Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Don't panic It's Christmas

Don’t Panic It’s Christmas

            Here I go. I can do this, so what if I forgot my list? How hard can it be to stock up for Christmas?
            “Are you sure you can fit my shopping in the car as well as your own?” asks Margo, my ultra organised neighbour. Not however, organised enough to learn to drive.
            “Of course,” I smile; after all I have got a seven-seater estate car – with the seats folded down. I briefly wonder how much shopping she’s likely to need for two people.
            “We can always come back round with another trolley if we can’t fit it all in one,” she says, looking doubtfully into the depths of her trolley.
            I smile, or was it a grimace? No no, it was definitely a smile. Here we go. As we go round the shop I can feel the tension levels building; so much for peace and good will, more like ‘will’ get the last ‘piece’ of food on the shelves. Everyone has the same determined look on their faces; this has to be the shop to end all shops, the one where everyone buys everything they could possibly need over the festive season; along with a good many things which are destined to be thrown away in a future cupboard clear out. I blame the shops; how can they close for twenty four hours just when we need them most? It’s a shocking neglect of their customers, who’ve now grown used to twenty four hour shopping. What if we have unexpected visitors, and we’ve run out of the very thing that they want to eat? I wonder who these inconsiderate people are, who turn up out of the blue making impossible demands; and think that maybe my life would be a lot easier if I became one myself, instead of fretting about them descending upon me.
            “Isn’t Christmas exciting Mummy!” I hear a small child say to her mother, her face lit up as the bright lights reflect off the tinsel which she has wrapped around herself like a glittery boa. Yes, Christmas is supposed to be exciting, but as I look around I can’t see much sign of it, I grab a piece of tinsel off a shelf and wrap it around my neck. The little girl points and smiles; everyone else just stares. I don’t think I can be entirely blamed for what happened next, if the shelves had been stacked better, and not booby trapped to make everything fall off as innocent trolleys go by, I never would have thought of setting off party poppers in the middle of the supermarket – I do hope I don’t set off a security alert! Some serious looking men in uniforms are stood staring at me, Margo is flapping about trying to distance herself from me and several children in trolleys are trying to escape, to come and join in.
            I try to get my mind back onto the task of shopping; I manage to put several things in my trolley before Margo snatches one out.
            “You can’t buy that! Didn’t you see the documentary last night?”
I look at her blankly.
            “It’s full of that dangerous chemical that kills rats.” She takes several other things out of my trolley, tutting disapprovingly. “You really should read the small print.”
            I head for the fresh produce, there’s no printing at all on that; unless it’s already bagged, and then it says 5 on it, no matter how many items the bag contains.
            “5 a day,” explains Margo, as if addressing a small child. “You must have heard of that.”
            I wonder if a chocolate orange would count as one of my 5; but probably not. I wonder how many pieces of produce I should buy in order for six people to have 5 a day for a week; and where I could keep it all cool enough not to become something that resembles a science experiment. I begin to panic buy, anything to get out of here. When did shopping become so complicated?
            “I noticed you haven’t got any of these,” says Margo thrusting a pack of little plastic bottles at me, which look just like the bottles of cat milk I buy for the kittens.
            “They’re full of good bacteria,” she assures me patiently. “You should drink one every day.”
I have a mental image of bacteria sorting themselves into goodies and baddies and having little battles in my intestines, and I wonder how many more calories I will have consumed by the time I get through all the things I must have everyday – and what time I will have to get up each day, in order to get through it all.
            “It’s a good thing I came shopping with you isn’t it?” says Margo smugly. I just smile in defeat as she takes it upon herself to help me to all sorts of things I didn’t know I needed.
            “Ooh look, wrapping paper’s on a multi saver, of course I bought mine in September, but you can never have too much can you?” several rolls land in both our trolleys. She’s on quite a roll herself now, and reaches for everything in twos. On a good day I can be quite assertive, but all the fight’s gone out of me by this stage, and I trudge along behind my trolley, consoling myself that I should have enough here to hibernate till spring. It’s no accident I decide, that the booze section is at the far corner of the shop, just at the point when you know you deserve a treat. So despite protests of:
            “We don’t need that isle; I bought my sherry weeks ago.”
I carry on; my trolley, by now gaining momentum, and far too heavy to turn at a moments notice. Now it’s my turn, I can shop in twos as well; two for me, two for Margo.
            “But I don’t drink,”
            “Didn’t you see that documentary last week? A little bit of alcohol is good for you – it relieves stress.”
            “But I don’t suffer from stress.”
            “You might have visitors,” I assure her. “Spirits – good for a sore throat, and unwinding after shopping.”
            “I haven’t got a sore throat, and I enjoy shopping.”
            By the time I get to the cash out, I’m feeling slightly revived, the shiny bottles decorating my shopping like baubles on a Christmas tree.
            “Would you like help?” asks the cashier. I look nervously at Margo, but she’s too busy with her own shopping, trying to hide the shameful amount of booze that seems to have found its way into her trolley.
            “Yes please,” I smile, what do I care if my potatoes are packed on top of my bread, or the cat tins on the tomatoes? It’ll all turn out right in the end, Christmas always does; and anyway, what can possibly go wrong when I’ve got an army of goodies in little plastic bottles. I’m a great believer in the goodies always coming out on top.
Anne M. Stephenson
Published in ‘Cauldron’ Magazine 2005

Friday, December 16, 2016

OK now you can panic - it's nearly Christmas...

Ok now you can panic...! It's nearly Christmas, it sneaks up on us the same time every year, but every year it seems to do it a bit quicker.

But the solution is easy - buy books, buy books from me, and I'll pack them up straight away and get them in the post.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Book signing in York tonight at Knavesmire Primary School Christmas shopping evening

My first Christmas event of the season tonight at Knavesmire Primary School, York - Christmas shopping evening 7 - 9pm please come along if you're in the area and take home a signed book, and... I have some exciting new additions to my table.

Or stay snug and warm and order online 

Books online 

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Christmas book signings in #York

Don't panic it's November, the season of Christmas fairs and book signings - and this year my books will be at two fairs at once - no I haven't split myself in two, but the librarian at Clifton Library has kindly said that my books can be in their display cabinet for the Christmas fair, while I'm busy elsewhere. But I'll be back at Clifton Library on the first Tuesday in December for the monthly coffee morning.


Book Signings in York:  

Thurs 24th Nov  7- 9pm Knavesmire Primary School Christmas shopping evening 

Sat 26th Nov Clifton Library Christmas Fair - there will be signed books in the display cabinet for sale at this event as unfortunately I can't be in two places at once - but on this occasion my books can.

Sat 26th 10am - 4pm & Sun 27th 10.30am - 3.30pm Nov Christmas Fair Haxby Memorial Hall

Sat 3rd Dec 10am Tithe Barn Nether Poppleton York

Tues 6th Dec 10.30am - 12 noon Clifton Library storytime and coffee morning

#LostinaBook  #York #Booksignings 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Book signing in York - but where did the sheep come from...?

Books packed and ready to go to Clifton Library tomorrow morning 10.30 - 12 noon at the monthly coffee morning - coffee and books, what a perfect combination. 

There are a few sheep too, and some wool to knit more. It's that time of year again, a bit of knitting in public to keep up with demand for these little woolly ambassadors who escaped the printed page.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Free knitting pattern - knit a sheep - knit a flock of sheep...


Sheep - they're in danger of taking over...

This week I posted my sheep knitting pattern freeon my website, then twittered about it, it generated a lot of new followers, seems sheep inspire people to follow...

Not many people have linked through to the website for the pattern though, so maybe they just want to follow like sheep, but not overrun themselves with woolly sheep... 

#sheep #LostinaBook #knittedsheep 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Book signings in York

Book Signings: 

Tues 1st Nov 10.30am - 12 noon Clifton Library storytime and coffee morning

Thurs 24th Nov  7- 9pm Knavesmire Primary School Christmas shopping evening 

Sat 26th & Sun 27th Nov Christmas Fair Haxby Memorial Hall 

Tues 6th Dec 10.30am - 12 noon Clifton Library storytime and coffee morning

There may well be a few more added as time goes on, watch this space - or visit my website shop.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ideas have no sense of timing or order...

Ideas have no sense of timing or order - they just spring into one's head and start running around like unruly puppies. And I should know, I currently have ideas and an unruly puppy to fit into my already busy days.

Why is it that while I was in the final stages of finishing my book, I was brimming with all sorts of ideas to launch and promote it – I even wrote some of them down... somewhere.

Yet now when I need all those ideas they seem to have fled - and ideas for my next book are rampaging around in my head... I guess I’m a writer not a promoter...

So here it is, you know, if you're fancying a new book


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Why think outside the box when you can sit in the box and let it become... a racing car... or a castle...

Why think outside the box – when you can sit in the box and let it become... a racing car... or a castle...

We don’t need buzz words and executive toys; all we need is a box and some time to let our imagination run wild.

So stop all this nonsense about thinking outside the box, and jump back into the box. The best ideas need sneaking up on, they’re going to run a mile if you’re always trying too hard – so get back in that box and bide your time, ideas come out to play when you’re daydreaming or thinking about something else.

And if no ideas come to you, or you’re too out of touch with your imagination to know what I’m talking about, then read a book – lose yourself in it – go on I dare you to!


Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday ramble - going on a story hunt in my imagination

Ok it’s Friday and I’m going to ramble, because, well I can...

I’ve had a good week, getting out there into the real world with my books, talking to people and getting feedback on my books. And the feedback is good, so why is promoting so hard? It seems that a gimmick is needed to grab people’s attention, so I have my sheep, which started as a gimmick and now are in danger of taking over... which reminds me, my flock of sheep is getting low again... knitting needles at the ready.

Which brings me back to my conundrum – it’s hard enough to grab ideas as they rush around in the wilds of my imagination, without all the other distractions pulling me away from going on a story hunt in my imagination. Because that’s what it takes to write a story, deciding which ideas and daydreams have enough substance to  become a book, and then to go after that one idea that will become the next book, and allow the others to run free a bit longer...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

All you need is a box and a little imagination, because when you have a box you can play anything...

Had a lovely morning at Clifton Library yesterday, got good feedback on my books, and sold some books too.

Looking forward to visiting Acomb Library tomorrow and joining in with storytime, with my new book:

But What I Really Want is a Box... because when you have a box you can play anything, all you need is a little imagination. Share the story, and get a glimpse into my imagination, and spark your own to see what you can come up with...

Friday, September 23, 2016

York author on mini Library tour...

September at Lost in a Book

So this is exciting - next week Lost in a Book will be on a mini library tour in York:

Clifton Library on Tues 27th Sept 10am onwards, at their baby morning, where they'll be all sorts of baby related stuff going on.


Acomb Library on Thurs 29th Sept 10.30 - 11am at their storytime, where I'll be reading my new book But What I Really Want is a Box 


Monday, September 19, 2016

...the story is reality - for that magical time that you're truly Lost in a Book

Imagination is a gift, it can take us anywhere.

But where does it come from? I like to think that it’s the mind playing; and everyone needs to play – time to explore possibilities, or the impossible...!

It’s true that stories are often inspired by, or even based on real life, but once the imagination kicks in, that’s when the magic really happens, when anything is possible.  And if that story strikes a chord, then you, the reader are drawn in, and feel that you are part of the story, with everything else disappearing from consciousness, the story is reality – for that magical time that you’re truly lost in a book.   

Reading a story is really sharing in someone else’s imagination, the writer has captured a moment, or many moments of their imagination, and caught the magic in print for all to share. It is said that everyone has a book inside them, and that may be true, but the trick is to capture that book in the written word, to save it and share it. And that’s not as easy as it might sound. A story can flash through the imagination, and be gone just as suddenly, the trick is to sneak up on ideas, allow the imagination to wonder about, without the threat of a pen or keyboard ready to capture it... sometimes an idea has to hang around for a while before it’s ready to be written down.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Self published author displays a whole cabinet of books...

So this is pretty cool - my books are currently on display at Clifton Library in York. It's a very proud moment knowing that I've written and self published a whole cabinet full of books. 


I'll be in Clifton Library on Tues 27th Sept doing a book signing at their baby event from 10am onwards:  

Lost in a Book 

Monday, September 12, 2016

But what is the best, a full box or an empty box...?

Boxes - the theme of my newest book, but it's not the book I sat down to write, more months ago than I'm prepared to admit... and what do I mean by that? Well simply that this book took longer to write than my average book, especially given that it's a 32 page picture book. But some things just take as long as they take, and why does everything have to be instant anyway...?

So, I'm rambling, because that's what I've chosen to do right now, because I believe that the imagination has to be allowed to meander about a bit if we want true magic to happen.

But where was I? Ah yes, my new book - the book I didn't sit down to write... well technically I sat down to illustrate a book from a story that I'd already written, but the pictures just weren't coming, they didn't look the way they looked in my head, so I started to doodle (the theme of another set of books...) and so I randomly started to draw giraffes, based on nothing more solid that the fact that I'd seen some giraffes at a safari park and thought they were really cool, especially when they tried to bend down to graze, and the their legs were too long, or their neck too short, or some such design fault... anyway, giraffes were in my head that day.

The story was born out of anarchy, in that I stated it in a sketchbook, and just drew loads of pictures of giraffes, and a little boy who was to become Ollie. The story ideas seemed to change daily, leading to some pictures that never made it out of the sketchbook, such as a giraffe playing hide and seek behind a curtain, although the idea of him being hidden behind fabric came out as he held up a sheet  - you'll have to read the book to find out why...

So where did boxes come into it? Well apart from boxes being so much fun, with so many possibilities, I suppose if inspiration comes from all around, then I don't have to look far to see boxes, they're everywhere, in fact they usually form the mobile island that I always said I didn't want in my kitchen - why, because I like space instead of things in the way, but now there is an ever present mobile island, a raft you might call it, of boxes that can't be thrown away because they're the cats' dens, doubling up as beds when cat baskets are just not what they want right now...

But what is the best, a full box or an empty box...?

Well the rather depends on the contents - a full box is full of possibilities, especially if it's a plain box and we're guessing at its contents.  Some boxes can be a disappointment once they're open, we see what's inside, and maybe it's not as exciting as what we'd imagined. So maybe our own imaginations are the best toys of all, an empty box is so much more fun than a box full of something dull, because an empty box really can be anything. 

So now all I have to do is launch my new book - I'll be doing the usual round of book signings, but really I want to do most of the launch online, selling from

And for that I need some suitable packaging, and what better than bright orange envelopes - because I want my books to arrive in style and make a statement.  


Saturday, September 03, 2016

Book launch - new book available now from Lost in a Book

New Book available now!!  

It's new book launch month, and where better to start than in my own online shop.

Order direct from the author and know that the money goes directly into paying for printing my books - I don't pay to advertise, and I do everything except the printing and binding myself because I believe my money is best spent on getting a quality product that I can be proud to sell.

I've got some book signings lined up, the first one being on Tuesday morning 6th September at Clifton Library, York, where I'll also be leaving books in the library display cabinet.


Wednesday, August 03, 2016

New book

Well I've done it, my 8th book is newly published!!

I picked my books up from the printers on Monday 1st August, so they are available now, but I'm planning a proper launch in September, and already have 2 book signings lined up. 

I'll post launch info here nearer the time... 


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Knitted character from new book

So this is becoming quite a habit - meet Mr G from my new book But What I Really Want is a Box 


Monday, July 25, 2016

It's feedback like that, that makes all the effort worth while...

I had a good morning at Clifton Library Summer Craft Fair on Saturday. I met a lady who'd bought a copy of Doodle Mayhem from me at a Christmas fair, and her grandson had loved the book.

But the part that really made my day was getting an email later that evening from a mum who had bought a book for her daughter. She'd read But I'm Not Sleepy 8 times in the afternoon, and then again when it was her daughter's chosen story at bedtime, and she went to sleep with the little knitted sheep in her cot - it's feedback like that, that makes all the effort worth while.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sending books out in style...

