Best selling author, seventh generation Texan, Jolene’s life, much like her stories, is filled with faith, family, laughter, dirty dishes and all of life's wonderful messiness. She knows that, as much as the world changes, people stay the same. Good and evil. Vow-keepers and heart breakers. Jolene married a vow-keeper who showed her that holding hands and dancing in the rain never gets old. When not creating strong heroines and wounded heroes, she teaches art at an inner city high school. She shows her students the world and they teach her about life. Writer of romance. Mother of four. Teacher of art. Jolene is a lover of life.
Damian De La Rosa is the hero I have received the most messages about. Each asking if he was getting his own book.
Best of all it’s a Christmas story. Finding the perfect partner for him was a challenge, because he was not an easy person to get to know. But Lexy Zapata pushed right past those walls and made him happy she did….
Can one Christmas change everything?
Driven to get her sister and baby niece out of a dangerous situation, Lexy Zapata brings them with her to her new job near Damian De La Rosa’s family’s ranch. Now they can stay hidden through the holidays while Lexy plans their next move. But when she starts to fall for Damian, can his ranch become her family’s safe haven for good?
From Harlequin Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.
June is going to be a busy month. It actually starts on May 21, 2019 with a new book that is kicking off a new series: The Cowboys of Diamondback Ranch. The first book is The Texan’s Secret Daughter. The official release is June 1.
June 8th, 2019 – If you are in the Dallas area, I will be at Boas and Tiaras in Allen Texas. This is my first time for this event, so I hope to see some friendly faces. Clink the link for more information. It’s an event full of authors.
June 10 – 14: Is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s a great place to be if you want to strengthen you writing, up your marketing game or just learn from some amazing writers. Maybe you just want to spend an indescribable week with other people that hear voices in their heads (writers).
This year they will have agents you can pitch too.
If you write or want to write, you need to head out to Canyon Texas. West Texas Writers’ Academy is on the West Texas A&M campus. I will be leading a class for Alumni, but there are many other to choose from if it’s your first time. I’ve went as a student in 2013 and have not missed a year since.
Are you in the Amarillo area? Monday June 10 There is a Writers’ Roundup. There is more information in the link below.
Hola. Evidence of spring is in bloom on my morning walks. These were taken on the edge of downtown San Antonio.
Today I wanted to talk series. I love series. Revisiting the same town, the same family and touching base with favorite characters. Right now I’m listening to Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series. I’m on book 11. (side note..she lived in San Antonio for a time.)
I love writing series too. The Bergmann sisters of Clear Water, Texas have their own series. There are three books. Texas Daddy, The Texan’s Twins and Lone Star Christmas.
Texas Daddy is the first in a Lone Star Legacy. The story of four sisters raised by a single dad in a small town lumberyard.
In Texas Daddy one of my most popular secondary characters, Adrian De La Cruz finally gets his own story. With his identical twin brother, he walked onto the page in book one helping Pastor Levi restore an old historical ranch house. He shows back up as the first on the scene to look for two lost children. In book two he’s volunteering at the 4-H party and helping other single parents juggling kids and work. At seventeen he became a father and gave up bull riding to fully committed to raising her after her mother left them. That was ten years ago.
I started receiving massages from fans after book two, wanting his story. But as you can see he is such a great guy. A good hero has flaws. It’s dealing with those flaws that makes a good story. Once I knew the issues he was hiding, I went looking for the women that would challenge those issues.
And I did. His one sided high school crush returns to town. Navy officer and extreme adventurer, Nikki Bergmann needs to recover from an injury.
Oh, man! I love these two together and the fireworks are set off. She pushes him right out of his safe, overly controlled world and makes him face his worse fears.
Of course he does the same for her. He is hiding to avoid being hurt and she is running. Together they find that God has the perfect plan if they are willing to trust.
Next is Danica’s story in The Texan’s Twins. All we know about Danica from the first story is she is the single mother of five year old twins and has a deeply wounded heart that she doesn’t talk about.
Between providing for her five-year-old twins and achieving her dream of running a wildlife sanctuary, Danica Bergmann has no room for anything—or anyone—else. So when the wildlife volunteer she’s taken on turns out to be Reid McAllister, her secret husband, who disappeared before she got a chance to reveal she was pregnant, it flips her world upside down.
He vanished without a trace six years ago, before she knew they were expecting, now he’s back needing community service. While she was raising thier twin daughters, he had been in prison. The worse part? He’s still the only man she’s ever loved.
It’s a long road to redemption, but can Danica learn to trust Reid with their children…and their future?
The third book is Jackie’s, Danica’s twin sister. In Lone Star Christmas, she determined to restore the historic buildings in Clear Water, Texas, Jackie Bergmann needs permission from the property’s absent owner—her ex-boyfriend. After the death of his father Max Delgado is temporarily staying on the family ranch with his younger brothers. He agrees to give her access, with one request: that she help him care for his orphaned brothers. But when she starts to fall for Max again, can she convince him not to sell his family’s ranch…and stay home for Christmas and forever?
