Author’s Inspiration: “Through the Opera Glass”

Opera Glass AlternateHi, everyone. I hope you’re all doing well in the new year. I know, I know; it’s early days yet.

Anyway, it’s time for another look into the inspiration for my work. In the case of Through the Opera Glass, I have to admit that it was a little bit of frustration. By the time I started the project, I had begun In The Eye of The Storm three times and just wasn’t happy with any of them. I hadn’t discarded any of the drafts permanently, just put them aside.

I decided that I needed to work on something else entirely. So, I started looking at writing prompts on the internet and decided that I would do at least one story per week using characters from the Phantom books to try to jog loose my writing block.

In the process, I came up with two new characters: Samuel, and Clarice. I realized that they were the two missing links that the story needed. In the mean while, I wrote more than 50 stories, ranging in length from the smallest drabble to a full-on, self-contained tale, in my own Phantom universe.

The book was nominated by an unknown party, to whom I am forever grateful, to the eFestival of Books award program in the Best Short Fiction Collection category. I was runner-up, which means that this was my first award-winning book.

Want your own copy of Through the Opera Glass? Here are the back cover copy 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)

Love’s Sweet Arrow

Mondadori (Italy)

Overdrive (via your local library)




Author’s Inspiration: “The Rock Star in the Mirror”

layout 3Back in 2012, I got the idea for a story about a guy with aspirations of being a rock star.  The catch was that he’d be taking advice from a favorite musician … who could be seen only by him. Thus, The Rock Star in the Mirror (Or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life) was born.

As I started to flesh out the story, I realized that I wanted to set it in some of the places where I spent a lot of time as a child growing up in Oregon. Because my brother rode a lot of motocross races, we were often in a location called Brown’s Camp, in the Tillamook National Forest. So, I used the coastal town of Rockaway and Brown’s Camp as my primary settings.

I decided that the impetus for Joe, the main character, would be impressing a woman, Lynnie. I gave Lynnie a crush on my favorite musician, David Bowie, and things rolled from there. I also drew on my experience in the music business.

Things do not go at all well for Joe in the course of the book, despite him achieving his ambition of becoming a rock star. He rapidly finds out that all is not as it seems from the outside.

rsitmaudiosmall_The book was a double-nominee in the Global eBook Awards, and ably brought to life as an audiobook by narrator Matt Haynes.

When David Bowie passed away in 2016, I realized that this book was also a letter of gratitude to him. I remain immensely proud of this work.

Want your own copy of The Rock Star in the Mirror (Or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life)? Here are the back cover copy and the purchase links.

Joe is a small-town Oregon guy. He’s madly in love with Lynnie … who has a huge crush on David Bowie. Joe will do almost anything to get Lynnie’s attention, but there are always consequences.

Amazon (Geo-targeted link will take you to the store for your country/region)

Apple Books


Barnes & Noble

FNAC (France)

Kobobooks (Also available for 2400 Superpoints)

Mondadori (Italy)

Overdrive (Via your local library)





Author’s Inspiration: “Some Brief Advice for Indie Authors”

Brief Advice - NEWHi, everyone. I’m feeling much better today, for which I am infinitely grateful. I have a full weekend ahead, including seeing a production of “Waitress” tomorrow, and it’s nice to feel more like myself.

This week, the inspiration behind the book was pretty simple. I had a Goodreads blog for many years before I established this one, which now feeds over. Several friends suggested I make a compendium of the most popular writing advice posts and present it as an eBook. So, I did just that and Some Brief Advice for Indie Authors was born. Because the blog was free to read, I didn’t think it would be right to charge for the eBook. So, the title is permafree on Smashwords (click through to get your copy).

Author’s Inspiration: “Around the World in 80 Pages”

ATW80P - NEWHi, everyone. This week, I’ll share the story behind the stories in Around the World in 80 Pages, which is permafree on Smashwords.

I had 10 short stories, each written about a different era and location, that I put together in a collection. Each story has a different origin.

“Heart of Stone” was my first attempt at urban fantasy. In this story, a lonely young woman finds herself confiding in the stone gargoyle on her apartment building’s roof … and then learns that he is listening.

“No Eyes But Mine Shall See” is written from the perspective of Gilbert Rochambeau, one of the characters in the Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series. This tale was originally written for one of the Bestseller Bound anthologies, and was eventually incorporated into In The Eye of The Storm.

“Oh Joy, Oh Rapture” was written, for lack of a better way to put it, on a dare. Several of us from the Bestseller Bound group had agreed to do one, but I was the only one who came through. It’s an end-times tale with a twist.

“Betrayed by a Kiss” is the only vampire tale I’m ever going to write. So now you know.

“Counting Blessings Along the Horseshoe Canyon” was inspired by my visit to the petroglyphs of New Mexico. The tale is about an unhappy woman migrating from the East with her husband.

“A Cutting Observation” was inspired by my anthropology studies, as a female scientist goes to investigate a newly discovered group of indigenous people and finds herself getting deeper into their lives than she anticipates.

“Ghost of a Chance” is one of my favorite stories in the book. A long-time friend asked me to put him in one of my stories as a soldier in Kitchener’s army, and I obliged.

“Gaul is Divided” was inspired by a single phrase that popped into my head: “Today, she cries without reason.” It’s the story of a well-to-do Roman girl given into a political marriage that she doesn’t want … until she meets her bridegroom.

“The Scribe of Rashid” was inspired by my time volunteering in the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. I taught the history of scribes and writing, culminating with discussion of the Rosetta Stone. I decided to put myself into the head of the scribe who was chosen to make the stela, and this story was the result.

Finally, we have “Lonely Man in a New Town.” This one was inspired by someone I knew many years ago. Any time life didn’t go exactly as he thought it should, he would find a job in a new place and move away. I have it on good authority that he still does the same thing today! Anyway, the point of the story is that our problems come with us, no matter where we live.

I hope you’ll take a moment to get your own copy of these short stories. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Author’s Inspiration: “2010 Hindsight”

Hindsight - NEWHi, everyone. I’m feeling quite a bit better, but still coughing a lot. I’m staying home from a lot of social obligations, and possibly even a concert tomorrow, because I don’t want to distract people around me with my barking!

Anyway, this week I want to talk about the inspiration behind another memoir/essay book, 2010 Hindsight: A Year of Personal Growth, In Spite of Myself.

2010 was the year I gave myself a set of challenges: take more exercise, and learn French cookery. I was struggling to write the next fictional work, and fell back on my role as a journalist/essayist by writing about some of the things I experienced in the process of doing those things. Each chapter covered a month in the year. I shared resources, emotional upsets, and more.

I hadn’t yet been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, so some of the challenges I faced were made even more difficult — and there was no way for me to know it when I published this work.

If you would like your own copy of 2010 Hindsight, here are the purchase links and back cover copy:

Author Sharon E. Cathcart started 2010 with two resolutions: take more exercise and learn French cookery. Instead, she found herself on a journey of personal growth as she rose to unanticipated challenges.

Amazon (click through to the store for your country/region)

Apple Books

Barnes & Noble

Fnac (France)

Kobobooks (also available for 2400 SuperPoints)

Mondadori (Italy)

Overdrive (via your local library)