Sharon E. Cathcart's Blog

September 20, 2014

In The Eye of The Storm  A Novel of the Phantom of the Opera by Sharon E. Cathcart

Shortly after we arrived in San Francisco, Maman received a package from Zareh that made her weep; it was Papa’s opera, “Don Juan Triumphant.” Zareh had gone back to the opera house, he explained, knowing that some of Papa’s belongings were still there. He took the score with him then, and wanted Maman to have it “for Erik’s girl.” There, in Papa’s own untidy hand, was the most astonishing composition I had ever seen. This was nothing like the Czerny, Dvorak or Haydn works I had played at many a recital; it was a work of absolute genius. I ran for my violin, and played a few measures; the melody made my blood race.

“Please, Maman. You have to talk to Madame Ellis. I must play this piece at the next recital evening,” I begged.
Maman eventually relented, and I pored over the score until I found just the piece I wanted to play. Madame Ellis found it confusing when I showed it to her; she had never seen its like either. Despite what she called the “unknown composer” (I had explained that it was my papa, but she dismissed that as “a child’s fancy,” for in her mind no modern composer could have created the work), she gave her blessing to present the new composition.

I played the piece constantly in preparation for the next performance. Maman and Beau-Père sat proudly in the recital room when I performed, but I could not help noticing the expressions on the faces of the other parents as well as my fellow students. They were not very well prepared for Papa’s unusual piece, and the applause was polite despite what I knew to be a perfect performance. Only Maman, Beau-Père, Mrs. Kaye and Michael were truly enthusiastic.

After we returned home, I went upstairs and got ready for bed. I was upset and frustrated; I had hoped that people would recognize my papa’s brilliance. Maman sat on the edge of the bed and talked with me for a long time. The opera had only been performed once, under duress on the part of the theatre’s managers, and the sophisticated Parisian audience had not really known what to make of it either. It was clear that Maman expected no more from a group of American parents who were there primarily to hear their own child’s performance, no matter how mediocre.

“It’s unfair, though,” I protested.

“Of course it is, ma petite. Unfortunately, you will find that many things in life are unfair.”

She hugged me tightly, which took me by surprise. For as long as I could remember, Maman had been just a little distant with me, especially by comparison to Papa, our Rom family, and even Beau-Père.

“Your father would have been very proud of you tonight,” she whispered. “Beau-Père and I certainly are.”

I could have asked for no higher praise.
 •  flag
like  • 
Published on September 20, 2014 08:50

September 6, 2014

The Rock Star in the Mirror (or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life) by Sharon E. Cathcart

Hey, everyone! I'm giving away a free download code for the audiobook edition of "The Rock Star in the Mirror."

Check it out here:
 •  flag
like  • 
Published on September 06, 2014 06:49 • 37 views

August 30, 2014

Clytie's Caller by Sharon E. Cathcart Clytie's Caller by Sharon E. Cathcart

Now available in eBook and audiobook editions via your favorite retailer. Enjoy!

Only one person seemed to notice Clytie’s discomfort: a physician named Samuel Whittington. A cousin of Isabel’s, he had recently resigned his Army commission and worked with his fellow veterans of the Napoleonic Wars. He was lean and handsome, with dark hair and brown eyes, and many a young woman had set her cap for the dashing doctor.

When he saw Archie and Isabel chatting with Clytie, Samuel sought an introduction … and noticed Clytie’s tension ratchet up all the further.

“I must go,” she choked out, and ran out the door with Susan at her heels.

“You’ll have to excuse my sister,” Archie apologized. “She does not do well at routs any more.”

Samuel shook his head. “Not at all. I’ve seen that look on many a soldier’s face. It’s as though she has battle fatigue. Tell me, has she stopped doing things she used to enjoy?”

“Why, yes!” Archie was surprised. “She keeps to her rooms, reading her books. She used to love balls and dinner parties, but not any more.”

“Introduce me to your parents, Mister Preston. I think I may be able to help that a lovely sister of yours.”

So it was that Doctor Whittington was welcomed to call at the Preston townhouse.
 •  flag
like  • 
Published on August 30, 2014 08:32 • 25 views

August 28, 2014

Clytie's Caller by Sharon E. Cathcart

The audiobook edition of "Clytie's Caller" is now available. Stevie Zimmerman's narration of my Regency romance is perfect.

Check it out here:
 •  flag
like  • 
Published on August 28, 2014 05:59 • 28 views

August 26, 2014

The Rock Star in the Mirror (or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life) by Sharon E. Cathcart

My first audiobook is now available! Narrated by the wonderful Matt Haynes, "The Rock Star in the Mirror (or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life)" has been brought alive!

Check it out here:
 •  flag
like  • 
Published on August 26, 2014 16:03 • 25 views

August 24, 2014

That's right, friends: Through the Opera Glass was runner-up for Best Short Story Collection in this year's eFestival of Words Independent Book Awards.

My sincere thanks to those who organized the festival, the nominating committee, and to all who voted. I am honored.
 •  flag
1 like · like  • 
Published on August 24, 2014 12:18 • 31 views

August 16, 2014

Les Pensees Dangereuses by Sharon E. Cathcart

Old coping skills remembered ... (Blog, 3/14/05)

As I was working on the kitchen (not where I wanted it but certainly better, and the dishwasher is burbling merrily away), I remembered some things I hadn't thought about in a while.

Some things that I learned when I had a complete nervous breakdown. (For those of you new to my blog or my life, it happened in 1996 and I still have some residual issues from it, including some agoraphobia).

Things I hadn't thought about in a while ... like "even if it's small, do something." By this, I mean take a small action. If the whole picture of a task is overwhelming, break it into individual steps and do the first one. Most of the time, taking the first step creates enough inertia to do some more. But at least take the first step. If that's enough for today, that's enough for today.

Celebrate small victories. You left the house when you felt scared to do so. You went somewhere alone: someplace you wanted to go. Rather than stay at home when you couldn't find a companion, you went. Hurray for you!

Admit that you need some help. See a counselor (doing that). Take meds if you need 'em (primarily sleep issues; meds are periodic at this point).

Be grateful for the wonderful people who love you. Be grateful for the abundance you have; believe it or not, Mom was right when she told you there were people out there worse off than yourself. Every time I'm frustrated by the state of my house, I consider that there are people with no house over which to be frustrated ... and I tackle one more little chore.

If you have too much stuff, give some of it away. Jeff and I are planning another enormous donation to the library where our friend works: a little municipal library without much in the way of fancy collections but with a great deal of gratitude for every book given to them. For us, this serves the multipurpose distinction of helping the library and its constituents, but also opening up shelf space for my horse collection ... which then opens up floor space in the office/computer room.

Most of all, damn it, celebrate the things you did accomplish rather than looking around and crying about all of the stuff you didn't get done. I'm not saying you should be like Pollyanna and play the "glad game,” but sometimes looking at everything you didn't do makes it harder to get up and do some more.

I've been through hell lately; I won't pretend otherwise. Much of it was outside my locus of control; believe me, if I could "fix" Le Petit General, I would. But I can control one thing: my office doesn't own my soul or my spirit , and I am a better person than to allow them to keep me down. I'll fix what I can (look for another job while I continue to do my excellent work) and realize that, no matter what they think, I'm better than that.
 •  flag
1 like · like  • 
Published on August 16, 2014 06:42 • 42 views

August 9, 2014

Through the Opera Glass by Sharon E. Cathcart

Untitled Vignette
Written January 18, 2012
Clever Fiction Writing Prompt: Grateful/Stranded/Dream

Gilbert awoke and looked around the bedroom in the cozy Avignon farmhouse. The little iron-framed bed covered in a warm boutis quilt. The pitcher and ewer on a stand. The armoire.

Oh, God in Heaven, Claire. His precious, widowed Claire.

His Claire. Asleep in his arms. In her bed.

It was no dream.

Gilbert had been like one stranded when Honor died of typhus. He remembered his long-ago promise to Erik, to come to Claire if she needed him. Claire had not asked for him, and he did not know whether he was welcome. Instead, Gilbert wrote to Antoinette Giry that he was returning to Paris. She had helped him prepare for this journey, and he was eternally grateful.

He stroked his dark bronze Van Dyke beard, which Claire had sworn to shave away after that kiss in her garden because it tickled. He brushed his lips across her forehead and vowed to strop the razor himself.
 •  flag
like  • 
Published on August 09, 2014 16:04 • 13 views

August 3, 2014

Hi, everyone. This will be the fifth year (inclusive) in which I've participated in Smashwords' annual Summer/Winter Promotion.

This year, I made all titles free for the duration of the event. I had a total of 80 transactions, many of which were for multiple sales. Here's how it all fell out.

For non-fiction titles:

Les Pensees Dangereuses - 3
You Had to Be There: Three Years of Mayhem and Bad Decisions in the Portland Music Scene - 3
2010 Hindsight: A Year of Personal Growth, In Spite of Myself - 1

For fiction titles:

Clytie's Caller - 29 (the clear leader this year)
His Beloved Infidel - 9
Brief Interludes - 10
The Rock Star in the Mirror - 6
In The Eye of The Beholder: A Novel of The Phantom of the Opera - 8
In The Eye of The Storm: A Novel of the Phantom of the Opera - 23 (second place)
Through the Opera Glass - 12

Total number of books bought during the event: 101

Thanks, as always, to both new and returning readers for participating.
 •  flag
like  • 
Published on August 03, 2014 06:56 • 48 views

July 26, 2014

You Had to Be There   Three Years of Mayhem and Bad Decisions in the Portland Music Scene by Sharon E. Cathcart

To me, music must have three elements: rhythm, melody and harmony. I played piano, violin and guitar, and also sang (choir and theatre). I had a grounding in classical music as a result, and a correspondingly particular ear. As I’ve said before, my taste is eclectic; I’ll give just about anything a listen in order to formulate an opinion. Hardcore, thrash, et al., were not my cup of tea.

I loved David Bowie, Roxy Music, Human League; in other words, the “art school” performers. It was one of the things that made me such a fan of Theatre of Sheep. I liked the more cerebral sound.

At the same time, I liked a good dance band like Billy Rancher’s, the mod and rockabilly resurgence coming out of Europe, some pure pop mainstream acts like The Police; it was hard to put my taste into one simple box.

One of the bands I heard at the Met was a trio called The Van Goghs. They had an edgy, mod sound and I liked them a lot. I approached their manager about doing an interview that I would pitch as a freelancer to Two Louies, the local music paper. He and the band were amenable, so I wrote it up and gave it to them for a fact check.

What came from that interview was my first gig as a publicist. (You knew I’d get to the business part eventually, right?)

(Don't forget: "You Had to Be There" is available free of charge in all eBook formats with coupon SW100 through July 31 at this link: )
 •  flag
like  • 
Published on July 26, 2014 07:40 • 38 views