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February 10th, 2009

12:48 PM

Oh, for heaven's sake.

Bow down, bitches!

Hmm, someone told me to take a read at the Smart Bitches comment thread here and I did. What seemed to be another rehash of "I will never buy the book of any author who makes me mad... not that I have ever heard of her anyway but since you told me her antics were bad I'd chime in and say I won't buy her books anymore!" threads that everyone loves to have a word in turned out to be another minor rehash of Cassie Edwards Gate. And how I apparently said "worse" than Jennifer "Did Cassie run over your dogs?" Crusie and yet nobody "called me" on it.

"Called me on it".

Hmm, interesting choice of words there. Who should call me on "it"? Did someone start a Blog Land Moral Police when I wasn't looking? I raised Sarah SB's blood pressure, the poor thing, so perhaps she should be the one to call me on "it"? Heaven knows, anyone who disagrees with the majority on Smart Bitches is clearly on the side of evil and must be punished.

Here are the links to all that I have said about Cassie Edwards on this blog so that you can judge for yourself whether I look sexier in the devil garb than Jennifer Crusie.




Seriously, kids, Cassie Edwards had lost her contract with Penguin. She had a stroke subsequently, which we can all view as a sign that God hated her and was on the sides of Smart Bitches Who Know Everything all along. The message has been made clear and loud and repeatedly - plagiarism was wrong. RWA even held workshops. What more do you want, Growlycub and gang? For me to crawl on the ground and kiss the pointy sparkly shoes of you people for daring to have a different thought from the majority? To stand on the street corner with Jennifer Crusie and wear a sign saying "WE WERE WRONG. YOU WERE RIGHT. SRSLY!"? A public hanging? What?

I don't get what these people want. Slightly more than a year had passed since the day, and I don't think anyone truly disagreed with them that Cassie Edwards was wrong for plagiarizing. And yet, here they are, still bitching about me, Jennifer Crusie, Deborah Smith, and the fact that that RWA seminar wasn't lauded as the Most Important Epic Win For Good everywhere and every author who didn't attend that seminar and gave the speakers a standing ovation hadn't yet come out to grovel in apology before Those Good People.

What do these people want? Honestly? Sainthood? Deification? A virtual memorial?

I'm so confused.
22 comment(s).

Posted by Anonymous to speak:

Yeah. Ditto most of this. I love the Bitches, I do. I don't speak up much there because the comments get so vicious but I really like and respect them. But yeah, that business with "Nobody came to our plagiarism seminar so authors obviously don't care"? I hate to put it this way, but authors know what plagiarism is for the most part, and if we want to hear more about it we'll go to industry people and ask them. We didn't go to the seminar because we didn't feel the need to listen to bloggers lecture us about a subject that is part of our everyday working lives. I heard a few comments like that regarding the RWA lecture and why people weren't going. It wasn't because they didn't care about the issue, it was because they didn't care about the people running the discussion. I'm all for bloggers and think it's great but the bottom line is, they do not work in this industry and we do; it would be like the President asking the media what he should do about the banking crisis, instead of talking to people who actually work in the banking industry. All of their "industry" posts bug the crap out of me, to be honest. Come back and discuss the industry when you've learned the difference between a wholesaler and a distributer. Until then, quit saying publishing is "broken."

And I still don't see where asking that an elderly woman not be pilloried quite so harshly is a terrible think. I hate plagiarism and I think what Edwards did was disgusting and dishonest and she is a disgrace to the industry. She should be forced to apologize and to donate a large chunk of her stolen money to the people and causes from whom she stole, but the outright glee was a little sad.
February 10th, 2009 @ 7:22 PM

Posted by Mrs G:

Anon, didn't they have some industry expert giving a talk in that seminar? I wasn't there, so I couldn't say, but I heard it wasn't a seminar conducted solely by bloggers.

