Sunday, 9 April 2017

Exciting Times. Challenges and Deadlines.

New books coming out of the incubator.

Rosalie's Chatter has been muted for a few weeks. Why?

The decision in 'Chateau Christal' to bring out all the travel books and the travel-based fiction out in hardback formats caused a flurry of detailed planning, collaboration and decisions on formatting to a new size and jacket design, much updating of the 'technical' stuff before finally being ready to upload to the printer/distributor - Ingram Spark.

In general we thought the current covers would suffice but eventually decided to update ORANGES: A Journey and Chasing Rainbows:with Just Us Two.

Updating the paperback and eBooks.

It seemed a shame not to feed these new covers into the paperback books and therefore the ePub formats that Ingram Spark converted for us when we consolidated digital distribution with them  last year. (What started off so simple, snowballed.)
Especially, as brand new flyers, showcasing the hardback formats,were at the printers.These were needed to co-incide with the Wrexham Carnival of Words events in the town -  not least the promotion by Sue Miller of the Wrexham Carnival of Words Writers' Group in collaboration with Ged of Waterstones Wrexham  to support local writers. The Waterstones event runs for two weeks (April 22nd - May 6th). The week before and the week during the Carnival of Words. There is also another event at which I am taking part in the Wrexham Library on May 3rd.

ORANGES. has had a complete overhaul with a full page image both front and back. On the back is one of my favourite scenes in Nerja [Costa del Sol], the view through the archway at the side of the Balcon de Europa where the steps lead down to the sea. In the Plaza in winter a huge orange tree spills its ripened oranges over a wall. Perfect for the front.

An excerpt:
"In  her hand, she held a small orange, savouring the time when she would peel the skin away, and then, taking the juicy fruit piece by piece, pop the segments into her mouth and wait for the burst of juice to explode as her teeth bit into the flesh...
On this dark dismal day in cold England, Charlotte could only dream in wonder of a land that was warm enough to ripen an orange. Would she ever be able to see for herself? After all,[ in the 1960's even a journey to the next town was still an adventure. 
Charlotte dreamed of the day when she could see these lands of sunshine. As she dreamed, she became more and more excited as she thought of these far-away lands. In her excitement, she squeezed the orange tighter and tighter until it burst, spraying droplets of juice into the air.
Through the drops, glistening in the firelight like jewels as they rained down, she could see glimpses of sunshine, vague images of white buildings, narrow streets winding upwards, and an abundance of flowers and fruits.
Charlotte reached up. She caught some droplets of juice in her hands. Tucking the orange into her pocket, she settled on the rug by the warm fire, her imagination running riot as she caressed her orange. Charlotte was on a journey."
Charlotte' dreams take her into the future, to the Lisbon coast and her escapades in the hills above, before another dream sends her into the mountains and coast of Andalucia in southern Spain; in particular, Nerja, east of Malaga and more, where Charlotte and her friend Daisy get into more scrapes.

ORANGES is one of two Rosalie Marsh books selected to be part of the Wrexham Carnival of Words - Waterstones display. The other one is The Long Leg of Italy: Explore with Just US Two.


Saturday, 18 March 2017

A Glorious Time in Tenerife

March 2017 and a return to the Islas Canarias.

After a long wait at  Manchester Airport - actually three and a half hours sitting on an aeroplane in the de-icing queue - we finally landed in the sunshine of Tenerife. This trip was essentially a field trip as the excursions on offer would allow us to revisit the interior of the island after ten years and bring ourselves up-to-date on this diverse and beautiful island of contrasts.

With visits to:

  • Los Cristianos, Puerto Santiago and San Juan on the west coast; 
  • Puerto de la Cruz on the north coast; 
  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Candelaria in the south-east; 
  • The Taganana Valley in the north-east and La Laguna in the centre of the north and south eastern coasts;
  • El Teide National Park in the centre of the island;
  • The Masca Valley on the north western tip;
  • The island of La Gomera off the west coast, all accompanied by excellent guides and increasingly hot sunshine, we had a glorious two weeks.
The nearby marina in Golf del Sur was a little more strenuous walk than anticipated but Allen got some good photographs including the yellow submarine which rests there in between trips out to the sea to see whales and dolphins and tall ships.

In Las Canadas del Teide National Park - which we have visited twice before - we were blown away by the Roques de Garcia which we had not seen before. Essentially, it is a crater where the walls have eroded away to leave the most fantastic and unique shapes.

We enjoyed lunch at El Rancho in Chio; a lovely restaurant where the walls and cool terraces are smothered in blooms.

Our return to the small island of La Gomera by fast ferry confirmed our impression that it is possibly the most beautiful of all the five that we have visited over the years.

I took much film and lots of notes/impressions from which to draw on for the last chapter in Island Interludes:Just Us Two Escape to the Sun. Publication is planned for later this year with pre-ordering in the summer from booksellers and e-retailers worldwide. 

Rosalie xx

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Progress on Island Interludes.

Interior formatting and choosing photos.

With a major proof and copy edit completed - not the final one you understand - it was time to select a sample of photographs from the hundreds that we have taken over the years covered by Island Interludes.

Thankfully, most of our photographs are stored digitally but many are pre-digital times.
Here is a sneak peek of one or two. Boom Trike in Fuerteventura and Mazzaro in Sicily.

Yes, Island Interludes covers twenty-five years of happy exploration and adventure.

