The Story Siren: How to Gracefully Act When You’re a Plagiarist

Posted May 24, 2012 by Holly in Discussions | 22 Comments

When the story broke about Kristi of The Story Siren being a plagiarist, we all watched – completely dumbfounded – as she made non-apologies and refused to accept responsibility for her actions. Here’s what I wanted to see happen:

Dear Beautifully Invisible and Grit and Glamour,

I’m sorry I plagiarized your posts. I did it intentionally and then made it worse by lying about it/trying to cover it up. I apologize deeply and sincerely for what I did. I hope you can forgive me someday.



What happened instead? She apologized without actually owning her actions. She continually made things worse by retracting and changing her statements. And she never once, not in all this time, reached out to her victims to either apologize directly or to ask her scary rabid fangirls to stop harassing her victims.

That was bad enough. But then she did one better. She launched a Week of Awareness on her site, where she asked authors, librarians and readers to talk about plagiarism (Link to Smart Bitches site where you can find info. I’m not linking to TSS direct, sorry). I am..deeply disturbed by the tone of the posts going up over there this week. A lot of what I’m reading is “Plagiarism isn’t that bad” or “This isn’t really plagiarism”. W.T.F. No wait, I think this deserves a full What.The.Fuck. I’m sickened and saddened by her behavior and that of the authors/guest posters on her website. Like Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of The Bro-Magnet, a book I really enjoyed but will no longer recommend to my friends.

Thinking about this today, and feeling sad and disturbed, I tweeted about what I like to call “The MM Apology” (MM being my husband).

Tweets start from bottom up

If you’d like more information about Kristi’s non-apologies, you can read Beautifully Invisible’s The Art of the (Non) Apology.

I probably would have left it at that, and not written this post, but then Kristi did something amusing and I felt the need to share. She blocked me on Twitter.

*insert sad face here* That’s right, folks, I can no longer see Kristi’s tweets and she will no longer get my @replies to her. Please wait while I take a minute to compose myself and dry my tears.

Ok, we’re back.

Apparently I’m not the only one she blocked, either.

That’s right. She actually blocked one of the people she plagiarized from. I think we need to say it again.


I gotta tell you, I’m not feeling the love.

Stay classy, Kristi.

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22 responses to “The Story Siren: How to Gracefully Act When You’re a Plagiarist

  1. Every day this week when I see on Twitter what the new Plagiarism post is for her “feature” – my mind is BLOWN.
    The most distressful thing is that she is sitting back and letting her followers bully anyone who speaks out against her, and they don’t even realize she’s using them this way. Not once has she discouraged it. Additionally, these guests posters are being used in an obviously contrived attempt to regain popularity, and I won’t be picking up Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s books either, despite all the good reviews. I am so sad to have removed Bro Magnet from my TBR, but I just cannot stand behind willful ignorance on this >.<

  2. Has


    I feel the same way!!! And I highly recced Bro Magnet – the author knew about the fallout/incidents. The posts this week was about trying to justify or muddy and confuse topics such as derivative works and copyright instead of the fact that plagiarism is about stealing words and content.

    Seeing how TSS failed to produce a real heartfelt apology instead of a non-apologies and she still failed to send a direct one to the bloggers she plagiarised. I am not surprised about the blocking on twitter – that sums it up and shows her real intentions and feelings about the whole matter. She doesn’t care anything but the fact she got caught and is more worried about the fallout and status with publishers and authors and the site. Ironically if she had come out and did a real apology when this originally broke – I doubt she would be trying to frantically to get out of the hole she’s digging herself in.

    That is also hilarious and sad

  3. I think the permissive attitude toward plagiarism is that a significant number of people view the Interweb as a source of content. And it’s with the word “content” that I think the problem begins for “content” allows you to feel like what you’re taking isn’t anything more than bytes on a browser as opposed to words, music, art, etc that someone poured their heart and soul into.

    This is one of the justifications we see for illegally downloading books and music.

  4. If I lived near you, I would take you out for a drink. Or two. So we could be sad about our mutual blockage together.

    Thank you for writing this, and thanks for the link love.

    You know what is funny? I was reading the comments on one of her posts this week and saw someone defend her by saying Kristi had apologized repeatedly on her blog AND on twitter. How would we see an apology on twitter if she blocked both myself and Grit and Glamour? Unless of course, she doesn’t feel the need to truly apologize to us.

  5. I don’t understand people. Bad enuf she plagarized but she would have been better off not even attempting a half hearted apology – I guess she thought she must but made it worse.

  6. SJ

    Oh my. Thanks for the updates, I appreciate not having to visit the TSS site to be updated (although it’s not like the pool of vagueness there would enlighten any casual reader what the plagiarism hubbub is all about).

  7. She clearly thinks she’s a Princess who can’t do any wrong. She doesn’t know how to stay classy because she was never classy to begin with.

    Part of me wants to go tell every single one of Story Siren’s followers what they’re supporting. But then I think she’s not worth the time of day.

  8. Oh my good God, Rowena, I love you to pieces!!!

    Holly, I know, right?

    Mind you, I don’t recognize any of the people she had as guests this week until today, and my blood pressure was hitting the asplody zone. Then today’s post…

    I must say that I was very happy to see comments from Jennifer Armintrout blasting today’s post to smithereens.

  9. @Rowena, awww, thank you!

    I don’t think TSS will let my latest comments go through, though–on today’s post I took the gloves off…

    *moment of stunned silence*

    I know, I’ve been so gentle so far, right?

    Anyway…if you’ve read the comments on today’s post, you’ll see that ms author guest of the day mentioned having a ‘mostly civil’ conversation with me last night. This happened at Grit and Glamour’s most excellent Damage Control 101 comment thread. Seriously, go read, have fun.

  10. I was bothered by Baratz-Logsted’s post as well, particularly since I was concerned by how much actual borrowing there was in her “re-envisoning” of The Great Gatsby, Z. I don’t know where the line is, so I don’t know if it crossed it, but I certainly wondered.

    We get the MM apology in this house all the time! My husband apologies at the drop of a hat, generally without even knowing what he’s apologizing for. It’s just automatic.

  11. Rowena

    She continues to sink further and further into the twat hole of doom. I’m equal parts disappointed and disgusted that authors, teachers and librarians would participate in this week long event of WHAT THE FUCKERY.

    Stupid people piss me off.

  12. JenB

    Mean girls! Shame on you for making fun of a sweet little plagiarist. I mean, they’re just words. 😛

    (I totally snorted out loud at “twat hole,” Rowena.)

  13. Rowena

    @SpazP: Yeah, not buying any of the authors that are participating in this week’s stupidity. Sucks because I was looking forward to reading The Bro Magnet but now? Yeah the eff right.

    @Jen B.: 🙂

    @Beautifully Invisible: I saw those same comments so I went and checked her Twitter TL (@weendizzle isn’t blocked yet) and she never apologized there. Those “apologies” on her blog don’t count because they were so ass backwards and full of “woe is me” crap.

    As a former fan of hers, I’m appalled in my tastes in YA blogs. LOL.

  14. Rowena

    LOL @azteclady, I just asked Karen for your email so that I can email you to tell you that you’re my hero. I’ve seen ALL of your comments over at TSS and really, I loved it all.

    I read a Lauren Baratz-Logsted book not too long ago and I enjoyed it. Too bad I won’t be recommending it anymore.

    I thought today’s post deserved to be blasted to smithereens. Ridiculous.

  15. Rowena

    @veela-valoom: Don’t waste your time, they’re not worth it.

    @rameau: Thanks for that, it’s interesting to see other readers thoughts on all of this.

    @SJ: I know, which just proves that she’s not sorry.

  16. Rowena

    LOL, just left there and read it all. I wondered what she was talking about when I saw her comments on TSS earlier today.


  17. Well this post just tops off my personal “Why are these women being bitches this week?” week. Don’t they know Bitches get Stitches!!!

    The grown-up thing would have been to accept responsibility, apologize and move on. But in our society of it’s not really my fault, people instead give the non-apology. I’m sorry but… Yea that doesn’t cut it for me. Kristi is such an FC. I hope karma has a lot of fun with Kristi.

    Is there a list of the author’s participating so we can avoid any of their work in the future at all costs? It doesn’t take much for me to boycott people.

    Enjoy your weekend ladies, I know it’s hard being banned (sniff-sniff NOT)

  18. I think what is so frustrating is that she won’t own up to it. If she had just admitted her mistake and then tried to do something like this, it wouldn’t bother me at all. Because she is still trying to sugar coat the whole thing, the plagiarism week makes me want to laugh.

  19. The favorite bit I read that she said was basically saying that every blogger has ‘walked the plagiarism line’ – i.e. we’ve all considered Plagiarizing people. I don’t know about anybody else but I have never considering this. I like my posts to be original.

    ComaCalm’s Corner =^.^=

  20. Kim

    Does it appear as if many YA under the age of 20 now thinks plagiarism is no problem. I wonder what a college admission office would think if they ever read the tweets and blog postings. I was taught to always cite my sources, so I don’t understand how people think it’s alright to simply change the wording.

  21. Do you mind if I just change a couple of words and post it as my own. Afterwards, when we are no longer friends and we definitely no longer chat on Twitter, I can do an education week and then just carry on blogging as if nothing ever happens.

    That’s how plagiarism works right? Or is that just for certain people?

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