The Trouble with Originality

The drive to be original is a noble goal. But it is not something a writer should let become a roadblock. I’ve noticed this about myself with a few of my stories. They’ll start out like normal. I come up with an idea I think is awesome at the time. I type out some of the important aspects of the characters, the world or the plot. Then I begin typing it out.

The roadblock comes when I take a step back and look at what I’ve written. I begin to wonder if people will hate it because it’s too much like this story, or because it’s a bit like that movie, or because the plot is similar to some TV show 30 years ago.

Self doubt is a huge thing for writers and is a constant struggle to overcome. Plagiarism is a serious issue, but let’s face it, nothing is original in this age. I’m willing to bet that every story written in the last 20 years is similar in at least 10 aspects to something written before it.

The key is the same as with anything that keeps you from writing: Power through it and just keep writing. Don’t let it bother you that you’ve found another’s work inspirational or influential. That’s what they’re supposed to do.


Cover Reveal: New Beginnings

Front Cover


As we’ve kept all the covers for this series simple, this follows the same “template”, if you will, as the others. There will probably be a few touch ups before it goes live, but we finally have a cover for it. Now, we just have to work on the dreaded back cover. At least, with practice of the other novels we’ve published, it has become easier to come up with a description. (Our first ones for Full Moon Rising were atrocious.) After that, the book will go through one more edit and then out to some beta readers. We are pleased with the progress we’re making, especially with how difficult this book was to finish. I’m hoping in a couple of days, we’ll be able to share the front and back cover with everyone.


Normally, we like to talk about progress in our writing. Every piece that we write, every book that we read, improves us mentally. What we normally don’t talk about is the other areas of our life. We’re anti-social and talking about any other area in our life is opening up to strangers, telling them things we would rather not have anyone know. It’s rather scary, but it’s a must if we want to move forward. It’s a must if we want to grow as individuals. It was scary at first when we started talking about our views on writing, too, but we have survived that. So, we’ll survive the other things, too.

We have lived in Pooler, GA, a suburb of Savannah, for a year and four months now. When we had first packed everything we could into a Kia Soul and either sold the rest or gave it away, we were super excited about starting a new adventure in our lives. When we arrived here from Casper, Wyoming that excitement was still with us for about a month. After that, we started to learn more about the city and the people who live here. I don’t want to say anything bad about the people here, but let’s suffice it to say, their way of life is not meant for us. There is very little we like here. We’ve been out to Tybee Island a few times and each time, we haven’t cared for it. The ocean is amazing yes, but it’s not what we want in life. After moving away from the mountains, we realized that we’re definitely mountain people. We thought we could be beach people. We’re not. Now, when we think about it, we chuckle.

Because of finding things out about the area we moved to and discovering how much we don’t like it in the south, I struggled emotionally. I still struggle and feel we made a huge mistake. Yep, some of our choices are going to be mistakes. Some of them will be successes. Unfortunately, we really don’t know which way it will go until we’ve made that choice. Should we fear decisions then? No. If we never do anything risky, nothing is ever gained. And if it turns out to be a mistake, it’s a life lesson. (Some are easier than others.) It also gives us the opportunity to know ourselves a little better. To know how we’ll deal with it. Making mistakes is natural. How we deal with them is a choice.

We had given up so much to be here, even a few of our beloved cats. We thought moving here would help me to avoid the long, cold winters of Wyoming. You see I have had a spinal fusion and I have arthritis in my back. We thought moving to a warmer climate was the right answer to get me out of pain. Not that I was in a whole lot back in Casper, especially when compared to now. After just that month of being here, the humidity started bothering me. I was in more pain than I was before and at first I was baffled at the reason. I was doing everything I should. Daily stretching. Walking. I soon discovered that the cold humidity made things worse. Because of that, I let myself stop walking and doing my daily stretches that are essential in keeping me limber. And, as you guessed it, the pain just kept getting worse and worse. I also started gaining weight, which didn’t help. Every once in a while, I would try to get back into the good habits I had before we moved. And then inevitably, I would start thinking, why bother? You’ll do these things and you’ll still be in pain. If I could go back in time, I would kick myself as hard as I could while yelling profanities at myself.

So far, for the last two and a half months I haven’t broken my routine. Whereas, I don’t feel too differently, I refuse to give into what I call “self-pity” again. Yes, I hate it here. Yes, it wasn’t what I expected. And yes, we will be moving eventually. (Hopefully soonish.) But that doesn’t give me leeway to do nothing. I will continue to walk and do my daily stretches. If I don’t, the alternative isn’t great. Through my family, I have seen what happens when you neglect yourself. I refuse to let myself do that. I am ashamed it took me this long to wrap my brain around it. Do I still struggle with wanting to do these things? YES! Will I continue to struggle with it? Probably. But every day that I don’t give into the negative side of me is progress and eventually I will win.

