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Don’t Do This Ever: “Super Mega Meta Rehash” edition

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In 2015, disgraced former author Laura Harner was caught in a plagiarism scandal that rocked the M/M writing community. Harner, a well-liked and prolific author, had been lifting, almost word-for-word, the prose of other writers, including Becky McGraw and Opal Carew. Harner received a life-long ban from RWA, and the removal of all but her co-authored titles from Amazon. Now, it seems Harner has either been plagiarized or, more likely, has taken on a new pen name to continue her career.

A former reader of Harner’s contacted me to note the similarities between Harner’s Whiteoutpublished in 2011, and Annalise Alexander’s A Perfect Storm, released just last week. Let’s take a look. For my people who don’t see, the images that follow are just screen shots, I’ll put comparison in text to discuss it because they’re kind of hard to read, anyway.

Here’s Annalise Alexander’s A Perfect Storm:

AA1

aa2

 

And here’s Laura Harner’s Whiteout:

LH1

From A Perfect Storm (as usual, the underlines indicate italics):

The propane tank on her grill was full, plus she had a camp stove and a battery operated coffee maker, so all the necessities of life were taken care of. Her car was already loaded with ice, wine, and lots of batteries. Which left Sugar & Spice as the last stop on her list. This had all the makings of a very long weekend.

A sudden gust of wind nearly whipped the ball cap from her head just as she reached the door. She caught it with a slap of her hand and lowered the bill, in an effort to maintain a little anonymity. With a mental eye roll at her own misplaced modesty, she pushed past the adults-only warning signs and stepped inside.

Damn it! Why should I be so embarrassed?

From Whiteout:

She trudged through the light layer of snow to get to the darkened glass door. Stomping the snow off her boots, she tried not to blush at the signs warning no admittance to anyone under twenty-one. This was her last stop of the morning. Her car was already loaded with food and wine. At home, the wood was cut and stacked by the woodstove, and for the next few hours, the road leading to her remote cabin would be clear.

Christina wrapped herself in determination and pushed through the door. She started to remove her sunglasses but noticed that most of the other customers in the store wore dark glasses, too. Damn it! Why should I feel so embarrassed?

From A Perfect Storm:

Walking the half block to where she’d wedged her Porsche Cayenne between two rental minivans, she noticed one of the vehicles had been replaced by a black Escalade. The parking spot was so tight on the narrow one-way street, she had to maneuver forward and back twice before she was able to pull out of the space.

As she pulled away, she noticed the vanity plate on the luxury SUV: 2RCTCTS. As in Two Architects.

Talk about double trouble. Remy Doucet or Rex Davis.

From Whiteout:

Out in the lot, Christina froze in her tracks when she recognized the distinctive yellow Hummer parked next to the own four-wheel drive. There was only one vehicle like that in all of Northern Arizona, and she knew who it belonged to: Cade McMartin.

Of the two of them, A Perfect Storm is certainly the better written book, but the set up between the two are the same, as are the order of events. A woman visits a sex shop to stock up on supplies before a big storm hits, and sees that someone she knows is nearby. Whiteout features a blizzard and A Perfect Storm is set during a hurricane. The locations are different, with A Perfect Storm set in New Orleans–a city that has featured in other Harner titles.

The similarities continue. Here’s the next section of A Perfect Storm:

AA3

 

And the next section of Whiteout:

LH2

From A Perfect Storm:

Entering the store, Remy shrugged to loosen the grip of his inner demon. Melissa hadn’t looked up when he’d entered and she appeared to be alone as she stood staring at something at the end of the aisle in the far corner of the store. He should just go over there and say hello. Really…he should. He wasn’t shy. Not ever. Unless you counted with Mel. Something about the woman tied his tongue in knots. They’d known each other since grade school, and he’d been half in love with her ever since. Not that he’d ever done a damn thing about his attraction. They’d moved in different circles even then.

