thankful-for-our-readers-giveaway-3Our month of giveaways continues! Today, our guest Ellen Byron offers up a copy of her new book, Body on the Bayou the second  in the Cajun Country Mystery series and some swag!

To be entered to win, leave a comment on the post. Winners for the week will be announced in a special blog post on Sunday.


When Plantation Shudders, the first in my Cajun Country Mystery series, body-on-the-bayou-smaller-2was published, I figured promoting it meant some blog posts, a few Facebook updates, and the occasional tweet. Boy, was I wrong. There is so much more to do than that, and the last year has been one learning experience after another, tears followed by triumph… and then followed by tears again. But as I now hit the computer to promote Body on the Bayou, the second book in my series, I proudly share five of the skills I’ve managed to conquer.

  1. I always wondered what the odd button reading “Print Screen” on my keyboard was for. Who knew it actually meant, “Print Screen?” Apparently everybody but me, because when I put the question “How do I take a screenshot?” to the Sisters in Crime Guppy group, a half dozen people patiently wrote back, “Hit the print screen button and then Control-V.” Ta da! Here’s a screenshot from an early draft of this very post:


  1. Snipping tool. Ah, but how to turn a document or a PDF into a JPEG? That’s where a program called “Snipping Tool” comes in. (And the fact I even know what PDFs and JPEGs are is testament to what I’ve learned this year.) Some far more skilled person than yours truly guided me to the Windows menu where this computing miracle resides. I use it define an image and then save it as a JPEG. Which is exactly what I did with the example below.


  1. Canva. I howled to the winds when I first tried Canva. Frankly, I still barely get it. But I bumbled my way through the site enough to create this Facebook banner. So… yay, me!ellencanvacopy-of-copy-of-ava6
  2. Making folders. Oh, the heady pleasure of discovering I can create folders to store my trillions of docs, emails, and photos. This may seem like Computing 101 to a lot of you, but to me it was an eye-opener. I do this so often now that I’m not including a picture because I wouldn’t know which “Folder” option to choose from. Email? Documents? Photos? The options are endless and wonderful – at least for me. Less so for my husband who has to back up all my data.

These are just a few of the skills I’ve picked up in my publishing journey. I’ve also created newsletters and sponsored contests. With some assistance from my teenager – this is where those impossible creatures come in handy – I’ve made bookmarks, business cards, and brochures. (Vistaprint and GotPrint are my new BFFs.) But perhaps the important task I’ve conquered is number five…

  1. Learning how to use an electric wine opener.

ellenwineopenerTwo years ago, I won a basket at a school silent auction that included a fancy electric wine ellenwinebottle opener. I’m embarrassed to admit I was too intimidated to use it. But when I discovered I’d left my manual opener at my recent book launch party, I panicked. Then I decided that if I could master the above steps 1-4, I could figure out how to use an electric wine bottle opener. Success!

And thank goodness, because nothing says “Man, do I need a glass of wine” like a battle with any of those previously mentioned skills.

Readers, what computer skill – or skills – have you mastered?


ellen-byron-fnlBIO: Ellen’s debut novel, Plantation Shudders, made the USA Today Bestsellers list, and was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. The second book in her Cajun Country Mystery Series, Body on the Bayou, offers “everything a cozy reader could want,” according to Publishers Weekly, while the Library Journal says, “Diane Mott ­Davidson and Lou Jane Temple fans will line up for this series.” A TV veteran, Ellen has written for many hit sitcoms, including Wings and Just Shoot Me.


129 Thoughts

  1. You’re ahead of me in some of your computer skills as I’m not familiar with Canva or a sniping tool but it really feels great when you master a new skill or tool.

  2. I still go old school when opening a bottle of wine. I have to keep up my skills. What if the batteries die or I’m out camping or some catastrophe strikes and I NEED the bottle of wine?! =)

    1. LOL! Let me tell you, it was one of those days when I was ready to pull out the cork with my teeth. I do have to locate my manual backup, though.

  3. it is funny to say, but my 10 yr old granddaughter taught me how to do a screenshot on my phone just last week. I kept telling her my phone couldnt do that….boy was i wrong 😉

    1. My daughter had to teach me how to do a phone screenshot, too. Seriously, where would we be in techno world without the younger gen?

  4. I relearned to use the control keys this year. Early on in DOS, I used control commands all the time and had a cheat sheet for them. When cleaning out folders, I found the reference card. . I again am using Control + Z to undo my last action when I’m not in Word. I also use Control + V a lot to paste a selection where I want it. In Word these are built into the program, but I’m using the commands now in messages and other types of documents.

    1. I love DOS, but can no longer find my cheat sheet. If I post my email address here, will you send it to me?

      1. I’ll make a list of the DOS commands to send you, Ellen.. Ginny, if you let me know your email, I’ll send one to you, too. Merrily

      2. Thanks so much. Ellen offered to forward my email addy to you. Looking forward to getting the list.

    2. That would be GREAT, Merrily. I tried to find you on FB and didn’t see you there. But if it’s too much work, please don’t put yourself out.

  5. I wonder if anyone else has arm and shoulder pain on their right side from mousing all the time. The commands might help me with that, Merrily. Less mousing involved and more keyboard.

  6. Oh Ellen! As I switched careers from managing a bookstore to becoming a CPA, I had to learn so many new computer skills! It was so overwhelming and it sometimes still is! But the best feeling is what you describe in #4- when you’ve mastered something and you don’t even need to think to do it! What a feeling! I’m curious about Canva- I’ve never heard of it!

    Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of your new novel!

    1. Props to you, Jacki, for a huge career switch. That’s an amazing accomplishment.

      Canva is a way to create ads and banners, and other promotional graphics. I’m looking forward to learning how to expand my skills with it.

  7. I loved Ellen’s first book and plan on getting Body on the Bayou as soon as possible once I get a new Kindle Fire where all my ebooks are when it died on me yesterday. If I can order it as a CD I may do that, but winning a paperback would be great too. Thanks for the chance….it would be wonderful.
    Cynthia B

    1. Cynthia, so sorry about your Kindle Fire. I finally broke down and got a Paper White, but honestly, I still prefer plain, old books. Anyway, good luck!!

  8. My bosses think that I have mastered the program we use at work for booking clients (I work at a spa) but in reality I just google all of my questions.

    1. Hey, even my fantastic computer guru does that at times. There is just too much to learn/remember anymore. Using the resources is the smart way to go.

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