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Azteclady reviews Nora Roberts', The Witness

The Witness, by Nora Roberts

While I’m not as ardent a fan of Ms Roberts as other long time romance readers¹, I definitely enjoy her writing—many of her titles of the past decade grace my keeper shelves. As of May 2012, she is one of two writers I’ll buy in hardback, budget be damned, so it was pretty much a given that I would buy The Witness as soon as I possibly could (and amazon made it not only easy but cheaper than most everywhere else, so…).

The Witness is the 200th published novel by romance genre grand dame and standard bearer, Nora Roberts. Informal research confirms that there aren’t many people in history who can claim to have done as much²—and I’ll add that this novel commemorates the milestone with a bang (or three).

Here is what the cover jacket says:

Elizabeth Fitch’s short-lived teenage rebellion began with L’Oréal Pure Black, a pair of scissorts and a fake ID. It ended in blood…

Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a night club and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives alone in the outskirts of small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems. Her own security is supplemented by a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing.

Unfortunately, that seems to be the quickest way to get attention in a tiny southern town.

The mystery of Abigail Lowery intrigues local police chief Brooks Gleason, on both a personal and a professional level. Her sharp, logical mind, her secretive nature, her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something, even if he doesn’t know what—and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

Accustomed to two-bit troublemakers, Gleason is about to walk into the sights of very powerful and dangerous men. And Abigail Lowery, who has built a life based on security and self-control, is at risk of losing both.”

Readers beware: the last paragraph in the blurb has nothing whatsoever to do with the novel. (more…)

The Search, by Nora Roberts

Reader beware: I am a fan of Ms Roberts’ writing, and very rarely do I feel disappointed by it. The Search was definitely not one of those rare books. In fact, it was quite the opposite: an engrossing read with interesting characters, great dialogue, and solid writing.

Here is the hardcover jacket blurb:

Number-one New York Times-bestselling author Nora Roberts presents a novel set in the Pacific Northwest, where an island provides sanctuary, the lush forests seduce the unwary, and a man and a woman find in each other the strength to carry on.

To most people, Fiona Bristow seems to have an idyllic life—a quaint house on an island off Seattle’s coast, a thriving dog-training school, and a challenging volunteer job performing canine search and rescue. Not to mention her three intensely loyal Labs. But Fiona got to this point by surviving a nightmare.

Several years ago, she was the only survivor of a serial killer—a madman who stalked and abducted young women, strangled them, and left them buried with a red scarf on their bodies. As authorities were closing in on the Red Scarf Killer, he shot and killed Fiona’s cop fiancé and his K-9 partner.

On Orcas Island, Fiona has found the peace and solitude she needed to rebuild her life. Yet all that changes on the day Simon Doyle barrels up her drive, desperate for her help. He’s the reluctant owner of an out-of-control puppy, foisted upon him by his mother. Jaws has eaten through Simon’s house, and he’s at his wit’s end.

To Fiona, Jaws is nothing she can’t handle. Simon is another matter. A newcomer to Orcas, he’s a rugged and intensely private artist, known for creating exquisite furniture. Simon never wanted a puppy, and he most definitely doesn’t want a woman. Besides, the lanky redhead is not his type. But tell that to the laws of attraction.

As Fiona embarks on training Jaws and as Simon begins to appreciate both dog and trainer, the past tears back into Fiona’s life. A copycat killer has emerged out of the shadows, a man whose bloodlust has been channeled by a master with one motive: to reclaim the women who slipped out of his hands…

By choice I have read very few in the way of actual reviews of this novel. Generally speaking, when one is spoiler-phobic, it’s wiser to avoid most chatter on books one is planning on reading. However, it is difficult to avoid all mentions of highly anticipated novels—which happens to be the case with most of Ms Roberts’ releases.

(more…)

Black Hills, by Nora Roberts

Black Hills

I believe it is no secret that I enjoy most of what Ms Roberts writes to one degree or another. Like so many things in life, this is a two-edged sword. While this is good because it means that I can look forward to a number of books each year that, odds are, I’ll enjoy, it also raises my expectations as to the quality of each new novel. Ninny that I am, this may mean that I avoid reading the next book for a bit…

Yeah, I’m an idiot, go ahead and laugh.

After avoiding anything remotely resembling spoilers for more than six weeks, I finally cracked open my signed copy* of Black Hills last week—and stayed up all night reading it, all four hundred and seventy two pages of it. After reading the last line, I closed the book, sighed happily, went about my daily business with all the energy of a half dead mouse and, come evening, cracked the book open on the first page again.

