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A Frame of Book Covers

I needed to send a copy of my book covers to someone. That’s when I remembered, oops, I meant to do that, and add in my two new titles. Well, if I am being totally honest my one and three-quarters latest titles. The English book is not due for release until the end of September. However, I now have the lovely quote from a fellow author, Jane Mackenzie, author of the Catalonia trilogy and Tapestry of War, so the front cover is complete.

Next on the list. How do I put my titles onto one frame? And if I do find a way won’t it be too big to send as a file? Here I go again, another sharp learning curve coming up.

I hoped to avoid learning new skills on the computer when I started writing. After all, developing these skills takes time away from the actual writing process. Maybe somehow everything would simply fall into place. I decided sticking my head in the sand would work perfectly for me and carried on writing. If I could handle Word what else did I need?

As it turns out, plenty. From working out how to upload photos, to formatting and trying to keep my desk tidy, the list is endless. The desk I have given up on. Paper despite this new age still seems to gravitate to my desk. Never for just a few days either, sometimes for a long stay holiday.

Then there are the notebooks. I’ve just counted five right now, stacked beside my elbow. It includes the one that is presently lying open with my scribbles on how to import covers into a frame. Buying new notebooks for keeping ideas, starts of stories, and a myriad of interesting things I really need was beginning to be a bit of a problem. Especially, when I couldn’t find the notebook I needed to extract the information from. I suppose not being able to go to the shops has stopped me from buying more. I’m hoping I don’t regress the next time I am in a bookshop.

I have devised a way of keeping checks on the ages, events, and timescales of my characters in Blàs. After wasting time looking for the right notebook, the scrap of paper, or sticking label, I eventually worked out templates on my PC. If only I had realised from the beginning that I was going to carry on writing about Blàs, I may well have gone about it differently from the start.

Right after I have launched, Blàs, Roots in the Soil, I will be busy thumping out the words for the next Blàs story. Well, in between the next Grumpa book that is. Also, I kind of said I would look at a story for younger Gaelic children. And what about the workshops? I have to relook at them if we are going to be allowed into schools again.

For now, it is back to frames and book covers. I asked Debbie Ross of the Nigg Hall Book Fair, ages ago how she managed to put all my covers in one frame. But the e-mail with that information is way back in the recess of the computer. Then I remembered, I had read something that Joanna Penn had written about a free software programme that you could download. But a wee voice said in my head, you shouldn’t download anything from a site unless you know where it comes from and it is safe. Good advice, however, if you are like me I haven’t a clue where most things come from on the web. If someone recommends something though I feel I will be ok...

So after spending some time working out how to do things and asking questions online, I came up with the version at the top of the page. The most difficult thing I find often is the starting point. Once you know how to open it up and move and delete you can normally work your way around most programmes. Apart from the ones that say ‘intuitive, logical, easy to use,’ these are often the most frustrating, unhelpful, and awful to use.

At the moment I am feeling pretty chuffed with myself. I have managed yet another skill, how clever am I? Then it strikes me, here I am jumping up and down with excitement about how to use a relatively helpful software when what I should be celebrating, is the fact that I have ten and three-quarters books published. One of which is an award winner. Not bad for a learner dyslexic.

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