Monday, March 14, 2016

Patchwork Plagiarism

Posted by JM Darhower Monday, March 14, 2016, under | 46 comments

Last week, I woke up to an email from a reader, the subject of which was every author's biggest fear:
someone has stolen your work

Now, I get messages occasionally from concerned readers who find similarities of my books in other books (I got another one just over the weekend), and I'm sure other authors get these messages, too, and we're grateful for them. We can't have eyes everywhere. We don't see everything. So we appreciate that people are looking out for us (that they love our work enough to want to protect it!). Luckily, the vast majority of the time it's simply a case of coincidence. It's a matter of inspiration, of similar thoughts and feelings. Coincidence does, in fact, exist, and it happens often. More than once another author and I have created similar scenes, had our characters exchange similar dialogue, and we've laughed about it. Great minds think alike and all that jazz. And if I've ever inspired another writer, if my work has ever in any way spawned an idea in somebody else that turned into a book, that's AMAZING. I am absolutely honored, and you rock the fuck on with your badass writing self. I've read many books that have inspired me. None of my books would exist if Mario Puzo hadn't written The Godfather. I probably wouldn't have had the guts to ever publish something if it weren't for Twilight. I am a BIG champion of fan-fiction. I love fan-fiction, I support fan-fiction, and I've written fan-fiction. Creativity spawns creativity. Like Albert Einstein said, "creativity is contagious... pass it on." (don't quote me on that, because I haven't officially sourced it... but I'm sure he'd agree).

But that's not what this is about.

This isn't about being inspired.

This is about copying.

 *back to the email I received*

So this reader of mine said she recently picked up a book, The Don: Sebastiano by Elle Raven & Aimie Jennison, and she was quite upset because as she was reading it, she was coming across passages that she KNEW she'd read a few times before... passages she was sure, without even having to crack my book open, that she'd read in Monster in His Eyes.

Here is one such passage (page 97, location 1517 of The Don):

"There's no need to be afraid; I'm not going to hurt you."
I kissed her then. Her lips were soft like velvet, a stark contrast to the roughness of mine. My kiss was gentle and I could hear her small, languid breaths against my lips which I eagerly inhaled, taking them all in. She was consuming me. I heard her let out a soft moan, and I barely caught it as I whispered, "Unless you want me to."
It indeed rung a bell, so I fished out my handy dandy copy of Monster in His Eyes, and there is was:

MONSTER IN HIS EYES (page 71, location 1149):
"You don't have to be afraid," he says. "I'm not going to hurt you."
He kisses me then. His lips are soft—so, so soft, like velvet, a stark contrast to the roughness of the rest of him. His kiss is gentle, little more than breaths against my lips that I eagerly inhale, taking him in. I let out a soft moan, hardly catching it as he whispers, "unless you want me to."

Okay, wow, that's super close. Maybe we just really think alike. Could be a coincidence, right?

THE DON (page 96, location 1496):
"If you want me to stop, just tell me and I will," I reassured her.
"Should we..." Her voice was a strained whisper. "I mean, do I need to have a safe word just in case I don't like what you do? I've watched movies. I've read books and from what you've done to me already, I have no idea how kinky you'll get."
I stopped mid-thrust, pulling back to look at her. I laughed, raised my scarred eyebrow and asked, "Is that right? Now what makes you think I'll give you reason to want to use a safe word?"
"I, uh... will I be needing one?"
I considered what she said for a moment before shaking my head and pushing into her, a little harder this time, making her breath hitch.
"Not this time, baby," I said, fighting off a smile. "Relax, Sierra. Just relax and let me fuck you."

MONSTER IN HIS EYES (page 74, location 1206):
"If you want me to stop, just tell me," he says, "and I will."
"Should we…" My voice is a strained whisper. "I mean, should I have a safe word or something?"
I've watched movies, I've read books, and I'm not sure how kinky this man gets.
He stalls mid-thrust, pulling back to look at me, his eyebrow curving. I can see the twinkle in his eyes, amusement, the monster intrigued by my question. "Do you want one?"
"I, uh… do I need one?"
He seems to consider that for a moment, halfway inside of me, before shaking his head and pushing into me, a little harder this time, making my breath hitch.
"Not this time," he says, fighting off a smile. "Just relax, Karissa."


