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

Possible Cassie Edwards Response to Plagiarism Charges

Commenter at Smart Bitches, provided a copy of the following which is alleged to be the response of Cassie Edwards which she sent to a fan. Dear Author has contacted both the fan and Cassie Edwards for a response but has received neither a denial nor a confirmation.

Updated to add: DA contacted, via telephone, a representative of Cassie Edwards to authenticate the statement below. In response, the representative replied that there would be no comment. You can all draw whatever conclusions you want from that.

Jan 12,
2008
12:11 AM
Subject: A Few Words From Cassie Edwards. Please pass this on….

Body: With Cassie Edwards approval I pass this letter on, concerning the plagiarism accusation against her. She needs our support. Please forward this to all your friends.

In acknowledgement of your support contact me at:
www.myspace.com/destinyschoice8 or write to Cassie at:
www.myspace.com/cassieedwardsromance

Thanks, Lisa src=”http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/images/smileys/smile.gif”
width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

Cassie Ed..

Date:

Jan 11, 2008 4:57 PM

-‘-‘-‘-‘-‘-‘-‘-‘-‘ Original Message
From: Cassie Edwards
Date: Jan 11, 2008 11:58 AM

Hi, Lisa,
I just got on My Space and I found your wonderful encouraging letter. Thank you for believing in me, for I have done nothing wrong. My publisher is standing behind me 100%, for they know my work better than anyone, and they know that all romance authors who use research for historicals have to use reference books to do this. My readers love this accurate material about the Indians. And if I couldn’t use this material my books would not be worth anything to my readers who depend on me.

The sad thing is that I am writing these books now in a way to honor our Native Americans, past, present and in the future. And I am honoring my great grandmother who was a full blood Cheyenne. She would be so proud of me if she could read what I am writing about the Indians who have been so maligned for so long. And do you know? I feel picked on now as our Native American Indians have always been picked on throughout history. I am trying to spread the word about them and what do I get? Spiteful women who have found a way to bring attention to themselves, by getting in the media in this horrible way.

Right now I am getting hit from all sides….CNN, The New York Times, AP, everyone who those women could think of to contact. And what is also sad is that a fellow author, has spoken up and condemned me.

Thanks again for your support. When I am feeling stronger I plan to write a bulletin on My Space, but right now I am totally drained of energy from what has been done to me. I hope that you will tell your friends, who are so much also mine, the wrong that has been done to me, and tell them that I will get through this. I will be found innocent and vendicated of any wrong.

For now, it’s all too raw and horrible, but I will be alright.
Love, Cassie

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

163 Comments

  1. K. Z. Snow
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 23:34:46

    My readers love this accurate material about the Indians [for which they can thank other researchers and writers]. And if I couldn't use this material my books would not be worth anything to my readers who depend on me [which is precisely why I boost it].

    (The stuff in brackets is mine…as if you needed to be told that.)

    Holy jamoly. Could that statement really be from Cassie Edwards? This is becoming bizarre to the -nth degree.

  2. anniek
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 23:43:32

    LOL! The best line of all, “I am totally drained of energy from what has been done to me”. Man, that is priceless. I almost hope that it isn’t her letter. She really can’t be in this much denial, can she?

  3. Barbara
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 23:58:08

    Thank goodness someone had the decency to contact Ms Edwards and wish her well, considering the strain she is under. Despite the allegations against Ms Edwards, I too, wish her well and hope she can keep her health under the bombardment of ill-mannered, thoughtless, callous and cruel people who have nothing better to do with their time.

    Smart Bitches could have said it once and left it at that. But, no. And now, Jane, you are continuing where they left off.

    I am not condoing any person who commits plagiarism or copyright infringement; but there is a proper venue for dealing with this. Not here, where you are promoting a public witch-hunt.

    Jane, since you like to feel useful and give your opinions on writing and writers, perhaps you can complete a plagiarism search on each and every one of the books you have reviewed. That way, no one will be able to say that you were prejudiced against Ms Edwards. It will help outsiders to understand why Americans like to be known for their equality – now is your chance to prove it.

    I agree with Jenny Crusie's comment on Smart Bitches: “Did Cassie Edwards run over your dog?”

    I second it with: “Do you have to flog a dead horse?”

  4. Angelle
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 23:58:38

    I feel picked on now as our Native American Indians have always been picked on throughout history.

    So now it’s racism?

    Geez.

    I wonder how her grandma would feel about her stealing from other Native American writers.

  5. K. Z. Snow
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 00:05:39

    I just jumped onto CE’s MySpace page and noticed that her last blog entry was on September 20, 2006 to celebrate the occasion of her 100th published work. Here’s a sentence from that post:

    “I only write Indian books now and I make certain that all of the research that I use in my books is authentic and interesting.”

    Good lord, the irony…

    What I found particularly dismaying was that a lovely Cherokee man, who was one of the commenters on this post, praised CE to the skies for her “accomplishment” and further wrote, “You give honor to my people and I give thanks for the research to the truth that you incorporate within your books about the customs and ways of Native American life.”

    I’m tellin’ ya, it about made me want to cry.

  6. azteclady
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 00:09:01

    Barbara, witch hunt implies that there are no facts supporting the ‘allegations.’ Take a minute, breathe, read the side by side comparisons, and then say again that this is witch hunting. Please.

    Second, what is the proper way of dealing with this? Silence? Leaving it in the hands of Ms Edwards and her publisher?–who, goodness knows, will of course be eager to find all the instances in which Ms Edwards lifted other people’s hard crafted words in order to sell them as her original work. Indded. /sarcasm

    I for one am thankful that this conversation is continuing, publicly. Hopefully public shame will be a good enough deterrent for any people who think that plagiarizing is a good writing technique.

  7. Sara
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 00:33:17

    While I have never read a Cassie Edwards book, I must say this:

    Copying any other author’s work word for word is plagiarism plain and simple.

    It doesn’t matter if you say you did for good reason, you took what some other author created and passed it off as your own. Other historical authors (fiction, romance, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy) do research, however, they take their research and incorporate it into their own work in their own words, often with footnote, bibliographies, etc. This kind of wholesale plagiarism isn’t just unethical, it’s lazy.

  8. Ann Bruce
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 00:43:06

    Up until this point, I only condemned Ms. Edwards’s actions. I’ll hate a book, but I’ll never hate the author. Not anymore.

    But I have a sick feeling this situation will turn out like the Janet Dailey situation and her writing career won’t even be dented.

  9. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 00:43:53

    Ya know… at this point, I feel the need to bow out of this. I’ve stated my opinions and nothing about my opinions will change regardless of what else arises.

    While I definitely am curious as to what comes of this issue regarding the publisher, etc, I don’t want to add to any fuel to a fire that’s already got plenty.

    But I do feel the need to point out that this issue has brought a whole hell of a lot of attention to the romance genre. How we carry on from here is up to us. Making fun, making light or mocking CE at this point doesn’t improve the way the romance genre will be seen.

    I’d already mentioned that I feel some pity for CE, not over her being caught, and not because she’s the subject of some very blunt, brutal attention. In doing what she’s done, she opened herself for it, IMO.

    However, outsiders might not see it that way. They may see this as a bitchfest where we’ve gone coyote on something not around to defend themselves.

    I do not regret that the plagiarism was brought into the public view. Wrong is wrong and when it’s discovered, it shouldn’t be hidden. But mocking and poking fun of the wrong doer doesn’t take the wrong away. It doesn’t lessen the wrong, and it doesn’t soothe or take away any slights that wrong caused.

    Open discussion is all well and good, but I don’t see much else that can come from this particular incident.

  10. Shannon C.
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 01:16:13

    You know, at this point, I do agree that some of this feels a tad like flogging the already deceased equine, but…

    And do you know? I feel picked on now as our Native American Indians have always been picked on throughout history. I am trying to spread the word about them and what do I get? Spiteful women who have found a way to bring attention to themselves, by getting in the media in this horrible way.

    She cannot really be bringing racism into this, can she? If that’s really what Ms. Edwards said, any sympathy I might have had is now gone. I just… can’t believe she would have the audacity to compare her situation to the persecution of Native Americans.

    *boggles*

  11. Julie Leto
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 01:17:17

    Shiloh, you’ve said a mouthful. Brava.

  12. Robin
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 02:06:42

    While I definitely am curious as to what comes of this issue regarding the publisher, etc, I don't want to add to any fuel to a fire that's already got plenty.

    My focus now is definitely on how the three publishers involved on Edwards’s end handle this responsibility. But I also think that one of the reasons this has been soooooooo discussed and posted about is because of the resistance initially from Signet and from those hating on the SBs and Nora Roberts and from those defending or excusing the examples posted. I know a lot of those things have created a strong sense of disbelief in me, and I think in general that some of the energetic searching and posting of more Edwards books comes from this place of, ‘well, if that’s not enough for you to take this seriously, how about THIS? AND THIS?? AND IF I YELL LOUDLY ENOUGH WILL YOU FINALLY TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY, DAMMIT?!’ That, combined with a sense that it’s only the persistent pressure that has gotten at least Signet to take a second look has, IMO, created this sense of overkill people might be getting.

    Hopefully the publishers will seriously follow up with this, and hopefully this issue will prompt some search for unified clarity in regard to the use and abuse of secondary sources in Romance fiction.

  13. (Jān)
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 02:21:16

    Good lord. Cassie, meet Lania. It’s the same old thing whenever they’re caught. And then people start feeling sorry for them.

    So what are you saying Barbara, just be quiet now and let it blow over? Because that’s what will happen if you take it behind closed doors. Let someone else deal with it so we don’t “look bad”? As if it’s Smart Bitches’ and DA’s fault that it happened. So another person will do it in 6 months and use the same old excuses, knowing that the romance community will shout for a week and then it will be hugs all around?

    Sorry, but I think it’s time that plagiarists get a message that crying and whining won’t get them out of it and that there are people who will hold them accountable. And it’s time too that their supporters wised up and realized that letting this continue is a bad thing for romance all around.

  14. Insulted Native
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 02:26:59

    See she lost me when she have the unmitigated gall to compare what she is going through to the rape, kidnapping, murder and cultural destruction Natives have and continue to go through. I know she’s old but come on she should have never wrote such stupidity.

  15. Meljean
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 02:43:01

    You know, I do wish her well. I wish her all the best emotional support, and legal support.

    I also hope that all of her books containing plagiarized material are pulled from the shelves. I hope that any publisher thinks ten thousand times before publishing another book she’s written or offering another contract–and that if they do, it’s not just because her name is money in the bank. I hope that any reader who is aware of books containing plagiarized material won’t buy them. And I hope that any author whose material was lifted receives, at the very least, an acknowledgment and apology.

    Those hopes aren’t mutually exclusive.

  16. Bravewolf
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 03:14:02

    Yeah, because, like Insulted Native wrote, Cassie Edwards is experiencing the VERY SAME shame and degradation that Native Americans experienced. THE VERY SAME, I tell you… because being exposed as a plagiarist is JUST AS BAD as having your culture ripped out from under you, rape, murder, torture, being treated like a fifth-class citizen (whoops, did I say CITIZEN there, you dirty Injun?), and then being insulted by the appearance of the Noble Savage, where your culture’s only purpose is to produce sidekicks for the noble, lily-white hero of whatever television show. She’s SUFFERING, dogdammit, and you should feel BAD that you brought one of Native America’s most meticulous researchers to her one-eighth Cherokee knees.

  17. Laura
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 03:20:13

    As bizarre and sad as this whole thing has become…..I think that letter is a fake. I just can’t see Ms. Edwards, who so far has let her husband comment on her behalf, getting on MySpace and writing a letter that echoes most of the sentiments her fangirls have expressed on both DA and SBTN.

    Since her MySpace page and her fan club page both pointedly tell visitors not to bother emailing Ms. Edwards, why would she “just get on her MySpace page” (that hasn’t been updated since 2006), to read letters? Especially when she is totally drained of energy?

    Foul ball.

  18. Nora Roberts
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 06:32:06

    “Do you have to flog a dead horse?”

    The horse is not dead, particularly since more horses are being discovered regularly. And the one riding them is denying responsibilty and blaming others.

    It’ll never be dead, for me, as long as anyone claims that revealing plagiarism publicly and objecting to it is a witch hunt.

  19. Nora Roberts
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 06:37:13

    Laura, I hope you’re proved right.

  20. Lynne
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 07:41:14

    Then again, why would her main web page at cassieedwards.com have been changed so radically in recent days that it’s now merely a redirect to her My Space page? There used to be a lot more content at the main web page, but the only thing left now is the redirect. She may not have posted anything to her MySpace blog recently, but the system shows she’s been logging in.

    If it were a fake MySpace page, her legit web page would not have been changed this past week to point to it, unless someone is hacking her online presence in multiple places.

    I don’t know if the letter is a fake or not. I hope so.

  21. Jane
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 08:16:19

    I’ve emailed both a contact for Ms. Edwards and the “lisa” for confirmation or denial.

  22. Eirin
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 08:17:17

    I now feel strangely compelled to burst into song

    88 horses more in the barn
    88 horses more in the barn

    to very annoying tune.

  23. Jane
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 09:00:19

    Here is why it is not beating a dead horse. It is clear from comments all over the internet that there is a fundamental misunderstanding regarding what is acceptable use of someone else’s words, whether it be fiction or non fiction. The continued discussion of this matter can only serve to educate everyone.

  24. emily
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 09:05:42

    The horse isn’t dead if it is still saying it did nothing wrong.

    I don’t like personal attacks at all. But if this doesn’t continue until either the writer or the publisher admit the facts, what was the point?

  25. Gemiwing
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 09:12:13

    I think that by openly discussing this serious issue brings more credence to the often mocked romance genre. If we as fans and as writers simply take a laid back “oops bad girl, but here have a hug” approach then we’re simply sending the message that we dont take our genre seriously.
    Personal attacks are of course uncalled for; however, simply acknowledging facts is not a witch hunt. Discussing how we feel about the situation is not IMHO beating a dead horse. It’s only through standing up as a community to this sort of behavior that change will occur. And some people need more time to digest the situation and comment on it than others.
    If this is allowed to go unpunished then what is next? Maybe I’ll just take an authors work and claim it as my own. Maybe a new title will be enough? It’s more a question of where is the line drawn. If we don’t take the romance genre seriously who will?
    Would people be so quick to hush hush and “protect” the supposed offender if the author in question was Tom Clancy? How about Steven King? Just because its romance doesn’t mean we should sit and be quiet about it.
    Should we just all sit and crochet some doilies instead?
    It’s painful to watch such a sad drama happen in my beloved genre. I’m eager for the day that this is resolved and we can all once again talk about our latest favorite novel.

