Friday, 28 December 2012

Looking ahead to 2013 while reflecting on 2012.

The Christmas frenzy is over and a new year looms. Time now to look ahead to 2013 and reflect on 2012. Have we planned our strategy for 2013? Did we achieve what we set out to do in 2012? Did we change course? Above all, was 2012 a fruitful year?

I looked at the Events page on my website remind myself what I had done. Good Lord! I was busy! Publicity and Marketing continued apace and will continue in 2013.
Planned releases for 2013.
Currently I am writing a short story called Oranges.  A fantasy type of story with the inevitable visits to sunshine lands where oranges grow in abundance. Initially, this may be e-Book formats only. I plan to finish The Long Leg of Italy, the third in the Just Us Two series. Publication date to be announced. Island Interludes is in the pipeline. This is planned for 2014. More field work may be needed. I feel a trip coming on!
Two other titles in the Lifelong Learning series took a back seat to make room for the Employability books. These will now be planned in. Already I am being asked for Talk the Talk: Getting the Message Across.
Networking will continue to 'keep me in the loop' so to speak. So we look forward to 2013 with a positive outlook. Exciting times!
Book Releases in 2012.
Plans changed in 2012 as publishing our Skills for Employability books became a pressing need.
  • The re-formatted second edition of award winning Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery * was targeted for release on May 1st. After including extra photos, we kept the formatting in colour so that the e-Books would be in colour, even though the print format is in black and white. We were pleased with the new cover, which reflected our love of the mountains yet included our beloved Gold Wing - now a distant memory...
  • Skills for Employability Part One: Pre-Employment, scheduled and released for May 17th, had good pre-publication Amazon rankings.
  • Skills for Employability Part Two: Moving into Employment originally scheduled for November 1st was re-scheduled for September 1st. Although a tall order, feedback suggested that this would be a better date. As with other titles, all images are formatted in colour for the e-Books. (Another hat!)
Of course, formatting the manuscripts for e-Books meant complying with three different submission guidelines - all different to print and each other. All were planned to go live on the same date as the print versions. This was dictated by the date on which each actually went live.
Expanded Distribution.
Print formats are available on-line and from local booksellers through major wholesalers/distributors globally. All copies are fresh off the press of a major US/UK organisation, so no nasty musty smells from long-term storage in a warehouse. The acid-free paper, which comes from environmentally friendly sustainable sources, has a nice feel with no nasty residue on your hands.
In 2012, they all became available from the Welsh Books Council on their on-line bookstore. Just type my author name in the search box.
Espresso Book Machine (EBM). If you are lucky enough to be in an area where they have the Espresso Book Machine you can have a copy printed in minutes, such is the wonder of technology. Mainly in the US and Canada, they are now appearing in locations worldwide including in Canterbury in the UK.
eBooks. e-retailers such as Amazon, Apple, and Kobo etc have their own book stores  There is no guarantee that a book is available in all of them. Most have a downloadable app so that you can read their titles on another e-reader or PC/Mac. We, however, have tried to ensure a global reach.
  • Amazon Kindle technicians are quick to review, approve, and make live.
  • Adobe Digital Editions. All Rosalie Marsh titles are available globally from e-retailers in *pdf format. This works well for the workbook style as the pages are fixed. Through distributor GardnersBooks, they are now available in the UK from Tesco eBooks, Welsh Books Council, Foyles eBooks for example. Libraries can also source copies via distributor GardnersBooks.
  • ePub is an international format now used by most e-readers (not Kindle). Formatting is specialised, as the text has to flow. There are other technical specifications. After much thought we decided to go through US distributor Smashwords as they convert for ePub and other formats in one easy process for download to most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others, and PC.
  • Smashwords Premium Catalogue. We were pleased that the quality of all titles, after close auto and manual vetting, met the requirements for submission into the Premium Catalogue for shipping to Apple iPad/iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook & Nook UK, Sony Reader, Kobo, Baker & Taylor's Blio, and soon Baker & Taylor's Axis 360 library service.
  • Apple of course carries out yet another manual vetting before allowing titles into their iBookstore. We felt a real sense of achievement that they all made it. (At the time of writing, Skills for Employability Part Two is caught up in a glitch and has been re-shipped to Apple. It should appear soon.)
  • Amazon and Kobo rankings are consistently good in both general and specific categories. e-Books have sold in the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa to name a few. Print books continue to sell globally.

