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REVIEW: Working Arrangements by Ellen Wolf

Dear Ms. Wolf:

When I first started this book, I wondered if was a reprint of a formerly published book because I felt like I had read it before.  I double checked and no, it was a self published work and possibly your first one.  Yet, I had read a story very similar to this called In Bed with the Boss by Susan Napier which is one of my favorite Napier books.  The more that I read “Working Arrangements”, the more uncomfortable I began to feel.  This wasn’t plagiarism.  There was no overt copying of text but the story sequence that played out was incredibly familiar.

Working arrangements ellen wolfThe hero in both books are owners of multi millionaire dollar tech companies.  The heroine in both books is his personal admin.  The heroine in both suffered the loss of a lover.  In In Bed, the heroine lost her husband; In Working Arrangements, the heroine lost her fiance.  In both books, the hero was good friends with the former lover.

The story opens in both books with the heroine admitting that she just got engaged the night before.  In both books, she is afraid to reveal the truth because she knows her boss will not be happy with the results.  It is apparent, from the setup in both books, that the hero has been waiting until the heroine has recovered from the death of her lover in order to make his move.

In both books, the heroine has only been dating a few months and she has been dating a man with whom the hero has had a past bad experience.  In In Bed, the man owns a rival firm and Working Arrangements, the man is a journalist who wrote an untrue story that endangered their business.

There are passages throughout the book that ring with similarity:

In Bed with the Boss: “…You don’t talk to me about the women that you date!’

‘That’s because—’ He broke off, and his eyes narrowed on her pink face. ‘No, I don’t, but that doesn’t prevent you knowing about them, does it? You field my calls, open my mail and have access to my diary and hard drive, and what you don’t know I’m sure the grapevine provides—this place is a hotbed of internal gossip and the network bulletin board seems to keep well up to date with jokes about my social life. I bet you end up knowing the women in my life better than I do!’

Working Arrangements: It is hard to overlook when I am the one who goes through your bills from the florist and the jeweler, isn’t it?’ Hiding her vulnerability behind sarcasm seemed to work, she decided. She was furious with herself for this unfortunate slip of her tongue. ‘You are very generous to your women, Luke. That should certainly be applauded, I admit.’

Both accuse the heroine of being pregnant:

In Bed With the Boss:  His brain was already fast-forwarding to other possibilities. He was piecing together her unease, her embarrassment and unaccustomed reluctance to get to the point. He blanched. ‘Are you pregnant?’

…That was going too far, even for Duncan. Kalera leapt to her feet, her slight body vibrating like a tuning fork as she matched his outrage. ‘For goodness’ sake, what rush? We haven’t even discussed a wedding date yet!’ she yelled. ‘We’ve only just got engaged. Of course I’m not pregnant. Do you know how insulting you are? Believe it or not Stephen wants to marry me; he’s not doing it out of duty or necessity or because he’s been trapped into retrieving my soiled honour. If you’d stop trying to cram words into my mouth you might have time to listen to what I have to say!’

Working Arrangements: ‘Are you pregnant, Laura?’ His face even more forbidding, he glared at her accusingly, his lips one firm line. ‘Is that what it is all about?’

‘Of course not!’ Her angry outburst surprised them both. Laura gritted her teeth with frustration as she lost her usually unshakable control. ‘How can you even think something like that, Luke?’

Both fiances were obsessive and jealous:

In Bed with the Boss: Duncan’s head turned at last, his expression a volatile mixture of bitterness, anger, resignation and contempt. ‘Yes, he had a reason—his own obsession! He always did have a controlling personality but it pushed him to want absolute control in his marriage. He was always demanding to know where Terri had been, expecting her to account for every moment of time she spent away from him, objecting to anything that took her attention away from him—job, friends—both male and female—shopping, family, hobbies…’

Working Arrangements:  “There were clouds in paradise, mostly because Eric was obsessively jealous about her past, hating any man that had as much as held her hand. He threw so many scenes where he belittled her and her supposed lovers, she finally had enough and told him to take a break and examine his behavior which he took as a confirmation of his suspicions, following her everywhere and even hired a private detective to make sure he knew her every step.”

Here are some other, chapter by chapter comparisons:

CHAPTER 1

In Bed with the Boss:  Story opens at the office. Heroine hands in her resignation in anticipation of her new marriage arrangements to boss’ business rival.  He accuses of her of being pregnant. Frustrated that she is now taking off her rings.

Working Arrangements:  Story opens at the office. Heroine reluctantly reveals secret engagement to boss’ enemy.  He accuses her of being pregnant.  She had been wearing a “sign” on her forehead to keep away.   Eric, the fiance, is planning a big engagement party. Laura reveals that she is not sleeping with Eric.    (See also Ch 2 of In Bed with the Boss)

CHAPTER 2

In Bed with the Boss:  Stephen, the fiance, takes her out to a fancy restaurant. Is planning a big engagement party.  Fiance is banned from the building.  There is a scene that takes place in the restaurant between hero, heroine, and fiance.

Working Arrangements:  Laura’s car breaks down. Luke and Laura go to her house for dinner. Have a passionate encounter. Eric calls and she feels guilty.  Eric is banned from calling heroine at work.    (See Ch 7 of In Bed with the Boss)

CHAPTER 3

In Bed with the Boss:  Kalera and Duncan are dancing and recalling the first dance they shared three years earlier when Kalera was married.

Working Arrangements:  She tells Luke that she will be resigning and going to work for Eric.    (See Ch 1 and 4 of In Bed with the Boss)

CHAPTER 4

In Bed with the Boss:  They mention, obliquely, a sexual encounter that occurred 18 months previously while Kalera was grieving and lonely. This sexual encounter was initiated by Kalera.  Kalera admits she is not sleeping with Stephen.  The story swings back to the restaurant where Kalera meets Stephen’s ex Terri.

Working Arrangements:  Laura remembers the sexual encounter that she and Luke shared around Christmas approximately three years prior wherein she was the sexual aggressor.

CHAPTER 5

In Bed with the Boss:  The scene opens with Kalera back at work.She is thinking about the end of the evening and how Stephen railed about his break up, making her very uncomfortable.  The rest of the chapter is spent watching Duncan and Kalera banter and then work.  Assistant says that if it was anyone that Kalera was going to hook up with, everyone thought it would be Duncan.