Captain is very pleased with the new packaging, he found it discarded on a chair, and instantly took up residence.

But what was the packaging from...? My new bright orange envelopes - because I want my books to arrive in style and make a statement. These are just for the Doodle series at present - but I've ordered some larger ones for the picture books, which will be here in a few days...!


So why should you order this book? What better way to start the summer holidays than a bright orange envelope dropping through your letter box, addressed to your child, and containing a book. A book full of imagination, about a doodle called Iver No-Idea and his dog HB. 

Step into a world where words and pictures come alive and interact with the real world... 


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Book signing in York - I believe there'll also be coffee and cake...

Lost in a Book will be out and about at Clifton Library Summer Craft Fair in York on Saturday 23rd July - come along and pick up a summer read, or a sheep...

I believe there'll be coffee and cakes there too! I do seem to be drawn to events where there's coffee and cakes... there seems to be something about coffee, cakes and books that just goes together.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Read for pleasure this summer holiday - forget targets just read

The summer holidays is the perfect time to read a book, just because you want to, no pressure, no reading list or targets, just read because you’re absorbed in a story and can’t wait to find out what happens next, or just to escape into a fantasy world for a while.

I’ll never forget the summer when reading finally clicked for me – the ground work had been done, I’d read my share of reading books, but it was still hard work – but then , one summer holidays I became completely absorbed in The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton. I read it every spare moment, even in the car. Suddenly I was being told to put my book down and go and play, which I’m sure I did – at the end of the chapter...

The seeds had been sown at an early age, as I’d always been read to, but that summer was when my imagination finally flew – I could read what I wanted, when I wanted – there was no looking back.

So now I write the kind of books that I hope will spark imaginations, and make children want to read, just for the joy of it.

Doodle Mayhem is a fun read, which came about when I read an article about not letting your characters take over – well that just sent my imagination into overdrive, why shouldn’t a character take over? And how can you stop them anyway?  I find that once a character starts to speak, they take on a life of their own, and then there’s no knowing what is going to happen...
So step into a world where drawings come alive, meet Eric’s doodles Iver No-Idea and his dog HB as they cause their own brand of trouble.

Eric would rather doodle than write a story, but when the words start to disappear off the page in front of him, and his doodle starts talking to him, he thinks he must be dreaming.

Eric's doodle has come to life, and he's getting bored; he jumps into Miranda's story, where he gets attacked by a rubber, then he's blown off his feet when Natasha sneezes. Miss Roper is getting angrier by the second. How will Eric ever finish his story, when his doodle just wants to have fun, and create havoc? 



Friday, July 15, 2016

Children love boxes, because when you have a box you can play anything...

Coming soon 

New from Lost in a Book: 


Being printed right now ready for an August 1st publication:

I'm sure this book will strike a cord with many people, we all know that we can buy a child the most expensive toy only to find them playing happily with the box... because if you have a box, it can be anything you want it to be...

See what Ollie's imagination can come up with once he has an empty box to play with... 


Monday, July 11, 2016

New book coming soon from Lost in a Book

Coming soon 

New from Lost in a Book: 


Being printed right now ready for an August 1st publication:
We all know that children love boxes - Ollie has lots of toys, but all he really wants is a box, because when you have a box you can play anything, all you need is a little imagination...

So what next - a launch is needed.

As  a self publisher I wear many hats, today it has been the publisher's hat, which is a sensible hat, one that didn't distract me as I filled in the important forms and figured out codes - but next I get to put on a launch hat - I think it should be fun and attention grabbing - or, given the title and subject, should it just be a box... and a little imagination...?


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cat book - true story - 1st edition 1st print run, each one numbered and signed

Outnumbered by Cats: Yes that's me, cats are great stress relief - when they're not causing the stress that is..