From Whiteout:

Cade shrugged, as if to loosen the grip of his inner demon. Christina hadn’t looked up when he’d entered, and he’d stopped himself going over to say hello. They’d known each other since the first day of second grade, and he’d been in love with her ever since. Not that he’d ever done a damn thing about that fact. They’d moved in different circles even then.

From A Perfect Storm:

Melissa was everything he wasn’t: intellectual, glib, and reserved. While he’d gone away to college, she’d stayed local and finished her first degree in half the time–then moved straight on to Tulane Law School. When he’d returned to start his apprenticeship with a local architect, he’d discovered that she’d passed the bar and signed with a prestigious law firm.

From Whiteout:

Christina was everything he wasn’t: cool, reserved, and brainy. While he’d gone away to college, she had stayed local and finished her degree in half the time. When he’d returned, he’d discovered that she’d started her own interior design company. She was as driven to succeed as he was, but success for him meant winning. It’s why he’d become an attorney.

A Perfect Storm:

He wandered to the display that Melissa had been staring at when he came in. He needed to see what had captured her attention. He couldn’t help grinning. Maybe their circles weren’t so different after all.  Although he’d be willing to bet money she didn’t know it. He’d recognized that look on her face. Curiosity mixed with melancholy, sprinkled with a heavy dose of desire.

Maybe it was time to bring this long-standing crush into the light of day. Nothing good could come from unrequited love–or lust–especially when only one of the parties was aware of the attraction. He laughed softly, as he made a few selections of his own.

After paying for his purchases, Remy headed toward his house to make some last-minute adjustments to his hurricane plan.

Whiteout:

He wanted to the display that Christina had been staring at when he came in. He needed to see what had captured her attention. He couldn’t help grinning. Maybe their circles weren’t so different after all. Although he’d be willing to bet money she didn’t know it. He’d recognized that look on her face. Curiosity mixed with wistfulness, sprinkled with a healthy dose of desire.

Cade made a few purchases, then headed back to his townhouse to make some last-minute adjustments to his schedule.

Again, same sequence of events, just slightly different wording, and A Perfect Storm is expanded. Also, the heroine has changed from interior designer in Whiteout to a lawyer in A Perfect Storm, swapping careers with the hero from Whiteout, who has now become an architect.

There’s one last section available for preview:

A Perfect Storm:

AA4AA5

Whiteout:

lh3From A Perfect Storm:

Rex Davis heard the garage door open and debated whether to throw on some sweats. It wasn’t as if his roommate hadn’t seen him in his boxers before. They’d been on the same teams, roomed together in college, and eventually bought this small house in Metairie together as a convenient way to stop paying rent. He gazed down at the tented cotton and decided he didn’t have time to do anything more then reposition his laptop–and maybe put on Sports Center as a major distraction.

From Whiteout:

Carter Montgomery heard Cade’s key in the door and debated whether to throw on some pants. It wasn’t as if his roommate hadn’t seen him naked before. They’d been on the same sports teams, roomed together in college, and eventually bought this townhouse together as a convenient way to stop paying rent. He gazed down at his rock-hard erection and decided he didn’t have time to do anything more than set the newspaper over his lap.

From A Perfect Storm:

Remy had been his best friend since kindergarten, when their parents had departed with long last looks at their young sons. The two boys had waved dutifully, then found a mutual interest in kickball. The fact they shared the same initials kept them side-by-side on virtually every seating chart through high school. They’d taken the same classes, played the same sports, and often dated the same girls–although never at the same time. They’d even gotten the same degrees and now shared a business.

From Whiteout:

Cade has been his best friend his whole life. Their parents met in Lamaze class, and the boys had always shared more than a birthday and the same initials. They’d taken the same classes, played the same sports, and dated the same girls. Occasionally at the same time. They’d even gotten the same degrees and now shared the same law offices.

