Another Diploma!

After creating two characters who are travel writers (Diana Corbett in Bayou Fire and Stephanie Marlowe in my current work-in-progress, Pompeii Fire), I decided to learn what they actually do!

Feedback Form Sent By: Eva Chelmsford

Course Title:     Travel Writing Business Diploma

Overall Grade:  Distinction

Overall Percentage:   94%

Overall strengths of assessment including understanding demonstrated:

An outstanding result, your answers were knowledgeable, explanatory and well written which outlined an overall knowledge and comprehension of the course material.  Congratulations! 

Areas for improvement if necessary in this assessment:

Not applicable. 

“Authors Give Back” Metrics

Hi, everyone. The Authors Give Back promotion I did via Smashwords ended at midnight last night. From the mid-March to May 31, I did some form of giveaway. Honestly, it was the least I could do during this difficult time.

Because the promotion was so long, doing a complete breakdown would be boring. I mean, let’s be real. Instead, here are the top 5, in order of sales ranking.

  1. Clytie’s Caller. My sweet Regency romance novella remains popular with readers.
  2. Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes: The Omnibus Edition. Three books in one; the Phantom of the Opera fans have consistently given this book five stars. Two of the books in the omnibus have won awards, and this makes me happy.
  3. It Happened in Memphis. This is one of my Pocketful of Stories series, dealing with the earliest days of rock and roll. I had originally planned for it to be a full-length project of its own and did a ton of research, but the story had different plans.
  4. In The Eye of The Storm. My second Phantom novel, featuring one of my favorite characters ever: Clarice. It’s also garnered two awards, one of them for James Courtney’s eye-catching cover art.
  5. A two-way tie between Bayou Fire (recipient of four awards) and Around the World in 80 Pages. The first features my favorite hero to date, and the latter is a collection of short fiction.

If you selected one of my books via Smashwords during the promotion, I would be honored if you were to write a review at your favorite site or on your blog. Thank you!

Frequently Asked Question: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

insecure2bwriters2bsupport2bgroup2bbadgeHi, everyone. Once again, this month’s question comes from the Insecure Writers Support Group.

Honestly, I don’t have any writing rituals per se. I tend to start with primary source research: putting my “boots on the ground” to visit places I write about.

While I’m working on a project, though, I bear in mind the three ways in which we carry culture: food, language, and music. I avail myself of those methods to stay in the so-called zone while I’m working. While writing Bayou Fire, I listened to a lot of traditional jazz, zydeco, and Cajun music. I likewise studied kouri-vini and Cajun French, and ate a lot of exceptional Louisiana comfort foods like jambalaya.

Now, with Pompeii Fire, I’m studying Latin, took a course in Roman art and archaeology, am currently enrolled in a course in Roman architecture, and have reproduced one (so far) ancient Roman dish made from chard that is a big hit in our household.

How about you? Do you have writing rituals or ways to “stay in the zone” on your projects?


Sample Saturday: “Bayou Fire”

M&M frt Verson 1Hi, everyone. Four years ago today, I landed in New Orleans for the first time. I was there for both day job business and research for the novel I was writing. That book became the multi-award winning Bayou Fire, which takes place in both present-day and 1830s New Orleans. Please enjoy this sample.

Marie Laveau heard talk from Black and white people alike; it was the nature of her business as a hairdresser. People talked around her all of the time, just as they did their slaves … as though she weren’t even there. Some of the talk lately was of Doctor Leonard LaLaurie; he was a young man who had come to town and married a twice-widowed woman of means. Delphine McCarty was her name, and she had demanded that the young doctor build her a fashionable home in the Quarter so that she could get away from her father’s plantation out in the faubourgs near Chalmette. The house at the corner of Royal and Hospital streets was a showplace, inside and out.

The word around the Quarter was that Doctor LaLaurie had the ability to cure hunchbacks, and one of Marie’s children suffered from the affliction. She had gone to the LaLaurie house with her infant son, Christophe, in her arms and been rebuffed … but not before she saw that there was much sorrow there. The slaves were miserable, and LaLaurie himself seemed unhappy. She’d heard rumors that he had another family out Plaquemines Parish way and spent most of his time there, and it was well-known that Madame Delphine had filed for separation of bed and board. To be sure, Delphine was a dark-eyed beauty, but her mouth looked cruel to Marie’s eyes. It was nearly a relief to be sent on her way.

Christophe had died when he was five months old. Marie had never fully forgiven the doctor who refused to help her son. She often saw him around town, with his fly-away blond hair never quite combed and his suit never quite right. Some women might find the young doctor handsome, she was sure, but no one seemed more convinced of his desirability than Leonard LaLaurie himself. Marie had heard rumors that the doctor’s father had advised him to marry a wealthy woman as no more financial help would be coming from home; he had certainly managed that the day he wed Delphine McCarty.

As for the rest of the LaLaurie household, Marie watched and kept her own counsel. Where there was smoke, there was most often fire.

Want your own copy of Bayou Fire? It’s currently available free of charge via Smashwords (promotion ends May 31). Here’s the 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.

Click here to get your copy, available in formats for all eReaders.