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JD Robb published a note.
3 hours ago
Plagiarism, Then and NowI'm going to start with the then, to get it out of my system.
Back in the late 90's, when those of us on-line used message boards to communicate with each other, a reader posted a concern about the similarities in my book Sweet Revenge, originally published in 1988, reissued in 1997, with Janet Dailey's Notorious, published in hardcover in '96, in paper in '97.
It happened this reader read them back to back, and noticed, even cited pages. Initially, I was certain she was mistaken. I knew Janet, couldn't imagine she'd plagiarize anyone. But it also happened my Jason was working at our bookstore that day. I asked him to bring home a copy of Notorious. Then I opened to the page the reader had cited.
I can't describe what I felt in that moment, the shock, the grief, the sense of betrayal.
I flipped through and that shock, grief, betrayal increased as I recognized more and more and more of my work in her book.
I called my agent. While I vetted the books, so did my agency. It was massive and awful. My agent contacted her agent and her publisher, who of course, contacted Dailey.
And the first round of plagiarism bingo began. Absolute denial. Did not do this! But the theft was so blatant that didn't last long. Assistant must have somehow . . . If she did it, it was totally unintentional, it was unconscious copying and so on.
I was asked to keep it quiet, to go through the manuscript for Notorious and remove my work. Because I knew her, because I'd never dealt with anything like this before, I agreed. (Hint: Never do this.)
I remember, clearly, sitting out on my front deck, crossing out line after line, scene after scene, and finally realizing it simply couldn't be done. As I realized that, my agent called. Pretty steamed. Dailey's agent had contacted her, very excited. Dailey's publisher wanted to go back to press on the book, so could I hurry it up?
My agent, the magnificent Amy Berkower and I had quite a conversation about the sheer arrogance, the utter insensitivity or sense of responsibility. Decision? A big, fat no, and you're going to pull the book. Period.
She hired a lawyer. I hired a lawyer. At one point through this process, her people pressed me and mine to allow Janet to call me, to explain and apologize. I didn't want this, but I finally agreed.
This turned out, as it happened, to be the right choice.
I won't go through the conversation except to say, through a lot of tears, she swore to me it had only been that one time. She'd been in such a bad place, just that ONE TIME. Her excuses, her (I thought) contrition made me cry.
But when I got off the phone, I went to another of her books as my agent and I had decided I would read her stuff, in case we found more. Five minutes--I swear to God, five minutes after she'd tearfully sworn to me it had only been that one time, I found the second time in the second book.
And that's when the full rage rose. She'd lied to me, manipulated my emotions, and I was done playing nice.
We found more, quite a bit more in quite a few books over a span of publishing years. My lawyer called her a serial plagiarist.
The lawyers did their lawyer thing, and Dailey and I both agreed not to go public, at least until we had some sort of resolution. I kept that agreement. She didn't.
She went to the press with her sad story of emotional trauma she didn't know she had, how her dog died (I'm not kidding on that), how she did it all without knowing she did it. And she went to the press when I was in Florida, speaking to the Friends of the Library on the eve of the RWA annual conference.
I want to say I got a lot of support from the RWA board, from a lot of fellow writers. But there were many who took her side. She was an icon! Why couldn't I just be quiet? I should be flattered, I was being a bully. I should just forgive her and move on. (My ass!)
A lot of the press had a great time making jokes about it, denigrating the genre at large, its writers, its readers.
It was a brutal experience from the minute I read that message board until the end, two ugly years later. I stuck, because if I don't stand for my work, who will? And I won. Then I donated every penny of the settlement to select literacy organizations.
It was never about the bloody money.
That was then. Obviously, I'm not over it. You don't get over it, you get through it.
Since then, I've had a couple more less public and ugly cases which we dealt with firmly and quickly. Because I'll never play nice with a plagiarist again.
That leads to now.
A few days ago, Laura had to contact me to let me know my name and a couple of my books were listed as plagiarized in a long list of writers and books.
Cristiane Serruya, a self-published 'writer' based in Brazil seems to have made a living stealing from actual writers. In this case, a reader again (it's always a reader, and bless you every one) contacted Courtney Milan, a successful romance writer, a smart woman with a strong spine--and a lawyer, to tell her she'd been plagiarized. If you want to know more about this, check out Courtney's blog--she lays it out really well.
