Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

1/17/23, A Great Vintage

Posted on January 17, 2023

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is going well for you, and that you’re cozily tucked in, in the winter weather, doing whatever you like to do, read or write, or catch up on things. I always write a lot at this time of year, which is what I’m doing. I just finished a book and will start another one soon. I’m still settling in after two hectic months of travel, my dining room looked like a bomb hit it this week, with half open half unpacked suitcases. I’m finally unpacked, and writing long, long hours, catching up on work. I like staying home and writing in the cold weather, hibernating.

I seem to be the messenger of bad news these days, but I am noticing that a particularly great vintage of men and women are quietly disappearing. Some of them the people that mentored me in my youth, they were middled aged when I started writing and publishing in my teens. And now, in their 90’s, they seem to be disappearing one by one. As I’ve mentioned before, my agent of 40 years passed away in May, Mort Janklow. He was a giant in the literary world, probably one of the most famous literary agents who ever lived. The lessons he taught me, as a person and a writer were invaluable. He was unique in the world, and very famous in his own right. He was the agent for some of the biggest fiction and non-fiction writers, and almost every president who ever wrote a book in his lifetime. He was 92 when he died in May. And two weeks ago, Barbara Walters who was also a dear friend passed away at 93. Another giant, one of the most important journalists who ever lived, who changed the face of TV news and became the first female TV news anchor. And the subjects of her interviews were actors, movie stars, writers, presidents, kings and queens. She was legendary, an incredible woman. I admired her immeasurably, and loved her dearly, as I did my agent. And this weekend, my German brother in law, Carl Hahn, passed away at 96. He was one of the most famous industrialists in Europe, and maybe the world. He was the head of Volkswagen world wide for 39 years, and helped to make it famous worldwide. he was always travelling to underdeveloped countries to help them grow their economies. He founded hospitals, museums, he travelled the globe, and was an extraordinary person. Along with mourning them, and missing them, I am fascinated by these people and always have been. Carl looked 20 or 30 years younger than his age, ramrod straight, until a year or two ago, he bicycled 30 or 40 miles a day just as exercise.

I am fascinated by these people and their common traits. They’re not of my generation, they are of my parents’ and in some cases even my grandparents’ generation. And I am struck by the traits they had in common. They had incredible energy and drive, were forward thinking. They built things, they had a vision of a better world in future and acted on it. They were youthful, and timeless. While others slowly collapsed and complained about their aches and pains, they kept on tirelessly, full of energy, still changing the world into their 80’s and 90’s. they didn’t have time to get old, so they never did.. Barbara retired well into her 80’s, Mort never did by 92. Carl retired from Volkswagen at whatever age he was required to, and went on working just as hard for world causes and serving on boards around the world until his death at 96. What was it about that generation that gave them such incredible strength and energy, and such a profound desire to improve the world. Barbara changed the face of TV news, and changed it for all the women who came after her. Carl left underdeveloped countries a better place. I once had dinner with Jimmy Carter, long after he was President, and he had that same kind of drive and energy and vision, and was doing many charitable things in Africa, and he was of that same vintage.

It seems to me that that generation was dedicated to building a better world. They changed things, they invented things, they opened doors to new vistas and new horizons. My own generation wanted to have fun, They wanted to go to parties, have sexual freedom, have a good time and make big money. They wanted things to be easy. And the youngest generations now, the counter and cancel culture want to cancel what has existed until now, but they have not figured out yet what to replace it with. They want to tear down, whereas the much earlier generations wanted to build. Maybe living through the depression and a world war made them stronger and more creative and more determined to build things. The people I have met in their 90’s now are a remarkable group of people. I met a female documentary maker and writer a few years ago, an amazing woman who had survived 5 concentration camps in her teens, and the deaths of her entire family during the war. She had more energy than anyone in the room, had just won an award for one of her films, and was celebrating a new book, and she died last year at 90. That age group, and those who have survived that long are an extraordinary group of people. I am in awe of their accomplishments and feel like a sloth compared to them.

I think some of the answers are to build and not tear down just for the sake of tearing down, to improve the world for others, to have dreams and follow them, to have purpose and perseverance, and to change what is wrong in our society. It’s a tall order. And as one by one that generation quietly leave us now, they leave us their legacy , to leave the world a better place one day because of them. I am sad to see them go, we still need them and their positive energy, and I am in awe of what they leave us to do. They serve as a powerful example, their shoes are hard to fill, and they leave us to carry the torch into the future. May we prove to be equal to the tasks they left us. They are inspiring us to be better people. I hope I will be equal to a fraction of what they have done one day.

We have a lot of work ahead of us!!! Have a great week!!!

love, Danielle

12/5/22, Three weeks to go…

Posted on December 5, 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are making it to the finish line of Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate, with a minimum of stress. Although I start my Christmas shopping in August every year (I put a lot of time and thought into the gifts I give to the people I love), I still have some stragglers on my list, and have a few people I need more presents for, so I’m keeping my eye out for special gifts.

For me, Christmas is both family and religious, with the emphasis on both. And I came across one of my favorite Bible stories last week, the 5 loaves and 2 fishes (or is it the reverse??) that fed thousands, which is always a great reminder for me. So often we think we don’t have enough, especially of time and money. We’re so rushed with the things we HAVE to do, deadlines, obligations, the tasks we set for ourselves or others do. We look at our To Do lists and think we’ll never get it all done in time, and just when we get our budget balanced, a whopping bill shows up—-someone who forgot to bill you, or decided to hit you with three months of bills at once, or a major car repair, a leaky roof, or unexpected dental expense, or something we really want to get or do for our kids (or even ourselves) and is a real stretch. And miraculously, somehow we get it all done, and even pay the extra bill. We are all, or most of us, afflicted by the thought of “not enough”, not enough friends or time or love, or fun things to do. And I am amazed at times at how small precious moments count, an hour with a friend or a child, or even a smile, or unexpected kind gesture changes the balance from lack to abundance.

I am enormously disciplined about my work and things I have to do. Since childhood, I do the ‘homework’ first, and the fun stuff last. And too often, there is no time left for the fun stuff, or for myself. The holidays are a great time to remember to do the fun stuff too, and not leave that out. Duty and homework are important, but so is the fun stuff, the warm moments that really count and make a difference in your life. Treat yourself, be good to yourself, take a moment to do something that makes you happy. It will change your perspective on the day, and on life.

So in these final days before the holidays, take a breath, take time out, cherish every moment and those you care about, and remember the loaves and the fishes…..there will be enough time and everything you need to get to the holidays with everything you need, and want to do for yourself and others. Have a GREAT week full of joy and love and happy moments.

love, Danielle

11/14/22, “The Crown”

Posted on November 14, 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you, and that you’ve had some good times and some fun in the last week.

In the mad rush of time toward the holidays now, things seem to be moving fast, with a lot to do and a lot going on. I’ve been writing steadily, and working on a re-write this week, my second draft of a book, refining and correcting it. Thanksgiving is only a week away—-wow!!! already!!! And I hope you have plans that you are comfortable with and happy about. What I love about Thanksgiving is that it is a holiday dedicated to gratitude and giving thanks, and it’s nice to take a moment to do just that. It kind of gets our perspective on life headed in the right direction again (AND the stuffing!!!! The stuffing is my favorite part of the meal. Yum!!!)

This week will be exciting, because I will be on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts, which is always a special treat for me. She is an absolutely wonderful person and I love her as a dear friend, so it will be a treat to be on the show with her!!!

And I gave myself a treat this week—-the 5th Season of The Crown came out on Netflix, and I binge watched it for 2 nights, and had a ball with it. Six hours the first night, and four hours the second. And I had a great time. I really enjoyed this season!!! And it was fun to take two nights off from work.

I hope that all is going well for you!! Have a great week!!!!

love, Danielle

11/7/22, Time is Flying

Posted on November 7, 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you, and everything is going smoothly. Where does the time go? It seems like only days ago, it was early September and we were easing into fall after the summer. And now you blink, and it’s November. November!! Halloween is over, and Thanksgiving is two weeks away. That doesn’t seem possible. But there it is.

I have been buried in work, so not paying attention to the Fall speeding by. I am currently working on a first draft, and two re-writes (of a final draft, and a set of galleys/text proofs). This time of year is always heavy writing season for me. And I’m back on schedule. I felt slowed down after the Pandemic last year, but am back at my usual pace again.

I hope your holiday plans are shaping up as you want them to. Once our kids are grown we have to be flexible and understanding about their schedules, their jobs, their in laws, their lives. Only two of my children are coming home for Thanksgiving, but I’m grateful to have them. And all except one are coming home for Christmas. It’s VERY hard to get everyone together once they have flown the nest and have commitments of their own, particularly once they are married and have another family to consider. So I’m grateful for the time we get and the holidays we can share.

I know how challenging holidays can be. People live far from their families now and work in other cities. Travel is expensive and employers not always amenable to employees taking extra time off to make travel work. So many people are not with their families on Thanksgiving, or any of the holidays. It’s a great time to reach out to people we know will be alone, far from their home bases and families. Before I married and had so many children, I remember a lonely Thanksgiving alone in a city that was new to me then. I read in a religious article a quote from the Bible that said “God places the solitary in families”. And he did. I had a lovely Thanksgiving, invited by new people I barely knew but were incredibly kind to me. A year later I was married and had a joyous Thanksgiving. And not long after that, a few years later, I had a family of my own. And I certainly was put in a big family, and was no longer solitary!!!

If this is an off year for you, if your plans are not shaping up as you hoped, try to be flexible about what plans are available, or even reach out to others in your same situation, who don’t have their own families to be with this year. Oddly, the years I expected to be the most difficult, have almost always turned out to be the most fun, in a completely free-form unexpected way. We may not get our typical traditional holiday, but maybe it will be even more special when you least expect it.

I hope you’ll have a wonderful, warm, loving Thanksgiving however you choose to spend it, and with whom. It’s a time to give thanks for our blessings, and sometimes our blessings don’t show up exactly as we thought they would, but it may turn out to be even better than you hoped, especially if you reach out to someone else.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, with much love, Danielle

10/31/22, Why?

Posted on October 31, 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a good week, and have some fun planned for Halloween. Good, safe fun!!! Please be careful if you go trick or treating.

Halloween has always been a huge deal at our house. With nine children, you can imagine how exciting and fun that was on Halloween when they were little. Costumes planned for weeks, going trick or treating, seeing the fun spooky decorations neighbours had set up, and counting their candy loot at the end of the night, and trading each other for the candy they liked best.

On a more serious subject, I am shocked and saddened by the attack on Paul Pelosi at his home by a deranged intruder, brutally attacked with a hammer, with a cracked skull, a damaged arm and long hours of surgery as a result. Regardless of one’s politics, politics are irrelevant, this is a shocking attack on an innocent person, of a considerable age (he is 82) by a deranged attacker. The assailant could easily have killed him.

One of the things that shocks me most is the dramatic increase in violence since the pandemic. I truly don’t understand how that can be the outcome of more than two years of the pandemic. We all lived through something frightening and terrible, almost like a war waged on us by an unseen enemy. Many didn’t survive, many lost homes, jobs, and loved ones. It would seem that such an incredibly hard time would lead to greater compassion, and kindness toward one’s fellow man. Instead, there have never been more shootings, more violence, more brutal attacks, and crime. Mass shootings are no longer a rare occurrence, instead they happen every day, and the only thing that changes is the number of victims and the name of the location where it occurred. People are being mugged and attacked in broad daylight, stores are being robbed, and people are being killed by assault weapons, by teen agers, with military style weapons that are in wide circulation. Economic circumstances are hard, but not enough so to justify mass crime on an alarming scale, or the murder of innocent people during house invasions. Why is the overriding response to the stress of the pandemic one of violence, hostility, aggression and even murder. What during those hard scary two+ years has led to such an explosion of anger instead of compassion. We were punished enough by Covid, without having the aftermath make it even worse, with people turning on each other with killing sprees and destruction. I just don’t see how that has become the result, or why. Most of us came out of the two years of lockdowns, worry and sickness, exhausted, somewhat demoralized and many depressed. PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has become commonplace,—–but so have violence and mass shootings.

It seems to be a noticeable reaction in every city, in every country—-and perhaps worse in the US, because fire arms are so readily available. But crime and violence have increased abroad too, even if not to the extreme degree as in the US.

I remember the somber days after 9/11, with the country in shock over being attacked on their own soil. There was a loss of innocence realizing it could happen. New York was like a deserted city in mourning for months, and the rest of the country was quiet and sad for a long time. But it made people kinder to each other, more helpful, more supportive, reaching out to each other in shared sorrow. Why is that not happening now? We have always faced disasters with kindness and compassion for fellow victims, I think this is the first time that instead of a helping hand, people are the victims of violent crimes and being injured and murdered.

If there is an explanation for it, I don’t know it. And we stand aghast at what is happening, the additional tragedies being added to those of Covid, and the lonely pain of the lockdowns. I hope that this is only temporary, and we are not descending into the hell of violence and crime for a long stay. We all need to heal from the pandemic, not fear for our lives every day. Untreated mentally ill people are roaming the streets freely, and common criminals are having a field day. I hope this stops now. It is the exact opposite of the comfort, healing and peace we need after 3 years of fighting Covid, and struggling to stay alive….only to be murdered when we go to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread. The violence needs to stop now, whatever the reason for it beginning. It needs to end so we can all heal from these very hard three years and return to some semblance of normal. And we cant allow violence, crime and murder to become our new normal.

