It is with a very heavy
sadness I take hours from my young children and
my work to write this post. I rarely write such
detailed blogs, and the necessity of it now
breaks my heart. And if you read to the end, I
promise, this is going to shock you that
something like this really is happening. My life was torn apart this
weekend when it came to light that an anonymous
author on the Internet, who is known only by a
logo and a fake name, had plagiarized my novel,
A Bid for
Love (formerly entitled
the Highest Bidder), which is the first of a
It has been verified by
four separate readers that Sam Taylor Mullens
did, indeed, add steamy scenes to
Auction Deal, her revised version of my
Christian novel, and claimed it as her own. Her
subsequent emails to different people and
contradicting statements online while trying to
cover her tracks has shown a definite intent to
do fraud. This path she has followed is far more
outlandish than any novel I’ve ever read.
Excerpts from both books (see my
blog for the screenshots from the book and
for the updates):
Chapter Two, first paragraph, 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.
Chapter Two, first paragraph, 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.
I finished my novel in late 1996, and it
first came out in August 1998. It was actually
the second novel accepted by my publisher, but
they made me write two sequels to my first novel
before they released
A Bid for
called Love to the Highest Bidder).
After being advised of
infringement on my copyright, I waited a few
days to see if Mullens would explain herself.
When she didn’t, I searched for her email and
sent off a direct message, asking for an
explanation and the ARC, in the hopes of
verifying that it wasn’t copied. I also sent a
few of the reviewers a query asking them to
either read my novel to verify if what I’d heard
was true or to send me an ARC.
These are excerpts of emails I
with the original typos. I have screenshots or actual
emails for all of these communications, but in the interest of
space and privacy of the authors, I’ve copied
just the text here:
#1: Hi Rachel I just received your message regarding
my review of The Auction Deal, as you can
imagine I am shocked to hear that the book I
reviewed could be your creation. At this stage
it is my intention to contact Sam Taylor Mullens
to try and get to the bottom of this. I will
also check out your book A Bid For Love.
follow up from the same reviewer:Rachel I have had quick skim through your story
A Bid For Love and I agree that your concerns
are warranted. The similarities between The
Auction Deal and A Bid for Love are too many for
me not to conclude that The Auction Deal may not
be an original work.
#2 (Meghen Barker from Thirty Second Reviews--name used with permission):I received an email today stating the author
cancelled the book tour, this may be why. I
don't mind reading your book and letting you
know if it seems plagiarized to me . . . I am
sure this is why the tour was unexpectedly
cancelled, this promoter doesn't even have an
follow up from the same reviewer:I read
your book. Sam Taylor Mullens 100% without a
doubt stole from you. It looks copy and pasted.
. . I am updating my blogs in the morning, and
warning future readers to be weary of anything
she sells as her own.
think your making a big deal about nothing and
contacting the wrong people. I will be
contacting my aunt, Sheri Dew, to let her know
about your online behavior. I think she will
like to know how you go about solving problems
with readers/reviewers online. I will then be
talking to my mom who coordinates "Time Out For
Women" outside of Utah. I think she too be
interested in your online behavior, which is
just as important as how we act in real life.
Finally, I will be visiting all bookstores here
in Nauvoo and letting them know - perhaps start
a campaign on the sidewalks letting Seagull Book
patrons know how you handle problems - not
peacefully or professionally.
Follow Up to This
fellow writer contacted Sheri Dew for accuracy
of this claim, please see results below.
#5: So I spent the afternoon reading A Bid For Love
- total waste of my time! Seriously, why would
you not update that novel? Even if it was free,
if you stand so strong.y behind your work take a
little more pride in it. If Sam Taylor Mulllens
used the concept as a base, she was doing you a
favor! I can guarantee the two books were no way
similar - hers was a much, much higher caliber.
Are you jealous? Do you want the ARC so you have
an excuse to read about sex. I live in Utah. I'd
be more than happy to print off the a ARC and
read excerpts to you - I guarantee it will make
These last two reviewers'
responses were very strange, which makes me
think they might be more emotionally
invested in Mullens's work.
When Mullens heard of my
contacting the reviewers directly, she
immediately requested that all the reviewers
delete the ARC. And we exchanged the following
emails. Please note what she says (in bold)
about the writers group, because this directly
refutes what she claims later (and my book was
first published in 1998 not “the 80’s," though
that’s also interesting to note because it
contradicts another REALLY odd claim she makes
that I’ll get to in a bit.)
