Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I've Been Plagiarized...and I'm Not Alone

Early yesterday morning, via e-mail, I received my daily dose of Genre Flash Fiction from Editor, G.W. Thomas's site, Flashshot. The featured story was called, IMAGINATION'S BURIAL by Richard Ridyard. I usually look forward to being delighted, shocked, or horrified by another great story, and yesterday I wasn't disappointed. Only it wasn't in that "Wow, what a fantastic story" way, it was in the "Holy Sh**, someone not only stole my idea, but actually stole a line I created" reality.

Case in point, excerpts from Mr. Richard Ridyard's 100-word story, Imagination's Burial:

http://www.gwthomas.org/flashshotindex.htm

"We go to the end of the wreckage away from the crowds to search for survivors…We find two people unconscious, under rubble. We take turns drinking their blood."

Now: Read the 22-word story I wrote for the June issue (#6) of Micro 100 entitled "At the Depot."

http://micro100.blogspot.com/

"After the train derails, we desperately search through the wreckage. Luckily, six men and women survive. We take turns drinking their blood."

Initially, I was taken aback. Could someone have stolen my work? Is it a case of unconscious plagiarism? Maybe the author really liked my work and wanted to do something similar. I was upset and dumbfounded. I decided more research was required.

What I found was frightening.

Author, Deborah Biancotti has an excerpt from her award-winning story, "The First and Final Game" on her site:

http://deborahbiancotti.net/the/excerpts/e_2000_first.htm
Altair 6/7, Altair Press, ed. Robert Stephenson, pub. 2000
Aurealis Award Best Horror Short Story winner
Ditmar Award Best Short Story shortlist

"Electricity is irregular here, and so are phones, but the privacy is absolute. You could kill every single person in every single house and hardly anyone would disturb you. It's that kind of place."
Copyright Deborah Biancotti 2000 All copyrights reserved

NOW: Go to http://www.microhorror.com/microhorror/author/richard-ridyard/the-tyburn-jig/ and read Richard Ridyard's story, "The Tyburn Jig." Here are the last three lines:

"Electricity is irregular here, and so are phones, but the privacy is absolute. You could kill every single person in every single house and hardly anyone would disturb you. It's that kind of place."

Absolutely shocking!

I don't claim all of Richard Ridyard's work is plagiarized, but there are some truly valid doubts and astonishing evidence found on many respected sites on the internet.

Sadly, there's more.

This is from author, James Wood’s story, "The Face of the Dummy" published on Short Stories org uk:

http://short-stories.org.uk/jwfaceofdummy1.htm
http://short-stories.org.uk/jwfaceofdummy2.htm

"As long as I live he'll haunt me, taunt me, then destroy me. There's only one escape for me...for both of us. Tomorrow they'll find us hanging from a beam in the centre of this room ...two stiff, inanimate puppets on the ends of our strings, our faces blackened and contorted by the tightened rope…will look closely at the two bodies hanging side by side, and will see the inescapable resemblance."
Copyright James Wood 1993 All copyrights reserved

Per Richard Ridyard's bio he's "a 21 year old Law student who lives on the Wirral, England." That's right. You read correctly. "LAW" student. And if by chance, one of his pseudonyms happens to be James Wood, he would have been the ripe old age of 5 years old the year he penned this story in 1993.

Here's an excerpt from Richard Ridyard's "The Hanged Man" which has been published on numerous horror sites including:

http://www.microhorror.com/microhorror/author/richard-ridyard/the-hanged-man/
http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2689p0.html
http://newfleshmagazine.blogspot.com/2009/09/he-looks-at-me-i-am-alone-and-nervous.html#comments
http://www.dailytourniquet.com/?p=548

"As long as I live he'll haunt me, taunt me and then destroy me. There's only one escape for me. for both of us. Tomorrow they'll find us hanging from a beam in the center of this room. two stiff, inanimate puppets on the ends of our strings, our faces blackened and contorted by tightened rope…will look closely at the two bodies hanging side by side, and will see the inescapable resemblance."

Per a further Google search, I did find that it's possible he uses the pseudonym, "R.M. Valentine." View Google address:
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22she+continues+her+search+for+ghosts%22&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&ie=utf8&oe=utf8


1. Flashes In The Dark: Horror Flash Fiction in Daily Doses
Sep 27, 2009 ... still she continues her search for ghosts. She is startled at first, squinting as she looks with her dementia clouded eyes. She then looks ...flashesinthedark.com/ - Cached - Similar
2. A Place of Rest by RM Valentine at Story write
It is getting quite late but still she continues her search for ghosts. She is startled at first, squinting as she looks with her clouded dementia ridden ...storywrite.com/story/324646 - Cached - Similar
In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 2 already displayed.If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.

I've included links to known published pieces from Mr. Ridyard in order for other writers and readers to draw their own conclusions:

Author's page on Flashes in the Dark includes, A Place of Rest, The Grief of Rapture, The Beginning of the End, and The Empty Swing.
http://flashesinthedark.com/2009/09/01/the-beginning-of-the-end-richard-ridyard/

Author's page on Microhorror.com includes The Hanged Man, The Empty Swing, The Tyburn Jig: http://www.microhorror.com/microhorror/category/author/richard-ridyard

The Darkness Within:
http://thrillskillsnchills.blogspot.com/2009/09/darkness-within-by-richard-ridyard.html

School Boy Error: http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/3238p0.html

He’s also slated as editor for “Valentine Publications.” http://valentinepublications.com/


What? There’s more?