A Perfect Storm:

They were both so clearly hetero, they only occasionally faced speculation that their relationship might be more than it seemed. Given the recent state of his dreams, Rex was starting to question that assumption–at least from his perspective. Several months earlier, after imbibing in a little too much Christmas cheer, he’d awaked at the climax of a dream to end all wet dreams. Half-awake, his hips pushed up as cum shot between his fingers, while his lips pressed time around an imaginary cock. Remy’s cock.

Now, he avoided too much time alone with his best friend, and definitely no more drinking around him. What if he got a little too relaxed and said–or touched–something he shouldn’t. It was one helluva way to fuck up a perfectly good friendship. Unfortunately, the more distance Rex tried to put between them, the harder it seemed Remy tried to find things for them to do together.

Whiteout:

They were both so clearly hetero, they only occasionally faced speculation that their relationship might be more than it seemed. It never had been.

Now, however, Carter was starting to question that assumption. Two months ago, he’d awakened in the middle of an orgasm to end all wet dreams. In his dream, he’d been on his knees giving Cade a fucking blowjob while he worked his own cock!

Ever since then, he’d had a difficult time controlling his thoughts where his best friend was concerned. And Goddamn if Cade didn’t appear to know something was up. The more Carter tried to distance himself, the more it seemed Cade worked to keep their friendship close.

A Perfect Storm:

“Honey, I’m home,” Remy sang out.

Rex rolled his eyes at the old joke. “I thought you were going to try to get a few hours of work in before the storm hits. Sounds like you went shopping instead.”

“Nah, something came up.”

Rex winced at the unintentional truth of that statement.

“Come in here a minute, would you? I want to run something by you–see what you think,” Remy said as he strode through the living room on his way to his bedroom.

Great. And invitation to Remy’s bedroom. Just what he needed. His dick was hard enough to pound nails, and Remy wanted to chat.

Whiteout:

“Hey Carter, what’s shakin?” Cade asked as he strode past on the way to his bedroom. “Come in here a sec, would you? I want to run something by you.”

“I thought you were going to try to get a few hours of work in before the storm hits,” Carter said, mentally rolling his eyes. And invitation to Cade’s bedroom. Just what he needed with a raging hard-on. Not.

A Perfect Storm:

Rex grabbed a robe from the bathroom door on his way to the bedroom and then lay stomach down on Remy’s bed. His friend took a couple of shirts and underwear from a drawer, then stuffed them into an overnight bag.

“What’s wrong? I thought we decided to ride out the storm. Did the forecast change?” Rex asked, a knot of worry forming in the pit of his stomach. It wasn’t like Remy to want to leave just because of an approaching hurricane. “Are we evacuating?”

“No…at least, not exactly. I went through the Quarter on the way home….too much traffic on the I-10. Do you remember Melissa Robicheaux?”

Rex grinned. “you mean the same Melissa Robicheaux you’ve been secretly lusting after since elementary school? I think you jacked off over her more than any other girl in high school.”

Remy smiled back. “Yeah, that Melissa. I saw her this morning and I got to thinking–”

“Remy, you see her everywhere. You’re always telling me about her, where you saw her, what she was doing. How come you never ask her out?”

“Shit, she’d never give me the time of day.”

“Still. Not like you to let someone go without trying,” Rex said.

Whiteout:

Carter grabbed a robe from the bathroom door on his way to the bedroom and then lay on Cade’s bed to watch as his friend gathered some clothes in an overnight bag. “Where the hell are you going? I thought the storm was keeping everyone home.”

“Yeah, well, something came up on the way to the office. Do you remember Christina Thomas?”

Carter grinned. “You mean the same Christina Thomas you’ve been secretly lusting after since second grade? I think you jacked off over her more than any other girl in high school.”

Cade smiled back. “Yeah, that Christina. I saw her this morning and I got to thinking–”

“Cade, you see her everywhere. You’re always telling me about her, where you saw her, what she was doing. How come you never asked her out?”

“Shit, she’d never give me the time of day.”

“Still. Not like you to let someone go without trying,” Carter said.