Marketing and Publicity in 2012.
Guest appearances.
  • Earlier in the year, I was a guest (two occasions) on Red Shift Radio's European Lunch Show, discussing travel in Spain and well being with presenter Chrisoula Sirigou and other guests.
  • Between February and September, I took part in a range of book signing and speaking events where I also exhibited our range of books. Where money was being raised for charity, I donated a copy of Just Us Two.
  • Over the summer, all titles were promoted on Trindie Books for the Kobo e-reader.
    Following an interview with American author Sylvia Ramsey, I was showcased on her Thoughtful Reflections blog.
Guests Posts and Articles.
·         A variety of topics was posted in the on-line magazine Women's Thoughts under Home Office/Women's Work -Family Matters and Women in Business.
·         Later in 2012, Judith Sharman of Well Tree Learning, published articles in the WTL Life, The Universe & Everything and Workplace sections of the site with more scheduled.
Networking Groups.
  • I joined WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprises) attending meetings in North Wales and Oswestry.
  • I also attended some Federation of Small Business (FSB) meetings in the Chester and North Wales area.
Internet Marketing.
  • Facebook,( Twitter (@RosalieMarsh) and LinkedIn continue to be the main social media sites for us.
  • Our Facebook and Twitter focus expanded with dedicated pages on each for the Just Us Two Travel and Lifelong Learning Personal Effectiveness Guides to reach more specialised groups. Joining LinkedIn and Facebook Groups expanded connections.
  • Just Us Two Travel on Facebook.  Lifelong Learning on Facebook.
    Rosalie & Just Us Two onTwitter (@JustUsTwoTravel) Rosalie &L.L.Develop on Twitter (@LifelongD).
Our Discover-Rosalie site was kept up-to-date. The integration with Google is invaluable. I had great fun with our blog Rosalie's Chatter powered by Blogger, also linked to Google. (Another hat to wear while I immersed myself in these and relaxed!)
All in all 2012 has been a positive year, thanks to my husband who sits quietly while dispensing pearls of wisdom and support. Our thanks to all who have supported us. and we wish you all a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2013.

* Just Us Two:Ned and Rosie’s Gold Wing Discovery (1st Ed. 2009) was winner 2010 International Book Awards (Travel:Recreational category) and Finalist in 2009 Best Books Awards in the same category.
 Take a look around the blog to see what we really got up to!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Return to Nerja, Andalucia

Rosie continues her love affair with Nerja and Andalucia.
After a prolonged break in the sun, I am back 'chattering'. We first visited Nerja in the early 1990's on a trip where we went to Frigiliana and the Cuevos De Nerja.( The ones which three boys discovered when looking for bats in the 1950's.)
When Andalucia called in 2000 we had to change our plans for an Italian trip on the Gold Wing and head to Nerja and Ronda. This was our big Andalucian Adventure where we rode through France and along the coast of Spain to the south, to realise a dream.
Since then we have taken opportunities to spend a few weeks there in the winter with Saga Holidays on their special 4 weeks for 3 all-inclusive holidays. After visiting in 2008 and 2009 we returned this year. 
View from the park in Nerja. Hotel in background.
Nerja is so unspoilt and timeless. Taking the break as 'living in the sun' for four weeks, we just relaxed and chilled out. After the heavy rain of previous weeks the dry river beds were dry no more and had become wide streams flowing down from the mountains behind our hotel into the sea in front of it. This meant that we had to detour along the road and through a field to get to the beach and then walk along the river at Nerja to get to the town. This brought us to the park where we watched a group of (English) people playing Petanque ( kind of bowls.) It is amazing to see orange trees in the Plazas with ripening oranges in winter.
The old Silk Market in Granada
Oranges Trees in Nerja
I have put a few photos on my
Just Us Two Travel Facebook  page.
The highlight of the trip was a day visit to Granada ( we visited in 2009 along with the Alhambra Palace) and a half-day trip to Orgiva in the Las Alpujarra mountains, Sierra Nevada 
( to the east of Granada). 
Sunrise over Nerja at 08:15am. An early start for Orgiva.

After a beautiful sunrise, the sun shone in a brilliant blue sky.With snow on the tops of the Sierra Nevada, the contrasts were fantastic.The pavement cafes in Orgiva were full of people enjoying the winter sunshine in the mountain air.

As I write this post I am listening to a live recording on CD of the North Wales Youth Orchestra's simmer concert in Bangor, North Wales. August 2012. My grandson James Thompson ( @evertonjt was playing in first violin. ( Do I sound like a proud Granny? Well, I am!) The programme was very energetic, with the talented orchestra playing music by Shostakovich, Katchachurian, Rimsky-Korsakov and Dvorak   conducted by Gareth John.

I did some Christmas shopping in Nerja for 'my girls (3 generations) which lessened the load when we returned home. So today I have wrapped, packed, posted and stored!
Might get down to some writing next week. Oranges and The Long Leg of Italy are knocking at the door of my brain.


Thursday, 8 November 2012

"Hilarious and heart-warming."

Adventures on a Honda Gold Wing. "He wanted a little bike to tinker with but . . . she had well-groomed hair and wore high heels'' Read how Ned and Rosie changed their world as they swooped over mountains and down into valleys . . .

Print, Kindle, EPub Pdf for multiple readers and devices.

Rosalie x

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Expanding the reading experience. The Nook comes to the UK.

It is a great delight to sit curled up with a book and turn the pages with anticipation of what comes next. Some of us commit the crime of turning a page down to mark the place where we take a break. There are bookmarks a-plenty for this purpose!

But digital reading is gathering pace in the UK with ever more accessibility to the all-important e-reader. Of course if you don't have an e-reading device you can always download an 'app' from the e-retailer onto your PC or Mac. While debating with OH which to buy, I have already done this on my PC Desktop and Net book but reading in sunlight from these is not good. 

This month Waterstones started selling  the Kindle with Wi-Fi access to download e-book titles from the Kindle store.

