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Saturday News: No Deals Just Stupidity and Smashwords Concedes to Paypal...

Updated x1:

Ms. Manning has commented and provided an apology:

I’ve gone back and forth on how to address this for several hours. A personal blog post would not be seen by enough people. Nor would a response to Ms. Fielding’s blog. When Dear Author posted this blog, I felt it was the answer I’d been looking for. I couldn’t find a more public place than this.

To all the authors, publishers, and editors I stole from, I am sorry. There is no excuse. All distributors have been notified and those I couldn’t take down/remove myself are being removed by the third party as soon as possible.

To all the authors, publishers, and editors I’ve met and known over the years, I am sorry. I know you will never forgive me and you shouldn’t.

To anyone associated with the Kiss of Death Chapter, you can be assured that all funds relating to the chapter are well managed and controlled by a dedicated President and Board. I have not had access to any accounts where wrongdoing could have occurred without their immediate and swift action.

Finally, so there is no misunderstanding. I am a thief, a plagiarist. I am not an author.

Updated x2:

Kiss of Death is dedicated to promoting and supporting the mystery/suspense genre with romantic elements through the championship of good writing through our educational and awards programs. As such, I have accepted the resignation of our treasurer, per her request, and in the best interest of the organization.

AJ Brower, President
Kiss of Death

So an RWA member, the treasurer of the Kiss of Death RWA chapter no less, is found to be plagiarizing. Name is Kristal Singletary aka Kay Manning | K.S. Manning | Payton Bradshaw. The first signs were revealed by a fan of Liz Fielding who reported to her that “La Maison Romance” by Kay Manning, a free download on Smashwords, appeared to be a copy of Liz Fielding’s story “The Cinderella Fantasy”. Fielding’s story was available for free online. When Fielding blogged about this, Kay Manning’s purported response was as follows:

“Kay ManningFeb 24, 2012 06:17 AM
Smashwords responded to NOTHING. I took down the story because of my mistake. I know no one would believe it but it was an honest mistake. I put this story in the wrong folder on my computer and actually thought it was mine that I started a long time ago. If I really wanted to ‘steal it’ do you honestly think I would have put it up for free? What do I benefit off it?”

This was preserved by a commenter to the Liz Fielding blog post because the original comment by Manning was deleted as are nearly every sign of Kay Manning, K.S. Manning, and Payton Bradshaw, all of which appear to be her pen names according to a now deleted Linked In profile and this google search cache:

Kay Manning screenshot pennames

Because plagiarism is almost never an isolated instance (more on this later), others began using their google powers, primarily Joanna Bourne and Elizabeth Chadwick. Under Payton Bradshaw, Manning had released a book through MuseIt Up Publishing called “An Early Christmas Present”. The book sold for $2.50. According to the now deleted blog, this “debut” book by Payton Bradshaw was released in December 2011. Joanna Bourne found that this was a nearly word for word copy of Julie Kenner’s freebie “Red Hot Holiday” published by Harlequin. Here are the two excerpts side by side:

Payton Bradshaw’s Copy Julie Kenner’s Original
Karen swallowed. “There he is. Over by Santa’s Village.”Melody sucked in a breath, a warm flush enveloping her entire body just from the thought of seeing Jason again. A sudden overwhelming panic washed over her making it almost impossible to look at him, fearing she’d melt right into the floor.“Go on!” Karen gave her a little push on the shoulder.

“I don’t think I can.” At the moment, she was having trouble even forcing the words past the tightness in her chest.

Karen rolled her eyes. “Forget nerves. This is your last chance, sweetie. Jason’s the only guy I’ve ever known you to be truly hot for. You want this. You deserve this. A last fling before you escape this little hole-in-the-wall town and fly off into the sunset.” She grinned. “Go get ‘em, girl.”

Faith swallowed. “Over there. By Santa’s Village. Brent’s here.”Annie sucked in a breath, a warm flush enveloping her entire body just from the thought of seeing Brent again She was almost afraid to turn and actually look at him, for fear she’d melt right into the floor.”Go on!” Faith gave her a little push on the shoulder.

“I don’t think I can.” At the moment, she was having trouble even forcing the words past her lips.

Faith rolled her eyes. “Forget nerves. This is your last chance. Brent’s the only guy I’ve ever known you to be truly hot for. You want this, and you deserve it. A last fling before you fly off into the sunset.” She grinned. “So go get him, girl.”


I contacted MuseIt Up and sent them the aforementioned excerpts. My understanding is that the book was then removed from the MuseIt Up site and that third party retailers are being contacted to get the title pulled.

On a fellow Muse It author’s blog, Kay Manning publishes an excerpt of a book called “A Soldier’s Valentine”. This excerpt was originally found in Catherine Mann’s “An Evening to Remember.”

Kay Manning’s Copy Catherine Mann’s Original
“Go! Go! Go!”Captain Shawn “Iceman” Isaacs hurtled out of the military cargo plane, the crew chief’s order to jump from the C-17 echoing in his ears along with the roaring of engines. The silent sky swallowed him. Arms and legs splayed, he soared down, down, down toward Fryar Drop Zone, the part of Fort Benning Military Reservation located in Alabama.Somewhere in the soft fields below Tammy Lowe waited for him.

Of course, she didn’t know he was one of the guys parachuting this afternoon. Although regularly a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot, he needed the jump to stay current on his training. But she thought he was still deployed to the Middle East.

He’d enlisted her co-workers’ aid to ensure Tammy would come for a Valentine’s surprise—even if Valentine’s Day was still a week away. Thank goodness for the help of her three pals, because no way would she have showed if she learned Shawn would be landing at her feet.

Wind battered his body, the quiet void of endless blue sky filling with thoughts of meeting Tammy the day she’d started her job as a civilian engineering contractor on post. The first time he’d laid eyes on her in the conference room, with all her mahogany hair piled up on her head, he’d burned to set it free.

To his surprise, the reserved academic had said yes to dinner. And yes again to another date.

“Go! Go! Go!”Captain Vince “Novocain” Novak hurtled out of the military cargo plane, the crew chief’s order to jump from the C-17 echoing in his ears along with the roaring of engines. Then the silent sky swallowed him. Arms and legs splayed, he soared down, down, down toward the landing zone at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.A speck of grass in Tampa where McKenzie Rowe waited for him.

Of course she didn’t know he was one of the guys parachuting this afternoon. Although regularly an MH-53 Pave Low helicopter pilot, he was also jump qualified and needed to stay current on his training. But she thought he was still deployed to the Middle East.

He’d enlisted her co-workers’ aid to ensure McKenzie would come for a Valentine’s surprise—even if Valentine’s Day was still a week away. Thank goodness for the help of her three pals, because no way would she have showed if she learned Vince would be landing at her feet.

Wind battered his body, the quiet void of endless blue sky filling with thoughts of meeting McKenzie the day she’d started her job as a civilian engineering contractor on base. The first time he’d laid eyes on her in the conference room, with all her chocolate brown hair piled up on her head, he’d burned to set it free.

To his surprise, the reserved academic had said yes to dinner. And yes again to another date.


“Fireworks” by Kay Manning was for sale on Amazon, Sony, iTunes, Kobo and Barnes & Noble for $.99. It appears to be lifted from Valerie Hansen’s “Fireworks.” Manning also participated in NaNoWriMo as Kristal Singletary. According to Bourne, nearly every blog post by Manning as Singletary was lifted from others:

Developing Creative Process Copy Developing Creative Process Original by George Shaw
“Your creative process is a series of steps that you repeat every time you need to create. Simple. The trick is to make the steps fluid and flexible enough to allow you the room you need to create well, while still being structured enough to help you through when you’re having a hard time. An effective process should allow for serendipity—happy accidents are responsible for lots of great writing” “Your creative process is a series of steps that you repeat every time you need to create. Simple. The trick is to make the steps fluid and flexible enough to allow you the room you need to create well, while still being structured enough to help you through when you’re having a hard time. An effective process should allow for serendipity—happy accidents are responsible for lots of great design “


Updated x1:

We were only made aware of the accusation about Bear Otter and Kid late last night by one of our authors. The posted comment that Dreamspinner was contacted is false. No one contacted us either by email or through the contact form on our website. While I’ve not seen Shelter, I know the story behind Bear Otter and Kid, and it is semi-autobiographical. While it may follow the general plot line of Shelter, I don’t believe it was copied in any way. We take accusations of plagiarism very seriously and have ordered the movie to make a final determination.

You are welcome to quote any of that if you wish.


Elizabeth North, Executive Director
Dreamspinner Press
Where Dreams Come True

Update x2:  Klune repudiates any suggestions that “Beat, Otter, and the Kid” was even inspired by Shelter let alone a plagiarism.

Update x3: Dreamspinner has responded saying that it has reviewed the movie and believes that there are significant differences.  The book has been sent to the director of the movie and that the book will be removed from circulation if the director believes it to be too close to the movie.

So yeah. What’s next? M/m author T.J. Klune published “Bear, Otter, and the Kid” through Dreamspinner Press. Unfortunately, the book apparently copies the movie “Shelter” plot point by plot point and, according to this reader, uses the entire lyrics from a song (which is a copyright infringement).

I saw the movie a couple of years ago and this book has the same characters, same story development, same guy-gives-up-scholarship-to-take-care-of-small-child plot. Both the movie and this book even start with the same scene — he’s driving to the airport to pick up his wealthy best friend who is coming home from college for the summer. I watched the movie again after reading this book and there is no mistake that complete scenes, situations, etc. were copied — some almost exactly.

As one commenter noted, movie theaters would get into trouble if they produced a movie based on a book without first buying the rights, this suit notwithstanding. However, film rights are clearly a derivative right of fictional work. Why do would an author or publisher think the reverse is not true?  Apparently Klune is amused by this accusation as he deletes a reader’s request about the reported similarities:

Jaime wrote: “Hey, why was my message deleted :(“

lol, didn’t mean too. Just keeping this drama free. I think you’re funny too. =D

Dreamspinner Press gives instructions on how to turn fan fiction into published work. First step, change the names!

So what do you need to do? Let me spell it out. First, come up with a new name for all of your characters. If one of them is named Jack or Will, you can potentially leave it, but don’t leave more than one because someone will probably know that Jack and Will are from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

I wonder if Kristal Singletary followed that line of reasoning. I’m not opposed to fan fiction being sold, but let’s be up front about this. Dreamspinner wants its writers to change things just enough to fool the reader. Why not admit what these authors are doing?

We probably won’t be reviewing any more Dreamspinner Press titles. Sarah F and Sunita D, our primary M/M readers have asked to be removed from the review submission list.

Finally, Smashwords is following in the footsteps of Bookstrand and All Romance and pulling titles and putting in new policies restricting the type of content it will distribute. I received this email that was sent to Smashwords authors:


On Saturday, February 18, PayPal’s enforcement division contacted Smashwords with an ultimatum. As with the other ebook retailers affected by this enforcement, PayPal gave us only a few days to achieve compliance otherwise they threatened to deactivate our PayPal services. I’ve had multiple conversations with PayPal over the last several days to better understand their requirements. Their team has been helpful, forthcoming and supportive of the Smashwords mission. I appreciate their willingness to engage in dialogue. Although they have tried their best to delineate their policies, gray areas remain.

Their hot buttons are bestiality, rape-for-titillation, incest and underage erotica.

The underage erotica is not a problem for us. We already have some of the industry’s strictest policies prohibiting underage characters (we don’t even allow non-participating minors to appear in erotica), and our vetting team is always on the lookout for “barely legal” content where supposed adults are placed in underage situations.

The other three areas of bestiality, rape and incest were less well-defined in our Terms of Service ( before today. I’ll tackle these one-by-one below, and I’ll provide you a summary of the changes that will go into effect immediately.

*Incest:* Until now, we didn’t have a policy prohibiting incest between consenting adults, or its non-biological variation commonly known as “Pseudo-incest.” Neither did our retailer partners. We’ve noticed a surge of PI books over the last few months, and many of them have “Daddy” in the title. I wouldn’t be surprised if the surge in “Daddy” titles prompted PayPal to pursue this purge (I don’t know). PI usually explores sexual relations between consenting adult stepchildren with their step parents, or between step-siblings. Effectively immediately, we no longer allow incest of any variety in erotica.

Like many writers, censorship of any form greatly concerns me. It is with some reluctance that I have made the decision to prohibit incest-themed erotica at Smashwords. Regardless of your opinion on incest, it’s a slippery slope when we allow others to control what we think and write. Fiction is fantasy. It’s not real. It unfolds in our imagination. I’ve always believed fiction writers and readers should have the freedom to explore diverse topics and situations in the privacy of their own mind. From an imagination perspective, erotica is little different from a literary novel that puts us inside the mind of farm animals (1984), or a thriller novel that puts us inside the mind of a terrorist, or a horror novel that puts us inside the mind of an axe-murderer or their victim. All fiction takes us somewhere. We read fiction to be moved, and to feel. Sometimes we want to feel touched, moved, or disturbed. A reader should have the right to feel moved however they desire to be moved.

Incest, however, carries thorny baggage. The legality of incest is murky. It creates a potential legal liability for Smashwords as our business and our books become more present in more jurisdictions around the world. Anything that threatens Smashwords directly threatens our ability to serve the greater interests of all Smashwords authors, publishers, retailers and customers who rely upon us as the world’s leading distributor of indie ebooks. The business considerations compel me to not fall on the sword for incest. I realize this is an imperfect decision. The slippery slope is dangerous, but I believe this imperfect decision is in the best interest of the community we serve.

*Bestiality:* Until now, we didn’t have a stated policy regarding bestiality. I like animals. Call me old fashioned or hypocritical (I’m not a vegetarian), but I don’t want to be a party to anyone enjoying animals for sexual gratification, for the same reason we’ve never allowed pedophilia books. I don’t want to publish it, sell it, or distribute it. The TOS is now modified to reflect this. Note this does not apply to shape-shifters common in paranormal romance provided the were-creature characters are getting it on in their human form. Sorry I need to clarify it that way, but we don’t want to see bestiality erotica masquerading as paranormal romance.

*Rape:* Although our Terms of Service prohibits books that advocate violence against others, we did not specifically identify rape. This was an oversight on our part. Now we have clarified the policy. We do not want books that contain rape for the purpose of titillation. At Smashwords, rape has no longer has a place in erotica. It has no place anywhere else if the purpose is to titillate. Non-consensual BDSM – or any other form of non-consensual violence against another person – is prohibited.

*NEXT STEPS:* If you have titles at Smashwords that are now expressly forbidden, by the end of day Monday (Feb 27), please click to your Dashboard at and click UNPUBLISH then click ARCHIVE. This will also cause our automated systems to remove the titles from retail distribution.

DO NOT try to hide or obfuscate violating content by changing book titles, book descriptions and tags. If we discover such shenanigans, said authors/publishers will risk account deletion and forfeiture of any accrued earnings, per our Terms of Service.

We take violations of the TOS seriously, because such violations jeopardize the opportunities for your fellow authors.

We do not want to see PayPal clamp down further against erotica. We think our authors should be allowed to publish erotica. Erotica, despite the attacks it faces from moralists, is a category worthy of protection. Erotica allows readers to safely explore aspects of sexuality that they might never want to explore in the real world.

The moralists forget that we humans are all sexual creatures, and the biggest sex organ is the brain. If it were not the case, none of us would be here. Erotica authors are facing discrimination, plain and simple. Topics that are perfectly acceptable in mainstream fiction are verboten in erotica. That’s not fair. Our decisions today are imperfect. Please, act responsibly, don’t try to game the system or publish content that pushes the limits of legality. Help us continue to help indie authors around the world to continue to publish and distribute with freedom.

*THINGS TO AVOID:* Avoid using words such as ‘bestiality,’ ‘rape,’ ‘incest,’ ‘underage,’ or ‘barely legal’ in book titles, book descriptions or keyword tags, otherwise Smashwords may conclude you’re violating the Terms of Service, or trying to push the limits. If you’re writing non-erotic works, and any of these words are necessary, then you’re okay.

On Tuesday (Feb 28) we will begin removing content that we deem in violation. When we remove a title, you will receive an email notifying you of such, and that email will append this letter along with instructions on how to notify us if we made an error. I promise you, we will make mistakes, so please work with us, take a deep breath and honor us with your patience.

If you believe we removed something in error, please click “Comments/questions,” mention the title we removed, provide the hyperlink to said title, and provide your *calm* reasoning for why we should reconsider.

Our support team is backlogged, so it may take several days for them to respond. As we mention in the Terms of Service, we reserve the right to remove anything for any reason. That said, we will also try to make our decisions with care and prudence.

You might wonder if Smashwords should simply switch to a different payment provider. It’s not so easy. PayPal is designed into the wiring of the Smashwords platform. They run the credit card processing for our retail store, and they’re how we pay our authors and publishers. PayPal is also an extremely popular, trusted payment option for our customers. It is not feasible for us to simply switch to another provider, should such a suitable provider even exist, especially with so few days notice.

Please note our Terms of Service is subject to additional modifications as we work to bring Smashwords into compliance with PayPal requirements. Let’s hope today’s actions mark the limit of the slippery slope.

Significant gray area remain. Erotica is still permitted, though if authors try to push the limits of what’s permitted, we risk further clamping down. Please be responsible. Don’t go there. If you’re going to push the limits, push the limits of great writing, not the limits of legality.

Thank you for assisting our compliance efforts on such short notice. We know these decisions will be upsetting to some of our authors and publishers, and for that we apologize. We do believe, however, that these decisions will place us on a stronger footing to represent the best interests all indie authors and publishers from here forward.

Best wishes,

Mark Coker Founder Smashwords

P.S. Please contact our support team for inquiries regarding this change in our Terms of Service by clicking the “comments/questions” link at the top of any page at Smashwords. If your inquiry regards a specific title, please include the hyperlink to the book page of that specific title.

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


  1. Gwen Hayes
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 21:59:01

    Oh I did see a deal to day: Making Waves by Tawna Fenske is only 1.79 for Kindle. I really enjoyed the book.

  2. Loosheesh
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 22:16:39

    Oh, give a girl a break – I’m sure she mistakenly (honestly!) put all of these in the wrong folder and thought they were hers she had started a long time ago! Hey, it could happen :-P

    These plagiarism incidences have become so common, they no longer shock me, which is really sad in itself :-(

  3. L.K. Rigel
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 22:19:46

    The PayPal development is absolutely chilling.

  4. Ann Somerville
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 22:29:57

    @L.K. Rigel:

    “The PayPal development is absolutely chilling. ”

    Maybe but their position on explicit erotica and so on is of long standing. I have friends who had their accounts frozen by Paypal for selling erotic art – not photos – and know of others who had their accounts frozen for selling erotic writing. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for Paypal to flex its muscle (it’s partly due to credit companies and their higher fees for ‘adult’ services.)

    Selfishly, I’m *delighted* that Smashwords won’t be publishing those horrible Pseudo incest books any more. It’s incredibly off putting to go to the home page and see page after page of the damn things and their icky covers, and it’s just another reason for readers to avoid Smashwords books and its bookstore.

    As for bestiality and rape for titillation, these are restrictions that most sensible publishers impose, even erotica publishers, so this again isn’t ground-breaking.

    My country, Australia, is quite restrictive regarding adult material compared to the USA, so I’m not as bothered as those of you living under the American constitution might be. After all, I can be jailed for just downloading underage Harry Potter erotic fanfiction. This edict from Smashwords is weak sauce in comparison.

  5. Kay Manning
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 22:31:43

    I’ve gone back and forth on how to address this for several hours. A personal blog post would not be seen by enough people. Nor would a response to Ms. Fielding’s blog. When Dear Author posted this blog, I felt it was the answer I’d been looking for. I couldn’t find a more public place than this.

    To all the authors, publishers, and editors I stole from, I am sorry. There is no excuse. All distributors have been notified and those I couldn’t take down/remove myself are being removed by the third party as soon as possible.

    To all the authors, publishers, and editors I’ve met and known over the years, I am sorry. I know you will never forgive me and you shouldn’t.

    To anyone associated with the Kiss of Death Chapter, you can be assured that all funds relating to the chapter are well managed and controlled by a dedicated President and Board. I have not had access to any accounts where wrongdoing could have occurred without their immediate and swift action.

    Finally, so there is no misunderstanding. I am a thief, a plagiarist. I am not an author.

  6. Emma Petersen
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 22:43:32

    Ms. Manning,

    I am not excusing what you did, but I do feel for you. I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t. I’ve been plagiarized and it didn’t feel good. I actually felt violated. Dramatic or not, that’s how I felt. I don’t know why you did what you did but all I can do is hope there is a lesson in this for all of us and that none of the pain any of the parties suffered, including you, was in vain. I wish I could give you a hug. I’ve never been in your shoes but I know this entire situation sucks, whether it was of your own making or not. If you need an ear or a shoulder, please feel free to email me. (emma at emmapetersen dot com)

  7. Melissa Stevens
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 22:46:50

    So let me get this straight.

    When a thief and plagiarist is caught the protocol is to deny, deny, deny, make excuses, deny some more, and when and only when confronted with irrefutable proof in a very public manner does the criminal acknowledge their own wrong doing, and apologize.

    And that’s all that happens?

    Seems that if there were more substantial consequences for the crime then it would happen with less frequency.

  8. angel Graham
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 22:49:32

    I’m hurt. I trusted you. Yes, a thief. A liar. I don’t know how to trust you about anything anymore.

    I feel so betrayed. I trusted you so much. I looked up to you. I believed in you. I wanted to write like you.

    I do forgive you, however, I am a smart person. I won’t trust you again. I will forgive…I cannot forget.

    *sigh* I wonder if I should trust anyone anymore. Any of the authors we’ve mutually known. I will. I have to. I can’t lose myself. I can’t lose my faith in other people.

    No matter all this…I will say, I’m very worried for you personally. This WILL affect your life, in all aspects, whether you know it or not. You have lost your reputation, many friends, people who loved and trusted and cared for you. I worry that as the stress piles on, as you read what will be some of the most horrible things about you, that you won’t harm yourself in any way…or worse. Even with all this, please…take care of you. Let people say what they will now. You’ve addressed it here….now, step back and sit the whole mess out.

    DO NOT do this again. Please. I’m begging you. Don’t hurt more people. Don’t demean yourself anymore than you have.

    angel out.

  9. library addict
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 22:52:26

    I don’t understand how in this day and age people think they won’t get caught.

    Then again, nothing really happens when they do. Janet Dailey is still publishing after admitting she plagiarized Nora Roberts. She even has Aspen Gold one of the books with plagiarized passages up for sale in digital format. There is no mention at Amazon, Sony, etc that the book has been rewritten to remove the plagiarized parts. I’m not sure of this was one of the books already out of print or if it was pulled by the original publisher back when Dailey’s plagiarism first came to light, but it seems wrong she’s still able to profit from it.

  10. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:03:15

    @Melissa Stevens: Actually, Melissa… most just make more excuses, lie or hide and never address it. :0/

    I know that’s what happened when I was plagiarized over the summer.

    I can’t recall a single time when I’ve seen a plagiarist step up and offer a bluntly stated apology with no excuses or rationalizations.

    It doesn’t excuse anything or make anything right. Still, it took guts to do it.

  11. Jane
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:03:24

    @Kay Manning Thank you for your real apology. I can see by your apology that you recognize that it will not be enough for some but I do appreciate the seeming sincerity and acceptance of responsibility.

  12. Moira Reid
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:06:34

    And…what happens next? This apology reminds me of that line from Gone With The Wind:
    Rhett Butler: You’re like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail.

    If she’d come into my house and taken things, she would be headed to jail. Instead, it’s 1’s and 0’s and bits and bytes…so what happens? She apologizes, disappears, and then…

    I fear, shows up somewhere else later under another name.

    I wish I didn’t sound so cold-hearted, but I’m kind of over people who know better, who can’t be confused on what the world is pretty clear on in terms of morality or lack thereof–then intentionally take time and effort–and do it anyway… Oh, and then they feel soooo bad when they get caught. Yeah, well. Do feel bad. You screwed up. Intentionally. And you took money the real writer earned from her own hard work.

    Want to impress me? Do something about it. Turn over the money you stole to the person you stole it from. Then, I’ll see that apology in a new light.

  13. Pam
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:06:50

    @Kay Manning When I hear about this other places I will remember that you apologized and you seem real. Thank you for accepting responsibility.

  14. Jane
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:29:44

    @Melissa Stevens: I think everyone has the right to feel angered in this situation and your reaction is perfectly understandable and justifiable. I hope you don’t think that I am diminishing or dismissing someone’s right to be angered over this.

    That said I think tre apologies are rare and I wanted to recognize that as well.

  15. library addict
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:31:54

    @Moira Reid: I agree she’s sorry because she’s been caught.

    But as other have said, this is the first time I have seen someone apologize without making stupid excuses, accept responsibility and acknowledge she was 100% wrong. I am glad to see it.

  16. Sunita
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:33:58

    @Kay Manning: It takes guts to make a real apology, pure and unvarnished. I respect you for that.

    I disagree, though, that this is the only place you need to make it. You didn’t steal from DA. You stole from individual authors. Liz Fielding, among others, definitely deserves a public apology at her blog, in my opinion.

    I feel bad for you. But as a reader who didn’t know you existed until Liz Fielding brought you to my attention, you’ve only harmed me indirectly, by harming a community of which I’m a member and which I value. The authors and publishers (and the readers who believed in you) are different.

    This probably sounds harsh. But I’m a big believer in the idea that forgiveness only comes from two sources. The one you have direct access to is the one you directly harmed.

  17. L.K. Rigel
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:35:30

    @Ann Somerville:

    Ann, I agree with your comment. I don’t like the icky stuff either. What I find chilling is that the money exchanger, not the merchant, can make such a decision. PayPal is, after all, basically a bank. So now a bank gets to decide what customers can buy or merchants can sell?

    The decision is only palatable because they’re cutting off stuff people mostly find abhorrent. What if they next decide they won’t allow stuff that glorifies liberal politics to be sold, or atheists to have accounts?

    Maybe I’m being alarmist. I don’t know.

  18. James Buchanan
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:35:48

    that’s an apology? I GOT CAUGHT so NOW I’m sorry? THAT’s not an apology.

    Apologies come before you get called out for things. Once you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar it’s too late to say, “may I please have a cookie?”

  19. Gwen Hayes
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:35:52

    The whole situation is icky, but the apology helps. She could have just disappeared and never said another word online. There may be more consequences for her, considering her real name has been publicly outed.

  20. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:39:11

    @L.K. Rigel: Actually, Paypal is NOT a bank and they spend a lot of time in Washington lobbying to keep from being defined and thus regulated like a bank. They have far more latitude than banks do.

  21. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:40:47

    @James Buchanan: The admission and apology come before the lawsuits. In 5… 4… 3… 2…

  22. Fae
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:41:02

    Sorry, she had a chance to apologize when it’d mean something but instead made up yet more lies about thinking she wrote it herself. Please, I’ve written over a million words in the last couple of years and I assure you I’ve never forgotten I wrote something. The only reason she’s apologizing now is because there’s no more denying when her lies upon lies have been revealed as well. There’s nothing but the truth now, which is the only reason she’s turning to it.

    If she wants to make this apology mean anything at all, I expect to be hearing about how she sent these authors checks for the full amount of royalties she got (for the books that weren’t free). Maybe then an apology would be believable. Until she gives back what she stole, she’s just a thief who got caught.

    Do we accept the apology of a car thief as he drives around in the car he stole and has no intention of returning?

  23. Shelly
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:46:52

    That Smashwords policy is incredibly offensive. No fantasies of anything illegal now? I bet they still allow glorified crimes of other types in what they sell. So they’re only focusing on the erotic. Because god knows, it’s always better to hide and shun such things rather than have them out where people can talk about them. And thinking about something is as good as doing it. *rolls eyes*

    I’m ashamed that people today are allowing themselves to be bullied into taking such actions. The slippery slope is a real danger, and we’re partway down it.

  24. L.K. Rigel
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:59:19

    @Moriah Jovan:

    That makes sense (that they would do that).

  25. Merrian
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 23:59:33

    @L.K. Rigel: My understanding is that this is driven by insurance issues and credit card fraud. The rationale lies in the high level of credit card fraud associated with porn on the internet. Rather than deal with the fraud and insurance claims that come with that, PayPal doesn’t provide services to any porn related sites.

    Having noted that, it is how PayPal defines porn that is a really important issue, because the line on which something is porn or is erotica is arbitrary. I am not sure where Cara McKenna’s rape fantasy book would fall or some of Cherise Sinclair’s Shadowlands club books for example and I can think of one of Lynn Lorenz’ that definitely slips over the line under the criteria listed above.

    While Smashwords have attempted to define what this all means for their authors it does seem like PayPal’s definition is along the lines of ‘they know it when they see it’. I am concerned that anything with BDSM in the tags and story is at risk here, missing the point of safe, sane & consensual. In a way I think the biggest impact is on the more mainstream erotica writers who will feel they have to write safer. The porn writers and publishers will have platforms elsewhere.

    edited: just had another thought that these rules will have arisen with visual porn sites – where it is very clear what porn is. The complexity of human sexuality is much more in play in text form where subjectivity rules.

    As to more general censorship we are always at risk of that depending on who/what controls the channels of communication we use. As long as it is in their interests to be hands off they will be. This is a timely reminder that these channels are vulnerable to pressure and to governments.

  26. James Buchanan
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 00:00:43

    @Gwen Hayes:
    as an author…no, not “after the fact.” It doesn’t help.

    Author’s are magpies, we collect phrases, snippets, bits…they stick in our brains. I could forgive a turn of phrase or a descriptive sentence. The big chunks, that’s not sticking, that’s cut and paste.

  27. SAO
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 00:01:35

    I don’t know how you separate rape for titillation from the rest. I remember seeing a cheap newspaper in England which appeared to use police and wire reports of rape for titillation. The paper was clearly aimed at men, and the accounts detailed, but dry. In another context, they’d have been news. Sandwiched between ads for escort services, the impression was quite different.

  28. L.K. Rigel
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 00:03:56


    Some would define making children fight each other to the death while an audience looks on for the sheer enjoyment of it all as porn.

  29. James Buchanan
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 00:04:01

    As an author I will tell you that the US Supreme Court’s definition of Porn is still, “I know it when I see it.”

    It’s all up to the reader to call it as they as they see it…

    Private companies can still do as they want.

  30. Melissa Blue
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 00:04:51

    I can respect the apology. Rarely have I ever seen someone come forth without any excuses. Never. (Notwithstanding the first “apology” which was complete and utter B.S. “See what happened was I thought I tossed this together and then I tossed it around some more and then slapped it on the ‘Nets.”)

    But when you do something of this magnitude nothing will ever be enough. Apologizing doesn’t change the act. Never will and that’s what the people Manning stole from want. That’s the people who trusted her want, for this to all go away. For this to have never happened in the first damn place.

    This is just a mess and for what?

    As for the PayPal thing…Ok. I get PayPal can’t sell certain things without paying huge amounts of money. I don’t see them as the bad guy. If these companies don’t like the terms and conditions PayPal has set out why don’t they take their business elsewhere? The thing is these companies don’t want to pay the money either for the content.

    They make it clear without weasel words PayPal is making us do it. And then say, well we don’t like this stuff either. Not really. Remember though BLAME PAYPAL. *eyeroll* Well, except for Bookstrand that just lied through its teeth altogether.

  31. AM Gray
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 00:09:17

    I just recently started publishing with Smashwords and was concerned by the number of weird titles for erotic stories. I write erotica but avoid rape, bestiality and incest myself. As Mark Coker said in his message, the writers have waved red flags with the obvious titles that suggest incest and rape. Society is against these things too, not just Smashwords. But I kind of agree with @LKRigel – at what point do they extend into other things.
    Re: the plagiarism… yeah, you got caught and now you’re sorry. But you made money off someone else’s words and you’ve done it before. I’m betting you’ll do it again under another name…

  32. Ms T.
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 00:50:16

    @Ann Somerville:


    As abhorent as you may find it, what is icky to you is erotic to someone else. Paypal has made a considerable sum I’m sure from the content that they’ve suddenly decided is “objectionable.” I don’t believe that they’ve suddenly had a breakthrough in content detection that enables them to see what they couldn’t last fiscal quarter.

    A larger concern is that if they can start with someone else’s kink and get away with it, what happens when your thing comes under fire? I would rather support things that I don’t personally find erotic, than to create a precedent for a company to decide what I can or can’t have reasonable access to.

    Yes, their monopoly does take away my reasonable access to erotica of my choosing.

  33. John
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 00:51:29

    For Smashwords I think Mr. Coker was just looking for an excuse to ban those things. Notice he didn’t protest the move at all, he in fact DEFENDED it and said he was bothered by those things as well. I am sure that Paypal makes thousands of dollars a week (if not day) off of smashwords. Coker could have stood up to them, or he could have taken this incident and used it to start a new competitor to Paypal and enlisted all of the other sites that are being censored.
    Also, anyone find it interesting that Gay erotica and porn is being left completely alone? Paypal fears the gay community, but then again a LOT of gay people work there as they’re in the bay. I also find the excuse of ‘well Visa and MC are forcing this on them’ to be a rather blatant lie. ANYONE who does a lot of business with Paypal has their account tied to their bank account. So I’m fairly certain the majority of their transactions don’t deal with any credit card service.
    So much for our left wing friends being bastions of free speech, isn’t it? You’d think all of the people involved were bible thumping right wing christians – only they’re not.

  34. Susan
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 00:53:20

    @L.K. Rigel:

    Look, I’m just a reader, so I may not have much standing in this discussion, but I totally agree with you. This has the potential to be just the first step down a scary path. Who gets to be the judge of what’s permissible, and where does it end?

    I said in a previous posting that the kinds of things being targeted are frequently found in more “mainstream” genres without a ripple of concern. Many mysteries/thrillers, for instance, include scenes of horrifically graphic violence, sometimes sexual. Perhaps the only difference is that they’re not the primary focus of the story. But they are employed for maximum shock value and, yes, possibly titillation. (I can’t claim to be well-versed in the kinds of erotica being targeted but the little I’ve seen seems pathetically silly compared to some other stuff out there.) If a powerful business is successful with enforcing their restrictions on one group of books/ideas, what’s to keep them from expanding to others?

    This material is published in books that people have to make a conscious decision to buy. It’s not being distributed on the streetcorner, put on billboards, shown on TV, read out loud over the radio, whatever, where people can be exposed to it without choice. If someone does choose to buy those written words, they go on to live only in the reader’s mind. And people’s minds are like Vegas–whatever happens there stays there. It’s private, and should be safe from governmental, religious, or business control.

    You could say that businesses have a right to sell or not sell whatever they like. But these businesses aren’t making the decision independently; the decision is being forced on them by an online payment processor of all things.

    You could also say that there are other avenues by which the books can be sold. But once doors start being closed, what’s to keep more of them from closing, right up to the point where all of them are closed and the authors/publishers are effectively silenced?

    I know this material is repugnant to many (most?) people, but I just don’t like the idea of censoring words–written or spoken–that aren’t actively endangering people. (Fire!)

    Sorry for being so long-winded. I’m obviously more passionate than articulate (reader, not writer), but this is something I feel strongly about.

  35. Ms T.
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 01:05:43

    @L.K. Rigel:

    “The decision is only palatable because they’re cutting off stuff people mostly find abhorrent.”

    I don’t believe this statement is as accurate as you may believe. According to this article approximately 40% of women have what falls under “rape fantasies”.

    The things that most people find abhorrent, like child rape, were already prohibited.

    I am firmly convinced that if they will start here, they will go on to flex more unchecked power wherever they can.

  36. Ms T.
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 01:11:45


    John, I don’t think that we read the same information at all. I have erotica published at Smashwords and the letter states that once they received notice on the 18th they began contacting Paypal for clarification on its terminology. Their payment platform is built around Paypal so to say they should immediately be able to offer an alternative is a bit unrealistic.

    I’ve been researching non-Paypal options and the truth is in the short term a lot of people are stuck between a rock and a hard place. There are other payment processing companies out there, but they either charge fees that are beyond most indie authors or they built their business model on Paypal’s with those nebulous references to objectionable.

  37. John
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 01:12:56

    @Ms T.:
    They already are. BDSM is now being banned, spring-fall romances are banned, (but only het, not gay), shifter romances are going to be scrutinized and if they don’t pass they’ll be banned. A lot of erotica is probably going to get banned now too.
    People should go to the smashwords facebook page and let their feelings be known.

  38. J.S. Wayne
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 01:15:32

    I see a very real and tangible danger in PayPal’s heavy-handed maneuvering here. Yes, today it’s that icky stuff that makes people uncomfortable. Okay. But what about tomorrow, when they go after BDSM? Or YA? Or GLBTQ? Or your favorite genre here? Whatever you think of “that kind” of writing, the next time “that kind” could be YOUR kind.
    There is a petition circulating right now to try to get PayPal and credit card companies to stop this behavior before it gets any more out of hand. You can find it at .
    I hate to sound alarmist, but by allowing them to get away with the uncomfortable stuff, it offers them more power to do with as they wish. What’s next?
    As my friend Renee Vickers said: When you stifle conversation about a given topic, you also stifle conversation AGAINST that topic.

  39. John
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 01:16:50

    @Ms T.:
    They could put a MasterCard / Visa system into effect within a couple of days. It’s not like it’s rocket science, it’s a simple plug in. Coker has made a LOT of money off of the porn authors, and now he just throws them under the bus. I write hard sci-fi and some romance as a change of pace. Is my paranormal romance now going to get the ax? Because the guys in it are shifters?
    It would be nice if Coker had some Principles, but then who does in the Bay anymore?

  40. John
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 01:19:56

    scratch going to smashword’s page. they’re deleting any and all comments about the change. Might be time to take my books elsewhere.

  41. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 01:40:43


    “BDSM is now being banned”

    Not remotely true.

  42. Anonny
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 01:45:04

    @ John “Also, anyone find it interesting that Gay erotica and porn is being left completely alone? Paypal fears the gay community, but then again a LOT of gay people work there as they’re in the bay. ”


    “So much for our left wing friends being bastions of free speech, isn’t it? You’d think all of the people involved were bible thumping right wing christians – only they’re not.”

    You are 100 percent right. Don’t have to be thumping on a bible to come off homophobic.

  43. John
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 01:47:18

    @Ann Somerville:

    This excerpt is from the author’s conversation with paypal for their ebook site:

    Under the Acceptable Use Policy, PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments for certain sexually oriented materials or services or for items that could be considered obscene.

    When I asked if “pseudo-incest” was included (since that was mostly all we had on the site) the representative confirmed that yes, that would have to be removed. “What about BDSM?” I asked–a category full of dubious consent. “That would have to be removed as well.”

    That’s right–they weren’t just targeting illegal acts between non-consenting adults. Now they were targeting legal sex between consenting adults.

  44. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 01:47:21

    @Ms T.:
    “what is icky to you is erotic to someone else”

    Absolutely, and as I write some BDSM, I’m wary of what Paypal might do next. However, their restrictions are at this moment narrow, and the reason plausible. They’re going to have trouble enforcing a wider restriction, and they know it.

    My concern with the PI content at Smashwords is that it’s oftentimes very dominant in the listing, so it looks like SW is just another porn/erotica publisher. The covers are cheesy, the titles really quite sick-making, and they give a poor impression.

    Look, the hottest story I know is a bestiality fic. Never fails to get me off. I am so not into real life bestiality, and I abhor it as animal cruelty. I am content for people to write whatever fictional fantasies they like, up to and including murdering and raping babies, because better that they write it out than execute it. Though you can be damn sure I don’t want to read it or see it, I think it shouldn’t be easily available to anyone else, and if you write material like that, I’m going to stay very far away from you.

    I don’t want bestiality or incest stories, or worse, on the front page of *my* publisher, whoever they are. People have enough misconceptions and prejudices about self-pubbed authors as it is. I also don’t want to pay more in fees so Mark Coker can afford a different payment gatement which allows explicit adult content, just so SW can publish these kinds of stories. Paypal won’t allow them, regardless of my personal feelings.

    Paypal does in fact suck. . No question. But Coker has a site to run for thousands of authors, and he’s entitled to be skeeved personally by certain topics.

    @John: “They could put a MasterCard / Visa system into effect within a couple of days. ”

    Yes. And it would cost them a lot of money. A *lot* of money. I know because I build websites for a living, and I know how expensive setting up your own payment gateway can be.

    Your perception of Smashwords and Mark Coker is very much at odds with mine, and I’ve been with SW for two years now. I find him tolerant and accomodating, and he really, really doesn’t have a problem with BDSM, gay fiction or erotica.

    “Is my paranormal romance now going to get the ax? Because the guys in it are shifters?”

    Why don’t you ask him instead of throwing around accusations?

  45. John
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 01:48:54

    I’m gay. Just making an observation.

  46. annabeth albert
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 03:00:03

    How do we know that the *real* Kay Manning wrote the apology? If its her, then I suppose her apology is deserving of respect, but I see it as a ploy to garner sympathy and direct anger & attention away from what she did. If its not illegal or sue-able, it should be. And I don’t think a public apology should deter the affected authors from seeking damages. Should embezzlers who apologize when caught get off? I don’t think so. The apology does *sound* sincere, but how do you trust the sincerty of someone who stole so many works so blatantly? I’m not sure you can. If underlying mental health issues are at work here, I hope she seeks treatment. And I hope she returns the money. That might be proof of sincerty. She does deserve an RWA ban too.

  47. S.A. Garcia
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 03:18:08

    I am a Dreamspinner author with three original novellas released with them. The news about a certain DSP author reaping in the benefits by creative theft is distressing, especially when his next book is , of course, ringing all the bells and whistles.

    I swear I want to give up.

  48. Dani Alexander
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 03:26:09

    I’m sorry, did I read right that Sunita and Sarah will no longer be reviewing for this site at all? Or no longer reviewing DSP? Or just no longer reviewing m/m genre?

