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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 self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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. 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…

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 […]

  5. 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

  6. 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?

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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, […]

  15. 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.

  16. AvidReader
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:36:57

    @Kate Sherwood:

    Thanks for clearing that up Kate!

  17. 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.

  18. Dani Alexander
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:42:28

    =( I think my post got eaten, DA.

  19. 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’.

  20. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 19:16:44

    @Stephanie Dray: Applause and agreement. That is all.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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?

  24. 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.

  25. 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…

  26. 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!

  27. 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?

  28. 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. Ridley
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 23:30:02

    @Tom Webb: Your misogyny is adorable.

  39. azteclady
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 02:05:51

    @Tom Webb: I thought you had flounced off earlier already.

  40. 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.

  41. 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 […]

  42. 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. […]

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. Jane
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 13:05:48

    @WF Thanks for the post. I appreciate it.

  46. Cat
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 14:35:16

    Her book An Early Christmas Present is still for sale at Barnes and Noble for $2.50.

  47. 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.

  48. 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 […]

  49. 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.

  50. 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.


  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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?

  55. 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.

  56. Writers & Publishers Blogs: A link List #censorship #paypal #erotica | Banned Writers
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 05:13:55

    […] 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 […]

  57. 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.

  58. 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!

  59. Jane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 14:46:34

    @John Simpson Right because the 100+ similarities between the book and the movie are just completely baseless.

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. Ridley
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 15:56:44

    I’ve never seen so many men flounce as I’ve seen in this thread.

  66. 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

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. 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?

  75. 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?

  76. 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.

  77. 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…?

  78. 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.

  79. 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.

  80. azteclady
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 23:48:48

    @BAU: blackmailing? do you, perhaps, mean boycotting?

  81. 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. :)

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

  84. 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.

  85. 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.

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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. :-)

  89. 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.

  90. 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.

  91. 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.

  92. 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.

  93. 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.

  94. Joy
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 19:37:55

    TJ Klune has responded on his goodreads blog, denying any plagiarism. No supporting details given, really.

  95. 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.

  96. 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.

  97. SarahF
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 20:03:11

    @Joy: @Ann Somerville: Was Klune saying that DA has reviewed BOATK? Because we haven’t. ::confused::

  98. 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.

  99. 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.

  100. 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.

  101. 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.]

  102. 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 ?

  103. 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.

  104. 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.

  105. 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).

  106. 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.

  107. 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.

  108. 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.

  109. Ridley
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 21:25:03

    I wanted to be comment #500. /pout

  110. 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.

  111. 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?

  112. 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…

  113. 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.

  114. 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.

  115. 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’.

  116. 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.

  117. The Censorgasm « J.S. Wayne
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 16:36:17

    […] the proscribed topical matter has no place anywhere.  On Saturday, this led to a conflagration at Dear Author when they published their Saturday roundup. (You’ll have to parse this thread carefully, […]

  118. Sirius
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 20:12:00

  119. Ann Somerville
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 20:29:16


    I’m glady they’ve contacted the Shelter creator. But if the story is biographical, how do they explain the many points of similarities in scene setting? I think the whole ‘deprived of going to art school’ thing isn’t important. It’s the fact that there appear to be whole scenes which replicate Shelter that is causing suspicion.

    But at least they have *finally* made the statement they needed to. It’s a better one than Klune’s, for sure.

  120. John Simpson
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 20:53:00

    Shame that DSP didn’t respond according to the time frame you think is proper Ann. Don’t you have a life??

  121. Sirius
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 20:59:17

    Ann, I have no idea – I would guess as massive coincidence? As I said before toe plot is heavily based on Shelter, while characters were changed enough. So I disagree with Dreamspinner’s interpretation. However their interpretation is also based on the book and movie, so if this is what they honestly believe, there is nothing I can add. I do think though that sending book to creator of the movie was a great idea.

  122. Lasha
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 21:06:45

    Dreamspinner incorrectly stated in their statement that Zach (main character from Shelter) *only* works at a diner. No, he works at a grocery store (the one his mom worked at) AND also works as a cook at the Pacific Diner.

    I am interested in what Jonah M. (writer/director of Shelter) will say about this.

  123. Ann Somerville
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 21:11:12

    @John Simpson:

    Bless your heart, you strange little thing, you.

  124. John Simpson
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 21:13:08

    @Ann Somerville:

    Blessings from the devil, I’ll pass.

  125. Jane
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 21:18:20

    @John Simpson Both of you take this somewhere else. The next non contextually appropriate comment (as determined by me) gets deleted and every other comment thereafter that I deem unrelated to the topics of the post will be deleted as well.

    Act like adults.

  126. John Simpson
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 21:21:27

    *commented deleted by Jane* Any future comments made by Mr. Siimpson that are unrelated to the original topics will result in a commenting ban.

  127. S.A. Garcia
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 00:10:28


    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.

    Yep, I do nothing but submit outlines and rough drafts. I never bother to proof read three times on screen then hit print, proof the print out over a time span, and read the result again.

    I just live to churn out funny little outlines because I have no respect for my work.

    That about sums up what I just read, eh?

    Why do you despise writers?

  128. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 00:10:43

    I doubt very much if some commenting has actually read the book if they think actual scenes were replicated. I just finished re reading the book & re watching the movie Shelter that I’ve seen several times & I know for a fact that some of what the reviewer said were the same were very debatable.

    For instance she states that a first drunk kiss starts the relationship in both the book & the movie.

    In the movie, Shaun is looking at Zach’s art books. They start joking around and wrestle on a couch. They each have been drinking & Zach has a beer in his hand. He says something like he’s wasted. Then Sean kisses Zach twice. Then Zach stares into space & the next scene we see is the morning where Zach wakes up and looks at a sleeping Sean.

    In the book it’s not a present day scene. The character Bear, currently 21, thinks back to the time he is 17 & he is drinking because his mother just left him & Tyson. He calls Otter over to his house. Bear becomes very angry & strikes out at Otter. He goes to hit him & instead kisses him. Both of them are shocked by this but Otter leaves town because he feels he’s influencing an underage teenager. Otter breaks his promise & leaves town for 3 years & Bear lists him as one more person who has abandoned them.

    How is that the same scene? Because the kiss comes after drinking? Let me look in every m/m book ever written & see if that EVER happens. You think!

    So for those who are asking how scenes are so identical–they’re not. If someone lists 30 items that are the same & no one bothers to investigate because OOH 30 items is so impressive–that’s how you get a story like this.

    Personally I would never write a blog based an anonymous person who wrote a review, and it’s the first review she’s ever written & she’s never interacted with anyone before in the m/m group when this happens. Is she a writer, a publisher, someone with an axe to grind? Did anyone even bother to find out. No. Instead, most people said either they wouldn’t bother reading the book or see the movie, it was enough that someone found 30 identical items. Very sad.

