Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Win fantastic prizes and free books in THE LORD OF ILLUSION release celebration tours!

THE LORD OF ILLUSION is in bookstores February 7th and I’m celebrating with an amazing blog hop party! Readers can win lots of fantastic prizes, the entire series of THE ELVEN LORDS, and an ultimate grand prize of a $100 Barnes & Noble gift card! This tour is in addition to my regular release blog tour, which already offers many opportunities for readers to win a free copy of THE LORD OF ILLUSION. I’ve listed both tours below, so mark the dates on your calendar, and join in the fun!

Kathryne Kennedy Elven Realm Blogger Hop

All books and prizes to US & Canada Shipping addresses only.

Schedule – Feb 6-Feb 13, 2012

2/6 “Dewhame”—hosted by Star-Crossed Romance http://star-crossedromance.blogspot.com/

Grand Prize: Small Desktop Fountain + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series

Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series (not signed)

2/7 “Firehame”—hosted by Books Like Breathing http://bookslikebreathing.blogspot.com/

Grand Prize: Red Candles (battery operated) + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series

Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series (not signed)

2/8 “Dreamhame”—hosted by SOS Aloha http://www.sosaloha.blogspot.com/

Grand Prize: Pretty Sparkly Make Up + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series

Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series (not signed)

2/9 “Stonehame”—hosted by Book Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf http://marthasbookshelf.blogspot.com/

Grand Prize: Purple Jewelry + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/10 “Bladehame”—hosted by The Royal Reviews http://theroyalreviews.blogspot.com/

Grand Prize: Sword Letter Opener + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series

Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series (not signed)

2/11 “Terrahame”—hosted by Debbie’s Book Bag http://debsbookbag.blogspot.com/

Grand Prize: Terra Cotta Wind Chimes + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series

Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series (not signed)

2/12 “Verdanthame”—hosted by Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell http://books-forlife.blogspot.com/

Grand Prize: Fairy Garden Orament + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series

Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series (not signed)

2/13 Elven Realm Blogger Hop Grand Prize Announcement—hosted by the Sourcebooks Buzz Blog http://www.sourcebooks.com/authors/the-buzz-sourcebooks.html

-Anyone who comments on the other blogs throughout the blogger hop will be eligible for this overall grand prize, too-

Grand Prize: $100 B&N Gift Card + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series

Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series (not signed)


Sourcebooks will be giving away one or two copies of THE LORD OF ILLUSION at each blog. Leave Kathryne a comment to enter to win (USA & Canada shipping addresses only).

2/2 Casablanca Authors Blog/LAUNCH PARTY


2/2 Night Owl Reviews/A SENTENCE A CHAPTER




2/5 Happily Ever After Thoughts/INTERVIEW


2/6 Star-Crossed Romance/A MAGICAL VALENTINE’S DAY




2/10 Much Cheaper Than Therapy/INTERVIEW


2/14 Over the Edge/INTERVIEW


2/16 The Book Faery/CREATING THE MAGIC




2/17 RomCon http://www.romconinc.com/

Historical blog/DRYSTAN’S POEM




2/21 Debbie’s Book Bag/INTERVIEW


2/23 Ponytails Review/MEET MY DRAGONS


2/29 Book Monsters/Q & A WITH KATHRYNE



He'll do anything to save her...
Rebel Lord Drystan Hawkes dreams of fighting for England's freedom. He gets his chance when he finds a clue to opening the magic portal to Elfhame, and he must race to find the slave girl who holds the key to the mystery. But even as Drystan rescues Camille Ashton from Dreamhame Palace, it becomes unclear exactly who is saving whom.

For the fate of humankind lies with Camille...
Enslaved for years in a realm where illusion and glamour reign, Camille has learned to trust nothing and no one. But she's truly spellbound when she meets Drystan--a man different from any she's ever known, and the force of their passion may yet be strong enough to banish the Elven Lords from this world forever.

“The world sings with vivid imagery and fantastic magic, and all the previous characters join forces in a thrilling final fight for humankind.”~Publishers Weekly STARRED review

“The hero and heroine are also out of the ordinary, and while this novel remains true to romance-genre mores, Kennedy infuses it with unexpected plot twists that will keep fantasy readers enthralled, too.”~Booklist STARRED review

“Superb writing and a fast-moving plot combined with magical passion make this a real page-turner!”~RT BOOKReviews Top Rating and TOP PICK


Barnes and Noble




Kathryne’s Bookseller Directory


Kathryne Kennedy is a critically acclaimed, best-selling, award-winning author of magical romances. She welcomes readers to visit her website where she has ongoing contests at www.kathrynekennedy.com. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives with her wonderful family in Arizona, where she is working on the next book in her Relics of Merlin series, Everlasting Enchantment.

Monday, January 30, 2012

And the winner is....

Congratulations LilMissMolly. you're the winner of Erin's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail (dot) com (no spaces) to calim your prize. Thaks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Organization and Travel Hints

Like many of you, I find there isn't enough time during the day to get everything accomplished. I also realized I could save time by organizing our condo. Those minutes I spent searching for clippers, nail files, manuals, etc. could now be used writing or cuddling up on the couch with my husband. (Both equally important.)

Every Sunday, I am sharing what I have accomplished. Now, I admit I already had the top drawer in my bathroom (bottom picture) organized. I wanted to share this with you because I just found more of these handy bins at Staples this week. I put them in my kitchen drawers. They were three for a dollar - can't beat that! And yes, I am in my forties and still using Oxy products. Whoever said you stopped getting pimples when you grow up lied. You just get less. And the blue love notes are from my husband, The Irish Charmer. I keep them in the drawer to brighten up my day.

At the top of the post, there is a picture of travel bags. My husband and I used to spend an evening in Tucson every other weekend. I decided to keep the cosmetics I use most in one bag and store it in a drawer for every day use. I wrote on a label what I needed to add to the bag when we go out of town. The other bag is where I keep deoderant, a travel tootbrush, toothpaste, and perfume. It also has a label that tells me what else I need to bring when we leave town. I can also use this as my airline bag for passing through security at the airport. I just shove it into an outside pocket of my suitcase and we are ready to go. When I'm home, I put it in a bathroom drawer so it is ready for the next trip. These bags have saved me a lot of time.

If you have organization or travel hints, I hope you will share them with us.

Also, I am having a contest you won't want to miss. On February 29th, one lucky subscriber to my newsletter will win a $20 Amazon gift card. If you would like to enter this contest, simply find the purple Join Suspensebytina Newsletter on the right side of the blog. You'll need to scroll down and click on the link. I promise I don't bombard my subscribers with emails, although you will receive a quick welcome note.

I'll have more organizational tips next Sudnay. I hope you'll join us again.

Tina McCright

Friday, January 27, 2012

Interview with Erin Quinn

I’d like to welcome our very own guest today, Erin Quinn. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Web of Smoke. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Web of Smoke was actually my debut novel, published in 1994. It’s been out of print for over 15 years, so I’m very excited to make it available again. Web of Smoke is different than my other novels in that there isn’t a paranormal element to this story. In fact, it was published as a mystery. Back in those days, they called it a “woman in jeopardy” story because romantic suspense had yet to be coined as a genre. Web of Smoke was hailed as a tight mystery with surprising twists and turns and, to date, was one of my most successful books.

Web of Smoke is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

As with 90% of my novels, I didn’t choose the title, the publisher did. My original title was Quietus, which has several definitions, one of which is “discharge or release from life.” Although cool, it wasn’t exactly a catchy title, though.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve been asked did you choose the genre or did the genre choose you before and I always answer the latter. I wish I wrote something like Regency or Contemporary romances. For some reason I always trend to a darker story.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

During the time I wrote Web of Smoke, I was a young mother. I lived in San Diego and there was an outbreak of child abductions that were disturbing and heartbreaking, to say the least. The emotional catalyst of Web of Smoke came from my own fears about abductions.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Like is not exactly the word I would use, but I found DC, the villain of Web of Smoke, a particularly interesting character to write. He was so bad and yet I found myself feeling sorry for him in places.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and/or world affect your character development?

I wish I could spout off about all these complex and highly intelligent methods I use, but honestly, I’d be lying. I start at page one and learn as I go. That’s what makes it so interesting for me. I like finding out things about my characters on the way. What they say and do determines who they are for me.

How do you go about building your world if you use one? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

I do use maps, charts and family trees when necessary. As for the world building, like my characters, it comes organically from the story I’m telling and the research I’ve found.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

HUNDREDS. Seriously, far too many to list.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I think my newsletter may be the best so far. I’ve tried a lot of creative means for getting the word out, but I’ve yet to see anything really make an impact. However, my newsletter seems to get opened and read.

What do we have to look forward next?

I’ve been having a fabulous time writing novellas with fellow authors Calista Fox and Mary Leo. We stumbled into a collaboration after meeting in the bar at RWA Nationals and have been releasing stories in trios---they aren’t trilogies, but they are related stories with a common theme. My latest, Shaking It Up (part of the Love, Served With a Twist trio), has already hit #1 on Amazon hot new releases for anthologies. It’s been a fabulous collaboration and we plan to do more. In fact, we’ve proposed a workshop at RWA about it.

Thanks, Erin!

To celebrate her book release, Erin Quinn is offering a free ebook of Echoes, Whispers or Shaking It Up to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at http://www.erinquinnbooks.com/

Buy Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million Indie Bound

Erin Quinn is an award winning author who writes romance for the thinking girl. Her books have been called “riveting,” “brilliantly plotted” and “beautifully written” and have won, placed or showed in the Booksellers Best, WILLA Award for Historical fiction, the Orange Rose, Readers Crown, Golden Quill, Best Books, and Award of Excellence. Go to www.erinquinnbooks.com for more information.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Come see us at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire

The weekend before Valentine’s Day, Feb. 3-5, is a delicious delight for the senses as the Glendale Chocolate Affaire takes over downtown Glendale to create a chocolate-lover’s dream! Some of the gals from Much Cheaper Than Therapy will be there signing and giving workshops. Check out the website for times. http://www.glendaleaz.com/events/chocolateaffaire.cfm

Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, 5 - 10 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, Noon - 5 p.m.

Chocolate purveyors from Arizona and around the nation gather in Glendale for this award-winning festival, which celebrates not only chocolate, but romance and the arts as well. Chocolate confections will include items such as chocolate-covered bacon, chocolate-covered churros, chocolate-covered twinkies, chocolate-covered key lime pie, fried ice cream with chocolate and strawberries, chocolate-covered crepes and much more.

The Chocolate Affaire is sponsored by Arizona’s famous candy makers, Cerreta’s. The candy factory will offer tours all weekend, so visitors can get a behind-the-scenes look at how the chocolatiers create everyone’s favorite candy.

In addition, the festival has become the largest gathering of national romance novelists in the Southwest. This symposium of literary romantics offers fans the opportunity to get up close and personal with authors, as well as the chance to attend free writing workshops given by the experts.

Families with children will enjoy myriad activities, including hands-on arts and crafts, face-painting and a rock-climbing wall. Horse-drawn carriage rides will be available throughout the weekend to take couples or families on a scenic, charming ride through the historic Catlin Court district.

Event hours are Friday 5 - 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. The event is located in the heart of Historic Downtown Glendale, in Murphy Park, located at 58th and Glendale avenues.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To Self-Pub or Not to Self-Pub?

