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.)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight with Sharon Donovan

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! With spring in the air and Easter in a few short days, Oliver and I are out in the English garden, chatting about my Easter story and the inspiration behind it. In a gorgeous backdrop of the rolling green hills and meadows where wild flowers grow free, Oliver and I are in the rose arbor, clipping and pampering the vintage roses. Among the most fragrant and lovely are the Lasting Love, Ballerina, Sentimental, Falling in Love, Simplicity and the Candy Lane climbing rose.
Sharon: Aren’t they gorgeous, Oliver? The best part of spring is getting the garden ready with all the striking blossoms and blooms. What’s your favorite?

Oliver: Ah, like women, each rosebud is beautiful and unique. And I think a rose was invented for each woman to make her feel special. So choosing one would be impossible. Casting Sharon a wicked wink, he pumps his biceps, leans over and plucks a handful of weeds from the Lasting Love rose. Cutting a few from each vine at just the right angle, he arranges them in a vase and sets them on the umbrella table. So why did you choose the Lasting Love rose as your flower of choice in your Easter story?

Sharon: (adjusts her sun hat and picks up her sprinkling can) It was a difficult choice. I wanted to pack so much in a short inspirational story for the Easter theme call out from The Wild Rose Press. Easter is about rebirth and resurrection, love and betrayal, but mostly, it’s a dawning of a new day. And in order to do this, we sometimes have to do something virtually impossible. Forgive those who have let us down or betrayed us.

Oliver, intrigued, shakes cedar chips around the rose bushes. So what did you do?

Sharon: The first thing I did was figure out a storyline with all the above. Choosing the rural mountains of Vermont as the setting, the character of Abbey Jordan came to life in my head. Unable to have children, she poured her maternal nurturing into her greenhouse of roses. She loved them and thought of them as her babies. But when her assistant quit on her a few days before Easter, leaving her in the wings on the busiest season of the year, she placed the dilemma in God’s hands.

And ironically, a little girl rode right into her life, literally, on her bike, asking for a job. The young girl has her sights set on becoming a prima ballerina, and her father, Brady Jones, a man whose wife up and left them to pursue her own career, could no longer afford her dancing lessons after he lost his job. And by a twist of “Faith”, he just so happened to be a prize-winning rose grower. So the scene for romance was set...and Lasting Love bloomed in my head.

Oliver: Ah, yes. But you romance writers have to throw in a wrench to keep the couple from getting together. What’s the glitch?

Sharon: arches an eyebrow. Sprinkling water on the Ballerina, Candy Land, Falling in Love and Lasting Love roses, she smiles. I chose each of these for a specific reason in my plot. The young girl, Kayla, desperately wants to win back her mother’s love. Her mother abandoned her at birth to pursue a career as a prima ballerina. In Kayla’s young mind, if she stepped into her mother’s footsteps, she’d win her love. So in my story, I had Brady grow the Ballerina rose, especially for his daughter.

The Falling in Love rose was one of Abbey’s best seller’s around spring and prom time. I threw in the Candy Land rose, a pretty pink flowers with ivory stripes and an apple scent, as the flower Abbey and Kayla bond over while arranging. And the Lasting Love rose, the focus of my story, is a hybrid rose that is easy to grow and hard to kill. Not only that, but it is an unusual, shimmering jewel-toned rose with a powerful scent reminiscent of the vintage rose. The color is a dark red with green glossy foliage. It’s classy and timeless appeal seemed perfect for the only rose
to resurrect from the ashes after the nursery is burned to the ground the night before Easter.

Oliver sniffs. A fire destroys the beautiful rose greenhouse?

Sharon: Yes, and as it turns out, Brady is responsible for starting the fire. So the entire story is about testing boundaries. Life is all about choices and one mistake can blossom into a lifetime of sorrow. Abbey simply doesn’t have it in her heart to forgive Brady for destroying her dream. But through a miracle, she is shown a message that will change the course of her life. I totally enjoyed writing this short and sweet and heart-breaking story. I put a part of myself in the book. As you know, I’ve been a type 1 diabetic since the age of six. Doctors strongly advised me not to have children, something I wanted more than life itself. So like Abbey, I threw my maternal instincts into other projects that became my babies. Roses, art, cooking and writing, to name a few.

Oliver: Picks up his copy of Lasting Love. May I have your autograph, please, boss? After hearing all about it, I simply must read it. Now let’s sit down and have some tea and fresh fruit while we read a blurb and excerpt:

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.

An amicable silence hovered between Abbey and Brady as they walked toward the restaurant hand in hand. They knew they’d just crossed a major milestone. The quiet was broken by Abbey’s cell phone. Annoyed at the interruption, she sighed and answered. It was one of her employees. “Come quick, Abbey. It’s the nursery. There’s a fire. It’s spreading like wildfire. Things look bad. Get here soon.”
When Abbey and Brady reached the nursery, it was a burning inferno. The glass walls had collapsed and it was going up in a snarling hiss of smoke and flames. Firefighters struggled to get the blaze under control. Police and paramedics had arrived and EyeWitness News was on the scene, snapping photos.

“Oh my!” Abbey was out of the car the minute it came to a screeching halt. Her face was as ashen as the thick clouds of smoke billowing up into the night sky. Tripping over the gravel and cinders as she rushed toward the fire chief, she screamed. “What happened? I’m Abigail Jordan and I own this nursery. What happened? When I left, everything was fine. Please tell me nobody was in there!”

“No one was in there,” the fire chief placed a hand on her shoulder. “Things could be a lot worse. Dead plants can be replaced. People can’t.”

Riveted with shock as reality filtered through her, Abbey screamed, “My roses! All my precious roses. All those hanging baskets of lavender. My exotic orchids and Easter lilies. Gone, all gone!”

“It’s all right,” Brady folded her into his arms. Shh.”

“What started it?” Abbey stared at the fire chief. “How did it start?”

