Writing a New Book

There are two screens open on my computer right now, this one I’m writing to you on, and just under it, Word, with seventy-one pages of my new book, a very rough draft, written. Voila!  If you had x-ray vision you could read it.  You KNOW I love to write my blog, but right now I’m addicted, addicted I tell you, to the writing of this book.  I love going back in time to search for magic.  Actually there are three screens open, there’s THIS.


On my art table, oh what an assortment, two of my old diaries are face down and open because I’m reminding myself of inspirations from my youth and my days and thoughts from long ago.  I just found a list I made called “The Secrets of Life.” I’ve made so many lists with names like “What I Want” or “How to be Happy” and they almost all say the same things.

what I want



Between the scribbled pages there are ticket stubs, valentines, polaroid pictures, things cut out from newspapers, notes friends left on my door when I wasn’t home, shopping lists, old Circus cakeletters from my grandma (Every one of them starts “Sue Darling” causing eyes to water and lower lip to protrude) and my mom, and from Diana when I first moved to the island. The recipe for my mom’s Circus Cake (it’s going into book) is peeking out from under them. One of my Junior Classics Stories of Wonder and Magic is open to a fairytale I found while looking for the scary Hobia story my dad used to terrify us with.  It’s called the Brownie and the Cook and it’s written by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik and I think I need to read it.  I just found the part in my diary where I came to the island for the first time.  I’m on the boat, it’s cold outside, the ferry is rocking, I’m drinking hot chocolate and thinking everyone on the boat looks like a Kennedy.  I can see the island coming towards us through ocean-splashed windows.  Who would’a thunk it all these years ago that these diaries would come in so handy one day?  For organization and storytelling.  They are like my own little memory catalogs.  I can see the snow falling out my window from my bed in 1984, get my first kitty in 1976, burn up my first stove in 1974.  It’s all there!  Plenty of cringing going on too.  Ah youth.  I will try to spare you the gory details.  Here’s a pretty piece of MUSICA so you don’t have to think about it.



 In reality, I’m home here on the island and firmly attached to the 21st century; one of my grandma’s knitted nap blankets is over my lap and legs, the light on my desk shines out to the street making a square of yellow on IMG_5130the ground, I have a big cup of lavender and roses tea with honey and cream.  Girl Kitty is on her pillow on my art table and Jack is in the kitchen staring at the floor next to the door.  I don’t know why.  Apparently something is there, but I can’t see it.  He’s been at this spot off and on for several days now.  All’s quiet on the eastern front.  Heater is humming, damp towels are moistening the air, it’s still dark outside, and fingers are clicking away.  Blessings • blessings • blessings. 


I’m waking up these mornings with words jumping out of my head. I can’t get downstairs quite fast enough to get my thoughts down.  This book seems to be writing itself.  I carry paper and pencil everywhere with me.  They’re in the pockets noteof my jacket when we walk out the dirt road in the morning, and on the table next to the bed so if I wake up with a memory or an astute and brilliant thought (like that happens), I can get it down before it disappears in a dream puff or gets crowded out by the next one coming to the top.  Diana’s voice rises up distinct and clear in my head, “Why don’t you go ask him to dance?” I burst into laughter, and run for paper and pen. This book is flowing out of me like a river after a big snow.  Joe is my editor, he reads my pages as we go along, fixes sentences, gives me suggestions.  He’s scanning old photos and getting them ready to put in the book and  working hard not to get his tea bag caught on his glasses. 

tea and books

Only one other thing takes my attention almost as much and that’s another book ~ the one I’m reading written by Donna Tartt called Goldfinch.  I take it upstairs to my exercise bike and as I ride and read my thoughts turn completely away from the  book I’m writing and go into an entirely NEW and all encompassing world. I’m somewhere around page 150, and it sits up there waiting for me like a little jewel.  I’ve been loving the characters and the way the story is going, but suddenly there’s this new character and I don’t like him and I want to scream to the boy, and to all the people supposedly taking care of him, “Don’t go with this guy!!!!!!!”  But I have no power and it looks like we are moving to Las Vegas.


The weather is definitely changing although I’m kind of impervious to it right now.  I notice when we go for our walk there’s definitely more light.  The sun was breaking over our faces out there yesterday, I had to take off my hat.  Also, how about that, daylight saving time?  AGAIN.  It’s giving me a slight case of jet lag.  (I just looked at the clock in here and thought, “Oh, that’s wrong, it’s almost 6:00 ~ need to fix that.)  Another season is slipping into the past.  Have any of you started Christmas shopping yet?  I almost feel like I should begin thinking about it!  I’m going to wake up and it’ll be here!  Fa-la-la-la-la! Help!




I’m trying hard to be healthy which is much more difficult when my mind is elsewhere as it is these days.  I eat apples in the morning, I’m addicted to apples for some reason now, and I have cut-up carrots and celery in the fridge for those moments when I crave SOMETHING and must grab it NOW.  I keep a HUGE bowl studio 036of my favorite crunchy juicy coleslaw in my fridge at all times, with sliced almonds, golden raisins, chopped apple, thinly sliced cabbage, shredded carrot and dressed with mayonnaise thinned with fresh lime juice.  I eat on that practically all day.  I’ll have a baked sweet potato for dinner, or maybe a piece of fresh fish and some broccoli, and there we are.  Not counting the M and M’s  in my desk drawer.  Am I losing weight?  No.  That is not a thing that happens.  But I feel good.  It’s the only way to get through book writing and still be alive at the end of it. Exercise and eating right.  Not quite as easy as it sounds, is it girls?  However . . . we keep on keepin’ on, because . . .

Tickle-me pinkN o   w e   a r e   n o t.

Hope all is well with you guys.  OH!  I just lifted my eyes, guess what?  It’s snowing!  Pretty• pretty• pretty.  Never a dull moment around here.  Well, must go now.  One guess where I’m going?  Yup, just the other side of this screen.  Thanks for stopping by, have a wonderful day!  XOXO, your friend, Anna Susana Branchburger the Third.  Yes, that is me in alternate ego and in full girlfriend mode. 

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589 Responses to Writing a New Book

  1. Rhonda D. says:

    This post has me so inspired that I have no idea how to wait for the book. Susan P. is right…you can feel the energy coming right off the screen. You are certainly in your writing groove. I knew in my heart that this would be the “Book of the Susan Branch World”…the spilling of the guts of the whole thing. I love to write, always have, so this is one awesome experience for me to see this evolving right in front of my eyes. This year I am using your Book of Days as my creative journal. This beautiful journal inspires me everyday to write how creative and inspired I was, what projects I worked on. I want to be able to look back and be able to see my creative journey unfold. It’s helping me to be intentional about my creativity. You are doing far more than just writing books. So, write on Susan…your Girlfriend Possy is behind you, beside you every letter of the way! xo

  2. Suzanne says:

    Another post that makes me smile. Thank you. Your last post about Joe and the tea bag
    had me laughing out loud. I hope your current snowfall if just enough to be pretty and soon is gone and your spring can blossom. Friday night my 14 year old granddaughter called from North Carolina to read a.a. milne’s poem “Daffadandilley” to me. Several years ago I gave her my mother’s copy of his book “The Way We Were”. Every year since she has called at the first sighting of our wonderful daffodils! I am in Georgia and they are beginning to make their presence known. Enjoy each day! Thanks for the joy you share. sdf

  3. Carol From Indy says:

    Dearest Anna Susana Branchburger,
    Another book another book!!! How could we possibly be so fortunate!! When we are still reeling from A Fine Romance (which by the way, it seems like only yesterday you were telling us that you would be writing it and we were all looking forward to that way off in the future date when we would have it in our hot little hands). Now we have another book to look forward to. Its so wonderful to have things to look forward to isn’t it? Must tell you, I gave A Fine Romance to a dear 92 year old friend who just called to say that she has read it three times straight through and is starting on round 4!! She is so in love with it and with you. She was a dear friend of Tasha Tudor and asked if you might have known about Tasha. She was thrilled when I told her you did and had some Tasha quotes on your calendar a few years back.
    Please know that we are all cheering you on and will be here for moral support and encouragement when your energy wanes.
    Carol from Indy

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Carol, and please say hello to your friend for me! Thank you for giving her the book ♥

  4. Tracy Jones says:

    Dear Sue,
    I am so excited to hear about this new book! I think it it going to be delicious to read and of course will take me forever to go through it, as I take my sweet time. I read your English book with a longing to know more about my Welsh heritage. We have a tree going back to the 1600’s! What I wouldn’t give to go back to England.