  26. Angie
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 09:23:13

    Assuming that letter is authentic — and I seriously hope it’s not — it’s just one more instance of an author who was caught at plagiarism and Not Getting It. Ms. Edwards is certainly not the only one to continue insisting she’s done nothing wrong when it’s very clear that she has, and all the people showing “support” by joining in the chorus of “That’s not plagiarism!” or “It’s only a romance novel!” or “How dare they all be so meeean to her?!” aren’t helping. “Supporting” Ms. Edwards in her belief that she’s done nothing wrong is not helping her, and won’t bring the incident to a close any sooner. The only way this is going to wrap up and be done with is if Ms. Edwards realizes what she’s done wrong, accepts that it was wrong, apologizes, and promises not to do it again. (Knowing that there’ll likely be people scrutinizing anything she publishes from now on should make that last one easy.) But the longer she denies wrongdoing, the longer she maintains her personal indignation, the longer the whole mess is going to drag on.

    I can’t imagine anyone wants that, and it certainly wouldn’t be good for anyone, least of all Ms. Edwards. Better for everyone (including her) for her to get it as soon as possible. I doubt very much at this point that everyone just backing off and being “nice” and letting it all die down quietly is going to do anything to help her get it.

    We’re way beyond the point of this being some sort of misunderstanding; backing up isn’t an option anymore. The only way out is through. I hope we make it out the other side as soon as possible, for everyone’s sake.

    Angie

  27. LinM
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 09:58:28

    Here is why it is not beating a dead horse.

    A lot of the DA posts about plagiarism in Cassie Edward’s books have made me think – the original posts, Signet’s original response, RWA’s original response, Jane’s letter to Penguin, Robin’s posts. The post last night on instances of copying from “Laughing Boy” left me as saddened as many of the commenters.

    But I wish that DA had been clear about this post. It is NOT a letter from Edward’s site (which has no content at the moment) or her myspace page. It is a letter from another myspace page and it may or may not be genuine.

    If the goal is to keep the issue active, I would prefer a countdown on the time it takes for a publisher response – 7 days and still no response from Dorchester. Signet/Penguin are taking a second look at the books they publish – how long will we wait for a definitive response. What about the RWA – are they re-evaluating Edward’s postion – how long will we wait for a definitive response from them.

  28. Nora Roberts
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 10:10:04

    I can tell you the due diligence takes time. It must be thorough, it must be equitable. So I wouldn’t expect any statement from the publishers quickly. Quick isn’t the priority. There also seems to be legalities now, as some instances of infringement have been cited. This, too, will take time to sort out.

    As for RWA, she isn’t a member, and no member–as far as is known–has been plagiarized here. So they have nothing to do except wait for a decision or a statement before they could or would (I think) take action on the single point of CE’s Honor Roll mention.

  29. emily
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 10:37:30

    A count-down (or in this case ‘up’) would be a useful place-holder to demonstrate sustained interest without necessarily adding new material to the discussion.

  30. Mora
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 10:47:33

    But I do feel the need to point out that this issue has brought a whole hell of a lot of attention to the romance genre. How we carry on from here is up to us. Making fun, making light or mocking CE at this point doesn't improve the way the romance genre will be seen.

    I'd already mentioned that I feel some pity for CE, not over her being caught, and not because she's the subject of some very blunt, brutal attention. In doing what she's done, she opened herself for it, IMO.

    However, outsiders might not see it that way. They may see this as a bitchfest where we've gone coyote on something not around to defend themselves.

    As a reader, I find this troubling. If it were a sci-fi author accused of plagiarism, would how sci-fi fans react to the news be such a huge cause for concern? Because romance is targeted to (mainly) women, we should censor ourselves so that people don’t get the wrong idea? We should tread on egg shells lest someone think we’re bitchy and mean? The whole idea of that is repugnant. I don’t *care* what people who are already prone to look down on the romance genre think. As a reader who has paid money for Cassie Edwards’ books–lots and lots of money, because she has tons of books in print and my elderly mother loves her–I have the right to be pissed off at someone who has, in effect, ripped me off.

    The issue doesn’t end at the fact that she wronged her fellow authors. She has also wronged every person who paid for one of her books. She’s made money, tons of money (look how many books she’s sold!) by CONNING her readers.

    That’s why this statement–“I don't see much else that can come from this particular incident”–just doesn’t wash for me. Maybe not much else can come from this for YOU, but for ME, I want to know how deep the plagiarism goes. I want to know what actions her publishers are taking. I want to know that they’re taking steps to rectify this situation. I want to know that she’s not going to be allowed to continue ripping us off.

    Do I trust the publishers to do all these things without pressure from the public? I think Signet’s initial response to the Smart Bitches answers that question. It’s blogs like these that are keeping the publishers accountable.

    As a reader, I hope that blogs like Dear Author and Smart Bitches don’t decide to “play nice” and let this go.

  31. LinM
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 11:03:11

    Yes, due diligence takes time; a hasty response from Signet/Penguin would be counter-productive. I am disappointed that none of Edwards’ other publishers have issued any kind of statement.

    My thought about a countdown timer was not to imply any requirement for haste; it was more as a reminder that the issue is still open and some readers will wait and expect a definitive statement from Edwards’ publishers.

    That being said, I’m still uncomfortable with this post by DA because it is not clear that Edwards is the author of the letter.

  32. azteclady
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 11:15:56

    LinM, the heading says “possible Cassie Edwards bulletin”–which is what this is. There’s also a link to the place–at the SBs–where it was first publicly aired. Why does that make you uncomfortable? This letter/statement/whatever is floating around the internets and someone is claiming that Cassie Edwards wrote it. Neither Dear Author nor the Smart Ladies have proof one way or the other, and so they reproduce it with the appropriate caveat.

  33. Rebecca Goings
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 11:38:24

    I think that by openly discussing this serious issue brings more credence to the often mocked romance genre. If we as fans and as writers simply take a laid back “oops bad girl, but here have a hug” approach then we're simply sending the message that we dont take our genre seriously.

    Better we as readers and writers within the romance genre expose one of our own than someone outside the genre bringing these allegations to light. So far, I haven’t read anything that “mocks” CE in the posts here at DA or SB. Okay, I’ll concede the comments, but not the informative posts themselves. But you can bet your bottom dollar if this story broke outside the circle of romance readers and authors, there’d be mocking galore, and perhaps we as authors would have an even harder hill to climb to gain back the scraps of our respect within the industry.

    Discussions like these bring change and education on what is right and wrong. At this point, this situation has escalated far beyond CE, and into the realm of what is and isn’t considered plagiarism. Perhaps it will prompt publishing houses and associations like RWA to crack down and create harsher policies for these kinds of infringements.

    If CE didn’t know what she was doing was plagiarism, then I’d be willing to bet all 100 or so of her books has lifted passages from her research. As a community, we have *got* to do something. We can’t sweep it under the rug and expect the problem to “go away” or “work itself out”. When a community as a whole demands a change, things are bound to get “loud”, and only when things get loud do big corporations (like Penguin) listen.

    ~~Becka

  34. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 12:17:21

    As a reader, I hope that blogs like Dear Author and Smart Bitches don't decide to “play nice” and let this go.

    Mora, I’m only responding because it seems I’ve given you the impression that I’m trying to sweep this under the rug. Since I’ve been all but obsessed with this issue since it came out, I can honestly say that isn’t the case. At all. But I am getting tired of the drama, and my own obsession with it.

    The point of my post was that at some point, we do need to sit back and see what happens and focus on educating people in hopes that something similar doesn’t happen.

    Actually finding every last bit of evidence could take months. Longer. Resolutions will most certainly take more than a few days~ NR mentioned that due diligence will be displayed on the part of the publishers… and that diligence takes time. I hate to think this and this alone is going to be the focus for the online romance community while we wait for those resolutions.

    If there is more evidence discovered, yes, I think readers deserve to know.

    Regarding images, yes, as an author, I do worry about image, not so much because I care that much what the opinions of those who don’t ‘get’ the genre and never will. But because a lot of those people may very well get it, but not if they don’t give it a chance. In this situation, anything other than rational commentary isn’t like to bring that about.

    The romance genre is constantly getting new readers, people who hadn’t ever romance before but something compelled them to give it a chance and now they adore it. People unfamiliar with the genre might get a bit curious, check it out, try it, fall in love… but they are less likely to do that if they perceive something to be a huge bitchfest.

    I am NOT saying that’s what this is, that’s why this started. I see legit complaints from readers, from authors, from bloggers and I’ve voiced more than a few of my own. I firmly believe that the SBs did right bringing this to light. I firmly believe that the DA ladies are right when they say plagiarism needs to be discussed, that education is needed. I also believe CE needs to take responsibility for what she did.

    So hiding this isn’t what I want at all. What I’d like is to see something positive come from this. Considering the attention this has gotten, there’s no reason it can’t benefit the romance genre in a variety of ways. If more readers gave the romance genre a chance, that would be a huge benefit to readers and writers alike. I’m all for doing things that could benefit the genre which means I’m for promoting a positive image of the genre.

    I won’t pretend otherwise, I do think authors need to focus on image. Romance, sci fi, western, non-fic, it doesn’t matter. They need to focus on professionalism. Had CE done this, this whole mess never would have happened, because a true professional wouldn’t plagiarize.

    I never once said that DA and SB should ‘play nice’. ‘Playing nice’ is often a waste of time. I’ve stated several times in several different threads and on several different blogs that I’ll take an ugly truth over a pretty lie any day of the week.

    I don’t want the issue of plagiarism swept under the rug. I want authors educated on it. I want readers to understand why it is a big deal. I’ve privately emailed RWA about this, I’ve emailed my thoughts on it to Jane, I’ve posted my opinions on my own blog and I’ve discussed it in forums where mine certainly didn’t appear to be the popular opinion.

    But playing the devil’s advocate, posting in a bulletin that may or may not be from CE, what does that accomplish? I won’t say that it shouldn’t have been done. This isn’t my blog and how the DA ladies choose to run it is up to them. I just fail to see what it accomplished.

    The sly jabs, some of the subtle and not so subtle insults, what does they accomplish except to inflame people? That isn’t the way to finding any sort of solution and it certainly isn’t going to convince CE to step up to the plate and apologize.

    I think what most people in general want a solution. They do want to know how far this goes, but they also want to think of a way to keep it from happening again. That’s more likely to happen through educating writers and readers alike on the issue of plagiarism. Again… I very much want to issue itself to be discussed.

    My gut instinct when I read the Myspace message was that a reader did it. A lot of us have heard how some people will spam the ‘competition’ at places like Amazon and leave nasty reviews and then point to their fave instead. Doing so is justified in their minds because they see themselves as ‘supporting’ their faves. Knowing this, it’s no stretch of the imagination to think that somebody other than CE wrote that bulletin to garner sympathy. And I’m entirely aware that I could be mistaken. But regardless, what did it accomplish?

    I’m a goal-oriented person~I’m going to do what is needed to reach a goal not because I’m organized or anything, but because, honestly, I’m lazy and I’m not going to mess with the things that aren’t important to the task itself. I certainly see the bulletin as something not so important to the issue. Even if CE wrote it, all it does is show a lack of accountability and nothing any of us can say will change that. Only she can make that decision and insults, jabs, they aren’t the things to move somebody to taking accountability.

    I hoped I’ve explained this a little better. Knitting doilies, putting on a ladylike pretense when I’m not a lady and don’t care to be, hiding ugly truths, that isn’t the message I wanted to get across.

    And with that… I really do plan to stop participating in the discussions centered around CE. As I said, I’m getting tired of reading nothing but what CE did, how wrong it was. Most of us know it was wrong and we are frustrated and upset by it.

    But I’d rather focus on educating people so that we maybe we can prevent similar occurrences.

    To the Ja(y)nes, I hope I haven’t given you the impression that you just need to play nice. One of the reasons I love this blog is the open and honest discussions, the reviews, the opinions. If you started playing nice, a lot of those discussions, reviews and opinions would disappear. I don’t want that in any way.

  35. Shanna
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 12:51:21

    Why is this different when a woman author is involved? Did anyone cry, “Oh, poor James Frey” when he was caught making up shit for his “autobiography”. Did he complain about what was being “done to him”?

    Jeez, why can’t anybody admit they were wrong anymore? Say I’m sorry, I’ll do my best to fix this, and it won’t happen again. If you don’t, you just end up looking like a bigger a-hole in the end.

    BTW, I don’t think anyone would be calling this a “witch hunt” if a male author was involved who wrote say, science fiction and a sci-fi reader blog broke the story. Just sayin…

  36. Robin
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 13:01:01

    I’m not going to defend the insults hurled at Edwards personally. But I can tell you that this whole incident and its aftermath has caused me a bit of a crisis of faith regarding the Romance community, from publishers to authors. So whenever I see an author making a statement that it’s not okay to copy sources into one’s book, or to copy material from, say, a Pulitzer Prize winning memoir or a novel, I think, “good, I’m not wasting my time and money reading books written and published by people who don’t care about intellectual honesty.” That might seem harsh, but there it is. So I don’t want to see this conversation disappear completely, or for things to go back to business as usual.

    As for posting this alleged Edwards statement — why did PW link to it, as well? One great reason I can think of to post it is because it creates an opportunity for rebuttal and correction should it be inauthentic. But in this instance, a “no comment” was issued when a direct attempt was made to confirm or deny its veracity with an Edwards rep. So as of now, at least, it stands as all we have, with no refutation from the Edwards camp.

  37. azteclady
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 13:11:43

    Shiloh Walker said,

    But I'd rather focus on educating people so that we maybe we can prevent similar occurrences.

    I think that there are many more people with the same point of view as you, Shiloh, than are posting here. And we are getting heat too, for trying to point out the difference between researching and cut/paste.

    Robin said,

    So I don't want to see this conversation disappear completely, or for things to go back to business as usual.

    Neither do I, because this instance of plagiarism has highlighted how often readers don’t know–or understand–the difference.

  38. Karmyn
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 13:43:51

    What really bothers me is the “Romance is a sisterhood and we should all stick together” mentality. Sisterhood is fine, but when one of the sisters does wrong, I would hope that the others would call her on it. I have two sisters and I know that when I do wrong, they call me on it. Same thing if I think they’re doing something wrong. What Cassie Edwards did was wrong. The Ja(y)nes, SB Sarah, and Candy have done nothing wrong in bringing the wrong actions to light. It has nothing to do with them not liking the books. It’s about Cassie Edwards being wrong.

  39. Ruth Ryan Langan
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 13:56:22

    When a thief is on the prowl, good friends alert their neighbors, in order to protect their treasures.

    This has happened before. It will happen again, unless we remain vigilant.

    Thank you for being good friends, good neighbors, to the reading and writing community.

    Ruth Ryan Langan

  40. Nora Roberts
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 14:00:20

    Ruth, wonderfully said.

    This is why I love you.

