Tag Archives: free

Using Canva to Design Your Own Book Covers

Some time ago, Hugh Howey wrote about canva.com, a tool authors could use to create book covers for their Kindle and other e-book releases. (The site offers plenty of templates for other online uses, as well.)

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you already know: cover art is the big hold-up on pretty much all of my e-books (not to mention the print versions). And if you’ve tried creating a cover on your own, you know the complications go far beyond coming up with an image to represent your story – there’s also sizing, resolution, thumbnails and more to consider.

Canva eliminates about 95% of these worries. Work with their premade templates for font placement and selection ideas, drop in your cover art (easily created with Pixlr and a few copyright-free art searches) and click “download.” You’ll be stunned at what you can create. For example. see the comparisons below: the covers I originally posted for PIC, Mousewings and POST, compared to their Canva-created replacements. (Click on each thumbnail for a full image; if you want to make a purchase, use the links on the right-hand side of the blog)

Evidenced by the above, even the least graphically gifted among us can create something worth showing of with Canva. Think you’ll give it a try? Leave a link to your designs in the comments!

Plague, The Videogame

video-game-plague-for-android

You even get to name your own plagues.

It’s been a rough few days. Emotionally, physically, financially…

So when one of my Twitter friends mentioned she’d just started playing a super-addictive Android game called PLAGUE, INC., and she’d destroyed the entire world population twice in fifteen minutes, I asked where to get the game. I need something to take my mind off things. I downloaded it from the Google Play store (free!) and started playing.

This the most cathartic game I’ve played in ages.

The concept is simple. You create a disease – you start with bacteria, move on to a virus, then fungus, and so on – and you get points to help grow/evolve your disease over time. You can win the game if you kill every living person on the planet, or lose the game if either the humans find a cure, or you run out of hosts to infect. (For example, in one game, I infected everywhere but Greenland and they closed their ports, so my disease killed everyone it could infect but the world was still left with humans.)

Additional complexity comes from how you score points – random DNA bubbles that you have to pop when they appear on the map, or else biohazard bubbles whenever a new infection site begins – and then “spend” them on your disease’s evolution. You can pick ways to transmit the disease, features and abilities it has, and its symptoms.

It’s in the Google app store, takes up about 30MB of space, and is both addictive and compelling.

If you want, you can pay to “unlock” special features, but so far I haven’t felt the need.

 

I highly recommend it.

Free Reads for Christmas!

Hey all!

I’m knee-deep in writing a science fiction play for a company in the UK, so this is going to be quick, but I hope you have a wonderful holiday and wanted to give you a couple of freebies to get you through the next week or two – particularly those of you with kids home from school and in need of entertainment.

If you’ve got kids, STUCK UP A TREE will be free on Amazon through December 29th.

If you like dystopian stories (and who doesn’t?) and haven’t read my play MOUSEWINGS, the next few days give you a chance for some free reading material, too.

I don’t often ask outright, but since it’s Christmas…if you think anyone in your network (including actors, drama teachers, directors…Steven Spielberg…) might enjoy either play, please pass on this blog or those links. And if, once you’re done, you feel like leaving a review? That’d be ace.

Again, both plays are free for Kindle (and associated devices/apps) through December 29th.

Merry Christmas & happy holidays!

xx

Rachel

 

PS – At time of writing, Mousewings and Stuck Up A Tree hold positions 3 and 4 on the Bestsellers list in Amazon’s free Playwriting categoy! (See below for a pic!)

free bestseller three and four mousewings

Hot Mess/Earth Day 2013 Giveaway – Join My Mailing List To Win!

In advance of Earth Day 2013, I’ve put together a prize package including a copy of the anthology I published last year, Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change. The book features work by me, RJ Astruc, Miranda Doerfler, Sare Liz Gordy and Eric Sipple.

In addition, the prize package will include two ADDITIONAL books about environmentalism, climate change and the planet: Global Warming Survival Handbook and Generation Green (images below) – and maybe some other goodies!

cover of global warming book LiveEarth generation-green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you enter? It’s easy: just subscribe to my mailing list by clicking here. (I will not share or sell your email address, and you can unsubscribe at  any time.)

If you’re already subscribed by the time this entry is posted, you’ll get *two* chances to win.

The winner will be drawn on Earth Day 2013 (April 22nd*), from among mailing list subscribers, and I’ll get in touch after that as far as sending your prize. 🙂

Don’t miss out – subscribe today!

 

*Date corrected.

Giveaway, you say? STUCK UP A TREE, for free!

 

The original cast of "Stuck Up A Tree," from top (clockwise): Ceri Mills, Andreas Vaehi, Cameron Mowat, Hazel Darwin-Edwards and Scott Hoatson.

The original cast of “Stuck Up A Tree,” from top (clockwise): Ceri Mill, Andreas Vaehi, Cameron Mowat, Hazel Darwin-Edwards and Scott Hoatson.

If you’re on my mailing list, you should have gotten an email yesterday around 5pm, giving you the heads-up ahead of time for my Spring Giveaway over on Amazon. If not:

From now until Thursday, my play STUCK UP A TREE, currently available exclusively on Amazon Kindle, is free to download.

If you’re going to be around kids over the spring holidays, reading this play aloud with them is a great way to spend time together without going nuts from over-the-top cartoons and video games.

Not convinced yet? Check out some of what’s been said about the play:

Then download and enjoy!

STUCK UP A TREE will be free until Thursday, April 4th, (2013, EST, Earth, Sol, The Milky Way, The Universe…) so if you and your kids want to spread the word, please send it on to anyone you think might get a kick out of a whimsical children’s play!

Related Posts:
Plays of Place: Edinburgh Fringe Plays

(Note: Next month, in honor of Earth Day, there will be a list-subscribers-only giveaway based around my short story anthology Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change (which is not a children’s book but has some great reviews over on Amazon), with awesome prizes for the winner – so be sure to subscribe now so as not to miss anything.)

7:06am: Photo caption now corrected.