    Enjoy this journey and as always, thank you for sharing it with me (and all of us).
    xo Tracy

  5. Carol says:

    Well, we have learned over the years that a cat staking out the floor, crack in the wall or other oddity means a mouse where we cannot see it or even hear it. Our red kitty Oren Monitored a crack /molding area so long one year it was just to funny – “whats he doing” ” watching the crack” on and on he would sit and watch – they must hear what we cannot and I think smell too.
    Glad that the new book is coming along so well. Goldfinch is on my 2014 list so glad to hear that so far it is worth it.

  6. Kirsten in So. Cal. says:

    Wow, Susan! Strike while the iron is HOT! And make no mistake, YOU ARE HOT! I can’t wait to have another one of your books. Thank you for the little pieces of yourself in your blog, it keeps us in touch. Don’t know HOW you do it all at once….even though you tell us how all the time! I know that I am doing way more than I could ever have imagined because of the inspiration you so unselfishly give me. You make me want to be a better me. I hope you know how wonderful you are!

  7. Carolyn (SoCA) says:

    Susan, dear, in between the grind of paperwork, I have been reading your blog. You have kept me company and, also, kept me from being too earnestly intense about the mundane. Thanks once again!

  8. Karen Lotito from Aquebogue, NY says:

    The picture of the old diaries made me think of what I found in a local thrift shop over the weekend so I just had to share. I’ve been cleaning out and trying to organize as a BFF is coming from England the end of June and I have lots to do. So off to the thrift shop with huge bags of old clothing and other things. But as I left the shop up on a shelf I saw these old books. They caught my eye because the titles were all Beatrix Potter stories! They were $2.99 each and I bought about six of them. The first copyrights are from the early 1900s and the second were from the 30s. The books had been donated by a school library and inside the back cover were the library cards stamped and signed by children in the early to mid-60s! I was in kindergarten in 1965 and some of the cards were stamped with that year! The pictures on the front of the books are worn but the books are intact. What a delightful, lovely little find! I am a huge Beatrix Potter fan and found this to be a wonderful surprise. Now to find me some of the figurines…….!

    • sbranch says:

      How great Karen! What a nice thing to find!

      • Tammy M says:

        So fun to find a great treasure like that! They are hard to find. After looking in several local used book stores and thrift shops I bought a couple on ebay. They are stacked up in my diningroom right next to my “Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail” figurine and my “Little Black Rabbit” figurine. It makes me so happy to see them there…just waiting for Spring 🙂 PS Target has cute little Beatrix Potter puzzles and coloring books in the dollar section now for all the “little” fans. Or, just those young at heart 🙂 I sent them to my 21 year old daughter 🙂 Enjoy your books!!

  9. Elyse Harvey says:

    I am over the moon excited that you are writing a new book!! You know, it’s funny…I came to know who you were from the beautiful Susan Branch Calendars that always hung from the wall in my mom’s office. Each January when her new calendar would arrive in the mail, I would eagerly flip to the month of May (my birthday month) to see what wonderful illustrations filled the page. I’ll have to take a picture of the calendar in her office sometime and show you! Twenty years it’s been hanging there…and NOW I have my own home and my own Susan Branch calendar and books. You are an inspiration and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing so much love and joy to this world. Can’t wait for the new book!!

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful to hear that Elyse! My first calendar came out in 1993 … I missed a couple of years, but mostly, yes, it’s been twenty years!

  10. Diane Byrum says:

    For years you have drawn me in–to your books, your art, your blog–You are so captivating! I’m going to call myself Susan Branch’s prisoner at will (LOL). Love your thoughts–the honor and privilege you share them. How blessed we are! You are a true kindred spirit. Don’t you just imagine yourself sometimes as Anne of Green Gables and all of us are your Dianas? Carry on 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I do take prisoners but our jail has wallpaper, chocolate and we have twine every day at four! xoxo

  11. Jackie P says:

    I love that the kitties are by your side while you write! Yes, your enthusiasm and energy are pouring out in this blog. So excited for you. Your dreams are coming true . . . looking forward to sharing your adventures. The 1980’s were my time on the Vineyard!

  12. cynthia says:

    After seeing that hilarious photo of Joe and his tea bag (what a good sport to let you publish that), I went right out and bought myself one of those glasses holders, and have been happy ever since!

  13. Christine from Covina says:

    Love getting a peek into your new book and the process of it unfolding in your mind and then on paper. Exciting to await the final product!

    Ou winter here lasted but one storm and now we are in the 80’s.. I would love a little more Winter and a touch of Spring before we head into Summer. Enjoy your seasons!!

    Thanks as always for your delightful blog!!

  14. Ann Y in PA says:

    Hello Susan….Love the way you are so involved/obsessed/living in your new book. Can’t wait to hear what it is and read it ! Thank you for the cole slaw recipe….yummm. Going to try and make it tonight with our dinner of creamed chicken over rice – should be perfect. Also…thanks again for putting that Full Moon book mark on – my students are still talking about it and I see them using it in their science books and library books ! Last…what a great photo of your journals all lined up. You put me to shame ( I keep starting to write, stop…start….stop – and have only really finished a few) and that photo is making me vow to write more often. How wonderful that you can go back and remember…I thought I would always remember everything. Hah ! Enjoy your writing and thanks for sharing how the magic gets made !!!

  15. Mia Sophia says:

    Susan…I LOVE your BLOG so MUCH! It makes me so happy and inspired! I can feel your goodness bursting through the computer…the photos, the recipes, the stories, the beauty, the possibilities and the quotes…oh my goodness…I LOVE a good quote! In fact, when I find one that speaks to me, I write them down in one of your “Days from the Heart of the Home” spiral books! I have filled two so far and now starting my third one! Blogs I follow may come and go but yours is an ALWAYS! It is heavenly…Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for just being YOU!

    • sbranch says:

      How did I get so lucky to find you! xoxo Thank you so much Mia Sophia!

      • Mia Sophia says:

        I can’t wait for your next best seller! I missed meeting you in SLO but I am going to MV in May for my birthday. I will look for a lovely home with quilts blowing in the breeze, flowers a bloomin, birds at the feeders and Jack peeking out a window…and I will be camera ready as I stroll by. 🙂

  16. So, so happy you are finally writing this book, Susan. I’ve looked forward to it for 20+ years.

    Your books made a Florida girl fall in love with New England. It took me 50 years to make it but I’m finally here. Your artwork inspired a doodler to quit her desk job and become a professional illustrator. (That also took me 50 years)

    You are my inspiration, my muse, my girlfriend forever.


    • sbranch says:

      The truth is I’ve been writing it for 20+ years too! I needed to get to the far side of it so I could have a better view. You are a dearheart Gin, thank you for those lovely words and thoughts. xoxoxoxo right back to you.

  17. Cindy West Chester Pa says:

    Your recipes are food for my body and your blogs are food for my soul. Both always leave me wanting more. 🙂 In the first grade class that I teach were are talking about adding “sparkle” words to our writings. These are words that help add detail to stories and help the reading paint a better picture in their mind of what is happening. When I was reading your post I kept saying to myself these are perfect sentences to read tomy class for examples an author using her words to paint a picture. I hope you don’t mind if I share them with the children.
    My mom made a cake like that for one of my sister’s birthday (long before I was born). There is a picture of it somewhere. Maybe I can find it. Also, am reading The Goldfinch too. I am a little over a half way through. I know exactly what part you are talking about and had the same feeling. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out. Most of all can’t wait for your next book!

  18. Julie says:

    You are truly so organized, those colorful and worn journals, words and more words; pages jammed full of life memories. If only I had kept ongoing journals, they’d be my little treasures. I’ve written most everyday, pages here and there, pretty journals half full; articles, recipes, pictures, clipped and filed, and in the last ten years, on my computer. It the old days that I wish to remember, my 20’s & 30’s brimming with all of that intense detail. Darn. Thoroughly enjoyed seeing the picture of your journals Susan, so personal and so wonderful of you to share. Looking forward to your new book. You continue to inspire me each and every day.

    • sbranch says:

      If you have a little person in your life, you might give them a diary and tell them how much they will love it when they are grown up.

  19. Sherry says:

    Wish I had had the courage to keep journals in the past. But alas, looking back on all the mistakes would be just too hard. Sounds like you’re one of those people who clipped and kept and squirreled away things. What a wonderful resource for the new book. Can’t wait to read it!

    • sbranch says:

      Everyone makes mistakes. There are funny things mixed in, and that’s what makes the idiocy bearable.

  20. linda M says:

    I am so not good at writing.Are we not supposed to start a sentence with the letter I???

    Just so happy to see you in my email.Love the pics & all your thoughts that you are so nice to share with us.
    My day was spent in my sewing room,working on a pink blanket( a very pretty quilt). A nice group of ladies & I send blankets to local hospitals.Most for children.It makes me happy to know a baby will be wrapped in “love”.

    I used to paint & draw & you are inspiration for me to do that again.

    Can’t wait to see you in my email again…LM

    • sbranch says:

      You can start a letter with I. My mom told me we should say, “Hello, how are you” first. She told me that when I was so young that it just stuck. But I’m not sure it’s really a rule.

  21. CarolK says:

    That blog was sooooo funny, ASB the III, love it! I get silly like that from time to time and it feels so good. Then my hubby would say to me, what have you been smoking? What the heck, wish everyone would get that silly-funny feeling at least once a day. You go kiddo, I can’t wait to read your next book.
    P.S. My doc just told me this morning lose 15 lbs and eat right. Guess I have to dust off the Walk-Fit and make that bowl of apple slaw. Thanks for the food tips…..

  22. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    good afternoon Susan, girlfriends. did you all watch the Shirley Temple movie marathon yesterday on the TCM channel??? I did, and now for a piece of family history, did you all see the movie “I’ll be seeing you”??? well the film director for that movie was my grandfather, Hal. C. Kern, the same one who won the Oscar for best film editor on “Gone With the Wind”. when I asked my uncle Hal about that, he remembered it and told me that grandpa was delighted to work with Shirley, he called her a sweet girl, a delightful young lady to be around. and he said she was a very good actress, not fussy or stuffy, and she knew her lines and everyone else’s as well. just a thought you all would like to know. a small piece of my family history. off to go watch Curly Top and fold laundry. talk to you all tomorrow. hugs…… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I watched it. Shirley was amazing. She could do it all! How fun to have that connection for your family Pat!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        its amazing how many movies I see these days that he worked on, or my uncles worked on…. why is it I am seeing a book on my family history in the film industry staring at me???

        • sbranch says:

          It would be wonderful especially if you have photos!

        • Jack says:

          Do it Pat– the movie industry is really an unknown as to how
          The internals work … Why there so many producers in some cases …. The shooting of scenes out of sequence …coping with difficult egos — what a perfect book it can be you might have to do this in sequence , book 1 , book 2 to cover all the details involved – what an opportunity…..and you have all the insight
          Needed at your fingertips !

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            Hi Jack, well I can answer as to why there are often so many producers, its to secure the money for the film, they actually buy into the film, and loan the money to the studio for the production costs, sometimes there are more than one producer as banks won’t loan money to a production, too risky so they have the producers get the loans and secure them for the studio. why they shoot films out of sequence is easy, they do it because of the availability for that location, the time of day, year and the weather. then for the rest they either shoot on location or back at the studio on a sound stage or back lot. it depends on the film, the budget and especially the director. back to the producers for a second, a lot of the films we talk about were filmed in the depression or shortly after, and banks considered studios a really bad risk for loans so the need to get someone to secure the loan was essential. and many times these people had to throw in some of their own money so one could say that the producer or producers actually owned the film. even nowadays banks consider the film industry a high risk for loans to do films, there is no absolute that the film will earn back the money needed to pay off the loan at the box office, even today.

    • Pat, thak you so much for sharing that bit of your family history. I would love to hear your grandfathers stories, especially any having to do with the making of my all time favorite movie, Gone With The Wind. Please share more!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        I’d to share those stories with you and yes I do have some of his old albums and the pictures in there are priceless. I can remember grandpa telling us how much he loved working with Viviane Leigh, she had so much trouble learning her southern accent, and she was a lollipop fiend, loved lollipops. I can remember him telling us about the night they went to a theatre in Riverside, CA. for a night and convinced the owner to let them run the then unedited version of Gone With the Wind, no titles, no music, just the film itself to get audience reaction to it. it was his idea to see how folks would react to the movie and where they needed to cut out or shorten it or leave as is. the owner made the announcement to the audience that instead of the movie they came to see, they were to preview a new film and be asked to fill out a questionnaire about it afterwards. they were told to call home and let their families know they would be late getting home and the ushers went out and locked the doors so no one could sneak in and no one could leave. talk about a captive audience. then they told folks to go to the bathroom now if needed and get settled for the picture would roll in a few minutes. and after it was done, folks were handed the questionnaires and they were give 30 minutes to fill them out and answer the questions about the film. grandpa and Mr. Selznick were sweating this all out in the office and reading the questionnaires as they came in and discussing the ideas and comments from the audience. after that they left and went back to the studio and began the editing process, they went at it straight for over 8 weeks and by the end of it grandpa went to a doctor who told him he looked like a walking dead man. I have a photo of him when the film was finished and he looked so tired, but happy it was all over.

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          oops meant to say I would be happy to share, typing faster than I can think today!! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I’m sure. I have never seen a film stick more closely to the story, spirit and intention of the book. Every actor was perfect! Scarlet’s father Gerald? Perfect! Rhett Butler, Melanie, Miss Pittypat, India, Mammy, Ashley, Prissy? Perfect casting. I love Betty Davis, but she would have been so wrong for Scarlet.

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            they actually considered her, but then Paulette Goddard was the main candidate as she was dating Selznick at the time. but Bette Davis was then cast in the movie Jezebel and that came out ahead of Gone With the Wind I think, and she was nominated for an academy for her role.

          • sbranch says:

            I’ve seen some of the tests for the other actresses, but as a reader and RE-reader of Gone with the Wind I don’t think anyone could possibly have done a better job representing the character as it was written than Vivien Leigh. She shone in that part unlike anything else I ever saw her do. I’m biased though, I thought she was perfect.

      • pat addison ( cave junction,OR) says:

        well I remember one movie he worked on, not too sure if was the original Mutiny on the Bounty, or The Caine Mutiny, but he had to watch hours of sea storms on film and waves coming up and crashing down to pick the perfect scenes for the movie he was editing, and believe it or not he got very seasick. got so sick he had to go to the hospital and afterwards grandma had to cancel their tickets for a ship to New York. he never went on a boat after that. just going to the beach made him queasy!!! and he had to watch a lot footage of flying for a movie he worked on, “Wings” I think it was, and boy was he ever ill from that, he seasick and airsick all in his studio. LOL!!! I can laugh at him now, but boy he was miserable every time he had to edit a sea picture of a picture on flying. LOL!!! 🙂

        • pat addison ( cave junction,OR) says:

          oops, that last line really got messed up, it should have read he got seasick and airsick all in his studio. and it was every time he had to edit a sea picture or a picture on flying. its true after that he never went on a boat or flew anywhere, he got too sick.

          • Rhonda D. says:

            Loved hearing about your family ties to the film industry, Pat…I do hear the rumblings of a book there. When we’re engaged in something we have a way of disappearing into the “scene” or the “well” as Susan calls it. I’m feeling a bit dizzy or “off” after reading this. So I understand how your grandfather must have felt. I will always remember these movies now.

  23. Rita Baker says:

    Any chance of you giving us the coleslaw recipe? It looks delicious, and I’m always looking for new ways to use apples (we have a lot of them).

    • sbranch says:

      I just put everything in a bowl, I don’t really measure — just do it to taste.

      • Jack says:

        She knows to do that —what she wants is the “dressing” recipe…..

        • sbranch says:

          OK well, I don’t measure but I’d say it’s about 3/4 c. mayo and juice of 2 juicy limes. Maybe three, it’s thinned down quite a bit.

  24. Mary says:

    Oh, my, Susan, many thanks for a delightful read after a very long day at work.
    It’s the first thing I read in my long list of emails. Truly life giving! Can’t wait to get your next book. And I am so glad to hear that it is practically writing itself. True inspiration!

  25. Elyse Harvey says:

    Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if your calendars have been out for 20 years, but that’s how long my parents have lived in their home and it feels like your calendar has been there all along 🙂

  26. Vickie in Olympia says:

    I’m so excited that you are excited. It is infectious, you know. Jack is staring at the door because of all the characters you letting in through your writing. He smells all the good memories mixed with coming Spring. His ears are pricked and his eyes focused, visitors must be coming because you are emitting all that exciting anticipation of company coming through your writing!

    • deborah.t.norling says:

      Oh Vickie..I love what you said about Jack seeing all of the characters coming in through the door..so cute !

  27. Thea says:

    I like lots of gooey cheese with my branchburger… signed tia maria irishsodabreadish

  28. patti says:

    Oh how I wish I could write my book. All of those journals look so wonderful. I have a lot of that kind of stuff too, but I just don’t know where to start. Someday and I hope it is tomorrow b/c there is not enough of today left to start. I love, love, love your writing Miss Susan. <3

    • sbranch says:

      Hopefully while I go through this process I will say or show something about book writing that will ring a bell with you. Believe me, every time it’s like starting over and figuring it out again and much depends on you saying to yourself (and believing it), I can do this.

      • patti says:

        I am going to say and write that down everyday to myself. “I Can Do This, I Can Do This !!!” And I will write my book and it’s going to be dedicated to you !!! Stay tuned 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          That a girl! Each time the fear gets in the way, you just have to step over it, actually see yourself doing it physically.

