Friday, April 25, 2014

Fiction Editing: How to Save Time Without Sacrificing Quality

There are Not Enough Hours in the Day
            We’ve all heard it before…there are not enough hours in the day. You feel as if your time is fleeting and there’s not enough time for you to complete your writing and editing in time for your publisher’s deadline. And what if you’re a self-publisher. You drive your own deadlines but at the same time you don’t
Nikolas Baron
want to be spinning your wheels. Whether you’re a self-publisher or working with professional editors and publishers, time is of the essence. So how do you save some of that time without sacrificing the quality of your work?

 Online Editing With Grammarly
            Thankfully, we have the resources of the Internet and all the online editing resources it can offer. While we try to cram as much work as possible into one day, we can be happy that there are helpful and reliable resources available. The only caveat is finding the resources that are truly what they say they are. I’ve wandered through many websites that claim they’re free or that they have the best proofreader. They have the most boards, the most synonyms, the most people talking about their website. But it’s one thing to claim all these things and cram social media inboxes with tweets and posts about your website; it’s another for the website to be useful to writers.
            One of the best resources I’ve found amongst all the Internet garbage is Grammarly. Grammarly offers a fast grammar check that finds errors Microsoft Word misses, a proofreading tool that adapts to your style, and an online help community second to none. I love that their website and tool is extremely comprehensive and covers every facet of writing I need help with. The grammar check makes sure my work is clean if I want to send a cover letter. I can be confident that my letter, manuscript, or short story is error-free because of the in-depth way Grammarly proofreads material.
            Grammarly learned my style and helped me correct my most common errors. That’s one of the most frustrating things for me when it comes to writing: making the same errors over and over again. Everyone has certain ticks when they write but we all have to overcome them to make publishable material. Grammarly constantly makes me aware of my most common errors and teaches me how to fix them and avoid them in the future; therefore, saving me time.
 Especially when you’re trying to save time editing, going over the same errors a million times can waste hours you would have spent improving your work. With Grammarly, you don’t have to worry about wasted hours because they teach you to avoid errors that cost you extra time.
 Quality Over Quantity
            Grammarly’s quality outweighs many other writing help sources that provide similar services. There may be websites that claim they offer more way more help options than a site like Grammarly, but are they devoting equal time to all the things they offer? Or are they just trying to boost their resume? Do they really care about helping the user become a better writer and editor? Or are they more concerned with money, SEO, and grabbing more visitors?
            Grammarly is able to save you more time by providing you with quality services. They don’t waste your time with ads and more “helpful tools” than you could ever use. An excellent proofreading/grammar check tool, teaching resources, context-optimized synonym generator, an adaptive style tool, and extensive help/question and answer boards make Grammarly a truly outstanding tool. By allowing you to clean up things quickly and accurately, Grammarly makes editing easier and saves you time.

*A little bit about the author:
Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling, and reading.
You can find more information 
about Grammarly at
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Go sailing with ‘Sea Panther’ by Dawn Marie Hamilton

I am happy to announce that fellow author, Dawn Marie Hamilton, has released a book I was able to read in its infancy. We were members of a critique group, and we enjoyed the opportunity to read other authors' ideas. To see Sea Panther published, is great!

Thanks, Nancy, for having me as a guest today.

Inspiration comes to writers in unexpected ways. We must always be open to the stimulus around us. The musings for Sea Panther began while I was sailboat shopping with my husband.

What does sailing have to do with a Scottish inspired paranormal romance?

Kimberly, the heroine in Sea Panther, swore never to sail again, feeling responsible for her father’s death in a sailing accident. But after losing everything, and learning she might be pursued by a hit man, she answers a crew wanted ad placed by the captain of Sea Panther, a ninety foot yacht sailing south to Florida and the Caribbean.

What she doesn’t know is that the sexy Scottish captain, who she can’t help being attracted to, is a cursed, three-hundred year old vampire that shifts into a Florida panther.

The adventure takes Kimberly and Robert to many port-of-calls while sparks of desire fly between them. From Cape May to Chesapeake City to Annapolis to New Bern to Charleston to Florida. Kimberly desperate to escape a hit man. Robert desperate to find a cure for the curse. Both desperately falling in love. Then they set sail for a trip into the Bermuda Triangle and through time to Jamaica 1715, where they face Robert’s past—pirates and a voodoo priestess—before finding their happily-ever-after.

It was such a blast doing the research for the sailing portions of the book, which paralleled my husband’s quest to find a sailboat. Going to boat shows was great fun, especially the sailboat show in Annapolis.

