If you ever wanted to learn the secrets behind the LaLaurie Mansion, or peer into the mind of Jean Montenet, the infamous gris gris man and Father of New Orleans Voodoo, you need look no further than New Orleans’ own Alyne Pustanio.
Alyne Pustanio is recognized as one of the foremost authorities in the field of paranormal research, the supernatural, and the occult, and is considered an expert in the folklore and haunted history of her hometown, New Orleans.
A prolific writer of both historical legends and supernatural fiction, the believability of Pustanio’s descriptive and colorful writing style leaves most people – even your average New Orleanian – unable to discern the folklore from the fiction. This is a sign of a gifted author. It is a signature of style, and a true blessing from the Creative Muses. Pustanio’s stories are mesmerizing, addictive, and all-engrossing. You can’t lift your eyes from reading them.
Pustanio has been offering up her original stories on the internet since the year 2000. In addition to her own content rich website, she has provided content for much of Haunted New Orleans Tours website along with her cousin and well-known New Orleans Mardi Gras artist Ricky Pustanio. Both sites have provided hours of reading entertainment to thousands of people who visit them on a daily basis.
But there are some people who have no scruples whatsoever. They lie, cheat, stab their best friend in the back, sleep with their sister’s husband and rip off entire websites without a second thought. If Pustanio hadn’t told me herself, I would not have believed it. But it is true – someone actually lifted her original stories off of her website and published them in a book, verbatim.
Copyright theft is not a new issue in the world of literature, but with the ever growing availability of authors’ works on the internet, there is a culture of entitlement that propels unscrupulous people to steal intellectual property via illegal downloads and cut and paste. In 2010, someone took a series of stories off of Pustanio’s website, submittd them to Schiffer publishing as her own, and publish them in a book.
Did she really think she would get away with it?
Apparently so. The book was offered for sale on all major venues while the thief carried on as if she were the creative one. What she didn’t count on was Pustanio stumbling upon the book, reading an excerpt and realizing she was reading her own words!
In an unexpected move, Pustanio did what most authors cannot afford to do; in 2011 she took the author and the publisher to court, sued for copyright infringement and won. It was a slam dunk.
Copyright theft is more than just stealing someone’s intellectual property – it leaves a mark on the creative soul. Aside from the frustration and violation of having something so dear to her stolen, this particular copyright thief took Pustanio’s right and opportunity to publish her own work first. Pustanio was stripped of the joy that comes when any new book is birthed in print form. Publishing a first book is a rite of passage; a very magical time in an author’s life. That is something no amount of money can fix.
But Pustanio is not one to cry over spilled milk. The notorious plagiarizing troll won’t be gobbling up any more of Pustanio’s stories; that is, not unless she wants to be thrown off the bridge by the mighty goatlike creature Pustanio conjures up in her story the Legend of Grunch Road. Pustanio has taken back her purloined stories, updated them and compiled them in her first solo book. Today marks the release of Purloined Stories and Early Tales of Old New Orleans, a collection of New Orleans legends and supernatural fiction told as only Pustanio can tell them.
Purloined Stories and Early Tales of Old New Orleans contains all of the stories that were stolen, including the Devil Baby of New Orleans, The Ghosts of Bayou St. John, The Legend of Grunch Road, Mona Lisa Drive, Werebeast of the Swamp Indians, The Ghost of Jean Lafitte and the Phantom Pirates of Barataria and Violette, the Zombie Child.
In addition to the stolen stories, there are 12 early tales of Old New Orleans.
To purchase a digital copy of the book, head on over to www.alynepustanio.net. The paperback will be available next week.
You can find more of Pustanio’s work in the Hoodoo Almanac 2013, to be released on May 1, 2013.Please visit her website for more information and a few good reads. I am sure that once you do, you will agree that some stories are just so good, they beg to be stolen!
Statement of disclosure: Denise Alvarado is the Editor in Chief for Creole Moon Publications, who is the publisher of Purloined Stories and Early Tales of Old New Orleans by Alyne Pustanio.