Monday, July 15, 2013

My Heart is Broken

Today friends alerted me to a book called The Telling, published at Amazon on June 10, 2013 by Michael J. Wagner. Here's the blurb:

Time in Iraq cost Michael Ritter some of his hearing and a friend whose death he feels responsible for. He'd left Alabama hoping to escape a dull, small-town life, but now, four years later, he's returning, lugging a duffle full of personal demons. Engineering student Jay Ortiz attends college in a place where his heritage and orientation aren't widely accepted. While adjusting to new surroundings he found a soldier's picture. During lonely times he confided in the image of the somber young man, giving his heart away to a stranger. Now that stranger is coming home.


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Does this sound familiar? It sure did to me. It's the blurb for my first edition of The Telling, a free gift to readers published in 2009. Even the copyright page looks like mine, down to the paraphrased dedication. 


I'm not sure why someone would want to take my book. To be honest, I'm not a well-known author, and this particular version is loaded with errors. He's offering the story only in paperback, which I've found to not be good sellers, so I'm sure a fortune isn't being made. 


Readers left comments on the book, saying I actually wrote it, to which someone who described himself as Mr. Wagner's editor replied that the book had been written in 2005. He proceeded to imply that I'd stolen the book from Mr. Wagner, and claimed to have an attorney handling the matter. 


I'm heartsick. This book was a gift of love to readers, and a healing process for me during a difficult time. The 2nd Edition is accidentally earning a small amount of money at Amazon, all ear-marked for charity.  Why would someone do this?


From what I understand, he also appropriated J.P. Barnaby's book Aaron, changing the title to Shane, and even appropriated the work of Fern Michaels and Sandra Brown


I'd like to thank everyone who rallied around me during this difficult time. I don't know what I'd have done without your support. 


Although I deactivated the first edition, here's the link to the second:


At ARe:


At Amazon

22 comments:

  1. Thanks, Chris. This really hurts. The worst part his him accusing ME of stealing. That comment was removed, but I have screen shots.

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    1. I am so sorry you have to deal with this.

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    2. Thanks. The book is unavailable not at Amazon here in the states, but one copy is listed for UK. I sent an email.

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  2. Hugs - so sorry this is happening to you & I hope it all gets sorted soon.

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  3. Thanks pointycat. I have no idea why someone would do something like this. But it seems like it took no time at all for the truth to surface...only a couple of weeks, thanks to sharp-eyed readers.

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  4. Dear Ms. Winters. I haven't read your book, but now I'm going to go get a copy. A very nice friend on Facebook posted about this, and because I'm naive and trusting and do my best to check my facts, I put the two versions side by side then looked through the comments by those who claim to know you. For what it's worth, I think the guy who did this is pond scum, and if someone wants to threaten legal action, bring it on. We'll social media a campaign to raise money for your side!

    I am so angry over this on your behalf. I am just finishing up a history book for which I'm killing myself, trying to secure all the proper permissions for quoting from source texts, and that's for FACT, where I fret and worry, have I done the right checks? Have I done enough? I can't imagine the slimeball intellectual rapist who feels perfectly entitled to steal other people's labor, not to mention the soul, the emotion, the love that went into their creation. If you get in touch with me by email, I have an idea on how to publicize more widely what has happened...

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  5. Thanks so much for your kind words, Jeff. The new version has been re-edited (my final project for my editing class, but if you need the old version for comparison I can re-activate it for you at ARe. The versions at Nifty and at CRVBoy were works in progress, where readers' comments helped be forge a stronger story. So it's not just me this man stole from--it's everyone who pointed out a typo or held my hand during the writing.

    I've been accused of always looking for the silver lining, and if there is one, it's that the version I put up at Amazon (which they STILL haven't price matched to free) is selling well, even at 99 cents. I've raised a good bit of money for my local PFLAG chapter, and some people are buying it even though they know they can get it for free, to show their support. People can be awful at times, but they can be amazing too. Hugs.

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  6. Hi, Eden,

    So the word is spreading, and apparently this vampire did the same thing to JP Barnaby and others -- she just blogged about it yesterday. I have sent an email to Wave at Reviewsbyjessewave, pitching the idea for a column to spread the word, but either you or Barnaby may want to write one yourself. As the biggest M/M site going, this could shut this kind of theft down quicker. Just an idea.

