Sharon E. Cathcart's Blog
October 21, 2016
Continuing with this month’s theme of women’s roles through history, I want to share another brilliant book with all of you. Here is my review of Equal of the Sun.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I first heard of this book when I attended a presentation at which the author spoke. I was fascinated by the woman she described: Pari Khan Khanoum was a princess of the Persian empire during the 16th Century. A contemporary of Elizabeth I, she was likewise well educated, intelligent — and ambitious.
Equal of the Sun is told through the eyes of Pari Khan’s fictional vizier, a eunuch called Javaher. Through his words, we learn of the politics, religion and intrigue of the Persian court under the Safavi dynasty.
The book was entertaining, well-written and well-researched. I found myself wanting to put aside other duties in order to read more about the fascinating characters, factions and situations described by the author!
I think that many readers in today’s environment of Islamophobia would find themselves surprised and better educated about the faith as a result of reading this book. Historical fiction can often be a gateway to better understanding, and this book is no exception.
October 20, 2016
Source: The Big Five US Trade Book Publishers Merken
October 19, 2016
As this week is the 27th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, it seemed only fitting to write about the 1906 earthquake that devastated so much of San Francisco.
In In The Eye of The Storm, Claire and her family are living in San Francisco when the earthquake occurs. Claire, her daughter Veronique, and their neighbor go to the Presidio of San Francisco, where they live in an earthquake cottage until they can safely return to their Cow Hollow home.
UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
In one scene, they are helping serve so-called “earthquake stew” to some of their fellow refugees. This was an actual dish, primarily made from vegetables, that the refugees made in large pots to share. I’ve had the dish, and it’s not bad. It’s among the recipes found in The Refugee’s Cookbook, which you can see in its entirety here.
Click through for some excellent suggestions.
Looking for the perfect title for your story? Not easy to do. 17 fiction writing experts offer tricks and inspiration how to come up with intriguing titles.
October 18, 2016
It’s time for Rocktober Surprise #2. As I mentioned in a previous post, I used to be in the music business; we referred to October as Rocktober back then. I wrote a memoir about those days, entitled You Had to Be There: Three Years of Mayhem and Bad Decisions in the Portland Music Scene.
Here’s a snippet of the text to whet your appetite:
My first exposure to the Portland music scene came when I did something completely out of character for me. It was December 1980, and I skipped school to go downtown for a John Lennon memorial in the aftermath of his murder. A local band called The Malchicks was playing and, honest to God, I thought the lead singer was the most beautiful man I had ever seen. His name was Billy Rancher, and I am sure that my parents grew mightily sick of hearing about him. Of course, I was in huge trouble for ditching school, but I didn’t care. I was a senior with very good grades, knew I would graduate — and had just gotten a tiny taste of the world I hoped to inhabit.
Via Wikimedia Commons
At about the same time, along came something new: MTV. (Yep, I’m old enough to remember when MTV played music videos and nothing else). Suddenly, I was hearing a whole different sound. Consider that the most popular bands among my classmates were Van Halen and Blue Oyster Cult. Now, suddenly I was listening to The Yachts, Brahm Tchaikovsky, Human League. It was like a whole new world opened up to me.
I’m working on re-issuing this book in the coming months under a new title (and with a new cover), although the content will remain the same. As my second Rocktober surprise, you can download the eBook edition for free through October 31, 2016, by visiting this link and entering coupon code MH64E at checkout. Thanks, as always, for being such great fans!
October 17, 2016
Excellent analysis here. How are your first sentences?
We all know that the first sentence or two in a novel needs to, not only grab a reader’s attention, but flip them out of bed, melt them into their recliners, or make them forget the lasagne in the oven.
Like you, I’ve written so many first lines for my novels, I could add them up and the page count would be the same as the novel itself.
They, editors, agents, writing experts say:
Make it more engaging.
Don’t start with dialogue and (read more) …
So, let’s say, we finally think our first line of the entire novel kicks butt. We breathe. All good, right?
How are the last sentences of the first chapter, the seventh or thirty-seventh?
Let’s say the endings of your chapters follow “the rules” and beg the reader to continue on. In other words, we’ve got them hooked.
Here’s another point. Let’s say our readers close the book at the…
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As many of you doubtless know, Bob Dylan was honored for his lyrics with the Nobel Prize for Literature. I found this interesting; it’s the first time a musician has been honored in this fashion.
I also find it interesting because I generally prefer Bob Dylan’s songs when other people perform them! For Music Monday this week, I present my favorite of Dylan’s songs as sung by him (“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”), and my favorite as performed by someone else (“The Times They Are A-changin’,” by Peter, Paul & Mary). Enjoy!
My friend and fellow author Lillian Csernica has a new book coming out!
by Lillian Csernica on October 16, 2016
Today is a very exciting day for me!
After the Happily Ever After: a collection of fractured fairy tales is a massive anthology that features more than seventy stories that transform the well-known and strange fables into sweeter, darker, and more fantastical tales. These certainly aren’t the stories we grew up with.
October 16, 2016
Today, I thought I would share a reading I did on Lori Osterman’s Blog Talk Radio program back in 2009. This is the author’s note, and chapter 1, from In The Eye of The Beholder. Enjoy!