A Letter from Danielle for August ‘16

August 5th, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve gotten some time off this summer, and if you haven’t done so yet, I hope that you still have some vacation time coming your way in August. We all need a break when we can manage it!

August always seems a little bittersweet to me—the weather is still warm, it’s still officially summer, we may not even have gone on our vacation yet, but the evenings start to get cooler, summer’s end is near, and we can see the fall coming at us faster than we’d like. Suddenly it will be back to school, and back to work!

My birthday is in August. I’m one of those people who hate celebrating my birthdays, but it’s a good excuse to get together with my children for a long weekend… and I always look forward to that.

I’ll be busy writing in August too. Other than that, I have no big plans for the month ahead. Before revving things up in September, I’ll do my best to enjoy the last days of summer.

At the very end of this month, I have a new book coming out in hardcover and eBook, called RUSHING WATERS. It’s about a hurricane that hits New York—the damage it creates, the lives it affects, and the chaos it causes. I enjoyed writing it a lot, and I hope you love it!!!

Have a wonderful month, and enjoy these last glorious, hopefully lazy days before we get catapulted into fall, faster than we can imagine.

Love,

Danielle

A Letter from Danielle for April ‘16

April 4th, 2016

Hi Everyone,

The month of April conjures up springtime and flowers, which is a nice image of the month – but not always true! I’ve been caught in snowstorms in New York and other cities (Chicago) as late as mid-April, so winter may not be entirely over. But let’s hope the weather will get warmer soon wherever you are!!

If you have kids in school, one nice thing to look forward to is spring vacation. While my children were growing up we went to Hawaii every year for Easter and their school spring break. It was a fantastic vacation for all of us! All my nine children loved it — they swam all day and enjoyed the beach. We went to luaus and they took hula lessons, and it was just a wonderful change of scene. We have terrific memories of those times in Hawaii, and two of my children still go there every year. I haven’t been in many years (about ten.) Once my older children were in college, they no longer had Easter vacation, so it didn’t work for us as a family trip. I think if I went back now it would just make me sad, remembering a time that is gone now, with kids all grown up. But I do cherish the memories, as we had a ball there!!!

April in Paris is beautiul, as the song says, but still chilly. However, as the calendar moves along, it reminds me that summer is coming, with a lot to look forward to – warmer weather, sunny days, holidays and summer vacation!!

My newest hardcover novel came out 2 weeks ago: PROPERTY OF A NOBLEWOMAN. If you haven’t had a chance to read, it’s a fascinating story with surprises and mysteries – and a big jewelry auction!

And as always, I’ll be writing this month, working on new books to give you in the near future.

Have a great month of April wherever you are!!!

Take good care!!

Love,

Danielle

A Letter from Danielle for March ‘16

March 1st, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope that last month was a good one for you, and that Valentine’s Day turned out the way you wanted. That’s always a dicey day, with lots of hopes, and not always so easy to have it go the way you plan. So I hope it was a good one!!!

And here we are in March!!! As usual, the year is off to a racing start. It seems like the New Year began just yesterday, and BAM!!! March is already here. March is such a hopeful month, with spring promising to arrive soon, sometimes with a few teasing warm days to entice us, and then another blast of cold or snow before winter is really over. But the few warm days give us hope!!!

Easter is really early this year, coming at the end of this month. Easter used to be a big event for us (9 kids!!), with dyeing eggs until my hands were blue, green and purple for weeks, planning Easter egg hunts, and enjoying chocolate eggs. Some of my kids still come home for Easter, but many of them don’t get time off to travel. So we have a nice Easter brunch with those who are around.

March is exciting for me, because my new book PROPERTY OF A NOBLEWOMAN will be coming out on the 15th. It was a really intriguing and fun book to write! It begins with a seemingly abandoned safe deposit box in a bank, which has a stack of mysterious letters, some old photographs and newspaper clippings, and some truly spectacular jewelry in it — all belonging to a woman who appeared to die penniless. The book traces who she was and what happened in her life, all reconstructed and deduced from what is found in the box at the bank. Some truly poignant moments arise, as her history emerges and family mysteries begin to surface. Two young people, one from the bank and the other an auctioneer, attempt to solve these mysteries as they trace her life.

It also touches on the world of important jewelry auctions, which is fascinating. I hope you’ll find the book intriguing and exciting, and touching. It’s a reminder of how little we know of people sometimes, particularly older people, and how we sometimes have no idea who they were when they were young. A glamourous history emerges in the book, and our hearts are touched by the woman who left all her worldly possessions in a safe deposit box, and then failed to claim her belongings, or designate anyone to inherit them. It traces a family history through some shocking revelations, and the final discoveries of who she was changes several lives at the end. It was fascinating to write!!!

I hope March unfolds well for you, and happy first day of spring!!!

Love,
Danielle

PS – My novel COUNTRY recently released in paperback. If you missed it in hardcover, I hope you’ll enjoy it now. It’s an exciting view of the Nashville music scene, a sexy, handsome country music star, and a whole new life that begins after the heroine is widowed. She discovers a brave new world, and decides to put the past behind her and ’seize theday’! It’s a fun book!!

A Letter from Danielle for February ‘16

February 1st, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope that things are going along well for you. We’ve got some holidays coming up in February – President’s Day, which gives us a long weekend (always welcome!!!), Groundhog Day, which always seems a little silly to me after the classic Bill Murray movie of the same name, Chinese New Year, which is colorful, exciting, and usually with some great parades, Mardi Gras, which is fabulous and festive in New Orleans and Brazil, and Ash Wednesday, which is more serious and is the beginning of Lent before Easter 6 weeks later. Coming up this month is also my son’s birthday (which I can’t wait to celebrate!!), and the biggie: Valentine’s Day.

Since this is a Leap Year, we get a double dose of romance, which means that if your true love doesn’t come through with a proposal on Valentine’s Day, you can take control of the situation and propose to him on February 29th!!! There’s a very cute movie about that called “Leap Year” with Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. So sweet.

My Valentine’s experiences have been a mixed bag all my life. My first one in third grade (in a French school) was a total bust. I was the only girl in my class who didn’t get a Valentine. I was very sad about it, but managed to survive. And John, the eventual father of eight of my nine children, proposed to me on Valentine’s Day, which was definitely my best Valentine’s Day ever!!! He swept me off my feet, after a whirlwind romance, and we were married 4 months later on June 14. We shared seventeen very happy years married, and have stayed close forever after.

I gave a Valentine’s Day party the night he proposed (he asked me to marry him over lunch), and we both had other dates planned for the evening, and paid no attention to them after his proposal!!! They were very happy times, and we shared some very happy Valentine’s Days. He was always very creative about doing something special.

But let’s face it, real life is real life, and I have had some real dud Valentine’s Days too. Some really awful ones – no candy, no flowers, no romance. But a holiday based on chocolate can’t be all bad… in fact, it can be terrific!! My children and I love to exchange silly little gifts on Valentine’s Day. And I love anything with hearts. I collect art, paintings and sculptures with hearts on them. I have some of Jim Dine’s paintings, and some of the Robert Indiana ‘Love’ sculptures.

The French say that “love has no age”, which is a theory that I like, and actually believe in. I’m always hearing about some couple who re-found each other after many years, or met and fell in love -old enough to be my parents, or older – who decide to make the most of their ‘golden years’, and even marry. Why not?? Why shouldn’t older people be happy and even fall in love? The young don’t have a monopoly on love, it’s available to all of us at every age.

Hopefully someone will take you to dinner, or send you flowers, or bring you chocolates, or get down on one knee and propose (and yes, I’m old fashioned and believe in marriage, and the statement it makes about love and commitment, especially in the uncertain world we live in.) And if nothing is lining up for romance in your life this Valentine’s Day, you just don’t know what will happen next year. So keep an open mind – use leap year if it seems appropriate – and enjoy the chocolates. Life is full of surprises, and you just dont know what might happen this year, next year, or in a few years. I hope it will be a special day for you.

Have a great month of February, whatever you decide to celebrate!!!

Much love,

Danielle

A Letter from Danielle for July ‘15

June 30th, 2015

Hi Everyone,

Although I find September exciting-because I always feel like everything is starting fresh after the summer and at the beginning of the school year (even this many years later) -I’ve always thought that July is the sweet spot in the year. It’s just a gorgeous time of year. June leads up to our hopes for summer, and lulls us with great weather in most places. But July is REALLY summer!! Although May and June can be a great time to travel, July is just the perfect month for a vacation, with great weather at the beach, in the country, or the mountains. It’s the best weather you’re going to get all year (except in San Francisco, where it is freezing and foggy in summer). July is when we want to be at the beach, go sailing, swimming, fishing, or lie in a hammock with a good book (please, please one of mine!!)

I actually allow myself to be lazy in July, which is rare for me. It is also the one time a year now when I go on vacation with my younger children, and I cherish those times. My three older ones have plans of their own, are married and busy, but the younger five still spend their summer vacation with me, and I just LOVE IT!!

We always take a vacation that involves the beach and the sea, because I am definitely an ocean person, more than a ‘country’ person.

July makes me think of crickets and birds singing, looking up at a blue cloudless sky, lying on a beach, or reading under a tree, and doing fun things with my children. By August, the summer is already winding to a close, and doesn’t have quite the same feeling of abandon that July does. Kids go back to school in August, I start writing again, and we all make plans for the fall.

And whether in the States or in France, Independence Day is a wonderful celebration. July 4th in America, and July 14th, Bastille Day, in France. I love the fireworks in both places, as well as the picnics, the food, and the friends.

I hope you have a glorious July. Hopefully you can get some vacation time, get away from chores and responsibilities, and have some fun!!

Love, Danielle

A Letter from Danielle for May ‘15

May 1st, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I’ve always loved the month of May. After the chilly winds of April, in some places May is the beginning of warm weather, but even if not, spring is in the air, flowers are blooming and summer is just around the corner, or at least we hope so. The month begins with May Day, where in France, everyone exchanges little sprigs of lily of the valley (my favorite flower), which is said to bring good luck. So on every street corner, vendors are selling the delicate fragrant flower, and you give it to your friends. I have a son who was born on May 1st, so I particularly like that day. And May 1st is Labor Day in France, so the atmosphere is festive. I always give a dinner party for close friends on May 1st to celebrate the day.

The other major holiday in May is Mother’s Day, which has always been one of my favorite holidays, though it can have a sensitive side to it too. For those whose mothers are no longer around or for those who wish they had been mothers and aren’t, for whatever reason, it can bring up tender memories. For those struggling to have children, it can be a bittersweet reminder of what they don’t have in their lives. My own challenges with Mother’s Day came early. My mother left our home when I was six, and I grew up alone with my father. Having a mother was not part of my daily life, although I saw her at times once I grew up. It taught me an important lesson. We don’t always have the mothers we wish we had, even if they are present in our lives on a daily basis. Mother/daughter relationships can be famously challenging, although they don’t have to be. And some people never have their own biological children. But life has a way of making up for what we don’t have, if we are open to it.

Throughout my life, important mother figures surfaced—older women who took me under their wing with immense kindness (one of whom had no children of her own, the others did.) They were very important people and role models for me, women of great wisdom who taught me a lot about life. And they always came into my life at the right time. Two of them are simply close friends I met once I was an adult. One of them was the aunt of a dear friend, and I would drive hundreds of miles to see her on weekends in my early 20’s when I moved to California. And another has known me since I was a child, and is an extraordinary wise woman I remain close to today—a talented designer well into her 80’s with a huge heart, who continues to work hard and have an active life. She sees every play and movie, and reads every new book, has an active social life, and takes grad school classes at night on interesting subjects. She has been a model for me in many aspects of my life, and she has a great sense of humor. I want to be like her when I grow up!!!

So our mothering may not always come from the sources we expect. The same is true of children. Whether we have children or not, if we are open to it, young people and children can enter our lives  at any point, and bring us enormous joy and sunshine. Families are no longer as traditional as they once were, and we can celebrate the women we love and admire, whether they are our ‘real’ mothers or not. I have been blessed with many children, and even though they are spread out in many cities now, and we can’t always celebrate Mother’s Day together, I am so grateful to have them in my life (along with a few extras I have taken under my wing as well, god-children, or young people who have become part of my life). So keep an open mind about Mother’s Day, it can be a wonderful day to celebrate, whether you are or have a Mother or not.

And then to close the month on a festive note, we get a long weekend on Memorial Day, which is the ’soft’ opening of summer. It may not be blazing hot yet, but it gets us ready for summer—and holidays are always a good thing!!!

Have a great month!!

Love, Danielle

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