(more…)

Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts

Northern Lights

I don’t think it’s a secret that I enjoy pretty much anything and everything that Ms Roberts writes—short stories, long novels, trilogies, series, mysteries… She writes it, sooner or later I’ll read it—and chances are I’ll review it too. Sometimes sooner, sometimes really later—as is the case now. Northern Lights was first published in hardcover back in 2004, and it has the uncomfortable distinction of being the only paperback edition of Ms Roberts’ work in the ohmahgawdsouncomfortable Venti edition*.

Set in the very small and *ahem* colorful fictional town of Lunacy, in Alaska, Northern Lights is a love story, a mystery, and the portrait of a community superficially reminiscent of Northern Exposure, full of eccentric characters in a setting that feels almost out of time.

(more…)

So I have converted my significant other to romance novels. Of course, he was open minded enough to give them a chance, but hey, I started the process. Just recently we read the In the Garden trilogy out loud to each other *pause for incredulous stares* Yes, we do this. We read alternate chapters to each other. Deal.

Anyway. I had read the books when they came out first, and had re-read the first two a few times since, but this was the first time I read the three of them one after another. And of course, I had a terrific idea: a joint review of the trilogy.

Please brace yourselves, as it’s a tad longer than usual–after all, it’s three books. Have some coffee, and enjoy.

In the Garden trilogy (Blue Dahlia, Black Rose and Red Lily), by Nora Roberts

The In the Garden trilogy by Nora Roberts centers around Harper House – a stately mansion in Memphis that has been in the Harper family for more than a century – and those who live in it. The novels mix contemporary love stories with the Southern belief in the supernatural as well as the charm, connections, traditions of more genteel times. Each novel follows the development of the love story between two main characters, while advancing their quest to discover the full story of the entity known as The Harper Bride, who has shared the house and grounds with the Harpers for at least a century.

Three women meet at a crossroads in their lives, each searching for new ways to grow—and find in each other the courage to take chances and embrace the future.

Part of the hallmark of Ms Roberts’ writing is her ability to create a sense of community by introducing characters and allowing the reader to participate in the evolution of their relationships—be these friendship, romantic, working relationships, what have you. These three books show the reader how a disparate cast of characters develop into a family in the best sense of the word.

In order to write a cohesive, comprehensive and coherent review of the trilogy as a whole, we will first offer a brief overview of the three novels, followed by a more detailed discussion of each character, overall plotting, pacing, and writing style. At the end we will both give our grades for each book and for the trilogy. (more…)

Tribute, by Nora Roberts

This most recent stand-alone novel by Ms Roberts is just one more in the long list of her titles going to my keeper shelves. Called a romantic suspense by most fans, this book tells two intertwined stories—the love story between the main protagonists, Cilla and Ford, and the mysteries surrounding the life and death of Cilla’s maternal grandmother, the late actress and singer Janet Hardy.

Here is the dustcover blurb for the hardcover edition:

Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a long way from Hollywood. And that’s exactly how Cilla McGowan likes it.

Cilla, a former child star, has found a more satisfying life working with her hands to restore homes from floor to ceiling—and has come here to her grandmother’s farmhouse, tools at her side, to rescue it from ruin. Sadly, no one had been able to save her grandmother, the legendary Janet Hardy. An actress with a golden voice and a tumultuous life, Janet entertained glamorous guests and engaged in decadent affairs—but died of an overdose in this very house more than thirty years ago. To this day, Janet haunts Cilla’s dreams. And during her waking hours, Cilla is haunted by her melodramatic, five-times-married mother who carried on in the public spotlight and never gave her a chance at a normal childhood. By coming to the East Coast, rolling up her sleeves, and rehabbing this wreck of a house, Cilla intends to take a shot at finding some kind of normalcy for herself.

Cilla has her work cut out for her—the house, once a place of comfort and simple rural beauty, is long neglected, crumbling, the grounds choked by weeds. Plunging into the project with gusto, she’s almost too busy and exhausted to notice her neighbor, graphic novelist Ford Sawyer—but his lanky form, green eyes, and easy, unflappable humor (not to mention his delightfully ugly dog, Spock) are hard to ignore. Determined not to carry on the family tradition of ill-fated romances, Cilla steels herself against Ford’s quirky charm, but she can’t help indulging in a little fantasy. (more…)

Promises in Death, by J.D. Robbpromises-in-death

With twenty nine full length novels and five novellas, J.D. Robb’s “… In Death” series is a testament to the author’s successful blend of characterization and suspense. Obviously, not every title hits the same high note, but as has been said before, “Nora Roberts in a bad day is better than many other authors at their best.”

