Monday, April 2, 2012

Today's Special - - Susan Mallery

PJ here.  I'm so excited to welcome Susan Mallery to The Romance Dish!  Susan has been a published author for the past 20 years and I've been a fan of her books since almost the beginning.  Her Marcelli and Buchanan families are two of my all-time fictional favorites and her Hometown Heartbreakers series for Silhouette Special Edition was one of the first category series to earn a spot on my keeper shelves.  She's gone on to pen many more favorites, including her recent Fool's Gold series for HQN.   Welcome, Susan!



New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women and the relationships that move them. Publisher’s Weekly calls Susan’s prose “luscious and provocative,” and Booklist says, “Novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling.” Visit Susan online at www.susanmallery.com.


The Precious Sense of Wonder  



When my dog Nikki was little – er, littler… full-grown, she tops out at six pounds – she loved to pounce on door stops in our house. She’d leap onto them in full attack mode, then bound backward when they bobbled around on their little springs.


BOOOIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNGG!!!


A mad fit of barking, then she’d pounce again.








But those days are gone. When I accidentally brushed against a door stop with my ankle recently - BOOOIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNGG!!! – Nikki didn’t react. No barking, no pouncing, not even an obligatory sniff. She had lost her sense of wonder about the once magical little spring. Isn’t it silly that it made me a little sad?

Although I don’t have children of my own, I know for parents, that poignancy must be even stronger, as they watch with a mixture of pride and sadness as their children grow up. You want them to learn about the world – they must – but each time they learn something, in a way, they lose something, too. They can’t ever go back to the time of unknowing.




It’s a bittersweet fact of life that children outgrow their sense of wonder. At some point, they stop believing that their toys come to life when no one’s looking. They grow blasé about dandelion puffs. They no longer try to stay awake on Christmas Eve to catch a glimpse of Santa.

In my latest book, BAREFOOT SEASON, Carly’s daughter Gabby is nine years old, and Carly is doing everything she can to nurture and protect her daughter’s sense of wonder and her sense of security in the world. She wants her daughter to be a kid for as long as possible. Gabby knows nothing about her mother’s falling out with Michelle Sanderson, once her best friend. For ten years, Michelle was the absentee daughter of Carly’s boss and, as the book starts, she becomes Carly’s boss, herself. Carly doesn’t want Gabby to worry about what will happen to them now that Michelle has come home. She has only told Gabby that Michelle is a hero in the Army. She hasn’t told the girl about the way Michelle betrayed her just before she fled Blackberry Island and joined the service.

When Michelle first meets Gabby, she, too, is struck by the girl’s innocence. In fact, Gabby’s innocence is a painful reminder to Michelle of all that she has lost. But, although Michelle doesn’t realize it right away, the girl’s childlike sense of wonder will inspire her to reclaim a piece of herself she had thought was lost forever.

BAREFOOT SEASON is the story of Michelle and Carly’s reconciliation over one long, lovely summer on Blackberry Island. (The book is the first of my new Blackberry Island series.) Along the way, they’ll each find love with a terrific man, and they’ll discover that life is sweeter with friends at your side. Read a free excerpt and learn more about Blackberry Island at www.blackberryisland.com.

What did you believe as a child that makes you smile with nostalgia today? What do the children in your life believe that makes you smile?

28 comments:

  1. I have 4 older sisters, so trust me, any flights of fancy or beliefs I may have had were quickly dismissed & explained away. Having said that, I had the best childhood EVER.

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    1. LOL! Sisters aren't quite as motivated as parents to maintain the illusions, are they? I'm glad they still helped to make your childhood wonderful, though!

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  2. Thunder = angels bowling in heaven
    Deceased friends & relatives are all in heaven
    We had to behave or we wouldn't get a visit from Santa on Christmas morning
    Mom and Dad know everything!

    Children believe in simple things that make their life secure.

    They believe that they are safe because you are there to guide them and protect them.
    They believe that flowers are a gift to brighten your day.
    They believe that love makes the world go round.
    They believe that their artwork is to be treasured and placed on display.
    Their innocense and smiles make me smile!

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    1. Beautifully said, Laurie! They make me smile, too. In BAREFOOT SEASON, Carly is the kind of mom who guards her daughter's innocence with everything that's in her. She wants her to enjoy childhood as long as she can. I hope you'll enjoy the book!

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  3. When I was a child I thought my dad knew EVERYTHING. Now I realize he just had an ANSWER to all my questions. Sometimes very tongue in cheek .. but always an answer. Now I realize it was just that he took time to listen to every question I.had and give me the gift of his time. Children find the good in everything.

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    1. LOL, Trish!!! That is so true. I remember the first time I realized my dad was wrong about something, it was a real shock. How was it possible? He could answer every question I asked, so how was it possible that there was ANYTHING he didn't know?

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  4. I believed teachers really did have eyes behind their heads. I believed in Santa, the Easter Bunny, witches, ghosts, aliens, superheroes - yep. Gullible child. I believed people were watching us from us in heaven - yep, paranoid too!

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    1. LOL! Gullible and paranoid... a dangerous combination!

      I believed commercials in which people acted surprised about being caught on camera. ;)

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  5. Welcome, Susan! So lovely to have you with us today. I'm looking forward to reading BAREFOOT SEASON.

    As the oldest of five children, it was my job to maintain the sense of wonder for the younger ones. Even though I knew the truth about certain things, keeping the wonder alive for them helped keep it alive for me too. :)

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    1. PJ, I swear, I wasn't ignoring you! I replied to this once already, but my reply seems to have disappeared. Computers are a mystery!

      I agree that having children around adds to the magic of every holiday. Just to see the eagerness and excitement in their eyes is heartwarming!

