Archive for 2014

6/9/14, More courage

Posted on June 9, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a good week last week. Mine was one of those roller coaster weeks of personal, business and family ‘stuff’. I knew by mid-week when my best day was the day I went to the dentist (and I’m phobic about the dentist) that it had not been my easiest week. But I got some good results for my efforts, and I’m grateful for that.

I’ve been really busy trying to finishing up some work, so I’ve been working hard, and making plans for the summer.

And I noticed something perhaps interesting last week. I don’t know why, but I tend to jam all my ‘difficult’ appointments into one week, on the theory that it gets them over with, and then when I am faced with a really challenging week of my own making, I wonder what I was thinking. Sometimes, if everything else is stressful or challenging, I decide that I just can’t deal with one more stress, so I cancel the appointments that scare me or worry me: like the dentist, which always scares me, and then I reschedule for another time. At other times, I just plow through it, and am usually glad I did, to get it done and behind me. But I noticed something this week that I hadn’t thought of before. I’ve had some challenging weeks, and lo and behold, last week was one of those weeks when I had scheduled not only the dentist, but a medical appointment that I had been putting off for months. Nothing too serious, but just one more stress I didn’t need. And for some reason, I thought oh what the hell, just do it, so I did. So I went to the dentist, took care of the medical appointment which was nothing and went fine. But what I realized is that when I am courageous with my life, which I have been lately, oddly it makes me brave about the other things I have to do. I actually talked to my dentist this week, like a normal human being, instead of feeling sick before I went, skulking into their office, and then cowering in the chair wanting to refuse to open my mouth, and then wanting to hug everyone in the elevator when I leave, because I survived. But some courage in my daily life creates the courage to face difficult things, or just the ones that scare me. And having handled the dentist easily, it then gave me the courage to do the medical appointment (not a big deal, but just one of those things we all worry about: my annual mammogram, which was fine. I’ve never had a problem with it, but always worry anyway, because I’m a natural born worrier!!). But I realized that courage breeds courage, and when we face one of our demons, we face the others more easily. And similarly, when we let ourself off the hook and allow ourselves to be chicken, suddenly we get chicken about other things. At least it works that way for me, although sometimes we need to give ourselves a break. I noticed the same thing years ago when I had a really harrowing delivery with my son Nick, and having survived that I decided to take a fear of flying class right after, like a month later, confronted my fear of flying, took the class, and have been flying easily ever since. We need to go easy on ourselves at times and not pile too much on. But when we do muster up some courage, it makes us brave for other things.

What do you do when you’re scared? It’s a recipe that works for me, but it’s not for everyone. When the sh– hits the fan, I try to remind myself that God loves me, even if others appear not to. And I find Joel Osteen’s books incredibly encouraging and uplifting, and they’re very practical and down to earth. I just re-read “It’s Your Time”, which really boosted my spirits and got me feeling better and empowered again.

And I love these words of Winnie the Pooh, by AA Milne, “There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” What could be better than that? So Onward!! Have a great week!!!

love, danielle


6/2/14, Happy Trails

Posted on June 2, 2014

Hi Everyone,

Well, this was a nostalgic, sentimental week. We had two office farewell parties this week, which were both bittersweet—for two lovely people who have worked for me for a long time. One takes care of my house, and the homes of my children; he keeps everything in remarkable running order, is incredibly creative, intelligent and ingenious—–which you have to be in a 104 year old house, which is a mystery a lot of the time!!!  He has worked for me for 24 years, half his life, and a big chunk of mine. He was just a ‘kid’ when he started, and learned all the workings of the house, took some interesting classes along the way, and I have watched him grow up into a remarkable man.  He got married two years ago, and my whole staff gathered around to celebrate him this week and say goodbye tearfully. He is going to do a lot of travelling, and just wanted to spread his wings, try new things, and see the world. I’m very sad to see him leave, but happy for him that he’s going to be having fun and doing some great things (he’s going on safari in Africa!!!). But it’s always sad to see old friends leave, even if I’m happy for him. We had a lovely dinner in a nice place, great food, good company, and a lot of toasts to wish him well!!!

