Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Movie that influenced my love of suspense

I remember watching a movie years ago entitled “House of Secrets” which quite possibly triggered my fetish/obsession for Mardi Gras masks and spooky New Orleans themes. Supposedly, this made for television movie was a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Although the reviews were not met with high accolades, I beg to differ. I loved it and found myself enthralled and terrified at the same time.

Bruce Boxleitner, perfect for the villainous role of Dr. Frank Ravinel, played the part of New Orleans sanitarium physician quite well. The doctor’s wife Marion, afflicted with a muscle disease, was played by Melissa Gilbert. The couple live in Marion’s family ancestral mansion, now a sanitarium built by her father. After only one year of marriage, Dr. Frank begins to mistreat his wife and things go from bad to worse. And when Laura comes along, a young girl on parole for killing her boyfriend, confiding to Marion of Dr. Frank’s lecherous ways, the two women form an alliance and kill Dr. Frank by drugging and drowning him in a bathtub. Add to this mix a bit of voodoo by Evangeline, family friend played by Cicely Tyson, things get quite spooky.

But as the story unfolds, it appears Dr. Frank may not be dead after all. My favorite part of the movie was done in black and white for theatrical effects, reflections of Vertigo, when Melissa Gilbert races through the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

Does anyone recall this movie? What did you think? Did it remind you of Vertigo, using the French Quarter during Mardi Gras opposed to the empty streets of San Francisco?

Sharon Donovan

Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith

Mask of the Betrayer

Movie that influenced my love of suspense

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Examiner review of Mask of the Bettrayer

I was awe-struck by the awesome review of Mask of the Betrayer in The Examiner. Labeled as a Dark Mystery with Brutal Content, Ms. Ginger Simpson gives it high kudos. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Ginger. Here it is!

Review - Mask of the Betrayer - Dark Mystery, Brutal Content 
June 15, 11:37 AM

eBooks Examiner  
Ginger Simpson

Mask of the Betrayer - Sharon Ann Donovan

Beneath all the bright lights, glitter, and glamour of Las Vegas beats the heart
of a sociopath. In most novels you have to wait until the end for the “whodunit,” but in Mask of  the Betrayer, you know who,from the beginning, but must keep reading to learn why he’s killing off all his family members, and how someone is going to finally stop him.

Michael Deveccio is a billionaire who wants for nothing. He has it all, or so it seems. Raised by Uncle Carlos who fell victim to the very method of killing he taught his nephew, Michael is the sole heir to the Deveccio Dynasty.All he needs is the perfect wife to bear a son to carry on the kingdom.

Poor Margot Montgomery has no idea the type of man she’s fallen for and marries.Their castle-like home is filled with all the demented memorabilia that proves Uncle Carlos’ warped mind, but Michael seems to cherish everything about his uncle. His devotion to family only deepens her respect for her new hubby.

Michael worhips the ground Margot walks on, at least in the beginning, and having a family tops his list of immediate desires. Margot is pressed to have a son. A daughter wouldn't be good enough to head the family business; he must have a male heir.

She has a career of her own and isn't in a hurry to become a mother, but Michael's insistence that she'll never want for anything carries some merit.Margot has moments when she doubts her husband’s motives and suspects him of foul play, but his charm assuages her fear.

Too bad, there’s a death star in his pocket with her name on it, along with the signature mask he leaves on all his victims.

Mask of the Betrayer is filled with so many twists, turns and surprises, you’ll be hooked from the first chapter.

An amazing cast of characters lend to the tension and suspense, and even if you read with an editorial eye, you probably won’t mind that the POV shifts from one paragraph to another in places.

Supposedly, only NY-rated writers could pull this off, but Ms. Donovan proves that
rumor to be a fallacy.

If forced to nitpick, one might find Michael’s “tapping of his cigarette three times”to become rather redundant along with a few places where you’ll find repeated information, but the pace of the story moves so quickly, you‘ll just absorb it again and keep reading.

