A chance to win up to 12 ebooks!
Starting today, December 11th
A chance to win up to 12 ebooks!
Starting today, December 11th
Whew! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I know I’m behind on LOTS of things, and updating readers is just one of them. Walker Wednesday fell by the wayside during my recent move from Oklahoma (I’m still going to get those posts up), and I had so much going on that I literally went weeks without writing a single word. It was stressful because I missed working, but also because I knew readers would be anticipating getting something new from me.
Well, I’m in Ohio now and in my new house, and I’m settling into life. I finally got back to work this week since most of my boxes have been unpacked, and I’m excited to announce that I have finished the first draft of a novella: Twisted Mind.
This story will fill in some blanks from the past, as well as give you glimpse of what to expect in the next book, Twisted Memories. Told from the perspective of Jackson Star, it’s a dark and disturbing look at the inner workings of the CDC and what they are trying to accomplish. Have you always found yourself wondering about the origins of the original virus? Well, you’ll finally have answers to some of the questions you’ve had since Broken World!
While I don’t have an official release date yet, I’m getting ready to send Twisted Mind to beta readers today and I hope to have it out to you by mid-January (holidays permitting)! Here’s the blurb so you can get a better idea of what to expect!
Born at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse to the head of the CDC and the leader of the new world, Jackson Star has always known that he would one day lead. Only the Stars’ plans go much deeper than simply keeping humanity alive, and the evil that sleeps inside Jackson is darker than even his father knows. Everyone in the settlement is a puppet, and everyone has a purpose in the Stars’ master plan, starting with Megan James.
But as Jackson and his father creep closer to achieving their goals at the CDC, things slowly begin to unravel. Meg isn’t cooperating like she should, and the presence of a new person in her life is threatening to blow their plan apart. Jackson must now decide how do deal with the girl he has spent the last nine years trying to manipulate, as well as the family she has left and the man who
has taken up residence in her life. To complicate matters even more, the dark-ness in Jackson has gotten increasingly persistent, making it difficult for him to control it at times and leading him to wonder if he shouldn’t just give into his urges once and for all.
Twisted Mind is a dark and disturbing look into Jackson’s brain, as well as the inner workings of the CDC. It will give readers a glimpse of the future, as well as answer some of the questions that have plagued readers from the beginning of the Broken World series.
31 Days of Zombies
October 31, 2016
by McCallum J. Morgan
Two cousins. One on the verge of a great discovery… and excessive power, wealth, and infamy, the other on the verge of an odious marriage. Lyra will stop at nothing to achieve her father’s dream of dissolving Parliament into anatomical sludge, and to search out the farthest reaches of science and the arcane arts. That is until her own dreams begin to awaken, jolted by the electric sparkle of an artist’s eyes. Lacking a strong constitution, Alice can only run from her problems, that is until she collides into the company of a strange young man of questionable occupation and discovers her cousin’s terrible plans. The dead are about to rise, the Lords are about to fall, and things are about to get creamy. High society will never be the same again.
31 Days of Zombies
October 21, 2016
Not Dead Yet
by K. Bartholomew
Ireland, 1858 – The Potato Famine is over, but not the fallout. With a million dead and another million of their best forced to leave the country, Ireland is woefully unprepared for what’s to come. When the famine victims rise as zombies intent only on devouring human flesh, they face little opposition from a depleted army and a drained and weary population.
When the cowardly, womanising eighteen year old Jack Strapper is expelled from Eton College, he’s tricked into joining the army and posted to an Irish cavalry regiment in the false belief Ireland is safe, he’ll have an easy life and that the ladies love a dashing Englishman in uniform.
When he arrives in Londonderry to join the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars, an understrength cavalry unit lead by a mad colonel, the now Captain Jack Strapper is horrified to discover the nation is already amidst an ongoing apocalypse. Hardly the easy life he was promised, Strapper tries all he can to shirk and avoid his duty. Yet arriving as a volunteer foreigner, his new comrades mistakenly believe him to be brave and a hero in the making. This false belief is further backed up by an astonishing run of coincidences and good fortune which soon cements his reputation as a zombie killing warrior. Nothing could be further from the truth and there is one man with a personal vendetta, Captain Lynch, who refuses to fall for the tales of Captain Strapper’s heroics and bravery, and will stop at nothing to expose him for the coward he really is.
31 Days of Zombies
October 7, 2016
Since the Sirens
Sirens of the Zombie Apocalypse, Book 1
by E. E. Isherwood
As the tornado sirens drone for an hour, it heralds the end of civilization and the start of the Zombie Apocalypse. Those who can, run. Others, like 104-year-old Martinette Peters, figure they’ll soon be dead. However, her 15-year-old great-grandson has other ideas. Together they head out into the chaos of the plague-infested city. They’ll need a miracle to escape. But when society itself is collapsing, is one miracle going to be enough?