Okay, so I’m a little confused. If you didn’t
copy my text or closely follow my plot, why
would you pull the book? If you HAVEN’T used my
book as a base, there shouldn’t be enough
similarities to warrant any issue. Won’t you
just send me an ARC so I can put it to rest for
both of us? I would hate for all your hard work
to go to waste. You’ve sent a lot of people
ARCs. I see you have 30 reviews on Goodreads, so
they’ve obviously read the book.
I just thought not publishing it was a simple
was molded from a writing group and a dozen beta
readers. Had I known they used your book from
the 80's as a reference it never would have come
to be. My sincerest apologies. I do not
write for a living, it is a hobby. I took your
word for it when you emailed me that there were
concerns. I would never want any accusations of
plagiarism to be made. No money has been made
off the sale of this title if money is what
you're after then I'm at a loss of what to tell
you. I have other books in the works. These
bloggers are very protective of the ARC's
because of pirating issues. You're kind of
freaking them out. So, please contact me first
before harassing them. They don't need that!
Okay, I’m still confused why you won’t send me a
copy. If you never read my book (first released
and copyrighted in 1998) or copied it, then
there can’t be a problem, right? I don’t want
any money from you. I mean, I could just turn it
over to my attorney if that were the case
because copyright infringement is a big deal,
but I’m trying to believe what you say—that you
haven’t read my book or copied it. That is what
you are saying, right? I’m freaked out to have
people writing reviews that could be about my
novel (except the hot sex, of course). I am not
accusing you of anything. I thought it could be
settled in an hour if you just sent me the book.
If you can do that and all is as you say, I will
offer a public statement to that effect and
everything can go back to the way it was. I’m
certainly NOT looking to hurt anyone.
The plot twists Around that time I received a
Facebook message from the so-called
“niece of Sheri Dew” that she had “lost all
respect for Rachel Ann Nunes” because of my
querying about the infringement. I'm not sure
when a polite query became harrassment, but I
suppose it looks that way from the sandy ground
where Mullens is standing.
fellow author posted this information:Sheri Dew has
responded to my email and has denied any
knowledge or relationship with the woman who emailed Rachel threatening to
take Rachel's antics to "her aunt Sheri Dew and
her mother who runs TOFW outside of Utah." Sheri
clarified she's friends with all of her nieces
on Facebook, and no one who is related to her
runs/leads TOFW—that is all handled through SLC
corporate office. This whole thing just gets
stranger and stranger.
But then the plot
thickens further, almost laughably so, if it
weren’t so painful.
email is from someone identifying herself as a friend of Mullens (she
sent it by email, Facebook, and Goodreads—I did
not respond until just now with the link to this
post, but again I’ve bolded
Dear Mrs. Nunes, I am
contacting you today as a personal, real-life
friend of Sam Taylor Mullens. She is a
remarkable mother, wife, teacher, community
member and so much more.
I was part of
the writing group where
Auction Deal” got started over two years ago.
A man in our writing group gave Sam the
manuscript claiming the book was out of print
and he stated he had collaborated in some way
with it many, many years ago. He challenged Sam
to ‘work her magic’ and honestly it was quite
fun to watch.
time, for some strange reason there were no
copies we could locate and Sam took this man’s
word. In the meantime, we had no idea you
renamed, recovered and digitalized your original
work. Perhaps this is the reason it was not
discovered. Who knows?
The man in our
writing group claiming he collaborated
originally in the novel died in a tragic car
accident last May. Sam and I do not feel
comfortable at this time interrogating his
family about his collaboration.
Indie Author has been a new learning experience
for Sam and I try to help and support her along
the way. I feel at fault for not giving her more
guidance. Sam would never maliciously do
anything or intentionally defile copyright laws.
She does not publish to make a living, this is a
hobby for her. Her only goal is to recoup costs
for final editing, digital formatting and the
cost of her book cover. I was the one to suggest
she not turn over the ARC and simply not
publish. I didn’t consider that would make her
look guilty. Sam felt it was a simple, congenial
solution and I agreed.
