Thursday, August 7, 2014

Standing Against Plagiarism

It is with a very heavy sadness I take hours from my young children and my work to write this post. I rarely write such detailed blogs, and the necessity of it now breaks my heart. And if you read to the end, I promise, this is going to shock you that something like this really is happening. My life was torn apart this weekend when it came to light that an anonymous author on the Internet, who is known only by a logo and a fake name, had plagiarized my novel, A Bid for Love (formerly entitled Love to the Highest Bidder), which is the first of a trilogy.

It has been verified by four separate readers that Sam Taylor Mullens did, indeed, add steamy scenes to The Auction Deal, her revised version of my Christian novel, and claimed it as her own. Her subsequent emails to different people and contradicting statements online while trying to cover her tracks has shown a definite intent to do fraud. This path she has followed is far more outlandish than any novel I’ve ever read.

Excerpts from both books (see screenshots below for more):
Chapter Two, first paragraph, Rachel Ann Nunes 1998 - The dark brown curls were everywhere. They were a curse, and had been for twenty-eight of Cassi’s twenty-nine years. They puffed out from her scalp and plunged halfway down her back as if they had lives of their own, helplessly tangled and twisted together. The bathroom lights above the double sink reflected from the brown tresses, bringing out the subtle gold highlights.

Chapter Two, first paragraph, Sam Taylor Mullens, Auction Deal 2014 - Dark brunette curls were everywhere. They were a curse, and had been for the thirty-one years of my life. They puffed out from my scalp and plunged halfway down my back. They helplessly tangled and twisted together. The bathroom lights above the sink reflected the brown tresses.

Backstory
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).

After being advised of infringement on my copyright, I waited a few days to see if Mullens would explain herself. When she didn’t, I searched for her email and sent off a direct message, asking for an explanation and the ARC, in the hopes of verifying that it wasn’t copied. I also sent a few of the reviewers a query asking them to either read my novel to verify if what I’d heard was true or to send me an ARC. 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.

These are excerpts of emails I received, complete with the original typos. I have screenshots or actual emails for all of these communications, but in the interest of space and privacy of the authors, I’ve copied just the text here:

Reviewer #1: Hi Rachel I just received your message regarding my review of The Auction Deal, as you can imagine I am shocked to hear that the book I reviewed could be your creation. At this stage it is my intention to contact Sam Taylor Mullens to try and get to the bottom of this. I will also check out your book A Bid For Love.

Then a follow up from the same reviewer: Rachel I have had quick skim through your story A Bid For Love and I agree that your concerns are warranted. The similarities between The Auction Deal and A Bid for Love are too many for me not to conclude that The Auction Deal may not be an original work.

Reviewer #2 (Meghen Barker from Thirty Second Reviews--name used with permission): I received an email today stating the author cancelled the book tour, this may be why. I don't mind reading your book and letting you know if it seems plagiarized to me . . . I am sure this is why the tour was unexpectedly cancelled, this promoter doesn't even have an explanation.

Then a follow up from the same reviewer:  I read your book. Sam Taylor Mullens 100% without a doubt stole from you. It looks copy and pasted. . . I am updating my blogs in the morning, and warning future readers to be weary of anything she sells as her own.

She then posted this. (Please visit and applaud her for taking a stand.)

Reviewer #3I really hate that this is happening to you. I feel so bad. I did download your book and reviewed the ARC Sam Mullens sent me and its word for word with a few added things.

Reviewer #4 (Sent under name of Mercedes Booklover Drakos): I think your making a big deal about nothing and contacting the wrong people. I will be contacting my aunt, Sheri Dew, to let her know about your online behavior. I think she will like to know how you go about solving problems with readers/reviewers online. I will then be talking to my mom who coordinates "Time Out For Women" outside of Utah. I think she too be interested in your online behavior, which is just as important as how we act in real life. Finally, I will be visiting all bookstores here in Nauvoo and letting them know - perhaps start a campaign on the sidewalks letting Seagull Book patrons know how you handle problems - not peacefully or professionally.

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.

Reviewer #5 (Sent under name of Jennifer Greer/Jennifer Booklover): So I spent the afternoon reading A Bid For Love - total waste of my time! Seriously, why would you not update that novel? Even if it was free, if you stand so strong.y behind your work take a little more pride in it. If Sam Taylor Mulllens used the concept as a base, she was doing you a favor! I can guarantee the two books were no way similar - hers was a much, much higher caliber. Are you jealous? Do you want the ARC so you have an excuse to read about sex. I live in Utah. I'd be more than happy to print off the a ARC and read excerpts to you - I guarantee it will make you blush.

These last two reviewers' responses were very strange, which makes me think they might be more emotionally invested in Mullens's work.

When Mullens heard of my contacting the reviewers directly, she immediately requested that all the reviewers delete the ARC. And 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.

Mullens: I just thought not publishing it was a simple solution. The book was molded from a writing group and a dozen beta readers. Had I known they used your book from the 80's as a reference it never would have come to be. My sincerest apologies. I do not write for a living, it is a hobby. I took your word for it when you emailed me that there were concerns. I would never want any accusations of plagiarism to be made. No money has been made off the sale of this title if money is what you're after then I'm at a loss of what to tell you. I have other books in the works. These bloggers are very protective of the ARC's because of pirating issues. You're kind of freaking them out. So, please contact me first before harassing them. They don't need that!

Me: Okay, I’m still confused why you won’t send me a copy. If you never read my book (first released and copyrighted in 1998) or copied it, then there can’t be a problem, right? I don’t want any money from you. I mean, I could just turn it over to my attorney if that were the case because copyright infringement is a big deal, but I’m trying to believe what you say—that you haven’t read my book or copied it. That is what you are saying, right? I’m freaked out to have people writing reviews that could be about my novel (except the hot sex, of course). I am not accusing you of anything. I thought it could be settled in an hour if you just sent me the book. If you can do that and all is as you say, I will offer a public statement to that effect and everything can go back to the way it was. I’m certainly NOT looking to hurt anyone.

The plot twists
Around that time I received a public Facebook message from Mercedes Drakos, the so-called “niece of Sheri Dew,” that she had “lost all respect for Rachel Ann Nunes” because of my querying about the infringement. I'm not sure when a polite query became harassment, but I suppose it looks that way from the sandy ground where Mullens 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.

 But then the plot thickens further, almost laughably so, if it weren’t so painful.

This email is from someone identifying herself as a friend of Mullens (she sent it by email, Facebook, and Goodreads—I did not respond until just now with the link to this post, but again I’ve bolded contradictions):

Dear Mrs. Nunes,
I am contacting you today as a personal, real-life friend of Sam Taylor Mullens. She is a remarkable mother, wife, teacher, community member and so much more.

I was part of the writing group where “The Auction Deal” got started over two years ago. A man in our writing group gave Sam the manuscript claiming the book was out of print and he stated he had collaborated in some way with it many, many years ago. He challenged Sam to ‘work her magic’ and honestly it was quite fun to watch.

At the time, for some strange reason there were no copies we could locate and Sam took this man’s word. In the meantime, we had no idea you renamed, recovered and digitalized your original work. Perhaps this is the reason it was not discovered. Who knows?
The man in our writing group claiming he collaborated originally in the novel died in a tragic car accident last May. Sam and I do not feel comfortable at this time interrogating his family about his collaboration.

Being an Indie Author has been a new learning experience for Sam and I try to help and support her along the way. I feel at fault for not giving her more guidance. Sam would never maliciously do anything or intentionally defile copyright laws. She does not publish to make a living, this is a hobby for her. Her only goal is to recoup costs for final editing, digital formatting and the cost of her book cover. I was the one to suggest she not turn over the ARC and simply not publish. I didn’t consider that would make her look guilty. Sam felt it was a simple, congenial solution and I agreed.

As an Indie Author Sam helps promote other Indie Romance Writers and runs anti-bullying campaigns among book bloggers, reviewers, readers and Indie Authors on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, etc. Indie Publishing is a pretty cruel world and Sam has been the voice of reason and is highly respected.

