Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

2/11/19, Valentines Day: Love or Chocolate

Posted on February 12, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope all is well with you. I’ve been under lock down for the last week, working on a book, about a subject I found interesting. I’ve been working on the outline for the last four months, and finally took the leap into the pool to get started on it. So it’s been a hardworking and hard-driving week, laying out the story for a future book. It’s a long process from here on. Once I complete the first draft, then I re-write it anywhere from three to five times over the next two years—while working on other books at the same time. And of course the subject is a surprise (from everyone!!) until the book comes out!!!

 

My current new book, Turning Point, is still doing very well, so I’m happy about that.

 

And yesterday was my youngest son’s birthday, so I had lunch with him, and dinner with him, our family, and some of his friends. With 9 children, we have a lot of birthdays in our family and each one is a special event!!!

 

And of course this week will be Valentine’s Day, which gets mixed reviews. For anyone with a special person/romance in their life it’s a fabulous day, hopefully, and for those who are having an off-year, it’s not so great. I’ve had both kinds of Valentine’s days, and I hope it will be a special day for you this year.

 

Now that I’ve been working nonstop on a book, I’m trying to catch up on ‘real life’, things I need to do that I’ve put off while I’m writing. When I write, I can’t do anything else. I don’t go out, I don’t see friends, I don’t read other books or watch movies, it distracts me from the story and then I have trouble getting back into it. I took the time to celebrate my son’s birthday yesterday, but anything other than that, I don’t do if I’m in the middle of writing a book. Four of my kids were present at the birthday (the others live in other cities), so it was a fun chance for me to catch up with them.

 

I’m excited to watch Season 3 of “Victoria”, about the young Queen Victoria. I haven’t seen this season, so I thought I’d take a peek at that, since I reached a point in the book where I can take a little break, and will be back to work on it in about a week, after I let the book ‘breathe’ a little bit, and then go back to it with a fresh eye. (Kind of like an artist with a painting).

 

So I hope your Valentine’s Day will be fabulous, full of happy surprises and special moments, the love of your life, and a special day—-and if not, then a whole lot of chocolate!!! Seriously, I hope you have a lovely day.

 

Take care, and have a terrific week, love, Danielle

 

1/28/19, Rainy Sunday: Boundaries

Posted on February 4, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope January went by pleasantly and productively, and now we’re off to February—-and Valentine’s Day—-don’t get me started on that. If you’re madly in love, or even moderately in love, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day can be terrific—-if not, and love is not big on your agenda at the moment, watch out for those two nights. Alone, and in the wrong frame of mind, they can really suck. So much for that (I solve both by working if Love is not on the horizon. It works for me. I forget where I am and what I’m doing, and what day it is. Kisses and romance are certainly more fun, but work is okay too).

 

The riots are continuing in France, after three months now. The violence is not as extreme as in the early months and weeks, but the destruction and a certain degree of violence continues, it’s more contained, but stores are still being burned and looted, even if to a lesser degree. (In the first month, the rioters broke into a jewelry store, destroyed the brand new store, stole a million dollars’ worth of jewelry and vandalized and set fire to the place. They are a little more moderate now, but have caused billions of dollars of damage. It’s heartbreaking to see, in a city as beautiful as Paris). And just last week, one of the rioters clashed with police, lost an eye, and is still in a coma. No political opinion or cause seems worth that to me (other than a real war where you are defending your family and your home). Several people have died, both rioters and police. And it continues. An American friend commented to me the other day that it is hard to understand how the riots can happen once a week, by appointment on Saturday, with real savagery, and even loss of life and injury, and then go about their business like civilized people the other 6 days of the week. It makes no sense to me either. I was thinking today , as I have for these 3 months, and have seen some REALLY frightening days with entire streets on fire, whole blocks of cars burning, and stores and homes—–no matter what the cause or the reason, I abhor when it turns to violence and wanton destruction. (Some people even came from other countries (Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany) to join in the ‘fun’, when they have nothing to protest about daily life in France, or government positions. It’s not their country. The reasons for the protests/riots have shifted and grown, it started with gas prices, went on to taxes, retirement pensions, complaints about the rich, the minimum wage, and like water it spread and became more free form. Anyone who had something to complain about, even if they had valid points on certain issues, put on a yellow jacket, and got busy. Not all the protestors were violent, but too many were. I hate violence, we all do. It just seems to me that once people lose control to that extent, they not only lose their effectiveness, and sympathy, but it just seems profoundly wrong to me. Even on a tiny personal level, when I lose my temper and get really angry, which is rare for me, I always feel diminished and as though I have lost something important of myself. One should be able to solve problems without losing one’s temper, saying hurtful things, and certainly without violence. Among the many shocking statistics floating around are that the electronic monitors on the highway, to monitor speed and send tickets later, were ALL destroyed in many areas around Paris. To replace those machines now will cost half a Billion dollars. And what about the rest? The stores, streets, houses, monuments, bus stops, and private and public property that were destroyed. Inevitably, taxes will be raised to cover the expense of repairs, which defeats the purpose of the protests. They wanted lower taxes, and did so much damage, that now taxes will be raised to pay for it. Everyone loses once violence happens, and even more so on a personal level.

 

After mulling all that over (with no conclusion) on this rainy Sunday, it made me think of boundaries and how important they are. I’ve been in relationships without them, which eventually bit the dust and died, for lack of them and other problems—-but EVERY relationship, whether parental, familial, boss and employee, mother and child, or between lovers, friends or spouses, and even between roommates—-EVERY relationship needs good boundaries, or regrettable things are going to happen. Someone younger than I asked my advice this week about a blow out that had happened in their romantic relationship, where one of the partners went off the deep end, said and did things they shouldn’t have, and wanted my advice about it. (People always assume that if you’re older than they are, you’re smarter, which isn’t always true. Older people can be just as confused as younger ones, they just look more grown up!!). But the incident related to me was clearly a terrible lack of boundaries. Some people assume that you can do or say anything in an argument, no holds barred and say “Sorry” later and it will all go away. That just isn’t true. Some words and some actions should never happen and can never be undone. My suggestion in this case, which is one I’ve tried to use myself, with good advice from a therapist, is to sit down at a good time on a good day (not at 2 am in the midst of an argument), and agree to some mutual rules of fair fighting, based on what’s important to each person, and stick to them meticulously in future—-No breaking the rules. Because the horrible things you say or may do (breaking something precious to the other person, insulting them so deeply you can never take it back, saying awful things about their families or kids (if their kids aren’t yours), frightening them or threatening to abandon them, threatening to end the relationship if you don’t really mean it—–those things just can’t be taken back are never forgotten and ultimately destroy the relationship, and do irreparable damage to the other person and the relationship. None of us can afford to let loose like that, nor should we allow ourselves that liberty or want to. I first heard about ‘boundaries’ in a group therapy session I went to….and I left it thinking “what was that B word again?…barnacles….beautiful? Uh, what was that?” it was boundaries, and I have learned the importance of that since.  I see it all the time when people don’t have good boundaries and let loose on others in ways they never should, and may not even mean (and even worse if they do mean it). But once you say it, it’s out there, or do something awful to the other person (not even physically, but emotionally). And watch out for people who DO intend to hurt you, and go as deep as they can to hurt you. Run like hell when you run into one of those!!! I find that I never feel really emotionally safe with people with bad boundaries, you don’t know what they’ll do or say, or how much they’ll hurt you.

 

So that’s my thought for the day: Boundaries. They really are important. Laws are a form of boundaries imposed on us, and we respect them so we don’t get in trouble and break those laws. Boundaries are just as important so we don’t break someone’s heart!!!

 

Have a great week!!!

 

much love, Danielle

 

1/21/19, Mixed Monday

Posted on January 21, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope all is well with you. Things have been madly hectic for me, traveling, writing, the ‘business’ of writing as well as the fun part. (I never think the business part is as much fun as writing a story). I finished a book, wrote a new outline for a future book, and am THRILLED to say that my newest hardcover is going to be #1 on the New York Times combined eBook and hardcover list. No matter how often that happens, it is ALWAYS a thrill every time!!! Thank YOU for making that happen!! I am always grateful that you are such dedicated fans. The current book is about a combined team of French and American trauma doctors who work together for a month in Paris and a month in San Francisco, on emergency events in both cities. It’s a very exciting book!!!

 

Today we are honoring Martin Luther King, an extraordinary man at an extraordinary time in American history. It seems like a long time ago, but it’s surprisingly recent that the country was struggling with desegregation and so many important issues. He was truly a hero of our recent history.

 

The Protestors/Rioters were back at it in Paris on Saturday. Their numbers were diminishing, but they’re still out there, protesting—-for the TENTH week!!! It has wrought havoc with the French economy to have stores (and restaurants) closed every Saturday for almost three months. And Parisians are very tired of the destruction to the city, which will cost billions to repair. The wanton destruction of property, whatever the cause, still seems wrong to me.

 

And like a bad joke, they had just begun to dissipate on Saturday, while I was working on the outline, when a SECOND group of protestors appeared, right under my windows, for a different cause with slogans and bullhorns and songs. In desperation I put on the earphones I use to watch movies on the airplane when I travel—-I put them on to drown out the noise, so I could finish my outline, and I probably looked pretty silly typing away!!!.

 

This is Haute Couture fashion week in Paris this week, so there will be fashion shows for several days—-and I heard whispers of a snowstorm coming, so it will be a busy, possibly messy week!!!

 

It’s incredible to think that the holidays are only three weeks behind us, it feels like they were in another century. I’m due for another visit with some of my kids soon, so I’m looking forward to that.

 

I also recently heard that today’s date is called Blue Monday in England, supposedly the most depressed/depressing day of the year. So I hope that is not true for you today. No more Blue Mondays!!! Spring will show up eventually. Although we could all be turning blue from how cold it is everywhere. Stay warm, keep busy, have fun, and I hope you love my new book, Turning Point.

 

much love, Danielle

 

1/7/19, Hitting the ground running…..

Posted on January 7, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Well, Welcome to 2019…..I see a lot of work in my future (nothing new about that), but it amazes me sometimes how fast I shift gears from quiet times, vacations, the holidays, and then I shoot right out of a cannon and hit the ground running into work mode again. This January looks like that for me. I was lucky enough to spend the Christmas holiday with most of my kids for a week, which was a happy family time, of doing only family things, and then from the day they left to go back to their own lives, I’ve been super busy with work. Maybe you have too!!!

 

As is my New Year tradition now, I start a new book the day my children leave after Christmas. It’s my antidote to being too sad when they leave. One minute my house is full of music and laughter, family meals, and all my children home, and then suddenly there is deafening silence, and they’re gone. And since I’m not crazy about New Year celebrations, as I’ve mentioned before, I start a book in the last few days of December, and by New Year’s eve, I don’t know what day it is, and I’m deep into a new book. It really works well for me (and I never make New Year resolutions, as I’ve said before too!!)

 

So true to form, when my kids left, I got to work writing a new book, and I’ve been flooded with work related projects ever since: picking covers for upcoming books, in the US, the UK, and several European countries, editing flap copy, reviewing marketing plans. We’re setting up a podcast in the weeks ahead, which is something new for me. Writing tweets, speaking to a wonderful film director about the possibility of working on a movie together, and to a network about possible TV movies. And I’m working on a new outline for another book, and when I go back to Europe, I’ll be meeting with my British publisher, planning for the books that will be coming up this year. So I’ve got lots of irons in the fire, and I really have hit the ground running in the first days of January.

 

The book I’m writing right now is my 175th book, which amazes even me. I guess that’s what happens when you write all the time, but it really astounds me sometimes that I’ve written so many books. It’s a book that requires a fair amount of research, and it’s always exciting to learn new things when I write.

 

I feel guilty at times that I do so much work. It leaves me very little time to do anything else, I’m always working. I don’t get enough time to see friends, or have down time, or spend a lazy weekend. I’m always working to stay on top of my writing schedule and meet deadlines in a pretty grueling schedule, but it suits me, and I’m grateful that I get to do so many things that relate to my writing. I picked a cover this week that I just love for a future book—-for the book that will come out in time for the holidays, at the end of 2019. We work pretty far ahead!!

 

I’m going to spend a weekend with 3 of my children soon, so that’s a treat for me. And I had a fabulous evening a few days ago: my youngest son gave me an evening out for dinner and a night at the theater as part of my Christmas gift from him. And I had a ball, we saw Mary Poppins the musical, and I loved it!!! And I managed to see the new movie too.

 

I hope the New Year has taken off at just the pace you like. I have to admit, my head is spinning a little from all the things I have to do, but I’m enjoying what I’m doing.

 

Have a busy, fun week ahead—–and we had a ‘Feast of the Kings’ cake yesterday, for Epiphany. The tradition in France is to have a cake, with either a plastic baby, or little plastic fish in it, and whoever gets it in their cake will have good luck all year. No one has gotten the baby yet—I’m hoping to get lucky on my second slice!!!

 

Have a great week!!! love, Danielle

12/31/18, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Posted on December 31, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’re all in good spirits, and have enjoyed the holidays. I’m working a lot and writing a lot these days, which keeps me busy and happy, and Christmas was lovely with my kids. They left a few days ago, and I went back to work.

 

Today, New Year’s Eve, is just one of those days I’m not that crazy about, some holidays are just harder than others. Holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving are hard for some, particularly if one is alone, it helps to have children and a big family around you. And then there are some other holidays that are just lousy if you’re alone. New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day are just not a lot of fun if you’re single, and not dating anyone. In truth, my best New Year’s Eves were when I was married, we didn’t care about New Year’s Eve, we watched old movies on TV and ate popcorn, and were asleep long before midnight. That was fine with me!! Best New Year’s Eves ever, in pajamas, no fuss, no muss, no parties, tucked up in bed with someone you love (WITH popcorn!!).

 

Then there was a phase where we gave big parties on New Year’s Eve. That worked, it was fun (although I preferred the pajama years). When I was very young, I would go to parties on New Year’s eve, but since I don’t drink, everyone was blind drunk and I wasn’t, and I would then be scared to death that my drunken date would kill us in the car on the way home (not fun, when I got older, I got smarter, and refused to be driven by a drunk, eventually, I just stayed home). After the big parties we gave, I was divorced and continued to give them, and watched everyone dancing and kissing at midnight and was the odd man out (while pretending I was having a great time), and after the party I’d go upstairs to my room and cry. (erghk/dismal, definitely not fun). Then I switched it to fancy dinner parties on New Year’s Eve, so I didn’t have to watch them dancing. That was okay, but not that great either, I still had to get through the kissing part while I watched politely. Then I came up with a new idea: poker parties on New Year’s Eve, which I loved, and would make about $20., no one kissed, they smoked, ate pizza and drank, and if they drank enough, I won more. I did that for a number of years quite happily, but got tired of it, and then gave small dinner parties with friends, but once again you can’t get around the kissing part on New Year’s Eve, where they do, and I don’t, if I’m alone. And at last, I finally gave up, and decided a few years ago that the best way to get through New Year’s Eve for me, was to work on a book, where I don’t even know what day or time it is when I’m writing. It was the best solution I know to get around being single on New Year’s, with no one to kiss at midnight. When I write, everything disappears except the book, and I’m lost in the story. So, there it is, writing on New Year’s Eve avoids the drunk driver problem, the not having a date problem, and the kissing problem. There is no one kissing in my office at midnight when I’m writing—-except the characters in my book. it doesn’t make for a glamourous New Year’s Eve, I don’t have to wear a fabulous dress, my hair is usually a mess when I’m writing, and I’m in a comfy nighty and a sweater. I still prefer the pajamas and popcorn nights, and the poker nights were pretty good, but for those of us who are dateless on New Year’s Eve, writing my way through them works for me. So, if you’re on your own tonight, I hope you found an equally effective solution. Maybe a box of chocolates and a favorite movie??? It’s only one day a year and it really doesn’t matter. By tomorrow, everyone will have a dreadful hang over, and maybe didn’t have such a great time. So happy new year, no maudlin songs or emails, and much more importantly, I send you all my good wishes and best thoughts for a FABULOUS FANTASTIC PRODUCTIVE HEALTHY HAPPY NEW YEAR AHEAD!!!

