Monday, April 4, 2011


interview with Suzanne
Suz: Bandits and Bandit Buddies I’m so thrilled to have my very good friend Kay Thomas back in the Lair. Her current release BULLETPROOF HEARTS is fourth in her BULLETPROOF series from Harlequin Intrigue. Welcome Kay! Pull up a barstool and I’ll have Sven pour the Bellinis!

Kay: Oh, Bellinis. You know how I love champagne.

Suz: Pat Cooper of Romantic Times BOOK reviews said “Thomas' characters have to be bulletproof as they keep on the run, one step ahead of gunmen and two steps behind the truth, in the swiftly escalating and breathtaking run for their lives.” And she gave it a 4 ½ star review. That’s some high praise! Can you tell us a little about this book?

Kay: Sure. I was thrilled with RT’s review. BULLETPROOF HEARTS is about a hit-and-run murder and a grieving sister’s hunt for answers that lead her straight into a killer’s deadly web. Abby Trevor’s only protection is dangerously sexy Shaun Logan. As shocking truths unravel and the unrelenting forces tracking her close in—one question remains. Can she trust a man who seems too good to be true?

Suz: Abigail Trevor is a bit of a “Steel Magnolia” who comes to Washington as a Southern belle with backbone when it comes to finding her brother’s killer. Do you find this kind of woman easy or hard to write?

Kay: I had a great time with Abby and unlike some of my other heroines I found her pretty easy to write. Feisty and independent, she says exactly what she is thinking despite having had a rather genteel upbringing. She’s “broken out” of that mold and is now bending the rules of propriety to find answers in her brother’s murder. She’s got trust issues because of how she was raised and as a result she always leaves herself an “escape hatch” in relationships. In dealing with Shaun, there is no escape hatch. Together, they’re an explosive combination.

Suz: Shaun Logan, mmmm, a fine Irish lad if there ever was one, brings a few issues of his own to the table. What’s driving him?

Kay: Shaun was raised on the mean streets of Dublin after losing his parents when he was a boy. He hides his real emotions under charm, a cool exterior and beautiful old world manners, never revealing what he truly feels. And Abby is making him feel and hope for things he never dreamed were possible…but to admit that is a huge risk for him. Especially as he is also hiding a secret from her that he never intended to get so far out of hand.

Suz:You let us see another of your characters in this book, Harlan Jeffries from your debut book, BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF. Was it fun revisiting him and Gina?

Kay: Yes! I loved writing Harlan Jeffries again. He’s still yummy and living his happily ever after with Gina and their adopted autistic son Adam. I also revisited a setting in that first book, Shaun’s house in Virginia. Plus I got to put in a cameo of my hometown Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Suz: Okay, so now that you’re hitting your stride with book # 4, tell us a little bit about your writing process. Are you a 9-5 sorta gal? Or a “burn-the-late-night-oil” writer?

Kay: I hesitate to call what I do a process. It doesn’t feel quite that structured…but
during the school year I write after my son leaves for school until I go to pick him up in the afternoons. During that time I use a kitchen timer and set it for three hours, turning it off when I get up for coffee, answering phone calls, checking email, etc.

After I hit three hours of “real writing time,” I stop for the day and work on email, publicity, etc. Of course, some days it takes me six hours to get those three “real hours” done. This productivity tool has changed the way I structure my days since I heard Susan Elizabeth Phillips speak about it at an RWA panel a couple of years ago. It’s been very good for me.

On tight deadlines I turn off my Internet access and work until I get it done. (Caffeine is my friend.) But I still use the timer to give myself built-in breaks. My biggest writing distraction by far is the Internet/social networking. I adore Twitter and Facebook, but I have to limit my time on them. The kitchen timer is good for that, too! Setting it for a ten-minute Facebook or twitter break then going back to writing.

Suz: Now I have a question for the Bandits, Bandit Buddies and Sven if we can spare him from the Bellinis for a moment to answer. There’s a scene in BULLETPROOF HEARTS where Abby is searching her brother’s desk looking for clues to his murder. She finds interesting things there. What’s the most unusual item we’d find sitting on your desk right now?

Kay: I’m looking at mine and it’s a tossup between the “Swiffer” duster and a pair of pink camouflage sunglasses. The duster is unusual because I’m not much of a housekeeper and I’ve no clue how the duster got to my desk and the glasses are unique because camo sunglasses? I bought them as a gag gift as we were driving through Arkansas on Spring break. Apparently pink camo sunglasses are all the rage in that area. Plus they match the bottle of Pink Flamingo nail polish that’s sitting on my desk, too.

So what about your desk? I’m giving a copy of BULLETPROOF HEARTS to one “unique” commenter.


Jane said...

I can't think of anything weird on my desk, but I do have a little bottle maple syrup my friend brought back for me from Vermont years ago. I also have another souvenir(a doll) my cousin got me from Thailand on the desk. Everything else is the normal stuff like mail and other stationery.

Helen said...

Well done Jane have fun with him


I have these books on my must have list I have loved the sound of them I do love me a great romantic suspense with great heros and heroines. I look forward to reading them.

As for my desk nothing out of the ordinary a printer paperwork pens a phone up on the top shelf if I go through and tidy it up like I should you will probably find some kids toys that have been taken of the grandchildren at odd times and put up out of their reach LOL.

Congrats on the release Kay.

Suz thanks for inviting Kay back today and BTW I finished The Surrender Of Lacy Morgan this morning Whoo Hoo I loved it way to go. When do we get Dakota and his vision's story?

Have Fun

June M. said...

The oddest thing I have on my desk would be a toss up between dog dental stix and a small stuffed Nessie (the Loch Ness Monster).

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Jane, enjoy the chook!

Kay, lovely to see you back again! Suz, lovely interview. I just happen to be on a romantic suspense kick right now thanks to Cindy Gerard visiting out shores for ARRC. So definitely in with the explosive girls right now. New book sounds fab!

Actually my desk has a couple of real treasures on it. My crit partner Annie West gave me a little good luck china pig from Germany. He's painted with four-leaf clovers and if you stroke him, good things will happen - well, that's the theory anyway.

Pissenlit said...

The most unusual thing would probably be the pony on roller skates. Ever since that episode of Gilmore Girls where Lorelai says to Luke that she wants a Barbie and a pony and roller skates and roller skates for the Barbie and for the Pony, I've been adding "on roller skates" every time I jokingly say I want a pony. This past birthday, a friend used polymer clay, four cannibalised Hot Wheels and a plastic pony to make one as a gag gift. He coasts very nicely. :)

Kim in Baltimore said...

Aloha! While I have leis, kukui nut necklaces, and Hawaiian landscapes around the house, my desk is lit by an Eiffel Tower lamp in wire.

Actually, our house is a mish mash of Europe and Pacific goodies from living in Germany, the Netherlands, and Japan.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Kay - Love the sound of this suspense - especially the southern belle in Washington character. As for my desk, I have a totally eccentric office with dragon kites hanging from the ceiling, to pink corset paraphenalia on the shelves. I use my office for accounting and promo stuff and the decorating was my attempt to make it a creative space. It didn't work. I do my writing on my laptop outside or next to a window. Still the most unique thing on my deak is a big bundle of peacock feathers tucked into a pink corset mug.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Kay the book sounds great i love suspense books :)
The strangest thing on my desk at the moment is a bottle of bbq sauce.

Beth Andrews said...

Welcome back, Kay, and congratulations on the release of Bulletproof Hearts and the fabulous RT review *g*

Love your writing process! When I was struggling at the start of my new proposal I'd set the kitchen timer for 20 min of writing then take a 5 min break. It worked really well for me :-)

Nothing too strange on my desk. Although my favorite thing is the bear my dear friends gave me when I sold my first book. He's dressed in a police uniform, has sunglasses and his badge proclaims him (Jack) Martin from Harmony - the hero in my book *g*

Gillian Layne said...

Kay, I love the Bulletproof books! :)

The newest addition to my desk is a little sea otter figurine made out of Mt. St. Helens ash. My daughter brought it back from her spring break trip to Seattle.

Kay Thomas said...

Hi Jane,

Good morning and congrats on the GR. Maple syrup, huh? That gives me some grand ideas for breakfast!


Kay Thomas said...