Trust that you won’t be disappointed with Ms. Donovan’s captive and descriptive
style.Be warned, this story is not for the squeamish.If you don’t like violence and mayhem, this isn’t for you, but if it fits the bill for you....dig in.

You can find this book for sale at Whimsical Publications

You can find out more about this awesome author on her website

Mask of the Betrayer

Sharon Donovan

Two Five Star Reviews for Mask of the Betrayer

I am pleased to announce the first of my reviews for Mask of the Betrayer at Amazon posted by customers. I am truly touched and can't stop smiling! Thank you, Mary and Miss Mae for your fabulous reviews. I blush from your kudos and bow my head in gracious acceptance. To paraphrase a writer whose name escapes me..."When you cannot find the words to express your feelings, a simple thank you will do." Thank you!

5.0 out of 5 stars
A psycological Thriller To Blow You Away,
June 16, 2010

By Mary R

This review is from: Mask of the Betrayer (Paperback)

I just finished Sharon Donovan's Mask of The Betrayer and it blew me away.
I couldn't put it down and kept thinking. What would I do?????

One of the best reads I have had in an awfully long time!

5.0 out of 5 stars

Have a strong heart and mind when reading this one!, June 11, 2010

By Miss Mae "I read what I write..."

This review is from: Mask of the Betrayer (Paperback)

We know who the villain is right off the bat, so I'm not giving anything away by
telling you that immediately I hated Michael DeVeccio.

He's the nephew of gangster, Carlos DeVeccio (and that guy should've been carted off to the funny farm decades ago!). Carlos raises Michael as his own son and preps him from the age of twelve to take over the DeVeccio Dynasty. He warps Michael's mind into believing that it's fine, needful, and beneficial to kill your competitors, or those who betray you.

Michael as an adult is a cold-hearted killer through and through. He believes himself a god, that the world is there only for his benefit, and his word must always be obeyed. When he decided he needed a son and heir to pass along his brilliance to, he chooses Margot.

I won't go into the seduction here of how he convinces Margot he loves her. You need
to read that to find out for yourself. But she falls for him, hard and fast. Though when news comes out that Michael's last fiancee had been murdered by the serial killer called the Red Rock Slasher, and that Michael is the prime suspect, Margot is soothed by his lying tongue. She becomes his wife, and then she enters Hell.

Have you ever watched a really scary, creepy movie where the heroine is all alone in this spooky house, and goose-bumpy music is playing, and the heroine reaches for a door where the bad guy is lurking, and you're sitting on the edge of your seat screaming, "Don't do it! Don't do it! Don't do it!" That's how you feel throughout this book. You're wanting to tell Margot, "Don't believe him! Run away! Why are you
sticking around?"

And I won't tell you the reasons why she does -- Again, read the book, and find out why.

Could this book become a movie, and Michael DeVeccio the next Freddy Krueger? Oh,
yeah, but don't ask me to watch it. The book terrified me all by itself.




Thursday, June 17, 2010

Treated like a Celebrity

It was a night to celebrate. When one door closes, another door opens. Those were the opening words to the speech I gave on Friday evening at the Pitt Panther/Pittsburgh Steeler practice field. After losing my vision ten years ago, I attended BVRS (Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services) of Pittsburgh where I learned to use a computer with adaptive software, converting text to synthesized speech. I initially wanted no parts of the program, feeling clients would be uneducated. I was a professional, after all. What could I possibly have in common with "those people?"

I was wrong. I met doctors and nurses, teachers and engineers, all with one common thread. We were all losing vision due to circumstances beyond our control. Some had the added burden of facing a marital crisis because a spouse could not face the blindness. We laughed and we cried. We bonded in a way words could never express. I was one of the lucky ones. What didn't kill me made me stronger. When I left the program, I found the strength to face a sighted world I was once part of. A former legal secretary and artist, I began taking creative writing classes to satisfy my creative muse. Eventually, doors to publishing houses opened. Doors have continued to open, all through faith to never give up on a dream.

When I was asked to be guest speaker at a BVRS fundraiser auction, I was horrified. But remembering how much the agency helped me through my darkest hour, I sucked it in and stood tall among the crowd. And when I finished my speech with a "Go Pitt!" I brought the house down and earned a hug from the Pitt Panther coach!

It was an awesome night. A photographer followed me around and the Tribune Review interviewed me. Below is the press release for the function and a link to the Tribune-Review where I am photographed. I feel truly blessed.


Meet Pitt Football Coach Dave Wannstedt, pictured left, and tour the Pitt/Steelers Practice Facility at BVRS’ For Your Eyes Only 2010 Tailgate Party on the Southside from 7-10 p.m. Friday, June 11.

Enjoy a delicious buffet dinner, cocktails, and dance the night away to live music by the classic rock and roll band “Truth Be Told.” Reservations are required. Tickets are $75, with $35 of that amount tax deductable. For additional information, contact Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh’s Development Department at 412-368-4400 or email inquiries to:

With Coach Wannstedt serving as auctioneer, you’ll have the chance to bid on autographed sports items, Pitt Panther Football Box Seats, a catered dinner in your home by celebrity Chef Bob Malone, a weekend at Seven Springs Mountain Resort and more.

And that's not all!

Pittsburgh author Sharon Donovan, pictured below, will be the guest speaker. At the tender age of 6, Ms. Donovan was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and told by her doctor that she would be blind by the age of 25.

Those words haunted the Avalon resident all of her life and when the doctor’s prediction came true, Ms. Donovan came to BVRS where she learned how to manage her life independently with blindness.

Ms. Donovan has told her story in her nonfiction book, “Echoes of a Raven.” Once an artist who painted on canvas, Ms. Donovan is now an author of several books of fiction.

On her website,, Ms. Donovan talks about her transformation in a poem titled ‘Yesterday.’

It says, in part: “From the maze of mayhem and rubble a new dream resurrected renewing hope and inspiration for a brighter tomorrow. Today, motivated by new insight, instead of painting pictures on canvas, I paint my pictures with words.”

Ms. Donovan’s most recent work, “Mask of the Betrayer,” is a psychological thriller and is available at this link:

BVRS appreciates the hard work and dedication of the For Your Eyes Only 2010 Committee: Michele Antonelli, Chair, and members Bonnie Anton, Peg Fitchwell-Hill, Denise Gipson, Julia Gleason, Virginia Goebel, Terry Jancisin, Marsha Kirley, Elizabeth McCarthy, Patti McKee, Joan Martin Siebart, Pert Pivirotto, Peggy Snavely, Julia Unitas Giba, and Jan Wannstedt.

Tribune Review

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Nine Muses

I've dabbled in the arts, theater, music and song. Now I write. Legends and lore and superstitions are the backbone of who I am. I believe in hopes and dreams and the sweet hereafter. I believe in the sisters of inspiration. I present to you:

The Nine Muses

The muses are a sisterhood of goddesses or spirits; their number set at nine by Classical Times. They embody the arts and inspire the creative process with their graces through remembered and improvised song and stage


Traditional music

and dance

They were water nymphs associated with the springs of Helicon

Apollo was their leader

Their father Zeus was king of the gods


Mnemosyne their mother goddess of memory

The muses are used in modern literature to refer to an inspiration as when one one cites his or her own artistic muse, but they are also implicit in the word amuse or musing

Muse means the one who remembers

They are the daughters of the titan Mnemosyne who is the personification of remembrance

All nine muses have a science or an art to protect

In sculptures and art they are depicted with emblems for recognition


The glorious one

Muse of history

Protects the stories of heroes

History: carries a scroll and book


The celestial one of heavenly beauty

Protects astronomy and soars amidst the moon and stars in the seven heavens.Depicted pointing a staff at a celestial depicted with staff and globe


The muse of beautiful speech

Oldest and chief muse

Muse of epic or heroic poetry


Epic poetry carries a writing tablet


The chanting one

The tragedies

Depicted wearing a mask


The well pleasing one

Muse of music and lyric poetry

Flute playing

Carries a flute


The amorous one

Muse of erotic poetry, lyrics or marriage songs

Love poems

The amorous one

Muse of erotic poetry

Depicted with a lyre and a crown of roses


The one who delights in dance

Muse of coral

Song and Dance

Depicted dancing and carrying a lyre


Muse of comedy and pastoral poetry

Protecter of comedies and bucolic poetry


Singer of hymns

Muse of sacred songs, oratory, lyric, s singing and rhetoric

Sacred poetry

Depicted with a pensive expression

The muses love to sing and dance and they sing gorgeously

They are superior in musical competitions and anyone who dares and challenge them will always fall short—just as anyone who questions their importance.When they compete against the Siren, the muses always win. A father challenged the muses to compete with his daughters.When the muses won, they changed the daughters into crows to spite the father.

The poet Thamyris bragged about being able to remember all of his work without the help of the muses as poets back then did not write their work down but remembered it by heart. The muses punished him by taking his memory and eyesight.They are often led by the god of music Apollo and entertain at Olympus

the proclaimer, muse of history and glorious words.

The goddess Urania, the celestial one of heavenly beauty, muse of astrology.

The noble Calliope, goddess of eloquence and epic poetry.

The Greek goddess Melpomene, songstress of tragedy.

The amorous Erato, musical muse of erotic poetry.

Euterpe, muse of music and lyrical poetry.

Polyhymnia, goddess of reverent hymns, muses over sacred poetry.

Terpsichore,  muse of coral,song and dance.

Thalia, muse of comedy and pastoral poetry.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Good Evening!

Those chilling words still send shivers racing down my spine from the old television show “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved being scared to death. Nothing could come close to the images the master story teller conjured in my head. Just the sound of those words in barely more than a whisper made my skin crawl. The anticipation of the story he was about to show had my heart racing. I remember glancing around the room to make sure all the curtains were drawn, all the doors locked. My family and I would gather around the television on a Friday evening, lights out with a big bowl of buttered popcorn. And the second the master of suspense’s face would appear on screen, my brother, sister and I would scream loud enough to wake the dead.

Alfred Hitchcock packed it all in his books and movies—chance meetings on a train, murder and mayhem, voyeurism, ice-blondes, debonair actors with a touch of quirky humor and rakish charm, espionage, romance and lost love. And who better befitting to portray the femme fatale of that era than Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Kim Novak and Janet Leigh? They were a perfect fit with Hollywood legends as Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, two of Hitchcock’s favorites.

Few books or movies since the Master’s time have stayed with me or left such jarring images. Although not his best film, I think we all agree that Psycho is his most chilling. The Bates Hotel is such a simple name, who would suspect that such a twisted psychopath lived inside. With a fetish for peeking on guests as they shower, Janet Leigh is about to find out just how twisted Norman Bates is. (Voyeurism at its peak) Just the sound of that screeching violin gets my blood pumping!

The Birds is the movie that truly frightened me. To this day, I have a bird phobia. The image of those eerie birds gathering in the playground still make me shudder. When I hear the flapping of wings overhead, I hitch in my breath, petrified for a fleeting second that I will be the victim of a ghoulish attack.

