Telling Secrets of Donna Shields


Before we get to the fun I need to offer up a prayer that all goes well with my oldest daughter’s laser back surgery this morning.

God keep my baby safe and allow the doctor to operate successfully and heal her pain-filled back with this surgery, I pray. Amen

I am so very excited to have my critique partner, and an awesome writer, back on the Ranch! She’s here to share the grueling story behind her new release (it comes available tomorrow, June 6th!!!), Secrets of Jenkins Bridge.

Talk about a nightmare to publication! This books been through the wringers. J But it was well worth it by the wonderful end results. Beautiful cover, awesome premise and a breathtaking story!

I’ll let her take it from here, so please give a huge Ranch welcome to romantic suspense, and Soul Mate Publisher, author Donna Shields!

To begin, I want to thank Calisa for having me here today!

It’s my pleasure, Donna. Tell us the story behind the story. 🙂

Secrets of Jenkins Bridge is my baby. My first book I’d written. The one shelved for three years. How did it come about? I’ll start at the beginning.

In the Fall of 2006, I had just begun Pre-Med at the University of South Carolina Upstate after transferring from Greenville Tech (I had put in three years here on and off full time). I was so excited. My goal was to become a Pediatric Oncologist and had my sights set on the Medical University down in Charleston. Then, the first slam came. My daughter was expelled from school. With no family here, no true friends (they were back in CT), and really no one I could rely on to help, I had to quit going to school. (And yes I wanted to kick her butt. This wasn’t the first time).

Then, the second slam came. When I thought I could possibly go back, I was told by Financial Aid I had hit my limit on receiving loans (didn’t realize they had this). If I wanted to go back, I’d have to get a personal loan. (Fat chance of that happening).

I’ve always wanted to write a book, but really never had the time to sit down and do it. Since I had to stay home with my daughter (and yes, I tortured her with school work), I gave it a shot.

Fast forward to early 2008. I had finished the manuscript and edited it. I titled it Second Chance and got working on the query letter. I had one goal – to have it published with Harlequin for their Intrigue line. After all, they were like the top romance publishing company (as far as I was concerned).  And I read so many Intrigues, I thought I kind of knew what they were looking for. I sent out the query letter and within two weeks I had a response: they wanted the full manuscript. So, off I sent it practically hysterical someone wanted to read it.

Along came the third and fourth slams. I was rejected. And it killed me inside. I was crushed big time. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I went to Connecticut that summer as my aunt was dying only to come back to huge marital issues. I packed and returned to Connecticut for a full year. We reconciled and I returned to South Carolina. During that year, I didn’t touch my writing. Not knowing what I wanted to do or which direction my life should head in, I pulled Second Chance back out and reread the rejection letter. After all, it was detailed at least. And after reading over my manuscript, I realized the editor was completely right.

I began ripping it apart with the help of my newly found critique partners and discovered a diamond in the rough so to speak. I worked on it little by little as I worked on another book, The Swan Cove Murders, which was published by Soul Mate Publishing. Thanks to my critique partners, I renamed it Secret of Jenkins Bridge. I sent it to my editor and within two weeks said she loved it, wanted it, and sent me a contract for it.

Then, came the wait on the edits. First round went okay. Again, this was my baby so I was having some trouble with changes. Second round was even more excruciating. We had set a release date for December 18th and then January 25th. I couldn’t get the edits finished in time for both dates as I was working a full time job, with Christmas, more marital issues, and then the grandbaby (now 7 months old) and the daughter moved back in with us. Can you say UGH? (And yes, this is the same daughter).

Fast forward … My editor and I weren’t seeing eye to eye on the last couple of chapters. I had to stop editing and step back. I concentrated on my third book for a while. But, I knew my edits weren’t going to go away. I had to face it and put on my big girl’s pants. And I realized she was right. I set out and made the changes, rewriting the last couple of chapters per her suggestions. And guess what I found out? My editor rocks! Because the ending came out awesome.

And finally we have a release date! As a matter of fact, it’s tomorrow! And I’m so stinking excited that I’m giving away 2 copies to randomly drawn winners from the comments posted here today! You’ll receive a free copy of Secrets of Jenkins Bridge.


Hunting down a dangerous mob boss has brought FBI agent Mitchell Donovan home, reawakening an old flame, resurrecting a dead best friend, and discovering fatherhood. As if those aren’t enough, his new case will push everything else aside: finding the kidnappers who took the daughter he never knew he had.

Katherine Delaney never forgot the heartbreak Mitchell had caused with his abrupt departure all those years ago. With her dead ex-husband accused of murder and her daughter kidnapped, she will place her trust in the one man who could trample her heart again if she gets too close.  But, will the resurrection of Katherine’s ex-husband and Mitchell’s chase for a killer destroy their second chance at love and happiness?


Donna Shields grew up on romance and scary stories. With her love for suspense and the slightly unusual, she enjoys tying these elements together to create stories full of love, danger and the paranormal.

She lives in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, her children, and some great haunts. She’s a mom, a ‘gramma’, a wife, a friend, an avid reader and writer. When she’s not occupied with all that, she loves traveling to Playa del Carmen and Jamaica.

Here’s where you can find Donna and her books:

AVAILABLE NOW from Soul Mate Publishing: The Swan Cove Murders: Where the dead speak to her, danger finds her, and love saves her.
COMING JUNE 6TH: Secrets of Jenkins Bridge
Soul Mate Publishing
Soul Mate Authors Group Blog:

And there you have it! What a harrowing tale in itself. Lol But being one of those lucky critique partners Donna mentioned—I can readily vouch for this book. I enjoyed it from the first time I read it. Not only that one, but you’ll want to check out her Swan Cove Murders! Both from Soulmate Publishing and (as of tomorrow) both available now! Leave a comment for your chance to own a copy of Secrets of Jenkins Bridge!


About Calisa Rhose

I'm a mother of three daughters and wife to a wonderful man of 35+ years. I'm also an avid seamstress, polymer clay artisan and die-hard crafter, always coming up with things to make with, and for, my six granddaughters and two grandsons. Check out my craft site when you have a moment. I'm also a small online business owner of Okie fLips on Etsy and Poshmark (eBay/Merkari coming soon), and I'm a published author of sensual romance. I write about stubborn men and women who don't take no for an answer, and there's always that golden HEA. Cowboys and first responders are my favorite contemporary heroes to write about. My light paranormal heroes are strong men ready to protect their women--not that they need protecting, since they are capable of caring for themselves.

Posted on 06/05/2012, in Blog Tour, Promotion, Welcome and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. WooHoo!!! Congrats Ally and Leslie! You’ll enjoy this book!


  2. I’ve asked my son for two numbers. He’s looking at me dumbfounded as to why. He picked 2 and 6. So our winners are Leslie McFarland and Ally Broadfield. Contact me at and I will send over the gift codes to you and where to get your Secrets of Jenkins Bridge copies.


  3. Your story sounds intriguing, Donna, and there is a lot to be said for perseverance. Congrats on your success and may you have much more.

    God, Calisa, I thought you had escaped into a new month! So glad the surgery went well.


  4. melindabpierce

    Coming in late, but a huge congrats to my girl, Donna! I know you’ve worked so hard on this book and I’m so glad to see if finally pay off. 🙂


  5. Do we have a winner Donna? Don’t forget to add Darcy and Christine to the number count. 🙂


  6. That’s quite a story in itself! Congrats on your ‘almost’ release day 😉


  7. Sounds like a great story, Donna, and the thing that amazes me is how you persevered even though all this stuff kept happening in your personal life.Congratulations on achieving the goal of finally seeing your story in print.


  8. Beautiful cover and it sounds fabulous. Guess all those painful edits were worth it. Best of luck with this. I’ve added it to my out of control TBR mountain.


  9. I’m so sorry to Donna, Christine and Darcy! The wrong post posted and I didn’t catch it til you all had commented. If you don’t repost, don’t worry. You are still entered to win the copy of Secrets of Jenkins Bridge!


  10. What a journey, Donna. Isn’t it that much sweeter to realize your dreams after going through so much? Your book sounds incredible. Congratulations. Beautiful cover, too. Wishing you tons of success.

    Glad your daugter’s surgery went well, Calisa. Thank you for introducing us to Donna.


  11. Congrats Donna! and thanks for sharing your story. Love those covered bridges. The development next to mine has one over their entrance road. Wishing you many sales.
    And I’m glad to hear your daughter is doing okay, Calisa!


  12. Glad your daughter is recovering fine Calisa. I’m so excited to be here!


  13. Leslie McFarland

    So glad to hear your daughter came through surgery well. After having two back surgeries that didn’t go well, I feel for her pain.

    Donna, Secrets of Jenkins Bridge sounds like a great story. I love romance suspense. Will it be available on Amazon for me to download right away? lol What can I say books are my life. Congrat’s on both of your books and I hope they do very well.


  14. Thank you Ceri. My daughter came through with flying colors!

    I’m so happy to have Donna here today!


  15. First of all, Calisa, I hope your daughter came through surgery okay. I wish her a speedy recovery. Donna, I adore your cover! Got lots of covered bridges like that around my home here in NH. Sounds like you’ve had quite a life, but have made it through every challenge. That’s awesome! As a fellow HQN rejectee I know how those letters can make you think. Looking forward to reading your stories!


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