I woke up to a very unpleasant shock on Thursday morning. A sharp-eyed reader (thanks, Arthur), sent me a message, via Goodreads, asking if I'd rewritten my free short story, Tumbleweed, under a different pen name. When I had a look at the link that I'd been sent, I started shaking. Yep, it was that big of a jolt. Someone had taken the story that I'd written for the Goodreads M/M Romance Group 'Love is Always Write' event, moved the setting from Arizona to Yorkshire, changed the names, embellished it and has had it published by a reputable UK publisher of Erotica. Not only that, but the author had given one of the main character's my pen name. That, in particular, was a slap in the face.
I had a look at the sample pages on Amazon and my own lines jumped out at me. Lines I'd written, taken care with, polished and published. My friend, who'd edited my original story, bought a copy of the offending book and started doing a line by line comparison, highlighting the lines that had been stolen. She gave up after 11 pages because the similarities were glaringly obvious. Those 11 pages are more yellow than white.
Knowing that I had more than enough grounds for complaint, I informed the publisher of a copyright infringement and attached the highlighted copy of my manuscript. Fortunately, they responded almost immediately, promised to keep me informed and they did. The book has been temporarily removed from sale pending a full investigation.
I feel happy that the publisher has responded so quickly and I hope that the author, whoever they are, get their arse kicked from here to kingdom come. I have no idea who they are. There's no blog, nothing in the online searches to show that they made any kind of effort to promote that book, which strikes me as peculiar. There's no one I can hit out at, and perhaps that's a good thing. I am still angry that someone had the brass-balled ignorance to steal my words and make money out of something that was free. Was it because Tumbleweed was free that the thief decided it was fair game? Did they like my writing so much that they wanted to claim it as their own? Is it some twisted fan-fic? What?
In spite of plenty of one-star reviews on Goodreads, the plagiarist (let's not beat around the bush here, that's what he/she/it is), has yet to come forward and deny it, or say anything. Has their mission been accomplished? Steal a book, piss off the author, get some attention? Are they sitting in their mother's basement wanking off to the fuss and excitement? I hope they're laid up in bed with an unpleasant genital complaint.
I feel angry, violated, impotent. I can't fight someone who's too gutless to own up to their actions. It's too easy to create a fake persona these days. I may never know who did it. I hate that.
By the way, if you want to read the original, it's here