For those new to the series, it follows the adventures of Lt Eve Dallas, of the New York Police and Security Department, and it is set in New York in 2060. The futuristic aspects of the story are partly extrapolations grounded in current technology, and partly a bit of fantasy-with space colonies, virtual reality and interstellar travel being common place.

As a long time fan of the series myself, I am very happy with Promises in Death; the whodunit aspect of the story is quite good, but it is the characterization that makes the book for me. (more…)

We all love drama. The more convoluted, drawn out, ridiculous it is, the more we love it.

Some of us love it behind closed doors—or in the case of these here intrawebz, by lurking quietly in the background. And some of us have to be on hand wherever pieces of the wreckage happen to fall. The majority of us, like any good normal distribution, fall somewhere in between these extremes. And more power to us, really.

But occasionally, even the most stalwart among us get a tad fed up with all the screeching of “mean girlz” and the batshit crazy, so today I would like to list some of the amazingly cool people I’ve met around blogland this year. I say some because I’m liable to forget one or more (please do forgive me if your name isn’t mentioned—I’m having a CRS* day) (Perhaps I shouldn’t write this now…) (But then, there’s no guarantee I’ll ever get over the CRS*) (more…)

Folks, please help me welcome Ann Aguirre for a grilling session erm, interview.

How long have you written—one of those “since forever” or more of a “sudden epiphany” person?

I’ve pretty much always wanted to be a writer. When I was in first grade, we had Career Day at school. We got to pick what we wanted to do for a living from cards with job descriptions on them. I chose “freelance writer”. My teacher said, rather condescendingly, “That’s not a real job, honey. Why don’t you pick something else?” That should’ve prepared me for the row I had to hoe.

I never did pick anything else. I scribbled stories from age eight onward. In tenth grade, I wrote my first novel, 150 pages on an old typewriter: small-town girl meets a mysterious boy who works as the Winnie the Pooh mascot at Sears. Despite having led a boring life heretofore, our heroine saves the boy numerous times. Even then, I had no sense of what was proper behavior for a heroine.

My next ‘serious’ attempt came in college. I was studying English Lit, which mostly bored the crap out of me. I discovered romance novels about this time. I ate those books like Cracker Jacks, especially the Loveswept line. I was a real sucker for the Romancing the Stone type story, where the city-bred heroine goes into the jungle with a survivalist hero.

And I thought, I can do this! How hard can it be?

Thus was born my deliciously bad would-be Loveswept romance. The heroine, Skye, was a stripper / heiress. She ran away from her father’s tyrannical control to dance topless and make her own way in the world. Her father hired former Black Ops military man, Stone, to retrieve his wayward daughter. I called it Heaven and Earth. Symbolism! Who says I’m not using my Lit degree? To my vast astonishment, Loveswept didn’t buy it. (more…)

Today we welcome the talented Lauren Dane!

Ready to be grilled? :evil :grin: :

How long have you been writing? (i.e., “since before I could write” or “I just started when…”)

I’m one of those, “Oh I’ve always loved to write” people but I’m also a practical girl so while I wrote for my college newspaper and had a ‘zine with my husband and did the odd poem and short story here and there, I never planned to be a writer. I went to law school instead, LOL.

But then through a host of things happening in my life I ended up on a lot of bed rest when I was pregnant with my daughter and thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll give that writing thing a try.” My husband brought home a second hand laptop and I wrote Triad.

That was in 2004 and I’ve been fortunate enough to build something with my writing since.

Would you share your THE CALL story with us? The catch: one paragraph :grin:

I had “the email” experience with my earlier books, which was wonderful but when I sold my first single title to Berkley I got the actual “call” from my agent. I hadn’t been expecting it and when I heard it was her, I said, “You’d better be calling to tell me you sold something,” as a joke. She laughed and said, “Well, I am.” I burst into tears and sat on my stairs while my kids milled around wondering why I was weeping like a baby, scribbling details on piece of paper I still have to this day. (more…)

The Cassie Edwards plagiarism scandal broke in early January. (Neat centralized pdf. document from the SmartBitches here)

Dear Author and SmartBitches—and a number of authors—wrote about it during the following weeks.

