Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

10/20/14, TWO Exciting New Books!!!

Posted on October 20, 2014

Hi Everyone!!!

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

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

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

Lots and LOTS of love, danielle

Filed Under Books, Dogs | 8 Comments

8/4/14, Pretty Minnie: Heads Up

Posted on August 4, 2014

Hi Everyone,

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

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

Take care,

love, danielle

Filed Under Books, Dogs | 7 Comments

3/17/14, Cinderella After the Ball.

Posted on March 17, 2014

Hi Everyone

First of all, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you who are of Irish descent. In the international mix of my ancestry (Portuguese, Spanish, German, French), I can’t make any claim to Irish, so it’s not my holiday. I think there was an English great grandfather somewhere on my mother’s side, but that’s about it. It’s always such a festive day, so if you’re Irish, or want to celebrate with them, have a Great Day!!!

Other than that, life is getting back to normal after the glamour of fashion week in Paris, and the real excitement of being decorated with the Legion of Honor. Now I get to wear the little red ribbon on my clothes that identifies me as a Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honor (and a miniature of the medal for special events). It’s a big distinction in France, and I’m wearing the red ribbon with much pride. But then after the honor, and the ceremony, and the fashion shows, you go back to real life. Someone has to take out the garbage, sometimes me, feed the dogs, go to the dry cleaner, and do all the mundane stuff we all do. I had a lot of work to do this week, taxes are due, money is tight, kids have problems, dogs get sick. Two of our family’s dogs had surgery this week, which worried me. And I had to grind through all the stuff that wears you out, worries you, and is a LOT less fun than being decorated, and watching a fashion show by Chanel or Dior. Welcome to real life!!! It can’t be a party every day, and I’m lucky that it’s fun some of the time. Getting the Legion of Honor really thrilled me, and it’s a once in a lifetime event!!! I will cherish the memory of it forever, and loved sharing it with my children who were here.

I had a classic French experience this week. I pay my phone and internet bills by automatic transfer from my bank, which is easier than writing one more check every month. And lo and behold, I discovered that six months ago, the phone company and my bank got in an ‘argument’, a disagreement over procedures, so my bank stopped making the transfers, but never told me. The phone company wasn’t getting paid, and didn’t tell me. And yesterday I had one of those nightmare days where modern communication was vital: I had to do some things with my bank in California, had some important business to do with my agent, one of my children needed advice, another was travelling, I was emailing and calling people in several countries, doing business, and needed phone and Internet vitally. And guess what? All my phone and internet services went dead. Just like that, one minute a string of emails, and the next, a total black out. What happened??? I couldn’t figure it out, except a notice on my screen said I hadn’t paid my bill. Impossible!! Well not so impossible. I called the bank, who blamed the phone company for not complying with their ‘norms’ so they stopped paying them. I called the phone company who told me to get another bank. And guess who got squeezed in the middle with no phone or Internet service on a day I REALLY needed it??? Me, of course. What a crazy, ridiculous situation. So I paid my bill by credit card on the phone, and they promised that sometime 2 days later, I would get service back. Oh Great. And 2 days with no communication at all, and my whole life was conducted by cell phone. How crazy is that? While the phone company and my bank were throwing rocks at each other, I got bonked on the head and stunned into silence. It made for a VERY annoying day!!!! And I was really mad. Other than that misadventure, I love France, and Paris. The weather has been gorgeous and spring like and makes one dream.

So it’s back to real life for me. I may be a Knight now, but the phone company wasn’t impressed. My dogs aren’t impressed, I have to feed them now, and take out the garbage….and do some work….then I’ll do the dishes…..some laundry….I feel just like Cinderella after the ball!!!

love, Danielle


12/16/13, True Confessions, or Blue Confessions

Posted on December 16, 2013

Hi Everyone,

Okay. I have a confession to make. And if you’re expecting something juicy and sexy, you’ll be disappointed. I indulged myself shockingly about 2 months ago, and it has taken me 2 months to confess it. But now, here I go.

Two years ago now, before Thanksgiving, I was looking to find a dog to travel with me. I had been looking for months, and needed a very small dog that I could take on and off planes, in a travel bag in the cabin.Minnie And eventually, after months of searching, true love happened. I fell in love with a TINY (less than one pound) white long haired Chihuahua that was the cutest thing I have ever seen. As an aside, I find that once adult, or perhaps as young adults, children take a hard line with their parents. My children’s mantra is “You don’t need that!” Oh. Whatever it may be. Another purse in a weird color, another pair of high heeled black shoes (a woman can never have too many pairs of black shoes, particularly high heels), some piece of furniture I decide I want….or even a person I want in my life, as friend, employee, or other. In their opinion, a parent is a loving service bureau, with a crisis hot line 24/7. We don’t really need a social life, even less a man if we’re single, besides that would only interfere with our availability. We need to be poised at the ready at all times, and anything you do that could distract from that poses a threat to them. So forget boyfriends, high heels, a silly dress you want desperately, friends in some cases, and other distractions. You are to be standing ready to leap, fully focused at all times. In the case of the adorable white chihuahua I fell in love with, only one daughter (of all my kids, and I have many) was supportive of my getting her. The others were all outraged. What do you need a dog for? The idea that a parent might be lonely, sad, need company, or need even a doggie pal to talk to after the kids grow up and leave is totally foreign to them. It’s not mean-spirited, I suspect, it just never occurs to them that you might be lonely or have needs too, other than just being a parent. MinnieIn any case, I bravely ignored their stern critical comments and disapproval, was grateful for the support of the one daughter, and fell totally in love with Minnie Mouse, my adorable white Chihuahua, who is now 2 years old, one of the great dog loves of my life, terrific company and super affectionate, and weighs 2 pounds full grown. She is totally pampered and loved, (has a ridiculous wardrobe of tiny pink sweaters) and makes me happy. She has kept me company on many a long, lonely night, and travels everywhere with me. (you can read all about her and my other dogs over the years in my current little gift book “Pure Joy”, which came out last month, and is a fun gift for any dog lover. I love that little book and am very proud of it. And it has 40 photos in it, of my dogs and my kids’ dogs, and some dogs I have given to friends).

Fast forward the film 2 years to this past October, almost exactly 2 years after I found Minnie in a pet shop in NY. I was doing an errand for one of my daughters, and on a whim, “for old times’ sake”, I stopped in at the same pet store, “just to look”. “Just to look” at anything usually turns out to be a lie. Somewhere in my heart of hearts, there must have been a tiny window open, just big enough for a new puppy. Oh oh. Big Uh oh!!! I’d been back to that pet store before, for supplies, and saw the usual cute puppies, none of whom snagged my heart. But they know me at that store, and just as they did with Minnie, two years before, they came out of the back room carrying a 14 oz., eight week old short haired “Blue” Chihuahua (a kind of steely blue gray, a very rare color). She was ridiculously small, and once again looked like a mouse. I held her for a few minutes, and whereas Minnie had been timid and shy, this puppy was adventuresome and brave and funny, and fearless once we set her down. And I started falling in love, while telling myself I didn’t need another dog, and that managing two dogs on my travels might be too much. I tried hard to cling to reason (with little success). I mentioned her to my children that night, who were unanimous this time. The consensus was that I was nuts, don’t even think about it. I got NO family support about the new puppy. None. I was told to forget it. And honestly, I tried. For three days the little blue gray chihuahua puppy haunted me, and not only did I have my children’s disapproval to deal with, but my guilt toward Minnie, who had become the princess in my life. How would she feel about it? I did the only possible thing, I lied to everyone, including Minnie. I went back and saw the puppy again before I left New York, with one of my daughters who was adamant. You don’t need her. DON’T do it. So I paid for the puppy in secret and told no one. She had to stay at the pet shop for a month because she was too young and too small to go home. I literally told no one what I had done. And surely not my kids. I didn’t even mention it to you on this blog. For a whole month, I said nothing, and then it was time to bring her home.Blue_3ABaby Blue Angel She didn’t have all of her vaccinations yet, so I couldn’t take her to France yet, and had to send her home to California, which required admitting my dark secret to a kind employee, who promised to take care of her until I came home. And because she is officially ‘blue”, I named her Baby Blue Angel. I should have called her Blue Secret. » read more »

Filed Under Dogs, Family, Kids | 10 Comments

Book Signing

Posted on November 11, 2013

Hi Everyone,

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 »

Filed Under Books, Dogs | 103 Comments

New Addition

Posted on October 14, 2013

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to share with you that I’ve done it again!!! Not a husband, not a baby……but three weeks ago in New York, I stopped at the place where I found Minnie, and fell in love with an 8 week old, 14 oz teacup Chihuahua puppy…..a short haired in an unusual color called “Blue”, which is kind of a dark steel gray color (no pun intended). I’ve wrestled with the idea for 3 weeks, not wanting to make the teacup Chihuahua I have now, Minnie, unhappy. I love her and don’t want her to be jealous or feel pushed out. My kids (those I admitted it to) said I was crazy (but they always do about another dog), and they said that travelling with two dogs would be too hard, and they could be right, but I’ll manage. I used to travel with 9 kids, so 2 Chihuahuas shouldn’t be impossible……and you know how love is….I picked her up yesterday, and she and Minnie seemed to like each other, and they played yesterday and this morning. So here I go again, I have a puppy in my life. She is now 11 weeks old, weighs a pound and a half. I think she’ll be a little bigger than Minnie (who weighs 2 lbs now as an adult). It’s a complication I don’t need to my otherwise well organized life, but as I’ve said before, love is complicated, life is complicated….and why not? So here we go. I will include a photo for you here. Right now, she is mouse-sized. I named her Baby Blue Angel, and we’ll probably call her Blue. So here she is.

love, danielle

Filed Under Dogs, Family | 7 Comments

Slow Month

Posted on May 6, 2013

Hi Everyone,

May is off to a quiet start with weekly holidays (May Day, which is Labor Day here last week; Armistice Day this week; religious holidays), long weekends, and a two week long school vacation, which has pretty much shut everything, or a LOT of things, down. Many restaurants are closed, my favorite auction house is closed, and the city is pretty empty, and the weather bounces back and forth between slightly warmer and seriously chilly, sunny and cloudy. » read more »

Filed Under Dogs, Paris | 4 Comments


Posted on July 2, 2012

Hi Everyone,

It’s a sad day for us. I usually report our family news to you, and have told you about our dogs. Chiquita is the senior citizen in the group, and belongs to one of my daughters (Chiquita’s photo is in the section about dogs). She is an adorable black teacup Chihuahua, and has been in great shape at 16 years of age. Chihuahuas are usually very long lived, so we’ve been hoping, and believing she had some good years left in her. Some even live to be 20, much longer than a lot of other breeds.  She was fine until two weeks ago, when she suddenly went blind from cataracts, and was scheduled for cataract surgery this week. She was checked out, and in such good health, they felt the surgery was not risky, even at her age. The day before the surgery, she began acting strangely, loss of appetite, losing her balance and seemed a little confused. The next day we took her to the vet, and she went steadily downhill all day (and of course, we cancelled the eye surgery, until she was back to seeming normal again). In 36 hours, she made a shocking decline from healthy dog to very sick one, as her condition worsened, and her kidneys became a problem. All her systems began shutting down the day after we took her to the hospital. We did everything we could to reverse it, but she just continued to get worse. She wasn’t suffering, and was peaceful, but she appeared to be fading away. And the day after we took her to the hospital, despite everything they did, she died peacefully, at 16. » read more »

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Emotional Support

Posted on February 6, 2012

I just learned something new. As I shared with all of you earlier, in November I got a new puppy, a white long haired teacup Chihuahua, named Minnie Mouse. When I got her, she was ten weeks old and weighed a pound. Now, at 4 months, she has made it to 2 pounds. She is totally adorable, and a really sweet puppy. And she is REALLY tiny. My goal in getting her was to have a dog who could travel with me, when I go back and forth to France. My dogs at home, whom I love, are just over the weight limit (or so I thought) for international travel (12 pounds), so too big to have them with me in the cabin. And Minnie is tiny enough that I can take her in a travel bag, and keep her with me on the plane. (However—–I discovered that a 2 pound dog is like a baby. The stuff I take with me, sweaters in many colors, leashes, collars, dog bowls, blankets, a dog bed, her favorite toys, wee-wee pads, food, and you name it for a very spoiled and pampered dog weighs a LOT more than 2 pounds. Her stuff took up half a suitcase on her first trip with me!!! And one of my daughters gave me a ridiculous pink hat (with holes for her ears); in case it was cold in Paris. So far, Minnie has refused to wear the hat, but I brought that too). You get the picture—tiny dog, silly owner, mountain of stuff to take along in suitcase).

The preparations for international travel to France with a dog were more complicated than I expected. I needed official/stamped health certificates and vaccination papers, both for the airline, and entry into France. In addition, she needed an ‘international chip’ under her skin that can be scanned by European scanners in case she got lost in France, a US dog license, and a whole lot of paperwork to take along. I got it all lined up, and then for the actual trip, you need a regulation size carrying case (she must be in the case at all times, and can’t be removed from it while on the plane). You need a reservation for her travel (no more than 7 pets can be in the cabin on the plane, so they keep track of how many will be travelling on every flight), and you have to pay a small fee. Whew!!! Complicated. But important to comply with the rules. You don’t want them quarantining your dog if you don’t have the paperwork you need!!!

It took a couple of months to get all the shots, and all the paperwork and certificates in order. She missed one of my trips to France while I was doing that, and finally she was ready. The big day came, and armed with all her documents, I got to the airport for the trip with Minnie. (And no, she wasn’t wearing the pink hat. She was wearing a tiny black sweater which she hated and kept getting out of!!)

And when we got to the airport, the first question the airline asked me was “Is she an emotional support dog?”…..uh….what was that question?? I wasn’t sure if they were asking me about the purpose of having a dog, in a tiny black sweater, whose equipment took up half of a suitcase. (Maybe someone told them about the hat??).  In response to my blank look at the question, they repeated it with a serious expression. “Is she an emotional support dog?” hmm….well, I certainly love her, she is 2 pounds of adorable puppy, so yes, I guess she provides some kind of emotional support. Ah…they said, that’s different. And they asked for a certificate for that as well. Now there’s a certificate I did not have. Great wardrobe yes, a gazillion toys, yes, the kind of food she’s been eating….proof of her chip and shots, yes…..but no certificate certifying her as an emotional support dog. And then began one of those great conversations of total confusion where two people have no idea (or one person for sure: me) what the other one is talking about. I know about service dogs: like guide dogs for the visually handicapped, and I’ve even heard of service dogs for people with epilepsy, who are able to detect a seizure before the person can, and can warn the person of the impending seizure. Service dogs of any size can accompany a person on the plane. I haven’t seen them often, but I’ve seen them, very well behaved, and lying at their owner’s feet in the cabin.  Well, guess what? Emotional Support Dogs are now in the same category, and are ‘official’. The airline representative explained to me that if you tell the airline that you are afraid to fly, and have a certificate testifying to that, you can bring your dog on the plane, in the cabin with you, without a carrier bag, without a reservation, with no size restriction (I guess you could bring a Great Dane or a Saint Bernard), and they can travel with you, free of charge. The size and weight restrictions do not apply (otherwise, for non-support dogs, 12 pounds is the limit for international travel, and I think it’s 20 pounds in the States). I was bowled over by that information. For one thing, so many people are nervous about flying, particularly since 9/11, that if they all brought an emotional support dog, the plane would look like Noah’s Ark.  I doubt that most people know about that new feature for travelling pets. I’d never heard of it. And I’m sure you still need all the vaccinations and papers even for an emotional support dog. But the airlines really give people a break if they are afraid to fly and feel they need to bring their dog with them. I was really impressed that they don’t need to be in a bag (like Minnie—fierce 2 pound attack dog that she is!!), emotional support dogs can be as large a dog as you want, and there is no fee for an emotional support dog (Minnie had to pay $125.00 for the trip).  It was a whole new aspect of pet travel I’d never heard of. Poor Minnie must have felt a little left out, in spite of her sweater, pink collar, many toys, and the pink hat in her suitcase. Actually, on a more serious note, I think it’s wonderful that the airlines are so sensitive to nervous flyers (there are several in my family), and recognize that travel with their dogs will bring them comfort. I was really touched and impressed. You have to have paperwork to back it up, and I’m not sure what that is (maybe a letter from a doctor about being afraid to fly?? I didn’t ask), but that was a whole new discovery for me!!! And I found it fascinating. So if you see a big dog, lying at the feet of a fellow traveler on a plane, now you’ll know why, and what the dog is there for….to lend emotional support. And if you see a ridiculously tiny white dog in a sweater and pink hat……you’ll know who that is!!! Miss Minnie!!!

Love, Danielle

Filed Under Dogs, Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Minnie Mouse

Posted on November 28, 2011

Hi Everyone,

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that my family and I are dog lovers. We have a motley assortment of breeds, two of my daughters have teacup Chihuahuas (that’s the smallest size), we’ve had a flock of miniature Dachshunds over the years (really wonderful dogs!!! But they are barky, and I have a hard time with dogs that bark a lot. I like sleepy breeds, so they don’t drive me crazy while I write). One of my sons has always had Boston Bulldog Terriers, who have always been the sweetest natured dogs in our family, two of my other sons have had Jack Russells, one has a Black Lab (the only big dog in the group), another daughter has a Yorkshire Terrier (that looks like a little Teddy Bear), and my oldest daughter and I have miniature Brussels Griffons (who look like Ewoks). Brussels Griffs really work for me because they are a peaceful, sleepy breed, and they’re happy to snore loudly in my office while I work. I had a Maltese once that didn’t work out for me because she was turbo charged and jet propelled and l0 hours later on any given day, she was still happily chewing through the wires of my phone or destroying the room. We had terrible luck with a French Bulldog who killed one of our other dogs, which was awful. And we had an English Bulldog for a short time once, who was too aggressive with our older dogs and didn’t work out either. I’m now into my second generation of Brussells Griffons, so I really do love them. I grew up with Pugs, whom I love too (but aren’t as easy as the Brussels Griffs, and are generally bigger than the Griffs). So that gives you an idea of just how doggy we are!!! Very!! » read more »

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