    IN the meantime, I would be incredibly schocked if this writer found that this book resembles his surfer dude movie that had numerous, numerous surfing scene & art scenes & San Pedro scenery that does not appear anywhere in a book that takes place in Oregon. I mean I enjoyed Shelter a lot but have you heard the dialog? When Zach & Sean first reunite, Sean is like how you doing man? Then they’re like you wanna go surfin? Then Shaun says, I’m sure there’s a few things I can teach you. Then Shaun is like bring it on city boy. Then they go surfing, surfing, surfing.

    Now read the scenes where Bear & Otter emotionally reunite with tears & anger, & tell me how that even compares.

  129. Ann Somerville
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 00:29:43


    “it’s the first review she’s ever written & she’s never interacted with anyone before in the m/m group when this happens.”

    Oh, well then. Hang her high.

    Actually, W.F. has 197 books in her GR bookshelf:

    She also is a member of other groups, and has GR friends:

    Just because she’s not a member of *your* preferred group, doesn’t mean anything. I’m not a member of the m/m group on Goodreads for a number of reasons – mostly because I find it very dull with constant shilling of books and authors I have no interest in. Yet I’m a real author and a real reviewer.

    Shame on you for such nasty aspersions. She is also not the only one who raised suspicions – Bubbles Dane did so, and Lori K mentioned the stolen song lyrics.

    “Most said either they wouldn’t bother reading the book or see the movie, it was enough that someone found 30 identical items. Very sad.”

    I doubt they’re missing much, considering what I’ve read of people’s reactions to Klune’s underdeveloped writing craft. But so what? They miss out on what might be the book of their life? This is not a tragedy.

    Comment 302 was incredibly prescient.

    What’s really sad is that the defenders of Klune have invariably gone straight to ad hominem attacks, as if their hero’s work can’t stand on its own merits. Then again, Klune did the same, so perhaps it’s not surprising.

  130. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 01:02:27

    I’m not a writer, publisher, friend/fan of the author or in the biz in anyway Ms. Somerville so no need to attack me. I’m a reader & I believe I’ve read one of your books, Somatesthesia.

    I’m aware Bubbles read W.F. review & liked it & told others about it based on her review. I Don’t know if he saw the movie though & I’m pretty sure he disliked the book very much & that he read it months ago because that’s when he posted his original review, some time in August. I believe Bubbles to be an honest person but people who don’t like books don’t go back and re read them to check the accuracy of someone review & comparisons. I did. I read the book a second time. I just watched the movie Shelter. That’s why I commented.

    I cast no aspersions on this reviewer , but you need to check things out before posting. And not the you that’s commenting but the one that writes blogs.

    But speaking about casting aspersions, you seem to have little trouble denigrating TJ Klune’s writing . I’m not personally invested in TJ Klune’s writing in that sense. I’m not a crazed superfan & if people don’t like his style they won’t read his books. You think his writing is bad so it’s OK to call him a plagiarist? I don’t get that logic.

    And no this is not a tragedy but let’s not be naive; calling out someone on plagiarism is not a harmless prank with no consequences. And when you do it from a place of taking someone’s word instead of investigating it yourself, then yes, I do find it sad.

  131. Ann Somerville
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 01:24:03

    “I’m not a writer, publisher, friend/fan of the author or in the biz in anyway Ms. Somerville so no need to attack me.”

    I’m not attacking *you*. I’m arguing against your offensive assumptions regarding W.F., and other matters.

    ” I’m a reader & I believe I’ve read one of your books, Somatesthesia.”

    Well, thank you, but it doesn’t make your comments more palatable.

    “calling out someone on plagiarism is not a harmless prank with no consequences.”

    No, it’s not. Which is why people have taken the trouble to read the reviews, in some cases to read the novel and watch the movie again, and if they haven’t done either, make it very clear, as I have, that suspicions do not equal proof, but there are more than enough grounds for suspicions to arise and to be addressed.

    “And when you do it from a place of taking someone’s word instead of investigating it yourself, then yes, I do find it sad. ”

    That’s not what you said before. If someone said Klune was a plagiarist based solely on other people’s reviews, then that’s dreadful. I haven’t seen a single case of it.

    The matter is not yet resolved. Klune’s statement did not, unfortunately, clear the air because it was a confused and contradictory mess. Ms North’s actions *are* likely to help settle things, and it’s good that she’s taken these various steps. However, her opinion that Shelter and Klune’s work are not connected isn’t coming from a disinterested party, so it’s of little value – as little value as you would have it, as W.F. and Bubbles Dane and Lori K’s reviews (and the other people who have seen similarities.)

    You have no reason to insinuate that W.F. is acting out of a grudge, and doing so diminishes the weight of your other arguments. So please, stop doing it.

    ETA: By the way, criticising someone’s writing is *not* remotely the same as disparaging their good name or character. People I trust have said Klune’s book is not well written. That’s all I’ve said.

  132. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 01:34:08

    I apologize if I insinuated that W.F. acted on a grudge. I have no knowledge of this person.

    I will say that this column however, was about many, many different subjects like rape in books & about a particular plagiarist & only later was the subject of Tj KLune added & it was added based on one review at GoodReads by W.F. In fact the post on Saturday when I saw it, included a paragraph from her review & a link as well. After that paragraph they went on to talk more about plagiarism & about the book & how this particular review had so many points on it that it made it very suspicious. So yes, I do contend all this fuss(that went beyond GoodReads & onto blogs like this one) was based on one reviewer saying it. The others, if there were any, came afterwards.

    ETA: The original point I was making was simply that what was mentioned as similar was not necessarily the case & I did not see duplicate scenes from book to movie as others have mentioned. I don’t have much to add beyond that.

  133. Edward
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 01:58:01

    @Sara: Here is Bubble’s review. He originally rated the book three-stars. Three-stars on Goodreads mean “I liked it,” thus it is reasonable to assume he did like the book. Reading his review, it is even more certain that he did. Bubbles also watched the movie, he said so here. He dislike the book after he found out the book allegedly plagiarizes the movie from reading WF’s review. I think you need to check things out before posting too.

    Plagiarism is a serious charge and people *are* being serious here, some so angry their comments radiate rage. You may disagree but people here do take WF’s words credible. Her review was compelling enough for some people. Agree or disagree, this is not something people can just dust it up as “haters just hating” because it shows disrespect for the supposed victim. In this case, the supposed victim is Mr. Markowitz, creator of “Shelter”. There may be knee-jerk reactions but people here, as you can plainly see, have zero tolerance for plagiarism. Zero. Are people’s reaction here that surprising to the other side?

    This is an unusual case. Usually, most people would be flocking to comfort the supposed victim of plagiarism. Instead, most people (or at least I think so) are flocking to comfort the alleged plagiarist. Not that it is bad thing, imo, since it is still allegedly, but it is unusual.