THE DON (page 127, location 1980):
"Really, well, who are you then?"
I took another step toward her. I was so close I could see the chocolate and hazel flecks in her eyes. I stared down at her, keeping my expression deathly serious.
"I am someone you should stay far away from."
The minute I said those words to her, I felt her tremble and noticed gooseflesh all the way down her arms. I loved the effect I had over this woman. With only one word or look, I could make her tremble.
"I don't think I can. I don't think I want to stay away from you."
Sierra responded by reaching out toward me, running her hand across my chest and brushing it against my thigh. I yearned to touch her back but I was too angry, so I snatched hold of her hand, stilling it on my leg, my grip strong.
"I'm telling you," I said, my voice strained. "I'm warning you. I'm not a good man, Sierra, and I never will be. So don't think you can fix me, or that I'll ever change, because I won't. I can't."

MONSTER IN HIS EYES (page 81, location 1807):
"Who are you then?"
He takes another step forward, so close that I can see the blue in his eyes now. He stares down at me on the bed, his expression serious. "Someone you should stay far away from."
Those words make me tremble. I believe it—he has a way of making someone believe whatever he says—but still, they don't stop the traitorous feelings inside of me. Maybe I should stay away from him, but I don't want to.
I don't think I can.
Instead of responding, I reach out toward him, running my hand along his thigh. The yearning to touch him still lingers in me. His reflex is startling fast as he snatches a hold of my hand, stilling it on his leg, his grip strong.
"I'm telling you," he says, his voice strained. "I'm warning you. I'm not a good man, Karissa, and I never will be. So don't think you can fix me, or that I'll ever change, because I won't. I can't. You have to know, if this goes any further, if you ask me to stay, I'm not going to be able to let you walk away."


THE DON (page 116, location 1819):
Removing his hands from between my legs, he cupped my chin with his hand, tilting my face to his so I had no choice but to look him in the eyes. His thumb swept along my bottom lip, and I let out a shuddering breath as he leaned closer, tilting his head as if he was going to kiss me but pausing instead. His gaze burned through me, seeping down into my soul, seizing me like a prisoner.
I am his willing captive.

MONSTER IN HIS EYES (page 71, location 1144):
He cups my chin with his hand, tilting my face so I have no choice but to look him in the eyes. His thumb sweeps along my bottom lip, and I let out a shuddering breath as he leans closer, tilting his head like he's going to kiss me, but he pauses there instead. His gaze burns through me, seeping down into my soul, seizing me like a prisoner.
I'm a willing captive.

 *clears throat*

I could go on, but you get my drift.

Monster in His Eyes released in April 2014.

The other book? It came out in November 2014.

It was on sale for well over a year before the reader discovered these passages. A year, before anybody noticed. Without this reader, it might've been another year. Hell, it might've never been noticed. And that makes me sick to my stomach.

Not to be melodramatic, but I poured my heart into those words. It doesn't feel good, you know, having them ripped out and used. (Okay, sorry... that was totally melodramatic... but that's sort of how it feels). I could make some guesses as to how this happened. I could speculate all day, but I'm not going to. I contacted the authors of The Don about the situation last week, and one of them responded by promptly pulling the book from sale and saying they were going to speak to a lawyer. They've also pulled the sequel to it. Not going to speculate why. Just laying it all out.

I'm sure there are some people who will think I'm in the wrong for making this public. They'll think I should've kept it as a personal matter, that I should've dealt with it in private. They'll maybe even call me a bully for standing up for myself. But this isn't something that should be swept under the rug. This type of behavior, this 'patchwork plagiarism' shouldn't be tolerated. I see other authors dealing with this who keep it private, who make deals behind closed doors for 'restitution' and are then barred from speaking about it publicly, so nobody knows it ever happened. And that's their right. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. I've sought legal counsel and I'm fully following her recommendations in this situation. But we've got enough problems in the book world, dealing with piracy. We shouldn't have to also deal with other authors--authors we do takeovers with, authors we sit near at book signings and interact with in author support groups--hijacking our words on top of it. We shouldn't have to sit down and shut up and take it, like we're in the wrong for calling it out.

I'm not saying anything bad about the authors in question. I don't know them. All I'm saying is that while most of the time similarities are coincidences, sometimes they're... not.

*end of talk about email*

When something inspires you, you pay homage to it. You acknowledge it. You appreciate it, and you create something that showcases that. It doesn't have to be directly, but in your soul, in your heart, you know. Something got inside of you, it touched you, and it came back out through your art. ALL of us do this. Every single person. Whether we're conscious of it or not, everything that's touched us somehow becomes a part of who we are, and we in turn pass it on to somebody else.

But taking passages someone else wrote and using them as your own is not 'being inspired'. It is not imitation. It is not the greatest form of flattery. It is stealing. It is plagiarizing. And it's not cool. At all. The book world is supposed to be a big family. We're all in this together. We share struggles. We celebrate each others victories. We should respect each other. And sometimes this book world is so beautiful that it makes my heart want to burst.

