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

Saturday, 14 January 2017

A new year - a new page in the story of life.

This year has started much as the last one ended. . . 

With a virus lurking in the shadows we cancelled New Year plans and stayed by the box of tissues, cough medicine and menthol sugar-free sweets. Hence the delay in blogging.

I was not too poorly to plan travel to warmer lands though and cheered myself up with trawling through for hotel rooms and planning the whole trip and budget on a spreadsheet. Planning another trip across France, Spain, and into Portugal was the best medicine ever. We will come back across the middle of Spain via Madrid and Zaragoza to cross the Midi-Pyrenees into France for a short stay in Lourdes at the foot of the Pyrenees before meandering back home. 

Pushing back your boundaries.

It is always good to 'push back your boundaries', We have crossed the Pyrenees at both ends of the spectrum; Perpignan in the south east of France into the Spanish National Park, Biarritz in the south west of France into the Basque country, and into Andorra where the scenery and sheer height of the mountains is another experience altogether. We have also ridden up to the Spanish Border from Gavarnie where the road seemingly ends and it was the last stop for pilgrims before they trekked on foot over the mountain peaks on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, the far north west of Spain.
We have done this on two, threes, and four wheels; which is our choice? Two wheels of course. And with my husband being a bad traveller as a passenger, it is ferry to France followed by a long drive through France to our destination.

Negotiating tolls on the motorways.

One thing that we found very useful last year was ordering a transponder for both France and Spain for the motorway tolls where our number plate is read and we simply sail through. Formerly, you had to have a French bank account to have one of these but they have now extended this service. We first had one on our hire car last April after the Europcar man advised us that there were no manned tolls in Central Portugal - where we were heading from Lisbon - but simply a camera at the side of the road. After the simplicity of this there was no contest. ( We use motorways when going from A to B to a certain destination.)

How are you aiming to push back your boundaries this year? Follow your dreams?


Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Merry-Go-Round of 2016

What a whirlwind of a year on the merry-go-round of life!

Firstly, I would like to wish all our family, friends, readers, and followers a happy and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous 2017.

2016 started calmly enough. We firmed up plans for a visit to a close family member in Portugal. We  then literally 'escaped to the sun' with another visit to Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. I had missed not having a break in February/March to soak up some much needed warmth.  It all seems a distant dream now. The plan on our return was to complete Island Interludes for publication towards the end of the year. But . . . the best laid plans have a habit of going awry. I did manage to complete the Malta chapter, which I sent to Maltese friends to check for accuracy of detail. I am grateful for their input.

April brought us an issue closer to home which exercised our minds; our little world rocked a bit; We also flew out to Lisbon in Portugal. I have to say that the bright and modern Lisbon Airport is so very easy to negotiate on arrival and on departure there was a group of very smartly dressed young ladies at check-in upstairs to direct us to where we needed to go. The hire car was excellent but I was a little worried when it slid into a drainage ditch which, due to the incessant rain that they were unusually having had turned the unmade-up road  at our destination out in the middle of nowhere into a slippy mess. Thankfully, there was no damage.

June saw us driving across France and Spain on a return visit to Portugal - on a mission - to take supplies as OH foraged in the garage for what he couldn't use any more and loaded the car.

Other activities reared their heads; they now pushed back my writing and publication plans and regular marketing activities. Then, a Saga brochure plopped on the mat and, there it was, a holiday in Tenerife in 2017 with excursions to most of the towns and valleys that we had visited some years previously. With the Taganana Valley, Mercedes Forest, Masca Valley, Santa Cruz, Puerto de la Cruz, San Juan and a lovely hotel in the south of the island on offer I put my case. I needed a field trip in order bring my Tenerife chapter up to date and complete Island Interludes. There was no contest - just a laugh and a "book it". I now firmed up a new publication date for mid-year as long as I could get all the editing, book block, jacket design and advance publicity organized. I needed to re-focus.

In August, we attended an Open Day at the  Ingram Lightning Source UK printing facility in Milton Keynes. This was a fascinating and informative visit resulting in a change of distribution outlet strategy as we decided to consolidate and channel all e-book distribution through the recently set-up Ingram Spark with their one-stop shop of increasingly  global partners. We had our photo taken for the Ingram Spark calendar of which  we have received a copy.

Nerja, Costa Del Sol

Other aspects of our life intruded more than anticipated. Suffice to say that we were thankful of our planned sojurn in southern Spain in November.

 On our return, I found that the Windows 10 updates and configurations caused problems with my desktop PC resulting in loss of Boot Data and subsequent system recovery. E-mails came and went over the next week, calendar and
contacts were lost but thankfully backed up earlier in the year. I went back to basics, found graph paper and drew up a Gantt Chart for the processes that I needed to complete over the next few months, using colour coding with highlighter pens. he first edit of the 'Meandering the Mediterranean' section of Island Interludes is complete. We are back on track. 

Now, a few days before Christmas, we have reflected on what a busy and hectic year we have had with unexpected issues and problems being thrown at us in the hurly burly of life - as life has a habit of doing. Would we have it any different? Well, to be honest not really but a little calm is called for over the next few months so that we can catch our breaths and keep the home fires burning.

You can read about some of our travels in this blog. Follow the links at the side.

Once again, I would like to wish all our family, friends, readers, and followers far and wide a happy and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous 2017.