Hello little monster (Not you! You’re adorable! That ⬇️ monster!) Oh, it is good to be home! MUSICA!

But first of all, let me say, in a quiet, but excited voice, YOUR BOOKS ARE ON THE WAY!!!🎵 This was a perfect welcome home gift for me!!! If you preordered Distilled Genius, then get ready, because they started going out on Friday and will continue to do so all week! At least! You may already have yours!

When we drove up, fresh off the ship, these boxes of books were waiting on our front porch!!! How’s that for timing?

I dove straight into the boxes (after hugging and kissing the little monster) … I couldn’t wait! It’s not real until it’s real! I love the red ribbon!

And something else I think turned out good . . . Almost all my books have dust jackets, I love the way they look, and the little “extra” you get to read on them … they seem to finish the book. But with some books, especially a reference book like this one, I find that dust jackets get in the way. They slip off, they get torn, and sometimes I get frustrated and take them off ~ and never can find them again! 

So I did something with this book that I’ve never done or even seen before. I glued the dust jacket down and Trompe l’oeiled the cover flaps! See the shadow on the edge of the flap? It’s not really a flap! It’s all glued down! Have you seen books like this before? Maybe I invented it! Look at all the trees we saved! Makes me so happy!😂 Made in America!

Anyway, I’ve waited a long time to do this book (as you know, there’s a queue💖) and I couldn’t be happier with the way it came out. If you pre-ordered, you should know, there is a little surprise in the envelope, don’t accidentally throw it away! There will be one with every order until we run out of them (even if you didn’t preorder!). If you haven’t got yours, we still have them, you can read more about Distilled Genius here . . .

So back to the little monster! He has not punished me for going away! I keep waiting. In fact, he cuddles
alongside me in my chair, or at night. I think it might be, after all these years, dare I name it, could it be love?

I’ve come home to the little things, and I am almost giddy with the delight of it… my own home where I can nest and hygge to my hearts content… 💞

As I putter around the house, unpacking, doing laundry, putting it slowly back together, his eyes are always on me, except when he’s asleep as he is now in the desk drawer next to me. My shadow.

All so soft and peaceful in the old creaky house I love so much

The new needlepoint pillow I bought in an antique store in Harleston UK and smooshed into our luggage to bring home … looks pretty good in my pale green living room! (Before you even ask: Paint color, Martin Señor Colonial Williamsburg Green Light ~ 🤣)

Of course the children were waiting for me, a feast for the eyes … the Beatrix Potter figurines I collected in my 20s that have been in every kitchen I’ve ever had and went onto this shelf in 1989 when I bought this house and have watched over this kitchen ever since …. and their new friend from home, a tiny painted shell Rachel bought for me from children selling their artwork for Ukraine on the beach in Southwold, (the beach town I showed you in my last post). Whew, that sentence was a mouthful for such a tiny little shell!

And yes, the ritual filling of the tiny vases . . . such an important part of the puttering!

If ever I am feeling sad … or lazy, or tired, or lonely I just go outside pick a flower or two, bring it in, put it in a vase, walk around the house finding the perfect place for it, and my mood gets an instant lift. Something about the garden, the sunshine, the birds, smells, and sounds, and the small gesture makes the difference.💝 We came home to wildness in the world, very hard days we are living through, I want to pat everyone’s head and say it’s going to be okay … but I’m reminded, the only part any of us have much say over, is our own homes. And that’s not a little thing… we have the power to make them heaven on earth, bake a pie, and voila! We are lucky, not everyone in the world can say that!

We’ve been lucky so far … we came home to the most wonderful weather, our windows are open, the curtains flutter in the sea breezes, the island is abuzz with summer life, the harbor is filled with little white sailboats flitting around in the blue, we had our first Fish Sandwich at John’s Fish Market (a summer tradition for us, I take tiny bites of it’s juicy goodness to make it last), and of course, we walk our walk to the sea each day. It’s good to go away, good to challenge yourself, and drive on the wrong side of the road, and good to come home, alive and well, full of inspiration, and plotting for the next time!

Beautiful on Martha’s Vineyard just now ~ our walk to the water in the morning is heaven … and FLUFFY. When we left there weren’t any leaves on the trees and bushes in the woods, and now the island could actually use a haircut!

Quiet sandy pathways and the sounds of seagulls. . .

Yup. I know you know how I feel.💞 Kindred spirits.👏

And speaking of houses … I know you love them the way I do . . . so, up next, a little house entertainment from me and Joe to you from England . . .

