Plagiarizing SquirrelTerror

So someone’s been plagiarizing Squirrel!Terror.

Here’s Squirrel!Terror on my LiveJournal. Now these are original posts, or parts of them, because my LJ is merely a backup for my blog here. Where the LJ entries cut off is where there was a cut directing readers to my site, which is why plenty of the Squirrel!Terror articles were unable to be resurrected from LJ export like some of my other posts were after the hacking.

Here’s the Squirrel!Terror tag on my website–the very same website that was hacked, during which I lost most of SquirrelTerror, which led me to the present-day attempt of getting the entries together for my Readers. The person I’ve hired to help me edit, copyedit, and format it into reasonable shape for ebooks found the plagiarism via some Google-fu.

Which is, of all things…on Daily Kos. Here’s the plagiarizer, a certain “Noddy”. And here’s my own Kos profile, in the interests of full disclosure.

I’m saddened, of course. I’m a little peeved, but I’m used to people stealing my work. I’ve sent a message through Facebook and through Kos to ask this person to take down the posts, there and everywhere else she’s tried to pass off my work as her own. I’ll be crossposting this to Kos as well. Since I’m planning on bringing the tales of Neo, Mercutio, and the gang to ebook form due to reader request, I want to be very clear about the fact that I wrote them, I own them, and this is not okay. I’m not sure if this will impact my plans to bring them to ebook.

It’s just…sad. Very sad. I hope this person does the right thing.

UPDATE, 5/11/13: Skyla Dawn Cameron, who is the above-named “person I’ve hired to help me edit, copyedit…” has gone public about how she found the plagiarism.

Also, I crossposted over at Kos, and was immediately buried under an avalanche of comments about how I must be lying. *shrug*

As things stand, I’m undecided about whether or not to bring out the ebook. This whole thing just makes me feel violated and like it’s not a good idea, even if the tales of Neo and the Backyard give some joy to my dear Readers. I don’t know yet. I’m thinking about it.

UPDATE, 5/11/13: Skyla has kindly compiled all the evidence into an easy form: SquirrelPlagiarism. That link leads to a ZIP file (right-click to download, I believe) where you will find, in her words:

“- A spreadsheet with links and dates to your original entry, the now-deleted link to Noddy’s, and a cached version of the page I viewed. Note that if you have trouble viewing the cached version, you can plug the deleted link into google–the result will have a little arrow you can click next to it that lets you view the cache. Also, some are still viewable in the Wayback Machine, at least the older ones.

- Screenshots of snippets from each entry. The entries were long and wouldn’t fit on one screen but *in case* they are needed, they can be easily blogged.”–Skyla Dawn Cameron, in email

I think reaction is setting in. I feel dizzy and shaky, and physically nauseous. So far there’s been no word from the plagiarizer, though I contacted “Noddy” before I wrote the initial post last night, both through the Kos site and through her listed Facebook profile to ask her to take the posts down. It appears 2 out of the 20 or so remain up, so maybe she has, I don’t know. Several Kos commenters asked why I didn’t stick around in the comments to “defend my accusation” and why I didn’t put up side-by-side examples. My intent in posting there, where the event had occurred, was to quietly but publicly let “Noddy” know that her theft had been noticed. As for sticking around for the comments, I’m glad I didn’t, given what the first avalanche of them was like. I didn’t put up side by side examples because looking at them made me sick. Instead, I put up the links and trusted that people would go and see for themselves. Perhaps that wasn’t the right way to handle it, but that’s what I did and I stand by every decision I made.

I’m hoping this is the last thing I have to say about this whole chain of events, unless it’s “Here is the apology.” If I receive any communication I’ll post it, and then hopefully this will be done. I’ve got books to write, I don’t have time for this bullshit.

UPDATE, 5/1//13: I received a message from “Noddy” through my Kos message box, which I haven’t used for five years until this unfortunate…chain of events. I’m going to paste the entire thing below, from the message I sent last night to her response.

Please stop plagiarizing.

Lilith Saintcrow

Fri May 10, 2013 at 07:42 PM PDT

Dear “Noddy”,

It has come to my attention that you’ve been plagiarizing my Squirrel!Terror stories. Please stop, and take them down everywhere you’ve posted them.

Best,

Lili Saintcrow

Re: Please stop plagiarizing.

Noddy

Sat May 11, 2013 at 01:55 PM PDT

I’ve deleted my stories from here (the only place I put them) and I’m going to go through the stories and make sure I’ve removed anything that might be too close to my influences: Marn’s blog, The Destroyer, Wind in the Willows, Brian Jacques’ Redwall books, Jane Yolen, Beatrix Potter, and a few others.

The only book of yours I’ve read is The Hedgewitch Queen, Any plagiarism is inadvertent and comes second, third, or fourth hand, not directly.

I’ve got more than 50 stories spanning the last 30 years about Big Sarge (who is based loosely on Remo Williams and Chiun from The Destroyer series), his tribe of squirrels and his descendant Luke, and Janet, Han, Riff-Raff, Magenta, Elvis, Chad (the bird personalities that were influenced by Marn, a blogger I’ve been following since 1999 at Diaryland – especially Janet), Roots, Beasley, and other wild back yard critters and our domestic critters Dogmatyx, Eris, Catmatyx, Keegan, Shika, Drooly, Wudje, Weasel, Bandi Underfoot, Sophelia, Klumperdink, Rhapsody, Symphony, Remy, Itzl, Rafferty, Hector, Xoco. I have pictures of some of the critters (not the vixen, though, she was always too shy) that inspired the stories – the squirrel throwing peanuts at the house, dead squirrels, and their graves, the birds flocking in my trees, turf wars over food I threw out for them and food I threw out hoping it would just decompose (the gulls and geese from Dolese Park were the worst), squirrels scolding our dogs and cats, birds (mostly blue jays and mockingbirds.because they scold the most) scolding the cats and dogs, but I don’t have pictures for everything, since it’s hard to take pictures and wash dishes.

Most of the stories took place here at this house, with the Zombie Maple and the Encroaching Elm and the Not-Sweet Gum Tree and the Chinese Pistaches and the menacing row of cedars and the Moping Mulberry, but the earliest ones took place in the old house (Catmatyx and Maia were the main characters there). I started them for my children (who were born in the 70′s and 80′s) and added and altered them, especially the names and phrases like Dog of Chaos and Dog of Destruction (from a friend), and Giant Burning Day Orb, and Gentle Glowing Night Orb (from my children’s friends) and Fruits of Discord (that applied to any food the critters argued over – kibble and cereal and popcorn and birdseed, riffed right out of mythology and the Apple of Discord) and the Spam Chronicles and the Book of Lemonade and more (we used online Insult Generators to put words into the critter’s mouths as they scolded) because the internet is a rich source of awesome names and phrases.

Again, I apologize if they became too similar to your works. They have been evolving as the children and I told them back and forth, as stories do, watching the critters through the kitchen window (where we did dishes and recounted what the critters were doing, later working them into bedtime stories) and the bedroom window (which also overlooked the back yard but wasn’t as rich a story source as the kitchen window was).

The stories I put on DKos were the ones that included Dogmatyx, who died 2 years ago. In making his memorial scrapbook. the children and I recounted his stories, embellishing them and making them better for the grandchildren, and I thought to share them here. I’ve got a number of critter tales I’ve put online going back to 1999, but it looks like only the few we embellished after Dogmatyx died are the ones under consideration. I don’t know that any of my children have read your stories, I haven’t contacted them yet about it, but I have deleted the diaries. In following your links, I can see where there is a lot of overlap, and where you’d think I’d plagiarized.

The diaries are deleted and I marked out these stories from all my others, which I know aren’t plagiarizing anyone. There are two that were written entirely emulating Marn, the blogger I first encountered when I got my first bog in 1999 – she knows, because those were stories I did for Blogging for Books in 2005 and I linked her to them. Her style continues to influence my story writing – and it bears a slight resemblance to the style you used in your squirrel stories. It’s a contagious style.

It’s a lengthy explanation but I wanted you to know where my influences were and that I did not intentionally plagiarize these few I put on DKos.

I don’t expect you to forgive me (and I’m sincerely hoping you never had a vixen confiscate one of your trash cans as a lair for her kits, because I have a couple of stories about that, or that you never had cats like Catmatyx or Eris who feature in a number of my critter stories because that would be Just Too Weird), but I have deleted the diaries in question.

This does not explain the whole chunks of text lifted wholesale from my writings. This does not, in fact, explain a damn thing, but at least she’s taken the posts down.

I’m done.

Comments are open until the usual shutoff date for now. Please be civil, or I will ban. ‘Nuff said.

Comments

  1. martian moon crab chimes in

    I hope that Noddy does the right thing to, its not right to steal. Nor to take credit for someone elses work.

  2. chimes in

    While I’m not surprised at the plagiarizism, I AM surprised at the overwhelming comments claiming you are lying (on DailyKos). I mean, really? There is all this evidence and they still think YOU are lying about this. All because you don’t have the time to go back and defend yourself- something you shouldn’t have to do in the first place.

    *shakes head*

    I know, I know, I really shouldn’t be surprised.

    • Lili chimes in

      *shrug* It doesn’t matter. I haven’t been on Kos in ages, which is probably why the plagiarizer thought s/he could get away with it. I see no reason to ever go back now that I’ve posted the links and made it public, and met with this sort of reception.

      • chimes in

        The first comments were heartless, truth takes a little while but in the age of the internet not too long. I’m very sorry this happened.

        The only good I can see is people like me, who were not familiar with you before are now.

  3. chimes in

    I just want to swear both English and Portguese because I hate this person right now! I love your squirrel tales and this thief are making something I really expected to happen — all the chronicles going ebook — don’t happen, and this is frustrating.

  4. chimes in

    The comments at Kos are swinging the other way now. Really, anyone who isn’t blindly loyal to ‘Noddy’ can’t really dispute the claim. Entire blocks of text copied word for word. Please don’t let this disuade you from doing the e-book!

  5. Damiana chimes in

    Oh gods Lili, I am so very sorry (and infuriated!) this happened to you.

    I just read through the whole string of comments at DKos, and yes, it looks like several people went and investigated, and they’re convinced now. And very upset, because apparently they’ve known and trusted this person for quite a while.

    I hope this won’t prevent the SquirrelTerror book from being published; those stories have been brightening up sometimes very stressful days for me for a few years now, and I would very much love to have a collection of them on my shelf.

    If you have trouble finding a publisher who will do it, please contact me–we don’t have the ability to do marketing, but we can damned sure get it into book form.

  6. Jenny chimes in

    I’m sorry that you’ve had so much trouble with this — I can’t even imagine how infuriating it must be for you. No matter what you decide to do (though I really do hope that you decide to bring out the e-book), I just want to say thank you for giving me so much to smile and laugh over — you’re such an inspiration. At least you know you have support here :) Best wishes with everything xxx

  7. JP chimes in

    I don’t hate many people, but I officially hate this “Noddy” person. This sucks, and I’m sorry you’re having to deal with it. *hugs*

  8. chimes in

    Noddy responded as if she had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar, and then she began to craft her elaborate excuses, a dazzling and confusing array of plausible backgrounds that look ridiculous when read together.
    She recognized your story title off the bat, and that alone is damning.
    If she had been the true author of this work, she would have defended it to the death, or at least a flame war.

    She copied print, dialogue and freaking paragraph breaks! That ain’t right.

    Our books are our babies and someone cloned yours and gave it a far worse future than you were planning for it.
    I hope that the squirrels ride again.

  9. Nina chimes in

    Hi Lili: I’m a fan who has loved your books & stories for years. I visit your blog often, but don’t usually leave comments. It’s terrible that someone took your Neo stories and plagiarized them, but I’m glad it was found and came to light. You are strong and will overcome this. Your readers support you. Thank you for your courage, and for giving us stories that brighten up our lives.

  10. dream_labyrinth chimes in

    I’m… Well, stunned, I guess. I love reading the Squirrel!Terror stories, and Noddy’s explanation that any similarity is just accidental is far beyond unbelievable. Assuming that Noddy has been watching the squirrels in her own backyard and that she’s written about them is one thing. However, describing the same events in the same words? You gotta be kidding me!
    Extra points for that very elaborate “explanation” though – such a pity it doesn’t explain anything and doesn’t sound particularly true. Unless she’s your clone, I seriously doubt she would just accidentally use your exact style of writing, and – oh, what the heck, it’s plainly obvious that no matter how many original Sarge stories she might have, these particular stories are yours.
    As an apology, it sucks. I’m sorry you had this happen to you.
    As a reader, when I come across blatant plagiarism, it is a cause for quiet sneering. But looking at it from your point of view, I can see how much it must hurt. *hugs* Plagiarism is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, but in this day and age, I’m sure we’d all have preferred if Noddy had simply linked to your blog saying something like “Oh, do read these stories, they’re so much fun”.

