ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

#Insecure Writers Support Group (#IWSG) post. Today, a little help with photo editing and a new book by T.B. Markinson.

NEWSFLASH! If you've come by looking for a new post, I'll alert you to the fact that I'm guesting over at Nilanjana Bose's excellent blog today talking about the Gothic Novel and Italy.

December #IWSG is upon us. Here we talk about our trials and tribulations and terrifically exciting stuff once a month. You might ask for help, or you might tell us about something you think might be helpful.

First Wed of Every MonthThis month, helping our Captain Alex J Cavanaugh are:  Sandra Hoover, Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan, Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell! Go visit them if you can!

I'm going to tell you about one techie thing that I've found useful. If you like it, I might do some more. I don't share much along these lines as I think everyone knows everything there is to know and who am I to tell you anything techie, but just in case there's someone out there who can do with a little heads up, here are a few things I've learned in the last few years about editing pics.

EDITING IS MONKEY BUSINESS

Okay, editing our pictures, images and whatever used to be straightforward when google made picasa etc available, but they slowly took away the extra bling that made these work, so I went hunting to find out what the next editing thing was. Sure, I have a fancy editing program, who doesn't, but most of the time I want a quick fix. I hate wrestling with those big guns like Adobe Photoshop.

I discovered PicMonkey. Now if you use PicMonkey, move on, as users of this program know it's not rocket science, but gives a lot of bang for your buck...or for free! Many long-term users including moi, have found no good reason to register for the Royale, ad-free version. I put up with a bit of adwork along the bottom, quite blind to it, really. And if you install fantastic fonts that you download, they are automatically added to PicMonkey, maybe not all, but enough to make life exciting. And you can superimpose your own photos as overlays to add that personal touch.
  • So...if PicMonkey is new to you. How do you get it?
Simply go to picmonkey.com and you will come to this screen:


 You can do all sorts of things from here--
  • choose one of your saved pictures to edit from your picture file, facebook, OneDrive, Dropbox...
Here is where I make my badges for WEP such as this one for a past December challenge using a shot of a cute ice cream van on the beach at Biarritz in SW France. Went a bit gang busters on the overlays, but what the heck!


  • You can opt to Touch up one of your images, or you can click Design, which gives you the option of automatically sizing for facebook headers (which work for twitter too), or squares or rectangles of various sizes so you can make your own quote badges, or, whatever, really.



  • Or you can make a Collage. Several options are available...here's some of my Morocco trip I made for my facebook cover photo on my return.
  • Now within all these marvellous applications, you can edit your heart out--
Once you choose your picture to edit, you will see this on the left:


There are SO many options--you can crop, rotate, adjust size, create textures, add a frame, enhance...just to name a few. Such a great tool for blog headers, blog badges, blogfests, blog quotes...


You might get the idea that I love PicMonkey. I do. It's so quick and easy, yet with a deft hand, it can turn out professional-looking images for whatever you want. So that's me done. Now I have some news. See below:


Yes! Another book from T.B. Markinson...A Clueless Woman. If you've read T.B's books, you'll appreciate what a treat her new book will be. Now released:








Blurb:
Graduate student Lizzie Petrie feels more comfortable around books than people. Although an expert in the Hitler Youth, she’s a novice in love. Her former lesbian lover is blackmailing her, and not even those closest to Lizzie know the full story of their abusive relationship.
When visiting high school English teacher Sarah crosses Lizzie’s path at the campus, their attraction is instant, but not without complications. As they start to spend more time together, suspicions arise from both women in this sexy piece of LGBT fiction.
Plenty of good-natured teasing takes place between lovers as well as between PhD students in this lesbian contemporary romance. No relationship path ever runs smoothly, and oftentimes, those who can’t keep their mouth shut hasten necessary confrontation.
Lizzie finds herself buried in a mess of lies in this romantic comedy. The harder she tries to keep Sarah and the rest of her friends from finding out the truth about her first girlfriend, the more endearingly clueless she becomes.
About the Author:

T. B. Markinson's profile photoT. B. Markinson is an American writer, living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order.

Mailing List:
Get the first book in the series, A Woman Lost, for FREE by signing up to TB’s Readers’ Group here.