During 2015 I published 8 books, had a short story in an anthology, and had 3 audiobooks released!
Broken World (Audiobook)
Shattered World (Audiobook)
Mad World (Audiobook)
Prep For Doom (Anthology)
When We Were Human
It was a pretty great year and kept me really busy, especially since I’d only released 3 books in 2014. Below are the top ten moments of 2015. If you want to check out my top ten moments from 2014, you can find the post HERE. In the meantime, scroll down and check out my best moments from 2015.
10. Prep For Doom Anthology
Being part of this really cool anthology was a lot of work and time away from other things, but it was fun and exciting. And I’d definitely do it again! You can get all the information about this anthology HERE.
9. Creating a new cover for Collision
It may not seem exciting, but to me it meant I was able to take even more control over the direction of my books by figuring out how to create a cover. Plus, I gave my first book a much needed makeover. If you haven’t read Collision yet, you can check it out HERE.
8. When We Were Human
Everything about the release of this book was exciting for me! I finished it after working on it for over a year (I kept getting interrupted). I made my own cover which I LOVE (with a little help from my graphic designer friend, Kate Sanford). It’s a totally different story than anything I’ve read and I just love it. Get more information about this book HERE.
7. Going to Georgia
Not totally book related, but I know everyone will appreciate it. Going to see Woodbury and the set of The Walking Dead was amazing. Did you see all the cool pictures I took? If you didn’t, you can check them out HERE.
A lot of self-published authors decide to produce audiobooks, but I just didn’t want to take the time to go through the process. And I’m so glad I didn’t, because in January I was able to sign a deal with Tantor Media for the first three books in the Broken World series. I still have my fingers crossed that they will pick up the last three books at the beginning of next year, but even if they don’t I’m happy!
5. The List
My first book with a REAL publisher came out!
Yes, I had a deal with another publisher before, but it didn’t go well at all. It’s been nice to be able to work with a publisher that cares about my book and my sales and wants to see me succeed. Find out more about this book and the next two books in the series HERE.
4. Book Signings
I took a leap this year and actually scheduled some book signings, which was terrifying. What if no one came? It had it’s ups and downs, but overall I think it went well and I plan to do several more next year. As well as make a couple appearances at conferences. Be sure to check out my schedule HERE.
Most people don’t know about this book yet, but I’m excited about it. I wrote it a few years ago and have worked my butt off to revise the thing. My agent finally read it this year and fell in LOVE with it. Seriously, the voice messages she sent gushing about the story and the characters were probably the best things I’ve ever heard. It’s out on submission now, but fingers crossed one of the editors who have it will fall in love as well. Want more information? Get it HERE.
2. Meeting a Fan
I had a reader drive five hours to meet me at my book signing in Lawton, OK! All the way down from Kansas! It was a huge surprise and seriously made my day. Thank you so much Amy Rowles for taking time out of your life to come meet me!
1. Winning a Medal!
Yes, I won a medal. I can’t believe it still, but I’m sooo honored. When We Were Human was awarded the Silver Medal from the Moonbeam Children’s Book awards for YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi fiction.
***Contest for an advance Paperback of New World***
Want a pen, signed bookmark and Broken World magnet?
You can have them AND enter to win New World before it’s released!!!
1.) Head over to my Facebook Page and message me your address, and I will send you the bookmark, pen & magnet, along with a stack of Broken World bookmarks.
2.) Once you get the bookmarks, take them a local library or bookstore (or any business that will let you put them out).
3.) Take a picture of the bookmarks at the store and post it on my Facebook Page or message it to me. Once you’ve done that, I will enter your name in a drawing to win a signed copy of New World before it comes out!!
***US only please (sorry ?)
This year I will be attending Utopia Con 2016 in Nashville, TN!
Join us June 22-26, 2016 in gorgeous Nashville, Tennessee to celebrate 5 years of connecting writers of Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult and Adult paranormal and contemporary fiction to the resources and fans who love them!
Book signing will be held June 23 & 24!
Get your ticket for this amazing event NOW!
I’m excited to announce another author event! If you live in or near the Oklahoma City area, you can join me on October 31st at Full Circle Bookstore where I’ll be signing all my self-published books from 2-4pm! Does that include the books in the Broken World series? Yes, as well as the other books show here:
What about The List and No Regrets?!
Well, those books are through my publisher, Kensington, and I plan to have a second book signing sometime next spring for those. It takes longer to plan for that kind of an event because the bookstore has to order the books from Kensington. Plus, if I wait until spring book three in the series, Moving On, will be out. So it just makes sense.
Mark your calendar for October 31st
stop by Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City!