  49. S.A. Garcia
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 03:36:44

    @James Buchanan:

    Exactly. How can anyone justify, “whoops, I found this story and thought I wrote it?”

    A writer knows their cadence, their speech patterns, their words, their thoughts.

    Plus a naming convention helps. “SG_11-09_xxxxx. Guess I am too damned organized.

  50. Jayne
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 03:45:37

    @Dani Alexander: They won’t review any more DSP books.

  51. Dani Alexander
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 03:57:31

    @Jayne: Whew! Okay, near-heartfailure avoided. Back to your regularly scheduled program.

  52. Anonny
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 04:00:36

    @John “I’m gay. Just making an observation.”

    This fact just means you didn’t intend to come across in the way I read it.

    ” Paypal fears the gay community, but then again a LOT of gay people work there as they’re in the bay.”

    This still makes my eye twitch. What is the fear? Backlash of being perceived prejudice? If they are coming down hard on people who are giving them money (lots of it) I doubt fear of perception is going to derail this money train.

    Just because the fiction, erotic or not, is gay doesn’t automatically toss it into the incest, rape for titillation and bestiality group. Despite the way some publishers word their no-no, we don’t take not ever guidelines.

    Which is how I read your comment. But, being gay you are fully aware you don’t belong in that same group. So my view of your comment was too just an observation. I’ll admit I was wrong if that’s the case. No biggie.

  53. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 04:18:00


    ““What about BDSM?” I asked–a category full of dubious consent. “That would have to be removed as well.””

    If BDSM is occuring in a story *without* consent, then it’s not BDSM. It’s a rape/domination fantasy or some such. “Dubious consent” is a polite term for rape in erotica. You can’t put rape fic under a BDSM banner and expect it to escape this scrutiny.

    Mark Coker explicitly states “Non-consensual BDSM – or any other form of non-consensual violence against another person – is prohibited.”

    [This is of course badly worded as it seems to ban any kind of violence other than that imposed by consent, yet I doubt murder mysteries and actioners are prohibited.]

    ‘Non-consensual’ – not consensual BDSM. Which is what *I* write. I’m sure Sarah Frantz can explain the concept of Safe Sane and Consensual better than I can.

    Mark Coker has spent a week clarifying terms with Paypal, so I’ll take his interpretation of what Paypal want over Selena’s brief interaction. I’ve also written to Smashwords/Mark C for clarification. If indeed all BDSM is banned, well, there’s not a lot I can do about it. Mark is entitled to run his business the way he wants to or needs to. Paypal have thrown their weight around for years and no one has been able to make them back down. Blaming Smashwords for Paypal’s demands is unreasonable. Calling Mark homophobic over this is just nasty.

  54. Maili
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 04:48:57

    I’m glad that Sunita, SarahF and DA won’t be reviewing Dreamspinner Press books until further notice. At least until DSP revises its submission policy on the reworked fanfic works and the ‘original’ works that heavily borrowed from films and comics.

    It’s not fun or cute to get to the point where I read the blurb of a new DSP book and wonder if it’s another rip-off or a reworked fanfic piece. I mean, many DSP books I read seemed to rip off comics and films, which has me nicknaming DSP ‘Dreamripoffer Press’. This can’t be good for other DSP authors who don’t go down to either route.

  55. Sue Brown
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 05:03:44

    Many authors come into publishing via fanfiction. It doesn’t mean that every one of their books is a rip off of tv shows/films. Penalising other authors from DSP for one perceived (I haven’t read the book, I cannot judge) plagiarism is an extreme backlash.

  56. Max
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 05:10:38

    Paypal needs to get a grip. I do sell my fan fiction, but my own fan fiction which is often so far from the original anyway. I’ve never been comfortable doing fan works for Western media anyway. The laws and expectations are different than with Japanese fandoms.

    I wish there were enough of us to really do something about paypal. I really hate the idea that violence is okay, but sex between consenting adults or the fantasies about other adults that adults have are bad somehow. Sex is good and healthy. Reading about sex is good for you, if you feel inclined to read about sex.

  57. Dani Alexander
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 05:24:04


    Let me state for the record that, although I’m self-published, I love publishing houses. And I support almost every publishing house out there, including e-publishers. I did not self-publish because I have a disdain for traditional publishing. I think it’s important to say I’ve spent nearly $150 in books at DSP over the last year and half before I add:
    I believe that Dreamspinnerpress is sabotaging the m/m market and gay romance. This is not the fault of their authors, who have been creative, original and moving. The authors aren’t the problem. When an author brings a book to a publishing house, they do so in order to make their book better. This is why there are publishing houses. They don’t just wrap it in a beautiful cover, they have editors and proofreaders to make the inside just as gorgeous.

    In an effort to hungrily snarf up as much profits as possible, DSP has used their previously good reputation to begin flooding the market with haphazardly edited (if edited at all) material. In fact, as I recently read (and suspected from the last 4 titles I bought), DSP has not been using editors on every project and has relied on free beta readers.

    Readers should expect quality. Period. And company after company is taking advantage of the niche market in m/m publishing to shove as much out there, as quickly as possible. If it weren’t for companies like Samhain and Riptide Publishing, I would despair that the m/m market was going to lose reader after reader, not because of a disinterest in gay and lesbian romance, but because of poorly crafted stories.

    The saddest part is the beautiful stories out there which aren’t uplifted and crafted into romance art, but which languish in mediocrity. All because DSP no longer cares about quality. I don’t know if that’s true about their bigger authors. I do know it’s true about the last few books I’ve purchased from them. And now I’ve stopped handing them my money. I’d rather give it to Samhain, Carina, MLR and Riptide Publishing.


    PS: I, unfortunately, still buy from DSP because a few of their authors are just aut0-buy from me. Their stories are just too good to boycott the company.

  58. Sarah Frantz
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 05:57:29

    I’m definitely still reviewing here at Dear Author. :) And with Dreamspinner, it’s not just this. It’s a convergence of terrible editing and editorial choices, the open solicitation of fanfic with the serial numbers filed off, to the extent (as Jane links above) of telling authors how to file off the serial numbers, and the many times I’ve been burned with repurposed fanfic, even if the stories are great. The “novelization” of BEAR, OTTER, AND THE KID, is even more egregious to me than the repurposed fanfic, because the copyright violations are more obviously illegal (to my mind). And just…all of it together and I can’t in all good conscience support them anymore by reviewing their books. And I’ve been recommending to authors for months to go somewhere else besides DSP. I regret all the honest authors we’ll miss from them, but hopefully they’ll eventually move to another house.

  59. Sue Brown
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 06:16:09


    Thank you for the extended reply.

  60. Lissa Kasey
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 07:22:06

    Unfortunately, I’ve been seeing a lot of the plagurism thing and it scares the crap out of me as a writer and an author. I agree with Sue about the whole DSP thing. As one of their writers I know they do edit. I get some content editing thought not much, I also have an army of beta readers I use before it goes to the publisher.

    I believe boycotting a publisher because they said something about fan fiction is a bit extreme. I don’t write fan fiction and probably 90% of their authors don’t. They publish a lot of great titles and sure some bad ones. That’s true for every publisher.

  61. KT Grant
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 07:26:59

    Revised fan fiction is going to increase and sell like gangbusters, especially if a fan fic writer has a big enough fan base. Take Fifty Shades of Gray by EL James as an example. It’s been on the NY Times list for the 3rd week now in paperback fiction in the top 30. This week is made the NY Times ebook list at number 26. Because of this I can promise you writers who write fan fiction will try and sell it, and publishers will accept it because it will sell and sell well.

    The year of 2012 seems to be plagiarizing self-published authors and fan fiction going legit, allowing these fan fic writers to make a profit off of it. I thought it was a well known unwritten rule for writing fan fiction is not to sell it for a profit?

  62. Sue Brown
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 07:34:07

    If a book openly plagiarises a movie/book/tv programme then I can understand the outrage, but I cannot understand the need to criticise authors of all genres for using their fanfiction stories, mainly of which bear no relation to the original source, as the start of their published career.

    If there is no copyright infringement then there is no issue.

  63. Emma Petersen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 07:44:19

    @Moira Reid:
    I caught another student plagiarizing my work. I thought it was just a one-time occurrence but I started snooping and found she had copied a total of 17. I was angry but I didn’t react immediately because even though what she did was f*cked up beyond f*cked up, I am very aware of the consequences in academia for plagiarism.

    I know it’s not anyone’s responsibility to protect plagiarists but…what made me hesitate is the WHY. Why do people plagiarize? Laziness? Avarice? Or self-esteem that’s so incredibly bad they don’t think they are capable of validity. They don’t believe their voice is worthy of being heard because they aren’t intelligent enough, articulate enough…just enough. *That* is why I hesitated, because I had the power to ruin someone’s life over an incredible stupid mistake. Before I turned the student in, I needed to know some things. Once I found out those things, I took a few days and really weighed everything out, then made a decision.

    Maybe it is old age that is making me soft but the world we live in is hard. So every time I have to make a decision about something that will affect someone’s life or livelihood I tread carefully. We’re human beings. We mess up, intentionally and unintentionally. Does that mean we’re not worthy of another chance? I’m not saying that plagiarists shouldn’t be caught and/or punished. I’m just saying that the ramifications and pain extends to both sides. A plagiarist is still a person, still has feelings and in my opinion those feelings aren’t any less real because the person who has them made a horrible mistake.

  64. Theresa Milstein
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 07:52:24

    It’s interesting how well this was policed by commenters/readers. How many of these plagiarisms occur that aren’t caught?

  65. Sirius
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 07:56:45

    I was scared myself when I read that Sunita and Sarah won’t be reviewing anymore and I am glad to hear that they won’t be reviewing Dreamspinner stuff anymore. I am quite fed up with this publisher myself,although I am not planning on completely stop buying from them. Sadly several authors I like a lot are still with them and I definitely want to support those authors. I cannot make a judgment on latest plagiarism scandal, but have the book and try to persevere through very soon ( could not manage more than few pages when I bought it). But as to reworking fan fiction – I can state with absolute certainty that a lot more than one of their authors do that. Off the top of my head I can name five or six works that people uncovered as being former fanfictions. And I am actually of more relaxed view about publishing former fanfiction – I think when au story is written in the first place and characters are almost unrecognisable, there was not much of fanfiction there to begin with, but mostly original story. So to me sometimes such stories draw very fine line between being inspired by the work and fanfiction. Having said that, that still should not happen as a rule IMO, as the policy of the publishing house?! Should not your first thought as a writer be that you are going to create original story and not that you will rework tour fanfiction to sell? I am not a writer but i feel that i am missing something very obvious here. I used to read tons of fanfiction when I was in Harry Potter fandom, including slash (no i never wrote it) and I loved it, still do, but unless your characters and story are only vaguely inspired by that world, without original work your story would have never existed, right? I mean that article by their editor giving tips how to lie and make sure that your former fanfiction is unrecognisable by fans just makes my head hurt a lot. And do not get me started on content editing and copy editing of this publisher. Sigh. So yeah totally understand why both Sunita and Sarah are fed up.

  66. Charles Wells
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 08:02:39

    I’m a suspsene thriller author.. on Amazon and Smashwords and their outlets as well. All of my books are rated PG.. but I will stand by the rights of Romance Writers and Erotic stories.. just because I don’t read them or even like them, doesn’t mean I disagree with the ‘moralist” deciding what can or can’t be published. Let the writers write.. let the moralist complain.. but never let one run over or silence the other.
    Chas Wells Author Whispering Pines

  67. Sirius
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 08:13:43

    Sue Brown, I confess I do not understand how fanfiction could have no relation to its original source. By definition IMO it always does have such a relation. As I said in my previous post I know of fanfiction stories that originally were just inspired by the source, so those I could forgive being published, those to me were originally bad fanfictions but good original stories, but they are still inspired by the source. I have no problem with inspiration, original works are inspired by something else too all the time IMO. There was another fanfiction scandal last year (or was it in 2010) with loved and popular Dreamspinner work as being a former fanfiction (and it was). I still love that book, I have no problem with it being published, because I have not recognized original characters and to me that’s the key pretty much, but even in that story people found some similarities which IMO make it the work at least influenced by the source a lot.

  68. Mireya
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 08:41:46

    Selling fan fiction… let the lawsuits begin…

  69. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 08:44:24

    Well, damn . . . Where and when exactly did Dreamspinner post these “instructions”? I’m sincerely curious. This is the first time I’ve seen the issue come up. I’ve never written or read a word of fanfic — have no interest in it whatsoever — so maybe I’m out of the loop. (Oops, never mind; I just found your link.)

    Two more questions. How many other houses have either intentionally or inadvertently published recycled fanfic? (I’m betting quite a few.) Has anybody looked into that? And, if a writer is changing up his/her own fanfic story, does that still constitute some sort of transgression?

    Believe me, I’m not being disingenuous. I’m not familiar with either the legalities or ethics of fan fiction, so I’m just trying to grasp what the problem is and why DSP is being shunned.

  70. Cris
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 08:47:30

    I loved Bear, Otter and the Kid and had never heard of Shelter, so I just watched it and while there are a lot of obvious similarities and the movie was probably the inspiration for the book, people saying that there are scene by scene rip-offs are, in my opinion, nuts.

    I honestly do not think that TJ Klune should be in any way painted with the same brush as Janet Daily and Kay Manning. I strongly suggest people read the book then watch the movie (or vice versa) and draw their own conclusions.

  71. Suleikha Snyder
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 08:52:52

    I think PayPal restrictions forcing sites like Smashwords to crack down is a slippery slope, as is the discussion of what should and shouldn’t be censored. “Well, I write XYZ, and that’s fine, but that thing that other author writes…well, that should be banned!” Consider R. Lee Smith’s works, which have been lauded on this very site and are rife with gratuitous violence against women and graphic sexual humiliation. (I’m actually on a break from Heat while I recover enough to read the rest.) If the DA reviewers and commenters didn’t think Smith was a fantastic author, would it be okay to cut Smith’s works from sites that work with PayPal? Sure, there’s enough consensual sex in Heat for it to be “safely” erotic, but what if someone does get titillated by all the rape in it? Does that suddenly make the book not okay? Do we have to start asking readers what gets them off in order to decide if the content is something you’re “morally allowed” to make money off of?

    Flowers in the Attic and the A Song of Ice and Fire series both have canon incest that no one blinks an eye at. And, sure, there is a wide gulf between those works and something that belongs on Literotica, rather than Smashwords or Amazon’s erotic romance pages, but whose job is it to judge? Should it really be PayPal’s?

  72. Dani Alexander
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 08:54:40

    @K. Z. Snow:

    so I’m just trying to grasp what the problem is and why DSP is being shunned.

    This is not so easily explained, KZ, as it is not just down to their fanfiction. As I mentioned in my post above, I think DSP might be treating their bigger authors differently, but on the whole, the latest books from DSP have been unedited or poorly edited nightmares. Continuity issues, malapropisms, their/they’re and yes “there” mix-ups. Other than some of my favorite authors, I can’t justify spending money over there.

    It’s not that I expect perfection in writing, it’s that when they put a book up for sale at $6.99+, I expect it to be that cost because they have to pay cover artists, editors or, at the very least, proofreaders. What they are doing is a disservice to the really great writers on DSP, who signed up when the publisher was just growing and not about rushing products out to market.

    DSP is being singled out because it has become a book mill rather than a publisher.

    Much of what they’re buying is stories that were offered for free on, and They just aren’t giving these stories professional level editing. I know because I’ve spent so much money over there only to be disappointed and disgusted with what could have been a promising new author/story.

  73. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 08:55:23

    @K. Z. Snow: The link to the Dreamspinner Editor’s instructional post is in the section re DSP:

    Apparently Klune is amused by this accusation and why not? Dreamspinner Press gives instructions on how to turn fan fiction into published work. First step, change the names!

    It’s Sunita and Sarah F’s call. My understanding is that this is the last straw for them regarding DSP, not just an isolated instance.

    And yes, we have reviewed recycled fan fiction here (some knowingly and some not). There was one by Diann Sylvan which is Vampire Diary fan fiction.

  74. Sirius
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 08:55:50

    KZ Snow the link to “Ethics of reworking fanfiction” is in the body of the post. It did not open for you?

    Cris, that is why I am reading the book this weekend. I have a friend who is far from being a humongous fan of the book and who loves Shelter ( as I do) but she also disagrees , she feels that while there similarities in the plot, the writer created completely original characters. I have to know now, although when I tried initially – I hated narrator’s voice. We shall see what I think now.

  75. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 08:59:20

    If fan fiction is supposed to be an homage, why aren’t fan fic creators up front about the origin of their work?

  76. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 09:00:21

    @Cris: Is the song reprinted in its entirety without license? That would be infringement, wouldn’t it? Or is other artist’s work free game for authors?

  77. Melissa Stevens
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 09:03:45

    Because it’s illegal to use someone else’s intellectual property in that way. I know of authors who will pursue fan-fiction because it is theft of their characters, their property. Others are not so aggressive.

  78. Emma Petersen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 09:07:30

    Good question. Anyone got an answer?

  79. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 09:09:06

    @Melissa Stevens: It isn’t always illegal (and I’m adverse to the word illegal in terms of copyright infringement but nonetheless). As for authors pursuing, I don’t think I’ve seen a lawsuit or even a filing of one against a fan fic author so unless that happens, I don’t see pursuit as very serious. I’d love to see this tested in a court of law.

  80. Dani Alexander
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 09:19:53

    @Jane: Actually, I researched this very thing when coming up with my book. I removed two lyrics (barely six words each) from my book as well as lines (attributed lines) from Butch Cassidy and ths Sundance Kid.

    There are loads of posts about this on the internet. Suffice to say that using even one line of lyrics from a song can cost $500-$1500, depending on the record label.

    Check out for more information (though I found an entire blog post about it where the author racked up $1500 £4,401.75. in fees because of the infringement-I’ll go looking for that post).

    edited to add: Here it is :

  81. Fae
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 09:53:53

    @Maili: Believe me, Maili, those of us (DSP authors) who don’t go down that route are VERY concerned about the impression this kind of thing casts on us and the original work we spend so much time and effort on. All of my work with them is several years old, but it’s still there and thus I am associated with them.

    I’ve contacted the publisher at DSP about this and am hoping for some kind of resolution or statement from them regarding how they are going to handle the issue and how they plan to keep this from happening in the future. Because I don’t enjoy having my name (and hence my reputation) tied to a publisher that endorses things like this.

  82. Dreamspinner Press: Reputation Goes From Bad To Worse | The Naughty Bits
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 09:54:02

    […] From: Dear Author ~ Saturday News: No Deals Just Stupidity and Smashwords Concedes to Paypal Terms […]

  83. Throwmearope
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 09:56:52

    I’m afraid I read the apology a bit more cynically than other posters. It sounded to me as if she leaped to the apology about plagiarism only after people started jumping to the conclusion that if she steals writers’ words, she might be stealing their RWA dues as well.

    I find her statement that she couldn’t steal the RWA dues because she doesn’t have access to the money to be disingenuous.

    But, still, good that she didn’t say her mother (her bipolar disorder, her multiple personality disorder, the devil or whatever) made her do it.

  84. Author on Vacation
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 09:56:53

    @Emma Petersen:

    Emma, you present a solid and very well-balanced position concerning this important issue.

    For my part, I have known authors who plagiarize and the sense I have of the situation is they are simply lazy and lacking in ethics. I’ve known authors who are quite talented who still opt to plagiarize.

    In the past I was friends with an author who claimed she never read books because she feared being “influenced” and “accidently plagiarizing” another author’s work. Her concern didn’t trickle down to plagiarizing unpublished work, though.

    Over time I came to realize she surrounded herself with other authors (either unpublished authors or authors less advanced than she in their publishing careers) and participated in all kinds of “brainstorming” type writing exercises. I have numerous mini-manuscripts I coauthored with this person which she alleged we would publish jointly. Later on, she abruptly excused herself from the projects and declined to release the unfinished work to me so I could complete it and publish it individually.

    I discovered she had published numerous ebooks, many of them based on tropes and premises we explored in our jointly authored work. She had co-published them with ANOTHER author I don’t know personally.

    I strongly suspect if I purchased and read her published works I’d find at least some plagiarism and/or paraphrasing from our own collaborative efforts.

    I’ve come to grudgingly respect the diabolical wisdom of this author’s actions. It’s much easier to steal another author’s work if it’s unpublished, particularly when the author has little or no publishing experience. If the plagiarist is a prolific author, s/he can release the work more quickly than his/her victim. S/he’s definitely less likely to be held accountable than a plagiarist who exploits published works by better known authors.

    With all that said, the offending author wasn’t a lousy writer. I considered her quite gifted and I can only assume that she rationalized her actions as not being actual plagiarism because she didn’t lift the plagiarized material out of a published book. The fact that she was exploiting other authors didn’t seem to bother her. When I attempted to discuss it with the author, she demanded I cease all contact with her.

    I don’t do collaborative projects anymore. No exceptions. And I keep a healthy distance away from any author claiming s/he never reads because s/he’s afraid of “being influenced” and “accidental plagiarism.” Nor will I purchase books by authors I’ve heard make similar claims. Reading is one of the ways authors grow, observe various styles, and hone their own talents. It’s one of the ways authors gain new ideas and inspiration. If the author isn’t achieving this process via reading and studying of writing, s/he is probably “borrowing” from others.

    Sorry for a long post.

  85. Kat
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 09:59:36

    Hey people, don’t feel too sorry for this plagiariser Kay Manning/Payton Bradshaw/Kristal Singletary or whatever else she might be calling herself – she has only apologised because we – me and other writing colleagues – outed her and didn’t believe the pathetic excuse she first offered up, which was –

    ‘I know no one would believe it but it was an honest mistake. I put this story in the wrong folder on my computer and actually thought it was mine that I started a long time ago. If I really wanted to ‘steal it’ do you honestly think I would have put it up for free? What do I benefit off it?’

    Yes you did steal it as you have since admitted, and not just once, but many times over. You are despicable and ought to be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. Thank your lucky stars it isn’t as yet going any further. If it was me you’d done that too, I would sue you.

    Why on earth did you do it? Don’t you have enough of an imagination to make up your own stories? It’s one thing to admire a writer and want to be like them, but another thing entirely to steal their work.

    I think people on here are being very kind to you, much more than you deserve, but then it didn’t happen to them. If you’d done that to me, I wouldn’t forgive you. Our stories are our work, it’s how many of us writers earn our living, so people who steal another writer’s work are – in effect – stealing the food from their table.

    I really hope you are punished for this and that what you have done stays with you. If there’s such a thing as Karma, then you will get what you deserve.

  86. L.K. Rigel
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:07:53

    @Author on Vacation:

    I briefly participated in a challenge room on a pretty popular site where a bunch of authors would do a timed write then share what they’d done. Later in a published book by one of those authors I saw some stuff very close to a unique scenario I’d shared in that group. It felt crappy. Close enough to think, hey, that’s my idea! But she published it first, and I was unpublished at the time. Who’s going to believe me?

    Some people don’t mind stealing – whether it’s pirates stealing the actual books or “authors” stealing the work of real writers and calling it their own.

    I don’t share my unpublished work with anyone but trusted friends, editors, and beta readers now.

  87. Cris
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:08:37

    @Jane: To be honest, I don’t recall the lyrics to a song being in the book (other than the silly songs that the Kid makes up) and I don’t know the name of the song that’s supposed to be used. I even did a search in the book for “song” and nothing like that came up. If someone has a few lines that I can search, I’ll try again and have an opinion on it then.

  88. Tamara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:08:53


    I contacted them as well. I would encourage all Dreamspinner Press authors to do so, in the hope Dreamspinner will make the statement they should have made much earlier.

  89. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:18:52

    @Dani Alexander: Since I’m not one of their top-tier authors, I can’t address the issue of preferential treatment. But is this how you interpret the crux of the issue? “DSP is being singled out because it has become a book mill rather than a publisher.”

    A publisher turning into a “book mill” is a valid concern. However, a publisher recycling fanfic is a considerably murkier issue. And I guarantee DSP isn’t the only one who’s done it.

  90. Dani Alexander
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:22:22

    @Cris: My other comment is in moderation but it’s appropos to this. I think the song lyrics aren’t attributed. The lyrics used are from a song that I know: Come Home by One Republic (oddly I used the song title in my book, but no lyrics. I explained why in my post still in moderation).

    “The fight for you is all I’ve ever known” was changed to “The Fight for you was all I ever knew” or something along those lines (I’m not sure I have the quote incorrect). I’d link the review (Lori k is the reviewer who pointed this out), but I’m afraid if I put anymore links I’ll be in moderation again LOL!

    I only know those lyrics exist int he book in some form because it came as a status update on my Goodreads page. I’ve never read the book. I don’t know if more than that line is used in the story. I’ve neither read it, nor the reviews for it. I have no idea if more than that was used in the book directly or indirectly.

  91. Roslyn Holcomb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:24:47

    Plagiarism baffles me. I have so many ideas of my own that I don’t have time to write them all. I don’t have the time to write other people’s ideas. (not that I would anyway, but still). My writing partner and I are discovering that we bounce ideas off each ither so much that it’s almost impossible to tell who originated it. We’ll probably have to be more careful with documentation, though it hasn’t really presented a problem yet.

    As for Paypal and the slippery slope. See, here’s the thing. Paypal is a corporation, they probably wouldn’t care if opened a bookstore called Scat is Us, as long as they don’t have to pay higher rates for it. My guess is thatvthey either didn’t know or care what the vendors sold until the chargebacks started costing them money. The insurance companies use actuarial tables to calculate the number of chargebacks a vendor should have. When you exceed that, your rates go up. Period. Presumably, if the profits to be made exceeded the costs they would go along with it. If not, cut it off.

    I also suspect this is tied to the piracy issue as well. We all know that erotica is heavily pirated. We also know that the sites pay their “affiliates” for traffic. It would make good sense to see rhat the uploaders are using stolen credit cards numbers (which I understand boosters sell by the hundred on underground sites) to buy the books they then upload. It’s roughly a month before the card owner finds out that someone has bought thousands of dollars worth if books on their dime. And of course, they demand a refund of everything over $50 in accordance with the law. The card company demands their money back from Paypal who files an insurance claim. Enough of this activity and Paypal is left holding the bag for a helluva lot if money.

    Will this trickle down to effect erotica outside the proscribed categories? My guess is it probably already has. Because of the high fraud/piracy rate erotica probably already costs Paypal more. Fortunately for us, thus for the profit to be made has apparently made it worth it. This is why they’re trying to oarse it rather than eliminate it altogether.

  92. Fae
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:28:10

    @Tamara: I was told the publisher was getting her hands on the movie to watch and compare to the book herself. I do think the more authors contact them about this, the better.

  93. Dani Alexander
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:29:34

    @K. Z. Snow: KZ, for me the problem was not recycled fanfic. I think that’s perfectly acceptable as long as when they mean “recycled'”, they mean it was an AU story int eh first place or it would be unrecognizable as fanfic when altered. That’s a difficult thing to accomplish, imo. But it is possible.

    For me the problem with DSP is the subpar editing that has been shoved out there onto us. And paying that much for a book is frustrating to say the least.

    With what’s happening at DSP, I’m so worried that the next thing to happen is that it ends up the way AMP did with the publishers taking their money and running. I fear for the authors there. WHen publishers stop caring about their product, they stop caring about their authors and readers and that’s when greediness becomes desperation.

    I’m not generally an alarmist. That’s so not my bailiwick. But with the growing concern over this, the number of people that I see promising not to review/spend money at DSP, it’s something I fear is bound to happen.

    I hope I’m wrong. I hope what happens is that they see the error of their ways and begin thinking less about gross profits and more about long-term profitability. GLBTQ romance deserves better than to be treated how it’s being treated. We’re already a marginalized class of citizens. Being taken advantage of is even lower in my estimation.

    It’s a sad situation because some of the authors at DSP are such beautiful writers.

  94. CourtneyLee
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:30:51

    SarahF and Sunita no longer reviewing DSP works saddens me, but I understand completely. I’ve loved many novels from DSP and the idea that they have step-by-step instructions for “hiding” the fanfic origins of a book makes me feel like they want to dupe me because I have positive associations with them. That does not make me want to go browse their catalogue the next time I have some book money.

    I agree with those who said that if people familiar with both the source material and the fanfic can’t identify the connection without being told, there isn’t enough of the original in the fanfic to really count it as fanfic. If no one had told me that Zero at the Bone by Jane Seville was based on characters from Brokeback Mountain, I never would have guessed and that book remains one of my favorite MM novels.

    Here’s to hoping that the people at DSP get back on track. It’d be really sad if they can’t or won’t get back to what made them popular in the first place.

  95. ~mouse
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:32:55

    @Tamara: & @fae, there are a handful of authors at Dreamspinner that if one was around LotR RPS a few years back you can point and go vigorli, vigbean, orlibean, urbana, banabloom, & so on. (And one such I bought knowingly because a computer crash wiped out my saved copy of the fanfic, had the same damned typo that irked me in the fanfic in the reworked pro version) Needless to say when it comes to Dreamspinner all I’ve ever bought has been knowingly revamped LotR RPS because I lost the story and had loved it as fanfic. I have never touched Dreamspinner otherwise for the same reasons, and their editor giving instructions on how to make sure your J2 doesn’t read like J2 just reinforces that.

    There are plenty of fic authors that are as good or better than pro authors in ability to tell a story. There are a lot of RPS stories that are only a half step off original writing all together with nothing more than a recognizable name and hair/eye color in characters, but damn it. Encourage them to write the next thing wholly their own instead of reworking an insta-backlist, dreamspinner.

  96. Cris
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:38:23

    @Dani Alexander: I just did a search, and yes, those words come up several times as statements, not as song lyrics. That doesn’t strike me as plagiaristic, it’s not like he quoted the entire song – or even a stanza – and claimed Bear wrote it. I don’t know about everyone else, but when I hear a song, sometimes a good line will stick in my head and become part of my every day vernacular.

    It’s certainly up to you if you think of that as egregious, but I don’t.

  97. Moira Reid
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:38:59

    @Emma Petersen and @library addict.

    You ladies are very kind. If I ever commit a crime, I sincerely hope you’re both on my jury. I, however, am not ready to be as understanding. I will keep the rest of my opinions about this woman and her stealing/apology to myself though. We’ll agree to disagree on this one. :-)

  98. Kat
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:46:03

    Moira, I think you are being too kind. Maybe the thieving plagiariser ought to know how us real writers feel about her and what’s she’s done!

  99. Tamara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:47:01

    @K. Z. Snow:

    I know NYC-published authors who are selling recycled fan fic. Some of it contains just the germ of the fanfic with a whole new story written around it. Some basically the same story with the names changed. There are enough shades of gray (so to speak) to make this a complicated issue.

    I’m more bothered by the author who takes (allegedly) a movie script and rewrites it scene by scene to pass it off as his own original work. And since the author apparently admitted doing so, it’s not even in contention whether he did, but simply a fact that the book was taken almost wholesale from a movie. If I were the screenwriter, I don’t think I’d be too happy about it.

    As an author at the same publisher, I’m disheartened, to say the least. I think the majority of authors work damned hard to produce good original fiction. Meanwhile, authors who trade pride of accomplishment for expediency (or whatever it is that leads someone to steal other work) win a whole lot of bad publicity that seems, these days, merely to improve sales. How you fight that, besides standing your own ground and applauding those reviewers, writers, and readers who stand theirs, I don’t know.

    Really disheartening.

    I expect grown-up professionalism from people. Why am I always so disappointed?

  100. Dani Alexander
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:49:17

    @Cris: Aye, Cris, I think it’s subjective. I have no idea what’s in the book. I just saw the one tiny quote on my status updates page. And it caught my eye because I love that song and that particular lyric as well =).

  101. Jami Gold
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:51:01

    I agree with the statements by some of the commenters here. Yes, an apology was offered, but what now? If actual profits were made, shouldn’t those be forfeit?

    Besides, I think many (not all, but many) plagiarists are liars on the pathological scale. Think about how much you’d have to lie to yourself to justify your actions.

    Several months back, I wrote about another exposed plagiarist: Terrell Mims ( He eventually apologized to his mentor and disappeared for a few months. However, he never deleted his Twitter account (just set it to private), never apologized on his Facebook page (where his friends from outside the writing world would hear of his crime), and he waited for the storm to blow over.

    Now, he’s re-imagined himself as a “real” author simply by changing his name. His same old Twitter account now has the name AUTHOR Chris DeLaune (@AuthorCDeLaune –, and he talks about working on his new novel.

    Plagiarists think they can get away with this crap because they can–and do. And that’s what’s so sad about this situation. The victims get nothing but victimized, and the criminal only has to cry “my bad” for a brief time and wait for people’s attention to wander. Then when they think no one is watching, they start over again.

    Well, to Terrell/Chris, Manning, and all the other plagiarists out there, let me tell you one thing:

    The internet has a short attention span but a *very* long memory.
    –We will always be watching you.
    —-And we will never trust you again.

  102. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:51:36

    @Dani Alexander I’m aware of this. My point was that authors are very protective of their own intellectual property but often seem careless about others.

  103. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:54:18

    @Jane: As far as I know, fan-fiction is always illegal to distribute. I have seen some authors talk about it, and they seem to not mind when it is distributed for free. I have seen some say they strongly object to people charging for their fan-fiction.
    Legally, the characters are also copyrighted, not only the text. So if you sell fan-fiction and someone sues you for it, I doubt you have any legal defense at all.

    Since it seems that selling fan-fiction is starting to become common, I wouldn’t be surprised if an author or a publisher will sue someone that is high-profile/has earned a lot of money in/from fan-fiction to get that message out. I would not take the chance of charging for fan-fiction.

  104. Tamara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:59:50


    Good. That’s a start. Thank you.

  105. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:10:27

    @Weirdmage: No fan fictions not per we illegal to distribute. It depends on how close to the canon it adheres. There is no special copyright rule for fan fiction. It falls under derivative works rule.

  106. Dani Alexander
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:16:02

    This is one area where I don’t think that the legal issues should be as important as the moral ones. I know I won’t get a consensus on this, but it seems to me that an author can and should be able to tell when they cross the line from stealing someone else’s work and when they just gained inspiration from it.

    Fanfic is tricky because, unless it’s AU and the characters are nothing like the originals in personality, back story and there is no similarity to the world-building, it’s not publishable for profit imo. In that case, it’s just inspiration. The moment you borrow settings, character traits, back history, you infringe on copyright.

    For the record, I have never read BOATK and I probably never will (because I just don’t have time to read while writing these days, unless it’s research), so I have no dog in this fight. I don’t know if it was inspired by or actually copied the storyline.

  107. Kate R
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:19:45

    So about that paypal thing. Will some of Georgette Heyer’s books get pulled? Because she has a bunch featuring cousins marrying cousins and that seems to qualify as incest in many places. And as someone else pointed out–there goes Game Of Thrones.

  108. Robin/Janet
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:24:01

    For those who have been told that fan fiction is “illegal” or illegitimate, I suggest checking out the Organization for Transformative Works ( One of its founders is Naomi Novik.

    Re. the PayPal thing, what I don’t understand is why sexual content is always targeted, while extreme, graphic violence is barely noted or questioned.

  109. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:24:08

    @Tamara: “I’m more bothered by the author who takes (allegedly) a movie script and rewrites it scene by scene to pass it off as his own original work.”

    I agree, Mara. That’s far and away the most troubling allegation. But since I’ve neither seen the movie nor read the book, I’m in no position to judge.

    Equally disturbing, though, are the accusations (not by you, hon) of DSP churning out crap. Yet, nobody seems willing to provide examples of the crap. Show me the crap, damn it! Ditch the vague allusions and call it by its name! I don’t care if it’s my own crap or somebody else’s crap. I just want to know what, exactly, is perceived as crap — and I especially want to know if my crap is crap (even though I don’t know fanfic from Florence Henderson)!

    Uh, gee . . . I just realized y’all might think I’m a tad vexed by this. So I’ll take my exclamation points and go home now. ;-)

  110. KT Grant
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:25:41

    If Pay Pal is against incestuous books, do they allow their services to be used to buy such books as VC Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic? How about Lolita that features pedophilia with a 50 something year old man and a 13 year old girl where oral sex is involved? What about the recent young adult brother and sister incest book, Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma?

  111. LG
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:26:13

    @Fae: I’m glad to hear that DSP authors who are actually writing wholly original work are concerned about this. As a past purchaser of DSP books, I’m now wondering about everything I’ve read and still have sitting in my TBR pile. I think this it the third case of repackaged fanfic I’ve heard about coming out of DSP. I purposefully avoided the other ones I had heard about, no matter how many people raved about them, and wondered why DSP was continuing to sell them. I guess now I know.

  112. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:27:39

    @Throwmearope: hey….long time no see!!!

  113. Maili
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:29:20


    Legally, the characters are also copyrighted

    Not always true. The best form of protecting a fictional character is trademark, but even then it’s still pretty difficult to prove it’s not a generic character, e.g. a devil, even if it has a specific look, personality and name. When registering or trademarking a fictional character, a creator has to prove that his or her expression of that devil is distinctive enough for any reader to assume any piece of work featuring a character that resembles the creator’s devil character was done by the creator.

    For example, when one sees a comic featuring Mickey Mouse, one might assume it’s a Disney work when it isn’t, which could affect the reputation of the Disney brand. This is pretty much a basis the Disney people used to trademark Mickey Mouse and such, so that – among other reasons – no one can use Mickey Mouse in a non-Disney work without written permission.

    I believe it’s much more complicated and tougher for text-based fictional characters, though. I won’t go there because I don’t know much about it. In fact, I can’t quite go further than what I’ve said so far :D because my knowledge is pretty much limited to Japan’s IP laws. As far as I know, the fact that copyrighting fictional characters isn’t that easy or straightforward is usually the case for most countries. It’s really a good idea for one to double check with a proper IP solicitor or lawyer about this sort of thing if one’s that serious.

    As a whole, though, readers usually are the best form of protection for most creators as it’s usually the readers who spot the dodgy ones. Nora Roberts/Janet Dailey was due to a reader recognising Roberts’s passages in Dailey’s works, for example.

  114. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:31:54

    “There is no special copyright rule for fan fiction. It falls under derivative works rule. ”
    That is kind of my point. If I write a story with Gandalf from LotR set in the modern day I can guarantee you I will be sued. If I write the same story about a wizard who is not like Gandalf and not named Gandalf I am safe, but then it would not be fan-fiction.

    If you use characters that someone else creates you are infringing on their copyright. And if you are writing fan-fiction you are doing that, or am I mistaken? If you look at a films copyright notice, you’ll see that it explicitly states that includes the characters.

    I am 99.9% certain that distributing fan-fiction is illegal. But if there is a copyright lawyer reading this who knows I am wrong, please weigh in, and I’ll admit I am.
    As I said above, I have seen authors say they approve of/tolerate fan-fiction. I have not seen an author say they are fine with people making money off fan-fiction. -But again, I have no problem with being proved wrong should I be.

  115. Maili
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:33:04

    @Fae: I do feel for many DSP authors in this case. I hope it’ll be sorted out soon enough. Best of luck! Thanks.

  116. Throwmearope
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:35:05

    Sends hugs and waves HI! to Shiloh. Been stuck in a big project at work, so mostly I just lurk.

  117. Dani Alexander
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:36:03

    @K. Z. Snow: KZ, I’m reluctant to name and shame with authors who I think had a chance at a story but who were let down. I’m just not ready to do that.

    Can I suggest you read some of the reviewers (the professional reviewers I mean) on Goodreads who have pointed out these editing errors? Hopefully they’ll chime in here and point it out. TeddyPig also points it out in his blog, though he’s sometimes a little too… acerbic for me =D, I do agree with his comments about DSP.

    I know the last book I bought there was Again by Mary Calmes and your book, Visible Friend, and nothing jumped out at me editorial-wise. But it took me weeks to buy them because the three books before that were riddled with errors.

  118. Author on Vacation
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:36:32

    @Jami Gold:

    Besides, I think many (not all, but many) plagiarists are liars on the pathological scale. Think about how much you’d have to lie to yourself to justify your actions.

    I think it really boils down to dishonesty/lying coupled with disrespect for boundaries.

    Motive also plays an important role in someone’s decision to plagiarize. I don’t plagiarize because I understand it’s an illegal, unethical action, BUT … as an artist, I harbor ambitions to produce the best quality work I can and to produce art that reflects my unique understanding and experiences of the world. I write fiction because I enjoy it, I’m good at it, and it means something to me. To me, the creative process is the major component of my happiness with the writing craft.

    Not every author feels this way. Some authors crave profit. Some authors are attention whores. They are not so concerned with their work’s quality as they are with publishing X books a year, earning $X a year, and receiving praise and public recogition for their work.

    It isn’t that someone wanting to succeed as a professional author shouldn’t be concerned with these things, but if they outweigh artistic evolution and the author lacks ethics and doesn’t respect appropriate boundaries, it’s easy to see how the author (and even the author’s publishing team/s) might not have a problem with plagiarism if it helps the author achieve more releases and higher sales figures.

    Furthermore, as other contributors have already pointed out, authors guilty of plagiarism don’t face significant consequences. Unless they’ve produced a runaway bestseller and millions of dollars are at stake, it’s unlikely the author will be sued. Even if s/he is sued, s/he can usually pay a settlement amount AND continue reaping profits off the work. Publishers don’t automatically remove plagiarized works (especially if they sell well or at least consistently.)

    Even attention-whore plagiarist authors won’t suffer because … HELLO! … scandal = attention = gratified attention-whore. True, there might be half an hour of sheepish embarrassment, but they still have attention, profits, and fans.

    In fact, the ONLY authors who MIGHT experience mortification are those who recognize plagiarism is wrong and who care about doing the right thing. These authors probably would not plagiarize in the first place.

    So … At the end of the day, authors willing to dirty their hands stand to gain more than lose.

  119. LG
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:40:08

    @~mouse: “There are a lot of RPS stories that are only a half step off original writing all together with nothing more than a recognizable name and hair/eye color in characters, but damn it. Encourage them to write the next thing wholly their own instead of reworking an insta-backlist, dreamspinner.”

    Yes, this exactly.

    I’m sure writing good, book-length fanfic takes a long time, but that time just needs to be looked at as valuable practice time. I figure that, if anyone writing fanfic starts to think their work is good enough to sell, they need to take the time they were using to write fanfic and move onto writing original fiction. If they don’t think they can do that…then maybe they aren’t as good as they think they are.

  120. Liz Mc2
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:41:42

    @Cris: It’s true that many of us go around with song lyrics in our heads and think/say things like “hope I die before I get old.” But if someone publishes a novel that quotes song lyrics, whether or not they are presented as song lyrics or as something original to the character, that is infringement on the lyricist’s rights. The fact that it’s realistic for a character to have those lyrics in his/her head or to quote them doesn’t make it less infringing.

    I have seen plenty of published works that do quote lyrics. There are credits on the copyright page and typically the publisher has paid a (sometimes hefty) licensing fee. Just as an arena or other venue that plays music pays a licensing fee for the right to do so.

  121. willaful
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:42:06

    @Cris: Thanks for pointing this out. Disclaimer: I have neither read the book nor seen the movie. But it’s seemed that people are taking one book review as gospel truth without further investigation.

  122. LVLMLeah
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:42:36

    What I don’t understand about PayPal’s policy is how do they make the decision that a book fits in their banned category.

    Will they have people reading each and every book that contains a rape to decide whether it’s for titillation or not? And what is the criteria for deciding that it’s for that?

    Are they just basing it on the cover, blurb or tags? Or do they scan the books for particular words or phrases? Or are they taking the word of the book sellers like SW that they are not offering those unacceptable books? And if so, how does SW decide as well? Are they having people reading those books?

    Really, how are those unacceptable books actually filtered out from those that contain consensual sex or relationships that contain questionable ( to them) acts? And who decides that in practical terms?

  123. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:44:54

    I did, this is from their FAQ:

    “If fanfiction is legitimate, doesn’t that mean publishers or studios can produce derivative works without compensating original authors?

    No. Profit matters, and the degree of transformative quality matters: telling stories around a campfire, freely sharing nonprofit fanfiction, summarizing plot in a book review, or making a documentary film about fans is not the same as a major commercial derivative enterprise like making a major TV miniseries out of a novel.”


    “Does the OTW support the commercialization of fanfic?

    The mission of the OTW is first and foremost to protect the fan creators who work purely for love and share their works for free within the fannish gift economy, who are looking to be part of a community and connect to other fans and to celebrate and to respond to the media works that they enjoy.”

    It seems that they too are saying that profiting from fan-fiction is illegal. And from what I know from copyright law, money doesn’t really matter. It’s just that no-one sues people if there’s no money to be gotten.

  124. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:47:35

    One thing about an apology-a real one is taking responsibility for your actions. Too often, the apologies we see are doled out like, ‘Well, I did it, but I thought… or, it was because…’

    Somebody mentioned lawsuits, and I think it’s worth mentioning that the apology she offered would probably make things harder on her. It strikes me as a bluntly stated admission of guilt-isn’t that something lawyers despise? If she’s trying to legally CYA with this, it wasn’t smart on that front.

    However, it was a mature move, IMO.

    Most ‘apologies’ we see aren’t real apologies-. We see “I’m sorry I upset you.” “I’m sorry you feel that way.” “I did it because of…” They are heaped with excuses, and too often, the people who give them are the very same people who turn around and do the same crap over again.

    When somebody offers a real apology, even if it was because s/he got caught, it shows some sign they’ve accepted responsibility and that’s the first step needed to make a change. Change is what is needed to keep prevent it from happening again.

    I think we need to give her a chance and see if that happens. It has nothing to do with ‘kindness’, exactly, on my part. I am not ‘kind’. But I do believe people can change-the people who are most successful with it are usually the ones who are given a chance, IMO, though.

    If we’re not willing, as people, to give others a chance to learn and grow when they’ve messed up, then we’re, in a way, holding ourselves back, as a whole…again, my opinion. *I do see this as an honest apology, yes, it was after the fact, but she made no excuses, acknowledge she lied and stole*

    By not acknowledging an honest apology, we’re not allowing for a chance for somebody to grow and learn.

    Up front, now, I wasn’t one of the authors she plagiarized nor was I one of her readers, so I can’t say I was in anyway affected by her, other than the way the reading/writing community is in general when this happens.

    However, I have been plagiarized and I can say the woman who did it to me didn’t have the decency to offer a simple apology.

    I got… “I thought I was fanficcing. I didn’t realize it was wrong…I’m sorry.” and… “I didn’t know I couldn’t do it and people are yelling at me now and I’m sorry” and… “I know you’re mad but I’ve got two kids and one is special needs and their dad is a deadbeat so if you try to sue me, you’ll only be hurting them.”

    What I wanted was for her to stop, and to remove my works, and she did. But she also handed me every excuse under the sun and attempted to lay a guilt trip at my feet. It is something I’m trying to let go, and even though she didn’t offer a sincere apology, I’ve mostly forgiven it-not because she deserves it, but because I function better if I’m not hung up on it.

    However, it would have made a very big difference on my part had the woman attempted to offer a sincere, simple apology. Yes, it would have been because she was caught. I get that.

    But that’s usually why an apology is offered anyway. Very few people decide to apologize simply because they realized they did something wrong.

    It doesn’t mean an apology can’t be sincere, though.


  125. DS
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:48:31

    @Jane: I think that most fan fiction web sites take down material if contacted by the content owner. It seems to have developed into an uneasy relationship in other cases– the writer doesn’t make a profit and the content owners/creastors leave it alone.

    I can remember Fox taking down a bunch of fan sites for the X-files, but I don’t know if fanfiction was involved. Star Trek sites got hit also. Seemed short sighted even at the time because the fan sites were essentially recruiting new viewers. But still, no one can claim that big Media has ever understood their customers any more than big Publishers.

    Both fandoms came to the uneasy relationship I mentioned above.

    If you want to learn about fan fiction prior to the www check out Camille Bacon-Smith’s 1991 published study about media fandom called Enterprising Women: Television Fandom and the Creation of Popular Myth (Contemporary Ethnography) . It’s not as dry as the title and I’m not sure her conclusion about hurt/comfort storeis has held up, but it does give a picture of what fanfiction was like before vhs tapes of popular shows were widely available and when fanfiction was mostly distributed by purple mimeograph.

    I don’t know if the theory about people being able to steal credit card numbers and buying thousands of dollars of porn is possible, but I can say that I have had my credit card number leak into the wrong hands 3 times– none connected to use on the internet though. The first time I caught it when I got the bill and found the charges. 1993 or so. The other two times (within the past 3 years) my credit card company loss prevention called me within hours or in the last case, minutes of the purchases being made and asked me if I had made the purchase.

    I don’t like PayPal. I really only used it on eBay and after it was shut down and they wanted me to jump through a bunch of hoops to get it back, I decided my financial well being (although not the financial well being of eBay vintage item sellers) lay in not bothering. But honestly this doesn’t surprise me, I just wonder why now? I think it may have more to do with politics than chargebacks although chargebacks was the original excuse. But that is for another board.

  126. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:49:25

    @Throwmearope: I was thinking about you a few weeks ago. I’m not on blogs as much lately but got thinking…dang, it’s been AGES.

  127. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:50:33

    There is no per se re regarding fan fiction. Every work had to be measured against the law. Using the characters’ names, for example, but reworking the entire plot, setting, world, and characterizations wouldn’t necessarily be infringement. Just changing the names but keeping it exactly the same is likely going to be infringing.

    So you cannot say that distributing fan fiction is illegal. It is not a bright line rule but determined on a case by case basis.

    Further the JD Sallinger case in which the protag was determined to be copyright able was very act specific and depended, in large part, on how well known Caufield had become. Plus it wasnt a Supreme Court decision but rather IIRC a ruling on an injunction.

  128. Lori Green
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:53:27

    I’m having a huge problem with the book banning on smashwords. Whether or not the books have the ick factor or whatever, the idea of letting PayPal determine obscenity gives me the creepy crawlies.

    What happens when PayPal determines that fetish is wrong? Or anything that doesn’t involve just one man and one woman? It might cost more for smashwords to put another payment system in place but isn’t the choice to say no to censorship worth it?

  129. Anne Tenino
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:55:32

    Hi All-

    My name’s Anne Tenino and I’m the blog mistress of Chicks & Dicks, a blog about M/M romance. The reason I’m commenting today is because it was brought to my attention that Dear Author had a news item regarding Bear, Otter & the Kid, and in the item a quote from an opinion piece posted on our blog was used.

    I would like to invite everyone to visit our blog and read the opinion piece—by Dreamspinner acquiring editor Julianne Bentley—in it’s entirety. Her piece specifically discusses fan fiction and is titled “The Ethics of Reworking Fanfiction: An editor’s opinion”. I would provide you with a blog address, but I am unable to post one in this comment. I can tell you the opinion piece was posted on January 17, 2012.

    For the record, Chicks & Dicks does not condone plagiarism, and we don’t believe Dreamspinner or Julianne were giving instructions on how to plagiarize in the post. Julianne’s opinions were her own, and she was not representing Dreamspinner’s opinions in any way, as stated at the end of her piece.

    Chicks & Dicks is not aware of Dreamspinner’s opinion on TJ Klune’s work.

    I hope you will stop by and form your own opinion. One hint; if you simply google “Chicks & Dicks” you’ll end up with about a hundred porn site. I recommend googling “Chicks and Dicks, Anne Tenino” or “Taylor V. Donovan”.



  130. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:06:13

    @Liz Mc2:
    The US edition of Stephen King novels always have credits for any song he quotes even a line from. For some reason the UK editions don’t, I think it has to do with how easy it is to sue someone in the US (, and King has lots of money sso he’s a huge target). But I seem to recall that more than a line or two of lyrics from a song is over the fair use limit.

  131. Robin/Janet
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:11:30

    @Weirdmage: Check out the FAQ page under “legal.” As Jane said, there is no bright line for fan fiction, and some authors have used this ambiguity to threaten their readers, claiming it’s “illegal.” This is, at the very, very least, a gross overstatement.

    Moreover, there is a wealth of confusion regarding the difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement. Plagiarism is not a legal wrong, although if one plagiarizes a copyrighted work, then it can violate copyright law. However, if one plagiarizes a work in the public domain, that is an ethical violation. If one writes fan fiction of a work in the public domain, it’s likely neither, assuming it has not been plagiarized (thus the proliferation of works like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). And in regard to copyright infringement, the field is extremely complex, because not all infringement is created equal, Some can be justified with the Fair Use defense, while other types may not, in the end, be considered infringement, at all, depending on the level of transformation in the new work. Intertextual references are also important, because if something is so well-known as to be commonplace, alluding or referring to it directly in a text is not generally treated as plagiarism or infringement outside Fair Use, since the reader is likely to know that the source is not the referencing author. Copying word for word and passing it off as your own is, however, at least plagiarism, and possibly infringement depending on the copyright status of the work.

  132. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:11:50

    @WeirdMage. Your claim that fan fiction distribution is completely inaccurate. I suggest you read some
    Copyright law before you o about making those legal distinctions. You are wrong.

  133. LG
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:13:44

    @Anne Tenino: I have read the blog post. While I agree that it doesn’t condone plagiarism, she *is* condoning repackaging fanfic, getting it published, and getting paid for it. She says this is okay. If she actually thought it were 100% okay, she wouldn’t need to give anyone instructions on how to hide their work’s fanfic roots.

    “Julianne’s opinions were her own, and she was not representing Dreamspinner’s opinions in any way, as stated at the end of her piece.”

    In the first paragraph, she implies that Dreamspinner Press editors won’t dismiss out of hand even a work they have been able to identify as fanfic. In the final paragraph, she reassures fanfic writers by telling them that “several of Dreamspinner Press’s stories started out their lives as fanfiction. Some even by our best-selling authors.” So, Ms. Bentley knows which stories they are, but Dreamspinner Press as a whole doesn’t and would never condone publishing repackaged fanfic? Really?

  134. library addict
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:13:51

    @Moira Reid: #97 Just to be clear, I don’t feel her apology is a get out of trouble free card. It’s just usually in these cases the “author” makes excuses and never acknowledges what s/he did was wrong. So it’s refreshing to see someone not offer excuses for what she did.

  135. Gwen Hayes
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:15:28

    @Robin/Janet: So…what could possibly happen to Ms. Manning now? What are the legal ramifications of what she did? Can the authors she plagiarized sue her? I am guessing they can, but probably wouldn’t justify the expense on their part.

  136. Wahoo Suze
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:17:22

    Re. the PayPal thing, what I don’t understand is why sexual content is always targeted, while extreme, graphic violence is barely noted or questioned.

    This aggravates me in the extreme. People DO get desensitized to violence. You can be blowing shit up in video games from an early age and that’s just fine, because there certainly isn’t any real violence being perpetrated out in the real world, but heaven forfend that teenagers be aware that sex happens.

    So in the US right now, you’ve got crazy unemployment which is only going to get worse if you bring all your soldiers home, which should totally happen, there’s rampant fraud happening in the financial industry and there is absolutely no sign of anyone putting the brakes on that, and in general bad shit is happening. And yet all the legislation getting worked on seems to be about outlawing abortion, birth control, and even sex education (in Utah).

    WTF, USA?

  137. Liz Mc2
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:19:51

    @Weirdmage: I think it has to do with different copyright laws in different countries. Definitions of “fair use” differ–and not all copyright law even has such a provision/term (Canada does not). I don’t claim to be an expert. I’m just pointing out that quoting a line from a song in your novel is not necessarily OK.

  138. Robin/Janet
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:21:54

    @Shiloh Walker: I feel the same way. Manning’s was the first unqualified apology I’ve seen, well, maybe ever? And having seen droves of support for qualified apologies regarding a variety of deceptions, I find the unvarnished apology here even more refreshing. That it came after disclosure and some prevarication doesn’t eclipse that, for me, because I think it’s very, very, very, very, very few who will voluntarily throw themselves on the hot coals without a vigorous push.

  139. L.K. Rigel
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:25:40

    legal schmegal

    Stealing another author’s world, characters, or story is crappy. The person who does it is a thief.

  140. Plagiarism rears its ugly head again ~ Sela Carsen ~ Author ~ Have Coffee Will Write
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:26:12

    […] BS anyway. She later wrote an apology and posted it to Dear Author, basically stating that yes, she’s a thief and she’s […]

  141. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:34:33

    “There is no per se re regarding fan fiction. Every work had to be measured against the law. Using the characters’ names, for example, but reworking the entire plot, setting, world, and characterizations wouldn’t necessarily be infringement. Just changing the names but keeping it exactly the same is likely going to be infringing. ”

    But works are only measured against the law if there’s a lawsuit. I have yet to hear of anyone winning a lawsuit since MAD magazine won a lawsuit in the 1950’s that made it legal to do parody, where evrything is the same in setting, names, and characterisation. But I am sure there are instances.

    Just because you haven’t been brought before a court doesn’t mean you are not doing anything illegal. -I hope a copyright/IP lawyer can comment on the legality of fan-fiction. I’m sure it is illegal to distribute, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will get sued for doing so. I know a fan-fiction sequel to LotR was stopped, it is mentioned in “The Letters of Tolkien”. Does anyone know if the books about Harry Potter’s son that I saw online are still available?

    I don’t read fan-fiction, but I would like to know how it can be fan-fiction if you only keep the names.
    “Using the characters’ names, for example, but reworking the entire plot, setting, world, and characterizations wouldn’t necessarily be infringement.”
    If I use the names Leia and Luke for a brother and sister who grows up in ’80s Norway, (I’m Norwegian and grew up in the ’80s) I’m not writing Star Wars fan-fiction. If I use Skywalker as their last name, I would not be surprised if I was sued. Unless my characters were named after the film characters, and that was a par of their story.

  142. Tasha
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:35:01

    @Anne Tenino: I’m not saying this as an attack, merely an observation: I saw no discussion of the ethics of reworking of fanfiction in that post. All I saw was instructions on how to do it.

  143. Robin/Janet
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:35:06

    @Gwen Hayes: The rights holders (author and/or pub) will have to decide what to do, and I have no idea what that will be. In Cassie Edwards’s case, Signet dropped her, while her other pubs did not, IIRC. Also, I do not know of any litigation arising from her copying, despite the fact that she used the work of researchers for the purpose of commercial profit. OTOH, JK Rowling, Penguin, and Warner Brothers have been extremely litigious in cases where I personally think they’ve overstepped (like this incident,, in which they lost, IIRC).

  144. Sarah Frantz
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:35:58

    @K. Z. Snow: Here you go!. Honestly, when a well-written blurb and excerpt intrigue me, it’s about 75% certain the actual story will be crap — badly written, badly edited if at all, and terribly formatted.

  145. Robin/Janet
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:43:55

    Also, FYI, here is an interesting story regarding the Cure’s use of Penelope Farmer’s book Charlotte Sometimes: I also noted that a contestant on the NBC show “The Voice” recently introduced herself as “Charlotte Sometimes,” and no one blinked an eye over it.

  146. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:48:01

    @Dani Alexander: I appreciate your position, Dani.

  147. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:48:16

    @Liz Mc2:
    I am not disagreeing with you. I was just using the difference between King’s copyright pages in US and UK editions as an example. There is the Berne Copyright Convention that most countries has joined/accepted.
    I read, and I think that was for the US, that quoting more than 500 words from a novel is considered copyright infringement.
    I should have been more specific in that “fair use” is more defined in the US, but it is also one of the countries that allow lawsuits easiest. Although I know there has been laws made to make people move copyright-infringment lawsuits to countries with stricter laws on copyright illegal in.

  148. jayhjay
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:50:11

    Seriously, this BOATK things makes me crazy. Taking a movie and changing a few small things and claiming authorship is total BS! I know the line with fan fic may be fuzzy at times, but I don’t even think this falls into that category. This appears to be plagiarism, not fan fic. And if Dreamspinner condones this type of thing than shame on them.

  149. Pinterest, Productivty, and Plagiarism « Ribbons of Romance
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:52:30

    […] Dear Author […]

  150. AvidReader
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:53:06

    I completely agree. First off, I was able to read the comment the author had posted regarding copying elements from the movie, and what was written was with sarcasm in response to someone else poking fun at a reviewers allegation. He did not in fact say, “Yes, I copied from the movie.” This was taken out of context and then twisted to support the rumor flying around that the author copied. Unfortunately those comments were deleted for just this reason- it was taken out of context and then passed along as fact.

    I personally find nothing wrong with a person taking the time to review a book and write how they felt about it whether they liked it or not but, when someone moves from reviewing the book to slandering the author, I think we’ve moved into an entirely different place. People have the right to say what they want about a book. I think its crossing a line when its made about a persons character.

  151. Courtney Milan
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:54:54

    @Weirdmage: Rebecca Tushnet writes (or wrote, earlier in her career) about the legal issues surrounding fan fiction.

    Versions of her articles are online here:

    Part III of this article ( collects cases that claim copyright in characters, and there are a handful that have arisen since Mad.

  152. Lyn Cote
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:56:21

    Something is wrong with this woman’s mind. No sane person would do this and bring this kind of public disgrace down on oneself.

  153. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:57:04

    I have already said I might be wrong, but from what I have read about copyright law I doubt I am. -But again, I am not saying I am right, just that from all I’ve read about copyright I can’t see how distribution of fan-fiction can be legal.
    I have already stated that I don’t know the boundaries of fan fiction, and don’t undertand how something that is not using the same characters, setting etc can be fan-fiction. For me fan-fiction has to be set in the “universe” the original creator made, and contain the same characters. It could be we are disagreeing because of definitiond of fan-fiction.
    But I would like to know if anyone knows of an instance where using my definition of fan-fiction, someone has been taken to court by the original author and have won? (Not counting parody and works out of copyright.)

  154. Joy
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:01:56

    Charlie Stross’s blog has a bit on fanfic, which reads (excerpted) in part:

    File off the serial numbers, rename the characters, and try to sell it as All Your Own Work. This is, believe it or not, neither illegal nor immoral and I have no problem with it as long as you don’t try to market it on the back of my name and reputation.

    This presumes that the work is an original story butis using Stross’s characters or setting.

    I see a big difference between fanfic-as-original-story that might ( with some tweaks) be turned into a completely independent story from the original, and a story that follows another art work plot point by plot point. It seems to me (having read Bear, Otter, and the Kind and not having seen Shelter), that Klune was not writing fanfic, but was drawing a number of plot points (though not all–there were significant differences as well mentioned in the review) from the movie. As such it’s a remake, such as the relationship between _Emma_ and _Clueless_. I have no idea what the legal/copyright implications of that, but calling it fanfic or plagiarism seems inaccurate.

  155. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:02:12

    @Sarah Frantz: Thanks, Sarah. The specificity in your reviews is helpful.

    I hope people understand that many Dreamspinner authors who aren’t part of the pantheon (and several of them spoke up here) nevertheless manage to put out good work.

  156. Jami Gold
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:03:05

    @Author on Vacation:

    Motive also plays an important role in someone’s decision to plagiarize. … Some authors crave profit. Some authors are attention whores. They are not so concerned with their work’s quality as they are with publishing X books a year, earning $X a year, and receiving praise and public recogition for their work.

    I agree. Which is why those of us who do value the respectability of our chosen careers want to call out those who don’t. :)

    This issue makes readers distrust authors in general (as proven by the comments of those saying they won’t buy DSP books again). The rest of us are powerless to prevent this attitude, and the best we can do is try some internal policing within the writing community by posting articles like this one. Unfortunately, that’s not enough for any of us.

  157. Mark Coker
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:06:42

    @john, you’re talking a lot of smack about that which you don’t know. If all this is so easy, I encourage you to open up your own online retail operation and give it a go.

    I think the folks at PayPal are honest, honorable people, and I take what they tell me in that spirit. It doesn’t mean I agree with their policies. This is what they told me, in their words, unedited: “We work with a number of acquiring banks and credit card associations as part of our business. Many of the items contained in our AUP are restricted by our banking partners, particularly rape, bestiality and incest related content. Our banking partners and credit card associations have taken a very strict stance on this subject matter. Our relationships with the banking partners are absolutely critical in order to provide the online and mobile services we do to our customers. Therefore, we have to remain in compliance with their rules, which prohibit content involving rape, bestiality or incest.”

  158. AvidReader
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:11:14

    @K. Z. Snow:
    It’s really sad that some readers feel that boycotting DSP is the right response. You aren’t just punishing the “guilty” (if you will..) but authors who do put out good work. I don’t believe in punishing everyone for what amounts to a problem with the publishing house, not necessarily the authors.

  159. Jami Gold
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:11:41


    I’m sure writing good, book-length fanfic takes a long time, but that time just needs to be looked at as valuable practice time.

    Yes! Exactly! My first novel-length story was fanfic, and this is exactly how I looked at it. I learned how to develop a plot over 60K+ words, I learned how to word things for the most impact, etc., etc. Most importantly, I learned I could write a book.

    I even told my family, “If I ever come up with a story idea of my own characters and my own world, watch out–I’ll take up writing full(ish) time.” A few months later, I came up with my first novel-worthy idea. And it had nothing in common with the fanfic I’d written (from Harry Potter YA to paranormal women’s fiction…Ha! Yeah, nothing in common there.). And the rest is history.

    My time with fanfic was practice and learning experience, nothing more.

  160. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:12:13

    @Ann Somerville: I strongly disagree with the premise that “dubious consent” is the same as rape. Sometimes, yes, it is. Other times, perhaps not. It’s all about context.

    But even if it were, I have real problems with the notion that people who enjoy dubious consent stories are somehow less entitled to their fantasy than those who enjoy pony play or floggings or what have you. Fiction exists to allow us to express and explore the human experience, an experience which should not, in my opinion, be bowdlerized. When we are prohibited from exploring any aspect of the human condition in a fictional context where NO REAL PEOPLE can possibly be harmed in any way, I think we are on the road to hell that’s paved with good intentions.

  161. Jami Gold
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:25:53

    @Shiloh Walker:

    I think we need to give her a chance … I do believe people can change

    I hope she has learned her lesson and chooses to change. Most of my stories have themes of redemption, so I’m big into giving people the chance to prove themselves. :)

    I think it will come down to what her reasons and motivations for plagiarizing in the first place were. Some reasons (like thinking they could get away with it) would be null and void after this exposure. Other reasons (like being an attention whore) would not. I hope she falls into the former category and can grow from this.

  162. Fran
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:27:09

    I am shocked and saddened to hear this about Mr. Klune. My respect for him as an author is gone.

  163. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:28:03

    @Jackie Barbosa No one is preventing these authors from writing these stories, processing payments themselves. I would think that it is easier to do that than ever given that there are free or low cost epub creation tools and as someone down thread said, easy plugins to turn a site like a wordpress blog into a commerce site.

    Obviously Smashwords would rather use paypal because of the customer demand for it than lose paypal and deal with the credit card processing problems. If Smashwords loses a significant amount of revenue to another distributor, say Amazon, because it doesn’t have ease of payment anymore (aka Paypal) then how do other authors feel about the lowered revenue traffic.

  164. Jessa Slade
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:29:42

    @Jami Gold: The internet has a short attention span but a *very* long memory.

    Good line.

    To me, the most interesting part of these recent scandals has been hearing how regular non-cybersleuth people followed the digital tracks. I don’t write romantic suspense but storylines are popping into my head. Which makes me wonder how many “borrowing” writers start with just the intention of using a general idea (since ideas can’t be copyrighted) and wander too far down the path into lifting chunks of text.

  165. Fran
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:29:47

    @S.A. Garcia: Don’t you dare give up!

  166. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:31:01

    @AvidReader: Yes. And I find it particularly annoying that “upstanding” authors are all expected to pack their bags in a huff and move elsewhere at the first hint, however specious, of a scandal.

    Readers and reader-reviewers don’t seem to realize that many of the publishers they revere aren’t all that dandy from a writer’s standpoint. I could go into a whole lot more detail here, but even I, outspoken biddy that I am, know better than that. Suffice it to say, you can’t fully and accurately judge a publisher unless and until you’ve submitted work to them, read their contract, and/or had a professional relationship with them. That’s when the truth comes out — and some of it ain’t too pretty.

    So I, for one, am in wait-and-see mode. It’s far too early to leap to any conclusions.

  167. Lori Green
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:34:04

    @Jackie Barbosa: Brilliantly stated!

  168. Dani Alexander
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:40:20

    @K. Z. Snow: I understand how you must be feeling, KZ and it’s a sad day for me as well because I do enjoy a lot of the authors on DSP, but this isn’t a suddenly come up thing for me from the BOATK thing. I have no judgement on that case. I haven’t read the book and I will not judge whether there was infringement because it’s not my place.

    As you can see from Sarah’s post way back in sept, this isn’t a new thing. This is a recurring problem. For me it started back in jun/july of last year and has slowly become too perturbing to continue shopping there without it being an author I really can’t wait for.

    I don’t believe this is a recent thing for people. This is just a final straw.

    @AvidReader: I’m sorry you feel that way Avidreader, but most people have a small book budget and spending their money on unedited products isn’t fair at all. It’s just not. Especially given the economy and the size of a lot of the stories for the price.

    To you both: I know it’s painful to watch your publishing house be criticized, but let’s have a look at the situation with BOATK and what’s happening right now. What are DSP doing for their author? Where is their defense of TJ? Why are they not handling this problem? Instead they ignored it and it’s blowing up to extremes. They should be treating their author better. They should be treating their readers better. They should be issuing statements or something, but they aren’t.

    Take a look at how the Cassie Edwards case played out (and I am by NO means comparing these books to plagiarism, just the handling of a scandal that involved it). The publishing house responded. There’s crickets chirping in DSP thread about this very thing. That’s not how a publisher treats its authors or its readers.

    Imagine for a second that was you being accused, KZ and DSP did nothing. Nothing.

  169. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:52:41

    @robin, I’ve been trying to think of a similar instance & I can’t. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. So it matters, in my eyes, at least

  170. Lasha
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:53:25

    Most of the “recycled” fanfic I have read from DSP has been Jared/Jensen (J2) RPS. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s Real Person Slash. I am not sure I consider RPS fanfiction exactly.

    RPS is a grey area. Since the author are projecting character traits onto their characters (I seriously doubt any J2 authors personally know Jensen Ackles enough to write about his likes, dislikes, favorite books, childhood experiences, etc.) then authors are only guessing and making up a character *based* on their knowledge of that celebrity, based on articles or interviews. So, I am not sure I consider that fanfiction, in it’s truest sense. RPS is a murky area IMO.

    The two main publishers I have personally seen that have recycled J2 stories are: Silver Publishing and DSP. I know about 12 authors who started out writing in that genre and have now gone pro. Most reworked their first couple of J2 fics into original works for publication (meaning you could see the J2 serial numbers were filed off), but then went on to write totally original m/m fiction, no RPS/J2/Kradam in sight.

    Personally, I have no issue with recycled RPS, as long as the story is HEAVILY rewritten prior to publication to remove any characteristics of the original format.

    Have I bought recycled J2 fanfiction from DSP and Silver? Yes. In some instances I did not know until I started reading it was former RPS; in others, I liked the story so much when it was RPS, I wanted to have a copy of that story in an edited format with a beautiful cover. But I bought it knowing it was recycled, so no wool was pulled over my eyes. I would prefer if publisher would put a disclaimer on the book for other readers who are not involved in fandom, so buyers are aware what they are purchasing was previously available on the Internet. But that’s just me.

  171. a sometime online adult worker
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 13:53:45

    The reason for singling out adult content isn’t a prudery thing, it’s a money thing. Online payment processors and credit card companies long ago discovered that adult content (read: traditional internet porn, aimed at men) has a notoriously high chargeback rate. That is, dude spends a Saturday night working himself into a frenzy over some webcam performer or plowing through “Big Boobied Redheads” after paying for a membership. Then, dude gets found out by wife, or just sobers up from his boner hangover and says to the credit card company, “My word, a year’s membership to Big Boobied Redheads you say? Why I never. Someone must have stolen my credit card information.”

    Rather than go through a lengthy battle over it, most of the time, the credit card companies are like, “Okay, fine,” and reverse the charges.

    Now, this happens in all industries, but for adult purchases the rate has just always been a huge pain in the ass.

    So, if you want to take credit card payments for just plain tech services or your etsy crap or whatever, you can get those payments processed for a reasonable fee. To do the same transaction for *legal* adult services (ranging from pics to audio to video) your fees are WAAYYY higher. And many companies just don’t want to deal with the hassel.

    Paypal, in particular, decided to get out of the adult game a long time ago. And it’s a mark of someone who’s reckless, shady, or a newbie to try to get clients to pay through Paypal, because one whiff of trying to get around their rules and they suspend your account and freeze your cash. So fine, don’t use paypal for adult, right?

    But Paypal is also notorious in my circles for moving the goal posts, saying something is okay then changing their mind and refusing to give an answer, and generally not worth the effort if you’ve got a whiff of adult near your product. (ETA: That is, if some guy wants to buy photos of my feet from the knees down, that’s not explicit content in the traditional sense, but I’m taking a big risk by using paypal if, on a connected site, I also sell explicit content through other processors. )

    And whether there’s prudery mixed in there, I can’t say. But the origin of them being so picky about sexual content versus violent/otherwise objectionable content is an epidemic of buyer’s remorse from post-orgasmic men stretching back to the beginning of internet porn (and probably before).

    EATA: And before you say, “But this isn’t *that* kind of adult content, where’s the line, who’s to say what’s steamy explicit romance and what’s the sort of pornography that Paypal will say breaks its rules,” … that’s exactly the problem. You get one Paypal person (or several over time) saying the content is okay, and then you get another Paypal person who decides it’s over the line and flags you, and you’re in trouble. You may go a long time – or forever – selling your stuff that’s on the edge. But it’s a big risk, especially for small operators.

    A place like ARe or Ellora’s has enough clout to get a firmer “this is okay, this is not, as long as you abide these rules, we’re all good.” But if you want to go and try to get a processor on your own, and want to label your books as adult/erotica… you’re going to either have to pay out the ass, or cross your fingers and hope paypal doesn’t one day decide that My Step Uncle’s Marmoset Orgy is a bridge too far and freeze your account.

  172. AvidReader
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:00:46

    @Dani Alexander:

    People are obviously able to buy where and how they want. I was speaking to people who are boycotting all authors who are with DSP. Obviously those authors have contracts/obligations and must fufill those. I was speaking about people essentially punishing authors for something that is a publishing house problem. Do I think things need to change at DSP. Absolutely!! But should it come at the detriment of people who are trying to make a living doing something they love?? In my opinion no. If people feel that strongly, they could write emails/letters to let DSP know how they feel. There are some authors published there that do their own editing, etc and I enjoy reading those books. Do we as readers deserve a well edited book? Yes. But I dont think its as simple as drawing a line in the sand and asking people to walk it.

    I can’t speak about what they are doing or not doing about BOATK bc I haven’t been following it that closely. I do think a publishing house should support their writers but in this particular instance I dont feel confident speaking on it as I’ve not looked/followed it that closely in respect to what DSP is doing or not doing.

  173. Liz
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:04:00


    @Susan, I absolutely agree with you. I too am only a reader, but I think you’re wrong in saying that we might not have a place in this discussion. As a reader, I don’t like being told what I can and cannot read. Personally, I have never read any erotica nor have I ever read anything that includes rape, incest, or bestiality. However, I know there are people that choose to read about those things and I firmly believe that they have a right to decide to do so. No one should be allowed to tell anyone else what is wrong. Unfortunately, that is the slippery slope that this country seems to be going down.

    I do believe that this is based solely on the fact that these stories are erotica and in this country sex (unless it is heterosexual missionary) is considered to be a dirty, sinful thing, something that should only be spoken of behind closed doors. I recently found out that there is an underage orgy in Stephen King’s It, but from what I can tell nobody has ever banned that book for being offensive. Why is it okay to ban erotica for doing something that Stephen King was allowed to do in a horror novel?

  174. Monique Martin
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:09:16

    @Mark Coker:

    Thank you. I know this has been incredibly stressful and difficult for you and I deeply appreciate your transparency and honest communication. You’ve shown yourself to be an honorable man facing difficult choices. You’ve comported yourself with class unlike some *coughbookstrandcough*. Thank you for that.

  175. Annabeth Albert
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:11:23

    @Jami Gold: “Besides, I think many (not all, but many) plagiarists are liars on the pathological scale. Think about how much you’d have to lie to yourself to justify your actions.”

    Something that’s being missed here is that many apologies are also lies. I work in academia. I have seen tearful, sincere apologies that made me well up too at the student’s contriteness. And I have seen those same students cheat again. We have all seen the serial adulterers apologize on national TV, talking about how wrong they were, and seen them cheat again a few years later. For pathological liars, apologies are often another tool in their arsenal, another way to deflect attention. Action is where real apologies lie–returning funds, getting mental health help and committing to counseling, etc. Given the absolute breadth of the plagerizing here, I think there are probably very serious mental health issues at work here. And there is help for that–gamblers, shoplifters, adulterers and others where pathological lying is a big part of their issue all benefit from different types of treatment. But in terms of re-earning trust? Sometimes you just can’t. And sometimes, an apology just isn’t enough.

  176. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:12:25

    @Jane: Yes, an author could certainly sell his/her work through his/her own website. Realistically, however, that’s not likely to be a sustainable proposition, economically-speaking, for most authors. And this isn’t just about the freedom of authors to write and publish what they want; it’s about the freedom of readers to be able to find and purchase the content they want. If you have to search for dozens of different author sites to find the books that interest you, you might just give up altogether.

    There is also, IMO, a very real potential for abuse. I don’t see how Smashwords and/or PayPal can enforce these content restrictions EXCEPT by relying on readers to report books for violations. But clearly, what one person sees as a violation, another might not (e.g., I don’t think dubious consent always equals rape; Ann appears to).

    Moreover, what is to stop PayPal from identifying and banning OTHER categories of content associated with a high number of chargebacks (consensual BDSM, for example, or GLBTQ erotic romances)? Nothing, clearly. And while it’s all well and good to say “Authors of that sort of content don’t HAVE to go through PayPal,” how far does it have to go before we condemn the practice?

    ETA: Also, if it is the credit card companies/banks that are placing these restrictions on PayPal, why would those same companies not place similar restrictions on individual authors?

  177. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:14:14

    @Jackie Barbosa Lines are drawn in the law all the time. Obscenity, pornography and the like have always been difficult to define. There is always potential for abuse.

  178. Dani Alexander
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:14:32

    @AvidReader: I can answer that question for you, Avid, they are doing nothing. The thread in which readers have complained about has gone unanswered. Either they are hoping this will blow over and go away or they have no response. Either way, they are doing nothing.

    And for too long they have done nothing. I can’t justify spending my money there and supporting a company like that, Avid. Not when my money doesn’t go to the authors or their work, it goes to the pockets of those running the company. Readers have complained. Reviewers have complained. It’s fallen on deaf ears.

    As I mentioned above, this has been an ongoing problem since last year. Last year! It will continue to be a problem as long as DSP reaps profits despite their worst efforts on behalf of their authors. And, btw, continuing to feed them money on behalf of writers I love, while they treat newer authors with disrespect, is also not something I wish to do. I may do it anyway, because I do love some of the authors there, but I will do it reluctantly and hope that I never have to again.

    Profits shouldn’t be such a bottom line that a company is willing to do anything to reap as much a percentage as possible. That’s my 2cents.

  179. Author on Vacation
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:17:06

    @library addict:

    It’s just usually in these cases the “author” makes excuses and never acknowledges what s/he did was wrong. So it’s refreshing to see someone not offer excuses for what she did…

    I completely agree acknowledgment of fault and sincere, public expressions of remorse are not the norm. I disagree the plagiarist deserves snaps for doing the right thing.

    I don’t wish to sound hard-nosed about the matter, but I don’t believe people deserve praise for doing what they should do. Even if people doing the right thing are in the minority, doing right shouldn’t merit exceptional praise.

    Furthermore, as has already been covered in the discussion, plagiarists stand to lose little by confessing to plagiarism once their guilt is identified beyond credible denial. As others have pointed out, it is usually not financially expedient to sue the offender. Some publishers will pull the plagiarized book, but in the case of bestsellers, they won’t. The publisher and the plagiarist continue profiting off another author’s hard work and creativity. Worse, if the author is a well-known and well-liked entity, s/he will continue to get published.

    The only bad to come out of it is the plagiarist’s shame/embarrassment upon the discovery. Even this consequence is questionnable because (again, as others already pointed out) plagiarists don’t appear to comprehend they’re doing something wrong. They have a deluge of excuses and justifications, but little, if any, genuine remorse.

  180. Annabeth Albert
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:20:35

    RE: DSP, I’m sad because I discovered LGBT romance through Dreamspinner. I have several auto-buy authors who publish with them. But, like others I’ve seen the quality drop off over the last year. I’m not buying them anymore because of the fan fic issue, but it’s not just that–the editing quality is just dismal on a lot of their titles. They (and some other small presses) are relying too heavily on volunteer copy editors who are paid only in copies of the book they work on. If you don’t pay for or allow for enough time for quality editing, you aren’t always going to get it (not that there aren’t absolutely stellar volunteer and low paid copy editors out there turning in amazing work time after time. Kudos to them. They deserve more money. But you can’t count on that quality). Is it unfair to the authors? Perhaps. And I feel bad for them. A lot of the authors I most love at DSP have already left for other publishers. For my few remaining auto-buy authors, I’ll be looking very closely at quality of the sample before clicking buy and even then, I think I’ll pass in favor of publishers with better ethics until DSP addresses this better.

  181. KT Grant
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:20:40

    @Liz: Established authors like King who makes a great deal of money for his publishers can get away with questionable acts in his book, like the underage cave orgy scene, or should I say gang bang of 6 boys with one girl under the age of eighteen in IT. Why does VC Andrews did a pass with Flowers in the Attic that has incest or Lolita that’s about pedophilia with a 50 year old something man and a 13 year old girl where oral sex is acted on between them?

    There’s an audience for everything, even incest or fetish books. I know some who love twincest and can’t stop raving about it. Even the step-daddy/step-daughter books are extremely popular. But if Pay Pal can decide against incest, bestiality or other questionable subjects, what’s stopping them from banning payment on retailers who sell erotica, LGBT or other subjects they might find offensive? Next might be the banning of shape-shifting paranormals because someone might be uncomfortable with a character who shifts into a werewolf half way during sex or a YA with a teenage girl sexually involved with an older vampire aged 100 years like Edward and Bella from Twilight. Who decides what are considered grey areas when it comes to these subjects published by the higher authority Pay Pal answers to?

  182. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:21:27

    @Jane: And it’s never abuse until they’re coming for you…

  183. Monique Martin
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:22:12

    As far as the plagiarist goes, an apology and even a public flogging is insufficient. Lawsuits and punitive damages are desperately needed. There have to be *real* consequences. I hope this person becomes the poster child for what can happen to you…

  184. Deerhart
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:22:27

    Fan Fiction can fall into the fair use catagory of copyright. A better example maybe a photographer who takes pictures at a sporting event. They do not violate the teams copyright, because it is a fair use of the protected item. Parady is another (think SNL, Weird Al etc) they are not violations because it is fair use. Fan Fiction can fall into the fair use catagory and it cannot. It’s decided on a case by case basis.

    Also remember the author doesn’t always own copyright (sometimes publishers do)
    Cases where holder has won (per wiki because not doing legal research today LOL) a Judge ruled in 2009 for the copyright holder of Catcher in the Rye from a Swedish fan fiction book. See

    There is also now some push back on works that are no longer copyrighted (due to passage of time in the public domain) now coming back under copyright

    See the VERY recent Supreme Court ruling last month. This ruling essentially takes foreign works out of public domain for about 100 years. I have also heard of some pushes to re-issue copyrights due to the massive amounts of derivative works (think Jane Austin) after this ruling

  185. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:25:00

    @a sometime online adult worker: hope paypal doesn’t one day decide that My Step Uncle’s Marmoset Orgy is a bridge too far and freeze your account.

