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Romance novelist Janet Dailey acknowledged Tuesday that she plagiarized the work of her rival Nora Roberts, but blamed a psychological disorder.

Mrs. Dailey said her books "Aspen Gold" and "Notorious" contain ideas and passages lifted from several of Ms. Roberts' novels. The copying was recently discovered when Mrs. Dailey got tripped up during online chats with readers.

"I can only apologize to Nora, whom I've considered a friend, and to my readers for any pain or embarrassment my conduct has caused," the author said from her Missouri home.

The plagiarism took place in the early 1990s while Mrs. Dailey was under stress, in part from the cancer deaths of two brothers and the lung cancer surgery of her husband, she said in a statement.

Mrs. Dailey, 53, agreed to Ms. Roberts' proposed terms to settle the matter, including a payment to the Literacy Volunteers of America, said Mrs. Dailey's publicist. The amount was not disclosed.

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