Pilots Hockey # 1
Releasing September 1, 2015
She closed her heart long ago. He just wants to open her mind. For fans of Toni Aleo and Sawyer Bennett, the debut of Sophia Henry’s red-hot Detroit Pilots series introduces a hockey team full of complicated men who fight for love.
Auden Berezin is used to losing people: her father, her mother, her first love. Now, just when she believes those childhood wounds are finally healing, she loses something else: the soccer scholarship that was her ticket to college. Scrambling to earn tuition money, she’s relieved to find a gig translating for a Russian minor-league hockey player—until she realizes that he’s the same dangerously sexy jerk who propositioned her at the bar the night before.
Equal parts muscle and scar tissue, Aleksandr Varenkov knows about trauma. Maybe that’s what draws him to Auden. He also lost his family too young, and he channeled the pain into his passions: first hockey, then vodka and women. But all that seems to just melt away the instant he kisses Auden and feels a jolt of desire as sudden and surprising as a hard check on the ice.
After everything she’s been through, Auden can’t bring herself to trust any man, let alone a hot-headed puck jockey with a bad reputation. Aleksandr just hopes she’ll give him a chance—long enough to prove he’s finally met the one who makes him want to change.
When college student Auden is assigned to be a translater for Russian hockey player Aleksandr, the attraction she feels for him is only physical, and she’s positive that likeing the guy will be an impossible feat. Aleksandr not only has a reputation, but a cocky attitude that is more than a little off-putting. But it doesn’t take Auden long to realize that Aleksandr’s attitude is a show, and behind the mask he wears is a damaged guy trying to heal from. His tragic past is something he and Auden have in common, and soon the two find healing in each other.
Delayed Penalty is a sweet hockey romance that kept me glued to my Kindle! Since I prefer the nice guy, I was happy to find out that Aleksandr’s attitude was all for show. Once the real man came out, he was sweet and sensitive, and cared about Auden. Add the fact that he was hot to all that, he was a mega-hot hockey star, and you have one swoon-worthy character. I thought the chemistry was good and the story progressed well, and the backstory with the two characters was just enough extra plot to keep me interested in the story. Looking forward to more books from Sophia Henry!
I’m pretty sure there were only two ways Crazy Hair could have looked better than he had at O’Callaghan’s. The first was as he did right now: sitting on a bench in the locker room wearing nothing but the lower half of his uniform, including his skates, sweat rolling over his sinewy pecs and creating a happy trail all the way into his hockey pants.
The second way—I can only assume—would be if he were completely naked.
“Aleksandr, this is Auden Berezin. She will be your translator.”
“I don’t need a translator.”
I almost laughed, because he’d said he didn’t need a translator in Russian.
“You must talk with the media at some point, Sasha. They’re riding my ass to get better answers from you than ‘was good game.’ ”
Aleksandr Varenkov, hot Russian hockey god, laughed, showing the perfect set of white teeth I’d noticed at the bar.
“You have your teeth in, but you haven’t even showered yet?” Orlenko asked.
Was Orlenko a mind reader? I sure hope not, because I would be fired for thinking about my client naked.
“I wanted to look good for pictures.” Aleksandr winked at me. Then he stood, and drops of sweat raced down the hard planes of his chest.
I’d never been so envious of perspiration in my life.
“Sometimes I talk in the shower. Will she translate for me in there?”
My cheeks began to burn, so I averted my eyes, lowering them to the black Cyrillic script tattooed down his sides, then thought better of that line of sight and studied the soiled beige carpet below my feet.
“Aleks—” Orlenko sighed, rubbing his forehead.
“Zhenya,” Aleksandr began. “You know I’m kidding, yes?” He shoved a towel onto the shelf above his nameplate and walked away without waiting for an answer.
“Yes,” Orlenko hissed. He’d said it under his breath, but I heard him and wondered what my grandpa had gotten me into. “Well, that was Aleksandr Varenkov, your client. He’s a talented player and a good man. But he can be a little—”
“Douchey?” I offered in English. I shouldn’t have said it, considering Grandpa’s professional reputation was in my hands. Then again, Evgeny Orlenko was Grandpa’s friend first, so maybe he wouldn’t be too hard on me. Besides, Grandpa knew what kind of mouth I had, and he’d sent me for the job anyway.
Orlenko laughed, and continued in Russian. “Wild was the word I was looking for, but your adjective may not be that far off.”
“I’ve got it, Mr. Orlenko.”
“Are you sure?” He inspected me through thick black-rimmed glasses that were too small for his puffy face.
“As a college student with an active social life, I’ve learned how to handle arrogant douche bags.” This time I was being paid to handle one.
