Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Christmas fairs and book signings... and folding tables

So what else would an author be doing on a Wednesday morning, but trying to prise open a folding table...?

When I started writing I though that I would write my stories, and hand them over to someone else to do all the other mystical stuff that gets those stories into books and into the hands of readers everywhere. But little did I know that I was setting off on a journey that would find me illustrating my own books, publishing; and far from sending the books out into the world, I find myself taking them out there and doing book signings anywhere from a book shop to a swimming pool, and even a vineyard...

Then there's the props - an early ice breaker was handing out bookmarks - made at home on a temperamental printer, and then finding I needed a paper trimmer to cut them up...

I needed a table cloth to cover my table at fairs - and what about a banner with Lost in a Book printed on. That option proved very expensive, so I custom made a table cloth with Lost in a Book appliqued on.

Next came merchandising the books, by designing and knitted characters from the books - so far there are sheep, which have proved to be very popular with all age groups, and a more fun ice breaker than bookmarks... and cats - little ginger Basils roaming the table.

As my stuff expanded and got heavier, I invested in a crate on wheels, which has made my life so much easier, and I don't arrive staggering under the weight of books and bags...

And now, for the fairs where they don't have enough tables, or charge extra for them, I have my own fold up table. It's heavier than expected - just as well, as it is sturdy enough for lots of books - I wonder if I can balance it on wheelie create...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why an author is like a swan...

A swan will sit serenely on the water, gliding along effortlessly - but all the effort is going on out of sight, where the legs are doing all the work... Now I'm not saying that an author at a book signing is madly kicking their legs under the table, but, a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to get to the point where they can sit or stand there for the day, with all the time in the world to engage in conversation with total strangers...

It all starts with a spark of imagination... and then there's:
  • Writing the book
  • Illustrating the book
  • Publishing
  • Printing
  • Gathering display stands, a table cloth and lights
  • Getting everything to the fair
  • Displaying the books
  • Hiding behind the books   
  • Engaging total strangers in conversation and sharing a passion for books

Behind the scenes at Lost in a Book

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 how did that happen?

I started off lost in a book and rummaging for words, so how did that lead to rummaging in wool, and in danger pf getting lost under a pile of wool, fabrics and ingredients?

So - the wool started when I decided to merchandise my books, and make some characters from  the books to display on my table at book signings. The sheep were the first - people love sheep, and it's not just the children who want to take one home, I get adults who find them irresistible too...

 Then came  the cats - no not the real ones who became the stars of my latest book Outnumbered by Cats - and were the inspiration for Basil and The Flappy Thing came from - no, I mean the little knitted Basil's who are new to my stock this Christmas...
...and are now causing a wool crisis as I'm rapidly running out of ginger wool, and can't find any more.

Then there's fabrics for busy books

 - and as fast as I can use bits up, I seem to run out of something else...

As for the ingredients - well that's just a family Christmas sneaking up on me, and all the ingredients waiting in an overloaded pantry to be turned into a traditional Christmas.

So this afternoon I'm escaping the craziness and going to play with books - my stock of books is going down, last week I opened a new box of Doodle Mayhem, and this week I need to break open a new box of But I'm Not Sleepy - still my bestseller.

The real cats might just get a new box to play with...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New sheep - wool crisis averted

The emergency wool trip turned up a new wool  - and here is the resulting sheep, slightly different, but different is good in handcrafted...  
So here is the first of the new flock:
So now all I have to do is turn the rest of this ball of wool into a flock of sheep in time for Saturday when I'm booked in at the Guildhall in York's city centre for a Christmas craft and gift fair.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Christmas fairs in York

A very successful day for Lost in a Book at my book signing in York at the weekend in Belfrey Hall on Stonegate in York's city centre.
Lost in a Book in York

The Christmas lights were twinkling in Stonegate and Christmas shoppers were out in force looking for something special, and York never disappoints, with a wealth of independent traders and festive fairs.

It's nice to know that among all the high tech presents getting wrapped up this Christmas, there'll be lots of my books - and yes a quite a few sheep... The sheep all went to new homes at the weekend, so now I need to go on an emergency wool shopping trip in order not to disappoint at my next book signing.

I've also been shopping for bags - and after getting carried away looking at polka dot bags, stripey bags, bags with Christmas trees on... I got a reality check at the checkout, and bought some less expensive ones instead. As an independent author and publisher I have to spend my money wisely, and the place for quality is in my products, not in fancy packaging that's only going to get thrown away...

Friday, November 14, 2014

New from Lost in a Book

Messing around with trucks...

  What's behind the shed door, with the chunky button door handle?  

 Drive along the road, and into the tunnel... or is it a cave?

 There's a handy pocket...

Just use your imagination - it's a new story every time... 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Is Stonegate ready for a flock of knitted sheep I wonder...?

OK things are getting out of hand now - where did that black sheep come from...? There're no black sheep in the story but I thought why not... he'll be among the flock on Saturday, lets hope he doesn't cause any trouble...

is Stonegate ready for a flock of knitted sheep I wonder...?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Basil takes on knitted form... new from Lost in a Book

After getting distracted by pretty bags that I'd like to buy for my Christmas fair - I got down to some picture editing, so for those of you who've been wonder what a Basil is...

Basil met Bumble, but Bumble was less than impressed...

Basil from Basil and the Flappy Thing takes on knitted form

Lost in a Book gets festive - because babies need books too

Getting festive: Christmas Quiet / Busy book
 The new festive busy book has a Christmas tree on the cover.

 ...and a furry Rudolf with a shiny button red nose.

 There's a snowman and a Christmas stocking - bursting with glossy ribbons...

 A Christmas pudding that's a flap - hiding a secret...

 All bound up in a soft book by Lost in a Book. Because babies need books too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Busy books, sheep - and what is a Basil...?

I'm heading towards another trip to the craft shop - threads are running out in some colours, and all the cream coloured 'sheep' wool is used up - so what about the odd black sheep creeping into the flock...
My tables at book signings have definitely become more fun with little woolly characters roaming about among the books, and the quiet / busy books are a big success too.

...and I haven't even posted a photo of the knitted Basil's yet... what is a Basil  you might ask... ? Well I'll try and catch up on some pics tomorrow, but if you can't wait till then, take a look in my bookshop

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lost in a Book New date added

New date added - again:

Christmas book signings - Lost in a Book 2014 
  • Sat 15th Nov 10am-4.30pm The Belfrey Hall, York city centre 
  • Thurs 27th Nov 7-9pm Knavesmire Primary School - Christmas Shopping Evening
  • Sat 30th & Sun 31st Nov Haxby Memorial Hall - Christmas Fair
  • Sat 6th Dec 10am-4.30pm  Tithe Barn Nehter Poppleton Christmas Fair
  • Sun 7th Dec 12 noon - 6pm Yorkshire Heart Vineyard Christmas Fair 
Lost in a Book had a successful day on Saturday at York's Guildhall, and now I have an exciting new date added for next weekend:

Belfry Hall on Stonegate 15th Nov - it's over 30 years since I worked on Stonegate in a carvery that's sadly no longer there. Stonegate is just one of York's beautiful historic streets, and it'll be a lovely to be doing a book signing there, especially as York gets all festive for another Christmas season.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Ever feel like you'd like to be somewhere else...?

Ever feel like you'd like to be somewhere else... just for a little while?

You need to get Lost in a Book - pick up a book, open the cover, it's like opening a door to a different time and place. You can become anyone or anything when you're lost in a book - it's like a time ship, jump back in time, leap forward in time - there's a book out there for everyone... just waiting to be discovered...

...just saying.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Christmas fair - Book singing - York

New date added:

York's Guild Hall - this Saturday 8th November I'll be at a Christmas fair in the heart of York, signing books and encouraging everyone to get Lost in a Book this Christmas. What could be better than snuggling up on a winters evening with a book...?

Getting children into reading is one of the best things you can do for their future. Sewing the seeds of a love of books - so why not start up a new tradition and give them books this Christmas.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Christmas fairs, book signings and sunny days in Yorkshire

The Santa hat was on on Saturday for the first Christmas fair of the season - I even had a mince pie to get me in the spirit...

What a beautiful start to the day - parking by the river...

Nov 1st and not a cloud in the sky in Wetherby

I've got quite a full table 

Still no sheepdog to keep those sheep in order, but there is something new coming soon...