Sample Saturday: In The Eye of The Beholder

25908261Hi, everyone.  Today’s sample is a little different from usual.  This is from a broadcast a few years ago, in which I read the first chapter of In The Eye of The Beholder to the program’s listeners.  Enjoy!


Want your own copy of In The Eye of The Beholder?  Here are the book blurb and purchasing links.

When French equestrian Claire Delacroix loses her fiancé in a tragic accident, she comes to live at the Paris Opera during its 1890s heyday. Life is not easy for a woman in fin de siècle France, where her rights are determined by a male guardian. Claire, both intelligent and independent, chafes under the strictures of her time.

Whilst working at the opera, she meets a mysterious, masked stranger: Erik. Is it possible that the two of them will heal the pain of each other’s past?

Updated for 2015 with glossaries of equestrian terms and French words used in the text.

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Sample Saturday: In The Eye of The Storm

Eye Of The Storm Cover_revisedThe dormer room had been Veronique’s when the family first came to San Francisco, although it had been redecorated many times over the years. In a place of pride was a famous Rochambeau portrait of Clarice’s maternal grandmother, done in Fauvist style. Claire Rochambeau had been the artist’s model and muse, and Clarice had always been curious about this glamorous grandmother whom she had never met.

Mommy called the Rochambeau paintings the family legacy. Their occasional sale had helped keep the family afloat during the Great Depression and through the war years, although there was also money from a mysterious grandfather. Mommy’s father, who died when she was just a little girl, had made careful investments abroad that still brought an income all of these years later.

Clarice sometimes tried to imagine what life had been like for Claire, the grandmother for whom she was named. She often wished that Claire were here to talk with; somehow it would have been easier to talk with an artist’s model about the crush she had on Jimmy Aaron, her classmate — and how much she wished he would ask her to a dance or even give her his fraternity pin. He was the captain of the football team: the Big Man on Campus. Every girl wanted Jimmy Aaron’s pin. Or maybe even about Billy Wakefield, the boy at the stables where Clarice took riding lessons in Golden Gate Park. She couldn’t imagine talking about Jimmy or Billy with Mommy, but she could talk to Claire’s portrait and almost imagine the responses. Claire’s face was serene under the cloud of astonishingly blue hair; Gilbert Rochambeau was one of the earliest Fauvists, and this little canvas was said to be the first of many studies he completed with Grand-mère.

Want your own copy of In The Eye of The Storm?  Here are the book blurb and purchasing links.

San Francisco, 1948

When a mysterious stranger approaches Clarice Kaye in her favorite restaurant, his words trigger a voyage of discovery: “You look just like your grandmother, but you have your mother’s eyes.”

There was only one question in Clarice’s mind: how could he know?

Armed with family diaries that tell of the scandalous grandmother for whom she was named, Clarice embarks on a journey through Paris’ modern art movement, 1906 San Francisco, and the depths of the Opéra Garnier in this long-awaited sequel to In The Eye of The Beholder.

In The Eye of The Storm is the 2015 Silver Medal Winner for Best Fan Fiction in the Global eBook Awards.

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Sample Saturday: It Happened in Memphis

Hi, everyone  I’m a little late with today’s sample, but I figured you would all forgive me.  This is one of the short pieces in my current WIP, It Happened in Memphis and Other Stories.  As always, this is an early draft and the final version may be different.  Enjoy!


Shotgun Wedding

It Happened in Memphis“Dammit, boy, I always figured you for the sensible one,” Riley stormed on the other end of the telephone.

“There’s a baby coming,” Amos replied. “I can’t just do nothing.”

“Getting married to a woman you’ve known only a little more than a year is insane, little brother. That’s all I’m saying.”

“Well, I think you’re wrong. Kelly’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’ve met her people and they’re fine folks. She’s been out to Mommy’s, and got along just fine.”

“Mommy tells a different story, Amos.” Riley’s voice was serious. “She says that everyone made polite noises because they’ve got home training … but that after you all left there were many conversations. I don’t think she’s the right girl for you.”

“Riley, at the end of the day you don’t have to marry Kelly, sleep with Kelly, or even like Kelly. But she’s my choice, and we’re getting married this afternoon in front of a judge. I won’t abandon the woman I love … or my child.”

“Ye gods, Amos. No one said anything about abandonment either. In case you haven’t noticed, no one is required to get married in order to have a child.”

“I think you’re bitter over your divorce, Riley. And, I think maybe you’re just a little jealous.” Amos ran his fingers through his unruly black hair. He kept thinking he’d grow it out long again, but then that job offer had come from the Chicago law firm. He needed to look like a businessman, not a damn-fool musician.

“You’ve gone too far, Amos. That was uncalled for. You’re right, though; it’s your life. And your funeral. I can’t put my finger on why, but I think you’re making an enormous mistake.”

“Oh god … please don’t throw ‘the family gift’ up at me. I already had it from Tante Julie.”

“If Miss Julie couldn’t make you see sense, Amos, there’s no hope for you. You’ve always been her favorite, and I don’t begrudge you that. The gift is strongest in her, and if you don’t want to pay attention, I can’t help you.” Riley’s voice had changed from angry to resigned.

“I wish you’d give me your good wishes,” Amos said quietly. He and his brother didn’t talk very often because of Riley’s travels, which was one of Amos’ greatest regrets.

“I will wish you luck, brother. It’s the best I can do. I need to go now. I love you, couillon.”

“I’ll take that in the spirit it’s intended, Riley. Love you, too.”

Amos hung up the phone and shook his head. Maybe he was crazy … but he was in love. Plus, he’d always been taught to take responsibility for situations he created, and that was definitely the case where Kelly Carpenter’s baby was concerned.

He took his suit jacket off the back of the kitchen chair and went out into the living room where Miss Julie waited.

“Well, auntie, let’s go get me married off,” he said quietly.

Julie thought he looked more like a man heading to his own execution than a man in love, but she kept her own counsel on the matter. Amos was an adult, and it wasn’t for her to interfere in his free will choices. She’d said her piece, and that was all that anyone could do.

Sample Saturday: Through the Opera Glass
via MaxPixel

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
Copperopolis, California

Dearest Ming:
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.

operaOnce 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.

Your brother,
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.

Sample Saturday: His Beloved Infidel

31432511The first time they visited a quiet jazz club after dinner, Farukh surprised Catherine by taking her in his arms for a dance. When asked, he confessed to taking ballroom lessons when he was studying at Oxford. Gliding around the floor in Farukh’s arms while a woman sang “La Vie en Rose” was an unexpected pleasure as well, for Catherine was far more accustomed to dancing with her friends at the Marais’ noisy clubs than she was to this kind of elegant pastime.

Farukh remained circumspect at all times; he would occasionally come in for coffee or tea after an outing, but left after a short while … and always with only that kiss on the cheek. His upbringing could not be denied; proprieties must be observed.

Catherine, to her surprise, found that she wanted more. Farukh was intelligent, well-read and well-educated; that in and of itself drew her to him. But his smile, his rich laughter … those impossibly beautiful chocolate-brown eyes …

Catherine had never been a daydreamer before, but she thought of Farukh often … and about his dancing in particular. She knew how his body moved, and it was not difficult to imagine other ways that it might do so.

Back cover copy:

Farukh and Catherine are colleagues at Paris’ World Language Institute. He is Persian; she is American. Can their newly-discovered love survive the strain of Iran’s Islamic Revolution?

Author Sharon E. Cathcart (“In The Eye of The Beholder,” “Through the Opera Glass”) presents her first tale of inter-ethnic romance. Set against the backdrop of real-world events, Cathcart tells the story of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events.

Want to know more about Farukh and Catherine?  Get your copy of His Beloved Infidel from one of these fine retailers:

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