Work and Play with Voice to Text – Part Two – Three Steps to Better Writing Efficiency

Use Voice to Text and Speech to Text programs to increase your writing efficiency and accuracy.

Step 1. Set Your Smartphone up to take Dictation.

Talk to your smartphone anywhere and have it type for you.

*Note: You must have a Google account set-up before beginning this tutorial.

Step 2. Move your Google Docs Text into your Word Processing Document.

Step 3. Edit your Document by Listening to It.

Listening and reading involve different parts of the brain. By converting your writing (or manuscript) into an audio form, you’ll catch different mistakes than you would if you edited it by reading alone.

*For manuscript editing and book processing, I recommend multiple editorial rounds that focus on different aspects. In this instance, I would do the reading edit first then follow it with a listening edit.

In the video below, I show how to set up the Narrator app. in Windows 10, so that it will read your manuscript to you.

Here’s a free most-used Windows 10 Narrator Shortcut List pdf.

Check out part one of Work and Play with Voice to Text for a fun how-to create a robot answering machine message.

 

 

Work and Play with Voice to Text – Part One

At my house, we laugh when a robo call comes in. If the caller ID shows a number we don’t recognize, we let the answering machine answer it.  Our machine plays a Robot to Robot message.

Nine times out of ten, telemarketers hang-up before the message completes.

Here are the steps to use voice to text technology to make your own robot answering machine message.

Step 1. Type Message on your Smartphone

Type the message that you want your robot voice to speak. You can do this in any program that allows typing. I used the Quick Memo app. If you’d like to use mine, here’s the script from my message.

share buttonStep 2. Share your Writing with a Text to Speech app.

The app. that I use on my Android phone is Voice Aloud Reader.voice aloud icon

Experiment with the rate, pitch, and volume settings to make your robot voice sound the way you want.

Step 3. Record your Robot Message onto your Answering Machine.

Hold your phone close to the answering machine microphone. Play the message in the text to speech app. while recording it on your answering machine.

 

The Robot to Robot message is a fun way to reduce interactions with telemarketers, but it doesn’t solve the problem of eliminating the calls.

To cut down on your telemarketing call volume, register your land line and / or cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry (US Only). It takes about a month before the registry goes into effect.

In part two of Work and Play with Voice to Text, I will show you how to use speech to text and text to speech programs to make your writing and editing more efficient and accurate.

 

 

Your Measure as a Person is What You Stand For – Eating Bull – Book Review

Eating Bull ArtWhat happens when a psychotic fat-obsessed killer crosses paths with a tough-as-nails public health nurse, a struggling overworked single mom, and an obese teenager in a ‘Fat Slayer’ program? Eating Bull.

Between gruesome murders and a Voice in the killers head, author Carrie Rubin explores the social stigma and pervasive poor treatment that obese people endure.

Her story revolves around a fifteen-year-old boy who suffers from asthma and other health complications caused by excessive weight.

Jeremy uses food to drown his emotions. Video games are an escape and he is fascinated by his Native American heritage.

He successfully avoids the challenges in his life until a deadly situation arises that causes him to make a stand.

Rubin keeps the action moving. Her characters are interesting and varied. She includes fat inducing food industry facts in a lawsuit sub theme.

About the Author:

standing-color-croppedCarrie Rubin is a physician, public health advocate, and author. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers Association.

coverEating Bull won a 2016 Silver IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction (Great Lakes).

Rubin lives in Ohio with her husband and two sons.

Visit Carrie Rubin’s website or find her on Twitter, Facebook or Goodreads.

 

M.N. Arzú – Author Interview

social_media_Underneath

Underneath: a merfolk tale, captures you in it’s net right on the beach.

It takes the reader on a journey through secret societies, conspiracy, investigation, parental love, and coming-of-age. [Click here to read an excerpt.]

The author, Michelle Arzú is a graphic designer who lives in Guatemala City, Guatemala. A driving force behind her writing is, ‘what-if’ curiosity about first contact with an intelligent species.

M.N. Arzu
M.N. Arzu

I first found Michelle on Writeon (an Amazon story-lab). Her work in progress (Underneath) was trending like a tsunami. Wanting to find out what the buzz was about, I settled in for a long read and quickly discovered why she had gained so many enthusiastic readers.

Arzú tells a unique story. It’s about an injured merman who washes up on a beach. He is a member of one of New York’s elite families. Confined to a hospital bed, the merman is not talking no matter what anyone tries.

Arzú has a strong narrative voice. She has a solid command of plot structure and pacing and she’s not afraid to think outside of the box.

Her debut novel, The Librarian, was chosen as a Writeon staff pick in August of 2014 (currently available on Amazon). It’s a short story about a woman whose husband – a college professor – has been apprehended by the military because he’s suddenly become highly radioactive.

shooting stars
Click on the image to buy the book on Amazon.

Wanting to know more about the person behind the magic pen, I asked Michelle if she’d answer a few questions. I know you will enjoy learning more about this creative story teller…and you’ll be glad that I introduced you to your next good read!

Do you have a typical writing schedule?

I’m a night owl. However, Nanowrimo has taught me that any fifteen minutes in the day are valuable, so I’ve learned to write at lunch time in the office. You will never catch me writing in the morning, though.

As a graphic designer, what aspects of your work do you most enjoy? Do parts of it spill over into your writing?

I love challenging projects, and I love to see my work displayed on billboards in the city, or printed somewhere other than the office. Designers work on deadlines, so that has helped me to be disciplined in writing my stories. I’m lost without deadlines.

What is the best advice you have ever received about writing?

Let me tell you a little story about the worst advice I ever received about writing:

When I was about twenty, I had been writing for four years and an older friend told me I shouldn’t start writing until I knew what I was doing. Until I had life experience. Thinking that made perfect sense, I didn’t write for the next six months, and I can honestly tell you something died inside of me. Finally, my brother asked me why I was following advice that was obviously making me unhappy. I returned to writing the next minute.

So, the best advice?

michelle write quote

Everything else will come with time.

What kinds of activities do you like to do when you aren’t working or writing?

I love gaming, especially Zelda and recently Splatoon. I’ve been known to get lost in a good story, be it books, or a TV series.

First Contact themes: What influences contribute to your interest in this topic?

My favorite theme in stories is a double identity. Spy stories, princes as commoners, superheroes, fairy tales, and of course, aliens. What I love the most is the reveal part, when the secret is told. First Contact stories have that element of the unknown. They are filled with what if’s and have all the ingredients for everything to go wrong fast.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many first contact stories where the aliens don’t want to invade us. I decided to write about that. I love the whole idea of aliens hiding among us.

Investigation captive / study scenarios: What books, TV shows or personal experiences shaped your skill in creating these tense, edgy scenes?alien-667966_640

I’m a diehard fan of the TV show Roswell (1999 – 2002). That’s basically teenage aliens without a clue about where they came from, hiding in plain sight. They run from the FBI a lot!

Over the years, I’ve picked several ideas from different places, from cartoons like Batman the animated series, to dramas like ER, and then I add my own logic to it. Would the military really shoot the only enemy captive and source of information they have? If you know you’re going to a hostile planet, what precautions would you take?

And of course, research. There is a lot of US jurisdiction stuff you wouldn’t believe. It’s a tangle when it comes to first contact scenarios, not to mention the medical/biological questions. At some point, you realize you need to focus on the characters and the scene, but if you mention details, they better be the right details.

Describe the series of decisions that led you to independently publish your book(s).

I’ve written a lot of stories over the years, always thinking of them as a hobby, something to share with friends. But when I finished The Librarian, I knew I had something I could publish. The problem was that the story has less than 20K words, which was a hard sell. Everywhere I looked they wanted either shorter than 7k or longer than 50k.

So, I started researching self-publishing. Being a graphic designer I could do the cover and interiors. Fortunately, I have an American friend who edits my manuscripts. No matter how good my English might be, it never compares to a native’s English.

Now that I have Underneath, A Merfolk Tale with over 100k words, I’ve also looked into the long process of searching for an agent and selling the manuscript. Since I’d still have to market my book (the hardest part of the whole process for me) and have to wait for months, if not years, to find someone willing to invest in me, I’d rather take that route myself. I might never sell thousands of books, but at least I’m in complete control of everything.

Writeon: What aspects of working in a ‘read-as-you-write’ forum work well for you? Does it create challenges? Over time, has the way you use the site changed?

The best thing about “read-as-you-write” is that you learn how to do cliffhangers. If you want people to come back next month when you have the next part, you better leave them wanting.

Feedback is a double-edge sword: some people tell you how good your work is, and some will tell you how much you’re messing things up, and to fix it a certain way. Somewhere in the middle of that scale, is valuable insight that makes your story better.

The thing is, you will never please everyone, and not everyone will tell you what’s wrong with the story (either because they don’t really know, or they don’t want to offend). The real challenge is to know your story well enough to keep it from getting hijacked. Take the suggestions that make sense, and leave everything else behind.

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Thank you, Michelle for taking the time to chat and to share.

Here’s where you can find out more;

Underneath, a merfolk tale – excerpt

Join Kindle Scout to read the first three chapters of Underneath between July 20 – August 19th.  Nominate it for a chance to receive a free copy!

Follow M.N. Arzú:

Author Website & Mailing List

Amazon Author page

Facebook

Twitter

More work by this author: The Librarian – Book Review

 

 

 

The Librarian, A First Contact Story – Book Review

A fresh new voice in First Contact science fiction.

Jane and Nick have been married over a decade. They are comfortable in their routines and they trust each other implicitly.

Jane is at home watching a movie while her husband (a sociologist professor) does a day hike in the mountains near Seattle. He’s late returning home and Jane is starting to worry.

She is unprepared for the knock at her door. A man in uniform tells her that she has to come with him immediately. It concerns her husband.

Nick has been called. Suddenly, he’s a lot more than he ever imagined. It is imperative that he speak to Jane before he answers that call, even if it is through a hazmat suit and a thick wall of glass… His time is running out.

first contact

 

Arzú gives her story a conclusion that is as surprising as it is pleasing.  It’s a short but satisfying read. And it’s a great introduction to this author’s writing style. If you’re like me, you’ll follow her and look forward to what ever she writes next.

Click on the image below to get the scifi short story by M.N. Arzú (on Amazon).

 

social_media_TheLibrarian

Follow M.N. Arzú:

Author Website & Mailing List

Amazon Author page

Facebook

Twitter

Author Interview

More work by this author – Underneath excerpt, a merman tale

 

 

The Age of Adaline Movie – an endearing romance.

The Age of Adaline is a story about a young woman who stops aging in 1937. The theme – immortality or the fountain of youth – is twisted in ways that make this tale unique and different.

The film has a beautiful cast, lovely costumes, dramatic music, and moody cinematography. Its ‘Twilight Zone’ style narration gives it an additional level of tension and mystique.

On the night of the accident, Adaline goes into a state of hypothermia. This stops her aging process. The narrator describes this in a long-winded technical fashion, but it gives the viewer a sense that something scientific and otherworldly has happened.

“She can be killed, but she will never die of natural causes or succumb to the usual ravages of time… (It’s sort of a vampire film minus the bloodsucking.)” – Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com

The story is set in San Francisco. We see how times have changed from the 1930s through present day; for the city, in women’s clothing styles, culturally, and for Adaline.

Adaline is deeply lonely. She moves to different apartments, changes identities, and experiences the loss of many pet dogs – the only true friends that she keeps.

Adaline has a single long-term relationship – with her daughter who now looks like her grandmother. Then, she meets Ellis.

If you are familiar with my stories, you will understand why this one sucked me in and captured my heart. I enjoyed The Age of Adaline so much that I wanted to dive in deeper, crawl around inside the character’s heads. So it was disappointing to learn that the movie is not based on a book!

I satisfied my desire by writing a continuation of Adaline, Ellis, Flemming, William, and Kathy’s story.

The Age of Adaline joins my list of favorite, memorable love stories; The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly, Overboard, Titanic, Somewhere in Time, Fifty First Dates, and Never Been Kissed.

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Extras:

Deleted Scene – Flemming Gets Lost

Deleted Scene – Gas Leak

Making of and Bloopers

Omniscient Narration – Interview with Director Lee Toland Krieger

Interview with Michiel Huisman (Ellis)

astore
Adaline Stuff & Other Romantic Movies

  

Gifts for Authors

author presents

Pile-o-presents day. Remember the anticipation from the night before? Flutters in the stomach and a jump-up-and-down, I-just-can’t-wait-another-minute feeling?

I still have those when I learn something new that is going to advance my art or story craft.

Cheryl B. Klein’s book, Second Sight An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults contains a broad collection of techniques that fine tune the art of writing. These editing tools are universal – you don’t have to be a children’s or young adult author to benefit from them.

voice defined

Second Sight paints pictures in the mind’s eye…and is entertaining to read. “I am a narrative nerd,” says Klein.

voice unique

With each topic (delivered as a transcript from blog posts or lectures given at various writer’s conferences) Cheryl provides examples of how it was used in publishing projects. As an editor for Arthur A. Levine (a Scholastic Inc. imprint), she gives glimpses into the workings of the editorial mind that are as valuable as the mechanical and organizational techniques.

Topics Include; Author / Publisher / Editor Relationships, Creating Empathy for Your Characters, Hooks, Flap Copy, Chapter and Story Arc Maps, and Action vs. Emotional Plots.

editor relationship

Manuscript editing has always been a dreaded chore. Now, I’m almost as excited about editing as pile-o-presents day. This book is a gift to writers everywhere.

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Click here for my entire collection of editing and marketing books.