Music Monday: “Eye of The Tiger”

We’re halfway through our countdown of the 10 most uplifting songs. At number 5 is “Eye of The Tiger,” by Survivor.



Blogging from A to Z: L is for Limehouse

AtoZ2019tenthAnn“What’s wrong with her?”

“I don’t know yet, my friend.”

“I don’t want to be apart from her when she’s unwell. She …” I sat down in a chair and dropped my face into my hands. “She loves me regardless, and I need to be with her. I’ll take her home.”

“What on earth do you mean by that, sir? ‘She loves me regardless’ is a strong statement.”

With that, I reached behind my head and undid the mask, revealing my face to the doctor. His eyes widened with interest as I tied the mask back in place.

“She loves me in spite of this hideous face. I would die for her, and every pain that she feels is my own.”

“I’ll call on her tomorrow at your home if you’ll give me an address. For now, she really must be kept quiet.”

I called for my carriage and delivered Claire to our home. Then, reverting to a pattern I had long thought behind me, I had Michael take me to the Chinatown at Limehouse, where I sought out the arms of Morpheus in an opium den. — Excerpt from In The Eye of The Beholder

Limehouse Basin, 2006. Photo by Tarquin Binary CC BY-SA 2.5 (

Limehouse is a district of London near what is now referred to as the Docklands. It’s name comes from the lime oasts, or lime ovens, that were operated by pottery makers in the area during the 14th century.

Because it had better access to London by river (the land route was marshy), Limehouse was part of an active maritime center on the Thames. As such, it also had active rope-making, chandlery, and shipbuilding communities.  The wharves were a place where casual seafaring labor could be picked up, including sailors from China, the Arab world (the Lascars), and Africa’s Guinea Coast.

A large Chinese community sprung up in Limehouse during the late 19th Century, and the area became notorious for the number of opium dens there.

Are you enjoying this series so far? Intrigued enough that you would like your own copy of In The Eye of The Beholder? Here are the blurb and purchasing links.

ITEOTB Wrap Cover frtWhen 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.



Amazon (This link will automatically click through to the correct site for your country)

Apple Books

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Better World Books

Blackwells (UK)

Booktopia (Australia)

Book Depository

Chapters Indigo (Canada)

FNAC (France)



Mondadori (Italy)


Thalia (Germany)

The Ripped Bodice


Weekend Reads: “The Age of Bowie”

The Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of DifferenceThe Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of Difference by Paul Morley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book slowly. I savored it over two months. I loved it, and I didn’t want it to end.

Rock journalist Paul Morley not only writes a loving biography of David Bowie, but interweaves it with a chronicle of his own fandom. In the process he looks at Bowie as a consummate performer and self-marketing guru, but also at Bowie’s effects on culture.

The book is not a gossipy, superficial tell-all, like Stardust: The David Bowie Story, which I devoured (as I do with all Bowie biographies). This is a deep dive into what Bowie was up to, and why. It’s such a deep dive that it includes a list of Bowie’s 100 favorite books (I’ve read five of them …).

What we get is a picture of a complicated autodidact with a desire to rise above modest circumstances by becoming the stereotype of a rock star, combined with a sharp intellect and a desire to have a life of relative normalcy.

Part of the book was written while Morley was writer-in-residence at the David Bowie Is … exhibit, and that part is where the fans start telling personal stories about what Bowie meant to them. This serves as a lovely memorial to a man who was a distant but important step-parent for many whose lives were troubled but could look to Bowie and his music for comfort.

I know.

I was one of them.

View all my reviews

Blogging from A to Z: K is for Kissing

Call it cheating if you want to; I am all too pleased to recycle this post. Honestly, this scene with Erik and Claire’s first kiss is one of my favorite parts of In The Eye of The Beholder

Sharon E. Cathcart

kI looked down at my gloved hands, twisting in my lap. “I kissed him before they took him away, Erik. That was the last touch of a man’s lips that I felt, still warm because he hadn’t been gone for long. After that, my cousin François sold the house in Baincthun. He sold my jewels and my books. He sold everything but Josephine and my clothes. He made me come with him and his riding troupe, because my father had appointed him as my guardian unless and until I married. He still controls the income from the allowance my father left me; I see none of it.”

I looked up at him. “That is all.”

“Claire, I have known only one woman’s kiss, and that one was quite … reluctant. If what I ask of you now is refused, I will understand. Please, Claire. I want you to feel a…

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Blogging from A to Z: J is for Josephine

AtoZ2019tenthAnnAs we continue our celebration of 10 years in print for In The Eye of The Beholder, it’s time to meet another important character in the book. She was mentioned in my earlier post about Claire Delacroix.

Josephine is Claire’s Friesian mare.

I gave Claire a Friesian because the breed is both large and versatile. Originally bred in the Netherlands to carry men in armor, they’re now part of the light carriage horse class. They’re remarkably graceful for their size. Friesians were nearly extinct at several points throughout history, but have risen in popularity in recent years.

The most notable characteristics of the Friesian are their black coat, feathered hocks, and heavy manes and tails.

Josephine is based on a real horse, a stallion named Goffert 369. I was fortunate enough to see him do a lovely freestyle dressage in 2006. Six months later, he colicked and passed away. Horses are remarkably fragile creatures, despite their size, and stomach troubles can indeed prove fatal.

Here is a brief video, from the performance I saw.

If you would like to know more about Friesians in general, please visit the Friesian Horse Association of North America.