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I am writing a book about my experiences as a beautician. Mostly about the gossip that my clients tell about there personal lives. I have so many stories and I would love to share them. Am I legally allowed to do this if I change the names?

Hi, Kristen!

Unfortunately, you're stepping into several areas of law here, and it's generally not wise to accept advice over an internet forum. Without knowing the specific details, you could get bad advice. You'll be best served by contacting an attorney who specializes in "entertainment law" The problems of discussing gossip in a book, even if you fictionalize it, are real and a danger. You could have lawsuits against you for defamation of character, libel (the written form of slander), and other issues.

If you can afford an attorney to discuss this, you can find one in your area by visiting Martindale-Hubbell, which lists nearly every attorney in several countries.

If you CAN'T afford an attorney, there are attorneys who volunteer, or offer at low cost, their services to artists and authors to answer just this sort of question. You can see if there's a location near you by visiting:

Hope that helps! Good luck.


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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