” section in contemporary romance, with Ripped and the first Stephanie Plum book, wherein Grandma Mazur shoots a chicken in the gumpy.
Poultry Contemporary Comedy Romance! That would look awesome on a bookshelf header, right? Damn chickeny.
From the Additional Laughter Needed? We've Got That department, Bob Mondello and Linda Holmes from NPR are doing a video series for each of the Best Picture nominees for this year's Oscars. They select a sampling of online reviews for each movie, and narrate them.
They are hilarious. SO freaking funny. My favorite is the one for Her:
I don't know if you've noticed, but Friday is Valentine's Day. I do not even want to TELL you how many messages have landed in my inbox about dating advice, breakup advice, relationship advice. And INFORGRAPHICS. Dude. I have GOT THEM ALL.
I think Valentine's Day to romance fans is like January for people who like their gym. All of a sudden all these extra people show up and are suddenly and temporarily all about what you do consistently all year.
Anyway. Valentine's Day is all about lists and romance and flowers and chocolate and stuff, and usually the “Oh yeah, February, let's talk Romance” repeat cycle is a bit tiresome. But then, there's Shutterstock, who did this: Power Couples : Classic Video Games Reimagined as Romance Novels.
To accomplish the task, we dreamed up titles and taglines based on some of our most loved 8-bit heroes (from a lovelorn Link to an enviously green Luigi), then sent them over to illustrator Echo Chernik, along with access to the Shutterstock collection and free reign to paint over and adapt our images in any way she could envision. Read on to see the results and get some insight from the artist on her process for each piece. Which of these books do you wish you could actually read this Valentine's Day?
I think my favorite is Pac-Man, though Duck Hunt is pretty freaking awesome. Which do you like best?
I hope that's enough funny to take the crappy out of the earlier half of this entry. Yay funny funny creativity, and boo to signs of plagiarism (and winter storm warnings, too).