Christmas Wish List

Julie Jarnagin – Hey guys! It’s that time of year again. Time to get ready for Christmas! I love decorating the tree, taking my boys to see the Christmas lights, the music, and all the fun that surrounds the holiday.

Unfortunately, I don’t love the shopping. I’m not the type who enjoys fighting the crowds for a good deal. That’s why I do most of my Christmas shopping online.

This year I also ordered a few gifts for myself. 🙂

I had asked my husband for a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas. I have one of the earliest versions of the Kindle with the buttons and keyboard on the bottom (no touch screen) and a book light on the case (no back light.) It’s definitely time to upgrade. When I saw the great deals on Thanksgiving, I went ahead and did my husband’s Christmas shopping for him. He also got me a cute purple case. Thanks, honey!

Then, my mom told me she wanted to get me a new coat for Christmas. So on Monday, I found this great deal for a cute coat on Mod Cloth. (25% off and free shipping – Yay!)

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But this season isn’t all about getting. From now until Christmas, I’m donating $1 to Compassion International for every new newsletter signup. So sign up today to get the latest news about new releases and occasional freebies and to help out a great organization!

Did you find any great Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals?

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and young son who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

Things I Love About October

Julie Jarnagin: Hey guys. Can you believe it’s already October? This year is flying by. In honor of the new season, I thought I’d share a few things I love about this month.

Sweater Weather – I love when I can pull my boots and cozy sweaters out of my closet.

fall - sweater

Family Traditions – Taking the kids to the pumpkin patch, trick-or-treating…I get to be a kid again.

fall - pumpkin patch

Coffee – Of course I drink coffee all year round, but there’s something extra satisfying about a cup of warm coffee this time of year – especially a vanilla latte from my favorite coffee place downtown.

Fall - latte

Gone Girl – I just finished the book, so I’m extremely excited to see the movie (although, I have a love/hate relationship with the novel. If you’ve read it, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about.) A coworker, and I have recently started a tradition of reading the books that are going to come out as movies and going together. It’s a fun girls’ night out.

fall - gone girl

What are your favorite things about October?

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and young son who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

Getting Organized

Julie here! I’m in the midst of a Book in A Month Workshop led by Candace Havens. It’s a whirlwind to write and edit a book in a single month. Throw in a 6-month-old, a 6-year-old, and a job in marketing, and it would be easy for things to get out of control. Today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tools for staying organized.

Writing: Along with a lot of writers, I love Scrivener. It’s a word processing program made specifically for authors. It allows me to rearrange scenes and chapters, make saves at different stages of the process, and keep all my notes and research in one place. I’d be lost without it.

Work: When I moved from a paper planner to an Outlook calendar (which is on my computer and my iPhone), I struggled with how to organize my notes. After a lot of searching, I finally found a notebook that I love. It’s called “Better than a Yellow Pad” made by Franklin Planner. It’s spiral bound, so it can lay flat for easy note taking during meetings. The pages don’t fall out like they tend to do with a traditional notebook, and it has a place for the date and a column for to-dos on the side of the page. It comes in two different sizes. I prefer the smaller one because it fits perfectly in my computer bag or my purse.

To Do List: Task Task is an app I use to keep and organize my to-do list. I can sort my list into categories like work, writing, home, errands, etc. It even syncs with my Outlook task list at work.

What tools do you use to stay organized? 

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and young son who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

My Valentine

Valentine's Day Candy

 

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which I think is such a fun holiday! I enjoy taking my son to pick out Star Wars Valentine’s for his pre-K classmates. Cards and heart-shaped balloons are great, but after being married for almost thirteen years, my husband and I have probably become a little more practical about the holiday. We usually don’t go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day because we avoid the crowds, and with a joint checking account, buying extravagant gifts for each other just doesn’t make much sense. But that doesn’t mean the romance is gone. There are things far better than flowers and candy that show me how much he loves me.

* He tells me I’m beautiful even when I’m swollen and grouchy at seven months pregnant.

* He does little things like going to the pharmacy for me at 10:00pm and taking my car to get the oil changed when he notices I’ve forgotten.

* After a long day at work, he still spends hours on the floor wrestling and playing with our five-year-old.

* He can still make me laugh so hard I cry.

I could go on and on, but the fact is that writing romance is a blast and celebrating Valentine’s Day is fun, but there is nothing better than living life every day with my with my real-life hero.

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and young son who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

The Power of 15 Minutes

The Power of 15 Minutes

The new year always makes me think about how I can be more productive. One of my favorite productivity tools is setting the timer on my phone for 15 minutes. Over the holidays, I wanted to make sure I kept the momentum going on my book. I knew I wouldn’t have big chunks of time to devote to writing, so I committed to writing at least 15 minutes per day (even on Christmas Eve and Christmas!) It worked out great and my 15 minute sessions added up to some worthwhile progress.

Here’s why 15 minutes is so powerful:

* You can get a lot accomplished in 15 minutes. Really. Just try it. Set your timer and clean your house until it goes off. You’ll most likely get more done than you expected.

* It’s easier to keep 100% focus for 15 minutes. If you say you’re going to spend an afternoon writing, you’ll probably spend more of that time than you realize messing around on the internet, getting a snack, checking your phone, etc. If you say you’re going to write for 15 minutes, it’s much easier to do nothing else but write for 15 minutes.

* Ignoring distractions is possible for 15 minutes. It’s not always possible to turn off our phones or lock ourselves in another part of the house for long periods of time. We have friends and family who would worry if they needed to reach us, but it’s not unreasonable to cut off contact with the rest of the world for 15 minutes. Even the biggest worrier probably won’t call the cops if you don’t answer a text in 15 minutes.

* 15 minutes isn’t overwhelming. Committing to only 15 minutes can break through self doubts and fears and help you take the first step on a task.

* It’s easier to carve out 15 minutes than to carve out an hour. We’re all busy. I may not have an hour to get something done before I need to get ready for work or pick my son up from school, but I often have 15 minute increments that could be filled with something more worthwhile than checking my Facebook page.

* 15 minutes usually turns into 20 minutes or 30 minutes or an hour! It turns out that getting started is usually the hardest part, but once I get involved in a project, I usually don’t want to stop.

What could you do for 15 minutes?

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and young son who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

Reading – Year in Review

Today I was scanning through my Goodreads bookshelf and realized I’ve read some great books this year!

Unlike some novelists, I love reading nonfiction. I like books on business, marketing, parenting, and faith.  I read several non-fiction books for writers, including The Extroverted Writer by Amanda Luedeke and 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron. One of the best books I read this year was a non-fiction book titled The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. I recommended it to several people at work, and they also loved it.

I read several Christian novels this year. I especially like romances with a good dose of comedy like Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt and Sandwich with a Side of Romance by Krista Phillips. I also read Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade, one of my favorite authors. I love her voice, and she creates some of the best heroes around.

I read sweet romances, including The Husband School by Kristine Rolofson and A Little Bit Cupid (which I highly recommend) by our very own Jennifer Shirk.

And when I wanted something different from all that romance, I read Proof, a great medical thriller by Jordyn Redwood.

Over Thanksgiving break, I read three different Christmas novellas. Mistletoe Magic by Terri Weldon and Faith House by Robin Patchen, two talented authors from my local writers group, and Muffins and Mistletoe by an extremely talented Heart Shaped Glasses author, Debora Dennis. There’s nothing better to get you in the holiday spirit than a great Christmas romance.

Well, those are some of the amazing books I read in 2013. I can’t wait to see what wonderful books 2014 has in store for me. What are some of the books you read this year?

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and young son who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series release in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous 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, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.