Saturday, 24 October 2015

Laura Harner and the Separate Ways series

Hi everybody,

I haven't slept very well in the last few days. Not since the story broke that Laura Harner had plagiarized Becky McGraw's work. Plagiarizm is wrong on every level and there is no excuse for it. Doctors may have the hippocratic oath, well authors - the majority of them anyway - have their own code and abide by it -YOU DON'T PINCH SOMEBODY ELSE'S WORK!

I have remarked on a few threads and am as appalled as everybody else, especially because my name is on one of Harner's books as co-writer. I'm talking about the Separate Ways series which it is alleged has similarities to Abi Roux's Cut and Run series.

I was approached by Harner to write a series as she had been betaing one of my other books and I agreed. I'm not going to lie, this wasn't the most cohesive or pleasant writing experience I've had. The plot was very much governed by Harner and it was much easier to just run with the plotline she threw at me. I was only involved in the first book, Continental Divide. After a falling out with Harner, I was spectacularly thrown under the bus and she bought the characters from me, paid me what royalties were owed me and I went on my merry way, glad to be out of it. In fact I haven't spoken to her since.

I know I'm not the only co-writer she has had and I'm concerned for them, too. Those of you who know me and my work know the type of person I am and I can assure you that the characterization of Jamie is mine and mine alone. Can I say the same for Harner's character? After this week's revelations... I'm not so sure.

Writing is hard people. It's long hours of plotting and outlining and trying to get blood out of a stone when the words won't come. Or days spent screaming in frustration at your characters because you want them to go one way and they're digging in their heels and pushing you in the opposite direction - but I still love it. I know how hard it is and how much of yourself goes into each word so I would never take someone else's work. It's just incomprehensible to me. It's like taking someone's child for god's sake.

My sympathies are with the authors and quite frankly, I think Harner's silence on this issue speaks volumes.

49 comments:

  1. Hugs!! I have physically seen you write, and plot, and ponder. You do put a lot of hard work into your characters!

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  2. I absolutely adored your Jamie and I don't care who knows it. Just as I adore the rest of your funny tender blokes. You have a unique voice, one that I enjoy very much. *cwtches*

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  3. You're my bestie. I know what you went through writing the story and afterwards. Anyone wants to call you a plagiarist can take it up with me.

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  4. Nodding in agreement here, it's Just Not Done. Lowest of the low.

    I'm not even published yet, but the thought of someone else passing off my blood, sweat and tears as their own makes me go cold all over.

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  7. Through the grapevine, I've heard a couple of cockamamey excuses she's tossed up like softballs, but I'm not buying either of them. For one, they are totally ludicrous and unbelievable, but a lot more creative than her writing, however. The first was that she kept an 'inspiration file' on her computer, and accidentally pulled my book file from there. 1> What the hell was she doing with a writeable file from another author on her computer? 2> Did the book magically get changed to m/m, the character names changed without her realizating it? 3> She had to intentionally create that writeable file probably by cracking a mobi file because NOBODY other than my editor and me have a pdf or a Word file of that book.

    SECOND EXCUSE presented this morning is that her evil daughter did it. Yeah, she split Opal Carew's Riding Steele into a six-part serial, published it over time chapter-by-chapter on Watt Pad under LH's name and account, interacting with the fans as she 'wrote it'. She had covers made for it, had it edited, then published it on Amazon on LH's account. NOT BUYING IT.

    I was born at night--just not last night. The more excuses I hear from her madder and more determined I get. The best thing she can do is suck it up, admit what she did and stop trying to con us even more, make reparations...and for God's sake STFU.

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    1. Your last sentence should be pasted everywhere. Sorry you've been through this shit, Becky. Glad to have the chance to tell you directly.

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    2. Thanks for your support, Sue <3

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    3. She threw her daughter under the bus as an excuse??? Wow.......... mother of the year award right there.

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    4. Wow. I've heard the "it was my ghostwriter!" excuse, but "it was my kid" is a new one. And a new low. Does she even have a daughter? Not feeling inclined to believe anything she says.

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    5. I'm so sorry this happened to you and others, Becky. Is she seriously saying her daughter did it? Did her dog eat her homework too?

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    6. I have proof via screen shots of the first excuse she 'test drove' to another m/m author. The second excuse was said to have been pitched in a small m/m author FB group, but I do not have confirmation of that one. I was also told by the same mm author who provided the screenshot of her first excuse, though, so I believe she did it.

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  8. Excuse the typos. I'm a little upset.

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  9. Sounds like plagiarism & Grand Theft Erotic are not her only problems. What's she stirring up in her cauldron today I wonder?

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  10. I'm so sorry you had to even write this. I love your work. I felt sad and sick when this story broke. Her silence ... well, it irritates me. I don't know the other authors involved, but I feel for them. Keep being fabulous, Lisa!!!