Twitter exploded (I'm not on Twitter, but I felt the aftershocks). There's now a hashtag--#copypastecris that follows the ever-growing nightmare. Over two dozen authors, about three dozen books--so far. One of the other victims let me know this morning that she found a line from Whiskey Beach woven in to HER love scene in this woman's frankenbook. That makes four of mine, so far.
Courtney didn't waste time playing nice, which gets a solid fist bump from me. She went public, straight off. She stood straight up for her work, and for the other authors involved.
In the usual plagiarism bingo, Serruya jumped on Twitter to deny. She would never!!! But again, so blatant, so egregious, that couldn't hold.
Here's where it takes an interesting turn. She then claimed the ghostwriters (note the plural) she'd hired on Fiverr (which I'd never heard of until this) had done this! Shame, shame on them, and she'd fix it asap.
She fixed it by doing a vanishing act. Twitter account down, Facebook page down, website down.
Two of her ghosts--independently--contacted Courtney. And both stated, again independently, Serruya sent them a mishmash of scenes, lines then told them to make it work. And apparently stiffed them afterward.
So this plagiarist lifted lines, bits, chunks big and small, from a slew of authors and books, mashed them together then hired ghosts off a cheap labor site to cobble them into a book.
This was her MO.
She did this for--I think my information is--29 books, put them up on Amazon, used Kindle Unlimited for some. KU pays by the page read. The freaking page read.
This culture, this ugly underbelly of legitimate self-publishing is all about content. More, more, more, fast, fast, fast. Because that's how it pays. Amazon's--imo--deeply flawed system incentivizes the fast and more. It doesn't have to be good, doesn't have to be yours--as I'm learning hiring ghosts is not really rare. Those who live and work in this underbelly don't care about the work, the creativity, the talent and effort and time it takes to craft a story. Just the money, and what they must see as bragging rights. I'm a published writer they claim--even if they didn't write a damn word.
They disgust me. Please note, I'm not talking about all writers who use KU, but the ones who use it to steal and deceive for profit.
I personally don't believe fiction writers should use ghosts. Celebrity auto-biographies and such, that's the job. If a fiction writer uses a ghost to help flesh out a book, or hires a book doctor to whip a book into shape, I strongly believe that person should be acknowledged--on the book.
The reader deserves honesty. The reader's entitled to know she's buying the author's--the one whose name's on the book--work, not somebody that writer hired for speed or convenience. And I'll state here as I have before. If a book has my name on it, I wrote it. Every word of it.
I do not, never have, never will comprehend how someone can feel any pride claiming a book they didn't write.
Some will point to Nancy Drew and its like. Different kettle in my eyes. That's work for hire, book packaging. And a great way for a ghost to make a living writing fiction. Everyone knows (or should) that V.C. Andrews is long dead and therefore no longer writing.
The late great Robert Parker's books list the name of the authors who write the current books on the front cover. There's no deception.
But the bigger point is ghostwriters, honest, hard-working ones can be used by the scammer without knowing. The writer just trying to pay the bills by ghosting can be used this way. Honest, hard-working writers who self-publish are being stolen from, demoralized, hammered down by practices like book stuffing, buying reviews, piracy and outright plagiarism that's become too common on Amazon.
A creature like Serruyo can have a decent run, make some money--make some best-seller lists--before she (or he, or they, who knows?) is found out. And the pain, the scars, the emotional turmoil this causes to the victims of plagiarism never ends.
Serruyo won't be the only one using that underbelly, exploiting the lack of real guardrails on Amazon and other sites for a few bucks.
I'll have a lot more to say about this, all of this. I'm not nearly done. Because the culture that fosters this ugly behavior has to be pulled out into the light and burned to cinders. Then we're going to salt the freaking earth.
If we determine Serruya's theft of my work reaches the bar of infringement, I will sue. I can afford to while many of her victims can't. If it's determined it doesn't quite reach that bar, I will support every one of my fellow authors she harmed. And I'll use every resource I can to speak out, to help pull these practices, this bastardization of the craft, into the light.
As readers, you deserve better than spending your time and money on a book that turns out to be a lie. As writers we deserve to have our work respected and protected.
Here's a warning for anyone who's stolen any of my work and claimed it as his/her own. I'm coming for you.
