Tag: Plagiarism

The Story Siren is a Plagiarist, Not a Victim

Posted April 27, 2012 by Holly in Discussions | 17 Comments

Holly: Over the last few days, the blogging world has blown up over a plagiarism scandal. I first learned about it from the Smart Bitches website. After following the yellow link road, I was appalled and frustrated by what I was seeing. I’ll let you visit the SB site, or Grit and Glamour and Beautifully Invisible, for the full story. Here’s a quick summary:

Kristi of The Story Siren found blog posts written by Grit and Glamour and Beautifully Invisible, pasted them on her site, changed a few words here and there, then passed them off as her own. When confronted by them, she denied ever even visiting the sites in question. When presented with proof that she had, in fact, visited not only those sites but those particular posts, she then asked that the whole thing be kept quiet.

4 months later, when others in the book blogging community found her out and posted about it in public, she posted a non-apology on her site where she makes out like she did nothing wrong and is being persecuted unfairly. (I especially love the “In a way I feel as though it won’t matter what I say at this point. It seems that the verdict has been decided.”)

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Then she “clarifies” by saying she may or may not have done anything wrong, but she’s very very sorry she upset the book blogging community. She doesn’t, however, say she’s sorry for actually plagiarizing. Just for upsetting the book bloggers.

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 You’ll notice those are screen caps from Google Cache? I had to use those because after all the double-speak and non-apologizing she did, she went and edited her post. This time she claims to have seen an idea and written her own take on it, which she didn’t know was plagiarism.

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You notice the part I underlined. She went from bad to worse. Grit and Glamour, who has behaved with nothing but class throughout this whole thing, was prompted to write a rebuttal Clarification post. I can’t tell you how bothered I am that there was a need for that post to get written.The way Krisit’s fan and readers have rallied around her disturbs me. Not because I don’t think friends should be loyal, but because what she did is wrong. A real friend doesn’t try to make the victim look bad. A real friend says, “Bitch, you done screwed up. Apologize and make it right.”

All those commentors who are blaming Grit and Glamour and Beautifully Invisible, sending them hate mail, telling them they’re jealous and – this one really takes the cake – saying they should be grateful Kristi stole from them make me heartsick. You know who I blame for the attacks on G&G and BI? Kristi. If she had stood up and taken responsibility for her actions, if she had spoken out and owned her actions, the could have gone down a whole different way.

Rowena: I’ve never been one to voice my thoughts in public about the blog world scandals. In this case, I felt that keeping quiet just wasn’t in the cards for me. For those of you who don’t know, I run a YA book blog called The Book Scoop. One of the book blogs that I read everyday was The Story Siren. I read her blog because she’s one giant fountain of information on all things YA. I respected her as a person and I was a total fan of her blog.

When I logged into my email on Monday morning and saw the story that hit the Smart Bitches blog, I was shocked. Completely blown away. I read every single post that I could find and followed the yellow link road until I was completely up to speed on what was going on.

I was speechless.

I followed the action throughout the entire day, waiting for a response from The Story Siren. I was interested in hearing what she had to say for herself because like her other fans, I kept wanting it to be one giant joke. The thing that really disappointed me was when I read this from Grit and Glamour’s original post about the plagiarism:

“In all honestly, I have never been to your blog or any of the blogs mentioned in this email until tonight when I cross referenced the posts that you had listed. I rarely if ever read blogs beyond the book blog community. But I could not agree more with your assessments of the posts. And I am sorry to say that I have no viable explanation. I even searched my web history to see if perhaps I had read the posts and had recalled them as I was writing my own.”

That was The Story Siren’s response to B and Vahni’s initial email, alerting her to their findings. That’s when things took an ugly turn for me because not only did she steal but she also lied. All respect, all admiration for everything she’s done for the YA book blogging community flew out the window. Because she got caught and instead of fessing up to her mistakes, she lied and then tried to hide the truth.

All of that still wasn’t enough for me to jump into the fray, but reading through her second “apology” and seeing each and every single comment that brushed off what she did as a mistake, and just all of the hand holding and there there-ing, was enough to boil my blood. There is nothing in this entire shitstorm for her to hold her head up about.

Let’s not forget that she lied, people. She said that she had never visited any of the sites when she most absolutely did visit those sites. Let’s not forget that just a few months ago, she was writing posts about how vile plagiarism is (H: interesting that she deleted that particular post, isn’t it?). She stole, she lied and she tried to bury the evidence.

How in the world can we trust anything that she says from here on out?

What really got my ass in gear to write this post was the treatment of the real victims in this case. I don’t give a good hot damn that they wrote the post that started this whole clusterfuck. Good for them. They had every right to be pissed and they had every right to post about it on THEIR blog. The Story Siren would have done the exact same thing (she did do the exact same thing) so the hypocrisy from her and her camp baffles the fuck out of me. It really pisses me off that the real victims here had to post their own clarification post. There shouldn’t have been a need for it. They didn’t do anything wrong.

The Story Siren is not the victim here, let’s not forget that.

To quote The Story Siren herself:

There is no excuse… “I didn’t know…. I didn’t mean to… I did it subconsciously.” No, you didn’t. You did know and you did mean to.

Plagiarism isn’t just copying and pasting word for word and passing it off as your own. It can be taking someones work and changing around the sentence structure, getting out your thesaurus and changing a few words here and there… basically taking the central idea tweaking it and passing it off as your own work.

Holly’s note: Look at Rowena getting all ranty and using dirty words and stuff. I’m so proud. *sniff*

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A New Form of Plagarism: Authors Beware

Posted June 30, 2011 by Holly in Discussions | 4 Comments

The other night on Twitter, Donna and Bree, the writing duo that makes up Moira Rogers, were talking about finding one of their novels on Scribd, Bookrix and other sites for writers to share their original work. In this case, the writer in question, one Angela Priest, had taken a novel of Rogers, changed a few scenes and the character’s name, and called it her own.

Through more research, Rogers discovered Priest had done this to other authors as well, including Nora Roberts. She claimed Roberts’ Circle Trilogy as her own, after changing a few key things. Based on the examples given by Rogers, this was a text-book case of find and replace. Here’s the blurb Priest put up on Scribd:

Artist and witch Flora Logger hasn’t had an orgasm since a bitter ex cursed her five years ago. Whenever she gets aroused, bad things happen. Now, she’s come to Last Call in hopes of gaining an audience with — and help from — its owner, a powerful wizard named Bernard Delacruz. If anyone can break the curse, it’s him. And if he won’t come downstairs to meet with her, she’ll bump and grind until his bar caves in from the backlash. Hurricane: Contents under magical pressure. Experience required. Bernard doesn’t get involved with patrons… not even the hot, sexually frustrated ones. But when a lush-looking reddish-blonde threatens to wreck his bar with her curse and her need, he decides it’s time to take matters — and her — into his own hands. After all, even if he can’t break the curse, he can certainly ease her frustration. And what powerful wizard doesn’t love a challenge?

and the original blurb from Hurricane, written by Moira Rogers and published by Changeling Press in 2008:

Artist and witch Fiona Logan hasn’t had an orgasm since a bitter ex cursed her five years ago. Whenever she gets aroused, bad things happen. Now, she’s come to Last Call in hopes of gaining an audience with — and help from — its owner, a powerful wizard named Benito D’Cruze. If anyone can break the curse, it’s him. And if he won’t come downstairs to meet with her, she’ll bump and grind until his bar caves in from the backlash.

Hurricane: Contents under magical pressure. Experience required.

Ben doesn’t get involved with patrons… not even the hot, sexually frustrated ones. But when a lush looking blonde threatens to wreck his bar with her curse and her need, he decides it’s time to take matters — and her — into his own hands. After all, even if he can’t break the curse, he can certainly ease her frustration. And what powerful wizard doesn’t love a challenge?

The similarities are too close to ignore. Since Rogers noticed what was happening, Priest has issued an apology and taken down all of the works she stole..from Rogers. The others are still up. Including what looks to be Nora Roberts Circle Trilogy. How stupid can one person be? To be so blatant about taking another authors work is bad enough, but to do it to authors like Nora Roberts and Shiloh Walker?

The best part, however, is that Priest is giving these stories away for free. I guess this is a new twist on Piracy..Plagiarize, then give it away for free! She also took copyrighted artwork and didn’t give credit for that. Not that we’re surprised.

Authors, I urge you to check out the sites to see if any of your works are there. Once Rogers realized Hurricane was listed, they did a Google search of the changed heroine’s name and found a ton of other sites where these had been posted.

To see the original post, check out Moira Rogers blog.

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If Cassie Edwards Plagiarized, That’s Not Right

Posted January 11, 2008 by Holly in Discussions, News | 8 Comments

I wanted to take a minute to clarify something, from all accounts and the evidence presented, Cassie Edwards plagiarized. Until it’s confirmed, no one can say with absolute certainty that’s what happened, but it seems as if that’s the case. That is wrong. Very, very wrong. I saw the article done about this on AP, where Cassie Edwards said she didn’t know she had to cite her references. I think that’s crap. Absolute and utter crap. Unless she didn’t attend any schooling – which I highly doubt – or doesn’t live in the literary world – which I highly doubt – she had to have heard at least once that to copy/paste without acknowledging your source is wrong, wrong wrong.

