Saturday, August 9, 2014

Clearing the Air About Sam Taylor Mullins and Crew

On June 14, 2014 I received an email from a Sam Taylor Mullens asking if I would review her upcoming book, Auction Deal. I read the synopsis she provided and thought it sounded like it would be a good read. I responded that I would be happy to. She sent the file for the book which I forwarded to my Kindle and deleted the ARC email. Due to this being a read/review on my own time and not as part of a tour, I put the ARC to the bottom of my list.

On July 23, 2014 I took a hiatus from the book blog due to personal issues (still on hiatus). During this time, I only checked my email a couple times a week. On August 4, 2014 I received another email from Sam Taylor Mullens stating that it had been brought to her attention that her novel resembled another novel written years ago. She stated that she would not be releasing it and that it should be deleted promptly. I took the book off my TBR list of ARCs and made a note to delete it from my Kindle account the next time I logged in. I went on about my business.

This morning, I logged into my personal facebook and saw a post about an author taking a stand against plagiarism. I clicked the link to read the blog post. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the author was claiming that Sam Taylor Mullens had plagiarized her novel from 1996 (written)/1998 (published). I read the entire post. I saw the similarities. I read the comments. I saw how vicious this Mullens and her cronies were. I then made the mistake of commenting that I had not yet deleted the ARC and still had the pdf file (via my sent folder). Ms. Nunes (the author of the original book) stated that they needed an ARC for the lawyer and of course, Ms. Mullens was unwilling to allow her a copy. I was willing to give my copy to the lawyer. Ms. Nunes emailed me to tell me that another reviewer had sent her a copy but wanted to thank me for the well wishes for what appears to be a long journey. I told her that I wish her good luck in finding the real name of Ms. Mullens and bringing her to justice (copyright law, people. I studied it). I then went on about my real life.

I returned home from taking care of REAL LIFE and was prepared to sit down, write for my personal blog, and then work on my own novel. I still had my email browser open from earlier and glanced at it before closing it. I noticed I had a few more new emails so I read them. One was from a GIBSON
CAUGHLIN. I read it and it was a "PA to several indie authors" who had been told that I was sharing/selling ARCs. There was no mention of which authors she was PA for or what ARCs I allegedly had sold/shared. I almost responded but thought better of it. I decided to ignore this email. I had never heard of this person and I have corresponded with SEVERAL PA's. 

I was sharing my anger of being accused of such a thing with another book blogger. She said that she had never heard of this PA either (and her blog is far bigger than this one). I received notification from another book blogger who told me that someone was making allegations against me on their page and even gave me the link. I went and read the comments and it became VERY clear who Gibson Caughlin was. These allegations were being made on a page belonging to BETHANY BOOKLOVER JOHNSON who said she tried to email me but had not received any response (I guess she doesn't have a life to tend to?). This is also the same person who messaged my page numerous times trying to get help for promoting Sam Taylor Mullens. 

Here are the screen shots of her lovely facebook posts:
   photo Screenshot_2014-08-08-21-59-41_zpsxe1s1dhd.png  photo Screenshot_2014-08-08-21-59-32_zpsxajrnvsr.png 

Now, ANYONE who knows me knows that, morally, I could never do such a thing. They also know that I will personally email any and every author I find whose work has been pirated to alert them to it. I am on street teams with several awesome authors who know that I protect their "baby" with my life.

People who know me also know that I am in the process of writing my own novel. I have 3 fears when it comes to publishing it.
  • No one will like it.
  • Someone will say it's similar to someone else's novel and I will be accused of plagiarism (although my book is a dream I had so I am pretty sure no one else knows the plot).
  • That someone will pirate it. 
Now, why on earth would I do something that I wouldn't want to happen to me?

Being bullied (yep, that's what you're doing. Also guilty of trying to tarnish the good name of someone) is no fun. It's apparent by the evidence that Ms. Nunes laid out that Ms. Mullens did indeed plagiarize her. There is no need to attack others because they want to see someone who BROKE THE LAW (copyright infringement) punished and is willing to help do it. All bloggers and authors need to stand together against piracy AND plagiarism. That's where I am. I am against both!

And, just for the record, if anyone has ever won a contest and the prize was an ebook from me (not an author or another blogger), it was gifted directly from Amazon.


