Reading is My Refuge

My last two years at Stanford were two of the hardest years of my life. I had decided to triple major–which included a major I didn’t even start until my junior year–and I was also working more than full time to pay for room and board. So 19 or 20 units each quarter plus 50 hours of work a week. Oh, and I was commuting from Sunnyvale my junior year so add in a real drive each day as well.

It may seem strange, but what got me through it was reading. Mostly fiction books, but some non-fiction too. (That was when Guns, Germs, and Steel came out and I absolutely loved that book.) That first finals week I think I read three fantasy novels while studying for and taking all of my exams.

I was lucky to work in a bookstore and so have free access to books. (It was a company program, I wasn’t cheating in any way.) But even if I hadn’t, I would’ve worked an extra hour a week to be able to buy books, they were that important to me.

Which is why yesterday I dropped the ebook prices on about a dozen different titles. Since I know there are people like me out there who are desperately in need of a distraction right now, I thought I’d help out a bit.

We’re all going to need to get away and disconnect to make it through this. For some that will be video games or TV shows or movies. For others it will be books.

So…If you’re a book person, here’s what I’ve put on sale. It’s a very eclectic mix as you’ll see. Hopefully there’s something in there for everyone:

Just click on the image to be taken to the Books2Read page which should have links for all retailers. Or you can just go to your favorite retailer and look the titles up. All except for Erelia are available everywhere and most libraries should also be able to get them.

Non-Fiction ($2.99 USD each)

Excel for Beginners open sans boldv2

Excel for Beginners: A guide to Microsoft Excel for those who need to master the basics.

 

 

Budgeting for Beginners open sans

Budgeting for Beginners: A book that will teach you how to figure out where you are financially, judge what that means, and give tips for how to improve. Especially helpful right now for those who are finding themselves without a steady paycheck, because it covers how to approach irregular income like that. (Also available in audio as the Juggling Your Finances Starter Kit.)

Quick--Easy-Cooking-for-One-KindleQuick & Easy Cooking for One: Exactly what it says. A guide to cooking for yourself for the absolute beginner. More concept-based than step-by-step, but it does include recipes.

 

 

Writing for Beginners open sans

Writing for Beginners: An overview of what a beginning writer should know to get started. Includes discussions of point of view, tense, as well as agents and publishing paths. (Also available in audio under the title The Beginning Writer’s Guide to What You Should Know.)

 

Dont Be a Douchebag PC version 20160803v10Don’t Be a Douchebag: Online Dating Advice I Wish Men Would Take: A snarky guide to online dating for men who aren’t doing so well at it. (Also available in audio. Some retailers may have a different cover.)

 

 

Fiction:

Riders-Revenge-The-Complete-Trilogy-GenericThe Rider’s Revenge Trilogy: ($4.99 USD) A feminist YA fantasy adventure trilogy about a young girl who sets out to avenge her father and finds herself caught up in much bigger issues.

 

 

Erelia blue flame 20151222v5Erelia: (Available on Amazon Only, $2.99 USD and in KU) A dystopian utopia. Life seems perfect on the surface, but the reader sees just what horrible actions create that perfection. Also has a pandemic subplot. (I had unpublished this one just because I thought it needed a sequel and I wasn’t sure when I’d write that sequel, so be forewarned.)

 

A-Dead-Man-and-Doggie-Delights-KindleA Dead Man and Doggie Delights: (99 cents) First in what will soon be a six-book cozy mystery series set in the Colorado mountains. For lovers of Newfoundland dogs, Colorado, and quirky characters who like a little murder on the side. (Book 2, A Crazy Cat Lady and Canine Crunchies is also reduced to $2.99 USD.)

 

Something-Worth-Having-KindleSomething Worth Having ($2.99 USD): Contemporary romance bordering on women’s fiction. About a woman facing a breast cancer diagnosis who goes on a road trip with a man she is absolutely not allowed to fall in love with. (A related but standalone title, Something Gained, is also just $2.99 right now.

 

Excel, Word, and PowerPoint Essentials

Excel Essentials 20190222  Word-Essentials-Kindle  PowerPoint-Essentials-Kindle

I published Excel Essentials, the collection of the four individual titles in the Excel Essentials series a while back. At the time I didn’t publish the ebook version on Amazon, but that is now available on Amazon for anyone interested.

And because I am also done with the Word Essentials series and the PowerPoint Essentials series at this point, those too are now available as standalone titles. Note that Word Essentials and PowerPoint Essentials only contain two titles each so are that much less expensive than Excel Essentials which contains four titles.

Also, for at least the next week or so Word Essentials and PowerPoint Essentials will not be available on Apple but they will be there soon. (I’m changing how I distribute my books there and it takes a little longer than I’d expected.)

The books are all available in ebook, paperback, and hard cover but it may take a few days for them to reach all the stores.

For those of you who already own the individual titles (Word for Beginners, Intermediate Word, PowerPoint for Beginners, Intermediate PowerPoint, etc.) there is no new material in these books, it’s just another way to provide the information for those who know they want it all at the time of initial purchase.

As of now I’m done with writing new material on Microsoft Office, but if there’s something specific you want to see that I didn’t cover, let me know and if I think it’s within my skillset I’ll work on it. That’s actually how Excel for Budgeting and Mail Merge for Beginners both came to exist.

 

Excel, Word, and PPT Books Now in Hard Cover

Just a quick announcement to let you know that Excel for Beginners, Intermediate Excel, 50 Useful Excel Functions, 50 More Excel Functions, Excel Essentials, Word for Beginners, Intermediate Word, and PowerPoint for Beginners are all now available in a hard cover version.