A Perfect Storm:

“Good…that’s good. I saw her today. This morning.” Remy sat down on the bed, close to Rex’s head.

Rex’s pulse spiked. This close together on the bed–his cock already hard–how the hell was he going to hide his reaction? Shit. He shifted away, then sat up, keeping his robe closed over his throbbing erection. Shaking off his own concerns, he tried to figure out what Remy was thinking about. “Did you talk to her?” he asked.

Whiteout:

Cade sat down on the bed, close to Carter’s head. Carter’s heart beat uncomfortably fast. Shit, he thought, Cade’s going to realize something’s wrong.

Carter bounced up and sat cross-legged, keeping his robe closed over his throbbing erection. Shaking off his own concerns, he tried to figure out what Cade was thinking about. Did you talk to her?” he asked.

These are the same book. The exact same set up, sequence of events, in some passages the wording is exactly the same. Even the gross gay-for-you overtones and “so clearly hetero” line are repeated. And both books feature heroes who are suffering from acute priapism, I guess.

Okay, look. There are two possible explanations for this. Either Annalise Alexander is plagiarizing Laura Harner, or Annalise Alexander is Laura Harner. Judging by the voice in A Perfect Storm when compared to Harner’s plagiarized titles, her modus operandi of adding just enough text and subtle tweaks to evade notice by plagiarism detection software, and the sudden appearance of an author with no social media trail to promote her books or prove that she’s a real person, I’m going out on a limb and calling it. Laura Harner has reinvented herself as Annalise Alexander.

This move on Harner’s part is deceptive and unnecessary. In the wake of the accusations against her, Harner did lose readers, but others stood by her when she implied that PTSD caused her actions. Those readers she retained would have continued to buy her books without the name change. The readers she lost–like the one who contacted me–made a conscious choice not to read her. Harner is writing in the same genre without disclosing who she is or even that this work was previously published. She is setting out to intentionally dupe readers and reestablish herself as an author without bearing the consequences of her actions or making a genuine apology.

In short, Laura Harner/Annalise Alexander is a still a plagiarist, and now she’s added fraud to her dubious list of credentials. If you do something as abhorrent as plagiarism, own up to it. Make a real apology–without alluding to a psychiatric disorder to garner sympathy you don’t deserve–and live with the consequences. And definitely, do not seek to intentionally deceive readers who’ve sworn you off, just so you can steal their $2.99.

Basically? Don’t do this. Ever.

EDIT: The person who contacted  me also gave me some very important information about the publisher that I forgot to add to this post. Luckily, commenter Cayenne noticed it, as well. The two books are published by the same publisher (at ARe; Amazon lists a different publisher for A Perfect Storm), and Laura Harner is the only other author they publish.

47 Comments

  1. Carolina West
    Carolina West

    Man, every post you do about this woman makes her sound worse and worse. Plagiarism is desperate and lazy enough, but doing it to your own books? I don’t even know what to say to that…

    June 28, 2016
    |Reply
  2. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    Holy Smokes, wouldn’t it take less time and energy just to make up a new story than to go through this one, changing this name, that adjective, that noun? This looks about as much fun as doing line-edits on a microbiology dissertation. Why on earth would anybody want to be a writer at all unless she thought she had stories to tell? It’s like theatre: with a few exceptions, it doesn’t pay that well or that steadily. You have to love it for itself, when you know the rewards are hardly guaranteed.

    June 28, 2016
    |Reply
    • Lisa
      Lisa

      That’s what I was thinking! Like the fun bit is making up the story and giving it life. It seems like so much hard work just to rewrite line for line someone else’s (or your own??!) book.

      July 2, 2016
      |Reply
  3. cayenne
    cayenne

    It’s interesting – I saw this book come up on ARe last week and thought it sounded familiar, but when I couldn’t figure out the original title, I decided I must have just mistaken it for another book with the same trope. We read a lot, it happens, right? Then I checked the list of titles from the publisher, and lo and behold, the only other author of the press is Laura Harner. So I noped out & spent my money elsewhere.

