Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

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Name: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Also Known As: CQY, Quinn
Occupation: Author
Medium: Novels
Works: The Saint-Germain Cycle, others
Official Website(s): Official Chelsea Quinn Yarbro Web Site
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is an author of fantasy books.

Intolerant of Fanfiction

She is vociferously anti-fanfic,[1] and has filed Cease & Desist orders against fans who wrote stories using the central character in many of her books, the Count de Saint-Germain. The Holmesian Federation is one example.


In 1992, Yarbro was one of several pro authors who either brought the hammer down on or clarified their views on fanworks based on her books. This was due to The Marion Zimmer Bradley Fanfiction Controversy.

Some other authors who joined Yarbro in 1992: Marion Zimmer Bradley, P.N. Elrod, Anne McCaffrey, and Mercedes Lackey.

See A Matter Of Willful Copyright Infringement.


On the Vampyres mailing list, one listmember's persona as Laybrother Bat of the Order of Saint-Germain went back to at least 1993. Most of his creative work posted to the list was original fic about his persona and other original character members of his order, and the abbey they inhabited. Elements specifically attributable to Yarbro's universe included likenesses of the order's namesake in the abbey (a statue, a portrait) and openings for laysisters of an order explicitly named for Madelaine de Montalia (of Hotel Transylvania). At some point Laybrother began adding a disclaimer to his posts crediting "material subject to copyright by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, for which attribution is hereby given."

Laybrother did not write adventures about Yarbro's characters. He merely used them as namesakes ... until Yarbro contacted him. According to Laybrother's post of 3 November 1996, "I can acknowledge my inspiration privately, but I can't invoke that inspiration in distributed material. To do so infringes upon Ms. Yarbro's copyrights and may compromise future publications." The abbey was promptly rededicated and its FAQs given a facelift.

Posts from this period are absent from the Vampyres mailing list archives. These events are reflected in a fic posted to the list a year later, "Holy Germanity!" by the Mad Bibliographer, featuring the copyrighted characters Vampire Hunter D, Captain Kronos (of Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter), and a never-named individual from the Charnas-Yarbro collaborative short story "Advocates." ("Advocates" was published in the anthology Under the Fang; the story focuses on interactions between Charnas's character Weyland and Yarbro's character Saint-Germain.)


In November 2005, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's publicist requested that fanfic based on her work be removed from the Yuletide archive; the mods acquiesced to this request.[2]


From a May 2008 interview:

[Interviewer]: Should we set much higher standards for originality and respecting the integrity of all existing work?

[Yarbro]: Absolutely. On those unhappy occasion when a fan sends me his or her suggestion for a Saint-Germain story, I always tell them that now I can't use that period in that context ever, since the claim could be made that the idea was not original with me. I have not met a writer who permitted derivative fiction who didn't in time have significant difficulties because of it. [3]

Robin A. Dubner (Yarbro's attorney) was a member of the public mailing list The Official Chelsea Quinn Yarbro Group. Dubner posted in July 2008:

As CQY's attorney, I have prosecuted several copyright infringement actions for her regarding fans using her characters in their own stories. She is very serious about this issue, as Judy writes. Fans who incorporate her ideas or characters in their own works will not be happy when CQY or I hear about it.

Robin A. Dubner -- "St. Germain's Staunch Defender" [4]

Communities & Newsletters


Fan Comments


I am *really* tired of vampires being dragged into everything, to the point where I will generally skip, or barely skim, any vampire stories I encounter. If people want to write about vampires, why don't they go write FK or piss off Chelsea Quinn Yarbro? I don't mind vampires in their place, but not *everybody* needs to be one. [5]


Yarbro, Rice, and Hamilton all get Very Very Upset about people writing fic about their imaginary vampire boyfriends.

It's amazing that characters like Yarbro and Rice (and Gabaldon) who get paid for fanfic are the ones who are disproportionately likely to get all het up about free fanfic, isn't it? I've been super tempted for awhile to write a novel where the Comte de St. Germain is a vampire. Because he's a real (fascinating) historical personage that she doesn't own any copyright to whatsoever, any more than she does to the concept of vampires.
I'm sad to find out that CQY is such a jerk about fanfiction, as I very much liked her St. Germain historical vampire romances. And yeah, "bookburning" offends me on a visceral level, too. Especially since every other writer in that issue of the fanzine was an innocent victim of Yarbro's vendetta. She had bad legal advice if she was told she had to aggressively pursue copyright infringement or lose her copyrights, because that's utter bullshit. And she was miserable because of all the time and money spent pursuing her unnecessary vendetta against fans? Boo-hoo, QQ more! She could have not done it. I'll bet her former fans were pretty miserable, too--bet they never bought or read or recommended anything by Yarbro again. [6]


  1. ^ CQY's policy on fanfic: "Absolutely not. It is also against federal law." (accessed 14 May 2010)
  2. ^ "Attention Yuletiders!". Posted November 29, 2005. (Accessed November 18, 2010.)
  3. ^ from Interview with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Author of the Saint-Germain Series
  4. ^ July 14, 2008
  5. ^ comments at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (December 4, 1997)
  6. ^ comments by elf, kore, and dragoness_e at on swindles and fandoms; archive link (January 29, 2019)