Interrupting my husband from his comfortable TV watching, "I need you" was my usual plea? instruction? With a crook of my finger he would tear himself away from Quest, Dave, How it's Made, snooker, or an old cowboy film that is daytime viewing.

His sharp eye is a good judge of what would work and what wouldn't. I checked how they would look greyscale. Unfortunately colour printing is tempting but not feasible for this book. Following an initial first batch, we narrowed it down to 25 or so plus maps to introduce the sections.

The next step was to run the images through Photoshop14 before inserting the images into the manuscript. This called for a fair amount of reformatting as page and section breaks changed.

Finally, with a certain sense of satisfaction, all was complete - for now - as with a focus, sticky notes on he computer screen, lists, and my calendar blanked out on certain days,I achieved my targets.

Time to reflect and re-visit.

It is now time to have some 'reflecting and thinking' time as we take a step back and re-visit after the forthcoming 'field' trip to one of our favourite islands.

Meanwhile, read my previous posts both more recent and other posts over the last few years. These would be mainly in February/March for the Canaries but summer for the Mediterranean islands. (Some of our Island Interludes were pre-blog time.

Happy reading.

Rosalie xx

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Next Stage in my Writing Journey for Island Interludes

It has been a long journey - quite a few years.

Actually many years since I started writing about our travels in our annual Christmas newsletter to family and friends. Then, with a future book in the Just Us Two series forming in my mind, I started to write about our travels in a more positive and rounded way about nine years ago..

A few years ago I started to pull all these different sections (islands) together as I planned how I would approach the layout to make it cohesive. I had a planned date initially for 2015 but with family cares and responsibilities increasing around this time I extended this to 2016. All went well as I picked up my pen and made inroads into the project. Writing is, I find, therapeutic as I lose myself in the story. Playing the numerous DVD's of film that I had made, ensured that I missed nothing.

 It was also very emotional at times. I was astounded when I realized how much travelling we have done as we explored Europe over the years, taking every opportunity to 'escape to the sun' and life's cares.

Last summer, life and cares of other kinds pushed all my work to one side. I found myself in a writing hiatus yet pedalling furiously to keep all the 'balls up in the air'. In truth, the only way out was to consciously take a step back and put Island Interludes on the back burner while I recovered my equilibrium - and hopefully the energy to continue. C'est la vie! I printed off the draft manuscript and put it to one side.

I realized that I needed to bring the last chapter on Tenerife up-to-date. An opportunity arose to re-visit in 2017. This I regard as a field trip as we once again visit the Mercedes Forest and Taganana Valley in the far north eastern tip of the island, Masca Valley in the far north west, and other places around the west and north coasts.Even, possibly a fast ferry trip to La Gomera?

With computer system problems following huge updates at the end of 2016, meaning a complete system re-installation and subsequent loss of e-mails etc. - we won't go there - I went back to basics, dug out a sheet of graph paper, drew a Gantt Chart using coloured pens and stuck it up on the wall.

2017 and it is all system go.

 I resurrected the draft manuscript and with an eye on the Gantt Chart, settled down to look at it with fresh eyes, re-writing many chunks as creative juices flowed again. The break had been productive in the long run. This first big edit is now complete, manuscript corrected ready for a second edit by another pair of eyes. I had further re-planned publishing for the end of May but may delay a few weeks to take advantage of an unexpected  pre-publication offer. A decision will be taken when further progress is in the can.

What next?

The next stage is:

  • Marketing. 
  • Book block (interior) design and formatting. 
  • Further edits fed into manuscript. 
  • Jacket design. 
  • Choice of photos for the interior. 
  • Updating marketing material when jacket design and all metadata is finalized. 
  • Publication.

Then I can move on leisurely with developing Charlotte whom I introduced to the world in Oranges: A Journey a few years ago.

Rosalie x

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Second Stage in the Writing Process

A big edit.

After being concerned at the delay in the completion of Island Interludes due to 'life and other things' taking precedence and blocking creativity, the time lapse has been of benefit.

I started writing chapters of Island Interludes around 2008 - pulling together bits and pieces that I had written in my annual Christmas family newsletter. This progressed to writing about our various adventures and salting them away for future use.

Now,after making great strides in the first half of 2016 and then coming to a hiatus for a few months, the wheels are turning. The spell away when I consciously put everything to one side has in fact been beneficial. I came back to the chapters with fresh eyes.

The subsequent first draft and proof edit has seen our story tightened up with new creative juices now flowing. Thank goodness for that.

I have completed Meandering in the Mediterranean and most of Atlantic Wanderings. I have been fortunate to have Maltese friends who have generously given of their time to check the Malta chapter for errors in factual content (and others). A second pair of eyes soon to be let loose on the manuscript will no doubt find some more corrections.

As I take a short break to write this, I am ready to make changes to the chapter on Gran Canaria which only leaves Tenerife. This is a 'biggy' as we have explored that island many times. A field trip is in the offing to bring it all up to date as we take advantage of another Saga holiday with all the excursions into the interior. Hopefully, we will be able to return to La Gomera on a day trip.Fingers crossed. There is now a fast ferry to that beautiful,l verdant island where from every twist and turn as you go into the mountains you are treated to a glimpse of the highest mountain in Spain - Mount Teide on Tenerife.

Time now to get back to work. I have a Gantt Chart pinned up beside my desk to keep me on the straight and narrow as it is now impossible to delay publication yet again.

Hasta la Vista!

Rosalie xx