Sharon E. Cathcart's Blog
February 19, 2018
I had the good fortune to participate in each of these books, published by Thinking Ink Press as charity projects. A percentage of royalties from each volume has been donated to library systems in San Jose, Calif., Dixon, Calif., and Modesto, Calif., thusfar.
I’m in exceptionally good company on these anthologies as well, sharing space with the likes of Harry Turtledove, Lillian Csernica, A.J. Sikes, Kirsten Weiss, Anthony Francis, T.E. MacArthur, and more.
My stories in each volume are as follows; please click through on the book titles to purchase.
Twelve Hours Later
The premise in the first book sets the tone for the rest of the series: two stories, each 12 hours apart. Fans of Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes will be particularly interested in this volume, as we return to the Opéra Garnier in Nous Sommes Deux Heures and Nous Sommes Quatorze Heurs (2 AM and 2 PM, respectively). Apprentice woodworker Lucien Dubois is determined to learn more about the opera house in which he works … and his curiosity takes him to the fifth basement, where he finds far more than he bargained for.
Thirty Days Later
This time, we enter the world of Les Misérables with Two Days in June, Parts 1 and 2. Long-time friends Jean-Claude and Henri plot their place in the June Rebellion of 1832, while their lady friends face their own challenges.
Some Time Later
Flowers of London and Flowers of Paris introduce charming rogue Thaddeus Flowers, would-be inventor. Thad takes us on a trip to the Electrical Exhibition in London and to the opening of the Eiffel Tower in Paris … where he also encounters a masked genius who until recently lived beneath the city’s elegant opera house.
Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the reason that Japanese-American citizens like actor-activist George Takei and his family were taken to live in concentration camps. Before the camps were built, many Japanese-Americans had to live in the stables at race tracks. One of them, Tanforan (which is now a shopping center), is only 45 minutes from where I live.
Yes, on average, people (esp. women) did tend to marry far younger than they do today, and it wasn’t after years of dating and cohabiting. People “knew their place,” and as such understood the importance of settling down sooner rather than later, and courting or dating with marriage in mind.
Once again, I’ll be combining the challenge with Music Monday.
Your Opinion of Love Never Dies
Frankly, it’s complicated. I hate the source material, Frederick Forsyth’s Phantom of Manhattan, with the flaming passion of a thousand white-hot suns. To this day, it remains the only book I’ve ever thrown across the room in disgust.
On the other hand, the voice in my head that said “If you think you’re so much better than the gifted novelist who wrote The Odessa File and Day of the Jackal, why don’t you write your own Phantom book?” resulted in In The Eye of The Beholder. So.
I bought the cast album and, honestly, thought its performers were far better than much of the material, especially the leads (Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess). There were a couple of songs that I liked, but that was as far as it went. Then, the Australian production was filmed; they put the songs in a different order and suddenly the plot was more coherent. I still wasn’t crazy about it, to be honest; we saw it in our local theatre, so I had something to go on. Still, it made better sense than the original version.
We have tickets to see the show as part of our theatre season next month, and I am trying very hard to reserve judgment. This is, after all, the show I’ve been calling Paint Never Dries for quite a while.
With all of this in mind, here is one of the two songs I thought stood out from the show: Ramin Karimloo’s “‘Til I Hear You Sing.”
February 18, 2018
Well, we’re in the home stretch of this 30th anniversary celebration. Let’s see what today brings:
Favorite Phantom-related YouTube video
I suspect that many people have never seen this, to be honest. Before mounting the original production, Andrew Lloyd Weber created a couple of promotional videos with songs he’d completed. This is the original version of “Phantom of the Opera,” performed by Steve Harley, lead vocalist of Cockney Rebel, and Sarah Brightman.
February 17, 2018
Today’s sample is from my award-winning short fiction collection, Through the Opera Glass. I chose it in honor of Chinese Lunar New Year; the Year of the Earth Dog started yesterday.
Veronique is the daughter of Erik LeMaître, the Phantom of the Opera. If you would like to know how she and Samuel met, please read last year’s Lunar New Year post at this link.
A Letter from the Mine Country
Written May 14, 2012
Clever Fiction writing prompt: Bandana/Carousing/Copper
February 4, 1917
Gong xi fa cai, little sister! May this year of the Red Fire Snake bring you much luck. As you may well imagine, there was little enough carousing here; we are constantly busy.
Let me tell you a bit about what my life is like here at the copper mine. I am one of the fortunate ones, for it is my job to look for the ore. They don’t trust a “Chinaman” to handle the chemicals that draw the metal from the stone … and I am glad of it. I bring the stones out of the ground, as do many others, and then the stone is crushed, and treated with sulfur until the metal comes out. Then, the copper can be smelted. I have a colorful bandana that I pull up over my nose and mouth when I have to go by the sulfur pit; you would laugh to see me. I look like some kind of bandit.
[image error]Once the copper is smelted, it’s made into bullets so that our soldiers can kill people they’ve never seen. If you sense, dear sister, that I am bitter, you are correct. I will never understand man’s propensity for violence to man.
The land is beautiful here in California’s foothills, but the work is hard. I am too tired to go into Angel’s Camp, let alone as far as Stockton, to buy the things I need. We are fortunate that the Copper Consolidated Mining Company has its own store, although goods are dear; we are able to have credit there until pay day, at which time I like to joke that we give the company its money back.
I need to stop writing for now; lamp oil is very dear indeed and there is no electricity in my cabin here.
When you write back, will you tell me how Veronique is doing? I have not heard from her in some time.
Samuel (Song) Lee
Ming returned the letter to its envelope and pinched the bridge of her nose. Her brother was still in love with Veronique after all of this time. How could it be? She was the reason that he lived so far away; it had been the only way to keep both of them safe.
She opened her lap desk and took out a piece of stationery and a pen. She had to tell him the truth.
Dearest Brother Samuel:
Gong xi fa cai to you as well. I smiled to myself when I thought of my educated brother looking like a bandit.
As for Veronique, I have some news that may upset you …
Don’t forget, today is the last day to get the eBook omnibus edition of my entire Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series for only $2.50 (less than the price of one of the novels). Visit Smashwords at this link and enter coupon code WF95F at checkout.
Okay, I had to go looking in order to find something to fit this day of the challenge. This is Charles Dance, in the Yeston/Koppit production.
February 16, 2018
Sadly, I was unable to find video of my absolute favorite, in which Ciaran Hinds talks about asking Joel Schumacher what part of Hinds’ CV convinced Schumacher that he could sing.
I am, however, rather fond of this interview with Gerard Butler regarding the deformity makeup in the 2004 film.
I am now at the stage of the ‘flu where I have no voice. It seemed appropriate to choose this book to share with all of you.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was one of several optional books in a historical fiction course I took a few years ago, and the only one I didn’t get around to reading until now. Honestly, that’s a shame. This is a well-researched and entertaining work.
The book’s narrator is Anna Frith, a young widow in the village of Eyam, England. It’s 1666, and she’s taken in a boarder named George Viccars, a tailor by trade. He has brought some beautiful cloth from London, and people are flocking to have clothing made from it. He’s in love with Anna and is planning to propose to her when he breaks out in the buboes that give bubonic plague its name. As he’s dying, he tells Anna to burn the clothing people have not yet picked up, but she is reluctant to do so without the recipients’ permission.
Of course, none of them are willing to burn the costly new garments … and so the plague spreads to Eyam. The minister, Michael Mompellion, eventually announces that they will basically wall off the village by setting boundaries that no one, insider or outsider, may cross. Supplies will be left at a boundary stone, as will messages and payments for various good. It is his hope that this will contain the disease.
The majority of characters are based on historical personages, and the incidents described are historically accurate. We get an inside look at epidemiology in the days before antibiotics (bubonic plague, though rare, still exists but is treatable).
Said characters are complicated, relatable, and believable. Highly recommended for admirers of well-executed historical fiction.