The other person leaving is a young woman who has worked for me on and off for 22 years. We jokingly call her our perma-temp!! She is a beautiful woman who first came to my office to help out as a very young woman (and she still is). She didn’t want to get tied down to an office job as an assistant, but stayed with us for about a year as a ‘temp’, and then worked as a producer in TV, with start-ups and  in the dot com world. But she very kindly came back and did another stint with us when we needed help in the office. So back she came, worked with us for a while, she is great at being creative, problem solving, and just doing whatever needs to be done. Along the way, she got married and had  3 adorable kids, but she still came back to help for weddings, she worked in my gallery for a while, and now she just filled in for my main assistant during her maternity leave, and she stayed for a year again. So we had a big delicious lunch today (lasagna, pasta, salad, and  lots of good stuff) to thank her for her year with us, again. Hopefully she’ll be back for another wedding, or someone’s maternity leave. She posted  my blog for me every week, and we are going to miss her good cheer, great sense of humor, and sunshiny face in the office. In twenty two years I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in a bad mood. And she was great helping one of my daughters with some of her projects.

So Boo Hoo, farewell to two people I love and will miss…..and happy trails to both of them, until we meet again.

love,  danielle

5/26/14, Memorial Day

Posted on May 26, 2014

Hi everyone,

I’ve had my nose to the grindstone, and been doing some writing, and getting organized for summer. I always seem to forget summer is coming, and then Memorial Day hits me, and I realize Wow!! Here we are…..get ready. I try to get my heaviest work done by Memorial Day, so I can relax a little in the summer, and spend some time with my kids.

I helped one of my daughters get their country house ready for summer, and we threw away dead plants and old wicker furniture that didn’t survive the winter, did some painting, lots of cleaning, washed sun umbrellas, and hauled and dragged broken pots, got rid of weeds, and worked like dogs for a few days, and were excited with the results. The place looked great when we were finished. Her father and I used to do that every year. There is always more work to do on country homes and beach houses to keep them looking nice, but this was a major spring cleaning, which is good to do.

And we’re making summer plans to be together. And I’m trying to wrap up the biggest projects on my desk. So I don’t have anything exciting or glamorous to tell you. I haven’t been to any fashion shows or big parties, or social events. I haven’t seen anyone except my children, and I’ve been chained to my desk, except when I did the big spring cleaning project with my daughter. But these are good projects to do to keep everything in order.

So here comes summer!! I hope yours is shaping up nicely and you’ll get some vacation time in the coming months. I always wind up working a little in the summer now too, since my kids don’t have as much free time as they used to, since they’re all working, and no longer in school. I loved it when we had long summer vacations together, now it’s a little bit of time here and there, but I’m grateful for any time I can spend with them, and that they are willing to spend it with me.

I’ll try to do something more interesting than house cleaning and working at my desk, so I have more exciting things to report to you next week. And I’m actually going to try and take a day off this Memorial Day weekend….Hope yours was great!!!

love, danielle

P.S.  A friend sent me a DVD of a terrific TV series that is popular in Europe. You can get it on DVD in the States, it’s Danish, with English subtitles—-I thought the subtitles would bother me but they didn’t, because the show is so terrific. There are 3 seasons of it available on DVD, and it’s called “Borgen” about a young female prime minister in Denmark, trying to run the country, deal with political intrigues, and manage her family/husband and 2 kids at the same time. I absolutely Love it!!! I’m still a Downton Abbey addict, but I really enjoyed this series, and maybe you would too!!

love, danielle

5/19/14, Tattoo

Posted on May 19, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I just had the ultimate compliment and had to share it with you. This morning I got an email from one of my daughters, it was a photograph of someone’s “Instagram” of a person we don’t know, who had a tattoo of my face (taken from a photo on a book jacket), which went from the top of her thigh to her knee. Above and below it, it said “Everyone reads Danielle Steel” (one of the phrases my publisher uses for my books, and in ads). And the likeness was perfect, an exact replica of the photograph, with every hair and feature. Getting that tattooed on her leg, must have hurt like hell!!!  I’ve never known a man who tattooed my name on his arm, in a heart, or paid tribute to me in a tattoo in any form. But to have a nearly life size likeness of my face tattooed on her whole leg!!—–WOW!!!! That is loyalty from a fan and then some. And I am not making light of it—-I was actually really touched and flattered. I can’t think of anyone I know who would do that!!! It is an amazing tattoo, and I don’t know the person who has it, but I am EXTREMELY touched and honored by it!!! It is astounding and quite spectacular, and an incredible tribute from a fan, and a person who doesn’t even know me!!!