  134. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Liminal linkity
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 02:05:07

    […] More plagiarism, including accusations of plagiarism in the m/m romance community. A very good post about that. The author responds. Dreamspinner press responds (it’s in the area under “Welcome to Dreamspinner Press”) and is offering Bear, Otter, and the Kid as a free download so people can evaluate the book themselves. […]

  135. Manuela
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 05:23:01

    @ Ann Somerville

    I’d like to tell Ann Somerville, who I appreciate as an author, having read a few of her books, that if she hasn’t seen anyone condamning TJ Klune and his book of plagiarism without having read the book and watched the movie, that all she has to do to see it, is read back the replies to this entry. There were several people admitting to this. And several admitted to it also on the comments on the original review that started all of this. A lot of people jumped on the bandwagon without having first hand knowledge of book and movie. I’d go further and assume Ann Somerville herself is doing this, because from what she said, I believe she has never read the book. How is that fair? How can you condamn TJ Klune without having even read his book? A serious behaviour would be, for everyone who wants to give their opinion on plagiarism or not plagiarism, to read and judge for themselves.
    The original reviews that accused TJ Klune of plagiarism has mistakes and imprecisions, but it’s being taken as verbatim by several people who are ready to condamn but not to spend a few hours judinging themselves. Not all of them, but many.
    I also would like to ask Ann Somerville where her hate for some of her fellow authors come from: this is not the first time she is very harsh against another author with such a venom that I think it’s not necessary. You even told Kaje Harper to “shut up” on GR. Very classy, except not. It really makes me sad and unfortunately doesn’t make me feel like wanting to read anything more from you. But you’re not the only one. A lot of authors here have jumped on the same bandwagon and for a reader of your books, like me, is very disheartening, especially when, as in TJ Klune’s case, the allegations are wrong. And I say this as the personal opinion of someone who has read the book AND watched the movie.
    When this all mess started, I had already read the book and reviewed it positively, as I did his second book, because in my personal taste, he is a talented writer who writes great stories. I had and still have no personal interest in defending him beyond defending what in my opinion is the truth, which is that he didn’t plagiarize anything.
    Mr. Markowitz, the writer of the screenplay of Shelter, will give his final opinion, which I’m sure will be similar to mine, but I’m sure even that won’t be enough to satisfy those many people (not all of them, some) who have condamned TJ Klune just because it’s fun for them to jump on some author every few days, something that I have seen happen more and more in the latest months.

    P.S. About the fact you say you haven’t seen anyone condamning the book and TJ Klune without having read it… I suggested you to go back and read the replies to this entry and the comments on the original review that started all this. Well, I went back myself and read your comments on this entry: you did that. You said things like “stinks of dishonesty” and “smells of deceit”. So you’re basically accusing TJ Klune and you haven’t read his book. So you’re the first one to accuse without even knowing first hand.

  136. Teddypig
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 05:44:43

    “Why do you despise writers?”

    Why do you despise a readers honest opinion?

    I have never asked you for a dime but I bet from your reaction you or your publisher have asked for mine.

    I pay for my own books I pay for my own website I pay my own way and I have spent way too much money on crappy books from amateur back yard publishers and writers who plainly do not deserve that title. I don’t really care how hard you polished a turd if you don’t enjoy it anymore stop.

    I have a right to state my opinion on what I have found and where I found it.

  137. All Your Books Are Belong To Pirate Translators | Mike Cane’s xBlog
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 05:55:27

    […] already here just in the English language alone: So an RWA member, the treasurer of the Kiss of Death RWA chapter no less, is found to be […]

  138. Ann Somerville
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 05:59:51


    I’m simply not going to engage further with you or any one else who wants to make this personal. I’m comfortable with everything I’ve said here and anywhere else regarding this matter. I’m also comfortable with what I’ve said to Kaje Harper here and to anyone else regarding this.

    I thank you for reading my books, and I regret that you might find my position disappointing. However, I never engage in public discussion without knowing that I risk losing readers over my stance, and prefer to speak plainly. If that’s unpalatable to you, well, so be it.

    As you say, the screenwriter has yet to give his opinion, and that will settle things as far as Dreamspinner are concerned. Individuals will have to make their own minds up about whether they’re satisfied with whatever he says.

  139. Manuela
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 06:14:42

    @Ann Somerville:

    I appreciate and respect that you speak plainly, that’s not the problem. The disappointing thing to me, and I think to some other readers like me, is the venom you and several other authors use when you go against each other. That is something I do not understand and I do not like, personally. I think people can express their opinion without telling others to shut up and without having such hate come out of your words.
    You say you don’t want to talk anymore with those who want to make this personal, but you’re the first one who makes things personal when you go after another author, and those who defend him, with such venom.
    But if you’re comfortable with telling people to shut up, then I guess there is no use in discussing with you anymore.
    I just wonder if those people who went against TJ Klune and his supporters with such hate, will ever give him and them an apology is/when the allegations are put to rest. My opinion? I doubt it. This is the most disappointing thing of all: people go against other people without proof and create big scandals and when they’re proven wrong, everything is forgotten with no apology issued. People demand apologies and excuses from others who are accused without proof and then they never apologize when they’re proven wrong themselves. It’s a horrible double standard.

  140. Sirius
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 06:31:29

    @Manuela: What for do you believe I would owe T.J.Klune apology ? For the record, I do not believe that people should have necessarily pay money to find out whether the allegations are true. Now when book is free to download – sure thing, I would say that checking for themselves is a very good idea, but i would have been very angry if I was forced to give a dime of my money just to check for myself. I think that review which listed so many similarities was very compelling. I already had the book so I went to the source and made my own comparison and formed my own opinion. Such opinion will stand no matter what Mr.Markowitz will say. I simply cannot comprehend how two plots could be so similar without one heavily influencing another. And I said that characters were different enough before.

  141. Sirius
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 06:47:29

    @S.A. Garcia: I was going to stay quiet and say nothing, but you twisting Teddypig’s words (he was responding to Lasha’s question about Total e-bound first of all) and for some reasons applying his words to you (there are no other writers whose books may sound as rough outline apparently?!) changed my mind. I liked your books. I liked them to such extent that after reading your first book, I requested two others and reviewed them at Jessewave. I think you are a very talented writer and I am not planning to cross you off my buying list. But for anyone who wants to see the example of problems with editing at Dreamspinner , I invite them to look at your first novella “Canes and Scales”. It was good enough for me to give your writing a chance, but if it had content editing, well it is this reader’s opinion that it was a very poor job of such. I dont know if Dreamspinner editors give more as the writer gets more famous, I have no clue, so I cant say more than speculate, because i found your other two works to be better edited, but that one was not IMO. Oh and Total ebound I usually avoid myself. I was soo upset that Marie Sexton published with them, but of course I bought her book, but this is the only book I bought from them.