“I shouldn’t be having this conversation about one of my clients,” Mr. Orlenko said, his lips quirking up, then back into a tight line. At least he was trying to keep a straight face. “You’re like a breath of fresh air, Audushka. I hope you stay that way even with his off-ice antics.”
Off-ice antics? What the hell did that mean and why would I have to deal with them? “Will I have to hang out with him outside of the arena? I thought I was here to translate for media interviews after games and some practices.”
“Aleksandr speaks very little English. He’ll need your assistance in all aspects of his career; interviews, community service. At least, until he gets acclimated. Vitya said you were here for the month, is that correct?”
“Yep. All of winter break.”
“You’ll be putting in a lot of hours.”
“I’m a hard worker. And I need the cash. Got cut from the soccer team, and I have to replace the scholarship money I lost.” I was running my mouth again. Maybe I did need to tone it down.
“Well, I’m sorry to hear that. The being-cut part.” He cleared his throat. “Here’s my card. I wrote my cell number on the back. If you have any trouble or if Aleksandr makes you uncomfortable in any way, please give me a call.”
“Thanks.” I scanned the card wondering if I should try to memorize his number now, since I wasn’t sure how stable this client sounded.
After Orlenko left the locker room, I realized I hadn’t asked him what I should do next, and he hadn’t given me instructions as to where I should wait while Aleksandr showered. Since I wasn’t part of the media, I was extremely aware of being the intruder standing in a room of half-naked men. A shower shouldn’t take very long, so I dug my e-reader out of my messenger bag and sat down on the stool that Aleksandr had just vacated.
“Ewww.” I jumped up and skimmed my palm against my damp backside. Hadn’t even thought about any runaway sweat that might’ve dripped from Aleksandr’s lean, hard body onto the stool.
Stop. Just stop thinking about the shiny, wet flesh covering his impeccably carved frame.
╣About the Author╠
Sophia Henry, a proud Detroit native, fell in love with reading, writing, and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to North Carolina, where she spends her time writing books featuring hockey-playing heroes, chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts with her husband.
THE LIST, my New Adult Contemporary Romance will be here in exactly ONE week!!
Coming from Lyrical Press
Now available for preorder:
The List. Twenty things every girl must do before she turns twenty…
But thanks to her crazy, over-protective father, Annie Roth is way behind schedule. Good thing it’s her first semester of college, because Annie is more than ready to start checking off items. . .
Where it gets complicated? Ryan and Chris. Best friends. Both sweet, funny, totally hot, and totally into Annie.
But there are some things on The List that Annie only wants to do with Ryan. . .
Get Heart Broken
Fall in love
If you don’t know what I’m referring to, you can find my other post here.
While I still haven’t heard back from the other author in this matter, there has been some progress made. Only two of the original seven reviews are still up on Amazon, which makes me happy despite the fact that one of those reviews still claims I plagiarized this other author’s books. The good news is that a reader saw a friend of mine tweet about this situation and left her own comments on the two reviews. She has read both books and confirms my side:
“For what it’s worth, I’ve read the first book in both series, and there’s no way anyone else who has done so would accuse Ms. Mary of plagiarism. The characters are different, the plots are different, etc. The superficial similarity in the setup–disease causes zombies, people travel across the country to find loved ones–is just that–“superficial”–AND a stock concept in zombie fiction. The execution, though, is entirely different in the book/series in question.”
I also have a statement from Shandy Jo at Mama Knows books, and she offered to post something on her blog to help verify my side of the story. I declined for the moment, but if the other party doesn’t fulfill the requests I made in my cease and desist letter, I may reconsider.
My book, Mad World, was released yesterday, and at that time the other author and her husband posted the following statement on Facebook.
While they were careful to word this statement so as not to admit any wrongdoing on their part–and they did not apologize to me for the original accusation–I’m satisfied with the “retraction.” All I want is for people to know I did not steal this other woman’s work. Why they’re still so upset over a title, I just don’t get. If someone accidently buys the wrong book there’s a very easy solution: return it and buy the correct one However, anyone who is paying attention will be able to see the difference in covers and author names. I think we should probably give our readers a little more credit when it comes to intelligence and assume they are going to at least look at the cover of a book before they hit buy.
I’m still waiting for them to sign and return the cease and desist letter I sent, and once they do that I will consider this matter CLOSED. It hasn’t been fun and I have more important things to focus on.
Thanks everyone for all the support through this! It’s actually unbelievable how many authors I barely know or don’t know AT ALL have contacted me to tell me how proud they are of me for handling this situation professionally, and to share their outrage at these ridiculous accusations. The writing community, for the most part is extremely supportive, which is something I don’t think this other author really understands. She sees other writers as her competition, while I see them as a potential team. Word of mouth is the best way to increase sales, and supporting other authors, as well as helping to promote each other’s works, actually works to our benefit.
