I’ve heard it said a writer has many tools in her box/kit/underwear drawer. If that’s the case, I’d love to share with you my second favorite (my top tool is a beatin’ stick to keep away rabid plot bunnies).
Let me introduce the humble, oft-maligned text-to-speech reader. I use Ultra Hal Reader which has a terrible robot-voice, an unfriendly user interface (just try to get it to stop at a certain place without clicking ‘pause’ half a dozen times), and it makes my laptop overheat if I play it for long stretches.
I hate Hal Reader, but I also love it because it allows my ears to catch what my eyes often miss.
(Hint, if you don’t see it, try reading the above sentence backwards.)
Text-to-speech readers are invaluable for dropped words, repetition, those funky sentences you realize don’t make sense unless you say it, and unnaturally stilted dialogue. In fact, by using my text-to-speech reader I was able to tune the speech and dictation for the two characters in my debut novel, Touch Me Not.
Jake, like most subs in the Touch Me Not world, was pulled out of school at puberty. He’s not unintelligent, but he’s plain spoken and spent his formative years on a cattle ranch. In contrast, his soul mate, Henry, grew up a life of privilege. They have two different ways of looking at the world, and the way they speak reflects this.
So if you think your story would benefit from an extra eye–er–ear, I recommend using a text-to-speech reader. Most operating systems come with a free version. Ultra Hal Reader is also free (and according to sources I checked prior to writing this blog the new update comes with a hidden spyware package — Oh Hal, you’re the gift that keeps on giving), but I hear Ivona Reader is tops if you have the means.
As for me I know my text-to-speech reader played a big part in cleaning up my manuscript and developing my characterization. That’s good because I have more stories in the Touch Me Not universe to tell. 🙂
Here’s a bit about the book. If it sounds good to you, enter the giveaway for a chance at a free copy. (Or, you know, buy the thing. That’s good too.)
Title: Touch Me Not by Genna Donaghy
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance, BDSM & Fetish, Fantasy & Paranormal
In an alternate universe, where gender is less important than how dominant a person is, Jake Alric is the odd man out. While other subs spend their days trying to find their one true mate, Jake goes out of his way to avoid dominants. He’s seen the dark side of soul bonds, and all he wants is to be left alone to tend his small Montana cattle ranch in peace.
When an oil company starts buying up land all around town, Jake comes under increasing pressure to sell. A chance encounter brings him into contact with one of his potential mates, Henry Waterstone, son of the man trying to buy Jake’s ranch and a handsome dominant who pushes buttons Jake didn’t know he had. For the first time Jake is tempted by the true pleasure of being a submissive. But as Jake and Henry grow closer, a new player in the oil company rises up and threatens to sever their fragile connection. Suddenly the person Jake was most afraid to find becomes the one he’s most terrified to lose.
Ms. Donaghy is giving away an eCopy of Touch Me Not to one lucky commenter. To enter today’s contest:
You must Do TWO of the Following:
1. Sign up for e-mail updates (upper left corner). One email daily with the day’s posts.
2. Be or become a fan of Book Reviews & More by Kathy Facebook page
3. Follow me on Twitter (@BookReviewsMore)
4. Friend Book Reviews & More by Kathy on Goodreads
Make sure you have filled out the contest entry form:
5. To be eligible to enter contests on Book Reviews and More by Kathy you MUST fill out the contest entry form (found HERE). This form only needs to be filled out ONCE. Your privacy is important to me, and I will not share your information.
And don’t forget to:
6. Leave a comment on this post by 5 PM Mountain Time Friday afternoon.
It’s that easy! The winner will be selected using random.org. Ms. Donaghy will e-mail one lucky winner of Touch Me Not in their preferred format. The winners will be posted HERE on Saturday.