If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I love Addison Cain’s books. I’ve actually reviewed or talked about all but one, I think. I count her as a friend. She was the first author I friended and talked to after I read Born to Be Broken and Reborn back to back, around 2 years ago now.
There are has been a lot of drama in Romancelandia, just like any other community. We had Faleena Hopkins last year, and now we have #CopyPasteCris. Faleena Hopkins is an indie author who tried to copyright the word cocky, which is a common word in romance book titles. She went after several authors, Tara Crescent being one of them. Tara has books that have the word cocky in the title, many of which predate Hopkin’s book. There is more to it, but that’s the basics. BTW, Hopkins doesn’t think a whole lot of romance readers, and that includes the ones who read her books. She thinks that her readers won’t understand that books with cocky in the title aren’t the same as her Cocker Brothers series and will buy the wrong book. Whatever.
Then, we have #CopyPasteCris. Christine Serruya is an “author”. It turns out that she took passages from something like 50 books from 30 authors. Yeah. And not just indie authors, she also took passages from Diana Gabaldon and Nora Roberts. Nora will hopefully stomp her into the ground, and she has the traditional publisher behind her to do it. Courtney Milan broke the scandal on her blog, because Serruya took huge chunks of one of her books and used them create her own story. She also submitted that book for consideration for romance awards. Stealing from Milan was stupid, she teaches intellectual property law and clerked for SCOTUS.
So, what do either of these things have to do with Addison Cain? Well, let me tell you. It may get long, so be prepared.
Way back in 2016, Addison published a book called Born to Be Bound. It is something new, at least on Amazon. It’s a MF Omegaverse, also called A/B/O. There are a lot of MM Omegaverse on Amazon at this point, but as far as I can tell, Addison is the very first MF. Her story had been on Literotica for some time prior. I don’t know how long, I didn’t read it on Lit. BtBB had two sequels, Born to Be Broken, and Reborn. When I first read the Alpha’s Claim series 2 years ago, I went looking for other MF Omegaverse, but I couldn’t find any. I found plenty of MM, and learned the joys of that and mpreg. It wasn’t for a while before I ran into Carolyn Faulkner, Nora Ashe, Cara Bristol, and later, Zoey Ellis. These days, there are a lot more people getting into the MF Omegaverse. Addison has 2 new series using the trope. Ivana B. Kinkee, Lillian Sable, M.D. Pentacles, Milana Jacks, and Sara Fields all have books and series in print or about to be released that are Omegaverse. Kay Elle Parker has an Omegaverse-adjacent story. MF Omegaverse is becoming more popular.
Now, there are people who are saying that Addison says she started it altogether. Nope, she’s never said it. What she has said is that as far as she knows, she’s the first one to publish MF Omegaverse on Amazon.
Specifically on Amazon. I can guarantee that is what the questioner meant, because that was my comment.
That’s a huge difference between saying she was the first to write it and that she was the first one to write it on Amazon. In fact, she’s talked about seeing fanfic on An Archive of Our Own. This is a HUGE collection of fanfic, including a buttload of a/b/o. Like somewhere around 14K. Full disclosure, I have not read anything there, mostly because I have a shitload of books on my TBR piles, and partly because I don’t like reading things like that on my computer, because it makes it hard for me to do the things I need to do. One of these days, I’ll go over on my Kindle to read it that way. This is what Addison has said about the suggestion of her owning the Omegaverse. It’s from 2016.
Anyway, from what I’ve seen and researched, it’s generally accepted that Omegaverse/A/B/O first showed up in Supernatural fanfic in 2010. It shows up a lot on AO3. There are some other fanfic sites, but I think that AO3 is the biggest and most comprehensive. It’s moved into all kinds of other fanfic, including into Japanese stuff. I’ve seen it said that it showed up in other fandoms, but most agree that it’s Supernatural. In the Omegaverse stories on AO3, you will find MM, MF, FF, FM, FF, and possibly some combinations thereof.
I have found some sources that say that it was before that and in different fandom, but there’s that.
Now, there are some things that are common in the Omegaverse. Knots on the Alpha, slick on the Omega, estrous/heat, bond/mate marks and links, growling and purring, scenting one another, and nesting are all pretty common in the trope. Not all of the books I’ve read have all of these factors, and some have them and have tweaked them a bit. No one owns these things, and as far as I know, no one has claimed they had the very, very, very first use of these.
