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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Spending Time by Margot Justes

I have not turned my computer on in several days-I spent time with family and friends. Our annual party was a success, but plans for my time at home veered off course-snow, a lot of snow and I’m a coward when it comes to driving or for that matter, riding in a car when there is ice overlaid by snow. It was a perfect winter wonderland scene, huge snow flakes gently falling on an already white canvas. Best appreciated in a warm, comfortable home, while sipping eggnog with a touch of rum.

We had plans to go downtown to the Art Institute-we had plans on Tuesday and Wednesday-but nature intervened, so we stayed in the area. But all was not lost, we went to breakfast Wednesday, shopped a bit, stood in line for 30 minutes at Dick’s Sporting Goods-it was worth it-we were entertained by a man standing behind us, who kept giving us odds on whether it was faster to get out of line and go to another store in an entirely different mall…

We finally made it to the Art Institute on Friday-there is an incredible Tapestry exhibit that runs through January 4, 2009. Four Centuries of European Tapestries-all in glorious color and incredible detail. Simply exquisite! Brilliant. Dazzling! Even if your tastes do not run toward tapestries, this exhibit is well worth seeing, the work is magnificent, and the attention to detail is absolute perfection.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Don't Give Up the Day Job by Margot Justes

The holiday season is fast approaching and I noticed in my own every day life that the pressure to finish everything is on. There is the shopping, baking, cooking and cleaning to get the house ready for our annual get together with friends and family, and of course my day job; the one that actually provides a regular pay check.

But there is also the life of the writer and the functions that have be attended to get my name out there-where ever out there is.

Today was just such a day. The early morning saw me at my local Jewel, but before the Jewel, I made coffee, had a few cups while I got ready and of course the coffee made the rest of the day seem possible. At any rate, by eight o’clock I was at the Jewel picking up things I’d need for later this afternoon.

Got back from the Jewel and headed to the author part of my life and the Des Plaines Library for a six hour function with fellow authors June Sproat, Morgan Mandel and Carrie Lofty, then back home, where I made fudge and tasted it several times to make sure it was perfect. It was.

Also rum balls were on the schedule today, now those I had to taste frequently, adding rum is tricky. You have to mix and add more and taste, and mix-well you get the drift. I just had to make sure there was enough rum in said balls. Very tricky. And very tasty. There will be another tasting after I post this blob, oops blog…time to post.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Real and Reel Science on CSI MIami by Margot Justes

I missed last week’s blog, another one of those weekends where real life took over, and I wound up with a miserable cold-which leads me to this blog.

I actually spent some time watching TV-one show-CSI Miami-I was asked to watch because my daughter (the scientist) actually participated in the research for one of the instruments they used; brand new, very exciting research with incredible potential, desorption electrospray ionization or DESI for short.

The instrument can identify and find fingerprints buried beneath a multitude of others, it can identify the chemical signature and can also identify what an individual recently handled. I’d say that’s pretty cool.

I normally don’t watch the show because the Technicolor is just so, how shall I put it
-colorful…I’ve been there, reality is far more timid. But I appreciate the fact that they gave real science a boost in a reel world.

One other show I watched this week is Numbers, I like it. The math is complicated, but math makes the world go round, so I listen and try to understand and while it’s being explained I grasp it. Really I do. But my comprehension is very short-lived as soon as he’s done explaining, I’m done understanding-but again the science is real. Numbers also mentioned DESI, this one I wasn’t expecting, and was delighted and proud that my daughter had a hand in the research.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Book Clubs by Margot Justes

You never know when a simple sale will lead to greater exposure. This summer I participated in the Frontier Days in Arlington Heights, IL. along with June Sproat and Morgan Mandel; we sold our books to a woman who was chairperson of a book club, and she asked us to speak at one of their meetings.

I have spoken at a couple book clubs and expected eight to ten people to attend. The event was held at a lovely country club and we were asked to stay for lunch, so I was looking forward to a small intimate event.

What a delightful surprise when I walked into the room and found about eighty members in attendance and of course all book lovers. Nirvana.

It was absolutely wonderful, I sold quite a few books, all my promotional material went and the group thanked us for the informative and great presentation.

The one thing I always walk away with from a presentation like that is inspiration and motivation to finish my projects.

Books are an incredible escape to wondrous worlds, and I can’t imagine never reading a book-but since I started writing I find that writing holds the same form of escape for me, now I’m actually creating my own little heaven.

I’m very excited that A Hotel in Paris is now available in the Kindle format, and the link is already set up on my website.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Buying Books by Margot Justes

Last week I read a blog-wish I could remember where-about the status of publishing. It is in trouble just like the rest of the businesses around the world.

The author of the above mentioned blog simply stated that if we each bought a book for this holiday season, we would have a tremendous impact on the publishing world and the domino effect of the economy-all the people in the periphery-from the printer to the stocker to ink and paper manufacturers-you get the drift.

I, for one think it is an excellent idea and have already done more than my share. My family loves to read, so it was a no brainer, I buy books.

For my grandchildren I always buy seasonal and holiday books, I think it makes the holiday that much more special. The kids see a celebration through different set of eyes.

So when you’re ready to do your shopping think about that book purchase, for yourself, family, friend or just a grab bag. Don’t forget Toys For Tots-books make great gifts.

On another exciting note A Hotel in Paris in now available in the Kindle format at Amazon-link to follow soon.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Paradigm of Existence by Margot Justes

My blogs are usually light and written so I may keep in touch with readers, writers and maybe a fan or two. This week will be a bit different.

A friend suffered a devastating loss and frankly I don’t know how to help except to be there for her when and if needed.

Often when faced with a tragedy we mourn, that goes without saying, we lose a bit of self and we question the existence of everything; because the loss is so great, so incredibly unimaginable and terrible.

I’m using the royal ‘we’ since it’s easier to do, and I assume most of us go through this period of doubt when faced with horror.

I lean toward the metaphysical aspect of self doubt. Do we exist? Is our reality everyone else’s reality? Is there life after death? Can we and do we face our own mortality? Is it easier to say there is life after death, because we cannot admit the fact that we will have an end just as we did a beginning? How do we acknowledge the unknown, that possibility of more?

It’s a huge universe and getting bigger with every scientific discovery that allows us to see more.

So maybe, to make our losses seem easier, we do accept the theory that our soul survives and lives on, or that we reincarnate and become another being. Hopefully we have learned enough in this life to become better in the next. So the soul (however that is defined) of our loved ones are going through the process of change rather than the finality of death. In other words, the distinct possibility maybe there is more.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Blog by Any Other Name by Margot Justes

I had a signing in a delightful independent book store in Ottawa, Illinois called the Book Mouse-bookmouse.org

They did not have a mouse, but they did have a real live kitten; seven months old with a mischievous glint in his eye and an appetite for pretzels. He had the run of the place and took full advantage, his favorite perch on top of the tall book case allowed him to view his domain...

To keep the kitten company, another critter, a chinchilla with an affinity for pumpkin seeds. Stairs from the cage allowed him to go down and provide some exercise for the kitten. As the saying goes–and the chase was on…

The Book Mouse is one of those great full of personality and ambiance independent book stores that serves the local community and warmly welcomes authors. I felt right at home.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Author Fair by Margot Justes

I had the pleasure of attending an Author Fair at the Joliet Public Library. No idea what to expect, nevertheless, I was prepared, books and promo material was all I needed. Once I walked in, I was very well taken care of; a smiling staff member showed me to my table; my name in a frame and balloons on said table made for a very pleasant welcome.

It was an unusual format, tables were set up everywhere in the library, every corner, every empty space was occupied. It allowed the people to browse and meet the authors, chat and even buy a book or two. I thought the set up was a great idea, and was very well received judging by the comments I overheard.

The best part was the welcome and the effort on the part of the library staff to make the authors comfortable and glad to be there, and seeing many familiar faces.

Even lunch was offered to the participants and their guests. Staff members walked around offering water, making sure we were happy, no doubt about it, we were pampered. I could get used to that.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Changing Face of Web Design by Margot Justes

I noticed that web site design is forever changing, continuously evolving, colors change, twinkling lights are added, arrows point in many directions, anything to give the website a new look. Something fresh, different to entice visitors as often as possible.

I was told it’s necessary; people don’t want to see the same thing over again. Change is expected. From a personal observation, some of them are so busy and full of detail that I don’t know where to go first-so usually I leave. I want simplicity, easy access-not confusion or an engineering degree to figure out where I need to be.

I, for one love my website, just the way it is, and I believe it does change. The events are updated, book trailer is up, reviews are posted, announcements and new publications are listed; all those things change frequently. But the basic design is permanent. It is perfect, elegant and easy to use. There is not one single iota that I would alter about the design of my site.

I wonder if all the changes on the websites are really that important and effective. I would love to hear from writers-do you really change your site frequently? And readers-does it really matter to you? What do you look for when you visit?

I’m going to add something to the blog-I wrote it last night, but didn’t post it yet-was gone all day. In the meantime I got an e-mail from a friend who suggested I make the website a bit more personal-not change the design, but update it with information on my writing, progress of same or lack there of. I have already e-mailed my web-gal. The timing of my friend’s e-mail couldn’t have been better.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Missing by Margot Justes

A new anthology from Echelon Press-Missing- is scheduled to debut at Bouchercon in Baltimore, MD next month.

Many wonderful writers, among them our own ACME author Norm Cowie donated a short story. All the stories have a common link-a missing person, and royalties are being donated to charity.

In 2007 they were over 800,000 people who disappeared- are missing-that is a staggering number. Hopefully our efforts will leave a mark-it is a step in the right direction.

The idea came from Amy Alessio, a YA Librarian at the Schaumburg Library in Illinois. She participated in The Heat of the Moment Anthology, and approached Karen Syed of Echelon press at the Love is Murder conference (LIM) and asked if it could be done.

Karen did not hesitate and immediately responded positively; she had authors lined up before the conference was finished.

There is a book signing already scheduled at Centuries & Sleuths. www.centuriesandsleuths.com
November 23 1-3 pm.
7419 W. Madison St. Forest Park, IL
708/771-7243

Among the authors who committed to the signing are Amy Alessio, Robert Goldsborough, Margot Justes, Joe Konrath, Mary Welk, and more to come.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
The Heat of the Moment
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More Travel Stuff by Margot Justes

I have missed the last couple of weeks-family events and a trip to Decatur, GA for a book festival-pretty much took care of the two weekends.

The good thing about promoting A Hotel in Paris is that I get to travel, so for this blog, I want to get back to travel agencies. When I travel promoting the above mentioned book, I have specific locations already selected. So it’s easy for me to book the hotel and flight all by myself.

However, picking a vacation destination is another matter. Sometimes I do it myself but sometimes not…that is when a good travel agency is essential. This is where a travel agency can either make or break a vacation.

You are going to pay for the service-you can’t get around it-but you might as well pay and get the best service you can, Suburban Travel provides that extra touch.

The vacation will be planned for you, but in addition you will get a bit of history, selected and localized sites-by that I mean-if you are in a specific area, the sites around that area will be outlined for you-to maximize the use of your time-so that you may see as much as possible. The information provided will be current. I do prefer knowing the restaurant is still in business rather than showing up and poof it’s not there...

In essence you will have your own destination notes tailored specifically to your needs and travel plans. Can’t go wrong there…you will also receive tips on restaurants, shopping…you get the idea.

Suburban Travel has been in business more than 25 years and they have truly honed in their approach to travel–thus the client gets the full benefit of their expertise.

I have a travel tip from them-if you happen to be going to Prague check out The Blue Duck restaurant-it is expensive but excellent, and also in Prague (it would seem Prague is a popular destination) the Kolkovna restaurant is not expensive but well worth a visit and a local favorite.

As the business cards states Suburban Travel, Inc – Specialists in the Art of Travel.
Check them out at www.suburbantrvl.com , call 847/729-7730 or 800/237-7730.

Art is always a good thing…

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Available on amazon.com
Heat of the Moment
Missing-coming October 2008
www.mjustes.com

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sub Orbital Tavel by Margot Justes

I am somewhat-well-really greatly-out of my depth or altitude here. I went to my local travel agency, Suburban Travel in Glenview, IL; more about the travel agency later.

At any rate, I was going to post a couple travel tips for people going to Europe. In the process I found out that sub-orbital travel is quickly becoming a reality, as in 2010 reality-flights have already been booked and paid for.

That is amazing, exciting and many other ‘ing’s’ I cannot think of at the moment. The plan is to go into sub-orbit, change the trajectory and 90 minutes later you are in South Africa, at least eventually; the first flights will be up and straight down.

Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic is the man of the century for attempting to put us into space; a remarkable man with a magnificent vision toward the future.

Everything has been planned out, and some flights have already been sold at the mere price of $200,000 or so-but for that money, you will train for 3 days in New Mexico, no not area 51, but at Spaceport America, stay in a luxurious hotel and mingle with the astronauts and pilots who will take you for the ride of your life.

The thought of the research, training and dedication of the people involved is astounding and gratifying. We are moving forward into space exploration and kudos to those who are willing to go for that ride. Heroes and adventurers, one and all! Let’s not forget the designer space suit, the sleek and elegant machine you will be riding.

For more information, go to www.suburbantrvl.com or call 800/237-7730.
Now, back to Suburban Travel, they were one of the few chosen travel agencies, allowed to sell these precious tickets. They are a full service travel agency, with clients all over the country.

In next week’s blog, I will have a couple travel tips and an expanded look at Suburban Travel.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Available on amazon.com
www.mjustes.com

Saturday, August 9, 2008

On the way to a conference by Margot Justes

I missed the blog last Saturday, was in San Francisco for the Romance Writers of America National Conference. I was a tourist, one of my favorite things to do. The hotel was well situated, right up the street from Union Square-perfect location.

I love to walk, and walk I did…from the hotel to China Town, to Little Italy, to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, to chocolate square otherwise know as Ghirardelli Square and finally to the trolley stop for the ride back.

I knew I was tired, when I noticed going up the slight incline to the hotel I was stooped over as if fighting a brutal wind-there was no wind, just an extremely exhausted pair of feet lumbering up the incline as it seemed to grow monumentally with every painful step.

As tired as I was I had a terrific time. However, the following morning the only thing that got me moving was the knowledge that a good cup of coffee was waiting for me at the hotel restaurant-otherwise I am sure I would not have moved an inch.

I tend to laugh when in pain-I was giggling all the way down to the coffee place. Coffee, I’m convinced has a restorative and medicinal power, after consuming the full pot, I was ready for more sightseeing.

The conference-you ask, well that is a tale, er…blog for another day.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Available on amazon.com
www.mjustes.com

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Architecture of Paris by Margot Justes

You may think I have a theme in mind-in fact I do, it is after all summer and tourist are on the road.

As you can see below, my novel is set in Paris and if you are lucky enough to be going to that spectacular city this summer and happen to love architecture, there is no better place to start than Paris.

Gothic architecture does not come any better than Notre Dame, the flying buttresses abound, and the Sunday peel can be heard for miles. Notre Dame is one of many truly memorable sites, for a stark difference head out to view the Pompidou Center, a contemporary building like none other, and to kill two birds with the proverbial stone stop, delight in and absorb Pei’s pyramid, that wondrous glass structure that serves as an entrance to the glorious Louvre museum.

Where else does the 12th Century blend perfectly with the 21st – why Paris of course.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Available on amazon.com
www.mjustes.com

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Cafe in Paris by Margot Justes

It is summer, and many tourists will flock to Paris. There are no bad times in which to visit this magnificent city, but summer seems to be the season of choice.

To avoid the tourist crush, I prefer anytime but summer; to be able to capture and breathe the sensations of this captivating city in relative peace.

The cafes are a lifestyle, slow, easy…relaxing; the continuous rush of the life glides by, while you sit in a café and enjoy that marvelous cup.

Visit the famous Café De La Paix, sit down-you might even be sitting down in the same spot as Chopin, maybe even Sand-they were among the many writers, artists, musicians who frequented the spot. Sit, enjoy and pay homage to a time long gone by-yet, it’s still there. That is the magic…

The Champs Elyssee, a must for any tourist, many cafes from which to chose-but, there is a new kid on the block; Nespresso has arrived -a 10,00 square feet ‘boutique’. I have yet to see it, rest assured I will - as I said it is brand new, just opened this June-oddly enough the time of my launch of A Hotel in Paris. Coincidence, I think not…

That particular touch of coffee nirvana you can have right in your own home, the machine is available to purchase from Williams Sonoma or go directly to www.nespresso.com

The coffee is excellent, the crema sublime, and it is easy to use. My greatest joy when I sit down to write or anytime I have a few moments, is to have a good cup of coffee, in fact many cups of coffee. Great coffee, solitude and writing…pure heaven.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Available on amazon.com
www.mjustes.com

Saturday, June 21, 2008

An Interesting Day by margot Justes

I have missed a couple of weeks, first there was Printers Row, then Author Fest and today an unusual event at Lambs Farm-it was their Woofstock event, as you might have guessed canines were involved.

I have never seen so many different dogs in one place before, that may be, because I am a cat person and never attend pooch events.

That being said, it was strange, I have never heard so many people and I do mean many, in one day tell me they don’t read. I think I heard every excuse imaginable, from I don’t have time, to I have a dog, and my personal favorite, I don’t waste my time reading fiction.

I briefly shared a tent, it rained and the group at Camp Bow Wow offered shelter. We chatted and I found out Camp Bow Wow is a doggy day care and overnight camp. They are located in McHenry, Illinois. They seemed to really care for the guests, the four legged variety, that approached the Bow Wow tent, pulled by their respective owners.

If you are looking for a place for your dog, you might want to check them out…www.campbowwow.com/mchenry

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
The Heat of the Moment
Available on amazon.com
www.mjustes.com
Echelon Press LLC

Monday, June 9, 2008

Join Margot’s Muse

Join Margot’s Muse, the best place to get info on author Margot Justes

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/margotjustes

With my new book hot off the press and on sale now, I think it’s time you got to know me.

Join my announcement only group and come along with me on my quest to become a best selling author. But this isn’t just about me, it’s about you, the reader, too. I’ll occasionally send you event dates and locations, as well as new release information. As a member of my group you will be eligible for my monthly “Reader Appreciation” drawings, and get all the news about me and my writing before anyone else in the world.

As a special introductory offer, the first TEN readers who sign up for “Margot’s Muse” will get a FREE PDF download of A HOTEL IN PARIS.