Anna shovelled her make-up back into her shiny black bag. ‘Yeah, well…I think it’s too weird,’ she sighed. ‘I mean, I always thought that, if you got it on with anyone, for sure it would be the chief.’

….

Amazingly Anna seemed to understand her incoherent fumblings. ‘Oh, I know he was happy to, you know, like—worship you from afar with his respect and all that while he thought you were still hung up about losing Harry, but jeez, you must have noticed he behaves differently around you…He doesn’t flirt the way he does with other women, and he’s always sort of gentle—you know, as if he’s trying to slow himself down to your speed…’

Working Arrangements:  The scene opens with Laura back at work.  She thinks back to the dinner she had with Eric where the his ex showed.  Ex confronts Laura in the bathroom.   Several pages are given over contemplating the past and how the ex made heroine ponder some heretofore unknown flaws in the fiance.  Ex is fashionable and gorgeous.  It also swings back to a previous day in which the heroine visited friends.   This is part of a storyline that is much different than In Bed With the Boss.

CHAPTER 6

In Bed with the Boss:  Scene opens at work with Kalera at her desk. Stephen is upset because he can’t get through on the phone.  Kalera contemplates her life without Duncan, without her job and she feels uneasy.  They interview possible replacements with Duncan liking all the hot ones and Kalera liking all the older, married, male, or lesbian candidates.Kalera cuts herself and Duncan comes over and sucks her finger. The assistant walks in on them.

Working Arrangements:  Scene opens at work with Laura at her desk.An assistant wonders as to Laura’s engagement to someone else:

‘I am not so sure he is having so much fun nowadays, Laura… Sometimes I’m almost sorry to see him trying so hard to be on his best behavior all the time. As if he wants to prove to you he isn’t the crazy Casanova you wrote him off as from the moment you joined us at the office, Laura. Too bad you don’t ever notice. Everyone else does, though.’

They make out and the assistant walks in on them.

Luke admits he’s found a replacement for her.    (See Ch 5 of In Bed with the Boss)

CHAPTER 7

In Bed with the Boss:  Kalera and Duncan are at her house after a long day of work. She agrees to cook for him, something simple. (This the scene from Ch. 1 in the other book)  They are having an intimate moment when Stephen calls.

Working Arrangements:  Laura is at work, training her hot new replacement Belinda.Laura is getting ready for her engagement party. An anonymous gift comes with a necklace. It’s modest and perfect. Laura thinks it is from her fiance, Eric.    (See Ch 9 of In Bed with the Boss)

CHAPTER 8

In Bed with the Boss:  Kalera and Duncan go off to Kalera’s parents’ home after she finds her car disabled and must receive assistance from Duncan.  She learns that her fiance ex has a son. Duncan tells her that it is her fiance’s but her fiance is convinced (wrongly) that it is Duncan’s.

Working Arrangements:  The story opens with the very posh engagement party. It is filled with very fashionable people who have responded to the “perfectly designed invitations that Eric ordered to be delivered with his usual attention to detail.”  Eric is upset that she wore such a simplistic necklace and that she thought it was from him. He wanted her to wear something else.Luke arrives at the party with Elaine. Eric challenges their entrance because you can’t come in without an invitation. Luke presents one that Laura had given him.  Eric and Laura are dancing when Eric sees something going on with Elaine. He leaves Laura in the middle of the dance floor and chases after Elaine.

Luke comes and takes Elaine away.  (See Ch 9 of In Bed with the Boss)

CHAPTER 9

In Bed with the Boss:  The scene opens at the very posh engagement party. The party is packed with everyone who has accepted “Stephen’s gilt-edged invitations” Kalera is upset that Duncan has hired a drop dead gorgeous admin by the name of Bettina.  Kalera is wearing a dress that she received with an unsigned note. She believes it is from Stephen.  Stephen denies it is from him and is aghast she would think he would send her such a loud dress.  Duncan arrives at the party with Terri. Stephen challenges him and says they cannot enter without an invitation. Duncan produces one with Stephen calls a forgery.  During the party, tension swirls around Terri and Stephen.   They face off in the middle of the dance floor. Kalera heads over to smooth things over.   Stephen barely notices Kalera and runs after Terri, leaving Kalera standing alone in the middle of the dance floor.

Duncan takes her away.

Working Arrangements:  Laura goes to Luke’s house, where he has his own private beach, and they make love.    (See Ch 10 of In Bed with the Boss)

CHAPTER 10

In Bed with the Boss:  Duncan takes Kalera and his team to a hideaway to finish an important and secret project.   He takes her to the beach because he loves it there.  They make love. He admits his feelings for her. HEA.

Working Arrangements:  Laura finds out that her former fiance cheated on her and had a child. The child was given to the mom who recently died. Guardianship transferred to friends of Laura’s.Chapter Eleven resolves the feelings of uncertainty Laura has due to Luke’s complicity in hiding Joshua’s love child.

****

It’s hard for me to grade this book.  On it’s own, it’s probably a C-.   There are deviations in Working Arrangements but I enjoyed the choices that Napier made better.  Napier has better facility with dialogue and she’s able to eek out strong emotion with a lot less internal monologuing.   Napier’s characters are more vivid and she took greater chances by having the hero not only being good friends with the deceased husband and not diminishing the deceased husband in any fashion.  In fact, in Napier’s book the hero feels that his honor which had been impugned long ago by the fiance was redeemed by being a true friend to the deceased husband.  Working Arrangements also suffered from grammatical problems such as wrong word usage and pronoun misuse.

There was too much internal monologue.  The decision to use only the female POV is challenging because the author has to convey the feelings of the hero fairly obviously while still maintaing a believable fiction of uncertainty of the heroine.  Napier is so much better at this than Wolf.   I settled on a D but frankly, I find this type of book troubling.