I posted about it here in March (including a number of links to previous discussions)

Signet finally dumped Cassie Edwards over it in mid April, which reignited some discussion.

By late May people, including well known authors of the stature of Lori Foster, were still wondering why there was public discussion of something that, in their opinion, was “between Ms Edwards and the parties involved”

In late July—well over six months later—there was a panel on plagiarism at the RWA National Conference in San Francisco, with Nora Roberts as one of the panelists. Conference room seating 200, about a quarter of the seats filled.

May I ask, what the hell?

Because even if you are an author who thought you knew all there is to know about plagiarism, copyright infringement, proper attribution, etc., etc., ad nauseam, there was still a Q&A portion of the panel where solutions could be proposed, and where specific instances could be brought to light and examined.

My inner cynic is starting to wonder if indeed many writers don’t want open discussion of this because of dirty linen in their own closets.

Short stories round up—some available free online, some part of anthologies. (Alphabetical by title)

Nota bene: I very rarely read anthologies in one sitting, particularly because I often buy them for one author/story, and have no curiosity about the others. My choice of stories to review, therefore, has nothing whatsoever to say about the quality of the other stories. After all, I haven’t read them. (more…)

Memory in Death, by J.D. Robb

Last night I finished reading a rather dark book—romance with heavy urban fantasy elements—and this morning I felt the need to decompress a bit by re-reading a favorite. A quick perusal of the bookshelves yielded Memory in Death. This is the 22nd stand-alone installment of J.D. Robb/Nora RobertsIn Death series (there are three, no, four by now, novellas in different anthologies, and a two-in-one deal in Remember When), which are futuristic romance/police procedural/mystery novels.

Here’s the front flap blurb from the hardcover edition:

Eve Dallas is one tough cop. She can deal with a holiday reveler in a red suit who plunges thirty-seven stories and gives new meaning to the term “sidewalk Santa.” She can take on purse snatchers, drug dealers, and worse. But when Trudy Lombard—a seemingly ordinary middle-aged lady—shows up at the station, it’s all Eve can do to hold it together. Instantly, she is plunged back to the days when she was a vulnerable, traumatized young girl—and trapped in foster care with the twisted woman who now sits smiling in front of her.

Trudy claims she came all the way to New York just to see how Eve was doing. But Eve’s fiercely protective husband, Roarke, suspects otherwise—and his suspicion proves correct when Trudy, rebuffed by Eve, shows up at his office, demanding money in exchange for keeping the ugly details of Eve’s childhood a secret. Using every ounce of willpower he has to restrain himself, he shows her the door—and makes it clear that she’d be wise to get out of the city and never bother them again.

Eve and Roarke will be satisfied if Trudy Lombard just heads back to Texas. Somebody else, though, wants her dead—and just a few days later, she’s found on the floor of her hotel room, a mess of faded bruises and fresh blood. A cop to the core, Eve is determined to solve the case, if only for the sake of Trudy’s bereaved son. Unfortunately, Eve was not the only one who suffered at this woman’s hands—and she and Roarke will follow a circuitous and dangerous path to find out who turned the victimizer into a victim.

With one teeeensie exception, this blurb summarizes the first few chapters rather well. It still gives a bit too much away for my taste (I am violently allergic to spoilers).

This far along in the series, some of the books are better able to stand alone than others. To my mind this one, more than other books in the series, focuses a bit more on Eve’s past, her present growth as a person, and her personal relationships with those around her than on the crime, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a starting point for readers who are new to these books. (more…)

(nota bene: As I said yesterday, this is the very first time I attempt interviewing anyone, please be kind, okay? Thanks!)

Shiloh, thank you so much for agreeing to be my guinea pig… erm, for being with us today. You have a new book, Through the Veil, coming out next Tuesday from Berkley Sensation, and I’m going to ask all sorts of questions about it later on, but first I’d like to be nosy about other things, if you don’t mind?

:grin: As long as you don’t ask about my sex life, how much money I make…. Fire away, Aztec.

Although it may seem a bit too coincidental to ask this now, it’s something I’ve been long curious about… How did you come to choose your nom du plume?

