Friday, October 18, 2013

Why I ♥ Grammarly & You Should Too

Dudes. I use Grammarly's Plagiarism Checker, because copying is for bad pop music.


And the rest of it? Man, I am in love.

So. The secret is out. I hate editing...Wait. You mean that wasn't a secret? You mean I complain about it on Twitter like every week? Er... day? HOUR?!

Ok, so quite often I can be found complaining about how much I hate editing to around nineteen thousand of my best friends. Often whining about how it totally ruins my day, week, existence. So it might come as a complete shock to you, that I don't hate editing so very much anymore. Well anyway, it's a shock to me.

A couple of weeks ago I sat down and tried Grammarly for the first time. To say I was a skeptic was putting it mildly. All I could think of was that stupid Allstate commercial, it must be true if it's on the internet! Grammarly claims they:

  • Instantly find and correct over 250 types of grammatical mistakes

  • Improve word choice with context-optimized vocabulary suggestions

  • Help avoid plagiarism by checking your texts against over 8 billion web pages   


I admit I scoffed! We all know how good a job Microsoft Weird does checking our grammar. Even Scrivener has failed me recently. (Shorn is so a word Scrive-NERD) So despite the fact that the whole internet is talking about them, I did not have high hopes. Still, the timing was good. I was in edits up to my armpits, so I tossed in the next chapter of my manuscript in.

Wow.

That was all I said, and seriously this writer is never at a loss for words. Never.

I went through an entire chapter in just minutes. It takes all the guesswork out of the edit process for me. Often I think something might be not right, but I can't put my finger on it. Grammarly can. It is hard to self-edit. Grammarly kept me from having to re-read the same scene until the words spun off page and I'd start wondering if I wrote the whole damn thing in some obscure dead language.

The very next thing I did was email my editor asking him to go over my edited text--and see if it really is as great as I thought it was. I had to wait until the next day for my answer. Apparently editors need sleep. Whereas I previously thought they were too evil for it.

The answer was amazing. "While it didn't catch everything," he starts.... it was about ninety percent cooler than what I normally turn into him. And I mean, he couldn't say it's perfect right? Editors got to eat too.

For kicks, I am going to throw in this blog post pre-edit to see what Grammarly finds.



So as you can see, I'm an awful writer.

No, that's not right. As you can see, Grammarly gives you a "score" out of 100. As you correct things your score goes up. I don't know about you, but my adult self still likes to get A's. No one wants to write a D- of a book or even a blog post. Grammarly makes it all so easy, I forget that I am editing and not just playing some crazy word game all the Grammar Nazis think is cool.

On Grammarly.com they have an awesome list of TOP TEN REASONS YOU SHOULD USE GRAMMARLY. I'm partial, so I think mine's better.

#10 Sometimes it pays to be the smartest one in the room. Let's be honest, in writing everyone is trying to out do everyone else. To be the best you have to be the best at something. Why wouldn't you jump on the chance to make you and your book more professional with something that doesn't require your firstborn child.

#9 Everyone is a critic. As a writer, you spend a fair amount of time trying to make other people happy. If you claim you don't you're a terrible liar. There is always someone. You might be writing your books for you, but then there is always the agents/editors/publishers/readers/and other critics of the world. Don't give them something easy to complain about.

#8 Self-editing is hard. Being burned at the stake for being a bad self-editor is worse.

#7 Grammarly has 20k Twitter followers (a little more than me!) but editing is not cool--therefore Grammarly must work fabulously! Because no one wants to hang out with editing at a party.

#6 All the cool kids are doing it. While I am big into being original, there is something called a grading curve. You might be shocked to realize this applies to writing and real life. If everyone else raises their standards, you have to raise yours or you won't be able to compete.

#5 Real Editing comes in tiers, like substantial, basic, and copy-editing. Grammarly plans also come in tiers, but theirs are all for a very small fraction of how much you'd pay for a first edit.