I had to tell you about it. It was truly amazing!!! My daughter was vastly impressed too. Who do you know who has a tattoo of their face on someone else’s leg??? And to the person who has the tattoo, thank you for making such an enormous gesture in my honor!!! I was totally bowled over!!!!

I hope you have a great week!! This was definitely the high point of mine, and the most unusual tribute I’ve ever had.

love, danielle

5/12/14, YPO

Posted on May 12, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I went to a very fun dinner in Paris when I was there, which I wanted to share with you. A French friend had been asked to entertain a group of Americans from Los Angeles, who were members of an organization called YPO. The Young Presidents Organization. The Presidents are between 40 and 45 years old, and there is a second phase, once they pass 45, which I think is called WPO. The friend who gave the dinner recently joined the organization, in the younger group, and I had thought it was a strictly American organization, but I discovered that it exists in France too. I’ve heard about it for years, and assumed it was a businessmen’s association, in order to meet other CEO’s and presidents and make business-related connections. In fact, when the friend had asked me if I thought he should join, I told him I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to make contacts for his career, ‘networking’ as they say. And the group in Paris was there for a vacation, with their wives, my friend knew none of them, and he had agreed to entertain 12 of them at his home, which I thought was brave of him since he didn’t know any of them. And as his wife was away on a trip, I agreed to join him and lend a hand, since I speak English. I didn’t expect it to be an exciting evening, but was happy to help out. An event had been planned for them before dinner, with champagne at Notre Dame Cathedral, where they were going to hike up more than 300 steps to the top of the bell tower. I decided to pass on that, since I don’t drink, and the prospect of a 300 step hike didn’t sound like so much fun to me!!! And I turned up for dinner at my friend’s home at the appointed time.

» read more »

5/5/14, Mother’s Day

Posted on May 5, 2014

Hi Everyone,

This Sunday will be Mother’s Day, which merits some mention, as it is a very special day. Like so many holidays, there can be a bittersweet quality to it. We’ve all had a mother, though some of us may no longer have a mother present with us. And particularly for someone young who has lost their mother, it can be an anguishing reminder of a loved one no longer here. And there are some women who want to be mothers, or wanted to be, and were unable to achieve it for whatever reason, and accepting that fate is a huge challenge for some women, and finding other ways to include children in their lives. And some may still be trying, and are agonizing, wondering if it will ever happen for them. And to complicate matters further, stories are legion about how difficult mother/child relations can be, particularly mother/daughter relations, which unfortunately can be a mine field. So although it seems like a benign, wonderful day, it can be a complicated holiday too. One can end up focusing on the mother one wishes one had, but never did.

I have been very blessed to have many children, 7 children I gave birth to, and 2 stepsons I love like my own sons, so Mother’s Day has always been a BIG deal for us. But even in the happiest, biggest families, there are aspects of Mother’s Day that can be challenging or painful. I lost one son when he was 19, and he is greatly missed on every day, every holiday, and Mother’s Day too. I have wonderful goofy photographs of his last Mother’s Day with us, when he was being silly (as he often was) and made us all laugh. I took a photograph of all the children, and he put on dark glasses and made funny faces. We had a wonderful day, and four months later he was gone, and is sorely missed on Mother’s Day every year. Our Mother’s Days were always wonderful when the kids were little and everyone was at home. I was decked out with macaroni necklaces until I could barely see over them, and Kleenex boxes they decorated for me, and pencil holders made out of soup cans that I still have on my desk today, and cherish. My office is full of the treasures my children made me, handprints and decorated plates, drawings, and jewelry boxes covered in glitter. My computer table is one my youngest son made me out of wood he painted when he was 8.  They were such wonderful times, and everyone made a big effort to come home once they were in college. And eventually, life caught up to us all. Several of my children moved to other cities for their work. I stop in New York to celebrate an early Mother’s Day with two of my daughters every year, and another of my daughters who lives away flies to San Francisco for the weekend without fail. And my two youngest children always spend the day with me. Of the oldest ones, one comes home on some years, the others don’t. I’m grateful that they still come home for Christmas and Thanksgiving, so I can’t insist or complain about Mother’s Day. But it’s different when kids grow up. Lots of things are different then, and you have to adapt to grown up Mother’s Days, even though at first it was hard. I was so spoiled by having all my children with me for so many years, that the transition to their lives as adults is challenging at times. » read more »

4/28/14, Betrayals

Posted on April 28, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I hope life is treating you well!!

I spoke to a friend recently, and I was so distressed by what she told me. She is a lovely, decent, honorable, hard working young woman (and I’ve known her for many years, in business and personally), who was trying to start a business with a friend. She sunk a lot of money into it for her, and she works hard for it and supports a family. And she discovered that the friend, her best friend apparently, took her money, and started the business in secret behind her back, betrayed her, and cut her out. She is now out the money, and just as bad, and sometimes worse, she was double crossed and betrayed by her best friend. When I saw her she was hurt, sad, angry, stunned, shocked.

I’ve been there, and maybe you have too. There is no worse feeling than being betrayed by someone you trust, whether a spouse, a parent, a child, a co-worker, a boss, a friend. And it happens every day. No one wants to live their life in paranoia, believing that evil is lurking around every bend. And for most of us we trust our friends and family, the people we do business with, or employ, or who employ us. Which makes it all the worse when we discover that they weren’t honorable, were frankly dishonest and ripped us off. There are many, many books written these days about sociopaths, who are often hard to detect and play a good game. They prey on honorable, honest, decent people, because if you are, you just don’t expect someone to be dishonest with you and rip you off. And even if they do, if you’re an honorable person, you respond to the betrayal with reason and moderation—-not with the vehemence another sociopath would. I think bad people pick their victims carefully. But it’s so unfortunate it has to happen at all. And it makes you feel heartsick when it happens, for the loss of the friend, as well as whatever they took from you dishonestly, whether it’s a business, money, an opportunity, or even a man. How many times do you hear of a best friend cheating with someone’s husband? It happens too often and is such a rotten thing (for both of them) to do. » read more »

4/21/14, Courage

Posted on April 21, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a good week, that you had a warm family Passover or Easter, or are just having a nice Spring if neither of those religious holidays are part of your life. Religiously, and just philosophically, I have always loved what Easter represents, not the crucifixion, but the resurrection. A renewal, a rebirth, a healing from the challenges we live through, rising from the ashes. It’s about hope that we will survive our difficulties and things will get better again. Whatever one’s religion, or none, it’s a comforting thought.

I just had a wonderful weekend before that, in LA with one of my daughters, to celebrate her birthday. We had a great time, and I always have fun with her in LA. I loved it!!! And as I left LA, she gave me some magazines to flip through on my trip home. And I had a great time browsing through Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Time Magazine, W, Town and Country. I love looking at the fashions, and reading articles that interest me. I wasn’t expecting to find one in Vogue that struck a real chord with me, I was having too much fun looking at the clothes. And then I found one about a fascinating woman. It was an article about an apparently famous political journalist in the l950’s, named Dorothy Thompson. I probably should know about her, or have heard about her, but I don’t know of her. She was greatly respected and apparently in 1939 was named by Time Magazine one of the two most influential women in America, along with Eleanor Roosevelt. She ran a foreign news bureau in Berlin, and apparently stood up to Adolf Hitler, and wrote a book about him, which got her expelled from Germany. From everything the article in Vogue’s Nostalgia section said, she sounded like an amazing, admirable woman. A trail blazer in a major way, at a time when few women worked, most were in the home, and she was apparently a devoted mother and grandmother as well. They mentioned her in Vogue because apparently in the 50’s, she complained that she had nothing decent to wear, and was a size 20. (They commented that in those days a size 12 was considered slim). And apparently Vogue did a whole article at the time, based on putting a wardrobe together for her with half a dozen looks, in her size. But the woman who wrote the article I read went on to say how she had always admired her, and what a gutsy woman Thompson was. It made me think of actresses we admire from those days, who were gutsy too, or appeared to be, Barbara Stanwyck, Rosalind Russell, Katherine Hepburn, women who spoke their minds and had big personalities. Clearly, Dorothy Thompson was not just acting a part, but was the real deal, and just reading about her, I admired her too. The writer said that reading about her had given her courage in her own life, which made me think too. » read more »

4/14/14, “Play Ball”

Posted on April 14, 2014

Hi Everyone,

Just as the fashion shows roll around in Paris every year at the same time, so does Baseball Season in the States. I used to go to baseball games with my late son Nick occasionally, and as of last year, my youngest son has picked up the tradition. He invited me to some games last year, which I thoroughly enjoyed with him. I had a really great time with him, and was very touched when he invited me to Opening Day in San Francisco this year, with my youngest daughter.


First, came the wardrobe issue. The night before the game, I pulled out all the orange sweaters I could find in my closet, orange shoes, an orange bag, a black Giants T shirt my son gave me last year, and black jeans. The colors of the SF Giants are black and orange, and I found a black baseball cap with the team emblem on it in my son’s room, and a team jacket I bought last year in case he invited me to future games. So I was all set to look like a fan—-in Halloween colors!!! (see photos below). The day dawned brilliantly hot and sunny, one of those rare days in SF that feel like real summer, although San Francisco is blessed with very few warm days, and is chilly year round. But Not On Opening Day, it was gorgeous.

My daughter and I went to meet my son and his fiancée at the stadium half an hour before the game was to begin, and the excitement was mounting when we got there. There was a flag ceremony, music blaring, the fans were excited, the stadium was crowded. The fans had turned out en masse to support their team under a hot sun, people were wearing shorts, and it was around 80 degrees. And at one point, Three Coast Guard planes, painted in bright colors flew over us.  And then, red silver and blue streamers were unfurled into the crowd.  It’s obvious how much San Francisco loves its baseball team, and I was thrilled to be there with my son.Max & Danielle @ Giants game

Right before the game began, there was another special moment. The little boy that the city has named Bat Kid, appeared with the adult Batman, in a batmobile and drove slowly around the edge of the field. ‘Batkid’ is a very special little boy, 5 or 6 years old, whose dearest and most cherished wish was made possible last year, with the city’s help, through the Make-A-Wish foundation. A cancer survivor in remission he wanted to be Batman for a day, and in extraordinary fashion, downtown San Francisco was literally transformed into Batman’s City, as almost everyone downtown dressed up, and he even ‘fought some bad guys’ and saved the city. It was far more than a little boy’s dream come true, the city fell so in love with him, and everyone downtown helped make it happen. The Downtown area of SF came to a standstill that day. Today he reappeared as Bat Kid, with Batman, and the adorable little boy, in his Batman costume, walked onto the field to throw the first pitch.  After that touching sight, the National Anthem was sung, and the game was on.

All the usual, colorful sights were in place, the vendors with hot dogs, ice cream, cotton candy, and drinks, threaded their way through the crowd. Everything was festive and exciting as the game began, and the home team didn’t let us down.  The score was 7 to 3, against Arizona, and the fans were cheering loudly, and I was happy as can be with my son and daughter, and future daughter in law.

It was a perfect, gloriously sunny day, on a happy occasion, sharing all the excitement with two of my children. I can’t wait to go to more games this season, if I get invited, and until then, beloved friends, Play Ball!!!!

love,  danielle



4/7/14, New Chapters (2)

Posted on April 7, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you.  Every book must have them, and every life: new chapters. And that’s never been my strong suit. I love the old and familiar, favorite restaurants, favorite places, favorite people, those we know well. I get attached to houses; I even keep my cars forever. New is exciting, but old and familiar feels safe and warm.

My first husband was French, but had an American grandfather, and we came to San Francisco when we were engaged. I was seventeen, ridiculously young, and the grandfather was a remarkable person, who lived to be 103. During our visit to San Francisco, I discovered a remarkable beach that I thought was spectacular. Years later, long after I had moved to San Francisco and we were divorced, I rented a house there for a few weeks. It was a beautiful long stretch of beach, it wasn’t fashionable, it was rugged and simple, natural and peaceful, and I loved it. I remarried, to a man who loved the country, and I spent 20 years spending weekends and summers in the Napa Valley, and it was lovely….but it wasn’t the beach. And I could never ‘sell’ my beloved beach to my husband, who preferred Napa, and the country life there. By then ‘my beach’ had become a bit more fashionable, though not very, and it still had a simple natural feel to it. And finally, divorced and alone again, I looked at some houses at the beach, and my longtime dream came true. I bought a house at the beach I loved. I fell in love with it instantly, and called the house “Coup de Coeur”, which means love at first sight in French. And I spent some wonderful years there, entertained friends, my kids were still at home, and in middle school and high school. They wanted to be in the city with their friends, and I never got to spend a summer at the beach house, but I went there a lot. It was where I went to find peace, or entertain friends, or spend time with my children. It was a happy place and a happy house. I loved it.

Fast forward the film again. The kids have grown up, half of them moved to other cities for their work, and seldom come home because they have jobs and lives somewhere else. And the peaceful beach is too peaceful for them. And 10 years ago, I went back to France, and live there half the year. When I come back to San Francisco, I want to spend time with my kids, who don’t want to go to the beach, understandably. And I’m too busy when I’m home. So the beach house stands empty now, and makes no sense. When I go there, I am still in awe of how beautiful the beach is. The area is more polished now, the real estate more expensive, and it’s as lovely as when I first saw it, and the house cuter than ever, but we just never go there anymore. And owning a house you never go to makes no sense, economically, practically, even emotionally. And I realized recently that it was time to end the chapter, and for someone else to enjoy the house I once fell in love with, but never go to anymore. In recent years, we’ve gone there for a few weekends a year, which makes no sense. So I decided to put the house on the market and sell it.

I only made the decision a few weeks ago. It made perfect sense, and still does. So I dove in, called realtors, and decided to get the house ready to sell, and clear it of our things. I’ve owned the house for 13 years, and in a perfect world, I would love to keep it as a little gem, a wonderful escape to retreat to when I need peace. (But that’s a high price to pay for peace. I can rent a house there for a few weekends a year). In reality, I wont miss it, but I’ll miss the idea of it. Buying a house there was the fulfillment of a dream. It was my happy place. But now I have a life in Paris, and my children are grown up. So I just spent the week at the beach house, emptying closets, reading old notes, finding forgotten treasures, smiling at old photographs, and boxing things up to send to the children, or bring home, and in some cases just throwing things away. It’s the right thing to do, but the right things are not always easy. As much as missing my beach retreat, it marks the passage of time, and reminds one that life has changed and moved on, and what makes sense at one time in our life, no longer makes sense a dozen years later. I am grateful that I was able to have that house, and the fun times we had there. When I had my art gallery, I used to invite all my artists and their partners out for a beach day once a year, and we had a ball.

I finished getting the house ready to sell today, and it was bittersweet. It looked wonderful when I left it, and it may not sell for a while, so we’ll get to enjoy it a few more times. But I have put it out there, for someone else to fall in love with it at first sight. To me, houses are like romance, you can walk into 50 houses, and they do nothing for you, and then you walk into The One, the right one for you, and you know it instantly.  I hope that happens to someone when they see my beach house, it’s time to pass the baton to someone else, who will enjoy it, and spend happy times there, and watch their children grow up there. And then it will be someone else’s turn. It would be greedy and foolish to hang onto a house I no longer use, so I am setting it free, to be loved and enjoyed by others who will spend more time there, and have as much fun there as I once did. The chapter of my life at that beach is over. I had the dream, and now it’s time for the chapter to end. Paris is where I go for fun now, and to relax, and spend time with friends, and with my children when they visit me. I will miss the idea of the beach house, more than the reality.

So I spent the week packing boxes, and tucking away memories. The chapter ends. And a new one begins. The house isn’t sold yet, and will be put on the market in the next few weeks. And the new chapter will be full of surprises, and whatever life has in store. I’m grateful for the 13 years I had there. And now a new chapter will begin.

love, Danielle

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