Best regards,

Jane

Goodreads | Amazon |  nook | Sony | Kobo

As an aside, I did send a facebook message to the author asking if she had read the Napier book in question but have not received a response. I would send an email but there is no email address or contact form on her website.  Update:  Ms. Wolf did reply that she has never read In Bed with the Boss by Susan Napier before.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

98 Comments

  1. Ros
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 10:20:38

    I think that’s a very fair review indeed. As well as the structural similarities there are just too many small details in common for me to believe that the two books were written independently. And since Napier’s book came out in 1999, it’s hard not to think that Ellen Wolf has simply rewritten it. The original is better.

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  2. Jane
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 10:37:24

    @Ros: The table is hard to read. I wonder if I should rework that.

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  3. Ros
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 10:56:27

    @Jane: For some reason the column for ‘Working Arrangements’ is narrower than the other one, which isn’t helping. Also, I wonder about putting the parts which are the same in both columns in bold.

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  4. Jane
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:10:18

    @Ros Changed it. Can’t bold the copied plot points because everything would be bolded.

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  5. Ros
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:23:21

    @Jane: I think that’s easier. I like the links to different chapters when she moved them around a bit.

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  6. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:26:05

    Why isn’t it plagiarism?

    Random House defines plagiarism as “the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.” (from avvo.com)

    I get that this author didn’t copy and paste Napier word for word, but did she closely imitate her thoughts? Or does it have to be language AND thoughts?

    I’m not saying that this looks like plagiarism to me (I don’t know), I’m just wondering how closely one book can resemble another without falling into trouble.

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  7. Ridley
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:27:16

    This was pretty egregious, really. Beyond copying plot points, Working Arrangements also includes storytelling details lifted from In Bed With the Boss. The most obvious one I can think of is having the heroine reminisce upon smelling the hero’s cologne, which she gave him as a Christmas present, something Kalera also did with Duncan.

    I think that’s the more offensive move. Lots of stories have similar plots, but they tell different stories with them. This story took In Bed With the Boss and retold it, only shuffling scenes around and changing the names. The characters were the same people, doing the same things and reacting the same way.

    And if she used the word “palpable” any more often, I was going to start a drinking game.

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  8. Chelsea
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:31:11

    So, I’m just curious–when do books reach a point where they’re so similar that we have to consider it morally (if not legally) wrong? I understand that we can’t call it plagiarism because it doesn’t copy directly, but to me it seems very unfair.

    If this were, say, a students in a creative writing class in high school or college and the teacher caught on to it, that student would fail the class. I know this because it happened to my fiance, Josh–a student he was tutoring rewrote (but did not directly copy) one of Josh’s short stories. It turned into a huge problem, wherein Josh had to prove that the story was stolen and not given voluntarily.

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  9. Ros
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:35:15

    Chelsea, I’d definitely say this author has broken the line into immorality for me. If she had acknowledged her dependence on the plot of Napier’s book, then I think she’d be fine (though probably not selling very much).

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  10. Megan
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:42:54

    Not to diminish the post in general (and I applaud your attention to detail), but what I am currently hung up on is that the hero and heroine from the Wolf book are named Luke and Laura.

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  11. Courtney Milan
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:44:08

    I actually think that this could cross the line into copyright infringement, even though no actual words are copied. If you copy so much of the actual plot and character details, that could clearly cross the line into copying expressive elements, and not just taking the basic idea.

    Basic idea of having boss in love with secretary who is in mourning? Anyone can write that. But all those details? Every single one? Wow. Just…wow.

    I bought a copy of IN BED WITH THE BOSS on your recommendation and loved it. It was definitely a stand-out book. It makes me feel vaguely ill to see this.

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  12. Jane
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:44:43

    @Megan: That bothered me too! I thought, crap, this chick can’t even find originality in the couple’s names. If Luke had raped Laura earlier, I would have thrown in the towel.

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  13. Jane
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 12:05:06

    @Courtney Milan The sad thing is that this is selling really well. I bought it off the Kindle Contemp bestseller list. I want to put up a big sign for Kindle readers that In Bed with the Boss is so much better! Worth it being a few dollars more.

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  14. MaryK
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 12:12:05

    Wow, the comparison paragraphs are so similar I started to lose track of which book was which. In Bed With the Boss is a great book. A rewrite has very little chance of measuring up much less improving on it – assuming the reader has read the original. I guess if you’re looking for a book to use as a “guide” you’d pick a good one and hope it’s obscure enough that no one will notice.

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  15. Courtney Milan
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 12:18:57

    @Jane: Honestly, if I were Susan Napier, I would send Amazon a DMCA notice with a link to this review. I haven’t read both books but if Ellen Wolf read IBWTB, based on what you’ve said, this is a derivative work and it infringes on Susan Napier’s copyright. That’s wrong.

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  16. Jane
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 12:20:44

    @MaryK I did think of this while reading. That author Wolf had the misfortune of me, a Napier fan girl, buying and reading this book. Misfortune being a qualitative term of course.

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  17. willaful
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 12:30:18

    @Megan: I know, my eyes are still boggling over that. Perhaps we’re just old?

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  18. Jane
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 12:36:09

    I did receive a response from Ms. Wolf and she denies having ever read Napier’s book.

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  19. Tolouse
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:01:03

    She says she never read it? That is quite a lot of coincidental similarity…

    Also: Luke rapes Laura? why didn’t I see that in the review? goes back to check

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  20. Robert Sloan
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:01:09

    Wow. The similarities are striking. To give the author the benefit of the doubt though, 1999 is long enough ago that she may have read it, forgotten it and thought it was her own idea while following it whole.

    It’s never happened to me but I’ve forgotten things often enough to know that’s a worry about story ideas. The differences in the prose suggest that she forgot everything but the plot and wrote it in her own voice thinking the characters were original.

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  21. Jane
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:09:45

    @Tolouse: No, Luke and Laura are a famous soap opera couple from the show General Hospital. In the soap, Luke rapes Laura and then later they fall in love. I think Luke was supposed to be drunk or something when he rapes her. I forget, honestly.

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  22. Jane
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:13:58

    @Robert Sloan: It’s the details that I find so striking. The characters are the same, the characters reactions are the same. The engagement party sequencing is virtually identical.