    Thanks. I just snorted my tea.

  186. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:27:15

    @Dani Alexander: “The thread in which readers have complained about has gone unanswered. “

    Dani, do you have a link to that thread?

  187. Ridley
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:27:42

    All this Paypal stuff leaves me clinging desperately to my dubcon/noncon erotica collection. Please don’t send me back to the days where sifting through Literotica is my only option.

  188. Fae
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:34:32

    @K. Z. Snow: I know of this thread on Goodreads where a reader asked about it:

    DSP is aware of that thread and the reader’s concerns in it. I know because I pointed it out to them. To be fair, however, I doubt the publisher knew of it before last night, there are countless threads in the Dreamspinner Goodreads group and I’m sure no one spends time monitoring them all, they’re there for reader discussion, not to broach concerns with the publisher.

  189. Taylor V. Donovan
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:40:48

    I’m Taylor V. Donovan and I’m the owner of Chicks & Dicks.

    As an author I put a lot of time and effort into creating unique stories. It troubles me to know how easily somebody could appropriate my work if they chose to do so. As a blog owner I provide a platform for authors, editors, publishers, writers and readers of M/M romance to express their opinions on different subjects in a respectful way.

    As our blog mistress (Anne Tenino) stated before, Chicks & Dicks does not condone plagiarism nor do we believe Julianne Bentley was encouraging writers to steal other writers’ work. Personally, I believe she was saying that if someone is considering submitting a fanfiction piece, at the very least they need to change names and re-build the world. The way we understand fanfiction, they are stories inspired by characters and worlds already created/established, but with original situations, development, reactions, etc. The article published by Chicks & Dicks discussed how to re-work fanfiction into original fiction, meaning not using already established characters and worlds. There’s a big difference between writing a story inspired by say, “Supernatural” and taking an episode word by word and get it published as original work. That is not what we were discussing on our blog. That is plagiarism. Again, a matter of opinion and interpretation.

    We can’t comment on DSP’s position or respond on their behalf, but we did contact Elizabeth North about this issue and here, with her permission to quote, is her response:

    We were only made aware of the accusation about Bear Otter and Kid late last night by one of our authors. The posted comment that Dreamspinner was contacted is false. No one contacted us either by email or through the contact form on our website. While I’ve not seen Shelter, I know the story behind Bear Otter and Kid, and it is semi-autobiographical. While it may follow the general plot line of Shelter, I don’t believe it was copied in any way. We take accusations of plagiarism very seriously and have ordered the movie to make a final determination.

    You are welcome to quote any of that if you wish.


    Elizabeth North, Executive Director
    Dreamspinner Press
    Where Dreams Come True

    Thank you all.

  190. Michelle McCleod
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:52:17

    @Ann Somerville:

    Look, I don’t much care for the Pseudo Incest books either, but, clearly, they were wildly popular and most were written to conform to the law, same as Woody Allen didn’t go to prison for marrying his adopted daughter.

    I think it’s sad that books with characters –who could not be charged or convicted in a court of law if they were real people–were banned and people are dancing on their graves.

    Your reading selection is now dictated by corporate interests, why is that a cause for celebration?


  191. Aileen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:53:20

    I would like to point out that this blog is making very serious (potentially slanderous) claims against TJ Klune based on the opinion of two (yes, TWO) reviews of individual readers on Goodreads. Those of you willing to crucify Mr. Klune should first ensure you have both read BOATK, watched Shelter, and are VERY clear on what legally constitutes plagiarism and copyright infringement. If you do not, you are participating in something that could ruin this man’s career, reputation, and life. Please have some decency.

    I would especially hope that the authors who have posted here would be extra careful of leveling any accusations since it would be just as easy for the same to happen to you. Since apparently all it takes to ignite a firestorm is two bad reviews on Goodreads.

  192. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:55:09

    @Aileen I have not made accusations against Mr/Ms. Klune. I have pointed out what two reviews say and what Dreamspinner’s position is on repurposed fan fiction along with the decision of two reviewers here to not continue to review Dreamspinner books based on a series of events beginning last year and continuing forward.

    Edited to add, I did say that Klune was amused by this accusation and unfortunately I no longer have access to the comment as it has been deleted.

  193. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:59:55

    @Fae: Thank you, Fae.

  194. SouthernWriter
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:02:16

    I hate to say it but I know for a fact that there are several current and former Torchwood fanfiction writers who not only published their fanfiction with DSP but have bragged about it on their fanfiction accounts, even mentioning which stories were published. Another Torchwood author was recently published with Ellora’s Cave. And all they did was “file the serial numbers off” mostly just changing the character names before submitting to the publishers.

  195. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:06:16

    Not sure what you mean. Both case you cite show the original copyright holder winning.
    Still not saying I am right. but can someone give me an instance where someone writing fan-fiction has been protected by a court when sued by the original copyright holder?

  196. Fae
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:07:23

    @Aileen: As the author who brought this to Dreamspinner’s attention, I am very concerned about whether or not it’s true, but nowhere did I say anything about whether it is or isn’t or level any accusation. My concern is, frankly, less about whether TJ Klune copied Shelter and more about the fact that a good number of readers clearly think he did and, by association, think DSP and other DSP authors condone or participate in the same thing. That’s where it begins to concern me personally and that’s why I contacted the publisher.

  197. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:08:32

    @Weirdmage Did you read any of the content at the pages that Courtney Milan provided to you because there are several court cases cited and discussed.

  198. Aileen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:14:00

    @Jane: I respect that you have not made a formal accusation, however you are walking a very fine line here. It takes very little to ignite a witch hunt and for internet bullies to take over. “Pointing” this out in the same post with a confirmed and very clear case of plagiarism does a great disservice to an author who may otherwise be completely innocent. As a blogger you know well that readers can make these logic leaps with even less than what you have posted here.

  199. Kat
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:20:36

    @Robin/Janet: @Jami Gold: Great comments and I fully agree! We do have long memories and will be even more vigilant now.

    What you are all missing, is that she only apologized because she’d been caught out by us. We left numerous posts on her blog telling her we knew what she’d done etc, which she deleted. So we added more – each time she deleted one, we just added it again. We also reported her to Smashwords and other sites she was on. Then she went about deleting everything she could, all the evidence etc.

    If we hadn’t outed her, she would have carried on plagiarising work. The apology was not sincere, it was because she got caught and there was nothing else she could do.

  200. “I Know It When I See It” and Other Random Thoughts | Something More
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:21:07

    […] of credit card chargebacks, and thus is costly for PayPal) and how much of it is moral judgment; this comment from someone describing him/herself as "a sometime online adult worker" on the latest Dear Author […]

  201. Aileen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:23:10

    @Fae: I have nothing against you taking your concerns to the publisher. It is the public “outing” and attack of an author based on limited knowledge that I disagree with. Especially when I have yet to hear from anyone has read the book, seen the movie, and knows what legally constitutes plagiarism and copyright infringement. I will not be making any determination until I feel confident in all three. And I think it would benefit everyone here to do the same.

  202. MM
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:23:38


    There’s a list of things that are are similar and copied in BOatK from the movie.

  203. Tamara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:25:26

    “The posted comment that Dreamspinner was contacted is false. No one contacted us either by email or through the contact form on our website.”

    Maybe check your spam filter. I emailed Dreamspinner and I know at least one other author did, too.

    If a reviewer who has read the book and seen the movie states whole scenes from the movie are in the book, and the author himself has said he wrote the book from the movie, but the publisher states the book is at least in part autobiographical–well, it doesn’t clarify things. I hope someone will come forward soon to sort it out, because I share Fae’s sentiments. I’d rather not have it assumed I would condone or be a part of unethical practices just because I’ve been published by DSP.

  204. Edward
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:25:45

    @Aileen: The reviewer from here ( ) has revised her review and listed point after point AFTER point how BOatK has copied Shelter. For the record, the people who presented the allegation against TJ Klune has seen both Shelter and read BOatK.

  205. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:26:55

    @Aileen: Problematically, Klune is deleting questions about this claim and deleting his own comments. What are we to take from that? Why not come forward and say this is all my work?

  206. Cara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:28:27

    Well, without joining the big, up-in-arms hoo-ha about it all, I still think the PayPal situation is very troublesome. We can point fingers all we want, and all sides have their valid points. But the problem is still that vendors have been complacent about the fact that PayPal pretty much monopolizes the market. There isn’t really a good, competitive option in this scenario. And, if we’re to believe PayPal’s stance, that it’s because of the credit card chargebacks, then we have to believe that any other payment gateway system would run into the same problem. So, what’s the solution? Obviously there isn’t a quick, short-term answer. But what about something like those photo stock companies that sell credits instead of specific merchandise? For that matter, why couldn’t ARe, for example, make better use of their e-books-bucks option in that manner? Just throwing some ideas around. I might not care for the “skankiness” on the front page of some of my ebook vendors, but I’m really not thrilled about where this payment-blockade situation is headed.

    Also, I wanted to add my voice to the dub-con topic. “Dubious consent” does NOT always equal rape. I take major issue with that, both as a read and a writer. Ugh.

  207. LG
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:34:19

    @Taylor V. Donovan: You and Anne Tenino have both brought up plagiarism. Again, I don’t think anyone has said that the post was condoning plagiarism. I can’t speak for others, but you are misunderstanding what I found so uncomfortable about that post and about what DSP has chosen to accept for publication. Speaking just on the re-worked fanfic issue (rather than on badly edited works), I will say, again, that I am NOT comfortable with DSP knowingly selling re-worked fanfic, no matter how loosely the fanfic is based on the original material.

    I would be more comfortable if the works were sold with some sort of note in their descriptions that they are fanfic. Then at least buyers would know that they’re paying for something that isn’t 100% original. If this isn’t done because it poses legal or ethical problems, then, well, I’m having problems wrapping my brain around why there wouldn’t be legal or ethical issues with selling those same works with the fandom-specific bits re-worked or changed and no mention made of the work’s fanfic origins.

    That you have an editor telling potential DSP authors how to go about hiding their fanfic’s fanfic origins seems outrageous to me. Either it’s okay to publish and sell the fanfic work, or it isn’t. If it’s okay, then the fanfic aspects don’t need to be erased. If it isn’t, DSP shouldn’t knowingly be selling it and telling potential authors it’s okay to submit it. Ms. Bentley may not officially be speaking for DSP in that post, but it sure comes across that way, especially when DSP is still selling known fanfic, as indicated by some of Ms. Bentley’s closing comments. I still have DSP books in my TBR pile that I do plan on reading and reviewing, but I’m uncomfortable at the thought that I cannot trust that the books put out by DSP are not re-worked fanfic. I hope you realize are doing a disservice to those DSP authors whose works are 100% original.

  208. Estara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:34:55

    @Moriah Jovan: That’s fascinating – because in Europe they explicitly incorporated as a bank in Luxembourg about two years ago – and sent out e-mails to explain the change in status and everything.

  209. Roslyn Holcomb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:35:04

    @Cara, presumably thereis a solution, because porn is being sold and folks are clearly making a profit off it. Do they have their own payment processors? Would they be willing to deal with these categories PP won’t process? Presumably, prices would have to be increased to account for the fraud issues. And there are, or at least were other payment processors out there. Back about five or so years ago there was a Ponzi scheme called daily pays. PP wouldn’t touch it, but other processors did. Eventually the fed shut them down, but I don’t know where those processors went.

  210. Aleksandr Voinov
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:38:28

    Wow. Just when I thought the news were dull with the economy no longer in freefall.

  211. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:47:05

    Yesterday, while Googling text from the Julie Kenner book “Wrapped and Ready,” Google brought me to this story on a Fan Fiction site by a user named mimikitty:

    This user also had a story titled “Seduction by the Book”

    I Googled some of the text and it brought me to a book published in 2003 by Nancy Warren called “By the Book”

    I’m not too familiar with the rules of Fan Fiction, as I tend to find more enjoyment creating my own worlds and characters, but this doesn’t seem right either. Does this happen a lot in the Fan Fiction world, and is there any way for us as authors to be protected by this?

    I mean it’s one thing to write about Will and Jack as fan fiction, but to copy someone’s published novel and change the names to Will and Jack? These stories, aside from the change of names read almost, if not identical, to the actual books.

  212. Taylor V. Donovan
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:51:10


    This all comes down to individual understanding of what fanfiction is. Whether it iss okay to contract and eventually publish it or not is up to publishing houses based on their own understanding, definition and/or policies. I am not a publisher. I’m an author. I only have control over what I write and submit. Nothing else.


  213. Matthew Wright
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:51:52

    The issue of e-plagiarism is significant, as is e-piracy; but with the latter, at least the original author’s name remains on the book and it might be looked at as a form of advertising. Plagiarism is not: it is theft. I posted yesterday on my own blog about the experiences I’ve had with my work being stolen that way – and the person ultimately responsible for the most egregious theft did not even have the integrity to reply to me. To see somebody not only owning up to this kind of behaviour, but also apologising for it, is a great step.

    Matthew Wright

  214. Callie
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:52:06

    Jane, you keep making claims about Tj Klune admitting fault and deleting comments. However, you obviously didn’t witness these comments as I did. Let me give a run down of them.

    Someone named Dan wrote that he loved BOATK and couldn’t wait for the sequel which is what Mr. Klune’s blog post was about. Then he wrote I wonder what the sequel will be about since there isn’t a Shelter 2 movie for people to claim you wrote about. ;-D

    *obviously this man was making a sarcastic comment about all the random rants on TWO reviews*

    Mr. Klune responded: ahahahah haters gonna hate. I just rewrote the exact same book as BOATK and made a it into a sequel. ;-D

    *again this is a sarcastic remark. No where does this admit fault. No where. To claim otherwise is ridiculous*

    Jaime then responded with: LOL Tj I love your humour.

    Then a reader made a comment about Tj making a joke and he deleted it all. I think he was precisely trying to avoid all this drama because in reality its TWO reviews so who would think it would get out of hand like this.

    I’d like to note as well that the link you provided about the reviewer claiming he admitted it SEVERAL people remark that it was actually sarcasm, not admittance. Also, one reviewer claims he made screen caps on his comments. Why hasn’t he posted said screen cap to prove his point? Could it be that he’s lying?

    You should always be very careful what you present as fact, Jane. Its very easy to put out claims and rumors and them to spread. If you can’t provide the information to back it up, you probably shouldn’t mention it all.

  215. Annabeth Albert
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:52:29

    @LG: APPLAUSE. Everything you said. Yes. No one is saying Dream Spinner is plagiarizing other authors. But taking fan fic which was available for free and reworking to hide those origins just isn’t ethical and condoning and encouraging it is a big problem. Taking the plot/characters/worlds of others is highly distasteful even if it falls within legal parameters. And trying to disguise that taking is just wrong.

  216. Author on Vacation
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:58:07

    @L.K. Rigel:

    Some would define making children fight each other to the death while an audience looks on for the sheer enjoyment of it all as porn.

    It definitely qualifies as “obscene” IMHO. However, just because I view it as obscene and lacking genuine artistic merit doesn’t mean I think interested readers should be deprived of it.

    In fact, I’ve noticed a disturbing overall trend where scenes of excessive violence appear to be replacing love scenes and/or sex scenes in several genres. I’m flummoxed by how these books have gained favor with readers praising them for the absence of gratuitous sexuality. No one seems to see that gratuitous violence isn’t an improvement, it’s just a change.

    Also disturbing to me me are the types of erotica and/or erotic romance being dismissed as porn. I love May/December romance. When did society become so ageist?

    I don’t mind “barely legal” heroines if they are good, well-drawn and well-developed characters. I actually identify quite well with “barely legal” characters. I’m petite in height and I have a round, dimpled “baby face” and I still get carded at the cinema even though I’m well past young adulthood. I like reading about little, girlish looking characters who turn the “sugar and spice and everything nice” cliche on its head.

    Anne Rice’s “Belinda” is quite possibly her most underrated novel due to the controversial elements. Despite the underage heroine and May/December erotic romance, the book offers stark insight into the dysfunction alcoholism and mental illness can work into parent/child relationships and a credible narrative into how such children find themselves forced to “grow up too fast.” I’m not saying this novel is for everyone, but it hardly qualifies as obscenity lacking artistic merit.

    Although I personally am not that attracted to “dubious consent” and “non consent” type erotic fiction, it’s well-known these tropes enjoy a wide audience and traditional bodice-ripper romance has long been an industry standard in romance. I appreciate dubcon/noncon if it’s well-written and if the “fiction makes sense.”

    I’m not going to go blow-by-blow as to every questionnable trope I find distasteful. Like everyone else, I have my favorites, I’m neutral about some, and others I just won’t touch.

    The point is that people interested in these types of books should be able to purchase them if they wish. Preferably through a reputable, dependable bookseller.

  217. LG
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:01:17

    @Taylor V. Donovan: I’m sorry, I misread your comment and saw Elizabeth North’s signature as applying to your comments. You’re right, several of my statements should not have been directed at you.

  218. Cleon
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:01:57

    From what I read from Ms Bentley’s post is not to hide the origin of the story, but to create an entire new setting so that readers can understand the story without knowing about the fandom. That is what I think she means when she wrote about “filing off serial numbers”

    I challenge you to find a work that is 100% original and is not inspired by anything previously written in any way (except, maybe Greek tragedy). If you are uncomfortable with any derivative works, then you probably would be very uncomfortable with Xena, Hercules, Beauty and the Beast, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and many others adaptation and derivative works from classical stories. I also would like you to consider most books and games in fantasy genre. One cannot refute that many fantasy authors adapt elements from Lord of the Rings into their stories. Take elf for an example, how many books have extremely beautiful, long lived, magical, elves in their stories. I see none of them credit Tolkien for giving them ideas about elves.

    For me, the difference between these derivative works and fanfiction that has been rewritten into an original work is that fanfiction is available to public prior to the publication. If that is an issue, then you think if an author decides to pull a previously free stories and sell them, do you think they also behave in an unethical manner?

  219. Melissa Blue
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:12:29

    @ a sometime online adult worker
    “And whether there’s prudery mixed in there, I can’t say. But the origin of them being so picky about sexual content versus violent/otherwise objectionable content is an epidemic of buyer’s remorse from post-orgasmic men stretching back to the beginning of internet porn (and probably before).”

    I’ll be honest and say I didn’t understand WTH a chargeback was. Now the image that springs up when I think of it can never be erased. lol

    @Jackie Barbosa
    “And it’s never abuse until they’re coming for you… ”

    I think in this case it’s a wait and see game. Who will be the first author to get screwed over? Will Pay Pal be in the right?

    And still I can’t blame them for not wanting bite off way more than they can chew with chargebacks. Because if truth be told if they have to the buck will be passed to authors and anyone else who uses their services.

  220. Annabeth Albert
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:13:56

    @Sidney Ayers: By my understanding that’s not fan fic–if all that’s been changed is Nancy Warren’s characters names, she should be alerted and so should HQN. This recently happened to Inez Kelley, I believe, and Carina was very proactive about getting the fan fic removed. That’s plagiarism–keeping the original author’s words and changing names or other minor details is still plagiarism and my understand is that most fan fic sites police hard against it.

    I don’t read fan fic so I’m not sure of the “rules” but I went to the good reads post with the point-by-point comparision of how the book is identical to the plot, characters, and location of the movie. Is that fan fic? I thought fan fic took the characters/world and put them in NEW stories i.e. Harry & Ron after dark, Jack & Will having a relationship–adding a new plot or chapter or episode or whatever. Or crafting a new ending as wish fulfillment or something else original. Not just writing a version of the movie with the exact same plot/characters and everything. Fan Fic readers help me out here? If it’s point-by-point the same as the movie plot is that even legitimate fan fic?

  221. Aileen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:14:12

    I’ve read the point by point supposed similarities between the two. If this argument is to be taken seriously, which I highly suspect anyone who consumes enough media to recognize common plot devices would not, then Shelter is plagiarism of Party of Five and perhaps Point Break. Because doesn’t shelter feature multiple scenes on a beach with good looking men surfing? Don’t they also hang out in a kitchen? And is every teenage movie featuring a drunk first kiss and out of town parents, which inevitably leads to a raging kegger, and then a girl who threatens to leave the sweet but misguided MC – well our media is rife with plagiarism. No. The point by point post proves nothing besides common thematics.

    Again I will repeat. Plagiarism is a serious allegation. Be educated on what constitutes it before leveling charges that cannot be retracted.

  222. Kat
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:15:13


    It was not based on limited knowledge. We had plenty of proof and information from various sites, and the so called ‘author’ herself admitted it.

  223. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:19:09

    @Annabeth Albert:
    I emailed Nancy about the plagiarism and she just emailed me back to say she’s taking care of it.
    And people have told me that this is a huge no-no in the Fan Fiction community, pointing out another instance in the Harry Potter world, where a very well known author lifted pieces of published text.

  224. Lasha
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:19:09

    I am another reviewer who has taken off DSP off their review list (not because of the TJ Klune issue), but because in the past year I have seen a steady downhill slide in their editing. Does this mean I will never review another DSP book? No.

    In the beginning when Silver Publishing was new, I reviewed a few of their books and they had the same issue, so I removed them from my review list. However, in the past few months, I am slowly but surely reviewing more and more of their titles because in my estimation they have made a concerted effort to address their editing issues and hire new proofreaders, editors and the like. And I have seen improvement (e.g. Marie Sexton’s Blind Space comes to mind – loved it).

    So can DSP come back to what they once were? Certainly, and I hope they do so…because if so many readers (and reviewers) are seeing this problem, it is something they need to address.

  225. AvidReader
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:19:47


    I couldn’t have said this any better. I can think of at least 5 books published (across different publishing houses) in the last 30 days or so that are obviously inspired from some previous work. Word for word, I do not agree with but an idea or theme?? Seems a bit over board. There are only so many original ways to say something or come up with new scenarios.

  226. Monique Martin
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:23:50

    @Sidney Ayers:

    Wow, that’s pretty blatant. Shameful. I recently witnessed the opposite happening. An author published a book that was actually someone else’s HP fanfic.

  227. Kat
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:26:34

    Oops, I mistook a post to be aimed at me and replied, but then saw that it was for someone else – that’s what happens when we discuss various issues within one thread! I can’t comment on anything here except the plagiarism by Kay Manning or whatever her name is, and that’s what I have been posting about.

    But, I agree with what others have said – plagiarism is serious. It is theft, no matter how or why it is done, and the offender should be legally prosecuted.

  228. Liz
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:27:41

    I honestly do not think that the apology is enough and i do not think that this apology no matter how sincere it sounds is not in fact sincere. She is not sorry that she did it; if she was she never would have done it in the first place, imho. If she is sorry at all it is only that she was caught and can no longer pass off others’ work as her own.

    Unfortunately, she can still come up with another name (maybe she’ll use baseball players’ names instead of those of football players–May I suggest Babe DiMaggio? It’s kind of old school, but it has a romance-esque ring to it.) We really need tougher punishments for people who plagiarize. Why is it wrong to steal a book from a store but not words from a book? How come you can be punished for the former but not the latter? It doesn’t make sense to me. She has taken all of “her” books down, but this to me is not a punishment. Maybe I am more sensitive to this than others because my cousin recently found out that she was plagiarized by a city official who liked her proposal so much that he decided to present it to the mayor as his own.

  229. Deerhart
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:30:02


    See the wiki page

    In contrast, in Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Co.,the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit vacated a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction sought by the copyright holders of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind against Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone. In determining whether Randall’s work rose to the level of transformative, Circuit Judge Birch used the guidelines for transformative works laid out in the Supreme Court’s Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music.[12] Birch found Randall’s work to be transformative because it “[provided] social benefit, by shedding light on an earlier work, and, in the process, creating a new one.”[12][13] Campbell had already established that the greater the transformative value a work held, the less important the other factors in the fair use test became.[12] Despite Randall and Houghton Mifflin having released The Wind Done Gone as a commercial work, and Randall having used a substantial portion of Mitchell’s work in her own, Birch found that the highly transformative nature of Randall’s book overcame the other prongs of the fair use test.

  230. Ridley
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:30:22


    Be educated on what constitutes it before leveling charges that cannot be retracted.

    Oh, go concern troll elsewhere.

  231. Beverly
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:31:46

    Every time I read about this issue (the Paypal/Smashwords thing), I’m amazed at the people who don’t realized there’s a giant canyon of a difference between private companies deciding what kind of business they would like to do, and real, government censorship.

    Every business is allowed to choose what they want to sell, distribute, etc. and who they choose to do business with. Those of you who think this is so, so wrong, would you like to be forced to do business with a terrorist, or someone who published actual child porn? It doesn’t matter what the reason or wrong is, because ultimately it’s not about whether something is illegal or not, or right or not, it’s about the freedom of a business owner. Paypal’s owners, Smashwords’ owners, the nebulous banks that Paypal uses, all have their own choices of who and what they do business with.

    Their rules don’t preclude anyone from writing or reading these types of stories if they choose, they only stop them from making money through Paypal, Smashwords, etc. So don’t talk like the sky is falling and no one will be allowed to write or read erotica anymore. You just don’t get to make money with Paypal while you write stories they don’t allow.

  232. Emma Petersen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:35:03

    @Moira Reid:

    I’ve made mistakes. Horrible mistakes and I think these mistakes are the reason I am the way I am. That and having a kick ass forgiving mother who taught me the true meaning of love. Forgiveness and empathy don’t negate personal responsibility. As I told Ms. Manning, she owes a pound of flesh. She f*cked up and there’s going to be consequences. That doesn’t mean someone can’t be there for her, lend her support so she’ll see that there is such a thing as redemption. As far as I know this is Ms. Manning’s first offense, now if we are here next year, same story, same person, I probably won’t be as quick to offer a shoulder. We all make mistakes. We all f*ck up and we all deserve a second chance (unless children or animals are involved, there are no second chance then in my opinion.) but learning from a mistake is the biggest part of redemption. If a third, fourth or fifth chance is needed in my opinion that means something has gone wrong. A person can apologize but an apology is only as valid as what comes after it.

    And please Moira, don’t keep your opinions to yourself. You have a right to express them the same as everyone else does. *hugs* I heart you Moira because you say what needs to be said, when it needs to be said and while it may not be something I can or would say that doesn’t make me respect it any less.

  233. Aileen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:37:02

    @Ridley: If there are other sites you could recommend where I can help keep internet witch hunts from starting, I would be happy to go elsewhere. Thank you for your suggestion.

  234. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:37:12

    @Michelle McCleod:
    “Your reading selection is now dictated by corporate interests, why is that a cause for celebration? ”

    My reading selection has always been dictated by ‘corporate interests’ – that’s what the publishing industry is. For everything else, there is fanfic :)

    I’ve already explained that (a) I believe people should be allowed to write what they like but (b) the domination of Smashword’s storefront by wank material is not helping authors of other material. I will fight for the right of adult stores to exist and have storefronts that reflect their content, but I don’t want my readers to have to go into one to buy my books. There are certainly ways SW could remove them from the front of the site and yet keep them on sale, but since Paypal are forcing them to remove them altogether, the effect on the store front is the same. I do NOT approve of the books being forced off sale at all.

    The legality of the act involved doesn’t have the slightest relevance to this issue. It’s what the work is being used for – and as has been explained before, it’s stroke fic that’s the big concern. Pseudo incest may be legal, but it’s almost exclusive to porn and erotic fiction. The SM bit of BDSM is *illegal* in many places (contrary to John’s fevered statement above) but is not exclusive to erotica (though it’s largely used in erotic fic. I’ve read BDSM books – and written them – which are no more erotic than Pride and Prejudice.)

    I repeat – I am not happy about Paypal’s actions, but I understand the financial reasoning. You can flay me if you like for seeing a little benefit to me as a salesperson out of a situation I have zero control over. I would much rather PI books and their ilk were still allowed at Smashwords, just not listed on the front. Readers raised the exact same concerns over ARe recently, right here on DA.

    As for the dubcon issue, a question on Twitter brought me this link:

    Reading through this, I would still have to say that ‘dubcon’ and BDSM have nothing to do with each other, and that ‘Fuck or die’ in any variant is a form of rape as we would see it in the real world. I have no problem at all with rape fantasies, or anything else described in that excellent post, but I still maintain that ‘dubcon’ BDSM is an oxymoron, and that ‘dubcon’ is a term which mostly covers things which in the *real* world, would be rape. So if rape is banned, calling it ‘dubcon’ is a fudge (and frankly an insult to real rape victims.)

    Note – it’s not me who is going to have to thread the needle on this one, but Mark Coker and Paypal. I’ve written and read books that would have me burning in hell, let alone banned off Smashwords, so if you want me to play Mrs Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, you’re looking at the wrong person.

    Paypal are going to have a hell of a time banning rape in books, though, considering I’ve read it in every genre I’ve ever tried, and it’s in mainstream books.

  235. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:38:22

    Yes. I didn’t read every word, but I did read much of it, and I did read the last pharagraph.
    It is marked as page 686. It seems to say that money is the issue=paid fan-fiction is illegal. It says that if anyone earns money off it is illegal. And this is just a California opinion. -Not a US supreme court decision. Or a Berne Copyright Convention international law.
    -As I have said I don’t read fan-fiction. But this comment thread has shown me that the ones that do read fan-fiction , and especially write it, is as delusional as the person who did the plagiarism that caused this article originally. -If you are fans, you wouldn’t use your idols’s work to show that you can write. And if you use your idol’s work to earn money you are no better than internet pirates.

    I am not the only one who has said fan-fiction is illegal in this comment thread., but I have claimed to know what I talk about. -I do that because I have read every article I have seen about the publishing industry for over five years. I do not care about being right, I care about the truth. -I have asked a lot of questions in my earlier comments. -I have not got answers. But the avoindance that people who do write/read iabout fan-fictionhere shows me that fan-fiction fans either are ignorant or trying to deny their disregard for the copyright that should be respect for the persons they write fan-fiction about.

    If you don’t think I undrstand being a fan who wants to tell a story.I had to wait 2 years to see “Return of the Jedi” on VHS: (-No there was no way to se it illegaly except bad video-cam in cinema, and it took 3 years before I heard of that.)

  236. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:41:33

    “Then a reader made a comment about Tj making a joke and he deleted it all. ”

    Why is Klune deleting comments on this issue at all? It raises suspicion when according to you, there should be none, and the author is innocent?

    This is a situation where exposing rumours to the light of honesty and openness could make them disappear if there’s no truth to them, and yet DSP – a press I absolutely despise and have said so many many times – and Klune are saying absolutely nothing in public. It stinks of dishonesty.

  237. AvidReader
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:44:08


    Is that constructive? Really? If you disagree why not make your point and have a mature conversation. Of all the issues raised here, THAT’S the only comment you want to make.

    I guess you subscribe to the logic: “If you can’t dazzle ‘em with your wits, baffle them with bulls%^&.”

    @Aileen- I agree. Plagerism is a harsh label to give someone based on what I’ve seen so far. Especially considering for most people we are talking about their livliehood. Its really easy to throw labels about without worrying over the consequences when it doesn’t effect you.

  238. Emma Petersen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:46:48


    I’m confused Kat. Can you explain to me what this, “Maybe the thieving plagiariser ought to know how us real writers feel about her and what’s she’s done!” means? “Us real writers?” Le sigh. Anger is a valid emotion. It’s a healthy emotion but in my opinion healthy isn’t about making something about Us vs Them. We’re all in this together, whether our opinions and reactions differ or not.

  239. Tasha
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:50:08

    @Sidney Ayers: And is now a NYT bestselling author. Sigh.

  240. Aileen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:50:12

    @Kat: Apparently you are not as well-informed as you would like to believe since the author you are accusing is a man.

    I would be happy to review your sources. As I said, I am open to learning more. I just don’t believe in making uninformed decisions.

  241. Annabeth Albert
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:50:55

    @Emma Petersen: “As far as I know this is Ms. Manning’s first offense”

    I’m not sure what you consider first offense? If you look at the comparisons above and the wicked awesome google sleuthing on the Smart Bitches thread, this is multiple works using multiple pen names, and extends to blog posts and different genres. To me first offense = single instance. To me this more like a dude being found out that he cheated with five women asking people to go easy on him because this is is first time being caught. Or if I steal from five stores before being caught, can I really claim it’s my first offense?

    I do think your support of her is admirable as is your belief that people change. And I really, really, hope she does that.

  242. Deerhart
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:51:13

    I think the problem your having is seperating out the fact that IDEAS cannot be copyrighted, only the expression of ideas can be (Harper & Row, 471 U.S. at 547, 105 S. Ct. at 2224 )
    Your not seeing a lot of new cases, because copyright law is very very old and as the Supreme Court has already determined that the decision going to be a case by case basis, they will review very few cases. Thus, the vast majority of case law is going to be at the Appeals court levels.

    Thus fan fiction, even though it can share the same ideas as the original authors, may not violate copyright so long as the way those ideas are expressed are substantially different from the original.

    With that being the basis, you can understand why it is a case by case comparison with no set rule.

    What you can easily see is if you take the same book, change names and locations, your going to lose the copyright because there is no substaintal difference in the original authors expression.

    But, and I’ll use HP here, you write a fan fiction set in Hogwarts 2 years after the end of the series with a new character, telling that character’s story, you are more likely to fall into the fair use catagory as your work is substantially different then the HP novels, despite the same location and even presence of similiar characters. In other words, the new writer as added their own touch of expression and flair to the same idea, thus, transforming it into a new work.

  243. Cara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:53:55


    While I agree that it’s annoying to see the two ideas of censorship used so interchangeably, I think the concern here is that, because credit card companies and PayPal pretty much have a near-monopoly over internet transactions, while it’s not “government” censorship, the end result is that authors of erotica are in danger of being silenced through commerce control.

  244. Tasha
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:55:37

    @Emma Petersen: If her first offense were a single offense, I might agree with you. But it’s clearly an ongoing pattern of behavior. Her second chance came the second time she published someone else’s work and called it her own. She had every opportunity to do the right thing–not download someone else’s story, not change names and locations, not put her own name on it, not publish it as her own, not join RWA (was she PAN or PRO? if so, was that based on her work or someone else’s?), not run for the board of KOD, the list goes on and on. Put me in the No Sympathy for her column.

  245. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:56:49

    @Cara: And readers of erotic content are being denied convenient, affordable access to the books they enjoy. I think this is as much a burden on readers as writers.

  246. Beverly
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:02:31

    @Cara: Ultimately, even if these are the big players in the game, even if a writer couldn’t make money off their incest erotica, not being able to make money off of something is not the same as not being able to write or read something. And yes, there are people conflating those issues in this thread.

  247. Sirius
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:02:56

    @Aileen: Neither do I, that is why I am not throwing around the “plagiarism” accusation yet, but I hardly see how anything would be able to convince you, if point by point comparison of the scenes did not convince you. And you really do not see the difference between using similar ideas and making them your own by transforming them into something if not unique, then at least with fresh twist, and copying the *exact* plot line of the story, every single plot twist? But IF and it is a big IF after I will read the book I will agree that it is a plagiarism, I will say so knowing exactly what plagiarism is. You think scene by scene lifting from another work is not plagiarism?

  248. Beverly
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:05:01

    @Cara: Ultimately, even if these are the big players in the game and because of that these authors can no longer make money off of certain types of erotica through them, that doesn’t equal to an end to access. Certain writers may not make money, or as much money, but that doesn’t mean writers can’t write and readers can’t read these things if they choose to. They just won’t make as much money. And yes, there are people conflating these two issues in this thread.

  249. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:05:21

    @Aileen I’m pretty comfortable, particularly after reading the blow by blow comparison, with what I’ve stated in the post. You may view it differently.

  250. Beverly
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:06:40

    @Jackie Barbosa: No, they are being denied convenient, affordable access through Paypal. They are free to pursue other avenues if they so choose.

  251. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:12:35

    @Beverly: Generally speaking, authors write books to make money. If they cannot make money by selling their books, they either 1) stop writing books or 2) modify their content and themes so that they can sell those books. Neither of these outcomes results in readers having more access to “certain types of erotica.” Clearly, it results in less access, because fewer of these types of books will be produced if there are fewer avenues for authors to sell them.

  252. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:13:57

    @Kat: FYI, Kat… I am a real writer. And I’m a real writer who has also been plagiarized.

    Not by Ms. Manning, but by somebody who didn’t have the decency or the courage to offer a simple apology. I was given excuses, shoddy rational, and then guilt trips. And I can honestly say that a simple, sincere apology would have mattered to me a great deal more.

    This is the first time I’ve seen anybody have the guts to step up and offer a actual apology. And an apology can be real, and sincere, even if it offered after a person was caught.

    None of us are perfect. All of us have wronged another. Perhaps we haven’t stolen from somebody, but as I know I have done things that are hurtful, I’m not going to be the one to hold a person back when they’ve offered an honest apology.

    It doesn’t mean she has earned my trust. It just means I’m willing to believe she’ll try to change.

    That’s what this real writer feels.

  253. Ridley
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:16:27

    @AvidReader: 1. that was my second post in this thread.

    2. People keep telling her, over and over, that they’re going on a reader review that documented striking resemblances between the two sources, as well as the author’s own comments. That hardly seems like a witch hunt. Especially since no one said a peep during the Susan Napier In Bed With the Boss – Ellen Wolf Working Arrangements plagiarism story, which was based on a similar set of evidence. Aileen’s repeated efforts to silence the discussion of what is or isn’t infringing smacks of concern trolling. Far from appearing earnest, she comes off as someone with a personal stake in the controversy who wants it all to go away, and so she’s invoking the specter of “this conversation is dangerous for you,” which is classic concern trolling.

    I’m just calling it as I see it.

  254. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:19:04

    @Beverly: Yes, authors can choose other avenues. Which will likely be a) more expensive and b) less accessible. Moreover, there is no guarantee that those avenues will remain open/available. Either way, both producers and consumers both have less freedom. Not, IMO, a desirable outcome. Your mileage may vary.

  255. Emma Petersen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:20:22

    @Author on Vacation:

    I honestly don’t know why people chose to plagiarize. I’m too arrogant to plagiarize. My work may not be in the ranks of Morrison or Walker but it’s pretty damn good so why do I need to steal someone else’s?
    I am sorry that person who pretended to be your friend hurt you. You didn’t deserve that and as a firm believer of karma, I believe she hasn’t gotten away with anything. All of that will come back to her, if it hasn’t already.

    p.s. I hope you’re having an awesome vacation!

  256. Chrissy
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:20:51

    If I missed it, my apologies in advance, I was scrolling through the comments.

    Do we know for certain that apology really came from the author?

  257. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:21:18

    @Jackie Barbosa: I see this as an opportunity for someone to come in and find an innovative way in which to meet the market. Clearly there is a market and I’ve heard of authors writing this type of fiction making several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  258. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:22:21

    @Chrissy: Yes, I’m convinced it came from the real author. She emailed me. She also posted at the Liz Fielding blog although it wasn’t a copy and paste, but a link to here. I wished she had reposted the apology in full, but yes, I believe the apology came from the author.

  259. bignosemoose
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:22:39

    @Aileen (191)

    It’s libel. Not slander. If you’re going to wave your big law-dick in everyone’s face, at least get the terms right.

    DSP needs to address this and put it to bed once and for all. That will go tremendously far in stemming the tide of “the witch hunt”. With everything else shining a negative light on them, the sooner they do this, the better off they will be at the very least.

  260. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:23:16

    @Jane: This link just came through Twitter, so I guess people are on that:

  261. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:28:19

    @Ridley: I’m constantly disheartened to see how successful Wolf is. Her current book (which I’m sure is some sort of Harlequin-esque story) is like in the top 60 of paid Kindle books.

  262. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:30:56

    @Jackie Barbosa: I wonder if Paypal will go after them next. It does say they are PayPal verified…

  263. Ridley
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:31:09

    @Jane: You’ve got to admit that casual romance readers aren’t a discerning bunch. If you only read a dozen books a year, why would you notice or care about blatantly recycled stories?

  264. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:33:13

    @Weirdmage: If your definition of fan fiction is using the same world, characters, and plot and rewriting scenes then I would agree with you. I think fan fiction is much broader and I would stake my law degree and my 14 years of practice as a lawyer on my interpretation of copyright which is fan fiction is measured on a case by case basis and that there is no bright line test such as all fan fiction is illegal to distribute.

  265. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:34:49

    @Ridley: I guess not but let’s face it, plagiarism doesn’t adversely affect all careers. AKA Janet Dailey, Cassandra Clare, Ellen Wolf, et al. Heck even Cassie Edwards books still sell (although that might end with the cratering of Dorchester)

  266. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:47:45

    @Michelle McCleod:

    My reply to you is stuck in the spam filter I think.

  267. Callie
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:51:44


    Please don’t put words into my mouth. I never addressed the book or the similarities or that he is completely innocent. What I may or may not feel on that matter isn’t what I addressed.

    What I did state is the original blogger and several authors etc on here have made statements that he admitted it. That is straight their words. What I was trying to say was that without any proof of this, individuals shouldn’t be throwing out that claim. People’s interpretations of the book is one thing. Making claims as to statements he’s issued is a whole other factor.

  268. Roslyn Holcomb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:56:02

    @Jackie Barbosa, of course it will cost more, and be less convenient, but that still doesn’t rise to the level of censorship. It’s simply the cost of doing business. Someone who is selling diamonds and gold will have a higher overhead than someone selling tinfoil and rhinestones. They’ll have to pay more for security, and that’s simply built into the business model. The fraud is there, it was there when I worked at a credit card call center 20 years ago. Post 171 explained it in detail. Paypal chooses not to do so. That’s not censorship, that’s a company who doesn’t want to lose money.