Thanks Helen,

It’s great to see you here again and I’m thrilled to be back. So glad the books sound interesting to you.

When you get tired of cleaning up your desk, please feel free to come and tidy up mine! It’s quite the mess I’m afraid..hence the eclectic mix of odd things. I do get down to seeing the wooden desk top once every few months between projects and that always gives me a pretty big thrill. : )


Kay Thomas said...

Hi June M.

Ooh…A stuffed Nessie? I’m fascinated with the Loch Ness Monster. I read the most interesting thriller about it a couple of years ago..title was The Loch. I can’t recall the author. But it was so fun. Made me want to go to Scotland immediately.


Kay Thomas said...

Hi Anna,

It’s so nice to be here again. Glad you like the sound of the new story. That little china good luck pig sounds charming.

I was thinking about you the other day. We had to get a “dragon sitter” for my son’s pet bearded dragon. I wondered what you'd think of this craziness given that they run wild in your neck of the woods. We had a college student who was taking care of “the beardie” and his mom was not wild about having live crickets in the house to feed it. : )


Kay Thomas said...

Hello Pissenlit,

A pony on roller skates….I love it! And that your friend made it for you. That’s priceless. Too fun!!


Kay Thomas said...

Hi Kim in Hawaii!

I can’t think of a place I’d rather be right now than Hawaii. Your desk lamp sounds marvelous. I bet it really sparks your imagination as you work, too.


Landra said...

Congrats on the Chook Jane!

Great interview Suzanne and welcome back Kay!

I have to ask where in Arkansas did those glasses get picked up? I live in Arkansas and thought it would be fun to know.

Strange things on my desk: A bag of misc. plastic forks and spoons that have had various portions cut orr removed (don't ask). A flower pot with a daughter flower sticking out of it (she made it for me on Mom's Day). Finally the empty box of Sour Patch Kids my co-worker provided about two weeks ago. I tend to get absorbed in my work so all sorts of stuff compiles.

Kay Thomas said...

Hi Donna MacMeans!

So glad you like the sound of my book.

You had me at pink corset paraphenalia. I’m not sure I know what all that entails but it sounds like something that would make your desk and office very creative. Throw in the peacock feathers and it sounds amazing. : )


Kay Thomas said...

Hi Elizabeth,

So glad you think the book sounds good.

Ahh…BBQ sauce. Living in Dallas we have a thing about our BBQ sauce. My son has just decided he likes it on his chicken tenders after years of eating them dry. Bleck. I know. : )

Last night we were looking at the grocery store for a new bottle of BBQ…the sheer magnitude of choices was overwhelming. There was an entire wall of sauces to choose from. Is this just a Texas idiosyncrasy?


Kay Thomas said...

Hi Beth

Thanks so much for the congratulations. I’m thrilled to be here.

I like your process for proposals, too…20 minutes then a five minute break. That would be perfect for me in writing the synopsis especially.

That bear on your desk sounds darling.


Kay Thomas said...

Hi Gillian Layne,

Thank you. I’m so glad you like the books and I appreciate your telling me.

Mt St Helens has such fascinating yet sad history at the same time. That little sea otter figurine from your daughter sounds precious and quite special.


Kay Thomas said...

Hi Slush,

Thanks for the welcome back. I’m thrilled to be here. Just realized I’ve been signing my name to every reply and whoops….y’all don’t really need me to do that…sorry…just got my coffee this morning. : )

As to those pink camo sunglasses. I found them in a couple of places near Little Rock. Gas stations that had the little stores attached. I saw them in a couple of stations…can’t recall the names. One was a truck stop type place, the other was a regular gas station/store….all were on the interstate. I would imagine they are all over though. I asked about them in Brinkley and they were out but were willing to hold a pair for me until I came through again…let me know if you find some. I think we could start a "fashion revolution" with our eyewear. : )

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Kay! Welcome back to the Lair. I'm really looking forward to the next Bulletproof book--and you had me at Dublin! Yum, can't wait to read sexy Sean's story! :-)

Great cover, by the way. Very sexy!

The only odd things on my desk are my toys. I need diversions! Among other goodies, I have a slinky and a little paddle ball, plus one of those "thingies with a ball on a string that you swing and try to get the ball into the cup." How's that for a name of a toy? I don't know what it's called! But it provides me hours of entertainment without leaving my desk. LOL

Cassondra said...

Woohooo Jane! The bird is going North! And I hear he loves maple syrup. Just sayin. ;0)

Cassondra said...

Lessee...right now my desk is my kitchen table, and it's piled with papers, notebooks, a manuscript I'm editing, some letters to mail...clutter.

The most unusual things on it are a bright yellow antique teapot, missing its lid and stuffed full of watercolor and acrylic paintbrushes. And there's an antique oil lamp in the center which, like my entire house, desperately needs dusting.

Cassondra said...

Kay, I love the sound of this book! I can just hear the Irish accent, and that's a really hot guy on the cover.

I see that I must make a run to the bookstore now. *grin*

Will you tell me about how you work with your characters? How did you "meet" the ones in this book, for instance, and what are your techniques for getting to know them? Since you're writing slightly shorter books, I know that every scene is critical and vital to letting us more and more into the characters, (and we can only see so much of any one character in any book, no matter the length). How do the characters end up showing themselves to you so you can bring them to us?

Cassondra said...

Suz lost power due to storms in her area last night, so wanted to let y'all know that she'll be here as soon as she gets power and internet back up!

Cassondra said...

June, love the stuffed Nessie. *grin*

Cassondra said...

Anna Campbell said:

Actually my desk has a couple of real treasures on it. My crit partner Annie West gave me a little good luck china pig from Germany. He's painted with four-leaf clovers and if you stroke him, good things will happen - well, that's the theory anyway.

Oooooo....I now have a new thing to look forward to....rubbing the good luck pig.

That sounds a little off, doesn't it?

Kay Thomas said...

Hey Kate

Thanks so much for the welcome. Yes, I’m wild about the cover. The art department really captured the characters for me. I love slinkies and paddle balls and I know exactly what you mean about that thing on a string. Diversions indeed…we all need them!

Kay Thomas said...

Hi Cassondra,

Ohh, that antique oil lamp sounds lovely…
So glad you think the book sounds interesting, too.

As to how I get to know my characters…I just sit and write. Sometimes it’s scenes that never go in the book. Other times it’s unrelated paragraphs filled with multiple ideas.

When I’m first starting a story I write things that I think might have happened to them in the past that are just lists of things…my ideas about them. It might be five or six opposite ideas and I pick the one I like best.

Getting to know characters and understanding the story doesn’t happen for me until my fingers are on the keyboard…or I’m writing it out long hand on a legal pad. I don’t sit and think about them or talk about them to work out plot or character. I have to be sitting at the computer. That’s when characters “speak to me."

Sounds kinda odd, I know. It’s the only time in the process I feel the least bit “woo woo.”

jo robertson said...

Hi, Kay, welcome back to the Lair and congratulations on the excellent RT review.

I have a box of Velamint chocolate mints on my desk, munching on them whenever I get the "chocolate addition"!

But, seriously, my desk is just a pile of stuff because I prefer writing at the coffee table in the family room. I like a lot of white noise in the background and the FR is the busiest room in the house LOL!

Anna Sugden said...

Welcome back, Kay! Great to see you here - I'm a huge fan of your Bulletproof series and look forward to your latest.

My desk has all kinds of things on it - I'm the queen of clutter, because I work better in clutter *g*. I think it's the love and energy from all the different things that helps me (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!) It's wonderful because every item has meaning for me - from the cuddly lamb who baas (a gift from when I finalled in the Golden Heart in 2006 - for the 'sheep' book) to the signed puck Donna gave me, to a rooster Becke gave me and of course, various shoe, black cat and penguin ornaments. I also have a couple of very special quote books that two of my dearest friends made me. One had inspirational quotes and the other friendship quotes.

My unique items are the bobbleheads my lovely hubby had made for me - one of him and one of me! I collect hockey bobbleheads of my fave players, so this was a totally cool gift!

Laney4 said...