  41. CourtneyCarroll
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 14:25:21

    I’ve never read a Cassie Edwards’ work, nor will I ever after this shameful turn of events. I think those who may be wishing her well during what has got to be one of the worst moments in her professional life (if not THE worst in her ENTIRE life), may be doing so due in part to the way the SB have handled this since they discovered it. In one of Jane’s earlier posts on this subject, she commented that some have suggested the allegations against CE lack some credibility because of how the SB’s have criticized her in the past. I disagreed with that, but I commented that I quit reading the SB’s because I found their “reviews” to be more attack-like and less objective critiques. A lot of folks said they disagreed with me and had never seen the SB personally attack an author and mocked me for not being able to provide the links to support my assertions-a shortfall on my part, no doubt.

    While the debate that this turn of events had engendered is terrific and needs to be kept up among writers, readers, and publishers as to what constitutes plagiarism and how it should be handled by the publishing community, I’m not sure what purpose it serves to continually attack Edwards, which seems to be what the SBs continue to do. While Edwards absolutely deserves whatever happens to her as a result of this, the longer this continues by the SB, the more it looks like a personal vendetta and less of objective journalistic blogging.
    I agree with Ruth that we need to vigilant to protect against plagiarism and publicize it when it is found, but it seems to be that doing that in a forthright, objective manner serves the romance community far better than continuing to write about the same author’s transgressions day in and day out.

  42. Anna
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 14:41:08

    I’m not sure I can believe what I’m reading, here.

    Research is fine. Nobody is denying that.

    But most of us learn in grade school that “copying other peoples’ work verbatim into mine” is not the same as “research.”

    She copied. She stole. She’s only upset about being called on it because she knows she did something she shouldn’t have.

    Cassie is a liar, a thief, and a plagiarist, and she has no business making money off other writers’ words.

  43. Kay Hooper
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 14:41:44

    I've been following this, as many of my friends have, since the news broke. I’ve been very cheered by those who are taking a public stand against plagiarism and copyright infringement, and saddened by those who don’t seem to understand that stealing is wrong.

    As a writer, I can only say that anyone who deliberately copies whole chunks of information verbatim from another source and claims it as his or her own is guilty of plagiarism, possibly copyright infringement, and most certainly theft.

    And there is no excuse for stealing someone else's work. None.

  44. Nora Roberts
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 14:45:25

    ~I'm not sure what purpose it serves to continually attack Edwards, which seems to be what the SBs continue to do.~

    I guess I need you to show me the personal attacks–if you mean from Candy and/or Sarah. As far as opinions, or how they’re expressed, by commentors on their blog, or any blog–that’s on the commentor.

    I note, in fact, that both Candy and Sarah have specifically urged posters to lay off the personal. What else could they do?

  45. Robin Bayne
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 14:48:17

    I think the discussions have been very professional–not personal at all. I have seen extremely personal attacks made on this author on other sites over the years–this is not one of them.

  46. Teddypig
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 14:50:15

    objective journalistic blogging

    Um wow, you actually read the name of the site?
    It says Smart Bitches That Love Trashy Books.
    Not Wall Street Journal or New York Times so I think they are meeting my expectations as far as being fair but honest.
    I mean, since your expectations seem to be a little high next to the actual type of reviews they write which are fairly objective and quite informative next to say Romantic Times, but then you can’t buy their favorable reviews by buying ad space.

  47. azteclady
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 15:22:30

    Courtney Carroll said,

    I'm not sure what purpose it serves to continually attack Edwards, which seems to be what the SBs continue to do.

    It would seem, to me at least, that you haven’t read the post by SBSarah and Candy themselves, nor their comments in the ensuing thread discussions. Because if you had done that you would know that neither of them has attacked Ms Edwards.

    As far as

    continuing to write about the same author's transgressions day in and day out

    Well… let me make a clumsy comparison. Let’s say the police discover evidence of a robbery. They pinpoint who the thief is. Should they stop investigating this person to see if there is evidence of more robberies? And, if more evidence shows up, should the police stop then? Cause it’s not the same transgression–is a series of robberies going on for, apparently, more than two decades.

  48. Teddypig
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 15:35:08

    Gee Courtney Carroll,

    You would not happen to be a reviewer for Romantic Times would you?

  49. Kasey Michaels
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 15:38:51

    I want to personally and very publicly thank Nora Roberts for her personal strength in putting herself and her own traumatic experience in having to deal with the theft of her intellectual property out there yet again because, sadly, here we go again.

    “No cheating! Eyes on your own paper!” We all heard those words in grammar school.

    Plagiarism, copyright infringement, are placing your *hands* on someone else’s hard work and putting your own name on it, selling it, taking the money, the acclaim, the credit. It’s cheating the original writer, it’s cheating the reader.

    We’re not in grammar school anymore.

    Kasey Michaels

  50. Bev(BB)
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 15:48:32

    I agree with Ruth that we need to vigilant to protect against plagiarism and publicize it when it is found, but it seems to be that doing that in a forthright, objective manner serves the romance community far better than continuing to write about the same author's transgressions day in and day out.

    So, let me get this straight in my head, they’re supposed to stop reporting an author’s transgressions after how many books are found? What exactly is the limit per author? Just for future reference.

    That I know of I have never read Edwards so don’t look at me as having any motives except complete and utter fascination over the very idea that there might be a limit anyone should stop at if there is actually more evidence out there.

    This is not the same thing as dragging an author’s personal life into the spotlight, people.

    This is literally about what’s in the books themselves.

    What an author put there and claimed as their own wordcraft.

    Do we or do we not have a right to know the truth about that?

  51. CourtneyCarroll
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 16:17:03

    LOL. It’s interesting to me that I’m getting this much flack for an author I’ve never even read and could not care any less about. I’ll respond to the comments in turn.

    NR, azteclady, Bev-of course I’ve read the SB’s CE posts which has pained me every time. I swore a long time ago that I wouldn’t return to their website as their “critiques” repulse me on the most basic cerebral level. Their language (in general) is atrocious and it’s hard for me to take them seriously because of it. My point with the above post was that the readers I know who have been following this scandal are sick of the SB’s blogging about it and others, myself included, think it’s time for Penquin to complete its investigation. It’s made the national news (AP, NYT, etc.) and I don’t know what the benefit is for the SBs to continue on with it day after day. Obviously many of you think there is indeed a benefit to it and it may be because Penquin’s initial response was so insufficient that folks think they can only rely on the SBs to continuously unearth more examples of plagiarism. For me personally, it’s repetitive. Once an author has plagiarized and that’s been made public, it doesn’t matter to me whether it was one book or 100 books.

    Teddypig-I’m honored you’d suggest I’d be a reviewer for RT. While it read its reviews, I am not a reviewer. Just an avid reader. : )

  52. Marianne Willman
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 16:18:31

    Dipping into someone’s wallet without permission and taking the contents is called stealing. Dipping into an author’s book and copying the contents without permission is no different.

    Except, of course, in the case of the wallet if you can pinpoint the thief and identify the stolen property, and match the fingerprints, something will likely be done about it. This doesn’t seem to be the case with plagiarism. The questions are not just “Why?” but “What can we do about the general indifference to the problem –and “What what can we do to ensure there are consequences?” Many thanks to all of you who are willing to speak out against plagiarism. May your tribes increase.

  53. Nora Roberts
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 16:27:04

    Courtney, while I understand your position, I have to say I wish I’d had someone like the SBs or DA in my corner when Dailey plagiarized me. The process of vetting the books, unearthing and citing the copying, wading through the morass when so many books are involved is a nightmare.

    And it does matter how many times. Again, from my own experience, the number of times, the nature of the copying all goes to pattern.

  54. Kay Hooper
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 16:46:54

    For me personally, it's repetitive. Once an author has plagiarized and that's been made public, it doesn't matter to me whether it was one book or 100 books.

    As Nora said, the number of instances of plagiarism found and detailed speak to pattern, which certainly will be important should any of the authors and publishers plagiarized choose to prosecute.

    But that aside, what you view as “repetition” some of us view as “more proof of plagiarism.”

    Again, I commend the SBs and others for continuing to dig, especially in the face of criticism.

  55. HelenKay Dimon » Blog Archive » The Elephant In The Room
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 17:02:53

    […] frustrated. Since I could not say anything nice or helpful, I decided only to leave a comment at Dear Author about my general feelings about plagiarism and leave it at that. I thought that would be sufficient […]

  56. CourtneyCarroll
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 17:03:24

    Nora and Kay-I appreciate the points you make about the pattern and extent of Edwards’ plagiarism. I’m not a writer and I can’t imagine how it must feel to be violated by someone who plagiarizes your work.

    My question is how much proof of plagiarism do you need? Do people believe that if there was only evidence of plagiarism in one book that it’s less significant than if it’s found for every single one of her published books? I don’t and that was the point that I was trying to make as a reader.

    I don’t ask this to be snarky-I’m honestly interested in people’s responses and hope folks respond.

  57. azteclady
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 17:12:35

    My take on this: it’s not one party who’s been plagiarized and used. Some–many?–of the people whose hard work has been used for profit don’t have any idea this has come to light. Some because they are dead. Some because their publishers have changed hands or closed down.

    Don’t they too deserve justice? Can we readers take it for granted that Ms Edwards’ current and past publishers will hunt down this evidence of plagiarism and make amends of some kind with the original authors?

  58. Jane
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 17:13:08

    Just quickly because I don’t have a ton of time, but I think that the instances of wrong doing is as important as the plagiarism itself. If I can refer to the law (I’m sorry, it’s my only frame of reference), the number of bad acts in the law determines the amount of the punishment. A first time offender will get leniency. A repeat offender less. And, unfortunately, there is the three times and you are out rule. So, yes, I do think that we should know and post all of the instances because it provides a measurement of culpability.

    I understand the fatigue though. I suffer from it as well and when I have a moment, I plan to make an Edwards tab and the countdown clock as some have suggested so that if there are readers who are fatigued to the point that they just cannot read one more instance about it, they’ll have that choice. I might just put the posts under “Industry News”.

    While we deviated from our regular schedule last week, we don’t plan on doing so again because of the Edwards matter other than to post publisher responses, if any, and any possible actions taken in this matter.

    I don’t know, Courtney, if it was just an error that you posted above, but I don’t think I ever criticized the SBs for their tone or their posting. I don’t think what they did or how they handled it was inappropriate at all. In fact, given the enormity of what they had in terms of factual evidence and the huge potential for snark, they were really restrained.

    Finally, let me state that I think it is so important to keep this issue in the community’s eye because there is obviously a HUGE misunderstanding/misperception/etc. about what is legitimate use of research resources, whether it be fiction or non fiction by both authors and readers. Not so much here but in other threads on other sites.

    The fact that it is so misunderstood does spur me to keep writing about it.

  59. Toddson
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 17:17:23

    I’ve been following this since the story broke and I’m interested to see the range of responses to the story. In my opinion, it’s possible to accidentally incorporate research into your text. Once. More than once, and it turns into deliberate plagiarism. I know some people don’t know the difference.

    However, for everyone who’s defending this practice, stop a minute and think. What if it were your work – what if you , or a friend, or an author you admire, had taken the time to research and write something in your own words and then someone else took your work and presented it as their own?

    Think about it in this light and see if you feel differently.

  60. CourtneyCarroll
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 17:17:34

    Jane-I didn’t mean to imply that you had criticized the SB’s. I thought one of your weekend posts said others, not you or DA, suggested that the SB’s discovery of CE’s plagiarism was undermined by their treatment of her in the past.

  61. Nora Roberts
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 17:20:23

    ~My question is how much proof of plagiarism do you need? Do people believe that if there was only evidence of plagiarism in one book that it's less significant than if it's found for every single one of her published books? I don't and that was the point that I was trying to make as a reader.~

    I get that, but it doesn’t necessarily work that way. A writer has a hundred published novels. It’s discovered she copied text in one of them–enough for it to be plagiarism–or infringement. That’s very bad. But people would–most readers, even some other writers, certainly a publisher–say it was only once. A mistake, inadvertant, or just a mental blip.

    You find two, it’s hmm. Three, four, five–that’s a pattern. The pattern–and the weight–increases with each incident.

    It’s important to find it all. Not just this piece or that piece, but all. If more work is found that’s under copyright, isn’t that publisher, that author entitled to know? And to decide how to proceed?

    It could be argued (and I would) that the readers deserve to know. Was it a one-off–that strange and out of character mistake? Or was it a pattern of abuse?

    Other writers deserve to know–and to make it clear they don’t approve. To make it clear to those who might be tempted to copy, that it’s wrong.

    These blogs give all that a format that didn’t exist when I was dealing with this. Readers and writers can share their thoughts and opinions, educate themselves, debate–the issue.

    It should always come back to the issue itself. And, for me, as more and more is uncovered in this case, it simply cements that issue. It removes the possibility of that one slip, that mistake–and shows a pattern that encompasses many books and many years.

  62. Jane
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 17:23:50

    Courtney- you are right, I did say that. I don’t agree with the sentiment of others, but I did say it.

  63. CourtneyCarroll
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 17:29:59

    Nora and Jane-thanks for your thoughts. I guess numbers do matter in ways that I hadn’t considered.

    But I’m back to one of my original questions from last week-what is the punishment now? Return of Edwards’ contract money and royalties? Pulling all books by her from shelves to eliminate the possibility of future sales? It seems very unclear to me what Penguin can and will do.

  64. Jane
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 17:34:14

    At the least, I think a public acknowledgment would go a long ways toward making this right. In a perfect world, I would say that the publishers go through all the books and determine what copyrighted works were copied from and if they rise to infringement, that those who hold the copyright be notified and offered some kind of reparation.

    The works that contain unattributed public domain copying should be taken from the shelves and revised ones with appropriate attribution be replaced.

    Any works that cannot be properly revised to avoid plagiarism should not be reshelved.

    This is off the top of my head. I could be convinced one way or another at this point regarding the above.

  65. Sara Dennis
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 17:42:44

    My husband has asked me this question as well, after listening to me rant. What punishment would suit the crime?

    My initial response, Jane, was like yours. That I thought her books should be pulled off shelves and replaced. My DH pointed out that the cost of that sort of endeavor is most likely something that would deter Penguin from going that route. I mean, it would be -very- expensive to reprint and reship all of those books, wouldn’t it? Never mind the fact that bookstores would have to be compliant in replacing them, etc.

    So I amended. I personally would like to see an acknowledgement and apology from Ms. Edwards herself. I think Signet making a public statement and acknowledgement would go a long way, too. Going forward, if Ms. Edwards has new releases or if older books are reprinted, I feel acknowledgement pages are important.

    Having books with plagiarised content pulled off shelves now wouldn’t be a bad idea, I will admit, but I have no idea how realistic it is.

  66. Nora Roberts
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 17:52:26

    I can’t imagine CE will be asked, if the publisher finds plagiarism and/or infringement, for advances and royalty returned. I don’t want to speculate on what they may or may not do.

    As for infringement, that’s not CE’s publisher’s problem, but hers, if the other authors or publisher elect to pursue.

  67. Ann Bruce
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 18:26:34

    Totally off-topic, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to gush like a fangirl for Ruth Ryan Langan.

    Ms. Langan, HIGHLAND HEATHER was my very first historical romance and I’ve been hooked ever since.