Nora ... See MoreSee Less
It's funny that this entire topic came up on my walk with my friend this morning... not only that Courtney and Tessa had been plagiarized but this exact topic about you being plagiarized and how I recognized that JD Robb was you before your name was on the books. I was speculating that a series of books I just finished had been ghost written because there was no overall style to the books. The stories are interesting and the characters are good but the rest of the books have no overarching style... This writer has a ton of books on Amazon under several different names, but there is no singular style across the series much less the entire line.
When you read an author, you start to recognize their style, their cadence, and certain phrases they use all the time. By the 2nd In Death book I said to my husband "Either this author has read a lot of Nora Roberts or she is Nora Roberts." By the 3rd I was sure it was you. I've read everything you've ever published... I know your style... and I knew JD Robb couldn't have plagiarized it because I'd never read the stories before but I knew --as surely as I can recognize the back of my husband's head in a dark movie theater-- that you'd written those books. (Went to get the 4th book and it said "Nora Roberts Writing As JD Robb" and I crowed to my husband "See? I **TOLD** you!).
The first Janet Daily books I read, I thought maybe you'd published previously or writing for a Publishing house name and that was why they were familiar... or that they were very early works being republished after you'd "made" it... but they weren't as good as an original Nora, and I quit buying them. I was so glad I never gave her more money when I found out she'd intentionally plagiarized your stuff.
I quote Harlan Ellison all the time about "Pay the artist! Pay the artist! Pay the Artist" and this is right up there with people who want you do to stuff for free. If I leave a positive review for a book, I nearly always say something like "Buy this book. Shower the author with money so s/he has time to write more books!" Plagiarism just sucks. Universities use software to determine if a paper has been plagiarized. I don't know why Amazon couldn't do the same.
Sounds like you uncovered another one. Go get ‘em!!! 😎
Get them. I don’t get why people do what they do - I know it’s about money - but whatever happened to morals and conscience? Almost worse than direct plagiarism, though, is the author (can’t remember her name offhand) who writes what some call the “In Death Lite” series. It’s a direct take and near mirror to your work and after reading one chapter I was too disgusted to continue.
Nora, I doubt you will ever read this, but if someone who knows you does, please know that we readers are so thankful for what you put into your work. Keep going after the plagiarists for us as much as for yourself!
Plagiarism is treason in my mind. 🤬
If you have any ideas how we readers can help, please let us know.
That is downright theft! I hate thieves. I love JD Robb and all of her creations. No one dares touch them. Thank heavens for Nora's wrath.
And you have skills to take them down. Thank you for venting.
It’s pretty crappy that others steal art/writing from others. Glad you stand up for yourself but sorry you have to in the first place. You have my loyalty! ❤️
Good for you, Nora. Please also look into the area where plagiarism begins... in schools. Many parents see nothing wrong with their children buying assignments off the internet. If they PAID for it, it’s not plagiarism... it happens every single day.
So terrible this keeps happening. Go get 'em, Nora!
This makes me sick. Thanks for laying it all out. I had no idea this was going on to such an extent. I hope they get what they deserve.
That is terrible. Thank you for taking a stand and supporting others experiencing the same theft.
Thank you for sharing your gift with us, one of your loyal readers!
I am so glad that you are in a position, both financially and as a best selling author, to be able to stand up and fight for the little guy, as well as for yourself. Keep fighting the good fight and know that your loyal readers are behind you 100%!!!
So sorry you have/had to go through this....
I have occasionally read a book that "sounded" familiar. but I could never put my finger on which book it was "familiar" to. So now I understand what was happening. So sorry anyone has been hurt in this way. It's fraud.
Never in my life will I understand why anyone could think it was ok to steal....not words in books, not others' music or artwork or any piece of someone else's life and/or property. How sad and evil must you be to call something your own that never was. Go get 'em Nora, indeed!
I was working in a bookstore at the time Janet Dailey's plagarism hit. I remember that she was taken off of shelves and I believe she was sat down for some years. I know she has bee writing (or maybe ghosts)again I don't remember if I knew who she plagarizd. ( I am 78 and that was awhile ago) It was a shock becasue I had read a few of her books and just started reading yours. I am glad that you and your pub, asstint, readers are all super vigilent now. I so love your books. First one I read was Montana Sky. Have not stopped since Not a member of KU. Stick with my authors you being one.