Have a great week, and a fun Halloween if you celebrate it. And above all, stay safe!!!

love, Danielle

10/17/22, Writing…

Posted on October 17, 2022

Busy writing stories! Back to you soon!

10/3/22, Hope in the Sky

Posted on October 3, 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been a VERY busy time, I finished writing my 200th book a week ago. It is definitely a landmark, and I wrote my first book at 19. It’s been a long, interesting road to get here, and I still love what I do. Writing is a wonderful way to share thoughts and stories and hopes and dreams and life experiences with the people who read them. I LOVE varying my subjects, and I’m excited about the next books coming out, to share with you.

I am VERY excited that ONE WEEK from today, my new hardcover The High Notes is coming out. It’s one of those books/stories that really snagged my heart while I wrote it. It’s about a young girl with an incredible singing voice, with no mother and a single father, who exploits her talent. With little regard for her, she is an innocent child with an amazing gift, he drags her from one dusty Texas town to the next, and has her singing in dingy bars, to stunned audiences once they hear her. She’s 12 once he starts booking her into bars, she eventually lands in Las Vegas at 18, gets booked into tours by disreputable managers who exploit her and the other young musicians and singers on tour. It’s the hard life of beginning a career in the music world, travelling all day, singing all night, setting up the sound and lights and stage, working in miserable conditions, and her slow but stunning rise to enormous fame and how she got there, and the success she worked so hard for and deserves. I hope you fall in love with her, as I did, and it will open a whole new world of what that climb to the top looks like!!!

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, with happy surprises, peaceful moments, problems easily solved, people around you who you love, and who love you and treat you well. I hope it is an easy week for you. I’ve been focusing a lot on gratitude lately. It seems to make everything go better than worrying about all the things that aren’t going right.

I saw a beautiful rainbow the other day. rainbows are supposed to be good luck. So I’m sharing the one I saw with you—–I hope you have a lucky week ahead,

much love, Danielle

9/26/22, REALLY?

Posted on September 26, 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a good week, and it hasn’t been too difficult. We’ve all watched the British royal family suffer nobly through eleven days of agonizingly exhausting highly emotional ceremonies surrounding their queen’s funeral, and not just a Queen, but a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. And on the final days, they had at least 12 hours daily of marching, walking, sitting, listening, and wiping away tears, under the constant scrutiny of the Press. We watched the new King, with all the stress and pressure that must entail, watch his mother’s casket being lowered into the crypt. My daughter was so moved by it that she couldn’t stop crying. Imagine how he felt, with billions of people watching him at such a private, heartbreaking moment, watching his mother disappear. And in our own family, it was the anniversary of my son’s death this week, the day after the Queen’s funeral. It’s a day that breaks my heart every year, and my family’s. Last week was not an easy week for any of us. And I hope this week will be better.

What struck me reading some of the press coverage of the funeral was how critical some people are. What has happened to us that people are so free and easy with saying nasty things about other people, with such fervor!!! Where do we get off being so tough on everyone else? Who made us the arbiters of fashion, taste and everything else? I read a flood of nasty comments about the headpiece (fascinator) that Mrs. Biden wore to the funeral. I have no political stake in it, and I actually thought it looked nice on her. I read a flood of comments that it was inappropriate at a funeral—-WHO SAID??? If you looked at the crowd, there were every kind of hats, some gorgeous (Princess Kate’s on the day of the funeral), some beautiful, some silly or funny, and some ugly, and I would guess that about 10% of them were wearing headpieces just like Mrs. Biden’s. Let’s be real here, they had to go to a state funeral where they would be under total scrutiny, which means that people would be commenting on whether her suit was appropriate, if she looked fat or thin in it, how much did she spend on it. She had a long flight to London, had to emerge from the plane looking chic and well dressed, no matter how tired she was, or if she slept or not (I look a complete MESS when I get off a plane), and she had to go straight from the plane to the funeral, while worrying how she looked to cameras, if people thought she looked okay or if she got a run in her stocking—–and people were upset about her headband? which I repeat, I thought looked both appropriate and chic. But what is wrong with us? Where is our compassion and our sympathy, we don’t care how tired she might have been, or nervous, or sad—-and people have to complain about her headband?? WHY? How do you look getting off a plane, how do you feel going to a funeral where you will be videoed for hours and everyone will have some comment to make about your outfit? Why can’t we give people a break? We live in a cult of fame and celebrity, where every waking moment is on Instagram or Facebook or some form of social media, and all we do is criticize how people look, how their hair looked, how big their bottom is, how ugly their dress was. Do we really HAVE to criticize every move that people make, what they wear, what they eat, who they date, and how bad their hair looks. I think it’s time to back off and show a little compassion—-and think how complicated our own lives are, and realize that other people’s lives are just as complicated or more so, and what their headgear looks like really doesn’t matter. How great would you look coming off an all night plane ride, with a big time difference, heading into a state funeral where EVERYONE is going to comment on what you’re wearing, how you look and what you’re doing. I think it’s time that we give each other a break. You didn’t like Mrs. Biden’s fascinator? Ok, then don’t buy one just like it, and next time you go to a funeral, make sure that you look perfect, and wear a hat. Let’s lighten up on the nasty criticism…..it will make life a little or a lot better. Have a great week, and let’s try to be nice to each other.

love, Danielle

9/19/22, A week of goodbyes

Posted on September 19, 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope that the week has gone smoothly for you. In the UK, US, Europe, and countries around the world, the news is full of the ceremonies and tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth the II. Her seventy year reign has left her subjects deeply saddened to lose her, and she has touched hearts around the world with her deep devotion to her duty and her subjects. She began as one of the youngest queens at twenty five, and ended as one of the oldest still working queens at ninety six. And whatever one’s politics, her humanity touched millions as much as her majesty. And all of the ceremonies paying tribute to her are deeply touching, as Queen, mother, grandmother, great grandmother. Beyond the pomp and ceremony and traditions is the love of her country and the admiration of the entire world, and the loved ones she left behind who are moving through the proceedings with dignity and grace.

The world will be watching her funeral today, and it must be exhausting and emotionally draining for her family to share their grief so publicly, while honoring her.

I have an odd tie to the date, which is emotional for me as well. On Tuesday, the day after the Queen’s funeral is the anniversary of the death of my son Nick. It’s a hard day for my family every year. He died at nineteen, by suicide, after a lifetime of bi polar disease. He was a brave, wonderful, brilliant, talented, funny adorable boy, and although we miss him every day, these anniversary days are always particularly hard. You never get used to them. There is no easy way to spend these days. I usually try to spend part of the day with some of my children, but on some years that’s complicated, and I will be alone on his anniversary date this year, the day after the Queen’s funeral. And tuesday will be a quiet day for me, with thoughts of Nick, and memories of a very challenging day. We have honored his memory with a foundation dedicated to funding organizations that provide hands on treatment to people who suffer from mental illness. And all we can do is remember those we have lost on these anniversaries, cherish their memories, remember the wonderful times we shared and go forward into the future, doing good for others in their name.

Whether as public as the Queen’s funeral, or as private as my son Nick’s anniversary, they are days filled with the love that we shared with them in their lifetimes, may they be long remembered for the joy they gave us and the love and blessings we shared.

I hope it will be a peaceful week for you, with much love, Danielle

9/6/22, Sailing into Fall

Posted on September 6, 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend, to celebrate the end of summer, and now we all get back to ‘real life’ in the fall. The summer vacation is over, kids are back in school, and the pace will pick up quickly as we slide into September. I love the fall, the energy, and the excitement of getting back to work!!!

In the fashion world, everyone involved in fashion is preparing the shows for Fashion Week, which I always say is really fashion month, since it begins in New York, then moves on to London, Milan, and Paris at the end of the month, with a week in each city dedicated to the designers of each country, with fabulous shows on the runway. Preparations are happening now with fittings on the models, and the final touches on the collections. Two of my daughters, Vanessa and Victoria are hard at work on their shows, working incredibly long hours, to show fashion editors and buyers the collections for next season. It’s an exciting time in fashion, and happens twice a year, in fall and Spring. And the Haute Couture shows are in June and July. It’s always exciting to see the new collections, and what each designer is showing for next season. It’s a dazzling way to start the fall, with runway shows by all the big designers, and new ones, and parties to celebrate the event!!

And I’m working on a new book, which will keep me busy, and get the fall off to a good start.

My new book “The Challenge” has been out for two weeks, and was #2 on the New York Times bestseller list this past Sunday. I love that book, and hope you’ll love it too, about the rescue of 7 young teens lost on the most dangerous mountain in the US, and the daring rescue to find them and bring them home, and the impact on their families and the town of Fishtail, Montana, as even the National Guard is brought in to try to save the missing kids. I hope you’ll find time to read it. And my next book will be out in October, “The High Notes”, about a young girl with an incredible voice, who began her singing career at twelve, in bars, in the dusty small towns in Texas, and her arduous climb to success. It’s a behind the scenes look at the hardships of the music business, and what it takes to reach fame and stardom. And I hope you love that book too.

Have a great week as we sail into the fall. I hope it’s a great week for you and gets the season off to a great start!!!

lots of love, Danielle