Publishing your book by yourself used to be taboo, now its common practice. Some authors are making more money putting their backlist on Amazon than they made when the books were first released by the big publishers. And then there are those authors who are spending more on their covers and conversions than they will ever make self-publishing.

If you are pulling your hair out trying to decide where to target your book, why don't you ask the experts? Speakers, such as Bob Mayer, a New York Times Bestselling Author, will be giving workshops on this topic at the Desert Dreams Writers Conference in beautiful Scottsdale, AZ April 27-29.

For more information go to http://www.desertroserwa.org/ and click on Conference.

Monday, January 23, 2012

And the winner is.....

Congratulations Nancy. You're the winner of Barbara's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail (dot) com (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Organizing Goes Green

Those of you who following the blog know I am determined to save time by organizing my life. I would love to go out and buy brand new organizing systems and hire people to install them, but it isn't in my budget. And although I did buy a few baskets at a thrift store, I realized it would be simpler and cheaper to use ordinary items at home to organize those items which were cluttering my bathroom drawers.

I purchase inexpensive razors in bulk. The problem is they fall out of the bag once opened. I also own too many coffee cups. I helped solve both problems by placing the razors in a souveneir cup. Now when I grab for a razor from the bottom drawer, I notice the coffee cup it is resting in and remember the exciting whale watching adventure my brother, Bob, and his wife, Beth, took me on one summer.

I was about to throw out a not-so-gently used Christmas gift bag when it dawned on me that I could cut off the top and use it to hold hair clips. Both organizers are now stashed away in the bottom drawer in my bathroom where they are easily located when needed.

If you have any creative organizing ideas, we would be interesting in reading about them.

Also, contest news. I will be drawing the lucky winner of a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate. To enter this contest you need only be a subscriber to my Suspensebytina newsletter. There is a purple link on the right side of the blog. Scroll down and you'll find it. Click and Join! It's that easy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Interview with Barbara White Daille

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Barbara White Daille. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Kim, thank you for inviting me back! It's always great to stop in for a visit—and of course, I can't pass up the chocolate ;)

Thanks also for asking about my newest release from Harlequin American Romance, which debuts on February 7th.

THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER is set in Flagman's Folly, New Mexico, the same small town as in my previous book, and tells the story of ex-rodeo star Caleb Cantrell.

After growing up dirt-poor and looked down upon by folks in town, Caleb took off while he was still a teen, headed for fame and fortune. A near-fatal injury destroys his rodeo dreams, and he returns to his hometown with the goal of settling scores with the folks who’d done him wrong and then leaving them all behind for good. Despite his rocky reunion with his high-school sweetheart, he finds his interest in her still going strong. All of a sudden, he's got a hankering to hang around.

When he rents a room in her mother's bed-and-breakfast, Tess LaSalle's stuck with him day and night. She wants only to see the back of him as he leaves town, the way he left her years before. Though she's fighting attraction, too, those feelings are nothing compared to the memory of their bitter separation. When her rodeo-crazy nine-year-old discovers the great Caleb Cantrell has returned to Flagman's Folly, Tess is ten times more desperate to get rid of him—before he learns the secret she's kept from them both for all these years.

How did you arrive at the title for THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER?

Through a joint effort with my editors. (smile)

One of the best ways of getting the right story into the right hands is to clue the reader in to what the book is about, through both the cover blurb and the title.

Many readers love "secret baby" stories, whether the baby is yet to be born or, as in this case, is getting way too close to her terrible teens. I love those stories, too, which is why I wrote the book. And oh, boy, did I love this preteen! She's a real handful.

Of course, Caleb is clueless about being her daddy, but the reader knows the secret fairly early on—which makes THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER the perfect title. (In my humble opinion, of course.)

What made you decide to write in this genre?

The people. I love writing—and reading—about the characters and how they act and what they think and feel and how they handle the curves that are thrown their way. And there are many curves in romance novels, many conflicts that pop up to keep the hero and heroine frustrated and apart no matter how much they might want to be together.

As a writer, I find it challenging but fun to see how long I can keep them from resolving their conflicts. But of course, eventually they always do.

Which is another thing I love about romance—the guaranteed happy endings.

In writing for Harlequin American Romance, I can also incorporate other favorite elements, such as the hero and heroine's community, which involves both their environment and all the characters around them. In my stories, they're usually quirky characters, and that makes the books all the more fun for me to write.

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of this book?

I think I'm a hybrid of the two. Along the lines of building a house, my usual work methods are to erect a fairly detailed framework (outline), but then leave lots of space to finish off within. It does sometimes mean I run up against unexpected walls! But I usually manage to hang in there and get job done.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER spins off from my previous book, A RANCHER'S PRIDE. They're both set in the town of Flagman's Folly. I fell in love with the hero and heroine of that book, as well as another important character, a four-year-old child who is deaf. I wanted to see how everything worked out for them after their own happy ending.

Along with that trio, I had a few meddling secondary characters who insisted upon coming along for the ride, including a grumpy judge with a heart of gold and a matchmaking town clerk who thinks she controls the love life of every unmarried adult in town. And who pretty much does.

As for the plot of THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER, I came across a hero who overcomes his heartbreaking childhood and finally arrives at the peak of success, only to have his dreams shattered—and his body, too. After facing down his own death, he's hell-bent to get his life back on track, no matter the cost to anyone.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Unfair answer alert! (smile)

Putting aside the list of secondary characters, I'll keep to the ones who play the starring roles.
I adore nine-year-old Nate, the horse-loving preteen whose smart mouth hides the hurts she won't share with anyone. I love Tess, who was devastated by the way Caleb left her and now bravely deals with her problems on her own.

And I'm in love with Caleb, after seeing all he's suffered and knowing he wants—and deserves—better. The poor man just doesn't know how to go about getting it. So, very sorry, but I can't pick just one.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing?

Confession time. I start off with character sheets and am good as far as name, age, hair and eye color. And I do jot down the most significant details, but what's important varies from character to character. After that I lose track of filling in the blanks and get caught up in writing the book.

Once in a while, I'll do a character interview. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

My heroines are usually too proud to tell their troubles to someone else, and my heroes are just too danged stubborn! They all usually wait until the push point in the story, and still the other character has to drag the information out of them. (smile)

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

First, there’s my website: http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com.

Readers should feel free to stop by and visit any time! They can also look for me on Facebook and Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/barbarawhitedaille and https://twitter.com/BarbaraWDaille.

Specifically for THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER, I'm just beginning a blog tour where I'll be guesting at various places all over the Internet. Much Cheaper Than Therapy is my number-one stop on the tour. Because, of course, I need to fortify myself with some chocolate! Readers can find the blog tour schedule at my website.

What do we have to look forward next?

Thank you for asking. Next up is another book set in the town of Flagman's Folly. It centers around characters who make cameo appearances in THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER.

HONORABLE RANCHER (August 2012) tells the story of Ben Sawyer, a man whose best friend died an Army hero. Ben's fighting both to keep the promise he made to take care of his friend's wife and small children and to keep his hands off the woman he's always loved from afar—his best friend's widow.

Thanks, Barbara!

Thank you, Kim, for inviting me to chat and for being such a gracious hostess.

To celebrate her book release, Barbara is offering a free copy of the first Flagman's Folly title, A RANCHER'S PRIDE, to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (Please check the blog Monday night to see who if you. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

For a second chance to win: 1. Like Barbara's Facebook page, follow her on Twitter, or sign up for her Yahoo group newsletter (link available on her website)—or do all three (smile).

2. Then send her an e-mail via the Contact Form on her website letting her know which you've done. (Drawing will close at midnight January 21. Please check her website on Monday, January 23 to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away....

Originally from the East Coast, award-winning author Barbara White Daille now lives with her husband in the warm, sunny Southwest, where they love the lizards in the front yard but could do without the scorpions in the bathroom.

From the time she was a toddler, Barbara found herself fascinated by those things her mom called "books." Once she learned the words between the covers held the magic of storytelling, she wanted to see her words in print so she could weave that spell for others.

Barbara hopes you will enjoy reading her stories and will find your own storytelling magic in them!

Check out author’s website at www.barbarawhitedaille.com

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Protecting Katie - Free for Limited Time

Protecting Katie is up on Amazon as a free download for a limited time. It actually hit #42 in Amazon's Contemporary Romance list, which was a very nice surprise to wake up to!
Below is a short blurb of the contemporary romance:

5 Stars and Top Read - Writers and Readers of Distinct Fiction
"Not wanting to ruin the ending for the reader, I will say this, a brilliantly written story. One I completely recommend to anyone who likes a good book....Bravo! I loved it!" - Terri Ann Armstrong, WRDF Reviews
Morgan Stone will do anything to keep his daughter, Katie. But would he steal? Yes. Lie? Absolutely. Cheat? Most definitely.

When Jeff, Katie’s biological father, threatens to file for paternity, Morgan, blind to anything but the need to protect Katie, strikes back with photographs of Jeff with one woman while engaged to another. With evidence of his ex-partner’s infidelity, he meets Jeff’s fiancée, Kristen St. John. In less than thirty seconds, he destroys her dreams with damning photographs of Jeff in the arms of another woman.

Can Kristin believe the evidence of her fiancés’ infidelity? Caught in the middle of a battle between two men, Kristin doesn’t know who to believe or trust, especially her heart when it comes to Morgan. She finds herself falling for this fierce, loyal man. But when it comes to loving Kristen, will Morgan find it within himself to give up everything, even Katie?
You can download your free copy here at Amazon.
Also, Shrouded in Darkness, my paranormal book, the first in the shrouded series is on sale for $99 at Amazon. This is also for a limited time.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

February Writer U Classes

February 1-29, 2012
"Pacing: How To Create a Page Turning Manuscript"
by Mary Buckham
$30 at www.writeruniv.com

What keeps a book intriguing enough to have fans turn the pages and not set it down? How can one author’s books have you riveted and another’s leave you feeling ho-hum? Ever wondered if there are key craft tips and techniques to balance fast-paced conflict, tension, suspense or mystery, action and emotion? In PACING: HOW TO CREATE A PAGE TURNING MANUSCRIPT you’ll learn:

* The ingredients of a page turner
* What hooks are and how to maximize them
* The power of effective scenes: common pacing pitfalls to avoid
* The ten elements of strong pacing
* How to use subplots and secondary characters
* How to avoid a sagging middle
* Learning what a beat is and how to use it
* Great beginnings and endings that have your readers wanting more!

Mary Buckham is co-author of BREAK INTO FICTION: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells and an award-winning romantic suspense author. She has a non-fiction book and hundreds of free-lance articles to her credit, and is a former magazine editor. Currently she presents writing workshops online and around the country. Mary encourages you to visit her website at www.MaryBuckham.com for more information about her and her current writing projects.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What are you doing for Valentine's Day

For Daisy L'Amore, this Valentine's Day is going to be a busy one.  Will falling in love with the wrong guy be the best thing she's ever done?

Shaking It Up by Erin Quinn

Daisy L’Amore is faced with impossible choices. A prophecy given a year ago has Daisy and her two best friends racing the clock to find love before midnight on Valentine’s Day or they will lose everything they’ve worked for, including With a Twist, the martini bar and bistro the three of them own. A crystal heart and a gypsy’s words guide them, but love has a way of making its own rules, and Daisy is afraid to break them.

Romeo Corazón is shaking up Daisy’s world, but will the transformation he brings to her life be the downfall of everything she values? Or will falling in love with the wrong man make everything right?

Amazon      Barnes & Noble     All Romance     Many eReader Formats

Tell me what you're doing for Valentine's Day and I'll enter you to win a copy of Shaking It Up!  (be sure to leave me your email addy in the comment)

Monday, January 16, 2012

And the winner is....

Congratulations Andrea l. You're the winner of Connie's book. Please e-mail Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail (dot) com. (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Organizing the Medicine Cabinet

As some of you may know, my New Year's resolution was to improve my life. My biggest goal is to get more organized. I need to make the most use of my time since I teach during the day and write during evenings. Every second counts.

Like most people, I put like sized items together in the medicine cabinet. Not much thought went into it, other than groaning over cleaning it. I was organizing the top bathroom drawer when I found a safety pin and realized I didn't have just one spot where I would look for safety pins. I decided to place them in plain sight on the bottom shelf in the medicine cabinet. Then it dawned on me that I really should keep a nail file and clippers in their too. These are simple items I usually have to hunt for, or go to the spare room to retrieve, while getting ready for work. Now they are within arms reach when I snag a nail or I need to pin clothing down or together.

I also started putting my medications into those days of the week containers. Not only does it save time opening and closing bottles, but now I know if I took them that day.

Although these are simple fixes, they do save me those wasted seconds or minutes that add up quickly. If you have an organizing idea, I hope you'll share it with us.

I'll have more organizing hints for the bathroom next Sunday.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Interview with Connie Flynn

I’d like to welcome our guest today, our very own Connie Flynn. It’s a pleasure having you as a guest here at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have reissued two of your paranormal romances, SHADOW ON THE MOON and SHADOW OF THE WOLF. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous werewolf series?

My pleasure. This is my debut paranormal novel so it has a special place in my heart.

Psychiatrist Morgan Wilder was on a quest to discover the unrealized powers of the human mind. Quixotic Lily promises to reveal centuries old secrets, but instead she transforms Morgan into an inhuman monster. Rejecting his new state, he retreats to the Arizona mountains. Lily, intent on making Morgan her eternal mate, chases him down.

Wolf biologist Dana Morgan devotes her life to reinstating the wild wolf. After learning that a pack has been accused of the savage slaughter of humans, she races to the snow-swept mountains to prevent their destruction. Soon she and Morgan discover she is fated to lift the dark stain from his soul.

Dana puts her life in mortal danger to perform a ceremony of love and Lily uses every supernatural power at her disposal to reclaim Morgan's soul, ending in a violent showdown under the SHADOW OF THE MOON.

The werewolf books have interesting titles. How did you come up with them?

By drawing on the old Lon Chaney cliché that a full moon triggers the werewolves' transformation. I’m big on using clichés and giving them my own touch. In these books, the classic legend allowed me to build a redeeming ceremony which was dependent on the full moon and other astrological aspects.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I've always loved the paranormal genre, which back then was populated with mostly horror or fantasy titles. Some sci-fi, sure but those titles still stuck to strict conventions. When Silhouette launched a line called Silhouette Shadows I went for it. Eventually, Silhouette rejected it but it sold to NAL and transformed my career.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

By asking questions. Ann Rice had broken big ground with her vampire books and she completely owned the species, so I asked myself which species were still fair game. I wanted something alpha, edgy, and dangerous, but also capable of being physically attractive. Beauty and the Beast came to mind and thus Morgan Wilder was born.

What are your favorite paranormal research books of sites, and why?

I have two favorite sites: Lady Gryphon’s Mythical Realm [www.mythical realm.com ] and Mythical Creatures and Beasts [www.mythicalcreaturesguide.com ]. There are several other sites I have found but failed to bookmark effectively enough to find them again. One is a site with mpg files of hundreds of animal cries and the other is a little app that helps you devise new names for locations in your story. If I ever find them, I’ll be happy to share.

Which characger did you like writing about the most, and why?

Lily, the villain in SHADOW ON THE MOON and White Hawk, the shaman. I gave them their own story in SHADOW OF THE WOLF.

The why is that I like quirky, flawed characters. Partly because I find them more interesting, but most of all because I love stories of redemption and true forgiveness which these kinds of characters cry for.

Tell us how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and/or world affect your chaacter development?

I’m a writing teacher and I wish I could say that I do everything step-by-step the way I teach in my classes. While I almost always have my setting and story premise in mind, I generally write about thirty to fifty pages to discover the protagonist’s voice. When I've done that I begin pulling together the structure. I must confess that a few times I pretty much wrote the whole book before I discovered the protagonist's vital internal conflict. Let me tell you, that makes for some ugly rewrites.

How do you go about building your world if you use one? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

Somehow I manage to keep much of this kind of detail in my head and I’m also willing to go back and make changes if something better comes to mind. I only make sketches and diagrams if I get stuck on the mechanics of how a scene will play out.

Do yo have any authors that inspired you?

Too many and in too many genres: Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, Kathleen Woodiwiss, the poet Kahil Gibran, Richard Bach, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Charlaine Harris and, of course, J.K. Rowling. There are more among the 21st century authors but I'm afraid the list will go on and on.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

At the moment, I’d say Bookbuzzer and probably a Twitter barrage, but I’m still learning how to self-promote in this new marketplace. What I have learned is that it's terribly time-consuming. So if y’all have tips on how to use my time more effectively in this area, I’m listening . . .

What do we have to look forward to next?

It was early last year that I decided to self-publish my previously published books and to launch my mysteries under the pseudonym K.C. Flynn with a romantic suspense called THE MAN IN THE STETSON.

I’m also in the processing of reissuing two more of my paranormal backlist. Next up is THE FIRE OPAL, probably in April for the ebook version. I've also planned a number of personal appearances this year. What's coming is the Chocolate Affaire. I'll be there Friday, February 3rd and Saturday, February 4th with the newly designed print version of SHADOW ON THE MOON.

For those of you who prefer straight romance, I'd like to announce that last fall Harlequin Superromance reissued two of my earlier romance. A third will show up in 2012.

Thanks, Connie!

To celebrate the print reissue of SHADOW ON THE MOON, Connie is offering a free copy to one lucky commenter on today's blog. The only catch is that printing is still in progress so you will probably have to wait until the end of January to get it. If you're the impatient type or if you just prefer ebooks, she will alternately give you a coupon for a free download compatible with the ereader of your choice.

(please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at www.connieflynn.com or at her author page on Amazon www.amazon.com/Connie-Flynn/e/B000APBBD0/ to buy SHADOW ON THE MOON and SHADOW OF THE WOLF.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Goal By Any Other Name

Being that it's a new year, I thought I'd talk about goals. Real original, huh. When I think of goals, I think of those large yellow things cemented in at the end of footballs fields. They're not very moveable or adaptable, and if you're playing football chances are you going to get hurt reaching them.
I don't like goals.
And no, it's not about the pain; Life is a full contact sport. It's about the inflexibility of cementing something in place.
I don't do cement and I refuse to beat myself up because I didn't make an arbitrary thing. I have enough pressure in my life. Which is why I like sticky notes--you can move them around or remove them, ball them up and throw them away.
So how do I keep myself motivated?
I make lists of small bite-sized portions of a bigger thing that supplement a to-do list. For example, I have promised to deliver a paranormal romance by mid-March. To accomplish this I plan to write 150 pages a month for the next two months. That works out to 5 pages a day.
Do I force myself to write 5 pages a day?
No way! I give myself leave not to write some days. Given that I'm a procrastinator, this means that usually on the last week of the month I'll have to crank out 90 pages in seven days. I'm trying to do better.
I'm a work in progress.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year's Goals

Kim Watters here. Today I'm here to talk about NewYear's goals. You see, I don't make resolutions. They're too easy to break. For me, a goal makes me more accountable (at least in my own mind). I don't set lofty ones--or try not too--because they would be too easy to modify. So my goals for me this year are to sell two books to Love Inspired, go to the YMCA to work out twice a week, and get and stay more organized. I can't seem to function very well if things are messy and I can't find what I'm looking for. This past year has been extremely hard because I moved and things are still in boxes and bins in my garage, and nothing has been filed, it's just sitting in a banker's box. Now that the holidays are over, it's time to get everything in its place. A quality I hope to instill in my children!

In my writing, I use a lot of spreadsheets to keep track of my characters, my fictious towns, chapter scenes etc. With the click of a mouse, I can see what color my heroine's eyes are, or what shop is next to the candle store in town.

So, let's check back at the end of the year and see how I did. Will I be able to use my garage to park my car? Will I be able to find that receipt or owner's manual when I need it? Will I be dedicated enough to work out twice a week? And find time to get two books written? I'll let you know in December. Until then, what are your goals or resolutions for 2012? Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, January 9, 2012

And the winner is....

Congratulations donnas. You're the winner of Alix's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters 21 (at) hotmail (dot) com (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Still Organizing - An Odd Bathroom Caddy

If you read last Sunday's post, you know I am working on improving my life for 2012, which means I have a lot of organizing to do now that I recently got married. We merged The Irish Charmer's belongings with mine in every room except for the bedroom bathroom, which I still use in the mornings.

Anyone watching television commercials knows women have many choices when it comes to personal grooming. The problem is what to do with all of those items after you buy them. I spent months trying to figure out what to put in the bathroom that wouldn't fall off the wall, rust, or somehow create a mess.

One day, I was cleaning out a kitchen cupboard and found the caddy pictured above. I believe it came with the dishwasher and is used to hold items like baby bottle caps. I immediatly knew it would solve my problem in the bathroom. It now holds razers, face cleansers, and utensils for smoothing the skin on my heels. What I like most about this caddy is I can easily lift it up when I need to cean the tub.

If you found an imaginative use of an ordinary object, I hope you will share it with us.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Interview with Alix Rickloff

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Alix Rickloff. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Heir Of Danger. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

This is the third book in my latest regency paranormal series—The Heirs of Kilronan which follows one family’s struggle to stop a madman from resurrecting King Arthur as part of a plot to instigate a war between Other and Mortal.

HEIR OF DANGER features the final sibling Brendan Douglas. Since his father’s murder, he’s been on the run. But he comes home in a last ditch attempt to stop a war and clear his name. Unfortunately the key to both lies with Elisabeth Fitzgerald, the woman he jilted seven years before. Now trapped together in a reluctant alliance, they must provoke a killer into making his deadly final move, but will the sacrifice Brendan has to make be Elisabeth herself?

Heir Of Danger is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

When we first conceived of the trilogy, my editor told me to throw some title ideas her way. I put together a long list of possibilities, some of them using a pun on Heir as a way to tie the three books together. Heir of Evil, Heir of Passion, you get the idea. Anyway, none of them made the final cut … or so I thought until the third book came into final production and my editor pulled up Heir Of Danger. One of my suggestions! Finally!

Would you describe your book as a cozy, mystery, suspense, or thriller?

I suppose if I had to label it under one of these categories, it would be suspense. I like to keep my readers guessing and definitely turning the pages, but I wouldn’t say I’m thriller-esque as in you’re afraid to turn out the lights, just left on the edge of your seat and eager to follow the twists and turns as the plot thickens and events grow more complicated. The most difficult part of my writing process is balancing the external suspense with the character’s internal conflict and romance. I do a lot of layering once the initial story is down on paper to be sure both arcs work simultaneously.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’m a European history major and have always loved reading historicals whether they be romances, mysteries, straight fiction or non-fiction. But growing up I devoured fantasy and science fiction from writers as diverse as Mary Stewart, Anne McCaffrey, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Andre Norton. So, I loved the idea of pairing these two genres together to see what I could concoct. I tried this approach first with my recent release of DANGEROUS MAGIC where I added a touch of magic to an otherwise straight regency. I had so much fun with that story, I immediately jumped into the regency-paranormal world with my next book, and from there, I never looked back.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The inspiration for the story came from a previous manuscript. The heroine of that book’s father was murdered under mysterious circumstances, and now and again there was an allusion to some larger dark conspiracy. From those seeds, the entire Heirs of Kilronan series grew. Though it wasn’t until I began writing the first book, EARL OF DARKNESS, that the King Arthur ah-ha! moment struck. After that, the story clicked into place pretty rapidly. HEIR OF DANGER is the culmination of the three books, so it was where I had to wrap up all my loose ends. This made it both easier since by the time I began writing, I knew my characters really well, and I knew where the story was going. The hard part was trying to write myself out of all the corners.

Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?

Not at all. I’m a confirmed pantser so my process requires a lot of nail-biting and hair-pulling as the story moves forward, mainly propelled by my muse and lots of coffee. The hardest part is restraining myself from adding so many twists and turns in the plot that I corkscrew myself right into a corner (see answer above). Before I sit down, I will have a general idea about the major turning points of the story. Then it becomes a matter of connecting scenes to build the tension up to each point. But those scenes always evolve as I go and I’m never certain what will pop from a character’s mouth that will change everything.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

While the historical aspects of the books required a lot of research (let’s face it, regency readers are rabid about their details), I was able to throw my imagination into overdrive when it came to the paranormal/fantasy elements of the story. The series is set in Ireland which is close enough to England that much of Society and custom were the same, but far enough removed due to its occupied status that there was a lot I had to learn before I could place my characters there. I found some fabulous research material on Ireland under the Georges, both city and country life which helped tremendously plus some great travel maps from the period that zeroed me in on every little bump in their roads. And last but not least, my s-i-l is from Limerick, so I was able to pick her brain when I needed an authentic phrase or expression to place in my characters’ mouths.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I absolutely loved Brendan Douglas. He seemed to spring to life from the moment he took the stage. He’s cynical and self-serving, but smart, determined, and never takes himself or anything else too seriously. On the lam with his gambling ne’er-do-well cousin Jack O’Gara, the bad guys don’t stand a chance.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

My characters tend to jump into my head pretty complete from the beginning, in that I know their goals and their motivations, but then I take that and add to it all the backstory minutiae like names of parents and siblings, important dates in their lives, eye and hair color; things I may need to refer back to throughout the story and write that down as reference as I go. Beyond that, they reveal themselves through the writing. Body language, personality traits, relationships, personal history, and even their inner conflict will come through as the story progresses through dialogue and internal thought. I love getting to know the characters as I go. I’m surprised whenever I sit down to write at what I discover about them, and for me, that’s what keeps the writing fun and exciting.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Your blog isn’t long enough to list every author that has ever inspired me, but I do have authors who hold a special place in my heart. I dedicated HEIR OF DANGER to four of them; Mary Stewart, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jane Austen, and Rosamunde Pilcher. These are my four go-to authors. Different in genre, style, characterization, but I read their books over and over whenever I need to get lost in a familiar story where the writing is flawless and the characters are old friends.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

So much about success in writing is complete coincidence or out of an author’s control; bookstore placement, distribution, Kindle lists, reviews. I could drive myself crazy worrying over that stuff. Instead, I focus on what I can do. Being a relatively new author, the challenge for me is getting readers to take a chance on someone they may not have heard of before. I’ve found the best and easiest way to do that is to offer them a free book. Let them kick the tires, check under the hood, take a spin around the block. Hopefully, they’ll pass on their enjoyment to a friend or buy the next one in the series, or check out my blog, website, FB page.

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m working on a new series, but plans are still sketchy at this stage. I’m also thinking about dipping my toe in the indie-world with a new book in my Bligh Family series. Again, I’m still in the beginning stages of this venture, but readers can catch any developments on my website www.AlixRickloff.com or my FB page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alix-Rickloff/101434889914147

Thanks, Alix!

To celebrate her book release, Alix is offering a free copy of HEIR OF DANGER to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

ALIX RICKLOFF has never been able to decide who she enjoys reading more; Austen or Tolkien. That lifelong indecision drove her to create stories of her own, combining those distinct loves. Her writing awards include a final in the Golden Heart, while Romantic Times Magazine calls her work both compelling and original.
To learn more you can visit her on the web at www.AlixRickloff.com.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tia Dani's First Blog of the New Year

Welcome 2012.

We are off to a good start. Breathless Press has offered us a contract to re-release our short story, Seduction to the Altar, previously published with Sapphire Blue Publishing. We are looking forward to seeing this story available again. Once we hear when it will be released we'll be letting everyone know.

With the New Year come new goals, new aspirations, and new heights to reach. This year we didn’t bother with the usual, lose 10 pounds (tried this, gained 10 instead), exercise on a regular basis (lasted about a week), and organize our house (this is a great resolution, but we never follow through with it). Instead we reviewed our goals for the coming year and thought about what we, as team writers, need to focus on to make us better authors. Also, our goals are not going to be set in stone. We’ve found that if we’re too strict we’re only setting ourselves up for failure (see above resolutions).

Our lives tend to be much too complicated to not expect change. However, we have learned to roll with the flow, so to speak. Still, we need to stay focused and have a plan. Just like for our stories we need a guideline to follow, but still be ready for the unexpected twist.

So, this year we will…

Improve our craft.

Follow a regular writing schedule.

Finish what we start before moving on to a different project.

And, last but not least, publish two full length novels.

These are entirely doable goals for us, but keep your fingers crossed because we slide backwards easily.

We will leave you now with our writing tip for the day. Remember you only have a few pages to grab your reader. A friend of ours told us that she only reads the first page and if by that one page she isn’t sucked into the story she puts the book down and moves on. Don’t let the book tossed aside be yours. Make your story begin with an attention grabbing opening. Once you have your reader hooked, then you can set up the rest of your story.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2012!

Tia Dani

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


It's January 2nd and the holidays are over and my tree is still up.  I even plugged the lights in today. Neighbors are probably saying, "Poor thing. Doesn't she know?"
I'm always a little spacey this time of year because sometime back I fell into a habit  of using the New Year's holiday to assess past accomplishments and mistakes and to design the future year.  In other words, New Year's resolutions.  
What I noticed a couple years back was that the resolutions I thought were goals, were actually items on a to-do list.  What I aIso noticed was they all seemed connected to a larger outcome I wasn't aware of until then. 
This year I started with the outcome, which became the theme for my resolutions and allowed me to focus my efforts on the right to-do's.  My personal  blog covers my process in detail so I won't repeat it here, but one of the best results to come out of my newly-minted theme method was I became very careful about what I associated my "I'm" to. 
Your I'M,  you may say. What is that?
Well, it's a contraction for I AM, which seems pretty obvious, but the affects of those two letters is probably not so clear.  The scary but wonderful truth is that those two letter, whenever they're thought or spoken, become a declaration of what you think you are, and/or what think you will become.  Anything you attach I am to becomes your new mental goal.  So if you say I am going to take the Christmas decorations down, my mind puts that on my to-do list.  I may or may not take down the decorations that day, but until I do, the task will float around in my mind, taking up space.   
This is true for everyone, whether you're saying "I need to, I must, I can't, I won't, I shouldn't, I wouldn't, I will." In other words, any form of the verb  "to be."  You get locked in because you declared yourself to be or to become that way. 
If, instead, you'd simply said that the Christmas decorations needed to come down . . . well, this sounds really silly, but essentially you don't get personally involved when you say it that way.  You're free to get the task done any number of ways (like, maybe your husband will do it, can you believe that?)
This works all the way through your life.  When you use I am combined with words like happy, wonderful, excited, energetic, engaged, loving --- I could could go on forever, but you're getting my drift.  These declarations also stick in your mind, too, but as enriching energy rather than as gnatty little thoughts that clutter your mind and sap your will to go on.
So, I was actually going to write about the re-launch of, SHADOW ON THE MOON, my debut paranormal werewolf book, but since I'm scheduled for a Much Cheaper Than Therapy interview on January 13, I'll save it for then. Which left me free to ramble, thank you very much.
But let me leave you now by wishing that your I am declarations create a planet full of happiness for you and yours in 2012 and on.  
Until next time,
Connie Flynn,

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Inexpensive Organizing

Like most of you, I made New Year's Resolutions. I WILL finish two books this year. Also, I plan to eat healthier and organize my life. You can probably tell by the picture, this post is not about eating healthier.

For the most part, I do have an organizing system. My motto is "Everything has a place and it will eventually get back there." I plan to do a better job of getting it "back there" this year. My husband and I both make piles of clutter and then when it gets on our nerves, we clean it. Clutter will interfere with your ability to think clearly and creatively so it is best to try to avoid it as much as possible. Don't get me wrong, I am no neat freak and don't plan to become one. I just know that with working a full time job and writing in the evenings, there is little time to clean so it is better to have a plan that will help free up more time.

I decided to start with my purse. The bottom was filled with old receipts, candy, and pens. The zipper compartments were a mess of miscellaneous items that were no longer usable because the wrappers had opened or come off. The purse needed a good cleaning. First, the handle was fraying, but instead of buying a new purse, I found an old favorite and transferred items while I cleaned. Saving money is always a good plan.

The three items in the left picture, closest to the text, were ideas I had already put into place. I keep my keys on a hook and I started putting those keychain cards on a separate hook. I placed a keyring around one handle of my purse and I attach both my keys and the keychain cards onto that ring and then drop them into the purse in case the hook ever breaks. (right picture) I always know where my keys are. You might also notice I keep a flash drive in a holder attached the purse as well. This is where I keep a copy of the manuscript I'm working on.

The white purse looking item in the left picture is an old makeup brush holder. I got tired of the wrappers of femine products ripping open in the zipper compartments of my purse. This case is hard and keeps them secure. The black makeup purse was used to protect my large sunglasses, but now I use it to store small items like antacids, lipstick, medications, etc. When I need something I can pull it out of my purse and easily search inside.

The address book is also where I list birthdays and more imporantly our car license numbers and the size of my air filters for the air conditioner. That info is now always at my fingertips whenever needed.

The Equal container was an idea I came up with this weekend. While cleaning my purse, I found Tic Tac mints. This was the perfect container to hold my sugar substitutes. The first few times I removed the lid I needed to pry it open with the end of a pen, but by the fourth time it could be tugged open easily. I also used Goo Gone to clean off the label. Now I know exactly where my Equal or Splenda is at all times. No more searching.

And now, after removing the cards I rarely use from my wallet, my purse weighs less than ten pounds. I think...

If you have any organizing ideas, please feel free to share them with us.