    Like Ridley pointed out, the details such as the gift of cologne to the husband/fiance are the same. The assistant walking in during a scene between the heroine and hero. The assistant saying that she thought the two would end up together. The hot replacement admins being named Belinda/Bettina. The anonymous gift that the heroine thinks is from the fiance, but is instead from the hero. It’s just…hard to fathom that the similarities are a coincidence.

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  23. Sunita
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:28:58

    The summary of Italian Charade reads like a Harlequin as well, and one of the Amazon reviewers describes it that way. And Wolf’s Amazon bio says she is “working on several other projects and converting her previous novels into Kindle format.”

    When was the last time an author *didn’t* want to tell you what those previous novels were? Or what projects they were working on? Why bother to have an author bio if it doesn’t give basic information like that?

    This is very odd. Someone (cough Ridley cough) should post the summary of Italian Charade on the Amazon and Goodreads boards and see if it rings a bell with the amazing Harlequin experts there.

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  24. DS
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:32:01

    I haven’t read either so I don’t have an opinion about whether there is a copyright issue. However, I went over to the US copyright registration and couldn’t find In Bed with the Boss under Susan Napier (pseud) or Susan Potter which seems to be her real name.

    I wonder if it is one of those cases where no one registered the copyright in the US. I remember that coming up in a case in the 90′s that was discussed on AAR. Doesn’t affect entitlement to copyright but does affect type of damages that can be sought.

    Of course it could also be lousy registration search skills as well.

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  25. Jane
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:34:16

    @Sunita Robin told me that the blurb for Italian Charade reminded her of Charlotte Lamb’s Illusion. She plans on re-reading Illusion in concert with Italian Charade.

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  26. Maili
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:44:24

    I doubt anything can be done about this. This kind of thing happened before and nothing came of it. Most wrote it off as coincidental.

    The most memoraable is the one at AAR where an AAR reviewer compared a reviewed historical romance with one of Linda Howard’s category romances (White Lies?). The Romance Journal also compared one (Julie something) with one of Tiffany White’s category romances. I always felt the category romance genre has many more instances like this one, but so hard to prove.

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  27. HollyY
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:48:13

    Luke and Laura? Really? Luke and Laura will always be Spencers from General Hospital. For me, it would be the names of the characters that tripped me up – especially is Laura has long blonde hair. She doesn’t…does she??

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  28. RebeccaJ
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:52:15

    I’m just curious but who decides if it’s plagiarism? And where does it go from there? Would the author have to file a suit to have them decide? Or is it in the hands of the editors? publishers?

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  29. Courtney Milan
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 14:08:52

    @DS: Most of the Harlequin series, at least in prior years, did not have copyright registered by the copyright owner.

    I don’t know how the sections on registration/statutory damages interact with the Berne Convention off the top of my head (Susan Napier is not a US native, and so this becomes relevant). I seem to recall, vaguely, that registration no longer becomes a requirement to bring suit but still may be a bar to statutory damages? I don’t know if registration in another country can stand in the shoes of US registration, either.

    My knowledge of anything copyright stops abruptly at US boundaries.

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  30. Annabel
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 14:16:31

    I am so terrified of *accidentally* doing this some day.

    I’ve read a thousand romances probably, dating from the late 1980s to today. When I write, I *think* all of my ideas are coming from my own original brain, but I’m always worried I’ll accidentally write a redux of some book that’s in my subconscious from twenty years ago. *shudder*

    If she did this out of laziness that’s terrible, but if it’s an honest situation where she read it years ago and thought she was making it up when she was really just remembering it…that’s a tough situation all around.

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  31. Emily
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 14:47:07

    so yes there are a lot of similarities…
    however I am as of yet not convinced this is deliberate plagarism…
    first of all you would need to prove that Ellen Wolfe at minimum read this book
    I do think its possible that someone could read a book and not remember it to the point that ten years later not remember and think they came up with a great book idea.
    It happens in music all the time. A friend of the family thought he was struck by inspiration to write a piece of music which he copied out. when he played for the friend the friend immediately recognized it as a piece of classic music. It was like Shubert or Chopin. obviously he didn’t publish it but he honestly thought he had written it. I also always believed George Harrison didn’t realize what happened. He eventually invested in tune recognizing software which prevents musicians for copying unawares.
    I feel bad for the authors. On the one hand I do think Napier has a right to feel copyied or however she feels. But I have sympathy Ms. Wolfe. Without word for word copying of the text I am not sure what is going on and I wouldn’t rush to judgment.

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  32. Ros
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 15:11:30

    @RebeccaJ: Plagiarism isn’t a crime. You can’t do anything about it.

    Breach of copyright is criminal and there are strict and precise laws about it (which are different in every country). That’s what you’d have to prove and the people who prove it are lawyers.

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  33. Ros
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 15:13:01

    @Emily: Would you be convinced if her other books showed similarities of this order to classic romance novels?

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  34. Lynn S.
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 15:40:03

    Whether intentional or not, anybody messing with a Napier book makes me a (various expletives deleted) cranky girl.
    I’m looking at this as a preview of what the publishing world will look like when the scanner beds and script doctors start “creating” new books. Fun stuff all the way around.

    @HollyY: And if Wolf’s Luke has a curly perm, we’re all in trouble.

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  35. MaryK
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 15:51:02

    @Lynn S.: I never watched GH so I wouldn’t care about a curly perm (much) but he better not have an earring.

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  36. Deb Kinnard
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 18:20:42

    What Annabelle said. Yes, that. I read a great deal, both in and out of the romance genre, and I am scared spitless I’m going to regurgitate something someday. I mean, there are only so many ways words can be put together to form phrases, and I’m probably guilty as anyone else about duplicating a phrase here and there…but man, I’d hate to forget something I read and then try to rework it into a novel of mine.

    (insert shudder here)

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  37. sasha
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 19:29:15

    Yes, every time I think about becoming a write because I have “so many great story ideas”…I wonder which of the books I am actually probably inadvertently cribbing. Especially since I could probably take up the HABO space @smartbitchestrashybooks for the next several years. Sometimes I wonder if my HABOs request are actual books, or just books I wish I had read. :)

    It does sound suspicious but it really could be unintentional. Still doesn’t make Wolf’s book worth reading, if it is a inferior copy of a Napier novel. I have ever been a Napier presents fan. Very good review.

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  38. Ellen
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 19:34:12

    Thanks for many kind comments.

    I think it is only fair if everyone gets a chance to see and judge it accordingly.

    The free coupon code for Working Arrangements is on my website.

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  39. rebeccaj
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 21:01:46

    @Ros, I seem to recall that Janet Daily sued by Nora Roberts for plagiarism so there must be some sort of legal action that can be taken.

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  40. rebeccaj
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 21:08:04

    @Sasha your comment about wondering whether or not HABO books were one you read or wished you had read had me rolling. I’ve had the same experience!

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  41. Matt
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 21:23:57

    @Ellen: Answer the challenge by giving the book to everyone. Much respect.

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  42. Jane
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 21:41:11

    I have no problem with Ms. Wolf’s offering and in fact, I’ll buy a copy of In Bed with the Boss by Napier for those who want to do the reader comparison. I loved that Napier book and there are worse ways to spend an evening that reading it.

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  43. Kaetrin
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 21:47:16

    I was having a General Hospital moment too!

    …I never did understand what Laura was doing with him though…

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  44. Cara Ellison
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 22:26:41

    @Ellen:

    Hi Ellen, what’s your website address? I’m interested in reading the book.

    Thank you!

    UPDATE: Nevermind, found it!

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  45. Cara Ellison
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 22:34:40

    @Jane: Is there a free download coupon? I would love to read it.

    ReplyReply

  46. Matt
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 22:45:53

    @Jane: Wow. If you’re that passionate, I’ll have to see for myself, even though I’m not a big romance reader — I do like controversy, however.

    No need to spend your hard earned money on me. It’s only $2.50 at Amazon and worthy of a buy based on your recommendation…

    I have to say that DA is responsible for a growing number of, uh, provocative looking book covers in my kindle library. If my girlfriend sees this, I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do.

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  47. Jane
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 22:54:33

    @Matt I look forward to your assessment.

    ReplyReply

  48. Jane
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 22:54:46

    @Cara Ellison Sent your Kindle gift.

    ReplyReply

  49. Books Update « cara ellison
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 23:32:54

    [...] Dear Author, Jane reviewed self-pubbed, Working Arrangement, which she pointed out had some striking similarities to another 1990s book, In Bed With The Boss. [...]

  50. Cara Ellison
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 23:51:45

    @Jane: Thank you!! I’ll compare them this weekend. Looking forward to it.

    Thank you again!

    ReplyReply

  51. SAO
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 00:46:05

    This is why you should never plagiarize. If the original was worth copying, your take-off will probably be worse.

    Plagiarism isn’t prohibited by law, but copyright violation is. I think you can come pretty close to stealing a plot, but not the words of someone else.

    Publishing houses almost certainly want to avoid scandals of plagiarism, which is the death of a career, but a self-pubbed author may not have any consequences and if she becomes famous for plagiarism, can just publish under a new pseudonym.

    Expect more crap like this in the future.

    ReplyReply

  52. Ros
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 03:43:07

    @rebeccaj: No. I’m sure it was reported using terms of plagiarism, but that isn’t a legal term. Dailey infringed Roberts’ copyright.

    When the Cassie Edwards case exploded, a lot of the works she had plagiarised were out of copyright. It was clearly plagiarism, but because the works were no longer protected by copyright, there was no legal recourse. Of course, some of what she copied was protected and so there were legal issues associated with that.

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  53. Laura Vivanco
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 03:45:37

    @rebeccaj: I think you’ve remembered that the wrong way round. In August 1997 AAR reported that

    Nora Roberts was preparing to file suit against Janet Dailey for copyright infringement. Although the Dailey camp insisted a settlement involving a donation to a literacy foundation had been reached, according to Nora, if Ms. Dailey did not as well agree to sign a sworn statement that there are no other books with infringing material out there, there would be no settlement.

    Apparently Ms. Dailey would not or could not make that statement, and last Friday Nora Roberts filed a copyright infringement suit in a Manhattan court against Janet Dailey [...]. In a statement picked up by the AP, Roberts’ lawyer is quoted as saying, “the suit was filed to ensure Dailey stops ‘any additional copying’ of his client’s work.”

    In a November 1998 update it was reported that Roberts had told AAR that:

    “The case has been settled, with Janet agreeing to pay a specific amount which I have donated to The Literacy Volunteers, The Author’s Guild and RWA.

    “At this time other books not included in the suit are being read by outside parties agreed to for comparisons. The results will be sent to a designated vetter who will decide if there is any more infringement.

    The books that were named in the suit will have to be cured of infringement and cleared by the vetter.

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  54. Ros
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 03:47:17

    @Ellen: That’s a very brave response. Much kudos to you.

    I have read both books and my opinion matches Jane’s, I’m afraid. There were just too many scenes which played out in exactly the same way for me to feel it could be coincidental.

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  55. Maddie
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 06:18:45

    Yes the the plots in romance land over laps BUT this is an out right reading a authors book and converting it for you own use.

    One or two things matching is one thing, but what was posted by Jane is the In Bed With the Boss re-arranged into another book written by Wolf.

    Sorry but the whole secret gift given to the h thinking it was from one person only to be from another.

    The fiance being someone that the H knows and doesn’t like because of prior to meeting the h.

    All those things adds up to her reading this book liking it and converting it for her own use, if not she needs to pick out some lottery numbers for me.

    I know I won’t be buying any thing from Ellen Wolf, I’m one of those who don’t reward bad behavior.

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  56. Ros
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 06:39:07

    Just in case anyone else is having trouble loading Ellen Wolf’s website, she’s tweeted the free coupon code:

    Challenge! How many other romance novels are similar to Working Arrangements? Get you free copy with coupon KS79H at bit.ly/nQaBGx

    I assume that’s a Smashwords code.

    ReplyReply

  57. Chelsea
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 07:10:36

    I wish I had time to read both books for myself, but I don’t. I’m curious to see more opinions on the matter, perhaps an outline of details that DIFFER between the two books?

