More Plagiarists in Our Midst

In a previous post, “Plagiarism Alert” and its subsequent updates, I alerted my readers of a plagiarist going by the following names:

Rebecca Geissler
Rebekah Geissler
Becky Geissler
Rebecca Bick
Rebekah Bick
Ana Phylaxis
M. Ana Phylaxis
Mistress Ana Phylaxis

Byronee (which is actually the name of a character from one of the stolen stories)

BizarreBettyXXX (this is her made-up publishing house)

This woman has farmed stories from adult literature sites as Literotica and ASSTR.  Thanks to many dedicated authors, a few more kleptomaniacs have been found pushing their stolen wares through the Kindle store at  Many of these stories were farmed from the same adult sites.  Most of these stories are being sold under various names:

Elizabeth Summers – has 89 stolen stories and books offered on Kindle at $6.99/each

Kelly Jordan – appears to be a duplicate account of the same person owning the E. Summers account.  A lot of the titles and cover art are the same on both accounts.  27 stories at $6.99/each

Victoria Andersen – could possibly be another duplicate account or another person altogether.  27 stories/books

There is talk that these accounts are reincarnations of a previous known plagiarizer that was selling stolen wares through Kindle on Amazon, an account by the name of “Louise Taylor.”

There are, of course, dozens of others out there.  Authors are slowly alerting Amazon to this raging problem, getting some of the plagiarized works yanked as a result.  It’s a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.

Tracy Ames has written a wonderful article concerning this matter entitled “Plagiarism is the New Black.” You can view it by clicking here.

POD Pushers, the Great Kindle Swindle, and More: Plagiarism Goes Hi-Tech


During the “good old days,” a plagiarizer had to actually work for their ill-gotten money.  It required them to find a book that had been out of print for decades, take it home, and, depending upon just how lazy they were, reread it, edit a few key features (like character names and places and times) and then retype it.  They then had to find an agent followed by a publisher who had never read the story before and who agreed to publish the stolen storyline.  It was a risky business.  The agent and publishers had their real names, their real addresses, and often made them provide proof of actual ownership of the story by coughing up their registered copyright notification.

In today’s digital media age, finding works to plagiarize is as easy as typing in “free fiction story” into Google and clicking on “search.”  Thanks to websites, community writing groups, role-playing forums, and the ever-increasing adult literature sites, thieves can now find literally hundreds of thousands of free stories in every imaginable genre.  And since, according to copyright law, a writer’s work is immediately protected upon its creation, writers are posting their intricate tales and passion-filled poetry all over cyberspace.  Their reasons are as varied as the writers who pound away ceaselessly at the keyboards:  there are those who just want to share their work with the world at large, those who are using the internet as their own “publishing” company, and others are self-publishing authors who are posting samples of their work to online sites and communities as a way to build up their reader base.  And stealing those works is as easy as Select.  Copy.  Paste.

Thanks to the digital age, becoming a published author is fairly easy and, for those who are willing to do all of the hard work themselves, it costs them nothing but time and energy to produce the product.  They can even save advertising dollars by hooking up all their free networking sites together and pointing their readers to these pages.  Thanks to POD services and e-book publishers like Amazon and their Kindle reader, authors can now forgo having to pay huge sums of out-of-pocket cash for hundreds of copies of their works and simply have them printed out on an as-ordered basis.  And thanks to ebooks, they can now offer their works cheaper and instantly through downloadable PDF files.

Unfortunately, this ease of self-publication has also made it easy as pie for plagiarists to steal the written word off the internet.  They are now farming entire sites for story content, copy and pasting directly into text documents.  Since ebooks do not need any type of special formatting like printed books do, the thieves do not really have to put forth any real effort into making the stolen content fit a specific format.  They can basically copy and paste directly without even trying to space out the stories.  They are using the technology that was invented to make it easier for the indie authors to reach their readers and using it against the authors.