Due to the manner in which you went about investigating the Advance Reader Copy of The Auction Deal has caused Sam to withdraw from the Indie Author Community, which is a shame. There will be a significant loss without her.

The second the ‘eerie coincidences’ came to Sam’s attention she took the appropriate action to ask Goodreads to take down the link and informed those who received ARC’s that it would not be published. She has also been torn apart since Sunday. She feels like she was 'dooped' by a fellow writing that she cannot question.

The readers/reviewers are also very upset over how it was handled. I agree with them. This situation is between you and Sam. Her email is posted on her Goodreads page, her blog and her Facebook page. She should have been the only person you contacted. After looking at her email, I believe she responded to you in a timely manner.

In real-life Sam is the mother of an autistic son, she counsels women at a domestic violence shelter, she provides support at the Ute and Navajo reservations and teaches illiterate, young moms in the classroom. She is nothing less than amazing.

I will take equal if not full responsibility for anything in this situation. Please do not discredit this wonderful woman in a small Indie Publishing community. They need her.

Sincerely,
Tiffanie Rushton

(Remember the bolded text because Mullens changes her story completely in a moment.)

My first reaction was huh? Collaborated? 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, Mullens either has this person completely “duped” or she is part of Mullen’s scam. But before we get to the final, unbelievable ending, here are a few reactions from fellow authors:

1.    I've been active in the indie community for years and I've never heard of Mullens. Also, first book came out December 2013, so she hasn't been a part of the indie community long.

2.    A man has written a romance and then wants someone else to rewrite it—then conveniently dies in an accident?  What is this man's name?  Why does she only speak in vague terms?

3.    This person (or people) are REALLY good at manipulating and they will do anything not to get caught. Sam is not the victim here.

4.    Throughout all of this, Sam's acted the victim and cried and rallied her supporters, but if this were a true mistake, if her account was true, why wouldn't she own it?

5.    If someone isn't in publishing to make money then why would she take the time to rewrite a book by a bestselling LDS author whom she obviously knows about, get reviews before the book was available, and spend so much time to do so? Follow the money.

6.    Wouldn't any writer know that “out of print” is not the same as “up for grabs?” Besides, Rachel's book has been out on ebook (and Goodreads) for almost four years and third print edition since 2012.

7.    The novel in question is easily found under either title online, especially on Amazon and Goodreads where Mullens is so active, along with the copyright information.

I thought about it all for a while and decided to talk to my attorney and let him advise me. If there could be any kernel of truth, that Mullens could be so naïve, I didn’t want to hurt her, even though she (they?) had caused me so much pain and trouble.

But what comes next is staggering—and I had my answer, which is finally why I’m making this statement.

Las night I received a message from one of the reviewers (Meghen). Again, pay attention to the bolded text and see the screenshot Meghen provided below.)

She said:

I actually just received this from Mullens.....

Meghan,

I've been thinking a lot about you lately and I just wanted to touch base with you.

There are a lot of rumors and speculation at this time with "The Auction Deal". Another author is asking for the ARC from bloggers who received it. I know I look as if I am guilty of plagiarism by not providing her with an ARC, but I have some personal reasons for this.

Please keep this between the two of us:

I was granted verbal permission to use the concept from the author because at the time I began writing "The Auction Deal" her book was out of publication and I was the one who gave her the idea many, many years ago. The problem is that she granted verbal permission to me, her niece, not Sam Taylor Mullens (my pen name). My lawyer has reviewed everything and no copyright has been enfringed upon because "The Auction Deal" is so different. The thing that solidifies everything is the verbal permission. Plus, it will never be published.

I can't reveal to extended family members that I write about sex. All hell will break loose in my personal life, something my husband doesn't want to have happen. My husband is extremely supportive of my writing, but it's a secret we keep from our friends and family. I'm a Mormon so what I write would be frowned upon. I will probably be asked to leave the church once the connection is made. My husband is begging me not to reveal my author identity in order to resolve the problem at hand. Never publishing "The Auction Deal" is not a huge loss. However, losing my amazing husband over this or having conflict in my personal life would be devasting.

I have sent a letter staying that The Auction Deal will never be published, but I know she is pretty relentless about obtaining an ARC. My sincerest apologies for the situation. I know people talk and they want to know what going on. I'm okay with you telling those who question the accusation that "A lawyer states no plagiarism is involved and copyright has not been violated. Sam cannot proactively resolve the situation without revealing her real identity, which cannot be done at this time."

Bloggers have been so wonderful by making sure ARC's are deleted instead of passing them on. They're intentionally not posting reviews on their blogs since that is when the author and/or her assistant gets a google alert and contacts them.

I'm actually kind of pissed they are contacting bloggers since I have asked them not to. I know it would stop once she finds out who I really am, but I just can't do that.

I sincerely appreciate your unconditional support and hope you'll understand my need to remain private at this time.

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.

2.       When I finished the book in late 1996 and wrote two sequels, my oldest niece (the only married one) would have been around nine or ten and living several states away. Are people to believe that this child I saw once every three years gave me a book idea? I’ve written 46 novels all on my own. Even if she had given me an idea, she didn’t write the book. My real life writing friends who read the book in progress way back then, however, can verify that I came up with the idea and the ideas for the sequels.

3.       The LDS Church doesn’t excommunicate people for writing about sex. There are several very famous Mormons who write romance with plenty of sex and they still go to church.

4.       Why on earth would I give anyone the go ahead to plagiarize a novel that is published and has two sequels (Mullen's book is a standalone). Before I went indie, I often reprinted my books with publishers. I depend on the income from my writing, so I’m not throwing my work out the window.

5.       And Mullens needs to get her story correct. Was it two years ago that a man gave her the book, or was she nine when she had a wonderful idea for my novel?

6.       Wait, and didn’t she say in the email to me that her critique group led her astray with this “80’s” novel. None of my siblings were married back then and I was in high school, so I guess she gave me the idea while she was in the preexistence.

7.       Where is the attorney’s official letter and the law firm’s number we can call to verify? No attorney in the world would sign it such a letter without checking the copyright—and they aren’t going to believe such a tall tale anyway.

8.       So I guess that means she doesn’t have an autistic son after all? Because my niece's son isn't autistic. (Why does this remind me of another suspicious niece story?)

9.       And you know what, if any of my nieces stole my story and concocted this great lie, I would have to report her or she would never learn right from wrong and become a contributing member to society.

10.   Scroll down to the comments, if you want to see what my REAL family has to say about this imposter’s claim to be related.

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. Meanwhile, Mullens is doing everything she can so an ARC doesn't come to light. Again, if she has nothing to hide, she should hand it over herself.

Meanwhile, this woman/person/group has turned my life upside down. I feel as if they’ve broken into my house and stolen something very dear to me—and then tried everything they can to discredit and hurt me. They’ve 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). The tone is the same as in the reviewer #4 and #5 above, (and no, please don't respond in kind, though you can report them reviews as abusive--read them, they are).

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. And this book has already been for sale in the UK. (See the screenshot below).

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.)

I will take the stand against plagiarism. Please stand with me! And if you have any information that will help end this horrible invasion into my life, please let me know. Especially information about the four blogger/book reviewers who have "Booklover" as their middles names.

And for those of you who have given me a shoulder to cry on and who have helped stand strong over this past week, thank you from the bottom of my heart. To the reviewers who have had the courage to act, I also thank you for your kindness to a stranger.

Sincerely,

Rachel Ann Nunes

Update 8/9/2014: One of STM's supporters, Bethany Booklover Johnson (from Avid Reader review--please report any information you may have on her or any of the other three "Booklover" reviewers), also publicly harassed the blogger from The Cutest Blog on the Block for speaking out against this plagiarism. She emailed authors and told them the blogger had sold ARCs and to not submit additional material to her. You can read about it here and voice your support for Crystal.

