Saturday, November 3, 2012

Free ebooks! Because I'm having a birthday...

Yes, it's my birthday weekend. Don't ask how old I am: 'tis a delicate question. Keith Hamilton Cobb (tall dark and beautiful, dreadlocks and all) had the right answer, when someone asked him how old he was -- in fact, he was about forty, not that he looked anywhere near it. But he said, "Old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway." Well said.

So, since I'm having a birthday, I thought -- let's party. Let's have freebies, and ebooks make the best e-gifts. I thought about wallpapers, but in fact the blog is full of them -- I've been uploading art at 1200 and 1600 wide for over a year now, and all you have to do is go back through the "of interest" posts, save the art and you're done. So then I thought about ebooks.

Here are three, and I've formatted them to work well with the 10" screens. In fact, we just got a netbook with a 10" screen, so I was able to test them for size and appearance. If you want to see the whole page at once, in the proper orientation, use Acrobat's "rotate page" feature, and stand the netbook on end, as if you're holding a large book. Also, I set the type for the stories in 14 point, so even if you're reading at 75% page size, it's still easy reading.

(The only thing I haven't done is to test these books on the 7" tablet ... because the battery appears to be flat, and it takes forever to recharge. But I think it ought to work just fine, because of the 14 point text.)

So, here are three ebooks, all made in Serif Page Plus, for those who're interested in the "how" aspect. I've done them as PDFs specifically because I wanted to achieve a blend of art and text with an overall "storybook" layout, like this...

...and so forth! As much as I love the epub file format, you can't do this kind of thing in epub ... they're strictly for reading, with "header art" style illustrations -- not what I wanted here. So, good old PDF it is this time.

I've done three books, and by now you'll pretty much know what they are! I've made up The Legend of Chino Vollias as a very lovely book; I've done the same for Tails from the Tomb, which you read a few days ago, for Halloween ... and I went ahead and did a neat little Photoshop primer -- a Photoshop painting project, in which I took the Moonrise image apart and put it back together from the bottom up, assuming no knowledge, which means you can follow this tutorial even if you only just installed Photoshop and don't know one end of it from the other. In fact, this is a pretty nice "beginner tutorial, which might might help you make sense of Photoshop if you have just installed it!

Speaking of Photoshop: Elements 10 is included FREE on the installation disk for the Wacom Bamboo. The program is worth several hundred bucks, and if you're buying the mouse pen/tablet drawing set, there it is, registration number and all. I got the Wacom Bamboo for my birthday ... actually, I got it weeks ago, have been using it and loving it:

The only difference between what you see here, and my setup is that mine is organize to run left handed. I'm, uh, ambidextrous. I know it's really weird ... some things I like to do right handed, some things I do left handed. So my Wacom is set up exactly opposite to what you see here. And I love it!!

So where's the goodies, right?

Here you go:

Tails from the Tomb -- almost identical to the version published on the blog a short while ago; richly illustrated, formatted to suit the 10" screens or a laptop, whatever. The only downside is that the art has pushed the file size out to just under 3.5MB. That's not too bad, when you think about it. There's no DRM on the file ... the only thing I would ask is, if you're going to share it with friends, please ask them to visit the blog and download their own. Why? Because when they get on the blog, they might spend half an hour looking at my stuff, and that would be nice. Any warnings? None. There's a "subtext" relationship, if you choose to see it ... Amadeus and Rick are almost certainly intimate. But the story is written in such a way that if you prefer to overlook this and see two good friends, that's all you'll see. Click here to download. 

The Legend of Chino Vollias -- in every way identical to the story which was published for the "Happy Post 700" blog entry ... also richly illustrated and formatted the same way, to suit the 10" screens. The download size of this one is also a tad high because of the art -- you're looking at a whisker over 5MB. Sorry guys, but high-rez art does this to the file size. Again, there's no DRM, and the only thing I ask is that if you want to share, send your friends here to pick up their own copy ... same reason. Any warnings? No. There some nudity, but nothing you won't see on any beach downunder. There's a passing allusion to the fact Chino swings both ways, but the main romance is actually straight. Click here to download.  

And here is the Moonrise Photoshop Painting Tutorial I was asked to do. It would have made yet another huge blog post, so I thought, what the hey? Do it as a full-on PDF and really pull out the stops. Reiterating, this tutorial assumes no knowledge, none at all. You could have unpacked Photoshop Elements 9 or later yesterday, and you won't get lost in these pages. It's heavily illustrated with images, obviously, both of the work itself and screencaps from the progam, so the download size is high. You're looking at just a bit under 3MB, which is not too bad for a 15pp book stuffed with images. Warnings? Um ... it's a tutorial! DRM? Nope. Same as above -- rather than give it away, please send your friends here to get their copy. It would be so nice if they were on the blog and cruising around, looking at my stuff. Click here to download. 

You might notice that the download links refer back to my Galley site. As the saying goes, "start as you mean to go on." I'm intending to build up a library of writings and tutorials on the site, so ... might as well start here.

Enjoy ... um, "Happy Birthday to Me." 

Jade, 3 November (celebrating over the whoooole weekend!) 
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