Nothing unusual or unique to me but it might be to you. I don't know the correct name for it, but I have a metal mesh item that is supposed to hold your telephone on top and your phone books stacked underneath. It's like an upside-down square "U" design. I put my monitor on top (because I'm tall and require it higher than usual), and my transcription machine and computer glasses underneath, both tucked out of the way.
(I often find other uses for common objects, especially if it can save me money. This was a good way to raise my monitor but not lose desktop space. I also use a microwave cart for my office paperwork, so I can push it in numerous places around my office, depending on what I'm working on.)

Kay Thomas said...

Hi folks
Back in a bit
Got a kiddo home sick from school.

Anna Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said... my desk right now...there is currently a six page lay-out that I'm working on for my daughter's scrapbook. So, there is quite a few photos, stickers, lots of different cut outs of papers, and of course because mommy can never scrapbook alone...Perry the playapus from Phineas and Ferb is sitting on the shelf over looking everything that I do...So fun :0)

Angela Hicks said...


Congratulations on your latest release and that great review! Your book sounds fantastic and I loved hearing about how you sctructure your day.
I have a sick kiddo home from school today also. Although she seems to have made a remarkable recovery since this morning.

The most exciting thing on my desk is the roll of Stitch Witchery which I used to hem my pants before DID this weekend! :)

Angela H.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey everyone! Sorry to be missing in action today. A massive lightening strike happened right outside our house and our FIOS seemes to have taken the brunt of it. My computer WILL NOT connect to the internet. For some reason hubby's work computer will and he's let me come play on it for just a little bit.

So, of course, y'all are the first people I wanted to say "hey" too!

So the most unusual thing on my computer desk right now?

The motherboard of my computer! Hubby is dismantling it and deciding what parts need replaced.

I shudder at the cost estimate!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Congrats Jane on being first today. LOL on the Maple syrup. If my grandson saw that it wouldn't last long!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Helen!

You really need to get BULLETPROOF HEARTS by Kay. You would love this story!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Oh...and thanks Helen for the compliments on TSoLM. I'm so glad you liked it!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey June! What exactly does a Loch Ness monster look like?

Anna Campbell said...

Kay, how interesting - I was thinking about our dragons yesterday. I haven't seen very much of them this year. Hope it's just all the rain has kept them hidden away somewhere nice and dry. Over the last few years, we've been invaded by Indonesian geckos and I'm hoping they haven't chased the native lizards away. I've still got plenty of blue tongues but the dragons have been a bit elusive lately.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Anna C.

If the pig is painted in four-leaf clovers does that make him an Irish-Chinese good luck pig?

Suzanne Ferrell said...


LOL on the pony on rollerskates! Your friend could probably make a fortune marketing those to little girls!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Kim!

my desk is lit by an Eiffel Tower lamp in wire.

I think I'd like this! My husband has a small replica of the leg lamp from the movie "The Christmas Story" my daughter and SIL gave him the other year.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Donna!

Still the most unique thing on my deak is a big bundle of peacock feathers tucked into a pink corset mug

This doesn't surprise me, but I have to ask if your accounting clients ever comment on it?

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Elizabeth!

BBQ sauce?

Okay, exactly WHY do you have a bottle of BBQ sauce on your desk?

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Beth!

Love your "Jack" cop bear! How cool for your friends to buy it for you.

It's on my bookshelf and not my desk, but I have a little bear dressed in miniature green scrubs, complete with a little showercap scrub hat and mask. My boss gave it to me because I scrub for c/sections all the time! (I keep it well out of the reach of Rocky and the grandkids!)

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Gillian!

What a cool gift for your daughter to bring back! So much cooler than a t-shirt!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Slush!

the pink cammo glasses are too cute. Kay gave a pair to a friend of ours who just sold a 2-book deal to Harlequin...her first and second sale!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Kate!

Love your toys!

Every year for Christmas I buy odd things to put in the Christmas stockings. This year it was puzzle games. You know, the kind where you tilt it to get the little balls to go into certain holes?

They guys loved it!

Minna said...

Well, on my desk I have a computer, printer, some BookMooch cards, small jar full of xylitol sweets and couple of those small plastic containers that come from inside chocolate eggs. I'm thinking about turning those containers into Christmas decorations or maybe ghosts. I already turned some of them into pumpkins:

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Y'all, Kay may not make it back today or until late. Her sick-child-home-from school turned into a hospital run.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Cassondra!