    List is here: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=publisher&qString=Hot+Corner+Press&page=1

    tl,dr: I’d have to agree with you, Jenny – they’re the same person. Thanks for doing the side-by-side analysis.

    June 28, 2016
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      UUUUUGH I can’t believe I forgot the thing about the publisher. The reader told me about that, too.

      June 28, 2016
      |Reply
    • Interesting that on Amazon the publisher is Dragon Soars.

      June 28, 2016
      |Reply
  4. shel
    shel

    I just… I can’t even…

    As if the plagiarism wasn’t bad enough…. what was her plan next? plagiarized herrself plagiarizing someone else? Like plagiariception or something?

    I know being a writer is hard, especially if you want to make money with it… but this seems ridiculous.

    June 28, 2016
    |Reply
    • Aletheia
      Aletheia

      Re: “As if the plagiarism wasn’t bad enough…. what was her plan next? ”

      My guess would that she either would play the PTSD trump card again when she (publicly) got caught or was planning on using this as a “see, other authors do it too, so it’s totally okay for me to have done and you all are bullies!”-type defense or was planning on using it as a “woe is me, someone has stolen my work!” pity play. Anything to get sales/get in the public eye again, you know? :/

      I mean, the second and third options require her to think people are stupid enough to not notice the publisher details, but she also thought no one would catch her plagiarism to begin with, so I’m not certain that it would even cross her mind that people could connect her through that.

      June 29, 2016
      |Reply
  5. shel
    shel

    I just… I can’t even…

    As if the plagiarism wasn’t bad enough…. what was her plan next? plagiarized herself plagiarizing someone else? Like plagiariception or something?

    I know being a writer is hard, especially if you want to make money with it… but this seems ridiculous.

    June 28, 2016
    |Reply
    • Awesome Potatoes
      Awesome Potatoes

      HA!
      AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      June 29, 2016
      |Reply
    • Aletheia
      Aletheia

      *golf clap*

      June 29, 2016
      |Reply
    • aria
      aria

      Omg! Lol! That’s the one thing I had to do when I published with smashwords… Get them to change my email and accept my name change to match my pen name!

      June 30, 2016
      |Reply
  6. Rose
    Rose

    Wait, so was Harner’s Whiteout a plagerised story too from a different author? Or was Whiteout an original story that “Annalise” is lifting, presumably so Harner can get away with making more money of her own stories? Either way it’s bizarre and more than a little messed up

    June 28, 2016
    |Reply
  7. BA Tortuga
    BA Tortuga

    Wow. Just…wow. @.@

    June 28, 2016
    |Reply
  8. Noisyninja
    Noisyninja

    Ok I think I’m having Deja vu… the line about moving in different circles in second grade seemed suuuper familiar…I feel like it was a passage you’ve compared with this author before. It just seems so inane that second graders “move in circles” and something about it caught in my brain. Of course, it could be the sleep deprivation…

    June 29, 2016
    |Reply
  9. In the article above it says – the removal of all but her co-authored titles from Amazon, but Laura’s titles are still up on Amazon. I won’t post the link because I don’t want anyone to go purchase her books, but all of her books except those she plagiarized are still on Amazon.

    June 29, 2016
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    • Carolina West
      Carolina West

      Probably because of that “market” or whatever feature they have. I tried to remove a book I’d published and they wouldn’t let me because of it.

      Or it could just be the company still wanting to make as much money as they can, so they only took down the ones everybody knows she plagiarized to keep people from potentially boycotting the site or something. Besides, it wouldn’t be the first time they let this kind of thing go.

      June 29, 2016
      |Reply
  10. Manna Francis
    Manna Francis

    I think I’d just going to plagiarise myself by reposting a comment I made here back in December last year, about yet another plagiarist. It was posted in response to a list of the things a plagiarist should properly do to make amends:

    That would be nice. Sadly, my fandom experiences suggest the standard response to being caught plagiarising is actually:

    1. Delete all evidence.
    2. Disappear without explanation or apology.
    3. Wait a while.
    4. Reappear under a new pseud and carry merrily on.

