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LindaHilton

Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic

Currently reading

Norman Lewis Omnibus: A Dragon Apparent; Golden Earth; and a Goddess in the Stones
Norman Lewis
All the President's Men
Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
Progress: 73/383 pages
Women's Gothic and Romantic Fiction: A Reference Guide (American Popular Culture)
Kay Mussell
Progress: 17/157 pages
The Looking-Glass Portrait
Linda Hilton
Really Neat Rocks: A casual introduction to the rocks & gems of Arizona and the lapidary arts
Linda Hilton
Progress: 61/61 pages
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Jon Krakauer
The Power of Myth
Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers
Progress: 20 %
Fires of Surrender - Sylvie F. Sommerfield I won't even dignify this book with a single star.

After the 1990 RWA National Conference in San Francisco, I was riding to the airport in a taxi with fellow authors Connie Flynn and Patricia Potter. Ms. Potter mentioned that there had been some gossip going around the final hours of the conference regarding an accusation of plagiarism leveled at popular Zebra Books author Sylvie Sommerfield. Her latest book, Ms. Potter said, was rumored to contain verbatim passages from something called The Hepburn. I literally gasped and said, "Oh my God, The Hepburn by Jan Westcott is one of my favorite books of all time!"

Upon arriving at my destination, I headed for the nearest newstand and found a copy of Fires of Surrender for sale. Long before I'd reached the baggage claim area, I found passages -- they begin on page 15 -- that echoed with painful familiarity. Once home, I retrieved my copy of The Hepburn and began making notes. The next morning I called Romantic Times and gave them the details over the phone, then mailed photocopies of numerous pages for comparison. And by numerous, I mean 20+ from various sections throughout the books.

Eventually Ms. Sommerfield made a variety of confessions, including that under deadline pressure and personal issues, she had hired an assistant who did the actual copying. I'm not sure now, 20+ years later, whether there really was an assistant or if Sommerfield, who has now gone to her ultimate reward, did the work herself and created a ghost of a ghost.

It was not merely that text passages were copied; the main plot was lifted virtually in toto.

Supposedly, some kind of financial agreement was reached between Zebra/Kensington and Ms. Westcott, who outlived her infringer by more than a decade, but as far as I know, no details were made public.

I have copies of both books within arm's reach as I write this. If anyone wants to challenge this, I can scan and post representative pages.