  142. Manuela
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 06:51:31


    If one who hadn’t read the book, didn’t want to buy it to have a first hand knowledge of it and the possible plagiarism, then I think those persons shouldn’t have made accusations either. Nobody forced people to go and buy it, but some people didn’t know what they were talking about, still don’t, but decide to accuse anyway. That is wrong.
    You read the book so it’s a different matter, you have a right to express your opinion because you have the means to, if you have also watched the movie.
    My big issue is with those who base their accusations on other people’s reviews and there are many, sadly.
    About the apology, if even the writer of the movie’s screeplay says there’s no plagiarism, I believe TJ Klune will deserve an apology. Nobody knows Shelter better than his author. But of course you’ll be free to mantain your opinion, if you decide you know the book and the movie better than their own authors.
    About the plots, I read several books, both m/m and f/m, with similar plots. Guys falling in love with their best friend’s brother is a cliche in romance and so is a young gay taking care of his younger sibling. Even the best female friend is a cliche, used over and over again in m/m books. Are they all plagiarisms? I think people are exaggerating.
    But anyway, my main point is that people who don’t know the book/movie have no right to accuse, because they don’t have first hand knowledge. And my second point is that even when you have knowledge and you want to critize, there are ways to do it without using the hate I’ve seen. I don’t want to generalize though, I’m talking about those who acted like this, which isn’t everyone.
    You said you had the book and you made your own comparison. I’d like to ask you if you had the same opinion, if you had noticed the same similarities and you considered it a plagiarism also before reading the review that started this all. My opinion? I doubt it. I think a lot of people are letting their own view be affected by what WF review said, to the point that even the mistakes in that review, which have been pointed out by those who have tried to defend TJ Klune, have been completely dismissed.

  143. Sirius
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 07:14:45

    Manuela we are going to have to agree to disagree as to whether people have a right to criticize, but yes I watched a movie many times and rewatched it when I read the book. You can shrug off one or two similarities as generic plot similarities but not that many in my opinion. Mistakes in the review? I remember one “mistake” which Sara claimed and turned out not to be a mistake at all.

  144. Teddypig
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 07:17:12

    “and for some reasons applying his words to you”

    I am getting way too used to that reaction though. You have to get personal if you have no way to back up your argument.

    It is sad. The readers have become the enemy. Or as another Dreamspinner writer called all of us Nazis.

    Our demands as customers to be assured that the books we buy from the publisher will have some quality and be edited properly with authors creating original non-xeroxed stories are being drowned out by greed and the idea if the idiots will buy fan fiction then we will sell fan fiction or if they will buy porn then we will sell porn or if they do not say anything about the lack of editing then we won’t hire any editors.

    Then you do make editing an issue they attack you on a personal level because they know they suck.

    I just had a comment on my website from some writer over the whole All Romance eBook/Paypal event.

    You know her justification for selling tacky incest porn on a non-age verification website was? “writers weren’t writing those titles to get their own jollies — those were by and far many authors’ bestsellers.”

    She does not know if any of those “people” buying her incest porn were kids but “It’s OK because I made money doing it”.

    All because she made a buck… drug dealers use that same reasoning. Greed washes away all sin.

    I think this same idea of “It’s OK because I made money doing it” is happening with the whole T.J. Klune deal.

    Some reader pointed out what like 30 maybe 40 separate points of similarity and gave PAGE NUMBERS for each one?

    Yet here we are debating with fans and fellow writers and a publisher with a history of issues because they do not want to “FEEL” this is plagiarism. None of them are giving any PAGE NUMBERS. None of them are providing such in depth analysis.

    Why? Because “It’s OK because I made money doing it”.

  145. Lois
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 08:42:40

    @Lasha: Just a point of clarification: In Shelter, Zach works at a diner but toward the end of the movie, his sister (there is no mom; she died years earlier) mentions that the grocery store where she works needs people, because he needs to make more money (after his sister tells him it is a waste to reapply to art school and that she needs him). In the book, however, Bear has worked at a grocery store since his teens and has moved up the ranks to supervisor. This is how he supports his younger brother.

  146. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 08:51:41

    The person pointing out 30 similarities is the issue. When you check them out, they are not similar. I wrote one scene. I have issues with all the scenes she says are similar. I just re read the book so I’m fresh. The person who responded to me, let me say that NO reviewer like Bubbles or the others said in their review months ago that this was plagiarism. It’s only after W.F. wrote her epistle in February that everyone suddenly gravitated to this. And this was 6 months after reading a book, & no matter how you cut it, they hated because they discussed this online with others. They didn’t like the many flash backs, and how according to them, he said the same thing over & over & how long it was too long. This discussion was in August. No charges of plagiarism was made about Shelter then. Now excuse me for believing that a person says this, will not bother to check the claim of someone 6 months later who says oh it’s also plagiarism or re read that book at all or very carefully.

    So no, most people didn’t bother reading the book again to verify anything. They took someone’s word. Look how impressed people are with her 30 comparisons. Look again to see if they’re identical—-they’re not like she says.

  147. WF
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 09:09:31

    The only thing in the list that DSP specifically denied about my review was Zack working in a grocery store like Bear, but there is scene in the movie where Zack and Cody are waiting on the bench for Zack’s sister to get off work. When she comes out, she warns Zack that the manager is in a bad mood. He picks up his work apron and goes in the store.

    He has TWO jobs. One at a diner and one at the grocery story. They didn’t review the movie that closely if they missed that.

    Yes, there were some character personality changes, but the similarities of their circumstances in both BOatK and Shelter are nearly a match.

    I’ll stand by my review and if DSP didn’t think the similarities were troubling, they would not be asking Mr. Markowitz’s permision to continue publishing the book.

    I’ll stand by the specific point s in my review.

  148. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 09:46:10

    Let’s get real. Bench was mentioned one time in the book and it was a conversation between Bear & Anna who is smoking. Then Creed stops by & he talks about the birthday party planned for Tyson & how his brother might be leaving town. Then he asks Bear to check in on Otter.

    There’s a bench scene in Shelter. Zach & his nephew Cody are sitting together. Cody is drawing on a paper. Zach says let me help you draw & makes a circle on the paper. Then at some point Cody says Zach is his daddy. Then Zach says no, I’m your uncle The scenes ends with 5 year old Cody repeating you’re my daddy, you’re my daddy.

    Now to me that’s not an identical scene. Yes there’s a bench in both scenes but that’s about it. There’s not one other mention of a bench in the book, but somehow to the reviewer this bench is significant instead of what happens on it.

    That’s what I mean about questionable similarities & things made bigger than it seems, like in both the movie & the book there’s a bench in front of a supermarket. That is one of the specific points mentioned by the reviewer.

  149. Robin/Janet
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 09:49:54

    Wait, DSP is giving away BOaTK for FREE now?!

    From a marketing standpoint, that’s devilishly brilliant. From an ethical (and copyright?) — we’re trying to do the right thing and respect everyone’s rights here — standpoint, not so much, IMO.

  150. Sirius
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 09:56:22

    Robin yes they are offering free download of the book till a certain date ( it is on their site but I can’t check the date now). They are saying they are offering it in order for the readers to form their own opinion, since it is only for few days and presumably if mr. Markowitz says he consider it plagiarism they would pull the book, I did not feel it was bad?

  151. WF
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 10:01:48


    The bench is significant because it is another example of how the locations — from from a grocery store bench where Bear/Zack work to his wealthy best friend’s big house on the beach — found in Shelter were duplicated in BOatK.

    My review did not comment on the scenes at that bench, it commented on the fact that descriptions of the character’s circumstances (age, jobs, social/economic status, where they worked/lived, etc.) and the descriptions of locations were nearly the same in BOatK as in Shelter, including a bench at a store where both Bear in the book and Zack in the movie worked.

    The bench detail is just one of many.

  152. LG
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 10:17:55

    @Sirius: Agreed, I think giving the book away for free for a short period of time was a smart move. That way, they can ask others to form their own opinion, and all it would cost anyone willing to do it is time and whatever Shelter costs.

    I’m still wondering what, if anything, they’ll have to say about the reworked fanfic issue, though.

  153. Robin/Janet
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 10:19:14

    @Sirius: Call me cynical, but my first thought was to wonder if it was a calculated way of putting the book into wider circulation and generating more buzz for Klune and DSP.

    But let’s say their intentions are pure: the problem, IMO, with giving the book away right now is that it’s still being used — even indirectly — to sell Klune’s books and commercially benefit DSP. If you’re making a good faith effort to investigate possible infringement and/or plagiarism, putting the book in question into potentially wider circulation seems extremely problematic to me. Even if they did not intend it that way, I think it undermines the ethical high ground they were trying to claim in their statement.

    If they want to give readers a chance to make their own mind up, then wait until Markowitz weighs in, and if he gives it a clear path, THEN give the book away for free for a limited time to let readers decide. To me, at least, this way doesn’t seem outrageously respectful to the author of the film, especially if it turns out that he believes the book to be infringing and/or plagiarism.

  154. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 10:20:55

    The bench that’s mentioned once is totally insignificant to ME because both scenes are so different. The characteristics like the ages & one richer than the other are in every random m/m book you can find.

    They didn’t live in the same place. The movie location was in San Pedro & it was all sunny beaches & surfing. The book took place in Oregon where rain was mentioned as a description over 32 times. You mentioned beaches. The entire movie of Shelter is at a beach. There are only two scenes in the book that happened on the beach & both were at night. In one of the scenes it rained, & the other it was at midnight. All the other scenes in the book took place inland. So I do not see the location as being identical. There are only two states mentioned in BOATK, Oregon & that Otter’s brother went to Arizona for college–the writer has listed he’s from Oregon & lives in Arizona.

    You see, how different people see things differently & read a book differently. I think you had a perfect right to your point of view & review. What was ridiculous was that someone took a review as proof of plagiarism. It’s not.

  155. Karenna Colcroft
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 10:22:18

    @Sunita: Yes, I’m pretty sure that was it. Thanks! I wasn’t able to track it down yesterday.

    Dreamspinner is offering BOATK free until March 7; the stated reason is so that people who haven’t read the book yet but are curious about the reported similarities between it and Shelter can have the opportunity to read it without having to pay for it.

  156. WF
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 10:28:32


    I obviously disagree with you. I think the number of similarities between the BOatK and Shelter combined make it clear that BOatK borrowed heavily — too heavily — from Shelter.

    I don’t think discussing further will change our opinions.

  157. Meoskop
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 12:39:27

    Once the sheep are released, it can be hard to know where to find them. Sheared and rebranded, they change from black and white into grey.

  158. Friday Linkdump means never having to say you’re sorry. « Christian A. Young's Dimlight Archive
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 12:44:48

    […] Over at Dear Author, a post that starts with updates on a significant plagiarism situation going on with an RWA chapter, but what I really want to point out is the second half about […]

  159. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 13:16:56

    Who’s a sheep. A person who never read a book or seen the movie but decides it’s plagiarism because of a review, or the one who actually read the book twice & saw the movie 3 times & wrote specific details about how scenes are different & not identical as the reviewer stated.

    Look at what the reviewer said that were identical. She states a first drunk kiss starts the relationship. I did a detailed write up that showed two different scenes. And that a drunk kiss did not start a relationship in the book, and that the main character left for 3 years. (See my earlier detailed difference on this blog) I think leaving for 3 years does not constitute starting a relationship in my estimation. But YMMV.

    She said the location were identical & I showed that Oregon is not the same as San Pedro no matter how hard you want it to be so. And a book that had so many rainy scenes can not be the same location as a movie that was about sunshine & beautifully shot scenes of the ocean & surfers.

    She mentioned the movie & the book are the same because they’re both about white guys in their 20’s with one that had more money than the other. Excuse me if I don’t bow down to that as Proof of anything except almost all m/m romance books EVER written.

    I look at one of her at random similarities about how about how one of the characters looks at the main character’s picture in the book & how in the movie Shaun looks at a home movie of Zach.

    Well I very much hope it’s not identical considering the home movie of Zach is from when he was a child & he was skateboarding around town. I’m hoping the adult Shaun is not looking at that video in a romantic way. In the scene Zach calls him while Shaun’s watching the video & hears the music in the background. Zach asks what are you doing. Shaun demurs & goes on to another conversation. They happily chat with each other.

    In the meantime in the book, Otter took a photo of Bear. He looks at it when he moves to California & is living with his California boyfriend Jonah ( a character non existent in the movie) When Jonah finds him looking at it, they end up in a huge fight.

    Now the reviewer thinks this is IDENTICAL scenes that proves plagiarism. Do you, because I don’t see these as anything alike. But guess what, this was one of the 30 points of similarities the reviewer pointed to that everybody has gone GAGA over.

    I will also add that Dreamspinner is absolutely correct in that the book spans 3 years while the movie is a few weeks. That Zach eventually gets his scholarship to art school that he wanted & that it’s only at the end of the movie that the sister decides to leave town & leave Cody with him. In the book, Bear does not have any specific aspirations & never hesitates in his role as parent to Ty. It ends with Bear reuniting with Otter with the custody issue unresolved–I’ll assume that will be in the sequel.

    So if you want to know who’s a sheep, perhaps looking in the mirror will help, because I’m not dumb enough to say, Ok if you say so it must be true. I look into things first.

    And as to the reviewer that concedes we have differing opinions. That is the exact point. There is no black & white identical scenes that proves anything about plagiarism or else we’d all be in agreement.

  160. WF
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 13:30:56


    You are deliberately misquoting my review. Please stop.

    I explain what I mean by locations as place of work, house on the beach, coastal town, etc. I did not at any time state that they happened in the same cities. You are not paying attention to what I said.