Now that I’ve said all that, forget all about Omegaverse and who created it. This post is really about what happened next. And what has happened for the past year. I’ve known about bits and pieces of it for several months, but since Addison was keeping it quiet, I kept it quiet. Addison is now #GettingLoud and has written an excellent blog post about what’s been happening. Golden Angel also wrote an excellent post, where she goes through and breaks the books down, and is looking at writing another. Courtney Milan has talked about it on Twitter, but she doesn’t have all the pieces and is not quite informed of some of the other things, but generally, her posts aren’t terrible at it. One of the things that she got wrong is that she thought that the case was about Addison trying to claim she created the Omegaverse, doing just what Faleena did with the word cocky. But again, forget all about Omegaverse here. She also freely admits that she hasn’t read either book. Full disclosure, I have read all of Alpha’s Claim books by Addison Cain, and the first 3 books of Zoey Ellis’ Myth of Omega. I also ARCed the 3rd book, which was when I learned about what was happening.
So, what did come after? That’s the crux of the story. And what came after was plagiarism and harassment and one author whipping up ire against another. And nuisance lawsuits. BTW, there is a GoFundMe set up to help Addison with the lawyer fees from yet another set of ridiculous lawsuits by Zoey Ellis.
In January of 2018, Zoey Ellis wrote her first Omegaverse book, Crave to Conquer. It was an MF book, and it seems different to BTBB if you just throw a brief glance at it, but trust me, it’s not different. Once you get into it, you see that there is a lot of stuff that is the same. It starts with the cover art, which isn’t necessarily a big thing, because there are only so many stock photos and models out there. But then you have similar heroine names, and the barebones plot is very similar. (Golden Angel’s blog post breaks it down really well) When I read it, I thought, well huh, that’s very much like Addison Cain’s Born to Be Bound. I thought it was a little weird, but I also thought, you know, similar trope, similar conventions, similar kind of story, right? But, still, I thought yeah, wow, very similar. I was excited that there was another MF Omegaverse out there, so I looked forward to the next book anyway. Do you wanna know how I found about about CtC? It was through Addison, she was very excited to support another author. That’s how she is.
Then, readers started noticing that huh, this is A LOT like BtBB. Really a lot. And they brought it to Addison’s attention. She read it, and was like, huh, what do you know? It is a lot like BtBB. So, she did everything that you were supposed to do. Including going to her publisher and getting a DMCA takedown request for the book. Do you know what she didn’t do? She didn’t go to her fans and tell us all about it so that we could go to Zoey Ellis’ author page or her books and run them down. She didn’t say any word about anything. She didn’t say anything when Zoey and the woman who has been stalking Addison and who, incidentally, happens to be Zoey’s lawyer showed up at various events running her down and handing out business cards that could cause problems. Even now, after her post going wide, Addison hasn’t said anything bad at all about her. She still isn’t whipping us up. I’m writing this post all on my own.
I only learned about this last year, when Zoey’s book 3 came out. I ARCed it and put info about it coming out in an Omegaverse group that Addison admins. Addison deleted the post, and messaged me and let me know what was going on. Addison telling me that made an email that Zoey sent out about her ARC make sense. Her email basically said that on the recommendation of her lawyer and because of legal problems, she couldn’t send the book out until release day. I thought that was just a wee bit weird, but if you’ve signed up for ARCs or are a blogger, you know that we always have to agree that we won’t pirate it and understand that it’s the property of the author, etc, etc, etc, so I figured it was just that.
As a blogger, I’ve vowed to never work with Zoey Ellis, or any other pen name she has that I might become aware of. I don’t deal with plagiarizers. On top of that, I don’t deal with bullies. In my real life, or my real life that isn’t about books, I’m a content writer. Basically, I ghostwrite blog posts for people who want to improve their SEO on their site. I’ve done this for 10 years now, and I’m fairly good at it, if I do say so myself. I’ve written thousands of articles, and hundreds of thousands of words, I expect. But, give me a keyword on anything from piezoelectrics to medical marijuana, and I can give you 400 words in about 20 minutes. In 10 years, I have never plagiarized. I run my articles through plagiarism checkers. And that’s for an article that will never appear under my name and that I will get a relatively small amount of money for. I am deeply offended by plagiarists. I get that writing fiction is different from what I write. Writing fiction is just hard, I think. That’s why I stopped trying to do NaNoWriMo. Give me blogging any day. But it should never be so hard that you have to copy someone else. Be inspired by someone, sure, but come up with your own words and worlds and ideas to go with that inspiration
OK, nearly 2000 words and 2 days and a lot of skull sweat went into this. I hope it makes sense. I hope that it hopes to clear things up for people. I hope that I remembered to clear up all the errors.
As a warning, I have heard about people trying to dox Addison and Zoe. It will not happen here. If anyone tries to post a comment with real names or addresses, I will hammer you down with my mighty Hammer of Administration.