Award-winning local author throws down against piracy | Arts & Entertainment


Burroughs High School graduate Casey Sutton is riding a third wave of headlines during the last few months — publishing his first book, winning an award for it, and now joining the fight to protect independent authors from online piracy.

“Malfus: Necromancer Unchained” is the first book in a series of fantasy fiction known as “Grimdark” (for the uninitiated, stories in the vein of George R. R. Martin’s series that launched the “Game of Thrones” television franchise) and was released in hardcover, paperback and e-reader formats this summer.

“Malfus” has already won first place in the Dark Fantasy category in the “Firebird” book awards, and is currently the top-selling military fantasy novel on Amazon. The short-story prequel “Greedy as a Ghoul,” available through Amazon for download, has won six awards.

Sutton was born in Virginia to Cheri and Dan. During his early childhood he and his family, which included siblings Kaitlin and Josh, moved frequently to accommodate Dan’s service Naval service. In 1998 they moved from Guam to Ridgecrest, where is mother was born and had graduated.

He would graduate from the same alma mater in 2002 and join the Army 82nd Airborne. During his time he served as a radio/signal/IT guy and was deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice.

“While I was deployed in the army, I spent a lot of time reading fantasy and sci-fi books to escape from the place that I was at, and dreamt of one day perhaps writing a book myself,” he wrote in a letter detailing his battle with cyber piracy.

Service, college, work and general feelings of “not-quite-good-enough” delayed his literary attempts. But a near-death experience while visiting his girlfriend’s family in South Africa in 2018 changed all that.

“I had an ulcer in my stomach rupture and had enough internal bleeding that I went into shock by the time I reached the hospital. Luckily, I got life-saving emergency surgery just in time. That night as I lay there in the hospital bed, I looked at the three books I had with me: two books on writing, and an empty notebook. I realized tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. I started writing my book that night—in the hospital bed.”

After years of work, several rounds of editing and more than $10,000 of his life savings, he finally published his book June 28.

“I was devastated to find out, a month later, that my book has been on several book piracy websites available the day my book launched,” he wrote.

“I was even more devastated to see how deep the rabbit-hole truly goes. I was able to find nearly every book of several indie author friends that I searched for on these sites.”

Sutton then spent time documenting the scope of these illegal activities, more than 250,000 Digital Millenium Copywrite Act takedown requests, and even the domain registration laws that explicitly state that unlawful content will be removed.

He reached out to one domain registrar CEO, who was surprised to see his own books had been pirated. “Although he got his books and the books of my author friends removed, it didn’t seem like anything else would be done to the website, or that they would deregister it.”

But the funny thing about David and Goliath stories is that David rarely wins. “The book pirates seem themselves akin to Robin Hood, stealing from Amazon, major publishing companies and millionaire authors — thinking it a harmless crime to those who can afford it, making it available for those who cannot,” wrote Sutton.

“However, it is the self-published, indie authors like myself who are the true victims of this crime. We can’t afford the legal recourse these other major companies have.

“Ultimately, these book pirates and the piracy websites are helping ensure that only traditionally published authors from major publishing houses will be published in the future.”

The good news is, you can purchase Sutton’s book legally (and pretty affordably) through Amazon as well as from Red Rock Books. The audiobook is also available on Amazon. Fans can also purchase copies with sprayed edges and signatures (both from Sutton’s hands).

If you want to follow Casey, and learn more about his story, see or follow “Casey Sutton Writes” on Facebook.

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