  68. Tasha
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 19:01:26

    My question is how much proof of plagiarism do you need? Do people believe that if there was only evidence of plagiarism in one book that it’s less significant than if it’s found for every single one of her published books? I don’t and that was the point that I was trying to make as a reader.

    If the plagiarism all came from a single source, I could see the merit in this argument. But thus far the examples of plagiarized material come from a multitude of sources.

    Again using the example of the police catching a robber, if the police found the rental storage unit where a robber stored stolen goods until he could sell them, don’t you think the police have a responsibility to inform the owners of all the stolen goods, not just the first one they happened to notice?

  69. Ruth Ryan Langan
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 19:08:36

    Ann, you sweetie. Thank you for loving my Highland Heather. I did love writing those Scottish Highland historicals.

    You can be my fan-girl any time you choose. You just made my day.

    Ruth Ryan Langan

  70. Ruth Ryan Langan
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 19:14:36

    Oh, and Nora, honey, I wuv you too.

    Ruth

  71. Bev(BB)
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 19:20:25

    My question is how much proof of plagiarism do you need?

    Ideally as a reader, I’d ultimately like to see a comprehensive listing of all books by the author that were “copied” from other sources. The problem with waiting around for a legal solution to a situation like this to resolve itself is that lawyers and the courts are notoriously slow at doing their jobs. (No offense to any present company. ;p) Even then, when and if that part of the equation ever does get taken care of, there’ll be absolutely no guarantee that we as readers will get that information anyway. Certainly not totally. Most likely only in bits and pieces.

    So, if we want the total picture, we dig it out for ourselves.

  72. CourtneyCarroll
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 19:25:39

    Excellent points made above by Nora and Tasha (and others) regarding the fact that the victims of Edwards’ plagiarism have the right to know about it. This discussion makes me wonder what, if any precautions, publishers take regarding their authors plagiarizing. Is it on the honor system where the author represents that his/her manuscript is completely her own?

  73. Teddypig
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 19:33:40

    what is the punishment now?

    Well, that would have to be the lawyers and the publishers and the writers involved decision right? Once they know they have become included in the group she ripped off.

    I'm not sure what purpose it serves to continually attack Edwards, which seems to be what the SBs continue to do.

    I do not think that Smart Bitches or any of the people providing the “service” of investigating (Not attacking) or finding these cut and paste incidents in all the books they have covered so far can say what the punishment will or should be. That asks for an experienced legal judgment of some type of court based on the laws in question. They are just keeping the general public informed of the findings since after almost 100 books no one else noticed this so the whole event reflects there being so many books to look at.

  74. Nora Roberts
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 19:35:39

    ~Is it on the honor system where the author represents that his/her manuscript is completely her own?~

    We sign a contract that clearly states we are providing the publisher with original work. It is–or at least any that I’ve signed–very specifically worded. The publisher pays us for that original work.

    They can’t possibly vet and check every book they publish–thousands of books. A contract should be enough to insure all parties adhere to the terms therein.

    To my mind, when the author does not provide original work, as contracted, the publisher is also a victim.

  75. Poison Ivy
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 20:11:17

    Because most authors also sign an indemnification clause, in addition to warranting the originality of their manuscript, the accused author usually bears the greatest brunt of any plagiarism lawsuit. (This will vary depending on the author’s clout.) Publishers often reserve the right to sue or to settle the suit on their own, and then may charge the author for all (or a portion) of the legal costs. This can be exceedingly expensive for the author and yet totally out of his/her control. However, in an instance in which the author refuses to admit fault and wants to drag out a lawsuit, the publisher thus has the power to just stop the dance, and settle.

    So in this case, if 100 authors have been plagiarized and choose to sue, the publishers involved might see that they can’t win, settle with the victims, and then hand Cassie Edwards the bill. I’m not saying that her contracts are all written like that. But they could be.

    Thus every instance of plagiarism must be publicized, because each one builds the case for the next. Plus, if your thing is writing about ferrets, you aren’t looking on romance writing web sites for news of being plagiarized. You aren’t a member of the (useless) RWA. Only when the news hits the mainstream media will you find out what has been done to you.

    The more we talk truth, cite the specifics, find more evidence, the more good we do.

  76. Kay Hooper
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 20:30:11

    Here is why it is not beating a dead horse. It is clear from comments all over the internet that there is a fundamental misunderstanding regarding what is acceptable use of someone else's words, whether it be fiction or non fiction. The continued discussion of this matter can only serve to educate everyone.

    I so, so agree with this.

    We have to keep talking about plagiarism and copyright infringement, here and elsewhere. Because far too many people cheerfully “trading content” on the Internet have no understanding of what defines intellectual property, or why it’s wrong to “share” without permission.

    And far too many who certainly should understand, IMO, seem willing to find or accept excuses for an act, a practice, that is simply inexcusable.

  77. azteclady
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 20:45:28

    Also because there is a misunderstanding–or utter lack of knowledge–of what is appropriate attribution in fiction.

    I’ve participated in at least one online discussion in which some of the individuals don’t see a difference between research and plagiarism. Scary to say the least.

  78. Bev(BB)
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 20:53:37

    We have to keep talking about plagiarism and copyright infringement, here and elsewhere. Because far too many people cheerfully “trading content” on the Internet have no understanding of what defines intellectual property, or why it's wrong to “share” without permission.

    Heck, it literally boggles my mind what some seem to think counts as paraphrasing. Seems to me, if writers don’t know how to do that properly, there’s no way to avoid more serious problems ultimately.

  79. Kristie(J)
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 21:25:10

    Like many others, I’ve been following this whole plagiarism debacle though I haven’t commented much. I do wish that the internet and reader support had been there when Nora Roberts went through her struggle. Every time I see a Janet Daily book on the shelves I get angry, angry that a thief is still allowed to flourish, angry her books are still available, and angry that Ms. Roberts was critizised for speaking up. The whole community needs to stand up against this because it IS wrong. It is unethical to the utmost and it should not be tolerated. I’m glad that SB’s and DA are shining the light.

  80. BethC
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 22:56:54

    They can't possibly vet and check every book they publish-thousands of books.

    Actually, they might be able to, thanks to some new software that is available.

    My husband is the network administrator for a small university. They recently installed software that allows instructors & professors to feed suspect papers into algorithm checking routines and have them compared for similarities in verbiage & grammar to existing works. The local university here is 5 to 15 years behind in such technology, as we understand it. Many major universities have had such things available for some time.

    Perhaps the publishing industry needs to join education in looking for ways to assure they are getting original work, not that which has been plagarized or recycled.

  81. Nora Roberts
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 23:18:14

    Maybe I’m just being non-techno savvy, but I honestly can’t see a major publishing house–Penguin alone has more imprints than I can think of–running thousands of mss through software. Many mss with many hundreds of pages each.

    One day, maybe. But at this point in time, it’s in no way practical. Remember, you’d have fiction, non-fiction, self-help books, children’s books, hard cover, mm originals, trade paperbacks, cook books, biographies, short story collections, anthologies and much more. Thousands.

    Anyone here ever attended a BEA? The annual book convention. It fills the convention center of a major city with books. And not every publisher attends, and those who do wouldn’t have titles of every book they’d publish that year.

    This is only one more reason writers need to understand what constitutes plagiarism and/or infringement. Good research vs copying. And giving their word on the legal document of a contract.

    Every writer who says it’s no big deal, or it’s non-fiction and so what, or other excuses casts a shadow on all of us.

  82. Jane
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 23:25:08

    From my inbox:

    SAVAGE OBSESSION
    Page 284 (pg 434 in Large Type edition)
    The odors of the forest, the dew and damp meadow, and the curling smoke from the wigwams were left behind as Lorinda […]

    HIAWATHA by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
    Lines 3-5 of the Introduction
    With the odors of the forest,
    With the dew and damp of meadows,
    With the curling smoke of wigwams

    From Nikki the Super Badass Researcher

  83. Donna
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 23:43:40

    I just posted this on the SB Blog, and I’m posting it here. I asked my 73 year old mother (who is a high school drop out) if I could copy a few paragraphs from a book and pass it off as my own. She answered, “No, you’ll go to jail for doing something like that.” I then asked her, what is it called if I do something like that? She answered, “Plagiarism.”

    So see? Even a 73 year old high school drop out knows it is illegal.

  84. Nora Roberts
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 23:48:52

    Nobody is going to tell me they think it’s okay, it’s just research, it’s just paraphrazing to take Longfellow’s poetry and pass it off as your prose.

    I call serious bullshit.

  85. Bev(BB)
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 00:29:15

    Oh, my word. Un-be-lieve-able. Is this some weird twilight zone we’ve fallen into?

    Yeah, what Nora said. In spades.

  86. Barbara
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 00:57:10

    From the varied comments about my previous post, it is apparent that most misunderstood my words, or chose to misunderstand them. Plagiarism is very serious, as is copyright infringement.

    Azteclady, Jan, Shiloh: I have no objection to people commenting on something they feel adverse to, such as the topic of plagiarism as it allegedly relates to Cassie Edwards. Before you or other readers go off on your vehement tangents of protest about the term “allegation” in relation to the damaging comparisons, it is exactly that. All the comparisons at this point are allegations, as they have not been proven in a court of competent jurisdiction. The majority of the concerned commenters here will disagree with me, however, to consider anything otherwise is tantamount to a growing pack of wild dogs set upon tearing apart someone who allegedly made several serious mistakes with their writing practices.

    One cannot say unequivocally that Cassie Edwards used plagiarism in her books, either verbally or in print. This also applies to these comments by Anna: “Cassie is a liar, a thief, and a plagiarist, and she has no business making money off other writers' words.” What you say may be true, but you cannot state them nor write them. To do so, one may meet legal ramnifications of a costly nature. It is quite appropriate to say alleged to avoid an appearance in court. You notice that Jane uses the word “alleged” in the title of this blog entry? It is for the same reason explained above. But, eventually, justice will be served at its appointed time.

    I do not condone the behaviour of people who as Shiloh so aptly put it: “Making fun, making light or mocking CE at this point doesn't improve the way the romance genre will be seen…outsiders might not see it that way. They may see this as a bitchfest where we've gone coyote on something…” The behaviour shown by the commentary of people on Dear Author and Smart Bitches gives a very poor example to outsiders, more specifically, those who are not Americans and not living in the United States. It is this behaviour I alluded to in the comment: “Why are you flogging a dead horse?” Repeated callous comments and personal attacks on Ms Edwards are not the way to endear others to your cause; certainly not mine.

    Nor do I condone the behaviour of Sarah and Candy at “Smart Bitches” for rallying the audience into a frenzy by promoting public humiliation and shame through the contact of various sources including the media. That is malicious behaviour. I briefly took a look at their site earlier, only to notice they had removed their own contemptuous comments from the blog posts about Cassie Edwards. Perhaps they have a legal adviser; and they are hoping no one printed out the pages containing their comments. There was one phrase in particular that I took note of, as it was made the day after I had posted a comment.

    With respect to the publisher, Penguin, in this instance, will have to implement new measures and/or new clauses in their author contracts, as well as taking a thorough internal examination of their editing practices. Someone at Penguin ought to have noticed the change in tone of the writing style when it was so apparent to the reader. Any experienced editor would have noticed the writing was not “smooth” in style. All publishers have editors to modify an author's book to some degree before it is published.

    In closing, all those who are concerned about plagiarism and how it affects writers of any genre should be writing letters or contacting their affiliated writing associations and publishing houses to ensure changes are made. Continued discussions are fine, and I agree with Jane that by addressing them it will allow a better understanding by others of how not to misuse words in either fiction or non-fiction published works and passing them off as original work in their own.

  87. Ann Bruce
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 01:05:15

    Longfellow?!? Is nothing sacred to this woman? Or does she think since he’s dead, he can’t defend his work so she’d get away with it?

    I can’t follow this debacle anymore. It’s too disheartening and my head’s hurting.

    I’m just going to wait for the verdict from the publishers–and hope they rise above my cynical opinion of them and their business practices.

  88. Meljean
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 01:16:07

    Oh, my … Longfellow? Hiawatha?

    This just jumped into seriously bizarre territory. And I’m also starting to wonder — what percentage of the prose in each book is lifted? And to fit all of that lifted material into a plot … how long did it take to find the right passages each time? It actually seems easier to write your own books than do that much reading and to find the right phrase to put into your manuscript.

  89. Jana Pike
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 02:19:27

    I just discovered Dear Author yesterday, as I have a horrible flu and have been sick all weekend, and I was looking for reviews of good ebooks I could get to distract myself from my plague and pestilence. Anyway, I just learned of this whole situation, and I’d like to add my agreement to those who’ve said the issue of plagiarism needs to be discussed, publicly and openly, because it tends to get shoved under the rug. It shouldn’t be ignored, toned down or kept quiet, and it shouldn’t have to be let go. It SHOULD be discussed until people are way past sick of hearing about it. A big, fat, hairy deal should be made out of it. A civil and reasonable one, but still.

    Here’s a sad little tale for all of you kids: I work in accounting now, but after college I managed a bookstore for three and a half years, from 2000 to 2004. On top of that, I am and always have been a voracious reader, and yet until today I had NO IDEA that Janet Dailey blatantly plagiarized a mind boggling amount of Nora Roberts’ works. Okay, so I was only 19 in 1997 and I didn’t read romance back then, but I wasn’t dead and I didn’t live in a cave. I watched the news, I read newspapers, and I was online. How could this story have been so downplayed that it could have escaped my notice?

    Moreover, I MANAGED A BOOKSTORE FOR OVER THREE YEARS and I had never heard of this before. Why? Because it was never discussed or even mentioned in company communications, amongst store staff or other managers, or even at the annual company conventions. I did not work for some small, obscure company. I worked for Barnes & Noble. It was never so much as brought up in passing when Janet Dailey got that large contract (Kensington, was it?) round about 2001. Not a whisper, not a word. How WRONG is that?

    After seeing mention of it in these comments, I did a bit of Googling, and my oh my what discoveries did I make. To Ms. Roberts, I would like to say how shocked I am, and also how terribly sorry that you not only had to endure such an ordeal, but that it could be quashed to the degree that one of the biggest book retailers in the world couldn’t be arsed to mention it once in a nearly four year period.

    For anyone who writes, plagiarism is more than a crime. It’s a violation of something sacred to you, something you put a bit of your soul into. Beyond the personal level, plagiarism is an insult to artistry in all its forms. It’s lazy, unethical and unprofessional. Yet for all of that, I think the worst part is that it can happen and a perpetrator can emerge so unscathed as to sign a seven figure contract less than five years later, or someone can change a bit of measly punctuation in entire passages of poetry and fiction and try to paint it as “research,” then essentially cry racism and say they’re being harassed by fame whores when they’re called on it. That’s sickening, and it’s the kind of thing that can slowly undermine an entire industry, let alone a genre already too often susceptible to undeserved criticism. So discuss away, by all means. If people can still manage to stomach headlines about Britney Spears, they can certainly survive a healthy discussion of plagiarism, both what it is and how it affects people and business.