#4 Use it and abuse it for one low price! So you get your manuscript back from the editor, and it has red lines all over it! What do you do? You fix it of course. Only sometimes the fixes aren't as cut and dried as we like and most editors don't include a second (or third, or tenth) look in their price. Grammarly does.

#3 It's not cool to wait in line. Say you want someone (anyone!) to look at your book. Did you know that most awesome editors have serious wait lists? In addition to the time you'll spend on that, it also takes weeks for them to get back to you when they do start your book. Do I think you can go editor-free when you use Grammarly? I can't, but I can skip to the copy editing part which saves time and money. Comma people probably could though.


#2 Real editors need sleep (those bastards). Feel free to use Grammarly at three in the morning. I do.

#1 Angela Kulig recommends it! Hey, that's me~!



The Fine Print: Grammarly sponsored this post... but they didn't actually plan on me talking about them. They said I could write about whatever I wanted. I decided to write about Grammarly because I am seriously into writing innovation, and I want my friends to be into it to. I love Grammarly, but that wasn't a requirement.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Good Update

This is an update to my last post, A Personal Kind of Pain. My husband was packed, and ready to go. He was just waiting for the final details on his last minute plane tickets when he found out his orders had been canceled.

So he's still here.

I feel like a rung out rag of a women. I have cried every time I think about it for two days because I don't know what else to do. After being pulled one way and then another for so long it's hard to feel anything at all but at least I don't have to miss my best friend and cuddle mate, and that makes it much MUCH better than the alternative.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Personal Kind of Pain

Those of you who have followed me around on the internet for a while, know I rarely talk about my personal life. The first reason is, it gets kind of dull. For example, today I have already run the dishwasher three times!  The second reason is, it's personal.

So you might not know this, but my husband is in the Air Force. That presents some very interesting challenges for our life, being so far away from family (close to 1,000 miles) can be very difficult but it's worse when husband is gone--and as you read this blog he's leaving again.

On some level, you get used to it. Or, at the very least, you get used to going through the motions. However this time because of the shutdown we were jerked around a bit---we were told he wasn't going, then he was going again, then not going, then it might be canceled all together, then he was going again but they ran out of time, and now he's going again for real and hurts. It hurts so much more than it would have if I hadn't had to hope he wouldn't go.

Usually, I'd go through a mini grieving period. I'd read a book a day for week until I could live again, but this time I just don't feel like I have time to blink. In the world of book promotion pulling back for a week could mean you are as good as dead. While that might sound dramatic, it's true. So I will do my best to focus on that, and making sure the dishwasher gets filled.

I just wanted you to know.

Monday, October 7, 2013

HEROES & VALLENEZ is free on Kobo!

Vic Vallenez is awesome, and right now he is absolutely free for Kobo! Heroes & Vallenez is a novella introduction to the world of Barneby Knotts, that we will be exploring very soon. Of course if you wanted to pay for H&V he is just .99 on BN.COM and AMAZON.COM

Blurbish:
Victor Vallenez might not be a villain, but that doesn’t make him a saint. At age 16, Vic could be a career criminal, but instead he spends his time lurking in corners and telling other peoples' secrets—for a price. As a professional snitch, money is the only thing that talks more than he does. Still, as much as Vic hates to admit it, there are some things even blood money won’t buy—mainly Emily. So, when her chivalrous butthead of a boyfriend shows up and asks for his help, there is one very good reason he won’t turn him down—and that’s his angle.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Initiate by Tara Maya

Sometimes I have other authors on the blog. Usually it's other Green Envy Press peeps, but today it's  Author Tara Maya. Fantasy Fans will love her.



The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate by Tara Maya

BLURB

DEADLY INITIATION


A DETERMINED GIRL...

Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.

AN EXILED WARRIOR...

Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn't commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don't kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father's wars and his mother's curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her... assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.

EXCERPT

Blue-skinned rusalki grappled Dindi under the churning surface of the river. She could feel their claws dig into her arms. Their riverweed-like hair entangled her legs when she tried to kick back to the surface. She only managed to gulp a few breaths of air before they pulled her under again.


She hadn't appreciated how fast and deep the river was. On her second gasp for air, she saw that the current was already dragging her out of sight of the screaming girls on the bank. A whirlpool of froth and fae roiled between two large rocks in the middle of the river. The rusalka and her sisters tugged Dindi toward it. Other water fae joined the rusalki. Long snouted pookas, turtle-like kappas and hairy-armed gwyllions all swam around her, leading her to the whirlpool, where even more fae swirled in the whitewater.
 

"Join our circle, Dindi!" the fae voices gurgled under the water. "Dance with us forever!"


"No!" She kicked and swam and stole another gasp for air before they snagged her again. There were so many of them now, all pulling her down, all singing to the tune of the rushing river. She tried to shout, "Dispel!" but swallowed water instead. Her head hit a rock, disorienting her. She sank, this time sure she wouldn't be coming up again.


"Dispel!" It was a man's voice.


Strong arms encircled her and lifted her until her arms and head broke the surface. Her rescuer swam with her toward the shore. He overpowered the current, he shrugged aside the hands of the water faeries stroking his hair and arms. When he reached the shallows, he scooped Dindi into his arms and carried her the rest of the way to the grassy bank. He set her down gently.


She coughed out some water while he supported her back.


"Better?" he asked.


She nodded. He was young--only a few years older than she. The aura of confidence and competence he radiated made him seem older. Without knowing quite why, she was certain he was a Tavaedi.


"Good." He had a gorgeous smile. A wisp of his dark bangs dangled over one eye. He brushed his dripping hair back over his head.


Dindi's hand touched skin--he was not wearing any shirt. Both of them were sopping wet. On him, that meant trickles of water coursed over a bedrock of muscle. As for her, the thin white wrap clung transparently to her body like a wet leaf. She blushed.


"It might have been easier to swim if you had let go of that," he teased. He touched her hand, which was closed around something. "What were you holding onto so tightly that it mattered more than drowning?"


LINKS

Tara’s blog http://bit.ly/12dFdNy

Tara’s Twitter http://bit.ly/162sCtE

The Unfinished Song on Facebook http://on.fb.me/1400mMq


Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/13yM5Dr






Initiate is free everywhere except on Barnes and Noble (where it’s $0.99). You can download a free .epub version via Smashwords.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

★ DUST OF THE DEAD SEA EXCERPT ★

As promised, late for my birthday, an excerpt of DUST OF THE DEAD SEA. The next book in The Hollows series. It's *really* book 2 in the series. The Skeleton Song is a prequel to Skeleton Lake. Look for Dust of the Dead Sea before Halloween. 


In the night, weeds like taloned hands reach at the road like needles looking deep for veins. Never will they reach them, but somehow never beaten all the way back. The small wisp of moon gives no light that our headlights can't block out. The sky is only as dark as the asphalt that lays before us, cracked and wrinkled is the skin we can't the shed. Stars that should fill the sky like specks of dust in the dark underside of things seem not to exist. In the late hour, it is as though I have forgotten what they look like; standing both alone in their own light, and together in thick clustered families against the painted parts of the sky.

I wiggled closer to Raiden. In sleep,  his head had fallen from my shoulder, and become pressed against the window that may as well be a painted wall of black. The only light is the horrible desert plants that are illuminated by the two beams in front of the jeep. I had to give up watching what lay out there, my imagination I hoped, was worse than what could really be lurking in the starless night. Yet I knew I was driving toward much, much worse.

The decision to come to The Dead Sea had been the right one. But the closer we got, the more I was afraid of the beasts that weren’t imaginary. I, the ever willing lamb, was headed exactly where the wolves would have stolen me away.


Haven't read the other books in the Hollows Series? Find them below, and other ebook retailers.