On June 1, I received an email from Tara Laskowski, the Editor of SmokeLong Quarterly, letting me know that a guy by the name of B. Mitchell Cator had plagiarized some writers we’d previously published. Cator’s plagiarism in a short story collection had been called out on GoodReads and Amazon. One of the writers was Cami Park, whom we had published several times, and who passed away a few years ago. I was… upset. I launched into doing whatever I could to see that he didn’t profit from other people’s work. I wasn’t alone. Word was getting around on social media, as more and more writers and editors became aware of the issue.
The collection got pulled from both GoodReads and Amazon. Literary magazine editors looked through their own archives and found multiple instances of plagiarism by Cator, and immediately removed his work.
Cator also had a novel launching the same day Tara contacted me. It had received a few very positive advance reviews, including a Kirkus Star. Thanks to the social media firestorm, Ira Lightman, who I met as a result of all of this, downloaded a copy of the novel, and started sleuthing. Not surprisingly, he found a number of instances of plagiarism there, too.
By this point, articles were starting to appear about Cator, notably on DailyDot and Great Writers Steal. But the Kirkus review remained. I emailed and called, and was delighted with the response from Karen Schechner, the Senior Indie Editor. With links in hand provided by Ira, they confirmed that plagiarism had been committed, pulled the review, and also issued a terrific press release. My favorite line from that release is this:
authors whose work was plagiarized… have, as far as I’m concerned, collectively earned a Kirkus Star
Both the Kirkus press release and Great Writers Steal suggested that we should honor the authors so plagiarized by reading their work. I agree whole-heartedly. Here, then, are links to the works plagiarized in both the collection and the novel:
From the collection:
Seven Things About Leroy by Jessica Myers-Schecter
The Last Leaf by Vadim Bystritski
Coke and Oreos by Chris Lentonin
This Is Why We Love Airports by Heidi Priebe
Why Tanya’s Paper Airplanes Are Better Than Geoffrey’s Paper Airplanes by Thom Veratti
Milo Hennessy’s Work With Invisible Literature by John W. Sexton
I Can’t Talk About Butter Because Margarine Is All I Know by C. R. Park
Far Enough South by Al Billings
Slashing at the Nets by Townsend Walker
From the novel:
Fortune for Disaster by Torin Johnson
Eulogy to Maria Mamani Fire-eater by Ed Bull
Ray by Sarah Leavitt
The Killing Field by Skip Hollandsworth
Angie Luna by Sergio Troncoso
The Joys of the Smallest Gesture by Leigh Allison Wilson
Betweeen Here and the Yellow Sea by Nicolas Pizzolotto
A Good Deed by Lou Beach
Liney’s Sense of It by Ashlee Paxton-Turner
Three Sisters by Maria Takolander
Medical examiner’s unique technique helps ID desert dead by Rebekah Zemansky
The Hole Between Them by Gerard Varni
These are the works Cator directly stole. But these are all terrific writers, and I’d strongly encourage a google for more of their work.