  269. J.S. Wayne
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:56:05

    @Beverly: With all due respect, Beverly, I have made the argument more than once before that PayPal refusing to process payments for certain adult material is like my wallet refusing to open when I go to the 7-11 for condoms. Whether it is “legally” censorship or not, in every way that matters, it IS and to say otherwise is to pursue a semantically flawed argument. For your perusal:
    an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.
    any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.
    QED, by this definition, PayPal is acting as a censoring authority. Whether it is legally sanctioned or not, whether it is “technically” within their rights or not, they are exercising their right as a limited group with widespread and damaging effects to a much larger group. In doing so, they are effectively stifling free speech and free commerce because they find the topics at issue objectionable. That’s for the reader and the author to decide, even the publisher and the bookseller. It IS NOT for the bank to decide.
    If the issue is being conflated, that is as it should be. PayPal is telling customers they cannot use THEIR money as they see fit. It’s not PayPal’s money. If they don’t want their funds used for it, that’s one thing and an internal matter. But when they start telling customers “You can only spend your money on approved items,” I can’t help but hear the Horst Wessel Song and wonder where this will end.

  270. Chrissy
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:56:55

    Thanks for answering, Jane.

    I felt a bit awkward asking, to be honest, but my “other” business is hired gun/word nerd and sometimes I can’t turn it off.

    That said… there is a sad and tangled irony in the fact that those few words had to be the hardest to write in her life.

  271. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:01:25

    “I never addressed the book or the similarities or that he is completely innocent. ”

    You are talking out of so many sides of your mouth on this, I can’t keep it straight, I have to admit. On one hand, Klune is being sarcastic, on the other then he never said anything, and those who said he did are likely lying.

    You’re way too invested in Klune’s reputation to be a disinterested party, methinks. In any event, Klune is behaving suspiciously, there are accusations which have been backed up with observations, and your stance of libelling those going ‘what’s up’ isn’t exactly making Klune look good.

    Absent a statement from Klune and/or DSP which credibly addresses these issues, I’m going to remain skeptical that the similarities between Klune’s book and Shelter are pure coincidence.

  272. Sunita
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:06:54

    I’ve been offline most of the day, occasionally able to read but not able to post. I think most of my points have been covered, so I won’t repeat them.

    I’m well aware DSP is not the only press that accepts repurposed fanfic and sells it as original fiction without letting readers know what they’re buying. When I first started reviewing, I barely knew what fanfic was. I’m better educated about it now. I have nothing against fanfic as an expressive form; many authors whose work I enjoy have written or still write fanfic in addition to their original work. What I object to is the lack of transparency when it is published as “original fiction”. I’m not unilaterally opposed to reading fanfic, I just want to know the provenance (for a variety of reasons, only some of which have to do with *possible* infringement). I don’t read m/m from most of the other presses that seem to have similar (non)policies.

    I find bizarre the idea that it is just fine for a publisher’s employee to write a “how to” column on repurposing fanfic when that publisher hasn’t even owned up to publishing the repurposed stuff or made clear what their own policies are beyond trying to avoid copyright infringement suits.

    I find it troubling that a request (for clarification about the similarities) to Dreamspinner’s Goodreads group went unanswered for four days. The question was posted on the DSP thread for BOATK on February 20. I would think a question about potential infringement issues would get noticed and kicked up the food chain (right now the post is 7th in the list of “new releases,” a board that I would expect to be monitored at least sometimes).

    Finally, there is more than one review. There are three separate reviews pointing to the similarities between Shelter and BOATK, plus the review that talks about the unattributed use of song lyrics, and the comment threads of at least two of those reviews have comments from additional readers who went back and watched the movie and were troubled by the similarities.

    The reviewer who made the most detailed set of criticisms has augmented the review with additional evidence since I read the review yesterday and blogged about it. I’m not sure when it was updated but it’s a lot more detailed than it was at first, and I found the original version pretty convincing.

  273. Linda Hilton
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:09:03

    @Jackie Barbosa: If someone writes books to make money and that’s their primary objective, then what difference does it make what kind of books they write? I mean, isn’t it then just a job, like laying bricks or transcribing accounts of traffic accidents for an insurance claim? If it’s only and all about the money, then the writers will write what sells, so if they lose the easy money in the erotica market, they’ll write something else, as long as it sells.

    If, on the other hand, it’s all about the art, all about writing what they want to write, writing to please a particular audience, whether that audience is twincest fans or lovers of animal snuff stories, then the money shouldn’t matter, as long as they can write and get the works out to their fans. Put it on a website for free, since it’s about the content not the money.

    But what I’m hearing is that the writers of the suddenly banned items are upset because they can’t make money at it. Well, like everything else in the marketplace, they have to make the choice — art or money.

    And yes, I know that the high chargeback costs and so on may end up keeping some fans of “banned” themes from being able to afford their preferred literature. Well, that’s life. There are a lot of things I’d like to buy but can’t afford, and I’m not telling the merchants who won’t lower their prices that they’re wrong.

  274. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:10:01

    @J.S. Wayne:
    “PayPal is telling customers they cannot use THEIR money as they see fit. ”

    No they are not. They are saying to customers, if you want to buy this product, you may not use as your payment gateway. It’s like stores who won’t take Amex because of the cost.

    Yes, it means that a lot of businesses will choose to keep paypal and ditch the products. Paypal is *not* preventing the goods being bought another way.

    ‘Horst Wessel’? I think that kind of hyperbole would be better reserved for the kind of crazy we’ve seen in America lately with forced rape of women of seeking abortions, Rick Santorum claiming sending kids to college is a liberal conspiracy, and the widespread belief that President Obama is (a) a Muslim and thus (b) in league with Satan and unfit to be President.

    Paypal is the victim of credit card companies and their policies. Those policies result from dishonest customers. Do you start screaming about Nazis when your insurance premiums go up because of insurance fraud? Or when your pre-existing medical condition is denied coverage?

    Censorship would be if Paypal make incest and rape fic *illegal*. They don’t have that power, and I don’t think they want it. After all, they’re losing money by having to avoid adult material. It’s a lucrative business.

  275. Callie
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:28:28


    I never said you couldn’t think one way or the other. You seem to keep twisting my words. I’m not making any claims as to your intepretations or anyone else’s. I didn’t realize that having a different opinion or comment on these post wasn’t welcome? I’m saying that without proof of the original comments that claims as to what those comments said is perhaps not the wisest decision. I’m not “libeling” as you said to anyone’s reviews or interpretations. That is absolutely their decision and opinion. You or anyone else can make opinionated statements about what was presented to them. Absolutely. What isn’t there though in my opinion shouldn’t be put out there as what he supposedly didn’t or did say. Those are two separate issues.

  276. Roslyn Holcomb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:30:38

    @ J.S. Wayne your condom/wallet analogy is only applicable if the wallet you put your money in is in fact yours. In this case it’s not. You’ve chosen to put YOUR money into PAYPAL’s wallet. Of course they have the right to regulate the opening and closing of said wallet. Again, they’re not telling you how to spend your money. They’re telling you that you can’t use their wallet to do so. Simple solution? Go buy another wallet. It might cost more and be less convenient, but many things do.

  277. R. Renee Vickers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:39:14

    @Ann Somerville: All respect intended, I have to disagree. In fact they are not telling the consumer what they are allowed to buy or not at all. They have issued ultimatums to publishers and booksellers stating that if the material contains any of the items they list that the sellers accounts will be closed. All sellers that are willing to kowtow to this ultimatum are removing the content PayPal deems as illegitimate. Paypal is acting as a censor whether it’s their original objective to or not.

    Whether they work to make these items illegal is irrelevant. They’re pushing their moral agenda on companies who utilize their services.

    I’ve read that they’re doing this because other financial institutions are back charging them for items deemed risky to identity theft. This poses a problem for PayPal which has yet to configure a way to pass these charges onto their consumers. So, rather than revising their own methods they’re pressuring the sellers of said risky materials to desist. This is my conjecture for information I’ve seen in the last few days. BUT if this is the cause, they’re trying to take the easier route than to solve the problem for themselves, even at the cause of suppressing the ability of an individual to create and distribute works of FICTION.

    The problem isn’t with WHAT they’re trying to suppress but that they’re trying to suppress at all. If the financial institutions tell PayPal next that GBLTQ is risky, is PayPal then going to suppress all works relating to that? What about if they deem materials perpetuating women’s rights…would you then support that move should PayPal choose to pressure Publication Houses and Book Retailers with equal veracity?

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again that the problem with censoring FICTION is that not only does it prohibit the discussion about the topic in question, it also prohibits the discussion AGAINST the topic in question.

    Should I write a story of survival, the main character being one who survived some horrible childhood incident, and leave out details about that incident which causes her to combat her oppressor for the sake of the general public’s morality police??? NO. Should I make my antagonist have a weak back story simply because it might offend someone? NO. Censorship is as simple as how J.S. Wayne defined and it does indeed apply to what PayPal is doing, in my own humble opinion.

  278. Roslyn Holcomb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:51:56

    But R. Renee Vickers, but those are the terms Paypal had from the beginning. It’s not like they suddenly pulled this out of their butt. This has been a part of their TOS for years. Somehow the epubs have managed just fine without them. In fact, as far as Oi know none of them deal in those categories either. Do you then accuse them of censorship for not publishing it? Of course not. They have the right to do business as they see fit. If Paypal decides tomortow that erotica isn’t profitable, period, it’s their right to do so. Presumably people can still sell it, just less conveniently. Censorship doesn’t mean making something less convenient. Those companies chose to violate PP’s TOS. it’s not like they didn’t know the rules.

  279. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:57:03

    @Linda Hilton: I’m reminded of the famous Virginia Woolf quote: “Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.” I don’t know why this needs to be an either/or proposition. I think it’s possible to write for money and art, and I’m rather stunned by the implication that it must be one or the other.

  280. Fae
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:07:46

    I’d just like to point towards the original BOATK review with the point by point analysis: The reviewer has today edited his review in response to the accusations that it’s all superficial similarities. It’s a very interesting list.

    Just in case anyone wanted more details on the similarities.

  281. R. Renee Vickers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:10:02

    @Roslyn Holcomb: I don’t disagree with you there in the aspect of they have the right run their business as they see fit and these companies have equal right to find other payment methods. My hang up is that they’re amending the specifics to their TOS and issuing demands upon the companies who use their services. To me, it smacks of censorship.

    As far as what I’ve seen, their TOS never defined what they’re pursuing now. They cover it as being under the “obscene” clause but where do you draw that line? If tomorrow, their list of “obscene” items grows, at what point are people allowed to say enough? Do they say they’ve gone to far when this starts (now) or do they say they’ve gone so far that they prevent people from paying their doctors for contraceptives because someone there thinks that birth control is obscene?

    I do feel the best way to combat this is with public awareness and to utilize other methods of payment. I do feel PayPal has the right to conduct their business as they see fit. I do not feel that PayPal has the right to issue demands of change in policies against other companies…and in the same breath, I don’t feel these companies should pass these demands on their authors.

  282. Sunita
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:19:29

    @Fae: I linked to that in my comment #272. It’s quite something, isn’t it?

  283. Fae
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:21:33

    @Sunita: Oops, my apologies, Sunita, I didn’t see that. It’s been hard to keep up with the influx of ‘new comment’ emails!

  284. Author on Vacation
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:27:27

    @Linda Hilton:

    If someone writes books to make money and that’s their primary objective, then what difference does it make what kind of books they write? I mean, isn’t it then just a job, like laying bricks or transcribing accounts of traffic accidents for an insurance claim? If it’s only and all about the money, then the writers will write what sells, so if they lose the easy money in the erotica market, they’ll write something else, as long as it sells.

    Why exactly do you object to any author receiving appropirate compensation for his/her work?

    Writing and storytelling are, indeed, an art form. There are, of course, many writers who write regularly without ever intending to seek professional publication or even share their work with the public at no charge. However, crafting fiction is a time-consuming job. The post-writing process (editing, rewriting, polishing, and promotional efforts) is also time-consuming.

    I don’t understand why a skilled author should be denied compensation because particular themes in the author’s work are objectionable to some folks.

  285. Beverly
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:27:45

    @Jackie Barbosa: Are you trying to say that authors only write when there’s a monetary advantage? I think that’s pretty sad. But it still has no bearing on whether there actually is the opportunity and allowance to write or to read erotica. Only the ability to make good money at it.

    Edited to add: I’m not saying this is the most “desirable outcome”, only that no one’s rights or abilities to write or to read are being infringed on, which is what many people have implied here. People can still write and read these things if they choose to do so, they just can’t do it through Paypal.

  286. Sunita
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:31:51

    @Fae: Not at all. It bears repeating/relinking. :)

  287. Roslyn Holcomb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:35:49

    R. Renee Vickers, I don’t think that’s accurate. This has been in their TOS for a while now. I remember well when the epubs parted ways with PP and it was over these same issues. I used PP quite a lot to shop at epubs at the time and remember the back and forth with them over the issues. And as far as I know none of the epubs dealt in the categories that are being proscribed now. At least I don’t recall seeing those type books that I’ve seen on the front page at ARe of late. If anything, it seems that PP is trying to be as flexible as possible while preserving a profit.

  288. Beverly
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:35:57

    @J.S. Wayne: I’m sorry, but your understanding of censorship and rights is completely wrong. Yes, individual people and companies make censorious decisions. However, that does not equate to government censorship levels. Were we to follow your logic, the local mom and pop store down the road would be required to sell bestiality erotica, even if they really, really didn’t want to. Do you think you should have the right to tell other people what they have to sell? There’s no difference between your neighbor and Paypal when it comes to the freedom to make their own business decisions.

  289. Stephanie Dray
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:00:52

    I’m distressed to learn that Paypal has apparently pressured Smashwords into devising a policy that seems entirely arbitrary, capricious and almost certain to result in disparities in enforcement that will serve to widen the gulf between traditionally published authors and self-published authors.

    As Jane correctly notes, “lines are drawn in the law all the time. Obscenity, pornography and the like” have been subject to judicial definition. And during the ten minutes that I practiced law, these lines were my area of expertise.

    The problem was, then as now, these lines are so subjective as to create havoc within communities–frustrating the purpose of law in carving out commonly understood standards of behavior.

    It’s generally a disaster when jurists try to define acceptable modes of expression. I have a difficult time believing that the mysterious “banking partners” and the folks at Paypal and now, Smashwords will do a better job of it.

    None of these entities strikes me as particularly qualified, nor equipped, to fashion a policy that does not have a chilling effect on the expression of artists in a rapidly changing publishing world. Now, as none of these entities are governmental in nature, nothing in the law forces them to offer their services to include of expression they don’t like.

    They aren’t curbing free speech.

    They are, however, engaging in a form of censorship that has serious implications due to their size and the relatively monopolistic nature of the emerging digital fiction industry. Because it is extremely unlikely that Smashwords is going to hire employees to read through thousands of books and decide if the rape scenes are meant to arouse, we can assume that the enforcement of this policy will be spotty or over-inclusive.

    Why do I say that the decision is likely to widen the gulf between traditionally published and self-published authors? Like mainstream novels Game of Thrones, Mists of Avalon and Flowers in the Attic, my most recent historical fantasy novel contains both a rape scene and incest. While Song of the Nile is neither romance nor erotic fiction and does not offer up rape for prurient purposes, both these scenes can and do cause reader discomfort.

    Nonetheless, my book is published by Berkley Books and enjoys shelf space in major bookstores online and offline. I note that where it is sold online it is sometimes tagged with an incest tag. I believe this is for purposes of warning readers who may be triggered by such content.

    If I had wished to sell this novel myself on Smashwords, this new policy would have given me pause even though my work almost assuredly falls outside the guidelines. I would not have confidence that my work would be taken on its individual merit.

    Combined with the outright refusal to sell works that are disapproved of by bankers, some of whom are probably working out of highly ethical cities like Dubai, the upshot may be that mainstream publishers continue to dictate the boundaries of appropriate fiction while self-published authors will find their ability to find and build an audience sharply circumscribed.

    That is not an outcome I would wish to see in the book-reading, book-writing, book-publishing community. I also believe that several of the criteria used to form these policies have the potential to be discriminatory and I object to them on those grounds as well.

    I’m happy to be persuaded that I’m mistaken, but with all due respect to Mark Corker, I think this is a mistake that will have lasting consequences.

  290. Stephanie Dray
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:09:51

    @Beverly: I worry that you and Jackie are talking past one another. You write, “People can still write and read these things if they choose to do so, they just can’t do it through Paypal.”

    True enough. However, if Paypal were to say that they no longer would facilitate transactions for fiction involving homosexuality, would that not strike you as discriminatory? Would it not tempt you to call them out for this practice? Might it cause a boycott?

    Given the place of market dominance Paypal has achieved in the online retail world, they would rightly pay a heavy price for such an action, even though there is, to my knowledge, no law preventing them from doing so.

    I think what Jackie Barbosa is trying to say–though I am loathe to put words in her mouth–is that our righteous indignation might stand to be stretched a little. Some of us would prefer it if public opprobrium fell upon those who make it difficult for erotic fiction authors to engage in their craft with the same freedom and opportunity as other authors.

  291. Fae
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:14:43

    Am I the only one bothered by people drawing a comparison between true racism/bigotry towards minority groups and Daddy’s Anal Slut? Really? Comparing true oppression of human beings and their inalienable civil rights to exist and be seen as equal, with the ‘plight’ of someone’s right to sell bestiality and Incest stories through Paypal? That’s just…well, it’s more disgusting than some of those awful covers, is what it is.

  292. Linda Hilton
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:31:31

    @Jackie Barbosa: Oh, please don’t misunderstand me, Jackie, because I’m not saying it has to be one or the other. But if, as you wrote, writers write to make money, then they have to adjust to the marketplace. If they want to write for the joy of writing without concern whether it makes money or not, then they can do so. Sometimes, happily, the two coincide, but sometimes they don’t. I think it’s unfair to think that just because someone has written something, someone else is necessarily obligated to publish it. Works fail to achieve publication for a variety of reasons, and sometimes those are financial, sometimes they’re ideological, and sometimes both. And sometimes when they are published, they don’t sell. We can’t make readers buy, and we can’t make sellers sell either.

  293. Sirius
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:45:11

    @Sunita: So here I am, spent an evening rewatching Shelter and reading IMO painful and not very well written book. No, I have not finished yet, I am only on 30% of the story, the level of angst is so high (and I can handle a lot of angst) that it is giving me a headache, I want to take a red pen and take out half of what I read because I *got the point already”. Having said it, I want to offer an opinion anyway as to whether I think it is a plagiarism. General outline of the plot is similar for sure, disturbingly similar even, yes with couple of similar scenes, but having read the reviewer’s point by point comparison, I most certainly disagree with one point that I consider extremely important.I would not agree that main characters’ personalities are similar to rise to level of plagiarism, I mean their mother’s abandoment plays such significant impact on Bear’s personality that besides the fact that he and Zach are both attached to the child, I do not see any close similarities between them. Neither do I see any close similarities between Shawn and Otter, or at the very least not yet. Besides him being attached to the child and Bear/Zach of course. I will continue to suffer for as long as I can, but so far I would I guess say partial plagiarism – plot, but not characters. I certainly do not feel that differences in the plot are enough to say not plagiarism, although their mother’s leaving for me was enough to significantly make main character different. So different that I cant wait for him to shut up, narrator that is :(

  294. Tom Webb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:57:24

    I saw this about Dreamspinner and TJ KLune, and, unlike some others, decided to go right to the source, and read it on your website from your very own lips, so to speak.

    You call this news? The fact that you use the word “apparently” in your accusations makes it somehow okay to pass off as something credible? A reader says?

    I call bullshit on this whole issue. That fact that “someone says” makes it okay to print is ridiculous. I’ve seen “Shelter”, and I’ve read “BOATK”. Three times. One can see slight similarities in plot, but to try to pass this off as some kind of huge scandal which Dreamspinner has some hand in, according to your stellar reporting? Give. Me. A. Break.

    West Side Story echoes Romeo and Juliet. Will you refuse to listen to “Somewhere” now? That makes about as much sense as anything else this muckracking piece purports to do. And then, then to actually publish an accusation, again wrapped up under the auspices of “the reader reports” that somehow Mr. Klune admitted to plagiarism then deleted it?

    You should be so very proud of yourselves. Because I have to tell you, you have about as much credibility to me, a serious reader, as…I don’t even have words for it.

    Then, to say that Dreamspinner encourages AND tells writers how to steal stories and cheat? Did YOU check any sources? Did you maybe misunderstand, misconstrue, mislead? Oh. I’m sorry, a reader told me you did. So it must be so…

    Ever heard of fanfic? As a starting point and jump off for taking a story into one step more?

    You owe all parties involved an apology. Thank God I don’t have to put up with your self righteous crap – all I am is a reader.

    For Christ’s Sake, you people – get a frikkin life!


  295. L.K. Rigel
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:00:34

    @Tom Webb:

    The word “clueless” comes to mind.

    And no, I don’t mean as in the retelling of Emma, a work that is out of copyright.

  296. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:05:20

    @Tom Webb:


    In regards to the Dreamspinner/Fan-Fiction issue, it came from their own editor’s blog post. I don’t see any words being put into anyone’s proverbial mouth.

  297. Ros
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:11:40

    @Jane: Well, at least that would be a silver lining.

  298. azteclady
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:22:31

    @Tom Webb: Serious reader, of course.

    Because no one here at DA ever reads anything.

    Jane, you ignorant slut!

  299. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:29:18

    @Tom Webb: You must be new here.

  300. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:31:33


    Apparently Tom only reads comments and didn’t bother to check the documented link regarding Dreamspinner’s instructional blog post regarding changing fan-fiction.

  301. Sirius
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:35:00

    @Aleksandr Voinov: Hi Aleks, I thought I would not be able to find your comment :). This may be off topic for this thread, but I will say it anyway, please nobody kill me :). Since “Blacker than Black” was published by Riptide, I wanted to thank you for putting the product of such caliber on the market. Two reasons why I find this kind of relevant – I only finished the book yesterday (definitely needed to be in the mood for it) and was blown away by editing, writing, characters, everything, but the most important reason is that this book to me demonstrates very well that it is possible to take a very familiar trope and make it so brilliantly unique as this book did. I guess the contrast is too fresh in my mind if that makes sense. Thank you and thank you to the writer of course. Yeah, am done gushing now and forgive me for off topic interruption, as I said – contrast is too fresh in my mind and my reading now causes me too much pain.

  302. YT
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:44:16

    As a completely unbiased, objective person who has no connection whatsoever to TJ Klune, I have to say–shame on you! shame on you all! I have read his books many times, and every time I read them I am struck by what an honest, hard-working individual TJ Klune is. There is NO WAY that he could have plagiarized all of that. Those things you list are mere coincidence, and an individual as virile, strong, and good-looking as TJ Klune would never have engaged in such low behavior.

    Anyone could have written a book that had similarities to a movie. I cannot believe you are citing as evidence a post in which someone lists a mere 93 similarities between the book and the movie. I could understand some suspicion if there were 100 similarities, but 93 is too few. You are all getting set up for a lawsuit for defamation. I will laugh when you are found guilty of libel, barratry, trademark dilution, and intentional interference with contract.

    Nine out of ten sock puppets agree that TJ Klune is INNOCENT.

  303. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:49:35

    @Moriah Jovan: This made me snort.

  304. Debra Holland
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:00:45

    I hope Kay Manning’s apology is sincere, and not coached by someone else.

    Kay, if you are reading this, I hope you take a long hard look at your life. I hope you seek psychotherapy. I hope you make direct written and financial amends to the authors you harmed directly.

    As to the greater community of authors and readers… I don’t know what you can do to help them heal from your actions. The apology is a good start. Knowing you’re seeking help is another step. Maybe someday, you can write an original piece that takes people through your recovery process.

    I wish this blog hadn’t put the paypal/Smashwords discussion in the same one as the Kay Manning. Two serious, but different, issues to discuss.

  305. Ros
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:01:05

    @YT: *happy grin*

  306. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:09:57

    #300 wins at the internets.

  307. Sara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:19:19

    I’ve seen Shelter a couple of times & while there may be some similarities between Bear, Otter & the Kid, there’s no way it’s the same book. There’s no character like the kid, who is a genius, a vegetarian & very funny in the book, in the movie & he takes up the majority of the book. There’s no school scenes, parent teacher conferences any of the funny poems etc. in the movie. In the movie, the boy is an average 5 year old, not a genius, who is sad. There’s no disabled dad in the book as in the film. In the movie The young man did not raise a little boy on his own, instead he lives with his sister who likes to go out on dates. The sister does not abandon her child. I could go on, but it’s unbelievable that you base accusation on some bitter people commenting on GoodReads.

    I will also add, there was no Admission of stealing a story on the author’s blog as I happened to look at it at the time the accusation was made. What was said, was a reader on goodreads said in a comment in a sarcastic, joking way, how can you have a sequel as there’s no movie after Shelter. It was a joke. And the writer made a funny comment about staying above the fray in response. The person writing her review took this comment as an admission which it was not. I really think this blog should not take idle gossip & put a column about it. And yes, I’m absolutely no relation to TJ , not even a goodread fan or friend. I’m just very irritated by the environment over there & people with vendettas going after a writer.

  308. Ridley
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:21:40

  309. Lasha
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:31:49

    @Tasha: Who is having a movie made of said book in which I found lifted dialogue from The Terminator 2. Excuse me, it was an HOMAGE.

  310. Moira Reid
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:37:25

    @Emma Petersen: “And please Moira, don’t keep your opinions to yourself. You have a right to express them the same as everyone else does. *hugs* I heart you Moira because you say what needs to be said, when it needs to be said and while it may not be something I can or would say that doesn’t make me respect it any less.”

    That might be the nicest thing anyone’s ever told me. Many hearts and hugs your way, too.

  311. Sunita
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 23:06:54

    @YT: Yep, Moriah is absolutely right.

    And then Comment #305 hands you the QED.

    *deep bow*

  312. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 23:09:57


    No, you are confusing patent law with copyright. Apple and Samsung are suing eachother at the moment because they are in a dispute on what an idea is. (Apple is suing Samsung because they see “swipe to open” as a patent. Samsung is suing because Apple is using their patent of touchscreens. -At least that is what reports are telling me. Both companies has been banned from selling their product in some countries because of it.)

    As for your example, using Hogwarts is definitely against the law. J.K. Rowling created Hogwarts, and using her creation is against copyright law. It wouldn’t matter if you use different characters. The Hogwarts setting is copyrighted . -A whole other discussion is that you would be sued by Warner Brothers, who Rowling for some reason has sold the Harry potter copyright to. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ditched her old agent because he advised her to do that. Copyright 101 is never sell/give away the right to your creations. (look at “…and the Deathly Hollows,” and you’ll see that the characters are copyright Warner Bros.)

  313. AvidReader
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 23:22:36



    Smartass thy name is…. but whats with the sock puppets?

    @Debra- I agree about seperating the two seperate issues, apparently there is alot to be said on both topics and having everything together makes it hard to follow the different talking points being floated about.

  314. Deerhart
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 23:35:19

    No I am NOT confusing patent law and copyright law. I actually went and LOOKED IT UP. I even gave you the court cases that state that the United States Supreme Court has decided that COPYRIGHT violations of fan fiction are on a case by case basis. I also linked the case that specifically stated that copyright protects EXPRESSION not IDEAS.

    Let me quote you langauge directly from these cases

    In view of the First Amendment’s protections embodied in the Act’s distinction between copyrightable expression and uncopyrightable facts and ideas

    he majority noted that copyright attaches to expression, not facts or ideas. It concluded that, to avoid granting a copyright monopoly over the facts underlying history and news, “`expression’ [in such works must be confined] to its barest elements – the ordering and choice of the words themselves.”

    And yes, actaully under the case law I saw, so long as the work was a derivative and transformative, you can set it in Hogwarts and it would not be a copyright violation. Again, I gave you court cases in which a substantial part of Gone With the Wind was used, but the work was found to be transformative and thus not a copyright violation.

    A copyright stops direct copying of the expression, but it does not stop someone spinning off the ideas and transforming the work into a derivitative, parody etc. But, when you do that you run the risk of being sued and the court making the decision on whether or not it’s transformative enough.

    You have to stop thinking of copyright as an ABSOLUTE right that covers everything. It’s not. Plenty of holes to walk through (fair use, satire, Parody, derivative work -expressive creation that includes major, copyright-protected elements of an original, previously created first work)

    Wiki has a good description of derivative works, which is what fan fiction is

  315. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 23:43:39

    As I said, I don’t understand how it is fan-fiction if you don’t use the same characters and world. But as I also said, I am not at all familiar with fan-fiction. So our definitions of fan-fiction makes us disagree. In my definition of fan-fiction you have to use the original creation to make it fan-fiction. I am aware that you can remove the work so much from the original that it is not seen as derivative. (And I think that is why there’s porn “parodies” of almost every famous movie franchise there is.)

    In general, as a lawyer, wouldn’t you agree that prescedence counts a lot in court? I.e. that the verdict of a higher court often decides what a judge’s verdict is, or at least a previous judgement can decide a case. -In the verdicts I have read, the judge always references other cases, and the verdicts thereof.
    That is why I say fan-fiction that is distributed is illegal. I’m pretty sure that an author can get a temporary injunction against it being distributed until the case is decided. -I do think fan-fiction wil end up in supreme court one day. I do think it hasn’t because verdicts in lower courts concerning authors that have sued is so unambigious that there hasn’t been an appeal. I don’t think that a supreme court will ever declare (my definition of) fan-fiction legal. As I think that basically negates copyright.

  316. Ridley
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 23:56:11

    @Beverly: Look, it *is* censorship. Censorship they have every right to participate in, but censorship nonetheless. They’re making a value judgment on the content. It’s not like a corner store not selling sex toys, it’s like a pharmacy not stocking Plan B.

    It’s worrisome to me as a reader because I’m loath to see my book buying options limited by retailers’/payment processors’ judgment of what is and isn’t obscene material. What happens when no one sells this arbitrarily labeled “taboo” erotica? It may not be government censorship, but it’s still a limitation on speech.

  317. Courtney Milan
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:00:18

    @Weirdmage: There are so many things wrong with everything you are saying. I don’t even know where to start.

    But let me just ask you this: If using Hogwarts is categorically against the law, and this is not decided on a case by case basis, why is it that the initial version of the unauthorized Harry Potter Lexicon was found to infringe on J.K. Rowling’s copyright in 2008, but that a latter modified stripped down version was found not to infringe in 2009?

  318. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:13:13

    @Weirdmage: Except I gave you a case where the fan fiction was distributed and sold and the copyright holder LOST the temporary injunction and the case. That case WAS decided by the US Supreme Court

    Fan Fiction are stories that are based on the characters or locations of an original work. It is a pretty broad description and there are lots of them out there that have been sold, though not always when a copy right is in place (ie Jane Austin).

    While precedence is important. it is not the only factor and again, when it is a case by case basis, precedence becomes LESS important. WHy? Because in a case by cases standard, no 2 cases are the same which leaves the judge(s) decided the matter a lot of wiggle room to easily distinguish this case from any other. Further, here the law has been pretty clear for over over a decade that fan fiction CAN be a derivative and thus fair use. But again, it is a proceed at your own risk because it can end up in court and because it is a case by case issue, it is much harder to predict how the court will rule unless it is clearly a violation (as it would be in the example that spawned this blog post) or clearly is not a violation (because copyright is gone like with Jane Austin or that there are clearly substantial changes as in Gone With the Wind example). Technically, both the book Scarlett and Rhett Butler’s People are fan fiction. As Margeret Mitchell died in 1949, the copy right on gone with the wind did not expire until 1999. Scarlett was released in 1991 and thus is either a derivative work (or they were granted permission by the copyright holder which is what I beleive happened) or even both. But instead of taking the risk of a court battle they simply got permission. The other book came after the copyright expired and thus is not a violation.

    Further, a copy right violation is a violation REGARDLESS of whether or not you make any money off of it. The copyright laws allow for statutory damages of $750-$30,000 per violation and if the violation is found to be willful, the damages increase to up to over $100,000. If the court deems the violation wasn’t willful and the offending party truly beleived they had a fair use they can lower the violation to $200. Further, the statute is a loser pays situation where the losing party can be ordered to pay all costs and attorney fees. Thus your assertion that it’s not a copyright violation unless they make money off it is completely wrong. Go back to the tatoo copyright suit from the Hangover 2, it was a copyright violation even though the studio had not yet made a dime off the movie (hence the injuction filed by the copyright holder) nor had it distributed it yet. Also there are novels upon novels of fan fic star wars and star trek books out there.
    Many times the copyright holder ultimately gives permission because 1) by giving permission it can give them some say in the process and what the people write 2) the book is a derivative and they recognize that they would lose the court battle and end up paying the other side

  319. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:28:03

    And this is why I always avoided writing Fan Fiction. So much gray area…

    Don’t most of these Fanfiction websites have rules about using the content on the website, anyhow?

    Is the Dreamspinner editor giving instructions on how to change your own fan fiction, or use someone else’s? Because if it’s the latter, then I could see some issues arising from that.

  320. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:31:47

    Here is the wiki article on the GWTW fan fiction where there was found to be no copyright violation.

  321. Weirdmage
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:33:09

    If you had read my comments, you’d see that I cover both parody and fair use in them. I am sure that using Hogwarts in anything you write will get you not only sued, but that you will lose in a court. Hogwarts is a specific thing. However a “school of magic”, that is hidden but exists in our world, predates Rowling. And an orphan “chosen one” is a SFF cliché, that is so overused that you’ll get laughed at by SFF fans for using it. (I’ll ad that I liked the Harry Potter books, but felt they went downhill from “Order of the Phoenix” that I see as the best book. The last book is the weakest in my opinion.)

    “Fair use”, is not absolute. That you can be sued, and not having it thrown out as a frivious lawsuit, shows that it is may be illegal according to law. Not that it is likely legal. I have yet to se any evidence, or reasoned argument, that my definition ( that I have stated in this tread) of fan-fiction is legal. I see the “it is decided by a case by case basis” argument as being equal to “I know I am doing something illegal, but you have to go to court to prove it”.
    -And I still fail to see how anyone earning money from someone else’s creation has any right to call themselves a fan. They are just using the popularity of something to get a buck. -And for the record: I think fan-fiction is OK as long as money don’t change hands. And that is what I have seen authors state too.

  322. Ridley
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:44:39

    @Weirdmage: How many lawyers need to tell you you’re mistaken before it trumps your “gut feeling?”

  323. Weirdmage
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:47:20

    Firstly, copyright is life of author +75 years, not 50. Secondly “Scarlett” was an authorised sequel.

    And I don’t understand why you disagree with me when your last paragraph/block of text agrees with my earlier assertion here where I explicitly said that no oney had to be involved, it just a fact that you wont get sued if no money is involved. That last paragraph of yours only serves to prove that my assertion that distributing fan-fiction is illegal in principle. -That an author does not sue doesn’t make it legal.

  324. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:56:39

    Again an IDEA cannot be copyrighted. The only thing that was copyrighted was the way JK ROwlings expressed herself. So yes you can use Hogwarts. For example, a person could rewrite the entire HP novels from Nevil’s point of view and it may have a good chance of being deemed a derivative.

    I have repeatedly stated that writing fan fiction is a do at your own risk. This is because copyright holders are generally overzealous in protecting their copyrights and will drag someone into court to have the court decide.

    A case by case basis is not an argument equal to I know I am doing something illegal but you have to go to court to prove it, especially since all the plaintiff has to do is prove they hold the copyright and that your book is close to it. It is the DEFENDANT (aka the fan fic writer) who has the burden of PROVING the defense of deriviative/fair use. Further, it HAS to be on a case by case basis because frankly, each expression WILL be unique. You are never going to see case law regarding what this woman has done because it is clearly, blatantly, and willfully a violation of copyright law. SO your going to see the cases regarding trivia books, lexicons, rewrites from another character’s perspective, prequels, sequals, wrtten from a brand new characters point of view (which the example I gave above on writing about a new class at hogwarts would have an excellent chance of being deemed a deriviative)

    I also never said fair use was an absolute. Very very few, if any, copyright cases are going to be tossed as friviolous, espeically since the definition of frivolous for legal matters is that their is absolutely NO GROUNDS for the suit. Almost always in a copyright case there will at least be grounds for dispute in determining whether or not the work is deriviative ENOUGH. See that is the key word here, ENOUGH. Is this work different enough from the original work.

    Most people embroiled in copyright lawsuits do not beleive they are doing something illegal. They beleive that what they are doing falls under one of the exceptions (fair use, derivative etc). The copyright holder disagrees and beleives it is not derivative enough, hence the court decides.

    I find it interesting that you think it’s okay for people to write fan fiction, even if it violates copyright law, so long as they don’t make money off it. Unfortunately, if I decided tomorrow to violate the copyright of the book next to me and give it away (aka like the lady did in the post spawning this discussion) it is STILL a copyright violation.

    The real question that comes down to in copyright law is whether or not the risk is worth the reward. I can write that HP book from Nevil’s point of view and regardless of whether or not I would win a court battle (and I would say that it is entirely possible to win that battle based on case law I have seen) I still wouldn’t write the book because I know 100% that the copyright holder would aggressively pursue the copyright. While I may ultimately be the winner in oh 4-5 years, I certainly don’t have the bankroll to pay out the attorney fees to fight the case (even if they would be paid back if I were to win).

    Just because something MAY be illegal according to the law doesn’t mean it IS illegal according to the law. That is why we have a legal system to decide those things. These copyright cases are a difference of opinion, one side it’s different enough, the other side it isn’t. The judge, ultimately, dets to decide (unless the 2 sides work it out which 95% of all civil cases settle)

    As for the earning money from someone else’s creation, well we all earn money from someone else’s creation. Ideas that spawn stories have been around for centuries and as you so plainly pointed out, the same IDEAS are used over and over again. The idea was created and expressed by one person and someone else saw it/read it etc and was inspired to use those ideas to create their OWN unique work. Sometimes those unique works are in the same context of the original creation (aka derivitative) and sometimes they aren’t.

  325. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:04:11

    I’m surprised they didn’t try and sue Missy D’Urberville for her GWTW parody, “Today Is Another Tomorrow”

  326. Dusk Peterson
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:05:01

    Quite honestly, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for the boom to fall upon e-booksellers carrying adult content. PayPal instituted its policy against adult-oriented products back in 2003 (purportedly because of the high amount of money it was having to pay on fraud investigations of adult materials).

    Back then, I witnessed PayPal crack down on a number of indie authors who had been using PayPal as a way to sell books from their websites.

    So my question isn’t: Why is PayPal preventing e-bookstores from using their services to sell certain categories of erotica? Rather, my question is: Why is PayPal continuing to let e-bookstores use their services to sell *any* type of erotica?

    That’s why I think this particular situation is a very dangerous case of slippery slope. First PayPal moved against indie authors of adult materials, and now they’re moving against certain categories of adult material carried by big e-bookstores. There’s nothing in PayPal’s terms of service that would prevent them from going further.

    By the way, a number of commentators on this recent situation have said, “Don’t worry; alternatives to PayPal will arise.” I heard those same words nine years ago, when PayPal instituted its policy.

  327. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:08:05


    Actually, no copyright is not the creators life +75 years. For works created prior to January 1, 1978 it is the authors life +50 years. For works created after that date it is the author’s life +75 years. Hence the copyright on GWTW, as it was created prior to 1978, is only 50 years after her death. I also stated that I beleived that Scarlett was authorized.

    I did not prove that it is illegal in principle because well there really is no such thing. By saying it is illegal in principle is saying that copyright doesn’t have recognized catagories where the copyrights cease which it does. You cannot violate copyright law in principle when what you have done is NOT a violation of copyright law. The difference is that you see all fan fiction as always being a violation of copyright law and that position is simply not support by either the legislated law nor the case law.

    Finally, people chose not to sue for many different reasons. One of which is the ability to recover damages. Let me tell you there are plenty of people who will sue someone, when there is no hope of EVER recovering any money in the suit, just to have the ruling against the person (in fact I was an attorney in one such suit). Some people sue for spit, some to set an example, and some people sue and appeal simply to get a better clarification of where the boundries in the law may be (which is helpful in an area like copyright law in finding where the courts are drawing the lines and how closely a work can push the boundaries and still be deriviative – like in the cited HP lexicon case)

  328. Weirdmage
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:15:51


    No lawyers have said I am wrong yet. Jane said she agreed that my definition of fan-fiction is illegal (in comment 264):

    “If your definition of fan fiction is using the same world, characters, and plot and rewriting scenes then I would agree with you.”

    I have said several times that I don’t understand how something is fan-fiction if it doesn’t adhere to that definition. And Jane continued:

    “I think fan fiction is much broader and I would stake my law degree and my 14 years of practice as a lawyer on my interpretation of copyright which is fan fiction is measured on a case by case basis and that there is no bright line test such as all fan fiction is illegal to distribute. ”

    Jane is absolutely right in that it is decided on a case by case basis, if you only look at the law. I disagree with her in that I think if it is even a question if it is illegal I think it is wrong to do it. And putting law aside, I don’t see how making money on someone else’s creation in any way makes you a fan. -I think Jane and I agree except in our definition of fan-fiction. And I think she strongly disagrees with my definition of fan-fiction, but I am very fine with that. But I have seen authors agree with my opinion that making money off fan-fiction is wrong, and I’ll stick with that. -And agin, just because someone allows you to do something it is not necessarily legal if you follow the letter of the law.

  329. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:18:28

    @Sidney Ayers:
    The parady exception to copyright law is pretty well settled for a very long time (4 prong test). Think about how long SNL has been around or artists like Weird Al.

    People keep suing South Park over copyright violations on their paradies and keep losing. In fact, the courts find the parady fair use law so well settled (especially with South Park) that the judge who decided the case in December 2011 said that the plaintiffs cause of action was objectively unreasonable (and ordered the plaintiff to pay $30k in attorney fees). In fact, this case got tossed on a Motion to Dismiss

    There have been enough South Park lawsuits that they are being used to teach copyright classes

  330. Ann Somerville
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:27:39

    “But I have seen authors agree with my opinion that making money off fan-fiction is wrong, and I’ll stick with that.”