    Wow, I think I’m more peeved about this than I realized. But seriously, just looking at those side-by-sides is about enough to make you queasy. And Longfellow? La Farge? I mean, honestly, the unmitigated gall. Research, indeed.

  90. Robin
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 03:15:00

    Moreover, I MANAGED A BOOKSTORE FOR OVER THREE YEARS and I had never heard of this before. Why? Because it was never discussed or even mentioned in company communications, amongst store staff or other managers, or even at the annual company conventions. I did not work for some small, obscure company. I worked for Barnes & Noble. It was never so much as brought up in passing when Janet Dailey got that large contract (Kensington, was it?) round about 2001. Not a whisper, not a word. How WRONG is that?

    Well, as long as we tolerate the blaming of the victim and the demonizing of those who uncover the copying, the issue will remain taboo, IMO.

  91. Suisan
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 05:14:11

    I just commented on someone else’s blog that I hadn’t commented on this whole thing before, because, well mostly I couldn’t think of anything that someone else hadn’t already said.

    But now I HAVE to post. Must.

    LONGFELLOW????

    Hiawatha, no less?

    LONGFELLOW??

    Sweet Jesus, this is bizarre.

  92. Shannon Stacey
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 07:59:28

    Longfellow? *sigh* Anybody find James Fenimore Cooper in there yet? (Different regions of the country aside, he loved him some in-depth description.)

  93. Jane
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 08:29:22

    All the comparisons at this point are allegations, as they have not been proven in a court of competent jurisdiction.

    There is not court of competent jurisdiction for plagiarism, only copyright infringement and we can all determine for ourself whether what we read rises to the level of plagiarism under our own definitions. However, there should be one uniform definition for the genre that sets a floor above which individuals can build their own ethical standards.

    Nor do I condone the behaviour of Sarah and Candy at “Smart Bitches” for rallying the audience into a frenzy by promoting public humiliation and shame through the contact of various sources including the media. That is malicious behaviour.

    No, it’s not. Malice, under a legal standard which you refer to, is considered to be reckless disregard; something that shocks the conscience of the community. Reporting and even making a snide comment about Ms. Edwards’ writing is never going to be considered malice in a “court of competent jurisdiction.”

    Further, the various sources the SBs contacted were publishers. The media came to them because of the magnitude of the situation.

  94. (Jān)
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 08:35:10

    I am skeptical of the Hiawatha. That’s just too blatant. Everyone knows those lines. I could see that being an homage or even the character’s POV. Of course, with the pattern we’ve seen I can see why plagiarism is assumed. But it seems to me that when lines are truly famous writers only use them as a nod toward the original, unless they’ve completely lost touch with reality.

  95. DS
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 08:38:06

    Oh, my … Longfellow? Hiawatha?

    This just jumped into seriously bizarre territory. And I'm also starting to wonder -‘ what percentage of the prose in each book is lifted? And to fit all of that lifted material into a plot … how long did it take to find the right passages each time? It actually seems easier to write your own books than do that much reading and to find the right phrase to put into your manuscript.

    I was wondering this myself. In my googling I found two lines describing a horse drawn carriage lifted from a 1986 biography of a quilter/folk artist to Passion’s Embrace. The only thing I can think of is that she wrote things down that struck her.

    The padded black patent leather seats were as soft as air as the fancy
    carriage rode like a breeze. Passion’s Embrace Page 162

    The new Carry-all was a beauty. Its two padded black patent leather seats were as soft as air, and it's long buggy box rode like a breeze above its elliptic springs.

    No Time on My Hands – by Grace Snyder – 1986 Page 128

  96. Nora Roberts
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 08:50:07

    Janna, thank you. A whole bunch.

    As for recognizing the lines from Haiwatha. I didn’t. I had to memorize the first verse (I think) in grade school, but I didn’t automatically recognize the lines lifted.

  97. kasey michaels
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 09:06:44

    <>

    Uh, no. When you use words written by a famous (or not so famous) author, you give credit to that author. Plagiarism is NOT the sincerest form of flattery!

    You can write your book in a stylistic rip-off of Raymond Chandler, for instance…and you’ll probably just get laughed at as doing the poor man’s imiation of Raymond Chandler. But if you use Raymond Chandler’s words — for example, quoting a line from Chandler in dialogue from your hero — you’d better darn well have it right in there: “Jack said, doing a bad Raymond Chandler imitation.” Having the words come out of Jack’s mouth without crediting Chandler gives the impression that Jack (well, the guy writing the book about Jack…) is saying those words in exactly that way for the first time, ever.

    See the difference?

    Kasey Michaels

  98. Anon76
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 10:01:13

    Courtney said,”But I'm back to one of my original questions from last week-what is the punishment now? Return of Edwards' contract money and royalties? Pulling all books by her from shelves to eliminate the possibility of future sales? It seems very unclear to me what Penguin can and will do.”

    None of us know what will occur next. But for many of us, the most important element in this is stopping others, be they newbie writers or veterans, from adopting such practices.

    Deadlines can be hell, as can the driving desire to sell your first book. We don’t want that to translate into “steal from others as needed to meet those goals”. And those goals often equal; published, money, adoration, and fame. Yes, seeing your work published is a huge rush, but then comes even more work.

    If we keep quiet on this issue, it will be swept under the rug. Heck, when I started writing I had NO clue JD stole from Nora. And yet she still has a writing career using her original name (okay, I don’t know if she went by JD at the time, but from others I’m extrapolating that that is the case.)

    If that is the case, it’s rather disheartening. Other writers with more than one book pubbed have had to change their pen names when their last book didn’t sell well. Heck, they’ve even had to try new sub-genres. But, JD, keeps on going on going on. That leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Perhaps, if the community of writers had been able to spread their message that this sort of crud is unacceptable, others wouldn’t follow suit, or at least check themselves if they’d done it in the past and hadn’t been caught.

    My two cents.

    (And okay, for the first time I’m gonna glom on Nora. I’ve refrained for a year or more now since you first started popping up on the blogs. I thought that at those times I heartily agreed with you, someone would discount my words as being that of yet another rabid fan. Hence, they would disregard my other comments even if they were in contrast to your own. But now, I’m saying, Me Lubs Me Some Nora Books. LOL)

  99. Sela Carsen
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 10:09:25

    I’ve been reading along over at Teach Me Tonight and they’ve been talking about intertextuality within the plagiarism discussion. Things like pop culture references, things that we might reasonably expect our audience to recognize as a tip of the hat to something that we did not create.

    For instance, if your character says, “That word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” I don’t think most of us would consider that plagiarism because we have a reasonable expectation that a good part of our audience knows “The Princess Bride.” That’s intertextuality. It’s what makes fiction fun and interesting. Finding those crossroads in literature broadens our scope of understanding.

    Therefore, in this sole instance (and I’ve been vehement in my stance that CE plagiarized repeatedly and without limit) I might put this one down to intertextuality.

    However, given the pattern of plagiarism that we’ve seen, it certainly tosses another shovel of dirt on the grave of her career.

  100. ev
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 10:12:07

    Blame the Plot Monkeys for me dropping in here on this subject. I have never really had time to check out DA or SB until this topic came up in today’s blog.

    Like Jana, I work, and have worked for years for the competition- Border’s and Waldens. The romance section is my section of responsibility. Always has been. And in the years I only heard little bits and pieces of what JD did to La Nora. Not through the company either, but on the web. (Before I really started using it for more than sending emails, so I never really searced it out.) I don’t think I have read a JD novel in years, which may have been an unconscious decision on my part. (And is May here yet, I want book 2 of Blood Brothers, NOW!)

    Simply pulling the books from the shelves however will not accomplish much. When we do pull MM, we have to strip cover them, return the cover for credit, throw the book out and if the inventory is set for a certain number of copies, the publisher or warehouse will just replenish our stock. The only thing it really does is contribute to the, hopefully, recycling pile. Also, as far as the bookstores are concerned, if someone is willing to buy it they will be happy to take their money. OJ’s book anyone?

    As for not stopping the discussions- Civil Discourse has always been highly prized by this nation. Should we stop because someone feels like we are just talking it to death. The internet and the world have become the town crier’s new podium of choice. And in many ways, one that will help, ultimately, to bring problems to the forefront in a quicker (although that doesn’t always mean accurate) means. I, for one, would rather wade through other people’s meaningless comments then rely on one person telling me what is the truth.

    As for the programs available, my daughter’s college has one that the students can run their papers through and it will highlight the passages that are suspect, or need to be reworded, and they can do that until the paper is “clean”. These run fairly fast and there is no reason why a publisher can’t do the same thing- not with every book as someone suggested- but with a random selction from every author maybe. This way if it does flag something, BEFORE it is published, they may be able to nip the problem in the bud, so to speak, and keep a watchful eye on future submissions.

    Just MHO as an avid romance reader.

  101. Jane
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 10:18:02

    I don’t know if Nikki or Sarah Frantz are reading this thread, but Nikki provided text from a CE book that had copying affirmed by Google booksearch to Dr. Frantz. Dr. Frantz ran it through Turnitin, the software she uses to check her students papers against plagiarism and Turnitin turned up 0% plagiarism so I don’t know how effective it actually is.

  102. Laura Vivanco
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 11:24:20

    “The behaviour shown by the commentary of people on Dear Author and Smart Bitches gives a very poor example to outsiders, more specifically, those who are not Americans and not living in the United States.”

    Really? It never even crossed my mind that there were national boundaries where plagiarism allegations were concerned, or that there was anything specifically American in the response to the allegations of plagiarism.

    Also, are you assuming that most/all of the people commenting here and at the Smart Bitches are American? Because I know for a fact that quite a few of us who have been commenting are not.

  103. Angelle
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 12:23:46

    I do not condone the behaviour of people who as Shiloh so aptly put it: “Making fun, making light or mocking CE at this point doesn't improve the way the romance genre will be seen…outsiders might not see it that way. They may see this as a bitchfest where we've gone coyote on something…” The behaviour shown by the commentary of people on Dear Author and Smart Bitches gives a very poor example to outsiders, more specifically, those who are not Americans and not living in the United States. It is this behaviour I alluded to in the comment: “Why are you flogging a dead horse?” Repeated callous comments and personal attacks on Ms Edwards are not the way to endear others to your cause; certainly not mine.

    Barbara,

    If Cassie Edwards were a Japanese author, published in Japan, and found out to be a plagiarist, she would’ve gone to the press, apologize and bow deeply to show her remorse. So I don’t see what the point of the particular argument you’ve made there. Do you think you speak for the rest of the world just because you aren’t American?

  104. Mora
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 12:48:46

    Sela, thanks for bringing that up. I’ve been wondering about how allusion and homage fit into the picture, and where the line is drawn between them and plagiarism. It’s still murky for me.

  105. Alyssa
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 12:50:25

    It actually seems easier to write your own books than do that much reading and to find the right phrase to put into your manuscript.

    That’s what I thought. Talk about time-consuming.

  106. Sela Carsen
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 12:57:41

    No problem, Mora. Like I said, I’ve learned a lot at Teach Me Tonight and the P&P thread here.

  107. Bev(BB)
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 13:17:46

    I do not condone the behaviour of people who as Shiloh so aptly put it: “Making fun, making light or mocking CE at this point doesn't improve the way the romance genre will be seen…outsiders might not see it that way. They may see this as a bitchfest where we've gone coyote on something…”

    I’m curious about something. Is continuing to look up “similiarities” between her books and other “sources” making fun, making light and mocking? Or is it being honest about the situation?

    Just checking for future reference.

    You see, here’s the thing. I intentionally came out of a self-imposed personal ban on getting involved in “controversial” discussions just for this issue. Why? Because for once, someone, actually several someones, has found hard evidence of something that I’m truly interested in. It’s not just their own personal opinions to argue about endlessly that finally slides into cyber shouting matches about hurting this or that individuals feelings. Been there, done that, don’t want to do it any more on any topic. Thank you very much.

    But this is actually hard evidence and that’s another matter entirely. In a way I feel like I’ve been waiting more than ten years for this community to reach this point. Now before someone starts screaming that none of this is proof, that “proof” has to be proven in a court of law – get over yourself. Of course, legally any settlements against the individual have to be done that way. I know that. We all know that.

    Thing is, I am not talking about the author. I am talking about the books. And with regards to the books, the evidence for me is right there in the comparison lists and references that I can actually look up if I wish too. I can see for myself whether they’re “accurate” or not. I can judge for myself just how bad this is.

    We all can.

    And quite frankly, I tend to think we’re all way past the point of being told by someone to behave and go to our rooms. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone getting the wrong impression of the genre that we’re all just a bunch of mindless children that have to be told what to do . . .

    Like that’s going to fly at this point. ;p

  108. romreader
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 14:33:02

    I’ve never posted here, but have been following this discussion closely because I received this very same bulletin with the supposed Cassie Edwards message on myspace. The reason I’m posting now is because I just went onto my myspace page and ALL the bulletins have disappeared from my page. It says I have no bulletins. It looks like it’s been wiped out and started over from zip. I find that very strange. I’m wondering if everyone else’s bulletins are gone.

  109. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 14:37:21

    I'm curious about something. Is continuing to look up “similiarities” between her books and other “sources” making fun, making light and mocking? Or is it being honest about the situation?

    &

    And quite frankly, I tend to think we're all way past the point of being told by someone to behave and go to our rooms. I certainly wouldn't want anyone getting the wrong impression of the genre that we're all just a bunch of mindless children that have to be told what to do . . .

    Bev, this should probably also be directed at me since something I’d said was being referenced and I don’t want people thinking I’m telling them what to do. I never listen when people tell me what to do, so why should others listen to me?

    However, there comes a point when things escalate so that little progress is made. As I’ve said before, I’m goal-oriented and if it doesn’t help me accomplish the goal, it’s not something I’m going to mess with. I didn’t say others should feel the same, but I wanted my feelings on it out there because if we keep focusing on this one issue, it’s going to make it harder to focus on what we can do as a community to keep it from happening again. Or at least work toward that goal.

    Is continuing to look up “similiarities” between her books and other “sources” making fun, making light and mocking

    Again, since i’m the one who put out the comments about making fun, making light, mocking… I’ll answer. In my original comment,

    While I definitely am curious as to what comes of this issue regarding the publisher, etc, I don't want to add to any fuel to a fire that's already got plenty.

    But I do feel the need to point out that this issue has brought a whole hell of a lot of attention to the romance genre. How we carry on from here is up to us. Making fun, making light or mocking CE at this point doesn't improve the way the romance genre will be seen.

    To be clear here as much, but there have been plenty of comments made in a variety of forums,blog commentary , etc that are doing just that and as days pass, it seems to get a bit worse.

    I didn’t tell anybody to stop. I asked what it accomplishes? Making fun or mocking doesn’t undo the wrong of it. Also, I also agree that we deserve as a community to know what other instances are there.

