Archive for the ‘Getting Along’ Category

5/16/22, Gratitude, Time, Timing, and Blessings

Posted on May 16, 2022


Hi Everyone,


I hope you’ve had a good week. Spring has arrived and I love it, although things have been a little hectic lately, with big projects and writing, family plans, and a massive purge/spring cleaning I did in my closets!!! It was an ambitious project, and fun to weed things out that I don’t wear, (and fashion mistakes I’ve made!!)


We all have our own ways to relax. Life today is stressful, after the pandemic, and just generally. Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some families. I live with constant publishing deadlines, to deliver books, or edit “text proofs” (the last shot at changing the printed pages for a book before it goes to the printers). It’s like having homework assignments due constantly, for the rest of your life. And other jobs are stressful because of constant contact with the public, which can be incredibly stressful. I deal with the press and the media, interviews and reviews. And the demands and needs of a big family can be stressful. Some people meditate or do yoga, or go to a gym, or jog, or do philanthropic projects that feed their soul. Or they have a glass of wine at night when they come home from work, or watch a favorite TV show. Whatever helps you to relax, as long as it’s legal and healthy, is a good balance to the constant stresses in our daily lives, which can be something as simple as a flat tire, or a big repair bill for your car or your roof, or as stressful as an argument with your boss (or your teen agers!!), or a serious health scare. Stress can be ongoing and chronic and part of your ordinary daily life, or situational in a crisis that lands on you suddenly. Either way, constant stress is hard to live with.


It sounds corny, but what gets me back on track and out of crisis mode in the daily grind of constant stress that rises steadily like the water level in a flood—-is that I try to devote several quiet hours once a week, to reading religious articles, about how to apply one’s faith to one’s daily life, to improve one’s attitude and be a better person. It’s like a breath of fresh air, and everything comes back into focus. I really cherish that time once a week, and  it makes a big difference. I devote a few minutes every day to some religious thought, and then I hit the ground running in my daily life. And after reading articles steadily for a few hours once a week, I feel like a new person, with new energy to face new and old challenges.  I like it best when religion is applicable to daily life, and not just theory.


Whenever I can focus on gratitude, it changes my whole perspective, being grateful for the blessings and positives in my life instead of focusing on what’s wrong. I also love acupuncture for stress and find it extremely helpful!!!


Time. With constant deadlines as part of my work life, it never fails that just when you are juggling One Big project, two others come along, AND the car breaks down and needs an expensive repair, Two more projects get heaped on me, and I am suddenly panicked about time, and I can see no possible way I’ll get everything done on time. And weirdly, no matter how busy I am, and no matter how little time I think I have, if I calm down, take a deep breath, no matter how big the pile of projects is, I just about always find that I have exactly the time I need. I always think there is no way I can do it all, and then I do. Time seems to be expandable, it expands to give me the time I need, to meet all the projects and deadlines I have, and I actually manage to finish everything, when it looked impossible initially. (I have to remind myself of that often when I start to panic!!)


Timing. Nothing happens fast in publishing and sometimes in life. Between the time I have an idea for a book and start making notes on a yellow pad and the time you have the book in your hands, it takes at least two years, sometimes three or four (particularly if there is a lot of research in it). And other projects are like that too, construction projects, waiting for a deal to come through, or to get hired for a job. Sometimes I want to scream it takes so long for things to evolve, and move forward, and solutions and answers can have long delays. But what I almost always find is that when a project has been delayed but happens later, the timing in the end is always the right one, the perfect one. There was always some really good reason for the delay that turns out to be a blessing in the end, although it didn’t seem that way when it was happening. The house purchase that just doesn’t go through and the deal keeps falling apart, and a MUCH better house turns up while you  were waiting, the deal goes through easily on the second house, and you are thrilled with the result and a much better deal and prettier house. Timing is usually right, even though I get REALLY impatient while I wait for things to happen!! Whether business issues or personal. There is just about always some really good reason for a delay, even though I can’t see it.


And Blessings. I came across a phrase in my reading the other day that I love and don’t always remember. “What blesses one, blesses all”—the concept that if something that involves several people is a blessing for me, it will be a blessing for you, and the others as well. I wont make out like a bandit with a huge blessing and advantage, and everyone else involved gets short shrift and loses out. A REALLY good outcome is one where ALL of the people involved get a blessing and something positive out of it—a Win Win for all. There is nothing better, and if it’s a blessing for me, it will be for you too. No one person “wins” while everyone else gets short changed. Situations that bless everyone involved are The Best!!! I love the belief that What Blesses One Blesses All—-and we ALL win!!!


Anyway, those are my stress relievers. They’re not magic. They take a little bit of faith, some deep breaths, some patience, and sometimes you just need to remember all the times when things worked out well, and try to know that it can happen this time too!!!….and if that doesn’t work, there is always jogging and yoga!!!


We are all struggling with something, and sooner or later just about ALL problems resolve. The secret and the challenge is staying calm and sane until they do!!!


Have a GREAT stress-free week!!!


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


4/26/22, Be Alert: Young People at Risk

Posted on April 26, 2022



Hi Everyone,


I hope the weeks are rolling smoothly for you as we approach spring. I hope this is a good time for you, in every way that’s important to you.  I read a quote recently of Robin Williams, which really touched my heart. To paraphrase it, “Everyone you have contact with is dealing with something you know nothing about.” It reminded me of how true that is. We are taught early on not to share our griefs, to “keep a stiff upper lip”, and many people feel private about their problems, relationship and family issues, and the standard response to “How are you?” is ‘Fine’. We usually don’t respond to mere acquaintances or even good friends with the truth when things aren’t going well, as in “My life really sucks”. We are often private and discreet while carrying a heavy load. It helps to share and to talk to someone, and out of pride and discretion, good manners or shyness, we don’t always reach out when we need help. It really does help to talk to someone who cares about you and wants to help.


My son Nick had bi polar disease for his entire life. I first noticed the signs before he was two years old. No psychiatrist or doctor would listen to me until much later, when he was sixteen. it was a long lonely road trying to get help for him between two and sixteen, when he was finally medicated. The medication helped a lot, so much so that he thought he was cured, which led him to try stopping the medication at 18. The end result was that he committed suicide at 19. He was severely impacted by the disease, and even once medicated, it had gone untreated for too long, and we tried everything but we could not save him. I was open about his illness, and not ashamed, but mental illness comes with a lot of stigma, and particularly at the time, many people hid the fact that they or a loved one suffered from mental illness and spoke about it in whispers, or not at all. Today, people are more open about it, which is a vast improvement.


Suicide has long been the second highest cause of death in the US in young people under the age of 25, after car accidents, which is #1. And today it’s on the rise at a rapid rate. I personally feel that young people and adolescents of high school, and particularly college age, have paid the highest price of pandemic survivors, more so than any other age group. They have missed out on two years of their college experiences that they worked so hard for, instead of enjoying campus life, and building the social foundation for their adult lives, they are locked up at home studying alone, and going to school on computer, meeting no one, making no friends, and have lived with lockdowns, curfews, restaurants and bars and meeting places closed for a year, no access to sports experiences, making new friends, and learning in a group setting. The future looks dim to them, they are uncertain about jobs, finances and their future. MUCH too often I am hearing now about suicides among late teens and young people in their early twenties. I don’t know the current statistics, but successful suicides tended to be more heavily male in the past, and more and more I am hearing about young women taking their own lives as well.


In the past two weeks, two star athletes and star students took their own lives at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin, both young women with outstanding achievements, and no warning signs to their family and friends. And this weekend I learned of a fifteen year old high school student, who took her own life, also with no warning. None of these three had a history of depression or mental illness, and those who loved them are shocked by the path they took, clearly in desperation.


Young children also commit suicide more often than we think. Out of compassion for their families, many states forbid listing the cause of death as suicide before the age of 13, which skews the statistics. The tragic fact is that children as young as 6 commit suicide. When I spoke to the Senate sub Committee about suicide, at their request, after my son’s death, a famous very learned psychiatrist said that she is well aware of children’s suicides from the age of 6 on, and some have left suicide notes written in crayon. (When I read my son’s journals after his death, I discovered that he had written about suicide almost daily, from the time he was 11. We kept him alive 8 years longer than he intended).


Suicide is on the rise, children, adolescents and young adults are at grave risk. We need to be more alert and aware than ever. Covid has hit their world even harder than it has ours, as adults, or at least as hard. They feel that they are missing their youth, the future looks uncertain to them, and the challenges and hardships of today are liable to impact all of us into the future. Young people are sad and uncertain, and feel cheated of their youth, and for some, it’s a challenge they don’t know how to face, and need help and support doing so.


Sunday May 1st is my late son Nick’s birthday. In his honor, and in his name, I reach out to you. If you, reading this, feel at risk, or if you love someone who is, there is help out there. Call a friend, tell a parent, call one of the hotlines and talk to someone. The future is never as dark or as bleak as we think it is when we are at a low point. And as parents, we need to keep an eye on our young adults, those with the most serious leanings in that direction often give no warning before they act. Watch, listen, talk, reach out, follow your instincts. My son gave many warnings, he suffered from bi polar disease all his life, he made three unsuccessful suicide attempts before the final one. All the warning signs were there, and we did our very best to change his course. But so many young people give no overt warnings, but the behaviour and the intentions and the despair are there. Be aware and alert, and if you are the one feeling drawn to harming yourself or taking your life, there are people around you who want to help you. Let them in, reach out. There is help, there is a future, maybe even a very good one. And there is hope.


These young people need our help and our protection. The future is waiting for them, after these hard times in Covid.  Not a single young life should be lost in this battle, no matter how dark these times seem to them.


Let’s all be as aware as we can be, and as brave as we can be to help them get through these times. These young people are our future, let’s help them get there safely and be the safety net under them for as long as they need one, until better, easier times come again. The future belongs to them. Let’s help to get them there safely, and help turn the tides of these treacherous waters they are navigating now. Their support system can start with us, if we reach out to them.


Have a safe, happy week,  with much love,  Danielle.


4/19/22, Beautiful

Posted on April 19, 2022


Hi Everyone,


I hope you had a lovely Easter, or Passover and are enjoying some sunny days!!!!!


I’m excited that I have a new book coming out this week, in hardcover, “Beautiful”. It’s the story of a young Super Model who is at the wrong place at the wrong time, in the terrorist attack of the Brussels airport. One side of her face remains perfect, and the other half is severely damaged, which forces her to rethink what beauty is to her, and in the world. Which half is the one that matters? The perfect half, or the other? Is she still beautiful after the attack?. And more importantly, what really IS beauty, and what does it mean? What makes someone beautiful, a flawless face, or a light from within?. In her quest to face the challenge she is confronted with, the young model digs deep, and goes to Africa, where she discovers the children in Angola, who live with still active minefields and many are similarly afflicted as the woman in the book. Working with them, in the beauty of Africa, she discovers a whole new dimension added to her life, which makes her life meaningful again. I really hope you love the book.


It is especially dear to my heart, as I have a young niece who was in that very attack, and has taught us all many lessons of courage and love, perseverance and strength. And it’s interesting for us all to examine what we believe from time to time, about beauty, and what it really means to each of us.


Have a wonderful week, with lots of good things happening for you!!!


love, Danielle


4/11/22, Resurrection, Rise and Shine!!!

Posted on April 11, 2022


Hi Everyone,


I hope life is sailing along, and that things are going well for you.


Every year, during this week before Easter, I touch on the religious and philosophical concept most dear to me. And with holidays of many religions converging at this time of year, it seems the appropriate time. The whole idea of Easter is Resurrection: Rising again, recovering, starting fresh and new. We’ve all had a hard run for the past two years, with Covid nipping at our heels, and a dark cloud over us for a lot of that time of the pandemic. And we are still feeling the impact of it, and are trying to outrun it with vaccines, and masks, and various forms of caution even two years later. It’s been a hard time for most people, particularly those who got sick, or lost loved ones. Covid has been very present in our lives for these two years, and has created new stresses and anxieties in our lives.


And aside from Covid, there is just plain old life. All the challenges we face daily, with kids, and jobs, and people we love, and bosses, and illnesses, car repairs and bills to pay. Life is a challenge. Some times are better than others. And some challenges are brutal. Some people’s lives just sail along, their kids never have major problems, their marriages were the right choice from Day One and still are, their kids don’t move away to other cities and live close to home, their jobs work out perfectly, and major tragedies have never happened to them. I know some people like that, although not many. And you probably do too. I wonder how they got so lucky. But most of us don’t have that smooth a ride in life. And among those people, who among us has not had a bitter disappointment, lost a person we loved dearly, or a job we really needed and lost it unfairly, who hasn’t had a problem with a child, or a betrayal by a friend, who hasn’t had a broken heart at some point, or a relationship that fell apart or marriage that ended badly. Most people have been through some tough stuff. It’s a struggle to bounce back from the hard blows, and you can wind up beaten down by life…..and that’s where I love the concept of resurrection. It is good to remember that religiously, before the resurrection, came the crucifixion. And THEN the resurrection came, AFTER the tough stuff.


I LOVE the idea of resurrection, rebirth, starting over, starting fresh, a clean slate—-even if you have NO religion. You don’t need a religion to believe in Resurrection of your spirit, of your body, of your life—-all you need is a tiny bit of faith that life can turn around and be okay again—that you can fall in love with the right person after the wrong one broke your heart, or that your bumpy relationship can recover, or that you can recover from an illness, find a new and better job—or the boss who nearly drove you insane and poisoned your life might quit and move on. Resurrection is the rainbow after the storms. It’s the chance to start again—to get another chance. It’s a fresh start after you thought you just couldn’t do it anymore. It is rising from the depths where you may have fallen, and getting another chance at life. And after you have suffered, how much more will you appreciate the gifts that life gives you—the recovered health, the new outlook on life, the relationship you’ve always hoped for, the person you love who recovers from an illness, the really good job that suits you perfectly. Good things do happen. Life can turn around. You are not doomed to be unhappy forever.


I love the idea of resurrection, and it always comes at the right time, when you really need it.


May you feel new again, and get a fresh start if you need one. May you feel reborn, with all the joy and peace that entails. For any of us who feel in need of a resurrection, may it be yours. And it can happen any time–not just on Easter. Easter is just a reminder that it is possible, and can happen for all of us.


May this be a special time for you, of resurrection, and the renewal of hope and joy in your life.


with all my love, now and always, Danielle


3/28/22, They’re Back!!!!

Posted on March 28, 2022


Hi Everyone,


I hope you had a good week last week, and that a good new week is taking off nicely. All the same BIG problems are still with us: Covid and its variants, and the heartbreaking war in Ukraine—with no easy solutions to either of those problems. I hope the war ends soon.


Troubling times make distraction a very welcome relief to get our minds off the problems we can do nothing about. My new book High Stakes came out a week ago and it’s a fun book that I hope you’ll love, about 5 women who work at a dramatic and literary agency in New York.  So that’s one distraction!!


And I was SOOOO EXCITED to find out that Bridgerton, the Netflix series which I loved and was one of their greatest successes EVER last year, just showed up with Season 2 on Friday, and I dove right in on Saturday and binge watched all 8 episodes!!! I absolutely loved it!! I enjoyed it just as much as the first Season 1. And it took my mind off everything for the eight hours I watched it on Saturday. I got up early on Saturday so I could watch all of it.


So tune into Netflix and have a ball!!!! Take some time off, or an evening off, you won’t be sorry you did!!



Have a great week, lots of love, Danielle


2/22/22, Shoes!!!

Posted on February 22, 2022



Hi Everyone,


I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day last week. I had an unexpectedly lovely one with a friend who came to lunch. And I got to use the heart plates that one of my daughters gave me for Christmas, and new napkins I had just bought with embroidered hearts on them—-and the glasses with hearts on them that two of my daughters gave me last year. It was an unexpectedly day. And three of my daughters sent me roses and anemones.


I have been working non stop for the last two months and have hardly taken any days off. I finished one book in the morning, and started the next one that night. I don’t usually work quite that intensely and normally take a few days or a week off between books, but the weather has been lousy, cold and rainy, and the Covid numbers high, so I decided to stay home and really dig into my work after the holidays. I can go from one book to the next like that (although it is exhausting, because the writing is physically demanding because I work such long hours day after day so as not to interrupt a book) because I spend months working on the outline, and by the time I’m ready to start a book I have all the details lined up, the plot worked out, have written pages and pages about each character, and I outline each chapter in detail. So when I start the book, everything is lined up, although I adjust some details as I go along, and add a few things. So I have been working hard.


And one of my favorite things to do when I’m not working, for fun, to unwind and relax, or if I’m down, is to go shopping. I love fashion and pretty clothes, and fun things to wear (when my youngest son was little, he loved little cars (now he likes real cars!!) and I bought a jacket to wear when I went out with him, that had little match book cars sewn all over it. I still have the jacket, it’s amazing). Shopping is not a deep intellectual pursuit, but I really have fun shopping. I try not to buy impulse buys and buy things I will really wear—particularly when Covid is over. I have lived in jeans (particularly my favorite ones with the hole in one knee) and the cashmere nightgowns I wear when I write (with the holes in the elbows) since Covid started. And more so with each lockdown. I feel like I haven’t gotten dressed up in two years. When the first lockdown happened, I tried to look ‘cute’ every day to keep my spirits up. And I didn’t see anyone for 3 months. By the 4th lockdown. I was no longer looking cute, and dressing for myself and my dogs had lost its charm. (My dogs really don’t care what I wear). I haven’t been to a restaurant in two and a half months, in the recent Omicron surge where the numbers were terrifyingly high and the contagion extreme, so I haven’t had a chance to get dressed up since Christmas—but today I went shopping, and my favorite thing to shop for are shoes. My father said that my first word was ‘shoe’. I don’t know if that’s true, but I certainly enjoy them. There are rumors that I have thousands of pairs of shoes. I don’t, but I do have a lot of them, and have so much fun shopping for them.


Last week, I bought a super fun pair of summer sandals, and the heel is a bottle of red nail polish. Soooo fun!!! Sometimes I like silly shoes, and sometimes I just like really pretty shoes. I like loafers and ballerinas for comfort. I’m not a huge sneaker fan, although I have a few. I bought some cute red clogs last year and am afraid to wear them, because I’m afraid to step on my dogs’ tiny feet in them. I like heels when I get dressed up, but not crazy high. And I like simple pumps. And I will confess, today I went wild. I bought a pair of loafers, a pair of black patent leather short boots, I bought a pair of dressy black suede flats, and the same ones in white for the summer, and a pair of simple black patent leather high heels. (for some reason, I love black patent leather, maybe because it reminds me of when I was a kid and I loved wearing my black patent leather mary janes, and getting a new pair was always exciting!!) Last week, I had a bad day, and bought the nail polish sandals to cheer myself up, and today I was just celebrating the end of a book, and rewarding myself for working hard. It’s a harmless past time and I work hard…and if it makes me happy, why not??  And shoes are a pretty harmless vice to have!!


So that’s my guilty secret—-and I don’t even feel guilty about it. I came home with my loot, and was happy as can be. Sometimes it’s good to indulge yourself, and spoil yourself when you can.


I have a sign in my office in California that says “Do what makes you happy”—-I’m a dutiful person and always do my “homework” before I let myself do something fun. I did my homework, and now I had some fun!!


Do what makes YOU happy, whatever that is. getting your hair or your nails done, going on a hike, or to the beach. Seeing a friend, reading a book, or spoiling yourself, a hot fudge sundae, shopping. Whatever it is, we all need to spoil ourselves once in a while, when we can. Today was a big treat!!!  Have a great week!!


love, Danielle



1/31/22, Still Hibernating

Posted on January 31, 2022


Hi Everyone,


Well, I hope you’ve had a good week, maybe even a great one, with good news or some fun.


January is always a hard working month for me, I always use the dreary winter months to hibernate and write a lot. I’m working on three books right now, in first draft, final draft, and outline. It makes the cold winter days pass more quickly.  January has drifted by, and tomorrow it will be February.


Covid is still forefront in our thought, and the number of daily cases has been pretty terrible everywhere. And while we all try to make the best of this long playing situation, I notice that it does take a toll. With fewer social contacts, and most people being more careful, we don’t have the social lives we used to, the distractions, or opportunities for relaxed encounters with family and friends. I miss seeing my friends, and seeing my children as often and as easily as I did before the Pandemic. Travel is really challenging, and even dangerous. My airport experiences have been harrowing recently, with all the conditions I try to avoid: crowds, people squeezed in together, long lines, and on domestic flights people don’t have to test, so the plane could be full of sick people and you don’t know how much risk you’re taking, or if the person you’re sitting next to has Covid (and they may not even know it either if they’re asymptomatic). International flights require a test, which is more reassuring. International flights seem safer and are more likely to be Covid-free, but airports are scary everywhere, more so in recent months as more people are travelling.   I’m also finding people crabbier, more impatient and short tempered. As we approach the two year mark of the pandemic, I think everyone is tired of the stresses of the pandemic. It has lasted a lot longer than anyone guessed. They say that the variants are a sign that the end of the pandemic could be growing near, but in the meantime, contagion is sky high. In my own family, five of my eight children have had it, even though several of them are extremely careful. Some countries are reducing their barrier measures, which seems premature to me. The experts keep saying that we’re not out of the woods yet, and I believe them. And the rules about contagion, and exposure, periods of incubation, and isolation keep changing which is VERY confusing. And the endless back and forth about masks, no masks, etc.


Last week was Haute Couture week in Paris. Where the Haute Couture (made to order, not ready to wear) designers show their collections. This is the third year I haven’t gone. Once again, sitting in crowds and arriving and leaving in crushing masses of people just seems too soon to me. I haven’t had the courage to go back yet, and watch the shows afterwards on line, since I still enjoy them. Although as much as I love clothes and fashion, I don’t have much opportunity to wear anything exciting at the moment, since I’m not going anywhere all dressed up. You see a lot of ‘comfort clothes’ in public now. I think all of California is wearing yoga pants at the moment. I’m living in jeans and old sweaters, when I’m not at home writing in one of my old cashmere nightgowns. And I miss getting dressed up, and having a reason to!!!


I think we’ll all feel better when Spring rolls around, the sun is shining, and the weather warms up. Somehow life always seems better on a sunny day. We have a way to go until then!!!


I think most of us are still hibernating, winter isn’t over yet. And hopefully by Spring, Covid will be receding, and life will be more fun again. I think we have to seize the happy moments now, the fun, enjoy them to the fullest, see our friends and family when we can, be as careful as we can, and the good times will come again!!!


Have a wonderful week, stay as safe as you can, and I’ll keep writing the books to distract and entertain you in the meantime!!!


love, Danielle


1/25/22, Bounce Back!!!

Posted on January 25, 2022


Hi Everyone,


I hope you’re having a good week—-and that the January weather is less dreary where you are than where I am!!! I’ve had dreary cold weather everywhere for the last month. That’s why I always hibernate in January, and hunker down with my typewriter. It’s a great time to get a lot of writing done, because it’s no fun to go out in freezing rainy weather. It’s a great time to do projects at home, and all the things you’ve been putting off and were too busy to do during the holidays and months before. I took a day off from writing yesterday and did all those nasty, boring chores, but I felt very virtuous when I got a lot done!!


It’s amazing how easy it is to give advice, and so much harder to take it. But my agent said something the other day which really struck a chord with me: “No matter how wounded you are, you should stay in the game.” He was referring to horse back riding, but it really resonated for me about life….about love….about hard times, hard bosses and jobs, hard circumstances and relationships. Most of the time when I have ‘stayed in the game’, it was the right decision, and win or lose, it paid off. Sometimes when we’re wounded, we think we cant stand another day, but sometimes that little bit of extra time can turn things around, and you find strength you didn’t know you had.


I have a saying framed on my wall in the same vein, a quote from Joel Osteen that I really love. It says “Bounce Back”. I love seeing that quote and it reminds me that you cant or shouldn’t languish, and just lie there feeling sorry for yourself and not trying to get up—when you’ve taken a hard hit, are disappointed or hurt or lost something you care about, you HAVE to get up and bounce back, and get back in the game, or back on the horse, and get moving again. I know how hard that is to do, especially after a big disappointment, or a loss—but you have to bounce back. I think Joel Osteen is so right about that. It’s a very simple message, but a great piece of advice!!!


So now it’s back to work for me. And I hope you are cozy somewhere, staying warm, and using the dreary month of January to get some long postponed things done.


Have a great week!!!


love, Danielle


1/17/22, Lonely

Posted on January 17, 2022


Hi Everyone,


Well, we’re two weeks into the new year, and hopefully you’re off to a great start, and good things are already unfolding. I’ve already had one terrific surprise, in the past week. I learned that my new book “Invisible”, in hardcover, determined after only five days of sales, will be Number 1 on the New York Times Bestseller list this coming Sunday, and my new paperback “Neighbors” will be Number 1 on their paperback list. And I have another paperback still on that list, “All That Glitters.” That definitely gets my year off to a VERY happy start!! I hope you’ll have time to read it, and will love it.


Today is a very important day, Martin Luther King Day, one of the great historical figures of our times, and an extraordinary man, a great and inspiring religious leader who had a tremendous political and historical impact on the battle for desegregation in the United States at the time. He was an inspiration to all, and left the world a better place for having been here, and his murder was a tragedy for the world. He will be remembered and admired forever in our history.


I find that January is always kind of a bleak, dreary month. The weather is bad almost everywhere. Life is always slower after the holidays. And this year, we’ve begun the year at the height of the peak of another wave of Covid that has hit the world hard, with the Omicron variant. There are a myriad theories about it, that it’s less severe than earlier variants, but more contagious, that it’s a good sign that the virus is weakening, and then contradictory opinions. We are all eager to see the end of the virus altogether and the sky high numbers of new cases around the world are discouraging and frightening. I long for the time when this is all behind us, and life returns to normal again, and every day is no longer a challenge of testing, masking, distancing, vaccinating, boosting, and worrying about Covid. Let’s hope that this year it will finally disappear from our lives, or at the very least become no more dangerous than the common cold. Wouldn’t that be nice!!!


In the holiday letters I received, and conversations I’ve had, two words have caught my attention. Words that people don’t speak often or admit to, and are now talking about openly. The two words are ‘lonely’ and ‘disconnected’. I can’t remember a time when people said to me openly, or wrote in a letter, “I’m so lonely” or “I feel so disconnected.” In a way, I think it’s actually a good thing that people are actually saying it now, if that’s what they’re feeling. In the past, I think people were embarrassed to admit it, but it’s out in the open now. It has been one of the great impacts of Covid: isolation, solitude, either from quarantines, from being sick, out of fear of getting sick, from working at home remotely, or not being in school, millions of people have been affected, separated from their loved ones. Adult children have not seen their elderly parents in order to protect them, College kids haven’t seen their friends or been able to make new ones. Curfews, lockdowns, fear, and good judgement have isolated all of us from each other. I spent fifteen months of the last two years separated from my children, which was unimaginable to me before Covid. And even now, travelling to visit them, which I did once a month before is much more challenging and travel is often dangerous, or just before you’re about to see someone, they have been exposed to someone with Covid and are in quarantine and isolating. It is MUCH harder to see people now, and nearly impossible to have a social life. Going to parties isn’t wise, even if vaccinated, you think twice about inviting anyone to your home, and people are just tired of the cautions, restrictions and dangers, and it all becomes too complicated, so people wind up staying home alone.  It takes real effort and consideration to maintain connections with people. I think we’re all beginning to realize that solitude does take a tremendous toll, and we do need to make that effort to stay connected to others, we need to see our family and friends, those connections are important to all of us and our wellbeing, and I think we all need to make that extra effort so we aren’t lonely. The emotional and psychological effects of the pandemic are just as dangerous as the physical ones. It’s something to think about and be aware of as we start a new year. A promise to ourselves to stay connected to other people, so that the word lonely is no longer the first word we think of to describe ourselves and how we’re feeling.


I’m starting the year off working on two books, which is usually how I start every year: writing. It’s a good month to stay home and write. Writing is always isolating because you have to stay home alone to do it. But I am going to make more effort now to see people between books, as part of my own commitment to stay connected!!


My daughter Beatrix sent me a terrific quote today of Robin Williams. He was a lovely man, and I was lucky to know him. His son and my daughter dated all through high school, and my family has remained friends with his ever since. Robin was as funny in private as he was on screen, but the side of him I loved and always impressed me was that he was an absolutely wonderful father and adored his children. The quote my daughter sent me was “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always”/Robin Williams. It’s a good thing to keep in mind. Life is a daily battle to stay on course and keep your ahead above water, and in the pandemic, you have to fight that much harder.


I hope you have a wonderful, easy week, full of good news, good surprises, good times, and blessings.


Take Care. love, Danielle