About Cassie Edwards Gate, what annoys me is that despite my repeated - and highlighted in big fonts - assertions that I do not support the author's plagiarizing antics, the fact that I objected to the way the coverage was handled was viewed both by the people behind Smart Bitches and their clique of loyal followers as a sign of such. I cannot win in this situation because Smart Bitches and Company are pulling an Ann Somerville stance here - voice any disagreement about how they do things and you are automatically the Enemy who are against the Greater Good. You cannot agree that plagiarism is wrong and yet disagree with how things are handled because Her Royal Majesties of SB have declared that you MUST support them or you too are a plagiarist. Anyone who doesn't speak up and say "Aye!" must be Friends of Cassie Edwards and there the Enemies of Good. You are either with them or against them. The pigs have taken over the farm - how can I win here? :-?
February 10th, 2009 @ 8:48 PM

Posted by Teddypig:

Huh? I did not take over any farm. OK, I did turn the chicken coop into condos but that was before the real estate bubble burst.
February 10th, 2009 @ 9:12 PM

Posted by sallahdog:

I don't get what these people want.

They are just doing what is human nature. Talking about others and pointing at their faults so that they can feel better about themselves...

This isn't a slam to them, its a proven element in the human condition.. You in this case, represent "them"...

Personally I don't get into this too much, having some horrible real life consequences with this behavior, I tend to ignore it... I rarely post anywhere anymore, here is my personal take on books... If I had liked Cassie Edwards before, I probably would have ignored the issue since most of her plagarizing was from resource books, rather than the Dailey plagarizing where she was ripping off romantic scenes from Roberts.. I try really hard NOT to read authors I love blogs because I don't want to know what goes on behind the curtain..

Heck if I was into M/M ebooks (I hate ebooks) I would probably read Ann Somervilles since you say they are good, and I don't give a shit if she thinks I am a troll or not... But I equally like Karen Scotts blog and Ferfe's and I don't agree with either of them all the time..
February 10th, 2009 @ 9:25 PM

Posted by veinglory:

Color me confused too. I act against plagiarism when I can, in my own way and according to my own agenda. But apparently the absence of a milling crowd of support means everyone is apathetic and doesn't care.
February 10th, 2009 @ 11:52 PM

Posted by Mrs G:

Teddypig, lots of love coming your way for making me laugh.
February 11th, 2009 @ 12:23 AM

Posted by kirsten saell:

Dude, if someone organized a panel to discuss the reasons why kicking puppies is wrong, how many people do you think would attend? FFS, I would hope we all KNOW kicking puppies is wrong. We all know plagiarism is wrong. We don't need a panel to tell us. That's probably why the seminar was poorly attended.

I, too, wish the story had broken elsewhere. Because of the preexisting bias against Edwards on the Smart Bitches' blog, the ensuing drama devolved into a circus atmosphere of malicious glee that not only refelcted poorly on the participants (IMO), but also IMO undermined the seriousness of the issues involved. It's hard to pay attention to the issues when you're immersed in a crowd of spectators hurling rancid tomatoes and calling for blood.

I didn't even bother to read past the first 50 comments this time--not because I thought we'd get a rehash of Cassiegate, but because I was pretty sure the thread would turn into yet another smackdown of a particular author we're all familiar with, and I'm just not interested at this point...
February 11th, 2009 @ 1:20 AM

Posted by Jennie Bean:

Plus, like me, people are probably tired of hearing about it. Cassie Edwards is old news. I'm ready for fresh blood.
February 11th, 2009 @ 3:49 AM

Posted by Tuscan Capo:

Some bonfires just ain't big enough or hot enough for the Grand Inquisitor and the band of immaculate camp followers. Sorry to hear they're on your case, Mrs. G.
February 11th, 2009 @ 7:32 AM

Posted by Conrad:

Here's what you should do: go to SBTB, say what you have say, then in the end go "Man, I wish Candy was here! She really has gone AWOL, hasn't she? What's the matter, Candy? Why are you absent all the time? Dont you love your fans at SBTB any more?"
Do that and their embarassed legions of fans will live you alone cause (a) you were telling the truth; and (b) they're mad at Candy for living them high and dry for years.
February 11th, 2009 @ 2:36 PM

Posted by Mrs G:

Oh, Conrad, that is so nasty, hah. I don't have anything against SB, though, I'm just venting here because I am so annoyed that they just keep lumping me with those Bad People Who Are Against Them and bellyaching endlessly about it. It's been a year. Awareness had been spread, people have discussed the matter, and yet some twits are still moaning that Cassie hadn't been punished enough yet and those people who spoke out against SB are still up and around instead of cowering in shame. I think these people won't be happy until the entire blog world worship them endlessly or something.
February 11th, 2009 @ 10:16 PM

Posted by LKC:

(I'm deleting this post - let's not make unsubstantiated inflammatory statements about those SB people, shall we? - Mrs G)
February 12th, 2009 @ 5:01 AM

Posted by anon1:

Hmm. I'm not that concerned with plagarism. Not because I don't think it's bad. No, it's that it's an ethical convention that has changed throughout the years and enforcement (in publishing or academia) is still too inconsistent to be truly useful. Rather like it's okay unless you get caught and if you do, then scream really loud until you get a do-over.

Come on, there are outright fabrications in memiors with minimal publisher fact checking and you have an author who was guilty of some pretty major copyright infringement who still writes professionally. How do all these things rank on that sliding degree scale of wrongness today? And how can I take any of this seriously when it doesn't seem like the industry professionals do? And by professionals in this instance I mean the people who acquire & sell these works.

If we really want to get nitpicky, why didn't CE's editor make her rewrite these passages because it sounds like the tone/style changed dramatically whenever you 'hit' one. Not that I'm trying to defend CE but her time of learning these ethnical standards was about 50 years ago in high school / college and that was a different time. Is it possible that with some basic rewrites and afterword acknowledgements that this thing would all go away or did she also 'steal' characters & plots. Because that seems to have worked for some other authors whose works were considered transforming...wait, sorry I forgot these were romances there's nothing tranforming there. (yes, that was tongue-in-cheek)

Regardless it's a circular argument that will never have a clearcut answer until there are across the board standards and enforcement. Let's be realistic. That's doesn't seem to be likely without publisher's & agents increasing their staffs to catch it before it makes it to publication. That doesn't mean that I don't think it should happen.
February 12th, 2009 @ 11:17 PM

Posted by anon1:

To SBTB, though I doubt you'll read this: The question I wanted to ask last month on SBSarah's plagarism anniversary post was: Knowing what you know about the circus that got created as the story unfolded, would you expose another 'potential' plagarist in the same manner? I say potential because the two of you didn't really know what you'd uncover when you wrote that original post and I'd say that the issue spiralled out of your control and became witch-hunt like.

Did the two of you end up where you thought you would with this issue? What did you both learn from this experience and does that have any impact on your journalistic/blogger standards moving forward? Ultimately, would you do the same thing in the same fashion again?

And to the rest of us, how many readers really care? Just like how many music listeners care when they find out that a rift was improperly lifted as opposed to properly paid for? Should we care? Sure, but isn't that why we have the publishing professionals? If they were more consistent with their definitions and enforcement, then I think authors would be a lot more careful. Or maybe I'm only dreaming.
February 12th, 2009 @ 11:20 PM

Posted by Anonymous to speak:

Anon1 said: "Regardless it's a circular argument that will never have a clearcut answer until there are across the board standards and enforcement. Let's be realistic. That's doesn't seem to be likely without publisher's & agents increasing their staffs to catch it before it makes it to publication. That doesn't mean that I don't think it should happen."

Yes, and it won't happen unless the writing community and the reading community make it clear this behavior is unacceptable. As long as there are people like yourself who will shrug and say "Yeah, whatever, it's bad but it's somebody else's problem," nothing will get done.

No offense intended, but you can't expect other people to do the caring for you.
February 13th, 2009 @ 3:10 AM

Posted by anon1:

No offense intended, but you can't expect other people to do the caring for you.

No offense but you can't expect me to care when I know that there isn't any consistency of enforcement or that if I have a big enough mouth or fanbase or whatever it will simply go away.

It seems like there are always these 'rules' of life that we're supposed to follow but these rules only apply to the people who are willing to follow them. Others seem to know or think that these rules don't apply to them or they know how to make the system work for them instead of the other way around. This isn't just an observation about the writing world it's an observation about life in general.

