Sunday, April 1, 2012


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

I live in Seattle. According to a local news website, Seattle averages 226 cloudy days per year, plus 81 partly cloudy days. That’s a total of 307 days – 84% of the time – when the sun is either absent or playing coy. Something about the cool air gathering over the ocean, then pushing inland, hitting the Cascade Mountains… it’s all very complicated and, frankly, not very interesting. Suffice it to say that we go so long without seeing the sun during the winter that I rely on a happy lamp to keep my hormones endorphinated. (Yes, I made up that word. I’m a writer. I’m allowed to do that.)

Some of the local newscasters should seek endorphination, too, I think. As the short, dark days accumulate, their smiles get a little less perky, a little wobbly at the edges.

“Top headline tonight: It’s been 41 days since we’ve seen the sun here in the Seattle area.”

I swear I can hear a tremor in her voice.

I grew up in L.A., where they’re perky year-round. (A little double-entendre there for male readers.)

Books provide a great escape from dreary weather and dreary real-life. For a few hours, we’re transported to the world the author created. When I create a series, I want to ensure that it’s set somewhere that readers will love visiting over and over again. And, frankly, a place that I’ll love to visit, since I spend several months living in that world while writing each book.

BAREFOOT SEASON is the first book of my brand new Blackberry Island series. Although Blackberry Island is 

within commuting distance to Seattle, it’s a world away.

BAREFOOT SEASON takes place during the lovely, long summer days, when there’s nowhere as beautiful as the Pacific Northwest. The sun, when it shines, has a different quality here. The light is pure, and the colors are deeply saturated, vibrant. The sky is bluer, the flowers are brighter.

Wounded veteran Michelle Sanderson is eager to return to Blackberry Island, where she grew up. When she discovers that Carly, her former best friend, has been running her family’s inn – and badly, it seems, since the inn is on the verge of foreclosure – Blackberry Island is no longer a haven from her problems. It’s the source of them. Will Michelle run away again, or will she finally make peace with Carly and with the pain she caused so many years ago?

Visit Blackberry Island online at to read Chapter 1 of BAREFOOT SEASON, see a map and Visitors Guide, get some fabulous blackberry recipes, including a printable version of the recipe I’ve shared below. There’s also a fabulous recipe for Helen’s Chicken Salad within the pages of BAREFOOT SEASON.


¼ C olive oil
2 pork chops, 1-1 ¼” thick
Salt and pepper
 ¼ C Blackberry Chipotle Sauce (recipe at

Preheat oven to 350. Heat olive oil in heavy, oven-safe pan with a lid. Salt and pepper the chops, then brown for five minutes on one side. Flip the chops, cover the pan, and transfer it to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Add 2 T Blackberry Chipotle Sauce on top of each chop. Cover again and bake until the internal temp reaches 

165, about 10-20 minutes more.

What’s your favorite time of year? Why? What does the phrase “Barefoot Season” bring to mind for you?

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Thank you, Susan, for being such a wonderful guest!  ~Avery


  1. I've never been to the Northwest, and I would love to go someday! You make it sound enchanting...clouds and all!

    1. It really is beautiful, especially in the summer! I hope you'll get the chance to visit in person. In the meantime, you can take a virtual trip by reading BAREFOOT SEASON. :)

  2. Welcome to another writer with recipes! Very attractive website, and I must admit I would never have thought to combine blackberries and chipotles, but I'll give it a try. For some reason it reminds me of lingonberry preserves, with the Swedish put on a lot of meats (I had a Swedish step-grandmother, and you can get the lingonberry preserves at Ikea), although that isn't spicy. But the contrast of tart fruit and meat works well.

    1. It is really a delicious sauce, Sheila! I can't take credit for the concept, though... I was inspired by a jar of Raspberry Chipotle Sauce I found at the grocery store. There's another recipe on the website for Blackberry Chipotle Chicken Tacos, which are equally incredible!

    2. Oh, and I have a *ton* of other recipes on my main website:

  3. Susan, I have to agree with Sheila, blackberries and chipotles? But wow, sweets and hot spicy do work in so many things. I love something really, really new. Also, I'm just getting into Only Mine. You're a new read for me, thanks to my pal Kate Carlisle. :)

    All my best,


    1. Thank you so much, Avery! Kate is a good friend. :) I hope you'll love ONLY MINE! Four new Fool's Gold romances coming later this year...

      The Blackberry Chipotle sauce is amazing when simply poured over a block of cream cheese, and then served with crackers. The dairy is a terrific counterpoint to the spiciness of the sauce.

  4. Hi Susan,
    A college roommate lived in Seattle for almost 20 years. I never made it to visit her and now she's back in the Midwest. I have to give you points for surviving all those sunless days. I know I get out-of-sorts after too long with the snow and ice here in Michigan. You are right, having a lovely setting in a book can warm even the coldest day. Looking forward to reading the Blackberry series!

    1. Annie, in the depths of Winter, I rely on my sun lamp to help keep my spirits up. I call it my happy lamp. It really does make a difference!

      Thank you so much for looking forward to your visit to Blackberry Island! I hope you'll love BAREFOOT SEASON!

  5. Welcome to Mystery Lover's Kitchen, Susan. I love recipes that involve pork in the oven. You certainly make Blackberry Island sound beautiful!

    ~ Krista

    1. Thank you so much, Krista! It's lovely to be here, a very nice way to spend a Sunday!

  6. Thank you again for having me here today! It's been great fun. If you try the Blackberry Chipotle Sauce, be sure to pop by my Facebook page to let me know what you thought!

    Happy April, everyone!

  7. Wow! I made this tonight! Only it was with blueberries because I grabbed the wrong bag out of the freezer! But it was absolutely delicious. I barbecued a beef tenderloin (the other half left from Christmas which I'd frozen) and used this as a bbq sauce. Everyone loved it! And I have enough to try it with a pork tenderloin as well! A great meal to celebrate my son in law's birthday. And even my 2 year old granddaughter ate it!