★★☆★★ UPDATE ★★☆★★

Life had returned to normal. Sounds like the ending to a book, doesn't it? But, unfortunately, it's not. I made, yet another mistake, when I commented on a status on someone's page stating that I was leery of First Name "Booklover" Last Name facebook profiles. I mean, after all, it was one of those very profiles that tried to run a smear campaign against me. But, lo and behold I woke up to not one but two messages from Ms. Sam Taylor Mullens herself. Part of me said don't read them, the other part said to just read them and get it over with. So, I did.



Now, I'm not sure what brought the first message on. Guilt? Innocence? Sympathy? I don't know. I just wish she had left it at that. But, then she had to say that I "loath" her. Farthest thing from the truth. I honestly feel sorry for her. I feel sorry that she feels like she has to do so much damage control when all she had to do was admit to an error in judgement to Ms. Nunes privately. None of this would be out in the open. I'm sure that this update will bring more drama to me. Sadly, I'm used to it. I'm use to the anticipation of wondering if I am getting another message or accusation every day. 

For those that she invited to my page, feel free to stay, but please know that you don't have to. That decision is entirely up to you. 

And a final note, that Masters degree that she is referencing (she read the page well because that post was buried under a lot of book promotion) is in Psychology. :-) 

31 comments:

  1. I know how it feels to be accused of something you didn't do. I've known you for well over a year now and I know you didn't do this. You have my support always.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm sorry you've been slandered so badly simply for wanting to help do the right thing. I hope something can be done, and soon, to stop this inexcusable abuse.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Man, I'm sorry you were attacked in this way! I'm glad you were willing to stand by her. I just don't understand why she's SO against admitting she did something stupid and stop instead of lashing out at everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am so sorry you are Bethany Booklover Johnson's latest victim. My name is Candace, and I recently started the Facebook page Authors United Against Plagiarism and Cyberbullying. I wrote a lengthy post about Bethany and what she is currently doing to you. I would like to invite you to comment or tell your story on the page. People like Bethany need to be stopped. Whether you stop by or not, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

    All the best,
    Candace

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Authors-United-Against-Plagiarism-and-Cyberbullying/273489969522688

    ReplyDelete
  5. I know you'd never do anything like this and will help in whatever way I can to get these bullies off your back!
    ((hugs))

    ReplyDelete
  6. Crystal, is it okay if I add a few of your comments to my post (with links to this one) as well as make a new post about this? I am SO sorry, but we authors will stand behind you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Crystal, I'm sorry you've been caught up into this. Never fear, when the dust settles and the truth is proven, authors will remember the reviewers who had the courage to stand up for what is right and continue to offer their ARC's. Anyone reviewer who defends plagarism, or harsses others for speaking out against it, won't find themselves on many author's perferred reviewers list! We stand behind you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Crystal, it looks like Bethany Booklover Johnson's facebook was taken down. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Crystal, how awful that you got dragged into this. Once again, I'd like to say that only irrational, crazy, dishonest people would EVER listen to Sam Mullen's sock puppets and these other assorted bullies going up against you. Take lots of screenshots and hopefully soon Amazon will give us the information on who is truly behind this. We need to stop Sam's crew from ever doing this again. You have my full support. Thanks for standing up against plagiarism!

    ReplyDelete
  10. You have reviewed for me before and I have never once given it a second thought to sending you an ARC. Some people think it easier to cast blame in another direction and I'm sorry you were picked as a scapegoat. Everything comes out in the wash and I know the truth will too.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Judge people by what they do, not what they say. Makes it pretty clear that Mullens is the culprit here, doesn't it. Hang in there!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've all of a sudden gotten a whole lot of followers on twitter, and all their first three posts are the same. I'm concerned that they're either STM's followers, or she's got lots of sock puppets.

    ReplyDelete
  13. And one of them is a Maureen COUGHLAN (only one letter difference from Gibson). Coincidence? Maybe...

    ReplyDelete
  14. There is a lot of suspicious activity going on, that's for sure. We have a huge file of evidence and clues already and are gathering more every day. Crystal, thanks again for your support! I put you blog in my post and will again. I'm making a list of bloggers from this. If you want to send me people you trust, I will add them and send authors their way. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachel, my blog isn’t the busiest on the net, but I’m happy to add some traffic on this issue.

      Delete
    2. What Pete said. I've already reblogged a post from a mutual friend who brought this up and anything else I can do to lend a hand just let me know.