    I know many people are saying that this could have happened by accident, but I really don’t see how. I’ve read many books that appear to contain nothing but a mix of ideas from previously published novels (cough cough, Twilight). I could easily envision doing that accidentally. Matching one entire book on so many details is another story entirely.

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  58. Ros
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 07:17:45

    @Chelsea: Well, the secret baby subplot is different. In Napier’s book, the baby belongs to the unpleasant fiancé, while in Wolf’s the baby belongs to the dead fiancé. That gives a different colour to the heroine’s previous relationship, obviously, and puts the hero in a different position as well.

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  59. RebeccaJ
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 07:51:17

    @Ros & Laura, ok it was copyright infringement, thanks!

    I never read Susan’s book so I’m not going to take advantage of Ellen’s free book. Doesn’t seem fair to either author.

    ReplyReply

  60. Danielle D
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 08:27:11

    I’ve never read a book by Susan Napier either but I did take advantage of Ellen’s free book.

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  61. DS
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 08:29:54

    @Lynn S.:

    I’m looking at this as a preview of what the publishing world will look like when the scanner beds and script doctors start “creating” new books. Fun stuff all the way around.

    It’s been happening for a while now with POD although not on any major scale. Probably the best known case in some circles is where some details were changed in Catherine Creel’s book Wildsong–like the location was moved from medieval Ireland to Greece without changing much else–and it was republished. A bunch of dodgy reviews were solicited including one by Harriet Klausner I believe

    Creel sued the “author” Tino Georgiou AKA K. G. Glaub and won a default judgment. IUniverse, Createspace, Amazon, Lulu, Barnes and Noble, and Buynow were all named as co-defendants in a motion for a permanent injunction against the Defendant Georgiou to prevent him from further infringement on Creel’s copyright. He was also required to disgorge $8229 in profits and pay $934 in court costs and $1374 in attorney fees. The order can be found on Justia.com at

    http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/colorado/codce/1:2009cv01753/114385/79/

    Forgot to add that I doubt Creel was able to collect anything but I don’t know for certain.

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  62. Jane
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 08:40:26

    @Chelsea I definitely want people to read both. I bought copies of the book for three different people because I knew that this was a serious complaint I was bringing. Ridley mocks me a bit in her Amazon review asking why I needed the validation, but I did. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t the only one seeing things. It is also why I am willing to buy a copy of Napier’s book for anyone who downloads the Wolf book for comparison. Not only because the Napier book is superior but because to read the Wolf book in isolation tends to give an inaccurate picture. For instance, what is it that a reader would find compelling, aside from the prose (which is quite different)? The plot (that is why I bought it) but that was in Napier’s book. The characterizations? Again Napier. The hero in the books is a dynamic and forceful guy who suppressed his feelings for the heroine who was a shy, quiet woman who had married and live a quiet life with the love of her life (in Napier’s book. In Wolf’s book the dead fiance was a quieter guy as well). The reactions of the characters? How the drama played out? All of these were in the Napier book first.

    The major difference in both books was the prose. Napier uses much more dialogue and I think it is her use of dialogue and description that elevates the story. Wolf uses a lot of internal monologue instead of interaction between the characters.

    One thing I didn’t comment on specifically was that both books use only the female POV. This is very rare in this day and age. Even HPs today have the male POV. Second, Napier uses unmarked flashbacks and so does Wolf. This is not a trait used by every author.

    I honestly don’t know how to feel about Wolf’s offer because this is sure to drive more traffic to her site, her books. Her free coupon will entice readers. But without the comparison, Wolf enjoys a bunch of free publicity.

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  63. Jane
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 08:44:36

    @RebeccaJ There can be an intersection of plagiarism and copyright infringement though. I think in this case, if it is one (passing off someone else’s work as your own), it is also the other (so close to the original as to be an impermissible derivative work).

    ReplyReply

  64. Ridley
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 09:33:19

    @Jane: I wasn’t mocking you! I was highlighting how cautious you were, or I was trying to, anyway.

    Had I gotten to this first, I’d have just torn it apart myself. I’m more comfortable with jumping to conclusions, though it bites me on the ass occasionally.

    ReplyReply

  65. Jane
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 09:44:09

    @Ridley I thought it was a gentle mocking. Kind of like your disparagement over my predilection for cardigans.

    ReplyReply

  66. Ridley
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 10:15:28

    @Jane: Ok. That’s fair.

    I didn’t want people thinking I was picking on you for reals. I have enough internet stalkers bent on retribution, I didn’t need additional stalkers defending your honor. My bushes are full.

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  67. LG
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 10:32:35

    @Chelsea: I haven’t read either book, but Jane does mention that there is no exact copying of the text, and the excerpts don’t scream intentional copying to me (or unintentional, for that matter). I’m more interested to see what gets said about Italian Charade, if anyone with a really thorough knowledge of HP decides to read it. One book with striking similarities is could just be a very unfortunate accident. Two books, and “accident” becomes a far less likely explanation.

    I once told a friend a dream I remembered having, complete with details I could picture well enough that they really did seem to come from my own memory. She laughed and reminded me that “my” dream was actually a dream she’d had and told me about a year or so prior. I’ve had the same thing happen with childhood memories – I’m never quite sure which memories are real and which have been constructed from having heard stories from my parents so many times. Memory is a funny thing. I definitely believe that it could be possible to read something and then, years later, forget having read it and have ideas about a storyline that seem right and really good…because the book you read was good, even though you’ve forgotten you read it.

    ReplyReply

  68. Chelsea
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 10:58:46

    @LG:

    But the author hasn’t come out and said “Oh, yes, I may have read that book awhile back, forgot about it, and unintentionally copied a few details. My bad.” She’s denying having read it. I think that’s the thing that makes me uncomfortable–it’s either a white lie or a pretty impressive coincidence.

    That’s not to say that Wolf isn’t handling the situation with grace–she’s being nicer about it than I would have expected. But it’s still leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

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  69. Erica Anderson
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 11:11:07

    I’d like to suggest that DA put a very prominent link to purchase options for Susan Napier’s book somewhere on the website for a week or so. One of the best ways that readers can show their support for an author is by purchasing. I don’t usually read contemps, but I’m buying In Bed with the Boss on principle.

