I’m working hard on a new book, so have a wonderful week and check back with me next Monday!
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!
Posted on January 18, 2016
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
Posted on August 31, 2015
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!!!
Posted on August 3, 2015
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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Posted on October 20, 2014
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
Posted on September 8, 2014
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!!
Posted on August 4, 2014
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.
Posted on June 23, 2014
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 »
Posted on January 13, 2014
I just read the comments on my blog, and I have tears in my eyes. You are so kind to me, so generous, so full of praise, so compassionate and caring about the things I do or that happen to me. Rather than follow some other topic, I wanted to respond to all of you today, to thank you for the lovely messages you write to me, and to tell you what it means to me. I write the stories that come to my head and heart, some inspired by my own experiences, some not, I write and edit them for at least two years, and then they get published and go out in the world to you, and I have no way of knowing what they mean to you, until I see comments like the ones you leave on this blog. So it is so heart-warming to me to know that you love the books, and enjoy them, and they are either helpful or meaningful to you. Thank you with all my heart for your comments. Truly, you warm my heart, and make the long, long hours of hard work late into so many nights worthwhile!!
A few of you asked direct questions. I felt terrible about the lady who got a very old paperback book of mine which was defectively printed and had about 20 missing pages, and wanted to know what to do about it. Since it’s one of my early books, there’s not much anyone can do about it now, although it’s good for us to know. Hopefully, you can find another copy of the book somewhere. I’m REALLY sorry that happened!!!
Someone else asked if I work from an outline. Yes, I do. I get an idea, I scribble notes about it on a big notepad. The theme of the book starts to come clear, and then I start outlining the characters, who would be in that story, what would they bring to it, why are they in that situation, what is their background. I need to ‘know’ who their parents and grandparents are, how they grew up, to make them react the way they do and who they are. I outline all the characters in the book, and then I spend hours figuring out the right names for them. I have a whole shelf of “What to Name the Baby” books. And then when I really ‘know’ my characters, I outline the story, broadly, and then finally chapter by chapter. The more detailed the outline is, the clearer the story will be to me when I actually write the book. If I’m too vague, it slows me down later on, so I have to figure it out. I discuss it once or twice with my editor, and she makes comments about the direction I’m going. Sometimes I agree with her, and sometimes I don’t, and she’s very, very good at what she does. I always have some kind of message I want to share with you, in addition to the story. For instance, in my newest hardcover “Winners”, each of the people involved in the story have had some very bad situation in their lives: a divorce, breast cancer, a failed business, the loss of a loved one/spouse, as well as the heroine’s accident who becomes paralyzed from the waist down at the beginning of the book. Her life was ski racing, as a member of the US Olympic ski team. She is 17 years old in the book. In fighting to get back her life after the accident, her courage inspires each of the other people in the book, and helps them fight the good fight against what has happened to them. We all face those challenges in different ways. We EACH have our challenges, the loss of a job, or someone we love, a failed marriage, a failed business, loss of a career (getting laid off), a sick child, a discouraging time, financial worries, the loss of a friend, family troubles, or kids acting out and out of line, our spouse or partner having an affair. Stuff happens, as they say. This book is about courage, and fighting against the odds to get our lives back in a good place again. It’s never easy, but in almost every situation, we can turn it around in some way, maybe not in the way we originally thought, but sometimes even better than before. Anyway, once I get the story outlined in detail, and I know my characters really well, and the ‘message’ of the book is clear to me, then the outline is done, and I can start the book. The outline can take me a month if the story is very clear to me, or up to a year. And the book takes about 2 years, allowing time for about 5 or 6 re-writes on it. It’s a long process, which is why I work on several books at once. So that’s how I do it.
Have all the stories in the books happened to me? No. Some have. Some haven’t. And sometimes I take an experience that did happen to me, and use the emotions of that and apply them to another situation. I have to write about things I care about, so I can make the story real. We all deal with different variations of the themes I write about, the challenges, the heartbreaks, the disappointments, the hopes, the joys. Things happen in all of our lives. I’ve been married, I have a lot of children, I’ve been divorced, I lost a son, as most of you know. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to have life experiences and learn from them. We all have. Our humanity and what has happened to us is the bond we share. The emotions in a book have to be real to me. And I try to write about things I know. And even about places I know. When I don’t know a place, an industry, or a time in history, I research it very, very carefully, and I have a wonderful researcher I have worked with for my whole career, so she teaches me about the places, industries, and periods of history I don’t know. The whole process is a labor of love.
And for those of you who want me to sign your books, I wish I could. But it would be too complicated to send them all back to people all over the world. I get fan mail through the website of my publisher at daniellesteel.com and if you ask for a signed photograph, I can send you that, autographed to whoever you want. I’m sorry I can’t sign your books!!
You have all proven to me that why I did this website originally was a good idea. Because I do so few interviews, and like keeping a low profile, I felt that I had so little opportunity to ‘chat’ and connect with you on a more personal level, to share my thoughts, and personal experiences with you. It is so wonderful to know that you enjoy sharing that with me, that you enjoy this blog, and that what I write is meaningful to you. thank you for your wonderful comments, for your kindness to me, and for being part of my life. I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me, and how much YOU mean to me. I am sooooo grateful for you!!!
Posted on November 11, 2013
Until today, I’ve done three book signings in my writing life. The first one was right after my first book was published, and I got booked into what looked like a big drug store (I was about 21 years old, and had just had published the book I wrote at 19). It was in Gilroy, California, at the time of the Garlic Festival (the smell of garlic was overwhelming as I signed), and the mayor at the time tried to kiss me. It was an interesting introduction into the world of book signings. And I was never very inclined to do book signings, and did no publicity at all for my books in those days. I spent my time writing, and taking care of my children. I never went on tour or on the road for my books. I didn’t really have time, and preferred to be at home writing, and with the kids. And I didn’t do interviews either then.(And still rarely do them now.)
My second book signing was in Chicago a while later. I can’t even remember how I got roped into it. There were two other authors scheduled to be signing books, at a book store, and somehow the people who arranged it, failed to mention that both of the other authors were very unusual and admirable people. One was a Viet Nam vet who had lost all four limbs, and had written a book about his experiences. The other was a fairly well known author whose courage I had admired, who had been severely abused and sequestered as a child, had survived it, and gone on to be a writer, and she too had suffered damage to her limbs. Not to sound disrespectful, but it was somewhat startling at the time, because both of these remarkable people signed their books with a pen they held in their teeth. And I sat between them, feeling odd and guilty because I could sign my books with a pen held in my hand. They were both interesting to talk to, but it was a very unusual experience. » read more »