Friday, November 13, 2009

And now, Susan Mallery our Guest blogger

We're thrilled to have Susan Mallery in the PF&HT house today.

Susan Mallery is the New York Times bestselling author of over one hundred romances and she has yet to run out of ideas!! She has written series romances, as well as single titles, historicals, contemporaries and even a lone time travel. Always reader favorites, her books have appeared on the Waldens bestseller list, along with the USA Today bestseller list and, of course, the New York Times list. She has won awards for everything from best single title contemporary, to best Special Edition of the year and recently took home the prestigious National Reader's Choice Award. As her degree in Accounting wasn't very helpful in the writing department, Susan earned a Masters in Writing Popular Fiction.

Susan makes her home in the Pacific Northwest where, rumor has it, all that rain helps with creativity. Susan is married to a fabulous hero-like husband and has a six pound toy poodle...who is possibly the cutest dog on the planet.

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Life is Good
by Susan Mallery

When I heard the November theme at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales was “What I’m Thankful For,” it brought to mind one of my core beliefs: Life is good. Sounds simple, but sometimes the simplest truths are the most profound. Because I believe that life is good, I naturally look for evidence to support my belief. In other words, I focus on everything positive in the world.

I think romance readers are fundamentally optimistic. Cynics say that happy endings are unrealistic, but we know the truth. People do fall in love. They do get married. And many of those marriages do last a lifetime, filled with love, laughter, and companionship the whole way through.

Life is good.

So, in no particular order, here are some of the many, many things I’m thankful for:

• I’m thankful for the beauty of the Great Outdoors.
• I’m thankful for the invention of windows, so I can appreciate that beauty without actually having to step outside.
• I’m thankful for my fabulous friends. Most of us are in the same business, but we are genuinely thrilled with each success the others find. We are not competitive with each other. We support each other, commiserate with each other, and make each other roar with laughter.
• I’m thankful for all the powerful technology tools at our fingertips. Online research, instant communication across continents… The world is a smaller place these days, and that’s a good thing. Plus, hello! BigFishGames.com – What’s not to like?
• I’m thankful for Holy Pink Pagoda! nail polish from OPI. Every time I catch a glimpse of my toes, I feel girlie.
• I’m thankful that Project Runway is still good now that it moved to the Lifetime Channel.
• I’m thankful for my husband and my dog. Probably in that order. Most of the time.
• I’m thankful for salty snacks, although I also curse them.
• And of course, I can’t go without saying that I’m thankful for my funny, generous, warm-hearted readers. When I announced on Facebook recently that my latest release, HOT ON HER HEELS, had hit #5 on the New York Times bestsellers list, my readers’ response moved me to tears. They were as excited as I was about achieving this new milestone in my career. They feel like family. In the best way.

Life is good. And it’s important to be an instrument of good in the world, to make life better for someone else. In the spirit of giving, I’m holding a different sort of contest on my website this month. I’ve asked my readers to perform a random act of kindness for someone and then tell me about it. I hope that reading the stories will inspire others to do something kind.

On November 28, the winner of my last contest (the Queen of the Susan Mallery Facebook Page) will select a random winner, and I’ll donate $250 to the U.S. charity of his or her choice. The stories of kindness, I hope, will come from all over the world. I hope you’ll come to my website to read the stories and be inspired, and maybe share a story of your own.

Meanwhile, post a comment here. Tell me about something unexpected and kind that someone else did for you. How did it make you feel? Did you find a way to pay it forward?

31 comments:

Dianna Love said...

Susan - wonderful outlook on life and kudos on living by example when you strive to support your belief of the good in this world by searching for the positive. If everyone adopted that attitude life would rock along nicely.

Congratulations on your super success (woohoo on #5!) that is obviously well deserved and hard earned.

Susan Mallery said...

Thank you, Dianna, and thanks for sharing my joy on reaching #5. I had my best second-week on the list, as well, at #10. It's easy to focus on the good when such wonderful things are happening.

I'll be checking back in throughout the day to respond to comments. Looking forward to hearing some heartwarming stories. We've already had a number of stories posted on my website, SusanMallery.com. Just scroll down and click on the interlinked hearts.

Tami Brothers said...

Hi Susan!

I’m a huge fan of yours. Your sheik books were one of the first romance books I read and I was thrilled with the idea of being able to travel to such exotic places. I’m from a small town in Wyoming and had never dreamed of this possibility. I thank you for brining that to me.

Something kind. Seeing Dianna’s comment above reminded me of a moment when I first joined GRW and was attending my first M&M conference. I was scared and alone (seriously, I am NOT kidding you). I knew no one and was just about ready to leave the conference early to head home.

Dianna came up to me as I stood by myself in a crowded hallway and asked how I was doing. That sparked at 10 minute conversation where she actually listened to me. I vowed right then and there that I wanted to be just like Dianna. Not only with my writing, but with my attitude about paying it forward.

Although I tend to get caught up in all the hoopla at our monthly meetings, I try to remember being that scared lonely girl sitting by myself. With that in mind, I TRY to remember to introduce myself and ask how people are doing. Maybe others will be inspired by this idea as well. (Thank you Dianna!!!)

Thank you, Susan, for blogging with us today. I love the look and feel of your books and will definitely have to check this new one out!

Tami Brothers

carol.hainlin said...

I have been home sick so haven't been able to really do any acts of kindness myself other than continue to spray lysol all over my house trying not to get everyone else sick. lol
Really though my comment is on a Walmart employee that saw I was in distress. I had just finished SFTH and had to have your 4th book. I got dressed and with tissues in hand, I headed to Walmart. I went to the book section but started to have a minor panic attack when I couldn't find your last book. An employee noticed my distress and helped me locate the last copy in the store. Yippe for me....I got the book; and for you....sold out at Walmart.

Cyrano said...

Susan,
I love your contest idea. How wonderful. I plan on visiting your website after performing that random act of kindness. Being nice is just the right thing to do, no matter what time of year it is.
Also, I have a few ?s for you if that's okay.
1. Obviously you've done well in a variety of genres. Do you think an unpublished author should spread themselves out in the same way? (I've written everything but inspirational)
2.It was mentioned that you have yet to run out of ideas. A) Do you find yourself getting a new idea (or three) during the execution of a WIP? B)If so, how do you train yourself to stay on the task at hand and not flit off to begin another story?
I'm one of those writers who have ideas all day long. I see nuggets of plot everywhere.
Most people say that's a good thing, but it's a curse for me.
I begin writing the story of my dreams and 8 to 10 chapters later I get another dream idea. I put aside my WIP and begin the new love...only to repeat the process over and over.
I have 9 unfinished novels because of this affliction.
Any advice?
Thank you, thank you for visiting us today. We love our guest bloggers and appreciate their time and insight!
Have a glorious weekend.
Tamara

Maureen said...

Well said, Susan. Reminds me to update my Appreciation Journal. Speaking for myself, I sometimes forget to bring conscious thought and give thanks for all the blessings in my life.

Love your books, have one sitting on my bedside table next in line.

Susan said...

Tami, Thank you! I love the power of reading to take us away from our lives, whether the exotic locale is another country or the mysteries of another human mind. I'm thrilled that you've enjoyed the sheik books over the years. The most recent, THE SHEIK AND THE BOUGHT BRIDE, just may be my favorite yet. Lots of exciting action, a fabulous harem, so fun.

Your story is lovely. It is important to be on the lookout for new faces at every regular gathering. What feels old hat familiar to us is strange and uncomfortable to someone who doesn't know the process.

Carol, I hope you start feeling better soon. Thanks for your persistence at Wal-Mart!

Susan said...

Tamara,

The lure of the new idea is overwhelming. An idea is unblemished, a perfect thing flitting through your imagination. When you begin shaping that perfect idea into an actual story by putting words down on paper, it's never as perfect. It's like an angel coming to earth and taking human forms. Humans are flawed, and stories are flawed. So when another perfect idea flashes through your mind, it's hard not to be distracted by the dazzle. I can't tell you how to focus on one WIP, only that you must if you want to finish (and presumably sell) a book.

One technique that works for me is that I always jot down ideas as they occur. Then I put them away for another day and get back to work on the story in progress. Don't lose those precious, perfect bits of gold, but don't let yourself become seduced by them. Not yet. Not until you finish the story at hand.

Best of luck!

Susan said...

Maureen, Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoy the book on your nightstand.

SusanMallery said...

I was envious of Dianna, Tami, and Tamara, so I tried uploading a picture to my Blogger profile. Let's see if it worked!

SusanMallery said...

Hey, look! There I am!

tmd598 said...

Susan, great blog and wonderful theme! An "attitude of gratitude" is something we can all strive for daily. One line in your blog stood out to me: .... "it’s important to be an instrument of good in the world, to make life better for someone else." And I immediately thought how YOU, Susan, are an "instrument of good" - how through your books you make life better for so many people. Your stories are funny and sweet and full of heart. How does that make life better? They make us believe in good things, like true love and devotion and happy families. And when you've had a day when you'd like to smack a few people upside the head (!), escaping in a good story can lift your mood and comfort your frayed heart. So thank you, Susan Mallery, for being an instrument of good. Or to put it another way, the fuel for what is apparently my new obsession: I've just re-read Garth and Dana's story for the fourth time! Ack!

I haven't done a random act of kindness yet today but I've already been the recipient of one - my co-worker brought in brownies! Way to make a Friday better!

- Tammy

Dianna Love said...

Yay on getting your pic on the post Susan, it looks wonderful (takes me much longer to figure out those things). I jumped over on your site and read some of the stories - that's so endearing and coming at a time of the year everyone will enjoy reading heart warming stories during the holidays.

Tami - thanks for the sweet words. I think you do a super job of paying it forward and making many new members feel welcome.

Carol Burnside said...

Susan,
I really enjoyed reading your post and the comments are wonderful too. I'm a firm believer that we should visit our kindnesses on those closest to us because it's so easy to take them for granted.

Every few weeks, my husband walks through the door from the commuter train with fresh flowers in his hand for me. It's an unexpected surprise and reminds me that he's thinking of me even when we're apart. Believe me, he gets rewarded with random acts of kindness from me too. ;)

GeeAMouse said...

Susan,

I like the idea of performing random acts of kindness. Kindness to others is a must, but so many of us forget to do them and the wonder why none are performed to us.

I've enjoyed reading your stories and must confess to being fond of those that weren't possible your most successful. But I think that just makes them feel like you wrote them just for me. ;)

Thanks! Aimée

Sandy Elzie said...

Hi Susan,

Love the theme! Random acts of kindness should be a daily habit...something we don't have to focus our attention on and plan to do.

Any time you hold the door for a mother with a baby in her arms, or hold the door for an older person, it's kindness.

The other day I saw a little boy (5)outside hitting a ball in the street and then going to get it and hitting it the other way. On one hit, the ball rolled down the gutter and into the storm drain.

He was dragging his plastic bat back home when I grabbed my cat's tennis ball and went to the door to see if the boys wanted it. Soon he was happily hitting his new ball back and forth.

Thanks for joining us today...now I'll go check out your website.

Sandy

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Susan,

Thanks for joining us today and giving us some great food for thought. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've been overwhelmed by kindess. Many times I've accidentally left my purse somewhere only to have it rescued by a complete stranger.

The other day I rented one of those little stroller/cars for my daughter at the mall. At $5 a pop it's not something we do often, but it was a girls' day out. When we got ready to leave, I was rolling it back when I saw a mother getting ready to put money in the machine, and I said, "Wait! Take mine." She asked me how much money I wanted, and I said that I didn't want anything other than for her to have it. She looked at me as though I was from another planet, but hopefully her little boy enjoyed the car nonetheless.

I'll have to check out your web site, and I hope to someday be able to pay forward all of the kindess of my fellow writers.

Thanks,
Sally

SusanMallery said...

Oh, darn. One of my replies was lost. I don't know what I did wrong.

Tami, Tamara, Tammy... I'm getting dizzy. :)

Tammy, I want to say a special thank-you to you for your kind words. You don't know how much they mean to me. When I write, I picture the typical reader as a woman whose free time is precious. She's crazy busy trying to manage her work and her family, sometimes feeling overwhelmed. I try to make sure that my books entertain her and refresh her, leaving her better equipped to face her daily challenges with a smile.

Dianna, Aren't the stories on my website wonderful? They support another of my core beliefs: People are good. :)

SusanMallery said...

Carol, Your husband is a winner. What a nice surprise that must be!

Aimee, (Sorry, I don't know how to make the accented E.) I did write them just for you! How did you know?

Sandy, What a lovely way to brighten a child's day. Very nice. I hope you'll post it on my website for a chance to win $250 for your favorite charity and, more importantly, to inspire others to kindness.

Sally, Don't you love that look of confusion you get from someone who's not used to kindness without an agenda? Good for you!

Tami Brothers said...

Too funny about the Tami, Tamara and Tammy!!! You should have seen it when all three of us presented a workshop together. That was a hoot!!! Easy for the attendees to remember our names, though...grin...

I am loving all these comments. I keep coming back to read what everyone is saying and I thank you, Susan, for responding. I love that even more!!!

Tami

Linda Henderson said...

First let me say I enjoy all your books and they all deserve to be on the best seller list. My act of kindness starts a couple of years ago when I was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis. I was in really bad shape and while I was waiting to get approved for disability I could only work 2 days a week. I was existing on less than 600 dollars a month. The wonderful people I worked with took up money for me every time I was in the hospital, and that was quite often, and every little bit someone would knock on my door bringing me groceries. They were and are still the best. My financial situation is a little better now but it still prevents me from helping out people monetarily but I do other things when I can. I am grateful every day for the loving kindness people have shown me. I do what I can to promote Children's Miracle Network to people because my little granddaughter spent 4 months in the NICU when she was born at 23 weeks weighing 1 lb. 2.7 oz. and 11 1/2 inches long. A lot of the equipment they used on her was purchased through their efforts. You have no idea what those parents go through until you have experienced it. So as far as charities go, even though there are some wonderful ones out there, Children's Miracle Network will always hold a special place in my heart.

Linsey Lanier said...

Susan, thanks for being with us on PF&HT today. Your books sound wonderful. I will have to check them out.

A great big congratulations for hitting #5 on NYT!

I'm thankful for windows (real ones) and technology, too. Couldn't live without the Internet!

What a wonderful slogan. I need to paste that on the wall in big letters and look at it when I'm down. "Life is good." Yes, indeed it is.

I can't compete with Dianna and Tami when it comes to inspiration, but I like to meet newcomers at our local meetings and help answer their questions. There always seem to be one or two newbies at my table. One year, it was mostly men and I had the pleasure of getting to know Leonard Johnson and Walt Mussell. :)

I can't begin to count the kindness I've received by being a member of our chapter. :)

Thank you for such an uplifting post.

Linsey

Linsey

Linsey Lanier said...

Sorry, my name came out twice. Sometimes blogger is quirky, LOL.

SusanMallery said...

Linda, I'm sorry you've faced such health difficulties. I admire the way you're dealing with it, especially that you're allowing friends to help you.

Linsey-Linsey, Thank you for your kind words!

Maxine Davis said...

Susan,

I knew you wrote good books but, wow, I had never thought how many! Big congratulations on the NYTimes List! I can certainly understand why you are there!

I was on the receiving end at GRW. Tami brightened the place from the first day. Thank you. And thank you all. Really nice group!!

Kindness? My mom, a tiny little wonderful woman, could hardly walk. I think of her when I'm at the grocery store and see the elderly having a hard time. I always try to help an older person with their groceries, cart, whatever. Makes me feel good.

Thanks for stopping by!

SusanMallery said...

Maxine, I bet your mom would be proud that you're showing such empathy for others. Good for you!

Cinthia Hamer said...

Susan, thanks for a very inspiring post. It seems like today's world is so hurried and stressful, we often don't stop to think about all that we have and to be thankful.

My natural inclination is to be "glass-half-empty". And the best way I can think of to combat that is to try and bolster others who are having a bad day or just need cheering up.

It can be as simple as giving a compliment or sharing my lunch with a co-worker who's forgotten theirs.

This morning, I when I stopped for coffee at 5:00 am, I got a cup for a coworker.

Thanks again for visiting us today and a HUGE Congrats on making the NYT. What a coup!

Ana Aragón said...

Susan,

I pick up every new book that you write...your name is synonymous with "a good read every time!"

We have a "secret fish" exchange program at our school where we do something nice for another person. I like to bring in breakfast once a week for my secret fish. My day job is as a special education teacher and it makes me laugh when people say they admire me for the work I do. What they don't know is that my students give back to me one-hundred-fold what I do for them. I'm lucky enough to see when the light bulb of understanding turns on in their brain, and it's an absolutely beautiful sight!

Thank you for your blog and helping to remind us that life is indeed good!

Ana

Susan May said...

Thanks for being with us today. You have a great outlook on life. I couldn't agree with you more. Just a kind smile and you look good today works for me. It doesn't take mcuh to make another person happy.

SusanMallery said...

Cinthia, It's small gestures like yours that brighten a person's day. For all you know, your coworker could've been having a lousy morning... but I'm sure your coffee gave his or her day boost in more ways than one.

Ana, Thank you! Your name is synonymous with, "comments that make me smile." :) It's true that there is a selfish component to kindness... being kind always makes me feel SOOOO much better than being nasty would.

Susan, do you realize that we have the same name, except for "ller"? BTW, you *do* look good. That's a great picture!

Cyrano said...

I'm soooo late commenting back.
Don't know if you'll get this or not, but thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to answer my questions and give me some much needed advice.
I'm glad you learned how to upload your pic too. You look fabulous!
Thanks again,
Tamara