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Things Get Hot And Sweaty In Romance Novel Plagiarism

There is a reason romance novels all seem to read alike.

Romance novelist Janet Dailey acknowledged plagiarizing the work of her rival Nora Roberts and blamed a psychological disorder Tuesday.

Dailey said her books “Aspen Gold” and “Notorious” contain ideas and passages lifted from several of Roberts’ novels. The copying was recently discovered when Dailey got tripped up during online chats with readers.

“I can only apologize to Nora, whom I’ve considered a friend, and to my readers for any pain or embarrassment my conduct has caused,” the 53-year-old author said in a statement from her home in Branson, Mo.

The plagiarism took place in the early 1990s while Dailey was under professional and personal stress, in part from the cancer deaths of two brothers and the lung cancer surgery of her husband, the statement said.

“I recently learned that my essentially random and non-pervasive acts of copying are attributable to a psychological problem that I never even suspected I had,” Dailey said. “I have already begun treatment for the disorder and have been assured that, with treatment, this behavior can be prevented in the future.”

Dailey agreed to Roberts’ proposed terms to settle the matter, including a payment to the Literacy Volunteers of America, said Dailey’s publicist in Los Angeles, Sanford Brokaw. The amount was not disclosed.

Also, HarperCollins Publishers in New York agreed to discontinue sales of “Notorious,” said Roberts’ lawyer, David Hashmall. It wasn’t known how many copies of “Notorious” were sold. “Aspen Gold” was released four years ago and is no longer in print.