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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Never Giving Up with Sharon Donovan

My name is Sharon Donovan and I write Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith. Before I introduce myself, I’d like to thank Val and Tami for their warm invitation to be their guest on this new and exciting blog. Thank you, ladies. It’s a pleasure to be here! I wish you much success with your new endeavor.

Well I guess I should start with what’s on my mind. Talking about myself always takes me back to a time in my life when I was so painfully shy I turned a deep shade of crimson if anyone looked at me. I attended a Catholic grade school and prayed the nuns wouldn’t call on me for fear of my voice cracking. Even if I was the only student that knew the answer, I’d pretend I didn’t. I dreaded the first day of school because sure enough, the nun would ask us to introduce ourselves and talk about a favorite summer memory. After one too many times of excusing myself, feigning illness or needing to use the rest room, the nuns took action.

One of the head nuns had a strong passion for the theater. And talk about dramatic. She was so theatrical the walls vibrated when she entered a room. The woman knew how to make an entrance. It turned out this nun had majored in theater and had studied with Charlton Heston himself. Even though her desire to become a nun surpassed her passion for theater, acting never left her blood. She opened her own acting studio for children —The Quigley School of Communication.

At a parent/teacher meeting, it was strongly suggested I attend the drama school in order to shake my shyness. This was considered a great honor as the classes were by invitation only. The kids in my class longed to star in a play directed by Sister Rosalie. But rather than long for an invitation, I viewed it as a fate worse than death. I became so emotionally sick the night before these acting classes, I prayed for the world to end.

The classes were comprised of two parts, speech and drama. During speech class, I was taught how to pronounce each word with distinction, twisting my lips for proper annunciation. I found it a humiliating experience and kept one eye on the clock. But finally, the semester ended and I passed the course…or so I thought.

It turned out Sister Rosalie recommended summer classes because she saw no improvement in my shyness. I was devastated. But much to my surprise, the summer classes were very pleasant, held outside in her beautiful garden. And since both my brother and sister were in attendance, I didn’t mind going. Sister Rosalie took great pride in showing us the place on the patio where Charlton Heston left his hand print as well as his autograph in the cement. I was very impressed with that and began to relax.

Until the bomb fell. Sister Rosalie announced we would be starring in a production of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. She handed out the script, assigning our respective roles. Not being familiar with the play, I read it with interest. But when I read what it was about, my heart sank. An emperor hired two tailors to design his clothes for a grand parade. The tailors turned out to be swindlers, convincing the emperor he was finely dressed when he was in fact naked. The swindlers explained only the ignorant would see him nude. Not wanting to appear stupid, the emperor marched through the town buck naked. But the truth came out when a little girl cried out, “The emperor has no clothes on!”

And you guessed it. Sister Rosalie gave me the role of the little girl who pointed to the emperor. Humiliated, I knew the words would never pass my lips. During dress rehearsal, costumed in my black wig and kimono, when it came time for my big one liner, “The emperor has no clothes on!” – I completely froze. Nothing came out—not even a peep. Crushed, I threw myself on the floor and wept my heart out, bringing an abrupt halt to my acting debut.

As the years unfolded, I discovered my true passion…painting. It started with paint by numbers and grew to a fascination I knew I had to explore. I enrolled in art classes where I painted picturesque scenery, escaping into a timeless setting of peace and serenity. It was important for me to have a sanctuary because I have been a type 1 diabetic since the age of six. When a doctor at Children’s Hospital predicted, “You’ll be blind by time you’re twenty-five,” his cruel words changed the entire course of my life, affecting every decision I made for years to come.

His words haunted me. They consumed me. They devoured me. They echoed in my head to the point of obsession. Through my artwork, I escaped, losing myself in Tuscan landscapes, the Farnese Gardens of ancient Rome, and tranquil waterfalls. But the minute I put my paintbrush down, those chilling words haunted me. “You’ll be blind by time you’re twenty-five.”

Keeping my fears to myself at work where I prepared cases for judges in the Family Court, no one knew of my phobia. But I did, never repeating to a living soul for fear those words might come true. And when I suffered the first bout of diabetic retinopathy, a condition where fragile blood vessels grow and rupture on the retina, I literally fell apart.

For the next two decades, my vision came and went, becoming a game of hide and seek. Now you see —now you don’t. And nine years ago when a doctor suggested a new but risky operation to improve the sight I had, I came out of the operation totally blind. Devastated and disillusioned, I enrolled in a sixteen week program for the blind and visually impaired. I was taught mobility, personal adjustment and the use of a computer with adaptive software which converts text to synthesized speech.

It was an incredible journey filled with heart-wrenching pain. We laughed and we cried. We bonded in a way words could never express. Part of the reason I was reluctant to enroll in this program was because I feared clients would be ignorant. I was wrong. They were ordinary people with extraordinary problems, thrust into a situation where an eye disease was literally robbing them blind. I met doctors and engineers, teachers and paramedics. Some had the added burden of marital problems as a spouse was unable to face the pending blindness. Each of us had to be fitted for a white cane, venture into traffic with no sight, and stand up in group therapy and openly discuss our anger issues. It was a long and bitter journey from denial to acceptance. I was one of the lucky ones. What didn’t kill me made me stronger.

The next step was to attend a local college for medical transcription, something I thought I could do with my adaptive computer. And after graduating with high honors, I discovered I hated transcribing. Too many voices coming at me from all directions. I had the doctor’s voice on my headset —and the disembodied voice of my cyber space buddy who is programmed on my computer to read the screen. I felt schizophrenic.

But when I began taking creative writing classes, hope soared for the first time in years. I found a new way to channel my creative muse. A new dream resurrected. Today, instead of painting my pictures on canvas, I paint my pictures with words.

I am pleased to announce my first eBook—Touched by an Angel was released on January 7, 2009 by The Wild Rose Press. Here are a few reviews:

Long and Short review:
Touched By An Angel by Sharon Donovan
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, White Rose

Genre: Inspirational, Contemporary

Length: Short Story

Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5

Review by Violet

To the guardian angels who keep watch over those who sleep in
the deep quiet earth. On the eve of the anniversary of his wife's death, Charles is as restless as the coming storm. Surrounded by the eerie stillness of the Mojave Desert, he contemplates suicide, but just as he is about to jump to his death, he hears the melodic voice of his wife telling him it's not his time. Then Charles meets Emma who looks so much like his wife she could be her twin. Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered, Charles is drawn to her. When they discover their spouses have died on the same day and are buried side by side in Guardian Angel Cemetery, a spiritual bonding occurs that neither can deny. Is it fate? Or is Cupid shooting arrows from the sweet hereafter? Charles lost his wife to cancer two years ago. He is missing his wife tremendously and questioning why God took her. She was the love of his life. Yellow roses always played a vary important role in their romance and he has planned to get a wreath of yellow roses to put by her grave. Emma works in the flower shop that Charles always buys the flowers from. She too has lost a spouse to Cancer. As the story plays out, we see just how much our pain might hurt but how much of our lives that pain is serving a bigger purpose. I loved the characters in the story. Charles was a devoted and dedicated man and missed his wife so much he couldn't stand it. Emma was a beautiful and optimistic woman. The relationship between them both was so endearing. I felt as though I hurt when they hurt and I smiled when they smiled. It was a very inspirational story. Touched by an Angel reminded me so much of my own aunt. This short story brings out the familiar experiences in the readers life. I would most definitely read this story again and Sharon Donovan did a wonderful job in the writing and topic of this story.

January 2009

Wild Rose Press
$2.00 US
10 Pages
Rosette/ Inspirational Rating: 5 Cups

Charles lost his wife two years ago to cancer, and his life has never been the same. She was the love of his life, now how does he go on? She is all he can think about. Emma lost her husband to cancer two years before as well. Yet she seems to be handling things much better than Charles. Coincidences abound that bring Charles and Emma together to form another love that is meant to be. Their heartbreak transforms into something new and beautiful. I must say I cried through this whole story. We all dream of being blessed with a true love, but to be doubly blessed is truly a gift from God. Touched by an Angel shows the way God works in our lives. Just Amazing. Matilda

Gotta Read Review http://yougottareadreviews.blogspot.com/2009/01/review-touched-by-angel-by-sharon.html

Title: Touched by an Angel

Author: Sharon Donovan

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Reviewer: You Need To Read
Reviewed by: Val

Jill was the love of Charles' life. When he lost to her Cancer, his whole world crumbled
around him and he could see no way to continue on with his life. After two years, the pain he feels is as fresh as if it happened yesterday. Charles hears Jill's voice giving him encouragement to go on and he meets Emma. Can he have a future with someone other than Jill?

I actually felt for a moment that I was Charles. I felt the sharp pain that he felt and almost had to catch my breath. Charles' character was a strong, devoted man who felt defeated and broken. I was in awe of Emma's character, she was carefree and kind but could relate to Charles in a very special way that no one else could. Their chemistry was amazing. The events that came from the meeting of Charles and Emma really made this book.

I loved the topic of this book and know that the reader will find something in Touched by an Angel that will touch their lives in one way or another. Sharon Donovan did an outstanding job with the use of imagery. I felt like I was right there feeling exactly what Charles and Emma felt. I highly recommend this book to those who love the second chance at romance books that I do. More books like Touched by an Angel by Sharon Donovan will be an automatic add to my to be read list. Pick up this book, I can promise you that you will not be disappointed.

And now I am pleased to announce The Claddagh Ring is available by The Wild Rose Press.

This book is based on an Irish legend of the “Claddagh” which consists of a heart, two hands and a crown. The heart represents love. The hands are for friendship, and the crown is for loyalty. According to Irish legend, if the ring is worn properly, true love and friendship will be forevermore. But in order for the spell to work, the ring must be worn in a proper way. If unmarried, the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart facing outward. This means the heart is open to love. And when the wearer has found a soulmate, the ring is worn on the left hand with the heart facing outward. And when the wearer is swept away for life, the ring is worn on the left hand with the heart facing inward.

Three years ago, I journeyed to the mystical Emerald Isle. It is truly a fairy land of castles and magic, the air as sweet as the music. And while hearing the legend of the Claddagh, I became so enthralled, a story blossomed in my head.

Here is a blurb from The Claddagh Ring

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

Rork McGuire is ruggedly handsome, sings Celtic music straight from his soul, and has a dark secret. When he sees Meghan O’Malley, he falls hopelessly in love with her and wants nothing more than to give her his heart. Will the secret he harbors bring them together—or pull them apart?


As much as I would like to say that I travel abroad for all my stories, that would be a stretch of the imagination, a downright fib. But I can tell you from the bottom of my heart—every page in The Claddagh Rings stirs sweet memories of my visit to the rolling green hills of my ancestry. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I’ll leave you with the Irish blessing!
May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind ever be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.
And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

Contact information:
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Cindy K. Green said...

What a wonderful and inspiring blog Sharon. You have overcome so much and here you are writing. Good for you! Both books sound fantastic. I need to go book shopping this weekend. ;)

Skhye said...

Oh no, Sharon. I would have died in a drama class as deathly shy as I was. And even though I may seem extra chatty at the WRP weekly chats, I am still a recluse. :) Great interview.

Anne Carrole said...

What a touching and inspiring story and what a life journey you are on Sharon--so glad you found writing. Great blog.

Hywela Lyn said...

Your story of the obstacles you've had to overcome is so moving and inspiring, Sharon. I'm pretty shy myself, although not as much as when I was younger. I'm still more comfortable writing than meeting people face to face though.

I'd also like to mention how very much I enjoyed 'Touched By An Angel' and I love the sound of The Cladagh Ring. As a Welsh Celt, I also relate to anything Scottish or Irish. I wish you fantastic success with this.

Francesca Prescott said...

Sharon,a good friend of mine told me how much she enjoyed "Touched by an Angel", so it's been on my "to read" list. The strange thing is, although I hadn't remembered your name, as soon as I clicked onto this website today and saw your photograph, for some reason, I knew you were the person who'd written that book!

I enjoyed reading your entry and can completely relate to your anguish during theatre group. I'm still very shy, but back when I was in high school, drama class was sheer torture: I'd stammer and stutter and tremble and blush and hide behind my hair!

You are a brave and wonderful lady. Good luck with your books!

Mary Ricksen said...

Your story is inspirational. I suffer from agoraphobia and have spent most of my life fighting it. You had to add your blindness to the mix. I have to say I admire your courage, determined mind. If you paint half as good as you write you will be famous for that too. Good luck and kudos to a strong, brave, woman. I hope you sell tons of books!

Debra St. John said...

Sharon, As always, I am so moved by your story. You are truly a courageous, strong woman. Congratulations on all of your fabulous reviews. Good luck with your writing career...it's going to be a great one!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by today!
Cindy, writing is good for the soul...and cheaper than therapy!
Skhye, do we ever combat childhood demons...or just learn how to cope?
Thanks for your encouraging words, Anne! They mean the world to me.
Oh Lyn...can you be my reviewer on all my books! Thanks for your high praise. I would never fancy you shy! Keep riding those horses through the hills of the UK!
Francesca, how ironic you should find me through this review site! You must thank your friend for me. Touched by an angel was special and I'm so glad it touched so many lives. I got a kick out of you hiding behind your hair and can totally relate!
So Mary, are we all going to blog about things we've overcome? Sounds like a best seller!

Thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to leave comments and read my post. You all inspire me!
All the best,

Karen said...

Hi Sharon
Its wonderful to learn more about your!
Congratulations on your new book!!
HeartFelt Promos

Sharon Donovan said...

Debra, thanks so much for your wonderful comments! I am in good company with my fellow writers and friends!

Oh Karen, thanks so much for stopping by! And thank you for promoting me so very well. You're the best!

Miss Mae said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the interview, Sharon. Your trials reminds me of the book--based on her own blindness--by Beverly Butler called "Light a Single Candle." Have you read it? It's a wonderful story of courage and acceptance.

And I can thoroughly relate to the horribly shy part. I always dreaded oral reports and wanted to hide beneath the teacher's desk!

Congrats on your fantastic reviews. Well deserved, I'd say. :)

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks so much, Miss Mae. No I haven't read the book but it sounds like she faced her challenge. What I'm finding the most interesting today is how many writers suffer or have suffered from shyness. I still say we should all get together and write about one of our most humiliating experiences. Could be fun and good for a laugh!

lastnerve said...

Sharon, thank you soooooo much for blogging with us! Can you tell you're loved? You are an amazing writer who has overcome some amazing circumstances! I love love love your books! I can't wait to read more. I love stories with a twist of faith

Sharon Donovan said...

Val and Tami, you ladies are the best! Thanks so much for having me as your guest author. It was so much fun and I am humbled by your kind words. Being toasted by friends and fellow authors makes all those late hours and endless revisions worth it. The emotional rewards far outweigh the financial. Writing is a gift to be shared. It's what I do. It's in my blood. If I didn't write, my cup would be half empty. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And I promised to give away a copy of The Claddagh Ring. And the winner is....Lyn.
Congratulations, Lyn! Here's hoping you enjoy it. Cheers!