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?