a to z NA news round-up is a generic term for Monday posts on my blog.  This is my spot for discussions, events, things I’ve discovered or done, announcements and sometimes “I don’t know what to say today so I’m making it up as I go along.”

Fortunately, something that caught my eye at the beginning of April also begins with N.

Natural Reader

Natural Reader is an editing tool for authors, or just a tool for anyone who would like text from their screen read to them.  I found it on Marcia Meara’s blog, The Write Stuff (thanks to the Story Reading Ape).  She called it ‘the single most useful editing tool I’ve used.’

You can find a test section here at naturalreaders.com.  I posted in a paragraph with some dialogue from my Fieldcraft flash fiction, and noted how several different voices read it.  I moved some commas, changed a repeated word, and took out some question marks as a result.  My editor would sniff, and say something like ‘good’. She gave me a gold star on my last MS for my improvement in semi-colon use!

The interesting thing is, writing this makes me realise that I really did find it useful.  Why didn’t I download it straight away?  Prevarication, I expect.  Going back to get it now (it’s available for both Mac and Windows).

If you try it, come back and tell me what you think.

More news round-up

  • I did my latest post for the Story Reading Ape on Sunday 9th April.  This was the third of a set of posts on ‘Challenges’.  I could do with some suggestions on what to do next, but I was thinking of ‘my top ten blogging tips’, unless other inspiration strikes.
  • I’m fairly disappointed with the way the ‘listless’ A to Z is going.  It seems that you’re sunk unless you get your link into the first 100 comments on the A to Z’s post.  At least with the list you had a good chance of getting ten new visitors a day as people roamed down the list.  I’d like to thank my regulars for sticking with me, and those who started at the beginning of the month for coming back for more!  Maybe we’re making new communities instead of just one-off visitors?
  • Don’t forget that Willoughby the Narrator (book 7 in the Princelings of the East series) launches on 27th April – W day.  If you’re short of a post for W, click here.  If you’d like to pre-order a copy, click the links at the left hand side.
  • My niece Cathy married Phill on Saturday.

I hope you had a happy Easter – what’s your own news round-up; did you get up to anything special?

News Round-up #AtoZChallenge

17 thoughts on “News Round-up #AtoZChallenge

  • 17 April, 2017 at 8:25 am

    A wedding – a lovely way to spend Easter Saturday! It was also John’s birthday so we had something to celebrate too.

  • 17 April, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Happy birthday, John! I don’t think we have any more family weddings scheduled for 20 years now, Anabel. 🙁

  • 17 April, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks for the tip on the read-to-me software!
    And I agree that an Easter wedding sounds lovely–a time of new life, new beginnings.

    The bigger issue I’m having with the A to Z is that about half the time I try to comment on a blog, it’s hosted on WordPress and for some reason my comments don’t appear at all (anyone with a Blogger account is somehow anathema to WordPress). After two weeks of this, I’m getting rather discouraged.

    Maybe check your settings and see if a bunch of visitors are getting chucked into a spam folder? That’s where one blogger found my comments, she said.


    • 17 April, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      I ended up setting up a wordpress account several years ago, just to make it easier to comment on WP blogs. But I’ve also had people who don’t have Blogger accounts tell me they can’t comment on my blog, even though I have it set to accept all comments, and it works fine when I log out of my account and test. So I don’t know what’s going on there.

    • 17 April, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      Now WordPress has starting preventing me from replying to comments at all! I think one of my guinea pigs has hijacked the account.

      I’ve only had about three people into the spam comments so far. I checked the settings and there’s no visible reason for it. But you are welcome, and you should be able to post again with no trouble. That said, it sometimes decides to put my comments into moderation, too.

      I used to have the same problem with Blogger, so I got my own blogger account 🙂

      I’m thinking of doing my top ten WordPress tips for my next guest post, now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • 17 April, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I agree about the lack-luster A to Z. I am only getting visits from those I visit, since my post on the daily lists usually goes up pretty late in the day. I just raced over there and posted–#200. Which brings up another point, given that in the past the linky list has been upwards of 2000: are there so few participants, or are we all just scattered, with too many different places where people a posting their links?

    I might look into that read-aloud software. I do of course read my MSS aloud myself, but suspect there’s more to be learned from having it read to me.

    The Ninja Librarian’s Favorite Characters l

    • 17 April, 2017 at 10:58 pm

      Yes. I especially moved a lot of commas, and then they read it properly!

  • 17 April, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    I agree with you about posting and links on the A to Z challenge. Unless you post early in the day, it seems it goes by virtually unseen. I think I have had six new follwers from A to Z since it started. I’ve followed 30 in total.

    • 17 April, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      Well at least we happy few are supporting each other! I’m simply not getting the daily views that I usually get in April… although it is more than I usually get other months.

  • 17 April, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    I rarely go to the comment sign in because I am always late. I visit people who have visited me and try to pick out new ones from the comments on their posts.

    Finding Eliza

    • 17 April, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      Thank you so much for visiting me, then, since once more I am commenting on my own posts at 11 pm in the evening, having been doing other things all day. With any luck life will be a little easier for the rest of the month….

  • 17 April, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I’ve noticed a lot of people posting a day early. I don’t know if that’s to get their link in as early as possible because each A-Z post seems to go up the day before as well. I’ve had a few new visitors but not as many as in previous years; there seem to be a lot less taking part, because there aren’t 2000 comments on each A-Z post, unless they’re not linking up and then I’ll never find them. Mind you I have met a fair few people and I hope they become quality connections, which is what it’s all about.

    • 17 April, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      I think they were told in the original feedback on the list-less idea that if they didn’t put the link post up early, the Aussies would be on the next day by the time they posted it. Now it goes up on the evening before my posts go live (which means I don’t have the permalinks ready), and I don’t get to it till about 12 hours later – usually around the 100 mark if I do it in between feeding the animals and having my own breakfast. If I go out before doing it, it’s simply not worth the effort, as far as I can see.

      • 18 April, 2017 at 4:37 pm

        Right. So in order for it to be worth my while at all, I would have to put up my posts the night before, and either post a link that won’t be live for a few hours, or post well before the stated day here. For some reason it bugs me to post a Thursday post at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. But I realize that as I now just added today’s post to the comments–at 8:30 a.m. my time–it’s 4:30 p.m. by whatever time zone the A to Z page is on.

        I’ll just have to stick with whatever I get from visiting, and because I’m a bit busy, I’m not getting to so many as I might.

        • 19 April, 2017 at 9:22 pm

          I don’t blame you. I logged on early today to put my post up before I went out… and realised it wasn’t live yet, so I couldn’t.
          If there’s no list next year I’m not doing it. And as Nick said – if only 200 people are putting their links up… where did the rest of the 2000 go?

  • 18 April, 2017 at 12:38 am

    That’s such a nice idea to have a wedding on Easter – a day of new beginnings. Enjoyed your post, and am happy I found you via the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. I agree with you re: it being more difficult to find people and getting visitors than in past years.

    Ann, A to Z Challenge Participant
    Harvest Moon by Hand – a blog about homeschooling, crafting, cooking, and nature

    • 19 April, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      I\’m happy you found me and I found you! Sorry for the delay, a few technical issues at the start of this week, I think.

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