She Stole From Me
This past August I learned that an anonymous author on the Internet, who was known only by a logo and a fake name, had plagiarized my novel, A Bid for Love (formerly entitled Love to the Highest Bidder, copyright 1998). Sam Taylor Mullens published “her” book on Amazon and sent it out to multiple reviewers, some of whom had read my novel. When confronted about the obvious similarities, “Sam” lied and said she had collaborated with me.Excerpts from both books (see screenshots below post for more):
Rachel Ann Nunes 1998 - The dark brown curls were everywhere. They were a curse, and had been for twenty-eight of Cassi’s twenty-nine years. They puffed out from her scalp and plunged halfway down her back as if they had lives of their own, helplessly tangled and twisted together. The bathroom lights above the double sink reflected from the brown tresses, bringing out the subtle gold highlights.
Sam Taylor Mullens, Auction Deal 2014 - Dark brunette curls were everywhere. They were a curse, and had been for the thirty-one years of my life. They puffed out from my scalp and plunged halfway down my back. They helplessly tangled and twisted together. The bathroom lights above the sink reflected the brown tresses. She Harassed Me Using Aliases
As the rights to the book have returned to me, and I indie-published the current version, it is up to me to make sure my copyright is protected. I first contacted “Sam” for an explanation and then some of reviewers. Six of eight reviewers confirmed the plagiarism (some of their names have been redacted for their protection, as you will soon see is necessary):The "reviewers," Mercedes and Jennifer, turned about to be aliases of the plagiarist, and they berated my work and threatened me. Mercedes and other aliases also posted harassing comments on Facebook:
“Sam” did respond to my email but said she had no idea how the novels became so similar. She refused to give me a copy of “her” book because it contained sex. (Okay, I have seven children. I think I know where they come from by now.) She also pulled the book and her other published novels from Amazon.She Pretended To Be A “Friend” Of The Plagiarist
Then writing to me under the name Tiffanie Rushton, she emailed me saying she was a real life friend of “Sam” and that a man, who later conveniently died, had given “Sam” the manuscript and told her it was no longer in print. In the email, Tiffanie also praised “Sam,” saying that she was a community leader who had a disabled son.
Later, we found 5 one-star reviews on my stolen book under her different aliases, all dated two months before “her” book was published on Amazon, so it was clear she knew she was plagiarizing. (Emma's last name redacted because it turned about to be a stolen real name—more on that below.)Goodreads:Tiffanie Rushton's Amazon review page:Around the same time, “Sam” emailed reviewers, claiming to be my niece and that she had permission to use my story because she’d given me the idea, but she couldn’t tell me who she was because her family didn’t know she wrote about sex and she would get kicked out of her church and lose her husband. Meghen from Thirty Second Book Reviews send me this copy.As you guessed, “Sam” and I are not related. To my knowledge we haven’t even met. Kira is my real niece.
Clearly, this plagiarist was not someone who would take responsibility. So I went public, and when I did, the harassment increased. Numerous one-star reviews appeared on my novels under my real and pen names (see the screenshots for these below my post). With additional false identities, she also harassed reviewers who offered to send me her book. (Last name has been redacted because once again the name was stolen.)Volunteer investigators came forward and tracked "Sam" down. She was identified as Tiffanie Rushton, a third grade teacher from Layton Utah, the supposed “friend” of the plagiarist.
But copyright is a civil not criminal case and it is horrendously expensive to prosecute. Making her stop stealing and harassing me seemed impossible. Then New York Times bestselling author David Farland recommended starting a Go Fund Me account. I File Complaint In Federal Court—Harassment Continues
Yet even after filing a complaint in federal court, the harassment continued. Posts on Facebook, public and private. Posts here on the Go Fund Me, saying it was a scam—all by Rushton’s known aliases. (Name of first on redacted because, again, she took this from a real person.)The account below changed from Jennifer Booklover to Jennifer Greer and then was deleted by Facebook.
Every day I am doing something to protect myself, taking screenshots, communicating with attorneys, deleting posts, asking Amazon to take down her reviews, trying to find books to put into fundraising sets, etc. Even when I have a slice of time, working is impossible because of the emotional upheaval. I feel terror every time I turn on my computer for fear of what I would find next. It NEVER stops.She Stole From A Combat VeteranThen, shockingly, we discovered that in her first book, she’d also plagiarized the REAL LIFE story of Chase Weston, a disabled veteran who served in Iraq in 2005 with the 3rd Infantry Division. His wife Lilah writes:
“The story that Sam Taylor Mullens/ Tiffanie Rushton copied was an account of one of the worst days of Chase’s life. The original draft of Terror in a Cloud of Dust was written by Chase during a trauma workshop at ‘Pathway Home,’ which is a residential rehabilitation program for returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans who suffer from clinically diagnosed and progressive PTSD. It took a lot for Chase to put his story down on paper, he did however want to heal from the events and felt that he might help some of the other Soldiers who were trying to do the same . . . My husband feels this to be a personal attack on his character, his service, and to the Military—every soldier and family member affected by these events.”Rushton Says She will Republish Hasty Resolutions
Who does something like this? It is unfathomable. But there was still more to the story.She Stole From Children
A few bloggers posted a list of 20+ fake IDs that we believed Rushton had created, and a parent identified them as the REAL NAMES of her daughter and the other children in Rushton’s last year’s 3rd grade class! We compared the yearbook and, sure enough, twelve full and partial names of real children (mostly full names) had been stolen to review Rushton’s novels and other explicit books.
