How to Make a Book Cover on Picmonkey.com My Way…

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The idea for this post came about after the amazing launch of my mystery thriller book, Silent PayBack. So many people admired the cover, and Colleen Chesebro wondered if I could write a post describing how I did it.

I have tried to make it as user friendly as I could and really hope it inspires you to make great covers too.

Picmonkey.com is an amazing site and has a free option, so you can play around and get used to all the lovely effects they have. It is possible to make covers and posters with the free option, but for a very reasonable £7 a month, you get a lot more choice of techniques.

It took me an age to decide what the cover for SPB should look like, and even longer to make it. I’m not that clever with technology, and if a process is too complicated, I tend to run for the hills! I have tried several other sites in my search for one I could learn to use, but always return to Picmonkey.com

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First, open Picmonkey.com. Once you log in, you are presented with the work area.

Choose a blank template: Up on the left, by the Picmonkey symbol, I clicked on CREATE NEW and chose a blank template 1000 x 1600 (kindle size)

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Also on the left, just beneath CREATE NEW, I selected Add an image. Added my background image and stretched it to fit the blank template.

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I clicked on Add an image again and added the first man’s face to the background image. I chose erase from the box on the right and removed everything from the right side of his face.

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Then I added the heroes face using the same method and removed the material from the side of his face too. You will have noticed by now that I am working in layers, all of which can be selected in the box on the right if I need to go back and change anything.

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When I was happy with each layer, I started to add the text. Title, subtitle and author name, all added individually as layers. Finally, I downloaded the finished cover image to my pc.

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All the image layers can be faded individually if necessary. The ability to create these layers on Picmonkey.com enables you to make some great effects.

There is so much more on offer too, so many great ideas and effects, and the best part is, its so easy to use with all the many step by step tutorials.

I should also mention that all the images I use come from Pixabay.com.


 

There is an alternative (easier) method of removing unwanted background, something that comes in very handy for all manner of ideas.

CREATE NEW < size < choose translucent background < Add an image < erase unwanted bits< save

This saves to your hub to used later.

Creating book covers and promotional posters has never been this much fun!

 

©jayemarie

 

 

Life as we know it…

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After the hissy fit had almost fizzled out, I realised there were a few things I could still do, even without our own wi fi. (which died on Friday afternoon)

I discovered a while ago that there was a way I could piggy back on someone elses wifi. With their permission of course. As luck would have it, we have family living next door, and while this is sometimes not a good thing, it would save my sanity now.

There was just one hitch to this, always is, isn’t there. My newly instaolled Windows 10 didn’t seem to know about this trick, ay least I couldn’t find how to do it anywhere.

But I have done it before, on my laptop. This runs on Windows 8 and has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. Everyone should have another way of connecting to the internet in times of trouble!

I couldn’t post anything yesterday, and it haunted me all night, then I had an idea.

I could repost something from our WP archives, just so our site doesn’t look so bare.

Although I can no longer access my image files, despite racking my brains, I have found a temporary solution for this problem too. WP Media files contain every image I have ever used, so a neat supply there. I know this chaos will only be until Wednesday (at least, I hope its only until Wednesday) but I actually need to blog every day. Sad, I know.

I have been taking advantage of the quiet moments by finally finishing PayBack. Although having said that, I wonder if it should have a rounding up of the loose ends chapter? Especially if there might be a sequel.

I have yet to discover how to print something using the laptop, but I will find out.

(I hope!)

Jaye

Living Light ~ Kirlian Photography

Nostalgia for the past is lingering this week, a hangover from all those lovely memories we posted last week.

The following image are negatives, I had to tape them to a window in order to photograph them…

 

 

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Anita’s Fingerprints

 

Living Light

 

The aura, the living light that surrounds each living thing on the planet.

Jaye and I had these photographs taken many moons ago,

too many to count, meaning to have them printed.

The other night they came to mind.

Of course, I asked Jaye to do something with them, and she did .

I cannot remember the name of the man we met at a Spiritualist Fair.

He invited us to his home where he took these images of our hands.

I think they should see the light of day after all this time…

AAAAA

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“Kirlian photography refers to a form of contact print photography, theoretically associated with high-voltage. It is named after Semyon Kirlian, who in 1939 accidentally discovered that if an object on a photographic plate is subjected to a strong electric field, an image is created on the plate.

In controversial metaphysical contexts, Kirlian photography, Kirlian energy, and so on, are sometimes referred to as just ‘Kirlian’. Kirlian made controversial claims that his method showed proof of supernatural auras, said to resemble a rough outline of the object like a colorful halo.

Kirlian proposed and promoted the idea that the resulting images of living objects were a physical proof of the life force or aura which allegedly surrounds all living beings. This claim was said to be supported by experiments by the Kirlians that involved cutting part of a leaf off – the Kirlian images of such leaves, it was said, still showed the leaves as whole, as though the cutting had never happened.”