I used this sailboat layout as the plan for the black-hulled Sea Panther. Night Thrill, the second, smaller sailboat in the story came from memory, from the many boats we looked at during boat shows. And the descriptions of the boats in 1715 came mostly from my imagination and the memory of restored historical boats I’ve toured over the years.

Have you found inspiration in an unexpected way? Do you have a favorite sailing romance? Leave a comment on this post for a chance at a gift e-copy of Sea Panther. Please leave an email addy so I can contact you if your name should be pulled from the sailor’s hat.

Nancy asked me to reveal three things you might not know about me…
1.       I wanted to be a ballerina, but ended up in a corporate career instead.
2.       I’ve traveled to every state in the US except Alaska and Hawaii.
3.       I’m not sure how I’ll handle sailing—will I get seasick?--when my husband finally finds his dream boat.

Blurb for Sea Panther:

Can love mend a fractured soul?
After evading arrest for Jacobite activities, Scottish nobleman Robert MacLachlan turns privateer. A Caribbean Voodoo priestess curses him to an eternal existence as a vampire shifter torn between the dual natures of a Florida panther and an immortal blood-thirsting man. For centuries, he seeks to reverse the black magic whilst maintaining his honor. Cruising the twenty-first century Atlantic, he becomes shorthanded to sail his 90-foot yacht, Sea Panther. The last thing he wants is a female crewmember and the call of her blood.

Although she swore never to sail again after her father died in a sailing accident, Kimberly Scot answers the captain's crew wanted ad to escape a hit man. She's lost everything, her fiancé, her job, and most of her money, along with money belonging to her ex-clients. A taste of Kimberly's blood convinces Robert she is the one woman who can claim the panther's heart. To break the curse, they travel back in time to where it all began—Jamaica 1715.

Excerpt from Sea Panther:

Her eyes glimmered with recognition, and she smiled. “Captain MacLachlan?”

“Aye.” Robert waved toward a chair. “Sit.”

He clenched his jaw. Was it his voice that sounded so gruff? Just as well, he didn’t want to give encouragement.

She dropped into the chair. A perplexed expression played on perfect features.

“What is your name?” he asked.

“I…I’m sorry.” She jumped up and reached out a hand. “Kimberly Scot.”

“Robert MacLachlan, Captain of Sea Panther.”

He hesitated before shaking her hand. Would her touch produce the same effect as on their last meeting? He tightened control on the vampire and the panther, and grasped the slender hand.


Her eyes widened.

He yanked his arm away and extinguished the unwanted flame of lust. This woman meant trouble.

“Sit,” he barked.

Though her hands trembled, she did as directed.

He trembled too. Needing time to rein in the chaotic emotions, he poured wine into two goblets from the bottle on the wet bar. He handed her one, careful not to make physical contact again. “I own this establishment. The wine is excellent.”

“Thank you,” she said and accepted the glass.

He grunted. God, he was being rude.

He paced a few feet away. Far enough not to reach for her. The lingering sensation from their brief handshake made him edgy. The pulse at her neck called to the vampire. The panther, demanding his mate, fought against bonds to which Robert tethered the animal. Robert forced control. “You want to crew on Sea Panther?

Uncertainty flickered in her eyes. Was she afraid?

Aye. He smelled trepidation. Although it was best she fear him, the thought didn’t sit well. A strong need to protect his mate blasted his frontal lobe. Damn panther.

She held his stare. Finally, she answered, “Yes.”

“Why do you want to crew for me?”

Sea Panther is available at:

Although I love writing about vampire shifters, I also enjoy writing about time traveling Highlanders and mischievous faeries. I’m currently working on Book 3 in the Highland Gardens series, Just Wait for Me. Look for it this fall.

More About the Author:

Dawn Marie Hamilton dares you to dream. She is a 2013 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist who pens Scottish-inspired fantasy and paranormal romance. Some of her tales are rife with mischief-making faeries, brownies, and other fae creatures. More tormented souls—shape shifters, vampires, and maybe a zombie or two—stalk across the pages of other stories. She is a member of The Golden Network, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart chapters of RWA. When not writing, she’s cooking, gardening, or paddling the local creeks of Southern Maryland with her husband.
You can find more information about Dawn Marie and Sea Panther at:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Time to Register for WRITE NOW! 2014 in Raleigh NC

Registration is now open for Write Now! 2014, to be held on Saturday, May 3, 2014, at Wake Technical Community College Northern Campus in Raleigh, NC.

That’s the same campus as previous conferences – but a brand new building! Starting in 2014, Write Now! will be held in Building E, which boasts a state-of-the-art amphitheater that seats more than 250 in a comfortable stadium-seating design; a secondary meeting room that seats 60; and an atrium with tables and seating for 100, which will allow you to sit with old friends and make new ones during registration and lunch.