The bunting was everywhere . . . but look at these great houses . . . wonky roof lines, no two windows alike, narrow walking paths, like secrets, go between them to other parts of the village, and out, and onward, to the next one . . . amazing history … just hanging out there like they aren’t even amazing, just normal! Tell your children:

Normal? Ha! And all handmade . . . because England decided not to let this charm go in lieu of big new shopping centers!

the bluest of blue skies, the whitest of fluffy clouds, the tallest of hedgerows . . .

Pubs and pubs and more pubs . . . how we love them!

Because they have been here FOREVER too . . .

I found critters to make friends with . . .

Bricks and gingerbread, and the MOST amazing trees

I could go on all day with trees!

Trees and pathways to discovery and serendipity . . . Spring in England is the cat’s meow.

Many of the trees are as old as the rest of the country . . . you give them a hug and ask, could you please tell me your secrets?

There really aren’t very many photos of us together, it’s either him alone, or me alone, or a tree alone . . . Rachel took this one . . . but I promise you 

THIS is how we felt most of the time. Verklempt at the beauty. (This old photo of us in tears was taken by my niece. We were all on a glass-topped boat on the Seine in 2001, having dinner, going by the sparkling Eiffel Tower, while a woman was singing La Vie en Rose ~ and Joe and I, being normal people, teared up from the beauty.) Leaving England, saying goodbye after two amazing months of our first freedom in years, sailing by the Isle of Wight as we left Southampton, this is what we were doing.

I’m sure we weren’t the only ones … 

Perhaps the tears this time came from our stunning arrival in New York Harbor . . .

It was so beautiful … Staten Island Ferries with sunrise making them shine, passing ships!

Our ship was filled with Brits and Germans … and Americans, all thrilled to get up at 5 am to watch the Queen Mary 2 slip quietly down the harbor, and see the sun rise over New York City . . .

And as we sailed past the Lady with the Light, the gift to America from France, the promise and hope of everything we stand for ~ more tears.

Our crossing was perfection . . . we were wined and dined, we slept like babies . . .the views were stunning . . .MAS MUSICA

Rainbows, fog, blue skies, sunshine, and fast-moving clouds . . . we had it all!

Here are more views for my armchair travelers . . . ❌⭕️❌⭕️

But in this one, so foggy, there wasn’t so much of a view! The ships horn blew all day . . . ships have been in these waters, going back and forth for hundreds of years. Now it’s our turn. 

Nothing ever stays the same at sea . . .

Joe and I had every good reason to be toasting, but someone has to hold the camera! Our life together seems like a miracle. Since the first moment we met all those years ago, and first spoke about our matching dreams of sailing on an ocean liner to England. Sit down at an oyster bar and the cutie next to you says this! How can that BE? Especially when you KNEW you were finished with love forever??? How does that happen? 

Look a this delicious lunch! Henry the VIII did not have it this good!

They treated us so well. And just a reminder, ask our other girlfriends, this trip is affordable! Right? We had 90 kindred spirits join us on our way to England (on the way over, most flew home) . . . and, from what I hear, they loved it as much as we did! PLUS, you don’t have to deal with an airport, AND you can take as much luggage as you want! So if you’re inspired, make a reservation! And go!

 This was the hardest part . . . saying goodbye to Ray and Paul! But the fact we were able to spend so much time together made it all okay … an even deeper deepening of an already deep friendship!

Our last pub lunch together was made even better because my old friend Elaine (my boss in Fairy Tale Girl if you remember) had joined us in England by then!

The other thing about pubs, they all have outdoor gardens and tables … pretty special in this covid-ridden world we are having to deal with.

Elaine, Joe, and I walked all over this amazing place called Chartwell, inside and out, Winston Churchill’s gorgeous home in the country. Talk about history! It was all there . . .

Elaine in Winston’s kitchen . . .

Churchill’s garden and one of my favorite plants, called Gunnera … isn’t it fabulous? It wants “wet feet” in case you have that . . . I tried to grow it in my creek at the Studio, but it wasn’t having any of it. I might have to try again! It’s very picky, it wants everything PERFECT! 

My best new discovery . . . Do you see Elaine there in front of that giant bush or tree or whatever it is? Know what she is doing? She is taking a picture of it up-close so her phone will tell her what plant it is. A wonderful free app for your phone they are advertising everywhere called Picture This.  Now I have it too, and it works! I can’t tell you how great it is to not have walk past something beautiful and say, I wonder what that is?! Joe and I have argued about the blueberries growing on the dirt road where we walk for YEARS… now, as soon as they turn into berries, we are going to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I can’t wait! 

Okay, one more picture … a National Trust house full of William Morris that we toured … just LOVED IT. But you see, it’s the books that make it!!! Which is WHY, I’m pretty sure, the future for e-books isn’t as bright as it used to be! No good book smell! Not good for decorating! Carrying real books is good for arm muscles. See what I mean?

So all this lovely home sweet home stuff will be coming to an end for us soon. We hadn’t planned it, but while in England Joe and I started talking about how much we missed California, our friends and family, my Studio. It’s been years! Plus, my family is going to sprinkle mom’s ashes and I want to be there for the hugs. At first we planned to make our trip as quick as possible, and take the train so we could get home . . . but as time went on, and more bits of my new book began filtering in (the very first pages were sent to me in England that’s me hugging them there), we realized we really wanted to drive so we can visit our favorite Independent Bookstores (it’s been a long time for that too), and see as many of my Girlfriends as possible along the way. We aren’t going everywhere, we really DO want to come home and stay home, but we figured we could at least stop at the ones along the route. So that’s what we’re going to do! It will take three weeks, most of August (brilliant, traveling in August, pray for us!) We’ll take the train home, and hopefully be here by September 14! We are going to meet you more than halfway, so now you have to come find us if you can! We’ll all be careful of Covid, I don’t want anyone to get sick. And I’ll ask the bookstores to turn up the air-conditioning ~ I think it will be HOT!!! If you see a puddle, be careful not to step in it, it could be me! Here is our schedule so far. There are more dates coming, to see them scroll down on the home page, in border to the right of the blog post, and click on COMING SOON/EVENTS to get updates.💖

Some of the bookstores are already decorating! This is Prairie Path in Wheaton, Ill where we’ll be on August 10! Making me feel so welcome. Sandy sent it ~ I’m so excited about this trip!!! Hope to see you there!

The first signing and talk is the 28th of July … right here on the Cape at Titcombs Books in Sandwich! Come!

Must go now . . . I have to design the covers of the 2022 calendars before we go!!! Much more little monster kisses to be given, and Gazpacho to be made! I hope you are staying cool, and having a WONDERFUL summer, and counting your blessings every day. I hope you LOVE the new book. Thank you for your faithful correspondence, it means the world to me!


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259 Responses to OH, IT IS GOOD TO BE HOME!

  1. Janet Swanson says:

    Love your “letters” and I have all your books! They are like scrapbooks of love and recipes and I ❤️ Scrapbooking my memories and writing with my white pen on black pages. I’m patiently waiting for my preordered book 📕. And will be at Titcombs which I was told will be outside in tent. I melt quickly too. Take care wear your mask stay healthy😷.

  2. Ann H. (Southern California) says:

    So happy I received your wonderful new book! It reminds me of my late mother Gladys because she always loved quotes. Thank you.

  3. Pamela Sinsabaugh says:

    Welcome home! My copy of Distilled Genius arrived July 12 & it’s fabulous! Another creative treasure – congrats 💕 As always, I enjoyed your blog post & the extra pics from your trip! May your days be filled with happiness and joy!

  4. DR Ann Smith says:

    Sometimes I wonder if you know how special you are. You make the world a better place. I just ordered Distilled Genius and I’m so excited. I will read it everyday for the rest of my life. Thank you for your insight, your positivity, and the beauty you share.

  5. Glenda Slanina says:

    Hello Susan. I received my book in the mail yesterday and dived right in. I love quotes and your book so much more special with your artwork. Perfection 💕. The lovely bookmark was tucked inside. Is that the special surprise? And a huge thank you for this wonderful blog. The photos are great and I absolutely love hearing about your adventures. Welcome home!🇺🇸

  6. Denise says:

    What a glorious adventure!!! Thank you for sharing!!

  7. Jane says:

    It was such a pleasure to travel along with you. A wonderful escape from the challenging reality we are experiencing. Would you consider selling the corgi buttons the shipboard girlfriends wore to those of us who were along in spirit?
    As a retired librarian, I hope Distilled Genius will be an addition to the reference collection in many libraries as I know it will prove very useful to assist patrons with many different needs for a good quotation for a speech, letter, or school assignment.

  8. Allyson Billingsley says:

    I got so excited if you would be doing a book tour in California in September but it sounds like I’ll be there right after you 😔. We are going the end of September for a wedding and instead of just flying back home (to MD) from San Francisco decided to drive to LA and make a trip out of it. I’m so excited, what should we do?!

    • sbranch says:

      Go down Highway one, Check out Carmel… down the coast through Big Sur. Stop at Nepenthe and/or Ventanna … for lunch, or to stay over … views from here to forever! On your way out of Big Sur, stop at Hearst Castle for a tour, worth it, amazing, see the movie if you can. Then go to little village of Cambria for antiques. (Tons of wineries a little inland from here) Or stay on 1 Down to Morro Bay for lunch … San Luis Obispo is a wonderful town, if you stay overnight … stay downtown so you can walk around. On your way down the coast, just a few miles from SLO is Spyglass Inn for lunch and view. Continue south on 101, take 154 over the mountains (wineries, Cold Spring Tavern, Los Olivos Grocery) to Santa Barbara, then through Ventura ~ Cut over to Highway one and go up the coast (just before Malibu, stop in Paradise Cove, big sign, it on your right) to Santa Monica/LA… All my secrets … you just have to make choices!!!

  9. Christine Freeman says:

    Hello Fairytale Godmother! The new memories you’ve shared are as wonderful as the old ones! After reading every book..one truly begins to cherish them just the same! That gift can only be attributed to how amazing you are at sharing these moments! I simply cannot wait to see you at the Learned Owl! I’ve even asked Kate if I could set up a lemonade table! The lines will be around the block!! Now.. which book to choose for your autograph?! Hope I’m not alone with this difficult choice! My copy of DG will be here any day now!! Thank you!!
    Sending you both a “welcome home” & “safe travels” out west! Hudson,Ohio will keep a light on!

  10. Beth Lang says:

    Your words never cease to amaze me; nor your energy and stamina. Coming west is awesome. I shall see you on the journey somewhere somehow! Thank you for sharing so much of your trip and your cozy home on the Vineyard.

  11. Marge says:

    Dear Susan,
    Rainy Day Books is in Fairway, Kansas (KS) 66205-1705 USA, NOT Kansas City, Kansas. Your event, though, will be in Kansas City, Missouri.
    Saturday, August 13, 2022 – 4:00pm
    Unity Temple on The Plaza, Sanctuary
    707 W 47th Street
    Kansas City, Missouri.

    Just so that your fans won’t miss you.

  12. Gail says:

    Oh my, oh my I received Distilled Genius this week and absolutely love it! Thank you so much for the lovely book and wonderful inspiration in the quotes. It always fascinates me how you write everything with the little tips of paint brushes! This book is beautiful and I cherish it. 😍😍😍

  13. Marsha Sega says:

    Having just returned from a trip to see kids and grandkids in Portland, OR, I well know the “its good to be home” feeling. And it was made even better finding Distilled Genius in my stack of mail😊. I LOVE it!!!! I also love “Picture This” and have used it many times on walks to identify plants. Thanks for sharing all the pictures of your trip. It makes me anticipate our upcoming fall foliage cruise in October even more. We are going with friends on this trip that was supposed to happen in the Fall of 2020. Thanks to the dampanic, of course, it didn’t. So we anticipate with fingers crossed that it will actually happen this year. Wish I lived closer to the stops on your book tour – oh, well, maybe another trip will bring you further south. Thanks for your wonderful blog – I enjoy it so much.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back Marsha! I’m so happy you got your book! Your cruise sounds fantastic! Keep that dampanic FAR away from us!!!❌⭕️

  14. Another heart warming post. What a wonderful trip. some of my happiest memories are those of traveling to the UK and Ireland. Such a simple thing can create so many heart warming thoughts and memories. And I feel the beauty with every word you print. Thank you so much for the adventure!

  15. Loretta Kennedy says:

    Welcome home Susan! Thanks so much for your posts from England. I am looking forward to seeing you at Kings English in Salt Lake City! I am bringing my 13 year old granddaughter who loves your books and art just like me! Hope you have safe travels.

    • sbranch says:

      How fun it will to be to meet you both Loretta! Thank you for coming! What I love, mom to daughter, grandma to granddaughter, sister, to sister, best friend to best friend … Kindred Spirits!💞

  16. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan and welcome home! Your trip sounded wonderful! I so enjoyed your blog. We will be on QM2 in September heading to Canada. Let’s hope that Covid behaves itself. I hope you have a wonderful Summer. There’s nothing like walks to he beach on a Summer morning. I enjoy collecting sea glass and heart-shaped rocks. Be well and be happy! Love, Karen 🙂 xoxo

  17. Renee C says:

    Hi Susan! I just finished reading Isle of Dreams. I loved it! Your little house seems so dreamy – I wish it was an AirBNB! I love reading about all your travels… I was wondering if you were working on a “part two” of your England travels?? It seems like I saw you had a chapter done? I would love to read more about the wonderful places you visit! I hope your book tour makes to to south Georgia someday – You would love Thomasville. The art in your books and the hand lettering are very inspiring – Thank you!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Renee! I still have that part two …. called Enchanted … book in mind. We’ll see if I get to it! I hope we get to take a longer book tour one day!💝

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Love Thomasville. Isn’t that where that ancient oak is in the middle of town?

  18. Joan Kotvas says:

    Received my book. Love it. Love hard back books and what a great idea of the permanent cover. You put so much effort into your calendars and books. Great idea to have book of quotations. Details are great. Saw you in bucks county and hoping to go to Ohio. Only a few hours from pa.

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

    good morning Susan, Hello girlfriends!!! it has finally cooled down a bit here and this morning it is very cool and breezy. good time to get the fans running to cool off the house. had fun yesterday watching the tractors chug on by, sat out on the front porch in the morning with coffee to watch them and later on in the late afternoon sat out on the porch to shell peas and watch them come back. the Queen Ann’s lace is coming up and looks lovely, it always come up in July and it is sort of a warning that Fall is not too far off. we now have crow wars in the chicken yard, along with scrub jay wars for the scratch (mix of grains and cracked corn) . yeesh the noise and the squawking going on … oh well life around here is interesting and not dull. we have a new thing going on this week, Squatch festival, or to be more precise.. Bigfoot festival. we do have them around here, you can hear them holler just before big thunderstorms, and up around the caves near the Chateau the first Bigfoot photo was even taken way back in 1964. and yes i believe in Squatches, don’t ask me how but i believe. we still have to hustle and get in our firewood for the winter, a bit late but better late than not at all. also have to hustle and get the bed sheets out on the line to dry and then go water the front gardens. did the lawns yesterday and then again tomorrow. have agreat day today everyone, enjoy the sunshine and the summer, and remember Fall is just around the corner. stay well, stay healthy and stay happy. hugs. ….. 😀

  20. Nanette Hill says:

    I just subscribed to “Picture this” its free for 7 days then a monthly charge. Anyway I’ll have fun with it for 7 days. So happy all had a fabulous time in the UK and the voyage over was smooth. Anxiously awaiting my pre ordered book.

    • sbranch says:

      I am hearing this from many people… I didn’t know there was a charge, and I especially didn’t know it’s monthly! I should have figured it out! Thank you Nanette!

  21. Jacqueline Caron says:

    thank you for sharing more pics of your trip…lovely to see, and such a Winston Churchill fan – his home is beautiful! LOVE the pic of the huge tree Elaine is standing in front of, can only imagine it’s age?! receiving my email that there’s another Willard is like getting a letter from an old friend – I cherish it and wait til I have the right time to sit and read it with your Musica playing and sipping a cuppa from one of your mugs! can’t wait to see which one you will be re-releasing? enjoy your cross country trek and time with family. XO

  22. Karen B. says:

    Hi Susan,
    I’ve read and re-read your posts for your trip and getting home. I almost felt as though I was there.
    I received your book Distilled Genius. I love it and will devour every page. Thank you so much. I love the little extras sent with it.
    Karen B.

  23. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    Welcome home to the USA! What a wonderful homecoming post! Loved everything from the trip…all the adventures, photos of trees and friends, pubs, and especially the one of you & Joe together – beautiful memory to keep. Enjoy your summer travel to California. I am thoroughly enjoying the new book – taking a little bit at a time to savor the meanings of quotes and sometimes looking up the authors to read more about them. Blowing a kiss for Jack:)

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect! That’s what I love. Quotes make us curious! Becomes a whole learning adventure as one thing leads to another!👏👏👏

  24. Sharon Byars says:

    Congratulations on your new book!! Also, your trip was wonderful to follow. We leave for England in mid-September for 3 weeks. Partially, a cruise around the British Isle and the other part riding the train to Winchester and then onto the Cotswolds and Oxford. I will contact your friend for the walking tour of Oxford. So much to see packed into those weeks!! Safe travels out to CA. We moved from Morro Bay 8 years ago and we are still loving our life in North Carolina. Wish you could stop by Raleigh! Much success on your book signing trip.

  25. Wendy B says:

    Dear Susan –
    Thank you for your wonderful blog, books & more that take us on your wonderful travels. I am hoping to see you when you travel to California! Of course- I hope you have a opportunity to do a bookstore visit in the Arroyo Grande area as in the past. Also – in the past I was able to contact your customer service which does not appear to be an option any longer. I do miss that personal touch. Your customer service staff was always wonderful. Thank you so much for the inspiration & encouragement you provide to all of your kindred spirited girlfriends everywhere!❤️ Wendy

  26. Joan Kovach says:

    Your book, your bookmark, the red ribbon and a surprise tucked inside….Who could ask for anything more ? Not me….Your Quote Book is simply Devine !!!!!! I have been beside you a very long time. My very first book was gifted to me in January 2001–Girlfriends Forever !!!! It’s true…it’s true…it’s true !!! But, all things aside Sue….I want to THANK YOU for your words, your stories, your love, your talent that you give so freely to all of us ! Enjoy your trip to be with your family–they are a part of you too !! xoxo

  27. Anna says:

    Welcome HOME! You have a beautiful home – must be difficult to leave it and oh so wonderful to return to it. Sigh … lovely photos of Jack’s pining heart with face to match, the pastel pink house, friends along the way, the amazing tree with a “little peoples’ doorway” in its truck base, the fog while on the ship’s deck (a movie scene for sure!), open windows in July to air out the house, fresh garden flowers blooming …
    Again, welcome home!

  28. Bee Stevens says:

    Hi Susan
    I got my book a couple of days ago and I love it. I am ordering a couple more
    for Christmas gifts. The amount of work you put into it is daunting. You are
    amazing, artwork is so beautiful.
    Safe travels on your book tour. Sorry I am not close to any of the stops.
    love from panhandle of WV.

  29. Jan Johnson says:

    Oh me oh my! I am about a third of the way through your book and I so love it! First of all, it’s beautiful!! Who else does a book where every page is a work of art, all handmade? And quotes! I too have collected them for years — they are strewn around in my calendar planners, on my computer, in a notebook here and a notebook there, snips from the internet in a computer file, two huge files on Pinterest. But most of those in your book are new, and I love your quotes.

    I was so happy to read there will be a book 2! I know you’re waiting to hear my opinion (ha!) but I so would love a pet/animal/nature section. Mary Oliver has the most delicious quotes about dogs as does Dean Koontz. John Muir has wonderful nature quotes as do so many others. I mean, “The smallest feline is a masterpiece” Leo Da Vinci. “Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift.” Mary Oliver. “Into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” John Muir

    “Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price.” Dean Koontz

    Well, you get the drift and of course you can find your own quotes for your own books! But I can only imagine the great art to go in a section like that and would love to see some new quotes on these subjects.

    But anyway! I love the “dust jacket” of your book so much! I dislike dust jackets. I have a pile of them that need to be matched up with their books, many of which are solid navy blue and all look alike from a book club as that’s how I could afford new releases. I wish everyone would do their dust jackets built in like that.

    I also love how in the UK old buildings are treasured and not torn down. Nothing built today has the personality of these old places. I live near Atlanta, and they will tear down the most sacred things to build a high rise or a stupid parking lot. We have the most incredible Fox Theatre with an Egyptian theme, wonderful pieces galore, and they were going to tear it down for a parking lot! Thankfully people banded together and saved it.

    This is too long, sorry! Again, can’t wait for the next quote book, though I can’t imagine all the work that went into the first one. You are brave! It was much longer than I expected and so worth the price, even out of my disability paycheck LOL! I may have thrown away the extra you said was in there unless it was the cute bookmark as I didn’t see anything else, so I’m curious what it was. It’s just a lovely work of art I will enjoy for years to come and I will add some of my favorites on the blank pages you provided (great idea!). Thank you! It’s hard to find a kindred spirit these days, but I know I can always come here and feel at home.

    • sbranch says:

      Do not worry, definitely a pet section … beautiful quote by Dean Koontz! next book will be more about home than anything else I think . . . family, the seasons, holidays, cooking … all that good stuff! Love that you approve of the dust jacket … I like it too … been thinking I should always do it that way! There used to be a FOSB Friends of Susan Branch Club Card ~ we had them reprinted . . . that and the bookmarks is what Kellee has been putting in with the books! Yes, this good land of kindred spirits!💖Thank you for being part of it!

  30. Linda says:

    Oh so lovely to receive a new blog post! I did not travel to England on the QM2 with your group. BUT–along with 6 friends–I got on the QM2 in Southampton on Sunday, May 8–the day you arrived–to return to NYC. It is a lovely way to travel and the seas were our friend….only about 15 hours of rough seas right when we came out of the English Channel and into the Atlantic. We were waiting with anticipation to get up at 4 am and run outside as we came into New York harbor the day we returned. But, we were met with pea soup fog and were sadly unable to see the great lady as she welcomes ships into the harbor. The captain announced that as we went under the Verrazano Bridge the QM2 had only 13 meters of clearance to go under the bridge! The pilot who brings big ships into the harbor certainly earned his pay that day!

    Thanks for all of your books and blog posts about England. You not only paint beautiful watercolors for us to enjoy but you are a wordsmith who paints pictures in our minds. Safe travels to California. Maybe you need to do for Amtrak what you have done for Cunard!

    • sbranch says:

      We had the same thing coming home, perhaps 15 hours of rough seas as we were coming out of the English Channel ~ maybe it’s always there! Also, a lot of pea soup, but a lot of clear skies too … and as you can see, we had a beautiful morning the day we arrived! I’m so happy you enjoyed your experience. It’s something quite amazing… it never gets old for us! I usually do something I call Twitter from the Twain as we travel cross country, and show photos from our room with a view!💞

  31. Janice Cobb says:

    I immediately got the “Picture This” app….. and then found that it is free for a short trial only. Then, it costs $39.95. The AppStore can be so deceiving sometimes!

  32. Janice Russell says:

    I was showing my husband, John, pictures of your tour of Churchill’s home, Chartwell & John
    said, “why didn’t we go on this trip?”And I told him there may be more. He said, “Well I think we should DO that. Sign us up!!” So I’ll be watching for news of another trip – & will be more pro-active. Right now, I’m watching for news of your stop in Salt Lake City at the King’s English book shop. Saw you there last time – & have been to two other book signings on the
    Vineyard in past years. My daughters say I’m a groupie & I say you bet ‘cha, I am. 😊❤️
    Glad you had another fabulous time & are safely home now!

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha! Thank you Janice! You will LOVE Chartwell, and there many other important homes in the area for you to stop and see. It’s a great part of the country! Full of historical riches.❌⭕️❌

  33. Cheryl Hubbard says:

    Dear Susan I ordered a copy of enchanted 3 months ago but still haven’t received it and you aren’t answering my emails on your website, please contact me. I’ve been a fan of your work for over 20 years but am getting disalutioned.

  34. Therese says:

    Oh, It is good to have you home, Susan!
    I feel like Jack must feel to have you back in this orbit again.
    Our summer here, for us patriots, has been filled with anguish and profound disappointment. After reading this post I feel my true center reasserting itself.
    I got seduced into reading a political pundit’s daily screed and realized that so much of of it feels clueless and “off”. I guess we all come to our walk with different rhythms to our step. It feels soooo good to be in step with you!
    Welcome Home!

    • sbranch says:

      Kindred spirits! And too much craziness in the world for mental health! I have to remind myself to take a deep breath! Take care Therese, thank you!❌⭕️

  35. Minette says:

    Welcome home! So glad you and Joe are safely back on MV and know Jack is full of joy to have you home. Your posts from England were just what we all needed during this disturbing . summer. You are so right—Coming home and focusing on those things that are in our control to maintain and make better for ourselves and loved ones really does help to cope with everything else. Just seeing your lovely home and the care and love that you and Joe have for it is truly inspirational. I am truly enjoying Distilled Genius and adding new quotes to an already long “favorites” list, mostly taken from your books! Your books line my bookshelf with bookmarks and bits of paper tucked in between pages where you have included a quote that rings so true. The quotes you have chosen to use for your books are one of my favorites things about all your books. Sometimes the wisdom shared in a simple sentence is so profound that I am absolutely blown away. Enjoy your summer and your cross-country trip! Autumn will be here soon!

    • sbranch says:

      I couldn’t agree more … sometimes those words that have survived over centuries answer the very questions I’ve struggled with! Amazing! Everything that’s needed to be said, HAS been said … 💖😘

  36. Martha B says:

    Take someone take those photos of you together. One of you will be glad you did….

  37. Anne says:

    Thank you Susan for your sweet words. The red ribbon is the perfect touch. Blessings for safe travels💕

  38. Linda Reilly says:

    Loved all the beautiful pictures! Enjoy your next adventure ✨️

  39. Liz from Sterling Heights, Michigan says:

    The book is wonderful (just received it today!), and your treatment of the cover is pure “genius!!” Thank you for all your amazing work to make it so beautiful – just like everything you do! Already found inspiring quotes about silence!! It’s good to have you back on this side of the pond!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s wonderful to be here. And thank you for the kind words. Yes, making a book is just like making a Christmas present, you want it to be good! ❌⭕️❌⭕️

  40. Ann Y. says:

    Welcome Home ! So thrilled for you to have such a wonderful trip and for sharing it with us, but also love hearing how happy you are to be home. Two things touched me in the post ( well, everything did, but two really did) – how happy you and Joe are. What a blessing! My dear husband and I feel the same…our license plate says 1BIGD8…One Big Date! We feel like everyday together is a gift and we are having so much fun together. Yes, the world and our country is CRAZY….but we enjoy our home, I made zucchini muffins this morning with a big zucchini my neighbor gave us and then delivered some around the building…now making a blueberry pie. We had a little adventure in NYC this past weekend and it was lovely and exciting….but it was SO good to come home to our cozy nest. You know the feeling. The other thing that touched me was the photo of you and Joe “verklempt” and thinking how good life is….and the scenes of the ship leaving the harbour. Years ago when we sailed out of NYC to Bermuda with dear friends we were on the deck watching Lady Liberty and realized we were all of Eastern European descent, and our grandparents had come to America and sailed past her hoping for a better life….and in just two generations, there we were…sailing on a vacation in luxury. Yes…it made us tear up! Looking forward to Distilled Genius…and more posts from you. Welcome Home !

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we felt that same thing sailing past the Statue of Liberty, how our ancestors did the same thing, and how lucky we are that they did! A huge feeling of being a culmination of history so far. Although, sometimes in England it was SO beautiful, I have to admit wondering what they could have been thinking!😂 Thank you Ann!

  41. Mary Brehm says:

    Welcome home Sue! I’m sure Jack is just giddy to have you back. There is nothing like sleeping in your own bed. The first night after a long trip is the best. I snuggle down and talk to it…” Hello my cosy bed! I have missed you so!”

    I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my books! I ordered three! One for me and one for each of my daughters. Speaking of daughters, my two lovelies gave me the most wonderful of surprises by gifting me a night away and tickets to come see you at your book signing stop at “An Unlikely Story in Plainville, Mass. I am so EXCITED! I have been wanting to meet you for such a long time and now my wish is coming true. I will probably make a fool of my self and be at a loss for words, my apologies in advance. I’m sure all of your girlfriends feel the same way. You are such a positive light and bring such happiness and remind me to dwell on the sweet, simple things in life. You have a gift, no, you ARE a gift.

    Thank you for sharing more pictures of your lovely trip to England. I just love those beautiful trees. The one giant tree looks like Winnie the Pooh and piglet live there! It’s just missing the sign that says “Trespassers Will.” Hope you are having wonderful time enjoying your beautiful home. I am loving mine. I picked my first sweet pea bloom today and i have clothes fluttering on the clothesline. My girlfriend brought me quiche and the most delicious strawberry soup for lunch. It was soooo good! Now I’m gonna go do like you say and pick some flowers to tuck around my house.
    Sending much Love to you.

    • sbranch says:

      Just be sure to tell me your first and last name so I recognize you!!! I’m looking forward to it Mary, we’ve been talking for so long, will be nice to have a face to go with it!🌷🌷🌷

  42. I always feel so good after reading your Willards! Thank you!

  43. Janet Conn says:

    So glad you and Joe are home safe and sound. Thank you for the beautiful post and many, many thanks for the beautiful book. So thrilled to receive it in the mail last Saturday. The book is magnificent. I can’t wait to devour every page. Blessings to you and Joe.

  44. Cindy Huk says:

    Thank you. I really tried to read my bed book slowly, that lasted two days. No self control here. What a delicious feast. Again , all I can add is, so happy you’re home in New England, and thank you ❤️

  45. Mary Webb says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh I can’t put it all into any other words right now!!!

  46. Jo'L says:

    Thanks for putting a Band-Aid on my ache for England!

    Wish you’d visit the Pacific Northwest, I’m sure you have a “few” fans in Oregon and Washington.

    Safe traveling.

    • sbranch says:

      My pleasure. I understand the ache, yet despite that, when we got off the ship, as be began driving across the country, my heart swelled to realize, it was MORE WONDERFUL than I remembered. Was surprised, but it was, the air, the huge white clouds, the narrow tree and hedge-lined roads and the wildflowers…. was just heaven! xoxoxo

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