“It’s being investigated. At this time, the cause is unknown. Could be a gas leak. A neighbor reported hearing an explosion, and in a few minutes, your greenhouse went up like a house of cards.”

In less than an hour, the fire was under control, but all that remained of Abbey’s nursery was a bed of ash. The floral boutique across the covered bridge was unharmed but the rest of the damage caused by the fire was insurmountable.

“Do you have any idea how long it took me to choose and cultivate each of my prize roses?” Abbey finally let the tears roll. Leaning on Brady, she sobbed in between hysterics. “My Lasting Love rose, demolished. And to think I’ll never smell the spicy aroma of my Sentimental rose again. And at prom time, I never had enough of the Falling in Love rose.They all wanted a corsage made of the pink roses,timeless and romantic. And not to forget the Arctic Flame rose, popular for keeping the romance alive. All my hard work, up in smoke.”

“Ms. Jordan,” the fire chief interrupted. “We know the cause of the fire. It was caused by a recently installed heating table. Some of the cable wiring possibly touched each other due to improper installation.”

Abbey shoved Brady away and stared at him, her eyes glinting with anger. “It was you. You said you knew how to install the heating table and I listened to you. You ruined my dream. Get away from me.”

“Abbey,” he tried to reach her. “There’s gotta be some mistake. Let me—”

“There was a mistake all right,” Abbey hissed.“Hiring you and trusting you with my roses. Get out of here and never come back. I never want to see you again.”
On Easter morning, Abbey pulled up to her floral shop, her heart heavy with grief. Feeling as if she had the weight of the world on her shoulders, she crossed the bridge to where her garden nursery had been. Even before she got there, the thick scent of smoke lingered, a pungent reminder of what had happened the night before. She wanted the world to stop spinning. How could Brady have been so careless? How could she have been stupid enough to trust him? Somewhere deep in her subconscious, she knew she should have had an electrician install the heating table. So why hadn’t she listened? Because she’d been attracted to him and had been well on her way to falling in love with him. She recalled how infatuated she’d been only yesterday when she watched him touch the roses with such tenderness. And the kiss they’d shared last night. Tears spilled down her face at the memory.

She kicked her foot in the rubble and screamed at the top of her lungs. Sobs ripped through her until she couldn’t breathe. On Easter morning of all mornings, a time of rebirth and resurrection. Hurling herself on the bed of ashes where her nursery had been, she kicked and screamed, not caring if the world came crashing down on top of her.

Hearing footsteps behind her, she looked up and gasped.

An old man with flowing white hair stood over her, his gnarled body stiff and bent. He poked at her with his walking stick. “Get up, girlie,” he commanded. “Quit feeling sorry for yourself.”

“Who are you?” Abbey stood up and backed away. Other than the birds, there was no one around. She reached for her cell phone, only to remember it was in her purse in the car. Her heart pounded with adrenaline. “Who are you and where did you come from?”

“I’m not here to hurt you. I’m here to help.”

Abbey started across the bridge. She wanted to get far away from this nut. Who was he?


His words had a jarring effect. She turned around to see him rooting through the rubble with his cane. What was he doing, digging around in her dirt? Was he looking for money? Food? Was he homeless?

He looked at her without expression. “I’ve come to give you words of wisdom. When you find love, hold on tight. Then find it in your heart to forgive. It’s all about forgiveness.”

Curious, Abbey joined him. The sun was peeking through the mountaintops and a shimmer of red caught her eye where the old man was probing with his cane. She got on her hands and knees and joined him, shoving the dirt and cinders aside with reverent fingers. There it was, the satiny red petals of a Lasting Love rose, buried beneath the rubble.

Tears of joy trickled down her face. Preserved beneath the ash and cinders was her favorite flower in the whole world, her Lasting Love rose. She kept digging, deeper and deeper, and before long, the entire bush and its brilliant red blossoms had resurrected. Not caring if the thorns cut her, she clutched the plant to her heart. Then she turned around to thank the old man, but he was gone. An icy chill went through Abbey as reality struck. A gaggle of bluebirds gathered on the railing, chirping sweetly to the sound of nature. Abbey looked up at the sky and… .

Lasting Love
An Easter story of love and forgiveness

Sharon Donovan

White Rose Publishing

Buy here:

Sharon Donovan

Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith

see the book trailer

Sharon Donovan lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her family. Prior to the loss of her vision, she was a legal secretary for the Court of Common Pleas where she prepared cases for judges in Domestic Relations. Painting was her passion. When she could no longer paint, she began attending creative writing classes and memoir workshops. After a long and winding road, a new dream rose. Today, instead of painting her pictures on canvas, Sharon paints her pictures with words.

Sharon writes stories of inspiration and suspense. She has certificates in business and medical transcription. She is a published author with The Wild Rose Press, White Rose Publishing, Whimsical Publications and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Echo of a Raven is a CTRR recipient, and The Claddagh Ring is a CAPA nominee. To read excerpts and reviews of Sharon’s books and to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website:


Friday, March 26, 2010

The Author Roast and Toast

It's another Friday at the Author Roast and Toast. And that's where you'll find Oliver and I along with Hywela Lyn and Mary Ricksen as we host today's victim:

Barbara Edwards

And it's An Ancient Awakening in the cemetery! Come join the masquerade.

I'm masquerading as a gypsy and Oliver is a vampire... Lyn fancies herself a sexy witch while our dear Mary is a ferocious dragon. Barbara is in an Elvira knock off. Come see if you can recognize us! And don't forget...there will be banter and prizes...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Rose Knows Bouquet

Spring is in the air! Looking for that special rose to plant or send? Here’s a few favorites of mine along with a few legends.

Roses and Meanings

RED ROSE: proclaims “I love you”and is the ultimate symbol of romantic love and enduring passion

YELLOW ROSE: indicates friendship and is also appropriate for graduations, newlyweds, Texans and new mothers

PALE PINK ROSE: depicts grace, gratitude and gentleness, a joy to behold. They also express happiness and fun

DEEP PINK ROSE: say thank you

LAVENDAR OR LILAC ROSE: indicates the sender has fallen in love at first sight with the recipient and is enchanted

WHITE ROSE: pure white roses are a symbol of truth and innocence. They also send other messages “I miss you” and “You’re heavenly”

CORAL ROSE: express one thing with their passionate color—desire

PEACH ROSE: speak of appreciation, gratitude and also sympathy

ORANGE ROSE: express enthusiasm and desire on the part of the sender

DEAD ROSE: regardless of their color, dead roses scream it’s over loud and clear


PINK AND WHITE: symbolize peace and harmony

RED AND YELLOW: symbolize happiness and celebration

RED AND WHITE: symbolize bonding and harmony

ONE SINGLE RED ROSE: I love you but I’m not going to go broke telling you

TWO ROSES ENTWINED: An engagement or wedding is imminent

Looking for a unique rose bush to plant in your garden? Here are some of my favorites, each featured in my Easter story, Lasting Love.


fragrant blossoms grow in clusters with ruffled edges

mature shrubs will be covered with hundreds of pink and white flowers

perfect rose for a garden party, a child’s birthday or ddance recital


six blooms have a traditional hybrid tea rose form

petals are a romantic shade of warm pink with creamy reverse

great gift for anniversaries and a wonderful backdrop for prom pictures and weddings


larger flower very fragrant

Citrusy aroma enhances each blossom

Fresh summer scent


vintage appeal

fragrance is strong, sweet and spicy

sweet centerpiece


luscious rose with pretty pink flowers with ivory stripes and an apple scent

vigorous blossoms grow on ten to twelve foot cane

fairy-tale backdrop


hybrid tea rose

unusual shimmering jewel-toned rose

Powerful scent reminiscent of old fashioned rose

dark red with vibrant green leaves

big beautiful blossoms on bushy plant

classic and flawless appeal

very hearty and disease resistant

huge climbers and beautiful for lattice


old fashioned rose scent radiates from satiny petals

timeless and romantic appeal


deep mauve lavender flowers

wavy edging trimmed in deeper lavender

highly fragrant and quite hearty

easy to grow and very Victorian




Lasting love


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight with Margaret Tanner

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! Today’s featured guest is Margaret Tanner. Margaret is here to chat about her latest historical romance from The Wild Rose Press:
And with spring in the air, we are sitting on the terrace overlooking the beautiful English rose garden where love doves coo from freshly budding lilac trees. Hearing the doorbell, Oliver puts his watering can aside, plucks up a handful of the Lasting Love roses he has clipped, and saunters off, whistling in harmonic rhythm with the birds.
A few minutes later, Oliver escorts Margaret onto the terrace, blushing and giggling like a school girl over Oliver’s endearments.

Sharon: Hello, Margaret! And how are you on this fine spring morning?

Margaret: Wonderful Sharon. Thank you so much for asking me to share your beautiful garden. It is an honor and a privilege. I don’t half mind having a handsome man escort around, either.

Sharon: And we are so excited to hear all about your latest book, a historical romance. Isn’t that right, Oliver?

Oliver struts out, pushing his silver caddy of Earl Grey tea and a heaping bowl of juicy, red strawberries and fresh cream. After pouring the tea into two pretty floral cups and feeding a succulent berry dipped in cream to Margaret, he reaches for his copy of Wild Oats. With a roguish wink and a bone-melting grin, he presents the book and a pen to Margaret with a sweeping bow. If I might have your autograph, my sweet little pet?

Margaret: Certainly, Big Boy. Doing anything on Saturday night?

Sharon: sips her tea and rolls her eyes. And while Oliver sows his wild oats, here’s a blurb and excerpt from Margaret’s latest.

Captain Phillip Ashfield toasted his elevation to fatherhood, as a barrage of artillery pounded the battle scarred fields around him.

English aristocrat, Phillip Ashfield, comes to Australia to sow some “Wild Oats”. After seducing Allison Waverley, he decides to marry an heiress to consolidate the family fortunes. Phillip has made a fatal choice, that will not only ruin his own life, but the repercussions will be felt by the next generation.

To save Allison from the disgrace of having Phillip’s baby out of wedlock, Tommy Calvert marries her. Mortally wounded on the French battlefields, Tommy is found by Phillip who learns that Allison has borne him a son. He vows to claim the boy when the war is over, because his wife cannot give him an heir.

In the meantime, Allison finds happiness from an unexpected source.

Wild Oats is the prequel to The Trouble With Playboys.

Phillip Ashfield uncrossed his cramped legs and stood up to reach into the overhead luggage compartment. What an imposition, having to manhandle his own luggage.

“Good God, man, when you’re in the colonies you have to look after yourself.” He remembered the advice he’d received from Tony, one of his friends from Eton. How true. Godforsaken bloody backwater.
If his father hadn’t been so ill, he would have refused point blank to come out to Australia. Had his mother not been so distraught about the old man, he would have ignored her entreaties to visit relatives at the back of beyond.

God, it was hot. The temptation to loosen his collar became almost unendurable. He wore the latest summer fashion for 1914, a three-piece suit with a shaped coat that had a vent down the back. His linen, as always, was the finest money could buy. Neither one helped keep him cool in these temperatures.
The door leading from the carriage slid open and, even with the swaying of the train, he started moving down the narrow passageway, glancing out the window as he did so. They would reach Dixon’s Siding in ten minutes. The conductor had assured him of this a few moments ago, but he was taking no chances of being carried on. If he missed his stop, God alone knew where he might end up.

“Damnation.” The train shuddered and slammed him against a window. As he straightened up, he watched without much interest as two horsemen broke out of the forest. No, it was called bush in Australia, he reminded himself. One must get the colloquialisms right. More advice from Tony. Young fools were racing the train.

“What the hell!” He almost went sprawling over a small battered suitcase dumped in the middle of the corridor. Steadying himself with one hand against the wall, he gazed into a pair of the clearest blue eyes he had ever seen.

“I’m sorry, but you should have watched where you were going,” the girl said with a humorous lilt to her voice. She looked about seventeen or so. Her hair, the colour of ripe corn, rippled about her shoulders in a tangled mass of wayward curls.

“Now look here, Miss...”

But she wasn’t listening. “Come on, Tommy! Come on,” she urged, her head and shoulders poked through the open window. She waved and jigged about so much Phillip feared she might fall out of the train altogether.

Thunderous applause explodes. Margaret stands and blows kisses to her adoring fans.

Sharon: Intriguing, and very fetching. And it ties in so well as the prequel to The Trouble with Playboys. Are these books considered a sequel series, and if so, is this your first?

Margaret: These are only the two books in the series. I actually wrote them out of order. The Trouble With Playboys set in 1939 came first, and is the story of Paul, (Allison and Phillip’s son), and his rocky road to love during the 2nd World War. Then Allison started to niggle at me, she wanted her story told. Wanted the reader to know that what happened to her could quite easily have had diabolical ramifications for her son’s generation. So, I wrote it.

Sharon: Tell us more about the heroine and hero of Wild Oats.

Margaret: The heroine is Allison Waverley, an innocent farm girl who is seduced then abandoned by an older man (Phillip). She has to battle on alone because her father is the town drunk, she has no mother, and her brother has enlisted in the army to fight in World War 1. She triumphs over terrible heartache, the horrors of war, the kidnapping of her child, and the great depression.

The male protagonist is Phillip Ashfield, a wealthy English aristocrat, but I wouldn’t call him a hero, quite the reverse. If there is a hero it is Tommy Calvert, who has loved Allison since childhood. It is he who marries her to save her from the disgrace of having a child out of wedlock. After Tommy is killed in action, another man steps into the breach, and Allison finds happiness and contentment with him.

Sharon: You know I love the title. Wild Oats is so simple and rather primitive, yet evokes such strength and character at the same time. How did you settle on this title?

Margaret: That was easy. In the early days wealthy young Englishmen would often come to the “colonies” (which is what many still considered Australia to be), to sow their Wild Oats. In other words they could have fun times with the ladies, return to England and not have to put up with any “inconvenient little consequences nine months later.”

Sharon: Hmm. Very convenient. Now let’s talk about the Australian setting. Isn’t it great to write in a setting in which you have first hand knowledge? Tell us about the part of Australia where Wild Oats takes place.

Margaret: Wild Oats is set in the Wangaratta area of North Eastern Victoria, which is very close to my heart because I was born there, and I still have family living in the area. My family’s connection goes back more than a hundred years.

Sharon: A true historical setting. And what’s next for Margaret Tanner:

Margaret: To keep on writing historical novels, but much longer ones. And I would like to be able to find an Agent.

Sharon: Sigh. Wouldn’t we all! Speaking of your homeland, how is your weather now? It is so amazing when we spoke at Christmas and New Year’s, it was summer in Australia. So rather than getting ready for spring, is this your winter now?

Margaret: No, it is still summer, but we are heading towards autumn (or Fall as my American friends call it).

Sharon: (smiles as Oliver pours more tea) And you know I have to ask about my obsession, my friend. How are my kangaroo buddies and koalas? You know I have a fascination with both.

Margaret: Well, the kangaroos are thriving, and they are coming closer and closer to the suburbs looking for food because of the drought conditions. They are actually in plaque proportions.

Ah the poor old koala isn’t doing so good, loss of habitat is affecting them in many parts of the country as they live in, and eat only the leaves of special gum trees. And with the terrible bushfires we had last year, plus the spread of suburbia, there are less and less of these trees left for them. They are also being decimated by an animal form of Chlamydia.

Sharon: I’m sorry to hear that. The wild life is so terribly affected by global warming. But let’s change the topic to flowers. As a historical romance writer, I picture you out in the garden, primping with vintage roses. Did I come close to one of your passions? Because, I adore old fashioned roses and primping with freshly cut flowers.

Margaret: Sharon, you must have a crystal ball. I adore roses, particularly the old-fashioned varieties, as they have a much stronger perfume than the newer ones. My backyard is full of them. Hubby hates them, but I love them. And I can honestly say, that it doesn’t matter
what time of the year it is, I rarely not have a vase full of roses sitting on my crystal cabinet.

Sharon: I agree. The more vintage the rose and deeper the color…the stronger the perfume. And roses in or outdoors add so much essence to a home. Well, sadly, this brings us to the end of our hour. As usual, you have been a delightful guest. I wish you mega sales and luck with all future writings. But before you leave, I ask my guests to share a favorite legend or superstition with me. Since we’re out in the garden, how about something befitting to spring and flowers?

Margaret: I am not really into superstition, so the only one that comes to mind now is – It is bad luck to walk under ladders.

Sharon: Where can readers buy Wild Oats and get in touch with you:

Margaret: Wild Oats is available from my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.

My website is:

Oliver takes Margaret in his burly arms, gazes into her eyes and waltzes her around the English rose garden, singing in her ear.

Margaret Tanner is an award winning multi-published Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels, and prides herself on being historically correct. No book is too old or tattered for her to trawl through, no museum too dusty. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia. She once spent a couple of hours in an old goal cell so she could feel the chilling cold and fear

Her favorite historical period is the 1st World War, and she has visited the battlefields of Gallipoli, France and Belgium, a truly poignant experience.

Margaret is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG) and EPIC. She won the 2007 Author of the Year at

Margaret is married and has three grown up sons, and a gorgeous little granddaughter.
Outside of her family and friends, writing is her passion.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight with Sharon Donovan


A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit Ireland, the home of my ancestry. The Emerald Isle is truly an enchanted land, full of legend and lore. Whimsical castles loom high above heathery mountains and rocky headlands, giving way to rolling green hills and miles of coppery beaches. And with the sheep grazing high on misty hillsides, it’s like stepping back in time to another era when life was much simpler.

A lot of writers come from Ireland, including James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wild. With its green hills and rugged landscape, major movies have been filled on the island. The Irish take great pride in pointing out the farmhouse on the Dingle Peninsula where Ryan’s Daughter was filmed. Inch Strand Beach, shaped like a sandy half moon, is one of the most remote parts of Ireland. But the best part of the trip was learning the legend of The Claddagh Ring, which has a rich history dating back three hundred years.

According to legend, the first Claddagh Ring originated in a small fishing port off the coast of Galway. Truly a land of legend and lore, the Irish are known to spin a wee bit of the blarney from time to time. Some say the ring was blessed by St. Patrick himself. Others believe the ring was dropped into the lap of a woman by an eagle. And others say the original Claddagh was brought to Galway by a man who was captured by the Algerians and sold to a Moorish goldsmith. But whatever the case, the legend of the Claddagh has lived for the past several centuries. And in today’s material world where love and marriage are taken far too lightly, the legend strengthens relationships. The wearer of the Claddagh is said to be blessed with love, friendship and loyalty forevermore.

But in order for the Claddagh to cast its mystical spell, the Claddagh must be worn a certain way. The design consists of two hands holding a heart with a crown on top of the heart. The hands represent friendship, the heart is for love, and the crown is for loyalty. If the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart facing outward, the wearer is looking for love. If worn on the left hand with the heart facing outward, the wearer has found love. But when worn on the left hand with the heart facing inward, the wearer has found its soulmate for life and will be forever blessed.

Being Irish and awed by the legend, I was inspired to write The Claddagh Ring. And while touring the Atlantic Breakers and the Cliffs of Moher, part of my book takes place in County Clare. The Breakers pound the west coast of the county, sculpting the grey limestone into a myriad of shapes, the most notorious, the Cliffs of Moher. A rich plethora of birdlife as puffins and shags crest on the cliffs, adding to the savage grandeur. Beneath the rocks, the waves have spread a thin dusting of golden sand, said to be sprinkled by angel wings. Standing on these cliffs with the wind on my back and the sun on my face, I was inspired to write The Claddagh Ring. Here is a blurb and excerpt:

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is to never die.” Thomas Campbell

Struggling with her faith after her mother’s death, Meghan O’Malley finds comfort in wearing her Claddagh Ring, said to be blessed by St. Patrick. And when Meghan meets Rork, she finds love, loyalty and friendship. But before everything comes full circle, Meghan must face the biggest challenge of her life.

Rork McGuire is ruggedly handsome, sings Celtic music straight from his soul—and
has a deep secret. When he sees Meghan O’Malley tending bar at her club, he falls hopelessly in love with her and wants to give her his heart. Will the secret he harbors pull them together—or break them apart?

As Meghan mixed drinks from behind the bar of The Wild Irish Rose, the fiddle and
violin captured the true essence of Ireland. The tantalizing aroma of Irish stew,
corn beef and cabbage and soda bread wafted through the room.
Suddenly, all activity came to a halt as the eerie wail of bagpipes keened through
the bar. The lead singer took center stage with his rendition of Danny Boy, the haunting
lyrics crawling into Meghan’s skin. Mesmerized by his hypnotic blue eyes, she stopped
what she was doing and met his penetrating gaze. With the exception of her mother,
she’d never heard anyone pluck the strings of the harp with such finesse. The Claddagh
Ring on her right hand felt hot, the heart pressing into her skin. By the time the
song ended, Meghan’s green eyes were misty with tears.

“Well now, darlin’,” he touched her cheek. “If I knew Danny Boy would make you cry,
I’d a sung When Irish Eyes are Smiling.”

Meghan Shannon O’Malley lost herself in pools of midnight blue.

“I’m Rork,” the corners of his eyes crinkled when he smiled. He took her right hand
and kissed the heart on her ring. “Single and looking, are ya?”


“The Claddagh Ring, darlin’,” he kissed it again. “On your right hand with the heart
facing outward, means you’re single and looking for romance.”

“Ah…I have no idea what you’re talking about; it’s just a ring, a gift from my mother.”

“Ah, come on now, darlin’ girl,” he got a little closer, staring into her eyes. “Ya
can’t fool an Irishman. My mother bought one for each of my sisters. I’ll have ya
know they’re all married.”

Meghan felt lightheaded. “My mother gave me this ring the night before she died. It’s a family heirloom, said to be blessed by St. Patrick himself. Mama promised me by wearing the Claddagh, everything in my life would come full circle. So before you go thinking I’m wearing it to find a husband, think again.”

“Do you believe in love at first sight?” his blue eyes seared into hers like lasers. “What do ya say, Meghan, darlin’ girl of my heart.”

The Claddagh Ring Available Now!
To see the book trailer, visit my website:

Sharon Donovan
Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith

Friday, March 12, 2010

Author Roast and Toast

Oliver and I are at the Author Roast and Toast
where we are toasting Ginger Simpson. Please join us.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight with Ginger Simpson

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! Today’s featured guest is Ginger Simpson, and she’s here to chat with us about her upcoming release:

And with a backdrop of cold, gray skies and snow-capped mountains outdoors, a warm fire crackles in the hearth, permeating the parlor with the rustic scent of birch. Hearing the doorbell, Oliver runs off to answer, a huge smile on his face when he greets Ginger. And here she is!

Let’s have a warm round of applause for Ginger Simpson!

Sharon: Howdy, Ginger. Have a seat in front of the roaring fire and take a load off. I swear, this has been the longest winter. How about it?

Ginger: This cold weather has certainly hung around for a long time. I’m ready for Spring. Of course, seeing the snow come and go, makes me wonder how in the world the pioneers dealt with weather. We whine when we’re chilly. Just think of being in a covered wagon, trying to cross country when sleet and snow are part of the equation. Brrr. I still shiver when I see the last part of Dancing with Wolves, where the tribe is at their winter camp and that handsome brave sits on his horse atop a hill, out in the cold, and yells down to Kevin Cosner, in his native language, “I am Wind in His Hair. Do you see that I am your friend? Can you see that you will always be my friend? Actually, now that I think about it, the goose bumps have nothing to do with the cold. *smile*

Grinning his roguish grin and pumping his biceps wildly, Oliver comes out, silver tray perched above his head. With a sweeping bow, he presents glasses of Tennessee Sweet Tea and a huge, overflowing bowl of Lay’s wavy potato chips. He chooses the largest and feeds it to Ginger. The chip snaps as Ginger sinks her teeth into it, a big smile on her face.

Sharon: (grabbing a chip before Oliver feeds them all to Ginger) Well, this interview is off to a delightful start. It just so happens these are my favorite munchies. Oliver, dearheart, keep ‘em coming! Brushing the crumbs off her hands, Sharon holds up the book. Ginger, when you stopped munching, how about reading a blurb and excerpt from your book.

Ginger: My pleasure

Caught between the world of red and white, how will Grace Cummings choose?
A normal morning turns to disaster when a small war party attacks Grace Cummings’family and slaughters everyone but her.

She returns to the Lakota camp filled with hatred, anger and fear, but through the help of another white woman in camp, learns the Lakota way. Broken treaties, dead buffalo, and the white man's foray of gold in the sacred hills give the people reason to defend themselves. When white soldiers invade the camp and presume to rescue Grace, she must decide where her heart lies.

Papa scraped the last speck of egg from his plate and set it aside. “I s’pect Kev and me’ll find gold any day now. People are discoverin’ it all around us. When we make our strike, we can find some land and build a real house. It’s sure to happen soon… afore summer is past and the weather turns cold. In fact, Sassy, you and yer ma might want to start gatherin’ fair-sized stones and rocks for our fireplace.

He pointed to the lean-to, still in progress. “In the meantime, Kev and I will finish our temporary shelter, so we can spread out a bit.”

No more climbing in and out of a wagon to sleep. Grace clapped. “Oh, Papa, that sounds so good.”
She sobered and flashed the look that always won him over…the half-pout, wistful gaze. “When we finally settle in our real house, it will be near a town, won’t it? Otherwise, how do you expect me to be courted out here in the middle of nowhere?”

“I’m not so sure I want you to be cour...” He jerked around and looked over his shoulder. “Do you hear that?”

“Hear what?” Kevin asked.

“I hear it, Papa,” Grace chimed in. “Sounds like yelling.”
Her father stood and scanned the horizon. He pointed. “Look. There!”
A group of riders emerged from a dust cloud in the distance. The yelling grew louder as they came closer.

The furrows in her father’s brow frightened Grace. “What is it, Papa?”
He darted for the wagon. “It’s Injuns! Hurry! You two women get inside and keep low. Kevin, get yer rifle!”

Grace’s heartbeat quickened and fear clutched her chest, making it hard to breathe. She’d heard about savages, but never saw one up close. She didn’t want to.
Her mother stood frozen in place. Grace grabbed her hand and pulled. “C’mon, Mama, we’d better do as Papa says.”

They ran around to the back of the wagon, and her mother boosted her up and over the closed tailgate. Grace dove inside, her mind filled with horrible thoughts. Would she get scalped or worse…were they all going to die?

All the while, piercing yells sliced the air while thundering hooves pounded the ground. Realizing her mother hadn’t followed, Grace rose up on her knees and peeked outside.

A pack of whooping Indians rode round and round the wagon, their voices creating a din of eerie screams while bullets exploded. The hair on Grace’s arms stood on end. She covered her ears, crouched against the sidewall and prayed the savages would
go away.

Hoots and whistles erupt as Ginger takes a bow and sits down.

Sharon: Wow! I felt as if I were right there in the Wild, Wild West. I could actually hear the thundering of horse hooves and the piercing screams in the distance. Very thrilling. Tell us about the research for this book.

Ginger: I’ve had a long fascination with American Indians, specifically the Lakota Tribe. I have no idea why, other than the assumption that I might have been a squaw in another life. I seem to know far more than I should about their customs, beliefs, and way of life.

Sharon: This excerpt takes me back to the old Westerns starring Clint Eastwood and The Duke. Sad but true, a lot of scalping and unspeakable massacres took place back then, didn’t they?

Ginger: Yes, but those acts didn’t happen without provocation. In White Heart, Lakota Spirit, I tried to present Indians in the most positive light. During the time period in which my story takes place, the white man had made treaties with the Indians, granting them deed to their lands and promising peace and then reneging on the deal. Indians relied greatly on buffalo for everything from food, clothing, bow strings, and utensils, and when white men started killing them for sport, they threatened the very being of the Indian nation. There are always two sides to the story, and unfortunately in TV westerns, the red men were always portrayed as the villains. You never heard much about the unspeakable acts of the whites against those they considered savages.

Sharon: Imagine seeing a bunch of riders in the horizon coming straight for your camp as just a cloud of dust. And your character Grace sees her entire family slaughtered. Tell us a bit more about that.

Ginger: Of course she was scared to death. She’d never seen anything more than a picture of an Indian, and had heard only horror stories about them. I can’t image the heart-pounding fear she experienced when she raised up from cowering in the wagon and came face-to-face with someone she presumed was going to kill her. Then to have her hands bound and led away from the bodies of her family, with no idea of what lay in store for her.

Sharon: And she returns to the Lakota camp with a lot of mixed emotions, no doubt. Tell us more about the Lakota way?

Ginger: There’s no doubt she felt hatred in her heart for those who killed her family, but I imagine the fear of what lay ahead was just as great. Just as we have gangs today who want to prove their strength and power over others, the Indian tribes were no different. Young warriors saw war and killing as the only answer, and they often went off on their own or followed someone who wasn’t the perfect role model. Thankfully, there were also wise elders who tried to hold them in check and make them accountable for jeopardizing the entire tribe. That’s what happens in White Heart, Lakota Spirit when the person who planned the raid is banished by the tribe.

Sharon: Just so everyone knows, White Heart, Lakota Spirit is the sequel to your debut novel, Prairie Peace. Tell us a bit about that.

Ginger: Oh, Prairie Peace. I loved writing that story, and it was during the process that I realized I was a “pantser” rather than a plotter. My characters came to me and shared their story and I wrote it. Then with the help of a wonderful historical editor, I refined it into a novel. Both books are stand alone stories, but share characters.

In Prairie Peace, Cecile meets and marries Walt, who later goes for supplies and leaves her alone with no idea where she is. Facing possible pregnancy and a winter without food, her rescuer is an injured Indian seeking help. Cecile nurses him back to health, and then realizes that Walt may well be dead. She accompanies Lone Eagle back to his village, and there is born her new character, Green Eyes. These two, the medicine woman, Cecile’s child, and Little Elk all transfer over to White Heart, Lakota Spirit and play an important part in Grace’s life.

Sharon: I find it interesting that you’re rewriting this book based on the experience you’ve gathered along the way. I couldn’t agree more. When I look back at some of the things I’ve written, it’s like “I wrote that?” Is that how you feel?

Ginger: Of course. The first thing my editor told me about Prairie Peace...
"you write a wonderful story, now we have to make it into a novel.” Unfortunately, in small press, sometimes editors are authors just like we are, and their knowledge is limited to what they’ve learned in the process. With each book, I’ve learned something new, and as I continue to write, I apply that knowledge with the hope of creating something better each time.
Sharon: What’s next for Ginger Simpson?

Ginger: I wish I could say I have a major contract looming, but with the economy and the competition, I have to be realistic and realize I may have found my niche. I would like nothing more than to have one of my books appear in a real “brick and mortar” store, but that might never happen. Unlike some of these young chicks around, I’m an old hen and I don’t have the time or energy to deal with rejection after rejection from agents because I don’t write to word lengths or fit my story into that pre-conceived box. I’m happy with the following I have, and if I can keep people interested in what I write, then I’ll just keep on doing what I’m doing.

Sharon: What is that noise?

Oliver appears with a banjo, singing a verse of Home, Home on the Range. Plopping himself in front of Ginger, he belts it out for all he’s worth.

Sharon: Enough! Go away, Oliver!

But Oliver plops his copy of the book down and opens it. Might I have your autograph, my lovely?

Ginger: *Fanning herself.* You can have anything you want. Are you sure my autograph will suffice? I might be an old gray mare, but I still can teach a young pup a few tricks. *lol*

Sharon: Well, sadly, this brings us to the end of our hour. But before you go, I adore legends and lore and superstitions. Can you share one with me?

Ginger: I’m fascinated every time I read something about the women’s hut. Indians were very superstitious and believed that being around a bleeding woman would zap them of their energy and power. For this reason, during their menstrual cycle, women were forced to remain in a special hut created for this purpose. I’m sort of thinking that PMS might have been around much longer than we realize and that was the real reason for sending the wife away. *smile*

Sharon: I find that very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Now for my final three questions. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could star in a literary fiction, which would it be and why? And who would you want playing your romantic hero?

Ginger: Oh my gosh. If you’d asked me those questions twenty years ago, I probably would have had quite a different answer, but I’m quite content living here in Tennessee with my husband Kelly. I had a period of time between husbands where I sowed a few wild oats, and it wasn’t nearly as exciting as I expected it to be. As far as starring in a literary fiction…Gone with the Wind comes to mind. I’d love to wear those beautiful gowns, sit on a veranda and fan myself, but I’d choose to leave the war out of the picture. I hate violence. And… Tom Selleck can be my hero any day. I’ll play Scarlett to his Rhett, and I’ll do it for free.

Sharon: Thank you so very much, Ginger. You have been a delight. Tell us where we can buy White Heart, Lakota Spirit and all your books?

Ginger: Thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with such a great group…and enjoy such eye candy to boot. *ogles Oliver*. I’m not certain of the exact release date of WHLS, but sometime in April you can find my book at Moongypsy Press. Almost everything I’ve written is available in print at, and in e-book format at the various publishers. You can check my website for excerpts, videos and buy links.

Unchained Melody plays on the stereo. Understanding this is Ginger and Kelly’s song, Oliver sings it while the curtain goes down.
Ginger lives in Tennessee with her husband Kelly, and they're alone, at last. Out of thirteen years of marriage, they've lived with relatives or vice versa for about ten of those years, and this time, they moved into a place so small, there isn't even room to hang a vacancy sign. She says overnight guests are welcome, but there's a two day limit.

An author of mainly historical novels, Ginger has dabbled in other genres but migrates back to her comfort zone because those are the characters who are in her head, clamoring 24/7 for their stories to be told. White Heart, Lakota Spirit, the sequel to her debut novel, Prairie Peace, is re-releasing from MoonGypsy press next month, but in a much improved format. A benefit to continued writing is "learning" and she's applied her lessons to strengthen this story of a woman kidnapped by marauding Indians. Retired, Ginger has tons of time to write, but her grandson, Spencer, loves spending time with his "Nee Nee," and he's the most important guy in her life...right next to Kelly.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Author Roast and Toast

Today is Friday, so Oliver and I, along with Hywela Lyn, Mary Ricksen, Junior and Cuddls, are over at the
Author Roast and Toast

Today's featured victim is Allison Chase, and the celebration is a Victorian ball. Come help us solve a mystery!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight with Wendy Davy

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! Today we are lounging on the upper deck of a luxury cruise ship as it sets sail through the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean. .And my featured guest is Wendy Davy, and she is here to chat with us about her latest release

With the billowy white clouds drifting aimlessly through the azure blue sky, the massive cruise ship streams through the rippling ocean. Tropical music plays in the background and the warm breeze blows gently as Sharon and Wendy relax on chaise lounges beneath sun-drenched skies.