    @Jane: the link to the nook purchase option of In Bed is broken.

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  70. Teri P.
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 11:44:21

    I just bought the Napier book too. I feel I need to show her my support, and besides, it sounds like a great story. Not sure that I can justify the Wolf book, even though it’s free. I’m not one for justifying bad behavior.

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  71. hapax
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 11:45:29

    And now you’ve got me thinking of McCullough’s THE LADIES OF MISSALONGHI, which is almost a scene-by-scene re-working of Montgomery’s THE BLUE CASTLE, including tiny details of scene-setting and characterization.

    The major differences are the character names, the setting, and especially the tone: TBC is all about integrity (both in terms of telling the truth and being true to yourself); LOM is a book about deception and illusion, and how well they work in creating a happy life.

    I could respect McCullough if she had admitted that she read the earlier book and forgotten it. I could even admire LOM if McCullough had presented it as a response to the themes (sort of like THE MAGICIANS with the Harry Potter / Narnia books).

    But McCullough denies and similarities up and down, and I haven’t read anything by her since; how could I trust anyone so unself-aware to present real characters to me in her fiction?

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  72. Christine M.
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 12:15:14

    @hapax: I Loved The Blue Castle, it’s almost the perfect anti-HP. Not to say that I don’t like HPs once in a while, but the contrast in themes is mind-blowing. :)

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  73. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 12:23:53

    This is from Wolf’s web site: “One could point out to all the differences, one by one, but it would be boring , tedious and food for trolls.”

    I’m wondering how the author can identify differences without having read the Napier. Or perhaps she means that differences can be noted simply by reading the review.

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  74. Amber
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 12:38:16

    I think that the author’s response is classy and takes guts. I wasn’t planning on doing my own read throughs, but after her response, I got both of them.

    I am with Anneke, in that if this happened to you by accident, it would be absolutely horrifying. My hope is that it was a mistake, at the very least, if not a coincidence. But if it was deliberate, at least she won’t do it again?

    @Jane

    I wouldn’t worry about her getting free publicity with her offer. Technically the any-publicity-is-good-publicity button was already pushed with this review. People would buy her book just to see, and she could have rode out those sales just for whatever $$$ it would bring, but now they’ll get it for free. And on the flip side, I bet Susan Napier’s sales get a huge bump this month.

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  75. Janet W
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 12:54:39

    What really scares me is that authors may be scarfing plots a lot more than we know — and why don’t we know? Because it takes a very trained memory (like Jane’s with the Napier* or @Lynette2cents with Garwood) to see the similarities that are just too detailed to be an homage or an accident. I might be able to see it if someone riffed too heavily on a Balogh or a Heyer but otherwise, how would I know and that really bothers me. Such a lack of integrity, imo.

    Here’s a link to Lynette’s goodreads review where she outlines the similarities between the new Maya Banks and the old Julie Garwood’s Ransom.

    Link

    * I’m going to buy it too: support the good with your bucks = good plan!

    ReplyReply

  76. Ros
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 15:04:32

    @Janet W: I read a book a number of years ago that was absolutely a modern re-telling of Heyer’s The Grand Sophy (minus the Jewish moneylender). She even had some of the same names for the characters. In my naivete at the time, I emailed the author to say how much I’d enjoyed it and did she have any other Heyer re-tellings. Needless to say, she never replied.

    The book, if anyone’s interested, was Flora’s Lot by Katie Fforde. Again, I’d be amazed if there’s any actual breach of copyright, but so many plot details, large and small, were the same that it couldn’t have been coincidental.

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  77. Sarah Porter
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 15:35:09

    @Jane I can’t wait to hear all about this on your podcast!

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  78. MaryK
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 16:31:28

    @Jane:

    One thing I didn’t comment on specifically was that both books use only the female POV.

    I’d forgotten that, and it’s something that really highlights Napier’s talent. She’s able to convey to the reader that Duncan loves Kalera and at the same time keep Kalera oblivious (A type of writing I love. I think we’ve talked about it before. I still can’t remember what it’s called.) and she uses Kalera’s POV to do it. Gothic novels might still exist as a genre if the authors had been able to do that.

    I hope everybody who reads both stories will let us know their opinion.

    Out of curiousity, does the law recognize and exonerate “accidental” copyright infringement or does the ignorance of the law thing apply?

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  79. Lil
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 17:00:43

    I haven’t read either book so I can’t comment on the overlap. However, I have written sentences/turns of phrase that I am pretty sure are mine but I couldn’t swear weren’t something I read someplace and have had floating around in my brain for years. I can easily imagine the same thing happening with a plot, especially a book read 12 years ago that is probably one of hundreds read each year. If this was all done innocently, it must be a nightmare for Ms. Wolf.

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  80. Jane
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 17:02:47

    @MaryK Dramatic irony. I’m going to repost the Napier review for tomorrow.

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  81. Ridley
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 20:55:09

    Before anyone calls the author’s response “classy,” I would point out that there’s a concerted vote campaign on Amazon to hide the critical reviews and someone’s gone through all my recent reviews and voted those down too.

    And self-pub authors wonder why they’re not taken seriously…

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  82. Emily
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 22:16:01

    @Janet W:

    See, I’m still annoyed about the Julie Garwood/Maya Banks thing. 1/4 the way through the book the story sounded like a Julie Garwood mashup. If only the heroine had been English! I’ll still read Maya Banks, but I’m done with the highlanders. The book did drift drastically after the intro into a unique work though.

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  83. Xina
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 23:36:52

    @Maili: @Maili:

    Maili….the book was Lost In Your Arms by Christina Dodd. Very similar to White Lies by Linda Howard. They laughed it off.

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  84. Erica Anderson
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 13:35:17

    As a measure of support for Susan Napier, I bought In Bed yesterday and am absolutely loving it! It’s a great story and my first category ever. It is a category, right? I’ve never read contemporaries before, so I don’t know the (sub)genres. Anyway, thanks for expanding my reading horizons, ya’ll.

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  85. Del Dryden
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 13:43:24

    I am constantly anxious about accidentally doing this one day, but I’m reasonably sure if I unintentionally used a detail I’d read somewhere, it’d be one detail (or maybe a line of dialog) and not, you know…the entire book. That’s an awful lot of coincidence.