~Kate L. Mary
Even though I’m still reeling from the events, I’ve decided I need to get my side of this crazy story out there, if for no other reason than to defend myself from allegations that could really damage me professionally. However, before I go any further, I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way trying to damage anyone else with this statement and I do not want any of my readers, friends or family to contact the other parties in any way. That includes leaving negative reviews, commenting on Facebook or sending any kind of message on any social media site. While I know it’s hard not to react emotionally at times, in situations such as these it’s better not to engage the other party. I simply want this situation to end. It was unnecessary and hurtful, and something that should have never happened. Also, I’ve redacted the names of the other author and her husband. Not because I’m ashamed or I’m trying to affect this other author’s sales, but because I am not interested in starting a war with someone over something so trivial. While their actions hurt me, I wish them no ill will. If you know who they are and think their books sound good and want to buy them, go ahead. It won’t hurt my feelings or affect my life in any way. To be honest, had I come across this series before I probably would have bought it. But after the recent behavior of this author, I’ll never know because I cannot support a person who would hurt and attack me so thoughtlessly.
On the morning of December 30th I was shocked to see two reviews on Amazon that accused me of plagiarizing Broken World. One review said nothing about which book I had supposedly plagiarized, but the other went into detail comparing my book to another zombie series that had been written by an author I had never heard of. This reviewer, who I later learned was the author’s husband, accused me of stealing this other woman’s work because we both had a deadly virus sweeping the country that kills most of the population, creates a zombie apocalypse, and our plots both follow a group of people on a cross-country trip. Ideas and concepts which first of all, are not original, and secondly are not copyrighted material so are impossible to plagiarize. It turns out, all this fuss was because the third book in my zombie series is titled Mad World, which happened to be the title of this other author’s series. Something I had no idea about because I’d never heard of these books, but again, titles cannot be plagiarized.
“The U. S. Copyright Office does not typically allow someone to copyright a book title because titles are not considered intellectual property, but are only “short slogans,” which are not eligible to be copyrighted. The Copyright Office doesn’t want titles to be restricted to one book; there may be other works in which the title may be equally usable and appropriate.”
I was very upset by the accusations and wanted to address them, but engaging reviewers is never a good idea,. Instead, I googled the author in an attempt to let her know I had no idea her book even existed. Of course, that led me to her Facebook author page where I found out she was the one who had accused me of plagiarism, and had asked her readers to leave the reviews. As the morning went on, more reviews popped up on Amazon and a couple people even left nasty comments on my Facebook page. Meanwhile, I was horrified and hurt that this woman would accuse me of doing something so awful with absolutely nothing to back up her claims, and that her readers would blindly follow her without checking to make sure the accusation was correct.
So what was my response? I knew I couldn’t be trusted to make rational decision when I was so emotional, so I asked for advice from other authors on a private author group and sent a message to my agent. After a lot of support from other authors as well as some great advice, and a nice long talk with my agent, I decided not to engage this author at all. I then sent messages to Amazon alerting them to the defamatory reviews—which are against Amazon’s policy—and made an appointment with a lawyer. The posts on Facebook and other social media are blatant slander, and her accusation has no foundation.
To be as up-front as possible, I’m going to establish a timeline for my series.
I wrote Broken World while living in California, which why it was set in California, not because these other books were set there as one irate reader stated. I’m not positive when I started writing it, probably in the summer of 2012, but I do know I emailed a finished version of it to myself on December 23, 2012, because I still have that file saved in my email. And here is the screenshot to prove it:
Shattered World I started writing as soon as I finished the first book, and the file I have saved for that one comes from January 23, 2013. And here’s the screenshot to prove it:
Now book three, which is titled Mad World and apparently the source of all this fuss, I wrote right after I’d finished writing the second book. The title was actually taken from the song, Mad World. (Various artists sing this song, but I’m sure you know the one I’m talking about. I have the version by Gary Jules.) I’d been listening to this song a lot around that time, and it just seemed to fit the plot I had decided on for book three. I sent a finished file of Mad World to my friend Erin on June 11, 2013 (I couldn’t find it in my email, so I enlisted the help of a friend). Screenshot I obtained from Erin:
Apparently, this other author’s zombie books came out July 26, 2012, August 28, 2012 and October 4, 2013. While I know this doesn’t exactly prove my side, it does show that this author and I were probably writing our books around the same time. Her first book came out in July of 2012, and since I had sent myself a finished version of Broken World in December of 2012, it stands to reason that I was working on this book in some for when her book was released. THEY AREN’T EVEN A LITTLE BIT THE SAME.
