In August 2015, I was preparing to enjoy my birthday party at a sister's house, my family was around me, a small nephew was instructing me on the correct way to build with lego, and the cake was flowing. I made the mistake of looking at my email.
"Hi," said and eagle-eyed reader who'd seen my novels on the Meryton.com site. "I didn't know you'd published your stories."
Celebration ground to a halt, I rampaged around Amazon - horrified to see that someone had smooshed my two stories together, under a hideous cover, with an ungrammatical title and using the pen name I'd used on-line. Horribly, this meant it was someone who'd read my stories in a closed group I'd thought was a safe space, perhaps even someone I'd interacted with socially.
It took me two days to get Amazon to admit that the stories were mine and take them down, followed by Nook and Barnes and Noble. "Phew," thought painfully naive me. "Thank heavens that's over." Of course, I never saw a penny/cent/pesos of what the plagiarist had made but I consoled myself that they probably didn't either and that it had all disappeared into Amazon's coffers.
The scene changes to August 2017. I had conned the good folk at Meryton Press into published "Fair Stands the Wind" as a stand-alone novella and all appears to be going well. The paperback appears but there is no sign of the Kindle version. Amazon are emailed, several times, with increasing urgency.
Apparently, because I have chosen to use a different pen name, they now believe I am plagiarising myself - that Catherine Lodge is just another pesky plagiarist trying to steal from Catherine RealName.
Jolly good, glad to see they are looking after Catherine RealName's copyright and Amazon's behind - but why did it take so long to sort out? They refused to deal with Meryton Press, on the basis that they weren't either of the copyright holders, and they kept passing me from pillar to post. I sent exactly the same information 4 times and, each time, the company waited 3 or 4 days and then asked for it again.
Then on Friday 15th September, more by habit than in hope, I checked again and there it was!! Paperback AND Kindle. For sale, in the US and UK. Not that anyone had written to me to tell me so but pluuuurrrrrrrrrrp (sound of raspberry being blown) it is out there. In two formats, my baby.
All I need now is some readers. How's about it, folks? If you fancy a read, just go to http://authl.it/8bv, there's a forwarding page to the Amazon where you are.
In case you've forgotten, here's the blurb again:
We all know that in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy is proud and prejudiced because he is a wealthy landowner who believes himself above his company; and that Elizabeth Bennet can afford to be proud and prejudiced because she believes she has the freedom to make choices for herself.
But what if Mr Darcy is the second son, sent to sea at a young age? What if Elizabeth is trapped by circumstances, with an ill father on one side and understandably desperate mother on the other?
Meet Captain Darcy of the Royal Navy, a successful frigate captain, with ample prize-money and a sister he needs to provide for while he is at sea. Meet Elizabeth Bennet, who needs a husband and is trying to resign herself to Mr Collins, the worst "least worst alternative" in the history of literature.
About the Author
Catherine Lodge is a semi-retired lawyer and lecturer, living in Yorkshire–a part of the UK even more beautiful than Derbyshire. One of five daughters, although by birth order regrettably the Jane, she found 19th Century literature early in her teens and never looked back–even if that meant her school essays kept coming back with “archaic!” written in the margin next to some of her favourite words. She still thinks that “bruited” is a much nicer word than “rumoured.”
After years of drafting leases and pleadings, she finally started to write for fun in her forties and has never stopped since. Much of this will never see the light of day, having been fed to the digital equivalent of a roaring bonfire, but “Fair Stands the Wind” is the first book she thinks worthy of public attention.
She spends her day fixing computer problems for friends and family, singing in her local choir, and avoiding the ironing.