As an Indie Author
Sam helps promote other Indie Romance Writers
and runs anti-bullying campaigns among book
bloggers, reviewers, readers and Indie Authors
on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, etc. Indie
Publishing is a pretty cruel world and Sam has
been the voice of reason and is highly
Due to the manner in which you
went about investigating the Advance Reader Copy
of The Auction Deal has caused Sam to withdraw
from the Indie Author Community, which is a
shame. There will be a significant loss without
The second the ‘eerie coincidences’
came to Sam’s attention she took the appropriate
action to ask Goodreads to take down the link
and informed those who received ARC’s that it
would not be published. She has also been torn
apart since Sunday. She feels like she was
'dooped' by a fellow writing that she cannot
The readers/reviewers are also
very upset over how it was handled. I agree with
them. This situation is between you and Sam. Her
email is posted on her Goodreads page, her blog
and her Facebook page. She should have been the
only person you contacted. After looking at her
email, I believe she responded to you in a
In real-life Sam is the
of an autistic son,
she counsels women at a
domestic violence shelter, she provides support
at the Ute and Navajo reservations and teaches
illiterate, young moms in the classroom. She is
nothing less than amazing.
I will take
equal if not full responsibility for anything in
this situation. Please do not discredit this
wonderful woman in a small Indie Publishing
community. They need her.
Sincerely, XXXXXXX XXXXXX
(Remember the bolded text because Mullens
changes her story completely in a moment.)
My first reaction was huh?
Collaborated? Anyone who knows me will vouch
that I’ve never collaborated on any novel. Still, could there be any truth
the her claim about the man?
Do you want to believe as I wanted to?
Don’t soften for a minute.
As you will see next, Mullens either has this
person completely “duped” or she is part of
Mullen’s scam. But before we get to the final,
unbelievable ending, here are a few reactions
from fellow authors:
1.I've been active
in the indie community for years and I've never
heard of Mullens. Also, first book came out
December 2013, so she hasn't been a part of the
indie community long.
2.A man has written
a romance and then wants someone else to rewrite
it—then conveniently dies in an accident?
this man's name?Why does she only speak in vague terms?
3.This person (or
people) are REALLY good at manipulating and they
will do anything not to get caught. Sam is not
the victim here.
4.Throughout all of
this, Sam's acted the victim and cried and
rallied her supporters, but if this were a true mistake, if her
account was true, why wouldn't she own it?
5.If someone isn't
in publishing to make money then why in the heck
would she take the time to rewrite a book by a
bestselling LDS author whom she obviously knows
about, get reviews before the book was
available, and spend so much time away from her
autistic son to do so? Follow the money.
writer know that “out of print” is not the same
as “up for grabs?”
Rachel's book has been out on ebook (and
Goodreads) for almost four years and third print
edition since 2012.
7.The novel in
question is easily found under either title online,
especially on Amazon and Goodreads where Mullens
is so active, along with the copyright information.
I thought about it all for
a while and decided to talk to my attorney and
let him advise me. If there could be any kernel
of truth, that Mullens could be so na´ve, I
didn’t want to hurt her, even though she (they?)
had caused me so much pain and trouble.
comes next is staggering—and I had my answer,
which is finally why I’m making this
Tonight I received a message
from one of the reviewers (Meghen). Again, pay attention to the
bolded text and look at the screenshot Meghen
I actually just received
this from Mullens.....
I've been thinking a lot
about you lately and I just wanted to touch base
There are a lot of rumors
and speculation at this time with "The Auction
Deal". Another author is asking for the ARC from
bloggers who received it. I know I look as if I
am guilty of plagiarism by not providing her
with an ARC, but I have some personal reasons
Please keep this between
the two of us:
I was granted verbal
permission to use the concept from the author
because at the time I began writing "The Auction
Deal" her book was out of
publication and I was the one who gave her the
idea many, many years ago. The problem is
granted verbal permission to me, her niece,
not Sam Taylor Mullens (my pen name). My lawyer
has reviewed everything and no copyright has
been enfringed upon because "The Auction Deal"
is so different. The thing that solidifies
everything is the verbal permission. Plus, it
will never be published.
I can't reveal to extended
family members that I write about sex. All hell
will break loose in my personal life, something
my husband doesn't want to have happen. My
husband is extremely supportive of my writing,
but it's a secret we keep from our friends and
family. I'm a Mormon so what I write would be
probably be asked to leave the church once the
connection is made.My
husband is begging me not to reveal my author
identity in order to resolve the problem at
hand. Never publishing "The Auction Deal" is not
a huge loss. However, losing my amazing husband
over this or having conflict in my personal life
would be devasting.