Can I have the antique Oil Lamp? Candles are not nearly as fun when the power goes out!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Jo!

Chocolate Velamints? Didn't know they made such a thing. Hmmm...trip to the store is due soon!

I sometimes write at the kitchen table with the TV on for white noise. Usually to get me out of a slump!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Anna S!

My unique items are the bobbleheads my lovely hubby had made for me - one of him and one of me! I collect hockey bobbleheads of my fave players, so this was a totally cool gift!

How cool! I'm wondering what a bobble-head of you looks like!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Laney!!

Love your use of unusual items. I'm afraid I'd need one of those huge hotel baggage carts to move the paperwork in my office around!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Laney!!

Love your use of unusual items. I'm afraid I'd need one of those huge hotel baggage carts to move the paperwork in my office around!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey BJ!

So, there is quite a few photos, stickers, lots of different cut outs of papers,

THIS is what my kitchen table looks like when I get in a scrapbooking mood!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Angela!!

Was great to see you at DID (Dreamin In Dallas) this weekend! It was a great conference, wasn't it?

Love the quick hem with Stitch Witchery! I've been known to sew scrub jackets at work with black silk suture, although the curved needle takes a bit of getting used to!

Susan Sey said...

Hello, Kay & Suz! I have to say, I, too, found my writing time revolutionized by SEP's kitchen timer trick. Especially during summer vacation when the kids are home. They know we can't have fun until my two hours of writing time have ticked by & every time they interrupt me I turn the timer off.

They fear and respect the timer. :)

As for interesting things on my desk? I got nothing. Nothing interesting, anyway. Thermos of tea is as dangerous as it gets.

Thanks for coming by today! I'll look forward to bullet proof hearts!

Kate Carlisle said...

Oh dear, poor Kay! Sending hugs and good vibes to her and her little sick one and hoping everyone's back home and healthy soon.

chey said...

The strangest thing I just found on my desk is a red plastic bracelet. What's that doing there?

Anna Sugden said...

Hugs to Kay - sending good thoughts for her kiddo.

Suz - I'll send you a pic sometime. It's amazingly accurate!

Kay Thomas said...

Hi Y'all,

I’m back. So sorry our day got cut short and I thank you for the well wishes on behalf of my son. He’ll be better in a few days and I’m certainly grateful for Sven and his Bellinis this evening. : )

I thank you so much for having me and sharing the fascinating items topping your desks. It’s always a pleasure to be here with the Bandits. I’ve been both encouraged (that I’m not quite as messy as I thought) and inspired to straighten my work space a bit.

I’ve also been encouraged about my writing. Thank you for your interest in my books. I hope you’ll enjoy BULLETPROOF HEARTS.

Many thanks again for having me in the Lair. 
My very best to you.

Happy Reading & Bulletproof Hugs-

Kay Thomas

donnas said...

I dont think I really have anything unusual on my desk. But there is an awful lot on it so I would really feel sorry for someone trying to find something on it.

Pat Cochran said...

0n my desk: a still-in-the-package
table cloth purchased for my dining
table, but now I'm not sure I will
be using it & my favorite "Rooster"
figurine which is an homage to the
Golden fellow who is close to all
our hearts!

Thanks for visiting, Kay!

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Kay, Suz, and all!

Wow Kay! I wondered how you get so much done. A timer. Me, too!

I think it's so cool to hear that so many others use a timer. I love mine. I also use the Dr. Wicked timed writing app. Has anyone else tried that? I can only use it when I'm drafting a scene. But it's amazing how much we can write when we know our time is limited.

On my desk is a pair of pliers and a screwdriver - because it's been that kind of day.

Enjoyed your comments Kay and can't wait to read your next book.

catslady said...

lol. I probably have 1,000 items on my desk - not kidding. They wouldn't even try finding a clue on it lol. I have all the adorable little prizes that I've won from authors such as a little loch ness monster playing a bagpipe or an alien head or a frog, troll, lucky cat, lego tree, nome, power ranger, hula leis,dried gourd, signed scarf from an Elvis impersonator, stuffed oscar mayer mobile etc. etc. etc. I haven't seen the top of my desk in years lol. I have books piled so high and precariously that my husband says one day he is going to come home and find me buried underneath them all!