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SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Angels and Dark Angels, Heaven and the Underworld

Many of you know the journey I took to become a writer. We’d driven home from a day in San Francisco. It was a beautiful March day, like we get so often here. No rain. Blue skies and big white clouds. We opted for a simple dinner and so I was munching on a salad when I heard a buzzing sound I’d never heard before. Coming up the steps, there was no smoke, so my husband thought the smoke detector was defective, and bat it down with a broom handle. We went back to our meal. Then we smelled smoke.

It never occurred to us our lives would be so changed that evening. Coming up the stairway, looking into our bedroom, I saw my rose-colored leather recliner was on fire. A perfect circle of fire was on the back, like the hand of God had touched it. Within seconds, it ignited the curtains, then snaked along the ceiling and a thick black smoke rolled toward us like a tidal wave. We knew that toxic cloud wasn’t going to be healthy so we went downstairs to get buckets of water, but when we returned, the entire top floor was ablaze. 

I was in my nightie, barefoot. We called the Fire Department and they were here within 12 minutes, along with 4 other engines and a crew of men in case our fire traveled up the hill and spread to neighboring properties. I sat on the steps and watched as everything in the upstairs was destroyed, the downstairs was covered with water and carpets to protect some of the furniture. They expected our floor to cave in any minute. My husband drank a beer and smoked one of his Cuban cigars he’d rescued from the refrigerator. I was finishing my salad. It was surreal.

The road to coming back was long and arduous. Our bank was being taken over by the Feds, the County wasn’t sure they’d let us rebuild, our insurance company wasn’t giving us the money to redesign a new home or start construction. It took us 18 months before we could get cooperation from the parties to even start.

In the meantime, I lived in a little apartment and for the first time in over 35 years, was alone, since my husband stayed up on the property in a trailer to help with our animals, and to stop the steady flow of people who “stopped by” to give us a quote and then helped themselves to our things, I guess thinking we wouldn’t mind.

In short, I felt violated on so many levels. All my great grandmother’s jewelry, her delicious collection of amber and jade were gone. The box my other great great grandmother brought over with her when she was 14, lovingly made by her father in Scotland, who never saw her again, was gone. Her braid, which was exactly my hair color, was gone. Lizzy, her doll was gone. Pictures the kids had made. Oil paintings we’d bought all over the world were gone. Our computers looked like something from a Dali painting. Here and there something miraculous would be untouched, but 97% of what was upstairs was gone.

Initially, I did the staying up late to watch TV movies, since I didn’t have to worry about keeping anyone up but myself. I read Outlander and then read it again. Then I read the Twilight series. I began to have vivid dreams of angels, guardian angels, and I slowly began to believe that instead of being incredibly unlucky, in fact, we were very lucky. We survived. We learned to cope and do things we’d never had to do before.

And I began to write.

I am a bit on the obsessive side of the scale. I sat down on December 15, 2008 and by January 15, 2009 I had written 90,000 words, and my first novel. I learned later that was a phenomenal amount of words. But then I didn’t know. My story didn’t have a villain, didn’t have much of a story arc, except I began to think about what it would be like if a Guardian Angel fell in love with the person they were supposed to watch over. Would they be tempted to let themselves be known? Would they want to connect? Would they be banished from Heaven? I rewrote that story 57 times. No, that one didn’t get trashed like you hear writers talk about. This one came from my soul, and I could never stop working on it until it was perfect. It became Heavenly Lover, my first book. My second book, Underworld Lover, came to me before I finished the first one. And just now, I have released the third book in the series, Underworld Queen. I continued on with many of the characters so that the villain in Book 1 is the hero in Book 2. The villainess in Book 2 is the heroine in Book 3. Everyone gets a chance to transform, to fall in love with their true love, to have their happily ever after. Everyone has a shot at redemption.

The basis premise is this: Heaven isn’t 100% perfect by design. The Underworld isn’t 100% evil by accident. Humans walk the fence between the two. It’s not a religious book, but there is a good vs. evil theme, which is actually the same theme throughout all my books, paranormal or SEALs.

As I begin a new year, and look at my schedule and what books I want to finish or write this year, I have to remember that sometimes the greatest things that happen to me are just that: things that happen. Not things I planned at all. Or perhaps the better way of saying it is that I plan, adjust, based on what I’m given. Dealing with life on life’s terms. Doesn’t do any good to cry over what I’ve lost. I’m also not blonde, 20 years old and a supermodel with an unlimited income.

But I do possess the miracle of being able to take tragedy and make stories out of them. To feel. To be sad some days for sure, but then to rejoice in the little things, like meeting a blue jay that used to greet me every morning at breakfast outside the kitchen window. Writing all night long if I felt like it. Watching my grandkids play and sing, and yes, to have my granddaughter want me to help her write a book. She’s 4. Isn’t that also a miracle.

So, in 2015 I profess to obtaining and keeping my miracle glasses on 24/7. I’ve learned I can survive. If we’d lost it all I would have survived. And the other true miracle is that my stories will last forever.



This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. That was an inspiring story Sharon. I love the never give up and go for your dreams message. I'm trying to start over too and you give me hope that I too can succeed. I'm so happy you started writing because your books help me escape into unknown worlds when I read them. I hope you have continued success. Here's wishing you a great week and a fantastic new year.

  2. What an amazing journey you have traveled. Your journey has made you strong and wise. A wiser man than me once said, "Be open to everything and attached to nothing". When we have free will we are able to choose and create the life we were meant to have. Many people would have fallen from all that you have been through but you turned tragedy into opportunity. And maybe the blue jay is really your guardian angel checking in on you. So thankful that you shared this story and how inspirational it is. So thankful that you became not just a writer but the kind of writer who gives us hope, love, redemption and happily ever after. We need that. I need that. I think the world needs that. I know this will be your greatest year ever! How do I know that? Because I know things about people. Sending you love from Nashville. Here's to a happy, healthy and successful new year!

  3. The Chinese believe things happen for a purpose good or bad. Really enjoyed your post,know what it's like to have your life change in a blink of an eye

  4. TERRI, nothing could be sweeter for an author to hear. Thank you so much, my friend. We're all in this together and my writing has been even more blessed because of all the connections I've made all over the world.

  5. Ah, coming from one so talented, this means a lot to me, J.D. I do believe that adversity makes us stronger, more interesting, gives us choices and makes us make choices and take risks we wouldn't have taken otherwise. I'd still be a Realtor if the fire hadn't happened. But I'm so much happier now…Thanks for being on this journey with me.

  6. Thank you for making my day better. You brighten up my Sunday's with these posts and some days I'm touched more than others
    This is one of those days
    You inspire me

  7. Karen, nothing is more thrilling than to hear those words, "you inspire me." As an author, that is my job. Whether it's writing books, or writing about writing, or just writing about life, I love the connections we get to make. These blog posts are always more personal to me, and that is my goal, to give a little part of me.

    Life is a series of journeys. There's a little bit of me in every character of every book. There's a little bit of you, the reader in every character and book as well. And your stories, and how your heart is touched. Truly this artform we call novel writing is a totally collaborative effort. I wouldn't be here without you. My stories wouldn't either. Thanks so much, my friend.

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