Completely Updated Post About These Events is Here.
I have left this one up only because of the comments and because it shows shows my thoughts and feelings before we discovered the plagiarist's identity.
PLEASE VISIT HERE or the GO FUND ME page for entire story, including the most recent developments concerning the story she stole from the combat vet and how she used children's names for her aliases.
My life was torn apart this week when I learned that a plagiarist known only by a logo and a fake name, stole my Christian romantic suspense novel, A Bid for Love.
Sam Taylor Mullens added steamy scenes, changed the point-of-view, and claimed my book as her own novel, The Auction Deal. Her subsequent emails to different people and contradicting statements while trying to cover her tracks show a clear plan of attack that I'm learning is used by many plagiarists—and is more outlandish than any novel I've ever read.
Proof She Stole My Book
(And you can see screenshots at the very bottom of this page)
I finished my novel in late 1996, and it first came out in August 1998. It was actually the second novel accepted by my publisher, but they made me write two sequels to my first novel before they released A Bid for Love (then called Love to the Highest Bidder). As the rights to the book have returned to me, and my publisher has no continuing interest, it is up to me to make sure my copyright is protected.
How I Came to Discover That the Plagiarist Hiding Behind the Pen Name of “Sam Mullins” Stole My Book
Readers contacted me and told me that The Auction Deal was a copy of my book and that Mullen's was claiming to have collaborated with me. I searched for her email and sent off a message, asking for an explanation and to review her book. I hoped it was all a misunderstanding.
Shocked Reviewers Confirm My Book Was Plagiarized
Most reviewers were kind and completely professional and sympathetic like these three, but most also didn't want their names shown, which is was a good idea, it turns out. You will see below that those who did use their real names were attacked by Mullens's street team.
this. (Please visit and applaud her for taking a stand.)
Two Reviewers Insulted and Threatened Me - Later Confirmed as the Plagiarist's Aliases
Follow-up to this reviewer: A fellow writer contacted Sheri Dew for accuracy of this claim, please see results later in this blog after the emails exchanged with Mullens.
The Plagiarist Denies Everything
When Mullens heard of my contacting the reviewers directly, she immediately requested that all the reviewers delete the ARC (or advance reading copy). We exchanged the following emails.
Please note what she says (in bold) about the writers group, because this directly refutes what she claims later (and my book was first published in 1998 not “the 80’s," though that’s also interesting to note because it contradicts another REALLY odd claim she makes that I’ll get to in a bit.)
Me: Okay, so I’m a little confused. If you didn’t copy my text or closely follow my plot, why would you pull the book? If you HAVEN’T used my book as a base, there shouldn’t be enough similarities to warrant any issue. Won’t you just send me an ARC so I can put it to rest for both of us? I would hate for all your hard work to go to waste. You’ve sent a lot of people ARCs. I see you have 30 reviews on Goodreads, so they’ve obviously read the book.
The Plot Twists - More Harassment and More Lies Exposed
Around that time I received a public Facebook message from Mercedes Drakos. I am not sure when a polite query became harassment, but I suppose it looks that way from the sandy ground where the plagiarist is standing.
Then a fellow author posted this information: Sheri Dew has responded to my email and has denied any knowledge or relationship with the woman who emailed Rachel threatening to take Rachel's antics to "her aunt Sheri Dew and her mother who runs TOFW outside of Utah." Sheri clarified she's friends with all of her nieces on Facebook, and no one who is related to her runs/leads TOFW—that is all handled through SLC corporate office. This whole thing just gets stranger and stranger.
Email From Supposed Friend of Sam Taylor Mullens
This email came from Tiffanie Rushton, who identified herself as a close friend of Mullens. She sent it by email, Facebook, and Goodreads.
My Reaction to the Wild Claim that I Collaborated with Mullens
My first reaction when I heard that STMs had copied my book and told people we had collaborated was "Huh? Collaborated? What is she talking about?" Anyone who knows me will vouch that I’ve never collaborated on any novel. Still, could there be any truth the her claim about the man? Do you want to believe as I wanted to?
Don’t soften for a minute. As you will see next, this is part of Mullens’s scam. But before we get to the final, unbelievable ending, here are a few reactions from fellow authors:
Besides, Rachel's book has been out on ebook (and Goodreads) for almost four years and third print edition since 2012.
Mullens Lies About My Family
Last night I received a message from reviewer Meghen Barker.
Me Again:1. I have no married nieces except one, whose husband isn’t a member of the LDS church. If she were writing racy romances, her parents would think it’s cool.
Do I need to point out the ridiculousness of all this? I was going to let the whole matter die quietly and keep an eye out for the next time this book pops up, but fellow writers have encouraged me to stand up for all authors' right. I am also afraid that this won't be the end. Meanwhile, Sam Taylor Mullens is doing everything she can so a copy of her book doesn't come to light.
Again, if she has nothing to hide, she should hand it over herself.
She Stole From Me, She Lied, She Harassed Me.
Meanwhile, this woman has turned my life upside down. I feel as if she's broken into my house and stolen something very dear to me—and then tried everything she can to discredit and hurt me. She's slammed my writing, threatened me professionally, and now dragged my extended family into the fray. I’m afraid to accept any new friends on Facebook because they may be her supporters who could fling more rocks and mud in my direction.
In fact, look what popped up on 8/6/21014--one-star reviews of many of my Rachel Ann Nunes novels and on my pen name Rachel Branton under two different reviewers (see screenshots and link below), Avid Reader (9 books) and Simple Book Reviews (2 books).
Complete strangers reported to me that she stole my work, not the other way around. Let’s not forget that.
I have never given anyone permission to use my work in any novel. Period.
You know me. I’m not hiding my identity or making accusations that grow wilder by the moment. It’s very clear who I am. (I do publish under two pen names for my non-Christian titles—Teyla Branton for urban fantasy and Rachel Branton for romance—but that's public knowledge on my website.)
To the reviewers who have had the courage to act, I also thank you for your kindness to a stranger.
You can also support the lawsuit by clicking here, where you can buy fundraiser box sext and book under my name and my pen name (Teyla Branton and Rachel Branton).
Important update 9/12/2014
I've just deleted two of the last names mentioned on the 8/14/2014 update because we learned today that STM used around a dozen of her students REAL names for these aliases. She has also stolen the story of a combat vet. You can read a letter from his wife here.
|Rachel Ann Nunes Chapter One|
|Sam Taylor Mullens Chapter One|
|Rachel Ann Nunes Chapter Two|
|Sam Taylor Mullens Chapter Two|