“Courtney/Lyra told me not long ago that 2022 was her year to hold people accountable. So, friends, here we are. No longer allowing shitty people to get away with being shitty.” -Brooke
Going to start this out by saying if y’all know us at all, you know we don’t purposely get involved or start drama. As much as people say they want authors to blast other authors who behave badly, it sometimes comes with repercussions against the author(s) speaking out (usually in the form of bad mouthing, sending readers/peers to one-star books, being called liars, bullies, or accusing them of being jealous, etc).
However, we’re going to speak out anyway against R. Holmes who now also writes under Maren Moore. R. Holmes is her dark romance brand she first published in August 2015 and Maren Moore is her new sports romcom brand she first published in June 2021. Before someone assumes we’re “outting” her, here is a photo from her IG proving that she’s been public about both pen names.
In mid-2017, she also started a secret author duo pen name, London Chase. The one where she stalked and obsessed over our social media brand and mirrored almost every marketing move we’ve made.
To this day, we believe she’s had more pen names where the same behavior is present, but we won’t be talking about those here.
Some people may think that social media “isn’t that serious” or “it’s just trendy” or “it’s not that deep.” But when your livelihood and career depends on your brand, your social media presence, who you portray yourself to your readers and peers, it’s very serious.
Being an author, especially a self-published author, is a business. And as a business, we should be doing what we can to protect our business. We have a moral and ethical obligation to our readers and peers to be as authentic as we can under our brands.
It’s how we build communities and trust with each other. I don’t know any author who would be okay with purposely being copied and used. And personally, it’s violating. There’s a difference between taking inspiration from others to make your own content and completely ripping off and mimicking someone to the point where it’s recognizable to people on the outside.
Brand recognition is important because it’s how readers recognize our books and distinguish us from other authors. We strive for this and implement it into our marketing.
But there is a line between inspiration and imitation.
And if you know us, then you understand how hard it’s been for us to ignore something when boundaries and lines have been crossed.
And this, has crossed the line and scaled a mountain.
The back story: London Chase (who will be known as LC) had followed us on Instagram and at one point, asked if we’d like to participate in a paperback giveaway. We declined, but apparently that didn’t matter, because LC purchased their own copy of THIS IS WAR, and put our book in their giveaway anyway.
It all started when we noticed little similarities in their social media to ours. We’d post a photo and within the next day or two, they’d post something almost identical. At first, we chalked it up to coincidences and standard things that romance authors do in marketing. However, after a few weeks, the branding was starting to look a bit too similar to ours. We never said or did anything about it. We continued to market our Checkmate duet series through our #KennedyFoxInstaFam team. It was a promo book box curated for Bookstagrammers to share and help us promote. We used very specific vendors, small businesses, and supplies. If you were around during that time period, you probably saw an overwhelming amount of those photos and they were very specific to our brand.
Not long after we started to notice the content similarities, LC came out with their own #LCGirlGang team and reached out to all the same vendors and Bookstagrammers. It was an annoyance at the very least, but again, we didn’t do or say anything because what’s “acceptable” in using other author’s marketing and content to inspire your own, could be considered suggestive. But to us, it was just one more thing they were doing that felt intentional.
At one point, we actually got questioned if we had started another new pen name because of the similarities to their social media and marketing tactics.
So at the end of July 2017, we finally blocked LC on Instagram. Now we knew they could probably see our feed from other accounts they had, but we wanted to send a clear message—we knew what they were doing and we didn’t like it.
And that brings us to Nadia. And the screenshots.
A day or two after we blocked LC, we got an Instagram message from an author named Nadia—one of the authors from the LC duo. We’ll call the other writing partner LC #2 (R. Holmes). Nadia had grown wary that something wasn’t right between her and LC #2. We’ll allegedly call it, suspicious online activity and invasion of privacy issues. Nadia wasn’t the main person behind the LC socials, but still had access to them. After LC #2 freaked out that KF had blocked their IG account, Nadia reached out to us directly under her other pen name. Screenshots of that conversation are posted down below.
To protect Nadia’s privacy, we’ve blacked out details like her last name and author logo (although she no longer pens under this name, she has asked that we don’t reveal her real name since she’s now a professional within the publishing industry). I have also blacked out any personal information that we discussed. Yes, we do have consent from Nadia to release the conversation we had.
The first screen shot below is to prove the DATE to which the conversation took place: July 28, 2017.
On desktop, screenshots should be read from left to right. You may have to zoom in on each one to read it.
As you can probably imagine, after having validation about R. Holmes’ obsession, we were creeped out. Because it is creepy AF. This wasn’t “studying the genre” or “trying to learn about marketing”. This was obsessively mirroring every social media move we made. And we’re tired of protecting someone who purposely copies our brand.
So a fun fact about these candles, Bookish Aromas (owner: Jenny) was a friend of Brooke’s at the time. She had made 3 custom candles for our Checkmate duet series for her Etsy shop and for our InstaFam boxes. In these screenshots, you can see LC’s candle on the left, KF’s on the right.
At the time, Jenny didn’t know the details with LC. By the time Brooke told Jenny, it was too late and she’d already started their order.