Sharon: Isn’t this lovely, Wendy? So how are you on such a fine day?

Wendy: I’m great. I’m glad Spring is finally here. It’s been a long, cold winter and I always look forward to Easter.

Oliver struts out on deck, carting a silver tray above his head. With a roguish wink, he sets the vase of bright tulips on the table. Then with a sweeping bow, he presents glasses of Sierra Mist and Oreo cookies.

Sharon: Thank you, Oliver. That will be all. Oliver leaves, but is back in a flash with his copy of New Beginnings.

Might I have your autograph, please Wendy, dearheart?

Wendy? Of course. Here you go…

Sharon: And while the book is open, perhaps we can have a sneak preview of the blurb and excerpt:
Security expert Adam Peyton wants a second chance with the woman who captured his heart and walked away with it several months ago. When he agrees to be her bodyguard on a Caribbean cruise, he takes the opportunity to do much more than just protect her. When the man who has been haunting Cora Andrews' dreams for months walks back into her life, she must choose to release the pride holding them apart, or risk losing him forever.Will Adam have the new beginning with Cora he has been praying for?

Here's the excerpt:

Cora swept past him and out the door. She sensed him following behind her as she pressed the button to retrieve the elevator.

"You never know. It could turn out to be fun."

Adam's familiar voice sent a wave of memories crashing into her.

"Fun?" She turned her wide eyes to him.

"You mean like when you lied about who you are? Was that fun?"

"I didn't lie," Adam's voice lowered as he stepped into the elevator. "You kept the truth from me. That's the same thing."

"Do we have to go through this again, Cora?" he asked with a sigh. "Not if you leave me alone. But you won't do that will you?

Harry asked you to go, so you will. Just like that?"

"I have to. It's my job."

"You've made that clear," Cora said with crisp, clipped words.

The elevator began its descent from the top floor toward the lobby. Adam's tall, masculine presence made the small room feel even smaller. She faced the doors and watched the numbers light up with each passing floor.

"Is it really that horrible that I'm coming with you?"

Cora met his eyes. "Harry has no right…"

"Let's not make this about Harry okay?"

Adam's gaze seared into hers as he added, "Like you do everything else in your life."
She gasped. "I do not."


Cora ground her teeth and fisted her hands. She turned and sucked in a breath.

Before she had a chance to say a word, Adam placed a warm, calloused finger on her lips, stepped close and whispered, "I'd like to do a lot of things with you. Fighting isn't one of them." He gently traced his finger along the contours of her lips as his eyes followed. The elevator chimed, and the doors opened. Adam stepped back. "I'll see you next week."

Sharon: Hmm. And you leave us hanging and wondering? It sounds really good, Wendy. Now tell us more about Cora and Adam? It seems he wants to be more than her bodyguard?

Wendy: Thank you Sharon. Adam has had his eye on Cora for a long time, but you’ll have to read the story to find out why…

Sharon: I know this is an inspirational from White Rose Publishing, but there seems to be a little mystery involved. What type of inspirational is it?

Wendy: It’s not a suspense, but it does have elements to keep the reader guessing what will happen next.

Sharon: And where did you get the idea for the storyline? As a writer, I know there is always something that gives us the inspiration for each story.

Wendy: I went on a cruise to nowhere a few years ago, and I was inspired to write a story that actually went “somewhere.”

Sharon: What’s next for you? Any books in the wings?

Wendy: Snow Angels is due out in April. You can find the blurb, excerpt and trailer at

Sharon: You have young children. When do you find time to write, edit, promote?

Wendy: It’s difficult. I grab any sliver of time I can find. Right now I have a little one hanging on my arm.

Sharon: Oh, here comes Oliver with dessert, a cheese cake dripping with cherries.

Oliver smiles at Wendy as he slices the cake and presents it to her with a wink.

Sharon: Ahem…Oliver… You can go now. I need to finish the interview. Oliver leaves, snapping his fingers to the beat of the calypso music, belting it out for all he’s worth.

Sharon: Just a few more questions. I collect legends, and would consider it a gift if you share one with me? If not a legend, a favorite tradition that is near and dear to your heart.

Wendy: I enjoy hearing about legends, but I can’t think of one right now. A tradition? How about my kids wanting my attention while I’m on the computer? Does that count?

Sharon: And finally, my three questions. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could star in any romance movie or book, what would it be and why? And finally, who would you choose to play your romantic hero?

Wendy: I would live in Greece because it’s so beautiful. I would star in my own romance novel, Night Waves because I can picture it as a movie. Dean Cain would be my hero, because he’s one of my favorite actors and the inspiration for Nick, the hero in my book.

Sharon: Thank you so much for joining me today for Wednesday Spotlight. Best of luck with sales. Can you tell readers where they can purchase your books and find out about you?

Wendy: You can find my books at several locations:,, and are a few.

I've been hooked on reading romances ever since I picked one up over twenty years ago. That's also when my own imagination started to roll and it hasn't stopped since.

But, it wasn't until I realized that it was God who put it in my heart to write, that I knew my dreams of becoming an author could turn into a reality.

I am a member of the Romance Writers of America and continue to be an avid reader.
When not writing, I spend my energy chasing around my beautiful young children, enjoying my own real-life hero, and watching movies with friends.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Legend of the Claddagh

I am blogging about the legend behind the Claddagh at