Sunday, February 2, 2014

Five Years

This past week marked five years since I published "Kisses From Dolce: A Book for Children About Trusting and Telling." Launched with events both in Massachusetts and Connecticut, my little self-published book was off to an exciting, meaningful start. I had, and still do have, great support from so many people.

Not long after the book's release, I received an interview request from reporter Eileen Fischer of The Connecticut Post.  With an illustrated front page teaser that featured my main character, Sophia, the resultant article was everything I had hoped it would be. You can read my original post about that article here.  My interview with Eileen was quite extensive, yet I found myself floored when I read these words:

"three years ago, during one of her frequent visits to Fairfield, where she grew up, Hausman met a sweet Italian greyhound named Dolce, that changed her life."

"That changed her life!" Wasn't that a bit dramatic, I'd thought? After all, I'd never used those words, not in the interview or anywhere else. Ever. But, as time wore on and, especially now, from this 5 year vantage point, I believe she'd been correct. Though I'd already spent years fighting the good prevention fight, partnering with Darkness To Light and educating hundreds of adults, "Kisses From Dolce" broadened my path considerably: new people, new programs, new initiatives. Not to mention what it had brought to my own healing journey. When the book's words tumbled out of me and I read them aloud, I understood them immediately as a metaphor for my own road. That is its own incredible story.

So now, here I was, helping others not just to prevent, but to feel courageous enough to stand up and speak out. Clearly, Ms. Fischer had heard in my story that which I could not yet recognize.

As months passed, there were reading events, speaking engagements, interviews by a variety of media. I was approached, often, by survivors eager to move along the prevention/response message and, often, also, to soothe themselves. Numerous people bought multiple copies, usually to distribute to community venues - libraries, schools, doctor's offices - but also to their loved ones. I noticed a heightened sensibility from older survivors regarding their youngest family members. They wanted to offer what had never been offered to them: a voice. They still do.

I documented many of the precious experiences I had in the wake of the book's release here on the blog:

But, to this day, one of the deepest, most meaningful post-publication moments came when a young girl, no older than 10 or 11, came up to me after a speaking event, while I was signing books. I knew she'd been gifted a copy in weeks prior as the purchaser had received permission from the girl's mother both to purchase and for me to inscribe. The young lady approached, and, suddenly, with a ferocity that belied her lithe build, she grabbed me and hugged me... and hugged and hugged and hugged. To this day I can recall the intensity. No words were uttered; no words were necessary. THIS was the quintessential expression of why "Kisses From Dolce."

I had always said when creating the book that if it helped just one child, one person, it would have been worth it. There truly are no adequate words to capture where the book and the surrounding experiences resonate with me. In fact, I began a draft of this post two weeks ago, in anticipation of the anniversary; it's taken edit after edit to come even somewhat close to my intention.

All I know is this: that little doggie, that little slurp, the inspiration and tenacity to make the book a reality, the overwhelming compassion and support - both before and after publication - the response in the years since "Kisses From Dolce's" release are a continual reminder of why...and's challenges and mysteries. It's been an awesome journey. It for sure has changed my life...and I will forever be grateful. Thank you all.

"Kisses From Dolce: A Book for Children About Trusting and Telling" is available for purchase at Amazon or directly from me at


  1. Susan,

    Congratulations on Dolce's 5-year anniversary! I hope to have my own non-fiction work in print this year, The Long Term Effects of Sexual Abuse, geared toward adults.

    It seems that the past can reach out with painful tentacles into adulthood when you least expect it. My brother who molested me died recently and my family was so upset that I wouldn't reconcile, upset that I won't forget the past by writing about it in my book. My brother was never accountable for his actions, always denying what happened. I had no resources as a child after my own mother refused to listen when I told her I was being abused. I didn't know that it was okay to tell someone outside the family. I didn't know I had a voice.

    Thank you for creating a valuable resource for children that gives them permission to be proactive. Thank you for taking part in a much needed profession that helps others discover their voice and to have hope for something better.

    ~Carole Avila

  2. Carole,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write! "Kisses From Dolce" was an inspired surprise to me; the roads prior and since have been rich. I have no doubt that from your own painful abuse will come an important resource - everyone needs to understand the ramifications of this insidious issue.
    I'm so glad you've found your power, your voice, and you're raising it to make a difference (and here)! Please keep me informed so I can share your book info when it's ready.
    Thank you!