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Monday, August 16, 2010

Sizzlin' UK Heroes! Sharon Donovan shares The Claddagh Ring. Comment for a chance to win!

Welcome to my Sizzlin’ Hot Heroes of Scotland, Ireland, England & Wales summer blog event. This week it’s my extreme pleasure to feature super talented author, Sharon Donavon. Regrettably, Sharon is in the hospital and will not be able to join us. While I’ll be hosting this week, author Hywela Lyn (Sharon’s close friend) will step in if you have any questions about Sharon’s work. As always, there is a contest. For a chance to win an Ecopy of The Claddagh Ring and a $6 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press main store, be sure to leave a comment.

To Sharon- My thoughts and prayers are with you. I wish you a speedy recovery my friend.

To my readers, fellow bloggers and friends- sit back and enjoy this pre-recorded interview. Sharon is a true talent and The Claddagh Ring is a tale well worth learning more about. Note: The pictures you see were taken by Sharon when she visited the beautiful Emerald Isle.

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?

SKY: Welcome Sharon, thanks for joining me this week!

SHARON: It’s a pleasure to be here, Sky! What a fun party for a summer blog!

SKY: Tell me, what inspired you to create your hero’s character? Did he simply form as you wrote or had he been in your mind for some time?

SHARON: Sharon smiles wistfully as memories flutter through her heart. I was inspired to create the character of Rork while visiting the Emerald Isle a few years ago. With all its castles and rolling green hills, Ireland is truly a mystical and enchanting land. I can still hear the strumming of the harp floating across the countryside, its lyrical tone pulling at my heartstrings. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my passion for legend and lore. And when I learned the legend behind the claddagh, I knew I had to write a love story based on its magic.

The claddagh has a rich history dating back several centuries. It is said to bring the wearer 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. And like a mythical Greek God, the image of Rork appeared, taking shape in a very masculine way. Wink!

SKY: Like you, I’m enthralled with The Claddagh Ring (wear one) and the history behind it. I can already hear the passion you put into this story when you describe the ring and Emerald Isle. Give me a little insight into your hero’s personality. Is he cunning, aggressive, arrogant, kind, humorous─share all!

SHARON: LOL All of the above, actually. Rork has a wicked sense of humor. His boyish charm and off the wall remarks will captivate you. Whatever is on his mind rolls off his tongue in spades. But beneath all this charm is masked a dark secret, one that he is bound and determined to keep. He wears his hopelessly romantic heart on his sleeve, daring Meghan to deny his advances. But as the story unfolds, his dark secret threatens, and he is forced to open up to the woman who has won his heart. A reviewer referred to Rork’s personality as “enigmatic” while another said she was drawn in by his “mysterious nature”.

Here’s an excerpt of the first time Meghan and Rork met…

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."

SKY: He sounds wonderful-love that lilt! Turning up the temperature─Why are readers going to fall in love with your hero-lust for him?

SHARON: Rork has the face of a fallen angel. Dark, wavy hair, high cheekbones, full, sensual lips and midnight blue eyes that could melt an iceberg. But above all, he’s a hopeless romantic that wears his heart on his sleeve. He strums the strings of the harp with his long, slender fingers, drawing emotion with every cord. His lyrical voice steals hearts. Rork has a hauntingly bewitching way of seeing into the future with his hypnotic blue eyes, convinced the legend behind the claddagh is no blarney.

And as My Wild Irish Rose played, Meghan and Rork danced, their bodies gliding across the dance floor in perfect rhythm. Rork sang in her ear, the lilt in his voice sending chills through her entire body. “And my one wish has been…that some day I may win…the heart of my wild Irish Rose…”

As Rork’s arms tightened around her, the lyrics of the song seemed to crawl deeper and deeper inside her skin. Gazing into his hypnotic blue eyes, she thought perhaps St. Patrick had indeed bestowed his blessing into the Claddagh. Could Rork be her purpose? Finding love and friendship with a man who could sing like an angel?