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  86. Amber
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 14:07:31

    Ridley – that is ridiculous. Although, as you has noted, so are the bad reviews for Spoil of War by people who’ve never read the book. In this case, though, maybe it was the author or maybe it was her friends or just random internet people. I feel like there are enough vigilante-type people there that I don’t necessarily assume it is her, specifically.

    By the way, does anyone know which Romantic Suspense series is supposed to be similar to Maya Banks KGI (mentioned in the Lynette review linked here)? I ask not to pitchfork, but because I really liked it and would like to read a similar series…

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  87. Jane
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 14:14:23

    @Erica Anderson – YAY! I am so glad you liked it. It is a category and not only is it a category, it is a much maligned Harlequin Presents. I read these titles quite a bit so I can marshall up a few more recommendations for you. Let me look at the Napier books that are digitally released and I’ll give you a little recommendation list.

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  88. Jane
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 14:40:04

    @Erica Anderson I looked through my Napier list. You may like “Public Scandal, Private Mistress“. The heroine is always confounding the hero in that book. Robin is a fan of the Price of Passion.

    I also love The Bellini Bride by Michelle Reid.

    Let me know how they work out.

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  89. MaryK
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 16:00:01

    @Del Dryden: I agree. I don’t understand how a person could remember an entire book and not remember that it was a book written by someone else. Writers spend a lot of time with a story as they write it. Surely at some point, you’d remember that it came from another book.

    I like novelized fairytale retellings and when they’re very faithful to the original tale they can have identical plots and even identical scenes. The authors always put their own stamp on the stories though so each one is a different story and a different reading experience. There’s a difference, I think, between paraphrasing an existing story and telling your own story involving the same circumstances.

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  90. Junne
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 17:52:12

    Wow…I didn’t read the book but judging from the excerpts you gave, sounds to me there are a lot of similarities.
    However, that’s pretty rough to accuse the author of plagiarism and basically wreck her career before it has even begun. But as a reviewer, I guess you’re entitled to your opinion.

    What bugs me more is the evergrowing crowd of authors who pounce on other authors whenever they have the chance to.I don’t think that spitting on your peers makes you somehow better ( the best example of this is the “mistorical” thread, where one author in particular -who always seems to congratulate herself on everything she writes, even though her books are average at best- kept talking about her superior knowledge of history and how lesser gifted authors should less give up.

    PS: I apologize for any grammatical mistakes, English is not my native language

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  91. Ridley
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 18:00:36

    @Amber: 9 people have voted no on my review in two days. That’s on pace with the Lorelei James rabid fangirls with my critical Rough Riders reviews.

    There’s no way Ellen Wolf has a fanbase the size of LJ’s. So where did all these voters come from if not from a self-pub author loop?

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  92. Kaetrin
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 21:32:32

    @ Amber. I asked the same question of Lynnette yesterday and she replied that it was the first KGI book by Maya Banks and it has some similarities to one of Cindy Gerard’s EDEN series – I want to say it’s To the Brink but that might not be right – They’re both exes reunited stories and the hero’s name in both is Ethan but I do think they are different books. You certainly couldn’t go chapter by chapter and pick out the common points, I thought the similarities were more thematic and, in RS, not all that surprising. I liked the Gerard better I think.

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  93. Jane
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 21:38:53

    @Kaetrin: I agree. I’ve read the entire series by Gerard and two of the Banks stories. Loved the first one of the KGI series, particularly but the similarities are superficial. They are about reunited exes but the settings are quite different as is the tone. The two have different voices, in my opinion. I think you could categorize them in the same family but I don’t think one is derivative of another.

    I do like the Gerard stories though.

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  94. Kaetrin
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 21:51:18

    @ Jane – yes, I don’t think there’s any wrong doing – it’s more of an “if you liked the KGI books you’ll probably like the EDEN books” than anything else.

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  95. Jane
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 21:56:46

    @Kaetrin: Yes, that’s a great way to describe it. I actually feel that way about Banks’ historicals too, although I find them more of an homage to Garwood whereas I don’t find that with the suspense books. Banks’ historicals haven’t worked for me, unfortunately.

    @Junne: I actually have never posted something like this and I don’t think any reviewer wants to. I purchased this book on my volition. It wasn’t submitted for review. I was looking at the top selling contemps on Kindle and this storyline appealed to me. The unrequited love from the boss to the secretary? That’s a catch for me. It would have been awesome to find a new author who a) sells her books for $.99 and b) is prolific (3 books in less than 6 months?) So please don’t think that reviewers go around trying to accuse authors of plagiarism. We don’t, at least not here at DA.

    I felt strongly about this but was concerned. I bought copies of the book for other people because I was concerned. I went through the books, chapter by chapter, because I was concerned. It took me five hours to put this together not to mention the original time it took me to read the Wolf book. That’s a lot of time I could have spent reading other books, writing other reviews.

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  96. Jane
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 21:59:26

    @Ridley: I believe it. If you read the Writer’s Cafe over at the Kindle Boards, the self pubbed authors are often asking for “help” with the Amazon reviews, asking for people to downvote negative reviews, report the reviews as inappropriate. I’m sure there are dozens of self publishing loops and regular publishing loops where this kind of concerted effort is requested.

    I noticed that I received down votes on my In Bed with the Boss review that I posted on Amazon just a couple of days ago.

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  97. Ridley
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 23:50:58

    @Jane: I have down votes on a 20 year old Charlotte Louise Dolan Signet Regency novel.

    I’m sure those are totally on the up and up.

    Then again, I *am* embroiled in another sock hunt on the Amazon forum (a $10 re-packaged Twilight fan fic getting three or four new threads a day? /fishy) so it could be those cultists just as easily.

    Self-publishing is a freak show on that site.

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  98. Erica Anderson
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 10:49:31

    @Jane: Thanks for the recs! I just purchased Public Scandal, Private Mistress. What struck me about In Bed is how well Napier writes emotional states. She’s really spot on. And I enjoyed the fact that the heroine was completely unflappable in the face of the hero’s outrageous behavior.

    ReplyReply

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