Barnes & Noble, the large US bookseller who has brick and mortar stores as well as an online presence, started shipping its Nook devices to the UK this month.They have opened a dedicated e-store for the UK. As well as booksellers Blackwell's and Foyles, they have partnered with John Lewis, Argos, Currys-PC World, Sainsburys and Waitrose. The latest news is that they have partnered with Asda.

"Asda will feature the NOOK portfolio of products, including the award-winning NOOK Simple Touch and NOOK Simple Touch GlowLight, which are available to pre-order online from today, and to experience first-hand in-store from late October. The NOOK Simple Touch is the easiest-to-use Reader with the world’s best, most paper-like reading screen, and the NOOK Simple Touch GlowLight adds an evenly distributed and adjustable light that is perfect for reading in the dark.
Both lightweight devices feature built-in access via Wi-Fi to Barnes & Noble’s digital catalogue of more than 2.5 million digital titles, including top-selling UK books, newspapers and magazines." (

As most publishers have to upload to each e-retailer through, the e-stores will have a different mix of titles. You may find that a title available in Amazon's Kindle store is not available in Nook if the publisher hasn't uploaded to them as well.  
 Smashwords however, the US e-book distributor, are able to ship - subject to titles passing stringent vetting for quality - to a whole host of e-retailers for downloading to their dedicated e-readers.

This is the route publisher Christal have gone down for the E-Pub format. Working with Smashwords, all our titles are available either at the dedicated:  Barnes & Noble UK Digital store for Nook, Apple iBookstore, Kobo  WHSmith), Sony, Diesel, and Blio e-stores or direct from Smashwords in multiple formats.

News also came this week that Apple have expanded into 50 more stores worldwide.

In addition to Kindle and E-Pub formats, Christal Publishing provide e-books in *pdf format for Adobe Digital Editions. These also are available worldwide. Some e-retailers in the UK include: Welsh Books Council at their bookstore, Tesco eBooks, Foyles, BooksonBoard.

N.B. I started by talking about good old, comforting print books. These also are available worldwide. The best of both worlds if you will forgive the pun.

Go forth and read! And enjoy! 

Rosalie xx

Friday, 26 October 2012

The Daunting Prospect Of Getting Back Into The World Of Work

The Daunting Prospect Of Getting Back Into The World Of Work

This is my second guest article for Judith Sharman of Well Tree Learning. 
There are many schools of thought on women in the workplace. I never had any expectations that when I gave up work to have a family,  I would one day go back to work. I was a stay-at-home Mum for about fourteen years and in retrospect, they were the best years of my life as I nurtured and managed my family and home. This article is a very real experience. My career came in later life and continues after 'retirement'.  But the term 'retirement' is another hot topic. Q. What actually is retirement? 

We will leave that for another day . . .

Another associated article was published after mine.

On her Well Tree Learning site Judith focuses on three main areas:
You & Your Workplace, You & Your Family, and Coaching and Consultancy. Take a look around the site. there are some thought-provoking topics there. 

Rosalie x

Also read: In Defence and Celebration Of E-Books

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Post-canal holiday and a pot-pourri of activities.

After a busy start to the Sunday followed by meeting Gold Wing friends for a chat over a bacon toastie at Petrolheads Cafe , I have settled down to catch up on some social networking and marketing. Yes the Sunday paper is waiting. From my study I can hear the excited  voice, rising ever higher, of the F1 commentator. OH is glued to the 'moving screen' that is the TV so I will leave him in peace for a bit longer.
t only seems like yesterday when we were cruising down a tranquil Vale of Pewsey on a narrow boat. I have edited the video, swapped photos with the younger family members who took the burden of working the locks and organising us - actually it is time to let the next generation take over - and finally hoping to get down to editing the Italy video from June.
This last week, I have submitted a series of articles, two of which are based on the thorny issue of  employability. I will let you have the links when they are up. What has gone up this weekend is a third article about e-books. I read a post which sparked me off. This post indicated that print books would die in the face of the expanding e-book sector. I don't agree. I firmly believe that they can live side by side and meet different needs. The article is based on a post I put up on this blog some time ago.
Go to
Judith Sharman MD at Well Tree Learning liked it so much that she put it up. Thank you Judith.Judith - a respected former headteacher and Education Consultant - devotes her time to consultancy and coaching to help businesses and families to succeed. 
Enjoy the rest of your day. Off now to read the Sunday paper - if I can blank out the noise of the excited commentator!
Rosalie x

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Cruising down the Kennet and Avon Canal in a Narrowboat.