On a romantic lilt, Rork ended the dance with a simple promenade around the floor, giving the couple the regal look of a king and queen. Staring into midnight blue eyes, Meghan’s heart danced a wild rhythm. When she finally came back down to earth, she was giddy with delight. And when they kissed, it was the kind of kiss dreams were made of. Meghan Shannon O’Malley had met her destiny.

SKY: Oh, how romantic and beautifully written! Thanks so much for visiting and sharing!

SHARON: My pleasure, Sky. Thanks for having me as your featured guest!

Watch a book trailer for The Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh Ring
2009 CAPA Nominee The Romance Studio
5 Heart Review
Reviewer: Jacquelyn Ward

This fast paced, fun book is full of inspiration and devotion. If you are looking for a book that is fun to read and yet will have your heart racing, try this book. It tugged at my heart and yet left me with a smile on my face and a good feeling about life. The characters are interesting people full of life and love. Their personalities jump at you from the pages. Rork’s mysteriousness will draw you in and keep you on your toes, while Meghan’s recent loss will garner your sympathy. This is one of those feel good books that you just can’t help but feel the need to read it in one sitting. I couldn’t put this book down. For me, this book is a keeper that I know I will return to when I need to put a smile on my face.

Rating: 5 Books
Reviewer: Snapdragon

A melancholy aura washes through the start of Donovan’s ""The Claddagh Ring." Evocative from the first line, true romantics will find their own heart touched, again and again. It's timely issue; timeless emotion. Bereft Meghan O'Malley decided, not without sorrow, to the past in the past. She takes up her pragmatic post behind the bar with every intention of being the mischievous barmaid, and sets up banter with her guests. This is- right up till the new band's lead singer, Rork, takes up a rendition of 'Danny Boy.' Rork has hypotic blue eyes...and reads the meaning of the Claddagh ring she wears, more accurately than she does herself. donovan fits an awful lot in a small package! Her characters feel. Her dialogue is plausible. The backdrop pull more emotion from the tale; from the plaintive strains of Danny Boy and the strumming harp to the hint of lavender, every sense is fed. With its heartfelt tone and endearing quality, this is an unabashed tear-jerking, heartwarming romance that wallows in emotion. I just love it.

WRDF Review of The Claddagh Ring By Sharon Donovan

O'Malley is still reeling from her the death of her beloved mother, when the last gift her gave her, leads her to someone who might be her true love. Rork McGuire is the lead singer in the band that performs at Meghan's Cafe, The Wild Irish Rose, during a St. Patrick's Day celebration. During a short break in the music, Rork and Meghan meet and are instantly drawn to each other. Rork notices the Claddagh Ring on Megan's finger. He recites the same passage that Meghan's mother recited when she gave Meghan the ring, a beautiful wish that the wearer will find love and friendship in the arms of her destiny.

As the couple falls head over heels for each other, Meghan discovers Rork has a huge secret. With the help of the world wide prayer chain and her faith in God, Meghn rushes to Ireland to help Rork. Will she get there in time?

This story reflects the beauty in God's Grace and the power of love and prayer to overcome insurmountable odds. Truly a great read.

Learn more about Sharon. Visit her Website and Blog

Contact Sharon at Sharonad@comcast.net

Can’t wait to read this story? Purchase The Claddagh Ring HERE.

Don’t forget, for a chance to win an Ecopy of The Claddagh Ring and a $6 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press, leave a comment by Friday, August 20th, 12 PM EST.

Thanks for popping in!



Beverly said...

Thanks for hosting and for the interview! I would love a chance to win! Please enter me. bsharp88@gmail.com

Sky Purington said...

You're entered, Beverly. Thanks so much for stopping in!

Hywela Lyn said...

What a lovely interview with two of my favourite people. Thank you for featuring Sharon in your fascinating series, Sky, and for an insight into The Ireland Sharon loves so much, and her wonderful, hunky hero.