    Again, I will not argue with you. My review of the similarities — and in that review I do mention the differences too — and the statements I have made on this very thread clearly state my points. Please do not misrepresent them again.

  161. Teddypig
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 13:36:59

    Can we call them Trollspinners?

    It has a nice ring to it.

  162. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 13:44:29

    I’m not deliberately misquoting anything. This is copy & paste from your review. Movie: The MC’s and OB’s deeper relationship starts with one drunken kiss. MC freaks out when he wakes up the next day.

    Book: The MC’s and OB’s deeper relationship starts with one drunken kiss. MC freaks out. (page 64)

    This is not true as it’s a flashback scene in the book to when the character is 17 & upset over his mother leaving. He kisses Otter at the spur of the moment & Otter leaves town for 3 years. I don’t see how that can possibly constitute starting a relationship & has no relations to the happy scene in the movie where Zach & Shaun are looking at an art book, laughing & kissing.

    Sorry, but we have a difference of opinion, which is what reviews are all about. To escalate it to calling it plagiarism is really stupid, if you’re just rolling along repeating what others say without actually reading the book & the movie afterwards.

  163. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 13:50:04

    Seriously this is a quote from what were your great similarities to the movie & book: Movie: The end scenes show MC, child, and OB playing on the beach. All are happy.

    Book: The cover shows MC, child, and OB on the beach. All are happy.”

    That is one of the examples used for plagiarism??? really a book cover. The book cover shows the kid between two men, I have no idea the location. But still a book cover???

  164. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 13:51:59

    I’m sorry if this is making everyone uncomfortable & resorting to name calling but this is what you should have been doing in the first place, instead of just nodding along like this. Check out each supposed similarity if you’re going to call someone a plagiarist. I have no idea why that’s so hard for anyone to do.

    Back to exact quotes from your review: “Movie: The OB has an old home video of MC and BF. He watches it.

    Book: The OB has a photo of younger MC that he looks at a lot. (pages 127-128 and others)”

    That’s what I responded to. One of the many supposed identical things that don’t add up. See my response above.

  165. WF
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 13:53:43


    Now you resort to name calling.

    For the record, in the book, Bear worried about his feelings for Otter and what that kiss meant about what he felt for Otter and what he wanted from Otter, not only the next morning, but all three years. He knew he wanted Otter and was afraid people could see it, even though he was trying to deny it to himself. The book dialogue after Otter comes back even says Bear was angry that Otter left him, not just left, but that Otter left him. Isn’t that a relationship? Did you read the same book?

  166. WF
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 14:00:07


    Why don’t you pick a quote from the review that you can’t explain away or misrepresent?

    Yes, a book cover which reflects scenes from the movie is a similarity to the movie.

    I’m not responding anymore to you. My review stands for itself and other people have reviewed both the movie and book and come to similar conclusions.

    I’ll say this again: If DSP was not troubled by the similarities, then why are they seeking permission to continue publishing it from the Shelter copyright holder?

  167. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 14:01:09

    WF I’m not calling you names so I’m sorry if that’s the way you interpret things. And what you saw as an identical scene was your interpretation that even though Bear & Otter broke up, even though Otter lives with another man Jonah for close to 3 years, somehow you think that kiss that sent him running to California is the start of their relationship. You’re entitled to that interpretation.

    But saying that it’s plagiarism because it’s the same as the scene in which Zach & Shaun are drinking, wrestling on a couch together & Shaun leans over & kisses Zach twice & Zach spends the night with him. How is that the same scene?

    I’m sorry, my interpretation is that’s not identical scenes & that’s not an example of plagiarism.

    And by the way, I read the book & Bear & Otter starts a relationship after Bear breaks up with Anne. That’s when I believe their romantic relationship started.

  168. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 14:07:42

    I believe DSP is sending the book to the writer/Director of Shelter exactly because they’re confident they’re different items. Otherwise they’d just remove the book from their bookshelf as no book would be worth sullying their reputation.

    I detailed all these scenes for people to realize that a lot of these things that appear to be similar from book to movie are subject to interpretation.

  169. meoskop
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 14:29:08

    @Sara – Are you lost? Do people not know where to find you? Were you recently sheared?

    “WF I’m not calling you names so I’m sorry if that’s the way you interpret things.”

    That’s irony, right? I have such a hard time identifying it.

  170. Sirius
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 14:51:44

    @Robin/Janet: Oh sure, I suspect this was part of their motivation, but I would have been more annoyed if they would have asked people to form their own opinion and pay for the book, thus giving them more money. Does that make sense? IMO it is choosing the lesser evil, but of course those are just my speculations.

  171. Sirius
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 14:57:58

    @LG: If I were to speculate, I would say they would say nothing on the issue of reworked fanfiction. But I would love to be proven wrong with my speculation.

  172. Mary Pugh
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 15:56:45

    @Anon: Sorry for not responding sooner. I want to say that I do believe the author learned a lesson after the whole Hidden Passion debacle, I think she’s been writing some original work and repurposing her fanfiction and I don’t think she’s plagiarized anyone either before the book was published or since. I brought it up because I think it demonstrates the kind of business Dreamspinner is, not because I think she should be vilified. DSP mixes business and personal relationships more than any company I’ve ever known (the writer in question is best friends with one of the women who either helped start the business or has been working with them from the beginning) and was initially sustained because of fandom friendships rather than professional or quality publications. The decision to try and keep the plagiarism charges around A Hidden Passion as quiet as possible, the decision to continue publishing the author after several months had passed, all of those point to a company that’s being run more like a hobby among friends than a real business.

  173. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 16:02:31

    I’m not sure what you mean Meoskop? You calling me a sheep, stupid what?? I post several scenes showing that what WF called exact duplicate scenes aren’t the case. I’m sorry that this clashes with your world view but you’re welcome to argue the case & convince me I’m wrong. WF is welcome to do that as well. But I’m not going to be intimidated by you . I’m not lost. I read the book in question. I saw the movie in question. I pointed out how dissimilar the scenes were & I made my point by actual examples.

  174. meoskop
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 16:06:19

    @Sara: Don’t let me interrupt a roll. If you want to be labeled a sheep, be labeled a sheep. It’s fascinating, in it’s way.

  175. Robin/Janet
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 16:14:08

    @Sirius: I understand what you’re saying; I just think they had more than two “evils” as options, but they chose one that still keeps the book in commercial circulation. Do I think giving it away for free is better than charging? Probably. But I think suspending availability of the book pending investigation would have been more appropriate, especially since AFAIK, contracts generally require the submission of wholly original work on the author’s part.

  176. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 16:15:02

    @Meoskop I’m really puzzled why I’m being honored with this type of response. Is it because my examples are so concrete that you cannot dispute them so you resort to name calling? I’m not intimidated by someone calling me names although it’s extremely childish. I doubt very much you’ve read the book or seen the movie or you’d have something more of interest to say. I stand by the comments I wrote.

