About Me

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Wild Card, 2006. Winner of "best oral sex scene" - Scarlet Magazine. Amanda's Young Men, 2009. Excerpted in Scarlet Magazine; Juicy Bits. Sarah's Education, 2009. Hit the #1 spots on Amazon.co.uk adult fiction & adult romance best seller lists. Jade Magazine bestowed the best cover art, 2009 award on Sarah's Education. "Get Up, Stand Up!" which appeared in The Cougar Book (Logical-Lust) won me the title 'Story Teller of the Year 2011' at The Erotic Awards, London, UK. Sarah's Education took the #3 spot on a list of the 30 most titillating titles of all time, as reported in English Daily Mail ;Female; Nov. 12, 2012. Debutante, a petite novel for e-publisher Imprint Mischief, (Harper-Collins) pubbed in 2012. I tutor writing students and am a member of the WGC. D.M. Thomas said: Madeline Moore writes great sex without metaphor and that's not easy to do. Kris Saknussemm said: You're a good egg, Madeline Moore. I am a good egg who writes great sex without metaphor! Yippee!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Zeitgeist!


The first time Zeitgeist got me I was still a teenager. I loved talk shows. My favourite was Merv Griffin, but I liked Johnny Carson, too. Who can explain the whims of young people?



One afternoon I came up with a funny schtick about "The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Plants." This was probably around the time when the public was informed that plants scream when you cut their stems. Is that still true? Anyway, that night, that night Carson did a bit on "The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Plants." It was a long way from my mind to his show so I didn't feel robbed. On the contrary, I felt clever. Clever enough for Carson.



Long after Roseanne was a star my then husband and I rented a video of her standup act. I'd been hilariously telling people to "Suck my Dick" for years. Roseanne made the same suggestion on her video. "Hey, she's telling your joke!" my husband proclaimed. Later, when I read her autobiography, she wrote about her meteoric rise to fame. She'd only been doing stand-up for a few weeks when Carson's talent scouts saw her show. The joke she made that got her out of Hell's Kitchen and into Carson's green room? "Suck my dick."Hey, I'm as funny as Roseanne!

My Grandmother decided she wanted a 50th wedding anniversary because, if you added up all the years she'd been married (though at the time she was separated from her second husband) it totaled fifty. My Mother absolutely refused to throw a golden anniversary party for one-half of two marriages.



By this time I was a writer and I knew this was an anecdote around which a story could be built. I knew if I didn't do it somebody else would - and she did. I was mollified that the tale of Grandma's fiftieth wedding anniversary appeared in a collection of short stories by Alice Munro. It took the sting out of the lost opportunity to see it so beautifully crafted by one of the world's greatest authors writing in the English language, today. Americans want to claim her as theirs but she's not. She's Canadian. She lives nearby and participates in her town's pie festival every year. I can go get served pie by Alice Munro. The Zeitgeist got me, Alice. Pure and Simple. Brava for Alice Munro!

 Jerry Bruckheimer, billionaire producer of movies and TV, and I are two of a kind. Only, he's the kind that's mega-rich and I'm the kind that - is not. The first time we clashed cultures, I was desperately trying to find a paranormal entity I could wrap my mind around. This was a few years ago when it was 'publish paranormal or die.' That's abated some, now, though paranormal erotica remains a lively (at least, as lively as stories largely centered around the undead can be) part of the genre.




I thumbed through the Time-Life series called The Enchanted World, book after book, until I found it! The best idea, ever. See, the Captain of The Flying Dutchman (a haunted ship) falls in love with Calypso, queen of the mermaids. Sound familiar? It should. As luck would have it, I happened to catch Pirates of the Caribbean 2 before submitting my proposal to my editor. Yup. There's the Captain of the Flying Dutchman. And who is he in love with? Calypso.

My main emotional response to this discovery was relief. What a moron I'd have seemed if I'd made the proposal. Or, even worse, if my editor suspected I was trying to pull a fast one. "Um, guess what, Ms Moore. I've seen Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Smarten up!"



My second brush with Bruckheimer is not a happy tale, nor is it a Zeitgeist tale. It's a story of real piracy, in which one of his post-production people on his most famous TV series (the original of a set of 3 shows along the same theme) contacted Felix through Craig's list to discuss shooting one of our short scripts. This fellow checked out - he'd even won an Emmy for his technical work on the TV show. We rewrote a dozen times. We got word that some of the cast members of the series were interested in appearing in the short!

Instead, a portion of our short script was lifted from our low-income hands and plunked into Bruckheimer's billion dollar mitts. The entire episode was built around OUR scene. We contacted our guild for Bruckheimer's address and got two, both prodco addresses, but still . . .


                                                         (Bruckheimer gets his mitts dirty)

Very politely, stressing that we only wanted him to know where the idea came from, not that we were threatening any sort of action, we wrote the letter and sent a copy to each of his addresses. One was returned with a terse note telling us Mr. Bruckheimer had not read the letter. I like to think he received and read the other copy, called in his post production plagiarist and maybe his five writers, and tore a strip off them. That's what I like to think. Boo to you-know-who-you-are.

Last year I was plagiarized. My story, "Be A Door" was lifted from the Oysters and Chocolate site and posted as an original story by a person called Bella0rose, on the website Fetlife.com.


She changed the title to "Door" and gave the male protagonist a new name. Other that that, word for word, it was the same story. She received many compliments on her finely crafted piece, which she humbly accepted.

I was so angry I literally saw red. For a week, I did nothing but obsess about this theft. O & C were incredibly supportive. Since I had a signed contract with their site and screen shots of Bella0rose's fetlife page, it was a clear-cut case of plagiarism. So - what to do? Fuss, froth at the mouth, demand an apology, froth at the mouth some more. I did all these things. Eventually fetlife.com, which I'd joined in order to attack the person who stole from me, clamped down on both of us, issuing what they called a restraining order. She was not to talk to or about me and vice versa. So the thief and the victim are treated in the same manner by a site that, in my opinion, harbors criminals.  Boo Bella0rose. Boo fetlife.com!

My eyes were opened to a terrible thing that's going on, right now, all over the world wide web. But there's nothing I can do. As infuriated as I am by the fact, it's the simple truth. I leave the issue in the hands of those better equipped to deal with it. I cannot handle the frustration.

Quite some time ago, well over a year ago now, I decided I'd like to try my hand at editing an anthology. I started thinking about works that are in the public domain. It didn't take long, actually, to be struck by a bolt of brilliantly creative lightning. Shakespeare.


But surely the Bard had been eroticized to death over the years? I searched Amazon, I searched "Shakespeare + erotica" and came up with - zilch. Amazing! But true! Somehow, old Bill had escaped the eagle eye of erotica. My heart soared. I would call it Shakespeare and the Two-Backed Beast and it would be brilliant!

I pitched Cleis press. And waited. And waited. And waited! Every so often I'd hear from an editor, assuring me that the idea was still alive, it just hadn't made it to the discussion table yet. I imagined who would submit - well, who wouldn't? I don't think I know an erotica author who hasn't studied the hell out of Will. Who would I get to do the forward? Would they allow illustrations? What about sonnets? OMG this was gonna be big.



Or not. Cleis passed. The editor told me that the brief presentation I'd submitted just didn't catch their interest. In a way, I was relieved. It was a pretty big anthology idea for a neophyte like me.

A couple of months ago Felix called out to me, "Cecilia Tan is doing an anthology for Cleis on the theme of Shakespeare!"

My first reaction was fury, followed immediately by a profound sense of weariness. I don't want to fight with Cleis. I like Cleis. I don't want to fight with Cecilia Tan. I respect and admire Cecilia Tan. Can this really be happening?

"Let me see," I said.

Hallelujah! Relief washed over me. She's doing the antho for Circlet Press, not Cleis! Thank God!

                                                             (See the difference, Felix?)

I imagine this talented author and experienced editor went through the exact same process I did. Hmm. What's in the public domain that hasn't been done to death. Hey! What about Shakespeare? (Search search search.) Holy smokes I've hit the Mother lode!

I imagine she pitched it to her publisher in a way that made sense. They got it. 

Hurrah for Cecilia Tan!

Zeitgeist. Pure and simple.

Once again, I'm satisfied to be happy that an idea I had but didn't develop successfully has occurred to someone worthy of it. Here's to Carson! Here's to Roseanne! Here's to Alice Munro! Here's to Bruckheimer's Pirates of the Caribbean! Here's to Circlet Press! Here's to Cecilia Tan!

Here's to me for coming up with ideas that have also occurred to the talents listed above!

Three cheers for the Zeitgeist!

I'm so very, very grateful to be happy, not angry.

xoxo Mad

(Be A Door illustration is "Exhausted" by China Hamilton, ObsessionArt.com )



7 comments:

Janine Ashbless said...

Zeitgeist happens ALL THE TIME. It's a part of Writers' Serendipity. You have got some pretty cool examples though :-)

Oh yeah ... and I've been planning a Shakespearean short story for a while now.

Madeline Moore said...

really? Since you heard of the antho or before?

Sharazade said...

What a great piece! Because yeah, coincidence is not plagiarism. But plagiarism is not coincidence. And you can just smell the difference.

I think most writers would appreciate a nice chunk of money for their hard work. I know I would, and when I get paid for something I've written, I'm thrilled. Of course. Plus writing is mu job--if I don't get those checks, I can't live.

And yet somehow... the acknowledgment means more. Maybe it shouldn't, but ... to me it does. If the person who'd stolen "The Door" from you had posted a link on her page and said, "Wow, I really responded to this piece, check it out!", then you'd have felt fine. I don't know if Oysters & Chocolate would have given her permission to reprint the whole thing, although she also never asked. But a link would have been fine. It's the claiming that the text is her original craft--THAT is the crime.

Ashley R Lister said...

Mad,

Am I OK to use examples from this blog for a class I'll soon be taking? I know students are going to ask me about the tricky topic of copyright as it relates to ideas. Your words might help some of my students get a better understanding of the way things work in the real world.

Ash

Madeline Moore said...

Of course, Ashley. If you think it will help you're welcome to use it.
Maybe they'll buy an anthology I'm in, or one of my books!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it is simply 'steam engine time.' As a class clown, I used to present mock tv ads to my classmates. One product I pitched was a Clockwork Orange. Then came Anthony Burgess! Still there's no copyright on titles.
When I thought, I realized that Anthony searched for a striking incongruity and came up with the same one as I did. My chest swells. But that idiot who plagiarized my Mad, THAT'S another tale!

Felix

Madeline Moore said...

Thank you Felix. And yeah, boo to Bella)rose and fetlife.com, which is, as far as I'm concerned, a safe harbour for plagiarists.