Can a Basket Save the World?

img_0426Whether you’re a glass half-full or half-empty type of person, most people would agree that there are many problems in the world.  Any attempts to solve the problems are sometimes overlooked in the ongoing debate as to cause or fault.  Sometimes our own daily challenges with life make it seem impossible to take on one more problem particularly one of global magnitude.

At a women’s retreat I agreed to contribute a prize for the raffle table and searched for a basket and items that would pair well with Ever After.  I had fun hunting for fairy tale-themed items suitable for a grown-up princess, a sparkly crown ornament, a coloring book filled with fairies and dragons, herbal tea and Godiva chocolate.  The wand proved to be elusive; all likely options were either too short or cheap looking. Then I found a glow stick topped with a butterfly and it was perfect.

When I saw my basket among the raffle prizes I was stunned.  Four tables of baskets, gift certificates and original artwork lined completely lined one wall.  During breaks women “shopped” the raffle table, perusing their choices then distributing their raffle tickets for a chance to win their favorite prize. The raffle was held the final morning among much cheering. Thanks to some ingenuity and craft, a group of 60 women raised $1,700 for Awaken, a Reno non-profit  which has done so much to restore lives damaged by sex trafficking, a global problem with a local presence that is disturbingly close to home.

Faced with overwhelming odds, many people would hesitate at the idea of taking up a sword and charging off to face the world’s battles. Many of the world’s problems are complex and rarely solved with a quick solution. A basket may not be the right choice solving for all of the world’s problems, but it’s a good starting point for some of them.


Sue &TED’s Excellent Adventure

FullSizeRender (1)I recently had the opportunity to attend a TEDx conference in Reno. While there was no magic phone booth or time travel involved, it was a mind-altering experience with incredible people that even included some excellent bands that Bill & Ted would have approved.

“Really living life is a choice I make every day.” Sherry McConkey

TED conferences are day-long events featuring speakers and musicians spanning a variety of viewpoints and genres. Our speakers included a healthcare CEO, a professional magician and a professor of sexuality from Smith and topics ranged from child abuse to the growing isolation of our elder population.  Creative types often long to converse with like-minded souls.  I can’t guarantee that all of the speakers with resonate with you, but it will get you thinking.

“I have the responsibility to honor the freedom of my soul” Lacey Strum

Each round of speakers included a musical performance.  In between songs, the performers shared their journey with the audience.  In between her haunting vocals, Lacey Strum told of how her life was saved by the prayers of a friend.  Jon Forman admitted spending most of Jr High trying to be BB King.

“There is a void in the symphony of life when you’re silent.” Jon Forman

TED events are all about conversation. Unlike many performances where the star

The Novelists

disappears into a waiting limo afterwards, the speakers and musicians were very accessible.  I congratulated lead singer of The Novelists on a great set while a mature woman beside me exclaimed, “I bought your CD because we’re on the same path!”

I overheard a gentleman suggest to his friend that they sneak aboard the hotel shuttle in order to continue the discussion with the speakers. Not a bad idea, but I had two kids and a pot of spaghetti waiting at home for me.

If current time and space constraints prevent you from attending a TED event, check out the recorded sessions on-line.  Better yet, you and a friend agree on a selection of speakers and meet for lunch or coffee to discuss.

Be excellent to each other.

SW Ever After KindleSpeaking of excellent now is an excellent time to pick up a copy of Ever After while it is still part of the Kindle Count Down which ends February 14 at 12:00AM PST.

Coming Attractions

SW Ever After KindleEver After is currently on sale as a Kindle Countdown title until February 14th at 12:00AM PST and we have some fun posts in the works this week.

Curious about what happens at a TED event? Check out my February 9th post.

Do you love romantic intrigue? Stop by when Stanalei Fletcher chats about her latest release on February 13th.

Ever After

Roz Parker is worried by her husband’s moodiness and frequent trips to the gym. Is Dave on the treadmill or simply running around?

While her husband is away on business, Eden Jones discovers that their accounts have been completely wiped out. Will Alan return or has he disappeared along with all of their money?

In the face of crisis two childhood friends re-ignite their friendship and discover which magic truly lasts.

Princess Party-Cinderella Moments

Describe a Cinderella moment from your life.

CO Billionaires Regina Duke

Of course, my Cinderella moment involves Buster the Wonder Dog. I’ve never been a “dress up” kind of gal, but last year at a dog show, Buster earned High Rally Points in Trial and the huge blue ribbon was twice as tall as he is. It was a lovely surprise, and I felt like a princess all day. Buster was my prince. 🙂

Regina’s Colorado Billionaires series is available as a set or individually.

SW Ever After Kindle Susan Winters

I was selected to do a reading of Past Imperfect, the story of my search for my birthmother. I had sent the article to numerous publications resulting in an impressive stack of rejection letters. My best friend, Debbie came along for moral support, since I was more than a little nervous about sharing my story with strangers in a funky bar in downtown Petaluma.

It was a perfect evening.  My story was warmly received—applause is something writers don’t get to hear very often. Two adoptees congratulated me personally during the break and shared their stories.  Their comments meant a lot to me.

Princess Party-Ashes to Fabulous

 If you’re having an ashes by the hearth moment, what is your best tip for snapping into princess mode?

CO Billionaires Regina Duke

A quick shower and a ribbon in the hair. Doesn’t matter how old you are, even curling ribbon pinned to your hair makes you feel festive. Silly? Maybe. But hey, Disney did singing mice and a pumpkin coach! Curling ribbon is nothing compared to that!


Susan Winters

A bright sweater and bling—I have an orange sweater that always scores compliments.  SW Ever After KindleAnd there’s nothing like shiny hoops or a sparkly bracelet to make a girl feel special whether she’s at the office or on the dance floor!

Ever After-Princess Party!

In celebration of the publication of Ever After, I’m having a princess party this week featuring princess trivia as well as random wit and wisdom from some of my fellow romance writers.

 What is your favorite princess movie or book?


Regina Duke

The Princess Bride!!! I love the humor, I love the heroine’s spunk and loyalty, and of course I love Mandy Patinkin. “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”

Don’t forget to check out Regina’s Colorado Billionaires series, now available as a boxed set! Titles are also available individually.


Sandra Edwards

Cinderfella with Jerry Lewis!

Susan Winters

A Little Princess (1905) by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a classic riches to rags to riches tale. It’s a childhood favorite of mine. At Miss Minchin’s exclusive boarding school, wealthy Sara Crewe is treated like a little princess. When her father dies in India, leaving Sara penniless, Miss Minchin shows her true colors forcing Sara to work as a drudge and live in the attic. Rich or poor Sara Crewe is gracious to all and relies on her vivid imagination to create a better world for herself and her friends.