When you need a break from the news by Julie Jarnagin

DSCN7900It’s an election year. Sigh. I love our country, but election years are exhausting…especially one as crazy as this one. While I passionately believe in being an informed citizen, the constant barrage of election coverage, party conflict, and frightening news stories can make anyone feel overwhelmed.

So let’s take a stand by taking care of ourselves. How?

  1. Realize it’s okay to turn it all off. Really. You don’t have to watch the nightly news or follow CNN.com all the time. If something big happens, trust me, you’ll hear about it.
  2. Treat everyone with kindness and respect…and ignore the crazy ones. Even if that guy you knew in high school is saying something completely ridiculous about one of the candidates on Facebook, resist commenting and falling into a big debate. Unless you really love debating politics, it will leave you drained. I’m all for standing up for what you believe in, but choose your battles carefully.
  3. Speaking of Facebook – Unfollow is your friend. If you cringe every time you read a certain person’s post, unfollow them. They’ll never know. You’ll still be on their friend list but their craziness won’t show up in your newsfeed.  You’re welcome.
  4. Read a good book. This is one of the things I love about being a writer. Life is hard. Being able to take a break and dive into another world helps us deal with tough realities, and stories can provide us with fresh perspectives.

So just know, no matter what your political beliefs, election season will be over soon, and no matter the outcome, there will always be good books out there to get us through.

Cowgirl in the Kitchen CoverNew Release! 
Cowgirl in the Kitchen

Just as she’s about to make her dream come true, disaster strikes. The only way she can get back in the saddle is to strike a bargain—with a man her family despises.

Jentry Lawson’s dream of becoming a world-class barrel racer is about to happen—until she and her horse are injured in a terrible accident. Forced to move back home to Texas to recuperate, her Dallas-based brother makes her an offer she can’t refuse. He needs someone he can trust to oversee the renovation and grand opening of his new restaurant. If she’ll take that on, he’ll finance her return to the arena. It doesn’t take Jentry long to discover she bit off more than she can chew. Swallowing her pride, she asks for help from Gavin Easton—a man her brother despises. But he’s the one person who can make the restaurant succeed.

People in Glover never thought Gavin Easton would amount to anything. Ever since his own restaurant in town burned down, he’s taken odd jobs to provide for his niece, whom he is raising alone. When beautiful and stubborn Jentry offers him the perfect job, his first reaction is to turn her down flat. No way he’s going to do anything to help her brother! But there’s more at stake than his pride. Can he trust his future to the woman whose brother tried to ruin his reputation—and his life?

Besides, how can he manage a restaurant, when he can’t manage his heart?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Summer Reads by Julie Jarnagin

My reading goes up and down. At certain times, I devour books, and other times, it will take me a while to get through one. Right now, I’m in a major reading mood. I’ve been reading like a crazy person, and it has been awesome! Here are a few of my favorites from the past few months.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. It’s so good! This is one of the best novels I’ve read in awhile. It’s full of twists and turns and surprises.

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld. This book was so much fun. If you’re a purist and don’t want anyone messing with the original version, this isn’t for you. But if you’d love to see a present day “Liz” and Darcy, I think you’ll enjoy it.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I enjoy a little celebrity gossip, and I love women who are smart and doing cool stuff; therefore, I really liked this book. I also loved that she made a big deal about how hard it is to write a book. I’m right there with you, Amy. It kicks my butt every time.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. If someone tells me the ending of a book made them cry, I often skip it. I don’t really enjoy depressing books, but I have to say, even though this book dealt with some tough issues, I would still recommend it. Sometimes the heroine drove me crazy, but the two characters had enough chemistry and the storyline was compelling enough (boy, is it compelling) that I loved them anyway.

If you want to see more of what I’ve been reading, check out my Goodreads page. And of course, I recommend all the books written by the ladies here at the blog. This is one talented bunch!

What are you reading this summer?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

5 Guilty Pleasures by Julie Jarnagin

We all have guilty pleasures. Those things we secretly love. When I think of guilty pleasures I think of Rachel on Friends who claimed Dangerous Liaisons was her favorite movie but her actual favorite movie was Weekend at Bernies. 🙂 I’ll share a few of my guilty pleasure if you’ll share yours!

  1. Reality TV – Right now, I love tiny house shows. I watched Project Runway Junior. I’ve also like the Real Housewives of New York. I even watched Married at First Sight even though I knew the whole thing was ridiculous.  I can’t help myself. Once I get hooked, I have to watch the entire season. Oh, and I’m obsessed with Dateline. Who doesn’t enjoy a good murder mystery. By the way, the significant other is always the guilty one.
  2. Junk Food – My favorites are Coke (the real stuff, not diet), Peanut M&Ms, and Cheez-Its.
  3. Self-Help and Motivational Books – I guess some people would think this is a good thing, but I read a lot of this stuff. I write fiction, so I should spend most of my time reading fiction. But I can’t resist ten steps that will change your life (but usually don’t.)
  4. My Slippers and Favorite Sweater – I have a pair of dirty old house shoes that always wear in the house–my poor husband. I also have a sweater that I wore when I was pregnant that is all stretched out. I’d like to say I’ve never gone out in public in either of these items but that would be a lie!
  5. Instagram – I’m not a big fan of Facebook because I really don’t want to know what your political views are. But I could spend hours on the Instagram “explore” page. All of those photos are mind numbing…in an awesome way.

So make me feel better about myself. What are your guilty pleasures? 

My latest release – The Wedding Barn

http://amzn.to/1U4ThTnPaige Morgan’s career is in shambles. What kind of wedding planner gets left at the altar? So when a job planning parties on a ranch in rural Texas comes her way, she jumps at it. So what if the cowboy who runs the place isn’t happy she’s there?
Rancher Nick Reid risked his heart once… and lost. Who needs love? He’s got a great life on the family ranch—so long as Paige Morgan and her city ideas don’t ruin it all. If only his family didn’t need her help to save their livelihood. And if only he wasn’t so darned drawn to the woman. But no sooner does Nick start to believe in love again, than a socialite shows up looking for Paige. Asking her to plan an elaborate wedding. Back in the city.
Both Paige and Nick need a second chance at love. But what will it cost them to take it?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Escaping the Trap of “Busy”

Recently, when people ask me how I am, my automatic response has been, “Staying busy.” And I am busy–with kids, work, writing, building a new house…life. But I feel like I’ve fallen into a trap that a lot of us fall into. I’ve been so busy “keeping up” that my busyness is starting to drag me down. With a 18-month-old and a seven-year-old, I don’t want my kids to look back and remember their mom always too busy to play with them.

This month I’m going to focus on getting my schedule under control. Here are some things I’m going to try:

1. Make a list of all my commitments and cut out some things. There are things that were priorities in the past, that aren’t anymore. There are some things I do because I’ve always done them. It’s time to re-evaluate.

2. Learn to say “no.” I’ve gotten better at this, but sometimes I slip back into my people-pleasing ways.

3. Exercise and get outside more. I workout in the gym a few times a week, but taking a walk outside has a way of slowing my brain down. Now that the weather is cooling off, I need to get back to that habit.

4. Simplify. I’m a minimalist at heart (having children makes this challenging), and we’re currently living at my mom’s house while our new home is being built. Moving my family into a couple of guest rooms has done two things. 1. Reminded me how few belongings we really need. 2. And made me appreciate how important having some “white space” in my home and in my life is. I haven’t missed many things that have been in storage the past three months. When we move into the new house, it’s time to clear some of those things out.

5. Pray / Meditate. I’m an introvert and I need that quiet time to restore my mind and my soul. Constantly having people and commitments pulling at me, drains all my energy. It’s time for me to build quiet time into my schedule.

So do you have any ideas for me? How can we escape the trap of busy? 

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Tell Me About You

Today, instead of telling you something new about me, I want to learn more about YOU. Below are some simple questions to help us get to know each other better. I’ll post my answers in the comments too. I can’t wait to read yours.

1. Are you a dog or cat person?

2. What’s your favorite book?

3. Are you an only, oldest, middle, or youngest child?

4. What’s your favorite movie?

5. Do you prefer a paperback or ebook?

6. What was the last text message you sent?

7. Would you rather be too hot or too cold?

8. What’s the first concert you ever attended?

9. Where do you spend most of your time online?

10. What’s your favorite snack?

Please answer in the comments.

The Art of Falling Julie Jarnagin CoverAlso, I wanted to let you know that my novella, The Art of Falling, is currently FREE!

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About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Short and Sweet – Novellas

Julie Jarnagin here, and today I want to talk about novellas! When I first started reading and writing romance, it didn’t seem like there were many novellas available other than the occasional Christmas collection. It didn’t make much financial sense for publishers to print a shorter book. Now with ebooks opening up new opportunities, novellas have become a great way to release books of all lengths.

Here are a few reasons I love novellas:

* You can read them in one or only a few sittings. Our lives are busy these days. Sometimes we don’t have time to read a 100,000 word book, but we almost always have time to squeeze in a novella in the school car line or on the weekend.

* We get access to stories that may not otherwise get written. The hero and heroine in my novella, The Art of Falling, were secondary characters in another book. As I was writing my upcoming novel, Kiss the Cowboy, I realized Lucy, the cautious museum fundraiser, and Wyatt, the rugged bull rider, had a great story to tell. I proposed the idea of writing the novella to my publisher, and they were willing to add it to the line.

* Novellas provide a great way to get a taste of what the author writes without a big money and time commitment. There are so many great books waiting for me on my Kindle that sometimes I’m unsure about taking a chance on a new-to-me author. A novella gives us a chance to try some of the author’s writing and decide if we want to read more.

How about you? Do you like novellas? Why or why not?

Heather Tornsten needs a man…a celebrity, more specifically, for a fundraising gala for the Dallas art museum, where she works. And what better headliner than bull rider Wyatt Lawrence? Although why people idolize grown men who make their living falling off animals, she’ll never understand.

When his mom was diagnosed with cancer, Wyatt determined to focus on doing what she wants—like visiting some art museum. But when his mom teams up with Heather Tornsten to get him involved in a fundraiser, he knows he’s been set up. The more involved he gets with the pretty events coordinator, the more he realizes falling off a bull is far safer. Because falling for Heather–who has made it clear that she won’t risk her heart on any man who courts danger–might break a whole lot more than his bones.

Amazon

Barnes&Noble.com 

Kobo

iBooks

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

  • Our LATEST Buzz!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series were released in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous was released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, A PROPOSAL & PUMPKIN PIE is on sale for .99 through Thanksgiving.