      • Jack says:

        The “start” is whatever occurs to you to write — it doesn’t matter because as you continue to do more you will rearrange the format several times …. So pick out any memory to jot down and watch it shape up …..as you go ….

        • sbranch says:

          Exactly right. You start wherever and keep writing and then it all gets moved around.

          • Rhonda D. says:

            Gee, Susan, no wonder you’re good at this…it runs in the family. I seem to be getting some of this part, but my problem is keeping it from sounding like a page out of the dictionary…even your “life lists” have more flow, heart, and life than what I write. I have lots of great family/life history to write about, but how do I make it dance and come alive?

          • sbranch says:

            Your stories will do that. The thing we all think is that what WE have to say is insignificant or boring, but what OTHERS say dances. You have to ignore the part about insignificant and boring and do it anyway!

          • sondra fox says:

            Susan dear, (hope that makes your feel good, just like your grandma used to write), Sounds like your papa is a writer as well. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  29. Maureen MacKenzie says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’m so excited for you and your new book! I can “hear” how happy you are in your words. I saw that snow this morning too and I must admit I was a little happy…it was pretty…knowing full well, of course, that it wasn’t going to stick. ♥
    Enjoy your week,

  30. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    This is all so exciting and — well, thrilling. I love that you think this book will be longer and I feel it will be a wonderful read as they say. You are so kind to take time to share your process by way of the blog posts. The anticipation is intense. The inspiration is much appreciated. I could go on, but you get the idea 🙂 I think you have a wonderful helpmate in Joe. Just sayin’.

  31. Ginger says:

    Oh, I adore the times when my stories wake me up at night demanding to be written. I fall in love with the characters and setting. Because I want life to be beautiful and magical and smooth sailing, the hard part is letting the characters I cherish as dear friends have problems.

    I eat a lovely cabbage salad, too. Eaten by the trough full, mine is Mexican Ensalada de Repollo…green and purple cabbage, yellow and orange bell peppers, red tomatoes, green serrano peppers, cilantro, green onions, lime juice, oregano, salt, and pepper.

    If we weren’t on opposite ends of the continent, we might be best friends with so much in common. I keep diaries like you, writing fleeting thoughts. Thank you for a ray of sunshine on this rainy day.

  32. Mary Whiting says:

    Hello Susan,
    I just wanted to say how excited my sister Amanda and I are to be joining you and all for the Gladys Tabor reunion in CT this June. A quick plane ride and we are there. This is our first time and how lucky we are that you are the STAR of the weekend! Can’t wait to say “hello” in person.

    • sbranch says:

      I am SO looking forward to this. I’ve never been to her house for one thing plus it’s going to be a party of kindred spirits! See you and Amanda there, Mary!

    • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

      Hi, Mary! You’re going to love the Gladys Taber reunion! I attended my first one a few years ago when it was held in CT. Visiting Gladys’ beloved home Stillmeadow was one of the high points of my life. My daughter and I are attending this year too…and the fact that Susan will be there on Saturday is absolutely the icing on the cake! Safe travels…I will look for you and Amanda 🙂

    • Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

      Everybody, please take lots of pictures and post on FOSB !

  33. leslie susan says:

    I loved hearing how your imagination is bubbling over as you write your newest book but what I especially loved was the part that said, “Joe is my editor, he reads my pages as we go along, fixes sentences, gives me suggestions. He’s scanning old photos and getting them ready to put in the book and working hard not to get his tea bag caught on his glasses.” It is a testimony to a beautiful marriage filled with love, respect, trust, and admiration which is what God intended before Adam and Eve messed things up. It reminded me to reread the post about Joe and the Teabag. I LOVE that true story complete with pictures…I needed a good belly laugh today. (Thank you, Joe, for your obvious good sense of humor, love for your wife, and joy you share in her endeavors. It’s a blessing!)

    • sbranch says:

      We are a good partnership. I can do some of it, he can do a whole lot of it, and together we manage to hold things together.

  34. Peggy Cooper from Pueblo, CO says:


  35. Dena says:

    YOUR blog gives me such a lift , and its help me think things are possible, how you are able to even find the time to read a book , with writing and everything else you do, I have so many books i get that i want to read and can never find the time, I bought three today while in a used book store, had the cutest beatrice potter book, didn’t get it , but hope it is there next time, Love your diaries every year , i did them for a while then for some reason could never find the time to keep it up, but i do get your calenders and put short notes on everyday, your coleslaw recipe needs to go in your next book , it sounds yummy!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Dena! I have squeeze things in too. I like it when I can kill two birds with one stone, the reading along with the exercise. But don’t get me mixed up with one of the perfect people because sometimes I subsist on cookies tea toast and wine, but I keep trying like we all do. xoxo

  36. Darla B says:

    Susan, I just ordered from your webpage the two cup Emma Bridgewater hearts teapot. I can’t wait to get it. I couldn’t decide whether to get the four cup or the two cup teapot. I actually wrote to your service email address asking for the dimensions of the teapots and a lovely lady answered my email so quickly and was so helpful. Thank you for having such great women on the other end. I have a silly question though, she answered my email and under her name was your darling little lamb with the British scarf around his neck. I love that little lamb, have you ever painted a little lamb with the “red white and blue stripes around his neck? I think that would be cute too. Thanks for your blog today; I look forward to reading them each time you post. 🙂 Darla

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t yet, only because I painted that lamb while in England. Thank you for the nice compliment about Sheri, I know she has that lamb on her emails. She’s a sweetheart, I feel so lucky to have both Sheri and Kellee taking care of everything. You are going to love that teapot. I have it too, and it says it all!

      • Martha Ellen of VA says:

        Susan, Sheri and Kellee are so sweet. They handled a problem I was having and could not have been more attentive. I think they should get a raise! Lol Seriously, they are the best! xoxo ♥

  37. martha says:

    Hi Susan! The smoke has nearly cleared here at Lazy Bee Farm from the Crisco fire and now I am ready to try something that doesn’t require a stove — like cole slaw. I think yours sounds delish! I like mine with cream… ummmmmmmmmm..

    Currently my night-night book is Beatrix’ gardening book. Somehow, I am fortified by the fact that she really didn’t start “serious” gardening until she was in her 40s. I am just a little behind that! LOL

    Happy writing!

  38. Sue G says:

    So great to hear how the process goes for you as begin writing this new book. As a teacher who uses writer’s workshop with my youngsters I am inspired by your process. I plan to send this entry to some of my fellow teachers to share with their students, so they can hear about how keeping notes, diaries, journals etc often become the books and stories of the future. I know with my own K4 class we talk about small moment stories for inspiration and even though it is only a sentence or 2 plus a detailed drawing, things beginning stories come out of their everyday life. Thanks for the glimpse. And on a springy note….it hit 50+ here in WI today, it felt great, but of course tomorrow we are back to temperatures in the low 20’s.

    • sbranch says:

      And to add to it, you can step outside your normal way of being and there will surely be a story in that.

  39. Robyn Brown says:

    Wow, snow! It’s sunny and almost 70 today in Tennessee. The crocus and daffodil are bursting forth and I have seen SO many robins this year already. I’m starting to feel the pull of spring!

  40. Ann Jane Koerber says:

    I am amazed by you and all that you do!!

  41. Jo Hannan says:

    Have started reading on the “exercycle” too, makes it go faster, or so I believe.
    Love your calm and peaceful life and how you snuggle it into mine so I can feel at ease, especially when things are not that way at all.
    Merci, as always.

  42. shirley burt says:

    You are on fire with inspiration. Proud that you are eating healthy so that you can sustain your writing frenzy. I have been embroidering flower stems on napkins that will have flowers out of buttons. All in spring colors for a birthday luncheon. I will report to my friend, Drinda-does not do computer- that you are well on the way with the new book. She has just finished reading “A Fine Romance” to her husband. A chapter a day and they are so sad it has ended. So Susan, happy creating to you. Thank you, Joe for being such a great helper. You have a great partnership.
    Much love and bunny hugs, Shirley

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Shirley. The napkins sound so cute! Say hello to Drinda for me!

      • shirley burt says:

        Drinda will be so happy when I tell her hello from you . She and our Folk Art Ladies will be here on Monday for Drinda’s birthday luncheon. Yes, St. Patrick’s day, but my theme is Spring. The napkins are so cute. Playing in the button jars gave lots of variety. .
        Thank you for loving us and creating us another book to treasure.
        Love and bunny hugs,

  43. Pom Pom says:

    I’m excited because I think you chose to write about your island beginnings and the tiny little house where dreams sprouted and grew! Yay! I love your lists! GREAT idea! You have such sweet writer habits, Sue!
    I think Jack knows where a mouse might be.