This will be my first time attending this conference and I am looking forward to the workshops as well as the speakers. Breakfast and lunch is included, and I will be signing books, too!

For all the information
you need, please
This all-day conference, held on the beautiful campus of Wake Tech North (just off I-540 Ext 18) is sponsored by the
TRIANGLE AREA FREELANCERS of which I am a member.
Nancy Lee Badger

Loch Norman Highland games video

This week, I released My Lady Highlander in both ebook and print. The book is the 1st book in my Kilted Athletes Through Time series and follows the Highland Games Through Time series, with similar locations, characters, but with new villains.

Here is the basic story line:

Isobel MacHamish escaped a betrothal in ancient Scotland. She rebuilt her life in present-day New England, yet something-or someone-is missing. Arson, thievery, a stalker, and a handsome caber-tossing athlete turn her world upside down.

Bryce Buchanan saves a pretty woman-twice. Sent back to ancient Scotland-again-he is trapped between the skittish woman, and a man pressuring her into marriage. Battles, swords, a Scottish brownie, and a power-hungry laird make ‘Bull’ want to head home to New England.

To escape her former lover, and his murderous, father, Izzy finds her inner warrior. And, when the handsome athlete shows her what falling in love can bring, she is torn, because keeping her hands to herself, is one battle she will never win. 

You can find buy links HERE

This is what I plan to do this weekend. What about you?

Nancy Lee

Friday, April 4, 2014

How bloggers like to be approached

by Babs Hightower & Barb Drozdowich

Please welcome these two very busy ladies who stopped by to discuss the merits of approaching bloggers, when an author, public relations person, or publisher wants to 'get the word out' about a new release. I have used Babs' time as a PR guru, and I have had my books reviewed on Barb's and Bab's blogs. This is good stuff!--Nancy Lee

Babs Hightower
 Book review bloggers do a lot of reviews and get a ton of request each day from various authors, publicists, assistants and publishers.   Each of who want their emails looked at in hopes of a new review.  What about the blogger and what they want?

A blogger wants respect.  They started their blog for a reason and not all want a free book.  Most are to help the author promote their work.  There are several ways to get your email deleted; one of the quickest is a form letter in the email.  They are very easy to spot as there no personalization.  You are taking the time to email the blogger for a review, why not take the time to look at their blog.  You had to get their name / email from somewhere.  A blogger wants to feel as if you too the time to go to their blog, look around, read their review policy if they have one and get their name. 

Another way to get an email deleted is getting our name wrong or better yet not using a name and just calling us “Dear Blogger”.  Most of us will not read the email. We know then you never came to our blog or even looked at our review policy.  This is like a slap in the face and why would we want to read anything you are offering?
Barb Drozdowich
When you request a review, make sure it is what we read.  There is a reason we all have a

review policy on our blog.  We each read different things and you want the right reviewer for you book.  Nothing makes us more irritated then receiving a request for a book in a genre we do not read.  You would like the right people to review and we would like the right books to read.  
Bloggers want to help authors get their name out and help promote their latest work.  To do this we need the right authors and the authors need the right bloggers.  You want to get your book out to the right audience to sale more.  It’s a win-win for us all to have the right people in place. 
Do you feel out of your comfort zone when dealing with book bloggers? They are the New Gatekeepers to book publishing success – but how can you tap into that source of free promotions by putting your best foot forward?
The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers combines the advice of 215 blogging professionals collected in a survey covering all aspects of communication between authors and Review Blogs. Whether you are a new author, or have many titles under your belt, let us demystify the promotion of your book on a book blog.
You’ll learn about whom and where book bloggers are, and the following:  The Query, The Review,
The Giveaway, The Author Interview, The Guest Post, The Book Blurb Excerpt and Cover Reveals and more!
“I’ve found Barb’s advice on forging a professional relationship with the blogging community indispensable. Her step-by-step approach will help you garner the reviews needed to increase book sales.”–Christine Nolfi, bestseller author of Treasure Me
The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers is available on:
About the authors:
Barb Drozdowich
Bio: Social Media and Wordpress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.
Barb can be found: 
BakerviewConsulting (Business Site) 
BarbDrozdowich (Author Site) 
Sugarbeat’sBooks (Book Blog) 
Babs Hightower
Bio: Babs has been helping authors since 2000. She owns a book review blog Babs Book Bistro which got her started in PR and helping authors promote themselves. In 2012 she started working for Entangled Publishing and worked her way up to Publicity Director over the Scandalous Imprint. She is a publicist for World Castle Publishing. She is also known as Morgan Kincaid writer of Historical Romance.

Babs can be found:

Facebook     FacebookAuthor     Goodreads
Google + Pinterest

Their other helpful Books: