Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

7/23/18, A dose of real life.

Posted on July 23, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a good week—-even a great week!! And have even taken some time off. I can’t believe how fast the summer is speeding by. We’re already halfway through it. I’m glad we still have August to look forward to!!! And I hope you have some fun plans ahead.

 

I had a wonderful vacation last week with four of my children, and two of their friends. We had a really great time, but that went too fast too! And as happens sometime in life, real life intervened at the very end. One of my beloved dogs, (who turned 5 this week!!) got very very sick, injured vertebrae in her neck and was in terrible pain. It breaks one’s heart when any little being, whether a child or a dog is suffering, and you don’t know what’s wrong and can only guess. A lot of tears (hers and mine) and tests later, it turned out that she had gotten an infection in her bone marrow, and once they knew what was wrong, with medication, she bounced back fast, but it was very upsetting for a while.

 

Even more seriously, my beloved brother in law, who has been like a true big brother to me since I was sixteen, passed away on the last day of our holiday, a sad event for me. And then, since problems and griefs usually come in bunches, like grapes, I got hit with an unexpected re-write on a book, and a big project I was excited and hopeful about, went down the tubes. So after the wonderful vacation, came a dose of real life. And I found myself having to practice what I preach (to my kids), that even when everything seems to be going wrong, some good always comes out of it, things will look up again soon, and sometimes our greatest disappointments turn out to be the greatest blessings, but it’s tough to take when the bad stuff is happening. At least I am happy to say that my little dog isn’t suffering and sick anymore, she’s bouncing around like nothing happened. She recovered very quickly once they knew what was wrong, and gave her the right medicine to clear it up. My Chihuahuas are so tiny (teacup size)/3 lbs. that it’s scary when they get sick. And she’d never been sick before.

 

I was sad to see my kids leave after our holiday together, and half an hour after they left, I buckled down to the re-write, and worked twenty hours a day for a week, and finished it. Work is always the best medicine and cheerer-upper for me. (As are my kids!!). I get so involved in the work that it keeps my mind off everything else. I finished the re-write last night, and am going to enjoy some adult time now, seeing friends, and maybe relaxing for a day or two before I dive into my usual pace and heavy work load. So after a terrific week, I had a not so great one. I take very little vacation/time off, so I appreciate every minute of it, especially when I spend it with my kids!!!

 

Hopefully August will be an easy month, I have a little more time ahead with my children, a long weekend in August, and I’ll be visiting two of my daughters.

 

And despite my own griefs, worries, and disappointments, I was SOOOO THRILLED that they saved all 13 of the boys trapped in the cave in Thailand. When the story first hit the news, it seemed unlikely that they would be able to find a way to save them, all of them anyway, or any of them, and when at last they brought them out one by one, I was elated. What a fantastic rescue mission, a thousand people, experts, working on it with such brilliant results—-a tragedy averted, and I can only imagine how grateful and relieved their parents are. With wisdom and dignity, they kept the press away at the end, so we didn’t get much of a view of the boys as they were rescued, but just knowing that they were safe was fantastic. The whole world was watching it unfold. Truly wonderful that they were saved. Young boys do foolish things sometimes, either fearless or testing their courage, curious to see how far they can go, it must have been terrifying for them to get trapped, and what a blessing that they were all saved!!! Bravo!!!

 

I hope you have a great week ahead, with some vacation plans hopefully.

 

And some good news for me: My new hardcover book, “The Good Fight” came out a week ago, and will hit the bestseller lists this week at #2, right after Bill Clinton’s book. Seeing my books do well, and knowing that you’re enjoying them never gets old. I hope you get a chance to read it, and love it!!! It’s about the turbulent times of the 60’s, the battles for desegregation, and the Vietnam War, and a young woman who forges ahead bravely, ahead of her times, following her grandfather’s example as a courageous Supreme Court Judge. I hope you love the book. It’s a fascinating time in our history.

 

Have a wonderful week, and I hope lots of good things happen for all of us….

