Hello Girlfriends!  How’s everyone this morning?  We are good here, it’s not snowing and we have MUSICA!  I’ve been thinking about booksignings . . .

. . . and where we might go in the fall when A Fine Romance gets here!   With the way time is flying, it will be September before we know it — so I’m trying to get ready.  I thought I’d show you few of my past book signings. I’m the one behind the camera in this first photo, just before giving a talk to the wonderful people at the Flying Geese Quilt Guild; there’s my mom in the front row sitting next to Joe.  This was so fun, I got to meet and talk to everyone here. I wonder if any of you are in this audience?!

This is a signing at the Yankee Book Store in Plymouth, MA — all my Vineyard girlfriends came with me, we piled in the car, got on the ferry and made a day out of it — when I got to the bookstore I found the room, as usual, was full of kindred spirits!

There’s two of them now!  While I’m signing, I can always hear the laughing and talking between the people waiting their turn to get their books signed … I can’t help but think what I’m missing!  I enjoy one-on-one time with each person who comes up, but I do think the real fun is in the line!

This is the Remnants of the Past Show in San Luis Obispo, California, a couple of years ago.  How can you not love an event in a beautiful location that’s all about antiques!   BTW, the woman wearing brown on the left is one of our girlfriends who I was just about to meet in person for the first time, Joann, who came to the event all the way from Colorado (she’s at @myheartsathome on Twitter — go say hi if you can!).

And here is one of the most delightful things I love about signings and what makes them such a privilege, people bring their families, husbands, sisters, best friends, moms, and their darling little girls and I get to meet them.  It’s always a family affair.

So I’ve been thinking and trying to figure out where we should go on our book tour — we will probably be on the road in the western states from the middle of September through November 9-10 (when I will be at the Remnants of the Past show again).  Then we’ll be going home, where we can do more events in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

I happened on that magical photograph of our ship, fresh from the wild Atlantic ocean, sliding back into America at dawn (on the Queen Mary 2) last July, I can still hear the whoosh of the water and the boat horn  — it gave me what I thought was a . . .

. . . perfectly brilliant idea (if I do say so myself).  The original Queen Mary, that wonderful old ship, Cunard White Star’s RMS Queen Mary (that’s her above), launched in 1936, is now a permanently-docked hotel in Long Beach, California.  I was thinking this would be the perfect place to “launch” A Fine Romance!  I could plan it now, far in advance so maybe lots of people could arrange to go . . . it wouldn’t be the only place I’d go, just the first.   I was envisioning an English Tea Party on board in the Queen’s Ballroom, with cups and cakes; Fred Astaire could be singing (he sailed on this very ship), and we’d have a Book Talk and Signing! You could bring your books, your mom, your sister, your daughter, and your best friend; we could wear Downton Abbey hats . . . on a September day in California on a beautiful old ship with the Pacific Ocean out our portholes?  Could it get any better?   A girl can dream and I’m good at that.  Because when I called to talk to the nice people at the Queen Mary about my brilliant idea, I found out that although they do have an afternoon tea on board (which I’ll take my mom to when I get out there),  they don’t have enough equipment, cake stands, teapots, etc. to do a tea party for more than a hundred.  “No tea” was a setback, but the price was the problem.  For the ballroom alone (beautiful, old, restored to original), not counting any food or drink or waitstaff, just the room (which can hold 200 to 300 people) and chairs lined up in “theater style,” is $7000 to start, for a Sunday from noon to 4pm.  And no, they wouldn’t let me just “set up” on the deck … 🙂  So. This is what I call the proverbial arm and a leg. Unless one of you knows the owner of the ship … your dad maybe? I realized, I need to get more creative.

So I thought I’d start with you.  We’re planning in advance because it takes time to organize and the months go by so quickly, it will be here before we know it. We’ll be contacting lots of bookstores — I’ll be sure to put a schedule here so you can see what we’ve arranged.  But I thought I’d also ask, in case any of you are planning a large event out west durning September or October of this year, (or November and December in the East) — events such as a quilt guild gathering, perhaps something at the Quilt Festival in Houston, or a vintage antique show like Remnants, maybe a charity or church event, a women’s club that needs a speaker, or perhaps you know a teashop that would want to host a booksigning and have lots of people descend on them all at once!  Somewhere I could go and meet lots of you at the same time.  Those kinds of occassions are always the most fun, but they do require a little space.  I could give a talk but it could also just be a signing like at Remnants; the best part is, because of the nice people I meet, these get-togethers always feel like a tea party whether there’s tea or not. 

Don’t worry one little bit if you can’t think of anything, and there’s no real hurry, I just thought I’d try.

My darling Dad turns an extremely YOUNG 90-years-old this August!  So we’re going to his house in Arizona — and from there, out to California — we’ll start our tour after the book arrives in September.  Our main problem is we can’t take Jack or Girl Kitty with us! We will have to get our kitty sitter to come back!

Now, just in case you think I do nothing but worry about the book  . . .

Hello.  Peek-a-boo.

Yes, I’m still in my chair working away, as spring meanders in on the back roads in the most unnoticeable way possible — here is the view from my desk at my frozen little garden.  Our book isn’t quite done, although it’s all written and laid out, I still have handwriting and watercolors to paint, but I am ecstatic every day, doing it.  I wake up excited.  It’s a pleasure to put the final touches on it.  I wrote a book!  OMG!

  I have three windows in my studio, here’s another view from my chair.

 This window is behind me.  Yesterday, just at dawn, it was blue outside, the snow was blue, the shadows were blue.  The white was ice blue, the coldest looking blue you ever saw.  But by yesterday afternoon . .

. . . . we could hear the ice sliding off the roof and watch clumps of it fall past the windows and out of the trees, almost like it was snowing again, so much coming down,  We had a major thaw!

That got me out of my chair…

. . . and outside with the camera.  This is the kind of thing that makes the newspapers on Martha’s Vineyard, the first sightings of snowdrops!  For me it’s knowing that in plenty of time for the daffodils, I’ll be finished with the book, and can start playing house again, making Coconut Cake for Easter, reading a new book, eating lunch in a restaurant with my new British Country Living, all the things I love to do.

When the snow was coming off the roof, it was loud, cracking, breaking up and sliding. Jack kept looking up wanting to know if I needed him to go upstairs and check on what was going on.

This boy gets smarter every day.  For instance.  The pony tail bands be loves me to shoot for him?  We have them in all colors and what’s good about them is they don’t roll.  So we have to do a lot less crawling around trying to find them like we had to do with the balls.  But, for some reason we could not figure out, the rubber bands began to disappear.  Joe couldn’t find any, and I couldn’t either.  We asked Jack.  This was the expression on his face.  Hmmm.

We have a scale like a doctor’s scale, only half size.  There’s maybe an eighth of an inch between the bottom of the scale and the floor.  One day I noticed that Jack was zeroed in on this scale, staring at it, his eyes big and round and focused with his nose right to the edge of it.  Was he trying to tell me something?  I picked it up, it’s heavy, and moved it.  There were five rubber bands under it.  He had to work to put them there, one at a time, and he remembers where they are!  Just another day in paradise . . .

OK, Girlfriends, must go work on book!  Talk to you soon, have a wonderful day.  Love your comments, as you know, you are brilliant and we are the normal ones! 

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  1. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I’m picturing a giant map of the good ole USofA on a Branch-Hall wall, with little flags at wanna be stopping there towns/cities for book signin’! Wonderful suggestions from the GFs! xoxo

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Joan, I think that is a brilliant idea! Wouldn’t that be something to see–all the places girlfriends have suggested Susan go to? Would put it all in perspective, too, so we’d all understand that she can’t do it all… 🙂

  2. sandy says:

    Hi Susan…my mind’s been working on this–what size audience do you want to speak to? I belong to a calligraphy guild and we could sponsor you. Maybe you could do a talk, and then a separate demonstration of some of how you work incorporating artwork, various elements, writing…something like that? We could make you part of a show of our work. I’m on the Olympic Peninsula in WA state, google Sequim so you can see it, and btw, just so you know, pronounce that “skwim.” It’s native Indian for quiet waters. I think of it as, “He leads me beside the still waters.” You could end up here on your tour–October would be delightful. Yes, we are a small town, but there are a lot of women in this area who I am sure would be thrilled to come here just for you! xox sandy 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Because time is so short, I’m hoping for events where I can meet as many people as possible. At least that’s the plan 🙂 Your event sounds lovely too.

  3. Barbara S. in Virginia says:

    Hi Susan,

    Another critter lover here! One of my favorites are the cardinals and we have many here in Virginia. Also, I have a Humphrey kitty that follows me around the house like a dog. Just wanted to thank you for the wonderful posts and books that inspire me to do creative things! With that, I wanted to put in my vote for a signing in the Washington D.C. area (Maryland, Virginia, etc.). Best wishes!

  4. Yvonne from NC says:

    Susan, I have the perfect place for one of your book signings here in NC! There is this charming bookstore nestled in a very quaint place called Fearrington Village. They host large events in their delightful “barn”. We’ve stayed at the inn, which serves a proper English tea every afternoon in front of the fireplace in the main house. I’ve attached the website for the bookstore. Please check it out. Fearrington Village is just OUR style, I promise…complete with cows! 🙂 It’s just outside of Raleigh, NC and quite famous to all. Sign me up now!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Looks perfect Yvonne, I put it on my list!

      • Yvonne from NC says:

        Yay!!!! I will be the first in line with my pre-ordered copy of A Fine Romance for any and all events in NC. I can’t wait to receive my book. I followed you and Joe every step of the way and loved every minute of it! Susan, I absolutely adore your blog and love everything you design, write, draw or paint!

  5. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ♥♫ 🙂 Good Morning Sweetest Sue…( I’ve Had a Bad Cold for The Last Week! I Got it from Herbster) “poor~me” 😉 & We’ve had Very Cold Weather Here it’s Been in The 30’s at night 50’s during the Day..( I Love this… But Everybody Else is Whining! ) 😉 Anyway…I just Flew to Your Blog & Saw Two New Updates! Yay! This Book~Signing Tour Sounds Very Exciting! & Your Travels Out~West! & Your Daddy Turning 90! Yay! I Must Think & Ponder The Best Place in Florida for You to Grace Us with Your Tour! Hmmmmmmmmm? I’ll Get Back to You Sweet Sue! 🙂 I Adore All The Photos…. Jack watching The Spring~Thaw Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrfection! (Meow & Kitty Kisses!) Wishing All a Dazzling Day As We Welcome March! Today My Niece Allie turns 19! Tomorrow March 5th My Nieces The Triplets Are Turning 9! A Birthday Extravaganza Indeed! Love & Lots of March~Madness Pixie~Dust! xoxo Poof! 😉 ♥♫♥♫♥♫

    • sbranch says:

      You need to be well Angie, all those birthdays requiring your magic! So happy to hear you’re better … Have fun!

  6. Hi Susan,
    Just want you to know, it’s so exciting to see each new update on your website with
    delightful words and pictures, Susan. It’s a treat and a good way to start the day.
    Thank you for taking the time. So looking forward to your new book, since I collect
    your books and calendars.
    My sister and I are taking a trip on Amtrak, on April 15, from Mt. to the east coast. We’ll be
    staying at Yarmouth Port, Mass. Deciding yet, if we’ll go to Nantucket. We will also be going
    Maine, Vt. NYC, Pa. Wash,DC, NJ. We’ll be renting a car, on and off Amtrak.