  44. Kathy R from Iowa says:

    How exciting that the book is writing itself. My experience is that the best writing is produced that way. Do you have a title?

    • sbranch says:

      I have three right now, so I’m waiting. I seems that new titles appear as the story unfolds.

  45. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, CA says:

    Anna Susana Branchburger the Third – HaHaHa – tickled my funny bone! Please infect me with your energy! I think winter has passed by southern California this year, so I’ll enjoy the transition on Martha’s Vineyard via your blog and pictures! Goodie, goodie – another book coming! I’ll have to read it to my new twin grandbabies, Emma and Jace!

  46. Deb W says:

    If you are that engaged in it, and the book is POURING out of you…..well, that tells me it was meant to be!! It is heartwarming to read that you are so enjoying the process, and I will be looking forward to the book.

    The ONLY thing I don’t like about ‘A Fine Romance,’ (is that sacrilege?) or maybe I should say, the one thing I would have liked to see included, are some additional places I would love to visit if it had been MY dream trip! Most of them are in Scotland, like Eilean Donan Castle and the Western Isles …….maybe on your next trip?! (Or mine!!!!)

  47. Linda says:

    So nice to see Girl Kitty included in the photos and blogs posts now……..not all about darling Jack anymore!! You are blessed to have such beautiful cats.
    I just finished reading an older book called “Up Island” by Anne Rivers Siddons. It was wonderful except it made me cry alot so hope your book is happier………I don’t like to read sad things but because this book was about your MV thought I would read it. Good luck with your book and will patiently wait for it.
    :Linda from Idaho where it has been rainy/sunny/overcast/ rainy/ sunny but warmer–low 50’s. Looks like Spring is coming soon as all my bulbs are peeking out of the ground.

  48. Nancy B says:

    Oh, Anna Susana BranchburgerIII…..I love it! Do tell us the story behind that name! You are sounding so chipper and loving all that you do. The book sounds very exciting. Can hardly wait!

    Happy Writing!
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

  49. Andi M says:

    Love the energy that came through on this post! How fantastic! Just finishing my dishes now and then, yes, my stationary bike is calling too. I have showed husband, daughter and sister your Joe’s teabag. Much laughter from all.

  50. Anne says:

    Oh goody – a new book! I love my diaries too! It’s fun going over all those thoughts and dreams from yrs back:-) Girl Kitty has the sweetest little face 🙂 I love looking at her picture – she’s so serene. I’ve been eating avocado toast lately – healthy fats and all. Whole grain toast, spread w/ vegenaise, top with sliced avocado, pinch of salt. Yummy! I discovered it in Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook.

    • sbranch says:

      Love avocado on toast, but what is vegenaise? I just do avocado and lots of pepper. Sometimes I butter the toast first and sometimes it’s English Muffins and sprouts on top.

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Isn’t it eggless mayo? I’ve never had it but have heard about it. Not sold around here that I’ve noticed.

      • Sylvia in Seattle says:

        Try chopped tomato on top. Yummy.

        • …or half an avocado mashed up with a hard boiled egg – salt and pepper. Looks a little strange (because it’s green) but it’s the best deviled egg ever.

          • Annette McD says:

            Try softened fat free cream cheese spread on a toasted bagel and then put slices of avocado on top.

          • Sweet Sue says:

            Sounds yummy…..going to try it this weekend!
            By the way where or what is Strawberry Patches??
            Just wonderin as with the last name of Yarberry sometimes find it easy to remember my name by saying Yarberry Strawberry. Funny huh?
            The best to you this day! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Strawberry Patches is a wonderful quilt shop in Bakersfield, CA. It’s Suzanne’s store.

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        My son is vegan, so I’m familiar with this. Yes, it’s a mayo with no egg, and is quite delicious, as are many things vegan. I am not a convert – I still love a soft boiled egg for lunch, and seafood – but certainly have liked about everything he cooks (my fave is Rutabaga, Brussels Sprouts and coconut Jamican stew!). Yum!

      • Anne says:

        Yep, it’s egg-free mayo and it’s delicious! I was skeptical but it really tastes like mayo – it’s gluten and dairy free as well. It’s great in blue cheese dressing! I get it at Whole Foods but am also starting to see it at other stores as well 🙂

  51. janine from ca says:

    off the subject, but I had the bunny banner on my computer screen and my young son comes over and says “Pring! What’s pring, mama?”. I looked closely and he read it right…the S bunny is not in the picture! He also just gave me a card “to momey”. He knows how much I like your blog and he alerts me when it comes in. I told him we are going to drive by the house you grew up in in Long Beach because he said he wished someone famous lived nearby. It’s just a 10 min drive down lkwd blvd. 😉

    • sbranch says:

      1721 Park Avenue, until I was seven. I think it’s a really big house now.

      • Jack says:

        An apartment was built on the back part of the lot …as it was so deep.
        But since about 1957 we have not seen that location….having moved to the San Fernando Vally in 1955.

        • sbranch says:

          Remember the ducks we had?

          • Jack says:

            Oh yes and Cindy our German Shepard loved those ducks . The ducks were the best yard guard running to the fence quacking …wack , wack flapping wings , making a total racket. I think we took them to the pond
            At the park when we moved to the Valley.

          • sbranch says:

            I don’t know how ducks and German Shepherds mixed, but somehow it all worked. Yes, I remember, we took them to the pond, then tried to recognize them later, but darn ducks all looked alike! 🙂

          • Sweet Sue says:

            Oh how fun to have had ducks as a child!! There is a park/golf course nearby where we go and feed the ducks. We just get some day old bread from a local bakery who sells it to us really inexpensively as they know it is going for a good cause. What is really amusing are the big gray geese that also come up to us bold as brass and try to push the smaller ducks out of the way and hog all the bread. We solved that problem one day when my husband got the idea to see if the ducks would follow him over to a smaller area that the geese don’t like to go into and it worked. Now the ducks get their bread and the geese get theirs. Happy Campers! Any duck stories you have to share Susan?

          • sbranch says:

            Feeding the ducks was one of our childhood pastimes. Not just ours which was pretty quick since there were only two, but at the park, like you, where they would come running. It was just a fun thing to do for a mom with lots of kids who needed to be kept entertained.

  52. Janet says:

    Those Junior Classics books played a huge part in my childhood and developed a lot of my taste in literature. Are you familiar with “The Bumper Book” ed. by Watty Piper and illustrated by Eulalie? It’s “A collection of stories and verses for children”. The illustrations are wonderful – chubby, red-cheeked children, kitties in pinafores, lambs with flower necklaces , squirrels who wear overalls and the Owl and the Pussycat dancing by the light of the moon.

    We grew up with the 1946 edition by Platt & Munk and I lost track of it. I just purchased a copy in mint condition on Abe Books and it was a Christmas present to myself!

    • Elaine in Toronto says:

      Hi Janet, I did the same thing. I loved that book when we were kids. I finally tracked down a copy in an antique shop on Queen Street in the heart of downtown Toronto. The store was close to where I worked and I would pop in on my lunch hour. I was thrilled to find it in such good condition. It was hiding on the bottom of a stack of books and I recognized its bright blue spine and orange cover. I loved the illustrations, too, and my favourite poem was Christopher Robin. Wern’t we lucky girls to find such a treasure from our childhood?

  53. Catie Cook says:

    What a lovely post. And I’m eager to pre-order your book! Let us know when we are able to do so!! You are sooooo creative… how wonderful. xo

  54. Gina P. from NY says:

    Hi Susan: I am so excited that you are into your new book with all these wonderful ideas of things we have to look forward to! This will be one of my favorite things – reading about your move to New England and Martha’s Vineyard. I keep telling my better half that we are retiring “north” not “south”. He is a lover of the hot weather, the ocean, and fishing. I keep telling him that we can have all those things as much up north as we can down south and still enjoy the four seasons (which I would miss if we left this part of the world). While we are not ready to retire yet, I am working on him, and once we take some more trips up to Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine, I’m sure he will fall as much in love with the area as I am. I keep telling him, “don’t worry about the cold, the snow”! “We will hunker down in our cozy little cottage, with the fire going, with hot chocolate and lots of good things to eat”! Best part is that if we are not working, we won’t even have to go out on those snow covered roads! We can still hike in the snow! Wish me luck!

    I so look forward to your blog, and while I’m at work, when I see your email pop up, I can’t wait to get home and read “the next chapter”. Your blog is as cozy as a warm fuzzy blanket. Thanks for sharing your happy, wonderful life with us. Your enthusiasm and optimism brings so much joy into our lives!

    • sbranch says:

      I DO wish you luck! It’s so cozy here in the winter, but then it changes, and that is always so much fun. I love the changes.

  55. I will be praying your creative juices continue to flow. 🙂 I am so happy things are going so well. I am so excited to pre – order your book as well.

    Love the circus cake…I just might make that for my boys birthday.

    Thank you for sharing.
    xx oo

  56. Ginnie says:

    Traveling the road with you as you write is so much fun!

  57. diana from ancaster says:

    you have written my heart’s long time dream…..

    thank you.

  58. Ting S. Enriquez says:

    Hi, Susan! Guess what?! I just got hold of my copies of A Fine Romance and All Good News last night here in the Philippines, personally hand-carried by my sister who is spending over a week here with her husband and little son. They are from Palatine, Illinois.

    I got home late from work and she kept on telling me, the books are here, please open them and take a look! Apparently, she was excited because she read them herself and saw for herself how lovely the book is.

    I browsed through the pages of AFR before I went to bed and what can I say, it’s truly a labor of love from you, every page of it. And thank you for signing it as well. I can’t wait to read the entire book. It’s a precious addition to my small personal library. Your art, books and blog posts really brighten up my world. Keep up the fine work!

    More blessings to you and your loves!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh boy! How nice to hear that Ting! I hope you like it — say hello to your sister!

      • Sweet Sue says:

        What a joy to read Ting’s blog and your response! You are indeed blessing people the world over……how wonderful, makes me smile and warms the “cockles of me heart” 🙂

  59. Janet in Rochester says:

    Hope Jack is not seeing the Ghosts of Mice Past out there in the kitchen. Or Anything Else Past for that matter. Maybe he sees another teeny green spring vine slowly winding its way to the surface from the basement?

  60. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Today is my birthday and your lighthearted blog was one of my nicest gifts.

  61. Carolyn T says:

    Love your blog, Susan. Have been a fan of your paper stuff for years. Just thought I’d say – I’m at about page 300 in the Goldfinch – and I’ve felt myself, so many times doing exactly when you mentioned – yelling at him saying “no, don’t do that; no, no, no.” I keep reading – mostly because the author really does know how to draw you in, keep you interested and develop characters – and I keep hoping he’s going to straighten up, fly right and “do the right thing.” Am sure the book is going to keep me going on that line until I get to the last page.

  62. After seeing a news report recently about the California drought and how it is going to seriously hurt the avocado crop (they called it Guacapocalypse), I immediately began to crave avocados.

    I know… it’s all in the mind. Or the stomach. According to how you look at it.

    SO looking forward to your new book. I can’t imagine one better than your last gorgeous volume.

    • sbranch says:

      It’ll be a little different, but it ought to give everyone a little tour of Martha’s Vineyard, for one thing.

  63. Fabienne says:

    Another Susan Branch book might mean another day trip to San Luis Obispo!!!!
    We had such a great day seeing you last November with a Fine Romance. Possibility?
    So lucky, I plan to make Cole slaw this week with the red cabbage my husband just picked from our small veggie garden. You’d think it was summer out here in CA. I will add your secret ingredients too. At 63 I get excited if I lose one pound……but I guess having a small glass of Cabernet when cooking dinner adds calories, doesn’t subtract them…oh well.
    Some things are not negotiable. Love your energy, your humor and all the photos. Lived a white winter looking through your kitchen window, gorgeous. As always, thank you.

  64. Barb Bussell says:

    Gosh, Susan, this was one of my all-time favorite posts. Every little bit was a delicious, cozy snippet of lovely life. The photo of all your books in a row, waiting to be revisited (can’t we just smell the smells, hear the songs, breathe in the moment when we go back to a special memory?)….that photo just spoke to me. It inspired me to get all the pretty books that I’ve collected throughout my 60 years of living, hoping to do EXACTLY what you’ve done for decades, that is, to be committed and rigorous about just keeping track of the beauty of the everyday, as it goes speeding past us. Each one of my little volumes have about five entries, full of optimism, full of hope that THIS time I’ll be faithful and keep the wheels turning….only to find themselves as forgotten as the last pretty printed volume that I neglected a year before. Look how lucky you are now, now that you’ve put in all that commitment and been true and faithful in your collecting of your life’s moments. I really envy you, dear girlfriend, and have decided that it’s worth it for me to go ahead and gather up my various boxes and bags of collected remembrance, along with the bunch of almost-empty journals I’ve started, and put together a retroactive collection of my life, maybe not with the journaling that would have happened, with my words showing my own self at that moment in time, but at least with the photos, the snippets of notes, the calendar pages, the little things that will somehow weave together the fabric of the years that I wished I would have chronicled. And when done, I’ll make my own photo of my little soldier-line of books, and feel so much better. So I thank you, dear Susan, for the jolt of optimism, the can-do spirit, and the idea that I, too, can get this thing done!

    And I also thank you for the coleslaw recipe. A big earthenware crock of that scrumptious mix will be heading to my fridge in the morning, to be nibbled on all week.

    Gosh, I love your posts, Susan. I’m an artist as well, with a little online shop that keeps me busy, and I just feel such a kinship to really everything I read that you write. You’ve got me buying Emma Bridgewater mugs right and left, and enjoying my morning coffee, even my cheesy, buttery grits, my Friday morning treat, in those beautiful creamy smooth mugs. Just wanted you to know how much I love to linger over your posts. Isn’t linger just one of the prettiest, most expressive words ever? One of my favorites.

    Thank you, just for being genuine, generous YOU.


  65. Aloyce Levin says:

    Have “taken to my bed” not feeling well. Your blog, as always, was like a tonic. I have a big brown box on the floor of my bedroom full of old journals. Time to go through them and give them a much better home. Your writing, artwork and good humor are always an encouragement. Thank you.

  66. Tammy M says:

    I am getting my new “stay-on-my-face-all-the-time-glasses” (that’s what I call them:)) They should be ready next week. I am sick of tracking down any one of my 7 pair of readers!. I have seriously spent half my life wandering around looking for them! I tried calling out to them…they don’t answer!! LOL! I have told that TEA BAG story at least 6 times already!!! So Funny!!! And, can I just say….I LOVE your Kitties!! (random, I know) I had one when I was a little girl. My mom always said, “every little girls needs a kitty”. I have the sweetest of all Shih Tzus now and I love her like crazy!! But, whenever I mention wanting a cat my husband says he’s allergic. I think he is making that up! 🙂 🙂 Kiss those kitties of yours!!

  67. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    How great that you kept a journal all those years. Like little time capsules!
    Isn’t it funny to read the things you wrote many years ago. If we only were as smart as we are now.
    Can’t wait for the book, but take your time and enjoy the process. I’m sure it will be worth the wait!

    • sbranch says:

      It can be extremely embarrassing. The growing up in the diaries is as slow as it was in real life!

  68. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love that you are writing another book and I cannot wait to learn what it is all about! Whatever you are creating, I am sure I will love it because I have loved all of your books over the years! You inspire me to write more diary type notes. It is a discipline I have never cultivated but now as I am in my 60s, I wish I had notes written by me about life when it was actually happening. As we age, those important details can fade from our memories. A friend gave me a journal and the past 3 years , I have been filling up the pages with thoughts, colored pen entries, and keepsakes taped to pages with a small entry. I often go back to it and read my thoughts and add new ones. I so understand how your journals become little treasures of life’s daily blessings and challenges that you can dive into and enjoy or rethink an entry made years ago. Keep us posted on your new progress and I cannot wait till you give us a clue about the theme of this newest book adventure!

  69. Georgie says:

    Susan! You are off and running once again!!! Yes! Tickle me PINK! Go Go Go! We will be here cheering you onto the finish line! Spring is really going to get here. XOXO Georgie from NJ

  70. Laurel says:

    I am sooooo looking forward to this new book and it’s wonderful you are letting us have peaks into it as you are going along. I too am reading The Goldfinch and am about 100 pages ahead of you. If I didn’t have to go to work I’d be home curled up with the book, two doggers and tea. Guess that will have to wait again until tonight. Stay warm!

  71. Laurel says:

    Oh darn, I meant peeks.

  72. Lynn Cooper says:

    Hi Susan,

    Now I am really curious; how did you burn up your stove?

    Can’t wait to see your new book. You are a very, very busy girl! Your enthusiasm is exciting. I also am a writer and today I will be meeting with one of the local historical society ladies to try and track down some more information on a woman from the 1800’s that I am trying to write a historical fiction piece about. None of us, including her family, know enough about her for me to write a totally nonfiction piece. So, I hope I learn some new bits of information so I can weave a story together. It’s always a journey and I keep learning new things along the way with each writing project I take on.

    Just think, Easter will be coming and you will have a chance to use all of those lambs on the table and sideboard……..can’t wait to see that because I always love setting the table for holiday dinners.

    Have a great day!

    • sbranch says:

      You have to wait for the book to find out about the stove! 🙂 Good luck with your research, it sounds so interesting!

  73. Nancy Mosley says:

    What treasures you have in those journals and now what a delight we will get in a new book reading those treasures. Can’t wait!!! Susan, how do you journal? Do you write something daily or just for events, special occasions, etc. or both and when the mood strikes? Do you buy just plain sketch books? And if someone, like myself and in their 40’s wanted to get started journaling – any suggestions? Would you start two separate books – one for current events and one trying to recall from the past? Do you have a favorite pen you use? Sorry for all the questions. Maybe you could share in a post sometime soon. Enjoy the day!

    • sbranch says:

      I write everyday. Just the date and what I did. Sometimes one sentence sometimes three pages. I describe everything, the weather, my new shoes, the phone call with my dad. I think I would just do one. But you can put memories in it too. I put my weight sometimes, I’ve put locks of my hair on big birthdays, I describe rooms or what the kitties are doing, or where we’re going. Anything. My journals were meant just for me so they are scribbled messes and not pretty. But there’s lots of good info inside.

      • Nancy Mosley says:

        Thank you for responding about how you journal! That’s inspiring to me. What a great keepsake idea! I just need to make it fun and flexible so if I skip it I don’t give up on it. Thanks again for inspiring us!

  74. Susan says:

    I bet I can guess what Jack is hunting/waiting for! A cute little field mouse? Good luck Jack.

  75. Beverly Brewer says:

    At the risk of being a “hovering vulture”, any estimate on the publication of your new book which I love already? Just kidding—I know it has to evolve without constraints. When my daughter was born, one of the gifts I received was a calendar of the first year of life where I wrote down my own thoughts as well as the sweet, precious moments of her day-to-day details. As time went by, I managed to do ten years of those sweet mini-diaries, embellished with stickers and sweet doodles and quotes to delight her. She was born before your calendars were published, but several of them were drawn by Holly Hobbie whose illustrations remind me of your beautiful creations!

  76. Darlene Gast says:

    ♥ this blog!! 🙂

  77. Barb from Ohio says:

    I’m so glad to hear that the book is coming along so well, it sounds like you are definitely full of energy and inspiration for writing it right now! Love the pictures here of the kitties and especially the one of all the journals from over the years, bet you’re glad you kept them up. I’m getting excited for this book because I can tell it’s going to be a real page turner! Thanks for sending us updates on your writing progress here, it’s a privilege to get a peek into your creative processes!

  78. Martha from Fresno says:

    Hi Susan. I’m a “silent no more” fan from the VERY beginning. Not sure if you are near a Target store but they have an ever changing dollar bin section near the front and there is a Beatrix Potter section right now with cute things! Books and a set of square paper baskets with satin ribbon handles with Peter & friends on them. The tiny print paper lining the baskets is the best part! I hope you get a look at them. Thanks for everything. (We have kitties too and I think the black and white ones should all be named “Huck Finn” for their adventurous behavior!)

    • sbranch says:

      No Targets on the island, but when we go off next time, I’ll try to stop by one of them. Sounds like cute stuff.

    • Nellie says:

      Now I have motivation to go shopping at Target! Thanks for the info!

      • Nellie says:

        I made that trip to Target, but was too late to get in on all the goodies. I did bring a couple of jigsaw puzzles home with me. Some of the things will go in that granddaughter’s Easter basket.

    • judy says:

      Pottery Barn for Kids has lots of really cute “Peter Rabbit” merchandise for Easter. Judy

      • Linda P says:

        Martha… Thanks so much for the info, I found those boxes and scooped them right up they are adorable and bargain OMG adorable

        • nanette from alabama says:

          I bought those little boxes too and love to open my kitchen cabinets and see the packs of gum and granola bars and such tucked in their darling little baskets!

  79. Wendy says:

    You get extra points for knowing to eat right and exercise. And then a few more for inspiring the rest of us. I seem to be living almost entirely on carbs these days….and then I grab a handful of baby spinach to munch on, so I won’t turn into a pillar of bread.
    I love reading your posts. You are so expressive and generous.

  80. Kelly from eastern PA says:

    Hi Susan,
    It sounds like your next book is going to be awesome! Can’t wait to hear more about the process and especially the publication date 🙂 I read The Goldfinch, and I know right where you are and who you are talking about…..great writing, intense story. Enjoy both books; the one you are writing & the one you are reading! Kelly

  81. Oooh, hooray — a new book coming! Anxious for that! Your post reminded me of one my first days of retirement back in 2006. I wanted to write and write and write — still doing that — and woke up one morning with words and images flowing out of me. That’s so very nifty. Have such a blessed day that you can’t even contain it all, Susan. Isn’t it wonderful celebrate every day by making it count?

  82. Peggy Willliams says:

    Love this post—love seeing your kitties too! You are always a happy inspiration. Just wanted to mention that I recently read Goldfinch and I wanted to let you know it is going to be hard to get through some of it—but I am glad I read it. So if you think about giving it up, as I did many times, it is worth to stick it out!

    • sbranch says:

      Yikes. OK. I’m a big baby when it comes to this. Never see scary movies, horror, war, violence, can’t seem to separate these events from reality … “it’s only a movie” doesn’t work for me. So we shall see.

      • Jack says:

        Just like your Dad — give me happy endings every time and not too much trauma in the middle …no gore , no monsters , etc , a good clean murder , O K , anything more – I’m gone !

  83. Robin Hnd, NV says:

    Just curious – the previous blog – the adorable elephant creamer and the dove butter dish – are they Blue Ridge. I emailed my sister-n-law right away to ask, but she is in the process of moving and her books are packed. It’s been on my mind – can’t seem to let go – so please enlighten! Thanks, Curious

    • sbranch says:

      I collect those Shawnee Elephant creamers wherever I can, I found 3 or 4 when we drove across country, I think Kellee just put one up in the Vintage section of the web store. The butter dish is Cleminson’s Pottery. Hope this helps Robin!

  84. Tina Mandeville says:

    Reading one of your blog posts is like wrapping oneself in a warm blanket or putting one’s head on a soft pillow. I often find I have so much I want to say afterwards and yet, I feel speechless all at once!!! How can that be? For now I will just say this….
    You. Are. Precious.

  85. sondra fox says:

    WOW Susan, I can see you as a child trying to write your real name. Poor baby. Bet your Kindergarten teacher had a time helping you figure that one out.
    You’re so very lucky to realize your gifts & follow them. Do you know how many people have never figured out what they wanted to do with their lives? Our grandsons are going through that right now, in college, taking classes, yet not discovering what they want to do with their lives. A real quandary for them. I see them struggling. They’re working at jobs as well, so are really busy. I remember being of that age, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I was a manager for the phone co., in the first thirteen years of working. I had a job where I trained people. That was when I found out I wanted to be a teacher, so I went to college, got a Masters, (which was required for teaching college) then taught college classes for many years. You seem to never waste one second of a day Susan. That’s so wonderful to be totally engaged in your life. Along with what you love doing, what you do brings so much joy & happiness to so many others.
    Just a bit of a story that I wanted to relate to you & our GF’s……..I saw this beautiful, very small, yellow bird, dead on the sidewalk. I stopped to examine it to see if I could help it in some way, but it was really motionless & dead. I went in a building to get some business completed. While I was waiting for someone to help me, I looked outside & saw two crows flying around the area where the little bird had fallen. On my way back to my car, I went past where I’d see the little bird. He/she was no where to be found. I’m sure the crows took the bird away, which then set me to thinking that out of the millions, or billions, of birds there are on this earth, we never seem to find them dead around us. It’s a rare occurance viewing a dead bird. The scavengers with their keen eyesight, spot what their meal could be. I hope the little bird had a happy life. When we were camping last year, beside a family that had small children, I found a dead bird. I picked it up & put it on the picnic table, hoping that the small children would discover it, so that they could see a lovely bird up close.
    Happy dreaming of words, ideas, & stories in your new book. What happy times you’re having Susan. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      I was over forty before I knew what I was going to be. I understand the struggle. I always say that some people have to live for a while first, but they can always go in the direction of the things they love the most. Experience in those areas can lead to the answers. xoxo

      • sondra fox says:

        Wise words. I think you’re absolutely right Susan. As you go along, wondering what your career may be, traveling a road you’re unsure of, you often don’t even realize you’re going in the right direction, one experience drawing upon another, until you reach something that interests you. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  86. Faith rose says:

    I love your energy! It bounces through the screen and on me!That salad sounds so good! I am definitely eating that for lunch!I must have missed something because I didn’t know that you were writing another book! What is the book about , if you wouldn’t mind shareing? Thank you for reminding me again of how important journaling is! I now have many ideas!

  87. Linda Hurst says:

    I found some of your early note cards the other day. Adorable, and I have sent short notes in each of them to my cousin Bonnie, (also a big SB fan). They must be some of your early work because I can’t find more of them anywhere. Now they are my treasure! Waiting patiently? for the new book!!!!!!!

  88. Arlinda and Sarah says:

    We’re loving it! My daugther and I are excited you are writing the book.


  89. Laura says:

    Did I somehow miss it??? Have you told us the title of your new book??
    I know you hear this a lot but I sure do appreciate your joy and love of all things from hearth and home!

    • sbranch says:

      Not yet, I have three titles now and since they seem to materialize as I write, I thought I should wait a little longer in case another choice comes to the top.

  90. Therese says:

    Good morning Susan,
    Your blog is my comfort soul food and it’s about time I let you know!
    Actually I am writing to tell you about a salad that has been a mainstay of mine for years.
    The restaurant where I first had it called it “rajastani waldorf” so I want to credit them. Basically, the way I make it, it is a waldorf salad with the addition of brown rice and curry spices in the mayo. It is beautifully adaptable (can be made with vegan mayo)…I think you might like it.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Therese, so nice to meet you! I make a salad very much like yours — only its Quinoa instead of rice and it has currants in it too.

  91. Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    Hi Susan,
    Back in early 2000, I decided to carry scrap booking supplies at the store I manage. Since I work for a paper company, it fit. One of the line of stickers and papers I carried was by a lady named Susan Branch. Never heard of her before then! When the rubber stamps, stickers and paper arrived, it came with a one page story about Susan Branch. It was so beautifully written, about your divorce, moving across the country, ending up on Martha’s Vineyard alone. I was so entranced by the story. And now 14 years later, as Paul Harvey would say, we will get the rest of the story! It is the book I have been waiting for all these years.

    So many of the GF’s have talked about how you inspire us. It is true! Energy is contagious…even through the internet! You are one incredible lady, Susan Branch and I am so happy that you came into our lives. If I had to name “one good thing about technology” (from You’ve Got Mail)…. it would be this blog!
    Your fan, Chris

    • sbranch says:

      OH! Chris that’s so nice. xo Thank you. You and all the Girlfriends make me love technology too!!

      • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W. TX says:

        I forgot to tell you that I made the Blueberry Corn Pancakes at work on Monday. EVERYONE loved them! No one had ever heard of corn pancakes before. Even some of the warehouse guys asked for the recipe! It was a big success! 🙂

  92. N Jean says:

    I am excited to hear you are writing another book. I know you are so very busy, but you are also so inspiring. I will be waiting patiently for the new book.

  93. Linda T. in Maine. says:

    Hello Susan B., I am so happy that the your writing is in full swing again. Love your books. I went for a long walk at the beach yesterday with my Husband Cliff. It was a nice day here in Maine 48 degrees. It was still cool at the beach.We went to Popham Beach first and took lots of pictures as always. Then as we were leaving on the way home a short distance from Popham Beach is Popham State Park. We stopped to take a walk. It was low tide and the tide was just starting to turn. Cliff said we still had plenty of time to take a walk out to Fox Island before the tide comes back in. For all you other Girlfriends that don’t know this, is that if you do not get back in time before the tide comes back in you will have to stay on the Island for the whole night till the next tide is low so you can get off the Island. We have lots of places like that all around Maine. {Keep an eye on the tides.} So we went out and high a top of the ledges was We though to look to be a big old seagull. We went up to take more pictures and Low in behold it was not a big old seagull but Hoooo do you think it was? It was a Big Beautiful Snowy Owl. SO, OH, Beautiful !!! I thought I would tell you cause it was so beautifull and the wing span on him when he flew into the air about took your breath away. Same as your books do, Like seeing a snowy old close up. You probably get beautiful birds on the Island also like we do. Love your door yard birds and it came to mind that I should tell you about this. So, as you sore like the owl though the new book you are writing you can think how lucky some of us are to have such beautiful nature all around us to enjoy. The same way you enjoy writing for all of us and We enjoy buying and reading them. Lifes little treasures. Your books and what nature brings to us. So as you fly though the pages of this next book we’ll all be waiting in the wings to buy. Thanks for all your hard dedicated work keeping us so happy. I am going to come to Martha’s Vineyard in hopes to run into You and Joe this summer. I so want to see the whole of Martha’s Vineyard also. Also takes some seashell home from your Island too. I collect sea shell from all over. Love them. I also collect Lighthouses, Your books, and Journals. Have a lovely day.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Linda! Hello to Cliff too ~ your walk sounds wonderful, of course Maine is wonderful too.

  94. Nellie says:

    Susan, you are the queen of multi-taskers! I don’t even know how to open three screens on this computer at the same time! I’m sure I would completely erase what was going on in one when I tried to go to another!

    These posts about your writing process are so very inspiring! When those creative juices are flowing, it’s all about getting the words down as quickly as possible. I can hardly wait for the next book!

    We have been having some nice early spring days here. My husband has been excited about being able to plant potatoes and onions already. There was rain overnight, so gardening is on hold for awhile.

    I send along happy wishes from Tennessee!


    • sbranch says:

      I have my computer “moments” too … there is never a time when I pull the plug on the computer to put it on battery that I don’t physically expect it to explode or something. I’ve done it a thousand times and still, unplugging always gives me pause. Happy day to you in beautiful Tennessee, Nellie!

  95. Susan, I’ve learned so much from your blog recently. If you say it, I do it! I made the cole slaw recipe (hubs has never liked cole slaw because of horseradish sauce) so this was a cole slaw he actually loved. I also tried the damp towel trick, and it’s been especially helpful. Where have you been all my life?!?! Thanks for being you and brightening my days with your blog and positivity.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, aren’t you a doll! Thank you Makiah, it’s so nice to hear! I love it when something I say actually works! 🙂

  96. Marie says:

    I enjoyed reading your last two posts so much! I am still giggling over Joe finding his teabag on his glasses!!! 😀 If your new book is half as interesting as your blog posts it will be a winner for sure!

  97. Jerry in Missouri says:

    I LOVED the Benny Goodman MUSICA!! I listened to the song while reading your blog last night before bed. What a WONDERFUL lullaby! It reminded me of the days when my son (now 22, a good musician and also huge music fan of all genres) was quite young in elementary school and we would listen to old records of the big band era at night before bedtime. Thanks for rekindling my memories!
    I’m somewhat new to your blog, but not new to your name or workings, and while I have only commented a few times here, I read and re-read your blog and website entries on a daily basis. My wish is that you know what a source of comfort and inspiration you are! The amount of time you devote to this for all of us does not go unappreciated! Thank you so much!

    P.S. And how I LOVED the tea bag dilemma! If reading about it wasn’t full of giggles in itself…the PICTURES!!! Oh My! What a good sport to allow you to share the pictures so all of us could enjoy a GIGANTIC smile at actually seeing the outcome!

    • sbranch says:

      You are a dear to tell me, I wish I had more time in the day, would love to do more, but you know how it is. I’m so happy to hear from you. Yes, Joe is a great sport, but both of us laughed so hard, we just had to let others in on the joke. Have a wonderful day xoxo

  98. Margy, Depoe Bay OR says:

    Just read and retread my new copy of your original Willards! Delightful! I was a fan of yours then but didn’t know about these arriving in “snail mail” We’ve come a long way with computers since then, haven’t we? I have a question, maybe too personal to answer…what happened to your beach house…”shack”? Do you still enjoy it or did it float away with a stormy tide? My other question is, do you have photos of your quilts of when you were in TX for the quilt show and won the award for best new booth? Your fabrics are so wonderful and the quilts must have been gorgeous. Thanks and looking forward to new book.

    • sbranch says:

      There’s a story with the “shack” I should tell in a blog post, it was such an amazing place. We don’t own it anymore, but the way we found it was by passing it everyday on our walk out to the water, which we still do . . . so it’s never far from our view. Yes, I do have photos of my booth at the show, but they’ve never been scanned, speaking of computers and what we can do with them now. Should do that. I have tons of photo album scrapbooks that need to be scanned. We sort of do it as we go along.

  99. The mail today was very exciting. I ordered the back issue of Yankee magazine with your feature. How wonderful it is. How did I wait so long before I found you and your books? I can’t wait to get your new book. The weather in Virginia on the coast has been nice for a few days, but winter has not forgotten us and will be back tomorrow. Have a wonderful weekend. Mary Elizabeth

  100. Wendy says:

    I remember those floral cloth covered journals – we all had them in college in the early 80s. Almost afraid to read them now 🙂 but will have to look for them!

    • sbranch says:

      You should be afraid! 🙂 If they’re anything like mine. When I started with the first book and read through to the last I was somewhat relieved, it helps to see that growing up does occur.

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