 

much love, Danielle

 

Filed Under Books, Dogs, Family | 5 Comments

5/28/18, Memorial Day

Posted on May 28, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

I hope you’re enjoying a long lovely weekend for Memorial Day. This holiday always symbolizes the beginning of summer….which is not quite the weather we’re getting anywhere on my route. Cold and gray in San Francisco, a friend tells me it’s cold and rainy in Boston, I think it’s been cold in New York, and everyone in Paris is complaining about how cold it is there. And I was in Napa and wore two sweaters and a jacket. So come on, Summer!!! Please try a little harder!!! I brought out my summer clothes this week, and am wondering why I did!! But other than the weather, It’s a lovely holiday, and is kind of a book end for summer, with Labor Day at the other end. So summer has officially begun.
 

In years past, my husband and I used to spend the Memorial Day weekend getting our home in the Napa Valley ready for the summer, dragging out all the pool furniture, dusting off the porch, pulling summer toys out of the barn for our kids. We spent the whole weekend cleaning things and getting ready, a big job. Our Napa home belongs to my children now—-and I’m still on the cleaning crew, although I only go there once a year now. And I spend several days before the holiday, with helpers, doing the same chores before Memorial Day now. It always warms my heart to go there, and do the same things again, getting it ready for my children to enjoy the place now with their siblings and friends. It’s a tradition now. We bought the home before most of them were born, and there is something touching about continuing the traditions of the past, which is in great part what Memorial Day is about, memories and cherished people. So I spent this week cleaning house and sprucing the place up, power washing, a little painting here and there, and freshening things up. And we are particularly grateful this year, as the big Napa fires last October came within less than a mile of the home. My youngest son very bravely went up during the fires to save all the photographs of their childhood, and mementoes of their father, in case we lost the house in the fire. We were all very grateful we didn’t, and copied the photographs he brought back. They normally hang all over the house, it’s their whole family history on the walls of our old farm. It’s very quaint and cozy. And my BIG BIG job this week was hanging all 464 photographs back on the walls. I hung them chronologically this time, so you can trace back to my husband’s youth, his early days, when we met, our wedding, all the children’s christenings (a LOT of them with 9 kids!!), their childhood and growing up years, right to the present. It was a lot of work, but I had a wonderful time doing it, and it brought back tender memories of happy times. I hope it will do the same for them!!! So that’s what I did this week. A long walk down memory lane and a lot of cleaning.  One daughter always helps me, and we always have fun doing our annual clean up week. So we’re spiffy clean and ready for summer when it shows up!!
 

The big news for me this week is that my new book, “The Cast” a week after it came out, will be #1 on the New York Times and several other lists this week. No matter how often it happens, it is a thrill for me every time!!! Thank you for buying the book—I hope you love it. It’s about the members of the cast of a hit TV series, and all the complications and secrets in their lives, and their interactions with each other in real life and on the show. It was huge fun to write, with some wonderful characters in it, and surprises, and I hope you love it!!! It should be a really fun read for the summer with characters I loved when I wrote the book.  And now that my big annual cleaning mission is done, I’ve been writing all weekend. I really do hope you love “The Cast”.
 

I have some busy times ahead, with a lot of work to do. The books don’t happen by magic, so I’m getting to work.
 

I hope you’ve had a wonderful long holiday weekend, and are starting to make fun summer plans. Thank you for everything, and for making the book #1.  Have a great week!!!

 

love, Danielle

2/15/16, Busy Writing!

Posted on February 16, 2016

I’m working hard on a new book, so have a wonderful week and check back with me next Monday!

love, Danielle

Filed Under Books | 4 Comments

1/18/16, “Blue”

Posted on January 18, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is okay with you, and that life is treating you well, good things are happening, and you’re even having some fun!!

Tomorrow, January 19, is an exciting day for me: my new hardcover “Blue” is coming out. I’ve been looking forward to this book. It’s about a homeless boy, and about finding hope when you least expect it, long after you’ve given up hope. On a snowy night, sleeping in a small tool cupboard, barely big enough for his body, a thirteen year old homeless boy named Blue (because of the vibrant blue color of his eyes) meets a woman who champions his causes, believes in him, won’t let him give up, fights some important battles with and for him, truly cares about him, and changes the course of his life. The woman who befriends him had given up hope herself. After losing her husband and son in a car accident, she is alone in the world….until she meets Blue. I wont tell you the rest, but there are surprises in the book, some serious challenges, some dark secrets, and twists and turns. The woman who befriends Blue is kind and trustworthy and compassionate. We all need people like that in our lives whom we can trust, and who care about us, and a lucky break when the sky looks very dark. It’s about not giving up hope. I really hope you love the book!!!

Other than that, I am working on another book now, and enjoying working on it. I love to hibernate in the winter, and write, write, write, which is what I’m doing now….so I really hope you read Blue and love it!! Have a great week!! I’ll be hard at work at my typewriter, and thinking of you!!!

much love, Danielle

Filed Under Books | 10 Comments

8/31/15, Undercover

Posted on August 31, 2015

Hi Everyone,

Well, it’s the last day of August, and appears to be the end of the summer. Kids are back in school, fall is officially almost here, those of us who were taking time off this summer have done it, and I was lucky to have two vacations with my kids, one for 10 days in France with my younger children, and the other for a few days in the States with everyone for my birthday, it’s a good excuse to get together. I hope you got some time off to play, relax, get some sun, and rest before launching into Fall.

Tomorrow is an exciting day for me: my new hardcover novel will come out. “Undercover”. It’s a thriller, with surprises and twists and turns. It begins in the jungles of Colombia, with an Undercover agent placed in the drug cartels there, a different venue and subject for me, and exciting to write. It’s about two people in separate worlds, an Undercover agent in the DEA, who is then transferred back to Washington, DC, after years of living an entirely different identity. He is assigned a desk job in the Pentagon, which he hates, and then is loaned to the Secret Service on the Presidential detail. And while there, more excitement happens to him, and he eventually winds up in Paris. The other central character in the book is a young woman, daughter of an Ambassador assigned to Argentina, where she is kidnapped by revolutionaries, a life changing experience for her. She also winds up in Paris, later in the book, and finds herself in danger once again. The Undercover agent crosses paths with the Ambassador’s daughter, and they wind up on the run, escaping the dangerous men from their past. The book is exciting, covers a lot of territory, with interesting characters woven in and out, and some frightening and thrilling moments. I hope you read it and love it!!! I had a great time writing the book. And it’s especially fun to write something different, for a change of pace. I hope you enjoy it too!!

I hope your September gets off to a great start!!!

love, Danielle

Filed Under Books | 9 Comments

8/3/15, “So you’re a writer?”

Posted on August 3, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a good week, and that August is off to a good start. I’m hoping it will be peaceful. We’ve had something of a turbulent summer, which you know, if you read my blog about Sam Ewing 2 weeks ago, “Fallen Hero”. But we’ve had some really good family time together, which is the best antidote to the pains of ‘real life’. And I had a wonderful 10 day vacation with my 5 youngest children. I am always grateful for time with my kids, when they can spare the time from their jobs and busy lives. And in a few weeks, I’m hoping to spend some time with all my kids. So….onward….

In the comments to last week’s blog, someone mentioned that she was writing her first novel, and said that people were really giving her a hard time about it. And oh do I know that one. Somebody told me years ago that there are two jobs everyone thinks they can do, if they just had the time and wanted to: writing and photography. We all know we can’t be brain surgeons, or lawyers or nuclear physicists unless we study for it for a lot of years. But lots of people think they can write, and everyone takes pictures, so they figure they can do it, if they want to bother. And lots of people are talented writers and photographers, but it’s not quite as easy as some people think, and they might be surprised if they try it!!! (My father was a talented amateur photographer, who sold some of his photographs in later years, and let me tell you, that talent is not hereditary—–I can’t take a photo without cutting everyone’s head off, or get it in focus. Although one of my daughters is a terrific photographer. But I’m never going to win any prizes or set the world on fire with my pictures!!)
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10/20/14, TWO Exciting New Books!!!

Posted on October 20, 2014

Hi Everyone!!!

I just wanted to share with you that I have TWO new books coming out on October 28. A hardcover novel called “Pegasus”, which begins in World War II, covers three generations of 2 families who are close friends, the book takes place both in America and Europe, and it has lots of exciting things in it. Among them, there are some very interesting things about Ringling Brothers Circus, and life in the circus during the war years. It’s a big meaty book with lots of great stuff and characters in it. I love the book and hope you do too. And one of the elements of the book is about Lippizaner horses, the incredibly beautiful white horses that are used as show horses, who do elegant and amazing acrobatics. I REALLY REALLY hope you love the book!!!

And the second book is a children’s book called “Pretty Minnie in Paris”, for children about 4 to 8 years old. It was inspired by my tiny little white long haired tea cup Chihuahua Minnie (she weighs just over 2 pounds!!), and in the book Minnie lives in Paris, belongs to a little girl named Francoise, and both Francoise and Minnie love to wear pretty clothes. It’s about Minnie’s adventures in Paris….and there will be a sequel to the book a year from now. I am sooo excited about this book too, it is unbelievably cute, the illustrations by Kristi Valiant are gorgeous, and there is lots of pink and purple glitter in the book!!!! If there are any little girls in your life, they will LOVE it!!!

I hope you have a chance to enjoy both of these books.

Lots and LOTS of love, danielle

Filed Under Books, Dogs | 8 Comments

9/8/14, Revving Up for Fall

Posted on September 8, 2014

Hi Everyone,

With Labor Day a week behind us, Fall is getting started, and things are speeding up. The weather is still gorgeous everywhere, in every city I’ve been in, still warm and sunny, even finally sunny in September in foggy San Francisco, and still hot almost everywhere else, but with a hint of cooler weather to come, and sometimes chilly evenings.  And I definitely notice that the pace is picking up, with things I have to do, and work on my desk.  I am currently working on two sets of ‘galleys’, the final stage of a book before they print it, and my last chance to make corrections before they do. I finished one set of galleys last night, and am starting another set today, for books that will be published and available in the coming months.  Galleys look like the printed pages of a book, but they’re not bound together yet, so the pages come in a big stack, and I can make necessary changes and edits on them, it’s my last chance before the book gets printed.

Book wise—-I’m getting revved up for two new books coming out in October, a hardcover novel, “Pegasus”, it’s a World War II book, a historical novel, and my new children’s book, “Pretty Minnie in Paris”, about a white long haired teacup Chihuahua who lives in Paris and loves to wear pretty clothes. It is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, with gorgeous illustrations by Kristi Valiant, and lots of pink and purple glitter on the book. If there are any little girls in your life, they will love it!! So on the book front, things are getting busy. And my own tiny white Chihuahua, Minnie, had a photo shoot this week for publicity shots for the children’s book. She wore eight different coats and two tiny tee shirts, and she looked very cute!!!

On the social front, I am going to a big very fabulous antique show, the opening night dinner, which is always a very glamourous event, and the antiques at the show are museum quality and wonderful to see. I always look forward to it, and the show happens every other year. It’s fun to see, jewelry, paintings and spectacular antiques.  On a more human scale, I had my adorable Godchildren to dinner last night, for pasta and a movie. They are 4, 7 and 10, and really wonderful kids. They came to visit me with their parents for a week in San Francisco this summer, and we went to Las Vegas together for 3 days. We watched “Sound of Music”, which I love as much as ever, and really enjoyed with them. It had a very international flavor, as my godchildren are half French and half Japanese (and are in the dedication of my children’s book), so I knew all the songs in English because I had seen the movie in English as a child, the film we watched was dubbed in French, so the songs in the movie were in French, and my godchildren knew all the songs in Japanese, and sang along in Japanese—now there’s an international mix for you!!! We had a lot of fun, and I can tell you that the songs in Sound of Music sound great in Japanese too!!

Family-wise, it’s the time of year when I miss my kids, after spending time with them in the summer, and everyone back in their cities, lives and jobs now after the summer. My three girls in fashion are all hard at work on their ready to wear fashion shows in New York, and will be doing the same in Paris soon, and I will miss them in both places. They’re working 20 hour days, and I keep up with their shows, very proudly!!, on style.com. And the others are all busy at work too. And I’m back to editing books, and working on new ones. So it feels like ‘back to school’ for all of us, although no one is in school anymore. But we all seem to be busy. This summer was a mixed bag, with wonderful time with my kids and visits from my French friends, and then the sad loss of a close friend, and two I was less close to (an accident and two suicides, so shocking in all 3 cases), and cleaning up after the earthquake in the Napa Valley. It wasn’t a lazy summer. And things are speeding up now. Two of my daughters have birthdays this month, and for the first time, I wasn’t able to be with one of them, as she had to work on a fashion show, September is a busy month for all of us.

I hope the Fall is off to a nice start for you, with fun projects up ahead, things you’re looking forward to, and interesting things to do. I wish it were still summer, but there’s always next year…..I wish I could fast forward to next summer now!!! But there is lots to do before then. Have a great week!!

love, Danielle

8/4/14, Pretty Minnie: Heads Up

Posted on August 4, 2014

Hi Everyone,

So have you read my new hardcover yet, that came out last week, “A Perfect Life”? Sorry, I don’t mean to push. I just love the book and hope you do too. I hope you get to read it on vacation, or on the way to work, or tucked into bed at night.

Actually, I was writing to give you a heads up about a children’s book I have coming out in October. It’s called “Pretty Minnie in Paris”, and it’s ADORRRABLE!!! I am in love with it!!! It’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen for little girls, about a little girl named Francoise in Paris and her tiny white long haired Chihuahua—-Minnie of course!!! They love clothes and cute shoes, and Minnie has lots of outfits, and loves to match Francoise (in matching tutus, snowsuits and party dresses). It’s illustrated and the illustrator, Kristy Valliant, did a fantastic job, capturing my real Minnie, and turning her into a storybook character everyone will fall in love with (Kristy came to visit in Paris to do drawings and take photographs and videos of the real Minnie, and captured her perfectly!!).  If you have any little girls in your life, it will make a fantastic gift (for all the little girls I know too) with lots of drawings of Paris, and Minnie in her adorable outfits. She gets lost at a fashion show in the book, and I’ll let you read the rest. It won’t be out til October, but I couldn’t resist telling you about it now. I am thrilled to have been part of the creation of the book, and my own little Minnie is of course thrilled to be the star of a children’s book. It’s full of pink and purple glitter and everything little girls love (and me too!).    I have a regular grown up novel coming out in October too, “Pegasus”, it’s a historical novel which begins in World War II. I think it’s one of my best books, a family saga of two families…..but “Pretty Minnie in Paris” will steal your heart. I hope you’re finding down time to relax and read this summer. At the moment, between writing books, I’m plunged into a novel by one of my favorite authors, it’s a cozy read and takes place in Ireland. It’s nice to relax for a change.

Take care,

love, danielle

Filed Under Books, Dogs | 7 Comments

6/23/14, Feast or Famine

Posted on June 23, 2014

Hi Everyone,

Wow….busy times here, and I hope that all is well with you.

Oddly, I always find that my social life is very irregular. In New York and San Francisco, I very seldom see friends, and try to spend as much time as I can with my kids. They always have the priority when I’m in their cities. And given the nature of my work, I tend to hole up and disappear whenever I’m writing. Everyone has their own style, and I’m always impressed by writers who have a regular pace and schedule, write for a few hours in the morning, and then go out, see their friends, play golf, or whatever. That sure doesn’t work for me. When I’m writing, I can’t deal with any distraction, I don’t see anyone, talk to anyone (except my kids if they need me), I don’t even read phone messages or mail. Anything distracts me from the work, so I lock myself up in my office and don’t leave my house for weeks at a time. My writing style is to keep my foot on the gas, and keep it there until I finish whatever I’m working on. It can keep me locked up in my house for weeks or a month at a time, with no contact with the outside world. If I interrupt the writing to go to dinner with friends, it can take me days or even a week to get back into the book afterwards. So I don’t do that, and stick with the story, and usually write 20 or even 22 hours a day at a time when I’m working on a first draft, sleep for a few hours, and then go back to work. I’m very energized when I write, and hopefully excited about the story, and don’t want to think about anything else. (I used to have to be more civilized about my writing schedule when my kids were young and at home, but now that they’ve grown up, I can indulge my preference to stick with the story). And coming back from a long writing binge like that is like returning from a trip. I catch up with everything I’ve missed, return calls, open mail, and get back to real life. It makes for a somewhat erratic social life, since I don’t accept invitations to anything while I’m writing. And I find that one’s social life can be erratic anyway, even without writing, since people kind of hibernate in winter and don’t entertain much except for holidays, or everyone goes their separate ways in summer, and then catch up with friends in the fall. And I’ve found that there are times when I don’t go out socially for a long time, and then I get a bunch of invitations and go out every night. And for the last ten days, it has indeed been a feast of seeing friends, and fun invitations, and I’ve been out every night, which is very unlike me. But friends have come through town, childhood friends have surfaced after years of losing touch, and I’ve just had a bunch of fun activities and invitations, and even did a little work, though not serious writing, at least not this week. I’m always working on something!! But it’s only when I’m in the heat of the first draft of a book that I disappear. The rest of the time, I can edit or correct or work on an outline, and not go at it 22 hours a day, and manage to do other things. » read more »