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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Career Change by Margot Justes

The release of A Hotel in Bath, and my current writing projects made me realize that my retirement decision was absolutely the right one. I’m ready for a career change.

 There is a certain angst in leaving the familiar, the job you can do with your eyes closed, because you’ve done it for so long, but you also realize there is no longer a challenge  in the sameness, it is in fact mundane.  Once that certainty becomes obvious, the rest becomes easy.

 I have four full months left of gainful employment, after that I’ll be a full time writer. I’m looking forward to it.  It’s a demanding enterprise, this writing business, full of energy, pitfalls, ups and downs and everything in between. In other words, it is bloody marvelous.

 I’ve been blessed to work with some wonderful people, I’ll miss them, but I will not miss the work. Not one iota of it. Not one little bit. I’m ready for a new challenge, one that will allow me the freedom to do as I please, allow me to progress at my own pace, but most of all allow me to challenge myself.

 Whether I can make a success of it, remains to be seen, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Introduction to A Hotel in Bath by Margot Justes

A Hotel in Bath, has just been released and I would like to share a snippet with you. A journey that began in Paris, continues in Bath.
“Welcome to London, Miss Grey,” he whispered.
“Thank you, Captain.” She leaned toward him and with her fingertips caressed his cheek.
The plane roared to a stop amidst layers of dense fog, the silvery hue obscuring the landing strip. Inside the plane, the woman sitting next to Peter Riley shivered, he gently stroked her hand, his gaze on her face as soft as the caress. He was so completely aware of her that he could taste her increasing panic. Their relationship was new, and Minola Grey was skittish about commitment. He knew the relationship terrified her, a fear of betrayal never far from the surface.
Minola looked up at him and their eyes locked. “A hotel in London, Captain?”
“Yes, Miss Grey. We were going to go to my apartment, but I received a message that the painters were delayed, and the apartment is not ready. A hotel in Bath. That concept should be familiar to you, except this time, I’m staying with you from the very beginning,” he replied smiling. His grip on her fingers tightened. She took his breath away. “I love you,” he whispered in her ear. “Nervous?”
“No. Yes. Hmmm. Now, that is an interesting response. Any regrets?”
“About what?”
“No. Never about you. Meeting your parents, well, let's just say that is an entirely different matter,” Minola replied.
He remembered the first time he met Minola Grey. Paris. And murder. As an Interpol agent, Peter Riley was part of an investigative team in Paris; somehow, she wound up becoming an indispensable part of his life. Because of him, she had matured as a woman and as an artistshe’d become a success in Paris, and now had a major show planned in London—but she still had doubts and insecurities about their association. Minola continued, “Peter, what are your parents going to think? I’m a stranger you are imposing on them during their vacation. Maybe I should stay in London. We can all meet later in Bath.”
His grip on her fingers did not relent, he understood her and her fears. She was a remarkable artist whose talent he’d seen grow darker and grittier with her exposure to his profession. He’d been terrified for her safety. It happened right in front of his eyes, she’d seen death and her life had been threatened, horrifying him in the process. She learned about greed, hate, how easy it is for someone to take a life. Peter would do anything to keep her safe and wrapped in a cocoon of his own choosing. Yet throughout their time together, she remained stoic, timid, and more importantly, mistrustful of their relationship.
“First and foremost, you are not a stranger. You are the one and only woman in my life. Have been since the day we met. We are going to Bath together. My parents are looking forward to meeting you. And I want to be with you, but if I’m not enough of a lure, there is an added incentive; a gallery in Bath you will enjoy visiting. I know the owner.”
“A gallery? Ah, you twist my arm, Captain. By the way, you are enough. You will always be enough.” She leaned over and once again touched his cheek. “Peter, how long are we going to stay in Bath? Maybe we should get two
“We are staying in one room. Together.” He brought her hand to his lips, before she had a chance to withdraw. “We can leave tomorrow morning. It’s not a long drive, and we can relax tonight. Well, maybe not relax, entirely. I have missed loving you,” he said with emphasis.
“Peter, I'm afraid; I feel as if you didn't get a chance to…”
“I have everything I want. You. I’m thinking of leaving Interpol. I’ve found I cannot risk your life again; your safety has become an obsession.”
“What?” She shook her head. “No, you can't. You told me a while back that you make a difference with your work. I know you make a differenceI've seen it. It’s what you want. I can’t let you alter your life so dramatically. Besides, how can I possibly be in danger just by being with you?”
“This is not like being a policeman. Some of the people I deal with reach a long way and retaliate. Violently. My family is further detached from me by living in a small village where everyone knows each other. You, my love, will be living with me and have a high profile. You can become a perfect target.”
“You would be giving up your career because of me, and it would be my fault.  I can’t live with that...Peter, I can’t.”
“I will not be giving anything up. It’s time I assumed responsibilities at home.”
“What do you mean? Responsibilities at home? You would throw away your career and resent me later. You didn’t even discuss it with me. We have to talk. Are we together or not?”
“We are. Absolutely. I’m not letting you go. Ever. And you are correct, we do have to talk. Once we get to Bath. Tonight, I want to make love with you.”
Leaving the plane, his grip firm on her waist, he ushered her to the baggage area. He wasn’t going to let her go. His need for her increased with every breath he took. How on earth is that possible? He recognized that she still felt tentative and apprehensive. The betrayal in Chicago had left her vulnerable, and he had his work cut out for him to allow her to grow in their relationship, allow her to trust him and believe in him. Believe he would never betray her.
Peter’s cell phone went off, and he answered instinctively. “Mother, how are you?” His arm around Minola’s waist tightened perceptibly. “Yes, we are on our way to the…yes, no, not my apartment…we should be in Bath tomorrow.” Peter listened to the voice at the other end of the line. “I’m sorry, son,” he heard his mother say, “Madeleine was killed sometime yesterday. Ashby is asking for you and Fitzhugh has been trying to get in touch.”
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
A Hotel in Bath

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Traditional or Indie by Margot Justes

To get an agent, or not get an agent? To submit to the big publishing houses or go indie? To wait months for a response, or maybe not at all from said agent or publisher? Or not?  Those are the questions. (To paraphrase the Bard)
There is a revolution going on in the publishing industry. The continuous debate on whether to self publish or go the traditional route is ongoing, but Amazon, Kobo and Barnes & Noble have made it easy to self publish. What to do?

Not an easy question, even though the indie world has become more acceptable, there is still that reservation that the book isn’t as good, and is not edited, but the lingering doubt is getting smaller. Many best sellers are going the indie route, granted they have an established readership, but they help the rest of the indie authors in the process.
Once I regained rights to my first novel, I made a conscious effort to go my own way. I was grateful for the experience, because I learned a lot about the business, but ultimately I don’t have the patience to send query letters and submissions and wait months to hear back.

There is a certain lack of civility in the submission process, a writer will submit a query, or a requested manuscript and never hear back from the editor or agent. It’s huge process and literally thousands of submission reach the respective desks every day, but how difficult is it to set an automatic response that states ‘thanks, but no thanks’.
Maybe my age has something to do with it, maybe the fact that I write niche stories, about travel, art and a bit of mayhem but mostly romance, has something to do with it. Marketability is the name of the game, and my style may not reach the mass audiences a big house expects. They need to make money to stay in business. That is a given.  

There is the need to copy the best sellers, have a similar voice because that is what sells. I was once told by an editor that I had to have an original voice, and in the same breath I was asked who do I write like?  Well, I write like me.
Publishing is a business, and if they can’t make money they won’t stay in business for long. In a mass market, they must sell what the public wants to read. On the other hand, I’m delighted that the indie world is getting bigger by leaps and bounds, because I can choose to go my own way.

I pitched my paranormal. It’s an incredibly nerve wracking process...this pitching least for me. I was asked for a full manuscript, and I submitted it. I think it was done to prove I could follow through and do it. I did it. One pitch, and one submission for my vampire Nikolai, and I’m done.

The writing and publishing world is fascinating, creative and crazy. I love being a part of it.
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
and coming soon A Hotel in Bath


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bowling and Car Wash by Margot Justes

I usually try to save my weekends for writing, but today was munchkin and errands day.

This morning was spent watching my kiddies bowl. My grandson can spin the ball and it somehow winds up in the middle and he hits the pins, more often than not, gets a strike. That is pretty much it for my bowling terminology...I know 'gutter ball' and 'pins' too. I know it's a good thing when the pins fall. Can you tell I don't bowl? Anthony is only seven and knows what he's doing.
The little slugger is a leftie and great in baseball too. I know next to nothing about baseball, but I've seen him hit, and I know when the bat and ball meet, and ball is flung far away it's a good thing. Most of the time.

My granddaughter is a wonderful bowler too, and was trying to get used to a new ball today. Sydney also loves volleyball and belongs to a league.
After bowling and breakfast, we ran a few errands that culminated with cheap, defined by-least expensive and out of Cook county, lower tax rate-gas.  I only needed seven gallons, and the gas on sale was eight cents cheaper if I paid for a six dollar car wash. Now, here is the smart move, I got the gas along with the car wash and essentially wound up paying almost four dollars per gallon for gas.

Did I forget to mention that it was snowing, and sleeting at the time? It was. I pulled out of the car wash, made sure the car was dried really well, and continued home in the slush.
Really good thing I got my car washed and saved all that money on the gasoline.

Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
and coming soon A Hotel in Bath