You may be wondering why I started this post by saying, “let me clarify something”. That’s because there seems to be some concern, in regards to myself and other people, that we don’t believe plagiarism is a big deal, or that we don’t believe what Cassie Edwards did qualifies as such. That’s horse shit. Or it is on my part, anyway.

I have an issue with the way this news came about, and the source it came from. My very first thought after seeing the original blog post about this was, “There they go again, bashing CE.” My second thought was, “Cripes, can’t they leave her alone.” and my third thought was, “Isn’t their credibility on anything CE related pretty much shot?” Especially after the tone of their original post.

Since then, SB Sarah (I think, forgive me if it was SB Candy) has apologized for the tone of their original post, saying had she thought about it a bit harder, she would have toned it down some. Regardless, I think people are using the issues SB had with Cassie Edwards to take away from the real issue. I’ve been accused of this myself.

I couldn’t disagree more. I think had this come out in a different way, or on a different site, this would be a non-issue. As it stands, I’ve seen a lot of blog posts and comments stating things like, “Oh, shut up. CE was wrong wrong wrong and SB’s were right right right.” I agree. It doesn’t matter how this came out, the fact that it did is huge.

I can say, with complete honesty, I think the way SB’s constantly attacked CE in the past was ridiculous, however. There comes a point when you need to step back from something you find abhorrent and say, “Ok, you all know we think this author sucks, let’s move on” and unfortunately (I say this because everyone seems to be pointing a finger at SB’s now) they didn’t. That sucks. But it shouldn’t take away from the real issue. Something should be done, not only as punishment to Cassie Edwards, but also to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future. What? I have no idea. I would love to offer some suggestions, but as I have no experience in publishing, writing or anything like it, I can’t. I hope someone does, however.

Now, having said that, I need to make something else just as clear:

I think this issue has moved past the point of “reporting the news” into something entirely different. Something sad and vile. I can’t help but think about the fact that Cassie Edwards is a 72-year-old woman. That doesn’t in any way excuse her behavior, but I would hate to think that we, Romance lovers that we are, might be so mean spirited that we’d want to see a woman of that age completely broken. And I think that’s where we’re heading. Am I saying we should walk away and forget the entire incident? That we should say, “Oh, well, she’s old, so it’s ok?” Absolutely not. Again, ABSOLUTELY NOT. Under no circumstances should something like this be excused, or overlooked, or go unpunished. But I do think constantly attacking her, calling her names, taking potshots at her, saying she’s a horrible author anyway, so who cares, laughing because finally, finally she’s getting what she deserves (after all, she’s a shitty writer anyway, so why not bash her as much as possible) makes us nothing more than vultures and makes us, as a community, look bad.

The romance genre and it’s readers takes a lot of hits anyway. As I said in my post the other day, it was only a matter of time before someone said, “Well, what do you expect, she writes romance!” And it has happened. And you know, it probably would have happened anyway. But seeing the comments on the posts up at SBTB, DA, KarenS’s blog, and many, many other places makes me almost ashamed to be apart of this community. Why? Because we aren’t proving anyone wrong when they say we’re to be sneered at, or laughed at. Especially when we’re so quick to turn on one of our own (and by this I do not mean to excuse Cassie Edwards, but I do mean to say I feel the tone of the comments should have been much, much different. Instead of saying, “Ha! Finally she’s getting what she deserves for writing such craptastic books” we should have been expressing outrage and sympathy for those who’s works were taken from. Yes, I know there have been comments and posts to that effect, but more often than not, I’ve walked away from posts and comments and the general tone of this and just felt dirty).

And so here I am, writing this post, partly to express my belief that what CE did was wrong, and partially to appeal to all my fellow romance lovers: Please, please remember we are not above others. It is not our place to judge, or throw stones, or be down right mean to someone, regardless of their actions. I think CE’s career is over, no? Chances are she’ll be sued, and ruined and not be able to hold her head up any longer. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t it enough that she’s been exposed, that her actions – her own actions, not those of others – have brought her low? Do we need to continue to kick her now that she’s down? Do we need to continue to make ourselves, as a community, seem bloodthirsty and bitchy?

All I would say is this: Plagiarism is wrong. Cassie Edwards needs to accept the consequences of plagiarizing. Those consequences should come from her publisher, the authors of whose work she actually plagiarized, RWA, etc. Even her readers or prospective readers should make a decision on whether or not to continue to buy her books. However, the public crucifixion of CE is completely unnecessary and just plain mean.

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