Just look at the CE's situation. Yes, one of her publishers dropped her contract. What about the others? And the books dropped, how long will they be dropped before another publisher picks them up? Maybe not today or tomorrow but the likelihood is high that it will eventually happen because despite the size of the online romance reading community and their displeasure, it's still rather small compared to the book buying community. The news of plagarism probably hasn't touched many readers despite what we might like to think. Heck, I didn't know about the Daily copyright infringement case until I happened upon on a blog somewhere.

So you want me to care. I want to I really really do. And I will just as soon as the system proves that it's willing to do consistent enforcement regardless of who that person is. Until then, yes, I'm going to shrug not because I don't have strong opinions about a given instance but because ultimately it doesn't matter what I think. I have no power for rule setting or enforcement. It's much too subjective. And don't fool yourself it won't be the at large writing or reading community that decides it's unacceptable, it will be a small group of people that will make it happen and the rest of us will simply go along with it whatever form it ends up taking.

Yes, I'
February 13th, 2009 @ 6:30 AM

Posted by anon1:

Yes, I'm cynical. Too much Wall Street I'm afraid. But it could very well be people like Sarah & Candy who make plagarism unacceptable. Not the writers, not the publishers, not the reading community at large but two bloggers with a following and the willingness to make their platform into reality.

Cynical One
February 13th, 2009 @ 6:41 AM

Posted by emily:

I have been waiting for this reality. What exactly is it the 'following' is meant to be doing/failing to do other than going to one specific workshop?
February 13th, 2009 @ 7:25 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

I agree with Emily.

There is only so much a mere reader - and blog follower - can do in this instance other than to, say, not buy said author's books and chime in endlessly on blogs declaring that plagiarism is bad. What else is a mere reader expected to do in this case? What can the reader do?
February 13th, 2009 @ 7:36 AM

Posted by K. Z. Snow:

There are thousands of causes floating around out there. Anybody who tries to hold others to his or her standards for "activism" is being both unfair and unrealistic.
February 13th, 2009 @ 11:31 AM

Posted by anon1:

I'm cynical but here goes.

First thing: define plagiarism in fiction, give me clear-cut examples to work with along with how the work needs to changed/cited to not be considered plagiarism. Is this a zero tolerance thing or a sliding scale? If sliding: how many words out of a 90,000 word novel need to be plagiarized in order to trip the litmus test? Ideally what would happen to any author if found guilty of plagiarism? e.g., Does this one book get yanked off the bookstore shelves or all of their books including any stories they have in anthologies? Future contracts? Libraries/used bookstores?

After those questions are answered and others, we'll need to pull up all the authors who stood in defense of McEwan/Atonement as well as the SBTB CE's document and see how their works stand up to the standards that got laid out and ask whether we'd be willing to apply the stated enforcement to any of these books if they are found to contain plagiarism by the above standards. What it will take to get all parties to make the stated vision into reality and how do we break that down into incremental goals that can be reached?

Think the above is overkill. Fine. Then please tell me what we want to accomplish so I can understand. I'm not trying to be difficult, but I personally need to know that it's at least to possible to have consistency in rules and enforcement and that I can agree with the goals before I commit myself.

K.Z., I'm not trying to hold anyone to my standards, I'm trying to explain why I'm cynical about the issue and the difficulties I see moving forward including the potential ugliness.

None of which answers Emily/Mrs. G's question. Sorry, but don't know what the SBTB's ultimate goals are or even if this is platform they've chosen to champion beyond blog posts. Single reader? Write letters (not e-mail) directly to publishing executives, editors, booksellers & newspaper op-ed sections telling them why you won't buy/read the book. Not pretty but it's
February 14th, 2009 @ 12:26 AM

Posted by anon1:

Oh, and keep in mind that plagarism is an ethical matter not a legal one (unless there's also copyright infringement) so there might be legal ramifications. Not a lawyer so you'd need to ask one to find out where the legal lines are in something of this nature.

And I'm not proposing that we should do any of the above, I'm really just asking questions to get more people to think about different angles of the issue and where they'd like to end up.

February 14th, 2009 @ 12:37 AM