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Learn more about my books at ShoshannaEvers.com

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Grammarly: might work for some, but not for me

I tried Grammarly's plagiarism checker free of charge because I wrote a story that's been told, in different re-incarnations, many times before. Yup, we're talking about Beauty and the Beast (an erotic re-imagining)!

While my version is original, I figured it couldn't hurt to run the book through Grammarly's plagiarism checker and make sure no little bits of other Beauty and the Beast stories managed to infiltrate their way into my book.

So when Grammarly contacted me and offered to sponsor a blog post about them, I agreed, mainly because I was already thinking it'd be cool to see what they had to offer. I've been offered to do sponsored posts before, and turned them down, because they weren't relevant to me or my readers. This is, so that's my excuse for going for it. :) However, there are *no* affiliate links in this post.

Unfortunately, they might not be so happy with my findings. I gave it a good shot, I really did. I checked two different books in their checker.

I had visions in my head of how awesome it would be if Amazon used a plagiarism detector to run book files through, so we wouldn't have authors getting ripped off like in the case of Elizabeth Nelson.

Sorry, folks, but the technology just isn't there yet.  The Pulse is published already, but there wasn't a single plagiarism alert for the chapter I pasted in.

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I will say that Grammarly got this right: They discovered that there was text online that contained the exact same words as a paragraph in my other book! The text is on my Smashwords preorder page for Beauty and the Beast. They matched the wording on my book page to the wording in my excerpt. So that's good! They got that.

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But they got a lot more wrong, unfortunately. Every time I used the words "Beauty and the Beast" in my Author Note in the beginning of the book (the part where I acknowledge the original fairytale and the other versions of the story, and made note of what was similar and what was different), Grammarly would put an alert, saying the phrase "Beauty and the Beast" was "plagiarized." That's not accurate, since you can't copyright a book title, but they don't know it's a book title.

I figured I better run something else through Grammarly, to give it a fair shot. So I put a long excerpt from The Pulse, Book 1 in the Pulse Trilogy, through their checker. As you can see in the screen shot, not one plagiarism alert, despite the fact that this book is published on multiple retailers, with excerpts on various blogs. Apparently my dream of Amazon using the program for plagiarism checks is still far away -- they don't quite have it down yet.

Grammarly also does grammar checks -- oh my, they sure do hate my grammar! Specifically, they can't stand conjunctions (and/but) used at the beginnings of sentences. But I use those a lot! (see what I did there? Tee hee.)

For folks who want to change every "But" to a "However," however, their suggestions could work.

Some of what they suggest would actually insert errors into the manuscript where there were none before (see the first screengrab), such as in The Pulse, in the sentence that says "he reached up and gently pinched her other nipple," they wanted me to change the word "other" to "another." Noooo. But, they did suggest adding some commas that, grammatically, were definitely correct. I just choose to leave them out for style.

Another Grammarly error that popped up a few times: random semi-colons. In my Author Note in Beauty and the Beast, I wrote "There have been many, many other adaptions" -- they wanted me to change it to "There have been many; many other adaptions." Nooo! You should only use a semi-colon if there is a full sentence on each side of the semi-colon. It's kinda like a period that way.

What if I didn't know that? I'd be introducing bad punctuation into my book.

And that, folks, is the reason Grammarly doesn't work for me. I have my own style of writing. I know the rules, and I choose to break them. On purpose. (That was a sentence fragment! The horror!)

If I were in high school and writing papers, I would probably be all over Grammarly. I think their fixes would work best on academic writing. You can actually choose which type of writing you have for them to check, such as academic, business, or creative, but the fixes all seem pretty academic to me. They do have some helpful suggestions, but an automated program is not as good as a human brain when it comes to finding and fixing errors.