    This makes me paranoid, but then any writer could be a victim of this guy. This is why we have to get the word out.

    Hugs back,


    J

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  7. Thanks, J. And good luck with your book.

    I wrote Wave a note last night, since her site is where I first offered The Telling as a free gift to readers. Your support of me, JP, and the others during this time does my heart so much good. Hugs.

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  8. I am so sorry to hear that this has happened to you, I remember reading this book back when you posted it as a free download, it was the reason that I have since purchased and read just about everything else that you have written. I'm just wondering if he supposedly wrote this book back in 2005 why has he waited until now to publish it? Really, sorry but I call bullshit. I don't know how anybody do something like this and look themselves in the mirror in the morning. Hang in there and know that your readers believe in you.

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    1. Thanks for your support, Karen. Too many hands touched this story along the way for there to be any doubt about ownership. What's bad is that I gave it as a gift, and he took something good and turned it bad. He can't possibly have made any money, for he only offered paperbacks, and those simply don't sell well in my experience. The claim is that he posted on a free site in 2005, but if you Google, nothing comes up, ummm... but my version, offered on Nifty, CRVBoy, ARe, Goodreads, the GLBT Bookshelf.....

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  9. He didn't spoil your gift, Eden, the people who you gave it to your readers still value it very much and no one can spoil that or change the fact that it came from you the original author. If he posted in 2005 then I say he needs to put up or shut up, by the way I noticed on Amazon that his book is no longer available due to limited quantities and there have been a number of review postings suggesting that if people want to read this book they should get a copy of it from one of the sites where the real author has it posted for free, the truth never stays hidden for long, but I have a feeling that when all is said and done Mr. Wagner will wish he had.

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  10. I still don't understand why he took my book. I'm not well known, and to be honest, that was my first novel and has many typos. The updated version is better. I was shocked at how much I've learned in four years while revising.

    He might have even gotten away with taking The Telling if he'd not gotten overly ambitious and appropriated books by J.P. Barnaby and FERN MICHAELS! My goodness! Did he think no one would know?

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  11. Maybe not well known but talented. I remember reading The Telling and what I remember was an incredibly good story. You may have had typos but they did not over shadow the wonderful story you were sharing. He needs to understand that talent whether it's writing, singing, acting, drawing, whatever it may be is something you have, you are born with it and you nurture and develop it. You can't take it when you see it in someone else, if it's not yours it's not yours it's a pretty simple concept and the fact that you have written several other wonderful books only shows that you have your own talent and don't need to resort to taking someone else's.

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    1. Thanks, Karen. I wonder if he knew there was a sequel.... Or that a lot of people watched his story develop online?

      Hugs.

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  12. This thief and plagiarist also stole from JP Barnaby, Fern Michael and Sandra Brown. From what I hear, he's done this in the past and this is the third case of plagiarism this year from a self published author who has stolen from well known authors such as Jamie Mcguire, Tammara Webber and Lorelei James.

    Amazon really needs to invest in stopping these thieves who I feel should be sued and given all the money they stole to the rightful authors of the original work.

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    1. I can't believe that people think stealing others' work is a good idea. Do they honestly expect to get away with it?

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  13. He stole your book because he could, and that makes him scum. Accusing you of plagiarizing him is unconscionable. He's beyond horrible. You wrote a wonderful story and have every right to be proud of it and to love it. I know how it hurts. I also had a story stolen and published by a thief, and it still stings because I was also called a plagiarist until people learned the truth. It's hard to get over something like that because it just totally undermines an author's sense of safety when their work is plundered that way. *Hugs* You have every right to be angry and frustrated. But it will feel less painful in time, it really will.

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    1. Hugs, Tali. I hate you went through that. It does hurt, first to have something precious you created stolen, then to face accusations.

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  14. *hugs*
    I know they're only cyber-hugs, but at least the thought is there.

    I hope you're okay x

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    1. Thanks. I'll take all the hugs I can get! I'm still in shock, it still hurts, but Amazon removed his page. I can still find the listing for the stolen book, and have asked for it to be taken down, but at least it's marked "unavailable."

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