8/23/16, Whirlwind

Posted on August 23, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well with you, and that you’re enjoying these last days of summer. School starts for a lot of kids this week, and college shortly, so parents getting kids back to school are already racing, and so am I. My vacation a month ago seems like a distant memory from another lifetime!!

While making plans for this summer, other than my one week vacation with my children, in France, I had nothing special planned, so I said yes to a lot of things. And I no sooner did that, than the summer became full of surprises. One of my daughters got engaged three days before our vacation, to a man we all love, so we’re happy for her. And wedding plans got underway, for a small wedding, but even a small wedding has a million details and is a lot of work to organize—-as anyone can tell you who have planned one. I had a huge amount of writing work to do before our vacation, and after the vacation, I hit the ground running. I had houseguests two days after I got back from France, which was really fun, then a week to catch up on work, and then my kids came home for a week, for our second round of time together. The new fiancé came with them, and my week with them sped by, always much too quickly. I love it when they’re home, and the house is full again. And I’m always grateful when they spend time with me.

We celebrated my birthday while they were here, as I told you in last week’s blog. And three days after they left, I had a big photo shoot, for the photos on the back of my books. We did the photos for at least 10 book covers and possibly more, depending on which photos I love and seem right for the books. A big photo shoot like that is a big production, with a mountain of equipment that arrives, all very high tech, and a ‘studio’ they can set up anywhere with tall poles, and fabric in various colors, elaborate lights, computer equipment. It looks almost like a movie set. The photographer is a very famous French photographer, Brigitte Lacombe, who is incredibly talented, shoots mostly portraits, and works all over the world, although she is New York based. (She is the favorite photographer of Meryl Streep, and a number of very famous people—much more famous than I am!!) There is so much equipment and so much to do setting up lights and sets in various locations, that she brings three assistants with her. My assistant was really busy with the shoot too. A hairdresser, a make up artist, and suddenly there are people running around everywhere. We took photos for two very full days, starting with hair and make up at 7 am, and we start shooting at 9 am, and shoot til 6 or 7 pm at night, with a brief break for lunch. It sounds silly, but it’s actually hard work even for the subjects of a shoot like that. You have to concentrate, look alert, stay focused, be responsive, and keep moving at different angles, stand or sit up straight and pay attention, and follow directions. I changed clothes about 10 times a day, and had chosen the outfits before. I was really tired of changing clothes by the end of every day. And after we shot all day, I caught up on my work every night. And I learned a great new trick if your eyes are tired or puffy. The make up artist put two spoons in a bowl of ice til they were very cold, and placed one over each of my eyes…..and presto magic, your eyes aren’t puffy anymore!! I’m going to try that again, in real life!! I hope we got some great shots out of it, in two days of shooting intensely. I always love Brigitte’s photographs, she captures the soul of her subjects. She is a lovely woman, gentle, talented, super intelligent, and it’s a pleasure to spend 2 days with her, despite the work we have to do.

An hour before the last crew member left my house, 3 days after we started, the 12 year old daughter of my best friend arrived to spend a week with me, and that was great fun!! It’s fun to have a twelve year old in the house, her perspective, her points of view, her innocence, everything is easy at that age, and we got busy the minute she arrived. Some shopping, a manicure with my youngest daughter, —it’s all girly stuff with a 12 year old. The next day we went to one of the tourist spots in SF, saw the sea lions and bought a LOT of candy, and souvenirs for her to take back to Paris. We made dinner at home (delicious pasta with pesto), and watched a movie “The Parent Trap” with Lindsay Lohan when she was about 12, it’s a really cute movie. Yesterday, I had to work, and then we went to a mall, ran some errands, and we’ve done homework every day, so she’ll be ready for school, and she went swimming last night. We plan to go to a museum, do more homework, and maybe out to a movie. And the day she leaves, I have to go back to writing.

And when I wasn’t racing around with a 12 year old, or getting my picture taken for book covers, I was working on planning the wedding for my daughter, which will happen in 8 weeks in New York, and there are a million details to take care of (flowers, music, location, ceremony, reception, dinner, and all the component parts of a wedding, even a small one.
So it has turned out to be a crazy busy summer after all. I thought I’d have nothing to do this summer!! Whew!!! It was the busiest summer I’ve had in a long time. I’ll be travelling again soon, celebrating one daughter’s birthday, and writing wherever I go!!!

I can’t say it was a restful summer, but some of it has really been a lot of fun, especially spending time with my children, the houseguests I had, and I’m excited about the writing I’m doing, and the books I’ll be writing in the coming months.

And a week from now (a week from today—on August 30th), I have a new hardcover book coming out, “Rushing Waters”, about what happens when a monster hurricane hits New York, and how it affects people and their lives. It was an exciting book to write!!!

I hope your summer was a little less hectic and more restful than mine. And with luck, I hope you even have a little vacation left before we race into Fall. Take good care, and have a great week,

love, Danielle