I have always struggled with being too negative in life, usually only in areas that concern myself. I see the good in other people way before I see the good in myself. I forgive other people long before forgiving myself. (There’s probably a lot of us like this out there.). This is something that irritates my husband. Want to know how I know that? He’s told me. I don’t remember how we got onto the subject, but we did. (Maybe a marital spat? Who knows?) He’s told me I’m too hard on myself. That I expect way too much and that the goals I set myself are usually unattainable and then I chastise myself for not reaching them. So, I’ve been working on setting achievable goals that are still hard to reach but not out of grasp. It’s been difficult to learn how to think differently. Sometimes, you just need to hear someone tell you the truth but that’s only if you’re willing to listen to it. If you’re not, then it will feel as if that person is attacking you and your way of life.

There will be times in your life that will be difficult. The key is not to give up. Giving up is too easy. Keep struggling. Eventually, you’ll see light ahead. We’re still in that dark tunnel, ourselves, but the more we do, the closer the light gets.

Although, I feel that moving to Savannah, GA was a mistake, I wouldn’t change it. Yes, we’ve struggled. Yes, I have personally struggled, tremendously, (several of the reasons aren’t listed here) and have been in more pain than I was when the goal was to lessen it. However, if we had stayed in the familiar, we would have never learned about the area. We would have never learned things about ourselves that would have never been revealed. It takes change to grow. Welcome change, even if it’s scary.

Writing Update

So last week, I skipped the writing update post I’ve been trying to make every week. There’s no real reason why I skipped it, other than that I didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t. How’s that for some honesty?

Anyway, on book 1 in the Ordinaries series, I am at 46k and am still going strong on the rewrite into first person. Writing in first person is still a little weird. This is the first novel where I’ve done it. I’ve read plenty of novels done in first person, but had never attempted to write one. I must say I’m having fun writing this novel for two reasons: 1.) It’s something I haven’t done before, so it’s a bit challenging, and 2.) I am loving the story and characters.

The final book in the Hartland Series: New Beginnings came back from the Alpha reader with a huge thumbs up. Here I was worried that it’d fall short from the other books in the series that came so easily for me. This one was a major pain in the ass to write! Yet, it seems at least one person likes it. They even liked the way I ended it. Now, I have to do another quick edit and send it out to the beta readers. Hopefully, I’ll hear some more good news from them.

Book 2 in the Magna Luctus series is coming along slowly. We only added an additional 1k to the word count. It’ll eventually get done. It seems this book is being as difficult to write as the final book in the Hartland series. I’m still pleased that we’re making progress on it though. Not all books come easily.

I hope everyone has a fantastic and productive week!

Challenge Your Writing

One of the best things that I’ve ever done for my writing is write the Hartland series. Those books challenged the way I wrote. Typically, I like to write with standard chapters. In this series, the chapters transferred from a number of characters. There were no actual chapters in the books. Instead, the story was told in parts through characters and the reader had to piece things together as they went along. These books were definitely something I had never written before. For those who have read it and enjoyed the story and the unique way it was told, I appreciate all the lovely comments. If nothing else, the Hartland series helped me grow as a writer.

And now, I’ve taken on another challenge with the Ordinaries series I’m currently working on. I don’t write in the first person. Normally, I don’t like to read it either but recently I stumbled across the fact that this story works better in first person. I wrote more than half the book in third only to realize this. So, as I’m going back through and changing things, I actually feel more connected to the main character now. I was having a hard time with Catherine Winters. I guess it was her trying to tell me that I was doing the story wrong. As an obstinate, know-it-all writer, I simply wasn’t listening. And, as I’ve been reworking it, I figured out how I’m going to end the story and what the next several parts are going to be. I was definitely stuck on the plot after I’d gotten almost 40k into it. The story wasn’t feeling the way it should have, which was what made me stop writing on it temporarily. Incidentally, it’s also what got me to finish the edit for the last book in the Hartland series. That was something I wasn’t looking forward to. It turned out it wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be.

I write this to reiterate what most writers already know. Writing a challenging piece is actually a good thing and helps us grow as writers. So to all those pieces of work that we dread writing because it’s difficult or because it’s something new we haven’t tried before, do it. Trust me, the personal growth you obtain from it is worth it.

Book Review: Bloodthorn

Bloodthorn: Olive Kennedy (Fairy World MD Book 3) by [Grantham, Tamara]

5 out of 5!

So I have been reading this series like nonstop and this one only took 1 morning to read for me! In fact, it was this morning that I read it. I haven’t read through books this fast in years. That is how good these books are for me. The story, the characters, the romance, everything about this book speaks volumes to me. And I cannot wait to download the other books and read through them.

I highly recommend reading the first book Dreamthief.

Book Review: Spellweaver

Spellweaver: Olive Kennedy (Fairy World MD Book 2) by [Grantham, Tamara]

5 out of 5

Just like the first book, the story completely captured me. I read this in two days! I love this series, even the romance parts in it. I know I’ve not been a fan of romance in the past, but this book has helped change my mind about it. It also helps that it’s not just a romance book but also fantasy. In this one, however, it really tugs at the heart strings. I also love the story and the world the author has developed.

I would type more about the story and everything, but it’s really important to read the first book in the series to fully understand the characters and so that it can really tug at your heart.