UPDATE: New Statement from Signet regarding Cassie Edwards

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

Fresh from my inbox, a statement from a Signet spokesperson:

Our original comments were based on Signet’s review of a limited selection of passages. We believe the situation deserves further review. Therefore we will be examining all of Ms. Edwards’ books that we publish, and based on the outcome of that review we will take action to handle the matter accordingly.  We want to make it known that Signet takes any and all allegations of plagiarism very seriously.


General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Sarah Frantz says:

    You guys are my heroes.  Nora too!

  2. 2
    Bravewolf says:

    Read:  “Our lawyer just called and said that the words “shot”, “self” and “foot” have just been applied to our last statements concerning the Cassie Edward’s debacle.  Please allow us the courtesy of a dignified retreat.”

  3. 3
    Bernita says:

    “We want to make it known that Signet takes any and all allegations of plagiarism very seriously.”
    – what they should have said the first time.

  4. 4

    Amazing what happens when you bitch loud enough that AP picks it up and spreads it all over isn’t it?

    LOL verification word: pressure36

  5. 5
    Nora Roberts says:

    In the interest of fairness. The initial statement did indeed come after a limited review—and, I understand, a need to respond quickly. It was, no question, poorly worded.

    But the publishing is doing—and has been doing—what should be done from the beginning. Due diligence takes time, and in all fairness, everyone deserves due diligence.

    If anything, the response of readers and the publishers respect for that is responsible for this updated, and much more clear, statement.

  6. 6
    Lisa says:

    To paraphrase (not plagiarise):

    We fucked up.

  7. 7
    Julianna says:

    Every once in a while, people are held accountable for their actions by citizen journalists.  This, in itself, makes me happy. 

    Not only because it’s involving ferrets and a big publishing house is having to make an undignified retreat, but because, dammit, the truth is worth something.  (Takes off Spider Jerusalem hat).

  8. 8
    Lorelie says:

    Can you imagine being that poor peon in the publishing industry?  Yanked away from the slush piles, you’re handed a stack of CE’s and a highlighter.  “Highlight anything that sounds strange,” you’re told.

    A week later you hand back a stack of paperbacks, dripping neon yellow.  Then go poke your eyes out with the now-dried out highlighter.

  9. 9
    jessica says:

    This is what they should have said in the begining. I can hear the lawyers doing a happy dance though-extra fees for them. You guys rock for getting this out.
    LOL, verification word: effort84

  10. 10
    Kalen Hughes says:

    *phew* Finally a reasoned response.

  11. 11
    Goblin says:

    Kudos to Signet for admitting their error, even if that admission was prompted by the elephant-arse pressure of public opinion bearing down on them.

    I may be an optimist, but I did always think they would do the right thing eventually—that their original letter was a knee-jerk response.

    The publishing industry is composed of people who love books, and who love originality and imagination. They might circle the wagons when someone first attacks one of their authors, but they won’t continue to defend a plagiarist once it’s obvious that’s what they’re dealing with.

  12. 12
    Katie W. says:

    Well. Today has certainly been the day for people eating their words. First RWA and now Signet. Woo. Granted, their follow-up statements should have been their FIRST statements but I’m not going to quibble over it. I’m just glad they’ve addressed the seriousness of the situation and are taking the appropriate actions.

    A hearty thanks to Sarah, Candy and Nora for taking the bulk of the YOU MEANIES! backlash and standing firm. Without your staunch belief that this should be taken to the court of public opinion, nothing would ever have happened and THANK YOU.

  13. 13
    Dragonette says:

    Woah and Damn.

  14. 14
    Dragonette says:

    Behold the power.

  15. 15
    Sp says:

    Frankly, even if the legal people kept silent, at least some of the PR people should have been hit with the cluebat and said “whoa, you’re just brushing off plagiarism?!” Legal issues aside, the bad press this is generating for Signet (and Signet’s…. less than energetic response) can’t be good for them

  16. 16
    Em says:

    Maybe Signet would like to check out Ms Edwards’ Australian historical romance Touch the Wild Wind, since large chunks of descriptive passages are taken from Robert Hughes’ The Fatal Shore (published in 1987 and therefore not out of copyright).

    TtWW ch 4: “The trees were filled with the thumping, scrabbling, and chittering of nocturnal creatures. Sugar-gliders with wide, furry airfoils slung
    between their fore and hind feet parachuted from tree to tree in wobbly

    Hughes: “After sundown, their trees were filled with the thumping, scrabbling and chattering of other nocturnals—fat brushtailed possums, ringtails and sugar-gliders, which had wide furry airfoils slung between their fore and hind feet and parachuted from tree to tree in wobbly swoops.”

