Coming Along


My book is in production now, and it’s exciting to see it taking shape. It will be published on October 8, 2013 in hardcover, and also available on Kindle etc, but I think you will want it in print! The book is 304 pages, including craft and recipe sections at the back and a photo section. (You’ll want the real book in print by your side in the kitchen!) The title will be Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor.

I originally wanted them to call it Back to the Land: An Adventure, with Cookies. Or Cows, Cookies, High Water, and Love. But, well, you know. Publishers like to market, and I understand. “Chickens in the Road” is my brand and nobody wants you to NOT find it easily at the store!

I posted this photo the other day of a possible cover image.
I don’t think they would be using the whole photo, if they do use this one for the cover. It will probably be cropped out to just the rooster and the wine. Some suggested in the comments it should be a photo of actual chickens in the road. That is a very literal interpretation, and that’s not what they’re going for here. This really isn’t a book about chickens. It’s a book about an adventure, a woman on a farm who is a fish out of water in many ways, and the juxtaposition of a rooster and a glass of wine gives that impression better than literal chickens in a road. Of course, this is still not set in stone, so the final cover is still a mystery, even to me! When I get a final cover image, I’ll let you know.

By the way, this photo by Jerry Waters was second in the running, last I heard, for the cover.

This is the photo I actually wanted on the cover (also by Jerry Waters), but I understand why it’s not. I didn’t even have horses when I lived at Stringtown Rising.

Meanwhile, here is back cover copy, which is also not final, but gives you an idea of what the book is about.

It was a cold late autumn day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse–as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die.”

Thus begins former romance writer Suzanne McMinn’s wild ride into self-sustainable living halfway up a hill on one of the most remote dirt roads in West Virginia, with a cast including her children, an enigmatic partner, the “rural neighborhood” of quirky characters, and a whole slew of ridiculous and uncooperative farm animals. An unlikely adventurer, the suburban born-and-bred author tackles one daunting challenge after another on her new 40-acre farm, from hatching chickens and milking a cow to herding sheep and making her own cheese. Whether she’s trying to convince a goat to accept its baby or just get her ornery neighbor to move over and let her pass on the road, every page of her adventure is fraught with laughter, passion, drama, and the risk of losing it all before she figures out why she’s doing it in the first place. And when she does lose it all, she discovers a triumph she never expected–along with the truth for which she’d been searching all along.

Based on her long-running, wildly popular blog, Chickens in the Road, Suzanne McMinn brings country life to vivid color with all the candor, comedy, and danger of a rollicking good adventure.

Put on your chore boots and jump in.

Right now, I’m working on copy edits. Copy edits are what the author receives after the book has been typeset and gone over by a copy editor. It’s a chance to see any small changes the publisher has made to house style, and the copy editor also asks questions in the margins, looking for consistency or anything that might require more elaboration because she, as the first reader of the final book, didn’t understand, etc.
It’s my job to go over it thoroughly and respond to any questions.
Chapter One

“I want to live where I can have chickens in the road.” I made this pronouncement one day while driving down a dusty back road bordered by weedy woods and intermittent dilapidated farms. A big red rooster led a line of hens across the lane, lending a charming, storybookish air to the run-down scenery.

I was so smitten.

52, by my side, said, “You can have all the chickens you want.”

Maybe I loved him. Maybe I just wanted the chickens. I thought I wanted both, but it was hard to tell. They were deeply intertwined.

And the story is off and running, and there are so many stories in here behind the scenes, tying together stories I’ve told before with the personal stories behind the scenes. I think those of you who have been reading all along will be just as intrigued as people who have never read me before as those stories behind the scenes bring a new perspective that you never knew to the real adventure I was living.

The photo sections will look like this:
I’m SO excited, and can’t wait for October! I hope so much that you will love this book. I’m proud of it, more proud than I’ve ever been of any book I’ve ever written. Writing it made me realize what a huge adventure it truly was, and I like to think I’m living another one now. There are certainly plenty of stories behind the scenes! (Which, seriously, would explain why sometimes I’m not here.)

One day….. If I write another book, I just might tell!


  1. ramseybergstrom says:

    What a great way to start my day, with your optimism and excitement! So happy for you, looks like you made Christmas shopping a little easier for me this year. 🙂 Best wishes!

  2. marrypoppinz says:

    Can’t wait….I’m not a very patient person 8)

  3. doodlebugroad says:

    I’ve just pre-ordered – one more thing to tick off my list of things to do this year.
    Already looking forward to sitting down with a cup of tea this fall and reading it … now that’s planning ahead!
    Keep up the great job of entertaining us, Suzanne – very much appreciated.

  4. Leck Kill Farm says:

    Thanks for that link Lisa, I pre-ordered too!

  5. wildcat says:

    I can’t tell you how excited and happy I am for you!

    I can’t WAIT to read this book! Hurry up, October! :snoopy:

  6. Rainn says:

    Love the pic of wine glass and rooster for cover!!!! :purpleflower:
    So happy things are looking so good for you Suzanne – you deserve much happiness!!

  7. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Ohhh! We can pre-order? On my way! I don’t get many actual books anymore, but this one is for sure, and probably at least a couple others for gifts too!

  8. oneoldgoat says:

    Pre-ordered! I am so looking forward to this book 🙂


  9. Sharon Gosney says:

    I will want a copy for myself and at least one other for a gift. I have a hopeful request, I would like my copy to be signed by you Suzanne. Are you releasing any signed? I’ve been following your blog for years, and even won a BBB. For me that would be the icing on the cake to have my copy signed by you. 😀

  10. blabass says:

    CAN NOT WAIT!!!! Your blog has inspired me in so many ways, from getting 4 chickens in my backyard (I live in L.A. and it’s not the norm)to making my own bread to canning, heck almost everything I do. You are an inspiration and I appreciate you sooo much! Gonna pre-order right now.

  11. Andrea the Kitchen Witch says:

    Congratulations Suzanne the book looks amazing!! My birthday is in October, looks like the hubby has it easy this year, especially if I preorder it now. :woof:

  12. joeyfulnoise says:

    LisaAJB – thanks for the link! I just preordered and intend to spend the evening of October 8 curled up with Suzanne’s book and a glass of wine!

  13. debrac69 says:

    I’ll be honest ~ I NEVER buy books. The books I own have been given to me as gifts or won in contests. I don’t even buy books for my almost 8 year old son. We get our books from the library as once we read a book, we’ll never read it again.
    BUT ~ this is one book I’m actually looking forward to buying!!! I could put in on my wish list for Christmas, or my wedding anniversary on December 26 or even my birthday on New Years Eve but I think it’ll kill me when everyone here will be talking about it and I won’t have it yet lol. So, Ms. McMinn, you are the first person who’s written a book that I not only want to buy but I can’t wait to buy!

  14. Rose H says:

    Just off to pre-order now 😀

  15. rurification says:

    *Applause! Applause!*
    Congratulations! We’re so happy to have been along for the ride. Thanks for sharing this piece of your life with us. Can’t wait to see the book.

  16. GrammieEarth says:

    So happy for you Suzanne! I just pre-ordered mine, but it won’t arrive until close to/up to Nov 1 🙁 I just couldn’t justify paying more for shipping than for your book, so I stuck with the “cheapy” $8.98 shipping charge!

  17. angiemay says:

    So exciting! October 8th is my birthday – May treat myself (usually do) – LOL

  18. Claudia W says:

    LisaAJB Thanks for the link to preorder the book! I have it on my favorites list and as soon as my check hits the bank tomorrow I am ordering it! I. CAN. NOT. WAIT. TO. READ. THIS!!!!!
    Yay! Suzanne!

  19. MousE says:

    Congratulations, Suzanne! I look forward to the release of your book. :sheepjump:

  20. bonita says:

    Hats!! Horns!! Confetti!! Heck, even add some white smoke[!} Congrats on the placing the book, entering the production phase, and getting a release date. It may not be your first book, but it will surely be your best book (to date). It’s my (15 October) birthday gift to me. Off to preorder.

  21. holstein woman says:

    You know Suzanne, you’re just upping the ante on more blog readers. Won’t that be wonderful fun???

  22. Joell says:

    I can’t wait to buy this book, it will be so much fun to relate to much the content and we all feel as we know the author or is is authoress?

  23. Augustlace says:

    Excited about Suzanne’s book coming out in Fall! Thanks for Posting the Link to buy Book! I believe the Front or Back Covers should have more than 1 Picture! Or A Picture that Jumps out from the Bookstore Shelf or!? Of Course, the Rooster and Drink is very appealing! :turtle: More of the Farm Animals in the Picture. :dancingmonster:

  24. SuzieQ says:

    Can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait!!! :snoopy: :snoopy:

    Everyone is getting a copy for Christmas and I know they will love getting to know you, as have I.

    CAN’T WAIT!!! :dancingmonster: :dancingmonster:

  25. mfish says:

    How exciting your lovely story is soon to be in hardcover – I just pre-ordered two copies and thanks much to Lisa for the heads-up about pre-ordering. I am a fairly recent reader (< 1 year) but CITR has been at the top of my favorites list since the day I discovered it, btw, found it through Starving Off the Land. In addition to topnotch writing skills Suzanne, you have a puckish sense of humor and a fearless yet kind nature. I always get a chuckle and a nod of recognition in your words & photos, and feel I want to tell the world about the joys to be found in your blog. Maybe this book will do it:)

    77 in Bend, OR

  26. Jane L says:

    I’ve also pre-ordered it from Amazon, and am really looking forward to reading it. Well done, and many more!

  27. Minna says:

    Can’t wait… I added it on the wishlist so that I can order it as soon as it’s available here in Finland.

  28. joykenn says:

    Suzanne–is your publisher considering any kind of promo appearances? A book tour?

  29. Robin Wrenn says:

    Can I ask a question without being thought too presumptive? I’ve often thought when you told us about the problems with Shortcake and catching her to put a halter on, and then you telling us and showing in your photos that all your cows wear halters 24/7 — How come you just don’t put a light webbing halter on Shortcake 24/7? Just asking. Thanks. Robin Wrenn in Portland Oregon

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Robin, everybody says it’s a bad idea to put a halter on a horse because they have more of a tendency to catch themselves up on things. I’ve tried using breakaway halters, but breakaway halters break away….. On anything….. And just don’t end up staying on long, so waste of money.

  30. jodiezoeller says:

    Thanks to the other reader for the pre-order link! I’ve done it even though I usually wait until a book is out to order. I’ve started doing that on my fav. authors for Kindle books too. But will definitely be getting this in hard-cover format.

  31. 4jsMOM says:

    I just pre-ordered your book. Can’t wait to read it, but guess I’ll have to be patient until October.

  32. DebbieInMemphis says:

    I’ve pre-ordered!! Can hardly wait for October 🙂

  33. allyoop451 says:

    I am so excited about your book! Please don’t ever stop writing! I love your blog even on the days you don’t post. When a writer can take you away and put you in another place that’s the sign of a true writer to me. You have it all…funny,real,smart,dedicated,hard working,and you have a huge heart! I look forward to a little bit of your world each and every day.

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