To make matters worse, places like Amazon who offer publication through their e-book format, do not check any of the information that is given when an account is created.  Since everyone gets paid mostly through Paypal, they have no reason to check the account holder’s real name or address.  Thanks to oversights such as these, plagiarists are creating dozens of accounts and offering their stolen stories and novels for sale through e-book format, often times just closing one account out and creating others whenever someone gets wise to their thieving ways.  To add insult to injury, Amazon does not even offer any way for plagiarized authors to report books as stolen works.  And judging by a recent indie author’s personal plight of trying to convince Amazon that his work had been stolen and included in an anthology published by a plagiarizer, the company obviously does not take plagiarism and copyright violations nearly as serious as they should.  After all, they are getting paid for each copy of book/e-book that is sold on their site.  They don’t care if it is stolen or not, so long as they get their money.  And the more stuff that gets reported as stolen, the more money they are losing by not checking out the “authors” who sell their works on the website.  Spotting them is fairly easy; they are the ones who have put up more than a dozen books and anthologies in the past few weeks and offer the same titles under a half-dozen different names.

Many authors have made suggestions for stopping the internet theft.  Obviously sites need to offer some way for general web surfers to report books as stolen.  Anyone who offers up anything for sale online, whether it be in e-book or print form, should have to file formal copyrights on it and give a copy of this registration before anything can be uploaded to the site.  This goes for POD companies as well.  Or, hosted works should be compared to other published content across their own site and the web to look for similar content offered under other names/accounts.  Accounts should be verified by verifying the physical address of the member.  Of course, some of these things would mean the “publisher” or “author” would have to wait a few weeks before they are able to begin selling their books with the company.  However, speaking as an author who has had my work plagiarized, I do not mind the extra wait time if it means that my work will be less likely to be stolen.

As for websites that constantly farm stories off of other story hosting sites and then use the stories without content of the original authors, this could become tricky.  Ideally, there should be some way for hosts of websites to have all posted content on websites scanned and compared to other content listed on the internet.  This may not be feasible, however, and as it stands, most websites have some type of “report” button on them for surfers to report directly to the admins of the website.  I would love to see ALL websites sporting a report button that leads directly to the hosting company where surfers can report content on a website as being stolen.  Or, the hosting company could implement crawls of their hosted sites’ content on a regular basis and compare it to content hosted elsewhere on the internet.  Of course, this would mean possible abuse of the system, added work load for the hosting companies, and many website owners would not like the idea of having their content crawled on a regular basis.  There would also have to be some sort of system worked out so that authors who post their stories on multiple sites would not have their content yanked for plagiarism.

All in all, the very technology that was created to help authors become self-sufficient and reach their readers on a broader spectrum without having to resort to traditional publishing and to allow them more artistic freedom of their finished product is being used against the authors it was designed to help.  What is making it quick and easy to sell works to masses of new readers is being used to sell stolen books, stories, and poems to millions of unsuspecting readers.  It is cheating authors out of potential royalties, it is stripping the author of their law-given right to be acknowledged as the creator of the stolen works, and it is infringing upon their copyrights as the creator of the stolen works.  It is thievery, pure and simple, and it is a problem that needs to be stamped out like a wildfire, systems put into place to stop the thievery, and a systematic way to report all stolen works to a main organization whose sole job it is to search out and destroy all instances of plagiarism.

**Another great article on the great  “Kindle Swindle” by Laura Hazard Owen at

Mythical Creatures in Fiction: What to Keep, What to Toss?

As a writer who prefers creating stories about mythical creatures, specifically the vampire, I realized early on that there were specific “rules” that vampires have to adhere to in order to make them seem as real as possible.  I don’t just mean rules of etiquette, although those certainly do come into play.  I am referring to rules of anatomy, i.e. their physical being, what they can and cannot do, their “powers” if you will.  Are they truly undead?  Or are they some sort of other creature, not a walking corpse but a combination of sorts, like how a werewolf is a combination of man and wolf.  Does it have any special powers such as being able to fly or hypnotize or produce magic of some sort?  Why do they have to drink blood, exactly?  Or should a writer leave some things to be filled in by the reader, never really giving a good explanation of why or how things work the way that they do in a novel.

