A plagiarist was caught after eagle-eyed readers spotted the novel Coming Home Texas was nearly identical to My Kind of Trouble, by New York Times bestseller Becky McGraw.
Author Laura Harner's trick, allegedly, was to change a heterosexual romance to a gay male one—hoping, perhaps, that the lack of overlap between the two audiences would be enough to escape notice.
In the age of book search, though, that's not how these things go down: despite changing words, ages, names and descriptors, even the most superficial comparison demonstrates the lifting.
In one scene, "Since she'd gotten the call from Imelda, the closest thing to a mother that Cassie had known since her own mother died when she was ten" becomes "Since he'd gotten the call from Isabella – the closest thing to a mother that he'd known since his own mom died when he was nine."
The Guardian's Alison Flood reports that legal action is pending, and that the plagiarist has admitted mistakes were made. The astonishing speed at which Harner's novels are published suggests many more of them may have been made.
"Her book was almost a word-for-word, scene-for-scene duplication of my book, except the characters' names had been changed, and short M/M love scenes had been inserted," said McGraw. "The only scene she didn't include was the epilogue, which couldn't be altered to an M/M scene. It involved the heroine in labour and the hero having sympathetic labour pains."
In a better world, we learned of this because the final birth scene had remained in the plagiarized M/M version of the story. This would also have been the best plagiarized book ever—and, perhaps, the best book ever.