Thursday, May 28, 2009

Columbus meets Chief Kookamunga

Probably the two questions I'm most often asked are: "When did you start writing, and who planted the first seeds?"

Some writers may not be able to pinpoint an exact event or pivotal point. Not so with me. It was my fifth grade teacher, Miss Mary, as we students called her. She was my catalyst. Otherwise a shy child, I loved to write book reports and read them to the class. Each ended with a cliffhanger, causing several classmates to get into a scrabble over who would get the book next.

One day after I read a book report on a popular mystery, Miss Mary, smiled broadly and announced, "One day, Laurie will be an author."

Those words stuck somewhere in my my. No one had ever inspired me to become anything. I tucked her words away in the depths of my heart and clung to them through the years.

And though Miss Mary was an encourager, she was a stickler for discipline. One day I discovered this the hard way. She assigned the class to write an essay describing the perils Columbus must have endured on his journey to discover The New World. While the rest of the class groaned over the homework, all sorts of creative ideas spun around in my head. Where should I go with this story? Oh, the possibilities!

I pulled the memory of the essay from the recesses of my mind and filled in the blanks to give you an idea of what my fifth-grade teacher was up against. My version of Columbus's perilous journey went something like this:

Columbus's Catastrophe
Once upon a time there was a man named Christopher Columbus. They called him Chris for short. Chris just knew the world was not flat like a pancake. But how could he prove it was round like a globe? Especially when he couldn't find anybody who would back him, or give him ships and the supplies he needed to cross the Atlantic Ocean, so he could discover the New World.

After traveling to several countries to beg the kings and queens, Queen Isabella of Spain finally gave in. She agreed to give him whatever he needed, but only if he promised to bring her bushel baskets of gold. Chris said he would then loaded the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria with food and water. They couldn't take milk or orange juice since neither electricity or refrigerators had been invented. You see, this was before Thomas Edison was born. And because they didn't have any oranges on board, some of the crew members died from scurvy. That's when you don't have enough Vitamin C in your body. Chris and the others had to toss the dead bodies overboard so they wouldn't stink up the ship.

One night the Nina was destroyed in a raging storm. Waves as high as the Empire State Building struck the ship and tossed it about until it sank. On the morning of October 12, 1492, Columbus Day, a man on deck of one of the other ships spotted sea gulls flying around the ship. Another man saw something green in the distance. He yelled, "Land Ho!" Everyone on board started dancing danced and yelling. The Pinta and Santa Maria soon docked in the bay of the West Indies. (Remember the Nina met her Waterloo in the storm.)

The crew was still whooping and hollering when they docked. The Wakoochie Indians on the island heard the loud commotion and armed themselves with spears, then ran to investigate. Before they reached the shore, Christopher and his men shimmied up coconut, banana and pineapple trees in search of fruit to cure their scurvy. When they reached the treetops, they started shaking them to loosen the fruit. Coconuts, bananas, and pineapples, fell like humongous hailstones, and bounced off the Indians' heads, knocking them to the ground. Some were out cold.
The more fruit that fell, the madder the conscious Indians became, until only six braves were standing. Those six rattled Chris's banana tree until his teeth chattered and he could hang on no longer. His grip slipped and he yelled, "Tim-ber!" before he smacked the ground flat on his back. When he opened his eyes, he looked up into six pair of vicious ones staring down at him. The Indians with red and yellow war paint smeared across their noses grabbed Chris by the arms and yanked him to his feet.

In the meantime, Chris's crew scrambled down from their trees, arms loaded with fruit, and high-tailed it to the ships. With yellow streaks down their backs they pulled up the anchors, hoisted the sails, and yelled, "Ship Ahoy!" Then they pointed the ships toward Spain. A big gust of wind blew them out to sea while a forlorn Chris watched them leave him behind. But he had more pressing problems.

The Wakoochie Indians prodded Chris at spear point toward the village square. One last shove and Chris found himself inside the chief's teepee. Big Chief Kookamunga was a hefty, pot-bellied man. They interrupted him as he finished off a pineapple. The yellow juice dripped from his heavy jowls onto his protruding belly. He wiped his face with the back of his hand. Pointing to Columbus, he commanded his natives with one word. "Raka!"

It must have had something to do with fire because the natives found a rope and bound Chris from shoulder to ankle. When the knot was tied, they dragged him to the center of the village and tied him to a stake. A few minutes later while two natives were busy striking flint rocks to start the fire, Chief Kookamunga jostled out of his tee-pee toward them shouting, "Oola! Oola!"

Chris found out it meant, "Wait! I've got a better idea." The chief grunted and pointed to a large cannon a ways down the beach. The Indians pulled Chris from the stake and hauled him to the cannon still bound. They stuffed him inside, feet first and belly down. He struggled and tried protest, but it was no use. They had crammed his mouth full of riped bananas and the ropes were really tight.
The Indians turned the cannon toward the ocean and aimed it up and out. Chief Kookamunga lit the cannon and fired the shot that propelled Chris into the sky like a missile. The other natives stood by and watched him grow smaller with every passing second.

To this day no one knows what happened to Christopher Columbus. We can only guess. So, if on some clear, moonlit night you happen to see a shooting star, stop and salute it, because it might be Christopher Columbus still orbiting the earth. I wonder: Does he knows it's round yet?

By the time I finished reading the essay, the class was in hysterics. The girls giggled and the boys slapped their knees and roared. As I stood proudly, and giggling too, I felt sure I an A+ was coming my way for my rendition of the Columbus story.

Then, a gruff voice behind me spoke. "Laurie!”

I turned to look at Miss Mary. One eyebrow was arched and she was not smiling. I felt the air deflate from my ego before she said, “I want you to re-write that story. And this time, make it more realistic."

My face burned. I thought the story was perfect. And the class loved it. Besides, I wasn't sure of the meaning of "realistic." But that day I reluctantly added it to my vocabulary. Not that I've used it very often since.

Although Miss Mary spurred my imagination in 5th grade, she also reined it. No know the power of his or her words, how they will affect another. I credit Miss Mary with planting a seed that would one day sprout into a desire to become an author.
Miss Mary has been gone for decades, but her son made an appearance at a book signing for my first release, Journey To Forgiveness.” In his words: “I had to meet the student who dedicated her book to my mother.”

Have you had a similar writing experience? Post a comment and tell me all about it. I'd love to hear from you. We can all learn from each others' experiences.

JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS:  Only 99 Cents for a limited time.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

On Conquering the "BIG D"

Have you ever noticed how words of wisdom seep through in the first few minutes after you awaken in the morning? Or have you ever awoken from a strange dream, look at the clock and notice the time is around 3 a.m.? Grab a pen and write it down, because dreams and those words you receive upon waking are elusive. Only last week I awoke with these words circulating in my head. "Without The Author, The Quill Runs Dry." Was God trying to tell me something?

I had never given thought to those early minutes in the day until I heard a certain well-known preacher relate his personal story on television. When he visited Jerusalem several years ago, he noted that many Jewish priests and rabbis would gather at the wall very early each morning to pray in their tongue. When he asked a local rabbi about this, the man replied something like this. "It is a Jewish custom. We believe that God speaks to His people during the 4th watch. In the hours between 3 a.m. and the heavens open up and God is more accessible. The prayers reach His throne and He pours out His Spirit upon His people."

The preacher went on to say that he had gone through the Bible and found that Jesus was often up during the 4th watch. Examples are the time the disciples spied Him walking on the water and thought He was a ghost. And the night before His arrest, He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane in the wee hours when the soldiers came for him.

If this is true, then the first part of our day is the most important. So why do we allow distractions to draw us away from our quiet time with God? If we quieten our minds, write down our thoughts upon rising, we will find a sense of peace and a well of ideas for our writing. something fighting against up to prevent that?

Here is a typical morning at my house. My husband is an early riser. He hops out of bed, jumps in the truck and heads to the local coffee clatch. I sleep a little longer. Then I drag myself out of bed, stumble into the kitchen and peek out the window to see if my dogs are okay. Sometimes I walk out on the porch and hug them. I go back inside, pick up my Bible and a couple devotional books, and sit down on the floor. I open to the Psalms to find one about praise and worship. This leads me into prayer. But wait! I forgot to take that supplement that has to be taken 30 minutes before a meal. I get up and swallow it, then notice a spot on the counter and one on the kitchen floor where my hubby's splattered coffee. Why can't he wipe it up? I know he saw it! Who does he think I am...his maid? Oops! My peace of mind has already been stolen.

The dogs bark. I hear motors humming. The sound grows louder as wander to the window to investigate. Tractors with disks attached, are pulling into the surrounding field, stirring up dust. Oh well, I will try this again. I sit down on the floor, pull a devotional book into my lap and read a few lines. The back door flies open. It's hubby. He's fully caffeinated and ready to aggravate. I look up and greet him with "Hi, how are you?" He's in a teasing mood and I'm still groggy. This usually ends with me speaking sharply, and him fleeing to the garage to work on one of his flea market finds.

I close my Bible and devotional. Now I'm remorseful. If I don't clear this up now, the guilt will eat at me and give me writer's block. Or my writing will fall flat. I find him and apologize for my sassy remark, then re-enter the house to get online and clear out a jillion emails.

The back door slams and hubby dashes to his office. "Have you seen my checkbook?"
We spend the next 15 minutes searching for that, only to find he's left it in the truck.

Have you figured out that the "Big D" is DISTRACTION? So how do we overcome it so we can write? Get up earlier? But what if you've burned the midnight oil the previous night...just to make a small dent in that deadline.

I've decided as recent as this Monday, that I will NOT check author loops or emails UNTIL I have spent at least an hour writing or revising my manuscript. So far, so good.

Distraction is a thief. Some of it is controllable. Some is not. Life is full of surprises. But, if we take charge of the things that we can control...set schedules, timelines, that will free us up to enjoy the people and things that should take priority in our lives.

Does this make any sense? Or is it just another one of MY distractions?

Monday, May 18, 2009

F.P. O.

Hey there, Fellow Authors. Do you ever get discouraged? Feel like you are spinning your wheels in the flurry of blogging, posting loops, promoting, and revising? Well, I can identify and empathize. Is anyone out there besides me, still on dial-up? Raise your hand if you are not ashamed.

"F" My first topic is FRUSTRATION:

For me, dial-up (and knowing I have to deal with it..presently)leaves me frustrated. Only so much you can do besides wait...wait...wait for the page to load. I could jump up and throw a load of laundry in the washer. Or I could wash those dishes soaking in the sink. And I do. But, when I leave the computer, I everything else leaves, too. I might have had the most inspiring, uplifting message to send to a fellow author in an email. But, after the laundry and dirty dishes, it's left my pea brain.

Not only does dial-up frustrate me, it also robs me of writing time. I can scroll through loops and emails, for what seems to be thirty minutes. Only to glance at the clock and see that two hours have passed and that load of clothes is waiting to put in the dryer. Or that pan of cabbage I put on the range has boiled dry and/or wilted. And still I have not written one word on my WIP. Raise your hand again, if you know what I'm talking about.

Lessons are there in every experience, if you just look for them. I have learned to set a timer. Funny how you can set it for one hour and it seems to go off in fifteen minutes. Never have figured that one out.

"P" Now let's talk about PRAYER:

If I'm not careful, the busyness steals my communion with God. He reminded me of this only last week with a one-liner. "Without The Author, The Quill Runs Dry." I grabbed my pen and wrote it down. And I'm adding it to the bottom of my posts and emails. I knew it was not my own personal thought, but a nudge from my Creator to remind me to spend more quiet time with Him--not just a fleeting five minutes in His Word and in prayer. Then He could orchestrate my life and make it flow more smoothly. "Thank you, Lord. I needed that. Without your inspiration, I have nothing to share with others."


This has been a strange week. I had two book signings scheduled. Though neither brought in the sales I had hoped, God sent certain people in my path that may open doors of opportunity.

The first person I met Thursday night at a Gospel singing at church. I was soooo tired that I almost didn't go. But I am glad I did. The wife of one of the singers has connections with Harvest House. She also handles promos for singers in the Nashville area. We talked at length outide the church. I traded a copy of "Journey To Forgiveness" for one of her hubby's CDs. He didn't look too happy about our arrangement, but, oh well.

The following evening, Friday, I was scheduled, along with several other local authors to set up at a local elementary school. The idea was to get the children interested in reading. Though most youngsters eemed more interested in the cotton candy and balloons set up in another area, I met a young woman (over pizza in the cafeteria) who works like a talent scout, with several major publishing companies. She gave me the name of a literary agent to contact. By now I am wondering, "What is God up to?"

Then Saturday morning arrived, stormy, dreary. What a day for a book signing! I dropped my box of books onto the back seat and drove the 20 miles, praying for the sun to break through. It was 9 a.m. The signing was from 9:30 - 11:30.

The library worker opened the door, glanced up at the sky and groaned, "Doesn't look too good for you today, with the stormy weather. Hopefully, a few will come out."

I responded with, "Don't talk like that. I am praying for the sun to come out." It did. After 11:a.m. A few people drifted into the room where I had splayed several copies of Journey To Forgiveness and a promo sheet on a round table. But only after I ran out of the room to announce coffee cake, punch, and cookies. Most ate their fill, thanked me, and left. I had coerced the library worker into setting up a laptop so I could pull drifters over (after they filled their plates), to view my book trailer. Hee-hee! Whatever works. They all loved it! By the way, it's on this very blog. Just scroll down...

Unbeknowst to me, one lady worked with the local radio station. After viewing the trailer, she purchased a book. Yesterday she emailed to say she had already finished reading it, called it "refreshing" and wants to set up a radio interview. Woo-hoo!

What is that saying, "Do not despise small beginnnings. The mighty oak was once an acorn." I know that isn't the exact quote, but it's close.

I don't know what God is up to, but whatever it is I feel that He is in it. And I will trust Him to follow through and to guide me.

I wrote all this to say, "Don't give up your dreams, no matter how bleak it looks. I agree with Marianne. If God is in it and you are in Him, He will make it come to pass." Then just hang on for the ride!

"...He which hath begun a good work in thee will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." KJV Phillipians 1:6

Monday, May 11, 2009

Contest Questions to win free downloads. Today only!

Sharon and I will each give away one free download of our latest book. You will be sent on a short search, but that will make it all the more fun. Later this afternoon, Sharon will throw her correct answers in a hat and draw out one lucky winner of "Lasting Love." I will do likewise with my download of "Journey To Forgiveness."

Here is Sharon's question and a clue? Sharon asks.........
Which blog gave "Lasting Love" the "book of the month" award? You can find the answer on my website, Then com back and post the correct answer on this blog. Laurean's Lore http://laureanslore.blogspot."

Laurean says...complete this sentence. "Jenny's personal convictions would never allow a relationship where ___? is blatantly missing." Directions:

Part 1. Go to White Rose, and look under "Browse our catalog." Click on "Historical" and read the synopsis for "Journey To Forgiveness".

Part 2. Type "Amazon Books" in Google search. When you reach the site, type "Laurean Brooks" in the right side of the search. Click on reviews.

Here's the question: Which reviewer wrote, "My favorite line in the book was when Jenny thought, 'Two words could describe a romantic involvement. Ultimate insanity.'"

Come back to Laurean's Lore and post your answers and comments. Then I will also toss the correct answers in a hat and pull out the lucky winner.

Drawings will be held later this afternoon. I will get with Sharon and we will post the time. Keep checking in. And don't forget to view my "Journey To Forgiveness" trailer! Just up! Right here on this blog. Tell me what you think of that closeup of Austin. Women everywhere are fighting over my hero. "Cool it, ladies! You will have to wait in line. He's already been ordered twice." LOL

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Interview with Sharon Donovan

Sharon Donovan lives with her family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has a certificate from Bradford Business School and a certificate in medical transcription from the
Community College of Allegheny County. She was a legal secretary in the Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas where she prepared cases for judges in Domestic Relations.

Due to diabetic retinopathy, she lost her vision several years ago. Painting was her passion. Devastated when she could no longer paint, she took several classes in creative writing and memoir workshops. And through the darkness, a new dream resurrected for a brighter tomorrow. Motivated by new insight, instead of painting pictures on canvas, today Sharon paints her pictures with words.

1. “Today, we have as our guest, author, Sharon Donovan.” Sharon crosses the stage takes a seat and crosses her legs. (The audience goes wild.) “Thank you, audience for your wonderful welcome for this talented author.” (Laurean waves a hand to quieten Sharon’s exuberant fans.)

“Sharon, please tell us about yourself and your latest release titled, Lasting Love.” (Laurean nods.) “Sharon, you have the floor.” Whistles and howls followed by woo-hoos! blast from the first rows as Sharon smiles at the crowd. After the boisterous fans calm down, Sharon winks at her admirers and begins…

Hi Laurean! Thanks for interviewing me today. Great to be here. Well as you know, I write for White Rose Publishing, an imprint of The Wild Rose Press. I enjoy writing stories of hope and inspiration to strengthen faith. Now as far as writing Lasting Love, I nearly missed the deadline.

The Wild Rose Press has a holiday line and I challenged myself to write an Easter story two weeks before that deadline. Having no idea what I was going to base my story on, I thought about all things associated with this holiday. The lily, the rebirth of the earth and the resurrection, and a feeling of hope for a brighter tomorrow. So how did I tie all these things in a neat little package and present it to my editor?

I kept hitting stone walls that refused to budge. I was now down to one week and had not written one word. Just when I was about to give up on the idea, I had a dream about a red rose. It was a simple red rose blooming in a garden and that was it. Shrugging it off, the image kept popping into my head. Curious, I did a search on red roses…and stumbled upon the Lasting Love rose…and the theme for my Easter story.

The LASTING LOVE is an unusual rose that shimmers like a citrine jewel. It’s a brand new hybrid tea rose with old-fashioned vintage appeal. With its unique blend of dusky red and hint of plum sprouting from glossy green foliage, this gorgeous rose looks artificial. But the minute you get within ten feet of this tea rose, its timeless essence wafts through the air. So I prayed for guidance and asked God to send me a clue. And He did. Here is 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 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 Eye Witness 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
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,” hecommanded. “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.

2. Sharon, I got so caught up in your story that I almost forgot what I was doing. (Laurean takes a deep breath) Your writing has been described as vivid and beautifully detailed. Lasting Love is a great example of that. To what or whom do you credit your amazing way with words?

“Thank you for the lovely compliment. As you know, before the loss of my vision, my passion was painting. Blending colors into a rich palette of crimson, peach and indigo into a desert sunset filled me with peace and tranquility. When I lost my sight, I was devastated for the obvious reasons, but mostly, because I could no longer paint. But after a long and winding road, a new dream resurrected when I discovered I could paint just as vividly with words.

“I never want to forget the simple beauty of a rose or the exotic beauty of a wildflower. And describing what I used to see and paint in such vivid detail is my way of remembering.

“So to answer your question, I credit my talent to God and to the genes I inherited. My grandmother wrote beautifully and my aunt writes the most amazing poetry. Art of any kind is a gift, whether it be painting, writing or any of the nine muses. And I thank God for this cherished gift.

3. “Thank you.” (Laurean nods toward the audience.) “Don’t we all wish we had those genes? (The applause builds then tapers off.) “Sharon, your messages are deep, riveting, with underlying emotion. Do you think these emotions are triggered by personal life experiences? If so, will you please share one or two with the audience?”

“Yes. When I write stories of inspiration, I want to convey a definite message to the reader—and that message is one of hope. I have a very strong belief in guardian angels and incorporate them into my writing. Well over a decade ago, I was diagnosed with a fatal illness and doctors didn’t expect me to live for more than six months at best. I was scheduled for brain surgery. Shortly before I went into the hospital, I went out and bought an angel charm to wear around my neck. The moment I put it on, I felt heat searing into my body.

“The night before the surgery, a prayer chain was started for me in three states. I felt the presence of my guardian angel as I slept. I can’t explain it other than there was an aura around me of utter peace. The next day, when I was wheeled down to surgery and given the initial sedative, my neurologist unexpectedly cancelled the operation. He said in his professional opinion, I would not have lived through it.

“My doctor opted to treat the brain infection intravenously for one month, six hours a day. But still, my prognosis was uncertain. Never once did I give up or remove my angel charm. It took close to three years to make a full recovery, but that was 1996. I am living proof that angels abound.”

4. “That was an amazing account, Sharon! A miracle, no less. To what or whom do you give credit for your initial desire to put words and feelings to paper?”

“Again, that all stems back to the loss of my vision. I am a very creative person and have to create in order to feel alive. After the loss of my vision, I was totally devastated. Although preparing cases for judges in Family court was my career, painting was my heart. And my heart was broken. With great reluctance, I enrolled in a sixteen-week program for the blind and visually impaired. I was taught how to use a computer with adaptive software that converts text to synthesized speech. Then I went off to my local college to obtain a certificate in medical transcription. And I hated every minute of it. It did nothing to stir my creative muse.

“But through my classes, my life took yet another unexpected turn. I discovered a passion for writing. And hope soared for the first time in a long time. I began taking classes in creative writing and memoir workshops. I took online classes, joined critique groups, attended conferences and just kept writing. Instructors at the college encouraged me to keep at it. When one of my instructors put me in touch with his editor at a local newspaper, I got my first publication.

“But I can’t credit just one instructor or one person. Finding my way to writing was a long and winding road of triumph and defeat. And I’m still walking.”

5. “That's awesome! Now. I understand that you've had huge
obstacles to overcome? Can you fill us in? Have they made you stronger?

“Yes. My life has been a continuous challenge. I’ve been a type 1 diabetic since the age of six. When a doctor at Children’s Hospital predicted I’d be blind by time I was twenty-five, his harsh words changed the entire course of my life. From that day on, fear and paranoia ruled my world, affecting every major decision I made for years to come. And when I had the initial bout with progressive blindness at the age of twenty-one, little did I know my vision would come and go for the following two decades. It became a deadly game of “Now you see it…now you don’t.” It was also a fight for my sanity. And when I finally succumbed to total blindness, my world fell apart.

“There was no hope until I took control and forced myself out of a deep depression by enrolling in Pittsburgh Vision, an organization for the blind and visually impaired. They saved my life. With all the help available to aid the blind and visually impaired, doors have continued to open. But it wasn’t until I took the first step and asked for help did these doors open.

“I knew after the surgery that robbed me of my vision, I had two choices. Stay behind and let life pass me by—or learn how to cope in a sighted world I was once part of. I sucked it in and took control.

“Because so many people are unaware of the help available, I am in the process of writing a narrative non-fiction based on my fears of going blind. I call it Echo of a Raven, showing what happens when the mind is haunted by the subconscious. This memoir is written in three books. The diagnosis and struggles to keep my vision for two solid decades, my sixteen week stay at a rehabilitation program, and the long road to becoming a writer.

“I use shocking anecdotes from my four months at the rehab program. Some of these are: the humiliation of being fitted for a white cane, the sheer terror of being thrust into traffic for the first time with the cane, and the courage it took to talk about my fears in front of strangers during group therapy sessions. Part of the reason I was reluctant to enroll in this program was I thought clients would be uneducated. I was wrong. They were all ordinary people with extraordinary problems…just like me.

“Some were doctors, paramedics, nurses and teachers. Some even had the extra burden of marital problems because a spouse could not deal with the blindness. It was an incredible journey filled with heart-wrenching pain. We bonded in a way words could never express. Through this organization, I found the courage to face a sighted world I was once part of. What didn’t kill me made me stronger.”

6. “An amazing story, my friend. Could your personal challenges be responsible for your unique ability to delve into your
characters' minds and souls? If so, why? How?”

(Sharon shakes her head and laughs.) “You ask tough questions, Laurie! Hmm. I believe it’s true of most authors. If we put a bit of ourselves and our feelings into our characters, they seem more real and come alive on the page. Since we’re talking about Lasting Love, let’s talk a bit about the main character, Abbey Jordan.

“She is unable to have children due to a recent hysterectomy. This breaks her heart and has left a huge void in her life. Writing that scene was very emotional for me. Because of the brittle condition of my diabetes and retinopathy, doctors strongly advised against having children. And in good conscience, I could not pass my diseases on to an innocent child, given the life I had. So for a short while, I got into Abbey’s mind, feeling her pain. When her heart wept, it was my heart weeping. It was a thorn in my side for one more thing for which the answer was no.”

7. “So, did your writing begin as a form of emotional therapy? Or the desire to encourage others to never give up on their dreams?”

“Absolutely. Writing is the best therapy and a whole lot cheaper! I cannot stress this enough. Never give up on a dream. As authors, we are told to not use cliches, but I say if it is a cliché that has significance or sentimental value, use it. And this one has sentimental value for me. “When one door closes…another door opens…”

8. I love that cliché. And I truly believe it. Does "Lasting Love portray a character or incident you can personally relate to in your past? If so, which character, and in what way?

“As I mentioned, I connected with my character, Abbey Jordan on a personal level. We don’t have the answers to the things for which we do not understand. But rather than close ourselves off when we don’t get what we want, it’s up to us to find happiness and fulfillment elsewhere. Unable to have children, Abbey nurtured her roses until she became a step-mother to a child whose mother abandoned her. My maternal instincts were nurtured when my sister asked me to be Godmother to her daughter.

9. “Sharon, this is a thought-provoking question, but from what
we have already witnessed, you are a profound thinker. If you could write your own epitaph, what would you say? Don't mince words. We'll pretend that you have all the space you need”

Laurean, my epitaph would say: Nothing is more tragic than dying without living. This woman lived her life to the fullest, making every day count. Painting was her life. When she lost her vision, a new dream resurrected. Instead of painting her pictures on canvas, Sharon Donovan painted her pictures with words.

“Holy heck, Laurean! I got a little chill there, writing and reading my own epitaph. I start looking over my shoulder for that angel!!”

10. What great legacy to leave behind! Don’t worry, Sharon. God isn’t through with you, by a long shot. Now, before I let you go, please share with your audience any links to blogs and/or websites to purchase your books, And links to your reviews, or other special interviews they would find interesting.

Please come visit my website: to read excerpts and reviews and see trailers. You can also sign up for my newsletter:

And I love to hear from readers at:

My blog:

White Roses in Bloom Blog:

Lasting Love has been voted readers pick of the month at:

To buy any of my books:

“Thank you for coming, Sharon. You have left us with plenty of "food for thought." And keep writing those beautiful stories of faith, hope, and love. The world needs authors like you who provide encouragement and inspiration.

“Thank you for having me at your blog today, Laurean! It’s been fun and I wish you mega success with your book Journey to Forgiveness!”

Sharon rises to exit the stage. She waves and smiles at her audience. Ear-splitting whistles follow a thunderous applause. Wait! What is this? The audience is jumping to its feet. Sharon Donovan has just received a standing ovation! She takes a bow and blows kisses, then prances backstage. The curtain closes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Upcoming Interview with Sharon Donovan

I am so excited. Two exciting things will happen here on this blog Friday. This Friday, May 8th.

First, the talented Sharon Donovan, who paints words instead of pictures, will be my guest. That is correct. I will ask her some tough and thought-provoking questions about her life. How she has overcome her handicap.

Sharon is an amazing and spirited person, besides possesing a gift of writing. Her stories are rich in detail and description. And the characters are so alive--so real--that you'd swear you know them.

Sharon's books, "Touched By an Angel," "The Claddagh Ring" and "Lasting Love" have merited great reviews and acclaims on dozens of sites.

Pop over here on Friday and post a comment. She's always ready with an answer.

The second surprise is....I am getting a book trailer on this blog for my book, "Journey To Forgiveness." That will be Friday also. I can't wait to view it! But... with this slow dial up, it will take around 35 minutes to download. That means (Ugh!) you will see it before I do. Not fair. LOL. Anyway, it will be worth the wait.

Come on over on Friday and join in the double celebration!