Update 8/11/2014: Everything is in the hands of my attorney now. The Avid Reader one-star reviews have been taken down from Amazon, along with all her other reviews. The two reviews from Simple Book Reviews are still there (see screen shot below), but that's okay. Please know how grateful I am for all the support! I don't know how I can tell you all separately, but I have read your comments, and I don't feel alone. At the urging of my friend David Farland, we have started a GoFundMe account to help with attorney fees, and when my attorney is ready to send out a news release or update, I will post it here. For now, they want me to step back and try to get back my life a little. So thank you!

Update 8/14/2014: Review from Simple Book Reviews have disappeared and the reviewer name on the account changed to Jennifer Greer and then later to "moonshine and books." All her other reviews are still there. Abby F., Jennifer Greer, Jennifer Booklover, and Aubrey P., (all known alias of STM) have become active on the internet again, posting harassing comments.

Update 8/16/2014: Research has shown that on one of STM's Amazon accounts (then called Siimple Book Reviews), a review was left on my plagiarized book in early May 2014. It read (complete with typos): "Why are authors uploaded their outdated books without revising them first??? The whole series is collecting dust. I'm nornmally not so brutal on a review, but this was bad. Sorry Rachel Ann Nunes - keep it on the shelf in the library not upload in this century on Amazon." (Note the writing similarities above with reviewer #5).

Update 8/27/2014: We will make an important announcement soon regarding this case. Thank you for all your tips and continued support!

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 some of her students REAL names for these aliases. Fourteen in all, including two of the ones above. Sadly, 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



301 comments:

  1. Rachel, I've known you for fifteen years, and you have my 100% support.

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  2. Rachel - You have my support as well.

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  3. I am so very sorry!! I have this book and I love it-it was one of my first LDS books!! what an awful turn of events! such unnecessary drama and to have to take the time away from your family to write this emotional blog post (i understand b/c im a blogger too so i know how much time it takes) I dont understand how people can be sending you hate mail since you're the victim here and its your book. im so sorry you're dealing with this!! :-(

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  4. Rachel,
    I've seen the screenshots, read the emails and Facebook posts. It's scary how your work has been pirated by a phantom, one with malevolent phantom minions. You have been a lot nicer and more willing to give the benefit of the doubt that I would have been. You've got my full support, and I'll vouch that the things you're saying are true.

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  5. This is the craziest thing I've ever heard! I'm so sorry. Some people have no shame. I'm glad there were honest reviewers who alerted you to the situation. P.S. Cassie and Jared's story has always been one of my favorites of yours.

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  6. Visiting from Donna Weaver's site. That is just mind-blowing. Real life is stranger than fiction, because you couldn't make up a story like that. I pray you do get it resolved.

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  7. As an aspiring author, who also knows a lot of full authors, I would beg you to get to the bottom of this. If "Mullens" really is a pseudonym, then the real person behind the mask needs to be held accountable, for all our sakes. You are doing a good thing by investigating, and I think that a little more digging can probably get you the answers you're looking for.

    And no, it would not surprise me if the "reviewer" who claimed Sheri Dew was her aunt was also the "author" who claimed you were her aunt. Please keep pulling threads.

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  8. Rachel, so very sorry to hear this. I can imagine the grief you're going through. Never want to have to experience what you're going through. Thank you for this post and making us aware.

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  9. Rachel-- hang in there-- you are awesome! LOVE YOU

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  10. Keep up the fight, Rachel. You rock.

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  11. Rachel, this has reached the point where legal intervention appears necessary to resolve this for everyone. I see that the Mullens' book "the Auction Deal" is still listed on Goodreads and is included on this person's Amazon author page.

    Best wishes for a speedy resolution.

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    1. Just a note, she no longer has an author page on Amazon US. And none of her books are available on the site at all. Amazon takes plagiarism very seriously (I posted about an incident that happened earlier this year in a separate comment).

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  12. So sorry about this, Rachel! It's just awful. Hard to believe someone could be that dishonest. *hugs*

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  13. This blows my mind. I just wanted to jump on and say you have 110% my support on this, and I'm SO sorry you've had to deal with it. Thank you for standing up for yourself, and for authors everywhere!

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    1. This is terrible! It's almost enough to make me feel ashamed to call myself an indie author!

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  14. Wow. Very disturbing. So sorry. I totally stand behind you in this. So sorry you are now left with having to spend time on this but I know every writer out there is grateful that you are willing to do it. Hang in there. Holy Cow - what was she (I'm guessing this is a she) thinking?

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  15. That's just awful, Rachel. I applaud you for taking a stand against this. It isn't okay and no one should be able to steal another person's work like this. I'm sorry you've struggled and hope you're able to get this sorted and this person learns never to try something like this again.

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  16. Visiting from The Passive Voice. Best of luck from this side of the country. I'd love to know who Reviewer #4 and #5 are. If that's how they feel about plagiarism, they need to be put on a watch list.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Is there such a watch list that you know of? We do have their online IDs. They have a very similar style of posting.

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    2. Hey Rachel, nothing formal that I know of. Sorry, didn't mean to imply there was! But the community at kboards.com is very wide-reaching and has successfully outed trolls and sock puppets before. If approached correctly and with all the fact you've laid out here, I feel fairly confident that this person/these people couldn't be made known.

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    3. Hey Rachel, nothing formal that I know of. Sorry, didn't mean to imply there was! But the community at kboards.com is very wide-reaching and has successfully outed trolls and sock puppets before. If approached correctly and with all the fact you've laid out here, I feel fairly confident that this person/these people couldn't be made known.

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    4. Okay, Kindleboards. I just heard from the attorney and since I do have a copyright in place the only issue is discovering who she is. There are three people that may be her sock puppets. Is there someone there that I approach directly?

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    5. If it is a legal issue can you get IP addresses etc. Mark the reviewers or contact the website publisher to blog all users from that IP address? Not sure if this is all possible but the reality is that everything is traceable on the internet. I am guessing the reviewers are the same person but different IDs. I may be wrong but I wonder if those last reviewers and the person who wrote you are not all the same person.

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    6. I tried to post earlier but I don't think it worked. Anyway, as long as she's not using a proxy or on dial up (because that can really screw with IP addresses) you should be able to get the IP addresses from the emails and narrow down whether (a) they're the same person and (b) what city they're in. It'll also hopefully show the ISP, their web provider, who could be petitioned to reveal the identity or location of the plagiarist.

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    7. Did she use ISBNs for her books? If so they are registered to real people and businesses. Maybe look for her "Publishing" name as well as a business license in those names. Before everything came down, she mentioned Colorado and California as places where she lived or was from.

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  17. I'm really sorry, Rachel. I can't imagine going through what you have been going through. Do what you need to do to protect your work, and remember, you have a lot of supporters standing behind you.

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  18. Hang in there, Rachel. A lot of ethical people have your back.

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  19. I'm sorry you have to fight this fight. I stand behind what you are doing and appreciate your willingness to share such an emotional and devastating thing with us.

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  20. You have to wonder what sort of person would do such a thing - stealing someone else's work and then piling on the lies to protect herself from the consequences of her actions. Considering that being honest in our dealings with our fellow men is a basic tenet of the LDS faith, her actions are even more appalling. Even the idea that she is trying to protect her identity is suspect, considering that a promotional photograph of "Sam Taylor Mullens" is included on at least three separate websites, so unmasking her wasn't hard. Here's a face to go with the name: http://wordwenchesguiltypleasure.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/stm.jpg

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    1. And this: http://www.turningthepagesllc.com/

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  21. Well, it looks like something has changed, the book isn't on the Amazon.uk site anymore and her Facebook page has closed down. Seems like she knows she's in trouble and thinks if she hides noone can hold her accountable. Just sad that she would try to make you out to be the villain.

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  22. I'm shocked at what has happened. I'm 100% behind you, with whatever you decide to do, and I'm sure the community of writers, indie or trad published, will have your back, too. I've shared your link on my timeline. And I agree with Matthew, those reviewers should be put on a watch list. They're very suspect, and, in my opinion, are probably related to the plagiaristic author in some way.