Right as Nadia came forward, the candles were done and Jenny was awaiting payment. Now that the LC brand was no more, their IG and FB pages were gone. She’d sent the invoice but hadn’t gotten their payment and was now out of the cost of custom candles.
Being that Jenny was a friend, Brooke told her to private message R. Holmes on her personal profile and remind her that she owed her for these candles.
This is important because it validates that R. Holmes was in fact, one-half of LC because as soon as R. Holmes got the message, she asked Jenny how she found her other pen name, and then the invoice had been magically paid.
More random similarities we’ve found throughout the years—teasers. Because at this point, why not?
Man, teasers were rough in 2017, weren’t they? Here’s just one of a few that we noticed. Anyway, this comparison isn’t about the text, rather the positioning of the girl, the red, and size of the image. Back then, most authors stuck to square size, but as KF we were trying to be “different”. See where that got us? 😜 On any other day, we wouldn’t have taken notice, but after everything else LC was doing at the time, it was just another similarity. I mean, there’s only thousands of stock options, amiright?
So why are we bringing up LC now?
In case you’re wondering why we didn’t speak up back then after having confirmation, Kennedy Fox was still newish and a secret duo in July 2017. We were so focused on writing and building our brand, that the last thing we wanted was to be pegged as the “drama duo” so we kept silent and let it go. Once the LC duo was gone, there was no reason to bring attention to it until R. Holmes resurfaced under Maren Moore and we noticed the same behavior.
We hadn’t paid much attention to her in the past five years, but we’ve now witnessed repetitive behavior with her Maren Moore brand, which brings us to present day. We’ve been made aware that her “habits” of stalking our social media has continued.
But instead of it being on Instagram, it’s on TikTok (before you roll your eyes, please keep reading).
Side note, in our opinion, we don’t believe we’re the only ones she’s copied or currently taking inspiration from. After looking at her Maren Moore brand, videos, images, social media, etc. there are a lot of resemblances to other well-known authors in her genre. With this being something she’s done before, we decided to finally speak up in case other authors who have felt unsafe coming forward and need validation they aren’t “crazy” for noticing people grossly copying them.
And though to some, social media may not seem “that serious,” it is to us and many other authors and businesses. She’s done this before. This is REPEAT behavior and shouldn’t be tolerated. No matter what social media platform it’s coming from.
This screenshot is from someone who also noticed the direct similarities. There are certain things authors do consistently for brand recognition. Yes, even in videos (especially in videos in 2022). It’s like when a YouTuber has specific intros and outros on their channel. It creates brand recognition and familiarity, and their viewers grow to expect it. So when someone else takes those specific traits and tries to imitate that, and pass it as their own, it becomes a big issue.
If you’re an active author on TikTok, you know that platform is now a part of our social media brand—similar to Facebook pages, Instagram pages, and any other social media accounts authors have—because it brings in readers and revenue.
Whether you like the app or not, it’s a way for authors to market their work. It’s no longer just a platform where “teenagers shake their asses”. It’s a viable source of free marketing, which means what we post as authors, is a part of us and our brands. There are trends and similar things we all do for book promo, those are not the concern or the topic of this discussion. Let us say that again, posting trending videos, sounds, excerpts of your books—these are the equivalent of sharing teasers on Facebook or IG—and are absolutely not what we’re referring to. We’re talking about original content that was made and copied. The specific “genre” of content we’re referring to are our “pack with me” or “packaging book orders” videos.
It’s not the TYPE of video that’s the problem, rather, it’s how she mirrored ours almost exactly and purchased exact items we’ve used for our supplies to creepily mimic our content from beginning to end. If this sounds confusing, we have examples below.
Now let us preface this by saying there are certain supplies we ALL need to package books. There is no denying that we all need things like boxes, envelopes, pens/markers, labels, tape, and merch/swag items. (Please don’t put words in our mouth here and say Kennedy Fox said no one can do these types of videos, because that is NOT what is being said here).
However, Brooke made her packaging videos in a very specific way, and made them similar each time she recorded and edited them. This made them distinctive and very different from other “pack with me” videos that authors were doing. It’s extremely recognizable, and that was done with intent. So when someone copies that, it was very obvious it wasn’t coincidental. (As someone came forward and said so themselves – this is just one person’s comment, but there have been others).
The angles, the same custom tape/holder, the same crinkle paper, the same swag packs, the same sticker containers, etc. (photos below). She even flipped her video to match ours (you will see that her book titles are backwards and she’s signing right to left).
In case anyone needs to hear it again:
inspiration and imitation are not the same thing.
*A quick disclaimer: Some may try and twists our words, and say that we’re nit-picking or trying to bring down a peer. Some might claim that we’re overreacting and that this isn’t a big deal. Your opinion is yours and it’s valid, and so is ours. If someone doesn’t find an issue with what happened and doesn’t mind other authors copying them, then that’s your choice. We each run our businesses differently.
To us, this is an ethical issue and is concerning. Writing and publishing is how we pay our bills and support our families, so we take it very seriously.
We believe there is room for everyone. We are both very active in the book community. We offer our help to authors of all levels and have never believed in gatekeeping information that can help people better their careers. Courtney has dedicated an entire YouTube channel to teaching about self-publishing and offering her advice based off her experiences. Brooke has been an admin for several author support groups for the past nine years and has helped a lot of people.
Anyway, we wanted to show a few side by sides of different videos of Maren Moore’s and Brooke’s. They don’t all “line up” by timeframe but the purpose is to let you visually see what we’re talking about. (We also posted some comparison videos from other creators below.) All of Brooke’s were posted on the Kennedyfoxbooks TikTok page weeks and months earlier than Maren’s. She’s also posted them on the BrookeKFox page. They are all still viewable on TikTok if you wish to see them for yourself. After several people pointed out the resemblances, we put them side by side to see for ourselves. Brooke has been posting packing videos since February 2021 on TikTok and Instagram reels.
Similar things we found in her videos to Brooke’s:
You can decide if what we’re showing has crossed the line from inspiration to purposely imitating. Custom tape, custom stickers, same tape dispenser… I know, I know, not original in packaging supplies, but when you literally use the exact same things and record the exact same way (or rather flip the video to make it look very close), we’re going to take notice. To have 1-2 similarities would be considered normal and we probably wouldn’t have even realized nor cared, but it’s not one or two things, it’s A LOT at once.
We firmly believe she took what was distinctive about Brooke’s videos and mimicked it and based on her history, it’s hard to assume a coincidence. If this had been the one and only time in our careers this happened with the same author, then maybe.
But at this point, there’s been too many coincidences to
consider them all coincidences.
Now before you call us picky bitches or petty Betty’s or whatever, we also wanted to show a packaging video by another TikTok author, Misty Walker. She’s not involved in this in any way, she’s just an author we know who’s done several “pack with me” trend videos and makes them completely her own. She’s given us permission to share this here. You can see more of these types of videos on her TikTok page, if you wish. There are different ways to make original content within a “trend” or “genre” that’s distinctive to your brand instead of copying someone else.
There are more similarities we’ve noticed with all her pen names, but we’re not going to lay them all out at this time. The similar things she does in just about everything.
But the reoccurring pattern is undeniable, just like before.
We really can’t understand why, but all we can offer at this time is that we’ve noticed and others have brought it to our attention. And we’re not staying silent about this anymore as it has only continued.
And just for funsies and in fairness, we’re showcasing some other “pack with me” trend videos that are all distinctive to these creatives. Truthfully, anytime I see these videos, none have ever been similar in style to each other. If you want to find more of these videos on TikTok, I recommend looking up “Author Book Packaging” to see other various ones.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading our story. Now that you’re at the end, you can fully make your own conclusions and decide how far is too far in this line of work. You can decide if finding inspiration versus copying is justified or not. You can determine what lines were crossed and what else may not be hers. We have no reason at all to out another author without cause.
We want this to stop. Stop copying us and anyone else she’s stalking. We want authors who have a habit of content-leaching to know it’s not okay and there are consequences to your actions. Being shitty will catch up to you eventually. And in case anyone wondered, yes, we are allowed to discuss this in a public forum because authors who present themselves as public figures on social media are in fact that.
And for the record, we’ve never spoken to R. Holmes. We’ve never had any kind of friendship or relationship with her within the community.
If you’re wondering why we didn’t handle this behind the scenes, we’re not believers of protecting people who intently hurt others.
We also believe in people being held accountable for their actions. At the very least, hopefully authors who have dealt with similar issues will know they’re not alone.
Also, this goes without saying, but please DO NOT attack or send her any hate. This is not a call for a witch hunt and we believe it’s better not to engage. We wanted to bring this to the public and let you form your own opinion on the situation. If it hasn’t been made painfully obvious by this point, we do not want anything to do with people who continuously disrespect their peers or cross industry boundaries.
To Nadia, thank you for coming to us five years ago and confirming our suspicions. After the amount of people who admitted they’ve also experienced similar things from various authors, we know this issue is more common than not. But we’re all too busy trying to avoid backlash and ignore it by changing our content, hoping it will just go away. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.
Once Brooke posted on Facebook about this issue, it was even more eye-opening how many other authors not only knew who she was referring to, but shared similar problems with her (but that’s their story to tell and we hope they will some day have the courage to speak up) as well as other industry issues. That is part of why we’re posting this now. This has become common practice that no one seems to want to talk about publicly—to just be quiet and accept it. Being constantly watched and purposely mimicked on social media isn’t a great feeling.
This behavior is gross and violating.
The things we share in the digital-age are to help us connect with our readers, and is absolutely not a free for all. We understand this behavior doesn’t stop with authors, and it happens to all artists—photographers, designers, painters, crafters, and other creatives. By speaking out, we hope it encourages others to come forward and not be afraid to protect their content, brand, and business. This industry is amazing and we are so blessed to be a part of it, even if sometimes we have to deal with downfalls.
Whatever you stance is on professionalism and crossing industry boundaries, I hope you can respect that this is ours just like we’ll respect yours.
We’ll end with this—put your creative energy toward being your authentic self online because it’s so much easier and healthier than faking it.
Feel free to ask us any questions or send us a DM if you prefer.
-Brooke & Courtney/Lyra