As I sat staring at the screen, reading my words with an unfamiliar name attached to them, the world spun around me. Shane. Who was Shane? An interloper who had crawled inside my Aaron’s body and took over his life. It was as if he’d been raped all over again, and the injustice of it infuriated me. When I first received the email from Dreamspinner Press informing me that Aaron had been plagiarized, retitled, recovered and sold by some unknown man claiming to have written it as his own, I couldn’t believe it. Of course, when I started writing, I’d copyrighted every one of my self-published books to protect them, but once I started with a publisher, the practice fell by the way side. L mean, I was a nobody, who on earth would want to steal my work?
I found out the answer to that question the night of July 14th while preparing to leave for RWA. On July 10th, an author named Michael J Wagner posted Shane on Amazon, and in no time at all a discussion popped up on the page entitled “Is this JP Barnaby’s Aaron”? Someone who had read and enjoyed Aaron contacted Dreamspinner Press who responded immediately, even though they were thousands of miles from home at the UK Meet Up. They requested my copyright documentation, so I immediately filed with the US Copyright office and sent the registration number to them. I also informed them how to prove that the book was plagiarized because if the offending author hadn’t taken the time to chance certain passages, the book would not make sense by merely changing character names. I also informed them that if needed, I could provide time-stamped emails of drafts. There would be no doubt the book belonged to me.
The longer I thought about it, the angrier I got. It wasn’t about the money. The man had even stolen my dedication and supplanted it with someone else’s name. Aaron is my soul. He came to me one night and woke me from a sound sleep to tell me about his monsters in the dark. He shared his story with me because we have the same monsters. By stealing my words, and taking my experiences, he tried to take something from me. But I am no longer that scared little girl hiding in the closet from her monsters. Sweet little Trish isn’t here right now, honey—it’s all JP now, and you will not take my boys from me. Aaron deserves better than merely being tossed aside while someone else steals his identity. Spencer is a strong and brilliant character who fought all his life to be who he is. You will not take that from either of them.
You picked the wrong book, my friend.
The stolen book whose only review is a rebuke for stealing someone else’s work. Notice the sexualized cover on the book about a teenage rape victim. Nice touch.
My dedication to my college boyfriend Chris who, though straight, read Aaron and supported me through its writing.
A view of the stolen text.
The original version from my Aaron
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