 

and all my love, Danielle

 

12/24/18, “Happy Christmas!!”

Posted on December 24, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Happy Christmas!! It’s Christmas eve…..and all through the house, not a creature was stirring—-except at my house on Christmas, everyone is stirring. Two of my children couldn’t come home for Christmas this year, one has to be with her in laws, and the other has to work in Europe, so it will seem a little emptier than usual. The first year that any of them has missed Christmas at home.

 

I’ve been ridiculously busy getting ready for the holiday, and flying around. And I finally found the last gift four days ago, so I’m done. And still wrapping up my work, and reading research for the next book. There is always a lot to do at the end of the year!!!

 

I hope that you have plans that warm your heart, and that you’ll be spending Christmas with people who are dear to you, and mean a lot to you. My kids and I are going to watch some movies together, and just savor being together. We used to bake a lot at Christmas (brownies!!), but we haven’t done that this year.

 

Just know how grateful I am to you all year for your support, and have the merriest, happiest, best holidays ever!!

 

With all my love, Danielle

12/17/18, Twas 8 days before Christmas, and all through the house…..

Posted on December 17, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that things are going well for you. The demonstrations and riots are continuing in Paris, but are thinning out, and were less violent this past Saturday. The government made some concessions, and I think people are just worn out from the strain of weekly violence, and so much destruction. Businesses are sufferring, and thus the economy, and all merchants, with shops and restaurants closed every weekend for the past five weeks, so close to Christmas. And hotels are empty. People don’t want to come to Paris with so much unrest in the country. I hope the New Year brings some peace to all!!

 

Other than that, my new book is out, Beauchamp Hall. I hope you’ve had time to read it, or will over the holidays, and I hope you gave it as a gift to someone. And my paperback, Accidental Heroes, is doing really well, and is an exciting read.

 

It’s been a checkered week with some good and bad things thrown in. A friend came to visit and stayed with me for a week, which was fun (except for the lockdown weekends due to the demonstrations and riots). But other than that, we had a good time. A close best friend lost his adorable little dog, hit by a car, which was heart breaking and we all felt terrible for him. And on the happy side, I had my Christmas party, with 28 good friends. People stay much later than they do in the states, so they stayed till about 1:30 am, on a school night, which was really fun. I gave a Christmas ladies’ lunch too, and had some women friends for a pasta dinner in my kitchen. So I saw a lot of friends this past week, which is fun in this season. And I’ll be seeing my children soon, which is the best part of the holidays for me.

 

I’m still trying to catch up on work, and I’ll be back at work, deep in new books when the holidays are over. I can’t believe Christmas is only 8 days away. I’m still scrambling for the last few special presents.

 

I hope these are happy days for you, that you are finding something to celebrate, and the time and opportunity to spend time with family or friends. The one thing I realize every year is how fast time flies, and how fleeting the precious moments are, they fly through our fingers like angels and bless us as they rush past. My hope for you is that you are enjoying special times with people you love, and who love you. I hope that the days leading up to the holidays will be happy ones for you, and that the holiday will be a memory you cherish. Thank you for the blessings you share with me all year round, reading my books, and enjoying my work.

 

Thank you, and much love to you, Danielle

12/3/18, Paris IS burning

Posted on December 3, 2018

 

Hello Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week, that you recovered from Thanksgiving, and are heading peacefully toward the holidays.

 

I am overwhelmed with sadness today. I don’t know how much it is reported in the States, but one of the ways that the French express their displeasure with governmental policies is to demonstrate, gather in the streets, to protest policies and conditions they don’t like. Demonstrations in France are usually peaceful, but not always. They can be noisy sometimes (or not), and rarely result in violence.  For the French, demonstrations are a form of freedom of speech. In the States, I think demonstrations tend to be bigger and less frequent, on a variety of important subjects. We should all have the right to let our governments know how we feel about things, hopefully peacefully without injury to property or people, nor destruction of any kind. Some people do it by writing letters to their legislators, others prefer to do it in a march, or a demonstration. It’s a show of hands for new and different policies, which seems fair to express those opinions.

 

The French people are generally unhappy about a variety of subjects at the moment. The economy is not doing well, there are certainly injustices that need to be corrected, and problems that have not been addressed, as with any government in any country. And to bring current problems to the government’s attention, a group of citizens applied to demonstrate for several consecutive Saturdays, beginning two weeks ago, for what was meant to be a peaceful demonstration in a number of cities in France. Since the issues are important and heartfelt by the demonstrators, the demonstrations became heated, erupted in destruction of property a week ago, and as a precaution stores were ordered closed in many areas, this past Saturday for the third demonstration.

 

The third demonstration two days ago became a nightmare of mob brutality and wanton destruction in Paris. However valid or not the complaints may have been, the expression of them got out of hand. Cars were burned, homes were set fire to, businesses and stores were destroyed and vandalized, bonfires were set in the streets, flaming bricks and rocks flew through windows setting fire to homes once inside, people were frightened, important monuments were graffiti-ed and severely damaged, trees were burned, entire streets were destroyed, smoke was heavy in the air from all the fires, and the acrid smell of smoke from tear gas bombs, water cannons were turned on the crowds by police. By noon, it looked like the city was in flames, over a hundred people were injured, both law enforcement and civilians. And observing it at close range, one sensed the frenzy of the crowd, a frightening excitement to destroy anything at hand. By nightfall it looked like there was snow on the ground which was a carpet of broken glass from all the destroyed cars, windows, bus stop shelters, etc. In an economy already suffering, in the weeks before Christmas, there will be fewer purchases with stores that will take months to repair (or closed forever for shop keepers who can’t afford to repair them), and people afraid to leave their homes for something as benign as Christmas shopping. Even sadder, the small independent shops and businesses who are the livelihoods of people who own them and work there, small grocery stores, dry cleaners, book stores, florists, which they can’t afford to repair and will not reopen. Big fancy stores as well as small ones were looted, vandalized and set on fire. Fire fighters couldn’t get from one fire to the next fast enough, and in some cases, an entire street of cars were burning. The destruction of property of all kinds was extreme, as shocked Parisians watched their city burning.

 

In the past few weeks, I have seen the shocking cataclysmic destruction by nature with the fires in California, with homes and businesses and lives lost, a true tragedy and natural disaster……and now to the kind of destruction Man is capable of when emotions run high, and get out of control, even if with the best of intentions. In either case, the results are tragic and immeasurably destructive.

 

And just as I was heartbroken for the tragic immeasurable losses to the fire in California, I am deeply saddened now for the destruction in Paris, and all the people who will suffer from it. In its own way, it is tragic too, to see a beautiful city looted and pillaged and in flames, and so many people affected by it. When Nature or Man get out of control, we are all losers in the end.

 

Have a great and peaceful week, and I hope the holiday spirit prevails and begins to grow in all of us.

 

love, Danielle

 

PS. Elaine very correctly said that she read that “professional rioters” have joined the Gilets Jaunes (the yellow vests, because that’s what they wear to identify themselves) demonstrators in France. The Gilets Jaunes began by demonstrating peacefully, and a group informally known as the “Casseurs” (the breakers, the people who break things) infiltrated their ranks, and are wearing the same yellow vests, making it impossible to tell who is who. The Casseurs have added the violent element to the demonstrations, and turned them into riots more than peaceful demonstrations. It’s a tremendous dilemma, because the yellow vests they wear (the same ones), make it impossible to figure out who’s who. I don’t think the Gilets Jaunes ever intended for the demonstrations to become violent, and the Casseurs have appeared at other demonstrations in France. And the end result now is some tremendous damage that will be very costly to repair, graffiti on many important monuments, windows broken, shop windows smashed and the stores looted and vandalized, cobble stones hacked out of pavement, and thrown through windows and used to smash cars. Some of the professional rioters use sledge hammers to destroy cars. And with the added element of experienced rioters, violence has erupted. Everyone in Paris hopes that it will stop, stores are suffering from lack of business, not just big fancy stores, but small independent stores, grocery stores, dry cleaners, neighbourhood florists, people who depend on their business to earn their livelihood, and now their stores have been vandalized. The big luxury stores have been attacked and looted, and are able to recover more quickly. Everyone in Paris is affected in some way. And the situation Elaine described is exactly the problem, and once violence is added to the mix, it’s very hard to calm it down again. I hope that solutions will be found soon that will be acceptable to all, so Paris can recover, tourists can return, and people can move around the city safely. D.

11/26/18, Beauchamp Hall

Posted on November 26, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, warmly spent with family and friends, or maybe you spent it helping others, which is a wonderful way to spend it too. In San Francisco, the air and the skies finally cleared of smoke, as though for a special blessing on Thanksgiving Day, and the air quality finally returned to normal, after weeks of dangerously toxic air. I was very grateful to spend it with 5 of my children, extended family, and a few friends, for a peaceful, loving family holiday. I ate way too much, as I do every year, but the meal was delicious and hard to resist!!! Now onwards to the Christmas holidays, the next few weeks will speed by, as they always do, and I haven’t finished my holiday shopping yet!!!

 

I’m excited that my new book just came out in hardcover last week, “Beauchamp Hall”. I always try to pick a somewhat inspiring book to come out for the holidays. One that gives us hope for our own lives, and entertains at the same time (and will make a good gift for those who give my books as gifts).  The heroine of the story is a young woman (in her 30’s) whose life has taken several sharp turns in unwanted directions—until all her dreams are far behind her, out of reach now and long forgotten. Her early dreams were to become a book editor in New York. She lives in a small town in the Mid-West which she hoped to escape after college. And her early college years were promising. Her mother had given her her love of books, and shared the magic of reading with her. When she leaves for college, she has a married sister, who married young. Halfway through college, the heroine’s mother gets very sick, and she leaves college to take care of her—-intending to go back to college one day to pursue her dreams. Her mother is sick for several years, and by the time she passes on, it seems too late for the heroine to return to college. Her married sister is busy with her own life, so the heroine gets stuck with all the nursing duties, and gave up years of her life for her mother. She slips into a boring job she hates, with a very nasty boss. And out of loyalty and habit, and stuck in a rut, she sticks with the job she hates, which becomes a dead end for her. She has a boyfriend who treats her badly, and she deserves better. The only bright spot in her life is a good friend who works in the same place, and they are best friends. At Christmas, they play a game at the office called “The White Elephant Game”, which we play in my office, and in my family at the holidays. Everyone brings a gift anonymously, and takes turns picking a gift, ‘stealing’ the gifts from each other. She wins the DVD’s of a popular TV series she had never seen before (and isn’t too excited with the gift!!). And at Christmas her life goes off the rails, the job she hates becomes even worse, her best friend betrays her, her boyfriend, who has always taken her for granted, gets worse too. The sister who has never helped her criticizes her constantly. Her life unravels at a rapid pace, and the only consolation in her life are the DVDs she won of the TV series, which inspire her to change her life radically. She does what we all sometimes dream of doing—–changing everything in our lives, or even changing something. When everything in her dull routine life falls apart, she takes bold steps, and bravely sets out on an entirely new course. The book is about what happens to her then. Her bravery is rewarded with some terrific adventures, fun times, new places, and good people. And her life is as different as it could possibly be from the dreary existence she had before. The book is about having the courage to change things, to do something new and different, and throw open the doors and windows wide to new experiences——and the wonderful places it leads her. She has new dreams far better than anything she could have dreamed of before. And her courage is richly rewarded. I really hope you enjoy it, and that it gives you lots of smiles and new hope. Sometimes we just have to turn the dial a little for everything to change. I hope you have a lot of fun with the book!!!

 

Have a terrific week, and I hope that wonderful new things happen to you!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

11/19/18, Apocalypse

Posted on November 19, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you are well, happy and SAFE!!! And getting ready for a lovely Thanksgiving.

 

I’ve had a crazy week. I’ve been writing pretty much day and night for the last 6 weeks, working on new books. Locked up in my office, and working even harder than usual so that I can take a few days off and enjoy the holiday with my children.

 

And sadly, the terrible fires in California have been a huge concern, and a distraction, and source of great anxiety to us all. So many lives and houses lost, so much loss, in both Northern and Southern California. Particularly awful since the North end of the state was already so devastated only (exactly) a year ago, in Napa and Sonoma counties. Whole towns were razed to the ground. I have several friends who lost their homes last year. And now, here we are again, in both Northern AND Southern California. I’m sure you’ve seen it on the news. Horrifying pictures of entire areas in flames, houses collapsing, the fires raging uncontained. Last year, the smoke reached dangerously unhealthy levels, and traveled more than a hundred miles, at times planes couldn’t fly, ash fell on San Francisco like snow, 80 miles from the fire. This year, with the fires raging more than 100 miles from the city, the smoke has reached new, unimaginable levels of toxicity. The city has watched the air quality numbers rise to staggering heights. The numbers sailed through the dangerous ‘red’ zone, to purple, which is EXTREMELY dangerous, schools are closed, many offices, people in the city are being told to stay indoors, do not open windows, do not walk their dogs, the cable cars have been shut down as it would be too unhealthy for passengers to be in the open air, the ferries have stopped, everyone is told that they must wear masks if they go outdoors even for minutes. The masks suitable for the ‘purple’ level of emergency have a rubber seal and make it nearly impossible to breathe, but are essential for one’s safety with the highly toxic air. The bay has vanished beneath a lethal looking cloud of smoke, you can’t see anything beyond your house, the sky is black at all hours of the day, an eerie dim light shines looking like a midwinter evening at mid-day. It is frightening, and worrisome, people feel cooped up in their homes, and everyone is anxious about the fires, and worried now that this will not be a once in a lifetime catastrophic occurrence, but an annual event. Meanwhile, the fires rage on, and the fog continues to envelop both ends of the state. Yesterday, San Francisco was declared the #1 city in the WORLD with the most dangerous air: more so than Beijing, Bangladesh, all of the industrial cities in Mainland China, and cities in India and Taiwan. It looks and feels like the end of the world, like a science fiction movie, with everyone running around with masks, and the streets fairly empty as people try not to go out. How long will it last? No one knows. An ‘inversion’ has settled over San Francisco, keeping an atmospheric ‘lid’ on the smoke, and trapping it over the city. The hope is for rain sometime later in the week if the wind comes up, and it rains, but for now, nothing is moving as the numbers referring to the danger level of the air quality continue to rise to a shocking degree. Many people feel the effects. It is a truly catastrophic event for anyone in the affected areas, which are extremely large. And hundreds of people continue to be unaccounted for. Droughts every year set the stage for these terrible fires. At this point residents of the affected areas can only pray for relief soon.

 

Many people have tried to get away from it during the past weekend, to areas where the air is slightly healthier, hotel rooms were impossible to find, planes were full. It truly is a shocking natural disaster, and my heart goes out to all of those who have lost homes or loved ones.

 

And in the midst of it all, Thanksgiving will be in a few days. We all have many blessings to be grateful for, and I hope that you will be spending your Thanksgiving with family and/or friends. There are so many blessings I am grateful for, and I hope that the fires will end soon, and the state can begin to heal again.

 

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving, and a safe, healthy one, with all my love, Danielle