Well, it’s Scottish and I love anything Irish, Scottish, Celtic… I don’t know why but when I was trying to pick a name out, Walker just sort of jumped into my mind. Then I needed to find a first name. I’d see Cheyenne McCray’s books on EC, and I loved the feel of her name, so to speak, and was thinking of something with a similar feel, I guess. I was skimming the internet for something, I don’t even remember what, and SHILOH sort of jumped out at me. It was in reference to a church, a city, something, I can’t remember. Started thinking… SHILOH WALKER… huh, I like that.

So voilà…! Shiloh Walker was born.

You’ve said elsewhere that you don’t like having your picture taken and posted online. Would you give us the Cliff Notes of why this is so?

(more…)

Strangers in Death, by J. D. Robb

This is the 29th “… in Death” full length novel—count ‘em, 29!—and this series just keeps getting better. Amazing, ain’t it? Most series seem to loose momentum after the first few—anywhere between four and ten books. This one just keeps going (J.D. Robb as the Energizer Bunny of series?).

While reading this, please be aware that, while I won’t quite gush uncontrollably, I am very much a fan of J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts.

Blurb:

Technology may be different in 2060 New York, yet the city is still a place of many cultures and great divides. And as ever, some murders receive more attention than others, especially those in which the victim is a prominent businessman, found in his Park Avenue apartment, tied to the bed—and strangled—with cords of black velvet.

It doesn’t surprise Lieutenant Eve Dallas that Thomas Anders’ scandalous death is a source of titillation and speculation for the public—and of humiliation for his family. While everyone else in the city is talking about it, those close to Anders aren’t so anxious to do so. Fortunately, because Dallas’ billionaire husband, Roarke, happens to own the prime real estate where Anders’s sporting-goods firm was headquartered, she has some help with access. Before long, she’s knocking on doors—or barging through them—to look for the answers she needs.

But the facts don’t add up. Physical evidence suggests that the victim didn’t struggle. The security breach in the highly fortified apartment indicates that the killer was someone close to Anders, but everyone’s alibi checks out, from the wife who was off in the tropics to the loving nephew who stands to inherit millions. Was this a crime of passion—or a carefully planned execution?

It’s up to Dallas to solve a sensational case where all involved guard secrets from one another—and strangers may be connected in unexpected, and deadly, ways.

The blurb? I hate it. Deeply. First, it’s not an apartment, but a house. House, people. Second, since when has “good security” become “fortified”? And the Roarke bit? One hundred percent misleading. Add that the stupid thing gives away too much, and you have the perfect BAD blurb. /rant

Anyway, on to the novel itself.

When Thomas Anders’ body is discovered by the housekeeper in shocking circumstances, the only two people with potential motives have solid alibis. Furthermore, every person Eve interviews agrees: this was a good man, respected and liked, and the revelations spawning from the manner of his death are a complete surprise to all who knew him, both intimately and in passing. (more…)

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Please note that I am not naming any names because I’m trying to address a general issue. It’s neither about pointing fingers nor embarrassing someone {K: Dammit, has she learned nothing from me!?}. Perhaps naïvely, but I hope what you are about to read may help authors maximize their promotion efforts.

First, allow me to present three different scenarios, all seen around the blogosphere in the past month or so:

Scenario A

A couple of days after I wrote this piece, I happened upon one of the blogs where I won—and never received—a couple of books last year. I have learned since that this is one of the biggest multi-author blogs around. Being intrigued by that, I started following the blog again for a few days. (Yes, I know I have too much free time.)

I read a few of the posts and posted a few comments, etc. and started noticing what I perceived to be a pattern. Some authors would post a contest but not determine an end date, or if they did, said date would come and go without announcement of the winners. Since this was related to the issues I wrote about before, I mulled it over and finally, the light bulb flashed! So I emailed this to the blog admin:

Hi, there.

I posted something about this at (link to post at Karen’s), but I’ve been thinking about it some more. I didn’t share, and won’t, that two of the prizes I never got last year were from authors who still blog at (blog in question). I *did* stop reading the blog for a rather long while after that, though, and only recently came back as a reader and commenter.

Yet I can’t help but notice that—as of (date)—there are two posts with contests (posts in question) to which winners should have been announced but nothing from either the authors themselves, or the blog itself.

When these things happen at an author’s blog, or at readers’ blogs, the potential PR fallout is to those specific author/blogs. In a large multi authors blog like (blog in question), the damage affects the other authors. Fair or not, it’s inevitable.

I’m wondering if perhaps (blog in question) should consider having someone following up on these things and making sure the authors follow through (with announcements and prizes). Or perhaps, have some sort of contest policy stating that only commenters who leave their email can participate and that the winner will be announced privately, or something.

I hope this email is taken in the spirit it is intended: an observation and a suggestion for improvement.

Thank you.

I honestly didn’t expect a reply, but got one. And what I got, I’m sad to say, wasn’t at all what I would have expected: (more…)

A bit about plagiarism from someone who is not a lawyer, doesn’t want to be a lawyer, and doesn’t play a lawyer in the internet.

I’m sure that a lot of people who travel the romance blogosphere routinely got tired pretty quickly of the many discussions on plagiarism, copyright infringement, intellectual honesty, and other related topics sparked by the CE dêbacle (or the SavageGate, which I believe Seressia Glass coined).

However, the Obama speech incident reignited discussion on this at a couple of places I visit, and once again I was impressed by the varied and well, weird ways people can look at things.

• There have been statements that all writers ‘plagiarize’ from academic texts when they research say, the Middle Ages. “After all, it’s not as if the writer could have been there, right?” (Though one wonders what the hell is a writer’s imagination for, in that case. But perhaps that’s just me.)

• There have been statements that word-by-word copying from non-fiction sources is ‘poorly integrated research’ (You don’t want to know the words that left my mouth upon reading this.)

• There have been statements that Nora Roberts, or Mary Balogh, plagiarize from their own, earlier work, because they have certain recognizable tropes or themes or characters in several of their novels. (One wonders what the hell a writer’s voice is, then. But again, perhaps that’s just me.)

• There have been statements that there are all sorts of gray areas between ‘using research by changing a comma or two’ (paraphrasing from an earlier discussion, but I swear that is the condensed version) and ‘actual plagiarism.’ (All I can say to this is… WHAT THE F…?)

• There have been statements that, hey, this is the information age! Sharing is what it’s about! It’s all good! (One wonders whether creativity has any place in a society where everyone can claim everyone else’s original work as their own without it being wrong.)

• There have been statements—by authors who are otherwise very much invested in protecting their own copyrights (Diana Gabaldon for example)—that using out-of-copyright works without attribution is fine. (Yet another WHAT THE F…? from the peanut gallery)

Then, in a more recent, and completely unrelated discussion over at the SmartBitches, Laura Kinsale posted these comments:

I’m curious. What’s the difference between Cassie Edwards writing about ferrets and fan fiction published for profit?

So that’s what I’m asking. Why is that so different from Cassie Edwards? Why is taking a paragraph about a ferret, or even a page of dialogue, so worthy of scorn and ridicule, but fan fiction is supposed to be a nice compliment to the author of the original work?

Leaving aside the bit about fanfiction, and whether it’s legal, illegal, original, derivative, or what have you (a topic worthy of its own article), but simply judging from all that I listed above, I can only conclude that a lot of folks don’t know what plagiarism actually is.

So here it is, in the immortal words of… well, I’m sure plenty of people have said it before me, so you can check your favorite dictionary for a better worded version, but here is mine:

Plagiarism, distilled to the most basic terms, is the intent to pass off someone else’s words as your own, original, new creation. Whether or not there is a concurrent illegal action (such as copyright infringement), ethically this is fraud. It is lying. It is saying, “look how smart/creative/artistic I am” while using someone else’s work, and getting credit and/or money for doing this.

So perhaps I am simple minded, but I don’t see how there can be a gray area there.

Now, let’s see what plagiarism isn’t. (more…)

Nora Roberts’ Hotel Destroyed By Fire…

Friday, February 22, 2008
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According to The Herald Mail:

BOONSBORO — Today’s early-morning fire on the square in downtown Boonsboro started in the historic Boone Hotel, owned by romance novelist Nora Roberts, and has affected seven buildings, a fire official said.

Jason Mowbray, a deputy chief state fire marshal, estimated damage to the North Main Street block at $1.5 million to $2 million.

In addition to the Boone Hotel at 1 N. Main St., other buildings affected by the fire were at 9, 11 and 13 N. Main St., fire officials said.

The Boone Hotel and structures at 5 N. Main St. and 7 N. Main St. were destroyed, officials said. All that remains standing of the hotel are four walls.

How awful.

My condolences to Nora and all the people affected by the fire.

Thanks to AztecLady for the tip-off.

The best month ever! July 2009 goes down as the best month of my life, bar none. Here are some reasons:

  • My firstborn turned 21—which perhaps should make me feel a bit old (and in truth, it occasionally does) but hey! He’s a productive member of society who’s earned a full scholarship to CalTech (California Institute of Technology for those who don’t know) for the third year in a row.
  • My second and youngest talked her way into two summer medical programs for the second straight year, with minimal financial help from her father. For a kid who struggled like you wouldn’t believe in 8th grade, this young woman has managed a sea change in her studies in the past two years. She wants to be a surgeon and by golly, no one and nothing will get in her way!
  • I spent 20 days in Maryland and DC with the love of my life. It’s true that he had to work during the week, but that meant I got to sightsee and read at my leisure, and we spent every second we could together. I am so in love with him, it’s probably sickening to see—not that I care, mind :grin:

On top of that, said love of my life did two of the sweetest things ever done:

(more…)

Awwww….they make it so damn easy for me to be…. well…me…

Anyway, since author, Deborah Smith (I believe she wrote the award winning book, Crossroads Cafe) has much to say for herself, I thought I’d give her comments the exposure they deserve, cuz you know, I’m nice like that.

Thanks to the Anon commenter who posted this link of a cached Amazon post that she wrote, presumably, at the height of the CE Love Fest.

This is what she had to say:


“Hi, y’all. I debated whether to post publicly {K: Ooops, too late, and Google forgets nothing unfortunately} about this tempest in a teapot in the romance world, because the last thing I want is to be eviscerated by Nora Roberts’ avid fangirls. But there’s a quiet little stream of conversation in the world of romance writers as to why Roberts, unquestionably the richest, most award-winning, most successful romance novelist in the world — in fact, one of the most successful novelists in the world, period — hangs out at a blog site called “Smart Bitches,” where the topics include open attacks on authors so far down the food chain that one wonders how Nora has time in her busy career to even notice they exist.

Now Roberts has weighed in (via an interview with the national press) on a controversy surrounding old-school historical author Cassie Edwards. I don’t know Cassie Edwards; I’ve never read one of her many (nearly 100) historicals. But so far as I can tell she’s a hardworking, 71-year-old author who’s never slammed any other author in public. To the best of my knowledge Ms. Edwards is considered a rollicking good storyteller who likes to write westerns and pirate novels. She does not appear to have any pretensions, and her fans clearly love her books.

But — according to reports launched by the Smart Bitches bloggers, who admitted beforehand that they don’t like Ms. Edwards’ old-style books, and have spent considerable time making jokes about them — the author “plagiarized” bits and pieces of research material. The horrendous offense? Some passages about (I’m not kidding) buffaloes and ferrets. Looking at the passages myself, all I see is a writer who maybe should have paraphrased some research info a little better. I don’t see malicious or greedy intent; I don’t see “plagiarism” in any serious legal interpretation of the charge. If there’s more to the issue than that, I haven’t seen the evidence.

But I kinda doubt that Ms. Edwards’ success is built on her nature writing. I kinda doubt she sat at her computer thinking, “If I use this other author’s description of a buffalo, I’ll sell ten times more books.”

But now this grandmother (and accomplished violinist) is fielding national wire service inquiries about her alleged misdeeds. And Nora Roberts — unsolicited, unharmed, with no personal beef with Ms. Edwards in any way, as far as I know — has stood up atop her unassailable pile of money and awards to say — in the national media –that Ms. Edwards appears to have committed plagerism.

Why does Roberts feel compelled to play lawyer, judge and jury regarding a fellow author? Roberts has achieved a level of good fortune 99.9 percent of authors can only dream about. But does that make her not only the spokeswoman for the romance genre, but also its enforcer of public condemnation for unproven offenses?

Not for me, and not for thousands of other hardworking authors trying to earn a living down here in the trenches, that’s for sure.”

And on that bombshell, I’m off to the pictures with TTG. I may even buy a violin with my popcorn whilst I’m out. :)

Updated to add: Here at Karen Scott Central, (thanks to AztecLady) we’ve realised that Ms Smith’s motives may not have been so pure after all. She was the lady who ‘jokingly’ accused Mancusi and Maverick of encouraging pedophilia by wearing their school girl outfits, at the height of the RWA Swanhat-gate Lovefest last year. She originally posted on the SBs blog, but here’s her comments at DA.

Now we know why she’s hating on Nora and the SBs so much; she’s getting them back for making her look stupid and clueless. *g*