    June 29, 2016
    |Reply
    • Aletheia
      Aletheia

      Or:

      4a. Reappear under your real name and reap non-fandom success.

      Not naming names. Nope. > >

      June 29, 2016
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      • heather
        heather

        Oooooohh snap!

        June 29, 2016
        |Reply
  11. Natalie Rivieccio
    Natalie Rivieccio

    She’s publishing under her own name as well. There are people who know what she did, and don’t care. I find it hard to believe. She has brass balls and readers with no integrity either.

    June 29, 2016
    |Reply
  12. I am not a Laura Harner apologist: I do not approve of plagiarism in any way. However, you all are writers and readers, so words mean something to you. So how about we speak to accuracy and not just righteous indignation?

    If this is the same person posting her own work, revised and under a different name, it’s not plagiarism. It’s revised and under a different name and her own. She can call herself Anna Karenina if she wants to, and she can revise her own work if it pleases her. She can do anything she likes to her own work. As long as it’s her own work. So far, no one’s offered evidence that this is some other person than Laura’s work, and what we do have looks like Laura is both authors. Which is not a crime. Lots of people have more than one pen name.

    Yes, she has plagiarized in the past, so it’s really easy to say everything she does that you disapprove of is plagiarism. Still, calling a leg a tail doesn’t make it so.

    It may look deceptive, it may look shady, but that doesn’t mean it’s plagiarism.

    June 29, 2016
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I hope this isn’t directed at me, because I don’t think I accused her of plagiarism in this post. I called her plagiarist because that’s what she is. She plagiarized. She is a serial plagiarist. That doesn’t meant that everything she does ever is plagiarism.

      She didn’t plagiarize herself. She revised and expanded a novel. That’s not a big deal. What I did say was that the way she did it was similar to her method/voice when she was plagiarizing. Both here and in the cases where she plagiarized, she changed character names, words, phrases etc. just enough that it shouldn’t resemble the other story if someone were to run it through plagiarism detection software. In other words, she didn’t plagiarize herself, she just used the technique she used to plagiarize and applied it to her own work.

      But again, that’s not the same as saying that this is plagiarism. I’m just saying that a known plagiarist is running from accountability by setting up shop under a different name.

      June 29, 2016
      |Reply
      • No, this was directed more specifically at the echo and amplification chamber aka commenters. The person I thought I was specifically responding to used the term “plagiarism.” Apparently I poked the wrong respond button. I will note that at the moment I write this, “plagiar” appears 32 times in the comments (aside from yours, count=13, total 45), so clearly that’s a focus of indignation. Nothing to do with what’s happening, just a reason to be indignant.

        The technique you (Jenny) is objecting to is referred to as mirroring, and there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with it. As long as one owns the original property.

        However, I am now wondering what Laura or any author with any kind of taint could do to in your (collective your including Jenny) eyes that *wouldn’t* render her suspect. If changing her name and starting over with her own IP isn’t adequate, what would be?

        Because I’m detecting a lot of torches and pitchforks in general around here.

        July 2, 2016
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        • Bless your heart, you seem to be somewhat confused. Yes, people are still angry with Harner because of her actions after being caught plagiarizing. And she would be viewed with suspicion every time she released a book for a very long time no matter what and rightly so, you don’t win back trust so easily.

          But then she does something sort of underhanded when she should be nothing but painfully honest and transparent. It’s not that she chose to release a book under a pseudonym; it’s because she released a not that greatly altered version of an existing book (and is trying to charge more for it). Sort of doing what she did last fall but without involving another author. Then she kept changing the publisher like she was trying to disguise the fact she was the author.

          Well that didn’t work but does she say anything? No. We’ve been here before. The silent treatment didn’t go over well last fall and it hasn’t improved in 7 months. Basically we are back to where we were last October. She wrote a thinly disguised version of another book and presented it as her own. In October those books belonged to McGraw and Carew, this month the book belonged to herself BUT she presented it as belonging to a new author.

          People are willing to give second chances but not to those that keep trying to deceive them.

          July 3, 2016
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            I can understand changing her name and publisher if she wanted to start fresh, but she’s NOT starting fresh. She’s regurgitating a book. It’s her own book, so it’s not plagiarism this time, but she’s still cheating her customers, because they may be paying again for a book they’ve basically already read.

            July 4, 2016
    • its the fact that she is still practicing the exact same habit of rewriting other books (even if it is herown this time), but which led her into plagarism in the first place: changing names and a detail here or there… it only shows she hasnt learned her lesson; she’s just trying to find another way to get away with it.

      June 30, 2016
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        It’s kind of a cheat of her customers. They may not mind a writer repeating a FORMULA, they may even welcome that because it’s why they like a particular writer, but does anyone want to pay to read the same STORY, without being warned that it’s the same story?
        Instead of reading “The Blue Bicycle” (a once-scandalous but now justly-forgotten WWII-themed rip-off of “Gone With the Wind”), I’d just rather read GWTW over again.

        June 30, 2016
        |Reply
  13. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    I still do not understand why she goes to the trouble. Going through an existing document and changing a word here and a name there so you can recycle actual PROSE seems to me rather tedious.
    Barbara Cartland endlessly recycled a FORMULA: innocent young virgin meets jaded libertine and woos him away from his all-too-experienced mistress with her spotless purity, but she changed the circumstances, historical era, and of course the costumes. Innocent young regency maiden in high-waisted gowns wins the heart of jaded Regency Buck; innocent young virgin escapes from harem in late 18th century Constantinople is rescued by Lord such-and-such; innocent young abused Victorian girl runs away from abusive Auntie; Princess on her way to arranged marriage is tempted by dashing young man (who turns out to be the Prince in disguise), etc., etc., etc. They were all basic Cinderella stories, with the girl triumphantly produced in a beautiful gown (or six) to show how beautiful she really is to the hero, and the stock characters were pretty much interchangeable from one novel to the next, but Cartland had to do SOME research just to figure out how she could fit her heroine into the Barbary Pirate/Austrian Empire complete with Sisi/ “debut at Almack’s” plot turn, and of course The Dress was leg-o-mutton-sleeved or hoop-skirted, as the time-setting required.
    Frankly, it sounds more FUN than using word search and replace to rehash a story that wasn’t all that distinctive to begin with.

    June 29, 2016
    |Reply
    • Sara
      Sara

      “I still do not understand why she goes to the trouble.”

      Probably to get her books back up on Amazon.

      July 1, 2016
      |Reply
    • drmaggiemoreau
      drmaggiemoreau

      The covers were kind of similar, too. The girls all had similar faces and the men always looked haughty with a prominent chin. But I really dug her covers.

      July 2, 2016
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Oh yes: regardless of coloring the girls always had eyes “almost too large for their faces,” and His Grace of Chisel-Face looked like a total toffee-nose–until SHE melted him with her invincible innocence. I used to read my friend’s collection of Cartlands when I stayed over (she had a yard at least of them on her bookshelves, filed in numerical order). I laughed at the similarity of the covers and the characters –but I still read them!

        July 2, 2016
        |Reply
        • drmaggiemoreau
          drmaggiemoreau

          “His Grace of Chisel face” and toffee nose gave me the giggles. What’s a toffee nose? Sounds bad!

          July 22, 2016
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          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Corresponds to “stuck-up.” Their noses are stuck in the air…so they look DOWN on everybody else. When Brits refer to “Toffs,” that’s what they mean.

            July 22, 2016
  14. Morticia Knight
    Morticia Knight

    Can’t add the screenshot in the comment box – but on June 21st, the Smashwords listing stated that A Perfect Storm by Annalise Alexander was published by Laura Harner! Obviously that was a big ‘oops’ that she went back and changed. If you’re gonna lie, at least be good at it.