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  23. Rachel, I'm behind you 100%. I'm putting the boxing gloves on. Let me know what I can do to help and I'm on it. This is every author's nightmare--an expensive, time-consuming, scary, huge hassle that MUST be dealt with...when all we'd rather do is write!

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  24. I'm an aspiring writer and an attorney. It is laughable that she believes she can protect herself with claims that an attorney said she had not committed copyright infringement and/or plagiarism. No attorney would make such a statement when looking at a comparison of the two books side by side. And no attorney would advise a client before he or she had the opportunity to compare the works. It would be shocking if she was not reviewers #4 and #5, and that, too, is appalling to me. In any case, it would not be difficult to prove she violated your copyright, and she should be held accountable for what she has done. I wish you the best. I'm really sorry that something like this happened to you!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I express my sympathy and support for your efforts to protect your work against plagiarism. It's common for ill-intentioned people to cover their tracks by blaming the problem on others. Truly the hit bird flutters.

    ReplyDelete
  26. My comment disappeared, so at the risk of posting twice I'm going to do it again. I'm so sorry to hear about all this, Rachel. It's an author's worst nightmare. I stand with you on this. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I can't believe people have the guts to do this sort of thing?! Honestly. I would feel completely violated if someone did that to one of my books. It's not just the stealing, it's the twisting my message and the adding of stuff I wouldn't ever put in one of my books :( I am so sorry this happened. It looks like it's being taken care of, though, and the person has learned a big lesson. Or at least, I hope that to be the case.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hang in there, Rachel, and thank you for standing up to this person. I think there's one thing I've learned from this, however: go straight to your agent/attorney if something like this happens. I understand not wanting to make a big deal out of something if there's nothing there, but it seems like it's better maybe to let them sort it out. Good luck to you, and I hope this is resolved soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank! I have sent all the information to my attorney and contacted the state attorney general's office. Guess no one will be surprised to see that she's posted 1-star reviews on this novel and eight others on Amazon.

      Delete
    2. The plagiarism was awful. The sockpuppet 1-stars on your stuff is evidence of psychopathology

      Delete
  29. This is insane. And stupid. What can we do to help you out in this situation?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Visiting from Passive Voice blog. This is truly appalling and what is worse than this and all that you'll have to go through is that she has *two* more books very recently published listed on Goodreads. Are there two more authors out there in a similar situation and not aware of it?

    Has anyone more familiar with the Romance genre checked those out? As terrible as it is to say, this one needs a legal look and some actual repercussions. It's just too egregious and I'm sorry this happened to you.

    Keep your chin up and keep us updated, will you?

    ReplyDelete
  31. I saw your story on The Passive Voice... I'm honestly flabbergasted that someone could be so brazen as to copy your work and then behave as though YOU are the one in the wrong! That is awful! I sincerely hope that this person is brought to justice, and it wouldn't surprise me if both of those "reviewers" (#4 and #5) were part of the whole scheme or even the plagiarist herself. I hope you're able to pursue legal action!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm with everyone who's stunned at the person not only blatantly copying your work but then getting ticked when you're calling her out on it. Seriously? Talk about blaming the victim.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I am appalled that anyone could take someone else's anything, redress it and try to sell it as their own. Higher Educational Institutions take plagiarizing seriously enough that they expel any student involved in such acts. I think it's time Amazon and these so called "book reviewers" should do the same. I'd like a list of all these reviewers supportive of this "so called author" so I can avoid their sites. Anyone who supports these unlawful actions should be harshly reprimanded.

    Rachel, I feel for you. I know that the truth will come out in all this and who ever is responsible will get their comin upins. I'm rooting for you. I think everyone in the writing world should hear abut this.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I'm sorry this has happened to you. This woman needs both a criminal attorney and a psychiatrist. Hang tough and be strong. This isn't a time for nice. No one should get away with this.

    ReplyDelete
  35. This is unbelievable. I hope this will all get resolved quickly for you. You might not know me but I stand behind you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. I hope you can find who stole your work. This is terrible. I can't understand how people think this is okay.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Another TPV visitor. Give her hell!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Visiting from Donna's place and I am blown away. Sorry you are having to go through this, but you have given others a fantastic framework concerning how meticulous to be in documenting the situation.

    I hope this situation is remedied soon Rachel--and I am sad that it won't be the last time.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I would strongly encourage you to have an attorney send a cease and desist demand. You need to have legal coverage in case it escalates.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I have sent all the information to my attorney. One problem is that the pen name she's hiding behind. It may take some time to find her real information. Ideas?

      Delete
    2. The attorney can get that revealed by court order to the company that "published" her novel. To keep your legal fees down, present the attorney with as much evidence as well-organized as you can. Do not contact the other side again - that muddies the water.

      Delete
    3. Good advice. I was hoping something like that was possible. I did file a copyright infringement with Amazon. I am ignoring the emails she is sending, but saving them all. Thanks! She seems to have two accounts on Amazon and is posting 1-star reviews on many of my books. Maybe the attorney can do something about that as well.

      Delete
    4. You don't know me, but here's my take.

      I'm not a lawyer, but I think you should talk to your lawyer and see if it's plausible to Supeona Goodreads and her email provider and track the posts/emails back to their source.

      You may have standing to sue her for libel too, if she's going around lying to people claiming that you gave her permission and are now trying to smear her. Obviously that's harmful to your reputation, and the evidence that she's already turned at least a few people against you is evidence of that. Even the posted negative reviews, depending on the source, could be libel as well, as they would have been calculated to cause you harm.

      Everything she does on the internet leaves her fingerprints all over it. It should be just a matter of doing the legwork to bring those to light.

      The quicker you can get things moving, the better. If you are going to take action, strike while the iron is hot, because the longer you wait, the longer she has to try and cover her bases, and spoliate evidence (She's already working on it, as evidenced by her attempts to have all reviewers delete all copies of it).

      This is obviously a person who doesn't care about right and wrong. And as you already said, she'll never learn the difference if you let it go. You tried to play nice. Now it's time to go bare knuckles.

      Delete
    5. Austin. I will also ask my attorney about libel because you are absolutely correct. We have screenshots of everything. I should know more from the attorney tomorrow. Thank you!

      Delete
    6. Oh and don't forget- contact Amazon and let them know she has 2 accounts which is a violation of their terms of service! They should go in and remove all her reviews and shut her account done.

      Delete
    7. I'm just now reading all of this, and I'm horrified! I'm so sorry this is happening to you, Rachel! One way to find out her real name is through the person who set up the blog tour. She had to have given her real name for payment purposes or even her cover artist. If she used PayPal, they will assist if fraud is suspected. Again, I'm so sorry!

      Delete
    8. Not a lawyer either, but you might suggest to yours that there may be a case here for cyber bully charges against this thief given the e-mails you've received and her attempt to harm you through bad Amazon reviews. CB laws vary from state to state, so depends on your location just what might be possible.

      Delete
    9. You can trace her IP address by using the email she sent you. (http://www.wikihow.com/Trace-an-IP-Address). Give the IP address to your lawyer, who will then have to get a court order for her ISP to release information about the person. Considering the evidence you've provided, I don't see why a judge would say no. However, your lawyer will know what to do.

      Delete
    10. Thank you! I am going to see if we can figure this out using this site.

      Delete
    11. I now have the entire ARC, and everything the reviewers said is true. The entire plot, words. A complete violation. No wonder she wouldn't send it to me. Does anyone know anything about FS Custom Book Cover Design. They are listed in the ARC.

      Delete
    12. I would also suggest trying to find out if she plagiarized any of her other books, then contacting the true authors and giving them a chance to join any legal action.

      Delete
  40. ^ Rachel's books now being spammed with bad reviews. Go on amazon and report them as abusive, and say why. Also leave comments on the reviews, and mark them as "unhelpful."

    ReplyDelete
  41. Rachel, I heard about this on the Passive Voice blog and wanted to voice my support. I'm horrified that this happened to you. This Mullens woman may claim to be "just a hobbyist," but ignorance of publishing law is no excuse. "Out of print" does NOT mean "free for the taking." Copyright lasts for the author's entire life + 70 years, regardless of whether the book is currently available in print or not.

    And Ms. Mullens is clearly publishing books to make money -- because she has a street team page on Facebook with more than 1000 members. Hobbyists do not have street teams; professional authors have street teams. She also still has an active Twitter account, and an author page on Amazon with 2 other books listed for sale. Amazon will be able to get her real name and contact information from her KDP account. I hope they're able to help you and your attorney resolve this situation quickly.

    Thank you for taking a public stand against plagiarism. Your fellow indie authors stand with you.

    ReplyDelete
  42. You certainly have my support. I sooo can relate. I am having the same problem. I just received a response today from his attorney (forwarded to me by mine.) My plagerism denies it, as does his attorney despite how blatant it is. I wish this wasn't so expensive to pursue. I probably won't recoup my investment even if I won. BUT it's the principal of the thing.

    ReplyDelete
  43. It's been mind blowing to watch this all unfold. So, so wrong. I hope STM's true identity is revealed very soon so no one else has to deal with what you're going through. What a nightmare!!!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I do not know you personally, but I have loved every book of yours that I have read. (Tragically, I lost most of them when my house burned down 8 months ago.) I am saddened that someone would do this to you. I will share this on Facebook. I have several friends that are authors and I know how much blood, sweat and tears are she'd writing a book. My daughter, Wendy Jessen, has been doing book and CD reviews for Deseret News and hopes to write some books someday as well. Keep up the good work! You rock!!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I cannot believe this! So awful. You have my support.

    ReplyDelete
  46. The absurd mess of lies about nieces and aunts and a reassuring attorney and judgmental Mormons and an autistic child and heroic good deeds in the community and phantom bloggers and the dead collaborator are all exquisitely awful evidence of what an inept and incoherent writer she is without someone else's work to steal.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I will be sharing on Facebook as well.

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  48. All the laws in the world will not protect you from feelings of violation when something like this happens. May you reach a positive resolution, and may this mystery person(s) learn something good about honesty in the process.

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  49. This is insanity. Good for you for writing this.

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  50. Ss you have to go through this. It is utterly ridiculous what people will try to pull when they get caught and its utter insanity when people back them when its proven the person they are supporting were in the wrong (Shey Stahl and Alexandra Anthony's supporters both come to mind). At least its not being published now, but I would definitely talk to a lawyer about the libelous things being said about your.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Rachel, I stand with you as well. I am so sorry this is happening! Especially since you have been wronged and she is trying to make you out to be the aggressor. When people say that Truth is Stranger than fiction--this is the exact type of situation they are referring to.

    This is so crazy and hurtful and hateful. Hopefully Sam Taylor Mullens will be outed soon and the out pouring of support for you will bring about peace for you and yours. I am certain that Indie and traditional authors alike applaud you for taking a stand. I know I do.

    ReplyDelete
  52. You have my support. Go after her. If she isn't willing to own her mistakes then she certainly needs to pay for them.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Has anyone else checked her other books? She has two in a series and given her behavior above when confronted including multiple lies, and the plagiarism, it makes me wonder if she did the same with the other two books. I'll let people know on FB. The book is still listed on Goodreads. I tried to report it, but I don't know how you do it. I'd contact Goodreads or have your lawyer(s) contact them about it to see that it gets taken down.

    ReplyDelete
  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just an FYI- I made a screen shot of both of her pics and names in case she deletes it. Her facebook account has already been deleted and many of her other reviews have. Feel free to email me to let me know if you want a copy of both of her pages.

      Delete
    2. Can you point out these reviews? It actually looks like this person hasn't updated her Goodreads in over a year, since before STM started publishing, and this profile appears to belong to an active fantasy writer who's been online since 2011 (including her site, where I can't find any references to STM). The website registration matches her name and the Wayback Machine shows that she's been blogging at this site since that time. We want to be very careful about any accusations so we don't muddy the issue at hand.

      Delete
    3. Here is one review site...http://jackee322001.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/auction-deal-sam-taylor-mullens/
      another...
      http://cometomefantasy.blogspot.com/2014/07/auction-deal-sam-taylor-mullens.html

      oh, found a private goodreads site under the same name...
      https://www.goodreads.com/user/show?username=jacquelyn_smith

      If you compare the pics on the 1st one I posted on goodreads and the pic on this review of Sam it is the same person...

      http://wordwenches.net/2014/02/26/book-club-spotlightgiveaway-hasty-resolution-by-sam-taylor-mullens/

      Delete
    4. They look like the same person to me- but you are right, I could be wrong. And now I can't find her review on goodreads under that account. Oh, I think they are getting deleted because now I can't find the review under the other Jacquelyn Smith account. I bet those other reviews are gonna disappear too.

      I find this account that only has reviews of Sam's book awfully suspicious as well...

      https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31616289-macey-booklover

      Delete
    5. Thanks, Rissa. Looking those up now. You are right. There are three pro-Mullens "Booklovers:" Mercedes Booklover Drakos, Bethany Booklover, and this Macey Booklover.

      Delete
    6. Plagiarism is a very serious accusation, so making allegations is not something to be done lightly. I think there are at least two different Jacquelyn Smiths we're looking at here--and it's a pretty common name/pseudonym (after the actress especially).

      I noticed the private profile you mention yesterday afternoon in conjunction with her review, but the public profile you're looking at hasn't posted any new reviews in nearly a year (which I noted last night less than an hour after you posted your comment--she'd have to be very on top of this to be deleting reviews that fast, and Goodreads' RSS feed of her activity, also slow to update, shows only one update in 11 months).

      The two reviews you linked to both link back to the same Google+ account, which claims to be run by a dog-loving grandma. (The author Jacquelyn Smith has no dog--and you know how dog people are.) The Google+ account links to a Goodreads account that is now not found, while one of the blogs links back to the same private profile you listed above. (The author's Goodreads profile hasn't changed.) Those all seem to be the same person, but I'm not really seeing any connection between her and the author Jacquelyn Smith.

      Here's a larger picture of the author Jacquelyn Smith: https://www.facebook.com/waywardscribe/photos/a.153667474692475.30940.153667398025816/293731924019362/?type=1&theater And another of her, openly writing under the pen name Kat Irwin: https://www.facebook.com/katirwinauthor/photos/pb.212832535572759.-2207520000.1407524405./213259042196775/?type=1&theater When you look at the photos full size, it looks to me like their noses and lips and even their faces are very different shapes--but we have no way of knowing if that's really a picture of STM at all.

      Delete
    7. Jordan- thank you for having the bigger image- I couldn't get it big enough to compare and yes, you are right, they don't look like the same person. I deleted my comment linking to her page. However the other one which is private does seem suspect.

      Thank you!

      Delete
  55. Rachel, you don't know me but I am another writer. I am on your side. I know what it's like to be plagerized (although certainly not from this extent because I'm not known yet). I'm on your side.

    What I find stunning is the excuse that she was using some one else's piece of work and that somehow that's okay. A writer admittedly takes something already written, makes a few changes, claims it as their own and then is astonished when someone accuses them of plagerism. That is bizarre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is astonishing. What surprises me is that any of the reviewers would fall for her "story" and not want her called to justice. She fooled them every bit as much as she tried to fool me with her changing stories. Thankfully, most of the reviewers saw right through her.

      Delete
  56. Every time I step away from the computer this horrifies me. I am so sorry for what you're going through and can't believe this lady . . . is anyone even sure she's a lady? Geez, with how many times the story has changed, who knows. Wow! Wow! And just wow! For being a writer myself, I feel like a complete dunce with language right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, I was so upset I spelled Against and Plagiarism wrong several times in a row, lol. It really seems like I'm in the Twilight Zone here. Thanks!

      Delete
    2. By the way, I think I've tracked down some of her known associates. Would you like me to send it to you with the methodology of how I found these people?

      Delete
    3. Yes. But could you send through Facebook? A friend tracked down some, and we are saving them at this point watch what happens because she'll do this again, no doubt. Thanks!

      Delete
    4. I thought we were friends on Facebook. I guess my reasoning was having 52 mutual friends. Anyway, I sent you a friend request so I can message you. I hope the info helps.

      Delete
  57. I'm so sorry this is happening to you. It's terrifying that this can happen to any of us - and that you're being painted as the villain when you did nothing wrong, but are the one who was wronged. And I thought having my work uploaded to torrent sites was bad! I wish there were something I could do to help you or make this better, but all I can do is offer my support in any way you might need it.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Rachel, followed over from a fellow Christian fiction author's FB share and wanted to say thank you for standing up for your rights (and therefore authors everywhere.) Clearly you have her an opportunity to settle it between yourselves in private. You are in the right and anyone who spends a few minutes comparing those chapter openings knows it. This whole situation reminds me of when the steroid allegations were made in the MLB. Andy Pettitte came out and owned up to it. Roger Clemens lied, lied some more, and then drug his wife down with him. This person had their chance and is now taking the Clemens path. I'm praying that Amazon will be able to capture this person's identity through the registration information required to receive royalties through Kindle Direct. It required full legal name and social security for income reporting. Her bad choices will find her out and I'm praying strength for the fight for you and your family and supporters.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. The similarities between the books in the sections you posted are unmistakable. Sine she has admitted it was based on your book, unintentionally or not, getting this resolved should be simple, but sadly it rarely is. I hope you can get this resolved.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Whoever this Mullens is needs to be brought to justice! It's simply outrageous and stomach turning to compare the screenshots and read her/his ridiculously conflicting emails. Goodreads and Amazon cannot ignore this bold face act of plagiarism and personal attacks. I stand 100% behind you and so should Good Reads and Amazon! Go get 'em!

    ReplyDelete
  61. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Loralee. No, I think your problems are so much harder. I do thank you for your support!

      Delete
  62. Rachel, I'm so sorry! There I was, complaining about my own problems, when you had this going on. I am so, so sorry.

    I read through your post here, and you're right. It would be laughable if it were not so serious. She's Sheri Dew's niece, then she's your niece. What's next? Oh, yeah. She's Thomas S. Monson's granddaughter! Yeah! That's right! And she doesn't want dear old grandpa to know she writes erotica, because it will break his sweet heart! That's why she's staying hidden!

    I perked up when the "supporter" mentioned that she works on Ute and Navajo Reservations. For myself, I work on the Uintah/Ouray Reservation in Eastern Utah, and I don't know anyone who looks like her pictures. There is a Southern Ute reservation down near the bottom of Colorado. That's also where the Navajo nation is as well. That part about her working on those reservations may be true for all I know, but it's a tidbit in a sea of ridiculous lies.

    Who in glory's name does she think she is, trying to get away with all this nonsense? Then trying to blame you, and lashing out at you with sock puppets pretending to be her friends. Slapping lie on top of lie in a ridiculous pile of inconsistent manure! Good freaking grief! Maybe if she'd admitted her fault and come clean, mercy would be warranted, but in this case, I don't think mercy would be appropriate.

    My advice: Don't let this go. Throw the book at her. Throw it hard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Loralee. It is too incredible to be believed. It's hard to know where to start shoveling. What surprised me most is the reviewer who came forward publicly and the people who first contacted me. They are people of integrity.

      Delete
    2. For what it's worth, one of her bios lists her as being from Colorado:

      " I am happily married living in beautiful Colorado. I have two daughters, a son, and a schnauzer named Charlie. I love a good day hanging out with my daughters. On weekends, I am actively involved in special needs recreational sports teams with my autistic son.

      I did not set out to conquer the literary world, win awards, sell a million copies, or have any piece of fiction be my claim to fame. I simply wanted to write a novel I enjoyed reading. A character stuck in my mind, brought their friends with them and ran with it. Writing is an escape for me. If you enjoyed this piece of fiction, related to the characters or the plot then my efforts were not in vain.

      Stalk Links:
      Website: http://www.samtaylormullens@blogspot.com
      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/samtaylor.mullens
      Twitter: MullensSam "

      Delete
    3. Thanks. It is hard to know what is fact and what is fiction. I did just have an idea for a novel about this, so that must mean I'm not as upset as I was. All the support has helped.

      Delete
  63. It is interesting that the person making a lot of 1* reviews on your books is called 'Avid Reader'. I say interesting, because if you look at the Sam Mullens author FB page (still up) you will find someone called Bethany Booklover Johnson who has liked and shared older posts. This person also follows Sam Mullens on her blog. If you look at the FB page for Bethany Booklover Johnson, she not only promotes the hell out of Sam Mullens, but also says she works at The Avid Reader. Coincidence? Unlikely. If that name is linked to any of those other review sites, I would suggest you may have found your culprit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's interested how many people can see that connection. And there are actually several reviewers with the name Booklover, and one of them is reviewers #5 (Sheri Dew's niece, and also one of Mullens's defendants. Thanks!

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Defendants, rather (It's early).

      Delete
  64. Holy (rude word not inserted)! Un.Be.Lieveable. She's libelled you, lied to you, stolen from you, and is without doubt a person with absolutley no morals whatsoever. I wouldn't believe a single word she says, and I hope your attourney has a field day, dragging her into the real world. Good luck with it all, Rachel. Every true writer, whether published or aspiring, is right behind you

    ReplyDelete
  65. This would make a good book, especially with the mysterious man who died in a tragic car accident...just as he was on his way to the closest wi-fi hotspot so he could get online and clear all this up. Okay...I took some liberties there, but still...it would be laughable if it weren't so sad and aggravating (and pathetic). Best of luck to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, you are so right. And then he tragically turns out to be my long lost brother and Mullen's dad.

      Delete
    2. Or Mullens's Dad, rather. (Where's the edit button?)

      Delete
    3. And she's your twin separated at birth.

      Delete
  66. Ask someone to find the IP adds in the emails they sent you. If they are the same or tracked within the same area or neighborhood, then those shady reviewers and the friend is Mullens. Ask an IT guy or someone techie for help. I hope Amazon would be willing to help as they can provide you with the information you need.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Several people have suggested this, but I'm sure who to contact. Can you point me in any direction? Thanks!

      Delete
    2. Rachel,
      I have a contact who may be able to help. He's worked in cyber security for several Fortune 500 companies. I've written to him already and will put him in touch with you if he can help. I'm so sorry you're going through this :( Behind you 100%

      Delete
    3. Thank you. Do let me know if he can help. Once we have an identity, it'll all be in the attorney's lap.

      Delete
  67. Hi Rachel,

    I am a blogger and book review (http://www.brookeblogs.com) and I am absolutely appalled at this situation. Plagiarism is unacceptable, and I applaud you for taking a stand and bringing this situation to light. I have visited Amazon and reported the harassing reviews. I'll be picking up your book to read and review. I'd be happy to feature you on my blog as well. It sickens me that someone would do this and think they can get away with it. I am so sorry you are going through this. I hope that you are able to get resolution through your attorney and this person is brought to justice.

    Brooke Bumgardner
    brooke at brookeblogs dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much. What kind of books do you review?

      Delete
  68. What a nightmare! I hope you get things sorted out.

    All I can offer is: Put this all into your next book? That's the only way to deal with crazy. Hugs (even though you don't know me).

    ReplyDelete
  69. I am visiting from Dear Author. This is crazy! You are a new to me author and I will be checking out your work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jennifer. If you like romantic urban fantasy, I also publish under the pen name Teyla Branton. I'll check out Dear Author!

      Delete
  70. Hey Rachel,

    I heard about your plight via Facebook, and just wanted to wish you my best. What's happened to you regarding A Bid for Lover is disgusting. As an author, and someone who works for a publisher, by heart aches for you.

    I sincerely hope your attorney manages to get to the bottom of this situation, and resolve it for you.

    If it's any small consolation, I'm going to buy A Bid for Love, and hope that this situation has alerted potential new readers to your novels.

    Best of luck in your future literary endeavors.

    Clare

    ReplyDelete
  71. Another writer supporting you! So sorry this is happening.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Rachel,

    I came here via a Facebook post. I'm a relatively new author, but spent the last few years as a journalist. I've had my own work stolen (though it appeared to be a scripting error more than anything at a news aggregate site). It's definitely a violation, and it hurts. A lot.

    At least when I contacted the person, they apologized, removed the content, and admitted it was on them. There was no effort to try and cover it up. What you're dealing with is absolutely bizarre. I mean, none of the excuses even remotely make any sense. None.

    Like others have said, it would be funny if it wasn't true.

    ReplyDelete
  73. As a librarian, I am sad to read about your tribulations. I'm also sorry to say that versions of this (although not so blatant) are becoming increasingly common. I respect that you're taking a stand and defending your name, reputation, and intellectual property.

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  74. Says it all! https://www.facebook.com/SamTaylorMullensStreetTeam?fref=ts

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  75. I'll add my support as a fellow author and a plea - PLEASE keep on writing! Don't let this criminal keep you from doing what you love to do and keep sharing your work with the world.
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  76. Just wanted to let you know, you are not alone. Lilith Saintcrow went through this last year and the plagiarizer was equally as nasty... http://www.lilithsaintcrow.com/journal/afterthoughts/

    ReplyDelete
  77. Coming in late to your blog post, but I want to extend my support with the rest. What has happened to you is appalling. Thank you for for standing up to expose this. If she has plagiarized you, she probably has or will plagiarized someone else. (Well, hopefully not now, because I'd like to think this incident will give her serious second thoughts in the future.) Hang in there, Rachel!

    ReplyDelete
  78. In terms of tracking her down, she appears to look like this from a quick search:

    http://wordwenchesguiltypleasure.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/stm.jpg

    And she apparently lives in Colorado, has two kids and a schnauzer named Charlie...

    Know anyone in Colorado who could help? I think sharing the picture around enough should do the trick!

    Best of luck,

    Gytha

    x

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    1. I'm in Colorado. Happy to help any way I can.

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    2. Once we get a name, we may need you! Thanks!

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  79. Oh, my gosh, Rachel. You're one LDS author from Deseret that I love. Hate to read that this is happening to you. Sending cyber hugs your way. I'm with all the others. I'm with you and so sorry someone thinks that they can just go ahead and 'steal' form an author and rewrite sex scenes in them and get away with it.

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  80. Hi, [tried to post a comment, not sure it went thru so trying another quick one]
    Found your post via twitter [a regular user and victoriastrauss] ...I am a voracious read of most anything ....I am APPALLED at what happened... I hope you and your attorney take full legal action against her... who knows if her other stories were plagiarized ? omg.
    ANYway... she is also here: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sam-taylor-mullens/88/267/b2a not sure if that will help...
    I know legal fees can accumulate pretty quickly so if I find anything on her I will post it here..
    good luck and stay strong... she must be fully exposed [legally of course :) ]
    All the Best
    Lisa

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. I appreciate it. You sound like the kind of reader I am a writer. I finally started using a couple pen name (all public knowledge, lol) to separate everything! I'll take a peek at the URL you gave me!

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  81. So sorry. What a wicked and perverse world we live in anymore. I'm behind you 100%

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  82. Another supporter here. As a librarian, these things are good to know. If her books were in print format, I would make it a point to not purchase them. I'm seriously appalled. She's in the wrong genre though - with the stories she's inventing, she should not be in steamy romance, but more of a bizarre M.T. Anderson sort of fairy tale. At least you've been getting good publicity. I saw the post on several of my author friends' facebook posts.

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  84. Wow. As a writer, it feels so weird to be at such a loss for words. I read the entire post, as well as all of the comments. I am shocked and appalled on your behalf. I hope you and your lawyer are able to bring this horrible person to justice. It's one thing to plagiarize; it's something else completely to lie seemingly pathologically about it all and then try to turn it around—and Ito a witch hunt against you, no less! What kind of person does that??

    In addition to working on my own novels, I blog about other books, help promote, write reviews, host interviews, etc. I will be picking up at least this book (and quite possibly more) to read and review on my site. I would love to host an interview about this topic and how important it is to have such a tight-knit author "family" to help protect us and lift us up, let alone get our back from time to time. Please feel free to reach out if you would be interested. I would love to have you.

    Brightest of blessings to you and a full amount of hope that you're able to get this resolved quickly and fairly—and hopefully with a tangible dollar amount attached as it seems these kinds of people don't learn unless you hit them where it hurts—straight in the pocketbook. Best of luck!!

    ~M

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    1. Thanks for your kind words. I do feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone! What kind of books do you review? I do mostly religious novels under my real name, but do urban fantasy and romance under a pen name (and in the light of the plagiarizing author's hidden identity, I should say my pen names are public knowledge on my website, lol).

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  85. This is horrible! I hope you get justice! She's an absolute disgrace to the indie author world...

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  86. I can't imagine how this must make you feel, so I did the only thing I thought might help: I went to Amazon and bought four of your books.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you as you fight this.

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  87. Rachel, I shared this link on my FB wall and a friend, who is also a book cover designer, commented with a great idea for tracking Mullens' real identity. She said this:

    Are they still trying to figure out who Mullens really is? Track down the cover designer. You'd be AMAZED at who some of my clients are. At the end of the day, their electronic payment has their real name and address.:)

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    1. Okay, so this is a great new suggestion. Do you have an idea where to start on tracking down a cover designer. The other books she has looks similar. Would your friend be willing to ask around? We just need a name and state.

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    2. According to this interview (http://jeanzbookreadnreview.blogspot.com/2014/08/promotion-hasty-resolution-series-by.html), she uses a company called Fostering Success for cover design. Maybe a place to start?

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    3. Also, it looks like Titan Publishing did a banner for her, for The Auction Deal: http://www.titanpublishinghouse.com/?s=mullens

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  88. Horrified new author here. I looked at all of Sam's info, sites, and even her FB team page (tons of pix of her dog; not one on her kids except for a new birth). Got me wondering. She appears to be cranking books out quickly. Do you think she plagiarized ALL of them? How can we find out? Please keep us posted. I will try to friend you on FB (Vikki Lawrence)!

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    1. I think you are right! I'll let you know. We are narrowing it down.

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  89. I'm almost as appalled by the bloggers who are complicit in this. It seems to me like deleting the ARCs rather than turning them over is perpetuating fraud. I almost wonder if they could be held liable in some way, maybe as accessories, if this comes to court.

    Good luck getting this taken care of! Peace and love to you.

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    1. I know. A lot of people have voiced this to me. I don't have an answer.

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  90. And Blogger ate my response. >.<

    Anyway, I just wanted to chime in and offer my support to you and hope that this person is brought to justice so they can never do this again. I wish I said your case is isolated, but I've seen a LOT of authors getting plagiarized. Thankfully, in this era of digital novels, it is really easy to spot.

    Best of luck,
    -Andrew

    P.S. I'm also a writer, so plagiarism really makes me angry. It's just so stupid.

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    1. Thanks, Andrew. I'm hoping we can put a name to her because she trail we have so far leads makes is clear she is set up to do this again under other pen names.

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    2. I hope you can find out who she is, Rachel. Who else will she victimize in the future if she isn't found out?

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  91. Some years ago, I was an editor on a magazine that had to deal with someone who had plagiarised a poem and sent it to us for publication. This same person had also allegedly plagiarised a novel and claimed it as their Nano novel. They contacted us repeatedly using multiple identities who all claimed to be friends of this person. I'm seeing an uncanny similarity here.

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  92. Rachel -
    I'm a blogger, and I find this absolutely unacceptable. Illegally stealing something you've poured your heart into is one thing, but making up stories and excuses and twisting everything into making you seem like the culprit is just going two steps too far.

    This is absolutely outrageous, and I hope you're able to sort everything out as soon as possible. Thank you for sharing this, and I know I and everyone else in the blogging community will do everything we can to help you sort this out. Keep us all updated, okay?

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  93. Does it make me a bad person that I hadn't deleted the ARC yet? I received the email from "Sam" about the plagiarism allegations but had not logged into my Amazon address to delete it yet.

    Even though my book blog is on a hiatus right now, I will be posting the link to this post on the fb page along with a note of my EXTREME displeasure in "her" actions (several of her "booklover" friends are followers of my page).

    I will be checking out your books (all 3 genres) just as soon as my ARC list dwindles down. :-)

    I am so sorry this has happened to you and I hope that she is punished accordingly.

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate the well-wishes ant the Facebook post. We do need the ARC for the attorney, and one reviewer has promised it, but she's not sure how to get it off her Kindle. Any ideas as you know how it was sent?

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    2. If she connects her Kindle to her computer, she can move MOBI to her desktop and then email it, right? It might be worth a try.

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    3. I believe it was sent directly to the kindle address so I have no idea if there is a way to get it off to share.

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    4. I just checked my amazon account. It was sent to me in an email and I sent it to my kindle. I checked my email account and you are in luck. I still have the pdf file from my SENT folder.

      If you email my book blog: bookwormsandcouchpotatoes AT aol DOT com, I'll send it to you.

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    5. Crystal, that was a nice offer, but someone already sent it. Thanks anyway!

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  94. If you go to amazon dot com and bring up the 2 remaining books and look inside, the cover design company is named along with the other acknowledgements.
    I think its the same one for both.
    HTH Jan

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  95. Count me in as a fellow writer outraged on your behalf. Although, it might be fascinating to know - just for moment - how it feels to be as brazen as Mullens.

    Unreal.

    Thank you for taking to time to chronicle this. It's important and I hope that, like all the world's weirdness, it enriches your imagination and spurs you to great words. After you stop pulling your hair out, of course.

    Best wishes in general -- and most particularly for a swift and satisfying resolution to this debacle.

    -Jamie

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    1. To be as brazen as her, I expect it would take an extreme lack of regard for one's fellow human beings. An "Other people don't matter because they're not me," kind of attitude. I'll bet it's a thrilling feeling at first, but I'll bet there's a tremendous crash later. I'll bet it's like a drug addiction.

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  96. Hugs, Rachel. This is completely nuts. <3

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  97. I think the two remaining books have either been yanked by Amazon or the author. They're gone.

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  98. Rachel, about 14 years ago I attended a workshop that you taught through a community program. I remember coming away from it feeling inspired. You talked about how you wrote 2,000 words a day, and sometimes it took you a couple of hours, but most of the time it took the whole day. You'd often pick up your kids from school still wearing PJ's. Your kids learned to cook dinner. You frequently wrote with a toddler in your lap. You took breaks to play with your kids and you took them as many places with you as possible. As a young mom, it was a huge inspiration to me to know that I could set a word count goal, and that sometimes my family could have hot dogs for dinner, and it would be okay to follow my dreams. You have worked so hard at being a writer and a mom and a supporter of many other writers. You've brought wonderful Christian fiction and other books to women who need a lift during their days of challenges. Thank you for standing up for this, because you are standing up for all of us.

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    1. Thank you, Heather for posting. I remember those days well. BTW, I still pick up my daughter in my PJs!

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    2. And I should add that you have returned that kindness many times to me over the past fourteen years.

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  99. Absolutely amazing. My heart goes out to you, Rachel. So sorry this happened to you and grateful you've had the courage to stand up to it. I hope that she will be brought to justice - there has to be some way to track down who she really is. She had to file a taxi ID, did she not? I'd hire a PI and continue to pursue it. If money is an object, create a go-fund me page for it - I'm SURE you will get the support from every honest, hardworking and respectable author and many friends as well. Blessings to you, Theresa

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  100. Yeah good thing all her bios say she has an "extremely supportive husband." What I want to know is who can find the time to write books in SECRET? seriously? She's got a severe case of the whackadoos

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  102. This is sickening. I am so sorry you're going through this, Rachel! I stand behind you 100%!

    Went through and marked all of those one star reviews as unhelpful and spam. I know its not much but I hope it helps!

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  103. It's a sad, sad day. With a heavy heart, I pray that God will comfort you and bring you peace through this difficult time. I have enough difficulty dealing with all the sites stealing our work and having to send them DMCA notices. This is just incomprehensible. I have been harassed publicly by someone and their friends. It's not fun. I cried, lost sleep, became ill. I pulled my posts when I had done nothing wrong. This person eventually apologized by email but not publicly. It was one of the hardest things I've been through. I can't even imagine what you are gong through. My hat is off to you for standing up for what is right and seeing it through. Many blessings to you.

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  104. Earlier this year I bought a book of off Amazon but didn't get around to reading until the next month. I read it and loved it but when I went to check out other works by the author I could not find her author page on Amazon. The book page wasn't even there.

    I did a google search of her, trying to locate her website and discovered that she had plagiarized the book. It was almost word for word exactly the same as a fanfic work which was available for free online. The fake author didn't even change the character names, although she did change the ending, I guess she thought that would make her book original?

    Anyway, I was very upset about having given this person money by buying the plagiarized book. I couldn't find her on Amazon because they had taken down her page and books after being informed of the plagiarism.

    I contacted Amazon to get a refund because I did not want to the fake author to get the proceeds from my purchase. Even though it was after the 7 day return deadline, because of the plagiarism, Amazon refunded the purchase, thereby taking her ill-gotten profits away.

    I'm not sure if any copies of this Sam woman's book were sold, but if they were, customers should be able to get refunds and cut off her profits.

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  105. Her (Mullins) cronies (or her, whatever) are now harassing me and trying to ruin my book blog because of my comments here.

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    1. No! That's terrible. I'm so sorry. What can we do? Please take screen shots of all their comments. Amazon has said that they will give her info with a subpoena, and they can be charged with harassment. The irony is that she just threatened me with a harassment case.

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    2. Thank you. I have been taking screen shots of everything.

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    3. Can you tell us where they are doing this posting?

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    4. On a facebook account: Bethany Booklover Johnson. I was also emailed under, yet, another name.

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    5. Is there a URL where people can see and comments to support you?

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    6. You know, she's just digging herself in deeper.

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    7. I'm really sorry. It especially is terrible when you weren't even the one who gave me the ARC. Anyway, the book is mine, not hers.

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    8. You may have to be her friend to see her page. Not sure.

      https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1445043426&fref=ts

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    9. Oh my. I'm no criminal law expert, but just from what I saw, I would think that she's in bigger trouble than just plagiarizing now. What the heck does she think she's gaining?!

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    10. What is your book blog? For starters, we'll pass that around and more people will sign up for you reviews than will even see her post. It's ridiculous. You'll make a post there and just keep doing book reviews. Just let me know what you're looking for and where to send them and you'll be flooded!

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    11. Not sure if you know but this 'booklover' is now accusing you Crystal of selling off Arcs on her facebook page.

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    12. Here is my blog: http://cjbookandmoviereview.blogspot.com/. My first post is about this situation....

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    13. Paul: Yes, unfortunately I found out. She's also been messaging all of the authors that I have done reviews for. Some are authors I work with on a level higher than just blogger/author (you can probably apply the term "street team" here). This Booklover must really hate me. :-/

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  106. I am so sorry you are going through this. Having been the victim of plagiarism myself, I know how heartbreaking, frustrating, and violating it is. I'll keep you in my thoughts, and I hope you get to the bottom of this soon.

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