  177. K. Z. Snow
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 16:20:29

    “This shit would be really interesting if we weren’t in the middle of it.”
    –Barack Obama, September 2008
    (from the nonfiction work, Game Change)

    Probably a good summation of how all DSP authors feel. Ah, life . . .

  178. meoskop
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 16:49:00

    @Sara: You’re being honored with this response because you’re talking to yourself and creating insults out of whole cloth. It’s like a car driving by and the dog going insane. My initial comment was never directed at you, my subsequent comments have been ones of bemusement. R.I.F.

  179. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 16:57:10

    @ Meoskop I misinterpreted the comment as directed at me because it was under a response written by WF to me. The second one did use my name so naturally I responded. I’ll ignore from now on.

  180. Sue T
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 19:10:59


    Those examples you gave? Seem pretty darn similar. Maybe, if you haven’t, you might want to look up the meaning of similar. For me, posting those examples only solidifies what WF wrote in the review. They aren’t winning your argument. WF, you are right not to respond. You’ll never convince her.

  181. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 20:54:55

    Really they seem similar to you. You mean the one where the book takes place in Oregon & the movie in San Pedro? Good to know when planning vacation since they’re apparently exactly the same. You know one that’s rainy & the other a sunny vacation paradise.

    Or do you mean the one where a kiss starts a relationship in both the book & the movie according to WF–only it’s 3 years later in the book, during which time Otter moves in with Jonah and Bear is dating Anna. You remember Jonah right, the one that’s not in the movie? And You really believe that is somehow equates to a scene on a deck where the two guys are laughing together & kissing. Did you read the book or do you have problems differentiating crying vs laughing, happy vs sad, 3 years vs 1 week. In WF version a relationship somehow starts when you start dating other people & separate for years. You really want to defend that as identical?

    Or do you mean when a guy watches a video of a kid on a skateboard & that compares exactly to someone in California staring at a photo of a guy he’s in love with. Why don’t we open up some m/m books & look for the ones where the guy ever looks at a photo of a guy he’s in love with. It’s pretty darn standard material but if you want, lets get those books & charge them with plagiarizing Shelter.

    I guess you can call any little similar thing plagiarism in your world. That’s like saying Hey someone says I love you in both the book & the movie–it must be plagiarism. You’d have to be blind or deliberately obtuse to think those scenes equate so please go & try to convince someone else.

  182. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 22:19:35

    let’s continue with the review that changed a column. Per WF ” The scene where the best friend arrives at his house to find the older brother there is nearly the same.”

    Ok scene in the book- Creed, Ty, & Bear arrive at the house to find a strange jeep in the driveway. They find Otter has returned. Scene: “Otter sets the Kid on the counterptop in the kitchen, still giving Ty his full attention. Ty’s telling him some story involving the evils of ham production…” Later Otter promises Ty soy ice cream. Later Otter looks like he’s going to tell Bear something but instead gives him a one arm hug and Bear thinks: “I wonder what just happened… I wonder a lot of things, but it’s all batted down by the sound of the rain on the roof ” Later Bear overhears Creed & Otter arguing. Afterwards Bear & Otter go out in their car looking for soy ice cream for the Kid. They then talk as Otter stares out the window. “It’s still raining.” After trying different places they go back to the car & it’s raining harder. Bear & Otter reminisce then argue. Bear says: ” I know who the fuck I am you bastard. And I know who you are. You’re just like her” He throws a letter at Otter. Otter opens it &”I see his face go white. You kept this? he whispers. Then Bear leaves the car: ” I fumble for the door handle, blinded by tears for christ sake, an throw open the door. I’m furious…” Etc etc etc

    Compare above scene with the scene from Shelter when Shaun & Zach reunite.

    It’s sunny & Zach is in the back yard facing his surfboard. It’s a sunny day.

    Shaun: I though your ghetto ass would be done breakin & entering by now.
    Zach: I changed the code bitch.
    Shaun: What are you going to do, tighten the garage next?
    Zach: That may not go over. You know, with the Pacific Bluff homeowner’s agreement wouldn’t want to say your dad trouble with the board.
    Shaun: Stepdad.
    Zach: I left my long board here
    Shaun: That’s cool. How you doing man? [shakes hands]
    Zach: Good, good you know.
    Shaun: I haven’t seen you since like your graduation. what you been up to?
    Zach: I’ve been working you know. How about you?
    Shaun: I’m just down here for a few weeks. House is empty. I can enjoy it. Clear my head.
    Zach: Thought you hated it down here.
    Shaun: Miss the ocean.
    Zach: Dude, you lie in LA.
    Shaun: I don’t paddle out there
    Zach: You wanna go?
    Shaun: Surfin?
    Zach: Uh yeah. [laughs]
    Shaun: I suppose there’s still a few things I can teach you. You’ll soon learn butterfly.
    Zach: Perhaps master underestimate student. Bring it on city boy.
    Next scene–both zipping up wet suits get in water and surf.

    Now I’d like the person to post now & tell me those are identical scenes, because somehow I see those as totally different.

  183. Ann Somerville
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 22:29:53


    You’re awfully invested in this, aren’t you? It’s not healthy. And it’s probably not helping anyone, including yourself. I know the more you post, the less interested I am in what you have to say on this. You’re putting people right off the book, do you realise? Crazed fans tend to do that, so why not step back and let the actions in motions, play out.

  184. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 22:51:41

    Thanks Ann. I think I’m done for the night. I respond to people if they call me out like the prior poster. I’m pretty sure though, that most on this site had no interest in the book anyways, so it’s doubtful I’m putting anyone off. I’m very unconcerned about that fact as it’s not my paycheck involved & people are free to find any entertainment they want.

    This was never about selling a book. I’m not a crazed fan, just someone who hates injustice of any kind. And no doubt showing the possibility that the book may not be plagiarized as suggested takes everything down a level to oh how boring & I don’t want to read it. That’s fine by me. Maybe the next time this happens, people will take a deep breath before rushing in but I’m not counting on that.

    ETA– It’s funny the concern people have that I’m putting people off the book on a site that accuses the author of plagiarism & where people complain that the book is available for free & posters regularly want him tarred & feathered. Quite amusing although I always thank people who are concerned about my health. Very heartwarming I’m sure.

  185. Ridley
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 23:07:02

    I need a tl;dr stamp for this thread.

  186. Wahoo Suze
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 23:30:28


    I pointed out how dissimilar the scenes were & I made my point by actual examples.

    Over and over and over again. Your horse is dead, woman. Stop beating it.

    Also, “similar” is not the same thing as “identical in every sense”.

  187. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 23:37:52

    Thanks for responding to my dead horse Wahoo Suze. When you’re accusing someone of plagiarism you need your similar to be closer to identical. If you have to write a paragraph to explain how they’re exactly alike if you squint your eyes & extrapolate & subtract this person from the scene, then it’s probably not as similar as you think.

  188. Laura
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 23:47:51

    I hate to point out the obvious, but you are bordering on the obsessive here.
    If you read the response from the publisher you’d know they are unsure of whether the similarities can be construed as violation of copyright, which is why they are awaiting the decision from the creators/publishers of Shelter.

    No matter what you say, people are going to keep their position on this issue. Why don’t you just wait for the news? If there is nothing there and BOATK
    is deemed an original, you will win and everyone that has a differing opinion will lose. YOU WILL WIN. Wouldn’t it be nice to do it gracefully?


  189. Tasha
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 23:54:09

    @Sara: Actually, when you’re talking about copyright infringement, you need your similar to be “substantially similar,” which is the argument in progress. Plagiarism and copyright infringement, while they can overlap, are not the same thing. Kay Manning is accused of plagiarism, and as you see above, the word-for-word nature of the comparison would seem to bear this out. The BOATK discussion focuses on copyright infringement, which does not have the same word-for-word standard.

  190. Sara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 23:58:47

    Thanks Laura. At this point, if someone is directing a question at me, I’m responding. I’m done with the comparisons between book & movie for the night, as I’ve told Ann, so no need to worry about my health or obsession or anything else. I’m not sure if there’s a question in there for me in what you posted, but I doubt if I’ll win or anybody will win anything here as it’s all about recouping damage already done to someone’s reputation.

    @Tasha Thanks for the correction that it’s about copyright infringement. The posts have been about plagiarism so I did not realize that.

  191. Ridley
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 00:01:19

    @Sara: Didn’t you flounce already in this post?

  192. Sara
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 00:05:34

    @Ridley: Not sure what that means.

  193. Ridley
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 00:13:50

    @Sara: Here’s a definition.

  194. Sara
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 00:18:33

    @Ridley: Very funny. I probably have more than 1 dramatic exit scene in me.

  195. Ridley
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 00:20:05

    @Sara: I’ll allow only 4 more. I have dibs on comment #600.

  196. Sara
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 00:25:13

    Oh no, I think I’m done. (Have I said that before?) Comment # 600 , people might actually come looking for me.

  197. Tasha
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 00:29:11

    All things considered, I’m flat-out stunned that the Chicks & Dicks post was permitted, let alone still available on the web. Has it not occurred to the folks at DSP that they’ve posted a blueprint for all manner of infringement, not just conversion of fan fiction?

    Compare this list to the “facts” people cite for BOATK being dissimilar to Shelter:

    You need to not only change the physical descriptions and names of the main characters, but the names and occupations of their friends, family, settings, etc.


    A good question to ask while working on your revisions is “What other examples of this have I seen, other than my source?” If it’s an element that has only been used once (or only once in an obvious way), you should probably change it. If it’s a more general trope, go for it.

    Those two suggestions alone could account for a lot of the surface-level dissimilarities between BOATK and Shelter (such as the change in jobs, which people have been quick to point out, or the change in setting). Please note that I am NOT saying this is what happened, I am not saying the author of BOATK followed these steps or was encouraged to do so by anyone at DSP. I’m simply pointing out that when your editor publicly gives out this kind of detailed instructions about how to avoid potential legal issues with a copyright holder by making these basic changes to the text, if you DO run into an accusation of infringement, it becomes a lot harder to defend yourself.

  198. Jane
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 00:32:50

    @Sara I think what we have here is a big misunderstanding about plagiarism and copyright infringement.

    Plagiarism is passing off someone else’s work as your own. Copyright infringement is copying work and distributing it without permission. Sometimes the two overlap. Plagiarism that is NOT copyright infringement is an ethical issue. Ethical issues are determined by the community. For some, plagiarism will only be copying and pasting entire swaths of content; however plagiarism for many others will be substantial similarities. Plagiarism can sometimes be cured, or fixed, through attribution where as copyright infringement cannot. The line where plagiarism steps over into copyright infringement is difficult to measure, in my opinion. But because plagiarism is an ethical issue and each person has differing opinions as to what constitutes plagiarism, you often have disagreement.

    Harvard University has this post about defining plagiarism. When you have a story that is substantially similar in plot arc, I think that could easily fall under mosaic plagiarism. That’s how I feel about Ellen Wolf’s book which closely paralleled an earlier (and better in my opinion) Susan Napier book.

    I wrote this previously:

    Intellectual theft is not always a copyright infringement. The US Copyright Act prevents unlawful copying but the Act permits copying without permission in cases of “fair use.” Paraphrasing work without attribution is probably not copyright infringement but it is likely plagiarism. Using four or five paragraphs in a 300 page book of someone else’s material is probably fair use but without attribution it is likely plagiarism. Some even accuse those of borrowing ideas without attribution as plagiarism. An idea is not copyrightable. Alternatively, copying a work and selling it is infringement. I.e., if I took the Smart Bitches work and sold it to someone in a package saying that Sarah and Candy wrote all of the contents that would be unlawful copying but because I wasn’t claiming it as my own, it isn’t infringement.

    Every act of plagiarism is not a copyright infringement and every act of copyright infringement is not always plagiarism. However, the US Copyright Act is about the only US law that can be used to prosecute plagiarists.

    If you do not register your work for a copyright, you cannot avail yourself of legal enforcement through the court system. “Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.” If you do not register within 3 months after the publication or prior to the infringement, you only get “actual damages and profits.” What does that mean? Let’s assume I started reposting all of the Smart Bitches posts on another site and charged ads for the site. The Smart Bitches would have to register their work before it could sue me and then all the posts that are older than three months would entitle the Smart Bitches to the ad money that I had taken in.

    If they had registered their work all along, then they would be entitled to “treble” damages and attorneys’ fees.

    Plagiarism an issue of ethics.

    Plagiarism is mostly an issue of ethics. Ethics differ from community to community. Each profession, each group, has its own set of mores. For example, in the legal profession, wholesale copying is encouraged. We are not taught to be original thinkers in law school. When I write a brief for court, I look for an opinion that states my position and follow the pattern of thought and quote from it liberally. Of course, every legal and factual statement needs a citation but its not because judges care about plagiarism but because of the rules of precedence. (I.e., if the court ruled this way before, this is the way it should rule again).

    When the Opal Mehta scandal shook out, it was discovered that there were about 40 passages that “contain identical language and/or common scene or dialogue structure.” Crown Publishing Group, Megan McCafferty’s publisher, demanded the removal of the Opal Mehta books from the shelves. Originally Little Brown planned to republish the book with the offending passages removed but eventually scrapped the whole deal and also refused to publish the second book in the book deal. Kaavya Viswanathan was paid $500,000.00 in an advance. Whether she returned it is unknown.

  199. Ridley
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 00:43:23

    Oh the hell with it…

  200. Ridley
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 00:43:45


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