As a high school English teacher, this disgusts me. I have a few kids try to plagiarize in my classroom every year (on a paper, a poem, etc...). It never works, and they get a zero for that project. They then have to explain to mom and dad what they did because I send an e-mail home, along with a detailed explanation of what plagiarism is. The parent then needs to sign the plagiarized document and send it back to me. This teacher does not play when it comes to taking credit for someone else's work. Thank you for being such a fierce advocate for your fellow authors. I am sorry that you needed to face your own issues with this. Speaking of VC Andrews, I had every book of hers, up until she passed. Everything after her death is trash. :(
If you look at the list of authors, there is everything from paranormal to Recency. How this person mashed them together to get 'bestsellers", is mind boggling.
I've been an avid reader/bibliophile since I could hold a book. This makes me so very sad. I've often thought I would write, if I could. But I don't have the imagination and creativity required to sustain a story to book length. So I content myself with reading really good stories from the gifted ones--I have my own strengths and that's enough. There is no such thing as a victimless crime.
Had not realized this was so rampant. Good you are standing up to it Nora and we (your faithful readers) support you 100%.
So sorry you, and others are dealing with this.
But let's face it, anyone would want to be able to craft the awsomeness that is to be found in any of your books.
They are WRONG in thinking your inner Dallas won't kick their a$$ for it. But understandable they would try to emulate you.
Justice must be served, and you are the perfect woman to dish it!!
This is beyond egregious...please let us readers know what we can do to assist you in this.
Go get them, tiger. And what you had to deal with with Janet Dailey should be retold again and again because I've come across a lot of people who had no idea.
I am happy that you are dealing with this with stunners on full. It's theft and maybe you should be going after Amazon/ Kindle for selling stolen goods.
1 day ago
We meet another of Roarke's boyhood friends, Mick Connelly, in Betrayal. His reaction to Eve is suitably predictable. And charming. ~Laura ... See MoreSee Less
"You never used to be quite so chummy with a badge."
"I’m very chummy with this one. She’s my wife."
"She needn’t bother dropping me. I’m dying of the shock." || Betrayal in Death
I loved Mick, but loved Eve's reaction to him more. Her response to Roark's comment about even though he was no friend of hers she still literally gave him the shirt off her back. That comment and Roark saying he found his one true thing he couldn't do without♡♡♡
Love the back and forth of all the characters! And I always love Roarke’s mates reactions to him marrying ‘a bloody cop’ 💞😂
His one true thing
Mick is so much fun! I love how he keeps telling Eve to leave Roarke and run away with him. 😆
It was nice that a characters from his past was a friend and that the friendship was still there.
Loved Mick! He was just so much fun. That ending... don’t want to say too much in case someone hasn’t read but fantastic drama!
I love Brian!!!
Mick is a great character from Roarkes past, he was lucky to stay standing at his first meeting with Eve ;) x
Eve and Roarke are in for a surprise with him.
They way all his old mates react to him and Eve is hilarious; but then she winds up winning everyone of them over in the end makes it even better an funnier!!🤣
I liked Mick. Loyal to the end.
Love Mick and his irreverent view of life and crime.
Love meeting Roarke's old friends!!!
It always amazed me that Roarke’s friends could accept he had changed, but some of Eve’s coworkers couldn’t. It would be easy to write that off as a byproduct of the job. Roarke might have the same attitude as Mick toward crime if he had stayed in the business.
Which book is where Roarke find his family?
That's ok, Brian is waiting in the wings 😅👍
I loved Mick so funny and spontaneous. Such a loyal friend to Roarke.
I really like Mick. He was a good character and showed loyalty.
Love the reaction ❤️
The interaction with Eve and Mick (and Brian) was so fun!
I loved him. So fun and carefree.
I loved Mick. He proved to be a very good friend to Roarke!
Always wonder a bit what Roarke would be like if he hadn't moved on from his mated
Roarke is always ready to brag about his cop...his love of his life...sigh...