    This is all so sad and pathetic. Sigh…

    June 29, 2016
    |Reply
  15. Jellyfish
    Jellyfish

    The scale for hurricanes is Tropical Storm (which is not a hurricane), Category 1 hurricane, Category 2, etc. A Category 2 has 110mph winds and can take the roof right off a house. If a storm that strong was about to hit, everyone would be inside already. The sex toy shop would NOT still be open. Unless the main character is looting it?

    She should have plagiarized a page from the National Hurricane Center. Hey-o!

    June 29, 2016
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    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      In the age of the Web, you’d think she could take a few minutes to look up that kind of thing.

      June 30, 2016
      |Reply
    • Boners will yield to no force of nature!

      June 30, 2016
      |Reply
  16. Is it really awful that I thought the bits from A Perfect Storm were pretty good? I wouldn’t buy it because I won’t support such a person, but I was kinda getting into it–especially compared to the “original.” Why would someone with serviceable writing chops waste so much time plagiarizing? The lifted stuff was the worst part about the new book, and aside from the lack of integrity, it kind of makes me sad that she apparently doesn’t think her writing can stand on its own, when I’d honestly buy that book if she wasn’t so gross and duplicitous.

    Also, there’s genuine improvement from one book to the other (it’s no Les Miserables, but the first one is barely a book). How did she manage to get so much better without actually writing anything? Lord knows EL James has only gotten worse, and her stuff is at least marginally original. Whose time and effort did she waste by learning how to write better than a 13-year-old’s fanfic, then turning around and doing nothing with it?

    June 30, 2016
    |Reply
  17. […] is Harner learned nothing from her foray into plagiarism. On the 28th Jenny Trout posted a new Don’t Do This Ever because a reader had sent her her concerns about the very similar content of A Perfect Storm to […]

    July 2, 2016
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  18. Quint&Jessel
    Quint&Jessel

    I wish she’d plagiarize a fucking grammar book.

    July 2, 2016
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    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      You just made me snort food into my nose. Bad, BAD, Quint&Jessel. Go back to torturing Miles and Flora!

      July 2, 2016
      |Reply
  19. There were plagiarism scandals long before e-publishing. What saddens me is the sheer number of pitiful people who want to see themselves as writers but don’t actually have the chops to do the real work. So they throw up anything — ANYTHING — on Amazon simply because they are able — their own work (often in first draft, because they think revision is for suckers), or someone else’s — and say loftily to everyone “I’m a published author!” and bask in the glory. Then they *buy* an award or pay an exorbitant fee to enter a *contest* and get an award (because there are maybe five other people who could afford — or were dumb enough — to spend that much money — and therefore get published in the *contest’s* anthology, and they can say (all over the internet) “I’m an award-winning author!” And someone in Australia downloads and they say, “I’m an internationally-published award-winning author!” They put their book up for free as a promotion, get three hundred downloads and announce that they have three hundred “sales” and are now a “best-selling author!” And when it dies down and they can’t stroke it any more, they simply change the title and cover (maybe a few words) and do it all over again. Or if there are an overwhelming number of bad reviews, they will ‘unpublish’ from Amazon or wherever, wait a month or so and put it back up again with the SAME title and cover but a new ISBN, and without the bad reviews. Voila.

    What this has done to the industry, not to mention to the fair name of “writer” in the eyes of those who have no idea what it takes — it makes me break down and cry regularly. As a child, I dreamed of the day I could call myself “writer”. I was proud when I could call myself a “published writer”. Now, if people ask, I still say “yes, I’m a writer.” But somehow I know they’re not seeing what I saw as a dreamer.

    July 4, 2016
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  20. I very much appreciate your careful analysis of the two books in question. You clearly have a good eye for similar themes, diction, etc. Unfortunately, I’ve had cause to do some similar analysis lately. *sigh*

    July 5, 2016
    |Reply

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