    I also later clarified WHY I feel some of the cattiness I’ve seen in general isn’t doing the matter any good.

    The romance genre is constantly getting new readers, people who hadn't ever romance before but something compelled them to give it a chance and now they adore it. People unfamiliar with the genre might get a bit curious, check it out, try it, fall in love… but they are less likely to do that if they perceive something to be a huge bitchfest.

    I am NOT saying that's what this is, that's why this started. I see legit complaints from readers, from authors, from bloggers and I've voiced more than a few of my own. I firmly believe that the SBs did right bringing this to light. I firmly believe that the DA ladies are right when they say plagiarism needs to be discussed, that education is needed. I also believe CE needs to take responsibility for what she did.

    So hiding this isn't what I want at all. What I'd like is to see something positive come from this. Considering the attention this has gotten, there's no reason it can't benefit the romance genre in a variety of ways. If more readers gave the romance genre a chance, that would be a huge benefit to readers and writers alike. I'm all for doing things that could benefit the genre which means I'm for promoting a positive image of the genre.

    I’m a huge NR fan and when I heard about her being plagiarized, yes, I was disgusted. I still do not read the author responsible. But how does me insulting the woman, mocking her make what she did to NR any better?

    It doesn’t.

    People can discuss this however they want, they can mock if they so choose. But since it seems most of us are in agreement, we feel it was wrong & we want to do something to help prevent it from happening in the future, shouldn’t we work towards that goal?

    I try very hard not to tell behave to behave, unless you’re a minor living in my house. But when I see tempers flaring and people coming in just to stir things up, I do feel the urge to point out that behavior accomplishes nothing.

  110. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 14:41:19

    And this…

    To be clear here as much, but there have been plenty of comments made in a variety of forums,blog commentary , etc that are doing just that and as days pass, it seems to get a bit worse.

    should have read….

    To be clear, I’m not seeing the mocking & making fun here as much. On some level, yes, but it’s to be expected. Wherever there is controversy, that will happen.

    But there have been plenty of comments made in a variety of forums,blog commentary , etc that are doing just that and as days pass, it seems to get a bit worse.

    I’d inadvertently deleted a part of my comment without realizing it.

  111. KCfla
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 14:45:10

    I'm wondering if everyone else's bulletins are gone

    Mine aren’t. But then again CE’s not on my friend list, nor did I get that bulletin.

    Thanks to those above who cleared up the idiom/quote/plagiarism thing. I too had wondered about that. I use idioms sometimes on my personal blog, and had wondered if that could get me into any trouble. ( I know to credit sources when quoting- degree in History here!)

  112. (Jān)
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 14:51:12

    Uh, no. When you use words written by a famous (or not so famous) author, you give credit to that author. Plagiarism is NOT the sincerest form of flattery!

    You don’t need to attribute another author if it’s your character doing the talking and that character would not. I’m talking about when a writer says something like:

    “Bob stood on the pavement, looking toward his friend’s new apartment in disbelief. In a hole in the ground there lived a geek named Jim, he thought. He shook his head and headed down the steps to the basement flat.”

    Would Bob stop to think “as Professor Tolkien said in the first line of The Hobbit”? Not the Bob I wrote. Any quote that’s thought or spoken by a character should be handled as the character would. It’s obtrusive and awkward otherwise.

    Look at the Lymond chronicles. How awkward they would be if Ms Dunnett stopped to attribute all the lines Lymond used from other sources to speak for himself. She just expected her readers to be educated enough to either recognize them or to be able to look them up if interested.

  113. romreader
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 14:54:19

    Mine aren't. But then again CE's not on my friend list, nor did I get that bulletin.

    CE isn’t on my friends list either, but Lisa (the person who posted the bulletin) is. I’m going to go look again. I’m wondering if they’ve wiped out the entire bulletin board on everyone’s page who received that CE bulletin. And if they did, do they think that will make it disappear? Wish someone else who received the bulletin would speak up. This has really piqued my curiosity.

  114. romreader
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 15:00:57

    I’m back, and the bulletins are all back in place, including the one with the CE message. Sorry for crying wolf.

  115. kasey michaels
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 15:04:35

    “Bob stood on the pavement, looking toward his friend's new apartment in disbelief. In a hole in the ground there lived a geek named Jim, he thought. He shook his head and headed down the steps to the basement flat.”

    Would Bob stop to think “as Professor Tolkien said in the first line of The Hobbit”? Not the Bob I wrote. Any quote that's thought or spoken by a character should be handled as the character would. It's obtrusive and awkward otherwise.

    ———

    I don’t who your Bob is…..but MY Bob would have done it something like this (staying in your original as much as possible; if I wrote the paragraph from scratch it would probably differ):

    “Bob stood on the pavement, looking toward his friend's new apartment in disbelief. A line from Tolkien flashed into his mind: (italics) In a hole in the ground there lived a geek named Jim (end italics). He shook his head and headed down the steps to the basement flat.”

    One, I’ve never read Tolkien, so I wouldn’t recognize the line.
    Two, never assume everyone else in the world has read Tolkien, or any other author you might want to quote — and that IS quoting the guy … without crediting him.
    Three, better safe than sorry…

    Kasey Michaels

  116. Ros
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 15:12:10

    Hmm. The Hiawatha quote seems to me actually to be less heinous than many of the examples previously cited. It really could fit under the category of literary allusion, I think. It’s possible that Edwards could have chosen to have used those phrases deliberately to evoke the lines from Longfellow. I haven’t read the context so I couldn’t say for sure if that’s what she was doing, but it does seem plausible to me. The fact that it’s not a precise quotation, and that she didn’t retain the poetry of the original don’t necessarily mitigate against the possibility. Is it any different from Aldous Huxley calling his book ‘Brave New World’, for instance? Or would you call that plagiarism from Shakespeare?

    By contrast, it would be very hard to argue that there were any literary allusions intended to reference works on ferrets and the like.

  117. kasey michaels
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 15:22:34

    Look at the Lymond chronicles. How awkward they would be if Ms Dunnett stopped to attribute all the lines Lymond used from other sources to speak for himself. She just expected her readers to be educated enough to either recognize them or to be able to look them up if interested.

    ————

    Sorry, missed this paragraph….

    I wrote a book in the early 1980s, my second, The Tenacious Miss Tamerlane, and included a character who spoke only in quotes. Never said good morning, how are you doing, pass the salt — none of it. Only spoke in quotes from famous people (we’re talking a book set in 1810 or so — what can I tell you, it was a romantic comedy ). 90,000 word novel, this character appeared in more than a third of the scenes…and I managed to attribute her every quote to its source without making it a ‘stop dead, list the source’ awkward structure (at least I don’t think so, and neither did my editor).

    I didn’t have to do this, because the character was quoting people who had all lived and died anytime from B.C. and 1810. Without checking, I’m going to feel pretty safe in saying that Lymond wasn’t quoting anyone with a book still in copyright. But half the fun is finding new ways to do things … and to give my reader some information he/she might not otherwise discover.

    Yeah, it’s more difficult, it takes some finessing, but it can be done so it fits seamlessly into your story. And if you can’t do it? My suggestion would be: don’t! Longfellow is already spinning in his grave as it is…

  118. britannia
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 15:23:37

    Colleen McCullough’s “The Ladies of Missalonghi” lifted passages from LM Montgomery’s “The Blue Castle”. When it was discovered, McCullough claimed she’d internalized a favourite book and did unintentionally. Ah, the miracle of automatic writing!

    Her publisher and LM Montgomery’s came to a quiet ‘understanding’ and Colleen McCullough’s career was not destroyed. She did, however, move into historical fiction set in Ancient Rome and one wonders if she considered that safer.

    BTW, plagiarism is not a crime if the material is in the public domain; it is merely deceitful. But, if the material is under copyright, it is the crime of fraud as well as infringement.

  119. azteclady
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 15:36:58

    *head, meet desk*

    Britannia, not a crime in the legal, actionable sense–I’ll give you that. It is a crime for the writer whose work goes, unrecognized, to make the thief money.

  120. Laura Vivanco
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 15:52:27

    But half the fun is finding new ways to do things … and to give my reader some information he/she might not otherwise discover.

    Yeah, it's more difficult, it takes some finessing, but it can be done so it fits seamlessly into your story.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve read The Hobbit but didn’t recognise it as the source of Jan’s quote. Obviously those words didn’t stick in my head. However, when I read what Jan had written, it seemed clear to me that Bob was paraphrasing something. And maybe when Bob went inside and started to talk to Jim, he could say something about hobbits then. Is that what you’re meaning by “finessing,” Kasey? Because that method of giving the details would work, I think, but lots of interjections along the lines of “as author X wrote in Y” would come across to me as being a bit patronising (implying that the reader couldn’t be expected to work it out) as well as breaking the flow of the writing. Well, unless Bob had a sidekick who tagged along with him and kept asking to have the quotations explained to him, and then the implication would be that the sidekick was ignorant, not that the reader didn’t know. But the reader might get a bit bored by those conversations and they could have an info-dump sort of feel.

    Hmm. Well, I’m not a writer, so my ideas on how to fit something “seamlessly” into fiction are not worth much. I’d just be sad if authors couldn’t be playful because they were being over-cautious about this sort of thing.

  121. azteclady
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 16:02:04

    What if… The Hobbit line were in italics? would that be enough of a hint? Or, as I’ve seen Ms Roberts do, have quotations marks?

    Example off the top of my head, in Witness in Death, “‘All the world’s a stage'” Whitney murmured… and then dialogue goes on.

    Britanny: my apologies for coming down all snarky on you. It’s just that the distinction between illegal and “merely” unethical still doesn’t make it any less of a crime.

  122. azteclady
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 16:02:51

    oh crap, and then I misspell your handle. Apologies again, Britannia

  123. britannia
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 16:03:29

    azteclady, I only want to make clear that Ms Edwards can’t be sent to jail for what she has done. And only those whose copyright has been infringed can sue her for damages.

    I do not use the word “crime” lightly. What Ms Edwards has done is deceitful, it is dishonest, it is disgraceful. And, as such, she should be exposed and her disreputable behaviour made known to all.

    I heartily approve of having her books tarred, feathered and carried out of town on a rail. And I do think she should be forced to pay compensation to every copyrighted author she has robbed.

    However, do not expect her to pay any price unless bloggers keep up the attack. Plagiarizing Longfellow will not put a dint in her sales. If she were a professor, she’d be sacked. However, as a novelist, it’s up to readers to shun her and refuse to read her books ever again.

  124. Bev(BB)
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 16:05:28

    However, there comes a point when things escalate so that little progress is made. As I've said before, I'm goal-oriented and if it doesn't help me accomplish the goal, it's not something I'm going to mess with. I didn't say others should feel the same, but I wanted my feelings on it out there because if we keep focusing on this one issue, it's going to make it harder to focus on what we can do as a community to keep it from happening again. Or at least work toward that goal.

    Shiloh, you loose me when you start talking about “if we keep focusing on this one issue” because I have no idea which issue you’re talking about.

    What issue are we supposed to take our focus off of – the books that have been potentially “copied” or the author that may have done the deed? Or something else entirely?

  125. kasey michaels
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 16:10:25

    And maybe when Bob went inside and started to talk to Jim, he could say something about hobbits then. Is that what you're meaning by “finessing,” Kasey?
    ——-

    Laura — Yes! That’s exactly what I mean: find a way to make it work seamlessly. Such as: Bob’s friend asks what Bob thinks of the new apartment. Bob comes back tongue-in-cheek with “It made me think of a great line from Tolkien, so maybe that’s a good thing?”

    Next time, maybe a character says the line, the quote, and the person he’s talking to comes back with, “Not Mark Twain again, Bob, for crying out loud. Why can’t you ever quote Kramer, from Seinfeld -‘ he’s more fun?” Whatever…..there are ways and ways. And then more ways.

    ————

    Well, unless Bob had a sidekick who tagged along with him and kept asking to have the quotations explained to him.
    ——–

    Actually…..in another of my Regency romantic comedies, The Savage Miss Saxon (sorry, I’ve got more than 100 books, so I’ve had to work with pretty much every situation at one time or another…), I had three youngish male characters, including one who spoke mostly in cant (slang). They had found an 1811 ‘dictionary’ of cant, and used the slang whenever and wherever they could. But how to do this without confusing the heck out of my reader? Simple. I had one speak the cant, and another of the boys ‘translate’ what he’d said for the other characters. And if you ever want to know what a ‘barber chair whore’ is….it’s a whore so common the whole village has ‘sat in her’ at one time or another. I mean…how do you find information like this and NOT use it? I just had to find a way…and, yes, at the get-go I gave the entire title of that 1811 book.

  126. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 16:15:23

    Shiloh, you loose me when you start talking about “if we keep focusing on this one issue” because I have no idea which issue you're talking about.

    Basically, the CE issue. I’m as thoroughly disgusted by lifting from an article about black-footed ferrets as I am about Longfellow. Writing is writing, it’s hard work and the authors of said works don’t deserve to have their works stolen like that.

    Nothing is going to be resolved as far as legalities, etc on CE for a long while. It could be a very, very long while, months or longer, before people know just how much work was lifted (allegedly) and I wonder if we’ll ever find all of it.

    So instead of letting that eat up my brain, I want to know what can be done to educate people, readers and non-writers alike. Focusing on plagiarism itself, instead of this author’s actions. Focusing on that doesn’t educate people, won’t necessarily prevent it. But focusing on education can educate people and I think education can help prevent it.

  127. kasey michaels
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 16:23:49

    So instead of letting that eat up my brain, I want to know what can be done to educate people, readers and non-writers alike. Focusing on plagiarism itself, instead of this author's actions. Focusing on that doesn't educate people, won't necessarily prevent it. But focusing on education can educate people and I think education can help prevent it.

    ————

    Shiloh–

    You can go to http://www.ninc.com (the website of Novelists, Inc), and click on “plagiarism/copyright infringement,” and get all sorts of information on the subject. Hotlinks to important sites, a position letter from Novelists Inc., and two fine statements by writers who have been the victims of plagiarism/copyright infringement to put the human face on the effects of both.

    You’re correct — education is the first step!

    Kasey Michaels

  128. Sandra Schwab
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 16:26:12

    For what it's worth, I've read The Hobbit but didn't recognise it as the source of Jan's quote.

    Oh no, Laura! :)

    Jan, this an excellent example! And cute, too! Brava!

    What Jan alludes to here is the first sentence of the first chapter of THE HOBBIT: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” So the suggestions that have been made — put the quotation in italics or quotation marks, or add “A line from Tolkien flashed into his mind:” –simply don’t work here.

    Here’s another nice example from Pratchett’s WYRD SISTERS (yup, I’m a big Pratchett fan); the opening scene is set in a dark and stormy night:

    [The fire] illuminated three hunched figures. As the cauldron bubbled an eldritch voice shrieked: ‘When shall we three meet again?’

