Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

12/12/22, Christmas wishes

Posted on December 19, 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is going smoothly in this final week before Christmas, and you’re not too swamped with last details. Also, I hope that you have plans you are happy with, about where to spend Christmas and with whom.

Almost all of my children are spending Christmas with me, and a few cant make it, which happens in big families. I am grateful for those who can make it. And we will miss the others.

I’ve been on the road in my rock star bus for the last month, visiting my children, and I had some wonderful times with them. My last stop on my Mom Marathon Tour was L.A., and I always have so much fun there. It is like Disneyland for grown ups. I went shopping with my daughters Samantha and Zara in LA, and we went to famous Rodeo Drive, which is the best shopping in the world. They had it wonderfully decorated for Christmas, and it looked magical, and Zara took us to the ‘cool’ trendy shops in other parts of LA, Kith and Chrome Hearts, and fun little shops, and we all found some things for last minute Christmas gifts, and ourselves!!!

Our trees are up and decorated, and everything is ready for a week of fun. And when everyone leaves after Christmas, I’ll start writing again.

I hope that your Christmas plans are just what you want them to be. And if not, I hope that you will have happy surprises over the holidays and precious moments with family our friends.

I wish you a blessed holiday, and memorable times. I wish you holidays filled with joy, happiness, good health, and all your wishes come true. Thank you for all the joy you have given me!!!

with all my 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

10/24/22, Sunday Fun

Posted on October 24, 2022

Hi Everyone,

When my youngest, “coolest” daughter came to visit me in Paris recently, she came armed with a list of “cool” stores to visit. She has had shocking pink hair for years, knows and owns every cool sneaker ever made, from every collaboration of shoe designers with famous brands. She was wearing Golden Goose sneakers with silver sparkles, and she loves Balenciaga streetwear.

She took me to a store named Kith, which I’d heard of and never been to, and she has visited in several cities (LA and NY), and I didn’t know what to expect. I expected the usual fashion forward clothes I couldn’t wear, and was prepared to wander the store aimlessly while she checked it out. I was surprised by the address, in a posh location, and recognized it once I got there. The location was previously a small chic boutique hotel, with a popular restaurant: Pershing Hall. I recognized the two story high wall of intertwining leaves that was previously in the restaurant, and is now at the heart of store. Past 3 security guards at the entrance, the entire interior is white marble (with gorgeous marble benches), and the inside of the ‘store’ is spectacular. Their gift shop has jewelry, custom Rolex watches, size 17 glass high top sneakers to be used as vases, and others in the same design are candles. Designer bears and decorative items, and upstairs walls of rare, unusual sneakers, men’s and women’ clothes. And in the center of the ground floor, the restaurant Sadell’s , my favorite brunch spot in NY (fabulous pancakes, and delicious salads). Next stops on our list Supreme and Off-White. Shopping with my coolest daughter is a LOT of fun!!!

I hope you have a great week, with some frivolous moments, and some fun!!

love, Danielle

10/10/22, Moses and the Serpent

Posted on October 10, 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re busy and having some fun as the fall progresses into full bloom. I always like the fall weather, it revs up one’s engines and give us new energy. ( I love being lazy in summer when it’s warm, and the fall wakes me up again and gets me moving). I write a lot in the fall. I just finished a book, 2 re-writes, and am working on a new outline. The book I finished was a very big deal to me, because it is the 200th book I’ve written, which amazes even me. I wrote my first book at 19.

One of my daughters very bravely had four wisdom teeth extracted last week, and VERY understandably, she was fiercely anxious about it for weeks before. And I don’t blame her a bit, I’m one of those people who get nervous going to the dentist. She isn’t normally anxious about the dentist, but she was about having teeth pulled and worried about it. We were talking about it, and I told her it was going to be a lot easier than she thought (and fortunately it was), and another of my daughters was worried last week too about something else. I reminded them both about a story I remembered in the Bible, of Moses being afraid of a snake, and he reached down and grabbed it and it turned into a dry old wood stick in his hands. It’s an interesting parable and image, which seems true of life to me. (I love finding stories in the Bible that are helpful in my life). MOST of the things I have been terrified of, and really really worried or scared—-most of them turned out to be so much less frightening and dangerous when they actually happened, even easy. For those of us who are worriers (and I am one), deeply concerned about something that lies ahead, it rarely turns out to be as scary, dangerous or tragic than I expected. It’s a good thing to remember when we are tormenting ourselves over what’s to come. Not always, but in most cases, the snake turns out to be a dry old stick, and not a snake at all. Just a thought if that helps you too.

Have a wonderful week, peaceful, happy, with good surprises, and only small problems, or none at all!!!

Much 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

8/22/22, Back to School!!!

Posted on August 22, 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope these last days of summer are still giving you some fun times, as we all begin to rev our engines up for the Fall. This time of year still smells to me of new pencils, new Superman or Wonder Woman lunch boxes, new notebooks, and all the excitement of new classrooms, new teachers and old friends. September always feels like the time for new projects, and moving ahead with fresh energy.

The children I know went back to school last week, and the rest of us are getting the sand out of our shoes and putting on real clothes again. I just finished editing two books and am working on a new outline. My daughters who work in fashion are revving up their engines to start work on fashion week this week. And it’s exciting to start new projects with fresh ideas.

I enjoyed a week’s vacation in July with three of my daughters, and managed to see all of my children for a brief visit in August, but it was so wonderful to see them and be together. And now we’re all off and running to work. September is an exciting month. And I have a new book out, “The Challenge” about the daring rescue of 7 kids in their early teens lost on a dangerous mountain in Montana. It was inspired by the incredible rescue of the 13 boys in Thailand trapped in a cave, four years ago. The entire world held their breath as the rescue unfolded, completely successfully, which inspired my book. There is a new movie out about the Thai rescue, and a documentary, and I haven’t had time to watch either one, but I will. When it was happening, I was mesmerized by the complicated rescue operation and jubilant at its success. And I hope you love my book about the mountain rescue.

Since organizing a big family takes a lot of planning and military precision, I’m already thinking about the holidays, and I start my Christmas shopping in August. My family makes fun of me for it, but I love getting an early start!!!

I hope you have some fun plans for the Fall, and some exciting new projects in view. Have a great week!!!

much love,
Danielle

7/18/22, Gone Fishing

Posted on July 18, 2022

 

Hello Everyone,

 

I hope that you are having a break from work and your regular routine, as the month of July rolls out. People are on the move this summer, hungry to return to normalcy, travel, and summer vacations, after two years of staying home during the pandemic. Our family tradition has been a week’s vacation together every summer, which was cancelled for the last two summers, and we finally got back on track with a family holiday, for the first time in 3 years. Only three of my children were able to get the free time, and although we’re a small group, it is wonderful to be together, to swim and relax, and have dinners out in the same beach town where we go every year for our annual family week together. We go to the same hotel every year, and it was a joy to see the same people working there and everything unchanged, as the two disrupted years fade away. And next year, we hope that all of my kids can make it. I am so grateful for this precious week together.

 

My new book “Suspects” is on the bestseller lists and doing well. I was working hard right up until the vacation, and I will start a book the day after I get back. But I am thoroughly enjoying the time off for the first real vacation I’ve had in three years. And we all need time off from our daily routines to see things with a fresh eye. I hope you are getting time off this summer too!!! And I hope you have time to read ‘Suspects’ before the summer is over. It’s a thriller with Russian spies in it, as innocent people cross their path and get caught in a web of intrigue, and a dedicated CIA agent, who is discreetly following the spies tries to keep the innocents out of harm’s way before they realize the danger they are in. I hope you have fun reading it, and that this turns out to be a great summer for you.

 

Have a great week, with some beach time or time on vacation somewhere in a place you love!!!

 

with much love, Danielle

 

6/28/22, Catching up!!

Posted on June 28, 2022

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you are all doing well, and I owe you an apology, for not writing the blog for several weeks. I’ve been on the road again, threw a wedding for my daughter, whose wedding was cancelled three times during the pandemic, which was heart breaking at the time, and we finally managed to do it now, and it was a beautiful wedding, in a see thru tent with the ceiling covered with tiny lights that looked like stars, and beautiful flowers everywhere. They were married under an arch of exquisite white flowers, and she was a gorgeous bride. And it was wonderful to see all my children in one place, which is difficult to achieve these days.

 

And I did some house work and got our house in order for the wedding. And then spent a week in New York, for meetings and took some time off. And after that I had two books to edit, and I’ve just come up for air now—-so I haven’t been idle while not writing the blog. And this weekend I played hookie when I finished editing, and had The BEST time watching the new Downton Abbey movie, “The New Era”, all the familiar faces were there (except Lady Mary’s husband, Henry Talbot, played by Matthew Goode). It was like meeting up with old friends. I loved this movie even better than the first one after the series ended. Downton was the first series I fell in love with, and I was crushed when it ended after six years. It is so beautifully written, researched and acted, and perfectly balanced among the actors and many subplots. It’s a wonderful show, and I highly recommend the movie. I liked it so much, I watched it again the next day. SOOOO Much Fun.

 

And now it’s back to work for a while. Have a wonderful week!!! I hope you have some vacation time planned. I just finished a new book, and might even take some time off myself before starting the next one. And my new book comes out today “Suspects”, it’s a spy book and a thriller, full of intrigue, and I hope you love it!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

5/12/22, “Gone Fishing”

Posted on May 12, 2022

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a nice Mother’s Day, either as the recipient of your children’s attention, or as the giver of joy to your real mother, or a mother figure in your life. It’s a very special day, when one gets to show admiration and gratitude to the important women in your life—-it’s one of the few days of the year when mothers get to hear words of praise and thanks, instead of the usual laundry list of what one failed to do, or somehow managed to do wrong. I LOVE mother’s day, and my children have never disappointed me. They go all out, for which I am deeply grateful. I celebrated Mother’s Day in two cities this year, as I have for a long time,—twice as much fun!!!

 

I recently took 3 weeks “off” to visit all my children, now living in 4 cities in the US, while I’m in Paris much of the time. Until the pandemic I visited them every 3 or 4 weeks, since the pandemic and the ongoing risk of Covid, I visit them less often, but for longer and only see them every few months. They are all allegedly grown up (are any of us ever REALLY grown up?? Not always, no matter how old we are, we have our childish moments, and I do too.) But in any case, they all have lives and jobs, and some of them are recently married. And no one wants their mother hanging around at those ages, so the challenge for the mother of adult children is to keep it light, not stay too long, keep the critical comments to a minimum if at all, and don’t be a pain in the neck. I did not enjoy time with my parents at their ages. My kids are amazingly tolerant of me, and I try hard not to be a nuisance, but probably am anyway. And the criticism, if any, is mutual at those ages, they also tell me if they think the new curtains I picked are butt ugly, or if my daughters hate what I’m wearing. As I’ve often heard, motherhood is not for sissies, at any age. But for the most part it is an immense amount of joy. I am crazy about my kids.

 

To be a little more precise, when I say I took time off to visit them, in my case, it still means that I am working when I’m not with them during my visits, with conference calls with agents, and lawyers, dozens of emails I answer daily late at night, and I always have a manuscript near at hand to work on when I’m not with my kids, after I leave them after dinner,  or when they’re busy in the day time. I edit then, which is easy work to pick up and put down for an hour or two. Not like the actual writing of a book which is intense work I cant interrupt.  In fact, I take very little vacation. Usually less than 2 weeks a year, or about that. 1 week in July to be with my 5 youngest children on holiday somewhere with a beach, 5 days at Christmas at home, and about 3 days for my birthday, when all my kids come home. And my kids are VERY generous to spend a week of their vacations with me in July, a long weekend for my birthday, and Christmas week with me. And it’s very very very rare for me to take a weekend off, most of the time, I write on weekends too. I like staying busy, and filling my time, and I write a lot.

 

A comment on my Instagram caught my attention this week, which startled me. It said “It must be nice to be able to fly around all the time”. Hmm….fly around all the time? Do I? I did before Covid, but much less so now, given the risks of travel, airports, etc. And then I realized that the comment isn’t wrong. It’s not easy once children have grown up and gone, and being alone without a partner—-a double whammy. Both of my homes are full of empty bedrooms where my children used to live, and I’m happy to say I still have one daughter at home, although she leads a full busy life of her own. But I realized that the comment is true. There are more downsides than upsides to being alone, but the fact is that the only schedule I have to check is my own (and my kids if I want to visit them). If I am longing to see my children, I can get on a plane and go to see them. If one of them has a problem, I can be there as fast as air travel will allow. If I wanted to take a vacation alone, I could—though that has no appeal to me at all. I work hard, which allows me the luxury to travel, even if I have books to write and deadlines, and I work hard, and only take two weeks off a year. In France, people get five weeks of vacation a year by law, and if they have school aged children, they take school vacations too, which gives them months of vacation every year, not weeks. the French have more paid vacation than any country in the world, although I don’t. But the fact is that I don’t have to consult anyone’s schedule but my own and my kids, and my writing deadlines, and I can fly to see them when I want to. And because I work incredibly hard, I can afford to get on a plane and go when I want to. So the comment wasn’t wrong, and it is nice to fly around when you want to. There is no boss or partner to stop me or tell me I cant go. My natural innate work ethic and discipline make me feel guilty whenever I take time off—but the truth is that I’ve earned it, I deserve it. I publish 7 books a year, and I have always been a full time presence in my children’s lives. But I always feel somewhat guilty when I take “time off”, and think I should be working when I’m having fun. But yes, it is nice to be able to pick up and go whenever I want. It’s one of the advantages of being my own boss, although I am a hard taskmaster with myself, and don’t give myself a lot of free time. There is always something I think I should be doing. I’m not good at just sitting around, or even relaxing. And I love my work and my kids, so time with either one always seems well spent.

 

So “Gone Fishing” doesn’t really apply to me. And for now, I’ll stick to my two weeks of vacation per year. And the rest of the time, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, writing and visiting my kids, wherever they are, and flying around to see them. I don’t like travelling or vacationing alone. I’m not adventurous about exotic travel, and it’s not fun taking vacations alone. But yes, it IS nice being able to fly around whenever you want. and maybe one day, I’ll take more than just two weeks off per year. But not just yet!!!

 

Have a great week, doing fun things, and whatever you love to do. For now, I’ll try to take a few more days off during the year, just for fun….I’m working on it….

 

 

love, Danielle