How fangirls changed the future of publishing

11 November 2014

From The Kernel:

Fifty Shades of Grey was one of the biggest book phenomena in history. Before it became the fastest-selling book of all time, if you’d tried to market a work of incredibly explicit BDSM erotica that started out as a form of vampire-less Twilight fanfiction, you’d’ve been laughed out of publishing.

Instead, Fifty Shades became headline news around the world, outsold Harry Potter in its home country, and ushered a year-long conversation about “mommy porn” into our lives, whether we wanted it or not.

For fandom, which was suddenly and irreversibly dragged into the limelight thanks to Fifty Shades’ fanfiction origins, the cultural shift has been even more significant. The publishing industry is now learning how to contend with fanfiction, while fans are learning how to contend with the attention of the outside world. But what has largely gotten lost in all of this hubbub—in the endless think pieces about women’s fiction and erotica and endless debates about whether it’s ethical to take a work of fanfiction and adapt it into original fiction—is that Fifty Shades wasn’t alone.

In fact, Fifty Shades author E.L. James was actually only one ofhundreds of fanfiction writers and supporters within Twilightfandom who created this new erotic publishing phenomenon all by themselves.

These fans, most of them women, began by claiming ownership of their fanworks to an unprecedented degree. Then they spent the waning years of Twilight fandom forming small publishing presses and setting up shop as editors, designers, marketers, and writers to publish and sell the works of fanfiction they loved.

. . . .

The Twilight fandom publishing houses were born in controversy, and they have been mired in it ever since.

For decades, fanfiction was everyone’s dirty little secret. Fans often lived in fear of the discovery of their hobby and frequently saw their work pulled or deleted off the Internet at the request of the original copyright holder. Out of this culture of shame and secrecy arose fandom’s most binding ethical code: As long as fanfiction, or fic for short, remains strictly not for profit, it can reasonably be deemed fair use under the protection of current U.S. copyright law. Fanfiction’s free, just-for-fun status is its biggest protection against claims of copyright infringement, and it also helps create a unique and thriving gift-based fandom economy. Anything that breaks that code is met with scathing criticism from both fans and professionals, as was the case whenFifty Shades’ fanfiction roots were made widely known.

But “fanfic can only exist if it’s free” is a murky rule to abide by, particularly given numerous questions about what actually constitutes “profiting” and what constitutes “fanfic.” And most importantly, the idea that for-profit fanfic is illegal isn’t actually true. Under current U.S. copyright law, if the argument can successfully be made that a work of fanfiction “transforms” the original work, then it’s perfectly legal to sell it and profit from it.

. . . .

At San Diego Comic-Con in 2009, an audience member attending a panel on Twilight fanfiction asked the panelists if they’d tried to be published outside of writing fanfic. One of the panelists was Elizabeth Andrews, better known in Twilightfandom as psymom, owner of the then-major fandom hub

Andrews answered with an explanation of the ease with which you could take a Twilight All Human fic and turn it into an original fic. The idea is that all it takes is a find-and-replace on names and places in fanfiction to magically change them to original characters and settings. The practice Harper described has long been known to fandom. Older fandoms refer to it as “filing off the serial numbers,” implying that the only thing about the story that’s really changed is its alleged point of origin.

Traditionally, filing off the serial numbers on fanfiction was done in secrecy and solitude. Authors often acted with the illicit partnership of agents and editors who would quietly seek out fandom authors whose writing they admired to ask them to submit works that could be easily adapted to an original setting. This practice went on for decades, entirely under the radar. At the 2010 gathering of Book Blogger Con, which brought together book fans, publicists, and editors from around the publishing industry, keynote speaker Maureen Johnson polled a room of about 500 people to ask how many had heard of fanfiction. Less than half raised their hands.

Fanfiction was at the publishing industry’s back door, and few people knew it except the fans.

. . . .

On Jan. 1, 2010, Andrews dropped a bombshell on She and a group of other well-known Twilightfanfic writers had gotten together to form a new publishing company, Omnific Publishing, made with the express purpose of publishing “authors with a proven track record of online success in transformative works”—that is, fanfic.

Omnific’s proposed publishing model seemed to essentially cut out the role agents traditionally play in the industry, instead going directly to the authors of popular fanfics in the Twilightfandom and providing publishing services to convert those fics into original novels. The same day a discussion about the announcement on Journalfen provoked censure and ridicule.