Links:
Twitter        Facebook        Blog        Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

Here is an excerpt I've especially chosen from the offerings T.B. sent to me:

“Well, well, well. What do we have here?” If Meg hadn’t been standing right in front of me, I would have recognized her snide tone, even despite the fact that she’d dyed her once-blonde hair a rich, fiery red. “Getting drunk on a school night. Shame on you, Lizzie. What would Dr. Marcel say?” Meg’s companion helped her slip into a coat. Hopefully, that meant they were leaving and pronto.
         Approximately 150,000 people lived in Fort Collins, and the one person I didn’t want to bump into ever, let alone with Sarah, was peering down at us.
         “Hello,” was all I could force out.
         Meg’s gaze wandered over Sarah’s face and upper body before settling on me. “What happened to only drinking at home?” She crossed her arms.
         “I’m afraid I’m a bad influence.” Sarah came to my defense.
         “I see.” An older man tugged on Meg’s arm. She wore a tight dress—not her usual jeans and J. Crew sweater. And she was with a man—very unusual. “Have a good night, Lizzie.” She turned each Z in my name into a weapon. “Oh, I’ll be calling you to discuss that financial situation you brought up last time.” She gave Sarah a final glare and rolled her eyes. Red-hot anger raged through my mind and body as I clamped my lips together to keep everything bottled inside. How dare she treat Sarah so flippantly?
         I counted to ten before I said, “I’m so sorry.”
         Sarah’s eyes darted across the room to where Meg and her companion were exiting into the darkness. “Is she a friend?”
         I snorted. “Former ...” I’d been about to say girlfriend, but instead added, “acquaintance.”
         “I’d use another word for her.”
         I let out a rush of air. “Really? What would that be?”


  • Thank you for coming by! T.B's book sounds pretty good, doesn't it? I'm sure she would appreciate a supportive comment.
  • I know some of you are going to recommend your favourite editing program to us. Don't be shy! What editing program pushes your creative buttons? Tell us why.
  • Thanks for visiting my blog. Please leave a comment so I know you've passed through.
And the fun never stops! It's time for WEP's December challenge, which involves something science fiction-y. Details are in the current post at WEP. Please visit and check it out. You can sign up here or at WEP. Love to have you!




39 comments:

  1. Hi Denise – I’ve seen PicMonkey recommended elsewhere … so thanks for these tips and the confirmation that it’s a great photo-editor to use. TB’s book sounds so interesting … about a subject I know nothing about .. a learning curve of a book … the passage you selected enhances the idea that it’s something I could do to read to understand. Cheers Hilary

    As you'll have realised ... I can copy and paste?!

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  2. I have deep respect for those of you who have that kind of talent. I've used PicMonkey before, but just to edit photos and such. I pay someone to do my banners, bookmarks, Facebook cover photos, and ad banners.

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  3. I'm glad you found a program that works for you. I've mastered Photoshop over the years so that's what works for me.
    Big congratulations to TB!

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  4. Hi Denise,
    Thank you for introducing PicMonkey. I need an editing program for pics because I don't have one and this one just may be the one I try.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

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  6. Great tip, I loved it. Gonna try it myself. I also really love this free editor by pixlr https://pixlr.com/editor/ I think yours offers a lot more, but this one isn't bad either for a quick creation. I made my banner on my site with it.
    Congrats to TB Markinson!


    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  7. Great tip, I loved it. Gonna try it myself. I also really love this free editor by pixlr https://pixlr.com/editor/ I think yours offers a lot more, but this one isn't bad either for a quick creation. I made my banner on my site with it.
    Congrats to TB Markinson!


    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  8. That sounds like a very cool app. I'm so not techie that it goes completely over my head, but someday maybe I can get up enough nerve to try something like that. Congrats to TB on her release.

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  9. Denise, thanks for the post. I never heard of PicMonkey, and I'm checking it out right now, And good luck to T. B. Markinson!

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  10. Great tips. I've used Fotoflexer, which is another free editing tool. It's nice to have sites that makes creating banners and images easy and quick.

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  11. Congrats to TB Markinson! :)

    Thanks for the PicMonkey show & tell. I've heard about it, but never seen it in action. I know what you mean about PhotoShop being too big of a deal. So glad that writers have easy alternatives now for creating graphics. I've become addicted to Canva lately!

    ~Tui, dropping by from TuiSnider.com via IWSG

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  12. Congrats to TB Markinson!

    Great tips on photo editing.

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  13. I have yet to take time to figure out photo-cropping. One more thing to learn, someday. This was a great lesson though, and I shall refer back to it I'm sure :)

    Congrats TB; the excerpt was awesome.

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  14. I'm not the best when it comes to techie stuff. Or maybe I'm too hard on myself. My husband is so good at that stuff I'll probably always feel like a newbie at it now matter how much I improve.

    Great post!

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    1. It is fun to try PicMonkey and programs like it. There are lots around. :-)

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  15. GIMP is also a free photo editing program but it's more like Photoshop so you may not like it. Me? I love Photoshop, but I've been using it for years and I use it professionally too so I like all the bells and whistles.

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    1. Hi Lyn. For some reason my virus program doesn't like Gimp. My husband takes it to the next level with Photoshop when I need to get fancy. :-)

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  16. I just picked up TB's book, saw it on Alex's blog too. I love her writing! And Pic-Monkey is great. Just finished a new cover for my Zombie book, and it's got zombies on it. You'll love it. I'll post to FB later. Had a majorly busy day but settling into getting caught up with the IWSG comments. I'll Email soon.

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    1. I'm glad you got T.B's book. Love your new Zombie cover! :-)

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  17. I tried PicMonkey but it seemed too complicated to me. I use Paint.net for all my picture editing needs. It's very simple and it does the job. I make all my book covers with it.

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    1. Hi Olga! I've been meaning to try Paint.net ever since you told me about it. I must. :-)

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  18. Thanks for the Picmonkey tip, shall give it a shot rightaway, Denise. I love how you share helpful tips in your posts--I don't know if I have any to share, but I think I should try and follow your example and share the little I know.

    Congratulations to T B Markinson: love the cover!

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    1. Your writing tips and guest posters are always great Damyanti. :-)

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  19. I use it too! and love it!

    Congrats to T.B.Markinson....that book title is so me :-)

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    1. I'm sure it's not NIla! Glad you like PicMonkey! :-)

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  20. PicMonkey looks great!

    To edit my pictures, I use the software that came with my camera. But now that I'm self-publishing, I decided to just give in and get photoshop. So far, I actually enjoy it.

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    1. Good for you. I'm too impatient to fiddle with it. I hand over the difficult jobs to husb who loves it!

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  21. I haven't heard of PicMonkey, but it sounds interesting. Techie stuff is outside of my comfort zone, but hey, it's good to push myself sometimes. Thanks for the tip.

    And thanks for showcasing A Clueless Woman. Much appreciated. Have a lovely weekend!

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  22. Thats a great tip, Denise, thanks! I know a couple of people who are looking for easy photo editing software.

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  23. Huge congrats to TB on he new release!! I hadn't heard of PicMonkey. I use GIMP because I do a lot of airbrushing, filtering, and fiddling with original images. But either one's a great tool for promo-ing books or blog hops! :)

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    1. There are so many good little programs, but my virus checker hates GIMP!

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  24. Hi Denise. Thanks for the info about Pic Monkey. I will find that very useful. I have a free programme called Gimp but it's too complex to use.
    The book excerpt is intriguing; what could that other word have been?
    I don't like the concept of Lesbian and Gay fiction. I would never have read any of Sarah Waters novels if they had been so-labelled, but they are wonderful stories.
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. Yes Bazza I did try GIMP but I didn't try very hard!

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  25. I've just seen that you already know about Gimp!

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  26. I've just seen that you already know about Gimp!

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  27. Denise, you sounds like you know SO MUCH about pics/images.
    I know nothing. Totally green.
    I recently discovered CANVA and have used the images in the last two WEP challenges. It's Greek to me at the moment. I'm fumbling around, a trial and error process, trying to make sense of it (with the help of my techie guy, of course...)
    GIMP & PicMonkey? What is that? My head is spinning.
    I have so much to learn. One step at a time. Breathe. LOL

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    1. Really Michelle I hate wasting time and I've found PicMonkey so easy. Send me an email anytime.

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  28. First, congratulations to T.B. Markinson. I also love the cover! And thanks to you for this great tip. I'd never heard of pic monkey but it seems user friendly, even for a techie dinosaur like me. Actually, I saved both this post and the pic money page. I'm so glad I decided to hold off on going to your blog so there'd be time to sip morning coffee and get caught up on your posts. Thanks sooooo much for sharing, Denise. You're more helpful than you realize! (And your holiday decorations sound terrific. We had a large Christmas party Sat. Into the spirit of the season!)

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