      John Green

      Delete
    3. Yeah, Rachel. It's weird. All this new slew of followers seems to do, is copy and paste other tweets. And we already know that STM is really good at copying and pasting!

      Delete
    4. I just read an email about this issue and I hope you prosecute this to the full extent of the law. It's horrible that any author would plagiarize someone else's work and then turn it into pornography. I'm wondering if she feels justified because of all the Twilight off shoots? 50 Shades of Grey? However she views it, it's wrong. Period. Good luck with everything. Crystal, I'm sorry you've been accused of wrong doing but as a hopeful author myself, I applaud you doing the right thing.

      Delete
  15. Good for you for doing the right thing here! I am sorry to here that this is happening to you but you have my support.

    ReplyDelete
  16. http://petemorin.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/plagiarism-and-petulance/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for this, Pete. we need to bring awareness that plagiarism and bullying (and pirating) will not be tolerated in the book world (indie or not).

      Delete
  17. Bethany Booklover Johnson is gone from FB

    ReplyDelete
  18. Crystal, just wanted to say thanks for standing against plagiarism and thanks for your support of authors!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you for standing up against plagiarism AND pirating! Authors depend on readers like you, and there are truly no words to describe how grateful we are for your support like this. It's so disheartening and maddening to see you being attacked for doing the right thing. I'm 100% on your side and supporting you in return! <3

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Crystal,

    I received a facebook message from ‘Bethany booklover Johnson’ informing me that you were selling ARC’s just a few days ago. I found the message weird/odd because I don’t who she was. I didn’t believe the message because you were one of my stops on the tour last month - http://cjbookandmoviereview.blogspot.ca/2014/07/blog-tour-giveaway-andreas-by-bella-ross.html - so out of curiosity I looked into it today and lo and behold this post came up and I finally understood what was going on. I just wanted to leave a message and say so sorry that this is happening to you and that you have my support as well.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This whole STM story is pretty insane, and not the least part of the insanity is the way the author and her minions appear to be going after writers and bloggers who supported the injured party, Rachel Ann Nunes. Where will it end?

    Good for you for standing up against plagiarism and writing this post!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Brava for standing up for what is right and not backing down in the face of bullies!

    I cannot believe there are still people who think they can get away with blatant theft in the digital age, or that "borrowing" is somehow a valid justification. The irony is, it looks like the legitimate author, Rachel Ann Nunes, was willing to keep this away from the courts of public opinion and law if the plagiarist would simply cease and desist. Liars and thieves always think they will be the first to get away with something without consequences, and think themselves smart enough to bluff and intimidate their way out of any situation.

    I don't know you personally, Crystal, and you've never reviewed my books, so we don't have any connection that could be called bias. It's without an ounce of flattery that I can say that, as an author, your honesty is exactly what I look for in a reviewer and blogger. Don't ever back down or feel pressured by faceless mean girls - they will always be lurking around in internet anonymity. Stick to your goals and keep writing your dreams and blogging your opinions. I proudly join the long line of fans you have in this comment stream!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you for standing up for the right! I'm sorry for the backlash, but it just adds to the proof that Sam was in the wrong and desperate to cover it up. Other authors will WANT you to review for them because of your integrity.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am a new author to the indie community and all of the things you mentioned that you fear are true for me as well. I recently joined a facebook group to meet new authors and be able to share my book, teasers, sales, etc. and I became "friends" with Sam Taylor Mullens through this group. Before all of this took place, she and I swapped books with each other to read and review, as I have learned, many authors do on a regular basis. I didn't feel my facebook friendship with her was any different than any of the other authors I've become acquainted with. I, just like you, received the email about deleting the file because of the recent accusations. Still, I didn't think anything about it and honestly, felt sorry that the author had to make this decision. Just recently, I shared on the group page a document and Sam Taylor Mullens commented she was reading my book and would like to read my second book for review as well. Here's the part that concerned me. She asked if I would send her a pdf (I always send out mobi or epub when sharing with another author) so she could print it out and hoped I wouldn't mind her printing it. I did think this was a rather odd request and I never replied back. Something about this feels strange. Am I making more of this than I should or should I go with what my gut tells me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy, TRUST YOUR GUT! Sam Mullens plagiarized Rachel Nunes book and has shown no remorse for doing so. It is very likely that she will try and do it again.

      Delete
  25. Just FYI--those names she used to attack you are actually the names of children in her third grade class.

    ReplyDelete