Monday, July 21, 2014

Plagiarism Gone Wrong

Since Plagiarism is never write, yes that's a play on words, how could it ever be good?  The fact of the matter is, it can't.  I've debated on bringing up this horrible topic again, because to be honest it makes my stomach churn.  As many of my readers here will remember I wrote a book series a few years back, the first being titled 10 Nights. This book did very well on the Amazon Charts, reaching the top 100 books sold.

It was right after the sensationalized book Fifty Shades of Grey released, and readers took to it looking for the next great sexy read.  A second book was released, Beyond 10 Nights, and had the same type of response from readers, who seemed to eagerly await the third book in that series.  That third book never came to fruition, and much of my original fan-base was angry.  Those that followed the story know what came next.

I'd made a very bad mistake in trusting a person without legal backup to keep things in check and put the editor of this novel as a co-writer on my books.  It was an error in judgement that haunted me for the next year as that editor decided his contribution to proofreading and copy editing was worth 50% of the profits, and he felt the recognition of his name and the 25% I originally offered was not worthy of his work, even though I'd written the original product.

Why did I do this in the first place?  Because I was ignorant of the way things worked in the book world at the time, and I trusted this person to keep his word.  It turned into an ugly battle of wills that ended up with me pulling these books from shelves and basically watching all my hard work slowly slide down the drain. I contacted several legal advisers after he put these books up under his name, taking credit for the work I'd done.  The fees were more than I could afford to pursue legal aid.  After deciding that it wasn't worth the cost to my family to take this further, I bit back my hurt feelings and began writing new books.

As far as I was concerned, I'd done all within my power and needed to look forward.  That mind set paid off well for me as I ventured forth and created several bestselling books, and eventually the pain of losing my work drifted into the past.  So why am I discussing it again today?  Things have gone very well for me this last year, I'm comfortable in my place as a full-time author, what could bring about my need to discuss this again?

I was tagged in a Kindle Board Post and the context put my name and Karl Jones as questioning us as the same person.  Obviously I wasn't going to allow that association to remain.  What I discovered thanks to an author who alerted me to this topic, was yet another author had been plagiarized by Jones.  Only this time he had taken a series that Geraldine Evans had written in 2003 if research is correct, the RAFFERTY & LLEWELLYN SERIES.  Jones managed to change the names of her characters and stole the rest of the book.  Such effort on his part (insert scathing sarcasm here).

Obviously there is no love loss between me and Jones, after what he did to my work, but what really disturbed me was he still had no remorse about claiming rights to work he did not do.  In my opinion, one cannot call themselves an author if they are not writing the book.  Several disturbing facts came to light about this person after my work had been destroyed, and while it doesn't weigh in with the plagiarism, it disturbed me greatly as a mother of five children.   Child abuse charges that he was convicted of, really made my blood boil, considering that I'd allowed one of my teenage daughters to be in a video for one of his books.  On that note I was very thankful that YouTube understood my concerns and removed that video link.

As far as the book that he plagiarized from author Evans, it was titled Murder In The First (O'Malley's Mystery books #1), showing that he also intended to continue on his road down thievery and continue the series.  And he did put out the second book Murder By The Tiffey (OMalley Mysteries #2).  As this is a 15 book series, one would have to wonder if he planned on taking all those titles as his own work.

Of course what I didn't expect to find was that he'd plagiarized 10 Nights, yet again by changing the title to Lessons (In Love, Lust and Life).  Since my heart was hammered the first time he attempted this and I could find no help through Amazon, yes it opened up old wounds.   As of this post all of the books listed are still being sold on Amazon but I do believe they will remove them.  As with Ms. Evan's books, the only changes to 10 Nights now listed as Lessons, was a few name changes.  I stated above that 10 Nights was pulled from shelves so you certainly won't see my book listed on Amazon.  There is a sense of disbelief that he can post my work while my material is basically banned.

It brings to point that what work has he written that actually belongs to him?  I would not be surprised to find all the works under his name plagiarized in some form.  If you're an author, I would look at the titles not mentioned here to verify you are not the next victim of this man who seems to be allowed a free hand to publish other peoples work.

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