Nov 282016
 

Trying to think of the perfect gift for friends, family, co-workers, teachers, and sweet-hearts? How about the gift of reading a great book (or two)?

Ebooks make for great gifts. The Fifth Floor and Just Like Ziggy are on Amazon today for only $1.99 each.  Have it electronically delivered any day, any time–even Christmas Day!

Hope this makes your holiday season brighten with simplicity.

 

 

Nov 282016
 

id-rather-be-reading-toteThe Marmion Christmas Craft & Home Show was an amazing event! Meeting people has always been a great pleasure of mine. This weekend did not disappoint. This craft show had talented vendors and eager shoppers, all who came from near and far. I was thrilled to see past readers who came back to buy book #2, and very fortunate to meet so many new readers who stopped by my booth to purchase my novels, enter a raffle for a chance to win a gift, or to pick up a free tote bag, which came in handy for many shoppers who made multiple purchases. I handed out one hundred tote bags. It was terrific to see the purple tote being carried by so many people.

And Now…Drum Roll Please…The 3 Raffle Winners From Booth Novels by Julie Are…

Winner Nelda

Nelda won two scented 1803 Candles in a basket.

Jody

Jody won the Uncork and Unwind Tote packed with a wine glass, sparkling grape juice, and a scented candle.

winner Kennedy

Kennedy won a sports bottle and $25 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Nov 242016
 

2016-08-04-11-40-24-1Thanksgiving has always been my favorite time of year, especially as an elementary teacher. Report cards were sent, parent/teacher conferences were past, the first trimester had ended, and testing (for at least a few weeks) was over. The students and I were just beginning our festive mood.

The week of Thanksgiving was a time when I could create a construction paper project with my students and tell an in-depth story of the first Thanksgiving with the help of some wonderful books. One of my favorite reads was a story called Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende Devlin. The author tells the story of a Mr. Whiskers who comes to Grandmother’s house dressed in smelly clothes, and unshaven. Another man arrives for dinner. Unlike Mr. Whiskers, this fine gentleman smells of lavender and is quite poised and proper. Grandmother, who is hosting Thanksgiving, is suspicious of Mr. Whiskers and keen on her gentleman friend. This Thanksgiving Grandmother is baking her famous cranberry bread. She is very afraid that Mr. Whiskers has come to steal her secret recipe.

This is where I’d stop reading. “Let’s describe Grandmother’s two Thanksgiving guests,” I’d say. The kids’ hands shot up with descriptors of the story’s two characters. They agreed that Mr. Whiskers was mean, bad, smelly, and a robber, though never does the story represent Mr. Whiskers in this way. My students then would describe Grandmother’s gentleman friend as friendly, handsome, and charming. Again, these were the words of my students, not those of the author. When I read the rest of the story, the kids discover the truth of both characters. We discuss what it meant to judge a book by its cover. Later, as we ate cranberry bread–Grandmother’s famous recipe, of course (and made the night before), my students constructed a turkey centerpiece for their Thanksgiving table. I wonder at times as I prepare another wonder Thanksgiving dinner, how many of my students still have their cherished centerpiece.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Nov 142016
 

img_1001I guess the old saying is have gun will travel. But what about books?

I couldn’t wait for this day to happen. I was a teacher for twenty years, so walking past a few hundred kids per day heading toward the busses was not unusual. Most had their backpacks strapped to their backs. Many times, as I followed lines of kids, I read the titles of books that they were carrying by way of a pocket on their backpack. I often dreamed about the day I might see one of my books in the pocket.

Granted, I was a craft fair and not at school, but nonetheless, this teen was driven to my book table. Her mom purchased both my novels for her daughter. Later, towards the end of the day, I looked over and saw my books in her backpack. If you look closely you can see The Fifth Floor and behind it is Just Like Ziggy.

I’m just saying…way coooool! And the sunglasses just brings the whole coolness together.

Happy Reading!

Nov 022016
 

dad-and-familyRemember back in the 70s and 80s when fathers seemed scarier?

My dad, like most dads back in the day, didn’t take time off work to show up for recitals, ball games, or their kid’s art show. Fathers left for work early and arrived home late. We didn’t call Dad at work to tell him about an A grade. Most Dads ate left-overs from the already fed family and then headed to the TV room for nightly news with Walter Cronkite. It didn’t matter if you were in the middle of your favorite show. When Dad was home, the rules of engagement changed and was turned over to his wants and needs. Weekends were spent running errands, depositing a paycheck, and grocery shopping.

Today, my father would have been 87 years old. In his honor, I was inspired to post this excerpt from The Fifth Floor because it brings back memories of a different era. I like to think that hard work, even for the simplest things like enjoying a candy bar, paid off for future goals. It was these small events that built character and mastered impeccable work ethic. Don’t you agree? Anna, The Fifth Floor’s heroine, persuades her younger sister Bridgett to ask their father for a must have chocolate bar. It was these types of strategies created from absolute desire that got us what we wanted. Planning (and sometimes manipulation) was a must.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My father pulls onto the gravel lot, and Bridg and I climb out from the backseat, while my mother waits in the car. We follow our father into the market for one reason and one reason only—we are hoping he’ll buy us each a candy bar. He stands in line waiting for his number to be called as Bridg and I drool with the assortment of chocolates laid out in front of us near the cash register.

My father sees us, I know he does, but he says nothing. He has more important things to think about than us. I like to imagine it differently. “Go ahead girls, pick anything you want.” But it never happens this way. He puts us through the torture of asking.

“I asked last time,” I say to Bridgett, “so you have to ask him.”

“No you didn’t,” Bridg says, reminding me she asked last. It’s true, she did ask last week, like she does most weeks, but Bridg has more courage than I do; besides, my father doesn’t seem as bothered by her as he is by me.

Bridg takes four or five steps closer to our dad. She looks puny next to him, especially when he stands with his legs spread a foot apart leaning slightly backward like he is now. His crossed arms resting on his belly make him look bigger than he is and scarier too. Bridg waits for just the right moment to interrupt, as I listen to Dad and the butcher talking about the meat industry. There’s a slight pause. Bridget gets ready.

“Liver this week?”

“Yes, sir. Pick out a good one.”

The butcher selects a brownish piece of meat. My nose instinctively wrinkles. It will be fried tonight with onions.

“Can we get a candy bar?”

“Sure,” Dad says, looking quickly to Bridgett and then back at the butcher.

Bridg bounces back to me at the candy counter. She chooses a Marathon bar. I choose a Charleston Chew because it is the longest and thickest candy bar on the shelf. If I get it eaten before we get home, nobody can say I was greedy for choosing the biggest one. As soon as Dad pays for the meat and our chocolate, we run to the car and climb into the backseat and start in on our candy.

 

 

Oct 262016
 

jopicLast night, I was invited as the guest author for a book club’s meeting. It proved to be another great experience. We met at K. Hollis Jewelers in Batavia, IL. This jewelry store, no kidding, has an inviting wine bar and a large table for small groups who want to meet for a relaxing discussion over a glass of wine. Who knew? Not me! If this is the new trend, Karen, the store’s owner knows how to work it. The wine and service are great–and the store itself is beautiful.

Last night’s discussion was The Fifth Floor. It is always such an honor to present my novels. Afterward, we headed to The Turf Room for dinner. The evening was wonderful. Thank you, Ladies. I hope you enjoy reading the sequel, Just Like Ziggy.

Oct 222016
 
2016-03-23 15.20.16

TFF – $3.99 eBook Click here.

JLZKindleCover

JLZ – $3.99 eBook Click here.

Not wanting to turn on the furnace in defiance of cold weather, I woke to a chilly bedroom and Bo’s very cold nose nudging my uncovered foot. Out I crawled from my warm bed. Bo’s tail wagged with excitement. I pulled on some old sweats and ventured outside to only run back inside for my winter coat and gloves. Bo and I were in for a cold walk.
But here’s the thing. The upside to cold weather is the no-guilt feeling of doing nothing but reading for hours on the couch. If you haven’t read The Fifth Floor or Just Like Ziggy, now is the perfect time of year. And only at $3.99.

Sep 272016
 

Dear Cafe Readers,

My chosen cafe today isn’t really a coffee shop at all. It’s my sister’s house, but all the same, I’ve got a warm and cozy place to write and a mug of hot Passion tea by my side. This week, I have been taking care of sis’ pets so I’ve moved my office a few miles from my favorite writing locations.

I’m working on two novels at the moment–quite taxing for me. I’m the type of person that considers reading two and three books at a time a real challenge–for Heaven’s sake, even listening to one audio book during traffic hours and reading one novel before bed is quite challenging (though I do this often just because I crave a great story.) Okay, so I got off on a tangent for a moment.  My point is this. I’m so excited about two different ideas that I keep going back and forth debating which one should direct my focus. You know, like the adage, paralysis by analysis. I simply need to decide. Eventually, both will be written, but I cannot promise which will be first.

“So don’t  keep us in the dark,” you say. I promise you, I’m not keeping any deep dark genre secret here. One idea is an anecdotal book based on my pre-writing career and the other–Anna’s continued story, following The Fifth Floor and Just Like Ziggy.

So there you have it. My cafe #30 post. I’m still writing. I’m still loving what I do. And most importantly, I consistently keep you, my reader in mind because writing for you means the world to me.

Sincerely,
Julie

Sep 252016
 

museumsatlislestationparklogo

I am honored to be presenting my second novel Just Like Ziggy, the sequel to The Fifth Floor, at The Museums at Lisle Station Park.

Please join me on Saturday, October 1, 2016, at 1PM
921 School Street – Lisle, Illinois 60532

I will be presenting Just Like Ziggy in the historic Netzley-Yender House Parlor. A question-and-answer session and book signing will follow.

Sep 082016
 

Dear Readers,

With school in session, a promise of cooler days ahead, and a glimmer of hope for beautiful purples, reds, and yellows this autumn, I look forward to the special events that bring friends and families together. I’d like to share three in particular. The Museums at Lisle Station Park – A great place to bring the whole family. The Mother’s Club Craft & Vendor Show – A way to support children and families in need. And Waterline Writers – A unique opportunity to hear talented writers reading original work.

It would by my pleasure to have you join me in one or all of these wonderful upcoming events where I will be sharing my two novels, The Fifth Floor and Just Like Ziggy.

Sincerely,
Julie Oleszek

Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 1PM
The Chicago Author Series at The Museums at Lisle Station Park
921 School Street – Lisle, Illinois 60532
I will be presenting Just Like Ziggy in the historic Netzley-Yender House Parlor.
A question-and-answer session and book signing will follow.
The Fifth Floor will also be available.

Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 9AM-3PM
Batavia’s Mothers’ Club Foundation
Craft & Vendor Show
Batavia High School Gym
1201 Main Street – Batavia, Illinois 60510

Sunday, October 16, 2016 – Begins at 7PM
Waterline Writers at Water Street Studios
160 South Water Street – Batavia, Illinois 60510
I will be reading from The Fifth Floor
The Fifth Floor
and Just Like Ziggy will be available for purchase and signing.
$5 Admission/$3 Students