Saturday, 25 September 2010


RIGHT WAY ROUND.................................... UPSIDE-DOWN

For those who don't know already, an ambigram is a word or phrase that can be looked at from more than one angle. (Ambi = Both / Gram = Word).

When I first discovered ambigrams, the artist side of me recognised at once that this was something I had to try. As I worked on the "Justin Thyme" logo, I realised that an ambigram would illustrate perfectly how there's more to this book than first meets the eye, (and more than one way of solving the mystery), so I decided to incorporate the logo into my dust-jacket design.

It's a design-concept that's certainly captivated target-age readers (many eager to try creating ambigrams of their own name) - and Book-sellers have found that displaying two copies together, side-by-side, with one upside-down, really catches people's attention.

I think I was perhaps fortunate with my choice of character name / book title; ambigrams are incredibly challenging - and designing one that's legible enough for a book cover is near impossible (unless your book is called something like "SWIMS"). I have managed a reasonably successful ambigram of "Eliza" - but most of the other characters simply don't work! It's fun trying, though. Why not have a go with your own name and let me know how you get on!

Megan Rapidoxa

Monday, 13 September 2010


The queue going into the Cotswold Bookstore -
and the old Norton motorbike & sidecar (Justin's time machine).
Tony and David outside their shop.

Tony sneaks a piece of Mrs Kof's homemade shortbread.

Once the crowds of people had disappeared, Eliza (who'd
been busy in the stock-room helping move heavy piles of books),
came downstairs and chatted to this mysterious-looking
stranger hiding behind a copy of "Justin Thyme".
More photos here & here at the Cotswold Bookstore blog
and here at the Inside Pocket blog.
Armando Pixage

Sunday, 12 September 2010


What an incredible day!

It was still dark when I left home in the morning – but after a lengthy train and car journey I arrived at the Cotswold Bookstore just before 11.30 am, and before I had time to put my bags down I met someone waiting with their book to be signed, (even though the event didn’t officially start until 2 pm.) Minutes later I was shown to a table upstairs, where I got my first glimpse of the few hundred orders waiting to be signed and dated.

For the next two-and-a-quarter hours I signed at warp-speed, hoping to stop at 1.45 for a quick lunch-break. However, I was told that the queue already stretched the full length of the (very long) shop, out of the door and down the street … so I hurried downstairs and got started early.

Two hours later, that queue looked just as long. As fast as I could sign the books, more people joined the line. Fortunately, no one seemed to mind the wait – possibly because of the supply of banana cake and Mrs Kof’s Scottish shortbread on offer. I sensed things were going well when I noticed Tony (from the bookstore) looking slightly panicked as he gathered any remaining display copies; clearly, Thyme was running out.

It was great to meet so many people enthusiastic about JT – many of them new to the book; but others already familiar with the story and characters, bringing along their well-read original copies from a few years ago, (eager to know when the second book in the series would be published).

At about twenty past four, the last person in the queue reached the table. Afterwards, I was hurried outside for some photographs next to the wonderful old Norton motorbike and sidecar (just like Justin’s time machine) which had been parked outside the shop all day. Then back upstairs to sign the remaining pre-ordered copies; that took until about 5.15, by which time I was definitely starting to flag.

Out of a stock of 570 books, just those in the window display were left, which meant I’d signed about 550 books in five-and three-quarter hours … pretty much non-stop!

Minutes later I was driven back to the station, and began the return journey, arriving home shortly after 10 pm.

My thanks to everyone who made this such a memorable day. To Tony, David and Nina at the Cotswold Bookstore – not only for all their hard work on the day, but for their ongoing enthusiasm whist taking advance orders during the last several weeks. My thanks, also, to helpers who came in just for the day: Marilyn (who made the banana cake) and Julia in the shop – Sheree busily helping out everywhere – and Anne for collecting me from and taking me back to the station! Thank you also to Christoph and Sarah from Inside Pocket, the gentleman who brought the Norton Motorbike … and anyone else I might have forgotten, (the entire day was a surreal blurr – I remember little but writing my name over and over and over again!)

A huge thank you, of course, to everyone who bought a copy of JT … especially those who came from far and wide on the day. I’m truly grateful you came – I really didn’t expect such an incredible turnout! Writing is a solitary life; authors don’t get the instant response that stage actors enjoy … so it is only at events like this we can experience any audience feedback. The positive response from everyone left me feeling greatly encouraged. A new children’s book by an unheard-of author depends enormously on good word-of-mouth; I’m truly grateful that so many people have had such nice things to say about JT.

Although mentioned already, a special thank you to Tony, whose continual support of JT has been invaluable. It’s about a year ago since Sarah (from Inside Pocket) called into the Cotswold Bookstore whilst on a cycling holiday and Tony showed her the book.

Throughout the day I was too busy to take photos – but I know others did, so if they filter through to me I’ll post some here later.
Ian Madox Pager

Friday, 10 September 2010


Now counting down through the last twenty-four hours before the JT launch. All is prepared: Mrs Kof has finished her last batch of shortbread, Eliza has packed her bananas, and I have my pens and train tickets ready.

Thank you to everyone at the Cotswold Bookstore for all their hard work and excellent preperation.

This Thyme tomorrow ...
Adam Rex Gapion

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


With the JT booklaunch now only four days away (Saturday 11th), pre-ordered copies have reached over 370, which is fantastic news.

I've been wondering how long it'll take me to work my way through them all. With a little practice, I've got the date and signature down to 30 seconds; allowing a further 15 seconds to close and pile one book, then open and position the next one ... that means I'll be signing for four-and-a-half hours solid! And that's not allowing for books sold on the day, or those wanting personal dedications. I just hope that if anyone's got a name like Nadezhda Przolwamiczenkof they won't mind helping me with the spelling.

Maxine Pagodar

Friday, 3 September 2010


Eliza has asked me to mention that if your family has a gorilla, be sure to bring her, (or, preferably, him) along to the Cotswold Bookstore on Saturday September 11th, from 2 pm onwards.

She feels that although humans are usually well looked after at book-signings, gorillas are often overlooked ... sometimes not invited ... and, occasionally, left in the car. To make sure this doesn't happen at the JT launch, Eliza travelled down to the Cotswolds yesterday, taking a small consignment of bananas - some of which have now been placed in the window display.

Eliza would especially like to make the acquaintance of any hunky male silverbacks aged eight and above, weighing 400lbs or more. Muscular build preferred; computer skills not essential.

Madigan Oxpear

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


Justin’s time machine is a converted vintage Norton motorbike and sidecar. Actually, it’s the sidecar, (or chronopod), that contains all the time-travelling technology, while the bike just makes it easier to move through the three standard dimensions of space.

I‘m told that this splendid old Norton motorcycle and sidecar, (pictured above), will be on display outside the Cotswold Bookstore for the forthcoming booklaunch. I’m looking forward to seeing it; the bike looks pretty much as I imagined - although the sidecar is slightly different, (Justin’s pod is more egg-shaped and closed-in on top), but it is exactly the right colour.

Anyway, it’s similar enough to make me feel I should check beneath the seat to ensure the negative-energy generator and antigravity units have been wired in correctly!

Pandora Mixage