“A Light Across the Lake” is now available for pre-order via Smashwords!

A Light Across the LakeHi, everyone. For several years, readers have been begging me to return to the world of the Opera Garnier and Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes with another tale of Erik and Claire. Well, for the third entry in my Pocketful of Stories, I have done just that.

Here’s the blurb:

Return to Paris’ glamorous Opera Garnier, and the world of the award-winning Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series! A Light Across the Lake is the tale of apprentice set builder Lucien Dubois, who is determined to see what lies in the fifth cellar. Will his exploration raise the ire of the infamous Opera Ghost?

This edition of Pocketful of Stories contains a sample chapter from In The Eye of The Beholder, the Phantom tale that started it all.

A Light Across the Lake is now available for pre-order via Smashwords, with other retailers following soon.  Click here to get your copy, for delivery on Dec. 21, 2018.

The Pocketful of Stories series is perfect for when you need a quick read for a break in  your day. Be sure to join my mailing list to get the first tale, Last Stop: Storyville, sent to you free of charge.


Music Monday: “We Gather Together”

Hi, everyone. I have seen numerous origin stories for this seasonal song of Thanksgiving, including that it is a Quaker hymn. I don’t know whether or not that’s so. I remember learning the first verse for an elementary school autumn program, so there’s that. Regardless, it is clearly a song of thanksgiving and praise, and so feels like it’s the right one to share this week. Please let your loved ones know that you are grateful for them when you gather for your meal this Thursday (it’s Thanksgiving Day in the US).

Sample Saturday: “Through the Opera Glass”

opera-glass-cover-2Today’s sample is in honor of the season; it’s Thanksgiving Day this Thursday in the U.S. Enjoy!

A Theme of Gratitude
Written November 19, 2012
Clever Fiction writing prompt: “I will be thankful …”

November 1943
San Francisco, California

Clarice opened her black-and-white composition book and picked up her newly-sharpened pencil. Mr. Adams had written the week’s theme on the blackboard, and all of the Presidio Elementary School students in his class bowed their heads in concentration as they wrote about gratitude.

Clarice’s pencil scratched a little as the words flowed onto the paper.


I am still a little confused about Thanksgiving. My mother is from France and did not grow up with it. My daddy grew up here, but his mother is from Ireland and they didn’t have it either. It feels like an excuse to eat too much food, and so many people are hungry with the war on. We are not having a big feast this year; Mommy and Grandma Kaye want to save the ration coupons for Christmas.

I am not confused about gratitude, though. I am grateful for all of the blessings I have. I have a home, and warm clothes. My daddy is not in the war; he says he remembers the first world war too well. I have friends, although I miss Grace Sakamoto. It’s hard to be fully thankful when my best friend is living at the Tanforan horse racing track because she and her family are Japanese. Grace has written me a few letters; she says that it is very hard there, but at least they are all together. Some of the big boys in the camp are joining the Army, Grace says, and their families are torn apart.

Mostly, I will be thankful for my grandmother, Claire, who died in France when I was very little. Mommy says I look like her, and that my attitude about being kind to people who are different from me is my inheritance from her. Claire loved horses and music, just like I do. I am glad that Mommy thinks I am like her. Claire came here with Beau-Père, Mommy’s stepfather, to start a new life. If they had not come from France, Mommy and Daddy would never have met and I would not be here to write this theme.


Clarice closed the copybook and walked it up to her teacher’s desk. She returned to her seat and looked out the window at the autumn fog that blanketed the city. There were blessings yet to count, but she’d done her part for the day.

Want your own copy of Through the Opera Glass?  Here are the book blurb and purchasing links:

Author Sharon E. Cathcart took up a challenge in 2012: to write flash fiction and full length short stories based on various prompts. Each story features one or more characters from In The Eye of The Beholder: A Novel of the Phantom of the Opera or its sequel, In The Eye of The Storm.

Brimming with historical detail, the stories in this collection range in place and time from 19th Century Persia to post-World War II San Francisco.

Through the Opera Glass is the 2014 runner-up for “Best Short Story Collection” in the eFestival of Words Independent Book Awards.

Amazon (click on this link to be taken automatically to the site for your country)

Apple Books

Barnes & Noble

Chapters Indigo (Canada)

FNAC (France)

Kobobooks (available for 2400 SuperPoints if you are part of the program)

Mondadori (Italy)


Thalia (Germany)


Weekend Reads: “Vortexes”

VortexesVortexes by Holly Barbo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had the pleasure of meeting author Holly Barbo during InDScribe 2018.

In this novel, Barbo draws not only on the history of 1930s Germany but also from today’s headlines to bring us a dystopian tale in which those who are of a different faith, have certain genetic ailments, or even make their living via art, journalism, and education are sent to reeducation “farms” or worse.

Emma Ando is a scientist working on a cure for diseases like Parkinson’s and Essential Tremor, the latter of which she has herself. Her refusal to use “undesirable” humans as experimental subjects puts her in the sites of the regime, and she is captured and tortured. As a resistance cell invades the research facility one night, she is fortunately and accidentally rescued … and now has to stay in hiding.

The titular Vortexes are art glass pieces through which Emma has discovered she can travel. In her new guise as Maya, she assists the resistance in using Vortexes to do their work.

This was often a hard book to read as I recognized the parallels to events both current and historical. Still, it was enjoyable and entertaining. Barbo has created a cautionary tale filled with people to care about and despise … and keep the readers turning pages. Well done.

View all my reviews

Music Monday: “Trouble”

Hi, everyone. It was a tough weekend here, with bad air quality due to fires in both Northern and Southern California. Plus, I had a hard Hashimoto’s flare yesterday and spent most of my time on the couch.

I thought it would be fun to share this scene from “King Creole” with all of you. The film is based on Harold Robbins’ novel, A Stone for Danny Fisher. Elvis Presley plays a singer who runs afoul of the mafia (in the novel, the main character is a boxer).