Thursday, September 02, 2010

Something dirty and underhanded...

Hey peeps

No Link Thursday article today, sorry. I actually need to air something out here. It is not my policy to dish about what is happening behind the scenes or in my private and professional life here, but this time I feel this is warranted.

It started with this comment Ms. Terran McGahae left yesterday on my post Heroines Across The ages in Writing:

Ms. Monodee, your continued use of TJ Killian's lessons, in part or in whole, is the 'theft' of intellectual property owned by T.J. Killian Enterprises.

It is in your best interest to cease and desist.


Terran J. McGahae
Vice President

T.J. Killian Enterprises.

What actually happens is that I used to blog with Ms. Killian and other authors (namely Angela Guillaume, Sandra K. Marshall, Diana Castilleja) under the banner of the Royal Blush Authors, which was our group name. The blog was about writing advice, and had themed months. Every Monday, Ms. Blush, a Gossip Girl-like narrator (that I invented, wrote, and posted-as every Monday), announced the month's theme and the week's posts. T.J. Killian then posted weekly on Tuesdays, and I posted (under the handle of Z Aasiyah/Nolwynn as these were the pen names I used back then) on Thursdays. Ms. Guillaume, Ms. Marshall, & Ms. Castilleja posted once a month on Wednesdays. Fridays, every other fortnight, was reserved for an ongoing Free Read I personally wrote with the other authors' feedback about a chick-lit story character called Prudence Tempest.

You can find this blog here The blog had been deleted unbeknownst to everyone by Ms. Killian a few months ago but since I had admin priviledges as I wrote most of the material on it, I was able, as per Blogger's policy, to go through my Dashboard and undelete the blog. This is why you'll see it up today.

So yes, please - take a look at that blog. Each person's post is actually posted by the person who wrote it. You'll find which ones are Ms. Killian's, which ones are mine, which ones are for the other ladies who blogged with us. In case there is still doubt, look at our voices and see if they're in any way similar!

The issue - yes, I admit it - a lot of the Writing Wednesday posts here are actually posts I had written for the Royal Blush Authors blog. On that count, feel free to throw the tomatoes. When the blog was initially deleted, I still had copies of these articles on my hard drive, and figured I'd use them on here on days where I couldn't find more than 10 minutes to blog.

So yes, I did repost my old stuff. I apologize for this, and this only. I had actually asked a few friends about what to blog about writing-advice-wise before I started this blog, and most of them told me they'd have loved the old Royal Blush Authors type of advice I proposed, and when I told them I had the copies, they urged me to go ahead and share with the readership here (you can ask Rae Lori, Angela Guillaume, Sandra Marshall, and Rebecca Royce about this one).

I'm a reasonably calm and easygoing person. But when I am attacked, and wrongfuly at that too, I'm sorry but I cannot stay silent. I've let this happen in the past, when someone from Ms. Killian's entourage had called me all sorts of names on my Facebook profile (old name, Z Aasiyah Nolwynn), but this time, I really cannot stand by and watch someone try to destroy me.
In case you're wondering, Ms. Killian, who is in real life Ms. Lee Morris and the former owner of Eirelander Publishing (between March 2009 - August 2010), saw me resign from her company in my then-capacity of Senior Editor (Mainline) around the end of March 2010 because of a heavy workload that I could not juggle in collaboration with my own family life and my writing. Since that last communication, aka my resignantion email, I have not heard from Ms. Killian/Ms. Morris until her sister, Ms. McGahae, posted this comment on my blog yesterday.

I give big thanks to Angela Guillaume (the same gal I used to blog with at RBA), and Rae Lori, for their support in reiterating that these posts in question were my own since they had read them on the RBA blog.

Please go see for yourself -

Sorry again for the mess - but I really cannot stand in the sidelines and watch this sort of thing happen.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee (Real name Zaynah Monodee - former pen names Aasiyah Qamar & Nolwynn Ardennes)


Chicki Brown said...