    I’ve seen authors compare fanfiction to being raped and burgled, so…no, I wouldn’t use what authors think about fanfiction as my legal authority, because most of us are as ignorant on the actual law as you are. I can assure you that the original creators take very diverse views on the subject – some even write it, and others like Diana Gabaldon are virulently against it (ahem, even though her Outlander series started as fanfic itself!) – but very few of them have legal training or have taken legal action which can act as any kind of precedent. Deerhart is stating the situation as I understand it to be, as the Organisation for Transformative Works understands it to be, and since she’s a lawyer and you’re not, I guess she’s more likely to know than you are. Most authors who are foolish enough to opine on fanfic in public talk utter crap about fanfiction and the law.

    “And agin, just because someone allows you to do something it is not necessarily legal if you follow the letter of the law. ”

    Wow, you have no idea what copyright involves, do you? Every time I sign a contract with a publisher, or allow Smashwords to distribute my books, I am explicitly allowing to do things that *without* my permission, would indeed be violations of copyright.

    Permission to reproduce, sell and market is what copyright is all about. You really, truly have no flipping idea what you are talking about.

    Fanfiction, by the way, is not just “using the same world, characters, and plot and rewriting scenes”. It encompasses Alternative Universes, new characters in known universes, continuations well past what the original creator has come up with, and different takes on plots. Your definition is so incredibly narrow, I wonder that you can have any familiarity with fanfiction at all. I *do* have considerable familiarity – I wrote it (never sold it and never will, because that’s a breach of trust) and read it, and still keep in touch with people in fandoms of wildly different types.

  331. Ridley
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:38:22

    @Weirdmage: Gotcha.

    You saying, “Here’s how I think copyright works.” > three different lawyers saying, “Um, no it doesn’t.”

  332. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:42:03

    your definition of fan fiction is not fan fiction. It is plagarism. Plagarism of a copyrighted item is always a violation. You have limited your definition to basically taking the exact same story and changing a few things. I have yet to see fan fiction that does that with one exception, the fan fiction that comes from a different characters point of view, which in my understanding of the law is a deriviative work.

    By limiting your definition of fan fiction so narrowly, your basically saying derivatives aren’t fan fiction only plagarism is, which has never been an accepted definition of fan fiction that I have seen anywhere.

    I am not sure why you can’t understand that something is fan fiction when the original work spawned the idea for the story they are telling. The star wars books that tell the stories of what happened between the movies and after the moives are fan fiction. They were not written by the orginal creator George Lucas. This is the whole point behind the limitations to the copyright laws and why you cannot copyright ideas only expressions.

    Sorry, just because a copyright holder or anyone else THINKS it’s wrong, doesn’t MAKE it wrong or illegal. Hence why copyright holders don’t get an auto win the minute they file suit.

    But you HAVE stated several times that a person cannot use the word Hogwarts and if they did they would be sued for a copyright violation (just to point out the fact that by using the term I am NOT in violation of any copyright as my use of the term falls within the fair use doctrine) and you have been told with a specific example that there in fact has been a copyright case WON by a person, not holding the copyright, yet using the term

    And oh BTW straight from wiki (I so love it to start reasearch)
    In November 2007, The Scotsman reported that Rowling had threatened legal action against American computer programmer G. Norman Lippert for allegedly violating her intellectual property rights by producing and publishing the online novel, James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing, an unofficial and unauthorised continuation of the Harry Potter series. Written as a fan fiction project for Lippert’s wife and sons, the novel is set eighteen years after the end of the last official installment in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and describes the adventures of Harry Potter’s son, James Potter, during his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[62] A specialist in intellectual property law at Strathclyde University commented that, “If an insubstantial character from a novel is taken and built up by another author in a new story, that can be a defence against copyright infringements.”[62] However, after Lippert offered Rowling an advance copy of the novel, Rowling dismissed her threat[63] and said she supported the novel and any others like it.[63] Lippert subsequently produced a sequel, James Potter and the Curse of the Gatekeeper.[63] After the novel first appeared online in early November 2007, some Harry Potter fans on the Internet initially speculated that the site might be part of an elaborate viral marketing campaign for an official continuation or spinoff of Harry Potter, one either written or at least approved by Rowling herself.[64] On November 9, 2007, Rowling’s agent Neil Blair denied that Rowling was in any way involved with the purported project,[65] and Warner Bros., the studio which owns the rights to the Harry Potter film series, denied that the novel was in any way connected to the official Harry Potter franchise.[66]

  333. S.A. Garcia
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:50:49

    @K. Z. Snow:

    K.Z., I’m with you. Whatever comes of the T.J. Klune accusations, so be it. If he copied a source, something needs to be done. But I dispute the editing accusations. Dreamspinner does edit the work. We do receive three to four editorial passes. Calling them a book mill is unfair.

  334. Weirdmage
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:57:02

    The 1978 date, is as far as I know US only. And as far as I know, prior to the Berne Copyright Convention (I think that is what it is called) the US had one of the strongest copyright protections. -I might be wrong on that. I have not studied the history of copyright, and go by what I have read from several sources.

    I didn’t say you were wrong about “Scarlett”, just supplemented what you said. Sorry if it came off as contradicting you, that was not my intention.

    By “illegal in principle” I basically mean it IS illegal, but you will not get punished if you don’t get caught/taken to court. I have seen that the internet has made copyright more “fluid” than it was before. And I think there will be cases in the future that decides where the limit is.

    When it comes to the HP lexicon, I think that apart from using too long quotes it was legal. I don’t think a lesser known author/franchise would even be allowed to take that case to court. -But that is a sifferent discussion of how money and law are tied.

    Morally, I don’t see any reasoning as to how making money off someone else’s creation is right. For instance I would not dream of writing a book based on the vague description of society that Stephen King gives in “The Long Walk” (, that he wrote as Richard Bachman,) but don’t think he would have a case if I did and he decided to sue me. If I used the narrative in “The Long Walk” as central to a novel’s premise, I would however expect to be sued and lose. -But that is part to explaining why I don’t understand how something can be fan-fiction without infringing on someone else’s creation.

    I also have to add that I am Norwegian. There are lots of cases where cases most Europeans see US lawsuits as insane, and I know lawsuits here never go to court because the person suing has learned law by watching US TV/movies, and think they have a case based on that. When in reality it is not something that is even possible to sue someone for in Norway.

    I think the internet has made copyright law more diffuse. But I don’t see the principle difference between printing fan-fiction stories 25 years ago (, free or not,) and putting them online now. The internet has just made copyright harder to enforce, the law hasn’t changed.

  335. S.A. Garcia
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 02:27:48

    The original reader indicated that Klune admitted to rewriting “Shelter” but then subsequently deleting the comment. Dreamspinner Press gives instructions on how to turn fan fiction into published work. First step, change the names!

    So what do you need to do? Let me spell it out. First, come up with a new name for all of your characters. If one of them is named Jack or Will, you can potentially leave it, but don’t leave more than one because someone will probably know that Jack and Will are from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

    I just asked the editor in chief why a DSP editor posted these words. This recommendation is NOT on the DSP website, it is from a post by editor Julianne Bentley on the Chicks and Dicks site.

    This is really hard for me since DSP is my first publisher. My stories with them are original, not FF. Also I hate seeing them slammed over editing. Really, if you have issues with a certain book’s editing, make it public. It might correct future editing issues.

  336. Sara
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 03:32:13

    The reviewer for BOATK was incorrect. The author did not admit to stealing anything. The reviewer took a joking comment about the sequel where someone asked about the sequel & he joked back. They were both being sarcastic. As I’ve stated, I saw the original comments first & then read this reviewer & was shocked at her interpretation.

    I should also add, if the first part of someone’s review is wrong, not sure if anyone, especially a publication should trust the rest. The reviewer everyone is using for this plagiarism charge says about BOATK: “Both the movie and this book even start with the same scene — he’s driving to pick up his wealthy best friend and take him somewhere.” That is not how Shelter starts at all.

    Firstly the movie Shelter starts with the young man Zach skateboarding around town taking pictures, painting etc. He gets home and gives his dad his pill, talks to his nephew. Sister comes home, asks him to babysit. He takes his nephew out. The sister has a big party scene with boyfriend.

    There’s no scene of picking up anyone from the airport in the movie at the start. There’s no scene of taking anyone somewhere. Instead Zach goes over to his Best friends house and is checking out his surfer board which he had left there in the back . Then all of a sudden, his friends older brother, Shaun, comes outside. They say hi, & the guy says, how ya doing man? They haven’t seen each other since high School. Zach asks why he’s in town and Shaun says he missed the Ocean. Then they decide to go surfing.

    Now this scene, is nothing as the reviewer states even though she states: she watched the movie again after reading the book. Really, because there’s no way to miss this scene. So I suggest, you need to look at the rest of her review with some skepticism. Just because someone writes a wordy review to validate her point of view, her review is still just an opinion and not proof of anything.

  337. Aleksandr Voinov
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 04:11:38

    @Sirius: Hi Sirius – thank you for your kind words. To be honest, I loved Blacker than Black and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it – it was one of our very first acquisitions at Riptide Publishing, and it’s getting some very good reviews/responses. :)

    To be more on topic (he said, turning the steering wheel so hard the tires screech) – Riptide was mine (and Rachel’s) response to the “author mills” and “book mills” out there.

    I’ve published with enough publishers myself to see that the editing in the m/m space is simply not the same calibre as the editing I’ve received during my “German print career”, and I was sick and tired of being left alone as a writer in terms of developmental edits. I can mostly find my own typos, but an editor who actually helps me become better as a writer is a rare thing. Personally, the best editors I’ve worked with in the business were Deborah Nemeth of Carina Press, and Sasha Knight of Samhain, and those are publishers I’ll continue working with as a writer. I’ve learned so much from working with Deborah I can’t even list my debt.

    Rachel Haimowitz, the Managing Editor at Riptide Publishing, who edited both Dark Soul 1-5 and Blacker than Black, is hands down the strictest, most challenging editor (challenging in the sense of: “Aleks, I know you can do better than this.” And she’s usually right, and she’s improving my writing with every story we do together) I’ve ever worked with.

    And I think that’s part of the problem – if the m/m genre (and the wider romance genre, I’m not excluding the heterosexual sisters and brothers) ever wants to be taken seriously, we’ll have to lift those standards. On the acquisitions side, we can’t accept clear rip-offs of Currently On TV, and once we get the books, we need to edit them on the developmental level, and on the line level. For most of my tenure in the m/m genre (and since my spelling is pretty good overall), pretty much the only edits I’ve encountered were edits for typos and commas. That’s the THIRD stage of the editing process – proofing. Developmental editing and line editing are the real clinchers. And the lack of those at most houses means I’ll only ever publish with Carina, Samhain, and Riptide Publishing. I don’t want to make a quick buck, I want to grow as a writer.

    But this is now off topic again. I’m just thinking we need to up our game as a genre, and I shudder to think that the plagiarism and “file the serial numbers off any movie/show/fanfic out there” is going to tarnish the whole genre (like it tarnishes the “innocent” authors at Dreamspinner, of which I’m one, and many of my friends are). I just wish that people try harder, work harder, polish harder, because we’re asking for money for what we do, and even if I were flipping burgers, I have enough pride in my work to make sure that I’d be flipping the most awesome burger my customer/reader can expect. It’s a matter of honour, in my view, and personal integrity.

  338. Teddypig
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 06:02:44

    @Ridley: You are right it is censorship.

    But ARe and Bookstrand and Smashwords and Paypal and everyone else on the freaking planet has the right to say no to what they will buy and sell.

    Keep in mind we are talking rape fic and incest fic and all sorts of hard core porn stuff that does not fit next to say your Judy Blume in a Young Adult category or a Nora Roberts in Romance.

    People have the right to their limits. They have the right to say no to these publishers and authors and I think by the way they have acted out on these vendors websites uploading stuff that does not fit and is plainly hard core porn they should say no to these guys.

  339. Susan A.
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 07:19:22

    I’m a different Susan from the other who has been commenting, just to be clear. :)

    I just wanted to mention something about Paypal. Technically there is Google Checkout and there is supposed to be an Amazon version of the same thing. Now, they will probably be under the same pressure that Paypal was due to the higher charges due to “high risk content”. But there are other alternatives that have the chance to be competitive.

    Let me digress for a second… “high risk content” is a legitimate concern for chargebacks, however it is extremely uncommon in erotica. Probably because erotica mainly targets women, who… turned on or not, don’t tend to have to do some quick lying to their husbands if they find out. (And how many husbands are looking through a woman’s e-reader anyway?) While some women will get extremely upset about their husband buying some porn or having fun with a web cam girl… I doubt many husbands care one whit if their wife is reading erotica. In fact, it’s probably a benefit for him as she’ll be all charged up and ready to go. Why complain about that?

    I think the problem is… these middlemen companies have such varied clients (merchants) that they can’t define “everybody else’s business”. Whereas if you have a personal merchant agreement with a credit card company as a business you can get lesser fees over time as it proves that your business is “not” so high-risk after all. The problem is… Smashwords, ARe, Bookstrand, etc. are NOT Paypal’s business. Paypal is in the business of moving funds around. Period. That’s where their business ends. However any adult-related chargebacks that DO happen get sent up the funnel to Visa/MC. So then a big panic starts to keep good relations with the credit card companies. (and possibly a little bit of moralizing is going on, too.)

    Back off the digression… another option is coming along with Visa that will work somewhat like Paypal for people. It’s not out yet so it is unclear how it will play out, but it is an international and viable competitor to Paypal. Since those with Real Merchant accounts will have their agreements with those accounts, this service from Visa might raise the “trust” profile for consumers dealing with credit card payment with unknown companies. Because that’s how Paypal really got so popular among regular average Joe internet consumers to begin with.

    They trust Amazon with their credit card but not Billy Bob’s Tackle and Bait on the Interwebz since 1999.

    Don’t underestimate how many people Paypal has screwed over and pissed off. Now they are starting to overreach with small businesses. It’s possible that Barnes and Noble could be Paypal’s next target since B&N offers a paypal option. Someone will bite back. Class action lawsuits have already happened with Paypal. and other sites like it show the big issues with this company. As someone said upthread… Paypal operates like a bank but isn’t subject to the same regulations and laws that offer consumer protection. The more little hands they bite, the bigger the anti-paypal mob becomes.

    Ebay’s (parent company to Paypal) profits and stocks have been stagnant/dropping since 2008. More and more people are becoming disgruntled with both ebay and paypal and are looking for alternatives, which are slowly cropping up.

    I would be very surprised if Paypal (or Preypal as some like to call it) will be doing business with anybody in 5 years time.

    Another thing I’d like to point out… those who are against all of that “dirty erotica stuff that nobody wants to defend anyway”, let’s not forget that sex practically built the internet. Erotica was one of the first genres to offer ebooks way before anybody else jumped on the bandwagon or it was feasible for any other genre.

    Now Erotica publishers and authors are going to seek and utilize Paypal alternatives, that, along with this new Visa thing, will help pave the way for more and newer options.

    Will this be a slippery slope with Paypal? Maybe, definitely certain subsets of romance could be affected if cooler heads don’t prevail. Most likely nothing else is in danger outside of erotica/romance (which doesn’t make it okay at ALL). But if THAT happens, I expect the fur to fly, because while women have practically had drilled into their heads by romance publishers and some romance readers (and even skirting into erotica now) that “noncon/rape/dubious consent” fantasies are “not okay” and somehow “shameful/dirty/wrong/glorifying rape/etc”… nobody wants to lose their menage, shifter romance, vampire romance, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    Many may not yet be willing to stand up and fight, but when the next purge happens, they will. This is already a bigger noise than last year’s censorship tear. Next time it will be even louder… and coincidentally right around the time Visa has just gotten their new service started and going. At that point… my prediction is that Paypal will fall.

  340. Kristie Leigh Maguire
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 07:35:49

    Truly shocking news about Kay Manning! While I respect her apology for what she did, I fail to understand why she would do it in the first place. What on earth could she have been thinking? Or not thinking?

    On another note, I wish this post had been divided into 2 separate posts: one about Kay Manning and the other about Smashwords and PayPal.

  341. Throwmearope
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:08:46

    Must get back to work, hate to post and split, but. . .

    As a small business owner, I had a charge back, once in the past 25 years. For the poster who didn’t know what a charge back is, the owner of a credit card disputes the charges on the card (and it can be for whatever reason the card owner wants). The credit card dispute team then researches the complaint. Mostly they seem to side with the card owner, not the business person who swiped the card.

    I wound up paying the card owner four times the amount charged to his card. Four times. Then, when the card owner (gleeful I’m sure at his largess) wanted to come back in again, he was wounded when I told him absolutely not. By the way, the charge card swipe was entirely legitimate, I didn’t do anything wrong. But he kept pushing the issue for the entire year that he could fight the charge and the company kept giving him the money. Fortunately, at the end of a year, he couldn’t keep complaining.

    Oh, and saying, hey you already took this money back three times means nothing to the charge back team, let me tell you.

    I’m with Paypal, not worth it.

  342. Throwmearope
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:10:21

    Oh, shoot, two threads in one. As a reader, I would prefer that writers think up their own worlds, their own characters, their own scenes and plots and as a bare minimum, their own words. For crying in the beer.

  343. Aileen
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:20:25

    @Sara: It is frightening that one review can potentially do a large amount of damage to an author. Thank you for taking the time to post. It’s too easy to give into the rush to judgement when it is not your life and livelihood at stake.

  344. Aileen
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:38:30

    @Tom Webb: Well said. It is completely irresponsible to publish this information when the blog writer herself has not investigated the claim, but is instead relying on other’s information to “point out” this issue. (See her previous post where she states that the point by point review is enough proof for her. Perhaps she should watch the movie and read the book herself before making these serious allegations.) This is a man’s life and career we are talking about. That cannot be taken seriously enough. And yet many here seem to have forgotten that in this rush to judgement.

  345. Aileen
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:43:39

    @Sirius: No better way to go about this then checking it out for yourself – regardless of how you feel about the book :)

  346. Kat
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:50:52

    @Aileen: Eileen, I got my wires crossed and thought you were commenting to me but you weren’t, so I apologise. I’m only talking about the Kay Manning incident, nothing else.

  347. Aileen
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:53:50

    @bignosemoose: Lol. You have exactly made my point. I do not know the law and will reserve judgment until I feel comfortable doing so. It would be wise for others to do the same. And I actually agree with you on a statement from DSP and Mr. Klune. I would like to hear what they have to say.

  348. Aileen
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:54:20

    @Kat: No worries, Kat.

  349. Aileen
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:01:06

    @Jane: I believe you have a responsibility to view it differently. As a blogger, “pointing” out a serious allegation against Mr. Klune, I tend to think it would be prudent to do your own investigation first. But if you are relying on the point by point review on GR then you have obviously not seen the movie, not the read the book, or a combination of the two.

    I’m sorry, Jane, but an accusation like this, especially when plagiarism is front of mind in the publishing community, is damning for an author – especially if it turns out to not be true. We are talking about ruining a man’s reputation and possibly his one passion in life – to write. TJ Klune is a real person. And we all must be more responsible about rushing to any kind of judgement when it hold the possibility of destroying a life.

  350. Sirius
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:16:06

    @Aileen: I do not need your approval, really. But here we go from somebody who most certainly saw the movie and is in the middle of what I think as poorly written badly edited mess of the book (how many times the idiot of the narrator can repeat the same thing I am not sure, and since I am only half way through the book I bet I am still to find out). I think that the argument that plot is plagiarised is very valid and very spot on. And “heavily influenced” for me goes without saying, definitely goes way beyond “inspired” by the movie. We can argue whether all the differences arise to “not plagiarism” or not, I can see the arguing, but I can absolutely see where people who say that it is plagiarism coming from, I am close enough myself to saying it.

    At the same time I still maintain that characters he made his own. I hate those characters but I do not think their personalities is nowhere close to being plagiarized.

  351. Sunita
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:20:04

    @Sirius: Thanks for reporting back on this! I wonder if similarities in movie-to-book adaptations, whether licensed or not, are more difficult to pin down than similarities across books in part because so much of the mood is communicated visually and through the actors.

    Even if the characterizations are sufficiently different, the number of things that are similar makes coincidence seem quite unlikely. Which still brings back to the appropriation without attribution problem. And if it’s not a coincidence, to take so much of a small-budget movie that is beloved by so many without ever acknowledging the source seems skeevy to me.

    @Aleksandr Voinov: I was skeptical that Riptide would/could be that different from other presses, but you are doing a good job of proving me wrong. I’ve gone from saying “too expensive, not sure it’s worth it” to “what are they publishing this month?” I don’t always find stuff, but that’s a taste rather than a quality issue.

    @S.A. Garcia: I *have* commented on editing issues for Dreamspinner in my reviews, in comments to posts, on twitter. It doesn’t seem to change anything; the most recent book I read had the same problems that earlier books had. I’ve talked to authors and editors about the process there, and it confirms what the critics have said. I’m not going to argue with your personal experience and I haven’t read your books. But I’ve read too many good books from them that could have been excellent with serious developmental and content editing. That, to me, is more of a problem than the plethora of mediocre or bad books that come out of that shop. Every genre has bad books. But if one of the top presses won’t do its job to improve content and develop its best authors, it doesn’t deserve my money or my time. I’ve stuck with DSP a long time in spite of its shortcomings. Enough is enough. I don’t like hurting the good authors who publish there. But DSP doesn’t listen. Ever. Why should I give them my money and my time? (And yes, I checked and I’ve paid money for far more books from them than I’ve received as ARCs).

  352. Jami Gold
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:31:29

    @Annabeth Albert:

    apologies are often another tool in their arsenal, another way to deflect attention. Action is where real apologies lie–returning funds, getting mental health help and committing to counseling, etc.

    Yes, exactly. I’ve seen plagiarists say they’re sorry and think that’s the end of it too. But without action, apologies are just empty words–and they’re more likely to repeat their crime. Well put!

  353. Aleksandr Voinov
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:44:50

    @Sunita: Thanks! When starting Riptide, we knew we’d charge a little more (in the higher wordcounts) than some competitors, but frankly, I hold it with the old corporate saying “pay peanuts, get monkeys” – we are paying our editors two or three times the money they’d receive at competitors, but we expect our editors to do more than coralling commas and running a typo check. Essentially, a good editor can demand real money, and some competitors don’t pay enough money to attract (or hold) top editing talent. The idea behind Riptide is to pay editors fairly, and treat everybody else fairly, too (cover artists, authors, proofers, layouters). That, simply, costs money, so we really cannot sell fully dev. edited, fully line-edited, fully proofed, cleanly laid-out full novels with attractive covers for $0.99. The economics don’t work. I know what the going rate is at our “competitors”, and frankly, a really good editor doesn’t get out of bed for that money.

  354. Sunita
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:45:09

    @Sirius: Plagiarism doesn’t require that the two works are identical, just that there is clear appropriation from one to the other without attribution. It’s more straightforward to show across written passages.

  355. I am a thief, a plagiarist. I am not an author. | The Passive Voice
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:00:17

    […] so there is no misunderstanding. I am a thief, a plagiarist. I am not an author.Link to the rest at Dear Author Click to Tweet/Email/Share This Post wpa2a.script_load(); PlagiarismNo Comments to “I […]

  356. published writer
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:07:44

    She’s a sociopath. What she did will never make sense to most of us. Sociopaths are wired differently.

  357. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:07:58

    @Aleksandr Voinov: I absolutely agree that improvement in quality has to begin at the acquisitions level, but it must go beyond winnowing out submissions that aren’t entirely original. Far too many publishers are far too indiscriminate in the material they accept — material that clearly isn’t ready for publication. Even if an editorial staff is strong in all areas (and they rarely are), trying to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse is at best a monumental, time-consuming challenge or at worst an exercise in futility. I’ve worked as an editor in RL, so I’m not entirely unfamiliar with the process.

  358. I’ve been plagiarized, and yeah, it sucks | JULIE KENNER/J.K. BECK
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:09:31

    […] it wasn’t my *stuff* she stole, but the product of my mind. I first heard about the theft on Dear Author, but it’s now my understanding that the story first broke, I believe, on Liz Fielding‘s […]

  359. rae
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:14:16

    @Throwmearope: So you’re not a fan of the comics or tv/movie tie-in books then? Or even tv shows come to think of it.

  360. Aleksandr Voinov
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:20:13

    @K. Z. Snow: Actually, we just had such a case. For the record, Riptide has an absolutely draconian “no fanfiction” clause written into the contract. So we offered an author a contract a short while ago, and she came back and was a bit shocked, as her submission was very loosely based on faction published ten years ago in a magazine (back in the days…). We discussed it at length and put the author on hold during that time, but basically, the fanfiction part is so diluted (and none of us spotted it) as to be homeopathic. The author has made it entirely her own, the characters or set-up are not recognizable at all, and the writing is extremely strong, so we went with it after some discussion. But we are taking the fanfiction angle extremely seriously and we are winnowing out a lot of submissions.

    In terms of acquisitions, I keep turning stuff down. Of the last submission call, I acquired one in ten submissions, roughly. If I find two stories in ten that I like, I consider that extremely strong takings. From my perspective, out of ten stories, three are simply awful (I mean, really, really brain-mushingly awful), one is good, one has potential, and the rest is so desperately mediocre that I keep thinking “good enough for the competition, but not Riptide material.” I don’t want “meh” stories at Riptide. I want people I’d pay to hear sing, because at the end of the day, we’re all investing hundreds of man- and womanhours into a novel, and we need to love the author’s voice to do that. That makes us very elitist, but it’s the only way I want to run that business. A lot of authors in the genre need to grow a little more, and pretty much everybody (myself included) is in desperate need of a good editor. I’ve found mine, and I’d pay her out of my own pocket if I went and published elsewhere, because she’s worth every penny.

    (This is getting really, really off-topic, and I apologize. If you can think of a good place to have this discussion so we’re not getting in the way, please let me know. I feel skeevy “hijacking” a thread here…)

  361. Tom Webb
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:23:56

    @L.K. Rigel:

    Typical remark. Snarky. Please, if you are going to have something to say, please make it a little more original.

    Marginalize me all you want. At the end of the day, I am EXACTLY what you are – a reader with an opinion. The fact that you “Ladies” choose to drink your own Kool-Aid, well, more power to you.

    To “azteclady” – you just made my point for me. Because nobody here at DA ever reads anything? Like you have a monopoly on critique and POV? What a load of hooey.

    My mother raised me to think highly of women, but damn if some of you aren’t just a bunch of harpies. And yes, I have read enough classical mythology to know exactly what I refer to.

    I won’t be coming back to your site for reviews, “news” (and isn’t that a frickin’ joke) or anything else. You and your tactless lemmings have proven you are a tempest in a teapot.

    You would rather post baseless accusations (especially one of you, who has NOT EVEN FINISHED THE BOOK) about an author who has done nothing to any of you than verify your own facts. I still say, shame on you all.

    Have a wonderful Sunday, “ladies”. You know, the Lord’s day – all that “think nice about your neighbor” and such.

    Tom. Out.

  362. CK
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:30:18

    *inspired by azteclady* Jane, you ignorant slut!

    You and you alone have the power to make or break a writer’s career! For the love of Queen, country and the Terran Federation use your power wisely young Padawan (or is it Sith Mistress since you’re arbitrarily using your power for the Dark Side?) My protection money, errr, tithe..tribute? is mail.

    edited to add… @Tom: I take offense to harpy and lemming. I prefer to being likened to a Fury and/or sloth, but that’s just me.

  363. Lasha
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:35:40

    @Sara: Actually, you are wrong too.

    Firstly the movie Shelter starts with the young man Zach skateboarding around town taking pictures, painting etc. He gets home and gives his dad his pill, talks to his nephew. Sister comes home, asks him to babysit. He takes his nephew out. The sister has a big party scene with boyfriend. There’s no scene of picking up anyone from the airport in the movie at the start.

    Yes, Shelter does start with the opening credits of Zach skateboarding around. I believe the director stated he added that later because he wanted to show the audience San Pedro. (I watched a lot of the commentaries on the movie). Then Zach goes home, takes the nephew to work and then PICKS up his best friend and drops him off to so Gabe can go back to college. So there is a picking up/dropping off scene where in the car there Gabe and Zach rag on each other while Cody pretends to sleep in the back as Gabe gets high.

    So yes the movie doesn’t start with an airport picking up/dropping off scene, but in the movie Zach certainly picks up Gabe – you skipped over that whole scene in your comment.

    Currently, I am reading BOATK, and since I own Shelter, I will report back like Sirius if I think they have any similarities. I am reserving judgment until then.

  364. Cherie Noel
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:37:58

    While I don’t speak for either Chicks and Dicks, or for Dreamspinner, I do take exception to the crass lumping together of a clear cut case of ACKNOWLEDGED plagiarism, a suspected case of plagiarism, a blog post on how authors who started in fan-fic can re-work their fac-fic pieces in their entirety (having read that whole post I found it clearly talking about the author doing far more than “filing off the serial numbers”)…the post, in whole, discusses how the author must do far, far more than simply change names and eye colour…in fact, in the end, what is recommended is so extensive, the finished piece can not even properly be called fan-fic any longer. Right. If I see a movie, and the subject matter, or trope causes a flash of inspiration for me, and I go off and create characters that are different from those in the movie, or book, or real life happening, who have differing motivations and traits, who are set in a universe entirely of my own making, and whose journey follows an entirely different plot…I’m really not understanding how the finished product I’ve created can in any way shape or form be called fan-fic even if the first step of my creating this story was a bit of fan-fic.
    I personally never heard of fan-fic until months after I was a published author. Then I wrote a piece based on the Top Gun characters for the Chicks and Dicks Slash month. It is true that many of the authors in the M/M genre got their start there (in writing fan-fic). I got my start writing poetry and music lyrics. I’m not sure what relevance that could possibly have on what I write now. If I’m lazy in my writing, then my stuff shouldn’t get accepted for publication. That piece of the puzzle is all down to the acquisitions department at the individual publishing houses. But more to the point, I find it interesting to say the least that a blogger purporting to be raising questions of integrity would, in essence, lay a bonfire (i.e. dump all the aforementioned topics along with the question of the PayPal censorship brou-ha-ha into one post) pour on the clearly incendiary accelerant of a clear cut case of plagiarism, leave a few handy stakes, ropes, and oh, yes, a box of matches, and then turn an innocent face to the large group of folk gathered up and say…”Oh! Now, I’m not saying you should burn these other questionable people at the stake…but you know, as a group *coughmobcough* you could just decide what to do.”
    I could probably find a quote to prove the moon is made of cheese, or at least to imply that scientists have found irrefutable evidence of that, if I were willing to take it entirely out of context. Or, say, be careless about who got caught up in my drive to garner hits on my website without actually worrying about a little thing like personal ethics, or who my rampant seeking of…I dunno what. What are you seeking here? Justice by mob mentality and misinformation? Uh, perhaps…no, I can’t come up with a valid why for your lumping all these things together. Maybe it made sense to you. I’m sure it must have. In that case though, perhaps you should have titled the post “Several things that piss me off” and not tried to imply that all the things were related. Just my opinion of course. The first part of your blog made sense to me. Lumping everything in that you did after you finished discussing the Kay Manning debacle did not, and frankly, the out of context quote from Chicks and Dicks made me question the whole rest of your blog.

  365. Sarah Tanner
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:38:31

    @Tom Webb: Stated like a true “gentleman”.

  366. Maili
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:40:23


    I’m sorry, Jane, but an accusation like this, especially when plagiarism is front of mind in the publishing community, is damning for an author – especially if it turns out to not be true. We are talking about ruining a man’s reputation and possibly his one passion in life – to write. TJ Klune is a real person. And we all must be more responsible about rushing to any kind of judgement when it hold the possibility of destroying a life.

    A bit melodramatic, eh? I was working for a publisher when its collaborative publisher dealt with charges of copyright violations against comic creator Youka Nitta roughly four years ago. She denied the charges which her two publishers accepted and supported, but then it was found that charges actually had grounds – she had copied over 200 images which appeared in at least 143 works (mostly in an art book) made during her career.

    She then issued a claim that, in spite of being in the business for 13 years, she wasn’t aware copying images for her works would be an act of copyright violation. She thought tracing images was acceptable (tracing own photos is fine, but tracing copyrighted works isn’t). For that, she apologised and blah blah.

    Meanwhile her current publisher – Shinshokan, I think – issued a public statement of apology and that they would be suspending the production of her current works for the time being. Nitta then entered a self-imposed exile to ‘reflect on her actions’. Copyright holders were notified and such, but no lawsuit was brought (thankfully!) and some accepted Nitta’s formal apology. Now, she’s working on four new titles. I don’t see her career and life in tatters as a result of her actions. At worst, it was an embarrassment for all round. No more, no less.

    TJ Klune may be innocent to some and may not be to others, but I promise you this: his career and life won’t be a wreck as a result of all this speculation. We see it with those who were guilty and those who weren’t over last twenty years. Klune shouldn’t have anything to worry about if he’s innocent.

  367. LVLMLeah
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:42:06

    @ Aileen

    We are talking about ruining a man’s reputation and possibly his one passion in life – to write.

    Oh. My. God.

  368. Beverly
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:43:25

    @Ridley: What I am trying to point is that the type of censorship that companies have the right to exercise is not the type of censorship that is actually limiting. It does not limit speech in any way, it simply limits a particular venue authors have to make money from that speech. No one is being told they can’t write what they want when they want, which is what actual limitation would equate to. It does no one any favors in these discussions to employ the whole “slippery slope” fallacy in order to further their cause.

  369. LVLMLeah
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:54:57

    @Tom Webb

    Thank you for my Sunday morning entertainment. :D

    Harpy Out

  370. Ridley
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 11:15:28

    @Beverly: You’re arguing that, true, but others are arguing that it still constitutes a limit on speech, however legal, by making certain content harder to find. I don’t think vendors should be blocked from doing it, but it still makes me uneasy. My libertarian-fu isn’t strong enough to just trust that the market will provide an alternative to Paypal, especially since this all is likely a market-based decision in the first place.

    You may find the “slippery slope” a fallacy, but I find the idea that authors would just put their objectionable erotica out there for free if no one will sell it to be fallacious. If no one sells it, then what?

  371. Throwmearope
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 11:52:47

    @rae: Largely not, I’m afraid. F’rinstance, haven’t read a comic book, since I was, like, a little kid. Archie.

  372. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 11:55:03

    @Fae said

    Am I the only one bothered by people drawing a comparison between true racism/bigotry towards minority groups and Daddy’s Anal Slut? Really?

    I’m not bothered, exactly, because it’s too pathetic to bother me. It’s almost laughable.

    But I do see it your point. The talk about oppression is ridiculous because nobody is stopping them from doing what they want-their chosen avenue has been limited, ie: paypal/smashwords.

    However, I do believe a number of other avenues still exist. They can sell from their own sites. Form their own publishing house, and unless I’m mistaken, Amazon is still a viable option.

    True oppression would be if they were not allowed to sell their works. At all. If they tried to sell it via their website and their sites were shut down. If they were arrested for attempting to write their works. That would be oppression. If they were beaten for writing Daddy’s Anal Whore or thrown in jailed for trying to talk about it.

    Nothing is stopping any of authors who sell such works from setting up their own storefront and it could be very profitable. Nobody is stopping them from selling it via their websites. More work? Yes. But it’s still a viable option.

    True minorities, truly oppressed peoples have been jailed, beaten, killed, stoned, raped, assaulted, abused, etc, etc, etc.

    They just had their chosen venues removed and will have to work harder to come with something that will work for them.

  373. Annabeth Albert
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 11:59:03

    @Cherie Noel: You said “If I see a movie, and the subject matter, or trope causes a flash of inspiration for me, and I go off and create characters that are different from those in the movie, or book, or real life happening, who have differing motivations and traits, who are set in a universe entirely of my own making, and whose journey follows an entirely different plot…I’m really not understanding how the finished product I’ve created can in any way shape or form be called fan-fic even if the first step of my creating this story was a bit of fan-fic.”

    I would agree with you, but there is a world of difference between asking yourself, “Hmm. What would happen if Star Wars was set in the Old West?” or “What if a dude like Daniel Craig as James Bond got a HEA with an XYZ type woman in Regency England?” That’s inspiration. Writers wouldn’t be writers without asking those kinds of questions and digging deeper. Clueless works as a derivative of Austen because the writers did indeed change the universe, change the characters, and make it their own. Can we see hints of the original? Sure. But a) it was a work in the public domain and b)they changed A LOT, recasting the classic in a whole new way.

    That’s not what we’re talking about here. If you look at the Goodreads posts (plural–not just the one reviewer. There are at least 3 reviews mentioning the movie and more in the comments), this isn’t “What would X be like set in ABC universe with these Y and Z characters with this twist?” This is the same time period, very, very similar settings, many of the same scene settings, many of the same plot twists, and a whole huge laundry list of other similarities. This is more like “What if I did Downton Abby with different character names and on-screen sex?” Fan fiction. And I suppose it might fall within derivative works exceptions for some courts, but it’s still highly, highly distasteful and should be strongly discouraged as that’s not inspiration–it’s out and out lifting. I’m not going to pay for Klune’s books right now, but I did download the samples. What’s really sad is this is someone who *can*write (someone in need of more serious editing, but there’s rough talent there). Many writers do indeed use Fan Fiction to hone their chops before moving onto to completely original stories. And then they leave those MS under the bed or languishing on fan fiction sites where they belong.

  374. Nithu
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:05:41

    @Aleksandr Voinov: I’ll put my hand up as someone who raised an eyebrow at the slightly higher prices at Riptide, but it didn’t take me long to realise that I’m getting what I pay for. I’d rather pay a little more for a damn good story that doesn’t have me clenching my teeth at the typos and other errors. I’ve been delighted with my purchases from Riptide and will certainly be back for more.

  375. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:08:46

    @Tom Webb: Dear Tom… since you decided to mention Sunday and the Lord’s day, I have a bit for you.

    Luke 6:31

    31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    You come into a blog that you are obviously not familiar with and act…well, like a fool and treated those here as fools. You spoke condescendingly, although you won’t see that, because those who condescend never really see that, for some reason.

    Since you did so, you’re pretty much treated as a fool and you were treated condescendingly.

    Had you come here and acted with respect, even if you disagreed, you might have been surprised.

    Next piece…

    Judge not. Now I can’t really say for anybody else here, but since you’re tossing out the Lord’s day, I’m hazarding a guess that means something to you?

    Matthew 7

    1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    Going by the tone of your comment, I wonder how you’ve judged those of us here.

    Now, I can say this… you have a nice day, and I actually mean that.

  376. Dani Alexander
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:13:24

    @Aleksandr Voinov: I think editorial issues are very on-topic Imo. As well as the responsibility of a publishing house. Very on-topic indeed.

  377. Robin/Janet
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:23:41

    @Kat: How many people do you know who will spontaneously confess to intentional, harm-inducing wrongdoing without some exposure? I have several friends whose husbands have been unfaithful, and in no case did the husband confess before he was caught. One even went so far as to say he planned on taking the secret to his grave without question, and he had previously and consistently rebuffed unproven questions about his fidelity to the point where I would NEVER have believed he was unfaithful.

    Now these are, in many other ways, decent, honest, law-abiding, responsible men. All of whom did a harmful, betraying, disloyal thing. Sometimes more than once. And I can tell you that an apology similar to the one Manning delivered would have been very, very healing for the wives. And rightly so, IMO, because blunt, unqualified acknowledgement wrongdoing and harm caused is something I don’t think we see enough of these days. So while I agree that what she did was wrong, I also feel that if straight up apologizing is such an easy thing, why haven’t the myriad other writers caught out in the same situation done it? Maybe because it isn’t? Maybe because the self-preservation instincts people have kick in and they defend, excuse, and qualify? Maybe because they know that once they’ve admitted straight out what they did, consequences would flow from that unqualified admission, and the protective veneer of denial would be gone forever. So what you see as easy, I see as against what the vast majority of people see as in line with their best interests and deeply embedded survival instincts (whether these are socially conditioned or not).

    One other thing occurs to me, and I’m not directing these next comments to you, just thinking out loud after reflecting and reading this thread and other comments. But I remember when the Cassie Edwards situation was in full swing. Authors and readers alike were appalled not at Edwards’s actions (or her total lack of acknowledgement or apology), but at their exposure by readers online. On the surface, one might argue that there is more concerted awareness and opposition to tolerating plagiarism now. However, I am afraid that’s not what we’re seeing here. For one thing, just look at the differences in how Manning and Klune are being treated in this thread. Manning erases comments and she’s trying to cover up her guilt. Klune erases comments and is trying to maintain clarity and discourage misunderstanding. Manning acknowledges her plagiarism and it’s not enough for many people. Klune says nothing (and I’m NOT saying Klune’s situation is plagiarism, just that there is a question about it in regard to Shelter and BOATK) and is defended and the questioners attacked. Why is that?

    I’m not sure, but I do wonder whether some of the people who defended Edwards would be excoriating Manning. Ditto the people who defended Janet Dailey and lashed out at Nora Roberts for legally defending her copyright. How much of the community’s response to plagiarism reflects the perceived power and popularity (and even gender) of the alleged plagiarist? Is it easier to demand a pound of flesh from Manning because she is not so popular and powerful? I don’t know, but I do wonder if Manning was a much bigger name if the reactions would be the same.

  378. S.
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:36:22

    Finally someone notices the issues with Dreamspinner… I’m sorry – but taking fanfiction and turning them into ‘sellable’ fiction is absolutely dishonest – especially if most of the m/m readers started off with fanfiction. If it’s an original story, I can give you leeway, but the characters, the plot, the side-characters were originally from whatever fandom you created, you should not be selling derivative works and pretending they’re your creation.

    Sometimes I will read a story and wonder if it’s missing something – then I go online, read the reviews and comments, and then realize the book I just bought was a fanfic – hence the disconnect with the characters and the jarring read.

