So, if you follow Romancelandia on Twitter, you’ve probably seen the hashtag #CopyPasteCris. Author Courtney Milan discovered that her book, The Duchess War, had been plagiarized. Further searching uncovered the fact that, in fact, the “author” in question (Cris Serruya) had plagiarized multiple books, crafting her books into a patchwork of Frankenbooks with words lifted from Nora Roberts, Tessa Dare, Bella Andre, and many others. Cris Serruya admitted on Twitter that she’d had the books “ghostwritten” via Fiverr, took down her website, and promptly went radio silent. More and more evidence (entire paragraphs of it) continues to mount on Twitter.

I am shocked and appalled because I happen to “know” Cris Serruya. We have never met IRL. She may indeed be a bot or an avatar. I couldn’t tell you. We first “met” as part of the group of Kindle Scout winners in the fall of 2015. She also participated in two boxed sets with me (Happily Ever Alpha and Billionaire Ever After both in 2017). Both the boxed sets are long since unpublished and I have no way of knowing if Ms. Serruya’s included books were also Frankenbooks. UPDATE (2/19/2017 7:07 PM: Apparently, yes, the book she included in Billionaire Ever After, the boxed set which did hit the USA Today list, was Damaged Love which was plagairized from at least three other authors. Again, I am truly sorry. I had no idea that her entry was plagarized.)

As I was totally unaware of Ms. Serruya’s plagiarism, I’ve also recommended her books in my newsletter in the past. Please accept my apology. I would never knowingly condone plagiarism. It is theft. It is wrong and a terrible thing to do. My sympathies are with the authors whose hard work has been stolen. I am currently in the process of reviewing my own work to ensure that pieces of my books aren’t being cobbled together by other unscrupulous scammers.

All I can say is that I’ve written every word of every one of my books. I guarantee it. They’ve all been completed with blood, sweat, and tears as I slaved over the keyboard to bring my stories to life. I don’t condone plagiarism in any form. To be clear, my problem is NOT with ghostwriting, which is a legitimate form of work-for-hire writing, but with stealing another authors work, i.e. plagiarism in any form.

I happen to agree with the theory put forward on Smart Bitches and by Bree and by Alyssa Cole that Cris Serruya isn’t the only “author” relying on the same pool of cheap ghostwriters. I’d be willing to bet there are plenty more out there–usually those authors that are slapping up a “book” into Kindle Unlimited (KU) every few days. I suspect there is much more to come. (This speculation is in no way meant to excuse Ms. Serruya–just acknowledging that the Wild West of Indie Publishing is full of black hats and other scammers.)

Hopefully, Amazon will crack down on these authors that are cobbling together pieces from others hard work. Until then, constant vigilance, my friends.