Gifts of Art and Soul


Ajanta Buddhist caves India, Jan. 2017

Susan Florence, internationally acclaimed author and artist has been connecting people for 40 years with her simple and profound words and original art. Susan’s work has inspired readers worldwide as greeting cards, hundreds of gift products, and twenty-five quintessential, best selling giftbooks, which she has written and illustrated for publishers in the U.S., UK, and Argentina.

Susan and her husband, Jim, started one of the first alternative greeting card companies in CA. in 1970. People Productions created a successful trademark look and a following. In 1985, Susan and Jim sold their business to C.R. Gibson, a Norwalk CT. company. Susan continued her greeting cards, notes and stationery lines, and with Gibson, her trademark look became product lines of photo albums, ceramic mugs, paper tableware, Christmas and Baby collections. In 1987 Susan created a best selling series of gift books, which sold 1½ million units. Her work also was licensed as stitchery kits, magnets, textile products and calendars.

C.R.Gibson was sold to Thomas Nelson, Inc. of Nashville, TN. in 1998, and they did not publish greeting cards, stationery, or gift products. Suasn’s greeting cards were contracted to it takes two, a Minnesota company, but her gift books had no home. Nelson’s book publishing business had no place for Susan’s best selling line of gift books as the text was not from the Bible. Susan terminated her book contract and began her journey of fulfilling a new dream. She was inspired by personal, meaningful letters from people who were helped by her gift books and began working on ideas for a new book series.

Susan began studying art again and found her passion in loose, free watercolors painted “plein aire” outside in nature. Her new watercolor look and writings came together in a gift book collection, called Journeys, published by Helen Exley Giftbooks, a UK Company. This line of deeper, more spiritually nourishing books has sold over 500,000 copies since 2003. These inspirational texts have been translated into French, Norwegian, Finnish, Polish and Portuguese. Exley thought they could handle distribution in the US, but after five years, in 2008, they closed their U.S. offices and warehouse and the rights to these books, excluding sales in the UK and France, have been reverted to Susan.

Many of Susan’s original gift books, created by C.R. Gibson, continue to sell in South America and Mexico by V and R Editoras, of Argentina. Translated into Spanish and Portuguese, the books have been updated with new covers and art design, but the heartful message of each book never changes. Susan’s soft watercolor look, inspired by nature, illustrates two new gift books, (I’m So Sorry) Lo Siento Mucho, words offered to console in a time of loss, and (I’ll Give You A Moment) Te Regalo Un Momento, an invitation for women to become one with the wise woman, who lives inside each of us.

Currently Susan has written two new giftbooks for Bristol Park Books, a New York Publisher. Friendship is a Special Place was introduced in October 2016 and a new title, To Wish You Well in a Time of Healing, will be out in October 2017.

Susan graduated from San Jose State University with a BA in Art and minored in Creative Writing. Her gift products have always been fueled by her words. She studies poetry at the San Miguel Poetry Week every year and attends writers retreats and workshops. Her poertry has won prizes and has been published in literary journals. A Stunning Absence, her chapbook of poems for all who grieve, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014. Susan has recently self-published one of her original C.R. Gibson giftbooks: Babies Take Us On A Special Journey.

Susan continues her passion of writing, especially for women, and has been working for many years on a full length, creative non-fiction book untitled, yet referred to as, My Women’s Book. “It will share the journey women take as we turn away from what the world wants of us and venture into the rich, deep wilderness of our own feminine nature.”

Susan lives with her husband Jim in Ojai, California and they have two grown children, Emily and Brent and a daughter-in-law Natalie.