    I’ve since read some truly amazing fanfiction along with some that shouldn’t see the light of day. Unfortunately, the ones that get turned into ‘pro-fic’ are the latter, not the former.

    In any case, I feel DSP is cheating the readers, and I am making a conscious move to stop supporting them. To be honest, I was absolutely saddened to see ‘Infected’ being published with them. Oh well, such is life.

    @Sunita and @Sarah
    Thanks for taking a firm stance – totally support your decision – you’re definitely not alone.

  379. Robin/Janet
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:44:12

    Morally, I don’t see any reasoning as to how making money off someone else’s creation is right.

    This comment, for me, exemplifies a fundamental misunderstanding of copyright law and its underlying principles.

    Virtually all creative expression is built “off someone else’s creation.” Shakespeare is, of course, one of the most popular and well-loved plagiarists, but even when there is no deliberate influence from one artist to another, creativity is, generally speaking, a resource that increases through exchange and borrowing. Which is why the Constitutional prescription for copyright is articulated in these terms: “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” NOT to promote scientISTS and artISTS, but to promote the general fields. Which is why scientists and artists have an “exclusive right” to their work for only “limited times.” Because there must always be a balance between the rights of the creator and the rights of the public to use the work. And part of the public’s right is to be inspired, influenced, and otherwise incentivized to create more.

    One of the thing that most aggravates me about authors who try to bully their readers into believing that things like fan fiction are illegal is that often those folks have created work that is itself not astonishingly original. Which is understandable, since art is virtually always a conversation between the creator and myriad other creators and their work. And that is one of the reasons that copyright infringement claims MUST be on a case by case basis. And it’s also why the attempts of corporations like Disney to extend their “exclusive rights” are so antithetical to incenvitizing creativity. They aren’t securing these rights to promote creativity – they’re doing it to monopolize profits (i.e to make more money) and benefits that would flow more diffusely if the balance between public and private control of creativity remained intact.

  380. Laura Hunsaker
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:44:56

    @Annabeth Albert:
    I love your explanation.

  381. S.
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:53:26


    Sorry, as a reader, I’ve been burnt a few too many times by DSP, and even though I do feel bad for the authors in that publishing house, I’m only able to express my disapproval by not purchasing from them. Frankly, as a consumer, I can’t actually do much to show how much I don’t support their methodology of business.

  382. Sara
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:57:54

    @Robin/ Janet I can comment on the erasure of the text for TJ Klune. I was on GoodReads & a review of BOATK alleging plagiarism showed up on my feed. So I went to TJ Klune’s blog to see his response. On that thread there was no admission of anything. The thread was about the sequel to the book. One of his fans was joking because the allegations of similarity to Shelter have been talked about for days online, so he said how can you write a sequel when there’s just one Shelter. TJ joked back with something like It’s all good. Then a third person commented TJ, you’re so funny.

    It’s from those exact 3 posts that made the reviewer allege TJ even admitted he stole from Shelter. She either misunderstood that it was all joking or deliberately posted something volatile. After she posted this, another goodread person wrote on TJ’s blog something like how can you joke about something like this when you’ve plagiarized etc. The person who made the original sarcastic remark about Shelter, chimed back in, defending TJ. An argument between the two ensued & then the comments were erased by TJ.

    I followed all the comments in real time & at no time was there a statement by TJ Klune saying he admitted to anything about Shelter. That’s the reason I defend him in this respect because what she wrote was a lie. It has bothered me for some time that I never wrote something on her review, but GoodReads gets crazy & I don’t like to negatively comment on someone’s review. But since it’s now gotten to other sites, I feel obligated to say something. (Just in case you’re still wondering about double standards between the two authors)

  383. Cleon
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:58:58

    @Robin/Janet. WORD.

    Fact is, if you write about angels, demons, (Bible & Paradise Lost, anyone?), mythical beings, & elves, you HAVE make profit from someone else’ works. In these cases, authors, game creators, movie makers, blatantly use the characters, settings, and plots, without “filing off the serial number” or so to speak. They might not be illegal because these works are in public domain, but if you object it on the moral ground, then you must object to almost everything that has been published in modern times.

  384. Jane
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:24:44

    @Sara I’m happy to remove that portion of the blog post, but the remainder stands. This so clearly parallels my findings of the Ellen Wolf book Working Arrangements which mimicked the originally published Susan Napier book. And no, my review which I posted here, at Goodreads, and at Amazon has not impacted her success in any fashion. Her latest release is in the top 60 of paid Kindle books so I highly doubt all this handwringing over Klune’s book will come to pass. The posting of the Goodreads reviewers and Sirius’ own assessment makes me comfortable in what I’ve written here.

  385. Sirius
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:28:39

    @Robin/Janet: I just want to say that to me the situation with Klune is a little bit more ambigious now,thats all. However, the fact that he is not saying anything most certainly not helping me. And I am not even talking about apologies , just about explanation. If you feel you did not do anything wrong, why not come out and say it? As to Manning’s situation, I was just silent because I dont care if that makes sense? I mean I care about plagiarism and do not want it to happen to anybody in any genre, but I read so few het romances that I never heard of any of the names she stole from before and I do not have an energy to go and check for myself. I am already angry at myself that I am reading the book i hate for the sole reason of god forbid I will malign an author, who is already very guilty in my eyes at the very least of not crediting a *very* obvious source he used extensively. But I am doing it because I am an avid reader and reviewer of mm genre and I want to have my own informed opinion, you know? Maning’s apology is indeed very rare and appreciated IMO.

  386. Annabeth Albert
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:37:15

    @Cleon: No. There are shades of grey here and there is a giant, Atlantic ocean sized difference from a writer asking herself “What would happen if a Vampire met a snarky Angel” or “What would happen if a female Demon Hunter took orders from an overbearing Arch Angel” and Hmm, “What if I change these character names in the Anne Rice Vampire universe and keep these secondary characters and this situation and that situation?” My first two examples are inspiration. Inspiration is usually freely admitted by authors–they often mention that a particular actor was in their heads as they wrote or that a news story inspired them to dig deeper and create a whole universe around a similar occurrence. The second is fan fiction, and its for the courts to decide at which point the legal line has been crossed. And it’s for the court of public opinion to say at which point the line of fairness has been crossed. And for consumers to decide where they personally draw the line. I draw the line at point-by-point similarities. If I can describe a work to a friend as “It’s like Emma meets the Firefly universe with shades of Swiss Family Robinson” that’s inspiration. If I can describe it as “It’s like they added on-screen sex and a HEA to Castle, right down to the bumbling Junior Detectives and wacky mother,” that’s fan fic. And to me, it doesn’t feel right to pay for that. And particularly doesn’t sit well knowing that a particular story may have been free for a long time as that type of fan fiction and is now being packaged as something original. And it really doesn’t sit well in these types of situations when the author in question is all “Oh noes! I never saw/read XYZ! It’s all a big coincidence.” If it’s truly just inspiration–a Vampire roaming Middle America with Angels–then an author has no problem saying “Thanks to all the Vampire writers who came before me” or “Thanks to Jane Austen for giving us the original meddling matchmaker.”

  387. Erotica Book Banning Roundup – Part 2, and Smashwords Bows Under Pressure | S. V. Rowle
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:39:10

    […] Smashwords Authors, Publishers, and Literary Authors Who Publish Erotica at Smashwords (Smashwords) Saturday News: No Deals Just Stupidity and Smashwords Concedes to Paypal Terms (Dear Author) *** An Open Letter to PayPal (Lauren Gallagher / L. A. Witt) In Defense of Erotica […]

  388. Wahoo Suze
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:48:05

    What would happen if Star Wars was set in the Old West?

    You mean, like the John Wayne movie that inspired Star Wars? That would be awesome ;)

  389. Cleon
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:53:18

    If I can describe it as “It’s like they added on-screen sex and a HEA to Castle, right down to the bumbling Junior Detectives and wacky mother,” that’s fan fic. Yes, it is, but fanfic doesn’t stop there. There are a lot range of fanfiction out there, including AU (Alternate Universe). People who are very familiar with the diversity of fanfiction and fandom understand how sometimes the derivative work is so far removed from the original work. People might wonder why it is called a fanfic then, but that’s the nature of the beast. Sometimes this happens because in fandom, certain tropes, pairings, or situation become so widely accepted but actually they don’t appear in the text itself.

    By the way, I’m not arguing about plot by plot similarities, but that it’s not realistic to demand authors to produce 100% original work.

  390. Tasha
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:10:21

    @Annabeth Albert, @Wahoo Suze: Isn’t that Firefly?

  391. Sirius
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:38:38

    @Cherie Noel: I wonder if you have ever read this blog before today. I at least skim it every day or every other day and they do news round up every day and yes, put several news in the same post *every day*. I have no idea how the blog owners choose the news, but I am pretty confident in assuming that there was no specific purpose in putting several items together on this particular day in order to argue some message, which is how I understand one of your points.

  392. Wahoo Suze
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:43:31

    @Tasha: I was referring to The Searchers, but Lucas drew from a lot of source material. His work was INSPIRED by other work, Star Wars isn’t a direct copy of anything that existed before.

    That’s pretty much the point @Cleon. There are only so many basic plots in existence. Everything written ever (in English, anyway) follows one of 4 or 7 (can’t remember exactly) basic story trajectories. It’s the execution that’s unique, or should be unique.

    I once wrote a (horribly bad) romance inspired solely by observing a man at a table in a Japanese restaurant (the kind where you sit around a grill and the chef does some acrobatic moves while grilling up your meal). He was there alone, where most people were in groups. I started the “What if” thing, wondering why he came alone, and came up with a whole (terrible) HP-style romance. It was 100% original, but it was still clearly an HP-style romance (HP being Harlequin Presents in this case, as Harry Potter was still 20 years away from being created).

    I really don’t think there’s any point is splitting hairs about what percent of a story is original, and what are the historical origins of Trope X. There can sometimes be a fine line between fan fic and an original story inspired by someone else’s story, but MOST OF THE TIME, it’s pretty obvious. IMHO.

    If completely uninterested parties can read a story and say, “Hey, this is Book Title by Author, with different names” or “Wow, this is an almost scene-by-scene copy of Movie Title” then it’s insufficiently original to meet MY standards of original work.

  393. Sirius
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:44:33

    @Sunita: Oh absolutely, I just do not think that the characters were appropriated, you know? But at the very least Shelter is used very heavily in my opinion and much more than just an inspiration source for the plot and credit is very very over due IMO.

  394. Tasha
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:54:23

    @Wahoo Suze: Um, okay. My point was that one possible intersection of Star Wars and the Old West is Firefly. I never claimed anything was a copy of anything, and I’m not entirely sure why I’m getting the lecture here.

  395. Aleksandr Voinov
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 15:15:23

    @Nithu: Thank you, and believe me when I say that our authors and staff very much appreciate your support. We’re happy to have won you over to our model on that count. And we have extremely exciting things lined up in the next months, too.

  396. MM
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 15:45:12

    @Sirius: I think the characters were pretty much the same as far as who they are. Same age/ social class/traits/where they lived, etc.

    Maybe their characterizations were somewhat changed. Like the kid in the movie did have anxiety issues just like the kid in the book, but in BOatK, the anxiety was exaggerated and he was like a little genius.

    And Zack in the movie wasn’t as whiny as Bear, but he seemed pretty introspective like Bear even though we couldn’t hear what was in his head, but we heard inside of Bear’s head too freakin’ much.

    I don’t know. The characters seemed alike to me, maybe embellished in the book. Just my thoughts.

  397. Joy
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 15:46:28

    Has anyone here ever read Candace Camp’s _Suddenly_ and also read Heyer’s _A Convenient Marriage_? They’re pretty much identical up to a point, and then they diverge a bit.

  398. Theo Fenraven
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 16:21:46


    Thank you. Exactly what I wanted to say!

  399. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 16:27:17

    I just had a thought regarding the Smashwords caving to PayPal news…

    I write fantasy erotic romance. The heroine in the 2nd book is a human, but the hero is a faerie (wings and everything). Since faeries aren’t human, wouldn’t this classify as “bestiality?”

    The same could be said about aliens. Aliens aren’t human either. I guess Sci-Fi erotica is gone too…

  400. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 16:41:29

    Can we invent a new version of Godwin’s Law to shut down a thread when the sockpuppets start complimenting each other?

  401. Chris
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 16:42:48

    Holy cow, almost 400 comments. I don’t have anything to add substantively other than to say that I’m glad I skimmed the comments. Somehow I totally missed Jane’s review of the Ellen Wolf book back in September (which I read just now).

    I feel terrible that I just bought Wolf’s book that’s in the top 100 kindle books, and I previously bought and read Working Arrangements and bought (but didn’t read) two others. I can’t even say I thought her writing was that great, just mildly diverting, but they were only 99 cents.

    Man, I have a sour taste in my mouth now. I really wish I hadn’t supported that author by purchasing those books, even if they are only 99 cents. I never read the Susan Napier book–I don’t read very many HPs–and I wish I had so I would have recognized the similarities.

    Edited to add: this is what I get for never bothering to look at the reviews on Amazon…

  402. AvidReader
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 17:19:42

    @Jackie Barbosa:

    Differing opinion= sock puppet. Noted.

    This is why I love reading through open forum discussions. Mature conversation. Point, counterpoint. The way we’re all able to rise above the need to result to childish and personal insults and focus on the topic at hand. Commenting on the post rather than the poster. I think it lends a certain credibility.

    Simply the best.

  403. AvidReader
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 17:22:49

    @Sidney Ayers:

    Thats an interesting point. What about weres? Has any of that been addressed? I admit that I haven’t read up too much on any it.

  404. Speak up against PayPal’s censorship « Sheri Hart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 17:28:41

    […] writing the type of erotica that is currently in PayPal’s cross-hairs.  Jane at Dear Author has another good overview here, along with a letter from Smashwords founder Mark Coker, who is bowing to PayPal’s strong arm […]

  405. AvidReader
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 17:32:43


    No, I understand your position.

    For me personally some of my very favorite authors are there and that’s their entire living. I wouldn’t feel good boycotting their books. But again that’s my choice. Obviously everyone is free to do as they please! =D

  406. AMRiley
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 17:41:26

    I’ve been truly perplexed since the entire kerfluffle about Smashwords/Paypal’s policy exploded all over the author blogs. These restrictions are very much the same as those most publishers impose, and nobody is screaming ‘CENSORSHIP’ at those houses. Besides, Paypal is owned by Ebay, a company whose principle shareholder has legal residence in California where the laws limiting the sale of abusive and/or exploitive creative works have been on the books for at least twenty years. These are REASONABLE laws. Sexual exploitation of children and animals, and rape, may be erotic to some people but (and I think this is a good thing) it is not legal in the State of California. Why are we suddenly freaked out by this? Do we honestly believed that it is a case of “today it’s Daddy’s Anal Slut and tomorrow it’s a gay themed murder mystery”? Really?

  407. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 17:54:02

    Oh for crying out loud, there’s a simple means of closure for everybody “concerned” about the Klune issue. Instead of taking other people’s accusations/defenses/impressions as Gospel truth, read the book and watch the movie (with an open mind), then decide for yourselves. If you’re unwilling or unable to read the book and watch the movie (with an open mind), then resign yourselves to a position of neutrality.

    Or is that too flippin’ logical?

  408. Fae
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:05:02

    @K. Z. Snow: Just like everyone who followed the Cassie Edwards situation was required to read all of her books and all of the black footed ferret literature before being able to draw the conclusion that she copied?

    No, they looked at point by point comparisons from people who HAD read and seen both sources and drew their conclusions from that.

    But thank you for informing me I’m not allowed to be concerned about possible copyright violations at one of my publishers unless I’m willing to give the possible violator my money. No, thank you, I won’t be doing that.

  409. Author on Vacation
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:06:22

    @Shiloh Walker:

    I am a real writer. And I’m a real writer who has also been plagiarized.

    Not by Ms. Manning, but by somebody who didn’t have the decency or the courage to offer a simple apology. I was given excuses, shoddy rational, and then guilt trips. And I can honestly say that a simple, sincere apology would have mattered to me a great deal more.

    I sincerly empathize with your distress at having your work plagiarized. I, too, have been plagiarized by an unscrupulous author and the culprit never took responsbility for her actions or expressed remorse for her actions.

    Keep in mind the “real problem” is the plagiarist. Not you. It isn’t that you were not wronged and that you do not deserve (at least) an apology. It’s that the plagiarist is simply in perpetual denial (to himself and to others) of any actual wrongdoing. Most criminals insist they are innocent, even when confronted with damning evidence of their crimes. And if a person is so self-absorbed s/he can’t think past her own immediate situation, it’s impossible for him/her to understand his/her actions impacted another person.

    In short, it’s not that your plagiarist didn’t give a flying flip about your distress and inconvenience; it’s that she was truly oblivious to it. Thinking of another person was simply beyond her. Any apology she offered would inevitably revolve around her because she thinks no further than her.

    It’s pointless expecting an indecent person to behave as a decent person.

  410. Stephanie Dray
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:10:17


    “I’ve been truly perplexed since the entire kerfluffle about Smashwords/Paypal’s policy exploded all over the author blogs. These restrictions are very much the same as those most publishers impose.”

    Paypal isn’t a publisher. It is a financial company. In my opinion, it has no business opining on the literary merits of any form of fiction, much less using its weight to dictate policies of publishing companies. Because it is uniquely situated in a rapidly changing environment to make it difficult for certain forms of expression to find the audience who wants to listen to them, I find their behavior extremely objectionable.

    “These are REASONABLE laws. Sexual exploitation of children and animals, and rape, may be erotic to some people but (and I think this is a good thing) it is not legal in the State of California.”

    Hopefully, sexual assault and sexual exploitation of children and animals is illegal everywhere in the United States. But performing these acts is not the same as writing about them.

    That expression is separable from conduct and has socially redeeming value all in its own is at the heart of the many-decades of legal struggles surrounding obscenity laws. It is a field of law that is not only not settled, but profoundly vexing for scholars–and for communities.

    In the 1990s, certain feminists teamed up with certain religious leaders in an effort to ‘prove’ that pornography was somehow linked to violent acts. Their efforts were not fruitful and did a great deal of harm by marginalizing communities built around alternative sexuality and people trying to come to terms with their own sexual identities. Fantasy is not fact and the expression of that fantasy–however loathsome–seldom justifies suppression.

    Paypal isn’t a government entity. As such, it’s attempts to “crack down” on the sale of works it does not approve of has little to do with the Constitution or any of the usual arguments we trot out when we want to argue about censorship. They–and Smashwords–are well within their rights to do what they are doing.

    That doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

    Indeed, what it highlights is Paypal’s disturbing influence over our industry. I’d be curious to learn more about their market share in publishing and whether or not it makes them a veritable monopoly. When someone has a choke-hold on the ways in which citizens can express themselves in the collective fictional community, it is detrimental to everyone.

    Why are we suddenly freaked out by this? Do we honestly believed that it is a case of “today it’s Daddy’s Anal Slut and tomorrow it’s a gay themed murder mystery”? Really?

    I’m surprised anyone would think a concern for such things is sudden. This is a very long battle in the history of literature–the only real nuance here is that we’re dealing with private actors online (relevant for arguments about community standards) as opposed to the government, and we’re still sorting out how that should work in a free society.

  411. Ann Somerville
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:13:10

    @K. Z. Snow:

    You’re doing a lot more harm to DSP’s rep by your hostility to people who are suspicious about Klune – for good reason – than Klune can possibly do.

    I can’t really say more about Klune other than there are red flags all over the place, but I refuse to be neutral about Dreamspinner. I’ve been yelling about them for years. They’re Torquere V2. They allow – positively encourage – gay for play authors and fake bios, they take just about anything, no matter how rubbish or unoriginal, they do lousy or no editing, the owners hide their identities and even their authors don’t know which pennames they use, and encourage some seriously homophobic behaviour by their big name stars.

    They also charge way over the odds for mediocre product, yet pay very poor royalties.

    I’ve warned friends off DSP and will continue to do so. Aggressive behaviour in ‘support’ of a publisher is a hallmark of a company that’s failing or subpar. Torquere did that too, and hey look, here we go again.

    So thank you for trying to force us to stop talking about DSP and Klune, Ms Snow, but I’ll make my own mind up.

  412. Kari Gregg
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:15:37

    If Paypal’s stance is based on financial reasons (charge-backs for pron), wouldn’t those same charge-back risks apply to BDSM, menage/poly, and every other erotica title? Erotic rom too, for that matter. So…Why has pseudo-incest, “barely legal” (whatever that is) and etc been singled out?

  413. Ann Somerville
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:19:29

    “it is not legal in the State of California”

    Hon, you know I love you and adore your writing, but what you write about (BDSM) isn’t legal in many places either. Pseudo-incest *is* legal. If you’re going to use legality as your bench mark, then we can’t write anything where crimes are committed, but Daddy’s little step-daughter can sit on Daddy’s face until the cows come home.

  414. An Appropriate Send Off… and a Bit about Witch Hunts « AJ Rose
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:23:58

    […] to take a few moments to comment on disquieting events around the web this weekend. First is the Dear Author dust-up. I’m disturbed. Deeply disturbed. First, you all know how I feel about the PayPal bullshit, […]

  415. Kate Sherwood
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:28:49


    My understanding is that shifter-sex is fine when the shifter is in human form, but not when in animal form. It’s all about the body, not the mind inside it, I guess.

  416. AvidReader
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:36:57

    @Kate Sherwood:

    Thanks for clearing that up Kate!

  417. Dani Alexander
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:39:02

    KZ, Anne, I don’t think ripping at authors or readers is a good idea. I understand KZ’s point of view and I get Anne’s as well, and the readers of their favorite authors.

    KZ, this hits close to home, I get that. I know that this is a tough, bitter, foul taste to swallow, but I’m not blaming the authors here. The authors are doing their job. They’re turning in their work and some of them are getting edited. Just not the majority. I wrote a blog post about it, you can check it out., if you want.

    Anne, I love how outspoken you are. I think it’s great, but I hope you can put yourself in KZ’s shoes and see how distressing the situation is.

    To the readers who love TJ and to the ones who are angry over this: I don’t know the truth of the book, and I wouldn’t venture to guess; what I will say is we’re all readers and we all care about books, so laying into each other isn’t helpful.

    We’re a small group us m/m readers and authors; and we should to stick together and we should allow everyone to voice their opinion without trampling on one another.

    I want to say that I hope what comes out of this is more Riptides and more Carinas and more Samhains. We’re marginalized, us readers and writers of m/m and poor editing standards does not help at all.

    And I want to say that I’m so very impressed with Sunita and Sarah’s resolve in this matter. It takes guts to take a stand. I only hope more places will follow. This is not because I want DSP to fail, this is because I want them to get better so that more authors like KZ and Kate Sherwood are found and, yes, like Aleksander. Many of us became loyal to DSP because they so openly, so brazenly went against the grain of traditional publishers and gave m/m authors a home. All I want, all most readers want, is for them to look at their current model and realize it’s not working, it needs help, it needs to be better.

    I’ve gone on long enough. I’m done with this post and said enough. If you want to direct any responses to me, you can do so on my blog. Use soft squishy fruit if you’re going to throw things at me though. I bruise easily.

  418. Dani Alexander
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:42:28

    =( I think my post got eaten, DA.

  419. CK
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 19:16:32

    @Kate Sherwood: That’s what I got from it, too, but what about the half-shifted form? What part of the ‘animal’ is too much to be in an ‘approved’ sex scene? No fur, no claws, no teeth? Where does that leave scifirotica? Sex scenes with aliens, demons, [insert your favorite non-human entity here] are they going to be banned or is it just going to be a wink/nudge don’t tag/name your story with any of these ‘objectionable’ terms? Right now it seems like it’s pretty open to interpretation which will definitely lead people to keep pushing these new ‘limits’.

  420. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 19:16:44

    @Stephanie Dray: Applause and agreement. That is all.

  421. Kate Sherwood
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 19:30:55

    @CK: Yeah, I don’t know, and it’s really hard to find a rationale in the rules that we could apply as a way to help us interpret.

    I mean, no rape, no bestiality, fair enough, they’re going after non-consent. But if it’s shifter sex, then even in animal form, there’s consent, right? So you can’t just say “if it’s non-consensual, it’s out; if it’s consensual, it’s fine”. I think it may come down to another “I know it when I see it,” situation, and those give me the creeps.

    I don’t read or write any of the things that are being banned, but I support those who do. And I support everyone’s expectation to be governed by clear, fair rules, not arbitrary judgement calls. The shifter thing is absolutely an area that seems like it’s pretty much destined to get arbitrary.

  422. Tom Webb
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 19:38:03

    @Shiloh Walker:

    Ms. Walker,

    Anytime someone quotes Bible verses to me, I run the hell the other way.

    I will treat legitimate discourse with respect when it BEGINS with respect. This whole post was an attack on one writer linked with a disgusting act of plagiarism. To report something as fact that is supposition, to quote unnamed sources that cannot be substantiated and treat it as gospel? And for so many of you on this site to nod your heads and go, “Yep, must be so since it’s in print here now” is reprehensible.

    I respect those who ask intelligent questions and look themselves at FACTS.

    You want to take a moral high ground with your smarmy quotes, fine. You show yourself to be not worthy of respect. It is earned, lady, not freely given. And if you read the tone of the posts here, TK Klune and Dreamspinner have been tried, convicted and sentenced by a group that stirs up crap without facts.

    I only came back here to respond as a friend read all 400+ comments and felt bad. For all of the folks who would just spew the party line rather than ask the real questions, or seek out the answers for themselves.

    I did have a nice day. I read a couple of wonderful books, and never once worried about what the Thought and Morality Police here said about them. Gee, what a concept.

    And K.Z. Snow is absolutely right – buy a copy of the movie and read the book and see for yourself. I have. Hmm, never thought to ask THAT did you.

    Good bye to you all.

  423. CK
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 19:41:06

    @Kate Sherwood: Exactly! The “I know it when I see it” is downright unnerving because I doubt any of these storefronts are going to hire readers to vet every story (and they shouldn’t) so they are bound to depend on consumer complaint. Now, that’s fine. I’ve complained at ARe. They reviewed my complaint and responded. But what happens when on Monday, someone reads a half-shifted were-duck orgy and thinks that was hawt! and gives it the green light, but on Tuesday someone else reads a half-shifted werewolf nuzzling his human mate and cries bestiality?

  424. LG
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 19:57:57

    @AMRiley: “These are REASONABLE laws. Sexual exploitation of children and animals, and rape, may be erotic to some people but (and I think this is a good thing) it is not legal in the State of California.”

    Neither is killing someone legal. However, people can do it in video games and read about it in books. So many murder mysteries I’ve read have had chapters or sections from the perspective of the killer. Heck, Dexter (both the show and the series of books) stars a character who kills people, and readers/audiences like him and even root for him. Why aren’t things like this getting similar treatment? Erotic fiction featuring bestiality, rape, etc. is somehow in its own category.

    “Do we honestly believed that it is a case of “today it’s Daddy’s Anal Slut and tomorrow it’s a gay themed murder mystery”? Really?”

    Actually, that’s what I worry about, yes. There are people for whom gay and lesbian sex is as abhorrent as bestiality or child molestation. And we already know there are those who believe that *all* romance novels are “porn for women.” Wouldn’t that mean that, to their minds, any romance novel with a sex scene in it is “obscene” reading material?

    Plus, one of the things that keeps popping in my mind as I read about the Paypal stuff is Christopher Handley, an Iowa man who was sentenced to 6 months in prison for owning “obscene” manga. Later news stories I read said that some of it depicted children in sexual situations. There was no evidence that he had ever viewed or collected images of real children in such situations. No, Paypal isn’t making or changing laws and no law yet makes it illegal to own text-only fiction in which illegal and/or “obscene” acts occur, but I can’t help but wonder if this is an early sign that that may change. Not everybody cares that this stuff is fantasy and no real person is being hurt. Many of the anime/manga fan discussions about those news stories sounded very similar to comments made on the DA Paypal news posts, the main difference being that no one faces jail time at this point.

  425. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 20:49:43

    And “sodomy” (I hate that term) is illegal in some states as well… so there goes the gay romances…

  426. Kate Sherwood
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 20:55:07

    @Sidney Ayers: US States? I don’t think so, not anymore. I think the last US Sodomy laws were declared unconstitutional… yeah, Wikipedia says in 2003.

    Not saying there aren’t still concerns about gay rights in the US, but at least that isn’t one of them!

  427. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 20:55:34


    The email from Mark Coker said they were okay with shape shifter erotica, only if the sex was done while in human form. Which kinda of made me a little worried, since I’ve read several NY pubbed books where the heroine and the hero had sex while one was in their shifted form. Sunny’s Mona Lisa books comes to mind. Someone also said that LKH’s Anita Blake had sex with several weres.

    I say if it’s good enough for NY, why isn’t it good enough for self-pubbed eBooks?

  428. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 20:57:40

    @Tom Webb: Well… so much for not coming back, huh?

    although, if you would take note…I don’t think I said much about Klune. I haven’t read his book, don’t intend to. I did follow the links and do see a number similarities, but without reading his book, seeing the movie? I can’t speak from a position of authority so I’m not saying anything about him.

    Since you’re talking about looking at the facts, perhaps you should look at what I’ve said, before attacking me.

    I did read your comments, and saw the snide commentary, plus the fact that you just attacked somebody who had said nothing against him. What good did that do?

    You rant about people checking the facts, but you jump on somebody who hasn’t said a word against him. Lovely, that.

    What have I said here? I commented that I was impressed about an honest apology a plagiarist offered. I made comment about how I felt about it. I said hi to a friend, and responded back. I laughed at Jackie and I addressed how I felt about the comparison between the paypal issues and ‘oppression’ because some people think it’s truly oppression. And since you went off and got snide, I addressed you.

    Since you haven’t checked your facts, it’s rather hypocritical of you to expect people to check theirs. Although I personally do recommend people check facts. It’s always good. Can save you from having egg on your face.

    You’re not here for ‘discourse’. You’re here to attack. That’s fine. It happens here.

    Have fun getting mad. Seems like a waste of energy for an unbiased, unaffected party, but heya. Whatever.

  429. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 20:58:12

    @Kate Sherwood:

    My knowledge on laws is a little rusty, thank goodness :)

    I’m sure it’s still illegal in some countries though… LOL

  430. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 20:59:56

    @Sidney Ayers:
    LKH Anita Blake series is full of shifting before sex, after sex, and during sex. Some of the creatures are never full human and some are. SOme have a lot of animal traits, like fur etc, while in human form

  431. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 21:06:21

    @Author on Vacation: Oh, I know… LOL. It was just frustrating… was then, is now if I let myself dwell on it. I was even dealing fine with her insincere apologies and doing okay and moving on until she started trying to guilt trips in.

    It was the guilt trips that really stuck in my gut. She was the one who screwed up and she’s trying to make me feel guilty. That just burned me.

    But very often, people can suck.

  432. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 21:13:11

    That’s my point. If NY books can have sex between humans and a shifted beast, why can’t self-published eBooks? Books are books, regardless of how they are published. Most indie and eBook publishers’s submission guidelines will not allow bestiality, but in the same line, they do say that sex with a shapeshifter or werewolf is okay. Why can’t Smashwords do the same? It’s not like it’s an ACTUAL animal.

  433. Amber
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 21:37:57

    I cannot understand why companies continue to view Paypal as a viable business partner. The company, part of eBay, Inc, has a long, long history of treating businesses and consumers with contempt, even when their TOS aren’t violated. The numerous class action lawsuits are evidence of that. I’m sure there are other payment processors out there. Paypal likes to pass the buck by blaming banks etc, but the truth is that as a “payment processor,” they are largely unregulated.

    I sincerely hope any indie ebookstore thinks long and hard before signing up to use Paypal as their sole or even primary merchant account. Moral considerations aside, they are known bullies. Don’t give them your business.

  434. Smut Bitch
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 21:41:33

    I really (really!) don’t want to defend Laurell K Hamilton here, but I’ve read every book of hers but the last one, and I can only recall one scene where she has sex with a guy in shifted form, and that was Nathaniel, in, I *think* Incubus Dreams. Any other sex she’s had with shifted weres has been strictly off page.

    But she *does* have lots of sex with lots of guys (often at the same time), and she has mind-raped MORE than once, and had people killed who wouldn’t screw her, but I don’t imagine any of her books will be getting pulled any time soon.

    On the Klune issue, I watched Shelter a bit over a year ago, and read BOatK when it came out. Nothing in the book felt at all familiar to me, I never had that feeling of having read/seen the story somewhere before. However, my memory is absolutely horrible, so that really isn’t saying a lot, but you would think I would have felt at least a little bit of deja vu while reading it if it were so similar.

  435. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 21:45:54

    @Smut Bitch:
    I am refering to her shifting (ie having to have sex with the animal inside of her trying to get out as a way of controling it. In the Harlequin, I think it’s her wolf or cat form that actaully becomes so powerful she forces her partner into a shift (or a partial shift) during sex. I only read that one and maybe one other, it was a bit too much for my tastes.

  436. Brad
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 22:10:02

    I just read though most of the comments as well. I also have seen Shelter and read Klune’s book. I’ve read the book a couple times and seen the movie a couple of times. In my honest opinion, the characters are absolutely his. Maybe the movie and book seem similiar but I can point out that fact for lots of books and movies. There are too many differences between the two for it to be copied. I stand by the opinion that the book is his own, the characters are his own, and the plot is his own. I noticed some of the comments about comparison and it just didn’t fit for me. They spend a lot of time in the kitchen in both? etc etc. I just went back again and watched the movie and still for me, the book and the movie are different. Just throwing my comment out there.

  437. Brad
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 22:12:09

    I do agree, however, on the terrible editing a lot of the m/m books get. Certain publishers really do need content editors and better editors in general. Its a diservice to the reader and to the author. I’m tired of thinking about the potential a book had, but it wasn’t properly edited. There is a lot of talent out there, and it seems to be getting wasted.

  438. Ridley
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 23:30:02

    @Tom Webb: Your misogyny is adorable.

  439. azteclady
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 02:05:51

    @Tom Webb: I thought you had flounced off earlier already.

  440. Manuela
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 07:52:59

    I found unfair and tasteless those accusations of plagiarism in the case of TJ Klune’s book, by people who haven’t read the book and/or haven’t watched the movie. I did both, watched the movie a short while before reading the book. While I was reading TJ Klune’s story, never my mind went to the movie. I only thought about the similarities after these accusations started. But even now, I say there are yes some similarities, but nothing more than that. The characters’ personalities are not the same and the development of the relationship between the two main characters is different, as it is the situation of the main character and his brother.
    I think if people want to make accusations, they’re free to do them, but the least they should do is read the book/watch the movie. As someone else said, the reviewer whose post is taken as proof of the plagiarism, reported false info about the beginning of the book/movie. I wouldn’t trust someone who starts their whole discussion about plagiarism with a lie.

  441. Plagiarists, beware: the internet will find you out | Books in the News
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 08:15:12

    […] the plagiariser then executed an astonishing volte face, holding her hands up to her actions with a post on the Dear Author romance writing blog admitting to everything. “To all the authors, publishers, and editors I stole from, I am […]

  442. Buzz Worthy News: 27th Feb 2012 | Cuddlebuggery Book Blog
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 09:02:04

    […] Liz Field­ing reported on her blog that Van­ity author Kay Man­ning had been pla­gia­riz­ing her work.  Man­ning orig­i­nally denied the claims but later admit­ted to and apol­o­gized for the fraud on Dear Author. […]

  443. Karenna Colcroft
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 10:00:29

    I’m working my way through all the comments on this thread, so I’m about ninety-nine percent certain I’ve missed things, but I wanted to post this before I forgot.

    I recently signed my first contract with Dreamspinner for a standalone novella. My only previous dealings with them as an author was for a short story in an anthology which was edited by an editor from a different press; the anthology honors an author I’d become friendly with, who had touched a number of people who wanted to support him. (He’s also been published with Dreamspinner.)

    I can’t speak to the editing issues with Dreamspinner books, because mine hasn’t gotten to that point in the process yet. Nor can I speak to what Dreamspinner is or isn’t doing about the BOATK issue; that isn’t my place. I will say that Dreamspinner has authors I admire who are on my auto-buy list, and that’s why I chose to submit this particular novella to them. Hopefully that’s a decision I’ll be able to stand by as time goes on. Unfortunately, when issues arise with even a few books from a publisher, those issues tend to tarnish the entire house and all its authors. But definitely, not all Dreamspinner authors are fanfic regurgitators, and not all Dreamspinner books (at least among the ones I’ve read) are poorly edited.

  444. WF
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 12:48:01



    I am the one who posted the review of TJ Klune’s Bear, Otter, and the Kid on GoodReads.

    I welcome your own views as you compare the movie to the book. I very much appreciate that you would go through the effort to verify or deny the points in my review. I think input from anyone with an open mind and who has actually seen/read both is very helpful and I thank you for it.

    However, I will respectfully disagree that the book characters are not the same as the movie characters. I do not think Mr. Klune changed their core personalities or circumstances, although I will concede that he added personality traits too.

    I think my description of the Zack/Bear character, and the others, correctly lists the common character traits that appear in the movie and the book.

    From my post on GR: Main Character (MC) Characterization (both book and movie): 20ish. Lower middle-class. Fiercely loyal to the child. Introverted. Struggles with his sexuality and the changes in his life. Spends a lot of time thinking.

    Did Mr. Klune add other personality quirks to the characters? Yes, for instance, the Bear character is more prone to whining and self-pity. But the Zack character in the movie was also to a lesser extent, such as when he lamented the loss of his college scholarship, or when, during the break-up scene, he told the Older Brother character (Shaun/Otter) that it wasn’t easy for him like it was for them (the wealthy brothers).

    The Bear character was contrarily more needy and at the same time reluctant to accept help (although he accepted it every time after much hand-wringing), while Zack accepted help getting back into college and raising the child at the end of the movie without any fuss. Those are minor differences compared to all their similarities.

    I’ll defend the other character descriptions in my review too. And I do point out in my review the the child character was changed; however, the anxiety in the Kid character is also in the Cody movie character. Mr. Klune expanded the child’s role in the book too, but I still maintain that he used the movie characters as his starting point. There are obvious similarities. Their ages, jobs, economic circumstances, even where the best friend lives (big house on the beach), etc. are almost mirror images.

    Shaun/Otter, who is 8-10 years older than Zack/Bear, moved to southern California to become a successful writer/photographer. And then he come back and acted on his attraction to Zack/Bear, who is his younger brother’s best friend. Almost mirror actions too.

    Mr. Klune also added a huge amount of internal dialogue for the Bear character that we have to guess at in the movie (all those scenes where Zack sits alone thinking). Some of the conversations are the same though. For instance, in the break-up scene (about 2 minutes in the movie), Mr. Klune had at least a full page of Bear’s internal dialogue between Otter calling Bear a coward and Bear saying Otter’s obsession with him had to end. In the movie, Zach says he’s sick of being Shaun’s wet dream and that Shaun should find a new fantasy. Immediately after that Shaun calls him a coward. That is too, too similar to not be looked at with suspicion. The internal dialogue obscures the verbal dialogue similarities, but doesn’t disguise them completely.

    I think the constant flashbacks and internal dialogue served to help conceal how much Mr. Klune’s book borrowed from Shelter.

    But then the movie had flashback scenes too. After Zack broke up with Shaun, he is shown lying in his bed remembering all the good times he had with Shaun and regretting his actions. I’ll add flashback scenes to the list of similarities.

    I also think the book is a very close 80% paraphrase of the movie, including the characters. The other 20% is added plot content, yes, and I noted some of the changes in my review, but it does not negate the fact that most of the book was lifted from the movie. There are many more things that are alike than different. I’ll stand by my review.

    Please continue to share your thoughts on this and thank you.


    I added a second edit to my GR review to add that Zack/Bear broke up with Shaun/Otter right after his sister/mother confronted him about spending time with a ‘fag’ and and telling him that she did not want her child around that.

    I can’t take credit for catching that because someone else pointed it out to me. I didn’t look up the page numbers, but I know it’s there.

    @ Critics:

    I apologize to the blog owners if this is not the correct place to voice this.

    When I posted the review a full week ago, I made an error and said that in the Shelter, Zack was driving to the airport to pick up his best friend. That was incorrect. That scene was in the book.

    In the movie, Zack was actually driving to pick up his best friend from his house and drop him off with friends that were giving Creed a ride.

    I corrected it the next day when I added my first edit. Have you even read the review or are you just reading the quote that was cut and pasted here that first day?

    GoodReads is a place for readers to post their honest opinions and constructive criticism — good and politely bad– regarding the books they read. I posted my review, not expecting any reactions because there were already reviews that stated they saw too many similarities to be comfortable between Mr. Klune’s book and Shelter. Even several positive, 4 and 5 star reviews mentioned the similarities. They didn’t get a reaction. Why should my review?

    I also did not expect the author to post on his blog “haters are gonna hate” and make a joke about rewriting Shelter. Yes, I’ll agree it was probably a joke. It would have been more productive if he would have addressed the issue.

    I don’t even think Shelter is a great movie. It’s average. It’s not a surfing movie, it’s a relationship movie. The surfing scenes mainly consist of the two men — who are neither gorgeous nor buff — talking on the beach while sitting next to surf boards. They could have had the same conversations while weeding a garden. If a viewer pays more attention to the dialogue and character interactions rather than the settings, then the plot, characters, and circumstances in the movie quite easily match those found in the book.

    Did Mr. Klune add original content? Yes, for instance in the movie, Shaun made a grand gesture of helping Zack get back into college even though Zack had broken up with him. Zack, who had been regretting his actions, finds out and gladly takes the excuse to run back to Shaun. They agree that Zack and the child will live with Shaun and Shaun will help support Zack while he completes college. That is the ending of the movie and took about 4 minutes of screen time.

