Bee Cottage Has a Book Deal!

Note: due to an attack on blog’s hosting site, all the images but one for this post have been lost. Bummer, and I am just letting it go… This is what Brené Brown calls “The Gifts of Imperfection.” I’m going with that 😉 Thanks for understanding.

Ladies and gentlemen, we pause from our erratically scheduled blog to announce yours truly has signed with Skyhorse Publishing for a book about Bee Cottage. I am tickled. And terrified.

Skyhorse contract

The original title was Just Bee, but they didn’t go for that. Recently my bff Alex Hitz suggested The Bee Cottage Story, which everyone liked. Part personal memoir and part decorating, with lots of photos, the book will be out in July 2015. Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.  We are wrangling over the subtitle now. Possibles are: A.  Renovating, Decorating, Living, Learning or B.  How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness or C.  How I Decorated My Way Back to Happiness or D. Renovating and Decorating My Way Back to Happiness What do you think? Which one makes you most want to read the book? Or maybe you have another suggestion? His Grace says it should have “sex” in the title, because sex sells. But I told him it is The Bee Cottage Story, not The Bird and the Bee Cottage Cottage Story. Men, I swear. Can you imagine I saved this comic strip all these years???

Jeff MacNelly’s Shoe

Another Shoe favorite was when Cosmo (the big fat one with glasses) was at smart-mouth, skinny Roz’s diner, which he frequented. He says to her, “I know I’ve got a book in me, Roz.” To which Roz deadpans, “And if you’re smart you’ll leave it there.” I have not left it there several times now, whether as author, co-author, ghost-writer, ghost-editor, ghost-buster (kidding), or contributor in some way. There is something satisfying about working on a book. Heaps of thanks to Skyhorse editor Julie Ganz; to Tricia and Beth Davey of Davey Literary & Media; and to John Tomko and Rain Management Group. And thank you, too, dear readers. For three years now, your support of and enthusiasm for our blog–and I do feel it is “ours”–help make this book possible, and I heart you ALL. One more thing. Before the blog or the book, there was the House Beautiful series here where it all began. Thank you Newell Turner* and House Beautiful. The response to that column both touched and encouraged me. One reader’s note has stayed with me ever since, as a kind of talisman. This reader and I have never met, but we’ve kept in touch through the blog, and I feel we are friends. On the back of her envelope, she wrote: P.S. You should write a book about Bee.

A House Beautiful reader’s letter to Frances.

 xox Frances *LINK is to fab designer and blogger Mark Sikes, interviewing Newell. 


  1. Yay! Can’t wait to read it. Personally, I love Just Bee, but if that’s out of the running, I like B for subtitle. Makes you sound not quite so super-human, which you are btw.

  2. Hi Frances! I absolutely love the way that you write and always looked forward to reading House Beautiful when you wrote about your precious Bee cottage- always a favorite article! I am excited about your book and know that it will be a HUGE success.

  3. CONGRATULATIONS FRANCES!!!! I am over the moon thrilled for you !!
    Stealing one of your words – I am tickled pink!!
    Being into Yoga beads and INDIA – I love the title JUST BEE.. That is so you and so clever!! Any chance they would change it???

    That said – if I can’t vote for His Grace’s suggestion of sex – which does sell everything… My vote is B. think people can connect to that instantly.

    One of these days I can’t wait to see Bee Cottage in person! That said I feel I know every nook and cranny and gorgeous flowers surrounding it from your wonderful
    Blogs I can not live without! I will be first in line or well on Amazon to buy this book!!
    Thrilled!! Love laurette

  4. Congratulations! I can’t wait . . . I was thinking what a great Christmas Gift idea– then I saw the date . . .I guess for Christmas 2015 (whew now I’m already finished with my shopping).

  5. Way to go, Frances! I adored reading all about Bee Cottage in House Beautiful. It is just so. so, so charming! I was hoping a book would follow! I loved the pictures you posted recently of your dinner party at Bee. The garden is amazing, just like the owner!
    All the best!

  6. After reading your “supper in the summer” post I REALLY hope the development of your garden will be included in your book!I love seeing how interiors were created but I don’t find much about how different landscapes were inspired/created– particularly in your writing style. . . please consider!

  7. I am so thrilled for you! I like B, but no matter which one you choose, I will be reading it. Cannot wait for the book signing!

  8. Congratulations,Frances! I have no doubt that H.G. will contribute other great ideas. How about a subtitle of A with the addition of “While Having Sex” ? That should keep peace at home! Truly, very excited about the book!!!!!!!!

  9. I am so excited to think that you will be writing a book about Bee Cottage. I so enjoy everything you have written about it and I just know the book will be a smash. (And do not your darling editor edit out any of your hilarious side remarks !) If there is to be a sign up for advance copies, put me on the list ! (My physician mother was Beatrice “Bea,” and my fourth daughter is Beatrice,”Bea,” and we always thought we might name a Buzzard’s Bay cottage “Bee Cottage” here in Massachusetts but we have not. We did name a fabulous Maine lobster boat, “The Beatrice” a few years back ! Good luck and Bon Chance !

  10. Congrats Frances!! So well deserved. Can’t wait to see and read all about Bee and the life surrounding it. And might I add, I love that I can always count on you for a heartfelt chuckle. Please do include those!! xo

  11. Fantastic news. You are so very talented. Can’t wait for your book tour to Beaufort!! Great excuse to give you a dinner party.

  12. Dear Frances, for me the greatest subtitle has got to be:
    How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness

    totally darling and captivating


  13. Xmas 2015 will be a joyous time with your book on everyone’s list. So happy for you. Title would be short and to the point – but with pizazz (another word for Sex!)

  14. FABULOUSLY EXCITING dearest Frances! Can’t wait to host your Santa Barbara book signing!!! Xxx

  15. EEK!! So exciting..I have been waiting for this..Now I can throw away all those House Beautifuls I saved with every article about Bee cottage and have them all in one beautiful book(not that i want to ever get rid of any House Beautiful, Newell, but space is tight)..Way to go Skyhorse for recognizing a bestseller in the making…I want to reserve many copies for my 2015 Christmas list…
    Ps. I love Just Bee,nonetheless…

  16. Congratulations Frances;. So well deserved. You breathe excitement into my life. So looking forward to it.

  17. Frannie! I am overjoyed. How lucky for Skyhorse Publishing to have you as a client. Why don’t you give Mr Publisher that chair you offered to your readers a while ago? It will remind him of being in Maine as I seem to remember it was made by one of my favorites- “Maine Cottage” furniture but I mayve gotten that wrong. Likely as I didnt enter your contest. As for the title, I am with “His Grace” you must slip your refined name for SEX(dont think there is a substitute though) in title or at least allude to it. I am fly fishing in Ruby Springs,MT &only brought my iphone on boat to take photos&there this news was. Much more exciting than the mess of rainbow trout I’ve already caught. With love and happiness for you and this wonderful news. Angèle

  18. Woohoo! Congrats Frances…so happy for you. I still like ‘Just Bee’…also, I vote for ‘B’ as the subtitle. Cheers, j

  19. Congratulations Frances!

    I’ve loved reading your blog and can’t wait to buy your book. I hope you put some of your water colors in it.


  20. Very happy for you and so looking forward to it. Most comments liked subtitle B or C but I like A. I love reading all that you write and always look forward to your blog and magazine contributions. Now I detect a sequel about the Ranch. I am still wondering and waiting for photo’s of the latest NYC apartment. Just another idea for a sequel Now that title can have some sex in it the reason for moving was HG. Wishing you the best in busy desk days ahead.

  21. Yippee-de-doo-dah! That is news worthy a celebration. Perhaps a drink or three? Since they won’t let you “Just Bee”, choosing subtitle B at least gets a little bit of Frances humor in the title.

  22. Yahoo !! Congratulations Francis, I am so happy for you this is finally happening. Can’t wait to see it and know it will bee wonderful and inspiring as your writing always is. I like “C”. Tell HG that I plan to take it to bed with me anyway so there ya go!!

  23. Congratulations Frances! I cannot wait to own it! Please come to Nashville for a book signing! xo

  24. Congratulations — very exciting! Sounds like a talk/book signing is in the offing at Filoli… Between your perfect title and visibility as author, not sure a subtitle adds much. Whatever you and your Skyhorse team decide, we know The Bee Cottage Story will have all the FS ingredients that make for super fabulous.
    PS I am still laughing over your, “She is 12.” More power to you, Editor Ganz!

  25. Big congrats Frances! So excited for you.. I too love the title Just Bee– surprised they nixed that. I love B for the subtitle–catchy, heartfelt and warm– just like you! Best of luck! Jackie

  26. Frances,
    This is a marvelous book to look forward to. Congratulations. When the articles ran in House Beautiful, I tore each one out and have kept them in my files. Now we will get a better look at all of you details and great style. When we downsized two years ago I always said I wanted our retirement cottage to have the same feel as your Bee Cottage, plus we are bee keepers, for real! Linda Lawson

  27. Congratulations Frances! I like either B or C above but can your previous note in an article that the “…point of a house, after all is to shelter body and soul” somehow find its way into your subtitle. That would also hint at his Grace’s suggestion re “sex” since body and soul are very much a part of a vibrant and passionate life. Perhaps something like: Bee Cottage, A Home (or place) for Heart and Soul” and then underneath you could add your B or C above. [Hence,, you would be adding a 2-part subtitle.]

  28. I will definitely be buying it when it comes out. “The Bee Cottage Story” is the perfect title. For a subtitle, perhaps, “every home can become a cozy cottage”. Good luck!

  29. I love the #B subtitle… VERY happy for you, and happy for me too, as I get to see and read more about Bee Cottage! I loved your articles in HB… really enjoyed the process of following the progress. I’m not surprised at all that you have a book deal… it’s already a best seller!

  30. AWWWW…. That’s my letter! Tears sprang to my eyes instantly! I am so honored that my comments meant something to you, lo those 3 years ago. Words cannot express how thrilled I am about this book. I KNOW it will be wonderful. I like the “muddle” subtitle too, because it immediately gives us the honesty with which I’m sure you will use to tell your’s and Bee’s story. I too consider you a friend and will be pre-ordering a copy, hopefully signed (hint hint), as soon as humanly possible. I am a memoir junkie and hope to write one of my own someday. You will once again inspire me I’m sure. All the best, with love-Leslie B

  31. Just couldn’t BEE happier for you! Can you hear everyone here in the Valley cheering you? Congrats, dear Frances, so deserved. We’re all thrilled for you…and btw I vote for B.
    Love, Molly

  32. I have goose bumps and I haven’t been following along that long!FANTASTIC!You have nothing to worry about it will just come out of you……….your husband sounds like a fun man.I was in MONTECITO recently,and my hostess said he has a house there?What a small world!Somehow, you came up in our dinner conversation!BEE COTTAGE looks DIVINE………….write away I will be buying a couple of copies!CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  33. I agree with his highness, don’t you have birds in the back yard flitting around.
    What have the birds and bees got to do with life?
    What have the birds and bees got to do with living luxuriously?

  34. Wonderful news -congratulations! I too like “Just Bee”, but don’t guess you can argue the point. But subtitle B is so you – a must! Now let’s get down to business and get that book that’s in you OUT. 🙂

  35. I found Bee Cottage on House Beautiful and was hooked. I am so thrilled for you; I ‘d love the book. And to know you once had a cottage in my own hood here in RVa! Love Love your blog; your “attitude” and I like “B” as well. What a well lived life! You’ve inspired us to step out of the box and do our thing as well. thank you!

  36. Congratulations!! I’m beyond excited for you!! I loved your series of articles about Bee Cottage in House Beautiful!! (I saved every article!!) I don’t know if I can wait until 2015!! I’m ready to order my copy now!

  37. Loved your series for House Beautiful – in fact I saved every one! I enjoy your blog and can’t wait to read your book. (Met you several years ago in Tarboro with Bill and Tiffany so that makes reading your stuff even more fun.)
    Congratulations on the book deal!
    Melanie ROCKY MOUNT, NC!

  38. Yes!!! Frances, this is amazing!!! Congratulations! I am so excited for you – and excited for us because a book about Bee Cottage was just meant to be. The House Beautiful column was so fabulous, and this is going to be even better. I cannot wait to get my copy! I love the title The Bee Cottage Story. Oh, and I vote for (C) How I Decorated Myself Back to Happiness.

  39. Rarely do I see a home in a magazine that I want to move into but Bee Cottage did that for me. I didn’t want to change one thing!
    I always buy a gift “from Me to Me” and your book is at the top of the list. I am genuinely happy for you.
    Another former Carolina gal

  40. Hip, hip, hooooray! So happy for you my talented friend….will “bee” your best customer next summer. With love, Leslie.

  41. Hip, hip, hooray! Congratulations Frances! I vote for B or C…I know Ruth & ML are celebrating in their best William Pearson frocks. Can’t wait to read about writing journey. All the best!

  42. Letter D Is the Best choice as it’s clear, concise & complete.
    The others sound as if you are apologizing for being muddled! If you are muddled, then you probably would not be aware of that. I like things to make sense. No muddled. !
    Best …..

  43. Such exciting news! How lucky is Skyhorse to get you. That Julie is one smart lady. I hope you’ll let us in on the publishing process when you can. I’ve no doubt you will find humor in meeting those deadlines. BTW I like C or D.

  44. Frances,
    I’m so excited to buy your book. I’ve read and reread the HB pieces and a book makes so much sense. Congratulations!
    Since you asked, I vote for D. as a subtitle, but will be happy with whatever subtitle wins the day.

  45. Goodness! Maybe you shouldn’t ask us readers what we think! We all have an opinion. I am for Title B. I love the “Muddle” part. I also like “Just Bee” as the title, but what do I know!?! I am with my cuz Libby L – making room for your book right now. However, I am putting in my order for 4 books. All my girls will want one too.

  46. Oh Frances, Congrats!!!! This is awesome. I can’t wait to read it. I so enjoy your work. Much love to you!! Julie

  47. You are a Goddess among us! So deserving. Letter “B” invites me in! That Jeff MacNelly was some kinda’ genius with his wit and drawings. I am not sure why but The Story ff Bee Cottage speaks to me. Not to take away from Alex’s brilliance……

    “The conflict each day is whether to immerse in books or writing. I can’t do one without the other, but I can’t do both at the same time. It is the writer’s paradox.”
    ― Patricia Hickman, The Pirate Queen

  48. Hey Frances.
    So darn happy for you!! You do have a book in you!
    What about–
    Do Less Bee More?!

  49. I’ve followed your cottage since HG days and can’t wait to read it. Please include plans and general costs. I think the “muddle” title reaches out to potential readers and elevates it beyond a renovation book, into personal growth. I love your site.

  50. How exciting! There is something very special about Bee Cottage. It immediately got my attention in the original article and since then have followed your blog. Thank you for sharing with all your followers. You bring sunshine in my daily life.

  51. CONGRATULATIONS Frances! I am sure it will be a best seller. I think that Bee Cottage is a perfect subject—no sex needed. Let us all know when it will be on sale.
    xo, lissy

  52. Best news! So exciting. We are thrilled for you. Bee Cottage will take its rightful place in history. When open to the public it will outdo Graceland by miles. Can’t wait for the first copy to appear! XX Brooks and Kate

  53. Hooray!! Just now seeing this. Again: Hooray! The subtitle must include the muddle part because it’s you. Once more: HOORAY!

  54. Frances, I have been on an installation…but squealed when I read the post that your beloved Bee Cottage would be an upcoming book for us all to cherish! I remember when you were quoted in House Beautiful when you said the Bee Cottage gave you a place for your heart to heal or to find love again….or something that was so moving! I remember we exchanged posts because I found it so uplifting and encouraging. I just loved it! Maybe that could be a tag line to your book! Whatever you choose…I know it will be in your beautiful, Southern style! One day soon, you will be having beautiful book signing dinners!! Love to you! Mary Mac

  55. Congratulations Frances!! I know whatever you choose for a sub title will be beautiful just as is everything you do in your life. You just have a way with words and style and make so many of us happy just to tag along.

  56. Miss Frances, LOVE the Bee book, so looking forward to it! Any chance you will be doing a book signing in our fair neck of the woods? Have been on major roller coaster ride since early Spring, it has all turned out rather nicely, your post about trusting the sky you are under has been referred to a LOT during this process. You always make me laugh, think and keep on trucking. Wishing you and His Grace a lovely rest of the summer.

    1. Well Miss EB if you’ve been on a roller coaster I bet you had your hands in the air hollerin’ the whole way. I am bound to be in your neck of the woods, and I’m ‘on give you a hug when I get there. Thanks as ever for writing, and wishing you a lovely rest of summer as well, on and off the roller coaster. xo Frances

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