Here’s another excerpt from the brilliant, master of horror himself, H.P. Lovecraft, his story, “Ex Oblivione.”
http://www.classicreader.com/book/2727/1/

http://www.flashfictiononline.com/pdf/fpublic0006-ex-oblivione-h-p-lovecraft.pdf

“The days of waking had become less and less bearable from their greyness and sameness…”

Now: read Mr. Ridyard’s story, originally published on Flashes in the Dark (which has since been pulled for obvious reasons, but you can find evidence of it through a Google search)

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls=com.microsoft%3Aen-US&q=%22the+grief+of+rapture%22&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

http://flashesinthedark.com/2009/09/19/the-grief-of-rapture-by-richard-ridyard/

“My last days were that of realisation. The days of waking had become less and less bearable from their greyness and sameness…”


In closing, and quoting the title of one of the author's many stories, this may in fact be "The Beginning of the End" for one Richard Ridyard. Maybe through this effort, he will step forward and come clean. PLAGIARISM WILL NOT BE TOLERATED BY ANY WRITER.

What really gets me is that before I discovered this madness, I left said author positive feedback on one of his stories! I'm still upset, but strangely happy to expose an apparent fraud in our community. It's crazy, because several months ago I wrote a six sentence story not realizing the relevance it would have today. It's a warning, and I humbly present it to you, dear, honest writers.

Beware the Word Hogs

They eat up all your little piggy muses. Catch a woman poet by the toe and she'll tell you that she knows. A man won't admit it, but neither will he hesitate to flash his cut roast beef. This market isn't safe for writers. Stay within the safety of your homes and write with the bed sheets pulled over your head or cry wee little tears for the lost. When the word hogs come, they won't leave you with any words, absolutely none.
Copyright © 2009 Angel Zapata


ADDENDUM:

I did attempt to contact Mr. Ridyard through “Valentine Publications” and this is the reply I received from them:

Dear angel Zapata,

I was shocked and appalled to read the email regarding Richard Ridyard’s accusation of plagiarism, which I opened at 12:16 on the 29th of September. I have known Richard for over a decade and do not believe it possible for Richard to be morally capable of such an act. As a person with a great respect for the law and with such a love of literacy, I do not believe this is something he could commit knowingly, if at all.

I shall be passing this information onto Richard, but I urge you to contact him at his personal email: (I’ve removed it from this post, but did forward this to Mr. Ridyard) As officially this matter does not concern Valentine Publications.

I know Richard shall be contacting you soon regarding this accusation and we hope this matter can be rectified soon.

Yours sincerely

Valentine Publications - Team

I went back to visit the “Valentine Publications” website and found this waiting for me:

“The site is currently closed until further notice due to administration issues. We are still accepting submissions and are still aiming for 15th December 2009 release date for our first magazine. please come back soon! Mail@valentinepublications.com Valentine Publications Also please find us on facebook for more details and forum discussions.”

I have not received a reply from Mr. Ridyard.

138 comments:

  1. This is an absolute outrage. Grab yer ropes and pitchforks!

    I'm thankful you researched the other author's stories and have exposed it for all to see. Plagiarism is by far the absolute worst thing a writer can do. It will ALWAYS catch up to you. I hope the editors of these mags do the right thing and ban the guy. This is obviously not a one time 'misunderstanding'.

    I hope more of we authors keep an eye out for each other as Angel has done here. Thank you for exposing this person instead of keeping quiet about it Angel.

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  2. This is absolutely outrageous!

    I think The New Flesh needs to be tidied up a bit. I'll be right back.

    III

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  3. Kudos for you for taking directly to him and affording the opportunity for explanation - which of course there cannot be.

    There is no greater outrage for a writer than the theft of his work. Creativity and artistry are all we offer the world and when unscrupulous thieves, and let's call them what they are, thieves steal from one of us, they steal from all as anyone who reads anything with a byline has every right to believe they are reading that authors work.

    I hope you let each other named publication and each other author know of your findings, I'm sure this could not be pleasant or an easy thing to do, but your findings are simply too grand in scale for this to be anything other than plagiarism...

    Thank you Angel for bravely standing up to this !

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  4. Angel, I'm sorry that this is happening, but I'm glad that you found this out. Hopefully you will get a response from this writer. More importantly, I hope that the publishers of any plagiarized work will be responsible and remove it. A lot of writers should be very angry about this, as I am.

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  5. Thank you for exposing this, Angel, and for all of your effort that went into the research. It's obvious that it wasn't accidental. I've never understood the concept of plagerism - what a hollow victory, to win accolades based on someone else's work.

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  6. Angel, thank you for your detective work. All of us in the community are better off for it. Needless to say, Mr. Ridyard's submissions no longer appear at MicroHorror.

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  7. Wow, that is unsettling. Thank you for your research and for sharing.

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  8. Yea Angel, Bravo to you! The amount of research you did and the professional manner in which you wrote about this fraud is admirable.

    I have notified the publishers I have been published by.

    I hope everyone gets the word out.

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  9. That stinks!

    As far as inadvertent plagiarism goes, I found a line in one of my stories in progress that is remarkably like a quote by Oscar Wilde. Wilde was quoted as saying "I'm not young enough to know everything". In my story, a father figures out something about his son and says, "Ahh, to be young and know everything again." I know I wrote my line before I stumbled across Wilde's line, but looks like I'll have to change it a bit.

    I felt a little guilty about this until I read this article. Wow, that guy's a dirtbag.

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  10. You've done a fine thing by not merely resting on anger over having been plagiarized for a line. Your thorough research on the potential plagiarism here illuminates how plausible the problem could be. Either there is some wicked cryptoamnesia going on here, or something is up. I'm sorry this happened to you, Angel, but kudos for seriously pursuing it.

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  11. Remarkable piece of detective work there. I know that there are fewer original ideas out there than we often imagine, but the examples you've produced would seem to go a little beyond coincidence. Unless there's some kind of morphic resonance going on.

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  12. I'm impressed by your detective work, Angel, to expose his many violations. I wrote a line the other day that sounded just too familiar to be comfortable and I had to scour the old memory banks to remember where I'd seen it. Turns out it was something I'd written myself in another story. Stealing from yourself is only slightly bad. What this guy is doing is flat out wrong.
    Thanks for sharing.
    your fellow Harbinger sailmate,
    Eric

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  13. Reading about the blatant word for word plagarism by Mr. Ridyard is making my blood boil. Thanks for exposing this guy Angel.

    -Jay

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  14. I am SO ANGRY for you and the other writers! Seriously, I can't see straight. I'd like to say something like, "Well, perhaps it is a hoax, or he's trying to prove a point," but even if that is the case, it doesn't excuse this shamelessness and theft.

    -Mercedes

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  15. Just amazing, i kept reading, and reading -half supspecting that it may be a joke but ... good on you Angel.

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  16. Your research and detective work is on a par with your writing skills.

    let's keep tabs on this bozo, and expose him wherever he pops up.

    But bottom line, sorry you got ripped, Angel.

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  17. I just wonder under which name he will pop up next.

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  18. You think that's bad? How about this. Compare these four things.

    1. “I am here to tell you exactly what happened,” the man in interview room B was saying. The man was Mark Baker from West Park Street. According to the history Inspector Wilson had gathered, he was twenty-nine years old, employed by a large recruitment firm, married, and the father of a four year old girl named Vicky, now deceased.

    2. "I came to you because I want to tell my story," the man on Dr. Harper's couch was saying. The man was Lester Billings from Waterbury, Connecticut. According to the history taken from Nurse Vickers, he was twenty-eight, employed by an industrial firm in New York, divorced, and the father of three children. All deceased.

    3. "So nice to see you again so soon, so nice," Baboulas whispered.

    It held its Inspector Wilson mask in one withered, shovel-claw hand.

    4. "So nice," the boogeyman said as it shambled out.

    It still help its Dr. Harper mask in one rotted, spade-claw hand."

    Numbers 1 and 3 are by Mr. Ridyard, the first paragraph and last two lines from a story called "Baboulas." He submitted it to us at Shock Totem the other day. Numbers 2 and 4 may seem familiar to a lot of horror fans. They're written by Stephen King, the first paragraph and last two lines from his story "The Boogeyman."

    And it doesn't end there. His "story" is basically a mish-mash of King's exact words, and when it's not, the "author" simply says the exact same thing in different words.

    I would suggest spreading this far and wide. King has been notified, and Mr. Ridyard has been blacklisted, obviously.

    Ken

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  19. Angel, that is a holy shit realization and unfortunate that it happened to you and apparently so many others. I commend you on your research and in dealing with this issue with mature assertiveness - I'm with Jodi, sharpening the pitchforks.

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  20. I have been sending people to this post, especially those who were published in Micro 100 like you and I. Nice to know that you're in the company of Stephen King, though, isn't it?

    -Mercedes

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  21. Well, that's all kinds of not cool. Holmes and Watson got nothing on you, mister. Might want to mention it over at Editor Unleashed, give others a heads up.

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  22. Not a lot left to say. Except, what sort of idiot steals from famous, published authors, let alone his compadres in relative obscurity?

    Excellent detective work, Angel, and sad to see that more examples are turning up.

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  23. FYI: Valentine Publications have a Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=129276508730&ref=search&sid=646601834.884578914..1

    As for Mr Ridyard, it's just awful absolutely awful. I'll be blogging and linking to this page.

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  24. I've blogged about this and another recent case here.

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  25. You know I actually found more instances and longer passages he stole, but I simply couldn't fit it all. And really at this point, I think it's crystal clear this unscrupulous act is not only unacceptable, but also criminal.

    I have sent a personal e-mail to author, Deborah Biancotti informing her of the situation and inviting her to my blog for all the gory details.

    If anyone has a way to contact author, James Wood, please direct him here.

    I doubt I will ever receive a response from you know who.

    As writers, we have a responsibility to look out for each other's work, and safeguard against acts of this nature. Be vigilant.

    Thank you all for sharing in my anger and spreading the word.

    And stealing from Stephen King...

    ...this guy better really be a law student for his own sake, cause who else would defend him?

    -Angel

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  26. Thanks for the alert, Angel. This is so sad.
    DeborahB

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  27. Angel, I am horrifed for you, and grateful for your carefully documented expose. Sadly, I'm not surprised; I find this sort of abuse (though often not quite as blatant as Mr. Ridyard's) in the hallowed halls of academia.

    A wonderful warning, and a reminder to be wary of where we spend out words. The only redeeming aspect of this story is that the words you and others spin so amaze him that he feels he must steal from you. Losses all around, but none so great as his loss of integrity and soul.

    I have had an entire novel 'stolen' by a published professional. While he did not publish it (to my knowledge), I do know there were attempts to.

    Peace, Linda

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  28. I see Microhorror has taken down his stories. It happened at MH a year or so ago as well with a different author (or maybe the same!).

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  29. Wow. This guy is so done for. Deservedly so.
    But the thing that really chafes my chinchilla is that bozos like Richard Ridyard mean that editors and agents have less time to read the submissions of REAL authors trying to make it.
    If anyone finds his true name, let's make sure this comes to the attention of the bar association (or barrister association, whichever is pertinent).

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  30. Well, I'm glad you exposed this guy. This is one reason i have serious reservations about posting on web publications. I don't care if it's just a 2-line story...if it's mine I don't want someone stealing it. That just enrages me.

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  31. It appears the Valentine Publishing site is back up. (Or they just blocked your IP)
    And right there, listed boldly as co-founder and flash fiction editor is the now-infamous Richard Ridyard.

    May I post his bio from the site: (ahem)
    "It was Virgil who stated in his Eclogues: 'Non omnia possumus omnes' (We can't all do everything), a statement which many have been happy to oblige. In Richard Ridyard however, there lies a man who is prepared to question such apathy. Undoubtedly a man of many talents, he has lived his short twenty-one years with a vivacity and boldness, which few could achieve in a lifetime. As a co-founder of Valentine publications, and with already a number of works showcased with some the most distinguished names in the market, Richard is fast becoming one of the most exciting up and coming talents in the English short fiction community. Richard has had more than thirty publications in Australia, USA, and Europe, a number that continues to rapidly grow.
    Aside from writing, Richard is currently working towards an LLB Law degree. He lists activities he takes pleasure in as going to the gym, playing tennis, socializing, dining out, photography and travel."

    Now that's what I call hubris.

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  32. Thanks for this. As an editor at a small mag (52 Stitches), I have to be ever vigilant against this kind of charlatanism.

    Fight the good fight.

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  33. The guy has made a major mistake especially if he is using his own name. The first thing any employer does is google prospective employees.

    Mr Richard Ridyard will be tarnished forever as a liar and a cheat.

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  34. Aaron, he got you, too. I think Mercedes is sending you the info I just sent her.

    This guy is ballsy, that's for sure.

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  35. That was a well-researched and well-presented case you made, Angel. You have a legion of people behind you. Sadly the person known as "Richard Ridyard" will pop up somewhere else in the future.

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  36. Thanks for all your hard work on this, Angel!

    What an appalling and blatant act of theft by Richard Ridyard. I suspect Ridyard is a made-up name if not a made-up human being (perhaps created by his 'fellow' Valentine publishers -- I find it interesting you received a response from Valentine Publications that was full of the personal pronoun 'I' & yet was signed anonymously as 'the team'. Perhaps Shackleton & Ridyard share the same skull?).

    Certainly the whole Valentine site (the homepage I got to via a cache, but the rest seems to still be sitting there) stinks of something dodgy, so full of superlatives & praise for itself.

    How bizzare.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Angel. :) And thanks again.

    Deborah Biancotti

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  37. Ken - Gawd...he did, didn't he? I feel so dirty.

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  38. Ps...I have notified Editors of Sam's Dot Publishing, and Morpheus Tales. Let's continue to close all the doors on this stinking rotten egg.

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  39. Thanks Angel, for this article.

    I'd like to encourage others to link to this article on their own blogs and websites. This should maximise the number of people who will read it.

    Angel, I'd also like to encourage you to write a blog post or two about practical ways to avoid getting plagiarised.

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  40. What a tool! I'm going to tweet a link to this post, to spread the word.

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  41. For those needing to reach me via email:

    zapata594@live.com

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  42. Angel has mad detective skillz ;-).

    Thanks for looking out for all of us.
    ~2

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  43. This would appear to be where he got the name from: http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=28052&sectioncode=1

    "A former editor and director of the South Yorkshire Times, Richard Ridyard, has died at his home in Rotherham, south Yorkshire, at the age of 88." That was in 2003.

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  44. Truly shocking. Well done on your expose of this charlatan. Link to your post blogged and tweeted.

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  45. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  46. A few thoughts:

    1. This is fucked up.

    2. That is probably not his real name; there was a newspaper editor in the UK by that name that died recently, and I think someone has already figured out that he is using at least one other alias, yes?

    3. If anyone who still has an MS, you may want to share all of this wad's contact info with your fellow publishers/editors, as I'm sure he won't be fishing with the same bait next time. Presumably, he got paid somehow (Aaron, did he get paid for 52 Stitches?). There may be ambulance-hungry attorneys in this guy's home city that need a good class action.

    4. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Stephen King's attorneys outed this guy so we could track him down and make his life really difficult?

    5. He had to know that this would come out. It makes me wonder if he didn't sub that King story to Ken to stir the pot. I find it difficult to believe that someone somewhat literate could be dumb enough to think that they could float this scam for any period of time. My point, I guess, is that I suspect that this is, in addition to a crime, a prank a la Atlanta Nights.

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  47. Astute observation, Jeremy. I was thinking the same thing. It seems a little chilling that he would use this dead person's name as a pseudonymn but then...He may just be out to create some outrage with every intention of being discovered. It could very well seem in his mind to be some well executed prank, something that only he appreciates. Maybe he's completely fucking nuts.

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  48. Thanks for the info, Angel. What a complete *Bleep*?

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  49. Here's one he posted in August: http://www.welltoldtales.com/short-stories/ridyardr/8/15/09/empty-swing
    (I left a message for them)

    Stolen from here:

    http://hababble.com/forum/showthread.php?p=195500

    Good argument for closed forums.

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  50. Well done, Angel.

    I haven't the time to read the many comments here, but skimming through I feel all writers are of the same mind. I just can't get my head around what makes anyone think that plagiarism is a good idea.

    What was he thinking? It's the worst kind of foolish. What an idiot.

    This brings up the interesting question of the identity of plagiarisers, especially online. Just who is this man? Is he a man? Perhaps he is a child, in which case the legal consequences for him would be different, although the detrimental effect for us writers remains the same.

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  51. What a muppet!

    Well done for exposing him.

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  52. As an editor who also published him, I am utterly out-raged!

    Not only about the plagiarism but also that the story sent to me has come up on numerous other sites at the same time!

    Angel, you can be damn sure that this guy will get what coming to him. Its just a shame that he hasn't got the balls to show his face or reply to any emails sent!

    Dumbass!

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  53. Reading about this whole Ridyard saga just has me shaking my head in disbelief. What a prat he is.

    Two good things though. Firstly, plagiarists are much less likely to get away with it in these internet days, and word soon goes out.

    Second (purely selfish) good thing: I found this blog :)

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  54. I came via Twitter.

    What a thief!

    I am going to post this on my blog and warn people.

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  55. I was also duped and am not happy!!

    by the way, someone mentions avbove that Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers is RR's blog. IT ISN'T. We were just shafted like everyone else and posted a couple of his stories. Worry not, they will be coming down once people have been allowed their say. I've posted a blog linking to this damning evidence, and thanks to Angel for exposing this and to Bernard for the head's up.

