Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

More Evidence of Cassie Edwards “Lifting”

Given the statement by Ms. Edwards that she took materials but didn’t realize that you need to footnote it; the original Signet response that her use was fair use and the fact that the original sources were mostly public domain, it’s illuminating and disturbing to see the following by commenter Em at the SBTB site which provides two passages from Robert Hughes’ Fatal Shore published in 1987. Fatal Shore is described at Amazon as a non fiction book that “reads like the finest of novels” and that Hughes’ “narrative finesse . . drives the reader ever-deeper into specific facts and greater understanding.”

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

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

Hughes: "After sundown, their trees were filled with the thumping, scrabbling and chattering of other nocturnals–fat brushtailed possums, ringtails and sugar-gliders, which had wide furry airfoils slung between their fore and hind feet and parachuted from tree to tree in wobbly swoops." (wobbly swoops? There’s only one way to write that?)

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

Hughes (3 separate quotes): "Even the dragon of the bush, a carrion-eating monitor lizard known as a goanna, would rush up a tree when approached and cling there, its throat puffed out in soundless alarm, until the intruder went away."

"Many of them were camouflaged fossils, throwbacks that crept, slid, waddled or bounded through the dry brush."

"The silvery-coated Eastern Gray kangaroo, Macropus giganteus, moved in flocks of dozens; "the noise they make," a colonial diarist was to note, "is a faint bleat, querulous, but not easy to describe.”"

And many more.

Even these short examples provide a view of Hughes’ narrative elegance: “wobbly swoops” and “soundless alarm”. This is just one example of how non fiction can be prose and not just dry facts. This makes eight books of Edwards that contain text copied from other sources: public domain and works under copyright.

If RWA, Signet, Dorchester, or Kensington has a serious interest in pursuing the truth behind the enormity of the plagiarism, it looks like every book in Ms. Edwards backlist must be examined. Moreover, the individuals who authored the works that are copyrighted deserve to know how their hard earned prose is being used. When you read the First Sale stories here at Dear Author, you recognize how difficult the path to publication is. There is no reason to believe that non fiction authors haven’t sweated the same agony in search of a publisher who will believe in their works.

In light of this, I offer you Janet (Robin) piece on the Neutrality Fallacy.

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. Meriam
    Jan 11, 2008 @ 22:18:04

    Well, I went ahead and borrowed Savage Dream from my local library (morbid curiousity + no life) and sat before google for a few hours. I’ve sent my findings to Candy and Sarah.

    Setting aside the whole plagiarism issue, my *god* these books are dire. Dire, I tell you! The hero refers to himself in the third person. There’s one bit where, in the midst of an abduction, the heroine has this thought:

    Even now, as he bound and gagged her he had done it with a keen gentleness! His eyes, as the moon revealed them to Maria, spoke of much that touched her heart and unleashed her passion!
    Si, though she was being abducted, she did not feel threatened.

    It’s so bad, I can’t help but wonder if Ms Edwards is having a laugh at our expense. Is this parody?

  2. Chicklet
    Jan 12, 2008 @ 23:03:17

    Ohhhhh. I’ve met Robert Hughes, and even from that short interchange I can virtually guarantee he will not take kindly to his work having been stolen this way.

    Also, Meriam, you are a much stronger person than I am. ;-)

  3. K. Z. Snow
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 10:44:52

    A question for the “investigators”: How long does it seem CE has been doing this? A couple of years? A couple of decades? What’s the earliest copyright date on one of the many offending books?

    Just curious.

  4. Jane
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 10:50:13

    Touch the Wild Wind was c. 1997. It might be the oldest example although I know that readers have sent other examples to the SBs that haven’t been republished.

  5. Meriam
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 11:37:10

    Savage Dream was first published in 1990, if I remember correctly.

  6. Nikki
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 16:52:17


    The oldest book I’ve personally checked was SAVAGE OBSESSION, originally published in 1983 by Kensington. It’s been reprinted at least twice–1997 and 2006.

    Also, while checking another CE book, I stumbled across a particular (unique) phrase found in a non-fiction book titled THIS LAND AROUND US by Ellis Lucia and PORTRAIT OF DESIRE by Cassie Edwards. That book was published in 1982, the first year she had a book out. Probably worth a look, if anyone has a copy.

    So, to sum up: She’s been doing this a HELL of a long time. In my opinion, it’s about time she got caught.

  7. SAM
    Jan 22, 2008 @ 23:42:05

    How long are you people going to drag this out?

    Everyone knows the story. The SB's who hate Cassie and her books “accidentally” came across something that looked like plagiarism. They started googling and having their friends jump in and now they are front page news.

    I would really like to know why Nora Roberts has it in for Cassie Edwards?

    Nora Roberts, who has nothing to do with Cassie Edwards, actually stated to the AP that Cassie Edwards is a plagiarist.

    So we all get it. The SB's hate Cassie, Nora thinks she's the God of the romance industry and that we should all bow down to her.

    Then we have the “Famous Author” wanna-be's whose books I wouldn't pay 5 cents for. I don't know what's worse…the trashy erotica authors or the e-book authors who can't get published by a big publisher and has to settle for what they can get.

    This is really getting old.

  8. kenlee
    Mar 19, 2008 @ 18:19:08

    I totally agree

%d bloggers like this: