The Soldier's Surprise Family by Jolene Navarro. Love Inspired. In stores August 23 2016

The Cover for the Next Book & More Good News!

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.

I signed a contract for two more books from Clear Water, Texas. The should hit bookshelves 2017
I signed a contract for two more books from Clear Water, Texas. The should hit bookshelves 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?

The Soldier's Surprise Family by Jolene Navarro. Love Inspired. In stores August 23 2016
The Soldier’s Surprise Family by Jolene Navarro. Love Inspired. In stores August 23 2016

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:

Unexpected Daddy

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.

Here is the Amazon link:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/037381934X

The Barns & Noble link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-soldiers-surprise-family-jolene-navarro/1123516286?ean=9780373719792

 

 

 

 

I could run in heels too if I was chasing Chris Pratt and what about those Chickens!

Last weekend we went to see Jurassic World. I was not to sure about it. I mean really, how many time can you recreate a dinosaur and convince yourself this time no one will be eaten? Oh, but this one has something or should I say someone different – a hero that is funny and bad ass at the same time. And can ride a motorcycle like …well you have to see the movie.  Just in case you need reminders of who Chris Pratt is – I have added pictures.

Chris Pratt goofy and bad ass at the same time.
Chris Pratt goofy and bad ass at the same time.
Chris Pratt looking sexy sweet for Jurassic World
Chris Pratt looking sexy sweet for Jurassic World
Chris Pratt with his motorcycle in Jurassic Park.
Chris Pratt with his motorcycle in Jurassic Park.

I really enjoyed it. But again I’m easy to please if you give me a little action, a hot guy with a little romance and a cute kid. There is a reason I’m a romance writer.

I do think one of the reasons this was such a hit was the star himself. How can you not love Chris Pratt? From chubby goofy guy to hot sexy guy that doesn’t take himself too seriously – when he found his chiseled body he didn’t loose the humor. He’s the kind of guy you want to have at your side if you have to run for your life. Even if you have to run in heels or protect the margaritas as you dodge flying dinos looking for a snack.

Here he is explaining how he has to warm-up for his action shots – Did I mention he was goofy?

A tweet from my editor is what actually sent me on a Chris Pratt hunt – Zookeepers are recreating the moment when Chris Pratt has to hold back his meat eating dinosaurs from making a meal out of one of the hired help.  I just had to share. You have to check these out and tell me the one with the chickens did not make you laugh. Dare you.

Zookeepers are recreating Chris Pratt moves in Jurassic World

Since we are on the topic – here are some more funny moments with Chris Pratt.

Why we find Chris Pratt an adorable goofball and sexy too. He pulls off both very well.

So have you seen Jurassic World? What did you think. Are you a Chris Pratt fan?

A Recipe for Romance Authors of Love Inspired

A Recipe for Romance: Mexican Hot Chocolate

Recipes for Romance
Recipes for Romance

A fabulous group of authors invited me to add a short romance story and  recipe to their collection: A Recipe for Romance. I was honored. First thought? What would make a perfect recipe to write a sweet romantic story around. Well, it had to have chocolate. So I went with Mexican Hot Chocolate!

Yes, I drink hot chocolate year round.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

  • 4 CUPS of MILK
  • 4-6 Pieces of chocolate baking bar
  • 1/4 Cup Cornmeal
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1-2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • ¾ tsp Vanilla

Combine milk, sugar, chocolate baking bars and cinnamon sticks in pan over low heat until chocolate pieces melt completely. In a separate container, mix cornmeal and water and dissolve any lumps. Add cornmeal mixture to milk. Stir or whisk over very low heat for about 10-15 minutes. You will notice the milk will begin to thicken. Add pure vanilla extract after removing from heat. The more cornmeal thickens the milk, if you prefer it thicker add more cornmeal. Whisk it before serving to get a frothy topping. Grab a book and share a story while wrapped up in fuzzy socks, comfy blankets and a mug of the best hot chocolate ever.

A Recipe for Romance Authors of Love Inspired
A Recipe for Romance Authors of Love Inspired
So are you a traditional Hook fan?

P – As a Romance writer P has to be for Pirates

P for Pirate Romance
P for Pirate Romance

Why are pirates so popular in romantic fiction? In reality he would make the worse boyfriend or husband but somehow many fantasize taming this ultimate bad boy. To be that woman he passionately loves above all else, gives up his ways. Well the ones she wants him to give up anyway.

Pirates have been around as long as humans have kept histories. If there is a wealthy establishment to rob from and  freedom to be had pirates will be on a ship. For romance, the pirates might have stolen the …uh hearts of maidens heavily in the 90s.

1989 A Pirate's Pleasure. Heather Graham
1989 A Pirate’s Pleasure. Heather Graham

The first pirate I remember falling hard  for was James Malory in Johanna Lindsey’s, A Gentle Rogue

First Pirate love. A Gentle Rogue, Johanna Lindsey. 1990
First Pirate love. A Gentle Rogue, Johanna Lindsey. 1990

Yes that is Fabio.

Not really how I see James, but in the 90s you couldn’t avoid the long haired broad chested model.

Lindsay made a living with the Mallory men and women.

A Pirates Love Johanna Lindsey 1996
A Pirates Love Johanna Lindsey 1996

 

Promised to a Rogue
Promised to a Rogue
Stormy Persuasion-2008 Johanna Lindsey
Stormy Persuasion-2008
Johanna Lindsey

My favorite might be the one where Lindsay turned the tables and put the heroine as the pirate and what does she do? Tie him to the mast. LOL

The pirate is a lady in the 2008 Captive of my Desire by  Johanna Lindsay
The pirate is a lady in the 2008 Captive of my Desire by Johanna Lindsay

You might be wondering why Lindsey’s pirates have shirts, but none of them are buttoned. The lady pirate took the shirt off of her man before she tied him to the mast. The other guys are smart enough to protect their shoulders from the sun, but leave them open so the salty breeze can cool their hot skin. Makes sense, right?

So from novels, movies started changing the way we look at pirates…well, maybe Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow has a great deal to do with that…

Pirates of the Caribbean.
Pirates of the Caribbean.
Pirates of the Caribbean.
Pirates of the Caribbean.
Pirates of the Caribbean.
Pirates of the Caribbean.

My new favorite pirate is Captain Hook in Once Upon A Time. The pirate can be the hero!

Colin O'Donoghue as Captain Hook.  Once Upon A Time
Colin O’Donoghue as Captain Hook.
Once Upon A Time
Colin O'Donoghue as Captain Hook.  Once Upon A Time
Colin O’Donoghue as Captain Hook.
Once Upon A Time
Colin O'Donoghue as Captain Hook.  Once Upon A Time
Colin O’Donoghue as Captain Hook.
Once Upon A Time

The twist is Pan is the bad guy…really bad. 0

Peter Pan and Captain Hook - Who is really the bad guy?
Peter Pan and Captain Hook – Who is really the bad guy?
How about Dustin Hoffman's Captain Hook?
How about Dustin Hoffman’s Captain Hook?
So are you a traditional Hook fan?
So are you a traditional Hook fan?

Soon a new pirate movie will be hitting theaters, the untold story of how Captain Hook came to be…Hugh Jackman…Yes, my all  Hugh Jackman will be Blackbeard. Do you remember a while back when he was sporting a weird beard and bald head? It was for this role. 

Captian Blackbeard Hugh Jackman in Pan
Captain Blackbeard Hugh Jackman in Pan

So I think I have spent enough time thinking about pirates…do you like them or do you prefer another type of hero…cowboy, rich businessman, guy next door, athlete,  doctor, fire fighter, lawman, soldier…so many to pick from. What about twisting old stories upside down? Do you appreciate the creativity or want things to stay the same…DON”T MESS WITH MY HEROES!

Entry ways of New Orleans shops are interesting in themselves.

New Orleans – A Romantic City of History and Cemeteries

N - New Orleans
N – New Orleans

I love romance and traveling. With a long list of places I want to walk through and explore, I get excited when I get to mark one off. As a writer I want touch, smell, hear and experience the character of each place, the unique weaving of history and culture that can only be savored first hand. New Orleans was one of those places.

New Orleans Bourbon Street
New Orleans Bourbon Street

Well, maybe not so much the smelling — but if you stay away from Bourbon Street in the wee morning hours before they power wash the uh.. evidence away, you’ll be fine)

I was surprised how much I loved this city. I’m not a party kind of girl and when I thought of New Orleans I thought Bourbon Street and Madi Gras.

We stayed in the French Quarter and there is so much to do that doesn’t involve Bourbon Street that we spent hours walking around and of course you have to have a midnight snack at Cafe Du Monde.

Beignets and Hot Coco at Cafe Du Monde
Midnight snack: Beignets and Hot Coco at Cafe Du Monde

Shops, restaurants, bars art galleries are all nested together in the French Quarter. Neat little areas that can get over looked are all over the place.

New Orleans French Quarter
New Orleans French Quarter

You don’t even have to go in most of the buildings to enjoy the art work.

Art in New Orleans
Art in New Orleans

Art in New Orleans. A hint of Mardis Gra in a peaceful moment
Art in New Orleans. A hint of Mardis Gra in a peaceful moment. This is begging to be written as a scene.
Art in New Orleans - The passion of the dance.
Art in New Orleans – The passion of the dance.

You can't be in New Orleans and not visit George Rodrigue's Blue Dog
You can’t be in New Orleans and not visit George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog
You can't be in New Orleans and not visit George Rodrigue's Blue Dog
You can’t be in New Orleans and not visit George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog

There is enough in the French Quarter to make great memories, but how can you go to New Orleans and not explore the cemeteries? We walked to Canal Street and hopped on a Ttolley.

Canal Street where the street cars meet the edge of the French Quarter
Canal Street where the street cars meet the edge of the French Quarter

If you like more traditional shopping Canal Street (on the edge of the French Quarter and Downtown is full of shops.

We took the trolley to the Garden District and walked through the historical cemeteries. It’s like going through a museum. Which we did also. New Orleans has so much to offer we plan on going back.

It is worth staying in the French Quarter though…it is like stepping into another world.

Lafayette Cemetery No 1 - Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 – Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 - Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 – Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 - Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 – Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 - Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 – Garden District 1

Opposite of the trollies on the other edge of the French Quarts is the Mississippi River. It is worth the ride on the paddle boat as live music plays. (Skip the over priced dinner. Really,) As you head back to dock, the sun is setting over New Orleans – it’s beautiful.

Paddle Boat on the Missisippi
The Natchez- a Paddle Boat on the Mississippi
Paddle Boat on the Missisippi
Paddle Boat on the Mississippi
Downtown from the paddle boat
Downtown from the paddle boat

The Heart of Small Towns: Book Signing at Bergmann Lumber

Join me Saturday August 2  11:00 at Bergmann Lumber for the book signing of my second book, Lone Star Hero.

Walking down Main Street in my hometown of Boerne, Texas is one of my favorite things to do on a beautiful Hill Country day. I love life in a small town. People know people. They know your grandmother, your cousins and your children. People have long memories and will talk about people and days gone by at a drop of a hat.

Main Street Boerne Texas, Bergmann Lumber. Family owned for three generations.  Taken by Jolene Navarro
Main Street Boerne Texas, Bergmann Lumber. Family owned for three generations. Taken by Jolene Navarro

You have a history. You’re part of a story. You belong.

I also love writing about it. I have created a fictional town called Clear Water, Texas.  With less than 400 people in this town it would be consider small by anyone’s standards.  Generations of ranchers, workers and business owners share a common history, good, bad and sometimes ugly. Preschooler to twelfth graders are on the same school campus. Community is strong. Not a great deal has changed there over the years. And yes it has a great deal in common with the town of Leakey Texas where my parents, grandparents and great grandparents have strong roots.

In my second story with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Line, Vickie Lawson comes home after her dreams are shattered. She is looking to rebuild a solid future in her old town for her kids. Her childhood sweetheart, Jake Torres, challenges her resolve to stay clear of all men.

Lone Star Hero by Jolene Navarro. August 1 2014

It it easy to fuse fiction and fact.  In my fictional stories of Clear Water Texas there is a hardware store on Main Street, called Bergmann Lumber.  Just like my made up business, the real one in Boerne is a family owned businesses that has survived the big box stores. When other mom and pop shops have closed and moved on, the Bergmanns has found a way to redefine themselves and keep the charm of small town alive on our Main Street in Boerne.
In honor of Texas small towns and family I encourage you to take the time to shop small, it can make a big difference in our communities.

I’m proud to announce my second book signing at Bergamnn Lumber, the real one.

I will be signing copies of Lone Star Hero on Main Street in Boerne at Bergmann Lumber August 2 from 11:00 am until 2:00pm.

Family owned lumber and home décor for three generations. Bergmann Lumber on Boerne Main Street.

Main Street Boerne Texas, Bergmann Lumber

The two story limestone building is a historical site and owned by the same family for three generations. Randy Bergmann and his daughters have managed to reinvent their store front and focus on customer service.

 

The final scene from the bonus story in Clear Water Texas, Vickie’s Prayer

Lone Star Hero by Jolene Navarro. August 1 2014
Lone Star Hero by Jolene Navarro. August 1 2014

Part 3

Numb, Vickie hardly noticed the squeak of the green vinyl chairs in the hospital waiting room. She closed her eyes, tired of staring at the gray sterile walls. Her father’s big hand engulfed her smaller one.
The clicking of her mother’s heels on the laminated floor broke through the muted hospital sounds. Elizabeth stopped in front of her and pushed a tall cup of steaming coffee into Vickie’s hands. After a minute of silence, her mother sat beside her.
Vickie took an obligatory sip. The warm liquid—without any flavor—slid down her throat to a turbulent stomach. Pulling the steam in through her nose, she let the rich latte aroma wash out the antiseptic smell.
Sighing, she added thanks for her parents to her silent prayers for her son. There was a comfort in having them on each side of her as they waited for word on Seth. Her sisters, Annie and Di, sat across from them. She shook her head whenever she thought of her mother’s strong sense of self-importance. The names she chose for her daughters all had royal connections. It never even occurred to her mother that two of them had tragic endings. She dropped her head and covered her eyes with her hand. Please, God, keep Seth whole and healthy.
Right now she knew Seth was alive, but that was all anyone would tell her. With a head injury, his condition could change in a matter of minutes.
Her father had prayed with her, and now they sat in silence. Her mother played with her bracelet, a sure sign she was nervous. Vickie laid a hand on her mother’s arm.
“It’s going to be okay, Mamma. No news is good news right?”
Elizabeth patted Vickie’s arm and nodded. “Have you heard from Tommy?”
She bit back a groan. “Mother, he made it clear not to call him until two tomorrow. After two o’clock.” She glanced at her watch. It wasn’t there. Wrapping her fingers around the bare wrist, Vickie sighed. “Now it’s today. Anyway, he’s busy.”
“Busy? But his son needs him.” True confusion creased her mother’s forehead.
Vickie stopped short of an adolescent eye-roll. Her mother refused to see the real Tommy. “Mamma, Tommy has his own life and decided the kids and I are an inconvenience.” Her father patted her hand. Vickie managed to give him a weak but grateful smile.
Elizabeth crossed her arms and glared at her daughter. “Well, I called. Someone needed to let him know Seth’s in the hospital.”
A new knot formed in Vickie already upset stomach. “What did he say?”
Elizabeth pursed her lips and looked off to the side. “He didn’t answer, so I left a message.” She cut her glare back to Vicki, lifting one disapproving eyebrow. “But you should be prepared to greet him, in case he shows up. I’m sure he will. Did you really have to wear that out in public?” Her mother’s gaze dropped to the dirt-covered Crocs, up the Coke-a-Cola pajama bottoms, over the two sizes too big Baylor t-shirt and stopped at Vickie’s hair. The perfectly shaped brows seemed insulted to be in the same room as the mess that was Vickie. Elizabeth crossed her arms and glared at her daughter’s tangled mess of curls surrounding Vickie’s face.
“Sorry, Mother. I didn’t stop to think about how I looked.” Why couldn’t her mother ever be on her side? She turned her head and took a deep breath, pulling the scent of Jake from his coat. The room wasn’t cold, but she needed him close and his coat was all she had for now.
“Victoria, that’s not what I meant. You could have at least combed your hair.” Her blue eyes narrowed. “Why are you still wearing that trooper’s jacket?”
“You know his name, Mother.” She burrowed deeper into the jacket and leaned on her father’s shoulder.
The door opened and Pastor John walked in with Lorrie Ann Ortega and his daughter, Rachel. Vickie leaped to her feet and crushed Lorrie Ann in a death-grip hug. She didn’t care how unladylike the action looked.
“Thank you, oh, thank you.” Despite her mother’s best training about public outbursts, Vickie started to sob. This woman, who had every reason to hate her, saved her son’s life. “They said you saved him. If not for you, I would’ve lost him.”
Lorrie Ann kept her face turned to Pastor John while patting Vickie on the shoulder. “Uhm…It was…I’m glad I could help.”
Rachel’s father, Pastor John gently pulled Vickie’s attention to him with a hand on her shoulder. “How is Seth? We’ve been praying. Celeste wanted you to know she’s praying, too.”
Vickie sniffed and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. Then she saw Rachel. Anxiety filled the girl’s young eyes. “Oh, Rachel.”
She cupped the girl’s face, cradling the soft cheeks in her hands before pulling Rachel into her arms. The fresh smell of apple shampoo tore at her heart. Rachel and Seth were so young and innocent.
“How is he?” Rachel’s timid voice could barely be heard.
“He’s alive.” Vickie smiled and tucked a loose strand of blonde hair behind Rachel’s ear. “Thanks to you and Lorrie Ann, he made it here.” She pulled the girl back against her chest and looked at Pastor John. “They’re running tests on his brain and spine.”
“Is there anything we can do?” Pastor John asked.
“No.” Vickie shook her head. “Other than pray. We need all the prayers we can get.”
Her mother approached. “Vickie, the doctor needs to talk to you.”
With a quick scan of the room, she saw the doctor standing by the double doors next to her father. Her mother took her hand and together they rushed over. She prayed for good news.
“Seth is very fortunate. There does not appear to be any permanent brain injury, no swelling. He does have a concussion. We want to keep him twenty-four hours, but you should be able to take him home tomorrow. He will require a quiet environment, no stimulation. It might be hard, but he needs to stay away from video games, loud music or TV.
The blood left her knees. She could take Seth home. The urge to hug the doctor overwhelmed her. Instead she threw an arm around her father. Biting her bottom lip, she nodded as the doctor kept talking. At this point most of what he said buzzed right over her head. She just wanted to touch her baby.
“Can I see him?” She’d have tons of questions in the morning, but for right now, she just wanted to hold him and hear his voice.
“Of course, we want to keep his room quiet and lights low. The visit needs to stay brief.”
What if he was still mad at her? What if he didn’t want to see her?
He would want to see Rachel, make sure she was safe. She looked behind her and found Rachel leaning against Pastor John.
With fast steps, she had Rachel by the hand. As they headed to Seth’s room, she continued to thank God for granting her a second chance to make things right.

If you want to read Jake and Vickie’s story you can find Walmart next week or buy it online at Amazon, Barns & Noble or online Walmart. The ebook will be available for download August 1st.