 

 

Apologies…

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I am not sure how it happened, but all I can do is offer everyone involved my heartfelt apologies. It may not even be my fault, what with Amazon ditching people’s reviews all over the place.

This blogging business is sometimes very complicated and although I am an idiot even on a good day, I thought I was keeping a handle on all the important bits. I mean, I had all my notes and prompts, lists and instructions, to ensure I don’t forget anything important.

But it is beginning to look as though I have been forgetting one of the most important parts of reviewing some of the books we read. Most of you will know the basic premise when you have finished reading a good book. We write a blog post about it including our review, and then we post this review to Amazon and Goodreads.

Now, unless Amazon has been eating some of our reviews, it would appear I have been missing out one of these important steps. I have done an extensive check of our reviews and these are my findings. Eighty reviews have found their way to Amazon, but about twenty or so have not. Some of these were arc copies and I wondered if that had something to do with it, but then I discovered that others were copies I had bought, so no solution there.

I cannot tell you how mortified I am, or how I have allowed this to happen. I cannot think of any reason or excuse for these omissions.

We will, of course, repost all of these reviews and notify the authors concerned.

I am sure someone must have noticed this error and chose not to comment, and for those who were kind enough to spare my feelings, I am grateful. But if you had pulled me up I could have put this right sooner.

As it is, I am sure I will not forget again.

If Amazon did have something to do with this, it will be interesting to see what happens when I repost these reviews.

PS:   One thing I haven’t been doing, is stating clearly that our reviews have been written from an arc copy, gifted by the author for an honest review. Something else I will not forget to do in the future…

So, why do we blog?

 

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We are constantly being told that reading more will make us better writers and that we should blog with enthusiasm to build up our presence on the web. But I find that some of the things we need to do seem counterproductive and time-consuming.

Don’t get me wrong, reading does make me think, and it probably improves my vocabulary, but sometimes this can be counterproductive too in that I end up reading too much, taking time away from my writing. When I first started blogging, I read everything I could get my hands on, desperate to learn the secrets of the black magic box of the blogosphere.

And admittedly, I learned a lot.

Just lately though, there has been a change in my attitude to all things blog related. It suddenly dawned on me that as bloggers, we are trying far too hard to be the best at what we do with our constant searching for the golden egg. The one that will magically cause us to become omnipotent.

But because we are so busy running around like headless chickens, we are losing sight of our focus, the real reason we blog in the first place. We might even be missing the plot or choosing all the wrong moves.

I have been concerned of late, that there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything. What with the increasing amount of emails and time spent on social media, there isn’t much left for writing or blogging, come to that. Not to mention any new ideas that need to be explored or any of our other interests.

Apart from the reviews we do, I haven’t read a book simply for the joy of reading it in ages. I have begun to resent some of the demands made of my time too.

It could be time to step away and have a long hard look at what we do. Time to prioritise and cherry pick what we really want to concentrate on.

Life might be different when the dust has settled, but hopefully better. We have to concentrate on what we can do and do well, instead of chasing so many rainbows…

What does everyone else think?

 

 

Lost Property/Word Office

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image from Pixabay.com

 

Lost Property Word Office

 

Words are funny things really and I had a funny thought about them the other day.

When we delete words or have them deleted by our magical computers, where do they go?

Is there a place, like a lost letter office, that files them away somewhere, ready to be used in their infuriating word swapping efforts?

This word swapping has just started happening on my screen and affects whatever I write. I usually notice it after I have posted a comment or replied to one. Too late to put it right so it looks as though I don’t know how to write. Pretty sure I didn’t instigate this either, although I think it might be something you can opt for? Not sure why you would, though.

Something else that has been happening for a while now and definitely shouldn’t in my opinion is this. Right in the middle of typing a sentence, the words stop appearing on my screen. In the beginning, I would wait patiently, hoping the missing words would turn up as they sometimes do, but lately, they don’t. Is someone or something stealing my words?

If I could touch type and keep my eyes on the screen, I would be able to notice the minute this happens, but unfortunately, I can’t so I am having to deal with yawning great holes in everything I write.

You would think after all these years, I could manage to touch type, wouldn’t you?

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Jaye’s Journal (off the beaten track!)

In an effort to forget my health problems for a while, my journal today will concern itself with a much better topic!

 

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In my wildest dreams, I could never have dreamed what I would be getting up to in my advancing years. Just goes to show how far you can come if you let yourself dream big.

I have always hated anything to do with computers for they are illogical, slow and complicated. I firmly believe they were sent by the devil to drive us all mad. At least, that’s what happens in our house!

But it wasn’t always this way.

There was a time when the idea of a machine with such amazing capabilities did seem like a fantastic advantage. But my first encounter with one, some thirty years ago, probably ruined me for life. This was when it was in its infancy, and you had to upload or input reams of data to do even the simplest thing. My son was playing chess on this strange looking box and I wanted to have a go. What he forgot to mention, was if you made even a small mistake in entering this data (which seemed to take hours) you would get a big fat nothing. Stubbornly, I tried and tried but failed to get it to work.

Fast forward to just a few years ago, when Indie publishing started making headlines.

Despite my earlier disappointment, I felt myself warming to the idea. I wouldn’t have to input masses of data like before, so maybe it would be easier to use. We all know the answer to that supposition, don’t we?

I still hate computers with a passion, but I do appreciate just how wonderful they are if you can learn the ropes. I still have days when I could beat mine to death with a mallet, but this is more to do with my stubborn brain than anything else. Because they can sometimes do so many amazing things, it encourages us mortals to reach for the stars.

Way back at the beginning of my blogging career, I can remember wondering if I would ever write a book, and now I have written three, well, five if you count the non-fiction ones. At the time, I was happily editing Anita’s books. I never thought a muse would bother me.

When it did, I was astonished by just how addictive writing can become. The most surprising thing was the behaviour of my characters. They became like old friends, and I enjoyed their company so much, the first book turned into a series. Even now, they are nagging me to let them loose again!

It has been an amazing and often terrifying journey, from that first ever blog post to eventually formatting e-books, paperback copies and book trailers. Learning how to put a book together was hard, but the writing was the best part, once I convinced myself that it was something I could do, after all.

None of which was easy for the biggest technophobe this side of Microsoft, someone who battles technology every single day for that magical moment when realisation dawns and I finally understands how things work.

I am well past retiring age now, but I am busier than ever and have no intentions of slowing down or stopping, for where would the fun be in that?

This journey still has some mileage, however, for there are a few things I haven’t attempted yet, and several that need improving. So I won’t be putting away my thinking cap just yet.

 As they said when I was at school, “There is always room for improvement…”


 We hope everyone has a lovely weekend! The weather is behaving, so kick off your shoes and enjoy!  Back to work on Monday!!!

A Quick Question…

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Do you know where the stories you write come from?

What if they have already happened in some other reality, time or space we know nothing about?

What if that is where it really comes from?

It reminds me of the saying to be careful what you wish for, so maybe we should be careful what we write and put back into the universe…

I’m Back!

The BT engineer has just left, after restoring my wi fi signal!

The last three days have been miserable, even though I determined to stay busy. I have caught up with a pile of editing, and parts of my house have never been this clean.

I haven’t looked to see how many emails have arrived in my absence. I am saving that little surprise until I’ve had a celebratory coffee!

I don’t expect anyone missed me… but I missed being here and there, it was like being exiled!

Normal service will be resumed first thing tomorrow!

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Changing a Battery is easy, isn’t it?

 

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image by pixabay

 

Last year, when my old PC kept breaking down, I invested in a laptop so I could continue blogging/writing.

It was a good plan I thought at the time, despite the fact that said laptop came with Windows 8 installed on it. Learning that was a nightmare, but I stubbornly persevered and business continued more or less as normal.

When the main PC finally shuffled off, I replaced it and stopped using the laptop as much, just in the evenings when I was curled up on the couch.

Two weeks ago, the laptop refused to charge and after investigation, it would seem the battery had died. All I had to do was change it.

I couldn’t really afford to have a professional do it, and had heard that it was possible to do it yourself, even though my laptop was one of the harder ones to handle.

I made sure to order the right battery and even found a site online with illustrated step-by-step instructions, so I was confident I could do it. Secretly, I was scared stiff, I mean, anything could go wrong. It usually did.

When the battery arrived, my stomach turned over and I didn’t want to open the box. The thought of what I intended to do was making me feel sick, but it was time to put my courage to the test.

First, I had to remove eleven screws from the base of the laptop. Then I had to carefully lever the laptop apart, being careful not to yank the connecting cable, but to pull it gently out of its connection.

Four more screws held the battery in place, and there were two more connecting cables. My confidence was building. I was actually doing it!

 

 

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image by pixabay

 

All I had to do now, was reverse the process. Sounded simple, didn’t it?

But it wasn’t plain sailing. The screws were all different sizes and the instructions hadn’t indicated which ones went where. I hadn’t thought to make a note of it either. But the hardest part was joining the new connectors, stupid strips of plastic with a set of metal teeth on one side that you had to shove into even weirder looking places.

After ten agonising minutes, when I thought I would have to give up, I managed to do it and the laptop looked the same as before. Nothing left over or sticking out so I took a very deep breath and plugged in the charger.

I didn’t have a clue how long it would need. So gave it an hour and then I switched the laptop on. Hard to do with all my fingers crossed by the way, but as I watched, the screen flickered into life and my screensaver appeared.

I couldn’t believe it, I had successfully managed to do one of the most complicated procedures I have ever come across. My ego doubled in size, and I was unbearably boring for the rest of the day, patting myself on the back.