Yes, that's why I redacted Abby, Emma's, and Gibson's last names above. They are REAL CHILDREN. Parents learned Rushton had also use their children’s school-issued email addresses to create the accounts.
School officials finally acted, taking Rushton from the classroom, and parents were promised that she would not teach again in Davis County School District. I sent parents and officials all the screenshots of their children's fake Goodreads and Facebook accounts.She Posed As A Parent Of The Children Whose Names She Stole
Days later, Rushton posted on my blog and others, pretending to be a parent of one of the children and asking that all the blogs be removed, and again saying what a wonderful person she is. But the IP address showed the email came from Rushton’s computer. Parents confirmed to me that they did not write the post and that the comments didn’t represent their feelings. Notice the "amazing" comment, which seems to be a common adjective Rushton's aliases use. These were fake parent comments posted on my site shortly before and after midnight just prior to the comments on the above John Doppler blog: Then A Slap In The Face According to one of the parents, the school district has come out with a statement that Rushton left due to KNEE SURGERY instead of being fired.
The betrayal I feel that they could cover this up to is so vast, I can’t even write it. (There is a school board election in November, but more likely Rushton made some kind of deal.) The parent who told me was very upset. Makes me wonder if anyone cares what this woman is doing.She used children. She stole. She still won’t leave me alone.
I believe in redemption. I believe in forgiveness, but I don’t believe that I have to give this woman my work or let her attack me. She has turned my life upside down. I feel as if she's broken into my home and stolen something very dear to me. She's tried everything she can to discredit and hurt me. So much time has been robbed from my family, and it doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight. I still haven’t been able to get back to work, and the anxiety I feel at the harassment, defamation, and monetary issues has pretty much taken over my life. I want my life back!Help Me Stop The MadnessIf Rushton had plagiarized Steven King, Donald Kuntz, JK Rowling, or Patricia Briggs, she would be in serious trouble from publishers and authorities, but plagiarists know they can get away with victimizing the authors who don’t have large publishers or who have yet to become world-wide sensations.
The only way I have of ending this is going before a judge and jury to show them the undisputable evidence and to subpoena people like the school principle. Veteran Chase Weston has already agreed to offer any support he can.
I have already accumulated a total of nearly $20,000 in legal fees. It will be another $30,000 (summary judgment) to $100,000 (jury trial) before it ends. If I drop the case, I believe she’ll just publish my book and keep up the harassment. I might as well email her all the rest of my manuscripts.
She could also easily republish all those fake Facebook and Goodreads accounts using the children’s real names—she published and unpublished different identities several times during the investigation. We have no way of knowing they are permanently deleted without court intervention.
Even after a successful lawsuit, recovering costs from those committing fraud, I’m told, is next to impossible, but the courts will make her stop. If we are able to recover legal fees, we will donate them to other authors in legal battles.Please donate even ten dollars if you can. For a thank you, you can choose an award level of an ebook, or just a cyber hug! At the very least, if you can’t donate, please post about this or spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, or other means.
You can also support the lawsuit by clicking here
, where you can buy fundraiser box set and books under my name, my pen names (Teyla Branton and Rachel Branton).Thank you for listening,Rachel Ann Nunes
P.S. I will send all award levels within a week. I also send a note to everyone who donates. Please contact me if you don’t hear from me. Some email servers will reject email from Go Fund Me. If you choose something that I have to mail to you, please include your street address.
Rachel Ann NunesRushton's stolen book on sale:Reviews from Rushton's Amazon account:
The same account at the same URL as above after the reviews were delete by Amazon (note the brief change to the Jennifer Greer name, the same Jennifer who bashed me as a fake reviewer, on Facebook, and who gave me a one-star review on Goodreads back in May):Reviews from one of Rushton's aliases:These are comments from the Thirty Second Review blog as Rushton defends herself with aliases Mercedes and Abby:Comparison. The only way she could have come up with "her" novel is to have started with mine.And so it goes on throughout the entire book . . .A Bid for Love, my book that was plagiarized: