Okay, It’s been 4years since I released Cursed by Fire, Book 1 in my blood and magic series which was originally released Jan 2015.
When Cursed by Fire was first launched, it was met with mixed reviews and being the newbie author that I was at the time, I decided to duck my head and pray that things would all blow over but seriously, it’s like this shit never dies so I’m going to openly address it because I’m just SO—OVER—HEARING—ABOUT—IT!!!
In my Blood & Magic series I use the term Lyc-V. I use this term as an abbreviation for the lycanthropy virus (commonly known as the werewolf virus)
There just so happens to be a very well known author pair who also uses the term Lyc-V in their novels as an abbreviation for what I believe is a unique to them virus, the Lycos virus.
Now let me prefix this post by stating that the authors I am referring to are brilliant, talented authors and I in no way, shape, or form have any animosity towards them nor any desire in pointing fingers, blaming anyone for the heat that’s been sent my way, or anything along those lines.
With that out of the way, let’s ask the question that seems to keep popping up.
Did I take the term “Lyc-V” from that author duo? The answer to that is NO! And I’m really tired of people insinuating that I did. Now, I could stop here and leave it alone but we want facts right? I thought so.
The long story short, ….whenever an author writes a book, they do some level of research, My research included reading a reference book titled A Natural History of the Unnatural World.
In this guide on page 144 the authors dive into the lycanthropy virus. How it works, how it mutates and attacks the body etc.
“Dr Jere’s findings have led to the discovery of a virus which we believe causes lycanthropy. We have named it Lyc-V. This virus transfers between wolves and humans, as well as … “
That is the first use of the term in this particular reference guide. After that paragraph, anytime the authors refer to the virus, they do so using Lyc-V
In my writing, I never even considered the possibility of readers thinking I “stole” this term. It didn’t belong to the well-known author duo. In fact, it was used in A Natural History of the Unnatural World which was published by St. Martins Press by Joel Levy in Jan 1999, TEN years before the author pair mentioned above published their first novel.
So here’s the thing, terms and words and phrases get reused in fiction. Sometimes it’s within a certain genre. Sometimes it’s in fiction in general depending on how broad the term is. I recognize that this author is known for this term. That does not mean I took it or was even cognizant of their use of that term when I was doing my own writing.
Things like Shifter, Pack, Alpha, Friend of the Pack, etc are used frequently in the Urban Fantasy genre.
I’ll add I’ve also been accused of “Stealing” the term “Friend of the Pack” from these same authors and will also add that it was used prior in the Sookie Stackhouse novels also published before 2009 so again…. this particular author pair does not own nor are they original creator of this phrase. In fact, in a blog post comment on their own blog they were accused of stealing the term “flare” from another author and they promptly shut that down, as they should have because authors do not own words. You don’t see J.K. Rowling up in arms over the hundreds of authors who came after her who used the word muggle, do you?
So please, unless you know without a shadow of a doubt that something was stolen or plagiarized, please do not accuse authors of theft just because you read something somewhere one time. Do your research. Don’t be a troll. And ask yourself “Is this that big of a deal?” Because let’s be honest, there will always be similarities within genres. If you read a shifter book it is bound to have a few commonalities with some other shifter book.
Because of the use of that one word, “Lyc-V” I cannot tell you how many other magical similarities people have drummed up, many of which from books and characters I haven’t ever read or claim similarities that let’s be honest, aren’t actually similar.
A few of the hilarious ones are that I copied the Anita Blake books because Aria in my book is obsessed with coffee. I mean, are we serious here? Is only one character in all of existence allowed to be addicted to coffee in order to function?
Or that Aria’s powers are copied from Sienna in Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series. My character Aria is a pyrokinetic so she has fire powers. According to publishers weekly, “Sienna Lauren is a rare Psy X who can wreak devastation with cold fire.” So I’ll add that she is NOT a pyrokinetic and again, even if she was, are we not allowed to have more pyrokinetic characters in the world? Do we only get one?
I don’t think using Lyc-V or Friend of the Pack had any bearing on whether I wrote a good book or not. Neither affected my story, plot points, characterization, none of it. So why does it matter how I chose to describe virus’ or relationships? Why does it matter that in my books, Aria’s best friend is James who happens to be a Pack Hunter (basically a tracker responsible for putting down shifters who go rogue) and that in another series the main character’s best friend is named Jim who is charge of Pack Security? Note that in my series I have a head of Pack Security, his name is Brock. But that never seems to matter. Somehow I stole a name because James is too similar to Jim.
I also somehow stole the name Mauro. For the record it’s a family name but if you’re caucasian you maybe haven’t come across that name outside of fiction novels. I don’t know and I don’t want to judge but just because I didn’t name my characters Suzie, Molly, and Dave, doesn’t mean I stole the names. Oh wait, I have some common names in my books too. I have a Robert (he’s a coyote in my books) and a Derek (who is a wolf Alpha with his twin brother Teagan) but even using common names somehow means I stole them.
So with all of that said, I’m just going to leave this here. If you have questions, ask them. I will happily answer. If you stop by just to tell me I copied XY or Z or to be an asshat, then I’ll probably tell you to go to hell and then move on. That’s your one and only warning. For those who like me or enjoy my novels, thanks for sticking around for my rant. I feel better getting all of that off of my chest after four long years. I’m going to move on now and get some writing done today. Hopefully those upset over my usage of these words, names, and phrases will choose to move on too. Life is short, we should stop being petty and learn to be happy.