If you want to get updates on my releases you can follow me at a couple of places.
It’s springtime and in San Antonio that means FIESTA!
It’s springtime and in San Antonio that means FIESTA!
The San Antonio Romance Authors (Romance Writers of America) bring you an awesome chance to win a glittering and collectible Fiesta medal.
These medals are in limited supply and not currently for sale. Are you ready to win one? We hope so. During the dates of April 19-28, visit the below sponsors sites for an opportunity to learn about them and get entered to win a medal.
Entrants need to be at least 18 years old and love romance books as much as we do. USA only for shipping and void where prohibited. Entry to all contests is free. You can only win one SARA medal for the whole event.
I have the letter “T”. Visit the other sponsors to collect the letters.
Want to win? To enter click the caption under the T.
In honor of Memorial Day, I’m posting entries from my grandfather’s diary. The following is one week out of a diary my grandfather, Forrest Freeman French, kept during World War II.
These written words have special meaning to me because I never got to meet my mother’s beloved father. Through his writing, during WWII, I get to know him.
Soldiers were told not supposed to keep a journal but he did. The passages are short and brief but capture a time in his life I could never imagine. The sacrifice of so many in order for us to live free. A young Texas Farm boy grows up fast on the other side of the world in Okinawa.
I share these to honor all the men and women that stepped forward in the hardest times to fight for a way of life we can easily take for granted.
On this Memorial Day may you take a moment to honor and remember all the ones that didn’t make it home.
Next Monday I’ll post the second week.
May 4, 1945
Was assigned to the 7th Div. Co. “K” 184th Infantry. They are up on the lines now. We’ll be carried as far as possible by truck then will have to march the rest of the way.
May 5, 1945
Pushed off before dawn to join my outfit. We held services before we left. Am now just behind the lines. Saw my first dead G.I.s. Three of them dead for three days. Can’t get to them. Sure gave me the shivers. Have seen dead enemy soldiers all along the way. They are paying heavy. Not heavy enough to suit me.
May 6, 1945
Air raids are every night and sometimes more than once. Have seen quite a few shot down. Today is the first day on the lines for me. We didn’t shove off as everyone needs to get settled.
May 7, 1945
Spent my first night on the lines. Didn’t get any sleep as they are giving us hell. Some of the men that came in with me got it last night. I don’t think they even know what hit them. This is a living hell.
May 8, 1945
Made my first kill today. He was quite close. Slipped up during the night. Don’t feel much different than before except maybe a little more satisfied.
May 9, 1945
Rumor is that we will be relieved tomorrow and go back for ten days rest. We need it as nearly half of the company has been wounded or killed. We are at a place called Conico Peak. Here is where we ran into most of the trouble. Sure hope the rumor is true for we need a rest.
May 10, 1945
I thank God with all my heart for we were relieved this morning and am now waiting for trucks to take us about ten miles behind the lines. I feel sorry for the boys in the 96th Div. They relieved us and in for all out hell at Conico Peak.
I have the official title to my next release with Love Inspired Historical – Yes I said historical. 1838 Texas. Jackson McCreed wanted a new start and Sofia De Zavala wanted adventure. I have cattle drives and pirates. Can’t wait to tell you more – but for now enjoy some of my inspiration.
A while back I was asked to join a group of multi-published authors to put together six never before published novellas with a Christmas theme. This was my first walk down a truly indie path and couldn’t ask to do it with a better group of women. I also LOVE Christmas stories. Well, anything Christmas.
I’ve have some ask me what it means to be indie. I write for a publishing house in New York, Harlequin’s Love Inspired line. I love working with my editors there. They put the book together and send it out into the world. I get an advance and a royalties beyond that. That is considered a traditional contract.
With an indie it is like opening my own small business. I alone decide on the product I’m going to produce and hire the right people such as editor, cover designer. I promote and get the word out. Working with experienced authors has been great and I’m so proud of the set of book we are offering
My story is Forever Christmas Kiss–Jolene Navarro: Isabella Cortez is a small town librarian with a large family and has been in one too many weddings. This Christmas might be the worst. Not only is she still single, but she is standing in her twin brother’s second wedding. His best man is the opposite of everything she wants in a husband–an artist, and the biggest Peter Pan she has ever met. Xavier Sanchez grew up in foster care, and has no family or traditions. He lives in the moment, which gets him in trouble. Can the rock steady librarian help give him roots? Can he teach her to take a risk and fly?
2009 I decided to stop dreaming about being a published author and actually pursue a career as a romance novelist. In 2013 my first completed story, Lone Star Holiday, hit the shelves with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Line. (faith based fiction)
Today I’m excited to announce that two more stories of Clear Water, Texas will be in stores in 2017.
Book five in the series is single dad, Adrian De La Cruz. He has been helping out in the background throughout all the books and now he gets his own happy ending with the oldest Bergmann sister, Nikki. Book six is another Bergmann sister, Danica. Boy, is she in for a surprise.
But before you get to meet them, I hope you fall in love with book four. It will be in stores Aug 23. It is already available for preorders and today I get to reveal the cover!!!!! (Shh… it hasn’t been made public so you get to see it first)
I’m proud to introduce you to Garrett Kincaid, Anjelica Ortega-Garza and Garrett’s son Rio. They are sitting on the porch of Anjelica’s old family farmhouse. Don’t you want to join them and watch the sunset over the hill country of Texas?
Garrett and Anjelica’s story is a touching tale about letting go of the past and moving boldly into your future.
Here is the backcover blurb:
Texas state trooper Garrett Kincaid is a lone wolf—until he becomes an instant father of two young children. The former solider never knew he had a son…or that his little boy has a baby sister with nowhere to go. His landlady, lovely widow Anjelica Ortega-Garza, offers to help, and suddenly Garrett’s life is all about nap schedules and baby bottles and trying to make his traumatized son smile. Falling for Anjelica isn’t part of the plan. Yet even Garrett can’t deny that love has begun building a family of four right around him.
I can’t wait until they arrive in the real world. To preorder you can use the links below. The other three are also available online.
Nasty rumors are floating around about the fat in nuts. Instead of being afraid of the little nuts you should embrace them for the nutritious, healthy snack they provide. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pistachios, any whole nut makes a healthy high-protein snack. And these nuts are high in fiber.
You mix protein with fiber and you will fill full longer. Even though they are loaded with the good fats, it’s still important to measure out portions.
A hand full can lower cholesterol, make for a healthy heart, help weight control and even lower cancer risk and that is just the tip of the iceberg for these tiny little nuts.
Unfortunately, too few Americans eat nuts regularly: They account for less than eight percent of daily antioxidant intake. Let me remind you that just a small handful can add protein, fiber, good fats and important vitamins and minerals to you diet.
Here are my favorites.
Pistachios: They slow down your eating
Pistachios are my travel companions. This nut has the fewest calories, less than four calories each. If you eat them shelled, then you are working for your food and you’ll eat less but it takes longer. I love eating them in traffic on my long trip home.
Pistachios are rich in the antioxidant gamma-tocopherol, a form of cancer-fighting vitamin E. Pistachios are also packed with potassium, which we need for healthy nervous system and muscles. Vitamin B6, is another gift that comes in this tiny package. It helps lift your mood and build up your immune system.
About 50 nuts make up a serving.
Almonds: They keep things moving.
Of all the nuts, almonds have the most fiber. If nothing else I hope you have learned how important fiber and a healthy digestive system is to your overall health.
They are also rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Some research shows that almonds are good for someone trying to keep their blood sugar levels healthy. In one study: Those who ate about 20 percent of their calories from almonds for four months saw their bad LDL cholesterol drop and their insulin resistance decrease compared to a control group who didn’t eat them. They may also help if you are on a healthy weight loss journey. In one International Journal of Obesity study, when two groups of obese adults followed low-calorie diets for six months, those who included almonds in their weight loss plans lost more weight than those who ate more complex carbohydrates. Almonds may even keep your gut healthy: A test-tube study (funded by the Almond Board of California) found that Almonds brought more good bacteria to the body’s immune system.
Unsweetened almond milk and unsweetened Almond/coconut milk are two of the milks I use in my smoothies.
About 23 nuts make a serving.
Pecans: The Heart of Texas. This is a native and our state tree.
Pecans are famous for those tasty pies. But what they should be know for is the health benefits to your heart. They may help prevent plaque formation in your arteries. In fact, a Journal of Nutrition study (funded partly by the National Pecan Shellers Association) found that consuming pecans can help lower LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 33 percent. Pecans may also buffer your brain health, according to an animal study from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The vitamin E found in the nuts could delay progression of degenerative neurological diseases like amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Serving size is only about 18 halves.
Cashews: Good for your brain
Cashews deliver the magnesium. Which may help improve memory and protect against age-related memory loss, according to a study in the journal Neuron. They also are heavy in iron and zinc. Our body uses iron to carry oxygen to our cells, and zinc helps with immune health and healthy vision. Unsweetened cashew milk is the other liquid I like using in my smoothies. It has less calories than skim milk (25 compared to 80) but has more calcium (45% compared to 30%). It is also creamier.
About 1/4 cup is a serving.
Walnuts: A happy nut.
A handful of walnuts may level out any mood swings you might be having because of hormones. Manganese has been given credit for happy mental health and nerve health. It also has the most antioxidants of all nuts. This is the stuff that helps protect your body from the cellular damage that can lead to heart disease, cancer, and premature aging. If you would rather avoid fish, walnuts have the highest counts in omega-3 fatty acids. They fight inflammation. I like to drop a small hand full to a smoothie every now and then.
A serving is 14 walnut halves.
A couple of my favorite smoothies:
(Right) Walnuts, fresh blackberries, kale, frozen blueberries and a cup of unsweetened cashew milk. (left) Unsalted almonds, frozen blueberries & strawberries, fresh bananas & spinach along with unsweetened almond milk. I throw them in my Ninja for about 40 seconds and enjoy!
There are more nuts to explore and this is a good site to find information :