But sometimes, it's disheartening.

Really disheartening.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Sempre Giveaway!

Posted by JM Darhower Friday, February 07, 2014, under | 18 comments

Good afternoon, my beautiful hummingbirds! As you may or may not know, Sempre will be released on paperback later this month (February 25th) by the amazing folks at Gallery Books. I am BEYOND thrilled. I can't even explain to you how much this all means to me. Truly a dream come true.

Some of you have already read it (if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for?! You can swoop up the ebook for a crazy low price! KINDLE NOOK) BUT who doesn't love PHYSICAL BOOKS?

No, seriously, who doesn't? I don't think I trust those people *hoards ALL the books*

So to celebrate the upcoming release of Sempre on paperback, and because I think there's nothing more amazing than the smell of the pages of a book fresh off the presses, I'm giving away FIVE COPIES of Sempre this weekend! Five lucky readers will have these bad boys in hand before it hits stores, and I'll sign it any way or to anyone you want. Open internationally, because, well, my hummingbirds overseas deserve a shot at it, too.

Enter below! Good luck!

(There is also a giveaway on Goodreads from Gallery Books, open to US residents LINK)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 6, 2014

What a year!

Posted by JM Darhower Monday, January 06, 2014, under | 6 comments

Somehow, when I wasn't looking, it became 2014. Seriously. I'm not sure how it happened. It was just 1998 and I was listening to NSYNC and writing fanfiction and now all of a sudden I'm thirty years old and it's damn near two decades later (and I'm still listening to NSYNC and writing the occasional fanfiction, but that's besides the point...) Anyway, yeah, so it's 2014.

This past year has been a whirlwind, full of ups and downs, but I can safely say it was the most interesting of my life. So without further ado, I present you with my 2013 in review:

1.) Started off the year by announcing I'd landed a book deal with the amazing Simon & Schuster. I'm forever grateful, and humbled, and just elated that the folks at Pocket and Gallery would take a chance on me, and on Haven, and Carmine, and the Sempre world. Truly a dream come true.

2.) Then best friend and I decided to drive to Florida to see Maroon 5 in concert (hello, Adam Levine!) but GPS decided it wanted to kill us instead so it sent us down a remote dirt path in South Carolina and told us to turn right into a lake...

...and when we finally made it to Florida (thankfully in one piece) we discovered we were staying at the same hotel as the band. Amazing weekend. Amazing concert (even if we did drive like six hours to the closest show only for them to announce an upcoming show near us as soon as we got there).

3.) Visited my friends Sarah and Shannon in CA and went to Disneyland and my spawn (unsurprisingly) didn't think it was the happiest place on earth (pfffftttt I had fun, so whatever...) and then we discovered Legoland was somehow even worse. But my son met the amazing Katie Lucas that weekend, so he was the happiest kid on the planet then. Also, I saw my book sitting on a shelf in a movie producer's office. That was probably a highlight of my life. Very surreal moment.

4.) Went with best friend and got my firefly tattoo in memory of my mama, who passed away the year before after a fight with lung cancer. The writing is hers, taken straight from a card she'd sent me years ago when I was off in college (an NSYNC greeting card, strangely enough).

 5.) Saw Imagine Dragons over the summer with my brother. BEST CONCERT EVER.

6.) My first big book signing in Orlando at Book Bash in June. Totally amazing. I have the BEST readers ever. I loved meeting so many of you (even though I didn't have any Sempre books!)

7.) That time I met Theo James at comic-con (yes, THEO, aka TOBIAS, aka FOUR, aka one of the hottest guys to ever walk the earth who plays one of the greatest characters ever written) and I only vaguely knew who he was at the time. I was like, oh hey, hot guy from Underworld!

I read Divergent after I got home. If I knew then what I know now... man... we'd be in some trouble...
(just kidding... I know how to behave... maybe...)

8.) That time I met Dean Winchester Jensen Ackles and the rest of the cast of Supernatural and realized they are practically their characters in the flesh. What a surreal experience. I even have a (terrible) picture to immortalize the moment I was touched by an angel ;)

9.) Basically just comic-con in general. It's so weird to think that most of my favorite moments of the year happened in the span of one weekend. There's something magical about being able to go somewhere and just be YOU, to let the inner geek out and fly your fangirl flag high and just proudly love what you love without being judged for it. Meeting so many wonderful authors, and seeing the stars of the shows and movies you love, while spending time with the greatest friends... amazing.