  7. Kathy from Oregon says:

    Have you ever been to Ashland, Oregon? It’s home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival so it has an English theme. There is a bookshop named Bloomsbury Books. It would be so cool if you could make it up our way! (And Lithia Park that is right down near the city plaza is gorgeous in the fall.)

  8. Vita says:

    Hi Susan,
    In Pasadena, CA, the Huntington Library does Tea and has a beautiful tour of the Huntington home, next to the Rose Garden, It might work for your event. There is a lecture Hall there!

  9. Joan Bendann says:

    Hi Susan,

    Can’t wait for the book – it sounds wonderful! Don’t know if you have ever heard of the Sheep and Wool Festival in Friendship, Maryland, held at the Howard County Fairgrounds usually on the first weekend in May. Knitters from afar travel to this yearly event, my granddaughters have also enjoyed the sheep herding demos and you might even buy a sweet lamb or two! Just thought of this festival after looking at your “critters” file. Thanks for making me smile.


    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Joan, what a temptation that would be!!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Mother’s Day weekend is the Sheep and Wool Festival at Lake Elmo, Minnesota, too! Sheep shearing, lambs, sheepdog trials, and vendors of anything related to wool–weaving, spinning, knitting, rug hooking. Susan, you could choose some yarn for your next knitting project! 🙂

  10. Kathleen Williams says:

    I’m just catching up on my blog reading …Oh, how wonderful that would have been just perfect to have a signing on the Queen Mary, especially the first signing … how exciting and I’m here in San Diego from Oct thru April. So close … but not meant to be. My plan will be to try and attend if at all possible one of your west coat signings. I can’t think of a better road trip. Hope to see you this fall Susan.

  11. Sharrieboberry says:

    No suggestions for a book signing, but boy! It’s been fun reading where you can have your party!!

    Enjoyed the music. I “watched” it to the end and it reminded me it was used in “A League of Their Own”. Love that movie.

    I also enjoy the version of Nat King Cole singing “It’s only a Paper Moon”. Makes me sigh.

    For a fun group to listen to, may I suggest the Puppini Sisters? Especially their version of “I Will Survive”? It just gave me goosebumps and a smile!

  12. Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

    I tried a new recipe today, Susan and girlfriends, for home-made bird suet! Melted lard mixed with chunky peanut butter, oatmeal flakes, cornmeal, flour, and birdseed. Placed it in a foil-lined 9 x 13″ pan and stuck it out in the cold to firm up. Cut it into squares to go in the little wire suet holder but could also be placed in a net bag like oranges come in…Norm put one out tonight in the tree off the deck and I froze the rest–will report on what the birds think of it! 🙂

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      I meant this to go on the posting about Critters–somehow it ended up here! 🙁

  13. Joyce Campbell says:

    Susan, I received the “Homemade Recipes” for Christmas last year and need additional refill pages. I have checked in the local bookstores and can’t find them. Please let me know where I can order the refill pages. And I love the book- Plus the other 20 or so of the others ! Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      Go to the bottom of any of the shopping pages in my webstore, “contact” Kellee, because we do have them. Thanks Joyce!

  14. Linda says:

    OH My Goodness I got so excited when I started reading the Queen Mary plan. It sounded so perfect…until it wasn’t. Can’t wait for you to find a so-cal location, preferably with tea!

  15. Margaret says:

    Hi Susan,
    I live in Arizona and am wondering if you are speaking or doing any signings when you come to visit your sweet father. I so enjoy your blog with the recipes, thoughts and fun pictures. You are so talented and I love that you share with those of us whose talents don’t lie in those areas. Enjoy spring and your travels.


    • sbranch says:

      We’ll definitely be looking for something in Arizona … it’s a bit too early right now, but after I finish the book we’ll start figuring out where we’re going.

      • Ann Marie corriveau says:

        I think it will be great to see you in Arizona.
        “Changing. Hand ” book store in Tempe and
        There new one in Phoenix might be a good
        Place to start with. It’s a very unique book
        Thanks for your many interesting books.
        Ann Marie corriveau

  16. Gale Greene says:

    I wrote you recently and thought it got “posted” but now I can’t find my entry so I’m writing again. I apologize, now, for the possibility of duplicate entries.
    I live on Cape Cod and am a great fan of your cookbooks, Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter and flower gardening. I remember vividly meeting you at a book signing in 1990 at a lovely quaint book store in Hyannis called Chart House Books. Sadly, the book store is no longer there but my fond memories are intact. At the time, I already owned Heart of the Home and Vineyard Seasons and was purchasing Christmas From the Heart of the Home. You signed all three for me and in one of the books you wrote, ‘Cook up a storm, Gale!’ and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
    I was wondering if you had considered one of the wonderful tea rooms on the Cape for a book signing for your new book, A Fine Romance. There is the Borsari Gallery and Tea Room in Dennis and The Dunbar Tea Room in Sandwich. The Tea Shoppe at Mashpee Commons is very nice too but I’m not sure they have enough room. We also have several book stores along historic 6A and one in particular called, Titcomb’s Book Shop in Sandwich, offers a number of author talks/book signings throughout the year. Although their store is a wild and tight labyrinth of book cases and displays, they oftentimes hold events at another venue in Sandwich. I hope you will consider coming to the Cape for a speaking/signing engagement at one of these spots or perhaps at one of our village libraries in the town of Barnstable.
    Thank you,
    Gale Greene
    Centerville, MA

    • sbranch says:

      I heard from Titcombs just the other day Gale, and we’re definitely going to do something! I hope I get to see you there!

  17. gail says:

    I’ve never been to one of your book signings Susan but I guarantee if you return to Plymouth, Mass for a signing, I’ll be there!

    Gail 🙂

  18. Teri Ellen from Carmel CA says:

    You are so wonderful, and you seem so busy! How do you get so much done? Do you get much sleep?

    • sbranch says:

      When I have a project I make sure to sleep at least six hours a night. I just work at it without stopping. I won’t be so busy in about three weeks! 🙂

  19. Jan says:

    Oh Susan! I have the PERFECT event for you! The Country Living Fair comes to the Atlanta area in October! Please! Please! Please! See if you can come! It’s a fantastic event with girlfriends from all over attending!! My sister comes in from Texas each year and we go together. We are both girlfriends of yours!
    Check it out, it may just be what you are looking for!!

  20. Sara D NW Georgia says:

    Good morning 🙂

    I know that I already recommended a book store for you, but, I found a better one 🙂 They do book signings regularly so would be all set up for you 🙂 My mom and I are going to one in a few weeks. Their website is . Marietta is a good size area and I am sure would have a great turn out!

  21. Nancy P says:

    SO GLAD you said you would be visiting in Arizona! I don’t know where to tell you! There is a sweet bookstore that hosts signings, it’s called Changing Hands, it’s in Tempe, but I don’t know if they have a big room. I for sure need to know about where you are going to be, my friend! Cannot wait! Nancy, aka: Snowflakelady

  22. sandra says:

    My goodness, I have found such a kindred spirit in you. You have such a childlike spirit, something that most adults have lost. I love living in my so called fairytale world. I think that’s why I find I relate better to children than some adults. I’ll be back to visit you more.

  23. Joan Chelman says:

    When will you be coming to the Falmouth area again. I cannot attend the w Falmouth book talkt

  24. Elaine Garner says:

    Good Day , Susan I had purchased , Christmas 1991— Your Heart of The Home
    cookbook, as It has been used so often as I love all the drawings and stories and delicious recipes , along the way. I am going to have my friend for 40 Years , have the joy of your Emails and story’s & wonderful pictures that you so willing share with — US –I am most thankful for your spirit and sharing. I would like to have the opportunity to have a — look at your book– on the computer to see if , it sounds like my friend and I — I would like to purchase same. How do I find this book– on your site.

    Regards — Elaine Garner

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