    There was a pause.

    Finally another voice said, in far more ordinary tones: ‘Well, I can do next Tuesday.’

    This is a fantasy story. There’s no way Pratchett could have worked in an attribution to Shakespeare in a fashion that wouldn’t have jerked the reader out the story. And if he had somehow managed to mention Shakespeare, this passage would only be half as funny.

  129. (Jān)
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 16:47:22

    No, Lymond wasn’t spouting any copyrighted works since the series took place in the 16th c. Hiawatha is not copyrighted either for that matter. But as has been noted many times here, copyright has nothing to do with whether or not something is plagiarized.

    What does matter is what is lifted and how. If an author feels they need to attribute everything a character says, fine, they should do it. But there is a literary tradition in English novels at least where in some cases this is not required, like in dialogue, because readers were expected to be intelligent enough to ‘get’ that something is being quoted, if not know the source itself.

    I recognize parts of Hiawatha anywhere. It’s unmistakable because of the rhythm of the words. I just see that one example as possibly being something other than plagiarism. Since I can’t see the words in context, I just don’t know how they’re meant to be taken.

  130. kasey michaels
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 16:55:32

    What Jan alludes to here is the first sentence of the first chapter of THE HOBBIT: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” So the suggestions that have been made -‘ put the quotation in italics or quotation marks, or add “A line from Tolkien flashed into his mind:” -simply don't work here.

    ——-

    No, they don’t, as the quote isn’t exact by a long shot — the operative word, Hobbit, is not there. Then change it to: ‘A line from Tolkien flashed into MY mind when I got my first glimpse of the place’ (bad, bad, but we’re just making a point here, not creating great fiction…), would then work. Told you guys I haven’t read Tolkien. “Bob” did not quote exactly — he exchanged Tim (?) for ‘hobbit.’ But that doesn’t mean there’s not a way to credit Tolkien in passing if the writer wants to do that. Besides, the writer deliberately dropped the line, so why not ‘source’ that line a little? Even if, in this short one-liner, there’s not a lot to argue plagiarism…

    ———
    Finally another voice said, in far more ordinary tones: ‘Well, I can do next Tuesday.'
    —————

    I was already laughing…knew the line, love Pratchett!

    Shakespeare is not a great example here. Why? Because he’s not in copyright anywhere, and because it’s six words. Six words in an entire book! He didn’t have the trio doing a whole scene from Shakespeare, line after line of dialogue attributed to each witch, but actually lifted straight from one of the Bard’s plays.

    Call it an ‘inside joke,’ or whatever — with Shakespeare, you can do that sort of thing (short, to the point!). Tolkien? Much as many would like to think the whole world has read Tolkien, obviously the whole world hasn’t. Someone can run lines from the tv series Lost, all day long, and I wouldn’t ‘get it.’ I’ve never seen Lost. Then again, many people don’t share my love for Seinfeld.

    You cannot *assume* everything you know is also known by every reader you will encounter. You can’t go home with each person who bought your book, stand over his shoulder as he reads, saying, “Ah, and here I did this interesting play on Tolkien…”

    Anyway…..you can go crazy, worrying about three words, six words, and you don’t need to. In the book where my character spoke only in quotes, I had to be more careful, IMO, and worked hard to not confuse the reader. That’s not ‘dumbing down.’ That’s doing your job …. plus, you p*ss off enough readers, you’ll lose a bunch, right?

    Seriously, folks, http://www.ninc.com. Check out that first article on the plagiarism/copyright infringement page. Lots of info there that explains much better than I can What Is What, articles on “Fair Use<‘ etc. I’m more the “If it feels wrong in my gut, I won’t do it” kind of writer…

    The CE examples are good ones — How Not To Do It. Pratchett using six words from Shakespeare? He’s fine, honest! And now I want to go read Wyrd Sisters again…

  131. Laura Vivanco
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 17:10:13

  132. ev
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 17:17:31

    Crap, Kasey, that’s one of yours I missed. Now I will have to find it.

  133. Nora Roberts
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 17:23:25

    ~The fire] illuminated three hunched figures. As the cauldron bubbled an eldritch voice shrieked: ‘When shall we three meet again?'

    There was a pause.

    Finally another voice said, in far more ordinary tones: ‘Well, I can do next Tuesday.'~

    Another HUGE Prachett fan, and this was like the second book of his I read. I remember still just roaring. It’s just so wonderful.

    No, I don’t think any novelist has to attribute every quote–just let the reader in on the joke. If someone reading this wasn’t familiar with Shakespeare or MacBeth, it would sail right over their heads. And that would be a shame.

    I might certainly have a character say: “‘It’s a far, far better thing I do,'” without attributing. I would expect the reader to get it. But if I’m digging, and the quote is obscure, I’d better make it clear where it came from. Cleverly. That’s my job.

    I could have a character, a witch, amuse herself with, “Bibbity-bobbety-boo.” But if I sit and watch Disney’s Cinderella and make notes, then drop in whole chunks of dialogue, I’ve stopped doing my job, and started lifting.

  134. Bev(BB)
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 17:26:23

    Nothing is going to be resolved as far as legalities, etc on CE for a long while. It could be a very, very long while, months or longer, before people know just how much work was lifted (allegedly) and I wonder if we'll ever find all of it.

    So instead of letting that eat up my brain, I want to know what can be done to educate people, readers and non-writers alike. Focusing on plagiarism itself, instead of this author's actions. Focusing on that doesn't educate people, won't necessarily prevent it. But focusing on education can educate people and I think education can help prevent it.

    I have no intention of allowing this to eat up my brain either but the concept of never knowing all bothers me on a fundamental level. Consider at least two things commenters have already brought out in these threads:

    -a previous case with offenses basically unpublicized
    -books still being published

    I’m just not sure we can justify separating the examination and study of the books in question from the education on the topic in terms of coming to an understanding of how this happens. And, no, I’m not suggesting turning this into a case study but what I am wondering is how can we fully understand something like this if we are afraid to honestly look at the current evidence ourselves? Why must we wait for experts when we already have the tools? Namely our own brains.

    Look at it this way, multiple reviewers over the years have repeatedly expressed consistent opinions about these same books – now we’re going to shy away from facing the evidence that they were right on the mark in those opinions? Exactly how tough and competent is that going to look to the rest of the world that everyone is so worried about?

    Again, this is not about a single author. This is about protecting the integrity of the books, people. Our beloved romance novels, future, present, and, yes, past also. You can’t protect them if you aren’t willing to see them for what they are.

    Oh, yeah, ya’ll got my attention with this one. ;)

  135. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 17:40:32

    And, no, I'm not suggesting turning this into a case study but what I am wondering is how can we fully understand something like this if we are afraid to honestly look at the current evidence ourselves?

    If people were afraid to look at the evidence, none of this would even be public knowledge.

    I’ve already said that yes, I want to know when/if more evidence comes to light.

    But I can easily separate myself from the issue of CE and focus on the issue of plagiarism…we can’t undo what’s been done there. What I want is to focus on education and education can’t happen all that easily when people are too mad and too focused on CE.

  136. Nora Roberts
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 18:16:02

    Here’s my take.

    It’s very obvious after this shitstorm that we need some education on this. It actually surprises me a little that so many in the profession appear to be so unclear. So eductation is key.

    I’d also say that all of us can lose sight of the big picture, the big issue, by fussing and fretting and getting our pants twisted about the tiny possibilities.

    Say, I used the line I referenced before, from Buffy. Spike (from Lover’s Walk, I believe, being a total Buffy geek) and his I may be love’s bitch line.

    If I used it, and didn’t make it from a Buffy-fan character or attribute in any way, I feel I’m wrong. But I can’t see it as plagiarism–if I’ve taken nothing else. One line just doesn’t do it (however lazy is might be). Whedon isn’t going to come after me shouting: You stole my (single) line!!!

    I may be caught and questioned by another Buffy geek. I would always be wrong, but I wouldn’t be a plagiarist. It takes more than one line in a whole book.

    If I took Spike’s whole dialogue from that scene (and it’s delicious–I can practically recite it verbatim) I’d be a plagiarist. It’s a nice, healthy chunk. That’s more than lazy (or fan-geekdom) it’s theft of words.

    We have to use some common sense in this, some basic sense of ethics. And we need that education for those who, I fear, may not have that common sense in this area. Or those who just really question themselves and so might bog down their creativity.

    I think we all have a lesson to learn here, every one of us. And focusing on that lesson, and the issue of plagiarism is how we learn it.

    Footnotes? Please. Unless you’re as delightfully clever with them as Prachett or they serve a real purpose in your novel, forget it. Acknowledgement page, fine–though I’ve never done one. I wouldn’t know where to begin as I use scads of sources. But if an author’s relied heavily on one of two research books, or resource people, that’s a great way to handle it.

    Nobody is saying–or if they are I’m going to ignore them–that we should or do we have to footnote every time we rely on an outside source for info. God, talk about tossing the reader out of the story. There are, as Kasey said, creative way to attribute if attribution is necessary.

    Otherwise, we have to use our heads. We’re writer’s. We should have really good heads.

  137. Nora Roberts
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 18:20:59

    Okay, who put the apostrophe in writers?

    Damn it.

  138. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 19:17:45

    Dang it… I finally figured it out.

    I will openly admit sometime during the minutes when I read the myspace bulletin, I realized I was sick of the CE aspects of this and wanted to focus on education. I vaguely felt a little sorry for her, and please … as I said before, nobody stone me over this. My pity has nothing to do with the fact that’s she more or less already guilty in the court of public opinion, it has nothing to do with the fact that she’s probably irreparably damaged her career.

    It had simply to do with her.

    On the way home just now from picking up my kids, I was able to peg down why I was suddenly so completely tired of it. I have compulsive tendencies…so even though I am tired of this, totally desperate to leave it alone and focus on solutions … until I manage to get all my words out, and until I’ve answered all questions coming at me, I can’t.

    And I think I may have finally figured out the why…which means I can now put it into words and hopefully then I can leave this particular bit alone.

    When I was reading the myspace bulletin, I was thinking, oh mad… this is just sad. The comparisons to the plight of NA’s… didn’t float. It was deplorable. The overall tone of please stop picking on me was pathetic.

    My gut instinct was… man, I wonder if a reader did this… a loyal fan who feels CE is being persecuted.

    Next thought was… she just can’t see she did something wrong

    So either she had somebody trying to make this better and in fact it made things worse.

    Or she’s denying responsibility. And here’s where my pity comes in. Being unable to accept responsibility is a character weakness. It’s a flaw.

    I don’t believe any weakness of character makes what she did okay.

    I don’t believe any weakness of character means she shouldn’t be held responsible.

    I don’t believe any weakness of character means we should just sigh, sweep under the rug and hope for better in the future.

    I don’t respect weakness of character. I don’t condone it. I don’t think it excuses behaviors that can range from unethical to illegal to downright evil. (as a sidenote, I feel there’s definitely unethical behavior on CE’s part, and there does *allegedly* appear to be behavior that might be deemed illegal).

    But… there are times when I can pity weakness. This is one of those times.

    I feel that an inability to accept personal responsibility tends to lead to inner turmoil..

    This kind of inner turmoil is the kind that can’t be resolved until the person is willing to start accepting personal responsibility for their wrongs. People who can’t resolve inner turmoil usually aren’t very happy happy people.

    Often, a weakness of character leads the person to a misery he/she can’t ever overcome because doing so requires making a change from within. Change requires strength. Somebody with a weak character won’t try to find that strength and at the end of their life, too often what you see is somebody miserable and bitter.

    And that is where I can feel pity. Even though she brought it on herself, and even though nobody is to blame for her mistakes but her…I can feel pity. Because of that pity, I don’t want to keep discussing her, what she did, or why. Others can, to their heart’s content. I won’t tell others how they should or shouldn’t act.

    But change comes from action~reflecting on past events can spur that action, but they won’t accomplish the change. So I’ll focus my energy where I feel it’s best spent.

    And with that… I don’t plan on following this particular thread any more, so if anybody has comments or questions for me about my rambling, I probably won’t see them.

    It’s been an interesting discussion, often enlightening, often sad, but I think I’ve gotten everything I’ll get from this so I’m focus on the ‘where do we go from here?’ question that Janet (is Janet also Robin?) mentioned earlier today in a different post.

  139. Jackie L.
    Jan 15, 2008 @ 22:57:38

    Barbara @86. If you haven’t left in disgust, I think you might not understand just how important our first amendment is to the unruly colonists. (Note: I am assuming from the extra “u”s in behaviour, etc. that you are not living in the States.) Our constitution just kinda encourages us to be rude, if you know what I mean.

    Seriously, I understand the laws about slander and stuff are much more stringent in the UK than they are here.

    I am going to reproduce here (without permission, but I hope proper attribution) 2 poems from The Silver Treasury of Light Verse, edited by Oscar Williams copyright 1957, a Mentor Book.)

    The Moon

    You say it’s made of silver,
    I say it’s made of cheese–
    For I am an American
    And say what I damn please. (pg 137)

    –Robert Beverly Hale

    A Fistful of Writers Cramps

    XV. To a Living Author

    Your comedy I’ve read my friend,
    And like the half you pilfered best;
    Be sure the piece you yet may mend–
    Take courage, man, and steal the rest. (pg 101)

    –Anonymous (man, that person sure is a prolific author)

    That about sums up this whole ordeal for me.

    OBTW, didn’t Teddy predict that startling similarities to Hiawatha would be located?

  140. Tsu Dho Nimh
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 08:21:12

    Courtney and others: “But I'm back to one of my original questions from last week-what is the punishment now? Return of Edwards' contract money and royalties? Pulling all books by her from shelves to eliminate the possibility of future sales? It seems very unclear to me what Penguin can and will do.”

    It may not be Penguin and other publisher’s decision on what to do. US copyright law is quite clear on penalties:
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/usc_sup_01_17_10_5.html

    For starters, the infringed-upon copyright holder can ask for an injunction prohibiting distribution of an infringing work while the trial is going on. They can also ask for – if the work is found to be infringing – that the judge order the recall and destruction of all copies still in the retail channel AND all materials used in the porduciton of the infringing work. That might include all drafts as well as material the publisher/s have.

  141. Tsu Dho Nimh
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 08:44:25

    As for criminal acts, consider
    TITLE 17, CHAPTER 5, § 506 which has the title of “Criminal offenses”. True, there is no jail time, but it can be a federal criminal offense.

  142. Nikki
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 15:44:30

    I’m really late to chime in–had lots of things going on yesterday & couldn’t keep up with all the comment threads–but wanted to address two things.

    First, Jane is correct about the TurnItIn situation. Dr. Frantz and I ran two “tests” through the software and it didn’t catch anything either time. It didn’t even catch the infamous black-footed ferret section.

    Second, I understand the skepticism about whether the Hiawatha sections are plagiarized. In my opinion, it is NOT an homage. There are too many instances of copying/minor paraphrasing to be considered anything otherwise.