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  56. From Kim Urig - how she checks her work and safeguards it:

    There are two ways I do for online work. Search on copyscape.com or also (and I use this for articles to make sure I've not accidentally plagiarized from things I research, that I've switched it up again) plagiarismchecker.com. What you do is copy a paragraph and see if other sources have it posted. Then I will send a note to the word thief, ... Read Moreusually rather innocently posed~ "I'm so glad you like my work, could you please attribute it or remove it". Then I get nastier if they don't. Well as nasty as I can get.

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  57. I echo the thoughts of everyone above.

    I can't remember if I've received anything from Ridyard or his possible pseudonym but I can guarantee anyone that has written for A Twist Of Noir or any other site that he has not and will never see the light of day on my site.

    I try my best to read everything that I can that's crime or noir-related on the web (of course, that's really an impossible task) so I also rely on everyone to be as honest as they can possibly be.

    It is my contention that everyone that has written to ATON is on the up-and-up and I have never had any reason to look askance at their stories. Hopefully there will be no reason to change that but now we all have to be on our guard as editors.

    It will continue to be my policy that we're going on the honor system at ATON but, if for whatever reason anyone thinks someone else may have ripped them off and made it under the radar, please bring it to my attention.

    I hate when something like this happens because it upsets the entire apple cart and then everyone's looking at everyone else to make sure they're committing word crimes, too. One bad apple does spoil the whole bunch, doesn't it?

    These kinds of guys can't be exposed enough.

    Angel, extremely well done. You do the work of, well, angels with something like this and I can't thank you enough for bringing it to everyone's attention.

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  58. Angel, great work. Check out this link http://storywrite.com/story/144582. Someone called R M Valentine. Word for word with the "Electricity is a rarity here........"

    Valentine Publications.......RM Valentine. ???

    LAW student my arse!!!!!!
    Well done Angel. Regards.

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  59. RE: Previous comment.

    Sorry Angel, you're way ahead. "RM Valentine." Was very wound up when commenting earlier and I must have overlooked the fact you'd already got the RM Valentine bit. The 'detective' in me was just trying to help. Great work anyhow!!

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  60. Wow. This is the kind of thing that makes someone like me (who is trying to break into the industry) terrified of all the online submissions and whatnot. It's not that I fat-headedly presume that thousands will want to steal my work. It's that they could, if they wanted to.

    Frighteningly enough, I actually became a whistle blower in one instance of art plagiarism. I had a subscription to an art magazine that focused on horses. There was a professional artist listed in the back of the magazine but her paintings were near perfect replicas of several works by the artist Michael Parkes. I contacted the magazine and after they looked into it they thanked me for pointing out the similarities. Apparently all the woman's art was taken from others' paintings. And she was advertising in a widely published magazine!

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  61. It's unbelievably hard for editors to catch these sort of things, so kudos to you for taking it into your hands, spreading the word, and notifying authors and publishers.

    JDawson
    Editor-in-Chief, Flash Me Magazine

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  62. Can I again point out that Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers are not associated with This guy. Like everyone else we were duped. I keep getting emails from irate people calling RR my writing partner and such. I don't know the man, never have met him, and have only been fooled like everyone else. A previous comment said that TKnC is his blog. It isn't. I've deleted the two stories RR had posted there and there won't be any more.
    I'm fully in Angel's corner on this one. Word theft is despicable.

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  63. Angel & all,

    I'll try not to swear...

    This poisonous character has taken all us decent writers & editors for a ride.

    Jeff and June,
    I know you were just trying to be helpful, but I echo Matt's point and we at Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers have completely disassociated ourselves with RR and deleted his/her two 'stories'.

    Angel,
    I tip my hat with respect at the meticulous detective work you've done in outing this...
    fraudster.

    I, for one, will be much more vigilant in the future.

    Respect & Regards,
    Col

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  64. Just want to throw this out for anyone trying to track this person down before the breadcrumb trail disappears completely:

    You can still get into the backend of Valentime Publications, although the data is being deleted very quickly: http://valentinepublications.com/index.htm . As of last night, Mathew Shackleton and Rudyard were listed as co-founders, but that info seems to be gone now. Shackleton has been quoted as saying that he has been friends with Rudyard for ten years (since Rudyard was eleven, presumably). Long time for someone to hold a pseudonym, yes? Also a long time to dup a close friend. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

    VP has a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=129276508730) admined by Matthew Shackleton (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=575431633) and a woman from Manchester, but, suspiciously absent as a member is his business partner Richard Rudyard. Mr. Rudyard, you will find, has no discernible internet presence at all.

    Just sayin'.

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  65. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  66. Wow, what bullshit. None of my stories were stolen by Richard Ridyard!

    But seriously reading your post has made me so angry. I found out about Richard Ridyard through my Flash Fiction writing group this morning and was shocked to see that you had been plagiarized (along with some Steven King guy). It's great to see how quickly the writing community comes together to support each other when someone breaks one of the mortal sins of writing.

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  67. I think the misinformation in the post about his blog and it pointing to TKnC should be removed. It's one of my favourite haunts is TKnC and to think that the editors are getting sh**ty emails because of it is wrong.

    This is what happens with an angry mob, pitchfork mentality and the wrong people get attacked.

    Tar, feather and torture Ridyard by all means for being the pilferer of words that he is. But leave TKnC alone he has nothing to do with that site.

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  68. All,

    Thrillers, Killers n' Chillers was one of many e-zines and writers wronged by the actions of a cowardly plagiarist.

    Let's keep the comments focused on the perpetrator (Richard Ridyard), and not on his victims.

    -Angel

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  69. Angel,

    Thank you for doing all of the hard work exposing this charade. People like this make it harder for writer's and editors alike.

