There was locally made everything for sale at the Victorian Belles Annual Holiday Sale held at the Events Center at Three Rivers Casino. It was an amazing selection––from pottery large and small to exquisite quilts, from blown glass pens to fused glass works of art, from bottle cap earrings to scarves of every conceivable type, from patchwork skirts made from thrift store sweaters to genuine snakeskin belt buckles, and from knitted hats of every imaginable combination of colors to authors with their own books. It was indeed a showcase of creativity and for sale at some ridiculously low prices.
Most of the tables held the creative talents of the Belles, but other individuals had also been invited to participate, which is why I was there. I was with two other authors. For Connie Bradley and me, it was our third year, and for Karen Nichols, it was her second. Between the three of us, we had something for everyone—children’s books, fiction, and non-fiction. Connie had two children’s books that she has published (one for young children and one for those in the middle grades), Karen had her two novels both set in Florence, and I had my two bridge books. Gift shows as well as book fairs and farmers markets are good places to sell books.
We got there at 8:30 a.m. to set up for a 10 a.m. opening. It didn’t take us that long to set up. We actually wanted some time to check everything out and do a little shopping before the gift show opened to the public.
I bought a knitted cap for someone on my list, fun earrings for myself, two adorable little dishes for my neighbor girls ages three and six, and a scarf with just the right colors to wear with my gray jacket that won’t irritate my neck. Most scarves bother me, but this one is so light, you hardly know it’s there. My brother often gives me an unusual pen for Christmas, so I got an unusual pen for him––one of the glass blown pens. But I may change my mind and keep it for myself for autographing books. It is elegant and blue—the perfect color for my books. Hmm!
The days were long because we had to have someone at our table until 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. I did leave for awhile at lunch time on Friday. I went over to the museum and worked with the research librarian, Mark Brennan, to find a good gillnet fishing photo. We then put it on my thumb drive for one of my replacement photos for Around Florence. Connie left early on Friday and Karen and I held down the fort. Then on Saturday, Connie returned the favor so that both Karen and I could get to a concert on time at the Florence Events Center at 7 p.m.
The first day Connie and I didn’t sell too many books, but Karen sold lots. Then on Saturday, we all sold quite a few. I also was able to do some pre-selling for Around Florence both days. I had flyers with the book’s cover and one sentence that said, “Due out May 1 in time for Rhody Days.” And I had a sign-up sheet for those who wanted to be contacted when the book comes out. I think everyone I talked to was interested in that book. I know that I gave out every flyer I had.
The festive atmosphere, the Christmas music, and the friendly folks participating at each table made it an enjoyable experience and put me in the Christmas spirit.
Bottom line: Besides selling and pre-selling books, I also got some Christmas shopping done.