I find myself asking this question over and over again:  if you cut a vampire’s hair, does it grow back?  I suppose this would mostly depend on whether or not the vampire in question is considered a dead thing or simply some ‘other’ type of mystical creature.  Or maybe, as a writer, one could break all the rules and have the vampire’s hair grow back even if it was considered this undead thing walking the earth.

In writing fiction, anything goes.  However, with each new idea, as a writer, one must decide if the storyline will be based mostly in fact, mostly in fiction, a combination; will it be so vastly “out there” that the reader has no doubt that it could never really happen, or will it be close enough to reality that, even though the creatures are mythical and the storyline outlandish, somewhere in the back of the reader’s mind he thinks that maybe, just maybe, such a being really could exist.

Whichever direction a writer chooses to go, it is an individual choice, and one that is most often made with much forethought and planning.  So as readers, please do not be too quick to judge.  What you may find fantastical and so beyond the scope of the norm as to be laughable might have been just what the writer was aiming to achieve.  And you never know.  What may seem absolutely ridiculous now might actually be feasible in a few thousand years.

Become a Featured Indie Author

For all of you self-publishing indie authors out there, here is your chance to be a featured indie author on my blog.  I’m looking to feature new and seasoned indie authors on my blog on a regular basis.  If you are interested in becoming a featured indie author, please visit the “Become a Featured Indie Author” page by clicking on the link at the top of the page.


It’s open season on links!  For anyone interested in having a link to their own website, blog, etc. from this blog, please visit the “LinkXchange” page (at the top), fill out the form, and send it on its way.  A link back is not required, but would be greatly appreciated.

Creating Covers Part 2: Popping Artwork


After you have come up with the perfect title for your new novel, you are going to need to do some brainstorming to come up with a perfectly popping and polished cover art for the work.

Just like with a title, there really is no right or wrong.  However, there are a few guidelines that you may want to keep in mind as you think of what your book cover should look like.

1.  Simple verses complex.  For the most part, a simple cover design looks good and professional.  However, just like with the title, you want cover art that reaches out and draws your reader in before he/she ever picks up the book.  Remember, your job as a writer isn’t just about getting them to turn the pages of your novel; you also have to get them to pick the novel up off the shelf in the first place.

An overly simple book cover may not catch the reader’s eye enough to make them want to pick the book up.  Picking cover art that is too busy, however, can overwhelm the reader as well, turning them off from wanting to even find out what is between the cover pages.

2.  Direct or indirect.  Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not you want your book cover to portray something directly from your storyline, such as a recreation of a fight scene or lovers’ embrace, or if you want it to be something indirectly related to the storyline.  Take, for instance, the apple holding hands of the book Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.  While I cannot tell you what, exactly, Stephanie Meyer was trying to portray with that particular artwork, I can tell you what I got out of it as a reader.  I took the apple as a representation of the temptation that Bella posed to Edward.  As an author who is creating cover art, you must decide if you wish to represent something tangible from the storyline or if it will be more of an abstract representation.

For myself, when I created the cover art for the novel Vindictus, The Dark Lord, I wanted something that represented the magical element that was used throughout the storyline.  There were a few references to a ceremonial dagger being used, so I wanted to create something that gave the feel of a magical altar.  I created the art work out of things that I had sitting around my house.  All in all, I was very pleased with the cover art.

Use indirect representations cautiously.  After reading the novel, the reader should be able to look at the indirectly representative cover art and think, “Ah!  NOW I get it!”  However, if you use some trivial notion or idea, or even an inside joke, for the cover art, the readers may not “get it” even after reading the novel.  Unless you intend to make such things a trend for your novels, your readers may soon forget your tongue-in-cheek cover as well as the novel that it misrepresented.

3.  Medium.  With today’s technology, it is easier than ever to create a top-notch cover art for your novel.  The sky is the limit.  But before you start reaching for the stars, you will need to decide what type of medium you will use to create your cover art.  Will you use a hand-drawn image, a photo, a painting, a computer generated image?  You may even discover yourself using more than one type of medium.

When I created the cover art for my last novel, I created the scene using digital photography.  However, I used photo editing software to create the borders around the photograph. 

4.  Color or black and white.  While everything is done primarily in color these days, with the advancements in technology, authors always have the option of creating cover art that is in black and white or even a combination of color and black and white.

In the end, there are only a few basic rules to remember when it comes to creating cover art for your novel.  Your primary objective is to create art work that is so eye-catching that your readers are drawn in even before they pick up the book.  Add to that popping piece of art work a fabulous title, and you will have won the first battle as an author:  getting someone to notice your book and intrigue them enough to make them want to find out more about the storyline contained within the confines of that all-important cover.

Guess What Publishers? You Need US, Not the Other Way Around


In the old days, before becoming an indie author was possible, authors and publishers needed each other.  Publishers liked to think that they didn’t really need authors, that we writers would fall all over ourselves and bend over backwards to conform our written works to whatever “hot ticket item” the publishers were pushing at that particular moment in time.  Publishers not only believed they did not need us, but they actually had all of the writers convinced of this as well.  It’s why writers would sit around silently while editors and agents ripped all of their hard work into shreds and then reassembled it not only into what the publishers believed would pass as a money-making book, but also into a shadow of the book’s formerly written glory.

Thanks to print-on-demand services and vanity presses, these days more than ever, publishers are waking up to the very real fact that authors no long need them for anything.  Gone are the days when publishers sent us and our work through the shredder, allowing editors who had failed as writers to go through and reassemble our work into what the publisher thought the readers wanted to buy at the local Barnes and Noble.  Gone are the days when authors were made to believe that even after they spent years of their lives hammering out every minor detail of a story, they would still be expected to advertise their own work.  As an indie author, we may have to peddle our own wares, but at least we do not have to share in the spoils with anyone other than ourselves.  Best of all, it is allowing us to tap into what readers really want to read about and ultimately giving them their hearts’ desire. 

It’s a win-win situation for readers and writers alike.  Writers are able to keep complete artistic control over their work.  Sure they are having to work harder by learning to become better proofreaders, editors, learning how to format PDF documents, designing and creating book covers, coming up with advertising plans and implementing those plans.  But in the end, our knowledge base is broadened and we can bask in the glow of having really accomplished something, making our success all the more sweeter for having done the whole project on our own.

In this day of technology, publishers are realizing that authors do not need them.  In fact, it is the other way around.  Publishing houses are becoming a thing of the past.  Authors can now write, format, design book covers, print, market, sale, and implement their own ideas and plans for their novel.  Publishers, however, simply cannot exist without authors.  While authors can now do everything that publishers and editors are doing, publishing houses are not authors, and without authors submitting their written works, publishing houses may find themselves going the way of the 8-track tape. 

The really sad part is that publishers have their heads buried so far in the sand that they are not going to realize that their very livelihoods are in jeopardy until it is too late.  They are still demanding that authors allow them control over what storylines make it into print, demand that the novels get rewritten a dozen times, and keep insisting that they, not the authors’ themselves, know more about what the authors’ readers want to read about than the authors. 

But that is all perfectly fine, because one day the ostriches will finally come up for air, and when they do, they will realize that books are still being printed and sold and read, only it will be the authors who are in control of the whole project, and it will be the authors, not the publishers, who are making the money and who still have a job at the end of the day.

Plagiarists BEWARE! “Formal Notice”

This is hereby formal public notice that my works have been plagiarized and reposted on other websites without my permission.  These sites are in direct violation of my copyrights.  I have sent formal requests to all sites asking that my stories be removed from their websites.

“Now That’s Fucking Hardcore!” has been posted on UrSexStories without my permission.  DMCA takedown notice has been filed.  All info listed for this company is bogus.  I am in the process of contacting the hosting company.