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  70. Jeff and June,

    Your comment was removed because it contained info that was incorrect. I know it was done accidentally, but I want to avoid the editors at Thrillers, Killers n' Chillers receiving any more hostile e-mails.

    Thrillers, Killers n' Chillers is not, nor has it ever been a blog for Mr. Ridyard. They offer a comment forum for reader feedback beneath each post, and nothing more.

    -Angel

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  71. Great work on this, Angel. How frustrating for you and the other authors that have had their work stolen, and also for the sites that have been victimized by this guy.

    Not only are you an amazing writer, you're a kick ass detective. Don't mess with the Angel.

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  72. Cheers for putting the record straight Angel. Things have quited down now that people are aware we are not connected with RR, but victims like everyone else.
    Jeff and June, I understand your mistake. No hard feelings. In fact, thanks, the old hit counter seemed to fly up today!! ;)

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  73. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  74. Holy smokes, how blatant! Great sleuthing work here, Angel. Sorry it happened to you, but so glad you shined the bright light in the dark corner.
    ~jon
    God, I wish I could spell...

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  75. Angel,

    Thanks for clearing that up - we were nearly victims TWICE!!!

    In case you weren't aware, and in a bid to keep all possible leads on this scumbag in one place, a chap of the same name did graduate from Liverpool College. So maybe his 'Bio' does have an element of truth to it. 'The Wirral' is in this vicinity, too.
    Also the halfwit has a story pending for October on another site...

    http://www.liverpoolcollege.org.uk/1466/a-level-results.html

    http://welltoldtales.com/users/ridyardr

    I will try to warn them.

    Regards,
    Col

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  76. Thanks for the detective work, Angel, excellent job

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  77. I've been talking about this one on several lists and ruminating on it. I've seen authors heist blog posts of other authors or articles from them.... That's a "Blogger pulls your blog offense," and it's not good. But this? He's stealing from knowns and unknowns. He's blatantly ripping them off. He's taking money for it, when he can, which means it's much easier to sue him...much bigger offense. AND...if he does write ANYTHING of his own, what reputable publisher who's heard of this fiasco would touch him? It's risking a lawsuit just to sign him, because what if the book is something you're just not familiar with and is also stolen work? Which means...ding...he's killed whatever chance at a legitimate career he MIGHT have had. That takes a particular and spectacular brand of stupid.

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  78. hey bro. been there too. hate that shit. keep on keepin on.

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  79. I wanted to tell you how glad I am for your investigating. We at Shock Totem had already contacted Mr. King's assistant and were going after this guy when I found this post. I had no idea that he was doing it to other writers as well! I think that your going public with your info combined with us going public with the King info is what is giving this so much clout. A man that plagiarizes King? Stupid, but it doesn't have anything to do with us. A man that plagiarizes from writers? Cruel but unmemorable. But if you put the two of them together and realize there's a jerk who's plagiarizing from both the greats and the up-and-coming? Suddenly people are paying attention and can be warned.

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  80. Angel,

    Thanks so much for going "All the Presidents Men" on this ne. I feel dirty for being duped and publishing the guy.

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  81. Mercedes,

    This guy really pissed me off. There was no way I was going to accept this behavior. It's wild how we both basically found out on the same day. I'm glad this has raised awareness.

    Writers,
    It's amazing how far this information has traveled...

    Check out dark fiction writer, Shane Jiraiya Cummings blog "Smoke & Mirrors." He's found more evidence of plagiarism on the Valentine Publications website. They've even ripped stuff off on their "About Us" blurb.

    http://jiraiyanews.blogspot.com/2009/09/copycat-alert.html

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  82. Yeah, great blog post, Angel. Like Mercedes said, we'd already contacted King's people, but were still contemplating whether or not to go public with it. Then we saw your post here and...well, that changed things a bit. Haha. Great work, though, and it's much appreciated.

    Has anyone found an instance where Ridyard has actually been paid for "his" work?

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  83. Great Job, Angel.

    As an editor, it's just not possible to do this sort of thing for every story. At least now, we have a new name to watch out for.

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  84. Great detective work there Angel. The first one actually sounded innocent to me - six words, must the mathematician in me, trying to compute the chances (and wondering if I might have used those six words too). But when you get to those longer quotes, well my mathematician instincts say no way. I wonder how anyone can police this. But you've given a fine example for us to follow. Thank you.

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  85. Angel, thank you for being a guardian angel, exposing this feckless coward on behalf of so many writers. May your work, all our work, from now on go unmolested. Cheers, and keep fighting the good fight.

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  86. Wow, shocking and troubling. Either he thinks it is some sort of joke or he's seriously mental. UGH. Horrible.

    Peace,
    Richard
    Neo-noir
    http://www.whatdoesnotkillme.wordpress.com

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  87. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  88. It can't be said enough - Awesome job, Angel! Someone put a drink in this man's hand.

    I sent an e-mail to Bewildering Stories who were slated to publish "The Beginning of the End" on October 5th.

    No sense in anyone else finding out about this the hard way - like a "Cease and Desist" way.

    Man - that story got around. Whether or not it's confirmed that it's his own work, there is something skeezy about pimping out a story over several websites in a few months. Like "several coourses of antibiotics" skeezy.

    Hope no one purchased First Electronic Rights.

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  89. RR sent us his King rip off Babalous or whatever it was. I rejected it purely because I didn't like it. I didn't even click it was a King rip off. If I had accepted that, I would have paid him. Thank fuck we rejected it!!

    I pulled his story 'The Empty Swing' from our recent issue. It has only been out three days and I was contacted!

    Angel, I have added this on my blog too and sent it to all fellow editors in my field AND posted it on the two writing group forums I belong too. Well done mate you are an inspiration for the fantastic detective work.