In an attempt to clear my name, I contacted a reviewer who has rated both this book and my book on Goodreads. Shandy Jo writes for the book blog Mama Knows Books, and was one of the first reviewers I contacted to read Broken World when I released it this past summer. She responded to my inquiry with the following statement:
“Kate- I’m so sorry to hear you are dealing with this. Yes I’ve read your first two book and her first two books while the premiss is similar, many zombie books are. Trust me I’ve read a lot of zombie books. The similarities are that two groups of survivors are traveling cross country to find safety from zombies. If I’m remembering correctly that’s about it. I think they even end up going in different directions, her’s go for Canada and yours the desert. Her main characters are teens and a zombie hybrid boy. Yours were adults, and no zombie hybrids to be seen. Broken World takes place after the virus has already broken out and [Title redacted] begins as the virus is breaking out.
If there had been any blatant plagiarism in the book I would have called you on it in my review. I also have to say while [author’s name redacted] books were good, they didn’t have the impact of your books. Your story line felt much more emotionally raw. So as a reviewer I have to say that no your books are not identical to, or plagiarized from, [author’s name redacted] books.
I hope this helps, and I can’t believe that an author would attack another author publicly like this. If there is anything else I can do please let me know.”
The posts have mostly been taken off Facebook–not before I was able to take pictures–but the reviews left by this author’s husband and her followers are still there. I now have seven one star reviews on Amazon, where before I had zero. And they all are accusing me of being a thief.
It hurts, especially when they are judging my book based on someone else’s emotions. I’m a legitimate author. I have a literary agent and a three book deal with Kensington Press, and I worked on these stories myself. Writing, editing, revising, taking time away from my husband and kids so I could build something of my own. I wrote those books, I didn’t steal them. I’d never heard of this author or her series, and even if I had I wouldn’t have bothered to take her ideas because I enjoy writing. I think the thing that hurts the most, which is something I hadn’t even thought about until my husband pointed it out, is that by accusing me of plagiarism this author is essentially trying to take credit for my work.
The author’s husband leaves a very detailed review discussing the similarities between the two books (even though he’s never read mine). Since they’ve both been so public about the situation, I decided I would respond to his review directly.
The premise of this series is not original. Far from it. In 2012-13, [author’s name redacted] published a zombie apocalypse trilogy titled “Mad World” in which a deadly virus (check) creates a zombie apocalypse (check), leading to a cross-country trip (check) by a group of friends, [My characters are NOT friends. They meet along the way. If you had read the book, you would know that.] including a new mother (check) [My character is not a new mother. She gave her daughter up for adoption four years earlier, so you see, the characters aren’t really that similar.] Sound familiar? If it does, it’s probably because you read [author’s name redacted] trilogy, in which the bubonic plague escapes from a Stanford University laboratory, [My virus was not the bubonic plague, it did not come from Stanford or any other university.] causing a disease that turns the majority of the population into zombies. [In my book, the disease kills the people. Two days later, they come back. Is that what happens in this book? Not sure because I haven’t read it, but I seriously doubt it.] Instead of traveling TO California, [My characters are traveling to California because when I was writing this book, I lived there. I like to write about places I’ve been or lived, and at the time my husband was stationed at Travis AFB in Fairfield. Which is where the characters were headed: Fairfield, CA.] as the female protagonist does in Mary’s books, the main character – also a young woman [Seriously? How many books have a young woman as the main character? I can’t even respond to this.]– and her friends are escaping FROM California after the plague strikes there.
This is from Kate L. Mary’s description of her work: “The virus is spreading, and by the time the group makes it to California, most of the population has been wiped out. When the dead start coming back, Vivian and the others realize that no electricity or running water are the least of their concerns. Now Vivian has to figure out how to be a mother under the most frightening circumstances …”
With the exception of the protagonist’s name, this could have been a description of [author’s name redacted] books. [And A LOT of zombie books if you look at it that way.] In fact, “Broken World” is not a “fresh take on zombies,” as one reviewer claimed, but the same concept [author’s name redacted] presented in her own books two years earlier. [How does he even KNOW this? He didn’t read my book, so he has no idea what the story or the concept I presented in this book is. He didn’t bother to take the time to do any research before trashing me all of the internet.] Worst of all is the use of the “Mad World” title on the third book in this series – the same title [author’s name redacted] used earlier for her own series. This will undoubtedly lead to confusion between the two works, which is highly regrettable and entirely unnecessary. Had the author of this work Googled potential titles before deciding on one, it could have easily been avoided. [I shouldn’t have to google titles. You know why? Because titles can’t be copyrighted and I can name my book whatever I want. If I want to call it The Hunger Games, I can. I’d be stupid to, but it would be okay. Plus, I don’t think anyone is mistaking the two series…we have very different covers, different names. AND A DIFFERENT PLOT. Plus, if you were to google most titles you’d find a book with the same name. Probably more than one.]
Authors put a lot of time and effort into their works. Just coming up with an original idea can be an arduous and difficult task. When one hits that “gold mine” of a great idea and title, one doesn’t expect to see them in conjunction with one another under a different author’s name. [Gold mine? Really? Okay, so my books are doing well (I have no idea how this other author’s books are doing because I’ve never read them or heard of them until now), but my books aren’t a gold mine. And yes, authors put a lot of time into a novel and title, but one author doesn’t hold a monopoly on a title or the hard work it takes to write something. Why should this author’s time and effort rate higher than mine? For some reason she feels her work should trump everything I’ve done or tried to achieve, and because of that it’s okay for her to slander me all over social media and even encourage her readers to do the same.]
The facts in this situation are clear: an author saw that our books had similar storylines and titles, and jumped to the conclusion that I’d read her book and stole it from her. Rather than take the time to do a little research or contact me, she reacted on emotions. Which is not what I have done. At this time, I’ve not engaged or interacted with this person at all, and instead of trashing her on social media I contacted a lawyer and had a cease and desist letter drafted. As long as the other parties involved comply, I will consider this matter resolved. The accusations still hurt. There are still people who saw the accusations on Facebook and think I’ve plagiarized someone else’s work. But I’m willing to drop it if they are. If they don’t, I’ll hire a lawyer. I refuse to allow anyone bully me into changing the title of my book when I know I’m in the right. I refuse to allow anyone to slander me on social media and accuse me of things I haven’t done. I refuse to allow another author take credit for MY work by accusing me of copying something she’s written.
Thank you to all the other authors who rallied around me and stood up for me, who pointed out the ridiculousness of this claim rationally. I really appreciate the support. And thank you Stacey Donaghy for being so fired up over my book even though you don’t even represent it. I honestly have the best agent ever!
While I have blacked out all names except my own for the purpose of this post, I still have the original pictures saved in my email. But here are the posts these people put on Facebook:
It’s hard to believe this time last year I was still unpublished. Not only that, I was actively participating pitch contests such as pitchmas and pitmad on Twitter, querying agents and editors, and totally clueless about how to self-publish. Now, I have three books out and another right around the corner, then there’s that the three book deal with Kensington. Oh, and did I mention I have an agent? That’s right! All that searching finally paid off when I found my awesome agent, Stacey Donaghy.
With all that’s changed over the last year, I thought I’d compile a list of the highlights of 2014.
#10- Etopia Press.
This taught me a lot. Like how the editing process works and how a publisher should not behave. It also introduced me to a lot of awesome authors, and an editor whose work I really value. There were some tears and stressful moments, but I wouldn’t change how it all went down because it brought me to where I am today. When I got dropped, it felt horrible. It was like a slap in the face and totally unexpected, and I didn’t know where to go or what to do. Within a couple weeks, however, I was thrilled by the turn of events. I still know a lot of unhappy authors who are stuck with this publisher, so how I got so lucky as to have them hand me my rights back I’ll never know. But I am so glad.
#9- Getting to hold a book in my hands that had MY name on it.
Getting a book out is awesome, but there’s something to be said for holding the physical copy of your book in your hands. Opening that box of books the first time was better than Christmas!
#8- Having Broken World hit a top 100 list on Amazon.
Broken World made it onto the list of top 100 books in dystopian fiction back in July, and it made my day. I love this book so much, but I had no idea it would do as well as it has. It’s blown me away how much people have loved it, and the fact that it hit the top 100 is awesome enough. But it stayed there all the way until November! I think the highest it got on the list was #8 (during a sale), but even being #99 makes me happy.
#7- Being included in someone’s list of their favorite new authors of 2014.
This made me smile. I love that anyone would buy my books, and I love getting feedback, but being included in someone’s list for the favorites of 2014? Amazing! Thank you so much Nicole Hewitt at Feed Your Fiction Addiction!
#6- Getting that first four digit royalty payment from Amazon.
I don’t write for the money. True, I do want to make this a career, which means making money. True, I do want to be able to earn enough that when my husband gets out of the Air Force he can just join the reserves and not have a second job (he’s been away enough). But money isn’t my motivation. I love writing and I have so many stories trapped in my brain that sometimes I literally can’t sleep at night. But, I’m not going to lie, getting that first royalty payment that was over $1,000 felt like validation. It was like all these people getting together to say: You are a writer. Which is awesome. Thank you, everyone!
#5- Talking to a real agent on the phone!
This happened back in February when we were in the middle of packing up our house in California. It wasn’t the agent I eventually signed with, but getting to talk to a real literary agent on the phone was a very surreal moment. I’ve had a lot of agents request partial and full manuscripts, but getting to talk to one on the phone and hearing how much she loved my book was an amazing experience I will never forget.
#4- Alicia Condon, my editor at Kensington.
When I woke up to the email from Alicia Condon at Kensington press, I almost started crying. Right there in her email she told me how much she loved THE LIST and asked me to give her a call so we could discuss a contract. It was an awesome moment, because while Kensington isn’t one of the big five publishers, it’s still a pretty awesome press. They’ve been around for a long time and they’re growing, they have a good reputation and a name people recognize. Then I spoke with her on the phone and got to hear all the wonderful things she had to say about my book. Then she made me an offer! This will definitely be one of the highlights of my life.
#3- Getting my agent!
Yes, after all that time querying and getting so close, I finally managed to snag an agent this year! Stacey is funny and very passionate, and she works her butt off for her clients. I’m so honored to be one of those clients because I know she wouldn’t just take anyone on. I’m looking forward to lots of awesome deals with Stacey as my agent.
#2- My very first five star review for Broken World.
Sending my book out to bloggers was terrifying. I knew I loved this book, but I had no idea how others would respond. The obvious similarities between my characters and the Dixon brothers, plus the fact that the zombies don’t show up until halfway through…it made me nervous. So, when I got that five star review from Fox at Gorestruly, I literally cried. She got the story I was trying to tell so perfectly, and I loved that a reader could appreciate what I’d written as much as I did.
#1- Fan emails.
You guys have no idea how much I love fan email. Having someone send me a message to tell me how they liked my book or that they stayed up all night to finish it or that they are in love with Axl (which, let’s face it, who wouldn’t be?), is a truly humbling and euphoric experience. If I could take all the emails I’ve gotten and print them out so I could read them every day, I would. In fact, I may try to do some project this year that includes awesome quotes from fans, because there’s nothing better than knowing people love something you’ve spent so much time on.
So here are a few quotes from my favorite fan emails/comments/reviews:
Soozy Peez: “I just recieved my copy of Mad World and I’m half way done. My heart has been in my throat this entire time. Omg. What a book!!!”
Bree Smith: “Just finished book 2 in the Broken World series and I must say you have outdone yourself. Simply Superb. I read book 2 in one sitting and I am on pins and needles now waiting to see all the carnage Axl will unleash on Vivian’s captors and how significant her mother will become when book 3 arrives. Thank you for creating this world. I love it.”
Fox at Gores Truly: “I would definitely recommend this book. There is action, there are hints of romance, there are dystopian themes and there are zombies! Honestly, I couldn’t ask for more in a book.”
Shandy Mama Knows Books: “Ms. Mary did a bang up job of creating a wold that was horrifying and real. The plot swept me along keeping me on the edge of my seat and tugging at my heatstrings.”
Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction: “Turns out all of these characters have layers, and learning about them was definitely my favorite part of the book.”
It’s a bit later than I wanted to get it out there, but with the holidays and family stuff, plus facing a deadline for my New Adult contemporary series, I’ve been scrambling like crazy. Better late than never, right?
Only 27 days to go, and Mad World is up for pre-order on Amazon!
Just a note for anyone who might be wondering.
When I first published my books, I put them on Amazon Select. This is a special program Amazon has that allows your books to be part of the Kindle Unlimited program, as well as other special promotions. Because of this, I wasn’t allowed to put them on B&N or any other ebook retailer for at least 90 days.
As we all know, Broken World did amazing on the select program. It was a tough call when my 90 days were up, but ultimately I decided to pull my books from select and make them available on B&N, Kobo and Google Play. But doing this meant that people enrolled in Kindle Unlimited could no longer borrow my book, which would cut down on my royalties. I had hoped to make up the difference on other retailers, but I didn’t. As of Monday I’d sold 0 books on Kobo and Google Play, so I pulled them from those retailers. I have made a little over $10 on B&N.
Because of this, I’ve decided to put my books back on the select program. The borrows I had on Kindle Unlimited were pretty significant. Last month they accounted for more than $500 of my royalty payments, which there’s no way I’ll be able to make up for with the way my sales have been on B&N. I know a lot of authors get upset by the monopoly Amazon seems to have on ebooks, but I’ll be honest. There’s good reason for it. Amazon is thinking ahead. They’re creating programs for Indie authors that no other retailer is, which is why so many authors are willing to put their books on Amazon alone. Bottom line: it’s worth it.
So, I’ve made the decision to pull all my books from B&N and go back on the select program. Probably for good. I apologize to anyone who only owns a Nook. Trust me, I get it. My first ereader was Nook, so it annoyed me when authors only put their books on Amazon. But I get it now, and unfortunately this is the right call for me.
The Walking Dead season Five
is just a few short days away!
To celebrate the return of the BEST show ever, I’m dropping the price of Broken World!