    For example, here’s the whole paragraph that contains the lifted segment posted upthread:

    SAVAGE OBSESSION, pg. 436-437 (large type edition)
    “The odors of the forest, the dew and damp meadow, and the curling smoke from the wigwams were left behind as Lorinda was directed toward the canoes that were resting, gently swaying, at the edge of the clear waters of the river. Yellow Feather had explained that this was the quietest way to approach the Sioux village and would cut the miles they would have had to travel by horseback by at least half.”

    The second half of that first sentence is pulled from Hiawatha, too, but in a different section and rephrased *just* enough to not be copying. But do you feel the rhythmic changes of the paragraph?

    Here’s another example:

    SAVAGE OBSESSION, page 146 (large type edition)
    “Tangled barberry bushes with tufts of crimson berries slowed Lorinda’s approach as her skirt persisted in getting snagged and caught. She shuddered when forest spiders’ webs with their glistening spokes clung to her hair and skin. But the darkening shadows of the forest encouraged her to fight off her aggressors, to move on and on. She now even ignored the forest floor’s occasional garden of delicate exquisite flowers, partially hidden in the shade under the damp thickets of young balsams.”

    From HIAWATHA, Introduction, final stanza
    Where the tangled barberry-bushes
    Hang their tufts of crimson berries

    The second example paragraph actually has three voices–Longfellow’s at the beginning, CE’s *very* briefly in the middle, and Joseph Raleigh Nelson at the end (LADY UNAFRAID, (c)1951) If you read the words out loud, then you can hear the cadence–or stuttering–of each author’s voice.

    But back to my point on Hiawatha. Know how many authors have used the phrase “tufts of crimson berries” in their works? Two. Google it yourselves–don’t take my word for it. It’s a unique turn of phrase and Longfellow’s typical evocative imagery.

    Trust me when I say, I did not turn in that report with a light heart. This latest discovery, to me, is the most depressing one. Partly because I made it and I hate giving people bad news.

    But, also, because it displays a certain arrogance? cockiness? ignorance? that I didn’t think it was possible to achieve.

    I keep thinking this CE situation can’t get worse but something happens almost every damn day to prove me wrong.

    If I’m wrong in thinking she stripped Longfellow’s words, twisted them, and tried to pass them of as her own, then I’m wrong. I would LOVE to be wrong about this. But I sincerely don’t believe I am.

  143. Cassie Edwards, Wide-Ranging Plagiarist « Live Granades
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 16:55:00

    […] This is one of the most egregious as you know Bobisms I’ve ever seen. But there’s more! It wasn’t just reference books she stole from. She took passages from Oliver La Farge’s Laughing Boy, winner of the 1930 Pulitzer prize. Best of all, she adapted parts of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha. Really! […]

  144. munchkyn
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 18:27:15

    I’m not interested in Cassie Edwards’ inner self and any alleged character weakness. I’m more concerned about the wider implications of this kerfuffle for writers who use historical research. As Nora Roberts has pointed out, footnoting, or internal-referencing, of every bit of historical research or paraphrased quotation would render even the most dynamic prose tedious and dull. That’s not what a novel is about. I submit, for the consideration of the group, an excellent essay from author Jonathan Lethem, The Ecstacy of Influence. Lethem notes that “Literature has always been a crucible in which familiar themes are continually recast.” He calls this constant modern worry about whether something is “original”, “contamination anxiety”, and decries it as a misunderstanding of the nature of literature:

    “Finding one’s voice isn’t just an emptying and purifying oneself of the words of others but an adopting and embracing of filiations, communities, and discourses. Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced. Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.

    (bolding mine)

    This is not to condone wholesale theft, especially word-for-word reuse of another’s prose. Nor am I in any way excusing Ms. Edward’s misbehavior. I am concerned that readers will now perceive any echo of one author’s works in another as “plagiarism”, when it is only paraphrasing, and I am concerned that editors/buyers in publishing houses will back away from historically-based fiction because they are afraid of the accusation of plagiarism, justified or not. An accusation need not be true to cause immeasurable harm.

    In short, what should a writer of historically based fiction do? How can an author use what she’s learned, without creating the equivalent of a post-doctoral research paper? Where are the guidelines, the boundaries? I thought I knew where they were, but after all this controversy, maybe I don’t.

    If anything positive comes out of this affair, I hope it is a wider consensus on what constitutes fair use of another’s works, and what does not.

  145. Patrick
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 19:54:59

    Whenever an author relies heavily – without plagiarizing, of course – on another author’s work, I think that, to paraphrase Tolkien: Those who approve of courtesy (at least) to living (and dead) authors will cite their sources in an acknowledgments section.

    And, to paraphrase Mr. Jefferson: A decent respect for the opinions of readers (and writers) will impel them to do so.

  146. Brit Blaise
    Jan 20, 2008 @ 21:56:00

    Wow! Even Nora can be a fan-girl for Buffy… This has been thoroughly enlightening and while some may believe the process is harsh or unfair…it’s necessary. I thank all of you with experience who have been willing to share your thoughts and considerable knowledge.

    Brit

  147. Jana Oliver
    Jan 23, 2008 @ 20:17:32

    Munchkyn asks

    In short, what should a writer of historically based fiction do? How can an author use what she's learned, without creating the equivalent of a post-doctoral research paper? Where are the guidelines, the boundaries?

    What should a historically-based writer do? Use the research and craft an excellent story. I write books set in the Victorian Era and they require a ton of research, but I do not cut-and-paste from my sources. Not only would that be wrong (without attribution), but it would ruin the story. I take those sources and then use my own words, building the world, the people, from what I’ve learned from the researchers and contemporaries of the time period.

    Sure, it takes more time, but it is infinitely more satisfying to the reader than plunking in some dry academic statement about this or that. That was Edwards’ error, taking the easier path. If she had shaped the research into her words, blending it into her story, then all would be well.

  148. emily
    Jan 23, 2008 @ 20:40:15

    What should a writer do? Simple, research is how you come to know things. Then you write what you know.

    Copying from a single source means the same for a student and a fiction writer, they don’t really know the subject and need to do some more reading.

  149. Sources for Plagiarists’ Excuses « The Not-so-deep Thoughts
    Jan 30, 2008 @ 00:25:54

    […] Dear Author: start here and don’t skip this one […]

  150. kenlee
    Mar 19, 2008 @ 18:14:44

    I enjoy reading cassies books and I dout this has any truth to it,I agree with cassie our people has always been treated wrong this is just another example.

  151. Jana Oliver
    Mar 19, 2008 @ 20:08:26

    While your loyalty is admirable, this whole mess has nothing to do with dissing Native Americans. Whether you enjoy reading Ms. Edwards’ books or not, the bare bones of the matter is that she incorporated other authors’ efforts without proper citation. That’s illegal, no matter whether the subject is about Native American culture, ferrets or space travel. There are rules that we must hew to in this industry. Unfortunately, Ms. Edwards broke one of the big ones.

  152. Debra
    Jun 06, 2008 @ 01:18:11

    I was disappointed to read J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts’ latest Eve Dallas offering, “Strangers in Death,” in which several lines were stolen from the work of writer Joss Whedon. If it was really Ms. Roberts posting here earlier, she should be ashamed of herself for doing that which she condemns and has been a victim of before. But then, I’m just a Buffy geek who thinks that stealing even one complete line from the work of another writer is intellectually dishonest, so what do I know?

  153. Lynne
    Jun 06, 2008 @ 06:08:29

    It really depends on the line, Debra. Certain phrases, even whole sentences, are so commonplace that it’s entirely possible for them to occur in multiple places on their own, with no copying taking place at all.

    In other cases, the line has become such a well-known piece of the culture that no acknowledgment is needed when it’s used in fiction. “Play it again, Sam” (a misquote from Casablanca) is frequently used in movies and literature with no attribution at all. None is needed, because everyone knows where it comes from.

    I haven’t read the latest J.D. Robb book, but my guess would be that the usage falls into one of the two categories I’ve given above, particularly if we’re talking about one line that is obviously recognizable as Buffy-speak. If I recall correctly, Ms. Roberts is a Buffy fan herself, so it could very well be an homage.

    What Ms. Edwards did is in a class all by itself. Whole passages were copied nearly verbatim from relatively obscure sources, so the “homage” defense couldn’t possibly apply.

  154. Read 1 CE book
    Jul 28, 2008 @ 04:53:52

    I just came across this and wanted to share. I recently read one CE book and found I enjoyed it. It was a good read as far as I was concerned (but I’m not a fan before someone thinks I’m being partial to one side of this story.)

    I do see some similarities in the passages pointed out and think, perhaps, Mrs. Edwards could have chosen to write her story in her own words better. But I think some of the focus has been lost here. Is it really this big of a deal? Plagerism is wrong, no doubt about it. But all of this??? TOO much hype. I’ve been reading historical romances for a long time and I’m certainly not going to “throw the book” at this genre just because of this.

    The lady (CE) could had done a better job about rephrasing her dialogue(and I think we all agree on that) but is it really this important that this girl(s) had to call and contact so many different avenues of the media just to say “hey-I got you!” to a lady they don’t even know???

    There’s not a lot of information about authentic Native Americans out there concerning customs and traditions that hold true. I’m one myself so I should know. So, I understand she was probably limited to the number of resources at that time.

    I think the girl(s) who have gone to extreme lengths to humiliate and embarass another human being just for kicks is the worse kind out there. I don’t know if what CE is accused of is true or not, as do none of the rest of us, but this girl(s) is just as guilty for simply not taking their issue up with the publisher instead of the media.

    Now, they’ve portayed themselves as couple of immature trouble makers who have nothing better to do than try to find fault in someone elses life on a dateless Friday night. Since discovering this “monumental tragedy”, and having been kind enough to share their information with any and everyone who would read or listen; I hope you don’t make any mistakes in life. What a shame to be publicly nailed to the cross by a couple of bored girls who think that they got one up on someone else. You really need something to fill the void missing in your lives. Two wrongs don’t make it right ladies. You should had handled this privately with the publisher.

  155. Kelli
    Nov 04, 2008 @ 00:15:45

    One thing I’ve noticed is that not one person has mentioned the fact after all these months that the stress Mrs. Edwards was put through by certain people caused her to have a massive stroke.

    I never saw anyone mention it. As far as I’m concerned everyone who had a hand in this crap is responsible for her stroke!

    People need to get lives instead of going around ruining other people’s lives.

  156. Ann Somerville
    Nov 04, 2008 @ 03:16:38

    the stress Mrs. Edwards was put through by certain people caused her to have a massive stroke.

    Six months after the story broke? That’s some cause and effect, dear. Not to mention
    1. Mrs Edwards is an old lady, and old people are at greater risk of stroke.
    2. Did her doctor say the plagiarism scandal caused it? You do realise there are many causes of stroke, right?
    3. Did any one here make Ms Edwards repeatedly commit copyright theft and plagiarism?

    Being caught out in wrongdoing is stressful. It’s a shame it took so long for it to come out because she would have stopped doing it sooner, and dealt with the fall out when she was younger and presumably better able to cope with the stress.

    No one’s mentioned it because I doubt anyone realised. Googling ‘cassie edwards stroke’ brought up one link. I sincerely hope she’s making a good recovery, but no one involved in uncovering this mess is to blame. She got caught, and there were consequences. No one, but no one, would have wanted her to suffer illness as a result – but then again, you’ve offered nothing to indicate that it was as a result.

    I think it’s absolutely vile of you to claim anyone ‘made’ Mrs Edwards sick. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  157. DS
    Nov 04, 2008 @ 06:02:22

    With you, Ann. I just had a 49 year old cousin with no known risk factors die of a stroke. I hope CE makes a good recovery, but that doesn’t negate my distaste for her history of plagiarism.

    I see by the post above that some people still don’t know what plagiarism is.

  158. Ann Somerville
    Nov 04, 2008 @ 06:42:42

    some people still don't know what plagiarism is.

    And that’s really so sad, because there have been so many attempts to explain it simply and clearly, and to explain why it’s more than a trivial faux pas. I guess some people just don’t want to know the truth.

  159. Deanna
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 18:09:10

    Seriously! Are ppl that jealous of Cassie that they have to pick on her about 7- 10 words in her book that was so called taken from another book!! WHO CARES! If she wrote her book and used another book for a reference but just changed the names of the ppl, THEN they can complain about it. I read all of her Indian Romance Novels and they are the best books I could have ever read. HOw many ppl used a sentence or a few words from a book or the internet to use for a book report? At least 7 out of 10 ppl. Who started this about plagiarism with her anyway? What is a jealous author? Or was it her own publisher?
    What next, if you stand there and say “I love you so very much” your gonna get sued for plagiarism because it was in someones book?

  160. Ann Somerville
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 21:55:04

    Are ppl that jealous of Cassie that they have to pick on her about 7- 10 words in her book that was so called taken from another book!!

    Deanna, you are obviously an irredeemable idiot, so my response is not for you, but to the people who might be deluded by your trolling into believing Edward’s plagiariasm was of a very minor nature, involving a few words. It wasn’t. It was hundreds and hundreds of lines from many books, full pages and paragraphs, not isolated words. Please look at the completely referenced document here for a full listing.

    I’m not jealous of Edwards. Unlike her, I use my own words and don’t need to steal anyone else’s. I have no interest in what she writes, and she isn’t even the most successful author in the genre. (That, arguably, is Nora Roberts – also a victim of a plagiarist.) What she is, is a thief. An elderly thief, certainly, and one aided and abetted by people who should have known better. But she stole, not just from the long dead, but current living authors entitled by law and moral right to decide themselves who takes their writing and uses it.

    She won’t be sued for plagiarism – I doubt, Deanna, you have the wit to distinguish between a moral crime and a legal one – but she most certainly could be sued for copyright violation. Which is undoubtedly why she was dropped by Signet books. She was setting them up for huge law suits.

    I read all of her Indian Romance Novels and they are the best books I could have ever read.

    I’m sure in your case, that’s literally true. However, it’s utterly irrelevant to the issue at hand. A likable thief is still a thief. And a screeching idiot screaming abuse at those who point out the crime, lessens the crime in no way at all.

  161. Julie L.
    Dec 09, 2008 @ 12:03:58

    Sadly, as extensive as that SMTB list is, it isn’t even close to being complete in terms of covering all of Edwards’ books. For example, their entry for Savage Whispers only mentions a single paragraph taken from N. Scott Momaday, but there’s a whole lot more in there than that.

  162. Excedlode
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 01:06:16

    Hey Folks

    I just found one a working hostgator coupon code

    Use “[b]secretcouponcode[/b]” without quotation marks. You will get $9.94 OFF [img]http://www.blackinbox.com/smile/smile.gif[/img]

    Go to: http://www.hostgator.com

  163. Latest check paper for plagiarism news – Check a Paper For Plagiarism Accurately With the Right Website …
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 21:36:29

    […] Possible Cassie Edwards Response to Plagiarism Charges […]

%d bloggers like this: