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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


Maeve said...

Well said, Sharon. And I'm so very glad you're still among us to remind us of those miracles.

Miriam Newman said...

Oh, Sharon, how I echo what Maeve said! You, more than any of us, are in a place to recognize the nature of miracles. Now I am about the furthest thing from an inspirational author, but I have noted (with disapproval) a certain tendency for some readers to knock or debunk something they consider inspirational if that is not their leaning...just as straight-laced readers sometimes attack erotic romance. Even those those genres are at opposite ends of the scale, they seem to provoke the same response. I don't know if you were a victim, but it may be a possibility. In which case they're more to be pitied than anything.

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks Maeve. Your kind words mean so much to me.

Sharon Donovan said...

Miriam, you are so right. Your thoughts echo the words in my post. You can't please everyone, so might as well please yourself. I've heard that there review bashers on Amazon, on a mission to destroy the reputation of authors. Whether or not this is the case with Lasting Love or not I don't know. I just know some customers found it to be an uplifting read. And that's good enough for me.

Linda Banche said...

Sharon, we all have genres we don't like, but most of us just shrug and avoid them. We don't put up nasty reviews.

I think these really abusive reviews come from people with an agenda. They may be personal enemies who use a book review to vent their spleen. They may be people who can't tolerate someone having an opinion different from theirs. They may derive a sense of power from knocking someone who can't fight back. And most of them are cowards who don't use their own names.

On the other hand, there's the school of thought that says any publicity is good. Hey, LASTING LOVE still sells. That's what you should remember. And even more important, you survived last year to write more books (we all love Oliver, and are happy he has his own book), for which we're grateful. Happy Easter.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hello my dear friend, and I echo the remarks that you are a walking proof that miracles still happen, and all your friends are truly thankful|!

Lasting Love is a beautiful story, you know how much I loved it. Don't take any notice of those naty reviews on Amazon -I've been at the receiving end myself, and the way I look at it is that some people are incapable of creating anything beautiful themeselves, so they try to destroy the work of those who can. They're merely showing their own ignorance and are balanced out by all the reivews of people who love your books.

Wishing you continued success and long may you keep your loyal fans entertained with your wonderful words.


Caroline Clemmons said...

Sharon, what a lovely post! You are an amazing woman and I loved the story of your rose. Roses are my favorite flower, especially pink roses. I do believe in Divine intervention and miracles, too.

And isn't it typical that we rememver the one or two bad reviews instead of all those that rave about our work?

flchen1 said...

Sharon, thanks for sharing that story with us; I'll have to pick up Lasting Love, too. I do know that miracles do happen, and that God blesses us with them in many different guises, often when and how we don't expect. And while it may hurt to read negative reviews, I'm sure you know that the only review that truly counts isn't going to be found on Amazon :) Blessings to you!

Cara Marsi said...

Sharon, you and your story are an inspiration. Those mean-spirited reviews hurt. I've had a few myself. Everyone is entitled to her opinion and what one person likes another may not. But some of those reviews are downright nasty. I can only think the reviewer has a personal agenda. There's no need to be nasty if you don't like something. I'm sorry that happened to you, but you've certainly risen above it.

Joanne Stewart said...

Lasting Love sounds like a great story, and your story touched me. you know what reviews like that do for me, as a reader? Make me want to read the book, to see if it's as bad as they say. But I've also noticed a trend on Amazon... the shorter books are getting a lot of reviews like that because people aren't aware of what they're paying for. Not your fault and reviews should be about the story, but.... yeah. Consider it good publicity!

Mona Risk said...

Sharon, yes miracles do happen. I am so happy you recovered your health and you're writing again.

Sandra Koehler said...

Any time you're in a field where the public is involved, there will always be some nastiness. Have you read some of the posts on Yahoo chats where politics are involved? Some people can be very mean. But you are strong and there are also so many good people out there to counterbalance the bad. Keep your eyes on the prize!
Alison Chambers

Sharon Donovan said...

Linda, your words are so encouraging and your school of thought makes me smile. Lasting Love is still selling, despite a few less than favorable reviews. Thank you for voicing your opinion, and for your kind kudos about Oliver and surviving my heart attack to continue writing!
Happy Easter to you too

Sharon Donovan said...

Such a wise and sweet woman you are, Lyn, my dear friend. Thank you so much for pointing out that some people derive happiness by thinking they can, for whatever reason, destroy something meant to send a message of love and hope to readers. I've been fortunate in my seven publications to receive for the most part, glowing reviews. So I'll just rise above the few sour grapes and count my blessings for all the readers like you that appreciate my writing and get the message delivered. Happy Easter to you my sweet friend.

Marianne Stephens said...

Wow...what a wonderful story about miracles. Your own terrible ordeal was indeed a miracle...glad you're better! And your flowering rosebush just needed time, love, and God's "hand" to grow.
Forget Amazon reviews. I've received some awful ones...some people are just nasty and only feel self-worth by trying to hurt others.
Wonderful post!

Sharon Donovan said...

Thank you Caroline, such kind and encouraging words that bring a smile to my face. Although a bad review is outnumbered by the good by a landslide, as writers knowing all the blood sweat and tears that comprise a book from birth to fruition, unkind words pierce the heart. I'm a strong believer in angels and higher powers and try to portray them through my writing. Roses are the perfect flower. Pink is my favorite color. Happy Easter

Sharon Donovan said...

flchen1, such wonderful words you write. Just by your kind comment, I think you would get the message I so hoped to deliver through Lasting Love. If you do read it, I would so appreciate your thoughts. Yes, God works in mysterious ways, not for us to question. Happy Easter

Sharon Donovan said...

Cara, you are so right. Just because a person doesn't like a book is no reason to be downright rude and insulting. I have risen above it and it is because of wonderful compassionate people like you that by far outnumber the miserable folks in the world that seem to enjoy shooting bullets of pain. Happy Easter

Sharon Donovan said...

Joanne, thank you for sharing your ;valued opinion. I appreciate it. I'm glad in spite of the negative publicity on Lasting Love that you want to read it. It touched me while writing it because it was one of those situations that made me ask myself if I could forgive the man responsible for starting the fire that destroyed something so near and dear to my heart. It isn't easy to find it in us to forgive. If you read Lasting Love I would be so happy to hear your thoughts. Joyous Easter to you

Sharon Donovan said...

Mona dear, thank you so much for your kind words. Miracles abouns for those choosing to see the glass half full opposed to half empty.

Sharon Donovan said...

Wise and sound advice, Sandra. How true, those in the lime light must take the good, the bad and the ugly. It's up to each of us in life to smile through the raindrops. Happy Easter

Sharon Donovan said...

Marianne, your thoughts mean so much to me. When it comes to a bad Amazon review, I'll write it off as a customer having a bad hair day!
Thank you and Easter Blessings to you

lastnerve said...

Sharon, one of my very best friends, let me tell you now I see this. (the whole bad review thing) First, you had the inspiration to write that story and that inspiration was placed there by God, SO, you know the devil will be fighting against it in order to break you down. Regardless of the bad reviews, whether or not they know it, the seed has been planted. Maybe the reason for the bad review was that you told them something that they NEEDED to hear rather than what they WANTED to here. You're part of a bigger plan and God knows what he's doing. Just hang in there and as it has been said before, Lasting Love STILL sells! It's an amazing Easter story and a reminder for all year long that no matter what happens, God knows how to fix it. You are an inspiration to many more than you will ever know. Happy Easter young lady and may your rose sprout more roses than you know what to do with this year!

Love ya

Mary Ricksen said...

Sorry I am late getting here.
Great blog my friend. So touching to me as always!

Sharon Donovan said...

Val, my sweet friend, such a delightful way of looking at this. You put the whole thing in such a new and refreshing light. Placing problems in God's hands is always the right answer. I hope to inspire others through my inspirationals, and Lasting Love is near and dear to my heart for so many reasons. You won the Lasting Love rose bush in my contest and our friendship blossomed and grew from it. Love you too.

Sharon Donovan said...

Thank you, Mary, my dear friend. You always make me smile. Love you

Mary Ricksen said...

When I move to NC I want one of those rose bushes!