I'm reposting a letter I just sent out to my local chapter. I'm feeling a little disillusioned by some responses to this issue, so why not give it more legs?
"Given that we’re all writers, I thought I’d pass on some news about something going on in the industry currently.
The women at the website Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com) reported a story about Cassie Edwards, who writes historical romance, and several instances of plagiarism. You’re welcome to go check out the website if you like, but I do warn that these ladies have biting tongues and can be quite caustic, so be prepared.
The news, of course, spread to other blog sites, one of which is Dear Author (http://www.dearauthor.com). I personally find this a less snarky website so this is where I first learned of it.
The issue at hand: In Ms. Edwards’ latest release, Shadow Bear, readers have discovered several instances where Ms. Edwards has lifted passages from other work—non-fiction articles, other works of fiction—and copied them into her own, with no or very little modification, and no citation. In other words, she’s plagarised from these sources.
I encourage all of you to go and check out the story for yourselves. Signet, her publisher, has issued a statement defending her. Ms. Edwards herself has also made a statement. Sherry Lewis, our current RWA president, has also made a statement. The story has been picked up by the AP (here) and Publisher’s Weekly.
It’s an issue that, I feel, needs to be known and thought about, at the very least. Discussion is even better."
There you have it.