Feeney, on the same page with Eve about Peabody and McNab. ~laura ... See MoreSee Less
“Don’t put this business in my brain. Isn’t it bad enough I know they're, you know, getting naked together?” || Betrayal in Death
I love Feeney. He reminds me of my mother. she had the ability to totally ignore what she didn't want to see, but was the most savy person I know. she was a Holocaust survivor and an extremely intelligent person. But she believed in the manners and mores she grew up with. She felt that good manners were the glue that kept civilization together. The older I get, the more sense she made.
Treat every one with respect and dignity.
Allow every one to have their say.
Discuss differences without prior prejudices.
Do not force your opinion on others.
DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE BULLIED OR DISTRACTED FROM YOUR GOAL.
Do not force force your opinion on others, but DO NOT LET OTHERS FORCE THEIR OPINIONS O. YOU. BE PREPARED TO FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN.
Feeney and Eve couldn't be more alike if they were blood kin. Love it.
Feeney- true father figure! Love him!!!❤️❤️
For two people who have seen it all, Feeney and Eve have a hard time actually talking about sex :D (with each other anyway ;) )x
Once you see it, you can't un-see it! LOL Feeney
Feeney & Eve definitely share the same point of view on Peabody & McNabb - “need to know basis” - no need to know! Love reading these characters. Deep into Celebrity In with more to come.
This is my Feeney, named for Eve's captain.
Love Feeney!! He s def Eves dad, he's just like her when it comes to Peabody and McNabb and he gets uncomfortable dressing up for occasions too. Feeney is such a funny guy!!
Feeney and Eve are so alike
Love Feeney and Eve's reactions.
Just finished Connections. Now gotta wait for new til September. So will start over again with Naked, and look for some of the ones I don't have yet.
Feeney is one of my favorite characters.
It's like thinking about your parents having sex. Just ick
Just starting connections today!! So psyched!!
I love how Eve's eye twitch everytime Peabody talk about their sex life 😂😂😂
You have got to love Feeney!
Feeney with the puppy dog face and rumpled suit cracks me up when they talk about Peabody and McNab getting it on...
The eye twitch!
I love Feeney...
Lmao. I love shebody and Mcnab
Love those two
Gotta LOVE Feeney❤
Cover reveal time! Vendetta in Death (ID #49) is out September 3. You can pre-order at your favorite retailer:
Turn the Page: bit.ly/2TXvTde
Google Play: bit.ly/2TWq28e ... See MoreSee Less
I live my life in 6 month increments waiting for new In Death releases. Will you be doing any more hardback reprints on the early #s? I'm trying to complete my collection in all HB.
Love love Eve and Peabody. I’ve read them all twice now and can hardly wait for the next. When I picture Eve in my head, she has always kinda looked like Olivia Benson LOSVU, with her short hair. Keep them coming.💞
Each time I finish an “In Death” book I think, oh this is the best one yet, and each time I’m proven wrong with the next one.
Super excited! Most book series are stale to my mind before they get to book 10. This series simply gets better as it marches on. 💖📚💖
Can hardly wait. This is my favorite author.
Yes she was first!! Not only that but J.D. predicted Smart Phones (PPC's)
So sorry to hear JD isn’t writing novellas anymore. They helped bridge the time while waiting for the next novel!
Woo Hoo! Coming out the day after my 80th birthday. Presently reading Connections. Love it.
I don't want this year to pass quickly but hurry up September!!!!
I wait for the paperback edition, but always borrow from the library. I just checked out Connections late last night and got in 5 chapters before bed. Will be finishing it sometime today. :)
Pff i am waiting for nummer 15 to be translated in Dutch.😑
Just finished Connections last night and ready for Vendetta.
I’ve decided to re-read the #InDeathSeries. Well, at least the first 20 books. I love being reintroduced to my all favorite characters. I’m currently listening to Rapture in Death. This should hold me over until September.
Like the background music...
Love the books..
Looking forward as always to the next book
I live in 6 month increments now waiting for my new JD Robb books whoop
Can't wait. September is too far away.
Just pre-ordered, yay!!!
OK, I've marked my calendar!
Can’t wait! I hope something new and exciting happens! Maybe Eve gets a promotion or gets pregnant
I can't wait!!! This will be fantastic!!
While you are waiting, check out Ilona Andrew's (if you like fantasy)
Yay ! Part of my birthday presents!
I've marked it on my calendar!
Woo hoo! Reading Connections right now and loving it!