Kristin Holt copied Caty Callahan's Bride Lottery series after it reached bestseller

Heather and Kristin Holt Attacking Marriage Lottery

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Kristin Holt copied Caty Callahan's Bride Lottery series after it reached bestseller
Kristin Holt copied Caty Callahan’s Bride Lottery series after it reached bestseller

I don’t like attacking other authors. That’s one of the reasons I don’t sell my novels on Amazon anymore and I don’t participate in RWA, Romance Writers of America. They’re like cyberbullies who troll the web and attack other romance novelists’ books.

Today I sent the third DMCA violation notice to Kristin Holt, a Mormon RWA author who copied my The Bride Lottery series. Many of my fans remember the beginning of The Marriage Lottery with Hope and Mathew, Montana and Daniel, Sara and Sam, and Keira and Kevin. Back then the series was titled The Bride Lottery and was initially sold on several small sites as well as Amazon. This series reached bestseller rank almost immediately and stayed there for several months before I pulled my books from Amazon and began selling them elsewhere. I had several issues with Amazon most importantly that they were allowing other authors to plagiarize other authors’ work and weren’t enforcing the DRM, digital rights management, of their author’s intellectual property. Little did I know that as my series was on the bestseller list of Amazon Kristin Holt was already busy copying my series and my work.

Kristin Holt’s The Bride Lottery was announced by the author on her Facebook page on July 18, 2014 and published on Amazon on July 30, 2014 after my series had been on the bestseller list of Amazon for several months. She copied the title of the series, lines from the novels including part of the synopsis. She violated the DMCA and used my trademark to try to sell her books. That’s illegal and a felony which is why she’s been issued DMCA violation notices.

This morning, Kristin Holt and her granddaughter Heather Holt received the third DMCA violation notice and immediately began bashing my novels across the internet. I don’t like calling authors out for their bad behavior, but these are two women who truly need to be put in their place.

Kristin Holt violated trademark and copyright laws when she copied my Bride Lottery series
Kristin Holt violated trademark and copyright laws when she copied my Bride Lottery series
Heather Holt, Kristin Holt's granddaughter, bashing the books Kristin Holt copied
Heather Holt, Kristin Holt’s granddaughter, bashing the books Kristin Holt copied
Norma Rudolph nicknamed Nasty Norma, Kristin Holt's friend also bashing the books Kristin Holt copied
Norma Rudolph nicknamed Nasty Norma, Kristin Holt’s friend also bashing the books Kristin Holt copied

Kristin Holt didn’t write The Bride Lottery series, I did

The Original Bride Lottery Series (first four novels) published more than a year before Kristin Holt copied them
The Original Bride Lottery Series (first four novels) published more than a year before Kristin Holt copied them

Kristin Holt didn’t just copy the series title, she also copied elements of the series.

Synopsis

The synopses of The Bride Lottery series were this:

Book 1: Hope and Mathew

Six men. Five women. Mathew never thought of that.

The year is 3145. After the apocalypse people struggled for almost a hundred years to share what was left of the United States. Cities crumbled, infrastructures collapsed, and water became scarce.
Then people began forming villages. Here and there they built homes, made laws, and formed communities. Soon thereafter came the Bride Lottery, a way to repopulate communities without government interference.

The lottery was simple. Single women of age twenty or older put their names into a pot and the men drew the names out. If the man didn’t like the draw, he could put it back and draw another name. There was no choice for the woman.

Sometimes the pairings were unsuccessful and then there was divorce. Even that was simpler.
After a year together if the marriage was unconsummated, either wife or husband could notify the magistrate they wanted to split. It was called halving. Half of everything went to either side.
Men weren’t too happy about this. A man could build a home, start a farm, get a crop going and show up to the lottery in April only to choose the wrong name. A year later half of everything went to his former wife.

Women loved it. It balanced the inequality of strength and endurance that fate had imparted on men and women. It also secured children with futures. Women bore the children and kept them with them, even after divorce, while men started new families and didn’t look back.
These were the only rules of the Bride Lottery. And it worked.

Book 2: Montana and Daniel

Thirteen men. Five women, one half-naked. Daniel couldn’t resist.

The year is 3145. After the apocalypse people struggled for almost a hundred years to share what was left of the United States…

Book 3: Sara and Sam

Twenty men. Three women, one with purple eyes. Purple was his favorite color. Sam never stood a chance.