  11. Bjorn Woodpile chimes in

    Noddy is a person who claims to have a service dog. She has raised several thousand dollars through the Kos community for a surgery she claimed the dog needed.

    She not only stole your work, but is desperately trying to spin some explanation that she just wrote “similar” stories is making people question whether there is any dog, if monies were spent on the dog, and if Noddy is even disabled.

    Catfish?

    I am sorry that you were piled on. This person was able to establish a sizable fan base by stealing your work.

    Whatever your reasons were for ceasing your participation there five years ago, I hope you won’t let those reactions color your view of the site. It’s normal for people to get upset when they find out someone they liked is a fake.

  12. chimes in

    I couldn’t get through Noddy’s “Notpology” because the first paragraph failed to include “I’m sorry” in it.

    Minus those words, the rest is not worth the time spent to read it.

    Busted plagiarists tend to two paths: they either apologize or blather excuses, lame justifications and “I’m sorry if this might have offended” — which is crap.

    I’m sorry that Noddy is in the blather crowd, but she’s done permanent damage to her cred in fandom. She’s HURT not just herself, but all her friends and family. Maybe she’ll apologize to *them.*

  13. chimes in

    This is so messed up. I just don’t understand people.

    I don’t know how you can even blog civilly about this situation. I’d be sitting around crying.

    • Penny Gates-Christianson chimes in

      Me too! Publish, publish, publish!
      Just a gentle suggestion to not let another persons lies turn you away from a dream. When you are close to realizing a dream is when the devil comes to visit.

  14. chimes in

    Ayyy – what a rainbow of dark emotions this situation has inspired! We all know life can be unfair, but it still slaps one in the face sometimes, just to make sure that fact can never be forgotten, doesn’t it?

    I hope, in time, that all of the awfulness of these last few days can fade enough that you can think of the squirrel sagas with happiness instead of grief. I’ll admit they’re a touch tainted for me at the moment (which is so infuriating! and so unfair!); I can’t even imagine how betrayed you must feel.

    All the people who were taken in by Noddy must feel so betrayed, too. It’s amazing how much damage one selfish and thoughtless person can do…

  15. Penny Gates-Christianson chimes in

    Hi Lilli, I am a DKos fan and wanted to stop by and tell you how very sorry I am you were abused in this way. Our books and words are our brainchildren and Noddy absconded with your child, tried to tell everyone that it was her child and then lied on top of everything. I understand the feelings of ‘is this worth it’, “this is bullshit’, ‘I am done’ . But please don’t let this deter you from writing and publishing your work. Maybe consider it the ‘walking through coals’ for your child. This work of yours is way to precious to be put away for awhile. I would urge you to publish with a greater passion now. Use this to your benefit, not the detriment of everyone who LOVES your words. No one can put them together quite the way you can. I always liked Noddy’s writings but now I just feel like I really liked your writing, because I cannot be sure of anything she wrote was really hers. Please come back to DKos and consider publishing YOUR work for us to read. Show them what REAL writing looks like. This storm will blow over and you will be known to be a honest person with great writing skills.
    Peace and Blessings!

  16. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter chimes in

    Definitely publish.,you owe it to your readers, and you owe it to yourself.

    There will always be 1%ers out ther. You can’t expect to stop them, what you can do is enter errors into what’s posted. Confuse them. Making them think is probably the nastiest thing you could do yo,them.

    Huggs.

    Wayne

  17. chimes in

    How frustrating!! I hope that you do still publish the SquirrelTerror chronicles and would definitely be in the crowd of people virtually lining up to buy it, but I totally get your feelings of frustration too. P.N. Elrod is spot on about the blatherer, of course. My eyes just kind of slid over the blathering. Give it some time, then do what feels best for you, even if that is “Give it some more time.”