Unbelievable! I am so glad your affiliation with the people is over. Remember what I said when I first had any dealings with them - no grace. They are petty and unprofessional and give the publishing business a bad name (if that's possible).

I always enjoyed your posts on Royal Blush, and you have every right to post what you've written anywhere you wish!

Unknown said...

Zee, anyone who knows you personally will never doubt the honest person you are. Not to mention talented and dependable. I more than anyone know how you had taken Eirelander Publishing's main line to a new level with your hard work and dedication - to the point where you had to sacrifice too much. I really do hope those who benefited from your efforts will also appreciate your involvement, and accept that there are things in life that are too important in any person's life and cannot just be given up without serious repercussions to one's well-being.

Zee Monodee said...

Thanks you Chicki. I'm sorry I didn't listen to you when you had your bad run-in with them. I thought I was different, but just goes to show how much I was blind.

Good to know you liked the posts - I remember you used to comment on each and everyone of them.


Zee Monodee said...

Angela, thanks so much for your lovely words. You're right - I gave them my all when what really mattered, namely my family, was falling apart at the seams because of my 'dedication'.
True too - some things are too important.
Really glad for your support too.

Joanna D'Angelo said...

Um...there is nothing wrong with re-posting articles from another blog that you write - a lot of people do it. Since I'm assuming that you were not paid to write for that other blog and I'm assuming that you did not have a contract stipulating that anything you wrote for that blog became the copyright property of that blog - so if that is that case then I don't see any issue.

This is the blogosphere - people do that all the time.

In fact - I have absolutely NO PROBLEM and I ENCOURAGE people to re-use posts they've blogged on my group blog - because I know how busy people are and sometimes it helps to re-blog during a crunch period.

I think you're an honest and wonderful person Z!

Zee Monodee said...

Thanks Joanna! Big hugs

No, the blog was not a paid one, and never did anyone of us sign any disclaimer waiving off our rights or giving the post copyright to that blog. It was strictly a voluntary, collaborative blog between authors.

This is exactly what I thought - that these posts were mine (I have studied Communication Law for my degree!), and furthermore, until a few hours that blog had been deleted from the blogosphere. Such closing would've meant our posts reverted to us anyhow.

Big thanks and hugs for your support! I kept wondering, what if I reposted my Pop Culture Divas posts on here? Could Joanna sue me?


Unknown said...

Hey Z,

So sorry lassie. I have been there during heated battles with fellow scribes. Not pretty at all.

I used to blog weekly over at a fellow writers blog. Since my own blog and writing take priority, I stopped. This week I recycled posts from there on my own. IT'S MY WORK. Joanna is right. I wasn't paid, no contracts, nada.

We are talking about author blogs. It's not an agent blog, a critic, or a publisher. This is not Pullizter Prize winning stuff we chatter about here.

Really, this has to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

Kudos to you for sticking up for yourself. And what immature cows they are for taking it to a high school level by posting stuff on your FB.

Lynn S said...


Life is way too short to let this eat away at you. People are who they are. There isn't anything we can do about that. As to your blog entries, I'm not sure what the rules are but I'd imagine what is written by you is yours. It's not like you signed a contract stating that what was posted was the property of RBA. I understand your need to defend yourself but you've told your side so don't let them win by letting it keep irritating you. You're better than that.

Many really big hugs!

Connie Chastain said...

I saw no copyright notices on the blog, and the blog is not identified as belonging to T.J. Killian Enterprises. In fact, that name appears nowhere on the blog that I could find, not even on her I.D. page.

I also can't find a website for "T.J. Killian Enterprises" with a Google search. It is apparently the a fictitious name of the "publisher" on some of the writer's self-published Kindle e-books.

This has made me think, though. I have both a website and a blog. Every page of my website has a copyright notice for original content, but not my blog. I think I'll put on on it. You might do that on yours, too.

Anonymous said...