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  11. For what it's worth I remember all this happening between you and Laura. It was an awful time and I'm sorry you were put in this position.

    And yes, LH broke the code. It's unforgiveable.

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  12. The more I read about this, the sicker I get. I loved the Separate Ways series and it is just so tainted now. As I am looking at the books that I have read of hers, I can see how all of them are not consistently written. I doubt if she has even written an original thought on her own. I don't think you are the first person to have had issues with her. I don't know how she was able to go to GRL and look people in the eyes.

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    1. That's what I don't get - how do you show nyour face when you know what you've done. Was she gloating?

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  13. I'm sorry you had this experience with her. The plagiarism really is shameful.

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  14. I'm so sorry you've been caught up in this mess. For what it's worth, the thought of you being involved never crossed my mind, just the opposite! (((Hug))) I missed you at the UKMeet, but hopefully next year!!

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    1. Thanks Paul. I'll definitely be there next year. Your support means an lot x

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  15. i'm so sorry that you got caught up in this and am angry on your behalf. it's clear to me that she diddn't really care who she trampled on as she tried to claw her way to the top. :(

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    1. When I wrote with her I knew in the back ofn my mind she wanted to use my name because she wasn't known in the mm genre, but nI ndidn't really mind if it gave her a bit of a boost. But the ndepths to which she has stooped are unbelievable.

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  16. I read and reviewed Separate Ways on Jessewave when it was published. I've always enjoyed your writing and was looking forward to seeing where the series would go. However, once you left the series, I did not continue reading it. My reading tastes don't go into menages or estranged lovers. But ever since this situation, I've never doubted you wrote Jamie. You're too honest a person to steal another author's words. So I am very sorry if anyone is questioning your work, because they shouldnt. I also feel bad for Tom Webb, who also collaborated with Laura. Keep your head up, lots of us readers don't believe her co-authors should be tarred with the same brush as her. This whole situation is so sad.

    Lasha

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    1. thanks Lasha, that's much appreciated. People asked me why nI nwasn't involved with the others but I just brushed it off. Was nglad to be out of it.

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  17. OUCH!! I'm sorry to hear how you and so many other wonderful authors and readers have been dragged into this mess. :(

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  18. I also read Continental Divide & your writing stood out as Your work. I only read the 1st book. Anyone who reads your own published works will recognise your style.
    Hugs you hard
    BJ Williams x

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  19. I also read Continental Divide & your writing stood out as Your work. I only read the 1st book. Anyone who reads your own published works will recognise your style.
    Hugs you hard
    BJ Williams x

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  20. I'm glad that you posted this. I personally don't think any of her co-writers knew what she was doing, but I know many are speculating that to be the case, so to see you post your side and set the record straight makes me happy. I, too, remember when you went through this with Laura, and it's one of the reasons I eventually unfriended her. I knew there was more to the situation than her one-sided take, and she just made me really uncomfortable. Now I know why. Best of luck to you.

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    1. Thank you, Donya. I can only imagine what she said about me at the time. I can't believe she's done nwhat she's ndone

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  21. I just read Continental Divide and loved it. Went on facebook and all started to unravel with a story that Laura Harner had plagiarised her latest book (which I had bought, read and reviewed). I had to dig deeper because I just fell in love with Remy and Jamie and now I am just a deflated reader, who doesn't know what is up and what is down. Are you saying that I will find this series somewhere else with similar to the same words because Laura cannot write her own stories?

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    1. I really don#t know, Fluser - it looks like it's possible

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  22. Glad you are speaking up, Lisa. The silence is what's damning, and I hope the other authors speak up as well. She's ripped off not only the readers, the genre she writes in, but the authors she collaborated with. Shining the light on it, which I hope continues, will let the blame fall where it clearly should: on her shoulders. So sorry for you and so glad you told your story, and now we know. I hope all the others follow suit. It's in the secrets where the thieves live, where every evil lives. When people don't speak up, they get away with it and win. Thank you.

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  23. For what it's worth, Lisa, you didn't have to convince me of a thing. You've always been a stand up person with an enviable work ethic. When this first came to light, I remembered how you told me how she'd been so controlling when you'd produced Continental Divide. If she ripped off her part of the story from someone else, it certainly would explain how hard she drove you and pushed you and was unwilling to deviate from her timeline and outline. Thank goodness you got out of that collaboration when you did. Anyone who knows you like I do, cannot possibly think you would ever dream of ripping off another author. You're just too damned talented, honey. xoxo

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  24. I read Continental Divide and Jamie was the best part of the book (glad to know he's yours). I didn't like the story arch however, so I didn't read the rest of the series. You however captivated me with your Laurel Heights series and Unshakeable Faith. As your fan I just wanted to say thx for all the hours your put into writing to entertain us fans. Keep up the good work and your fans will keep buying and reading. :)

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