I too, love the legend of the Claddagh ring (I'm wearing a Claddagh ring at the moment, sent to me by Sharon herself.) This is a truly beautiful, inspiring story. written by a remarkable, brave and hugely talented lady.

The lovely messages on her own blog since her hospitalization show how truly loved she is. Get well soon Sharon, dear friend. You are sorely missed.

Stacey Smith said...

I hope you get well soon.Your book sound like a great romance can't wait to read it.

Sky Purington said...

Hywela, you're one of my favorite people too. And yes, I agree, this story sounds spectacular. I can't wait to read it!

Oh, Sharon gave you your claddagh ring. What an amazing friendship you must share. :)

My parents gave me mine years ago. It has an Emerald embedded in the heart of it. Both my birth stone & a symbol of my first published trilogy. As you know, each claddagh ring in each story carries a different gem at its heart!True love at its best!

Sky Purington said...

Stacey, thank you for the kind words. I'm sure Sharon will pop in when she's feeling better and every prayer and well wish counts.

Chicks of Characterization said...

Wow, the Claddagh Ring sounds like a FABULOUS read!!! I loved, the excerpt drew me right in!! I am so sorry to hear that the author is in the hospital. My thoughts and prayers are with her!!! May the luck of the Irish be with her in her time of need!

Andrea :O)

Jill James said...

What a lovely interview and what an intriguing book. I can't wait to read this. Please enter me for a chance to win it.

Jaclyn Tracey said...

Hope you're on the mend. Your book sounds wonderful. Can't wait to get a copy and find out Rork's dark secret. I wish you the best with your book.
Feel better soon.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

I'll take Rork to go. lol He sounds wonderful. I could hear the Irish lilt as I read the excerpt.

Of course I love everything Irish. :) Ireland is simply enchanting.

My wedding ring is a claddagh and I've been married 25 years, I'd say there's a little magic there. :)

I'm so glad you hosted Sharon's interview and wish her a speedy recovery.

Please enter me in the contest, too. I'd love a trip to Ireland and Sharon's words will definitely send me there.


Lilly Gayle said...

Sky, Thanks for hosting Sharon's interview. I enjoyed it and the photos were beautiful. Please tell Sharon I'm sending prayers her way for a speedy recovery.

Sky Purington said...

Thank you so much, Andrea. This story does soound so very wonderful and I've little doubt the luck of the Irish is with Sharon at this very moment.

Sky Purington said...

Jill, thank you so much for stopping by. You're entered for a chance to win. :)

Sky Purington said...

Jaclyn, thanks so much for stopping by. You can't go wrong with anything written by Sharon. (((Hugs)))

Sky Purington said...

Karen, thank you so much for popping in. Thank you for your kind words. Ah yes, isn't the Claddagh Ring a magical thing? You are entered for a chance to win. :)

Sky Purington said...

Lilly, thank you so much for the prayers.

I know, aren't the pictures fabulous? Makes you feel as though you're right there in Ireland. Sharon has not only a talent with words but one with a camera as well is seems!

Debby said...

What a wonderful interview. I really enjoyed the pictures that went with it. I went to Ireland in July and it is so beautiful there. I hope Sharon is improving. thanks for the contest
debby236 at att dot net

M.Flagg said...

Hi Sky. Thanks for having Sharon here. She's a very gracious person and I wish her a speedy recovery. The Claddagh ring is one of the most romantic symbols of love, and Sharon's book sounds wonderful. The pictures are gorgeous!

Get well soon, Sharon. You're in my prayers. ~ Mickey

P.L. Parker said...

Loved the blurb and the story behind it. Sharon is in my prayers.

Debra St. John said...

Hi Sky,

I'm so glad you posted this interview. Sharon, we miss you. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Fabulous pictures. They take my breath away.


Beth Caudill said...

Great meeting scene. I hope Sharon gets better soon.

Sounds like a wonderful story.

jellybelly82158 said...

Hope Sharon gets well soon. Thanks for a great interview.
Please enter me in the contest

Cate Masters said...

Wonderful interview ladies! Who can resist a singing Irishman? *sigh* Sounds like an amazing story.
Sharon, sending you healing thoughts.

Sky Purington said...

Thanks for popping in and the kind words, Debby. Oh, wish I'd gone to Ireland in July. So jealous. :)

Sky Purington said...

Thank you so very much, Mickey. Sharon is extremely missed.

Sky Purington said...

Thanks for swinging & your prayers Patsy. I know, doesn't this story sound fabulous?

Sky Purington said...

Thank you, Debra. I intend to send all of these responses to Sharon the minute she's feeling better. She is well loved.

Sky Purington said...

Beth (((cyberhugs))) Thanks for stopping by & your kind words.

Sky Purington said...

Jellybelly, thank you for visiting. You're entered. :)

Sky Purington said...

I totally agree, Cate. And the song Danny Boy to boot! Absolutely perfect. Thanks for popping and & your kind words.

Mary Ricksen said...

Anyone who wins any of Sharon's books is happier for it!

Sharon come back to us...
and really soon please...

Carol L. said...

Oh, I think I love Rork already. :) I am definitely putting this on my TRL. I look forward to this read.
The pictures are beautiful.
Carol L.

Sky Purington said...

I second that, Mary! Thanks for popping in.

Sky Purington said...

Thanks for stopping by, Carol! :)))

Andrea I said...

I hope is feeling better soon. Those are beautiful pictures. I enjoyed the excerpt about the book. It looks like a great read.


Hywela Lyn said...

Beverly, Stacey and Andrea, thanks so much for your kind comments and good wishes. The Claddagh Ring is a lovely story and truly captures the spirit and romance of Ireland.
(My ring has an emerald stone too, Sky)

My apologies for being late with my comments. I have been popping in most days and leaving comments but Blogger seems to have eaten them! :)

Hywela Lyn said...

Jill, Jaclyn and Karen
Hi, good luck in the contests, The Cdagh Ring is certainly worth reading. Thanks also for your good wishes for Sharon. She has made good progress and I'm sure everyone's kind comments and well wishes will aid her recovery.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Debby, Mickey, Patsy, Debra and Beth. First of all I'm sure you'll all be happy to know Sharon is awake and talking, and being moved out of the I.C.U. Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes, they must surely have helped! I'm sure she'll be thrilled and touched to read your messages when she's stronger.

All Sharons books are beautifully written, she has a real way of 'painting with words' and The Claddagh ring will transport you to the Emerald Isle.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Debby, Mickey, Patsy, Debra and Beth. First of all I'm sure you'll all be happy to know Sharon is awake and talking, and being moved out of the I.C.U. Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes, they must surely have helped! I'm sure she'll be thrilled and touched to read your messages when she's stronger.

All Sharons books are beautifully written, she has a real way of 'painting with words' and The Claddagh ring will transport you to the Emerald Isle.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Julie and Cate, on Sharon's behalf I'd like to thank you for coming over to add your good wishes for her recovery. I hope you get to read the Claddagh Ring, it's a beautiful story and Rork is such a charming, hunky hero.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Mary and Carol

Thank you both for dropping in. Yes, the pictures are beautiful Carol, Sharon truly had an artists eye when she took those.

Mary dear friend, I know you'll want me to mention that you actually spoke to Sharon on the 'phone yesterday and she's full of fight and determination to get back on-line with all her friends again.

I'm posting updates on Sharon's blog as I get them. The link is: www.sharondonovan.blogspot.com
where you can also leave messages if you wish.

I'm also doing updates on my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HywelaLyn

Hywela Lyn said...

Thanks for popping in Andrea, yss it's a lovely book, and aren't those pictures beautiful!