Vertigo is another favorite of many Hitchcock fans. Set in the almost dream-like haze of the empty San Francisco streets, Vertigo portrays obsession and lost romance in a surreal manner, a true hallmark of his movies. In this story, Jimmy Stewart pursues Kim Novak as she slips in and out of her dead great grandmother’s persona. So even back then, there was a touch of paranormal in the books Alfred Hitchcock wrote

Thinking of some of these old plots that linger in my mind, I write stories of romance and suspense to hopefully give readers just a hint of that old Hitchcock magic. What’s your favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie of all times? Which actress in today’s Hollywood do you picture playing the role of the ice blonde? The perfect femme fatale?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jolly Jester

The Jolly Jester or Joker became popular during Medieval times. Jesters are typically portrayed with bright colors and eccentric hats in a motley pattern. The hat is sometimes referred to as “the cap n bells” and is depicted as a floppy hat with three points, each topped off with a jingle bell. The hat represents the ass’s ears and tail worn by jesters in earlier times.

Things that make the Jester unique: his insane laughter and his mock scepter, referred to as a bauble or maharoof

Author’s note: The Jolly Jester is a featured guest at the masquerade party in Mask of the Betrayer.

Sharon Donovan

Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith

Mask of the Betrayer


Whimsical Publications

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Valentino and The Mystery Lady

More than eighty years after his death, fans still flock to Hollywood Forever Cemetery to bestow flowers on the crypt of Rudolph Valentino

Born in Italy, Valentino arrived in the United States in 1913 intending to strike it rich. Instead, he lived in shabby apartments in New York City, worked a variety of odd jobs, and was arrested several times on suspicion of petty theft and blackmail. Eventually, Valentino found success as a dancer in nightclubs around Broadway, then joined the cast of The Merry Monarch, a musical review on national tour.

For the next several years, Valentino took small film parts as he made his way to Hollywood, usually as the villain. He got his big break in 1921 when he was offered the leading role in The Four Horsemen of Apocalypse. His smoldering looks, exotic background and graceful dancing combined to make the romanticized tango scene unforgettable. The film was an overnight success and Valentino was an instant star.

Valentino continued to star in Hollywood films and became legendary for his passionate roles. Quite the lady killer, women flocked to see him perform, fainting in the aisles after screaming their hearts out. Just as Valentino-mania reached its peak, Valentino went on a nation-wide tour to promote his latest film The Son of a Sheik.

On August 15, 1926 while promoting the film in New York City, he was rushed to the hospital with stomach pains. Exploratory surgery revealed a bleeding ulcer. While it was repaired, Valentino developed a post-surgery infection and died. Almost immediately rumors began to surface that he was shot by a jealous husband, poisoned or killed by a jilted lover. An estimated crowd of 100,000 attended his funeral in New York City. When his body was brought back to Hollywood, thousands of mourners stood to watch the train pass. When his body was lowered into the mausoleum cathedral in Los Angeles, a small airplane scattered rose petals in memory of the legendary Hollywood star.

One of the most enduring Hollywood legends is the Mystery Lady who visits Valentino’s crypt every year on the anniversary of his death. Dressed in black from head to toe, including a heavy veil shrouding her face, the Mystery Lady visits without uttering a word and bestows a bouquet of red roses and leaves. Who is she? Many women have laid claim to the title, but no one knows for sure the true identity behind the maskd lady. Who do you think it is? A friend? A lover? A mistress?

I invite you all to come chat with me on June 15th about my books, hobbies and whatever you like! This event is located here:

You must be a member to post. If you are just registering, put Sharon Donovan in the referral box. Thank you!

Mask of the Betrayer

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June Jubilee at CTR

hello! I am participating in the June Jubilee at Coffee Time Romance & More. I invite you all to come chat with me on June 15th about my books, hobbies and more! This event is located here

You must be a member to post. If you are just registering, please put Sharon Donovan in the referral box.

Throughout the entire month, authors will be chatting about their hobbies in the "Special Interests" area of the forum. I will be chatting about my guilty pleasure of collecting Mardi Gras masks. Today, Cleopatra, the beautiful Egyptian queen is featured.  Cleopatra is one of the masqueraders in my newly released suspense book Mask of the Betrayer. Come chat with me here. You never know when someone might win a prize!

Sharon Donovan
Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith

Mask of the Betrayer
Available Now!
Whimsical Publications
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