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:


"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."


"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:

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:


"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:


"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:

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.

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:

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.”


“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)



“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


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.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Flashes in the Dark: Surrogate Fruit

With an awesome introduction by editor, Lori Titus, "Even the most pure of intentions can bring the most tragic of results..... read Angel Zapata's latest offering on Flashes in the Dark."

Flashes in the Dark: Surrogate Fruit

Thanks, Lori!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Toe Tags Horror Anthology: October 2009

This is a trailer for the horror anthology "TOE TAGS: 21 spine-tingling stories by the best new authors of horror" - Due out in early October 2009. The book includes short stories by Brian Barnett, William Pauley III, Angel Zapata, Lori Titus, Jimmy Calabrese, Nathan Rosen, Graeme Reynolds, Oonah V Joslin, L. B. Goddard, T. J. McIntyre, Robert C. Eccles, Stephanie Barnett, Joshua Day, Brett Saunders, Joshua Scribner, Chad Case and Michael A. Kechula. The book will be available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Every Day Poets: Girl Fight

My poem Girl Fight is featured today on Every Day Poets.

Every Day Poets: Girl Fight

As always, I'm grateful for the acceptance. Thanks again to editors, Oonah Joslin, Constance Brewer, and Nicholas Ozment.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Absent Willow Review: Two Poems

The Absent Willow Review has published their latest issue which happens to include two of my poems, Dreams of the Scarlet Blossom and The Little Pyromaniac. The editors are committed to producing quality horror fiction and poetry. For those of you wanting to delve into horror short stories (between 2,000 – 8,000) vs. flash fiction, this is definitely the site for you.

Familiar names like K.C. Ball, Jodi MacArthur, and Lucien E. G. Spelman have appeared in its pages. They are open to submissions, so dust off those manuscripts.

The Absent Willow Review

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Twins: September 2001

We came here to raise the dead. The rubber-coated
handle of that borrowed shovel flowing thickly
through his dust-encrusted hands. Between gloved fingers,
a nameless daughter now reduced to ash gray wind.
My father has volunteered to sort brick from bone,
skin from stone, undress the glass-crushed epidermis.
Over his scorched head, thread-like pillars of white smoke
stab blue sky, hushed prayers strike white against his mask.
Any deep breath is cause for alarm, toxic gases
fueled by exposed pipes, the odor of ghosts.
I know somewhere submerged beneath trampled wreckage,
friends who climbed falling stairs grow closer in the earth.
Again the carbon tempered blade of his shovel
strikes rock, sparks a quake that shivers from the mantle.
Eight hundred miles away, I’m digging up a dead rosebush
within the square-fenced yard of my safe Georgia home.
I turn the soil with a crooked spade, plowing
deeper than I should, expecting a hand to break
the distance, reach up from the dark and voice its name.

Copyright © 2009 Angel Zapata

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Laura Eno: Writer Spotlight

My recommended author of the week is the always terrific, Laura Eno. A successful fantasy and romantic fiction writer, she’s recently turned her attention to the darker side of fantasy and horror. “He signed away all rights to the robot zombie doll that same day, but never saw his money. A day later, the cute little robots began receiving their new programming, devouring their unsuspecting owners while they slept.” from Zombies Inc.

Her prose is consistently clean and unencumbered by superfluous words. “Do you remember how Mama begged? Can you see once again the pool of blood as she lay dying?” from Family Reunion.

What’s most impressive about her work is her keen mastery of subtlety and misdirection. “‘I'd like to spend some time with you.’ Paul drew his lips across the back of Amy's hand, watching her shiver in reaction. She would be easy prey tonight.” from Need.

In reference to creating works of flash fiction, and her participation in a weekly “#fridayflash” forum, Laura shares her own personal feelings with us. “At first, #fridayflash seemed like a fun way to connect with a few fellow writers, but it’s become so much more than that to me. As I’ve seen my readership grow and take in the comments left, I realize that I’m making a connection with a much broader audience that enjoys my stories. That’s very gratifying to any writer.” The author continues. “I am the proverbial introverted writer, sitting alone in a room, clacking away at a typewriter. This experience has forced me to push beyond my perceived limits, both in terms of coming up with new stories on a regular basis and forging into the unknown...” from A Conversation with Laura Eno on Mad Utopia.

What hasn’t been mentioned yet is Laura’s generous spirit. She is a constant source of support for many aspiring writers. You can find her words of encouragement and thoughtful critiques posted in dozens of online magazine comment forums and author blogs. She is a genuinely gracious writer and a person who does her best to not only promote her own creations, but the flash fiction community at large.

It’s an honor to write along side her.

Works of interest include:

Zombies Inc. flash fiction published on MicroHorror.

Family Reunion flash fiction published on The New Flesh.

Need flash fiction published on Static Movement.

Finale flash fiction published on author’s blog.

A Conversation with Laura Eno flash fiction published on Mad Utopia.

Visit Laura’s blog to experience “A Shift in Dimensions” and prepare to be taken on a glorious ride:

A Shift in Dimensions

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The New Flesh: Grub

I’ve been hiding out the past couple of weeks or so writing up a storm…and it may be paying off.

My flash piece, Grub is up on The New Flesh today. Editor, William Pauley III has created a fantastic site for true affectionados of the horror genre. He’s a very talented horror writer as well. Check out his site and his work.

The New Flesh

Now back into the cave I go...