Good Lord! What is that woman doing brewing this tempest in a teapot? Doesn't she have another business to run or something else more important than chasing down re-purposed blog posts from a defunct blog?

Honestly, she must not know anything about marketing or public relations or journalism either. It is common practice to repurpose all writing. What do you think most of the articles you read on the web or magazines are? Having been a PR professional for 10 years, I can tell you that it is a standard practice in all industries to repurpose.

It's also clear she doesn't understand any kind of public relations for herself or her business. This is the sort of thing that gets around, and in such a small sphere as e-publishing, that's not good. And quite frankly, Eirelander, with all due respect, is no Ellora's Cave and will never get there with such petty behavior.

Unless there was a contract between you and the blog or its owner stating that your writing was the property of that blog, then she has nothing to stand on except a crumbling reputation.

Also, the nub of her complaint seems to be the "lessons you learned" while volunteering for this blog. Unless she has clear documentation about exactly what she taught you and your acknowledgment that there were "lessons learned," then again, she is making an empty claim. Besides, much of what is written on that blog can be commonly found on other writing advice sites in various forms. Writing advice is a general topic, and it would incredibly difficult for her to prove any kind of intellectual property over what is generally and widely distributed over the internet for free.

Furthermore, employment law (if she wanted to go so far) states clearly in all states in the US that an "employee" is allowed to use skills and knowledge acquired in a previous position in order to advance their career without violating any non-compete clauses in a contract (again, was there even such a contract in your case?). It is only if you were to take anything that was unique to her business, such as a branded or trademarked system, phrase or technique that you would be liable. General advice is not considered intellectual property in this case.

Basically, this woman is clearly pursuing a personal vendetta. My professional and personal advice to her would be two words: step off.


Sandy said...

God, what a mess. I'm sorry this is going on, Z. It's just not right.

Penelope said...

Totally not right! Good luck Z.

Erin Kern said...

Some people are just ugly and will use opportunities to make those around them feel less about themselves. maybe this person who's been attacking has self esteem problems and needs to make someone else feel worse about themselves. the best thing you can do is keep your head up and keep on with what you've been doing. you're a great writer, so don't let anyone take that away from you. My prediction is that you'll come out the bigger person. Best of luck


AJ said...

Hey Z,

Sorry to hear about the mess. I don't see any infringements on posting something YOU have written, but as Connie has said, perhaps you ought to copyright your material from here on out.



Chelle Sandell said...

The problem with them putting forth a that in this business they are generating bad publicity for themselves as a business and an author. I totally agree that there were no copyright violations in this matter and cannot see why she would threaten you without a legal leg to stand on. Maybe she felt intimidation would work because you moved on and her own efforts are failing? It sounds like petty jealousy to me and very immature. I always love writing tips and advice regardless if it is new or something you posted previously. You may be reaching a new writer that hadn't read your previous posts. Rock on, sweets!! We've got your back!!

J Hali Steele said...

Zee, I've posted articles to the Royal Blush site--do they still belong to me?


Jennifer Shirk said...

Aww...I'm so sorry you're going through this. But don't worry, your real friends have your back. :)

PS. I repost my blog posts all the time on different blogs. The blog doesn't own them. I wrote them. And you wrote yours.

Doin' It Myself said...

It looks like TJ Killian Enterprises is failing miserably now that their ex-dedicated work-horse is no longer there to handle their bullsh*t, and they need someone to blame in one way or another. Zee, unless you signed some sort of waiver or contract that said that any blogs you posted there were going to belong to them, they have no leg to stand on. Anything that you post IS your property until you give or sign the rights away. I would go ahead and copyright all your blog materials. And then take yours down off their board.
If they try to use anything of yours, then you can get them for posting copyrighted material without the permission of the author.
*smiles* Now that so many people have displayed their knowledge of the writing world, since we're not all of a "big fish in a little pond" mindset, perhaps these.... people? will cease and desist. If they don't, I don't see how this publicity will do them any good.
Kudos to you for standing up and saying something!
We got'cho back!

Zee Monodee said...

Hey Charli girl!
You're right - not pretty at all. I never wanted to have such vile stuff on my blog but push came to shove and that was a mighty accusation they threw out.
Thanks for the support!
Big big hugs

Zee Monodee said...

Heya Lynn
Thanks sweets. You know, my husband told me the exact same thing, to not beat my head over it once I gave my side of the story.
No, the posts are not the property of RBA, or even of TJ Killian Enterprises (except for her own TJ signed posts that she wrote). In fact, if I recall clearly, I am the one who even created and set up that blog on Blogger, since I had, and still hold, the soveriegn admin on there.
Huge hugs, big thanks!

Zee Monodee said...

Hi Connie
Thanks for dropping by. You're right - I'd never realized the blogs didn't hold the copyright link at the bottom, as webpages do.

Zee Monodee said...

Thaaks you, Sandy. I never thought in my wildest dream/nightmare this could ever come to such a point.

Zee Monodee said...

Thank you.

Zee Monodee said...

Big thanks, girl. I keep wondering what I've done to warrant such a lashing but I come up blank. I just knew I couldn't take this lying down.
Big hugs!

Zee Monodee said...

Hi Jaws aka AJ!
I'll definitely take Connie's advice and add a copyright to all my material now. You can never be too prudent it seems nowadays.
Hugs back!

Zee Monodee said...

Heya Chelle
The threatening was a stumble to say the least. I knew I wasn't in the wrong here but to out and out threaten possible legal action was taking it too far too quickly.
Thanks girlie - I'll keep the advice coming, rest assured! You know me, right - long-winded and always able to talk the hind leg off a donkey! :)
Big hugs, thanks for the support

Zee Monodee said...

In all my times of crisis, my wonderful group of cyber ladies have rallied around me in a way that have made me tear up. All of them fabulous, wonderful friends with amazing hearts! I'm so proud to say I can boast such friendships.
Yes, I wrote my posts, and was only using my own material as re-post here.
Big thanks and big hugs

Tatiana Davidov said...

Zee! You are VERY talented writer and an amazing person. I love reading your book, and always tell my friends about you, comparing your style to Danielle Steel. Don't pay attention to those petty people who can't gain attention unless they are playing wrong fiddle. You can re-post anything you want anywhere you want since no copyright agreement was involved. Keep on writing I always enjoy it!

Zee Monodee said...

Hey there Doin' It Myself! Good to see ya here, sweets.
I never signed any contract, waiver or disclaimer that gave away my blog post rights/copyright to anyone, and I have never received one cent for all my blogging, not even from AdSense (which I don't use, btw).
I am definitely following the advice to copyright my stuff. Will head right away to the blog settings' page to see if I can do that.
Bad publicity indeed for them. Maybe they thought I would cower away and not stand up for myself. But what you gals, my dear friends, have taught me, it's to be my own person and standing up for what I believe is right and worthy.
Big big hugs

Zee Monodee said...

Tatiana! Thanks so much for coming over and commenting, darling!
Such sweet words coming from you - thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
You're right - I won't let this get to me any longer, because it's really not worth my time and energy.
Big hugs, love ya big sister!

Zee Monodee said...

Hey Cait

Like I told Joanna, I have studied Communication Law (which also pertains to the media) for my degree so I knew I wasn't in the wrong here. I repurposed mostly because the other blog was defunct.
No, there never was any contract between anyone about the blog. Nothing signed or accepted legally.

There was the message in that comment that I was lifting, plagiarizing, and not giving a damn.

I did learn things by experience, and unless someone can tell me they own my experience and I cannot use it, then I think such a threat would've been warranted.
and no again - there never was any non-compete clause in any of the author or editor contracts I signed with Eirelander Publishing, never with TJ Killian Enterprises, a company I learned the existence of only when reading this comment this morning (9.00 Am my time, which was 5.00 AM GMT).

Big thanks and hugs for your comment, clarifications, and advice.

Author GE Stills said...

Don't worry your pretty little head. They're just blowing smoke because they have nothing better to do. Although they should have!

JC Deacons said...

Hi Z,

That was absolutely awful of them. I believe you have a right to use your past posts considering they are your personal contributions and not contracted writing. :)


Anonymous said...

Hugs Z, and stand strong. You know you're in the right here.
Having read the comment in question on your blog, I wonder if you don't have a good libel case on your hands here?

(But what an amazing way to find out how supported you are, and how many people love your blog posts!)

Unknown said...

So much for all those posts of theirs warning authors not to say anything negative on the web or it will come back to haunt them! It's always so easy to act condescending and point the finger. This accusation pissed me off too - but it's useless giving them too much thought because there are so many wonderful, professional publishers out there. And I know there is one for you, Zee. All you have to do is keep writing.

Annie Nicholas said...

I'm so sorry they keep trying to drag you down, like the world isn't a negative enough place, they have have to keep adding to it.

D'Ann said...

Hang in there, darlin'. It'll pass. And remember, what goes around comes around. Trite but oh so true.

D'Ann said...

Hang in there, darlin'. It'll pass. And remember, what goes around comes around. Trite but oh so true.

Doin' It Myself said...

Um... "Anonymous"... the thing is, sweetie, Zee and I used to write this kind of stuff together, too. So she's been writing these things a lot longer than Eirelander has been around. :)
You're backing a losing team, sweetness. So back off and step off.

Bronwyn said...

Hi Z,

I have to say that in the years I've known you, I've never found you or your behaviour anything less than honourable!! I would be proud to stand next to you just on the fact you are saying you did nothing wrong. I think all the comments just go to show that you got shafted royally by some really unprofessional people (because I witnessed the FB comments) but that you have some great friends who would go into bat for you any day of the week.

To the sour-graped potty-mouthed coward who can't even publish their name on their ignorant comments, go away until you can reveal your identity and contribute to the discussion like an adult.

Z, keep up the good work and know this is all just crap under the bridge that will wash away eventually.


Rebecca Royce said...

I just can't believe this. Just saw this Z, I'm sorry I'm on vacation in Maine with the family for five days. I've been worrying about the hurricane brewing outside here but it looks like the real hurricane has been happening here.

Hugs to you.

Natasha said...

She just sounds like a moron to me, so why even bother wasting any time or emotions on her. Of course you can use your own work, you wrote it, you do what you want with it. And you write fantastic stuff zee so i don't think anyone will mind it being repeated.

Doesn't sound like she knows what she's talking about, if you ask me, and is just making a fool out of herself. So just laugh at her, after all, its the best medicine.


Zee Monodee said...

Thank you for the support, dear. You're a true gentleman.

Zee Monodee said...

Thanks JC. None of this was ever contracted writing, and everything bears my 'voice', as Rae Summers pointed out on the previous blog post's comments.

You know, I write assignments for university. Each and every one of them has to hold a signed declaration of no plagiarism, lifting or copying of any other's work, and that certifies the work presented is truly one's own. There even needs to be a witness' signature to that doc for the assignment to even be marked.

So Yes, I know what lifting, plagiarism and copying means. I also know that some knowledge is universal, that there are lessons that are the basics of every topic. If this were an assignemnt I were presenting to uni, I would still be using the gist of the lesson, but IN MY OWN WORDS! Which is the case on this blog - every item written is my own words, even if the lessons are universal.
I learned writing from scratch. One of the first resources I used was Charlotte Dillon's site, that holds hundreds of writing advice links. I have assimilated all of these, and today I process that in my voice. The lessons are the same, because writing advice is basically the same - it's just people expressing it all differently, in their manner, words, and voice.
No one can come and tell me I have lifted here because there is no one else's words here, just mine, even if the lessons are the same!
Big hugs

Zee Monodee said...

Hi Rae

Thanks girl, for this comment and the other one on the previous post.
Yes, I wonder too if this isn't defamation, but such meanness cannot be allowed to win and finish the remainder of health and sanity I still hold despite all I've been through in my life so far.
But this is so true that I have found out so many people are such wonderful beings who will rally and support and know how to see the truth from false accusations!

Zee Monodee said...

Thank you Angela.

Sadly, energy, time, and sanity suckers will always exist but never shall they prevail.


Zee Monodee said...

Thanks for coming over. Yeah, I'm amazed that with all everyone has to do in this time and age, they still have time to come hound me this way. Sad indeed.
Big hugs, & thanks!

Zee Monodee said...

Thank you D'Ann.
Trite wrods maybe but so very true. We reap what we sow, and if I'm to believe all the wonderful people who have rallied around me, I don't think I sowed any negativity and meanness that would warrant such an attack on my person.
Big hugs

Zee Monodee said...

Dear Anonymous,

You might have chosen to show no manners or consideration in not even leaving an identifying name, but that doesn't mean I stoop to your level to not grant you the least of courtesy via a reply.

You might have taken this workshop over 8 years ago. I didn't know Ms. Killian 8 years ago.

I started writing 5 years ago this January - January 2005, to be more precise. Only 5 years - 8 years ago I had never even thought of becoming a writer!

I met Ms. Killian around April of 2006, via a crit group (RAH Paranormal). At the time, I had already written and submitted my first novel, The Other Side (written between March 2005 and October 2005, submitted to Editions de l'Ocean Indien, a print publisher, in November 2005.)
In March 2006, the novel was accepted as is for publication, bar some copy editting and formatting issues.
This novel, that I wrote before even knowing Ms. Killian or her teachings ever existed, was shortlisted for international NUMA Prize and Prince Maurice Romantic Literary Prize in 2007. The novel has also made it into the listings and onto the shelves of the University of Barcelona as an example of Indian Ocean modern literature.

I don't know of many books that make it into university listings without being properly written. Just so you know, the story is a women's fiction novel (hence already uses archetypes extensively).
I also don't know of badly crafted or badly written books being short-listed for prestigious international literary prizes. All this was achieved prior to my meeting Ms. Killian and the books was already out of my hands by the time I met her.

Best regards, dear Anon.

Zee Monodee said...

Doin' It Myself,
You have another point. You and I wrote such posts, along with Dee Owens, in our critique loop back in 2005.
Thanks for pointing this out.

Zee Monodee said...

Thank you. if anon. were to be believed, I'm a total idiot and I'm surrounded by idiots too, it seems!
Yeah, you're right - today's newspaper is tomorrow's fish and chips paper.
Big thanks for your lovely words and support, and big hugs

Zee Monodee said...

I'm sorry, girl. Didn't know you were on vacation and sorry you were bothered by this. I'm glad you drove by though. :)
Yup, a total hurricane indeed - trying to blow a tempest in a teacup maybe...?
Big hugs

Zee Monodee said...

You're right - laughter is the best medicine. I actually found myself smiling a little and shaking my head instead of lying into a rage when I read anon's comment. :)
I agree - my time and energy are too precious to lose on such petty meanness.
Big hugs, girl! Thanks

Unknown said...

Oh Lord, Z. The nerve of this woman. So sorry you have to deal with such people. Some people think they can sling mud from behind the keyboard. You showed them!!! And you have support from all of us.

On a different note, yes, it would be great if you featured my book on your blog. Just remember I'm keeping my adult work from my YA work. I plan to start doing contest starting next week. If you don't mind mentioning this, that would be great.

Zee Monodee said...

Thanks Ednah. It's good to know there are so many wonderful, supportive people in my life!

Lol, yes, I still want you on my blog! Will shoot you an email asap for the details.