I have sent a letter
staying that The Auction Deal will never be
published, but I know she is pretty relentless
about obtaining an ARC. My sincerest apologies
for the situation. I know people talk and they
want to know what going on. I'm okay with you
telling those who question the accusation that
"A lawyer states no plagiarism is involved and
copyright has not been violated. Sam cannot
proactively resolve the situation without
revealing her real identity, which cannot be
done at this time."
Bloggers have been so
wonderful by making sure ARC's are deleted
instead of passing them on. They're
intentionally not posting reviews on their blogs
since that is when the
and/or her assistant gets a google alert and
I'm actually kind of pissed
they are contacting bloggers since I have asked
them not to. I know it would stop once she finds
out who I really am, but I just can't do that.
I sincerely appreciate your
unconditional support and hope you'll understand
my need to remain private at this time.
1.I have no married
nieces except one, whose husband isn’t a member
of the LDS church. If she were writing racy
romances, her parents would think it’s cool.
2.When I finished
the book in late 1996 and wrote two sequels, my
oldest niece (the only married one) would have
been around nine or ten and living several
states away. Are people to believe that this
child I saw once every three years gave me a
book idea? I’ve written 46 novels all on my own.
Even if she had given me an idea, she didn’t
write the book. My real life writing friends who
read the book in progress way back then,
however, can verify that I came up with the idea
and the ideas for the sequels.
3.The LDS Church
doesn’t excommunicate people for writing
erotica. There are several very famous Mormons
who write romance with plenty of sex and they
still go to church.
4.Why on earth
would I give anyone the go ahead to plagiarize a
novel that is published and has two sequels
(Mullen's book is a standalone). Even before I
went indie, I often reprint my books with
publishers. I depend on the income from my
writing, so I’m not throwing my work out the
5.And Mullens needs
to get her story correct. Was it two years ago
that a man gave her the book, or was she nine
when she had a wonderful idea for my novel?
6.Wait, and didn’t
she say in the email to me that her critique
group led her astray with this “80’s” novel.
None of my siblings were married back then and I
was in high school, so I guess she gave me the
idea while she was in the preexistence.
7.Where is the
attorney’s official letter and the law firm’s
number we can call to verify? No attorney in the
world would sign it such a letter without
checking the copyright—and they aren’t going to
believe such a tall tale anyway.
8.So I guess that
means she doesn’t have an autistic son after
all? Because my niece's son isn't autistic. (Why
does this remind me of another suspicious niece
9.And you know
what, if any of my nieces stole my story and
concocted this great lie, I would have to report
her or she would never learn right from wrong
and become a contributing member to society.
10.Scroll down to
the comments, if you want to see what my REAL
family has to say about this imposter’s claim to
Do I need to point out the
ridiculousness of all this? I was going to let
the whole matter die quietly and keep an eye out
for the next time this book pops up, but fellow
writers have encouraged me to stand up for all
authors' right. Meanwhile,
Mullens is doing everything she can so an ARC
doesn't come to light.
Again, if she
has nothing to hide, she should hand it over
woman/person/group has turned my life upside
down. I feel as if they’ve broken into my house
and stolen something very dear to me—and then
tried everything they can to discredit and hurt
me. They’ve slammed my writing, threatened me
professionally, and now dragged my extended
family into the fray. I’m afraid to accept any
new friends on Facebook because they may be her
supporters and could fling more rocks and mud in
strangers reported to me that she stole my work,
not the other way around. Let’s not forget that.
I have never given anyone permission to use my
work in any novel. Period. And this book has already been
for sale in the UK. (See the screenshot below).
You know me. I’m not hiding
my identity or making accusations that grow
wilder by the moment. It’s very clear who I am.
I will take the stand against
plagiarism. Please stand with me! And if you
have any information that will help end this
horrible invasion into my life, please let me
And for those of you who
have given me a shoulder to cry on and who have
helped stand strong over this past week, thank
you from the bottom of my heart.
reviewers who have had the courage to act, I
also thank you for your kindness to a stranger.
Rachel Ann Nunes
Updates and more screenshots can be found on my
blog and on the fundraiser where friends are
gathering to help with legal fees: