Monday, 5 October 2015

Wrexham Carnival of Words. Writer's Group Open Day.

Truly a 'carnival of words'.

Wrexham Carnival of Words is the brainchild of the lovely Susan Miller of    allwordsmatter. I first met Sue at a networking meeting last year after which she broached the idea of involving me in an event around World Book Night that she was organising in our local Waterstones Wrexham book store. Manager Ged was very enthusiastic about this. He has also been very supportive of  my books and me.
Sue Miller of
Book Event. Waterstones, Wrexham 2014

Waterstones, Wrexham (before new signage)

In April this year Sue was involved in the Wrexham Literary Festival  with  authors such as Dave McCall, Peter Read and others such as the Wrexham Library Staff and Paul Jerroett, Head Librarian at Glyndwr University, Wrexham. (Paul also hosts his radio show Calon Talks Books on [community radio] CalonFM.) After the World Book Night Event in Wrexham Library, feedback and discussion highlighted that attendees would like to continue with events. Sue tells me that Wrexham Library Services have also been an integral part of the Carnival of Words Committee.

Thus on Saturday I found myself looking forward with great anticipation to the Wrexham Writer's Group Open Day. The day was well planned and organised, with a choice of workshops for the two morning sessions.

Historical novelist Rob Low introduced us to some of the finer points of writing historical novels. Following this, Susan delivered an excellent interactive workshop based around 'Editing and Polishing a Story. She highlighted some of the most common mistakes - technical, continuity, repetition, and style - which she finds when editing work.
Other workshops in the morning were 'Writing, Performing, and Publishing Poetry led by Peter Read, and 'Writing for Younger Audiences' led by Jude Lennon.

After lunch we were treated to Dave McCall [writing historical novels as David Ebsworth] explaining some of the 'Pathways to Publishing. As a self-publisher [Christal Publishing] myself, I have travelled through this steep learning curve over the last few years; the technical and legal aspects of publishing can be daunting. With interaction, the group members were  able to throw in their thoughts and have some clarity among all the 'stuff' out there.

Before afternoon tea we were treated to a very funny and often hilarious session by poet Peter Read. He had us all in stiches as he recounted and explained some 'Fifty Ways to Make Some Money.

Unfortunately, I was unable to stay for the last discussion of the afternoon led by Paul Jerroett and look forward to the next event.

The Facebook 'page' for Wrexham Carnival of Words is an open group. Why don't you pay a visit and join.

Rosalie xx

P.S. This is where I get paranoid about spelling, punctuation,and grammar.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

In the Mountains, Moors and Valleys of North East Wales

Exploring in the late summer/autumn sunshine. 

Abandoning all plans last Saturday, I retreated to the garden with a good book and the weekend newspaper to bask in the late summer/early autumn sunshine.

On Sunday we had plans to meet with a Gold Wing biker friend at the Ponderosa Cafe on the Horseshoe Pass at Llantysilio above Llangollen. For a change we forsook the glories of the Dee Valley and headed north towards Mold. before reaching Mold we turned onto the A5104 Chester - Corwen road which would take us over the Llandegla Moors from whence we would arrive at the Ponderosa Cafe from the other side.
The Ponderosa Cafe, I must explain, is not only a meeting place for bikers of all kinds including cyclists, it also serves the most delicious food at a most reasonable price. To give you a picture of how high up it is, the gift shop is named 'Shop in the Clouds'.

Travelling along the winding country road through Pontybodkin towards Llandegla, we revelled in the changing scene of the autumn colours in the trees. The sunshine glinted through the leaves as we climbed higher and higher. The moors were covered with purple heather. Rounding a bend, we saw the land drop sharply to our left into the green valley below. The changing  seasons provide a different view as the land reveals a different face to the world. 

Eventually, reaching a succession of roundabouts and crossroads at Llandegla, we headed towards Llangollen. At the last roundabout there is a farm which makes cider. It is called 'Rosie's Cider'. Along the narrow A542 we climbed, admiring the yellow gorse which now covered the mountainsides, eventually reaching our destination.
   'Wow, look at all the bikes! And the cars!' The sides of the road was littered with cars where people had parked up as a base for their walk over the moors. Turning into the Ponderosa Cafe, we could see that there was hardly any space left to park up. In addition to the many bikers, cyclists were more in evidence that ever as they tackled the mountain roads. There is a two-hour restriction on parking and believe me it is needed, such is the constant flow of bikers looking for a break. They also come for biking talk and to stand in admiration at the many models.

We came home our usual way, travelling over the Pass, through Llangollen to home.
Monday dawned as sunny as ever. After making a poor effort at work, I pleaded for a day out in the sunshine. My hubby did not need persuading simply asking if it was too late to go to Betws-y-Coed in the heart of Snowdonia.

Taking the same route as the previous day, we again enjoyed and marvelled at the beauty of the countryside. Reaching Llandegla, we carried on to Corwen where we turned onto the A5 road to Betws-y-Coed. One of my favourite spots is just outside the village near the Conwy Falls. The vista across to the left is so beautiful I could sit and drink it in forever.Enjoying a late lunch in the Bridge Bar Lounge at the Waterloo Hotel and Spa we decided to forgo a dessert and have an icecream from our local shop. It is a while since we have eaten here but the food was as delicious as ever.

I can't say much about the ride home as I fell asleep! But what a wonderful treat at the end of summer. And, we did enjoy our ice cream.

Rosalie xx

Saturday, 5 September 2015

The Fun, Games, and Frustrations of Using Face Book in a Strange Default Foreign Language!

Well! Thank goodness.

The foreign language problem seems to be sorted. Such a relief as I had almost decided to cancel FB account altogether and go into a land of darkness.

The problem started on the Net book which I had recently updated to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1.1. and I was using  Microsoft Edge - the new interactive browser in Windows 10 which super seeds but does not replace -yet - Explorer. One day It asked me if I wanted to put a FB icon on the taskbar. 'Why not?' I thought, although it seemed unusual as taskbar icons normally are activated via the Windows icon on the left of the screen.  (I should explain at this point that I use my Net book PC mainly for marketing,  multimedia away from my desk, social media, research etc. from the comfort of my chair when not working.)

Some days later a little red button appeared on the icon. The button had squiggles on it. A few days later the fun - frustrations - began as once logged on to Face Book , all language defaulted to Vietnamese.

I wondered if the problem had come via Microsoft Edge so I stopped using it and went back to Explorer 11 and then Google Chrome. At one point the language was Afrikaans!
I explored all the Google translate options. The strange thing was that everything was in English before log on and only switched afterwards. Google translate was invaluable for translating the pages but turned some words back to another language, and I still couldn't at first read the menus. These eventually sorted themselves out. Or was it the little men at Face book beavering away behind the scenes? I had sent screen shots to FB with details of the problem. E-mail replies to requests to change passwords came back in Vietnamese!


I had decided in the early waking hours of this morning to see if the white, now repaired, Net book, which is still on Windows 7 and Explorer 11, was OK when I logged on to Face book. It was!  Oh joy! The relief! I then  logged on to FB in Microsoft Edge on the desktop PC - updated to Windows 10 from Windows 7. Still all OK. Long may it continue. 

I can now keep my hair on and hope that FB really have sorted what must have been a bug somewhere in their interface.

I wrote the above earlier this morning. I have just tried to log on FB via Chrome and lo and behold - we have a foreign language. Back to Microsoft Edge and my own language.

I am not sure where the interference originated and thinking that it all started with Windows 10. I had even decided to revert back to Windows 8 and close down FB. In case you are wondering, I do have excellent all-round Internet security all computers.

For now I will leave things as they are and trust FB security to deal with it.

Meanwhile you can connect with me at and visit my business page at  where you can join in the conversation.

Rosalie xx

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