Sunday, 25 March 2012

Skills for Life

Skills for Life! I am used to that phrase in the context of  personal development and employability skills.  Today though I had a taster in the skills needed to save someone's life. Truly skills for life!
We went up to Chorley to meet up with Gold Wing friends for the monthly meeting which today, was given over to a first-aid course run by a paramedic - Steve - from the North West Ambulance Service. He was joined by two Community Responders who are sometimes able to be the first on the scene and do something before the ambulance can get through traffic etc.
Steve used a DVD made by the British Heart Foundation to explain about how to respond, CPR, heart attacks, serious bleeding etc. There was lots of laughter as there was a lot of interaction. Especially when some of us couldn't get down on the floor -or get up again once down! It was really serious stuff though and well worth a morning spent 'in class'.
Of course 'Annie' was there for practising on. The really big surprise was learning about and having a demonstration of an AED ( Automatic External Defibrillator) which can be used by almost anyone to try to re-start the heart. It gives instructions once switched on. Really a life saver and they are not really expensive for an organisation to buy.
Thank to the L&L Gold Wing region organisers. Lunch afterwards was good as usual and we had a lovely steady run home in the Spring sunshine.
Rosalie XX

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Another eventful week.

After the excitement and preparations for the Spring Synergy the previous week, last week kicked off in usual frantic fashion (amidst all the calm which surrounds our humble abode).
Monday was WiRE North Wales networking meeting (Women in Rural Enterprise) at the wonderful Gladstone Library in Hawarden. It is important to get out of the confines of home and connect when you are a lone worker.
Tuesday was P.O. Day. That is - Power Off Day as there was planned maintenance shut-down by electricity board.
 'A day out,' announced hubby. So off we went to our favourite Betws-y-Coed in the Snowdonia National Park, nestling in the shadow of mountains on either side with the river running down the middle. Well actually two rivers - I never knew that until Tuesday when I looked at the information board. Usually when we had stopped there with the Gold Wing we had just strolled around the craft shops area and grabbed a cuppa before drooling over bikes and Winging off again. This time we were lucky enough to get a parking spot in the first car park before going to the railway station cafe for a hot drink. This is the cafe which, when you go right through you find yourself on the station platform! 
A quiet stroll down the road brought us to the very old Pont-y-Pair bridge where water tossed and tumbled over the rocks beneath. Lunch at the Best Western Waterloo Hotel was excellent as usual. There is a lot going on there as the restaurant is being enlarged ready for a conservatory on the front to be seen from the road. Looking forward to that. Follow link for more info.
After lunch and a 'crisis' phone call we came back through the Conwy Valley on the old road which brought us into Conwy the back way.
The fresh air had done its job and I fell asleep.

I was off to Coventry on Thursday for a product launch at OCR  - the Awarding Body for qualifications. Marvellous to be back on the road with Classic FM for company and networking with peers. A useful day, and wonderful to hear that Personal Life and Employability Skills are starting to be taught in schools for Years 10 & 11; not only colleges in Adult Education. Hopefully one day, they will become part of the National Curriculum for everyone - just like it used to be - so that everyone is prepared for the world of work and life. It was good to have my belief re-inforced that my new Skills for Employability books are really on the right track as my research had indicated.
Skills for Employability Part One:Pre Employment will be released on May 17th worldwide, on-line and from local booksellers. Available to pre-order now.  E-books will also be available for most readers either on May 1st or as soon after as they can be shipped. Part Two : Moving into Employment will follow later in 2012.
We rounded off the week by going to see our grandson play 2nd Violin in the Wrexham Symphony Orchestra at William Aston Hall, Glyndwr University. They played Dvorak and and a very challenging Bruckner Symphony No 5. I seem to have spent a large part of my life in the William Aston Hall as our daughter (his Mum) played clarinet in the Wrexham Junior, Senior and Clwyd County Band many years ago. The experience has certainly widened my appreciation of music. I am so impressed and it is wonderful to see money/funding being put into music in Wrexham now on a larger scale than hitherto.

Just back from a Gold Wing meeting at Petrolheads Roadside Cafe in Flint. Petrolheads was buzzing  when we dropped in. Made some new friends from Pennine region (Manchester)  who had 'come out to play' on their Gold Wings. One brought his daughter to make sure they played nicely!We had a lovely chat about their proposed first European trip this summer. Do you have room in the trunk? 
Then on to the Cocoa Rooms to see Jo Edwards, Aballu Artisan Chocolatier celebrate their first birthday. Jo makes chocolates like no other and I stocked up Easter goodies for grandchildren.
I did do some work in between all this!Really!
We had to forgo Sunday lunch at Golden Lion Rossett but will pop along later to make up. 
**Good news that Smashwords have signed up with Baker & Taylor for distribution to libraries for e-books and the Blio e-reading app. This may apply to readers in the US more than the UK. I don't know, but anything which widens readership is welcome - whatever format - and my followers and readers outside the UK may find this of interest.
Rosalie x

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Reflections on the Spring Synergy Event at Crewe Hall.

The rain held off; the drawing room with its intricate plastered and moulded ceiling, carvings, and wonderful views from the second floor, was filled to bursting with an eclectic mix of exhibitors.
Rosalie on her stand.
Welcome and Introduction in the Carved Parlour

In the centre we had a flower arranging demonstration. Chrisoula had Jacqui make individual buttonholes for us all from yellow roses - my favourite colour.
Talks  and workshops were held in three different rooms on the first floor. 
To round off the day we had a sneak-peek at the fantastic and elaborate table settings and flower arrangements for the wedding reception in the Long Gallery. The bride was, as always, beautiful and guests were treated to a display of Irish Dancing in the Hall of Pillars on the ground floor. (We saw that as we left.) We met some wonderful people and made new friends and connections.
They say that a picture speaks a thousand words so I will let them do just that!

Just Us Two travel books and Lifelong Learning:Personal Effectiveness Guides
And finally . . . Just Us Two:Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery is having a new jacket and format on May 1st (to tie in with Chasing Rainbows and future releases in the Just Us Two series). I am offering signed copies of my limited author stocks, complete with the award seal - Winner 2010 International Book Awards- Travel:Recreational, at a huge discount. Only £5.00 each  plus p+p.
At the same time, why not snatch  another bargain and add Chasing Rainbows:with Just Us Two - the sequel and the real ending to Rosie's Gold Wing story? Also £5.00 while author stocks last.  Of course they are freely available on-line, worldwide, in print and e-book formats for most readers (Kindle,iPad,Adobe etc. or from you local bookseller. Contact me at or 07715 055653


Some time ago, I contributed to a debate - Writing in the Digital Age - on how embracing the digital age and reaching a wide readership has involved mastering lots of new tools and techniques.

"Technology and the use of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) in learning have come a long way since my research in 1999. Twelve years on and I am writing and publishing books and yes, I am negotiating the exciting avenues of resources available in this digital age in which we live, while many are nervous of even Twitter or Facebook.
So, where do I stand? How have I embraced the use of these exciting platforms to reach a wide readership? Writing is hard. Making your voice heard is harder still, requiring an enthusiasm to explore any avenue open to you.
Progressing from handwritten manuals in 1981 to typing on a simple Casio Writer in 1993 while working in a sales environment, I became the proud and excited owner of a computer in 1996. The world was now my oyster with the tools available to me. Moving into adult learning in the workplace, I wrote or collaborated on producing learning and marketing materials as the Internet and technological solutions became more commonplace.
In 2007 therefore, as I pulled together my first book, I embarked on a steep learning curve and formed a multi-pronged approach to overcoming the hurdles before me as I embraced the digital age.
I needed a Web site A Web site? Wow! Well I had used many software applications such as PowerPoint, video-editing and photo-editing software. Researching the Internet I found a hosting company in the US, which suited my needs. It was designed for those with little, if any, knowledge. The doors of my mind opened further as mastered this. A Guestbook is invaluable for feedback from readers of your work.
BookBuzzr widget On my Website and now Blog, (how I hate that word), I use interactive book covers and samples with the Book Buzzr widget. I schedule messages with a short extract of my book - a few words only.
Podcasts and short videos uploaded to Web and You Tube market my work.
Social Media used sensibly as an online marketing tool and according to the intentions of each – for each has a different focus – is a valuable tool in building an author platform.
Twitter is invaluable for making professional contacts and keeping up-to-speed with current affairs. I can:
·         Engage with like-minded people.
·         Read the links they post.
·         Re-tweet
·         See my posts re-tweeted which widens the circle.

Facebook, apart from ‘being for friends’ provides a more visual impact by uploading photos, videos and web links. Your friends can share with their friends, widening your platform.
Linked-in allows contact with ex-colleagues, school friends, and like-minded people.
Tweet Deck allows posting from Twitter, Liked-in, Facebook, and Google Buzz to name a few. One spawns the other. Using the hash tag allows topics you mention to be read by others with a similar following. My Book Buzzr messages are tweeted on a regular basis.
Scribd and Goodreads further widen awareness of you as a writer and your readership. Many are linked in to each other.
Google Books provides free samples and links to retailer sites.
On going down the self-publishing route, I was required to submit a finished perfect manuscript and prepare the elements for the book cover (unless I wanted to pay extra). I set everything up for both print and e-book formats.
Later, I realised that I could do all this myself! I had the skills and expertise to format manuscripts, create a professional book cover, and market my work with great success.
Print on Demand. Setting up my own company, I used a US/UK based Print on Demand organisation that had worldwide distribution partnerships, which fed to global retailers. I was in control and published my second biographical travel book, which had much geographical educational content. I used on-line resources for web-based submission, communication, and uploading files.
On-line stores. Data filtered through to global on-line retailers. Amazon markets your book for you.
e-books. Submission guidelines for Kindle required different formatting. It was straightforward.
I wrote the first two of a new series of Personal Development Guides. This was exciting! 
With a more technical layout for print, they required yet another approach for e-books.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) guidelines are clear. I read all I could on the Web.
Mobipocket creator converted and built the files, ready for preview in the e-reader.
Kindle previewer for Kindle, iPad, iPhone etc. further ensured accuracy. On-line community discussions on Amazon KDP and Mobipocket shed light on the jargon.
I have learned to use only those strands of Digital Technology, which are useful and are manageable – at that time – and to continue to explore new developments.

Rosalie Marsh
© 2011   

This article was originally published as part of the Writing in the Digital Age debate -Writing in Education
ISSN 1361-8539.  NAWE