Monday, August 27, 2018

When Belle and Jolene met. A story of Friendship.




Belle Calhoune and Jolene Navarro checking in from...well Belle is up in Connecticut and Jolene is sitting on her porch in the Texas Hill Country.  Isn't technology amazing?

Jolene: When I was first asked if there was someone I wanted to pair up with to share a blog space I eagerly asked Belle if she wanted to be my partner.  Belle was the first Love Inspired author that reached out to me personally when my first book came out in October of 2013 (Lone Star Holiday).  I responded right away because I had just read her first book from June of 2013 (Reunited with the Sheriff).  The hero's name is Tate.  That's one of my sons' names, so I knew she had good taste right off the bat.  We both write for the contemporary Love Inspired line and work with the same editor.  It's become a great long-distance friendship.  It's fun to find out the things we have in common and our differences.  What do you think Belle?

Belle: I remember reaching out to you once I realized there was a new Love Inspired author in the line. My first book came out only a few months before yours debuted.  I quickly realized you were an art teacher from Texas.  It doesn't get any cooler than that, does it? Before I became a writer I wasn't employed in a creative profession.  I was a federal investigator.  So that's a big difference between us!  Jolene writes Texas cowboys while I write Alaskan cowboys lol.  Jolene is an introvert whereas I am an extrovert.  Although I must add that Jolene is a very extroverted introvert.

Jolene: Ha.  I had to develop social skills to make my dreams happen, so I'm a great faker in public, plus I do kind of like being in control of my environment.  That's the introvert in me.

Belle: You do a good job of it.  When we were in San Diego at the RWA conference, Jolene flagged down iconic romance author Jayne Krentz and asked if we could take a picture with her.  It was especially funny because Krentz appeared slightly annoyed.  But we took the picture anyway.  

Jolene: Now that's not fair.  You said you loved her and I asked if you wanted a picture with her.  She was in a hurry, but I don't think she was annoyed.  She was in a hurry and we were fast.  What do you think? Does she look annoyed?



Belle: I think she was probably stopped a million times at that conference, so I thought she was very cool and gracious to say yes to our request.  She's a legend! So, another thing we have in common is that we're both married to our college sweethearts. 

Jolene: Fred and I have been together since 1986.  I was a freshman and he was a senior.  How long have you and Randy been together?

Belle: Randy and I met in 1988, so right after the two of you  met.  We were both juniors at Syracuse University.  We've been together ever since! Yikes. That's a long time.  But we are romance writers.  We need our heroes!  We've done romance writing panels together.  


We support each other through the triumphs and the not so triumphant moments (yes they happen). 

Jolene: Ugh.  Some of those were tough. Tears and everything. But if you want to be a writer you keep writing, through the doubts and fears. It's the writer friends you develop along the way that make this such a fun journey.

Belle: And we love meeting up at the Romance Writers of America conferences.  New York, San Diego and Orlando.  We have had such good times at the Harlequin author parties. There's always great food, amazing music and an opportunity to party with our fellow authors. 












Belle: Jolene recently made this for me to celebrate my making the RWA Honor Roll.  Isn't she sweet?  



Jolene: And Belle created a celebration post for me when she heard I made the Publisher's Weekly Mass Market list.  Having writer friends to celebrate with makes it so much sweeter.  But even better than that - she has been known to post a picture of Hugh Jackman on my birthday. I'm a huge fan of him and his wife. Did you know that Belle has attended parties with them? This may be the real reason I call her a friend - she's met the Jackmans. On another positive note, this week Belle has an Amazon Bestseller out with three other authors. Faithful Women: Legacies of Grace.

Belle: I'm excited about "Forever and a Day" (Book 5 in my Pelican Bay series) and some other fun
projects I've been working on this summer.
           
Jolene: I'm looking forward to two releases.  Lone Star Christmas, Book 3 in the Bergmann series will release mid-October to November 1st. Also, the Christmas classic Lone Star Holiday is releasing as a two in one book mid-September through October 1st. 



                               


        Do you have any special friendships where you might not see the person all the time but still manage to stay connected?

24 comments:

  1. I love RWA nationals because if seems there's always someone you meet and year after year, you see them again, just that once a year. Loved the back and forth and photos. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pamela! Yes, RWA conference is a wonderful place to connect and to stay connected with the writing friends you've met and talk to online. Looking forward to next year in NYC.

      Delete
    2. Hello Pamela. I look forward to see you each year too. Your smile and laugh have to be experienced first hand. Meeting your family in Denver was a bonus.

      Delete
  2. What a neat friendship. I've meet so many friends through Love Inspired.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Margaret. As writers we work in such a solitary manner that those friendships are crucial. Blessings!

      Delete
    2. Hello Margaret. I think that might be the biggest and best surprise. Most of my best friends now are other writers. Before I started writing I didn't know a single one. They were like unicorns to me. Lol

      Delete
  3. Waving to Pamela Tracy! She and I were part of the original group that started the Craftie Ladies site way back when. We each blogged weekly. I was Wednesday's Craftie Lady! Margaret Daley, weren't you part of the original group? Lisa Modello was as well. Who else? I'm sure Pam remembers.

    I should mention that Pamela and Lisa were the tech brains behind the blog!

    Also, the Seekers on the Seekerville blog are close friends. We chat online daily and connect in person at conferences. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. You ladies have set a great community for writers to find those connections we need. Thank you. :)

    ReplyDelete

  5. Hey Debby. We owe you ladies a huge debt. Writing communities are so valuable and cherished. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi, ladies! I actually have a best friend I only see once a year. We met in 1990, when I was in college. Until I moved away after graduation, we hung around all the time. Now, she lives in another part of the country from me. Last year I was lucky enough to stay at her home for a complete week! Despite the distance, we manage to stay in touch and when we do get together it's like no time has passed at all. We're still goofy together and I can't imagine life without her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Christa. What a great friendship! I love it. You're so fortunate to have continued to strenghten that bond over the years. Thanks for sharing your friendship story. Blessings!

      Delete
  7. Oh Christa, those are the best kind of friendships.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Okay, Jolene and Belle. You totally fooled me on the extrovert/introvert thing!

    One of my fond memories from RWA NY is us sharing lunch with our mutual editor and Terri Reed. Remember that old diner? Cool place.

    Looking forward to seeing everyone at RWANYC19

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember. On the way back my subway card didn't work and y'all had to wait for me. I think something happened to Belle's also. I think she did it so I wouldn't feel like a lame Texan in the big city.LOL It was so embarrassing. But I love getting away from the Time Square area. It was a fun lunch.

      Delete
    2. Hi Cate! Were you thinking I was the introvert? As I said, Jolene puts her game face on. And yes that lunch was fantastic. A very cool diner. Looking forward to RWA in NYC next summer and making new memories.

      Delete
  9. What a great story of your friendship. Treasure every moment. Blessings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lucy! Thanks for stopping by. I'm so glad you enjoyed our post. It's really important to treasure the moments. Blessings!

      Delete
    2. Thank you. Friendships are so important. They must be treasured.

      Delete
  10. Inspiring story, ladies. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mary. We had such fun writing it, finding the pics and reliving the moments.

      Delete
    2. It was fun writing it - I tried to find our first FB message but it wouldn't let me go back that far. I wonder what it was? LOL

      Delete
  11. Looking forward to seeing you both in NYC 2019!

    PS. I love the Honor Roll pic! Very sweet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Katy. RWA will be right in our back yard. Looking forward to it as well. No planes involved for traveling.

      Delete