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, April 18, 2011

Do you believe in miracles

We are all familiar with the idiom extending an olive branch. But what does it mean? This term has Biblical origin dating back to the Old Testament and is an offering of peace. In ancient Greek and Roman times, the olive branch was offered literally. In Rome, defeated armies carried an olive branch to indicate surrender.

In today’s modern society, the olive branch is used metaphorically rather than literally to convey the message of peace. Peace negotiations are used to settle differences between nations and in our personal lives.

LASTING LOVE is one of my earlier publications, an Easter story about death and resurrection. It is also a story about peace and forgiveness. There’s a lot of heartache and conflict packed into this short ebook. But the message it delivers is huge. Before Abbey Jordan can find happiness with Brady Jones, her fallen angel, she must find it in her heart to forgive him and offer an olive branch.
When Vermont florist Abbey Jordan’s nursery manager quits a few days before Easter, she is left up the proverbial creek without a paddle. But when she places it in God’s hands, she finds Lasting Love in a garden of roses.

Brady Jones has a daughter to raise, is out of work, and knows more about cultivating roses than anyone in rural Vermont. And when Abbey hires him as the horticultural manager of her floral shop, it seems like the answer to her prayers. But just on the brink of a budding romance, a fire destroys the nursery and buries all hope of love.

And when all fingers point to Brady for starting the fire, he falls from grace and off the pedestal Abbey has placed him on.

With its old fashioned classic appeal, the Lasting love rose is beautiful and timeless. It’s dark red with vibrant green leaves and big beautiful blossoms. It shimmers with a striking boldness and is a hearty climber. Bearing this in mind, I used a Lasting Love branch as the peace offering between Abbey and Brady.

Without giving the story away, a miracle occurs in Abbey’s life through Divine Intervention. Using a Lasting Love branch, Abbey extends it to Brady in the hope of reconciling their irreconcilable differences.

Upon checking the status of Lasting Love today on Amazon, I was rather shocked to find several customer reviews that were not there the last time I checked. More shocking, some were downright insulting, the worst of them advising it should have been a freebie! On the flip side of the coin, some were equally flattering.

 What do I think about this? As with all things in life, you can’t please everyone. I just know that even after two years and two publishing houses, people are still buying Lasting Love. It was initially contracted by The Wild Rose Press for their White Rose line, the inspirational line. Not long after its release, the inspirational line branched into its own publishing house White Rose Publishing.

Even though the miracle in Lasting Love is purely fictional, the miracle evolving around the Lasting Love in my life is very real. The rose intrigued me so that I bought one of these shimmering jewels for my garden. I planted it with great expectation, confident it would sprout up to its promised Jack in the Beanstalk height, showering me with dozens of fragrant crimson blossoms that would make my neighbors pea green with envy.

To my dismay and great disappointment, my Lasting Love rosebush was a dud, a joke, a real lemon. In spite of the numerous accolades by customers who raved about their Lasting Love rose climbing the stairway to heaven, mine neither blossomed or bloomed or grew an inch.

I continued to nurture my little midget through autumn, losing hope when winter set in. We had a particularly frigid winter with lots of snow which buried my little pet. After a particular heavy snowstorm, the awning caved in and collapsed on my precious rose.

With the dawning of spring, much like the Lasting Love rose in my book, my rose resurrected with a vengeance. But even though the foliage was green and glossy, it remained a bud less three inch plant all summer long.

In late August, I suffered a massive heart attack and was not expected to live. Doctors saved my life through open heart surgery by implanting a heart pump in my chest. My own heart had failed perilously and permanently. When I came out of my four day coma, my cardiologists informed me that I was alive due to a miracle through Divine Intervention.

When I returned home three weeks later, it was a sunny fall day. My Lasting Love rose bush was as small as ever. But popping its head out of the glossy green foliage was one beautifully fragrant red rose.

I’ve just read Lasting Love again and got chills. Miracles happen every day. Do the insulting Amazon customer reviews bother me? Not in the least. Obviously, they never experienced the miracle of life.

Read customer reviews here

Purchase Lasting Love

Watch trailer by Hywela Lyn

Friday, April 15, 2011

Why Hawaii as setting for Charade of Hearts

I’m the featured author on Anne Patrick’s blog, a behind the scene peek at why I chose Hawaii for the setting for Charade of Hearts, a Jewel of the Night mystery. Any Jack Lord fans, raise your hands and come on down!

Sharon Donovan
Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith

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Where the one and only Oliver will mix your favorite cocktail with a wink and a smile!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Oliver in the hot seat

Hello and Happy Friday! For the entire month of April, I am the featured author on Anne Patrick’s blog. Last week, I was in the hot seat, answering some challenging queries. For the next week, Oliver is in the spotlight. Please come chat with him. Here is what Anne has to say.

"I've been looking forward to today since I first contacted Sharon Donovan and asked
her and Oliver to come for a visit.  If you haven't ever visited Sharon's blog and
met her sexy buttler, you're in for a real treat.  He sure makes
my heart go pitter patter :-).
Come on by and leave a comment for a chance to win one of Sharon's books.

Sharon Donovan
Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith

Sign up for Sharon’s newsletter

My website

My blog
Where the one and only Oliver will mix your favorite cocktail with a wink and a smile!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dear Oliver with Pat Dale

Hello and welcome to another episode of Dear Oliver! Today’s special guest is my friend and fellow writer Dale Thompson who writes captivating novels under the pen name Pat Dale. You don’t want to miss Dale’s pet peeve, especially if you’ve ever had to deal with a rejection letter from an agent. If they don’t have the wherewithal to recognize a future New York Times bestseller, let them eat crow.