In conclusion: for $29.95 a month, $59.95 a quarter, or $139.95 for a year, Grammarly is a helluva lot cheaper than hiring a proofreader. But a proofreader will do a better job, any day. I won't be using it again, but your mileage may vary. You can try it for free for a week and decide for yourself.
UPDATE: August 2, 2017: Grammerly contacted me and asked me to remove hyperlinks to their site since they are "cleaning up" their backlinks. So, I did. If you want to find them, Google is your friend :)

Also, for those who are finding this in 2017: I have changed my name and genre. I am no longer writing erotic romance as Shoshanna Evers... I am now writing inspirational romance as Shoshanna Gabriel. Big change, I know! You can find me at ShoshannaGabriel.com and keep up-to-date by signing up for my monthly newsletter at ShoshannaGabriel.com/subscribe. Keep in touch!

All my best,
Shoshanna Evers

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New release from S&S: THE ESCAPE!

THE ESCAPE just came out! It's my fifth book with Simon & Schuster Pocket Star, and the second book in The Pulse Trilogy.

I also found an app called WordSwag, in which I was able to take quotes from my book and make them into word-art, like these:


Cool, right? :) Here's a blurb and links to THE ESCAPE.

The Escape, Book 2 in the Pulse Trilogy 

In Book Two of the erotic dystopian Pulse Trilogy, Jenna escapes New York City only to be tracked down by a soldier who might be her only hope of survival. Jenna doesn’t know if she believes what Emily and Mason told her—that America is rebuilding and a better life awaits her outside of Manhattan.

But with the power grid down and no connection to the outside world, Jenna will die if she stays at Grand Central’s FEMA camp, selling her body to soldiers. Private Ken Barker is sent to capture Jenna when she escapes—but Jenna knows he’s one of the good guys and tries to seduce him into joining her. Their passionate sex kindles something even stronger than lust between them, and when Barker goes back to Grand Central he sees the horrors there with new eyes.

Now it’s his turn to escape the city, and he knows he must take Jenna with him or she’ll die at the camp. On the road, they’ll start a new life together, hoping against hope that the electricity between them will prove more than just a spark—that together they might finally light up their dark nights.

THE ESCAPE, Book 2 in the Pulse Trilogy is available now on AmazonB&NiBooksAmazon UK 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Giveaway - 5 paperback ARCs of Beauty and the Beast!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Beauty and the Beast by Shoshanna Evers

Beauty and the Beast

by Shoshanna Evers

Giveaway ends January 10, 2014. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
Beauty and the Beast (an erotic re-imagining)  releases on Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2014, and the paperback is available for preorder now!

Beauty and the Beast (an erotic re-imagining) by Shoshanna Evers

From bestselling erotica author Shoshanna Evers comes an erotic re-imagining of the classic fairytale, Beauty and the Beast.

With her father’s freedom at stake, Belle agrees to be the fearsome Beast’s prisoner in his enchanted castle. Held as his willing captive, Belle must submit to the Beast’s most primal desires to survive.

The Beast can’t let his little Beauty go free, not while there’s still hope that she might be the one to end his decade-long curse…and with true love’s kiss, return him to the Prince he once was.

Their story is one that begins with imprisonment—he in his monstrous body, she in a dungeon—but without this predicament, Beauty would never have met the Beast.

So we shall begin with what occurred on that fateful night when everything changed: when a lover was betrayed, a man deformed, and a castle shrouded in an enchantment…

Beauty and the Beast (an erotic re-imagining) releases Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2014! 

And now... a little sneak peek ;)

Excerpt from Beauty and the Beast (an erotic re-imagining) by Shoshanna Evers 
Copyright 2013 Shoshanna Evers 
All Rights Reserved.

Beast bared his fangs, and she cringed.
“Y-you’re smiling,” she said. It might take her a while to get used to that.
“I am. I have a proposition for you.” He gently smoothed her skirt back over burning bottom, and turned her around to face him. “I haven’t had a woman in my bed for a very long time. If you’d be willing to sleep with me, I’d reduce your lifetime imprisonment to one short year.”
Belle gasped, both at the idea of sleeping with him, and the idea of a life sentence being reduced to a year.
“You’d crush me to death,” she said, looking up at his towering hulk.
“I would not. Wasn’t I very gentle with you earlier, in your cell, when I made you feel so amazing, as you put it? Right before you—”
Right before she cut him and ran. Yes, she could recall something like that happening.
“It’s really not ‘willing’ if I must bed you for my freedom,” she pointed out.
“Forget I said anything,” he growled. “I’ll see you safely to your cell.”
“Wait!” She paused, frantic, not willing to give up her one chance of freedom. And also not willing to give up a very rational excuse for having more experiences like the one he’d given her earlier. “Three months. Then I can go.”
“Six months, and you do everything I say.”
“It’s—It’s a deal, Beast.” She sighed. “I’m yours for six months. And then you set me free and you forget all about me and my Papa.”
Beast smiled. Yes…definitely a smile. “I very much doubt I will ever forget you, beauty. But I’ll never harm you.”
Her thoughts immediately flew to her sore bottom, at the way he spanked her so thoroughly. Although, it was as he said. He’d hurt her, he had not harmed her. She would remember her punishment when she sat down for a day or two, but it wasn’t like he’d crippled her.
Or ate her. That was something to be grateful for.
Beast looked around his castle as though seeing it for the first time. “I suppose, if you’ll be staying awhile, we could arrange more suitable sleeping quarters for you.”
“In your bed,” she guessed.
“You’ll have your own suite.” He spoke louder, and Belle realized he was probably summoning the fairies. “Belle will need a suite, with a four poster bed, a bath, dresses in the armoire, and a fire ready for her.”
“The fairies can do all that?” she asked.
“Fairies?” He shook his head and began to say something, but it just sounded like growling to her.
“Never mind. If you’d like to believe we have a fairy infestation, then by all means. Believe what you will.” Beast gestured for her to follow him up the stairs and into the west wing of the castle.
She followed, mesmerized by the glorious tapestries and paintings that adorned the long hallways. Where had a beast gotten such wealth?
One oil painting, of a young man, about her age perhaps, caught her eye. His handsome face seemed to draw her in. Belle stopped in front of it, gazing at the portrait.
“He’s beautiful,” she whispered.
“Thank you,” Beast said. “I mean…I’m glad you appreciate the art in my castle.”
There was something familiar about the young man’s intense green eyes.
“Do I—do I know him?” she asked.
“Perhaps. You would have been a child when this portrait was taken.”
She looked at the inscription on the gold plaque beneath the portrait. It said “Prince Frederick,” and was dated ten years prior. That would have been when she was nine years old, and certainly never out and about, gazing into handsome princes’ green eyes.
“I suppose I don’t,” she said.
For some reason the thought made her sad. What had become of that young man? Perhaps the portrait was from another country. She’d never heard of a Prince Frederick before.
Beast kept walking down the corridor, so she followed.
“I imagine you ate everyone who lived in this castle,” Belle said. “That’s why they aren’t here, and…you are.”
Beast whirled around, and she was so caught off guard that she stumbled against his enormous chest.
“I’m sorry,” she gasped.
“That is not what happened.”
“The painting was ten years ago. Ten years ago, you changed. You told me so. I was merely…taking an educated guess.”
“There was nothing educated about it,” Beast said. “And if you’ll be staying under my roof for the next six months, you might want to reconsider playing guessing games if you want us to get along.”
She put her hand to her mouth. “I apologize.”
“We’re here.” He stopped in front of a large door, with the words “Belle’s Suite” etched into a small silver placard on the door. “If you need anything—”
“I’ll just ask the fairies,” she finished for him.
“Um, yes. Exactly.”
“Will I be sleeping…uninterrupted?” She blushed as she spoke the words, but she had to know if he’d be taking her up on their deal tonight.
“Dawn is almost here. Sleep as late as you’d like. I won’t bother you until you come to me.”
“But…what if I never choose to…come to you?”
Beast raised his heavy brow. “Your six months begins when you do. Take as long as you need.”
He held opened the door to her suite and she stepped inside, reveling at the sight of the large four poster bed with the flowing white linens, the glowing warmth of the fire burning in the fireplace, and most of all…the roses. They were everywhere, the scent beckoning her.

“Good night, beauty.”