Copycats! Another plagiarism deal

Once again, we find that a “New York Times Best-Selling Author” has been cribbing from published novels. When will people learn to copy from more obscure sources?! I tell them and I _tell_ them . . . steal from Sinclair Lewis! He’s one of the greats, and nobody steals from him! (Then again . . . don’t.)

The first rustlings were from Candy, one of the bloggers at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

MediaBistro’s article says:

[Candy] admits that she handed _Shadow Bear_, one of Cassie Edwards’s nearly 100 romance novels, to one of her friends as an example of just how bad the genre can get. But she wasn’t expecting that friend to find “didactic passages… written in a distinctly different voice” which, when popped into Google, revealed striking similarities to other documents, including a Luther Standing Bear novel published in 1933.

“We’re merely providing evidence of Startling and Eerie Similarities between these Cassie Edwards novels and certain texts published prior to the Edwards books.”

*facepalm* *headdesk* *revolvertemple*

Now, see, my next guess as to what I’m doing wrong is that I’m NOT PLAGIARIZING. If only I could find something I liked well enough to steal from, something published within the last few years. *wink* Unfortunately, the style that I apparently imprinted on is Don Westlake’s, and he is very self-indulgent with his prose. I love his style, but I don’t think that a new writer who indulged herself with the types of digressions and interesting wordplay that he uses (even in recent Dortmunders such as _What’s the Worst That Could Happen_) could get published. They won’t even let ME refer to John Wayne, claiming that “nobody knows what he looked like any more.” If I thought I could write like someone else, though, I don’t know if I’d want to. I just need to continue to pray that the idiotic fantasy goes away.

Speaking of that . . . I sent out a goodly number of copies of my Jacquidon book in PDF form to various readers of this journal and members of DOROTHY-L last month. Never have heard back from anyone as to whether they actually read it. I’ll let you know if anyone does reply. I’d appreciate even the smallest peep that someone felt like emitting. Knowing where you stopped reading, or what p**sed you off most, might help me in my resolve. I must be disabused of the notion that my work could pass muster. It might’ve been able to in ages past, but as several people have told me, who gives a s**t about that? That was then . . . this is now. (Still, I didn’t like TWT, TIN as well as _The Outsiders_.)

In other news, the Universe slapped me down again with an insta-reject. I got all cocky after I placed a story with a new company that’s going to allow readers to build their own anthologies (I need to do the post about that this afternoon so y’all will know), and I skimmed through some agents’ blogs. Janet Reid joined a mystery bloggers’ site and wrote about how she now concentrtes on crime novels (I had been convinced she did a lot of chick lit), and I got all hepped and sent her an e-query for my Marfa Lights mystery. The rejection came winging back in the next morning’s e-mail. I knew better than to start THAT cycle again, so it serves me right. It still sent me into a mini-funk, and here I am forbidden to eat chocolate. I cheered up again this morning when I woke up alive, though, so it all levels out.

I’m still waiting to hear from two other agents about the same novel. Those were full subs that I sent out late last year. However, I figure I’ll get the same old answer as always. My books just don’t fit the current market. They aren’t going to. I’ve also got the entry in the Amazon contest, and I’ll be interested to hear what the reviewer thought of it, but I don’t expect it to be chosen to go forward in that contest. (That’s a different book–the Pundit book. After the fiasco the talking heads just had over their _hubris_ about the NH primary, somebody should want a book about a Pundit in trouble, but no one will because it’s from me. It’s too bad, but I’m not nice enough to want to give the idea to someone else who might have a chance with it.)

In yet other news, I was disappointed in Troy CLE’s novel. I did buy a copy for solidarity’s sake, and I’m not sorry that I did, but I’m a bit amazed at the level of the prose. I didn’t read more than a few pages; admittedly, I’m not a young adult and it’s not really my kind of story at my age. I suppose I am more sensitive to prose style than most readers, but I was still a bit surprised. Then again, I have been told over and over that it’s not about the quality of the writing or even about the originality of the story, but all about whether they (the publishing house, and before that the agent) think they can sell it. This is a market-driven economy. It all makes sense, in a way. I do think this is something they’ll be able to sell.

I had a blogvisit from (supposedly) Troy CLE the other day, in fact. He has an entry up telling more about his publishing path; the NYT didn’t tell the entire tale, he said. Just thought I’d pass the link along, in case you never go back and read comment threads on my old entries. (What?! You fiends!)

It would be nice to see the English language used to inspire and elevate again, rather than just to sell and spin, but maybe that’s why we have Obama and his speechwriting team. *wink*

I’m not as hepped up about Obama as most people seem to be. He’s had a few Empty Suit With Kennedy Rhetoric moments. And he was the one who started the sniping during debates last month (at the media’s urging), so I think he’s more of a political critter than people realize. Still, it’s illuminating to see how many people want change–any kind of change at all, even when it’s not specified exactly what will be changed and how–and need someone to believe in. It looks as though he’s really on a roll.

John Kerry endorsed Obama this morning, and the second thing that crossed my mind (after thinking that the bandwagon is raising yet another banner, and hoping that it doesn’t *hurt* the guy, seeing as how Kerry became a sort of political poison himself after 2004) was, “Way to make powerful enemies, dude.” After all, it’s a slap in the face to his former running mate, and the Clintons did campaign for Kerry and might’ve expected his support in return (that’s politics for you). He mighta-shoulda-oughta given some kind of little speech about WHY he threw his support behind Obama. Maybe he WILL . . . the press might’ve let this cat out of the bag early . . . but I think this was a very undiplomatic move. Still, you gotta do what you believe is right.

Even if you think plagiarism is right. Carry on!

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Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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