Okay, so I thought the Cassie Edwards thing had pretty much faded out of the limelight, but something happened over the weekend that stirred it up again.  Another romance author was heard from, posting some totally irrelevant comments on her blog and challenging Nora Roberts’ right to speak about the whole plagiarism issue.  I have to tell you, that was a real WTF moment for me.  I mean, come on, every romance author out there knows that Roberts was a victim of plagiarism and that alone earns her the right to give her opinion on this whole sorry mess.

But it’s not just the people who have been a victim who should speak up, it’s  all of us.  When Ms. Roberts said plagiarism hurts every author, not just the one being stolen from–sorry for the paraphrase, I don’t have time to go back and look up the exact comment–I wanted to stand up and cheer!

Because she’s right!  Plagiarism does hurt all of us in one way or another.  I know this whole thing has hit me on a number of levels.  And I admit, the ones that are really getting to me, are the personal ones.  Like the fact that I’m currently in edits on a book which is based on a Native American legend and I wasted three hours the other day re-reading my research and comparing it with the words I wrote in a scene where my main characters discuss the legend–and driving myself totally apeshit in the process!  There’s also the fact that my writing focus has shifted in the last year and now I seem to include a Native American element in all my stories as Ms. Edwards did in most of hers, making me worry about comparisons–which will likely never come.

My personal feelings aside, I agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Roberts.  Plagiarism is wrong and when an author chooses to sink to that level, every single one of us should have the courage to shout it from the rooftops.  And I don’t care who the guilty party is, just as I don’t care that Ms. Edwards is a grandmother or that she’s a skilled violinist–which should give you an idea of the irrelevance of this latest author rant.  I mean, WTF does that have to do with anything?–or how many books she’s sold.  Whatever she is and how ever many books she’s sold, the fact remains, she’s a thief.  There is, in my mind, no valid excuse for that!

The thing is…beyond the lame-ass excuses for why she did what she did, there are a lot of people out there shrugging this off and wishing everyone would shut up and move on to something else, but I’m sorry, I just can’t.  I don’t think I’ll ever get to that point.  This is something that will be with me for the rest of my life, especially the rest of my life as an author.  Because I believe as an author, it’s my words that define me.  They’re mine, they come from my heart, my brain, my imagination.  The fact that I’ve written them down and choose to share them with others doesn’t give anyone the right to take them away from me.  It’s as basic as that.

So, a note of thanks to Nora Roberts for standing up and saying what needed to be said and showing me what it means to have the courage of your convictions.  And to Cassie Edwards, Janet Dailey, and all the people out there who are trying to convince us that this issue isn’t worth getting worked up over, a hat-tip for reminding me of how important honor and integrity are to me.

And speaking of hat-tips, a huge wave of mine to the New England Patriots and the New York Giants for the awesome play-off games yesterday.  Congrats!  

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