This book gives the unique opportunity to disappear into a world full of cats and kittens, without actually filling your own house, or depriving yourself of sleep...
So throw away the rule book and see how one new mum coped with her kittens in a mixture of instinct and learning on the job, and how she shared this unique experience with the humans around her, in a way that was unexpected and wonderful. Not everyone has been 'asked' by their cat to join a search party in the middle of the night for 2 missing kittens...
Share the heartache of one little kitten who was different from the rest, and destined to challenge and inspire us in ways we couldn't have imagined...


A chance to buy one of just 100 books printed in the 1st edition, 1st print run, all of which are numbered and signed.

...and did I mention lots of colour kitten photos?

So I have the books, I have the website, I just need to get the word out.



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Brainstorming and other things I ought to be doing...

Brainstorming... that’s what I need to do...

So...  I looked online for inspiration, only to be shouted at, yes in block capitals no less, that a writer should be writing and not wasting time on social media... well frankly I find that a bit rude, especially after all the hype about online marketing and using social media.

Everything seems to be surrounded by hype these days, hype and buzz words, so I thought I’d have a go at brainstorming, not an easy thing to do on my own in the garden without risking worried neighbours coming to my assistance... as it was, one of my cats was the only one who saw my need for a companion in my brainstorming, and came to sit with me, no mean feat considering he’s a wobbly cat whose legs don’t always go where he wants them to. So as I looked at Steve looking up at me from the shade of the garden bench, brainstorming seemed like an odd thing to be even attempting.  

And so I had allowed myself to be distracted once again by Steve, when I was supposed to be promoting the book that tells of why he is so special...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Doodle Mayhem - the story of an imagination running wild , and a world where words and pictures come alive... #LostinaBook

Doodle Mayhem - The story of an imagination running wild - imagine yourself sat in a classroom trying to think of a story to write, but all you want to do is draw...

Then you think you must be dreaming when your doodle starts talking to you. You try to ignore him, but that's a bit hard to do when he's ripping what few words you have written off the page, and throwing them at you...  


Monday, May 16, 2016

So... here’s an experiment. It’s Monday – traditionally the most dreaded day of the week. And what else is dreaded? The blank page

So... here’s an experiment.

It’s  Monday – traditionally the most dreaded day of the week. And what else is dreaded? The blank page – so I’ve opened a new file without a title or even a clue of what I’m going to write, with the intension of publishing the piece before the end of the afternoon... arghhhh!

So, what have I come up with so far...? Well, the first thing I wrote got deleted, then I looked around for inspiration and noticed that there was something navy and white in my  extra hot whites wash – oh no a stowaway sock had somehow  hidden in the corner of a round drum... how does that even work? Who knows, but it obviously needed sorting out immediately – disaster averted and a cup of tea made, right let’s get to work... I’ve changed the font and the size, there, that’s better.

So maybe the title should be procrastination...  oh... I don’t know how to tell you this but there’s another stripy sock in the hot wash – I don’t know how that happened, I never miss odd things in the washing machine, or have I stumbled upon an answer to the universal problem of the odd sock? It seems that socks have a will of their own and stowaway in the washing machine to add themselves to other washes.

Ok this is past a joke now – there was a third stripy sock in the whites wash... and what has all this taught me? Well apart from that I need to check the washing machine better when I empty it, I think I need to stop looking around for inspiration, all I seem to find is stuff to do.  

On reflection maybe daydreaming would have been a more productive way to spend the afternoon, delving around in my own imagination where hopefully I won’t find any stripy socks, although now they seem to be getting everywhere, so you never know, maybe it’s a sign that I should write a story about stowaway socks – oh dear the more I think about it... so if I end up writing about socks I shall blame it on this experiment that I decided was a good idea on a Monday afternoon in May, when I was probably in denial that I should either do some promotional work for my books, or start writing a new one.

Hang on a minute – the main character in my new book has odd socks on, so although they’re not stripy, maybe I could pass this off as a promotional piece, and pretend that that was my intention all along, but in truth I find it a bit weird that events and my imagination have conspired to come full circle and all seem interwoven. I wonder what was whirling around in the washing machine when I decided to put odd socks on my character in the first place, and looking around me now, I can see other things that could have inspired my story, but I’m not giving them away today – that’s for another day.