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  6. One silly thing I always thought as a child was that cats were girls and dogs were boys! LOL That is funny to think about. My boys are growing out of everything and I do get so sad thinking about it, a couple of times I have teared up. This year will be a first for no easter egg hunt and I am going to miss all the kiddie holiday things. I still plan on making them easter 'baskets' but they will just have some new summer clothing and a bag of their favorite Easter candy.

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  7. LOL, Rhi!!!! That is adorable! I wonder how you came up with that idea. Maybe it's as simple as the first dog you met was a boy, and the first cat you met was a girl?

    I'm sorry you're having a tough time this year. Those transitions must be so bittersweet for you. I hope the holiday will bring you new joy and pride.

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  8. Speaking of cats and dogs, may I just say that Nikki is too darn cute for words? What an absolute sweetheart!

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    1. Thank you so much, PJ! She is a well loved dog... and she returns that love a hundred fold. She's a sweetheart!

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  9. Gabby is a wonderful character, Susan. I'm looking forward to a return visit to Blackberry Island.

    As a child, I believed there were flower fairies in my grandmother's garden, that wishes on falling stars always came true, and that the characters in my books were real. Truthfully, I still wish on falling stars with hope in my heart, characters in the books I love seem quite real to me for the duration of the reading--or rereading, and when I wonder among roses at sunset, I still fancy I sometimes see a fairy wing the exact shade of a particular rose.

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    1. "As a child, I believed there were flower fairies in my grandmother's garden"

      What a lovely thing to believe in, Janga. Have you told the Grands about the flower fairies? I have an adorable three-year old little girl in my life who I'm going to share this with. She's like a little fairy herself and will love it!

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    2. That is so beautiful, Janga!

      Thank you again for your wonderful review of BAREFOOT SEASON! It means so much to me that reviewers are helping to spread the word about books you love.

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  10. Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy are the main things I remember as a child. It was a really big deal for me.

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    1. I remember wiggling, wiggling, wiggling a tooth to death, trying to get it to come out so that the tooth fairy would visit! I always wanted to try to see her. I pictured a fairy like Tinkerbell.

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  11. My godfather used to admonish me if he saw me swallow chewing gum. He kept telling me that it was going to stay in my stomach and if I swallowed more, it would become a big blob and they would have to CUT it out of my stomach! I remember my eyes getting all big and imagining some guy in a white gown and a surgical mask on his face coming at me with a huge butcher knife. It cured me. I stopped swallowing gum!

    I love your little, Nikki. I've had toy apricot poodles over the years and if they stay an apricot color instead of turning white, you know you have a puppy from a champion line. Give Nikki a hug and kiss from me, OK?

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    1. Consider her kissed, Connie! She is such a fun little dog! Have you seen all the pictures of her on my website? On the home page at www.susanmallery.com, click on the Funny Pics button, and then click the drop-down menu beneath the photo gallery to see the Nikki Plays Dress-Up gallery. Those pictures always make me laugh!

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  12. The Marcelli family is what hooked me on your books Susan, right at the moment I can't remember who first suggested them to me but it did the job. I was a fan from that point on, I love the recipies from your site too. Can't wait to get into your newest series.

    Yes, watching your children grow is a wondrous and sometimes painful thing. In my case I did it twice more or less, my daughter was 12 when my son was born. My son still has some innocence at 22, he is special needs so there are some things that will never change to him. I think what makes me smile now is my son thinking whatever the trouble Mom will fix it. I have to say because of them I do keep trying.

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    1. Thank you so much, Dianna! I love the Marcelli family. I'm glad someone suggested you give them a try.

      That's so sweet, that your son believes you can fix everything. And one way or another, I'm sure you do.

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  13. Oh Susan - I read this earlier this morning but I had to go to work. I so wanted to be late, so I could respond.

    I think I know exactly what Carly must be feeling. Though my daughter isn't nine, she's almost nineteen and in her first year of college. I worry so much about her. She has always wanted to be a Broadway actress, ever since she was a little girl. Acting and singing has been her life. ("and she is good," the proud mama says.)

    She auditioned at the university to get in their musical theater program and she wasn't accepted. Even knowing how hard it is to break into the business etc. I wanted her to at least get to pursue it in college. For various reasons she doesn't want to transfer. It's breaking my heart to see her lose her dream.

    I am still waiting for my copy of Blackfoot Season from Amazon. Can't wait. I'm sure I won't get through it without a tear. Your books are so intuitive (actually, you are) and tend to ignite my emotions. Thank you for what is sure to be another wonderful book!

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    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful post, Annie! It must be really hard to have to stand by helplessly while your daughter sees her hopes dashed like this. But of course, all hope is never lost, especially in creative fields. She will have to decide whether she wants to continue to pursue acting and singing in the face of this rejection. Sadly, rejection is a part of every creative field, and most of our best actors and actresses today have some jaw-dropping rejection stories.

      I hope you'll love BAREFOOT SEASON! Thank you so much for ordering it!

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  14. Thank you, everyone, for a wonderful day! I appreciate your warmth and hospitality. Please stop by and say hi to me on Facebook! www.facebook.com/susanmallery

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  15. Unfortunately, my children are all grown and past that "sense of wonder stage." Our grandson is 14 so forget it. We have a new granddaughter, so we will get the opportunity in a few years to enjoy it again.

    I know I believed in Santa and the Easter Bunny, but childhood was so long ago I don't remember a sense of wonder associated with it. My sense of wonder has always been more associated with nature's wonders. I remember sitting out and watching a lunar eclipse back in the 1960's. It was awesome. There were so many stars in the sky (no light pollution) and everything turned a reddish hue. It was an awe inspiring experience. We have been lucky enough to tavel around the country and there are always places that that inspire wonder.

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  16. Susan, thanks so much for being here today! Best wishes for BAREFOOT SEASON and the rest of the new series!

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