Sample Saturday: “In The Eye of The Beholder”

Hi, everyone. Today’s snippet is from my debut novel. Part of the award-winning Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series, In The Eye of The Beholder is available free of charge on Smashwords for the entire month of July.


iteotb“You like beautiful things,” he whispered.

“Of course,” I responded in surprise. “Most people do.”

“Then how can you bear to look on me,” he responded, still whispering. As the carriage moved away, he opened the drape to let the light in and reveal his unmasked face to me.

The left side of his face, his entire mouth, and jaw … all were so handsome that they would take the breath away from an angel. The right side, though, was discolored and twisted. A port wine birthmark discolored skin so thin and fragile that lumps of misshapen bone and delicate blue veins could be seen through it. His left eye was fringed with thick black lashes; the right was barely lidded and sunken in the socket, but was the same soul-filled green-gold as its twin. The right side of his nose was also damaged, the soft nare non-existent.

“Look on this monster, and tell me again how you care more for the soul than the face,” he said in a ragged voice.

Sample Saturday, A Day Late: “Two Days in June”

The Paris June Rebellion started 190 years ago today, led by a group of students from the Sorbonne. The next day it was over. Had author Victor Hugo not been caught behind the barricades, we might never have known about it; it was the inspiration for Les Misérables.

Please enjoy this snippet from my own work, which was inspired by Hugo’s novel.


Two Days in June V2“A toast to fallen comrades, my friends. General Lamarque has gone to his reward.”

Grantaire drains Bahorel’s glass and smacks his lips in satisfaction as he returns it to his dismayed companion.

“What do you know of the funeral plans?” Combeferre inquires. “Surely there will be a procession, with catafalque and all.”

“Indeed,” Feuilly joins in. “The people of Paris will want to pay their respects.”

“We must find out.” Enjolras speaks with authority. “For we may well use this somber occasion to make a change for the better, all over France.”

Grantaire sees the familiar light in his friend’s eye and shakes his head.

“Innkeeper,” he calls out genially. “More of your wine, and good meat pies, for all. Plotting has ever been hungry work.”

With that, he throws some coins on the table. The innkeeper’s daughter snatches them up when she brings the requested items, barely acknowledging Grantaire as she slaps greasy trays on tables.

And so it is that the night wears on, in discussion of weapons, gunpowder and treason. Revolution has ever been thus.


Want your own copy of Two Days in June? Here are the cover copy and purchase links:

Starvation. Fear.

Fighting in the streets.

It’s June 1832, and Paris is once again at war. The students of the Sorbonne rise up against those in power, believing that right and the people are on their side.

But King Louis-Philippe has other plans.

Read Two Days in June, the latest edition of Pocketful of Stories, and enter the world of Les Misérables.

Just 99 cents USD (or equivalent) at these fine booksellers:

Amazon (geo-targeted link); Angus & Robertson (Australia); Apple Books; Barnes & Noble; BOL (Netherlands); Booktopia (Australia); Chapters Indigo (Canada); Fnac (France); Kobobooks (available for 2400 SuperPoints); La Feltrinelli (Italy); Librerías Gandhi (Mexico); Livraria Cultura (Brazil); Mondadori (Italy); Overdrive (via your local library); Porrúa (Mexico); Rakuten Japan; Smashwords


And, finally, a bonus track in honor of the occasion.

 

Sample Saturday: “Rose in Bloom”

Hi, everyone. Rose in Bloom is with a beta reader; I’m sure there will be some tweaks to come, but I hope to release the novella soon. As always, this snippet is from a draft that may well change. Enjoy!


Rose in BloomI poured the lemonade, a little surprised that I didn’t spill any. My hands trembled, which was utterly ridiculous.

He was just the gardener, for crying out loud … and I’d be gone in, what was it now, five months? Dimples … and a gorgeous mouth … and six-pack abs … shouldn’t make me so weak in the knees.

“I’ll fix us some sandwiches,” I said, trying to break the tension.

“Do you need help,” Gareth asked.

“No, you finish up out here; I’ll bring the lunch when it’s ready.” The idea of being in close quarters with him was more than I was ready to handle.

I came back outside with a stack of sandwiches and a more calm demeanor. We sat down to eat, and things seemed normal again.

Gareth asked about my book, and I talked about the romance novel I was writing … and the lay-off that had put me in a position to take this time away to live in Wisteria Cottage while I worked on it. I felt as though I were talking with a dear old friend, and the questions he asked when he found out I was writing a romance were intelligent and far from the condescension I’d come to expect from dates who called my hobby “Mommy porn.”

Sample Saturday: “Rose in Bloom”

Rose in BloomHi, everyone. Today’s sample is from my WIP, Rose in Bloom. As always, this is an early draft and the details may change. Enjoy!
—–

It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. I told him about how I’d wanted to be like Aunt Susan. About how I was taught that being sensible and practical was the answer to everything. About how miserable I’d been for so many years. I even confessed how I’d hated every minute of business school when what I’d really wanted was to study literature and writing.

“I mean, I was good at it,” I finished, tears coursing down my cheeks. “Really good at it. And I had what most people would call a successful career. But I was so unhappy.”

After kissing my tears away, Gareth told me about growing up in Wales. About how work was hard to come by in Swansea and that he relied on his musical abilities to obtain scholarships so he could go away to school and not be another mouth to feed. About how he came to London for work, and how Bronwen moved to the Downs when Timothy had a chance to buy a pub called The Plough — a chance he was told about by Katherine Tremaine. About how Bronwen had sold the pub to another family when Timothy became too ill to work anymore. And a little bit about how he’d fallen in love a long time ago with the wrong woman and stopped cutting his hair after he broke off with her.

Then, he said something surprising. 

“I feel kind of sorry for your mum, Rosie. Something must have made her very unhappy, to make her tell a small child that she shouldn’t play dress-up or pretend. Every child should do that. Maybe you should ask her.”

“Why?”

“Because people always do things for a reason, even if they don’t clearly understand it at the time.” He kissed my forehead. “At least you know why you did the things you did, even though they hurt.”

Sample Saturday: “His Beloved Infidel”

infidelHi, everyone. I wanted a seasonal snippet for today’s sample, which comes from my inter-ethnic romance novella, His Beloved Infidel. Enjoy!


The institute’s teachers and students celebrated Valentine’s Day with a party on February 13, since the school would be closed on the actual holiday Wednesday. Catherine had slipped little cards into each colleague’s box and given gifts to her students.

In Farukh’s box, she left a beautifully wrapped antique French translation of Rumi that she had found at one of the bouquinistes’ stalls near her flat. Whenever she thought of Farukh reciting those poems to her, she melted inside.

For his part, Farukh had put a ticket to the opera in a card for her, with a note reading “I have the other one. Please join me for ‘Madama Butterfly’ at the Opéra Garnier.”

The ticket was for a performance on March 21, which was No Ruz: Persian new year. That he wanted to spend such an important date with her spoke volumes.

—–

Want your own copy of His Beloved Infidel? Here are the back cover copy and purchase links.

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.

Amazon (geo-targeted link takes you to the store for your country); Angus & Robertson (Australia); Apple Books; Barnes & Noble; BOL (Netherlands); Booktopia (Australia); Chapters Indigo (Canada); FNAC (France); Historical Fiction Company; Kobobooks (available for 2400 SuperPoints if you are part of the program); Mondadori (Italy); Librerías Gandhi (Mexico); Livraria Cultura (Brazil); Love’s Sweet Arrow; Overdrive (via your local library); Rakuten Japan; Scribd; Smashwords.