Of Plagiarism-the past in the present

 “Ignorance of law and ethics is no excuse, however. Plagiarism victimizes writers. It betrays the trust of readers. It tarnishes the craft of writing.” Paul Tolme from From Janet Dailey to Cassie Edwards-Newsweek’s evolving views on plagiarism in romance novels.

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I thought I had said all I wanted to say but Stahl has managed to  enrage me a little more. Stahl has issued a long letter to her fans about the terrible, terrible time in September when she was wrongly accused of plagiarism. Please also read Fangirl’s blog here. Stahl laments the cruel accusations and offers the excuse that of course her work resembles that of other writers because there are no new ideas and we all use the same language and have some of the same experiences so, yeah, her writing would be “similar” to other authors.

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If this is true then how come all these blogs about Stahl’s plagiarism are not eerily alike? Are we not sharing the same experience?

” It astonishes me that in this day and age, people can still get away with passing someone else’s work off as their own, and be very successful. I’m not suggesting that each romance novel should be a work of great literature. I don’t like eating my vegetables very much, either. I’m not expecting all that much originality, either. I like reading romance novels because I always know what to expect. Without the formula, the genre wouldn’t work. However, there are hundreds of writers out there who work within that formula to tell love stories that stir up emotions and capture my interest, and they do it using their own words. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.” Merrie Frisbie

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Yes, but:

“Yeah, the problem with this line of defense that she’s taking is that I never said she stole my story or even my ideas. Everything Changes does not have the same plot as The Art Teacher. She stole MY EXACT WORDS, lifting whole passages, just changing the names and the tense (TAT is written in present tense, Everything Changes is past tense), and shoehorning my words into her own scene. Half the time it didn’t even work well, since the scene I wrote containing those words was about something entirely different than hers. As I read through Everything Changes looking for all of my work, I stumbled on a passage that I could tell wasn’t hers. The wording, the sentence structure, the prose style, just jumped out as not belonging with what came before (it was also way better than what came before, but that’s for another post). I knew it wasn’t mine, but I also suspected it wasn’t hers. I screencapped it and tweeted it and within ten minutes someone had identified it as coming from The Practicum by The Fic Chick. She can’t claim she was just “influenced” by things she’d read (especially since when she was originally confronted about this, she claimed to have never read any of the fics involved). Influence means there are similar plot points or themes. We’re talking about exact wording.”  –Spanglemaker9

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Um, yeah.

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Won’t someone think of the children? Are you kidding me, Stahl? Maybe you should have thought about them when you were “writing” your books.

“Yeah, that part made me particularly ragey. I’ve been very mature, keeping my mouth shut about her, filing a nice, proper C&D like I was supposed to, and then she says that. I wasn’t going public with anything until she did that. Gloves off, lady” –Spanglemaker9

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“If and when” she writes again? Shouldn’t that read, never mind, she’s going to write again, no if about it.

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No, not really. Stahl may regain a following but like other authors before her the story and the stigma of plagiarism will follow her for the rest of her writing career.

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And every author who knows about you will be diligently checking your work just in case you miss something.

Stahl talks about receiving insults, threats, death threats  but, like Fangirl, I have never seen any. I never saw anyone mention her child/children. I never knew she was married or that her husband had been in a very bad accident. And with this Stahl sent my mind on a trip down memory lane.

That quote at the beginning is as true for Stahl as it was for the late Janet Dailey. Dailey was caught out plagiarizing from Nora Roberts. Both of these authors were true powerhouses of writing so it was a tremendous shock to find Dailey lifting passages from Roberts. Dailey never really acknowledged her responsibility instead blaming it on a series of deaths and illness in her family.

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Dailey was maybe the first author I can remember who tried to deflect the public’s attention from her bad acts to her personal life in a bid for sympathy, much like Stahl is doing now. And it seems that Stahl is making it work for her.

“For someone to target an innocent child and wish death on another person over fiction is totally wrong on so many levels.  To think that another MOTHER may have done it is even worse.  I’m so sorry that this happened to you.”

“I doubt that Nora Roberts will ever forget the pain and betrayal she must have felt at having her mind robbed, and I will always feel shame that I looked up to someone so undeserving.” -Merri Frisbie, from the same article linked above

” Ms. Stahl….I just read of your plight and as an avid reader I am so sorry this witch hunt has taken place. I am also ashamed that fellow readers and other human beings found it acceptable to become bullies. It is disgusting that anyone would take to harassing you, your family and most disturbingly A CHILD.. I HOPE those making the accusations can 100% PROVE those accusations IN COURT because… IF I were you…..my money, and every waking moment of my life would be spent from this point forward perusing each and every person who publicly accused me of theft and or harassed me, my family and my child.  ESPECIALLY those that come here to your fb page and make those open statements without irrefutable PROOF. It truly disgusts me to see just how far humanity has fallen. And those casting those stones need to take some cover…KARMA…doesn’t like ugly. Good luck to you Ms. Stahl. Hold your head high, keep writing. I will certainly read your books.”

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First of all, the child was not harassed;  I do believe that it might come to a court case , something that must be giving Stahl a few sleepless nights; there is plenty of proof but you have to look for it, Stahl isn’t going to post it on her FB page; humanity, in the form of Stahl, has fallen to the point of stealing other’s work; KARMA, yeah, Stahl is gonna need some luck to avoid that.

“Unless you personally have legitimate proof that she did anything wrong you should just be quiet.  Why come to this page and start your harassment all over again?   Cowards who go after someone and their family with threats are disgusting and you should all be thinking of that instead of bashing someone that is being presumed guilty before she has a chance to defend herself.  Grow up people.”

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Once again, I say that you have to go and look. But you notice that these posters are outraged by the unseen threats and harassment Stahl claims she and her family was subjected to. This is paramount. This is the point of Stahl’s letter, it is all about her, her suffering, her pain. The cause, her plagiarism, is almost ignored because posters claiming this haven’t brought proof with them.

I could say that Stahl’s fans have had since SEPTEMBER to look around and read all the information posted but what is obvious to most of us seems to be beyond their mental capabilities. How can you not want to know everything being said, not want to see the evidence?

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There is talk of a court case, I don’t know for sure, but from the posts I’ve seen I think Stahl is in a very bad position. Even if it never goes to court this will be attached to her name forever. Stahl will never be able to shake it. She isn’t a name like Edwards or Dailey, this will hinder her success.

Wherever she goes, whatever she does as an author she will never be sure that that her audience isn’t thinking about plagiarism and who really wrote her latest book.

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And may you receive everything that you deserve, Ms Stahl.

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The Mystifying Fandom of Shey Stahl

“One man’s paraphrasing is another’s man’s plagiarism”. -Amos Lassen, after he was banned from Amazon for plagiarizing reviews.

pla·gia·rize

verb \ˈplā-jə-ˌrīz also -jē-ə-\

: to use the words or ideas of another person as if they were your own words or ideas   -Merriam Webster online dictionary

In September it was revealed that author Shey Stahl had lifted a significant portion of her newest book, For the Summer, from the popular fanfiction, Dusty. The review was a model of tact and diplomacy never once calling Stahl a plagiarist but listing several passages from both books and letting the readers draw their own conclusions.

For the authors of Dusty there was only one conclusion: Stahl had plagiarized their book. It wasn’t the first time Stahl had had difficulties with appropriating other’s work. As an author of fanfic she had been at the center of controversy in that community. Links to the September event and other are here, here, here, and here. Lots of interesting reading detailing how very busy Stahl had been publishing other author’s work as her own.

While Stahl denied any wrong doing, more instances were coming to light. Amazon pulled her books. Authors were demanding answers. Stahl deleted her Twitter and Facebook pages and disappeared from sight.

And now she is back, without an apology or an explanation. Not that many are surprised by this, it was a given that she would return. Authors beware.

What bothers me most isn’t Stahl’s reappearance but her fans reactions:

“Soooooooo GLAD you are back…you know we all have a girl (author) crush on you! Shey Stahl ROCKS!!”

“Holy hell! What a sight for sore eyes!!! Please tell me you are back for good!!!”

 “Haters are going to hate, friends are forever”ch

That’s depressing. How can you not understand what Stahl has done? To use the example I really hate, let’s say that Dusty is YellowBella’s child. Stahl has kidnapped Dusty and changed her name to Summer. She has also dressed her in different clothes, dyed her hair, and pierced her ears. But none of that matters, Dusty is still not Stahl’s child. Stahl has committed a crime, and no matter how good a mother you think she is, that isn’t her child. You can still love the mother, just love the real mother.

For poster #1:  That author crush you have is for all the authors Stahl stole from. It’s their work you liked, their ideas. Stahl only changed a few words and took your money for their efforts.

For poster #2:  We all knew she would be back. The lure of all those authors she hasn’t ripped off, the fans like yourself who will pay her for ripping them off, the approval you are giving to a woman who has no compunction about stealing from her own is irresistible.

For poster #3:  And friends tell their friends when they have committed a crime, friends are the people who tell you all the things you don’t want to hear. Toadies, suckups, and morally bankrupt fanpoodles are the ones who tell a common thief how glad they are she is back without mentioning that she should be apologizing and making restitution.

The Great Rewrite-or Not

“History is written by the victors.”  Winston Churchill

“… our mission here at STGRB is accomplished.  The fact is that the bullies have lost their “holy” war. So, we won’t be blogging about them that much anymore.”  ” In other words, they have lost their power and they won’t be getting it back.”  STGRB

“When I was attacked that fateful day in July of 2012, my mind was caught in whirlwind. Confusion was an understatement. It was a low point of my life. I couldn’t understand how so many people could have so much hate in their hearts, and stupidity.”  “A relationship with a girl who suffers from a lack of mental stability took her hurtful feelings towards me, and had thrust them upon so many of her friends, worked them into a psychopathic frenzy to the point where I was viciously attacked online on a website known as Goodreads dot com.”  Carroll Bryant

“Everything I thought I knew, turns out I don’t know Jack shit.”   Carroll Bryant.  Bad sentence but, for once, he got something right.

“I had to laugh at the way they try to pass their manifesto of madness off as a legitamate book with all the bells and whistles such as footnotes and an index.  But in reality it is the same out shit trying to justify their sociopathic belief that it is their right to attack and destroy writers.”  Rick(ydick) Carufel

“Everything I say is substantiated, if it comes from my mouth then they will be my words or I will have fully documented proof, I won’t say it if it isn’t true!  I pride myself on my honestly and integrity …”  Eve Thomas

“Nothing has changed when it comes to reviews. Your reviews are yours and we value the frank and honest opinions of all our members. That’s what makes Goodreads different and special.”  Otis Chandler

Maybe it’s just that writing history should not be attempted by such poor losers, poor writers, and outstanding liars.

Eve Thomas, Abuser

Everything I say is substantiated, if it comes from my mouth then they will be my words or I will have fully documented proof, I won’t say it if it isn’t true!  I pride myself on my honestly and integrity that I lost for a while because of violence and abuse but it is back with a passion now and so I invite any queries by email as social media is not the place for this and I can be reached on the usual email address evethomas@evethomas.co.uk.  I will say no more on this matter and get back to 2013.”– Eve Thomas

“Maftc acct is cosy with 38caliber Mahala another @goodreads bully until goodreads got sense and kicked them all off pic.twitter.com/RG8mLVRpiq”  from  one of Eve Thomas’ many Twitter accounts.

Either a blatant lie or wish fulfillment because I was just over there with most of the other “bullies” Eve claimed were kicked off.
Eve is just vewy, vewy angry because Twitter suspended her main account for the second time in two days. Poor widdle Eve. You know, any sane, rational, intelligent person might think that if they got suspended twice in 36 hrs that they might be doing something wrong. But Eve is none of those things.
Which wouldn’t be a problem if she didn’t put herself out there as an advocate for DV survivors. She is a danger to them as evidenced by the mess she made this spring with a survivor and the resultant furor that caused contributors to withdraw from her book. The same book that is now nowhere to be found.
Eve is posting on one of her other accounts names and pictures of comments to and about her that “prove” that we are stalking and harassing her. Stalking and harassing = disagreeing and warning others about her. Hell, I wished her HNY yesterday and that is harassment.
Now we are all to blame-again- for Eve’s suspension, not Eve. We all make choices, Eve chose to behave in a way that got her suspended from Twitter yet again. And no amount of trying to blame, harass, or intimidate others, or posting lies will make her behavior look good.
So since it came from her mouth, I would love to see her prove I’ve been banned from Goodreads, except that she can’t prove it because I’m not and I just added a little update to my review of Fifty Shades of Abuse. You can all go see it, proof of the lie.  “I pride myself on my honestly and integrity…”   Well, honesty didn’t last for more than 2 or 3 days so now let’s address her integrity…

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That’s right, readers (all 3 of you), Eve is in touch with STGRB, a site dedicated to trying to insult, harass, intimidate reviewers and authors that don’t agree with them. I say try because you have to be smarter than those you try this on and they aren’t. But if you are looking for spite, envy, and stupidity, they have it in abundance.

So a woman who calls herself a defender of DV survivors has gone running back to a group that she has had prior contact with. No, this is not a defender of anyone but herself.

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According to Eve she tried but now she’s not responsible, not responsible for choosing to post pics and trying to push the blame for the consequences of her bad behavior onto the rest of us, doesn’t that sound just like the guy who “had” to beat his wife because she cooked chicken instead of meat loaf?