A Taste of Autumn

Pumpkin Latte

I love fall. I like pulling my sweaters and boots out from the back of my closet. I adore the leaves changing colors. And I love curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. Right now, I’m also enjoying all the great autumn foods. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Acorn Squash – I’m not much of a cook, but this is one thing I love to make. I slice the squash in half, clean out the seeds, stick it in the crockpot and add butter and brown sugar on top. By dinner time, it’s soft and delicious.
  • Chili – Actually, my husband is the one who makes the chili, but there is nothing better than a warm bowl of chili on a cold day – especially if you add a little cheese and sour cream on top.
  • Pumpkin – I pretty much love anything with pumpkin – pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice lattes. It tastes like fall.
  • Thanksgiving dinner – Turkey, cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy. Yum! What could be better?

 What are your favorite fall foods? 

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

Who do you want to be for Halloween?

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAMy son is five, and he is pumped about Halloween coming up. We bought his Batman costume last week, and he has worn it so much that it already has signs of a hole in the knee.

While I’m not a big fan of scary movies or haunted houses, I can totally relate to why my son is excited about Halloween. First of all, who doesn’t love Halloween candy? But Halloween also gives kids permission to pretend to be someone else. When he’s in his Batman costume, he’s not the quiet little kid who has a bunch of adults lovingly telling him what to do all day. He’s a crime fighting superhero who gets to drive around in the Batmobile.

Isn’t this the same reason we love fiction? We get to take a break from our demanding jobs and busy lives to be someone else. Books let us travel to new places and meet new kinds of characters. Reading lets us dare to jump into experiences or situations different from our everyday lives.

So I’m allowing my little guy to wear holes in his $20 costume and enjoy what it feels like to explore a new world different from his own.

Do you like Halloween? Do you or your kids/grandkids dress up for Halloween?

Congrats to DeAnna for winning our $10 Amazon gift card for September commenters!

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

Back-to-School for Adults

Learning

My son started preK this year. It was exciting and a more-than-a-little scary to drop him off on his first day, but he’s not the only one in the family who is working to learn more this year. As an author, I’m always looking for ways to improve my skills. Whether you’re a writer or have a different passion like learning new languages, improving your health and fitness, or couponing, living a life where we’re always striving to learn more and better ourselves can help us live more successful, fulfilled lives. Here are a few of my favorite ways to learn something new.

  1. Read a book. Whether it’s a book on writing or a great novel, reading broadens our horizons and teaches us valuable lessons.
  2. Go to a conference. I’ll be headed to a conference later this month, and I can’t wait to connect with like-minded people and hear experts teach. There is nothing like being able to escape the expectations of your daily life to immerse yourself something you love to do.
  3. Take an online class. If conference fees and airfare are too much of an investment, check out some of the free and cost effective online classes available. Online classes can provide access and sometimes even feedback from some of the biggest names in the field.
  4. Find a group or support system. I have a stellar writers’ group in my area and another amazing group online (waving to all my wonderful critique partners). Whether it’s face-to-face or through the computer, having a group of peers who constantly push and encourage us is vital to growing and improving.

What about you? What’s your favorite way to learn something new?

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

We’re going back to school this month on Heart-Shaped Glasses

pencils

Sharpen your pencils because September means it’s back-to-school month here on the blog. Whether we’re talking about new schedules, the joy of school supplies, college days, or sharpening our writing skills, it’s the perfect month to celebrate all things school related.

At the end of the month, we’ll draw one winner from all the commenters in September to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

We’ll also be hosting guest professors Cynthia Owens on the 15th and Jennie Marts on the 30th.

So put on your thinking caps because it’s time to go back to school.

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

5 Benefits of Taking a Vacation from Writing

beach

I’m going to be doing some traveling this month to visit family. I’ve been considering whether or not to take another kind of vacation while I’m away–a writing vacation. Here are five good reasons to take a vacation from your manuscript.

  1. Gives you time to have experiences that will inspire your writing. A weekend trip to the lake, a concert in the park, or dinner with interesting people are all the kinds of life experiences that can lead to new story ideas and fresh characters. If we spend all our time in our respective writing caves, we won’t have anything new to draw from.
  2. Helps you see your writing with a fresh set of eyes. Writing needs to breathe before the editing stage; otherwise, it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees. A break between the first draft and the edit can be just what you need to see your manuscript more objectively.
  3. Reminds your friends, family, and loved ones what you look like without a laptop glued to your fingers. Balance is vital, and we need to learn to protect our relationships. Being on The New York Times Best Sellers List won’t mean anything without the people we love there to share it.
  4. Provides time for reading. We all know writers should also be readers, but sometimes it’s difficult to find time to read for enjoyment when you’re writing. Take a writing break and fill your e-reader with all those books you’ve been dying to dive into. Not only will they provide wonderful information about trends in your genre, but a great book will remind you of the power of story and why you love to write.
  5. Gives your mind space for creativity. Just like a page layout needs white space, our minds need room to wander and play. Silence, quiet walks, and prayer or meditation can all improve creativity.

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

Summer Camp Romance

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The setting of my novel, Canyon Walls, has a special place in my heart. I loved attending camp every summer through my junior high and high school years, but my best memory of camp was meeting the man who became my husband.

The summer after my freshman year of college, I was hired at the camp I had attended since 7th grade. I moved into a tiny cabin with three other girls. I spent my time cooking in the cafeteria and cleaning cabins. Serving cafeteria food and scrubbing bathrooms wasn’t a glamorous job, but it taught me a lot about hard work. It was also fun to spend the summer among the campers.

Toward the end of the summer, a cute guy showed up at the camp to spend the week as a counselor. We became friends, and before the summer ended, he had asked me on our first date.

If you’ve ever attended a summer camp, you know that the time spent in the camp separated from the demands of everyday life can make it feel like another world. For me it also included the awesome experience of falling in love. It made a summer camp the perfect setting for my first novel. Each day writing the story of a camp director fighting to save a struggling camp allowed me to be transported back to that place and time in my life.

Did you attend summer camp? Did you have any special experiences there?

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.