Monday, 31 August 2015

Closer to Home - Rossett Village Festival

Rossett is a charming and vibrant village on the main road between Wrexham and Chester.

Saturday August 29th was a day of huge excitement as it was the day of the village festival. There was a host of activities and stalls in the Sports Hall. Outside, there was a hive of activity with a flower show, a dog show, a kit car show, beer tent, hot dog stand, a variety of fund-raising stalls for visitors to enjoy as they sat in the sunshine or mingles. A brass band kept everyone entertained with their lively tunes. The organisers must be congratulated on the organisation, scale and smooth running of the event.
Rosalie Marsh

I was fortunate to be placed in the entrance area where I set out my stall. Around the corner was my chocolatier friend Jo Edwards the creative inspiration behind Aballu Artisan Chocolates - based in the Cocoa Rooms, Rossett. Slices of her delicious chocolate pizzas kept me going throughout the day, especially as I had forgotten to take sandwiches!

Jo Edwards. Aballu Artisan Chocolatier


Liz Thompson

Keeping me company in the entrance area were local photographer Liz Thompson of

Liz Thompson Photography  who now specialises in Pet photography.

and local artist Dennis of artbydennis who had a huge range of "Watercolour paintings of Steam, Marford, Rossett, Wrexham and Venice. Also Acrylic and Oil paintings." on display.(source-Google)

Local artist Dennis

In the main hall, as well as Jo Edwards of Aballu Artisan Chocolates, there was a huge variety of craft and food stalls. Various groups entertained the crowds inside with tap dancing, and singing etc.

How do you find the charming village of Rossett?

As you come off the A483 by-pass you catch a glimpse of the ancient Rossett Mill with its huge water wheel on the side wall. Wikipedia says " Rossett Mill, is a Grade II* listed watermill built in 1588. Of timber framed construction on a stone base, the mill was extended in 1661 and during the 1820s." 

In an effort to get my facts straight I also came across the following: "The mill in Rossett is situated on the south bank of the river Alyn. The original mill was built before 1085 and was mentioned in the original Domesday ..."
(I was informed on Saturday that the real name is Marford Mill as Rossett didn't exist when it was built. Just another snippet of information.)

However, I digress. Passing over the River Alyn and The Golden Lion, pub and restaurant -  our favourite eaterie where we often enjoy Sunday Lunch, you are now in the village proper. Just after Nat Cargius Hairdressing - unisex hairdresser and cosmetic hair consultant who also offers a traditional Italian wet shave with hot towels - we turned into Darland High School and the Sports Hall.

It was a lovely and enjoyable afternoon where I met friends old and new, enjoying many chats about motorbike travels and Italy which is the subject of my latest book - The Long Leg of Italy: Explore with Just Us Two.

Rosalie xx

Monday, 3 August 2015

A Reader's Choice in Reading. Reflections

By a reader's choice I don't mean 'what to read', but rather 'how to read'.

I am a firm believer in customer choice - my many years in sales management and work-based learning have reinforced this conviction. At the outset of publishing, pre 2009, I was ahead in the queue for digital publishing; my first publisher in the US offered *pdf only. When I was able to upgrade to Kindle and ePub I encountered a whole raft of issues resulting in many long-distance telephone conversations. I decided we had the in-house skills to do it all ourselves. And so Christal Publishing was born.

Print v. Digital

There is still a huge preference for the printed word. Even a preference for a combination of print and e-reading device. That makes sense really as one size does not fit all. But let's take a look at the popularity of various e-retailers and devices. 
  • By device I mean: Kindle, Android tablet, Apple tablet - iPad, smart phones, PC etc.
  • By e-retailer I mean the on line store from which you purchase and download your book.

Looking at the various formats.

Print. This could be paperback or hardback. Don't they look good on the bookshelf with the spines encouraging you to pick up and put down at will and read time and time again?


Adobe *PDF (Portable Document Format) Following specific guidelines, the printed manuscript is converted to a *pdf file for reading digitally on computers  or a tablet. In general the original layout is preserved which works extremely well for the text-book style of book. Images are retained without any further changes. You will find our *pdf formats in worldwide on line stores such as Hive, Welsh Books Council,Kobo,Google Play etc. They are also available to libraries.
  • You will need to have the free-to-download Adobe Digital Editions software to read these. This allows you to re-size text, fit page, two-page display, bookmark etc.
Apart from the *pdf format an e-book is not a carbon copy of the print version. The text has to flow. For instance, if you make the text larger, it re-flows seamlessly without creating large areas of white paper as you would get in a word-processing document. Page count is increased. 

Amazon Kindle. The manuscript has to be re-formatted to conform to Amazon's submission guidelines for reading on a variety of Kindle devices. Apps are available for other devices e.g. Apple, Android, PC. The images have to meet specific formatting guidelines so that they are viewable on smaller screens.

This is the most common format used on the huge platform of reading devices. The main task here is to get the converted manuscript into the many e-retailers and onto the many e-reading devices. After long deliberation, I used Smashwords  whose name speaks for itself. Founder Mark Coker in the US wanted to bring the written word to a wide audience. Their slogan is 'your ebook your way'. For this reason a variety of formats for each title are available for download from their own store.

In addition, passing all the auto- vetter and manual vetting checks to Apple's standards, all our titles have been included in the Premium Catalogue for shipping to Apple (who do more checks), Kobo, Nook, subscription channels Oyster and Scribd, and libraries to name a few. 

Kindle v. Kobo

It is well-known that you can download a Kindle App to your tablet or PC to enable you to read Kindle books. It is, isn't it? You didn't know? So easy and it takes seconds to open up a whole new affordable world.
Did you know that, turning the tables, Kobo have an App for Kindle as well as PC, Android etc.? Yes, you can, and this is what Kobo says on the title page of an ePub book:
"You can read this item using any of the following Kobo apps and devices:"
  • IOS
    Source: 03.08.2015

Click on the link then any of the titles in ePub format (distributed by Smashwords US) and download the App.
The *pdf versions are distributed from the UK.
With all the dominance of Amazon I find it heart-warming to have such good rankings for my titles and such consistent sellers.

To be perfectly honest, the travel-based books are fine in ePub but the Lifelong Learning Guides are much better in the original layout and image size of *PDF. Many major online retailers have partnered with Kobo to offer eBooks through their Kobo store.e.g. Easons in Ireland.

The best of both world with Kindle Education Text Book Creator.
Amazon now have software to put text books into a more user-friendly format with the Kindle EDU text book creator where diagrams, charts, complicated formatting is preserved as in the print version.
We are in the middle of converting the Lifelong Learning: Personal Effectiveness Guides to this with interactive images and videos. Exciting times. having fun!

Watch this space.
Rosalie xx