“What could possibly go wrong?” snarked one commenter. Early on, there was speculation on publishing watch forum Absolute Write that Omnific was “an author collective.” Baffled users tried to figure out whether it was a legitimate publisher or not. But with a staff of editors, designers, marketers, and more, Omnific was legit, and over the coming months it followed up the announcement with the acquisition of new titles and the release of new anthologies. It pounded the pavement at romance conventions, fandom conventions, and publishing conventions. People took notice.

Link to the rest at The Kernel and thanks to Anne for the tip.

Top Harlequin Editors Fired

10 November 2014

Former Harlequin Executive Editor Mary-Theresa Hussey has tweeted that she was let go. She also says that HQ Senior Executive Editor Tara Gavin has been terminated.

Various tweets have also reported that Wanda Ottewell, another HQ Senior Editor has been fired.



Thanks to Sharyn for the tip.


In Loving Color: Romance 2014

9 November 2014

From Publishers Weekly:

Readers of all ethnicities devour romance novels, but the books on offer haven’t always reflected that reality. Here, we look at how publishers and authors are meeting the growing demand for multicultural romance.

Once a bastion of blonde, blue-eyed heroines and tall, dark (but not too dark) heroes, romance novels are increasingly featuring people of color on their covers and in their pages. “I think the genre has evolved as society has evolved,” says novelist Lori Bryant-Woolridge.

. . . .

“The number of multicultural romances you could find on bookshelves was limited because not all publishers were—or are—offering these types of romances,” she says. “But once authors could start uploading their own stories onto Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, it blew the door wide open.”

Those stories, Bryant-Woolridge says, are finding an avid audience. “Black women, in particular, are hungry to see themselves portrayed in a positive, loving light,” she explains. “Multicultural romances also allow the growing biracial population representation and validation.”

. . . .

In the 1970s, self-publishers and micropresses began releasing romance novels featuring African-Americans. But it wasn’t until 1980, when Dell Candlelight published Rosalind Welles’s Entwined Destinies, that a mainstream publisher issued an African-American romance by a black author. Harlequin published its first African-American romance in 1984: Sandra Kitt’s Adam and Eva. Such titles were relatively rare until the early 1990s, when the success of Terry McMillan’s Waiting to Exhale(Viking, 1992) woke up the publishing world.

“For many, many years, African-American, Latino, and Asian women didn’t see themselves reflected in the novels they read,” Ellis says. “It wasn’t until the early ’90s that it started to change. Now we have Brenda Jackson, Beverly Jenkins, Caridad Piñeiro, Jeannie Lin, Nalini Singh, and many, many others. The voices have gotten much more diverse, and I think readers of all cultural backgrounds really appreciate that.”

. . . .

 As with all of publishing, the retail landscape for romance is changing rapidly. Of the brick-and-mortar retailers doing a good job of stocking multicultural romances, big-box stores win the praise of several publishers. “Walmart and Target are the driving force in African-American book sales,” Kensington’s Zacharius says. “They have dedicated space for this genre, which has proven to be the most effective way to draw attention to these books.”

. . . .

 “Readers desperately want diversity in romance novels,” says Suzanne Brockmann, whose Troubleshooters and Reluctant Heroes military romances for Ballantine feature gay and straight characters of various ethnicities. “We read romance for two basic reasons: one, to see a reflection of ourselves in stories of hope and redemption, and two, to escape from our own lives—to walk a mile or a thousand in someone else’s shoes. People of color make up a huge portion of the romance-reading population.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly and thanks to Barb for the tip.

On Silence and Singularity and the Romance Novel

7 November 2014

From Judy Tetel Andresen:

On October 20, 2014, a symposium on the romance novel was held at Duke University entitled “Unsuitable #1.” It was organized by Katherine DuBois and Laura Florand, both of whom write romances and teach at Duke, as do I. The presentations were wonderful and the discussion lively.

One of the recurring topics was the silence that surrounds the romance novel. Despite being a billion-dollar-a-year industry, romance novels are absent from high-profile book reviewing venues, literature course curricula, and general discussions of literature.

Several people at the symposium commented that romances are also invisible. They are put in bedside drawers and not displayed either on coffee tables or on bookshelves. Sometimes they sit in paper bags at the back door, waiting to be taken to be taken somewhere such as the local library swap shelves or the used bookstore.

Indeed, the silence surrounding romance novels is deafening. In his 2011 book The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing, Stanford professor Mark McGurl approaches fiction as if genre fiction didn’t exist. His goal is to explain the kind of fiction that has come out of MFA and creative writing programs.

. . . .

On October 31, 2014, another symposium, entitled “Story as Evidence,” was held at Duke. I went as both a novelist and a linguist interested in the symposium’s goal to investigate the differences and similarities in the approaches to narrative found in the humanities and the sciences.

While there, I was much struck by the presentation by a doctor from the School of Medicine at Columbia. She is a physician who wants to elicit from her patients the singular narratives about their lives as a way to understand their illnesses and how to treat them. She spoke of the singularity of each patient’s experience and how important that singularity is.

. . . .

This doctor spoke convincingly of how both scientists and artists walk into the doubt and that this walking into the doubt is a creative act. She spoke convincingly of how both scientists and artists walk into the doubt and that this walking into the doubt is a creative act. Her examples were Bach and Shakespeare and Rothko who wandered, hands outstretched, into unbearable freedom, to return and to give us an account of where they’d been. She said that this account is not so much the resolution of doubt but rather the recording of it.

I thought her descriptions were beautiful and applied to how I might begin to raise understandings of the romance novels whose whole reason for being is the investigation of individuals experiencing the mysteries of love: that plunging into doubt and delight, fear and elation when facing the power of this most basic experience of human connection.

Link to the rest at Judy Tetel Andresen and thanks to Barb for the tip.

Here’s a link to Julie Tetel Andresen’s books

Ellora’s Cave: No COO?

28 October 2014

From Sounds Like Weird LJ:

Ellora’s Cave Lost Its COO?

Behold the current LinkedIn profile of Susan Edwards, who was Ellora’s Cave’s COO.

Note that it lists “Writer and Editor” as a job from “1980 – Present”, but Ellora’s Cave from “January 2005 – October 2014″, meaning she’s no longer there.


Link to the rest at Sounds Like Weird LJ

Class Action Suit against Harlequin by its Authors Moves a Step Forward

23 October 2014

PG has just learned that the judge hearing Keiler et al v. Harlequin Enterprises Limited et al, a class-action suit brought by a group of Harlequin authors against HQ alleging a massive underpayment of royalties, has formally certified the authors as a class.

This means that the lawsuit, which was previously dismissed then reinstated in part by an appellate court, can move forward.

Here’s the order docket entry:

U.S. District Court

Southern District of New York

Notice of Electronic Filing

The following transaction was entered on 10/23/2014 at 3:00 PM EDT and filed on 10/16/2014

Case Name: Keiler et al v. Harlequin Enterprises Limited et al
Case Number: 1:12-cv-05558-WHP
Document Number: 49

Docket Text:
STIPULATION AND ORDER REGARDING CLASS CERTIFICATION:… Pursuant to stipulation of the parties, and based on the allegations in the Fourth Claim for Relief of the First Amended Complaint filed November 5, 2012 (“Complaint”) and submitted by proposed class representatives Barbara Keiler, Mona Gay Thomas, and Linda Barrett, the Court hereby certifies the claims and issues in the Complaint for class treatment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23, as more fully set out in this Order. When fashioning an order under Rule 23, the Court must satisfy itself that the prerequisites of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a) have been satisfied… Once the prerequisites of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a) are satisfied, a class action may only be maintained if the action falls within one of the categories enumerated within Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)… Accordingly, the Court makes the following findings and conclusions as stated herein. THE COURT HAVING READ AND CONSIDERED the Stipulation of the parties, and finding that the requirements of Rules 23(a) and (b) are satisfied, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the class is certified, defined as follows as set forth herein. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Barbara Keiler, Mona Gay Thomas, and Linda Barrett are designated as Representative Plaintiffs for the class; IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that DavidWolfLaw PLLC and Boni & Zack LLC are appointed Class Counsel; and IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Class Counsel are directed to submit within thirty (30) days of the entry date of this Order, a proposed plan concerning Notice of Pendency of Class Action to be given to the members of the class. (Signed by Judge William H. Pauley, III on 10/16/2014) (ja)


It’s not the end of the lawsuit, but, as mentioned, this is a major step forward for the authors.

The class covers authors from the US, Canada, UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand who signed standard HQ publishing contracts between 1990 and 2004 that included the following language in the All Other Rights clause:

On all other rights exercised by Publisher or its Related Licensees
fif typercent (50%) ofthe Net Amount Received by Publisher for
the license or sale of said rights. The Net Amount Received for the
exercise, sale or license of said rights by Publisher from a Related
Licensee shall, in Publisher’s estimate, be equivalent to the amount
reasonably obtainable by Publisher from an Unrelated Licensee for
the license or sale of the said rights;

Which contracts also provide that New York law will apply and include no arbitration clause. The class covers those authors whose works have been published as ebooks.

The full order is set out below (click the four-arrows box in the lower left corner for a larger version):


HQ Order (Text)

The exciting world of the TRO

23 October 2014

From author Courtney Milan:

A brief recap of where we are in the EC/DA litigation.

  1. Jane wrote a post about Ellora’s Cave and whether it continues to be a viable business.
  2. As a result of that post, Ellora’s Cave filed suit against Dear Author, alleging defamation. EC also asked for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) against Jane. (Note that I use the words “Jane” and “Dear Author” throughout to refer to the defendants.)
  3. There was an initial, brief hearing on the TRO in state court, at which point the state court decided that evidence would need to be presented. That hearing was set for October 27th.
  4. On October 20th, Dear Author removed the case to federal court on diversity jurisdiction grounds. (Diversity jurisdiction basically means that if one party is from one state and the other party is from another state, and there’s a lot of money at stake, parties can choose to go to federal court instead of state court.)
  5. EC again refiled its motion for a TRO in federal court.
  6. The TRO hearing in federal court is set for October 29th at 1:30 PM.
  7. Last night, Marc Randazza, Jane’s lawyer, filed an opposition to the motion, alongside seven exhibits (Exhibit A, from Jane, with a correction regarding the name “Red Rose Publishing”; Exhibit B, from an editor;Exhibit C, from an author; Exhibit D, from an author; Exhibit E, from an editor; Exhibit F, from an editor; Exhibit G is a true copy of tax liens and Workers’ Comp liens against EC.)

This blog post discusses the memos in support and in opposition to the motion for a temporary restraining order.

. . . .

Here’s my take:

  • On the basis of the exhibits currently available to the court, someone has to be lying.
  • In general, I think a judge would be extremely unlikely to squelch speech at this stage when there exists evidence from multiple people stating that the blogpost is substantially truthful.
  • EC is missing proof of a vital part of their case–namely, that Jane acted with actual malice–and I don’t know how they will ever be able to prove it, but they seem to think that proving that Jane dislikes EC is proof that she acted with actual malice. No.

. . . .

I said on Twitter the other night that there’s a difference between a good lawyer and a merely competent one, and that the lawyer for Ellora’s Cave (I refer to the party and the lawyer as “EC” throughout) has all the hallmarks of being competent, while Marc Randazza is a very good one.

. . . .

This is a perfectly competent motion for a TRO. It is also an exceedingly sloppy motion for a TRO. (In fact, when I first read Randazza’s opposition, I thought there were some sloppy elements in construction—but when I went back and looked at things from start to finish, any sloppiness in his opposition is due to the fact that the underlying motion is fundamentally sloppy to begin with. Slop begets slop.)

What do I mean by sloppy? Well, if you’re going to enjoin someone from engaging in conduct, you should really be very, very specific about what it is that you want them to do. For instance, if you’re seeking a restraining order against a vindictive ex, you want that restraining order to say things like, “Don’t come within 50 feet of me,” and “stop calling me at work.” You don’t want to say, “stop being a bad person” even if you want them to stop being a bad person, because what does that even mean?

On its face, this is a motion for a “stop being a bad person” kind of restraining order.

. . . .

Part of the problem is that the attorney for EC appears to be use the word ‘publish’ in a way that does not track typical usage. The blog post in question was published. It is not currently “being published” as anyone understands that word. The act of publication is not continuous: It was published once, it does not need to be continually republished day after day in order to persist, and so if you want it taken down, you should ask for only that. If you ask for someone to not publish things in the future, you’re actually asking to track everything they might say in the future. Is this what EC really wants?

. . . .

There are other things that a good opposition to a preliminary motion will do.

  1. It will explain the law to the judge and tell him where he can verify that the lawyers are telling the truth.
  2. It will explain the facts (and in so doing, paint a vivid picture of who/what/where/when/why).
  3. It will explain how the facts apply to law, and in doing so tell a story of the litigation at present.
  4. It will immediately sum up the litigation and give the judge a working explanation for what is going on.
  5. In some cases, it will also educate opposing counsel about things they do not appear to understand.

In this instance, there’s a sixth goal. Technically a motion for a TRO is not the same thing as a trial on the merits. You could win on the merits and lose a TRO. You could lose on the merits and win a TRO. But realistically a TRO hearing is kind of a mini-merits trial in the sense that it gives the parties an idea of whether the arguments will sink or swim. If the judge agrees with Randazza and says, “I cannot see how Ellora’s Cave has a prayer of a chance of prevailing on the merits,” that sends a certain message to opposing counsel. So another goal is to win the mini-trial, because that could influence whether the opposing party decides to continue with the lawsuit or dismiss it. Just about any case with a TRO contains a little dance to this effect: “Yes, this isn’t a real trial on the merits, but we all know that this could easily decide the case. We are going to pretend it won’t because reasons, but it usually does. So.”

. . . .

Now, finally, we get to the opposition motion. This is the first chance that Randazza has to introduce the concept of Dear Author and what it means to the romance community. He does. He explains that Dear Author “has become a respected source for news and information for the romance novel community.” He immediately positions Jane as a reporter who investigates facts. He talks about the things she has accomplished in the community–as being someone who provides information to authors without a legal background, and who lets them know what will happen in scary situations, and simultaneously as someone who provides a springboard for discussion of those issues.

(I’m glad that this was included as background, because up until this point, there has been little discussion in the case itself of what the DA community is and does–and there’s no way a federal judge will understand that unless it’s explained up front. Like it or hate it, there is a DA community, and it provides a place where authors and readers can discuss the changing publishing industry and what that means at large. The remedy that EC asks for would have a huge effect on that community.)

. . . .

Randazza sums up the litigation—including showing that he’s aware that EC has a motion on its face and a shadow motion that it might be trying to make instead—with this: “Ellora’s Cave is understandably concerned about any negative view of its business, but it has no right to ask this Honorable Court to use its equitable powers to suppress the truth, to suppress fair comment, and to suppress future unknown statements. The First Amendment protects [Jane’s] right to publish on matters of public concern, and her mission mandates that she share her findings with the author community. Given that her writing is a matter of public concern, about a public figure, [Jane]’s First Amendment rights are given an exalted position – one which makes sustaining a defamation claim against her in this context a virtually impossible task.”

Link to the rest at Courtney Milan

Here’s a link to Courtney Milan’s books

Courtney does an excellent job of discussing both sides of this litigation and the underlying law. PG will add that sometimes good attorneys are made to look not so good because they have problem clients.

So you have everything in the same place, PG has inserted Dear Author’s Opposition Motion and all of the Declarations below. A Declaration is a written statement summarizing what the person making the declaration would say if called to testify in court.

If you click on the box with four arrows in the lower left corner of each embedded document, it will open to a larger size.


Opposition Motion (Text)


EC Declarations 1 (Text)

Ellora’s Cave vs. Dear Author Suit Removed to Federal Court

22 October 2014

PG has previously posted about the lawsuit that Ellora’s Cave filed against Dear Author and its proprietor, alleging that Dear Author had defamed Ellora’s Cave in a blog post describing EC’s financial problems.

Dear Author has just removed the case from the Ohio state court where it was originally filed to the relevant U.S. District Court in Ohio claiming diversity jurisdiction is present in the case.

PG will not discuss diversity jurisdiction in detail because it’s pretty boring, but, in a nutshell, if a party (individual, corporation, etc.) sues a party that is a citizen of another state and the amount in controversy is more than $75,000, the defendant has the right to remove the lawsuit to federal court. Wikipedia has a mostly-correct discussion of diversity jurisdiction in layperson’s terms if you want more.

There are a wide range of reasons that a defendant might want to remove a lawsuit to federal court, but, as a general proposition, many attorneys feel that the quality of federal judges and magistrates may be higher than that of state judges (although PG will attest to exactly the opposite being the case on many occasions) and that some state court judges may tend to give the benefit of the doubt to a local litigant (ditto for exactly the opposite).

At a minimum, this indicates to PG that Ellora’s Cave will have a real fight on its hands. He is not familiar with Ohio laws and practices, but many federal courts have the reputation for not putting up with a lot of smoke and mirrors on the part of parties or their attorneys. In prior litigation in state court, EC reportedly was extremely dilatory in responding to requests for financial documents, etc. PG would not have wanted to try to defend such behavior in most of the federal courts where he appeared in past years.

An upset federal judge sitting in his/her court can be an intimidating presence.

Here’s the Notice of Removal:

Erotica publisher takes blogger to court over financial trouble allegations

14 October 2014

From The Daily Dot:

A major erotica publisher is suing a beloved one-woman blog site, and everyone from the blog’s readers to the publisher’s authors are rallying in support of the blogger.

The publishing community has done everything but hold a bake sale to help blog owner Jennifer Gerrish-Lampe, better known as Jane Litte of Dear Author, raise the money for her legal defense fund against Ellora’s Cave, the erotica publisher suing her for defamation.

Ellora’s Cave, whose storehouse of popular romance titles raked in $15 million last year, is demanding $25,000 in damages from Gerrish-Lampe after she blogged about the company’s allegedly questionable business practices.

But Gerrish-Lampe won’t be fighting the suit alone: A crowdfunding campaign to defray her legal costs created by well-known book blogger Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has raised more than $50,000 in five days. It’s also given rise to a hashtag, spawned a charity erotica anthology, and created a strange backlash for the long list of authors who have supported the blog.

. . . .

Enter Dear Author. Dear Author is a popular publishing industry blog that has built its reputation on analyzing industry news, debunking rumors, and serving as an information resource for authors and readers. Following Ellora’s sales drop, Gerrish-Lampe, who is a lawyer by day, dug deeper into Ellora’s Cave and its financial records.

On Sept. 14, she compiled a long litany of alleged evidence that Elllora’s is on its last financial leg, including claims from authors that they had not received royalties, financial records showing years of unpaid taxes, and erratic behavior from Engler who was taken to task by a judge for “systematic delays and flagrant disrespect for the court” in a 2008 civil court case.

. . . .

Dear Author’s Attorney Marc John Randazza told the Daily Dot via email that the lawsuit was an intimidation tactic:

Clearly the plaintiff has never read Near v. Minnesota [a legal precedent in favor of allowing negative press to be published] or seen The Big Lebowski. As Walter Sobchak taught us, “the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint.”

This is clearly a SLAPP suit. Ellora’s has filed a lawsuit without any possible damages. The only thing they seem to want to accomplish is inflicting attorney’s fees on the defendant.

Speaking to the Dot by phone, Ellora’s lawyer Steven Mastrantonio insisted that it isn’t a SLAPP, or strategic lawsuit against public participation, suit, and said that although they “would love to resolve the lawsuit,” it was important to clear the air about the false claims made against the company. A SLAPP suit is intended to essentially silence critics by burying them with legal threats and fees, but that’s not what’s happening here according to Mastrantonio:

We have paid the authors, we have paid the editors. The case is not a SLAPP suit by any means. It’s not an anti-first Amendment lawsuit. It’s simply a case where Dear Author has made a malicious and false statement about my client which has caused real damage to them. It’s a defamation case. We want to set the record straight.

Allegations like they made in a public forum, and causing panic among the authors and fans, that has the unintended consequences of affecting sales of the books and actually affecting the authors who want to get paid. So if people aren’t buying the books, the royalties go down.

Link to the rest at The Daily Dot

“Tara! Home. I’ll go home, and I’ll think of some way to get him back! After all, tomorrow is another day!”

11 October 2014

The line above is the last line from the movie, Gone with the Wind, based upon the literary classic, Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell.

But look! Look what’s happened to Scarlett’s beloved Tara~

With only a few volunteers and money out of his own pocket, Lovejoy resident Peter Bonner is carefully restoring the facade of Gone With the Wind‘s famous plantation using pieces from the original set. Wood, windows and fixtures from the classic 1939 film sat on the back lot of Selznick Studios until 1959 when the set was dismantled and returned to Atlanta under a banner saying, “Tara has come home.” The intention was to turn it into a tourist attraction, but that never happened. Later, in 1979, the pieces were purchased by Betty Talmadge, the ex-wife of Georgia Senator Herman Talmadge. Betty cared for the facade and attempted to work with municipalities to put it into a museum. She paid for the front door to be restored and it is currently on display at the Margaret Mitchell House. Unfortunately, Talmadge passed away in 2005 before anything could be done with the facade, and poor Tara remained in storage.

Now that’s dedication. Read the rest and view the photos here.


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