Showing posts with label ebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ebook. Show all posts

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review: Grammarly Premium

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because they offered me $20 to try out their Premium service on my original 8/3/13. About 9 months later I received an email from the Grammarly rep I worked with noting:

"Would you mind removing the link to Grammarly from the sponsored blog post we worked on together? It's been brought to my attention that Google's Webmaster Guidelines don't approve of sponsored posts that include links to the sponsoring site."

Earlier this week, someone from Grammarly emailed me and asked if I'd be willing to allow them to sponsor a blog post in exchange for a $20 Amazon gift card. After a couple of emails back and forth, I decided that I'd go ahead. My son is dying for a water bottle rocket, and what better way to use an unexpected gift card than on something your kiddo really wants?

Before I agreed to allow them to sponsor my blog post, I did some research and was disappointed to see that they were asking for a credit card number to activate the free trial. Luckily, they didn't do that with me. They simply set me up with a username and password, and I was ready to put Grammarly through the paces.





After logging in, I was taken into the Grammarly program, where I can copy / paste or enter text to review for spelling and grammar errors.

40 of 100? Grammarly is very kind.
I decided to type a poorly written sentence to start out. I typed: "I definately love cHocolatechip Cooqies." It caught all of the misspellings and offered suggestions on how to fix them. To the left of the text box, there is a rating system based on the errors that were found. This sentence earned a score of 40 of 100. I'd have given it a much lower score, but that's just me. I'm a hard ass like that. So far, so good.

Checking for plagiarism.
The next feature I wanted to explore was the plagiarism checker. This is a valid concern for a writer. I like the idea of being able to upload my text and see if it's floating around on the internet without my permission. I know there are other programs that perform this function, but I thought I'd see if Grammarly worked for it as well. I copied and pasted my last blog post into the text box and hit the plagiarism button...

Gotcha!
It didn't take the program long to identify that I copied and pasted something directly from another website. All of the text that was plagiarized was highlighted in red and a window popped up encouraging me to credit the source(s). Very, very good! But a blog post is easy. I wanted to see what would happen if I checked text from one of my previously published e-books


Hmm.
I copied and pasted the text of an entire e-book and clicked the button. The result it kicked back was disheartening to say the least. Out of 3,736 words, only 2% of the document--the disclaimer--came up as plagiarized. I decided to remove the disclaimer and run the check again.

Not Good.
Nope. It came up as 100% original. This book can be found all over the place: Amazon, Smashwords, All Romance...Seriously, it's everywhere. Maybe because it wasn't published on a blog or website it didn't recognize the text as stolen. This isn't Grammarly's primary function, but I do feel that if they're going to offer a plagiarism function, it should at least identify eBooks. 


As far as the quality of the grammar checker goes, it's pretty basic. It notes the same things that my word processor notes. In some cases, it flags things that are correct or that fit within the context and writing style. In the above image, Grammarly had a problem with the sentence: "Isabel felt heat and moisture rise between her legs." and suggested I change it to "Isabel felt the heat..." I wholeheartedly disagree. I left that article out of the sentence because writing it that way perfectly expressed what was happening to sweet Isabel.

My overall impression is that Grammarly is easy to use, but that it's not much better than the grammar and spell check in my word processor. I could see it being a huge help to someone who doesn't have a basic grasp of grammar rules or who has a hard time writing, and it might be great for students who are trying to write a paper for a class, but it's just not right for me. If I, as a professional writer, incorporated all of Grammarly's suggestions, my writing would be stiff, too formal, and no fun to read.


While I've had a lot of fun playing with Grammarly, I think I'll stick with my word processor's functions. They're free and I don't have to copy / paste anything.

Have you used Grammarly? What do you think of it?


Monday, November 26, 2012

His Heat, My Desire

After her fiancĂ© moved out without a warning, a young woman decides go to a party. She hopes he will be there so he can see that she’s not heartbroken. She decides to take a short cut through an alley and comes face to face with her deepest desires. 

Buy it now for your Kindle, Nook, or on Google Play



A tale of paranormal erotica.

Alyssa Steel's erotica eBookHis Heat, My Desire, is available on Kindle & Smashwords

Happy Holidays from Alyssa Steel ♥

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Write The Stories That Turn You On. What's Your Superpower?

I think it's pretty clearly established that I write smut for a living. Okay, maybe not for a whole living, maybe just for cheap vodka money, but still. I write the stuff that, if done properly, will make the reader need some alone time to take care of urges. That is what I do and it's a helluva lot of fun.

But it's not entirely who I am. I am a wife, a mother, a homeschooling parent, and a leader in my community. I am a blogger, and a from-scratch cook. I am a friend, I am someone that people call when they are confused or have problems. I am someone that is always available to watch a friend's kids at the last minute.

But that's not it, either. I'm a liberal. I'm staunchly pro gay-rights, I'm an atheist, and I'm feminist. I'm strong, I'm a survivor, and I'm intelligent.

But that's not all there is to me. I was an English major with a focus on creative writing in college. I read to escape and I write to process. My husband knows whether I'm depressed, overwhelmed, or just chilling based on the author I'm reading. I have great conversations about Kafka and Bronte and Hardy with my fellow lit-geek girlfriends.

I have worked hard to develop a network of amazing and beautiful people, and to be brutally honest, I'm afraid of the raised eyebrows if it ever got out that I write erotica. I'm afraid that some of those great mom friends would stop letting their kids come over and play with my kid. I'm afraid that my liberal, feminist friends would be aghast that I write stories (and get turned on by them!) of being fucked by strangers or being tied up and made to submit to a man. I'm afraid that my lit-geek girlfriends will look down their noses at me for starting sentences with the word "But" and for writing things with no higher purpose than to make someone all wet between the legs.

Having a pen name allows me to let go of all those fears and all that pressure. Alyssa Steel is able to write the stuff she wants to write without fear of being ostracized or judged, and that is so god damned freeing! As Alyssa, I can say or do anything in my stories and I don't have to worry what my grandmother will think if she stumbled upon my them. I don't have to worry that my kiddo's friends' moms are disgusted by the bondage in my stories. I don't have to worry that all they're thinking about when they're looking at me is whether or not I really enjoy it up the ass. I'd imagine that kind of worry wouldn't make for a very fun moms night out.

When I go into my office to write, I set aside my real name and my real issues. I put on my headphones, turn on Alyssa Steel's Pandora account, put on my pouty lips, and become whoever the hell I want to be. Without my secret identity, I could never reveal this super awesome part of myself.

I write the stories that turn you on. What's  your superpower?