In the meantime, belly up to the bar and bend Oliver’s ear a spell. And while you’re eavesdropping on his sound advice, why not treat yourself to one of his legendary martinis! You’ll find his impressive venue listed on the sidebar. Not a martini fan? Not a problem. Oliver will make whatever drink strikes your fancy and serve it with a wink and a smile. Rumor has it that his hand tossed pizza is more loaded than Jessie James’s pistol. With no further ado, let’s give a warm round of applause to my good buddy Dale Thompson!

Hi there, Oliver. Manning the bar again, I see.

What can I getcha to drink, Dale ol’ buddy?

Right about now a double bourbon straight would do the trick. Hold that, Ollie. Been there, done that, and it cost me big time. How about a lemonade?

Oliver grins. You’re pulling my leg, right

No, I’m not kidding! Back when I was a jazz trumpeter, I got lost in alcoholic haze so bad I ruined my family and my career. Lost a decade in the doing, so no, I don’t need that again.

Oliver pumps his biceps and salutes Dale. He fills two tall frosted mugs with freshly squeezed lemonade. There we go then, ol’ buddy. Takes a real man to own up and turn a new leaf. To starting over. Cheers!

Over the sound of sax and trombone, Oliver and Dale share a toast while they shoot the breeze.

Why so glum, chum?

Dale shrugs and drains his mug. Oliver pours another from a pitcher brimming with lemonade, ice cubes and lemon slices. I just got another rejection from an agent. She read thirty pages of my mystery, said the opening was gripping and she loved my female protagonist, but my writing wasn’t tight enough to suit. She never even got to my male Wlead, who’d have blown her knickers off!

Oliver flicks his James Bond remote. An agent sits in her office in her ergonomic chair, glasses perched on the edge of her nose as she reads Pat Dale’s manuscript. When she gets to the male lead, her knickers shoot up in the air.

Dale chuckles and holds up his empty mug. I tell you, this business will lead a grown man to drink. Twenty years ago, it would have been a piece of cake, but no more. Now it seems most editors and agents have been indoctrinated to look for a few ‘gems’ that prove a manuscript worthy. Missing those, there’s no need to read the whole thing.
But wait, I just thought of something. Damn!

Dale slaps himself upside the head.
Just when I was ready to get a good mad on I have to remember it’s my responsibility to sell the thing to whomever I solicit for help. Now I’m back to writing that cursed synopsis, and I’d better make it good.

Nodding, Oliver fills Dale’s mug. Ah, yes, the dreaded synopsis. I hearsay from the dragon…er…boss lady they can be more challenging than writing the book, a real nightmare.

Dale nods his head in agreement.

So, Dale ol’ buddy, who can I play for you on the jukebox to chase your blues away?

Maybe a chorus of ‘One more for the road’ would do the job. Instead of sitting here crying in my beer, I should be hammering out a storyline and synopsis that even Machiavelli couldn’t fault.

Oliver presses the button on his JB remote. Instantly, Lido Shuffle by Boz Scaggs drifts across the bar. Dale sings along.
Lido missed the boat that day he missed the shack
But that was all he missed and he ain’t coming back
A tombstone bar in a jukejoint car,
Just long enough to grab a handle off the top
Next stop Chi town, Lido put the money down and let it roll
He said one more job ought to get it
One last shot ‘fore we quit it
One more for the road…”

Oliver sets a bubbling, loaded pizza in front of Dale. When did you develop this pet peeve?

Dale plucks up a piece of pie dripping with cheese and pepperoni. It’s been growing for a long time. After I’d been writing four years I submitted to an agent. Got the same doggone answer back then. Now I’ve been at it for fifteen years and nothing’s changed. Got four books published and seven more under contract, too, so I’m more successful with editors nowadays. Guess I’d best just stay with it, ol’ pal.

Sounds like a plan, ol’ buddy.

Where do you think utopia is, my friend?

*big grin* Utopia? Actually, I’m living it, Ollie. I get to spend my days creating these strange worlds that have crowed my brain for decades. Now that they’re more polished and civilized, I’m building a reader base. How much better can it get than that?

Oliver grins back and pumps his biceps. Hot damn, you got it, hit the ol’ nail right on the head. So tell me, how can Dear Oliver help

You already have, my friend. By allowing me to vent my frustration, I feel much better now. And I can see what I need to do to fix my so-called problem. I can’t control my editor or my agent; my readers, either. That means I have to modify my own approach to my situation. Thanks again, Ollie and Sharon, for hosting me today!

Oliver raises his mug. You got it, my friend. When life tosses you lemons, make lemonade!

Native Missourian Dale Thompson traveled far and wide before returning to his home state. He sailed the Pacific from San Francisco to Tokyo, spent a cold winter in Goose Bay Labrador; lived in such diverse places as Fairbanks, Alaska and Fort Collins, Colorado.
After serving in the U.S. Air Force as an airborne electronics technician, Dale earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University, and a Masters in Music Composition from the University of Nebraska. While laboring in a professional capacity, Thompson made it a point to work with a wide range of folk; observing and cataloguing what was most important to each of them.
Using his imagination and humanity catalog to draw from, he began writing novels fifteen years ago. He builds stories from his rich experience but also from constant research that allows him to keep his characters fresh and up to date. Underlying Dale’s work is a desire for us to see that we all choose varied paths in living but nobody has a lock on the ‘right’ lifestyle. He claims, “Life, as ugly or beautiful as it gets, is a wonderful thing to behold.” Something of the little child remains in the old man, writing as Pat Dale, sits at his keyboard even as we read, hammering out another view into what makes humanity go round; and with it, the world.