IMG_4875 - Copy cropped

I have to say, I’m pretty excited about this one because the books feel much more substantial in hard cover than paperback. (That Excel Essentials one which combines the other four Excel titles into one book is a behemoth. It’s one inch thick and weighs two pounds! Who knew I had so much to say about Excel.)

The covers are case laminate so there might be a little denting at the edges like you can see on 50 More Excel Functions in the photo, but overall I was pretty impressed with them. And keep in mind with the skinnier ones that the spine text might be slightly off center because of print-on-demand variances, but it will be there on all of them.

They should be available on Amazon (here’s my author page for the U.S.) as well as Barnes & Noble and any other location where you can order print books.

Data Principles for Beginners

I forgot to announce that I released a new title a few days ago called Data Principles for Beginners. If you’ve read the Excel titles you’ll note that I make mention throughout those books about issues I’ve run into on data projects I worked on with respect to structuring data or analyzing it.

Well, this book takes all of those little mentions and puts them in one place as well as exploring a few other key principles that will make life a lot easier for anyone trying to work with their data.

Data Principles for Beginners

 

A New Release (or Six): Mail Merge

It’s been a busy week. I know better than to do this to myself, but I just released six new titles. The big one is Mail Merge for Beginners, which covers how to create customized letters, envelopes, and mailing labels in Microsoft Word using an Excel-based list of entries.

Mail Merge

And, because it’s a pretty short and sweet guide, it’s only $2.99. So if that’s something you need (I certainly used mail merge back when I was working as a secretary at my dad’s little sign shop), then check it out.

It will also be available in paperback for $7.99. The paperback is up on Amazon now, but not yet linked to the ebook–that should happen in a couple days–but it will come up in search. It will slowly make its way to anywhere else you like to buy paperbacks in the next couple of weeks.

In addition to the mail merge book, I also just released five titles in a series called Easy Word Essentials. These books take specific topics from Word for Beginners and Intermediate Word and present them as standalone topics. They cover text formatting, page formatting, lists, tables, and track changes.

So if any of those topics are of interest and you haven’t already bought the two main Word titles, then those might be worth checking out as well. Each one is $2.99 and the paperbacks are $7.99. Same situation as above, the paperbacks aren’t yet linked on Amazon but can be found with a search and will be soon. They will also make their way to other platforms over the next couple weeks.

Easy Word Essentials

Text Formatting open sansPage Formatting1 Lists2 TablesTrack Changes

 

 

 

And now I can go enjoy my Easter and get back to proofing the next cozy mystery. Those murders don’t solve themselves, you know. 🙂 Happy holiday and/or family time to you all.

A Quick Excel Copy & Paste Trick

It’s been a while since I shared an Excel trick on here and this is one that didn’t make it into the books although I do find it useful.

As a refresher: If you want to copy an entry and paste it into other cells, an easy way to do so is to click on the cell with the information you want to copy, use Ctrl + C, then highlight the cells where you want to paste that information and use Ctrl + V or Enter.

Another option if the cells where you want to copy the information are located next to the cell with the information you want to copy is to highlight the cells you want to copy, left-click on the bottom right corner and drag down or drag to the right.

(If there’s already data in other columns and you want to copy downward you can just double left-click instead of click and drag.)

I tend to use the click and drag option a lot, but it fails me sometimes, especially when I want to copy date information because it gets too clever.

For example, in a lot of my sales tracking spreadsheets I add a column for month and a column for year and then need to copy that down however many sales entries there are for that vendor for that month.

When you click and drag with month and year information, Excel treats the data as a series by default and does the following:

Excel Copy Paste Default

I wanted every entry to be April 2019, but Excel in its wisdom advanced the month and the year by one for each row.

It turns out you can fix that by clicking on the Auto Fill Options image at the bottom right corner and changing it from “Fill Series” to “Copy Cells.”

Auto Fill Options

You then get what I actually wanted:

Excel Copy Paste 2

Another way to copy the exact same value to multiple cells in Excel is using Ctrl+Shift+Enter. Highlight all of the cells that you want to have a specific value, then enter that value in the first cell of the highlighted range, like so:

All Cells Highlighted

Then instead of using Enter, use Shift+Ctrl+Enter. The value you input into the first cell will be copied to all of the highlighted cells.

It only works for one value at a time, though. So in my scenario above I’d have to do the month first and then have to do the year separately.

Both of these tricks work in Excel 2013, which is what I’m working in, so I’d assume they work in all versions of Excel beyond 2013 as well. They may or may not work in prior versions of Excel.

Edited to add that now through June 29, 2019 you can get a 15% discount on any of the ebook versions of the Excel Essentials titles on Barnes & Noble by using promo code BNPEE15.

 

Excel Essentials Now Live

For those who are ready to dive into Excel and move from a beginner level to an advanced intermediate level all at once, Excel Essentials is now live.

This title combines Excel for Beginners, Intermediate Excel, 50 Useful Excel Functions, and 50 More Excel Functions. So with this one book you can basically move from not knowing anything about Excel at all to understanding how to input information, format that information, print that information, use conditional formatting, charts, and pivot tables, as well as learn over one hundred Excel functions.

If that’s not what you need, each of the individual titles are also still available and the even more specific Easy Excel Essentials series of titles are available, too.

Excel Essentials is available for $39.95 in paperback or $19.95 in ebook. (Those are the USD prices) For those who want a Kindle-compatible version, you can find it on my Payhip store. The ebook will not be listed on Amazon.

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