Sample Saturday: “Pompeii Fire”

Hi, everyone. Today’s snippet comes from my work-in-progress, Pompeii Fire. As always, the caveat is that this is an early draft and the final version may differ. Enjoy!


After the cornu signaled the next event, Drusilla excused herself and left the arena. Stephanus had come down from the editor’s box, and interrupted her as she tried to leave.

“You are not wearing a new dress, Drusilla. You have also not accepted my invitation to sit at my side during the banquet tonight. Why is that?”

“I gave the material to Claudia; as you may know, she has a neglectful husband. As for the banquet, I am feeling indisposed and will not be in attendance.”

Stephanus took hold of Drusilla’s upper arm and squeezed. “Those fabrics were a gift to you.”

“Yes, and since they were mine, I did with them as I pleased.”

Stephanus leaned closer and growled into her ear. “Your ingratitude angers me, Drusilla. Remember, your father is in my debt.”

“Let go of me, Stephanus. I am not yours to command.”

Sample Saturday, with a Bonus Track: “It Happened in Memphis”

It Happened in MemphisHi, everyone. Today’s sample is from the eponymous tale in Volume 7 of my Pocketful of Stories series. It Happened in Memphis is a collection of short stories about the earliest days of rock and roll. The selection was inspired by PowerPop Blog’s article about Wanda Jackson. There’s a bonus track at the end. Enjoy!


“Wow! You look like Wanda Jackson or somebody. Gorgeous!” Harvard Chastain actually wolf-whistled when Evie came out of the hotel room.

She’d really gotten into the spirit for their visit to Sun Records; Tante Julie made a fit-and-flare dress, complete with stiff crinolines, in a turquoise print for the occasion. Evie wore it with matching flats and a short white cardigan. Her dark hair was tied up with a white ribbon in a high ponytail that reached to the middle of her back; she’d even found a white and turquoise purse in one of Diana’s favorite vintage shops to finish off the outfit. Her cousin Jimmy’s girlfriend, Cindy, helped her with black eyeliner winged out in doe eyes and red lipstick that made her look like she’d stepped right out of a 1950s fashion magazine.

“Keep your hair on, couillon,” Jimmy teased. “I know for a fact that her daddy knows how to use a shotgun.”
Evie’s cheeks were beet red with embarrassment.

“Lay off, you guys,” Diana said.

To their credit, everyone had behaved themselves after that. Harv had to remind himself that his classmate was just fifteen. He’d been surprised when Evie’s parents invited him along to Memphis; like Evie, he loved old music.

Amos maneuvered the van down a narrow alley into the parking lot behind Sun Studio. The energy in the car was palpable; everyone was looking forward to the tour.

“I think you look pretty as a basket of flowers, baby girl,” Amos said as they got out of the car and Evie smoothed her skirt.

“Thank you, Daddy. Can you take my picture in front of Jerry Lee?” A big image of the piano player hung next to the studio’s back door.


Here’s a bonus track by Wanda Jackson, “Let’s Have a Party.”


Want your own copy of It Happened in Memphis? Back cover copy and purchase links:

Evie Boudreaux has a knack for seeing history in action. Why? Because she sees ghosts. Come along on a visit to Tupelo and Memphis, and see the earliest days of rock music through Evie’s eyes! Buy It Happened in Memphis, Pocketful of Stories No. 7, today!

Angus & Robertson (Australia); Amazon (geo-targeted link will take you to your country’s website); Apple BooksBarnes & Noble; BOL (Belgium & Netherlands); Booktopia (Australia); Chapters Indigo (Canada); Fnac (France); Kobobooks (available for 2400 SuperPoints); La Feltrinelli (Italy); Librerias Gandhi (Mexico); Livraria Cultura (Brazil); Mondadori (Italy); Porrua (Mexico); Rakuten JapanRakuten Overdrive (via your local library); Scribd; SmashwordsWalmart.

Sample Saturday: “His Beloved Infidel”

infidelHi, everyone. The Persian new year, No Ruz (there are numerous alternate spellings), coincides with the spring equinox. Among the traditions are wearing a new suit of clothes, eating certain foods, and jumping over fire. In honor of No Ruz, here is a snippet from my first inter-ethnic romance novella, His Beloved Infidel. Enjoy!


March 21, 1979
No Ruz

Farukh inspected his new tuxedo one more time; the final fitting had been just that afternoon, in a shop on the Champs-Elysées. Before that, he had stopped at Cartier; the signature red box he’d collected there sat atop the dresser. He looked at himself in the mirror again, this time with a critical eye. There was one more thing that must be done before going to the opera, he decided, and went out the door rubbing his chin.

~~~

Catherine examined herself critically in the mirror; the dress was even more perfect than she had expected. Her hair was pulled up in a French twist, and jewels sparkled at her ears. A quick touch of perfume behind her ears, and then she picked up her evening coat and handbag. Farukh had sent a car for her, and the driver was waiting on the street. It was time.

~~~
Farukh stood at the center level of the Opéra Garnier’s grand staircase and shot the cuffs of his shirt. He saw Catherine the moment she came in. She slipped off a black velvet coat to reveal an elegant, bias-cut dress of dusty rose satin. It had a simple, draped neckline, but when she turned around he saw that it was open to her waist in the back, with a pleat at the center creating a flowing train. It was the kind of thing a movie star would have worn in the 1930s; she was stunning.

As she continued to look around, Farukh realized that she could not pick him out of the sea of men in white tie and tails — not from that far away. He stepped down the marble stairs as she continued to look around.

“My khanum,” he said as he came up behind her.


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 & NobleFNAC (France); Kobobooks (available for 2400 SuperPoints if you are part of the program); La Feltrinelli (Italy); Librerías Gandhi (Mexico); Livraria Cultura (Brazil); Rakuten Japan; Scribd; Smashwords.

Sample Saturday: “Bayou Fire”

Hi, everyone. Today’s sample is from my multi-award winning historical paranormal, Bayou Fire. At the end, you’ll find a link to obtain a free eBook edition. The promotion ends today, so don’t wait!


smartmockups_khewgcr0New Orleans
1824

The first time Evangeline DuPre laid eyes on Alcide Devereaux, she was eight years old. Her parents always insisted that she come down from the nursery with her governess, Monette Dumonde, to say her goodnights to guests at their balls. So, with her red hair curled in ringlets and wearing a pink dress covered in fashionable slashes and puffs, she would do her duty.

Alcide was eighteen years old and at the cotillion out of a duty of his own. As the third son, he was destined for the Church … unless he could get away, which he planned to do that very night. Still, all three Devereaux boys were expected to show up at the marriage mart balls.

Unbeknownst to their mother Jeannette, Alcide’s older brothers, Antoine and Alexandre, also visited the Blue Ribbon quadroon balls. Antoine was already negotiating a plaçage for a pretty young woman, Natalie. Their father Edouard, of course, had his own placée, Heloise … who had so far been barren.

Alcide found the whole thing a little distasteful, but recognized the necessity. He was more than a little amused at how the eight-year-old daughter of the house was already being trotted out to show her hostess manners.

“Good night, monsieur,” the little girl said, looking up at him. Alcide was well over six feet tall, literally head and shoulders above most of the men present.

“What is your name, petite,” he asked.

“I am called Evangeline, And you?”

“I am called Alcide. Good night, Mademoiselle Evangeline.” He bowed, his dark eyes twinkling as he tried not to laugh at the whole display.

After Monette escorted Evangeline back to the nursery and supervised her prayers, she was taken aback when the little girl announced that, when she was grown, she wanted to marry Alcide Devereaux.

Monette thought for a moment about how to respond.

“He’s a grown-up man already, and you are a little girl yet. Many things can happen between now and the time you debut. I don’t think we need to worry tonight about who you will marry.”

She tucked the girl in and took the lamp to her own room. Evangeline was definitely too young to hear about how Alcide would soon enough be a priest. And what a wicked waste that was, too; a boy that handsome had no business going for the Church.


Back cover copy:

Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of BAYOU FIRE?

Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans.

Bayou Fire has received the InD’Tale Magazine Crowned Heart, the AuthorsDB Silver Medal for Cover Design, and the Chill With a Book Readers’ Award.

Free through midnight, March 13, via Smashwords. Click here to obtain an eBook version for your preferred reader.

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Sample Saturday: “Around the World in 80 Pages”

atw80pHi, everyone. Today’s sample is from “Heart of Stone,” one of the stories in Around the World in 80 Pages. This book is permafree on Smashwords (click through to get your copy). Enjoy!


It is their job to watch.

From high above, in many cities, stone-gray eyes gaze out on the horizon. From the rooftops, they survey their domain.
They watch, and sometimes they protect. Theophilus thought that was the most important part of the job: to protect.

He had, in fact, protected the building where he lived since the day it opened. He had watched residents come and go, even pass away. He was a part of the landscape to them, always watching from a corner of the roof.

He was posed much like Rodin’s famous “Thinker,” his chin on the back of his hand. His wings spanned out from a back carved to show rippling muscle. Some might have thought Theophilus was a stone angel, but those wings were smooth and bat-like.
Theophilus was a gargoyle.

One of those whom he watched was a young woman. She was the one who had called him Theophilus; before that, he had no name.

She came up to the roof one summer morning to read her book and drink her Jamba Juice. She had already brought a lawn chair, some cushions and a small table, carving out a tiny space for herself. She arranged her furniture near Theophilus, taking her time to find the best light by which to read. She put her juice and book on the table and came over to the wall, gazing out over the horizon.

Placing a gentle hand on one of his carved wings, she gave Theophilus his name and said she would always feel safe with him there.

Eventually, he learned her name. She answered her cell phone by saying “Hello, this is Anna.”

Anna had reddish brown hair that reminded Theophilus of warm bricks and blue eyes that made him think of clear summer skies. He came to know her step on the stairs and wished he could smile to show how glad he was for her presence.

“Hello, Theophilus,” she always greeted him as she settled in with her book and juice. “It’s another beautiful day in the city.”
If it was rainy or too windy, Anna did not come to the roof. She stayed indoors, while Theophilus watched.