Hello again!It is blogging time now that I am back where signals are strong. Over the last two weeks I, with O.H. and two younger members of the family, took possession of a narrowboat. Why? Why, you ask, would a middle-aged couple want to spend two weeks in cramped and confined conditions? Yes the boat had all mod cons,(we knew that from our last canal holiday many years ago when the children were small) and this is the nub of the matter.
After such a good relaxing time, we have said for years that we should do it again. In 2007 when we were on the Gold Wing, we visited Trebes near Carcasonne in the south of France. 
      'We must do that again', we told each other. 
Visiting Grindley Brook staircase locks near where we live, once again we dreamt of a canal holiday. But, not being 21 anymore and having certain restrictions we called on the help of the younger generation.
Choosing a layout for comfort and relaxation - we have done the 'pack as many berths in as you can' bit -  we collected our boat from its mooring in the ancient and historic city of Bath; stored our luggage, bicycle, dog and ourselves; listened to the handover instructions and set off.
The Kennet and Avon canal joins the River Avon at Bath and runs in a line across southern England to meet the River Thames at Reading.      
We knew that the countryside would be interesting and knew about the flight of locks at Devizes. However nothing prepared us for the absolute seclusion, peace, beauty, nature and subsequent adventures!
Meandering across to Bradford on Avon we faced our first lock. Not bad. We were going up. At Foxhangers we encountered a few more. A bit more work and I insisted on trying my hand with the paddles and gates. Quite a lot more work!          

Then, after seven locks we came to the Caen Hill bottom lock on the Devizes flight. O.H., who was guiding the boat with the tiller and clutch, felt his heart drop when he saw the sixteen locks ahead. We moored for the night, ready for an early start in the morning. Actually it was quite fun rising up in the water and reaching the top, we only had another six  to go before mooring in Devizes at the back of the town. Over the next few days we meandered along, stopping at will, taking into account pumping out (sewage) and water pick-up points. We managed some wonderful meals at excellent waterfront pubs. Halfway across, after the famous White Horse carved into the hillside, Horton, Honeystreet, the Saxon town of Pewsey, and beyond, we turned round to head back to base. 
I am not a dog lover (being bitten as a child) but found myself not only talking to Holly but actually stroking her. 
The locks on the way down were another matter altogether. They are scary!   Yes, we had to tackle the Devizes flight again. It was pouring with rain and we were the only boat not moored up. They all had more sense! However, this gave us a clear run as there was no-one coming up and, reaching the first one out of Devizes, we followed all instructions i.e. make sure the boat is far enough forward  to keep clear of the cill at the bottom of the doors, otherwise the boat would get caught and tip up forward - contents with it! The advice was to use a rope to stop the boat being thrown about as the water went down.
Disaster struck! Somehow the boat wedged on a bit of wall sticking out at the side at the top of the lock. It tipped. O.H. thought his day had come. I was at the front and      
    'Ahhhgh!' I went.
    'Back, back,' O.H. yelled. 'Close the paddles! Wind back!' 
Frantically, our two lock workers re-wound the paddles , bringing the ratchets down. The boat righted, the dog shot out of the door at the back in terror, my heart was banging and thankfully O.H's didn't fail altogether. It would have been a long way down if we had tipped right over.
Our nominated skipper decided that from now on we would not use the ropes but that I, from my position at the front with the mooring rope, would use the barge pole to keep the boat off the walls.
This worked a treat and from now on that is what we did, working in two teams, I with O.H. and the younger members on the lock gates with us all taking instruction from 'Skipper'.
Checking the cabin when we got through the lock and moored up, we found chaos! there was all sorts on the floor. Things had been flung about and the poor dog was terrified. She hadn't been herself in the morning and I think she must have know that there was an impending disaster.
How many lives did we use up? Quite a few I imagine!
As I stood at the prow of the boat with my barge pole upright in my hands as I waited for the next lock, I felt as the Vikings must have done when they approached in their longboats to the land they were going to conquer. (They didn't have signals either for TV,radio,Wi-fi or mobile phones.)

There were more adventures but these only added to the mix of sunshine, stiff breezes, lily pads coming into bloom, kestrels and herons along the waterfront along with kingfishers and dragonflies. Not forgetting the hungry ducks and cheeky swans. I grew up by the canal and most days had to brave walking past swans on the banking, giving a wide berth as they stretched their magnificent and powerful wings. It is amazing how many people actually live on the canals. We saw someone doing their washing. His washing equipment on the tow-path was a dolly tub, scrubbing or washboard and posser. He was only missing the mangles so had to wring out by hand. My mum used a dolly tub until I was grown up and wash day was quite an operation I can tell you.

 Rosalie xx

Monday, 10 September 2012

An evening cruising down the River Dee with the Chester

It was 'all aboard' on Friday - a beautiful evening and just the weather for a cruise down the River Dee in Chester on the Lady Diana Showboat.
The evening was organised by the Federation of Small Business (FSB) North Wales and Chester Region as a social/networking event, with the emphasis on 'social'.And it did not disappoint.
The Lady Diana was moored up at a landing stage opposite the Souters Lane roundaboutChris Caroe -Toastmaster was M.C. for the evening and lent a special air to the event in his smart uniform. Guests were greeted by a gaily decorated boat. Bunting sponsored by Bunting Queen. Joanna & Ralph of KinchPrint, and the  committee, safely welcomed everyone on board before we sailed away from the calm shores of the River Dee into the sunset. All in the safe hands of the unflappable captain and crew.

The Saga Louts ('Classical Entertainment for the less discerning ear') gave us non-stop easy-listening music;catering was excellent; the bunting added a festive air, the conversations were interesting and, from my point of view, fascinating.I had been encouraged to take one of the trade tables and found myself in a lovely 'quiet' spot next to the band where I was able to enjoy an evening of easy-listening music while gazing out at the smooth waters of the River Dee; admiring the houses on the riverside. I used to live further down the valley, near Llangollen and not far from the River Dee as it coursed from Llangollen through what is now Ty Mawr Country Park. The river at Chester is so calm and peaceful and what a lovely idea to have an evening cruise.

It was so nice to meet Serge Sergiou of Border Music again. (He writes songs and composes music.) He introduced me to Caroline and Wally of Premier School of Building. It was so nice to talk to  like-minded people about work-based and distance learning, especially someone who understood and had experience of its value.

 Rosalie xx

Check out new titles
In print and e-book formats for most readers .

Thursday, 30 August 2012

e-book revolution in the UK - Update

An update on yesterday's blog: 

Barnes and Noble bringing the Nook to the UK. 

Twitter is buzzing today with the news in The Bookseller that three more retailers have signed up with Barnes and Noble to sell the Nook in the UK. Argos, Foyles and Blackwell's will sell the Nook from October in addition to the recent  first signing of John Lewis.
As we all have different shopping habits, this mix of retailers, offers something for everyone. 
As I mentioned yesterday, Barnes and Noble, who is a major US bookstore, will also be offering UK consumers direct purchase of the Nook and content (e-books) from a new online shopfront
So with Waterstones about to sell Kindles (plus content?), WHSmith already selling Kobo with access to Kobo e-books from the WHSmith e-bookshop, and now the advent of the Nook, things are looking brighter.
Are YOU ready for the e-book revolution about to hit the high street? Time to start your list for Santa?

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Are you ready for the e-book revolution in the UK?

Barnes and Noble bringing the Nook to the UK.

I like a print book as much as anyone does. I write and publish 'print' books. When my children were small, we spent hours in the peace and quiet of our local library. There is nothing like the smell, the feel, the look of all those patterns of letters on a page - or the horror as you mop up a splodge of coffee of your current passage as you juggle with holding the book open with one hand and a cup in the other.
I love to see the variety of colours cascading along my bookshelf and running my fingers along to remind myself of the delights inside those covers. The big glossy hardback books on gardening, places to visit, motorcycles etc. are for keeping to browse again and again.
Enter digital books or e-books.
I have written at some length about e-books. Like it or not, they are here to stay. In the US, they are huge.
In the UK, they have largely been in *pdf format until fairly recently, for reading on a PC or laptop computer. Many of us follow Twitter. We avidly follow Facebook and other social networking sites. People post links to articles of interest. We click on them and . .  we read. Digitally.

Fast forward to a different way of reading. The e-reader. Light, accessible, turn the page at the flick of the wrist. Convenient. Not just books, but newspapers and magazines as well. Imaging that on the train or Tube!

Nook - Now for the exciting news!
Barnes & Noble, a huge US retailer is bringing the Nook to the UK.  A big announcement in Publishers Weekly gave details. They have signed up with retailer John Lewis to sell Nook in their stores from the autumn. Also Barnes & Noble will be selling them and content (e-books) direct from a dedicated on line store 
Amazon brought the Kindle to the UK not so long ago. Yes really! A matter of months in the general scheme of things. Before that, you couldn't buy one for delivery in the UK. Now we are taking them for granted. They claim to provide the best reading experience. You can also download an App to another e-reading device or PC (I have). Amazon signed up with our very own Waterstones a few months ago to sell Kindles with customers being able to download e-books alongside buying print.
Apple brought us their iPad and iPhones. Not just for downloading music from the iTunes store, they brought us access to a host of books from their iBookstore. You can download the App (I have) to another device such as PC.
Kobo offer a range of readers plus apps for downloading to other e-reading devices or PC. The Blackberry playbook tablet supports Kobo. Kobo already have a partnership with WHSmith to sell e-books. Go to the author page, e.g., Rosalie Marsh, and the links for e-books will take you to the Kobo store.
There are other e-readers such as Sony, Diesel, and Baker& Taylor Blio. All of these and the above, with the exception of Kindle, require that the author/publisher goes through a dedicated organisation who has an agreement to provide the e-books to them. These are called an aggregator. This meant that each e-retailer had to be approached independently.
Step in Smashwords. This US distributor of e-books has cracked it! They have agreements with all of the above, with the exception of Amazon (yet). You can download multiple formats directly from their site to your preferred reading format. On-line, ePub (all of the above apart from Kindle) Mobi (for Kindle) etc.
Or you can go to the on line shop for your reader such as Apple, Kobo, Nook etc.

Now for the real benefit which we are finding. The clever bit.
Because we are signed up with Smashwords and our books have passed all the stringent manual vetting tests, they have made it to the Premium Catalogue for shipping to the above organisations. And, because they are in the above on-line stores already, when those organisations sign up with partners retailer stores, they automatically become available through them.  All with one upload. That is something like having your cake and eating it. 
So glad we took the plunge because, if that is the way things are going and the printed word (reading) becomes ever more accessible in varied formats, well, we are up there ready and waiting for you to sample, click the button and download.

One more thing. All titles in the Christal Publishing e-book stable have their photos and images in colour. A small but important point. Makes for a more vibrant experience.

Have you all put an e-reader on your Christmas Pressy list for Santa?

Rosalie xx

P.S. Skills for Employability Part Two: Moving into Employment is now being released on September 6th (not November 1st) and will be in multiple e-book formats as the others are.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

A fantastic Olympic week.

What a fantastic week for team GB. The medals keep rolling in and it it superb to see. 
Three of the sportsmen/women are from my home town and two already have medals. Chris Bartley a silver and Tom James two golds.

Congratulations all.Bring back sports in school I say. 

This will focus young people, give them a sense of pride as they push back their boundaries and spur them on to greater things - not always in sport but in life in general.
It might reduce the anti-social behaviour which is still a problem in some areas. It will certainly add to the fitness of Nation GB.

Rosalie xx

Monday, 30 July 2012

In defence and celebration of e-books

I may be a little controversial here but I do feel strongly about this topic. The debate on e-books continues and falls mainly into two camps.

  1. Readers (human) who swear by the printed book and who shudder at the thought of not holding a 'proper' book in their hands.
  2. Readers (human) who use a reader (electronic) to read the printed word digitally.

I want to look at some of the pros and cons of each.
Paper books.
Now, don't get me wrong, I like a book in my hand as much as anyone; the suspense as you hurry through the pages, turn the page, and stay gripped while you chew on a sweet, take a slurp - sorry, sip - of wine, bite your nails etc., is not to be underestimated. The joy of running your finger along the spines of a row of books on the bookshelf, pausing to select one, pull it out, and browse, cannot be described fully.

But wait! You want to read your current book on the train or plane. The book you are in the middle of is quite bulky, you struggle to fit in in your bag or case, horror of horrors, your case is overweight and you have to leave it behind. Even if you do manage to fit the book in to your bag or case, while you sit in your confined space on the aeroplane there is little room to spread out while you turn the pages. The passenger in the next seat turns the page of his/her newspaper and knocks your drink over - all down the page you are reading. Disaster!

Enter the e-reader. A quick and convenient way to carry a book for other situations than being curled up in bed or a chair. And, do you know? You can load a massive number of books onto that little oblong item. It could even fit into your pocket. Increasingly, at airports men pop their Kindle into their jacket pocket in-between airport checks or pop them into their hand luggage. Ladies can easily slip them into their briefcase or bags. (We ladies don't seem to have the wealth of pockets that men do somehow.)

Some people find them much easier to use when reading in bed. There is no problem turning pages and holding them down. A quick flick of a button or touch on the screen  and, job done. There is no glare on a Kindle when reading outside in sunshine as there is with a Net book or laptop.

Another aspect of e-readers is the versatility.

It is surprising how many people say to me at book events " Oh, I don't read books."  They probably read newspapers and magazines and search the web to read information, but books? Shock horror! I do wonder if they have a reading difficulty which was not addressed in school or even worse, were they made fun of in class because they were not as fast as others? That is a huge barrier to reading. One which an e-reader can help them to overcome.

A stack of pages between two thick paper covers can  be daunting - a lot to digest. A bit like a huge plate of food that you are expected to eat when really, you would prefer to help yourself to a little at a time. It is the same with an e-book downloaded onto an e-reader like Kindle, iPad, Kobo, even an app (Kindle,Kobo,iTunes etc.) onto your PC. All you see and have to digest mentally is one page at a time. All you actually see while you are reading is one page at a time. It is non-threatening. You feel that you could perhaps tackle that story which everyone is talking about. It makes no difference whether there are two pages, twenty-two or a thousand. All you are being asked to digest mentally and psychologically is one page.

A scenario.
Actually, you have been clever. You do not have an e-reader but you do have a smart phone. You are quite savvy with all these technological innovations and find that downloading from the Internet is child's play. So here you are with a 'book' tucked away on your phone. No-one can laugh at you now; you could be reading anything. It is private and you can soon switch off if someone comes.

Soon, you are absorbed in the story. You are sitting on a park bench; you may be strap-hanging on the tube; you are reading.

And that is the important thing. Reading;finding information;getting lost in a story which transports you away from daily cares.

Another scenario is that you might have sight difficulties and find that the small print in most books is hard to see. Even with spectacles. Your eyes are tired after a long day at work. You possibly need a large print. You do not go into the library to ask for a large-print book. "Good heavens no." I can hear you say. "That is embarrassing." It is also another barrier. So you do not bother. What a shame. You are missing out on so much. There is a hazy screen between you and that huge world of information out there. It is like being on the edge of a forest and you are frightened to venture in.

An e-reader has a useful function of making the size of letters larger. The letter size is called the font size. (The font is the style of the letter.) You can also change the background from white with black letters to black with white letters or sepia - a fawn colour - with black letters. You can make the reading experience your own as you adjust everything to suit.

"But with a printed book, I can put a bookmark in it to tell me where I am up to." Well, you know what? You can do this with some e-readers. And you can make notes as you bookmark pages. Excellent for research and reference.

I for one do not believe that digital e-books will ever replace the printed word. E-books allow another type of reading experience and do, I am convinced, reach out to a new audience. That is why I have published all my books in all formats ( Print, Kindle,*PDF and e-pub ) for a wider readership.
It is the reading that is important. I cannot imagine what it would be like not to be able to read and interact with people as I absorb information and news. Or go off into my dream world as I escape daily cares and relax.

Reports say that those who read e-books actually read more than they did before. That is interesting. It appears that they are enjoying the experience.Some people may want a physical copy of the one they have read digitally.  Who knows one day, they may feel confident to venture across the threshold of an actual bookshop, browse the shelves, and buy a book. A 'proper book'! And while they are there, they may, if they are lucky, be able to download another e-book or two onto their e-reader.

You see, they want some books in print and some stored on their reader. For different situations. But they want books. They want to read. Let's celebrate that!


Rosalie xx

Saturday, 14 July 2012

An amazing week.

It was all systems go this week and some flexibility of schedule. OH rang on Wednesday from town. Writing went on the back burner for the day while we chilled out for lunch. (We had a voucher which just had to be used up! Know what I mean?)  
We then meandered down the A41 to Grindley Brook, Whitchurch to watch the boats going through the staircase locks. Such a tranquil way to spend a few days. Of course we had some Cheshire Farm ice cream while we watched the locks open and close and the boats gliding through the murky water. 

Memories! Memories of our canal boat holiday when the children were small and we glided slowly through the Llangollen Canal, over the famous Pontycysyllte Aquaduct over the DeeValley to the Shropshire Union Canal and through these very locks. They are called staircase locks as there are a few in succession going up or down-depending which way you are going- like a staircase.

Thursday brought the book event at the new Writer's Cafe in a sunny but quiet Penmaenmawr. Out on the pavement in the flower-decked arcade of shops, I met some lovely people including some visitors from Waterford, Ireland. 

Back home it was time to get glammed up and off into the hills and the beautiful Vale of Clwyd!.  I was very honoured to be included in  a business dinner/discussion in the evening where I gained more insights into changes in education in Wales today. Some truly innovative contributions and an amazing evening. The Nant-y-Garth Pass on the way home in the dark was another matter. I chose that route over the Mold one as they had taken the top off the road between Llanferres and Clwyd Gate high above the valley for re-surfacing, and with the ramps and bends decided to go the other way via Ruthin.  An altogether challenging drive home with two and a half miles of switchback bends through the forest and no lights! It was very misty on the top at Bwlchgwyn with swirls of white stuff floating eerily towards me only to disappear like a puff of smoke. 
Chilling out on Friday, I was all geared up for writing today (Saturday). 

Skills for Employability Part Two: Moving into Employment is scheduled for November release but we are hoping that we can bring it forward due to other developments on the horizon. As with all our other titles, it will be on Kindle; e-Pub on Smashwords for Apple, Sony, Kobo, Nook, Diesel, Blio and others and shipping to these e-stores for direct download.  
Family matters beckon tomorrow and looking forward to the day.   

Next job is to up load the Italian Lakes and Dolomites video for editing and then move on with the Long Leg of Italy.
Retirement? What is that? Too busy to get old!
Rosalie xx

Monday, 9 July 2012

Music, book events and more.

Good Morning to you all!
Even though there are grey skies here in the UK we always look for that little bit of sunshine amid the clouds.
This week, there is lots happening as I am having a book event at the new Writer's Cafe in the Becws Alun Artisan Bakery shop in Penmaenmawr. I do hope that you can pop in and have your copy of any of my titles signed. Alan and Wendy have them on sale there all the time now. The cafe is in a quiet area at the back of the shop overlooking the sea. A wonderful setting in which to relax in the changing scenery. 
Follow the link above for more information and video book trailer.

Then I am taking part in a business discussion on Youth Employability. This is a subject close to my heart and the basis of my Skills for Employability and self development books. It is a problem which seems to grow in spite of the many who are employable and do find jobs and a worthwhile future.
Last week ended with a very busy Sunday. After our Gold Wing meeting at Petrolheads Cafe (bike friendly) in Flintshire, we had lunch at the Egerton Arms in Cheshire before relaxing to watch the nail-biting Wimbledon final. What a match!
We had tickets for the latest Wrexham Symphony Orchestra concert at the William Aston Hall in Glyndwr University. We think that this is the last concert, at least for a while, for grandson James who is hoping to go to Manchester University to take up a music degree - exam results will decide that but we have every faith. It seems as if I have been going to concerts there forever as his Mum played the clarinet in concerts there. So wonderful to see the changes, development and opportunities now. 
The programmes are attracting top class conductors. Last night, under the baton of conductor Richard Howarth,we were Richardtreated to a solo performance by the young and talented Lucy Arch for the Elgar Cello Concerto in E Minor. In the Vaughan Williams Overture "The Wasps" these talented musicians actually made their violins sound as if there was a swarm of wasps buzzing around. Amazing! the programme ended with another Vaughan Williams piece:Job, A Masque for Dancing. Such professionalism from these musicians young and not so young.
There is such talent here in the hills of North Wales!
The next concert in November has another big programme. The Cobalz/Wrexham Symphony Orchestra Mahler Project. Mahler: Symphony No. 3 with Conductor: Kenneth Woods

Have a lovely week.
Rosalie xx

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Special Summer Savings on Just Us Two e-Books

**Special Savings through July 1st to July 31st  on Just Us Two Books e-Books from Smashwords. 
Your Format- Your Way.  Download to most readers   
25% off. 
Quote Coupon Code SSW25 
Just Us Two:Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery (Second Edition)
Chasing Rainbows:with Just Us Two 

Also at Amazon for Kindle or Kindle Apps
Just Us Two:Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery (Second Edition)
Chasing Rainbows:with Just Us Two

Rosalie x

Friday, 22 June 2012

Lakes, Mountains, Rivers and Valleys.