10.) That time I met Chuck Palahniuk and acquired a signed copy of the brilliant Fight Club *pets lovingly*

11.) Naughty Mafia book signing in Las Vegas... still had no copies of Sempre, but it was amazing to meet so many readers and make new friends and just hang out with people who love books as much as I do!
 And then getting a chance to play tourist with Sarah afterward (even though Bugsy pushed her down the stairs). Amazing seeing The Flamingo and stalking all things mafia in the area.

12.) And then we culminated the year with the release of Sempre and Sempre: Redemption. The feeling of seeing them together for the first time on my kindle app was truly indescribable... I legit cried for a few minutes. Perfecting ending to the year.

You can buy both on ebook and audio book today, with paperbacks coming soon! Available on Amazon and B&N and Audible and Tantor and just anywhere you buy your books basically.

So now the question is... what the hell am I going to do in 2014 to top all of this?! Well the answer to that will hopefully come soon, but suffice to say there will be more books, more signings, more trips, more drinks, more friends, more Theo James (a girl can dream, right?), more petting of my copy of Fight Club, more everything... and I truly owe it all to you, my lovely readers, for believing in me, and helping me believe in myself. I hope to meet so many more of you in the months to come (and this time, I'll FINALLY have copies of Sempre!!)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sempre Cover + FAQ

Posted by JM Darhower Friday, September 20, 2013, under | 15 comments


A question I frequently got when Simon & Schuster took over the rights for the Sempre series was if the cover from my self-published version of Sempre was going to change. My answer at the time? Yes. And no. Frankly, I didn't really know. My answer now? Yes... and no.


Okay, okay... confusing. How about instead of telling you, I *show* you? How's that sound? Ladies (and gentlemen), I present to you the lovely (newish) cover of Sempre:

Like I said, yes and no. Same basic cover, but tweaked, with more color, and different font, and I don't know about you, but I FREAKING LOVE IT. The folks at S&S did such a wonderful job of taking my theme and making it SO MUCH MORE. *happy author alert*

I've also been getting quite a few questions in regards to the books (and other stuff) so I'm including a little FAQ here to clear some things up.

1. I thought this book was already out!
Okay, this isn't a question, but I get this a lot. The rights for Sempre (and Sempre: Redemption) were picked up by Pocket/Gallery, a division of Simon & Schuster, so the version I released previously is no longer available for purchase (and hasn't been for awhile.)

2. Why the hell is Amazon showing Sempre costs a few thousand dollars? Are you CRAZY?
Ugh, yeah, I don't know. I've seen it. I have NOTHING to do with it. The price has fluctuated from two hundred bucks to fourteen thousand and everywhere in between since it went out of production. This is because the self-published version is no longer available. I don't know if that's a computer reaction to it as sort of a placeholder since there are no copies available or if idiots are really trying to sell it for that much. Either way, yeah, no, just ignore that craziness.

3. When will Sempre and the sequel be available?
Sempre will release in ebook format on November 25. Sempre: Redemption will release in ebook format on December 23. As far as the paperback goes, those dates are February 25, 2014, and April 1, 2014 as it stands right now. Other formats, like audio... can't really say right now, because I'm not sure yet (as far as translations go, there are none in the works currently, but if that changes, I'll let you know)

4. What's Sempre: Redemption about?
Sempre: Redemption is the continuation and completion of Carmine and Haven's story.

5. Completion? Does that mean this is it? IT'S OVER?
Yes... and no (this seems to be my answer for everything). Sempre and Sempre: Redemption comes full circle. Their journey is indeed complete. However, I recently finished the manuscript for a prequel story, which I referred to as Corrado's book, which I think confused some people into thinking this was the sequel. No, this is a third book. I have no details about this one in regards to publishing or anything. No idea what will happen to it. If anything happens, I'll be sure to let you know.

6. Just how different is the new version of Sempre coming out?
It's gone through extra editing, so the word count has decreased and the plotline is tighter, and the sex scenes that previously faded to black no longer do that pesky fading thing. I know some of you will be elated about that.

7. Can I pre-order the books?

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback
B&N Nook
BAM ebook
BAM Paperback

Sempre: Redemption
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback
B&N Nook
BAM ebook
BAM Paperback

DID I MISS ANYTHING? Feel free to ask if I did. I'm happy to help! And thank you all SO MUCH for all of your love and support (and patience!) Without you, there would be no me.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Book Winners

Posted by JM Darhower Friday, May 03, 2013, under | 3 comments

Book winners from the last blog post were:

Maria, who offered her first born and some NYC pics
Jackie M, who offered to sell her soul
Jessica Crespo, who had a Corrado/Vincent daydream

I've heard from Jessica. The other two have until Monday to contact me ( If I don't hear from you by then, I'll have to choose someone else.

Thanks, lovelies!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sempre News!