“Seventeen” has been posted to a community forum called eXBii and takedown notice sent.  Thanks to the admin for being so quick to remove my works.  However, for the record, next time an author claims copyrights, you might not want to be such raving assholes about it.  If you are going to run a community properly, it is your legal obligation to investigate any and all claims of copyright infringement.  If you do not want to be bothered, then shut your site down and quick taking your frustrations out on the authors who have had their works blatantly stolen and then hosted on your site.

Portions of the novels Vindictus, The Dark Lord and The Red Fang appear on TheBeaverFarm and have been posted without my permission.  DMCA takedown notice has been filed.

My story “Seventeen” has been reposted on Pornviet without my permission.  DMCA takedown notice has been filed, with no results.  I am now in the processing of contacting their hosting service.  It is my sincerest hopes that the host of the site yanks the entire site down.  Ditto for Ur Sex Stories.

1.  I am the original author and owner of the copyrights to these works.  They have been posted without my permission.  My stories appear on select websites only and those listed did not have my permission to post my stories.

2.  I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted material described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

Nicola Matthews


The Red Fang, a BEFORE THE SUN RISES novel

Vindictus, The Dark Lord


“Now That’s Fucking Hardcore!”

“Primal Urge”

“The Darkness Within”


“The Devil’s Slave”

and the novel Temptation

What I Have Learned as an Indie Author

As a writer of over 28 years, I have learned a lot of things.

1.  “A good story is in the mind’s eye of the reader.” In other words, what one person finds to be the best written piece ever will be the bane of the next person’s existence. 

2.  When it comes to being a writer, I can guarantee two things will always happen. First, for everything that you write, there will be at least one person out there who will absolutely LOVE it.  And for everything you write, there will be at least one person out there who will absolutely LOATH it.

3.  Criticism will not kill you, but it might not necessarily make you a better writer either.  (see #1)

4.  There is only ONE thing that will ever make you a better writer.  And that is lots.  And lots.  And lots.  Of practice. All the How-To books in the world will not help make you a better writer.  Only you can do that by practicing the craft.  A LOT.

 5.  Editors and publishers only have ONE bottom line, and yours is not it. They are the ones who make all the wild guesses as to what may or may not “hit it big” this season and choose storylines accordingly.  If yours does not fit into their predetermined mold, then look for the giant red “REJECTED” stamp.  If they think it might can be salvaged by rewriting the entire thing, then look for the finished product to not remotely resemble the manuscript that you submitted.  They are only interested in making themselves money.  If that means stomping all over your creativity and pulling a fast one, then that is what they are going to do.

 6.  No one knows how to write your own storylines better than you. Sometimes, however, rewording it can greatly increase the impact or help clear up some discrepancies or clarify some scenes for the readers.

7.  You do NOT have to take criticism to heart. If someone thinks a certain section would sound better written another way, then humor him/her and rewrite it with the suggestions.  Now compare the two.  Use the one that YOU feel sounds the best.

 8.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Writing is hard work and no matter how long you have been practicing the art, you will come to certain sections of a storyline that will be more difficult to write than others.  But that’s fine, because if it were easy and everyone was good at it, we would have a lot more fantastic literature sitting around on our shelves.

9.  When it stops being “fun” and becomes “work” then your career just turned into a job. Writing is mostly a labor of love.  But if you do not absolutely love writing, then it is going to show in your stories.

10.  You gave 110%.  Now you have to give 100% more. It has been said that talent is 1/10th inspiration and 9/10ths perspiration.  Proofreading, editing, and formatting is that other 100% or 9/10ths perspiration they are talking about.  It’s often harder than the original penning of the storyline and usually takes just as long or longer.  But if you want your writing to stand out for all the right reasons, then putting forth this extra effort is a must.

11.  I came.  I saw.  I conquered.  And I make no apologies. If, at the end of the day, you feel that you have written the absolute best that you possibly could, then take all of the criticism with a grain of salt.  Grammatical and punctuation errors can be corrected and should be.  But when it comes to the creativity that is involved with fictional writing, then no one is a better judge of how the story should be written than the one who created it in the first place.