Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Similar Plot = Plagiarism?

As many of you know, I am a writer. I have several manuscripts that have been sent out to publishers, and I'm still waiting to hear back on those. In the past, I released two books through self-publishing. I enjoy the freedom of self-publishing. It's fun. It also allows me to share smaller works that wouldn't fit a trade publisher since they tend to prefer larger works.

I've been working on a small collection of Christmas themed short stories. This is my favorite holiday, and I wanted to explore writing about the holiday season.

As of right now, I have about 5 stories that are completed. I had this great idea to release one short story a week (and by short I mean about 6,000-10,000 words each) starting in November and leading into Christmas time.

I have a great friend, with a English degree, who has been helping me edit my work. I sent her my latest story last weekend. This is what I hoped would be my first release for November. However, there was a small problem she discovered.

It turns out that my plot is very similar to another self-published short story. She says that it almost exactly follows the other person's story as far as plot points go. The setting, characters, and dialogue are very different, but we are now wondering if this should be a concern.

Here is the comparison:

Other Short Story - According to my friend. I did not read it.

  • Woman is secretly in love with boss. Boss is a business man and also a lion man/shifter of some sort. Woman is a secretary.
  • Story starts off with woman pining over man. She asks him out. He turns her down. She resigns.
  • Pining, pining, pining, 
  • Man goes over to woman's house, professes his love. They sleep together. Big sex scene. He asks her to marry him and meet the family
  • No references to a deity.
  • Entire story is about 6,000 words.

My Story - "The Christmas Wish"

  • Woman is secretly in love with boss. Boss is a business man. Woman is a secretary. No paranormal/lion people in my story.
  • Story starts off with couple sitting by Christmas tree telling their children how they fell in love.
  • Flash back - Woman is pining over man. She asks him to be her date at company holiday party. He turns her down. She goes alone and sees him flirting with other woman. She is heartbroken and resigns.
  • Pining, pining, pining, 
  • Man goes over to woman's house on Christmas Eve, professes his love. No sex scene. (I don't care if I'm 32, my father would kill me.) He asks her to marry him and meet the family
  • Flash forward - The couple are all mushy. The kids are grossed out by their kissing, and there is a sweet scene of them decorating the tree with the kids.
  • Since it's Christmas, there are some references to God, religion, etc.
  • Entire story is about 6,000 words.

So here's my question ---- Are these two stories similar enough for mine to be considered possible plagiarism? 


Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 2014 Ipsy Bag

Ipsy bag is one thing I allow myself to splurge on each month.

Here is what I got in this month's bag:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Daily Devotional Books


I am a huge fan of daily devotional books. Even though my feelings on church have changed over the years, I still find it important to study the Bible and try to grow spiritually.

My Dad's church in northern Indiana used to always give out daily devotional books for the month. He isn't really into them, so they were passed on to me. His new church here in the Indy area does not do this. Luckily, my Dad is friends with a really nice older woman at church, who happens to subscribe to this publisher's series.

It's called Our Daily Bread.

As you can see from the picture, this one is from last year. She gave me the entire series for 2013. I figure the year doesn't matter much since the dates pretty well remain the same.

The Front Cover
There are a few things I really like about this series, The first is that it's simple. You get a very clear, but short, message. If you want to go into more detail, they give extra Bible readings to expand upon. Some of the other series I have read have pages upon pages of explanation. I tend to prefer things short, simple, and to the point.



I also really like that the Bible verses are written in the book for you. Most of the ones I have read in the past list the verse and you have to look it up. It isn't a big deal. Still, it's nice to have it all in one spot. I can throw this in my purse and still keep up with my readings when traveling or whatever.

King James Version, but I think they also do other Bible versions too.

I just think these are very well done. I like to read before going to bed. My evening routine has become reading my daily devotional, reading the verse of the day (I often end up reading the chapter.) on Bible Gateway, and then reading a chapter of whatever book I am currently reading.

This all helps me wind down before going to bed.

Do any of you read daily devotional books?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Outlander: My New Favorite Thing

I have been told for years that I need to read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. It's an older series - started in the early 1990's.

People I knew from the blogging world would recommend it. A few friends from college recommended it. Even my sister's mother in law is a huge fan. It wasn't until a few months ago that I seriously took the time to get into it. This was mostly because I heard a television series was being made from the book series.  I don't subscribe to Starz, but I am lucky to have friends that do. It works out well. I'm one of those people that likes to always read the book before seeing the movie/tv show.

The series follows Claire, a nurse from the 1940's, who travels through time (accidentally) to the 1740's. While there, she meets Jamie Fraser. They fall in love, and the series follows the ups and downs of their life together.

There are currently 8 books. I have read up to the fifth book- The Fiery Cross. I'm about a third of the way through it so far.


I adore this series. What I love so much about it is that it fits into so many different genres. Yes, there is romance. The relationship between Jamie and Claire is what holds the series together, but there is so much more than that. It's historical fiction. I learned more about the history of Scotland in the first few books than I ever did before. It talks about religion - Jamie is a devout Catholic. Diana Gabaldon does a good job of showing the horrible way Catholics were treated when England took over Scotland and when they tried to immigrate to the New World. The series has action (wars being fought), sci-fi (time travel), horror (some voo doo stuff happens when they first come over to the colonies). It's a series women can read and enjoy, but a man could also love it. In fact, I know several guys who read the series too.

The author takes a long time to write each book. It totally makes sense when you think about how much historical research she has to do to make each book accurate. She has mentioned in several interviews that she actually travels to the places in each book and researches the history in person. All of this just to make sure it is correct to the time period.

For me, it's more about the romance factor. I enjoy reading romance. The relationship between the two main characters is very well done. Who wouldn't love a man who says stuff like this:

*swoon*

I made sure to read the very first book before watching the television series. The first season is based off the first book, and it actually follows the book very closely. That's rare. There are only a few extremely minor things that were altered for tv.

The promotional poster
Everything from the actors they chose for each part to the costumes are perfect. They took time to make it right. As a fan, this is something I appreciate.

Claire in her wedding dress
Jamie in his wedding outfit.

I even adore the theme song and opening credits. It manages to capture the mystique of the show.


Plus, the fans are hilarious. Go to Twitter and search for #OutlanderPickupLines You will crack up laughing. This hash tag was created in honor of the wedding episode. Some of them are truly hilarious.

Ha ha!

Have any of you watched the show or read the book? What do you think of it?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Randomness...

I apologize in advance because this is a very strange post. Some people might read this and think I'm crazy. Those of you raised in a religious household may get it though.

For at least the last ten years, I have suffered from what I believe is panic attacks. The thing that drives me crazy is that the panic attack happens for such an odd reason.

Death.

Not the death of others, but my death.

It's this odd feeling of being terrified of dying. It's not even the dying that scares me. My fear stems from the thought of there being nothing after death. Of just... ceasing to exist.

I was raised in a very strict religious household.Those of you who read my blog are aware of my time spent in a cult. I was always told the stories of Heaven and how those who were "good" would get to go there. I believed that for years. A large part of me still does. I would have to or my belief in God would be pretty meaningless.

But what if there isn't anything? This is where my panic attacks come in. It will catch me completely off guard. A movie where someone dies. A book that mentions the afterlife.There will be something that triggers this enormous feeling of dread, and I find myself becoming extremely upset. Thankfully they don't happen every day. They don't even happen every month. They just pop up every once in a while.

It's hard for me to believe there is nothing after death. We try so hard to live a good life, follow what we believe is right, and make a difference in our part of the world. I really hope with everything in me that there is some kind of reward for us at the end. Plus, I can't even begin to deal with my emotions when I think of lost loved ones. Part of dealing with Mom's death was the notion that she is in a better place.

The other thing that bothers me is that I don't feel like I've done much in life. If I die tomorrow, what will people remember me by?

I've been considering trying to go back to church. Church makes my skin crawl. It probably always will. Yet, I miss that feeling of assuredness and the strong faith that stemmed from going to church each week. Right before I moved down to the Indianapolis area, I began visiting a local church in the area. I enjoyed it, and I was able to learn and grow For that brief amount of time, I didn't have any panic attacks. After moving, I never took the time to find a new place of worship.

I suppose in some ways I have lost my faith. I would like to get it back somehow.

Perhaps this loss of faith is why I struggle so much?



On a lighter note, I've read some amazing books lately. I'll share them with you guys in a later post.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Maintaining

Weight loss hasn't been my big priority lately. Instead I have been focusing on my mental health - dealing with depression, trying to get through each day, making small goals on life in general. Today was the first time in about a month that I actually stepped on a scale.

Good news! I didn't gain. I also didn't lose. That's OK. I still weigh 320 lbs.

I wish I weighed less, but I am thrilled that I didn't balloon higher. I wasn't consciously watching my food intake, but I did try to make smart choices. Not taking seconds or making sure all my meals included a vegetable was one thing I made sure to follow. I also went back to cooking at home and experimenting with new recipes.

I want to get back into consistent dieting, but I am trying not to overwhelm myself. The first thing I need to work on is exercise. I don't move enough. My desk job is contributing to my lack of  movement. When things got bad, that was the first thing I dropped.

I really want to go back to Weight Watchers. I am working on figuring out the money end. Their start up fees are really expensive, so I'll need to plan for that. I'm also thinking about getting a FitBit. Just thinking. No solid plans on it yet. I hope that I can give happy weight loss updates in the future.

On a side note - anonymous commenting has been disabled from my blog. After my last blog post, my inbox was bombarded with mean comments from someone anonymous. They were name calling and some comments were directed at my family. Not cool. Only one comment was actually posted. I apologize for any inconvenience this causes you, but I have enough going on. I don't need to be bullied on my blog.

#Winning

I thought my day was off to a bad start. After all, this was my morning commute:


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I just love being parked on 65 during rush hour traffic. #sarcasm

45 minutes parked on the interstate due to an accident. My normal 20-25 minute commute was over an hour long today. I was not in the best of moods. 

Luckily, things got better. 

Here are some reasons I am happy today. 

  • Finally got my review at work. I figured I would get a good review, but I didn't know I would get a glowing review. Totally made my day. There are a few minor things I need to work on, but my managers are very happy with my work.
  • A good review means a raise. It's not a huge raise. Every little bit still helps.
  • Review time means free Starbucks. I'm not going to lie, I got a Frappuccino. It was light though.
  • I get to switch my parking garage! Working downtown means parking in a garage. The hotel I work for has monthly parking you can pay for. My garage for the last two years has been an exercise in patience and bravery. Constant construction = a dirty, dusty car and circling for ten minutes trying to find a parking spot. The parking spots are tiny, which means people are always door dinging you. I've been backed into twice and side swiped once. It's also tons of fun (note the sarcasm) to walk three blocks in the snow and freezing cold. Not anymore!! My new garage is right next door, and I can walk to work through the skywalk if it's raining. Love it!
  • Dinner out with Daddy. Enough said.
How is your day going?