Looking at the title of this post you may ask if I am talking about the  beautiful North Wales where I live. I have said before many times that you have to go a long way to beat the diverse and ever-changing beauty of North Wales which does have it all: mountains,valleys, rivers, and lakes.
Our escorted tour  to the lakes and mountains of Northern Italy last week was certainly a match and far exceeded any expectations which we had harboured.
Villa on Lake Como.
All in all we counted ten lakes: Orta, Como, Maggiore, Iseo, Garda, Nambia, Sanzeno, Molveno, Lugano, and Toblino. Some of these you will have heard of such as Lago di Como where our drive around the lakeside was unexpectedly changed (if we wanted to) to a boat ride around the lakeside. Oh! The Villas! So old and full of charm. An exhilarating ride, even if I did get a bit wet with the spray washing over the back of the boat where I was sitting outside.What is a bit of wet?
Stresa on Lake Maggiore brought another boat ride to circle the very small  Borromean Islands in the lake .
Lake Garda
The gorges in the mountains were so deep and dramatic. Lake Garda was enchanting and hot with a visit to three towns. The tunnels cut into the rock now have a few lights. Only a few but better than when we rode around the lake on the Gold Wing motorbike in 2003 when it was pitch black apart from the cut-outs in the rock. And we saw a wedding. A bride and groom along with all the guests hopped on to a boat and zoomed off to the south of the lake. It is one way to get your guests to your wedding reception!

There will be more on this in The Long Leg of Italy currently under development. The story. not the leg!
Rosalie xx

Monday, 4 June 2012

Nice things happening in Rosie's Garden with the power of social media

A few pieces of good news have arrived this last week.

1) If you are a bookshop in Wales or like to support Welsh authors and publishers, I am now listed on the Welsh Book Councils online bookshop GWales
Photograph by BigForestPhotography 

2) The showcase on-line author interview went live on Saturday on the Sylvia Ramsey Thoughtful Reflections Blog  with mentions and images of all our titles. I came across Sylvia on a Linkedin author group site. As she is in the US and I am in the UK, I was thrilled that she chose to interview me. Sylvia has a fascinating story herself and gives all the proceeds of her books to the American Bladder Cancer Association. If you would like to interview Sylvia, contact her through her site.

3) Chasing Rainbows:with Just Us Two was showcased on for Book of the Day and was still there on Saturday plus in the Kobo Bargain Books section. No Kobo? -download the app.
Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery (new edition) will be reviewed this Wednesday June 6th with Skills for Employability Part One:Pre-Employment on July 3rd and Release Your Potential:Making Sense of Personal and Professional Development on August 3rd. Shawna contacted me through Twitter
4)  Chasing Rainbows (2011) is still a category bestseller  after **52 weeks in the US Amazon store   After topping at #1 on June 1st 2011, it has remained steady at #31 in Books > Travel > Europe > Andorra.  Andorra, an experience of a lifetime! 
Chasing Rainbows was also a category best seller in the Amazon UK store:  * #48 in Books > Travel & Holiday > Countries & Regions > Europe > Ireland; #52 in Books > Biography > Social & Health Issues > Cultural History > Irish on 29.05.11;  #54 in Books>Biography.Social&Health Issues.Cultural History>Irish  on June 9th 2011.  
#72 in Kindle Store>Books>Nonfiction>Biographies & Memoires>Specific Groups  on June 9th 2011 
just five weeks after publication. 
Visit my author page. In the US? Go to: 

5) Skills for Employability Part One:Pre-Employment ePub format has now been approved for shipping to AppleiBookstore,(Download the app here) Sony Reader, Diesel, B&N for Nook, Baker &Taylor for Blio and Kobo where it will join all other titles in the two series, most of which have been shipped already. If they are not there they are in the shipping process. You can can download direct from Smashwords  or go to the bookstore for your e-reader. Don't forget that Kobo e-books are now available from the WHSmith for Kobo  ebookstore. 

6) A publisher mention in a major trade newsletter with image of Lifelong Learning:A View From the Coal Face. Nice!

7) Jubilee weekend competition in Women's Thoughts - an online coffee stop type of magazine. I am donating as a prize, a copy each of Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery and the sequel Chasing Rainbows:with Just Us Two. Signed and gift-wrapped.  It runs until next weekend but you can join in the conversation anytime.

8) Last but not least but of prime importance! Hard-to-locate camcorder tapes from Amazon arrived. All set for Italy now and don't have to buy a new camcorder.

Memories of Sicily to keep me going until I return to La Bella Italia!