    That was also the ending of the book, but oh, wait, not quite. Mr. Klune added a day or two of drama between the time Bear runs back to Otter and the time Otter reveals his own grand gesture. First, Bear had to punch Otter’s ex-boyfriend, who just happened to show up that very night, and then Bear had to have a pot-meet-kettle moment with his best friend and ex-girlfriend, then Bear had to run away and pout on the beach all night. Then, and only then, was Otter able to reveal his grand gesture. Otter bought a house for them even though Bear had broken up with him. He then insisted that he and the child would live with him, that he help Bear get back into college, and help support Bear while he was in college.

    Yes, the movie and the book ended the same way except with added drama in the book. I need to add ‘grand gesture’ to my list too.

    If I were, say, trying to cover up a fanfiction that I wrote about a movie, I might skew the timeline by using a lot of flashbacks, and add copious amounts of repetitious internal dialogue, while all the same conversations take place and the same events happen.

    I might even take a scene straight from the movie (like the ending, for instance) and throw a bunch of unnecessary drama into it to obscure the fact that the scene begins with Zack/Bear running back to Shaun/Otter to make up with him and ends with Shaun/Otter agreeing to move in together to raise the child and help support Zack/Bear through college. Yeah, I think that might work — not.

    @ YT — I think we might have hit 100 points of similarity now.

  445. Jane
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 13:05:48

    @WF Thanks for the post. I appreciate it.

  446. Cat
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 14:35:16

    Her book An Early Christmas Present is still for sale at Barnes and Noble for $2.50.

  447. Jane
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 14:36:44

    @Cat That’s probably more of a BN problem. It takes them a long time to upload a sale and probably an equally long time to pull one down.

  448. Andrew Shaffer: PayPal Takes Controversial Stance Against Sex Rhonn Mitchell Rhonn Laighton Mitchell
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 15:06:39

    […] Saturday, February 18, PayPal contacted Smashwords with an ultimatum: Remove the “edgy” erotica, or face deactivation of their PayPal account. Since PayPal […]

  449. Sirius
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 15:51:35

    @WF: Hi, thanks for your post. Eh, the last thing I want to do is to defend Mr. Clune, because as I said even at the half of the story I can see that he at least heavily borrowed from the plot of the movie and I can even see how the argument can be made that he plagiarised the plot, at the same time we will have to agree to disagree about the characters’ similarities arising to the level of plagiarism. You argue that he added personalities traits, but you seem to say that those changes are not significant to you as to overcome the similarities, correct? Well, for me those changes at least in Bear and Kid are crucial enough to make them be quite a different characters. To me for example the effect of abandonement on Bear and how it changed him is quite a huge difference from Zach in the movie, whom I have not noticed suffering from any abandoment issues in the movie. Yes, they both in their 20s, yes they are both middle class and attached to the kid, eh thats about all similarities I can see as far as their persona. Plot developments though? Absolutely.

    And Cody in the movie IMO has very little personality, although of course he and Kid both have abandoment issues. In other words, while I hear you as to the plot similarities, even though I still have not finished the book because I really REALLY hate the Bear and needed to read the book I really enjoyed, I am just not sure if I agree about the characters. However, I can see where you are coming from completely.

  450. WF
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 16:05:35


    I appreciate your explanation for your opinion on those two characters and I can see your point. I think I will partially agree with you on that one. Their circumstances are nearly the same but their personalities have been altered enough to be significant.

    I apologize again that you have to wade through a book you do not like , but I am thankful you are doing it and providing an informed opinion.


  451. Ann Somerville
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 16:32:41


    “It would have been more productive if he would have addressed the issue.”

    Indeed, and watching his supporters attack you and Bubbles over on GR is really sick-making. You shouldn’t have to endure that for the sake of speaking out, although you are at least in the finest company when it comes to being attacked for doing the right thing (cf Smart Bitches over Cassie Edwards etc).

    Not only have DSP failed to make a public and substantive response to the questions raised over this, they have shut down the thread on GR discussing the book. Klune has said nothing more. Looks to me like they’re all just hoping it will go away, and that the ignorance of their die-hard supporters about exactly what constitutes plagiarism will overwhelm legitimate concerns.

    As for the authors engaging in special pleading and trying to convince us that Dreamspinner Press should be somehow exempt from the same kind of criticism they would gleefully dish out if any other publisher was run in an identical manner – I can only say, if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Every dodgy press has a few good authors on its books – that doesn’t mean that the public has to stay silent when they are dished out unedited, over-priced, reheated pap.

    The authors who feel so outraged would be better off contacting Elizabeth North at DSP and begging her to make an open and complete statement regarding Klune’s work, and even better, pledging to reject fanfiction, and to improve the editing process at her company. Because attacking readers is never a good look for any publisher – or author.

  452. Mary Pugh
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 17:07:45

    Why is anyone surprised that Dreamspinner would publish a plagiarized book and then keep quiet about it and hope all the hoopla dies down and everyone forgets about it? They published Lucia Logan’s A Hidden Passion, which plagiarized Jane Eyre, and then continued to publish the author after she changed her pen name. This is their m.o.

  453. WF
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 17:31:01

    @Ann Somerville:

    Thanks, Ann. I responded to them on the DSP BOatK thread and they deleted my comment. Maybe they are just hoping it will all go away like you said.

    @Mary: I see what you mean with that article. It’s one thing to spoof a classic, such as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, etc. and use a good portion of a classic original work, it’s another thing to use a good portion of a classic original work and claim it as your own. I understand that classic literature is in public domain, but the ethical thing to do is acknowlege the use of it up front.

  454. Jane
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 18:05:46

    @Mary Pugh Wow, the comments to that thread are so similar to the Klune defense here. Do they come out of handbook?

  455. Bee
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 18:22:56

    I’m trying so hard not to get involved in this infected debate…but alas I’m clearly failing. I’m not educated enough in copyright infringement laws to deduce whether or not BOatK is violating any of them. I am however fully convinced that the author has based BOatK on Shelter. I have read the book. I have seen the movie more than 10 times. I felt the similarities before I consciously picked them up when I read the book. Yes there are differences between BOatK and Shelter, but does that excuse the similarities? Yes, the elements “inspired” by Shelter are somewhat generic; but they are still in my opinion clearly recognizable. The fact that there are so many similarities between the two works suggests that the connection between them is more than just circumstantial. I make no judgments on whether or not the author is in his rights to use the material, as I said I’m not educated enough. What I can say is that the actions from the publisher are ridiculous. Ignoring the debate won’t make it go away, and deleting critical comments doesn’t really benefit their case. Also, the claim that the book is supposedly semi-biographical is something I’m finding hard to believe…and it also makes me question the credibility in what little else DSP are saying.

  456. Writers & Publishers Blogs: A link List #censorship #paypal #erotica | Banned Writers
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    […] Smashwords Authors, Publishers, and Literary Authors Who Publish Erotica at Smashwords (Smashwords) Saturday News: No Deals Just Stupidity and Smashwords Concedes to Paypal Terms (Dear Author) *** An Open Letter to PayPal (Lauren Gallagher / L. A. Witt) Paypal Moves Against […]

  457. Fran
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 09:54:11

    Klune’s fans are in denial. I watched the movie and did read the book. It’s the same with minor changes. Often being friends with someone blinds you to the wrong things they do.

    Dreamspinner needs to respond to this and remove the book. That’s what any decent pub big or small would do. They need to think about their other authors.

  458. John Simpson
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 14:19:21

    I would like to urge caution to all those who are climbing onto the back of DSP over a book. Here’s why: A friend of mine sent me a link on goodreads that accused me of plagiarism as noted here in the copied comment regarding my very first book, Murder Most Gay:

    Dec 31, 2011 Jacob Baird rated it
    This is copy right infridgent of the story of the movie in 2004 where 4 gay guys one a closeted cop go to a Halloween festival where rumors a gay serial killer is on te loose killing gays and there’s romance between the cop and another guy who rides a motorcycle and well there busy the cops friends are killed one by one till the killer winds up following the cop to his apartment attacking him and his artner he just acquainted an then he is shot and dead blah blah blah totally stole the whole story off of it

    and my response, the second one that is. I am apologetic in advance to anyone with sensibilities to my opening line:

    message 1: by Joseph – rated it 3 stars Feb 25, 2012 05:43pm
    Did you even read the book? the plot you describe and the book have nothing in common other than the main characters are gay

    reply | flag *
    message 2: by John – rated it 5 stars Feb 25, 2012 05:52pm
    Jacob Baird, you can blow me! Give me your address and name so that we can meet in U.S. District Court where I’ll sue your ass into next century. Murder Most Gay is based on a murder that I investigated and all characters are products of my imagination. You make a charge like that you better be ready to back it up in court boy. Are you?? Let me know. Stick your one star where the sun don’t shine.

    like · 2 comments · see review

    Here is a PERFECT example of someone who throws around a most serious charge without ONE fact to support his accusation but nonetheless makes it. I find that there are a lot of airheads at goodreads which is one reason I never read the site and why a friend had to point out the offending comment. As in my reply, the story is based on a gruesome murder that I personally investigated in 1980 in Orlando Florida at the Parliament House, a gay resort sorta compound. The characters in the story, other than the murder victim, are based solely on my imagination. No inspiration from anywhere else, my imagination. Yet this clown just tosses out the accusation with no basis in reality. I have NO idea what movie this clown is talking about, nor do I need to see such a movie if it exists. I know what the facts are and will so state in a court of law. Having been one of the original 20 authors that signed on with DSP, I can assure you that they are a top notch house, and that the owner cares deeply about stories and the reputation of the house. You all need to back off and give them a chance to investigate this matter and not just take the word of a couple reviewers. This is my only comment on this subject other than please stop tearing apart pillows for the tarring and feathering that you’re working yourselves up into. It’s causing a shortage of pillows!

  459. Jane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 14:46:34

    @John Simpson Right because the 100+ similarities between the book and the movie are just completely baseless.

  460. Edward
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 14:54:11

    @John Simpson: I think you would do well to read the reviews that accuse TJ Klune of plagiarism before you insist the accusation as baseless. Unlike the allegation of plagiarism against you Mister Simpson, the other one — this one to be exact — is more substantial, listing POINTS by POINTS how similar the book is to the movie.

    I also like to add that your comment would have been more persuasive if it was not hypocritical in nature. Words like “a lot of airheads at goodreads” and “tarring and feathering” are not good words to use when your comment on Dear Author and your response against Jacob on Goodreads — no matter how justified — are anything but calm and professional. Practice what you preach, please.

    You should also know that the problem with DSP is more than about the Mister Klune issue. The Klune issue just happened to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Respectfully yours.

  461. John Simpson
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 15:23:41


    And of course you overlooked my point about allowing DSP to INVESTIGATE this matter, didn’t ya?? I think you all should leave your real names at the bottom of your comments, just for the sake of record. Second, no where did I say the accusation is baseless, I said, Let DSP INVESTIGATE!. You all are expressing opinions, and I expressed mine. Airheads is my opinion of Goodreads. Tarring and feathering is another opinion of mine that I freely express as everyone else here is expressing opinions. Don’t like it? Too bad. The main point of my post was to say that you can’t take things on face value and to allow an honorable publishing house to INVESTIGATE. I stand by Dreamspinner Press one hundred percent and state without hesitation that they would not knowingly publish a work that was in reality plagiarized. To state otherwise leaves one open to a civil cause of action. Thus I urge you to leave your real names and addresses at the bottom of your posts regarding this issue or at least send them to DSP directly. It is easy for a coward to strike a blow in the dark of night, but a lot harder for that same blow to be struck at high noon.

  462. Jane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 15:29:53

    @John Simpson A) we don’t need to wait for DSP to investigate this to comment on whether readers find the similarities disturbing. B) DSP has already deleted questions by readers both at DSP’s own website and at goodreads about the similarities so why would we have any confidence that they would investigate it. C) Based on past behavior of the press noted upthread in a link, why do we think DSP would act differently. and D) Don’t like it? Too bad.

  463. John Simpson
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 15:47:45

    Jane, what are you afraid of? You all have convened a trail, found DSP guilty and sentenced them. Again, let them INVESTIGATE the allegation. Unless you all are non-Americans, you forget that we have a innocent until proven guilty feature in our system. Give them time to look into this. What are you afraid of? I broke my own rule when I said I would comment no further unless it is a personal attack on my and my honor. So, this is it.

  464. Jane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 15:52:32

    @John Simpson John, what are you afraid of? I and probably every one else who is even remotely paying attention to this welcomes DSP’s investigation. I think that would be absolutely wonderful. Bring it on down the trail.

  465. Ridley
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 15:56:44

    I’ve never seen so many men flounce as I’ve seen in this thread.

  466. Sue T
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 16:12:21


    Yay for men flouncing! I was bored today. Seeing men flounce is quite entertaining. Jane, you are such a rabble-rouser – I love it! :-D

  467. Jane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 16:17:16

    @Sue T Ultimately the problem is that DSP isn’t the arbiter of what is plagiarism and what is not. Unless the DSP investigation goes beyond the text (and to what extent that is feasible, I am not certain), its determination of whether Klune’s book is plagiarism is just one opinion and frankly DSP’s own financial interest is in finding that it is NOT plagiarism. So perhaps that is what all the flouncing is about.

  468. Edward
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 16:24:02

    @John Simpson: Yes, you can express your opinion. But if you’re going to use it to persuade people to calm down and let DSP investigate the matter, you should first be calm yourself. As I said, it’s hard to take advice from someone who does not practice what they preach.

    What is this leave your real name and address thing? Coward? I’ll chalk up this part of your message as someone who is new or unfamiliar to the internet.

    Non-Americans? Now you’re giving me the impression as someone who is xenophobic.

    Yes, let DSP investigate matter. But sir, do not be arrogant to demand people they should stop expressing their opinion on the issue no matter how strongly you disagree with it. If you do not like what is being expressed here, either argue back with some good reasons or leave. Again, please do not demand people to stop talking about DSP. You do not have that right or privilege.

  469. Sue T
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 16:27:04

    @Jane Do you think they are investigating? I’ve read 90% of the comments and it seems there is some that they aren’t. And I hate to say this but given previous examples, what would the result be? The plagerist, as has been noted, has no material effect. They just get to move on. Kinda like ‘authors behaving badly’. Good to discuss, will make some people shy away from them but ultimately, it doesn’t seem to matter. Says a great deal about society to me. And not in a good way.

  470. Edward
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 16:37:41

    @Jane Do you know if anyone has contacted the people of the movie “Shelter”? We can comment as much as we want, DSP can investigate the matter as much they want, but if the supposed victim does not know about the controversy — the issue is kinda moot, imo.

  471. Lasha
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 16:44:51

    @John Simpson: Speaking as another former police officer, I am not doubting your word on YOUR book (although I have never read it).

    As for BOATK, I have read both the book and seen Shelter multiple times. I am a reviewer, reader and author myself, so I understand why a charge like this could potentially harm a career. But, I can tell you I wanted to read the book and make my own judgment. I have and did.

    It is my personal opinion there are a significant amount of similarities between BOATK and Shelter (e.g. Creed/Gabe’s personality and dialog – how he rags on his brother with the ‘homo’ jokes, Anna/Tori and Bear/Zach’s talk about Otter and Bear being gay, opening sequence of book (Bear and Creed’s talk) and Zach/Gabe’s ride in Zach’s car, etc. There are more, but I will keep it brief.)

    Now are there differences between Shelter and BOATK? Absolutely. I think The Kid is the most different character and I see little Cody in him. But the other characters? There are too many similarities for this to be a coincidence in my book. I would say that BOATK was INSPIRED by Shelter, rather than plagiarized. But that is my opinion. Others may feel different.

    Now I am hoping DSP will address this issue (and soon) before it gets out of hand. However, flouncing around and hurling insults at other authors, reviewers and readers is not winning any points for Mr. Klune’s case.

    P.S. As for leaving my real name? Not happening. I now work in a profession where the mere hint that I may read m/m romance would get me fired and banned for life from my job. I have been using Lasha since 1995, so you’ll have to be satisfied with that.

  472. Ann Somerville
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 16:50:02

    @John Simpson:
    “Unless you all are non-Americans, you forget that we have a innocent until proven guilty feature in our system. ”

    It might surprise you to discover that even us furriners have that presumption – in criminal cases. However, in America and in other jurisdictions, innocent until proven guilty doesn’t apply absolutely in many civil cases – I believe copyright infringement might be one. I suspect it’s demanding too much of your manly, real-named little person to expect you to understand the nuances of your own legal system, let allow those of ‘non-americans’.

    However, your shrieking and insults aside, you prove the point a few of us have been making. As soon as someone wrongfully accused you of plagiarism, you tore them a new one. I had someone make an insinuation that the plot of one of my books – based purely on her reading of the summary – sounded familiar to her. I immediately, albeit more politely than you, very firmly told her that I do not base my work on other people’s plots and that the story in question was entirely original (as original as being the slave of big cats in space can ever be, as I discovered after publication!) If Klune has been similarly unjustly accused, where are the denials? Where is his firm statement of originality? Where is his explanation of the ‘semi-biographical’ claim by DSP’s owner – a claim looking more unlikely as the days and the silence go on?

    We *have* been waiting for DSP to investigate. Many of us are waiting with bated breath for their full explanation. I mean, how long does is take the owner of a small press to find the alleged source material of one of her books, and view it? Wouldn’t you, in the same situation, make that a priority, if your company – not for the first time – has been accused of publishing plagiarised material?

    DSP hasn’t made a public statement at all. They are deleting comments and questions, as is Klune. Maybe to your particular breed of American, that screams innocence. To the rest of us, it smells of deceit.

    No one wants Klune to be guilty of plagiarism. I think you are completely misunderstanding the sentiment. If he is innocent, then the relief among readers would be huge. But his continued lack of anything approaching a sensible response to the accusations, is doing his reputation active harm. As are, I have to say, hysterical, irrational and ill-informed comments such as yours and Tom’s above.

  473. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 17:02:57

    @Ridley: Dudes really can’t flounce as well as us female types can, either. I mean, it’s amusing for sure. But you need to really be female to work up the appropriate …huffiness to carry off a flounce.

    I realize that might make me sound sexist. Oops.

  474. Mary Pugh
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 17:06:44

    @John Simpson: They wouldn’t knowingly publish a plagiarized book? They published A Hidden Passion, a plagiarized version of Jane Eyre, and only removed it after a reviewer posted a side-by-side comparison. They claimed that they had a “professor of literature” review it before publication, something I find highly unlikely considering how much of the book blatantly stole lines from the original text. And yet this same “honorable” publishing company continues to publish the author of that book under a new pen name. Why should we trust Dreamspinner Press to investigate?

  475. azteclady
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 17:19:05

    @Shiloh Walker: It may be sexist, but it seems an accurate observation from where I sit.

    Male flounces lack a ne sais quoi, don’t they?

  476. Anon
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 18:05:19

    @Mary Pugh: I am positive some of us would love to know this new pen name, if only to avoid ever buying one of her books or, for the authors here, to avoid being fooled into supporting her with guest blogs etc such as happened with Kay Manning.

  477. Ery
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 20:05:35

    Randomly curious, but would a statement from KLune/DSP really convince those who are suspicious or who believe that the work was plagiarism otherwise? I’m not certain that such a statement would have any impact, except to acknowledge the furor…?

  478. Sirius
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 22:11:41

    I finished. Torture is over, thank goodness. Basically what I thought at the half of the story, I am still of the same opinion – heavily influenced by Shelter plot, however enough differences in Bear and Kid (and Oter just more developed IMO) for me to consider them different enough. But there better be no more plagiarism accusations any time soon, because I cannot stand doing something this again :). By the way if anybody who has kindle wants to borrow it (trust me if i have not purchased this book long time ago, no , way I would have paid for it) to form their own opinion and comfortable putting their email in the post (because I am not putting mine ), I will be happy to loan you the book.

  479. BAU
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 23:45:44

    How widespread is this dislike of Dreamspinner Press? Is it a big thing, or just a select few people here and there who have qualms with them? I’ve only been working with them for under a year, but at the time I decided to submit to them, all I could find online were great things about them. (And my experience has been pretty good.)

    I am disappointed that this mess is making people boycott DSP. Call me selfish, but as someone who’s never written fanfiction in my life and who is committed to having cleanly edited works, it doesn’t feel great to be thrown out due to the offenses of others. I have no say and no control over who else decides to plagiarize or recycle fan fiction or post a how-to blog about reworking fan fiction, especially not after my contract has already been signed. And being new, I haven’t had the chance to earn a place on people’s auto-buy lists. I’ll be among the group that’s suffering the most.

    People are free to boycott whoever they want, but the idealistic part of me wishes that more people would be willing to judge individual books and authors on their own merit, rather than blacklisting all of them because their works are passing through the same publishing house. If the good is thrown out along with the bad, it gives no acknowledgment to the people who *are* maintaining a standard of quality.

  480. azteclady
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 23:48:48

    @BAU: blackmailing? do you, perhaps, mean boycotting?

  481. TCBlue
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 00:30:58

    @azteclady — I think you may have misread BAU’s final paragraph. He or she said blacklisting, not blackMAILING. (In this case, I believe the implication is that if an author is published solely with DSP and readers boycott DSP, then that author has, in effect, been blacklisted unless they go to another publisher. That’s my interpretation, in any case.)

    For the record, I agree with BAU. To me (and this is, of course, solely my opinion), it seems shortsighted to completely ignore the entire author roster at DSP.

    Are there issues? Well, apparently so, judging from the opinions expressed here. But are they insurmountable? I don’t think so.

    Full disclosure, I have a story out with DSP. My experience was that there were numerous editing passes, as well as two separate passes for final proofing. I can absolutely not swear that this is usual, though I tend towards submitting fairly clean manuscripts, so I can’t say it was UNusual, either.

    Again, my comment expresses only my own opinion and personal experience. I’m not weighing on on anything but what I’ve said here as I don’t currently have adequate information to have an informed opinion.

    Oh, wait. Paypal is a tool of Satan. There we go. :)

  482. Edward
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 01:35:12

    @BAU: @TCBlue: Both of you, thank you for responding in a calm and professional manner. Supporters of DSP, please learn from these two ladies. Please. This is how you persuade people to your side. Labeling your opponents a mob, bullies, airheads — everything short of name-calling, counter-accusing them of instigating a witch-hunt, *demanding* that they shut up on their *own* review and thread and blog is NOT persuading anyone. If anything, it is persuading more people against you and DSP. Just because you may find opponents of DSP obnoxious, doesn’t mean you have to be.

    Thank you TCBlue and BAU.

    P.S.: Paypal, be a dear and stop acting as the police of morality. No one is fooled with your explanation about the chargebacks.

  483. Teddypig
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 05:43:05

    I just love how these Dreamspinner Press writers all swamp the comment section here to tell us, the readers and reviewers, how wrong we are about the very books we have read.

    I mean here we are talking about a book that besides the apparent movie tie in issue was one of the best examples of a Dreamspinner Press product needing huge content editing.

    But onward they trudge telling us oh no you are mistaken you don’t know what you are talking about poor little misguided reader you must be in a conspiracy to bad mouth our publisher. Give us more examples so we can deny those too.

  484. Karenna Colcroft
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 07:47:23

    People who post “all you meanies, stop picking on our publisher” types of things may be doing Dreamspinner more harm than good.

    I commented earlier in this thread, and I hope I didn’t come across as saying “You’re all a bunch of meanie-heads”, because that wasn’t my intention. Clearly there are some issues with some books from Dreamspinner. I read BOATK and enjoyed it; I can’t comment on similarities to the movie Shelter because I haven’t seen the movie, but since a few commenters have seen/read both, it’s clear that there are similarities. Also, since more than one reviewer has mentioned them, it’s clear that there are editing issues in some Dreamspinner books. (There are editing issues in books from other publishers too.)

    Not all Dreamspinner books are fanfic revamps (mine isn’t, for one), and not all Dreamspinner books have editing issues (most of the ones that I’ve read haven’t, at least from my point of view). I don’t think there’s any conspiracy here; I think that because of this situation, some genuine concerns have been raised. So I’m not flouncing or calling anyone names; I’m just adding to those who have pointed out that not all DSP authors and books have the flaws and issues that are being noted, and I hope that not all authors and books will be painted with the same brush.

  485. Lasha
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 09:59:59

    @BAU: The good books always rise above the fracus.

    As I said in the thread earlier, there have been publishing houses I have taken a break on reviewing their books for various reasons. (Silver Publishing, Amber Allure, MLR Press). But eventually I (and others) come back when we hear of a bright new rising author or a book that just knocks everyone socks off on GR (Shattered Glass or Hot Head comes to mind). I don’t think any boycott is long-standing (except the one I have on Mel Gibson movies *g*) and hopefully that will give new authors a chance at DSP.

    What would help in my estimation is for DSP to make a statement. Burying their heads in the sand and hoping this topic will just go away (which is what it *looks* like they are doing) is not helping and could potentially hurt other DSP authors who aren’t facing allegations.

  486. Teddypig
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 10:51:51

    The facts are I stopped buying Torquere Press books a long time ago because I refused as a reader to be taken advantage of.

    Now mind you TP has some good authors but I aint missing nothing not buying those books on that ePub. Same with Silver Publishing and Total e-Bound other ePubs that will just never make my top ePub shopping list because they sold me garbage.

    I have Samhain and I have Loose ID and I have Liquid Silver and I have Amber Quill and even better now several of the well known old school gay publishers are coming on line with their back catalog in eBooks and you know what I am so not missing a thing by telling these amateurs that cannot seem to get their act together goodbye!

    Or is that goodbuy?

    Anyway no, I disagree about things like this can just go away eventually. It will decimate an ePub. You cannot leave bad reputations like this out there on the internet… It never forgets.

    You poison the well and ruin your integrity then it is gone baby so you better do a quick name change or something because the field is getting more and more open by the day and the competition for my eBook dollar is fierce.

    You might keep a few Goodreads robo-fanboys around but you will lose more in the end.

  487. Robin/Janet
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 11:17:48

    First the news of Snooki’s pregnancy, and now I find I’m 100% in agreement with Teddy Pig. The Apocalypse is certainly nigh…

    Re. boycotting DSP and/or not reviewing its books: First of all, readers boycott and avoid publishers ALL THE TIME. Some people won’t read Harlequin because of the covers and titles, or because they dislike categories or have a judgment about their quality. Others won’t buy books from the Big 6 because of Agency pricing. Etc. Etc. And small presses, esp. digital presses, brand themselves so that readers identify, and are encouraged to trust, the publisher name as overtly (and perhaps even more so), than that of individual authors.

    We all make decisions based on our own self-interest. Authors have certain interests that are not necessarily compatible with those of readers, and vice versa. Personally, I think well-crafted and edited books are a shared interest between authors and readers, as is intellectual honesty in, for example, being up front about the fan fiction origins of commercially published (and therefore profit-seeking) fiction. One of the most frustrating things for me has been reading some of the comments scolding readers for *daring* to hold the publisher responsible for the books it publishes. Do “innocent” authors suffer for that? Possibly. But so do “innocent” readers suffer every time they purchase a book that’s poorly crafted and apparently unedited, or presented as completely original fiction when in fact it’s fan fiction with the serial numbers filed off. And I say that as someone who does not have an issue with fan fiction or transformational works arising out of it. At the point where readers feel they cannot trust the publisher to give them what they feel they deserve for their money, why should they keep supporting that pub?

    Oh, and one more thing about editing: IMO a well-edited book is a partnership between the publisher and the author. If books are coming out of a publishing house that are just a mess, that is NOT only a failure of the pub or editor(s). I know there are authors who have sold miraculously well despite, uh, major issues, but I still think that’s more the exception than the rule, as well it should be.

  488. WF
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 11:55:03


    Thank you again, Sirius, for going to the sources and making your own comparison.

    I’ll agree that some personality changes were made, especially to the child in BOatK, but I’ll stick by my statement that the Shelter characters and the BOatK characters’ circumstances can be described as the same (ages, social/economic clsass (wealthy/poor), some have the same jobs, where they live, etc.).

    Thank you for confirming that the plot was also, as you say, heavily influenced. My personal opinion is that about 80% (give or take a few percentage points) of the BOatK plot, events, and character circumstances came directly from Shelter.

    I appreciate the time and effort you went to for this. :-)

  489. LG
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 12:17:06

    @Lasha: “What would help in my estimation is for DSP to make a statement. Burying their heads in the sand and hoping this topic will just go away (which is what it *looks* like they are doing) is not helping and could potentially hurt other DSP authors who aren’t facing allegations. ”

    I agree. I would feel more comfortable knowing that 1) something is being done and 2) DSP actually does see all of this as a problem. If they don’t see selling potentially plagiarized books and re-worked fanfic as a problem, if they turn out a large percentage of works that need to be edited better (not something I’m personally sure of yet, but I added it because it’s been brought up) and think they’re doing a good enough job, then they have fundamental problems. That doesn’t mean all the works published by DSP have problems, but it does mean that buyers can feel that they would be taking a greater risk buying a DSP work than buying a work put out by another publisher. I certainly feel that way.

  490. Lasha
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 15:47:24

    @Teddypig: Teddy, can you explain to me what is wrong with Total E Bound? I think I know about the others, but haven’t heard anything about TEB.

  491. Teddypig
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 16:37:44

    The same problems I found happening at Silver Publishing and Amira Press.

    Usually top notch covers and generally interesting blurbs and then…

    You end up reading rough drafts and outlines as finished product and other obvious short cuts in editing of content to get books out the door.

    It’s like they threw any QA out the window to make a quick buck while the market was hot. They spent more time and money developing and polishing the packaging than they did on actually developing a book.

  492. Teddypig
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 16:58:08

    My thing with publishers is that they are a brand, they are gatekeepers, and they are taste makers. Every book they publish should be the most important thing they do.

    If they publish Gay Romance they should have a clearly defined definition on their website showing they are experts and highly knowledgable about Romance in general. If they sell books they should have a page that clearly defines the different price ranges and word counts for each generalized type of novella or novel or short story or whatever cutesy terms they want to use to create a sense of quality.

    So yeah more than a couple of people should be around looking over things before I buy something. There should be paid proofers and other employees besides some random editor whose job is to catch issues in all the books being readied for sale.

    They should be experts and if they are not then they should have hired some before putting out their shingle. I have no time or sympathy for amateurs and I do not believe a serious author should either.

    This is a business and I am a customer not a fan or a friend and all I ask for is some professionalism and a decent product. Samhain may not be perfect but it is highly dependable and speaks to quality and you do not get that overnight.

  493. BAU
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 17:14:10

    @Edward: Thank you, too. I always prefer civil discussions over name-calling, even though I acknowledge it’s difficult because this is a very personal and emotional topic for DSP authors. It’s our livelihood, and I stand behind my own work; I appreciate that you for one didn’t choose to ridicule me for defending my best interest.

    @Lasha: @LG: I also agree. I would feel much more at ease if DSP issued a statement or some sort of reassurance regarding all the issues that have been mentioned. I only wish I had the clout to make it happen.

    @Robin/Janet: Of course people boycott publishers all the time, and as I said, of course this is your right. (I also appreciate that you voiced your point of view in a reasonable manner.) But of course I will not offer any kind of support or approval for the boycott of my work when I’ve done nothing to warrant it. I do believe the struggling not-yet-established authors will suffer more than the publishing houses.

  494. Joy
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 19:37:55

    TJ Klune has responded on his goodreads blog, denying any plagiarism. No supporting details given, really.

  495. Ann Somerville
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 19:47:14


    Wow, I think that beats AJ Llewellyn’s ‘apology’ for the lousiest way to address serious issues. So DA are all just haters even though he hasn’t bothered to read the post or the reviews? And the books is biographical, but his personal life is none of anyone’s business?

    And those hating authors will go down in turn…for what, exactly?

    “Dreamspinner is one of the most successful publishing houses in the m/m genre for a reason.”

    Is that even true? And has he ever heard of a bandwagon?

    I’m not impressed. And it’s a bloody immature and stupid way to respond by making out people with suspicions are just jealous of his success. Pathetic.

  496. Lasha
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 19:59:43

    @Joy: Wow. That post is textbook on how NOT to address plagiarism charges. My favorite:

    “To those strangers that have emailed me out of the blue things like “You are a cheating asshole” and “I’ve never read your book and I never will because you are a liar” uh… just remember, I have your email now. So much for anonymity, geniuses. And “hate” emails? Really? What are we, thirteen and I’ve stolen your boyfriend? Well, he says I’m prettier than you and that he never liked you anyway.”

    Threatening to out people who sent him nasty emails? The height of class. (Advise: Delete the hate mail, or as I tell my 5th graders: “ignore so-and-so and keep your hands to yourself!”)

    I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but after his statement…

    BTW, does anyone have the link to the review that compared BOATK to pedophilia? Because I certainly do NOT get that vibe after reading it.

  497. SarahF
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:03:11

    @Joy: @Ann Somerville: Was Klune saying that DA has reviewed BOATK? Because we haven’t. ::confused::

  498. Ann Somerville
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:07:33


    He said: “Well, if you have the Internet and follow m/m fiction, then you probably know that a few individuals have accused me of plagiarism for Bear, Otter, and the Kid, which was then picked up by a specific blog with a tabloid-like headline. Now, to be fair, I have not read the blog post nor any of the comments that followed there or on GR, but I have been told that it has turned into a kind of free-for-all bashing about me, Dreamspinner, editing, and the m/m genre in general. And, I feel it only fair that it be noted that this same blog did not like BOATK from the beginning. In their initial review of BOATK some months back, they indicated that they felt certain parts of BOATK bordered on pedophilia, while also bashing DSP. Bad reviews don’t bug me. Accusations of pedophilia and plagiarism do. So, take from that what you will about their veracity. ”

    I admit his ranting isn’t easy to follow, but that’s what I get from it.

  499. Sirius
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:07:43

    @SarahF: That was exactly my impression of what h was saying – that you guys reviewed the book. And I was thinking, hmm I have read the vast majority of mm reviews here and i do not remember that, but I of course could be misremembering. Good to hear I am not.

  500. Anon
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:09:12

    @Ann Somerville: “Dreamspinner is one of the most successful publishing houses in the m/m genre for a reason.”

    Is that even true?”

    I guess that depends on what they mean by that statement. They’re the only epub I know that is exclusively m/m, so in that I guess they might be the biggest. However they are by far NOT the largest or even close or even in the top ten of publishers who sell m/m. They’re pretty low on the totem pole in that regard.

  501. Sunita
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:10:38

    @Ann Somerville: @SarahF: It’s very odd. I did mention BOATK in a “What Sunita’s reading” post. Here, in its entirety, is my “review”:

    Bear, Otter, and the Kid by T. J. Klune. This debut m/m romance came out earlier this year and generated unbelievable buzz. I didn’t think it was my kind of book but I was curious, so I downloaded a sample and discovered that the excerpt alone was 9000+ 900+ Kindle locations. It is in dire need of editing and has one of those narrators who talks all the time and tells you everything in his head, if you know what I mean. And yet his voice is oddly compelling. The ridiculous names are explained fairly quickly. The Kid is revoltingly precocious. But the story is engaging, and last week it was discounted to $2.99 at Amazon, so I decided to buy it and see how far I could get. The basic storyline: the narrator, his younger brother, his best friend, and his girlfriend/other best friend form a family-like unit after the irresponsible mother takes off. The (male) best friend’s brother reappears after being essentially gone for three years and upsets the equilibrium. Cue romance and drama.

    I assume he knows the difference between “precocious” and pedophilia. Unless he thought “family-like” was dog whistle for pedophilia?

    I’m as confused as you, Sarah.

    [ETA link to original post.]

  502. Ann Somerville
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:11:15


    Given his disdain for, ya know, looking at the actual sources before slamming them, it’s likely his memory is as confused as his logic. Though I’m trying to think of *any* review site with a ‘tabloid-like headline’. Did I miss “Big dicks on Page 3″ or something ?

  503. Ann Somerville
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:13:29


    “They’re the only epub I know that is exclusively m/m”

    Not unless Torquere went out of business and I didn’t hear about it.

    “However they are by far NOT the largest or even close or even in the top ten of publishers who sell m/m. ”

    Hell no. Samhain and Loose ID would beat them hands down.

  504. Anon
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:17:11

    @Ann Somerville: I forgot about Torquere. I barely regard them as a publisher, I’ll be honest, so they never ping my radar in discussions about m/m publishing.

  505. Sunita
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:21:37

    @Ann Somerville: I was trying to figure that out too. I did write a post on this at VacuousMinx with a somewhat inflammatory headline (plagiarizes with an asterisk). But I don’t review over there, and unless you know me you wouldn’t connect VM with DA. But in order to connect that VM post to DA he’d have to know more about it than he’s implying in his post (since I didn’t review or even mention BOATK until last week).

  506. Sirius
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:21:38

    @Sunita: Sorry, it is funny. This is what he is basing his accusations upon? Oh Sunita, sorry but I have to interrupt regular scheduled programming once again :). Have you read yet or are you planning on reading “Irregulars” from Blind Eye Books? This is such a great example of what kind of bookss I want to read in this genre or any genre.

  507. Sunita
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:29:41

    OK, so maybe he googled himself (Hi Meljean!) and then saw my VM post, read my “about” page and figured out I review here. Googled again and found the summary. Still doesn’t explain the pedophilia though.

    Maybe TJK is correct and we are all just suffering a memory loss, and there really WAS a horrible review of his book that included accusations of pedophilia.

    @Sirius: Yes I have and it’s a Recommended Read for March. And I could not agree more with you, it’s exactly what I want to read in the genre and thank goodness for books like Irregulars or I would just give up and go back to mysteries.

  508. Joy
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:32:31


    I think Klune was probably referring to another blog but I’m not sure which one. The blog he described did not sound like DA to me, but I can’t google up what it would be.

  509. Ridley
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 21:25:03

    I wanted to be comment #500. /pout

  510. SonomaLass
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 23:04:03

    I read very little m/m, but add me to the list of folks who think that boycotting DSP is a good call. They are the ones who need to raise their standards, and they aren’t going to do that as long as they pay no price for how low their standards are. Do I feel bad for their authors (or at least the ones whose books are well edited and original)? Sure I do, but I feel the same way about authors whose books I don’t buy because I won’t pay the ridiculous prices set by their publishers. The ONLY way for readers to send strong messages to publishers is by where we spent our money. If they don’t see an impact in sales from their choices, they just aren’t going to care.

  511. Lila
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 08:03:05

    Please, wait! I’m confused. So if an author rips off another book, but openly says so, then it’s ok? E.g “The Virgin Billionaire” by Ryan Field ( ). It’s no secret that Mr. Field ripped of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. Everyone seems to know and accept, and judging by goodreads’ reviews ( ) some even praise Mr. Field particularly for making it a nifty rip-off.
    So if BOATK were initially positioned as a rip-off of “Shelter”, then it would have been acceptable?
    My inner voice says “no”. But then why no “plagiarism” cries for “The Virgin Billionaire” for ripping off “Tiffany”? Double standards? Or do I miss some mysterious artistic point here?

  512. Karenna Colcroft
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 08:49:31

    I can’t remember where right now, and my google-fu isn’t proving up to the task, but I do remember reading a review on a blog (definitely not DA) in which the reviewer mentioned pedophilia because at one point in the story Otter admits to having been attracted to Bear when Bear was 15 or 16. I’ll keep hunting for it…

  513. MM
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 08:57:33

    @Lila: I think the difference is that parody and spoofing is allowed under copyright law, which is what Ryan Fields does. He is open about it and I think he acknowledges the original story he’s spoofing, even in the titles.

    Using someone else’s copyrighted work without permission or attribution, and making it look like your own original story when it is not, is not allowed. There have been court cases over this.

  514. Sunita
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 09:38:43

    @Karenna Colcroft Ah, I found it, I think. jmc_books wrote a review of BOATK that was not favorable and contained the following:

    I noted in a comment over at Vacuous Minx’s that a couple of the issues were: 1) failure to address the Gay4U issue other than to dismiss it out of hand completely while acknowledging that is exactly what Bear is for Otter – what a waste of an opportunity to actually explore the trope; and 2) the history of the relationship between Bear and Otter and the hints of very early attraction told via flashback, which seems a little squicky to me as it falls a little too closely into the gay=pedo smear.

    The comment was to a post I did on Gay4U. But there also she stressed that it was her personal squick factor, not something unambiguous in the book.

    Interestingly, jmc’s review (and comment) also said that she read the book because of the resemblance to the movie, but didn’t make any allegations about the similarities:

    The blurb reminded me a great deal of the plot of the movie Shelter, and it prompted me to see how a novel might treat the same general plot.

    Neither jmc’s blog nor VM get much traffic, so I think someone must have his google alert set to 11. Which makes the claim that he hasn’t read this column or the GR debate harder to swallow.

  515. Maili
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 11:22:46


    Neither jmc’s blog nor VM get much traffic, so I think someone must have his google alert set to 11. Which makes the claim that he hasn’t read this column or the GR debate harder to swallow.

    I think it’s the bold bit in this part from author’s public statement confirms that:

    “I have not read the blog post nor any of the comments that followed there or on GR, but I have been told that it has turned into a kind of free-for-all bashing about me, Dreamspinner, editing, and the m/m genre in general.”

    ‘I have been told’ is a common code for ‘I don’t want to admit I read/watched/heard it in case it’d show how much I care, so I’m going to play loose with the truth by portraying my eyes as an anonymous trusted source/friend/fan’.

  516. Robin/Janet
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 11:28:49

    The most I got out of Klune’s “statement” is that life it too short to hold a grudge unless it’s against anyone who sent him “hate” email. Okaaaay. Oh, and the preferred method of rebutting so-called uninformed accusations is to fire back with even MORE uninformed accusations. With a side spray of insults. I can’t imagine he’s trying to engage new readers with that.

    It’s also interesting to see the ‘how dare you insult my publisher’ comments — reminds me of a few years ago when we were seeing a lot of nuclear meltdowns in small pubs that had overpersonalized some of the business relationships. I thought the situation had evolved past that, but maybe not. Although if it’s unclear who is even who in DSP, I guess it’s difficult to even know who if you’re interacting with one of the owners or an author.

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