The year is 3145. After the apocalypse people struggled for almost a hundred years to share what was left of the United States…

Book 4: Keira and Kevin

Twelve men. Six women. Only one his age and wild to boot. Kevin made the only choice he could. Marrying her was one thing; taming her another.

The year is 3145. After the apocalypse people struggled for almost a hundred years to share what was left of the United States…

When Kristin Holt published her copycat title on July 30, 2014 she titled it the same as my series and gave this synopsis:

Forty Bachelors.
Fifteen Brides.
What could go wrong?

Evelyn is in a pickle.
In less than five months, Evelyn Brandt will be an unwed mother. Her parents discover her secret and send her away on the next west-bound train. They insist she deliver the child on the other side of the continent where the disgrace won’t harm her father’s business empire and the family’s social standing. She’ll be allowed to return home after the child is adopted by decent people and her corset fits properly once more.

Sam’s in charge of the Bride Lottery, and the competition’s fierce.
It’s too bad the mail order bride agency failed to round up even half their order, ‘cause every man on the mountain wants a bride—except Sam Kochler—so he’s saddled with enforcing the rules. He received bios of each lady the agency sent, so when Evelyn steps off the train, he’s a tad curious and a mite too interested.
The tougher the competition becomes, the worse some fellas behave, and it’s not long before Sam finds himself courting Evelyn—only to protect her while she makes up her mind. He won’t allow himself to fall in love and still doesn’t want a wife…or so he keeps telling himself.

This isn’t the original synopsis that appeared on Amazon. She copied the first two lines of my series and added it later. Look familiar? This is what plagiarism looks like.

Not “Sweet Romances”

I’d like to also point out that the many fans I have of The Bride Lottery series and The Marriage Lottery series have come to depend on me for telling stories appropriate for young adults, including both young women and young men who want to remain virgins until they are married. That has been an ongoing theme in both series from the very beginning. Although I don’t market my novels as “sweet” they are certainly more wholesome than what you find on the romance novel shelf at the bookstore.

Kristin Holt‘s copycat novel The Bride Lottery is about a girl who gets pregnant from sleeping around and gets shipped off to find a husband. She traps a man into marrying her without telling him she’s pregnant. Sound very wholesome or “sweet” to you? In fact, most of the “sweet romances” that Kristin Holt writes are about unwed mothers, young girls who got themselves pregnant. That’s not a sweet romance. The men in her novels are bullies. Again, not very sweet.

Copied Heroes and Heroines Names

Kristin Holt went a step further. She didn’t just copy the series title, the idea of way more men than women, and the beginning of my synopsis. She also copied some of my heroes and heroines’ names. Really?

Look at the third novel in my The Bride Lottery series. The hero’s name is Sam. Look at the hero of Kristin Holt’s The Bride Lottery. His name is also Sam.

Last fall when I announced that I’d have a Christmas themed lottery titled A Merry Christmas Marriage Lottery which is book 10 in the series, I also announced it would be about Connor, son of Magnus Brennan, and Hannah.

Kristin Holt wasted no time at all in announcing that she was going to make her own The Bride Lottery series and would start with the story of Hannah. OMG.

Copied Themes Throughout the Series

There are other themes in the series that Kristin Holt also copied.

Magistrate

In The Bride Lottery and The Marriage Lottery series there is a magistrate in each town and he is in charge of the lottery. In several of the novels, the magistrate becomes an alternate suitor to the woman who gets hitched. He also has access to every man’s background and gets to know them before the lottery as part of his job. This was my brainchild. To my knowledge, this idea has never appeared in any novel.

Kristin Holt copied the idea of magistrate into her The Bride Lottery novel even down to little details about how the lottery was conducted. That’s not a coincidence; that’s plagiarism.

Halving

The halving is a completely original idea I came up with when I designed the series years ago. To my knowledge, it has never appeared in any novel.

Kristin Holt mirrored the idea of halving in her copycat The Bride Lottery as an incentive for the men to compete for the women. Sound familiar?

Heather and Kristin Holt’s Unethical Behavior

I’m not a social networking person. I write and writing is usually a solitary endeavor. The rest of my time is spent with my family, especially my children. I don’t go trolling the internet to dig up dirt on other authors. If I did, I would’ve known about Kristin Holt. It wasn’t until her book began appearing in searches of my name and my series that I became concerned and sent her a DMCA violation notice. Her response was unethical, certainly not worthy of a woman who is supposedly Christian and a devout Mormon. (I seriously question whether she is either.)

Giving Away Free Copies of The Bride Lottery

In an effort to bury my series in Google and have it ignored, Kristin Holt along with her granddaughter Heather Holt, who does her online site and marketing, started a free giveaway of The Bride Lottery. When someone gives you a DMCA violation notice, you don’t go out and do this. Not if you’re ethical.

Bashing Other Authors’ Books Including the Real Bride Lottery and Marriage Lottery Series

I suspected Kristin Holt was giving away books in exchange for good reviews when the number of reviews for her The Bride Lottery jumped from 4 to 200. Most of these people were her RWA friends and church goers who probably didn’t even read the novel.

Within 30 minutes of receiving the third DMCA violation notice this morning, Kristin Holt and Heather Holt went online to Barnes and Noble and bashed my books, downvoting them and leaving negative reviews calling me a bully. Very unethical. I don’t think they’re new to this. This is common among RWA members and Heather Holt sells negative book reviews on Fiverr.

Here’s what cyberbullying looks like and it has Heather Holt and Kristin Holt‘s names all over it.

After copying Caty Callahan's Bride Lottery Series, Kristin Holt sent her minions to leave negative reviews for Caty's books across the internet
After copying Caty Callahan’s Bride Lottery Series, Kristin Holt sent her minions to leave negative reviews for Caty’s books across the internet

Intent

When Kristin Holt published her copycat The Bride Lottery she copied way too many elements of my series The Bride Lottery and The Marriage Lottery for this to be a harmless mistake. With today’s book bashing, she and her granddaughter have displayed clear intent to violate the law.

DMCA Violation Notice

Kristin Holt was sent a DMCA violation notice for a third time this morning that her novel The Bride Lottery as well as her intended future series of the same name is guilty of trademark infringement and copyright infringement.

It’s sad when authors bash each other. I don’t like it. I don’t participate in it. I’d rather write. But part of writing is protecting my brand, my trademarks, and my copyrights. Which means I will be suing Kristin Holt and her conspirators in federal court if she continues to be guilty of DMCA violations.

This notice was sent to the legal address of record for Kristin Holt, PO Box 9301, Ogden, UT 84409, 260-475-0048 and to the legal email addresses she has on file at heatherh.holt@gmail.com and kristin@kristinholt.com.

I would also like to thank Barnes and Noble for being the first retailer to pull Kristin Holt’s novels. This is why I chose to sell my novels there. I think they at least care about what they are selling and about the authors who are selling there.

Legal DMCA Violation Notices for Trademark and Copyright Infringement were sent to the legal addresses below (three times):

Smashwords, Mark Coker, 15951 Los Gatos Blvd, Ste 16, Los Gatos, CA 95032, 408-395-3600, mv@smashwords, mcoker@smashwords.com, dcoker@smashwords.com

Amazon Legal Department, Jeff Bezos, Amazon Technologies Inc, PO Box 8102, Reno, NV 89507, 206-266-4064, hostmaster@amazon.com, legal@amazon.com, copyright@amazon.com, dmca@amazon.com (Anne Tarpey, Copyright/Trademark Agent, Amazon.com)

CreateSpace Legal Department, Jeff Bezos, On-Demand Publishing LLC, 7290B Investment Drive, North Charleston, SC 29418, 206-266-4064, hostmaster@amazon.com, legal@amazon.com, copyright@amazon.com, dmca@amazon.com (Anne Tarpey, Copyright/Trademark Agent, CreateSpace.com)

The legal departments of iTunes/Apple, Scribd, Kobo, and Goodreads were also sent legal notices. Each of these companies listed Smashwords and Mark Coker as the legal person responsible for submitting this information to their sites. I reserve the right to sue any and all of them.

Update

Barnes and Noble and iTunes have removed Kristin Holt’s Bride Lottery books from their sites.

Although I received a written apology from Kristin Holt’s attorney admitting that she and her friends had been leaving negative reviews across the internet for my books (as well as other authors in my writing group), she still continues to do so.  Several reviews were posted on Barnes and Noble by a reviewer she paid to leave negative reviews (who even stated so in the reviews).  I’ve reported her to Barnes and Noble and have noticed that many of her books have been pulled from their site.

 

 

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