Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Temptation Tuesday - Bargain Hunting!

This Temptation Tuesday Kay Thomas brings us a Bulletproof Bargain!

Ah…spring is in the air, at least if you live in Texas. I know many of you up North are still wearing wool scarves and overcoats, but for Texans, April marks some of the best weather our Lone Star state has to offer. Along about May it’ll be hotter n’ blue blazes, but with spring comes one of my favorite things. Garage sales. They’re definitely a guilty pleasure.

I simply adore finding something I’ve needed for a while but can’t locate in a store or discovering that wonderful bookshelf my neighbor doesn’t have room for any longer. I particularly love uncovering a treasure at a rock bottom price. And who knew I could experience that bargain-hunting thrill without leaving the comfort of my office chair. Apparently about a million folks have known for years and I was extraordinarily slow on the uptake.

Enter ebay.

I’ve had a couple of brushes with ebay over the years, but I only discovered how far one could fall into this ahem….addiction two years ago when I was shopping for a Dickens “Christmas Village” piece. You know those quaint little Department 56 china decorations that look like shops from Victorian England? I decided I had to have a Globe theatre (I know, I know, not even a real Victorian era piece—this could doubtless be the subject of another blog post).

I went looking on ebay thinking I’d find a quick bargain. It was November and there were half a dozen Globe theatres for sale just in time for the holidays. I quickly learned ebay requires patience, discipline and restraint. Not qualities I possess in great quantities. But I am very persistent. I stalked about four Globe theatres over two weeks before it finally dawned on me that I was burning time I didn’t have and I had to get back to work. This shopping for a bargain was about to break me in terms of time wasted.

For those who have avoided the siren call of ebay, they have a lovely little “buy it now” feature. (The only way I’ll shop there now.) After two weeks of hours whiled away at my new “habit,” I clicked the “buy it now” button, got my “new in the box” Dickens Village Globe Theatre and called it a done deal.

While I enjoy having the piece as part of our Christmas tableau, what I love more is that every time I look at it I think about what I learned about how I spend my time—at work, with family, with friends. Sometimes my time is worth more than money and sometimes it’s not. I’m learning to make the call.

So what’s a writer to do with an experience like that? Why put it in a book of course! In BULLETPROOF TEXAS (my April Harlequin Intrigue that’s being released today!) a brooding ex-park ranger and a sexy research scientist fight for control over a cave that holds the secret to curing cancer. My heroine, Dr. Maxine (Max) O’Neil, is racing against time and nature to study cancer-eating bacteria in a flooding Texas Hill Country cave.

As part of Max’s backstory she “discovers” ebay. Max collects Toby mugs—antique china mugs shaped like faces. When her ex-fiancé moves out and steals her collection, Max is determined to replace it. So she turns to ebay, only she’s somewhat competitive and finds she has to watch her competitive streak in the bidding or it will get her into trouble.

I can truly say my pain was Max’s gain. Ebay, you’ll find everything there—killer deals, life lessons and plotlines, too!

So my question to you—with all this talk of bargain-hunting.
What’s your “favorite find” ever at a garage sale, flea market, or…ebay?

One lucky commenter will win a copy of my new April Intrigue, BULLETPROOF TEXAS.

BULLETPROOF TEXAS is Kay Thomas’s second novel from Harlequin Intrigue and is being released today. Romantic Times gave it 4 stars calling it “taut, tricky and worth the read.” Cataromance gave it 4 ½ stars calling it “non-stop action, nail-biting suspense and fiery passion.”
Her debut novel BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF was released in January. To find out more about Kay, her eBay habits and to see the book trailer for BULLETPROOF TEXAS go to www.KayThomas.net.


  1. I usually don't go to garage sales, it seems like I have more junk then I know what to do with myself. My dear hubby is real big into ebay and buys from them quite often. He also uses that buy it now feature some. He said this morning he had missed a good deal on a pump for our pond and he wasn't sure why he didn't bid on it. He buys a lot of computer parts on ebay, because he messes around with computers.

  2. Both my sons are ebay addicts, as buyers and sellers, so I get more ebay action than I need, and I don't go to jumble sales (what we call them in my neck of the woods) much because my house is already an emporium of useless crap!

    But I did once find a whole playmobil circus at a village fete in Wiltshire. And the boys got years worth of fun out of it. Not bad for two quid.

  3. When I go to yard sales or flea markets, I go for the books I can find. Ever since I lost my collection of books in a fire, I'm a pit bull when it comes to getting my collection back. Have a great day.

  4. My Levi's 505 Nouveau Low Straight leg jeans. Long since discontinued and I can only find them on ebay. Keeping eating Twinkies and Caramel Macchiato's ladies! I need you to outgrow your jeans!

    Happy release day, Kay!!!


  5. My husband loves yard sales and flea markets. We got some Craftsman power tools and a Dremel really cheap last summer. They have been really useful during our kitchen remodel.

  6. Hi Virginia
    Good morning! Yes, my husband got me interested in ebay initially, too. He buys lots of bike parts and pieces there. “ESnipe” is his favorite device for shopping there now.

    You hit the nail on the head…all the “stuff” that comes with my little um…habit. I’m lucky I have a live-in organizer. My teenager loves to organize me and she does an excellent job, although she has drawn the line at my office door. It’s a little scary right now. Does anyone have a backhoe?

    Oooh, to lose all your books in a fire! I’m sorry. I see how garage sales and flea markets would be an excellent place to find your old favorites again. Best of luck with rebuilding your collection.

    Hey Kim
    Thank you! And thanks for stopping by. Levis, huh? Don’t you hate it when they discontinue our favorite things? I’m terribly impressed you can buy jeans on ebay. I always have to try on multiple pairs of the same size to get the right fit. Okay, don’t say it…Too many Caramel Macchiatos? : )

    Hi Crystal GB
    It’s fun that your husband likes to go to flea markets and garage sales, too! Dremels are fabulous. Good luck with that kitchen remodel.

  7. The best bargains I got from e-bay was a (more or less) complete set of all Sandra Brown's books - even some of the US releases that we didn't get here in the uk. The books were pennies rather than pounds and were a great bargain! Caroline x

  8. Hi Kay,
    Congrats on the new release. I found a designer dress on eBay for $20. Lucky for me it wasn't a knockoff. If I bought it in a store it would have cost more than $100.

  9. Hey, Kay!

    Major congrats on your new release! Can't wait to read it!

    I LOVE garage sales. The best item I ever found was a bowling ball of the perfect weight for me that had never been drilled. I enjoy bowling, so I was able to have it custom fitted to my hand. :)

  10. Kay,

    Congrats on your new release it looks awesome :)!!

    As for ebay yard sales etc ...

    I live in a very small town we don't have a bookstore etc. here - lol mostly fastfood and gas stations for those passing through on the interstate.

    I have to go 30-40min to even get to a Walmart. When I make the trip I check at the town's Goodwill for books and such sometimes. The whole area doesn't have many yard sales though so for value shopping I really do have to visit the Goodwill or eBay.

    I have baught a variety of things from eBay - games, game consoles, books, clothing, small household appliances, a few toys, vhs/dvds.

    I surprisingly have sold on there yet...

  11. Hey Caroline
    Oooh, I adore Sandra Brown’s writing. To get a complete set of her books is quite a coup. Isn’t it wonderful to get a whole bunch of books at once that you love? That feeling of indulgence ~ like cheesecake without the guilt!

    Hey Jane
    Thanks very much for the congrats! I’m thrilled about the Bulletproof Texas release. A designer dress on ebay? What a deal. I’m going to have to start looking at the clothes…you and Kim have convinced me. : )

    Hey Jo Davis
    Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m really looking forward to reading UNDER FIRE next month. Folks, be sure to check out Jo’s Firefighters of Station Five series. These are some seriously sexy heroes. Whew…is it getting warm in here or is it me?

    Hi Pams00
    Thanks for dropping in today and for finding BTX interesting! Hey, I think you’ve cracked the code on ebay. Isn’t it amazing what you can find there? A little bit of everything you need.

  12. I love bargains and sales and yard sales and garage sales and flea markets. Enough said.

    I'd have to say my best find was a wooden box with a lid that was on hinges. The box had a few carvings of lines and designs and had four feet so to speak. I loved it at first site and even got the lady down a couple of dollars. You could tell it was old and would love to know what had been it's contents once upon a time. I store stickies, notepads and pens in it.

  13. Hi robynl
    Thanks for stopping by!
    Your box sounds lovely and perfect for holding treasures. Could be you have a candidate for Antiques Road show. Have you seen it? People bring their "finds" from flea markets or old family heirlooms and the host appraiser tells them the sometimes amazing histories (and values) of the pieces. They've had some pieces turn up that are extraordinarily valuable.

  14. housemouse88

    You’re the winner!
    Please contact me thru my website and we’ll arrange shipping for your book.

    Thanks everyone for sharing your "favorite find" stories!

    Kay Thomas