    Sam,
    Editor of House of Horror
    www.houseofhorror.co.uk

    My blog is http://house-madam.blogspot.com/ for anyone interested.

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  90. Great hunt, Angel.

    Let's hope Mr. Woods is gnawing his leg off at this very moment so as to slither back into the hole he crawled out of.

    Ravenne

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  91. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  92. Im glad you said some thing.

    How can you say that this is not criminal??? This guy is a lying thieving scumbag who should be hunted down and nailed to the floor and hopefully when King sues his rotten ass off, Angel Zapata will be paid his dues as to alerting everyone including King about this stupid little weasel!!

    Sam

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  93. I've done a little more research on this guy.

    Disregard previous comment.

    I'd delete it but don't know how.

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  94. P.S.

    I found out how - too late, MontiLee had already tore me a new one.

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  95. I deleted my response to you as well, Bill.

    No hard feelings?

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  96. to put it in quin.ese-- this clown is a fucktard.

    stealing, stupid and silly enough to think he'd go unnoticed.

    personally, i'd hand it over to the 'big guy' (king) and let him deal with it.. if nothing else, he'll use the, um, details of the...errr.. removal, as a story plot.

    heh.

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  97. Jeanette Cheezum

    I am furious that someone would do this to you or anyone else. This person aparently wants people to think he is creative. I hope everyone he knows and the majority of the online press finds out what he's done.

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  98. Hey, Raven! You're gonna have to get your names straight. Haha. It wasn't me that plagiarized.

    But strangely enough, I did just gnaw my leg off.

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  99. MontiLee,
    I also contacted Bewildering Stories and the Managing Editor has sorted it.

    I've also raised this issue on a writers forum and my blog and I know many others have, too.

    Basically he's fooked!

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  100. I've just warned another editor who had also been taken in by him.

    Thanks for the good work, Angel.

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  101. Sherlock Angel ~

    You are turning adversity into a veritable spotlight indeed where scum-theft can no longer run nor hide in shadows. The amazing outpouring of the writers' community shouts along with you . . . Erin Cole has just posted an EXCELLENT piece at Six Sentences with a link to your expose, as I sense we all will.

    INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS comes under federal protection ~ for creations of the mind ... literary and artistic works. Why not form a posse of a class action suit? I'm in.

    Damn, but you're one of the good guys.
    ~ Absolutely*Kate

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  102. YIKES!

    I posted earlier and accidentally substituted Mr. Wood's name for Mr. Richard Ridyard's name.

    SINCERE APOLOGIES MR. WOODS!

    I really hate that I can't go back and erase something like that. Please let me correct my statement to read:

    "Let's hope MR. RICHARD RIDYARD is gnawing his leg off to get out of the trap and slither back into the hole he came out of."

    And now, if I'm going to submit to Shock Totem, I'll have to use a fake name or change genres. I wonder if there's an magazine called "Idiot's Review"?

    Damnation.


    Ravenne (who's gnawing off a finger in remorse.)

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  103. people like that piss me off. thanks for gathering the evidence though!

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  104. It seems this could also be him as he lives in th wirral and Lowton is close by - I think...

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Memories-Lowton-Richard-Ridyard/dp/1874712700

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  105. I didn't read all the comments, so perhaps someone said this already. It is said that imitation is the highest form of flattery (or something like that) so to plagiarize is to . . . be in love? If there is someone that all of us would like to write like, it is you. So he gets points for his great taste in picking the right person. But he loses all points for actually stealing rather than being a student of yours.

    As young writers (as we all were at one point) we fiercely guard our art, not even wanting to send it to editors for fear they'll steal the idea. Then we learn to trust and let down our guard. I have recently wondered just how safe this web thing is and, it being so vast, how we would even know if someone stole an idea (or actual words). Between sites, blogs anthologies, quarterlies, etc.

    Will you now wonder if a rejection is due to a similar idea already in their hands? I fear we may lose our favorite pen brother over this. Don't hide in the cave. Just publish more. If Dick can sell your ideas, surely you can, too.

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  106. Angel...

    If this writing thing doesn't work out for you, there's always work as a private shamus... Seriously, tho, sorry it happened to you and thank you for a stupendous and detailed post alerting us to such dangers.

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  107. Good job, Angel! My heart goes out to you and all the other writers who had their work stolen. Blogged, linked and Tweeted.

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  108. OMG. That is terrible and scary!!! I'm sorry to everyone out there who has had this happen to them and I hope I don't have to put up with that. I hope this mess gets sorted out soon. Good luck everyone.

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  109. Nice work.

    On the upside, finding yourself grouped together with H.P. Lovecraft, no matter the circumstance, should be gratifying at some level. =)

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  110. News of this has spread like wildfire.

    Good work, and thanks for posting the blog.

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  111. Good for you, Angel, for doing your homework and exposing this thief. I'm sure the jerk will pop up again under a new name, but I'm also sure that editors will be more cautious with new authors. That's good, maybe he can be stopped before he gets started. That's also bad, since new authors rarely have any confidence in their work to begin with. Ridyard's damage goes well beyond his original thievery.

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  112. One more voice of praise for your work on this, Angel.

    Should anyone find out who this plagarizer is, and should it be true (hah!) that s/he is a law student, it would be important that the educational institution be informed of the plagarism. Despite evidence a-plenty to the contrary, the commission of crimes of moral turpitude are supposed to disqualify one from eligibility for a license to practice law.

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  113. Correction: the commission IS, not ARE. Shame on me.

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  114. WOW! ?It seems like every where I turn, I see this guy's name and yet another author coming forward pointing out their story was written first - even Stephen King! Why does this guy think he can get away with it? What does he get out of it?

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  115. Also here from Twitter. I'm co-editor of Crossed Genres, and I'm confident that this asshat has never been published by, or submitted to, us. But we're another market he's blacklisted from.

    Bart Leib
    http://crossedgenres.com

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  116. Good work Angel is tracking down this thief's footprints. I notice that his "writings" have vanished from many sites. Couldn't happen to a nice guy, as they say in my home town.

    I'm with Jodi on the ropes and pitchforks brigade.

    I've linked to this entry from my own blog - the greater the web, the better.

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  117. Wow, what a story and reading through these comments has been amazing. I hope you do another summary post !

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  118. Doing some Tech spying, Shackleton is the name on the web registration, and the Mr Site forum has a deleted thread by him here

    http://forum.mrsite.co.uk/default.aspx?g=posts&t=120

    Since the Shack owns the Whois, Ridyard is tracable(if someone bothers to hunt his pasty, thieving arse)

    BTW, I'm not a writer, simply a fan of good horror, and leeches like this/these chaps suck the life out of the medium and discourage real talent. May the SOB turn up maggot ridden in a ditch. Dead is optional, but the maggots would please me no end.
    All the the best
    Roger O'Donnell

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  119. Crazy

    Thanks for all the hard work, but I doubt you will be hearing from him any time soon. All authors rip off others a little. I probably wouldn't have used some words like undulating, if I have not read HP Lovecraft, but this guy almost seems to go out of his way to do it. Gods put the effort it takes to copy these lines into your writing or better yet. Bugger off.

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  120. Plagiarism is simply too easy these days with the amount of writing out there. You're very lucky, I think, to have found this so easily (in your own inbox, wow). And I think it's really cool that you searched out this guy's abuse of other authors, too.

    And yet I'm told by many people that copyright is outdated and unnecessary.

    I agree with what Stephen said above about finding out where this person is supposedly enrolled and informing the administration about the plagiarism.

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  121. As someone said to me, when I and many others had their work or ideas copied earlier this year by a trusted colleague:

    Time wounds all heels.

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  122. unbelieveable. I hope he gets exposed big time

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  123. Not much more that I can do but shake my head. There's no defense for this kind of behavior. I hope the fellow never writes again.

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  124. I'm so sorry this has happened to you! But I think your spreading the word is excellent revenge.

    A number of bloggers have linked to this post, including me.

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  125. I can't even find the words to describe such a crime. Thank you so much for all the time and research you spent bringing this person and their plagiarism to light. We are all behind you and I'll be mentioning this in my blog tomorrow.

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  126. Nothing on the internet is ever gone forever. Can you run the Valentine site through the Way Back Machine?
    http://www.archive.org anc cllick on "advanced" and plug in the dates plus the URL. Hopefully the page he tried to change will come back up.

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  127. Angel -

    David Langford, of ANSIBLE fame, posted a link about this, which is how I ended up here reading about thieving Dick! As a publishing editor of a number of online ezines, including the Wry Writer (http://wrywriter.com/?p=1143) I'm appalled that this kind of behaviour seems to be on the rise. This is not the first case I've heard about recently and, sadly, will probably not be the last.

    If you haven't done so already, you might also want to drop a note to AC Crispin (and Victoria Strauss) about this, at Writer Beware blog (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/) as they reach a lot of writers and readers alike.

    - Alexandra

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  128. I hope he lifts a paragraph from me. I so need the validation today . . .

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  129. Angel, how awful for you - which is putting it very mildly. Arrived here from Vanessa Gebbie's site, and shocked by the sheer stupidity as well as arrogance of plagiarists.
    Writing is such hard work, I know. For someone to behave like this is beneath contempt - and, quite possibly, even lower than whale shit.
    Good for you for taking action against the disgraceful little onanist. Even baby lawyers should know better than to do such things.

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  130. sosoclever: "And yet I'm told by many people that copyright is outdated and unnecessary."

    Copyright is not an aspect of this case at all.

    "Plagiarism" (immorally misrepresenting yourself as the author of a work) is not the same as "Copyright infringement" (illegally copying without permission).

    In court of law, it's debatable whether he'd be found guilty of copyvio. However, the problem is not being sorted in a court; it's being sorted by the community, considerably more effectively, and without needing to resort to reprehensible Copyright law.

    I put all my stuff on the public domain. And if I found someone was using that stuff without giving credit? It'd be legal, but still immoral, and I'd let people know.

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  131. I called into Dragon Page about this: http://www.dragonpage.com/2009/11/17/cover-to-cover-382a/

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  132. Hi Angel,
    I'm coming late to the party here, but it's just happened to me too. And the plagiarist posted the publication of "his" poem on my facebook! We were facebook friends, since he had published something of mine on a site he edits!!! And I sent him my work for feedback. He hardly changed the title and barely any of the phrases. DUMB AND DUMBER on too many levels to mention.
    I google searched the title and found it in FIVE online pubs!!! Fortunately, I had my original email that I had sent to him, with my poem - date and time stamped - which I forwarded to each editor. Each editor removed it, and some of the removed all of his work. His name is Michael Lee Johnson.
    This was my FIRST attempt at poetry; I normally write flash fiction. What a rude awakening - the theft of some heartfelt work, whether it was good, bad or indifferent. Scumbag.
    Thanks for your work, for airing this appalling reality. I will not be sending any of my work to anyone except editors I know and trust. And that's the sad fallout.

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  133. BTW, he started getting very snarky with me, so I would ask that no one contact him just now. I'm not up for collateral damage yet. He's agreed to remove the poem from any site where it appears. As far as insight into WHY what he did was wrong: jury is still out.
    Thanks - jb

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  134. Sadly, it happens to artists as well. I know this because it happened to me this week. I'm a photographer who's made a name for himself cutting and re-engineering vintage paperback covers. An advertising agency in Toronto literally stole my intellectual property and created a mock ad campaign with images made to look like I was the one who made them. Read more here: http://thomasallenonline.com/2010/03/02/theft/

    Good Luck. I'm completely in your court.

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