    TtWW ch 8: “The dragon of the outback, a carrion-eating lizard known as a goanna,
    rushed up a tree at Sasha’s right side and clung there staring at her as
    she passed by, its throat puffed out in soundless alarm. Other animals
    crept, slid, and waddled through the dry brush ahead. A silvery-coated
    eastern gray kangaroo bounded away, emitting a faint, querulous sort of

    Hughes (3 separate quotes): “Even the dragon of the bush, a carrion-eating monitor lizard known as a goanna, would rush up a tree when approached and cling there, its throat puffed out in soundless alarm, until the intruder went away.” 
    “Many of them were camouflaged fossils, throwbacks that crept, slid, waddled or bounded through the dry brush.”
    “The silvery-coated Eastern Gray kangaroo, Macropus giganteus, moved in flocks of dozens; “the noise they make,” a colonial diarist was to note, “is a faint bleat, querulous, but not easy to describe.”“

    And many more.

  17. 17
    Janet Miller says:

    Wow… I’ve actually read The Fatal Shore. Read it while on vacation in Australia several years ago. Very informative book about the foundation of the penal colonies after the US Revolutionary war made it impossible for England to dump its criminals on American soil.

    The thing that strikes me is that there is no way copying text like that could be an accident. It didn’t just happen through osmosis after reading the book.

    I can’t retype a set of paragraphs from one of my books without sitting down with the book open in front of me.

    Most of the source books at the time these books were being written were not freely available on the internet. The only way you could put exactly the same wording into a manuscript is by painstakingly typing it in. There is no copy-paste from a physical book.

    In general it would be easier to rewrite in your own words.

  18. 18
    Harlequin says:

    I’ve been following this since you first brought it to your readers’ attention and I think you’ve done something necessary and important. It’s been a privilege to watch it unfold and to witness how you withstood pressure and anger in the pursuit of fairness. Kudos to the smart bitches. Kudos.

  19. 19
    Veronica says:

    Ladies, I’m an occasional reader, but I’ve been following this one like crazy.

    I’m really appreciative that you kept going with this in the face of what I found to be a really disappointing “Don’t be mean! Mean girls suck!” response from some folks.

    I’m a writer. Plagiarism is awful. Awful. There are no words. (Well, I guess there are… hang on, let me flip through some books for “inspiration”.)


  20. 20

    I’m so impressed with how you’ve written about this. 

    Have you read Stealing Adda, by Tamara Leigh?  It’s a fantastic novel about a historical romance writer plagiarizing another.

  21. 21
    Anna says:

    Someone on another site also posted passages from Touch the Wild Wind and the Hughes book, as well as an entry from the Encyclopaedia Brittanica.  I admit, I kind of giggled about the latter.

  22. 22
    NTE says:

    Major kudos to the SmartBitches, Nora, and all who’ve rallied around the truth here.  I’m so, so proud to be a member of a community who cares enough about something like this not to let it pass by unmentioned.  (Unmentioned?  Hardly.)  I’ve been catching up on the whole sordid thing, and am – overall – hugely impressed by how the Bitchery has responded.  And grateful that those who have to accept some responsibility here are starting to step up to the plate.

  23. 23
    Sianne says:


    Well, after following all of this, I can only say that I’ve shown my support by loading up for the spring reading season with books by Nora Roberts.  (I only got four to begin with, first time convert.) Nice work, ladies!

  24. 24

    Never heard of your site before this, but have bookmarked it for much later perusing.

    I don’t read romance as a genre, though I’m currently working on a hist-lit fic that, oddly enough, is also using Hughes’s “The Fatal Shore” for reference!—but I do keep tabs on fair use, copyright infringement, and plagiarism issues. Your coverage has been well documented, informative, and highly alarming.

    It is sad to see an established author caught with hand in cookie jar though. But since her works are now being reissued, and there will be MUCH money flowing in on account of this, the publishers may actually be glad it’s coming out now rather than later… maybe that’s why they did such an abrupt about face on the matter? It certainly wasn’t altruism.

  25. 25
    lyricalfool says:

    I just saw the updated one, and I have to say that this is proof that smart, funny women can make a difference.

    Thanks for the update, your site, and your perseverance.

  26. 26
    Tori Anne says:

    Wow. Mind. Officially. Blown. By. All. This. Stuff. Great job Bitches and dedicated bloggers. *cybertoast*

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