Posted by JM Darhower Thursday, May 02, 2013, under | 145 comments

Soooooo some of you already know this, but a lot of you don't, so I'm going to go ahead and officially announce it:

*clears throat*

The rights to Sempre and the forthcoming sequel have been sold to Simon & Schuster!


Okay, okay... enough celebrating. This actually happened months ago but we've been sitting on the details while the kinks were worked out. I know, I know... sooooooo sorry to keep you waiting. I've really been waiting just like you. But I can now tell you that I have a beautiful editor by the name of Kiele Raymond who is hard at work on both books (yes, she's editing BOTH BOOKS).

Sempre will be re-released November 4th as an ebook with revamped content. ACK! Don't worry, those who already own it... we've worked hard to make sure the plot isn't affected by the srs bsns editing we're undertaking on that bad boy, so your copy is just fine *pets self-published copy*. It'll just be more tightened and focused when it's re-released (and may or may not have some extended content of the sexual nature... but yeah... MOVING ON... DON'T KILL ME... I LOVE YOU).

As for the sequel, it's slated to be released a month later.

Okay, on a serious note... I know some of you will be upset by this news. I get it. I do. This means more waiting. But the end is near! There is a light at the end of this tunnel. The sequel is coming, and from an amazingly awesome publisher I'm honored to be working with. The ebook price will not change, so don't worry, and I'm venturing to guess the paperback will be significantly cheaper than I could ever sell it for myself.

So for now, Sempre is no longer available for sale, but will be back with the sequel in tow ;)

THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT. Seriously. I'm sorry to be all shouty-capping you, but I'm so, so, so very humbled and honored by your love and support of me and this story and Carmine and Haven. They're so near and dear to my heart, my mafia prince and his hummingbird... *sigh*

Oh, right... I have three self-pubbed copies of Sempre I need to get rid of ASAP. I'll sign them for you and throw in some bookmarks. Leave a comment telling me what you'd do for a Klondike bar, and I'll randomly pick three of you (via one of those randomizer sites) and ship the book to wherever you want me to (to you or someone else... I'll throw in a Klondike bar, too, if you insist, but it'll probably melt and fuck up the book during shipping.)

*throws confetti*
*waits for someone else to clean it up*

Monday, April 29, 2013

Meet Serah and Luce!

Posted by JM Darhower Monday, April 29, 2013, under | 5 comments

As (I hope) you know, I have a new story coming out this summer titled Extinguish. I'm super excited about it (and admittedly a bit nervous)... it's my foray into a supernatural world after tinkering around with all humans for pretty much forever. I'm so happy with how it turned out and I truly think you'll enjoy it. I've grown to know the characters these past few months while writing, and wanted to introduce you to them :)

Serah, one of the many warrior angels, has brunette hair and deep brown eyes. She appears fragile, almost vulnerable, with her small frame and 'colorless' skin, but she's feisty and extremely strong-willed by nature. She sees the good in everything and everyone around her. Nothing means more to her than family and innocence.

Luce, the stubborn, sarcastic "King of Hell," is frankly rather bored and holds a grudge against his family. Sturdy and tan, he's covered in scars and dark marks that keep him imprisoned down below. He enjoys toying with people and playing little games, pushing the limits and testing the water, so to speak, to see how much he can get away with.

The two are truly opposites on the surface, but deep down, they share a common trait: the desire for more. Serah has questions... ones she comes to realize only Luce can answer for her. As they grow closer, all Hell breaks loose... literally.

Ahhhhh! *pets screen* So how about a little teaser? Yes? Fuck yes?

He inhaled deeply, tilting his head back as he closed his eyes. A coinciding vortex of wind gusted by, stirring the dirt and the bottom of her dress as it whipped her hair into her face. She brushed it away as the air calmed down, his eyes slowly reopening. "You smell like my brother. His scent is all over you. It reeks."
Serah stammered, stunned by those words. "I, uh. . ." He could smell it? "Look, Satan. . ."
"Stop," he said, the scathing tone harder in his voice. "My name’s not Satan."
She hesitated. This wasn’t going well. "What would you rather be called? The Prince of Darkness?"
"I’d prefer my name."
A hint of a smile ghosted across his lips. "You can call me Luce."
"Lucifer," she said again. "I just came here to ask—" 
"To ask me to stop the fighting? To give peace a chance?" He laughed bitterly. "I know why you came here, and you can just turn around and leave right now. I won’t have someone walking into my territory and disrespecting me, treating me like I’m nothing, calling me that filthy word like it's my name. You want to talk to me, angel? You want to have that conversation? Come back when you don’t stink so fucking much."