Julie L. Kessler
lawyer traveler writer


2013 New York Book Festival

Jun. 11, 2013

Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight won First Runner Up in its category at the 2013 New York Book Festival!!!

Foreign Book Sales

Jun. 10, 2013

I learned last week that the rights to Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight were purchased by LW Digital in Korea, Gardners in the UK, eSentral in Malaysia, and HyRead and BIG in Taiwan. The world is getting smaller indeed!!!

The New Hawaii

Jun. 10, 2013

While in Hawaii last month for the 2013 Hawaii Book Festival, I bore witness to a visual scene not often played out in my Hawaiian homeland. At the end of the first day of the Festival, my husband and I were relaxing by the beach in East Honolulu. Glass of wine in hand, we were just in time for sunset. About thirty feet to our left were three women covered head-to-toe in black abayas. The three women were approaching the water and entered, full abayas and all, until they were submerged to their chests. Near them, with facial hair that is trademark to a devout Muslim male, was, I presumed, one of their husbands. Or perhaps the husband to all three women. He was wearing traditional Hawaiian board shorts.


It was a day that had two torrential downpours and flash flood warnings on the South shore, and all I could think of that moment was that I hoped these women didn’t drown in their abayas with the pull of the Pacific. I had seen a group of head-to-toe abaya clad women swimming in the ocean before in Malaysia and though it was a stunning sight then, it was a tad less shocking, as Malaysia is, of course, a Muslim country. That said, the abaya clad women I saw swimming in Malaysia – also with one lone male in tow – were tourists; probably from Saudi Arabia, as Malaysia is a fairly common tourist destination for Arab countries.


I kept my eyes on these women, continuously counting to assure all three heads were above water. I then made a comment to my husband about the seeming unfairness of wearing that much clothing in the ocean. However, I quickly noticed that he was not paying attention as he was very busy making goo goo eyes to an utterly adorable toddler wearing the silliest possible hat and who was being held over her mother’s shoulder at the next table. It was at that precise moment that I overheard the toddler’s parent’s conversation: they were speaking in Hebrew, the native tongue of my mother.


It was one of those moments in life when you instinctively rub your eyes and pull at your ears as the scene before you just doesn’t seem to fit. Here I was sitting at a beach bar in East Honolulu, not far from where I passed many years of my youth, filled with Asians and Polynesians of every possible type and combination, watching this middle-eastern microcosm play out before my very eyes. It reminded me of the time I was ordering dinner in a Chinese restaurant in a trendy part of Tel-Aviv and the Chinese waiter spoke to me in perfect Hebrew. Something akin to ‘what is wrong with this picture?’


On this little beach in East Honolulu, the Israeli family and the Arab one were not within earshot of each other, though it was doubtful the Israeli couple could have missed seeing the Arab women’s abayas as they meandered back and forth in the nearby surf. Perhaps the Israelis didn’t give it a second thought; they can certainly see various levels of abaya clad women at several Israeli beaches. For me however, it was proof positive just how small our world has become since I started traveling the globe in 1973.


I somewhat irrationally wanted the abaya clad women to shed their onerous black sheaths so they could fully enjoy the splendors of the warm, blue Pacific. However I was thrilled to see my little Hawaiian island play a role, no matter how small or how insignificant, in a mini United Nations unfolding before my eyes, Hawaiian island style.

The 2013 Paris Book Festival

Jun. 6, 2013

The 2013 Paris Book Festival was last week and was a wonderful event. In attendance were author winners from Japan, Croatia, South Africa and the US to name a few. The awards dinner, held at Le Square Trousseau, had great wine and great food and was salon style, like in the days of old Paris. All that was needed was Gertrude or Anais to make an appearance to make it complete! It was a terrific evening with some heartfelt speeches. Merci mille fois!

The 2013 Paris Book Festival

May 28, 2013

The 2013 Paris Book Festival awards gala is this week. Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight was first runner-up winner in its category! Heading to Paris this afternoon for what should be quite a literary event. A bientot.

The 2013 Hawai’i Book & Music Festival Was a Great Success!!!

May 24, 2013

Despite south shore flash flood warnings and three torrential downpours, the 2013 Hawai’i Book & Music Festival was a great success. In fact, by 3:00 p.m. Sunday I sold out of copies of Fifty-Fifty. There was wonderful Hawaiian music and several hula halaus performing traditional dance. Warmest mahalo to event coordinator Amy Hammond for pulling and keeping it all together.

Fifty-Fifty Now Available at The Book Den in Santa Barbara

May 24, 2013

Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight is now available at The Book Den in Santa Barbara. Their address is 15 East Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Telephone 805/962-3321. The Book Den will also be hosting a book signing event for Fifty-Fifty on Saturday June 8th at 2:00p.m. Hope to see you there!

2013 Hawai’i Book and Music Festival

May 18, 2013

Julie returned to her home state to participate in The 2013 Hawai’i Book and Music Festival, which ran May 18-19, 2013 in Honolulu. Oahu Gold featured this great snapshot of Julie in its weekly brochure to advertise the event. Despite several torrential downpours that organizers were worried might keep people away, Julie’s booth had completely sold out of copies of Fifty-Fifty by 3pm Sunday.


2013 Paris Book Festival Award Winner

May 5, 2013

I am thrilled to report that Fifty-Fifty was an award winner at the 2013 Paris Book Festival. Given my history in France in general and Paris in particular, this book award is especially meaningful to me. The awards gala is at the end of May in Paris.

The LA Times Festival of Books is THIS WEEKEND April 20th & 21st at USC

Apr. 15, 2013

Saturday from 10 to 6 and Sunday from 10 to 5. I will be in Booth 195 in the Purple Section. Hope to see you there!


L.A. Times Festival of Books

Mar. 25, 2013

Julie L. Kessler, the author of Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight, will be exhibiting at the L.A. Times Festival of Books at USC on April 20th and 21st. She will be in Booth 195, which is located in the “Purple Zone” of the Festival (purple flags on tents), off of West 34th Street. See you there!

Tecolote Book Shop in Montecito

Feb. 1, 2013

Is now carrying my book "Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight." The venerable Tecolote Book Shop is located at 1470 East Valley Road, #52, Santa Barbara, CA 93108. Tel 805/969-4927. Happy Reading!!!

Politician as Artist

Jan. 28, 2013

While at a speakeasy at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica last Wednesday, actor Tim Robbins was asked by a member of the audience what advice he had for a struggling actress wishing to maintain her humanity while attempting success in Hollywood. Robbins responded, and I am paraphrasing here ‘As an artist you should have the relentless ambition of a politician. As a politician, you should have the soul of an artist.’


Given that we watched the 44th POTUS sworn in on Martin Luther King Day two days before, those words seemed particularly poignant. Regardless of from what side of the aisle you hail and remain, it was hard to be unmoved by the vision taking place in Washington, D.C. As the news cameras made its panoramas around the National Mall that chilly Monday, the tears in my eyes welled. Though many of us possess an unrelenting hope for the future, it is hard not to be affected by our country’s continuing, seemingly insurmountable challenges. That said, hope remains in abundance. While you may not agree with our POTUS or even like him, one thing is clear: his commitment to this country and its people remains undaunted. So while Obama may not be a painter, an actor or a singer, the admirable qualities he possesses make evident that his heart and soul are certainly in the right place. And at this stage in our country’s evolution, we need all the creativity we can get.

The Washington Lawyer

Jan. 8, 2013

My book "Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight" was mentioned in the January 2013 edition of The Washington Lawyer, the official journal of the District of Columbia Bar, in the Author! Author! section.

The Armor of Love

Jan. 4, 2013

Yesterday I attended a funeral at a West side church packed to capacity. It was not an octogenarian with adult children, grandchildren and friends in attendance to bear witness to one of life’s ultimate inevitabilities.


No. It was instead the mom of two wonderful teenage boys that had gone to elementary school with my daughter. A woman at the top of her game, personally and professionally. Several years ago she had gone through a protracted and painful divorce, but persevered to find peace. She was a highly talented bio-tech life sciences attorney, a partner in a national law firm for several years, then general counsel to a major pharmaceutical company. She was an AYSO soccer referee and a Deacon at her church. She was a world traveler and loved Paris. But the role in life which anchored her, sustained her and brought her never-ending joy was the role of mom to her two boys.


She also got breast cancer seven years ago and kicked the crap out of it. That was my friend Laurie.


Until the beast’s monstrous return with a vengeance that would simply not stop, until it stopped her. Laurie died a few days ago, just a month after her 52nd birthday; the same age as my mom was when she died exactly three decades ago.


For many who possess the benefit of strong religious beliefs, there is the hope of a soft landing in a heaven awaiting; an eternal life of grace. For those who instead rely on science, the end is simply that. The end. Except for the multitude of memories that live on in the hearts and minds of those who remain.


As I watched her two sons help carry their mom’s casket to the waiting white hearse, my mind returned to a snapshot collage of memories: tumbling toddlers to poised teenagers on the cusp of manhood. Laurie had tried so hard and so valiantly to hang on until her eldest would graduate from high school this June. But the monster could not, would not, be stayed.


Sometimes life is just not fair. Period. End of discussion. And no amount of religion or science will make it so. Our only armor against this sad basic truth is to make sure that those we love know exactly how we feel about them and what they mean to us.


Laurie’s two sons’ lives were irrevocably altered yesterday. They will miss her for the duration, but Laurie told them often and showed them always that they were loved profoundly and deeply. And while she was utterly heartbroken to leave them, she also knew that they would be okay and would grow into fine young men. And they most certainly will.


Sharing happiness will never divide it, only exponentially increase it.


Bon voyage mon amie. Je te verrai dans mon coeur. Safe travels my friend. I will see you in my heart.

LA Talk Radio Interview of Julie L. Kessler on “Two Talk Books” show hosted by Starla Faye

Dec. 1, 2012

Below is the link to LA Talk Radio Interview “Two Talk Books” show hosted by Starla Faye which aired on November 17, 2012 and December 1, 2012. This 45-minute interview featured the author and her new book "Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight."


Author Julie L. Kessler to be interviewed on LA Talk Radio Show “Two Talk Books” hosted by Starla Faye

Nov. 12, 2012

On November 17, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time author Julie L. Kessler will be interviewed about her book Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight on LA Talk Radio Show Two Talk Books hosted by Starla Faye. Listeners can also hear the show anytime following the live taping at www.LATalkRadio.com

Book Signing at Chevalier’s Books in Hancock Park

Nov. 5, 2012

Julie at a book signing event at Chevalier’s Book Store In Hancock Park, CA signing copies of her book "Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight."  

National Garment Association’s annual charity luncheon

Nov. 1, 2012

Julie was pleased to be the featured speaker at the National Garment Association’s annual charity luncheon on November 1, 2012. She spoke to a group of NGA members about her book "Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of HIndsight" following it up with a lengthy Q & A about juggling the demands of kids, career, marriage, and living abroad. The NGA event was very well-attended, and Julie wishes the NGA continued success in their important work of providing clothing and other necessities to Southern California families in need.