Thursday, April 3, 2014

Get Lost Again in Harmony, Texas!

Folks, help me welcome back Jodi Thomas! She has another fantabulous book out and she's here to share it with us today. Take it away, Jodi!

As I start to write I always find I have to do research.  You’d think after 40 books that I’d know all about Texas, but that will never be true I’m afraid.  The research took me in a direction I never expected in BETTING THE RAINBOW.

As with all my books I like to tell more than one story at a time but those stories weave around one another making readers feel like they are moving through a town with people getting mixed up in the problems of others at the same time they try to solve their own mysteries.

The story in BETTING THE RAINBOW is set amid a few weeks of summer when the whole town becomes involved in a fund raiser to benefit the town library.  Instead of the usual things groups do to raise money, the friends of the library decide to hold a poker night with a grand prize being a buy-in to a huge game in Las Vegas.

Dusti Delaney sees the game as her one chance to change her and her sister’s lives.  Betting the rainbow is a term used in poker when a player decides to bet it all on one pot and that is what Dusti is willing to do.

Only problem for me as the writer…I didn’t know how to play poker.  Research.  I talked a friend into taking me to a weekly game out in the country.  Thirty bucks later, I had the basics of how to play.  Next I read every book I could find on Texas Hold’em and how women survive in the game.  I talked to poker players and asked endless questions.  Then, one called me to join her at the Cracker Barrel for breakfast.  In the middle of our pancakes she said, “I’m going to Vegas to play next week.  Come along with me.” I booked my plane, talked a friend into going with me, and packed before lunch.  I wasn’t there to watch the game.  I was there to watch the people.

Life’s a gamble and like Kenny Rogers says, “You got to know when to hold’em.  Know when to fold’em. And know when to walk away.”

I’m betting you’ll walk away happy when you finish BETTING THE RAINBOW.

Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 39 novels and 12 short story collections. A four-time RITA winner, Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.




Publishers Weekly Review of Betting the Rainbow
Thomas knocks it out of the park again with her seventh contemporary set in Harmony, Tex. (after Can’t Stop Believing). Ronny Logan and Austin Hawk are looking for peace out by Rainbow Lane. They both have reasons to crave solitude—he’s recovering from injury, she from grief and a year’s travel—so they’re surprised to enjoy each other’s company. Ronny also becomes friends with neighbors Dusti and Abby Delaney, sisters who are counting on a poker tournament to make their dreams come true. As Dusti gets poker lessons from flirtatious Kieran O’Toole, tournament organizer Reagan Truman waits for rodeo rider Noah McAllen, her longtime love interest, to “grow up and man up.” Thomas is a master at creating damaged yet appealing characters, and their expressions of love—as siblings, as friends, as partners—are intense and beautiful. Their paths to happiness are interwoven in an intricate tapestry with the tournament as backdrop, combining in an epic tale of the kind of love that lasts forever. (Apr.)

Betting the Rainbow (Harmony) by Jodi Thomas 
Review by Vickie Denney at Reader To Reader

Ronny Logan has returned to Harmony after traveling the world for a year. This was one of the things that her late friend, Marty Winslow, wanted her to do with some of the money he bequeathed her. Ronny will always love Marty, but must start a new life; however, she doesn’t know what to do since she has enough money to last her for forever. Marty’s butler and friend, Mr. Carleon, has stayed in Harmony to help Ronny with any and every thing. While she was away, he leased a cottage for her on Rainbow Lane and it sits on a small lake. There are only three houses in that area. Across the lake the Delaney sisters, Abby and Dusti, have a small farm and raise chickens. Hawk House is on Ronny’s side of the lake and currently is housing Austin Hawk.

Abby had to quit nursing school with only a year to go due to finances after parent’s illnesses. Dusti has entered a local fund raising poker game that sends the winner to Las Vegas to play for a million dollar jack pot. Dusti asks Kiernan O’Toole to teach her the finer points of the game. She hopes to win locally and then win enough in Los Vegas to send Abby back to school. Kiernan will help her but warns her he is also a competitor and he will be hard to beat. The Irishman has loved Dusti forever, it seems, and she is totally unaware…but not for long.

Austin Hawk is also back in Harmony rehabbing from burns and injuries suffered during a fire. He just wants to be left alone, but Fate has other plans for him. The first night that Austin and Ronny meet had this reviewer hee-hawing. A connection is made between these two lost, wounded, and very sad souls, which evolves into a magnificent relationship.

Reagan Truman gives Noah McAllen an ultimatum – her or the rodeo. Noah can’t always run from his responsibilities.

Betting The Rainbow visits so many of the core characters and updates their status. Jodi Thomas has truly outdone herself with this fine, fine story. I know, personally, each and every character in Harmony, Texas and hope to meet many more. They are wonderful, kind, generous, real people with real problems. Be warned that having a box of tissues close by will come in handy. Beautiful stories like Betting The Rainbow don’t come around too often, and reading this tale is like finding a pot of gold.


  1. The book sounds like fun, Jodi. I don't know how to play poker. My family's game was rummy and my grandmother taught all her grandkids how to play. LOL

    Marcy Shuler

  2. I picked this book up tonight! Looking forward to getting into it! :)

  3. I can't wait to read this book. I love Jodi's books, their awesome.

  4. Good to see you again, Jodi !!
    Waving !!

  5. You're my hero--oh wait, my heroine--Jodi. Your books have inspired me through the years. I love that you learned how to play poker as part of your research for Betting on the Rainbow. What fun! Thanks for joining us today on GLIAS.

  6. Hey Jodi, was so fun seeing you last weekend...