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.
I meant to post this last week…really. New podcast, new cover and a book signing. Busy. Busy
Sometimes procrastination come in the form of just being too tired. To make it worse we have had another podcast since this one. Since I procrastinated I have two podcast to share.
I am so excited to share the cover of my newest book, Her Holiday Secret. But first let me give you our two last podcast.
In episode 17, we have a great discussion about how we procrastinate, why and some tips to get over it. Give us your tips or let us know if one of ours worked for you.
In episode 18, it’s all about the modern label of blue collar, white collar or pick collar heroes and heroines. As writers, the kind of work our characters do are part of their personality, their dreams or the lie they believe. Do you have certain heroes/heroines you enjoy reading over others? As a writer, do you find yourself writing a certain type. Listen in and get our take on the blue, white and pink.
Blue and white have been around for a hundred years now. Maybe something to do with the industrial revolution and how it changed the way we did things. New industries were popping up Factory and machinery was becoming the norm.
Pink was a new one for me. It started being used in the 70s. It is the care industry, such as teaching, nursing, social work, child care and beauty industry. I think developing characters and giving them a job is an interesting part of the hero’s journey.
Now for the new cover! I adore this little girl.
She’s home for the holidays…
with a daughter he didn’t know existed.
Six years ago, pregnant teenager Catalina Wimberly left town without a word to protect her childhood sweetheart Andres Sanchez’s future. Now she’s back for the holidays and ready to reveal her secret—she and Andres have a little girl. But as they begin to feel a lot like family, will Catalina turn down her dream job and stay beyond Christmas?
You can pre-order at Amazon, Barns and Noble and Google read.
I love a good sports romance. Heroes and Heroines that overcome the odds. Determined. Intense. Sometimes the life of the party and confident on the outside but struggling deep inside. Band of Brothers (or sisters) Found family. The conflicts can be rich and deep. Are they good enough? Are they lost in the image of who the world had told them they are?
Sports can change the way we look at the world…good and bad.
By sell numbers, I am not the only one. They are a popular romance trope. Even if you look at real sports heroes we love the inspirational stories.
There are so many reasons to love sports romance. Some of my favorites are:
Here are a few we spoke about in our latest podcast. Click on the link below to hear our unsolicited opinions.
Just the number 42 means so much to so many people. Jackie Robinson was more than a sports hero.
J.J. Watt won the 2017 Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award for his charitable work. He is famous for his relief during and after Hurricane Harvey but his charitable contributions have been numerous. He assists schools with after-school programs in an effort to provide activities and sports in a safe manner. In 2018 after a shooting at Santa Fe High School left ten people dead, Watt offered to pay for the funeral expenses.
But we loved the former Houston Texan defensive end even more when he was deeply offended by a local headline about his fiancee, professional soccer star Kealia Ohai. On a story about her trade to a new team, they didn’t even mention her name, instead calling her JJ Watt’s wife. He called them out on Twitter for that “trash headline” and said “they should be better than this.”
My favorite sports duo is Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor. They are the most winning sand volleyball team. Three gold medals in the Olympics is just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps most remarkably of all, the US pair lost just one set during that extraordinarily golden period. The list goes on and on, with May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings taking home three successive world championship titles (2003-2007), picking up five AVP Team of the Year crowns (2003-2007) and once going an outstanding 112 matches and 19 tournaments without defeat.
Our local favorite is Patty Mills. Mills was born and raised in Canberra Australia and is of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Australian descent. In 2007, he became only the third Indigenous basketball player to play for Australia’s national team. The second was his uncle thirty years before. He is a vocal advocate for social justice.
Here is a Youtube link to our podcast, but you can find in on Apple podcast and Google Play
Do you have a community the supports your dreams and passions?
Writing can be a solitary endeavor. We delve into our own minds to find that creativity, that imagination, that muse. It is our art. But we don’t have to do it alone! Some writers find critique groups. Some writers host writing sprints and brainstorming sessions. In today’s episode, Storm and I talk about our own groups and how creating community can help the writing process.
Create your own community. In the mid-1800s, there was a movement that changed how the world would forever look at and judge art. Impressionism was incubated at Café Guerbois.
How did a small group of people accomplish this fete? By meeting together regularly, challenging and debating with each other on the idea of art and what makes it art.
They had heated disagreements over the “rules” of art. Artists such as Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne and Degas made up this group, and their creative energy paved the way for generations of modern artists.
Steve Jobs said collaboration works best when ideas are met with brutal honesty and are forced to explore a deeper purpose. I doubt Degas ever patted Manet on the back and said he had pretty pictures. They didn’t just dream of being artists, they wanted to set the world on fire with their passion despite what the established art world told them. They were told they were impostors and needed to stop trying to be an artist.
It seems I spend many days telling myself that I’m not an impostor…my friends help with this too. We need those kinds of people in our life.
Ten years ago I made the resolution to try and write for commercial publication. I went online and found SARA (San Antonio Romance Authors), and my writing greatly improved because of their questioning and tough critique. I also learned about the realities of being published. Like selling one book doesn’t mean you will be guaranteed to sell another.
I’m published today because of them. They also introduced me to others that changed my life.
In June, for last several years, I have made my way to West Texas A&M for a writer’s summer camp. This is where I met Jodi Thomas and now count her as a friend. The first year I made the five hour trip alone and it was worth it.
For five days, a small group of us met for almost five hours a day in a class going over our own stories. It’s magical. It was a full week of brainstorming and being pushed by this small group to find that twist in my story to make it unique. I learned that the ideas are there, the details buried deep within my brain.
A few ladies from my writing group.
Side benefit? Lifelong friends that “get me” in a way no one else ever will. And most of all, urge me to get it written and put it out into the world.
I also have created friendships with the woman of Love Inspired. We share a publisher and at times need to cheer each other on or just talk about the industry. I love that they are all over the country and in Canada.
THIS IS OUR 10th PODCAST!!! Hope you’ve been enjoying. If there’s a topic you’d like us to talk about, please let us know. One of the best parts of being a romance writer is research. So what draws us to certain people? What makes us want to follow them and watch everything they do?
On our latest Podcast, my daughter, Storm Navarro, and I debate the top ten men of movies and television. I had one she didn’t really know, Pierce Brosnan. She had several I didn’t know: Pablo Schreiber, David Gandy, and Aldis Hodge.
After we stated our case, these were the men left out in the cold: Zac Efron, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Lee Pace, Gerard Butler, Russel Crowe and Steven Yeun.
So who did make our list? Listen to the podcast and you can jump in on the debate.
After the podcast post, scroll down and you’ll see I created our list with pictures. So enjoy!
#10 Henry Cavill
#10 Henry Cavill
From Superman to Witcher, and the underrated THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E, he has a jawline made for the big screen (or the smaller ones in our homes). A self proclaimed gaming nerd and the fourth born of five brothers, he has a very sarcastic sense of humor that might get him in trouble. He gets very involved in his roles, from designing the sword in Witcher to being a Chiefs football fan because Clark Kent is from Kansas.
#9 Aldis Hodge
This is one of Storm’s picks. He is in the INVISABLE MAN and LEVERAGE and STRAIGHT OUT OF COMPTON, and one of our favorites, HIDDEN FIGURES. In Hidden Figures he gives one of the best romantic gestures. His character was not supportive of his wife going to college to get her engineering degree in the beginning. Right before she goes, she gets nervous and starts to doubt herself. Instead of telling her not to go, he gives her a set of pencils to let her know she does have his support. It makes me sigh just thinking about it.
#8 David Gandy
David changed the modeling world for men when his friend and flatmate signed him up for a modeling competition. At the time, skinny, slender men–almost feminine–were all the industry wanted. We are so glad he was given that chance to set trends and change fashion.
# 7 Tom Hardy
This actor can be found in a very wide range of style and genre. From THIS IS WAR to BAND OF BROTHERS to BATMAN: The DARK KNIGHT RISES and the remake of MAD MAX. But he has our hearts for his love of dogs.
# 6 Regé-Jean Page
Zimbabwean British actor is up-and-coming. He is one of four boys and was in a band with one of his brothers before acting. Yes, he can sing and write music too. We discovered him as the Duke in the Netflix smash hit, Bridgerton. But that wasn’t his first acting job. He’s been in Sylvie’s Love, For The People, and the remake of ROOTS just to name a few. He also showed off his comedic skills on SNL. We will be watching out for more from this very talented actor.
# Chris Evans
Here is an actor that has stolen our hearts on and off the screen. From saving the world in movies to visiting hospitals to bring a little joy to children that are sick. He is always the first to offer an arm when he sees someone struggling. Sigh. Even his ex-girlfriend called him the nicest human on the Earth. He might be moving on from Captain America but we know he will continue doing great things.
# 4 Jason Momoa
There is just something about this man that screams MAN. LOL He also might be a huge overgrown child. He definitely knows how to have a good time and loves living life as natural as possible with his family. He is very vocal about his love for his wife, children, and the Earth we call home. When not acting, he is spending his time finding ways to protect the planet, from the oceans to the mountains of Hawaii.
#3 Idris Elba
There is something about this man that keeps our gaze on him in whatever movie he is in. From a god in the world of super heroes (Avengers) to a doctor trapped on the side of a mountain in THE MOUNTIAN BEWTEEN US, he brings charisma to the screen.
# 2 Michael B. Jordan
He has been acting and modeling since he was a child. If you watched All My Children you might recognize him from his Soap days. He brings passion and talent to every role he tackles. Creed and Black Panther have been his most recent movies. In 2020, People Magazine named him Sexiest Man Alive. GQ called him Man of the Year in 2018…We agree with both of those.
# 1 HUGH JACKMAN
Yes, I might have had a hand in putting him first. He is 3rd on Storm’s list. But come on, he has won a Tony and has been nominated for an Oscar. He has it all. From romantic comedies, epic musicals, and super hero movies, this song and dance man had proven he can act. But there is so much more to him than his stage presence. His love for his family, and wanting to make the world a better place, has him as my number 1. He is also the only one I met in person so there is that. He was not a disappointment in any way.
What do you think? Who would you put on the list and why?
As a daydreamer with dysgraphia I never thought all the stories in my head would ever be shared with anyone else.
Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder of written expression that impairs writing ability and fine motor skills. It is a learning disability that affects children and adults, and interferes with practically all aspects of the writing process, including spelling, legibility, word spacing and sizing, and expression.
With the encouragement of other writers, including Jodi Thomas, I found the courage to submit my stories to an agent. It took a lot of editing, but it was sold to Harlequin’s Love Inspired line. That was eight years ago and twenty stories later I still can’t believe it.
This is the topic we tackle in our newest podcast, Who Asked Us? The Unsolicited Opinion of Two Romance.
My oldest daughter, Katrina Navarro and her fiancé, Mark Salinas join us to give a first hand experience of growing up with Dyslexia. This is the YouTube link, but you can also find us on Spotify, Google Podcast, Pandora and now Apple!
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman has been around many years. I read it as a young parent of four children. My husband and I read it. I now use it to help develop my fictional characters. We all want to belong, to have people in our lives that love us. Understanding the love languages not only helps you see how others might be expressing it to you, but how you feel loved. To visit their website click on the books.
When a love language is not expressed or it is used to hurt a child the wounds can cause deep scares. I think it’s the reason one child can be traumatized by something and another doesn’t even remember it. A child that scores low on words of affirmation can ignore hurtful words. But take a child that words of affirmation is how they feel loved, those words of anger or hate cut deeper and can linger a lifetime. A child that needs time or service to feel loved will have a harder time being left alone after school. But to the child that has the love language of gifts, they wont mind being alone. they will feel loved when a parents shows up with a thought present to show they were thinking of them. Our strongest memories are tied to emotions. We remember how someone make us feel.
That is why we respond differently to the same situation. It will depend on our love language if we remembered feeling loved or ignored. My son Tate joins us as we explore The Five Love Languages on our Podcast this week. Who Asked Us? The Unsolicited Opinions of Two Romance Authors. Hosted by Storm Navarro and her mom. (That’s me)
Words of affirmation. Acts of service. Receiving gifts. Quality time. Physical touch. We LOVE love languages! Join us with my brother Tate as we discuss the five Love Languages from Gary Chapman and how it can be incorporated into real life AND romance novels!
In my writing world I’m back in Port Del Mar with Andres Sanchez. I hope to have a cover to share soon. I’m getting excited about the final edits for my October 2021 release. Her Holiday Secret is a lovely family story of redemption, faith and love.
Today I’m in edit mode and I’m checking in from my back porch.
As a romance author, I get to play around in the male brain. Finding that balance between masculinity and emotional authenticity is a fun challenge. But I do completely feel that instead of men vs woman we are individuals. Are there tendencies? Yes. Are there unfair stereotypes? Yes.
Studies claim that men speak few words. Some say men don’t notice details. People will claim that woman are more emotional and men more logical (haha). My two sons and two daughters join us as Storm and I explore the topic of writing male POV.
My daughter, Storm and I started a podcast in January 2021.Today our third podcast went live. This has been so fun having these conversations with my daughter. Join us and let me know what you think.
In 2020 I wrote three books and one short. The Texan’s Unexpected Holiday (Damien De La Rosa’s story) was out in Nov. 2020 and the short The Cowboys Seaside Christmas (Sammie Bergmann and Joaquin) is free on the Harlequin blog. I’ll put the link at the bottom of the post.
Being busy is fun and I hope you enjoy my endeavors.
My April release of The Texan’s Secret Daughter.
Cover reveal! There’s a new cover for my May 2021 release.
Title reveal! I have a title my October 2021 release.
In April, The Texan’s Secret Daughter will make it’s return to the world, so if you missed it, here’s your change to grab it. It’s in the Western Collection Duets. I’m paired with the fabulous author and friend Jessica Keller. How fun is that? Spoiler – VERY FUN! LOL
Now for the most exciting part. THE NEW COVER! It spotlights the hero Bridges Espinoza and his dog Big Mac. It is up for peorder. 🙂
He’s always been a loner.
Coming home can change everything…
Returning to his hometown, Bridges Espinoza’s surprised to find his cousin’s widow, Lilianna—the woman he once secretly loved—there as well. But even more stunning is the child who shows up claiming to be his son. Certain he can’t be a father, Bridges works with Lilianna to find the truth. But a shocking discovery about Cooper’s parentage could tear their makeshift family apart…
And finally I have a new title for my October 2021 release.
HER HOLIDAY SECRET.
Sigh. I loved writing this book. Here are a few inspirational pictures.
I promised the link for the free short read, The Cowboys Seaside Christmas. Here it is.
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.