This was a post I never wanted to write.
I’ve seen other authors go through plagiarism and copyright infringement situations, and watched with sympathy and anger as they’ve dealt with people who have stolen their hard work. The CopyPasteCris plagiarism comes to mind instantly, where Brazilian author Cristiane Serruya copied works from authors like Nora Roberts, Bella Andre, Courtney Milan and more.
Now the anger is all mine.
Over the last year, I have been getting my romantic suspense series, Norcross Security, translated into German. I have a fabulous translator and have been thrilled to see German readers enjoying the series.
At the end of October, I released Der Lebensretter, the German translation of The Medic (Book 8 of Norcross Security).
Imagine my shock when a German reader contacted me to say that parts of it were similar to a book written in German and released by a Swiss author.
I released The Medic (in English) in April 2022.
At the end of June 2022, Swiss author, Virginia Fox, released a book, Rocky Mountain Bone, in German. This is book 31 of her Rocky Mountain series.
I then had The Medic translated into German in 2023, which is how this all came to light.
After investigation, I have determined that Virginia Fox copied multiple passages from The Medic, changed character names, then translated it into German, and then published it as her own book.
I contacted Amazon and after review, Amazon has taken down the offending ebook, Rocky Mountain Bone.
Here are some of those passages (in English and in German):
I used real-life inspiration in my story. My book is set in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The Theranos health technology fraud debacle in Silicon Valley was an inspiration for my fictional company Chiron and its founders in The Medic. There were also real-life scandals at the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office which I also used as inspiration in my story. Fox just copied these San Francisco based things into her Colorado-set story.
There is a funny moment I remember smiling at when I wrote my hero saying it. It’s right there in another person’s book. My words.
When I started writing, I made a promise to myself to get entertaining stories to my readers as often as I could. I write a lot, working hard and pouring myself into my stories. I do this while juggling a busy family life. It helps that I love what I do.
Seeing someone steal my hard work is just plain horrible.
Last year, I had scammers take some of my books and illegally translate them into other languages and slap their own name on the front. It took a lot of time and energy to get those illegal translations removed.
This is an even worse kind of plagiarism. An author stealing parts from books in another language and then translating and mixing it with other bits (either stolen from somewhere else or written herself). It makes it much harder to catch this type of plagiarism. It was only because I am getting my own translations done (and thanks to an eagle-eyed reader) that I discovered this.
Thankfully, Amazon have taken down Rocky Mountain Bone, but Virginia Fox has had a lot of success off the back of my words.
Fox’s series is a long one, and she has some other series as well. I have no idea of the scale of her plagiarism, but in other plagiarism cases, it’s never just been one book. Has she plagiarized more of my books? Or plagiarized books belonging to other authors?
There is no easy way to discover this. I currently have my anti-piracy team, Pirat Anti-Piracy Services (who have provided amazing support to me for both piracy and plagiarism) looking into this – but it is time-consuming and frankly, takes a lot of energy. Energy I would much prefer to put toward writing.
The Rocky Mountain series has a lot of reviews on Amazon Germany. A lot of readers have, unbeknownst to them, been reading at least one plagiarised book. The author is also in the process of getting the series translated into English (I’m not sure how she thought the plagiarism would go unnoticed!)
I would like to know if you have plagiarized any other books of mine or other authors. Then I want you to take those books down.
Despite the time, energy, and all the emotions (I’ve been through a whole bunch of them since this first came to light), I just want to get back to my writing. I will NOT let a plagiarist stop me from telling my stories.
Thank you to the reader who contacted me. Thank you to all my loyal readers who keep me inspired and motivated in times like this. I know you’re waiting for my next book, so after some time off to celebrate the holidays with my family, I’ll be getting back to work.