📚 My comma problem 📚

Hey there, lovely reader!

Fall is here. ? It was ninety degrees last week. ☀️ Goodness.

This week I have some more thoughts on artificial intelligence, some fun for you, and an announcement. Also the latest on the impossible jigsaw. ?

Comma, comma, chameleon

When I was in college ?, my writing professor told me, in front of the class, that I had “an obsession with commas.” I had no idea. I was mortified.

Once it was pointed out to me, I could see that I did, in fact, sprinkle my sentences with a few too many. At the extreme, they made my writing difficult to read. I grew up at a time in the UK when education prioritized creative writing over language. When my children came home from school with homework on prepositions and the like, I wouldn't know what they were on about until the kids explained them to me.

Up until the professor's comment, I had a blithe, reasonably secure sense of my writing  but from then on, I developed a lack of confidence over my grammar. For a long time, I thought I couldn't be a “proper” writer because I wasn't a good grammarian. This impression held me back for years. I thought to be a “proper” writer, one must be excellent at both the creativity and the rules.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that's what editors are for! ?️

Amazon has begun to ask authors to declare their use of artificial intelligence when uploading new books. Part of the reason for this is an attempt to keep the lid on junk books making their way to the Amazon shelves. Scammers generate a book in seconds, a cover in minutes, and can upload several of these terrible books in an hour. Watch out for them. They are pretty obvious. Amazon, to their credit, has now limited the upload of new books to a maximum of three a day to stop this practice. ?

“AI-generated” is now a term in the author world. It is distinct from “AI-assisted.” The scammy books are AI-generated. But many, possibly most, authors have books that are AI-assisted. That is, we use tools that leverage artificial intelligence at some point in the production and sale of our books. ?

Some authors are using AI tools to enhance their writing. I have not found AI to be helpful in this regard. I tried it once for a short story and kept only one sentence out of the hundreds it gave me. I have my (very laborious) process and it works for me. I have no plans on changing it. Call me a dinosaur, I don't mind. I have always been a laggard. ?

Other authors use AI for translations, images, and ad copy. I have tinkered with images. The image that precedes this section was made using AI. I need to get better at it, but some of the AI-generated art I've seen has been amazing. ?

I have also created ad copy using AI. It does well although I think it seems off and less creative than my human-generated copy. I use a human for book translations and, like for audio, don't imagine changing that.

The area I most commonly use AI for is . . . wait for it. Grammar. I always run my draft through Grammarly before sending it to my human editor. Tools like Grammarly and other grammar-related tools really help me. They use AI to analyze the text and suggest corrections and alternatives. It certainly helps me with my commas. (After the professor comment, I developed a habit of using too few commas. Can't win.) I've learned a lot and my instinctive grammar skills have leveled up.

I still don't know what a preposition is off the top of my head, couldn't tell you what a past participle is, or third person omniscient, but thanks to artificial intelligence-based tools and the people who programmed them, I do have a reasonable expectation that I'm not totally blowing my grammar game and embarrassing myself before my editor gets to work. AI has some great uses. Saving my blushes is one of them. ?

(What is that image above, can you tell?)

Wordle fun for you!

My son and I do Wordle everyday and share our results. (He's better than me.) It's a fun and easy way to connect.

Here are links to three Wordles based on the second Diana book, Stolen, which I'm re-reading now. You should be able to do them even if you haven't read the book.

1. Wordle Game 1 (a name from the story)

2. Wordle Game 2  (word related to the story)

3. Wordle Game 3 (random word I lifted from the text)

If you would like to purchase any of the Diana books you can do so at the links below.

Snatched

Stolen

Chopped

Exposed

You'll find Hunted, the prequel to the series, exclusively in your starter library.

Download Hunted here.

Inspector Graham available in large print

I'm delighted to announce that we have now produced the Inspector Graham series in large print. For those who prefer a physical read and need a larger type and a good story, these are your books! Click on the link below.

Inspector Graham Mysteries Large Print Edition

To see all my large print books, go here.

The impossible jigsaw

You know when you lose your car keys and you start looking for them in the fridge? Well, that's what it's like doing this puzzle.

Sometimes, I'm finding that none of my pieces fit in the space between two other pieces. I'm trying every piece I've got even if they can't possibly be right because they are the wrong colour/shape/size. It's like when you've exhausted all the logical possibilities looking for your car keys and now you're trying random places because you can't find them anywhere else.

But once I've done confirmed that none of my pieces fit, the next step is to go further back up the chain to find the problem. It is always because I fit the wrong two pieces together in the first place. Kinda like when you try all the logical places and all the random places for your keys without success, so you return to the logical places to see if you missed something the first time around. Always a good approach for anything I find.

Thank you for all the helpful tips last week. One very astute reader and her son identified that I had pieces in the wrong place based on how the light fell in the photograph. As a result, I broke up the top edge and changed my approach, working upward and doing the top edge last.

As you can see I made good progress on the pink and purple sky. This was about six hours of work. ⌛ But I seem to be missing a piece. ? It might turn up.

Happy reading!

Chaos in Cambridge by Alison Golden
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