Winter Promotion: After-Action Report

Hi, everyone. Well, here we are on the second day of 2022 — which also happens to be my birthday.

As I always do after a promotion, I thought I would share some statistics. I made all of my short fiction available free of charge during the holiday period. I’ll have the “sales” numbers as usual, but I did something different this time: I tallied where the sales took place.

So, first things first. Seventy-three selections were made all together. Clytie’s Caller was, as it has been since I released it, far and away the most popular download. It’s a sweet Regency romance novella, and that genre is perennially popular. Here’s how it all fell out, with numbers:

Clytie’s Caller – 21
Flowers of Europe – 7
A Light Across the Lake – 7
Through the Opera Glass – 6
His Beloved Infidel – 5
It Happened in Memphis – 5
Down on the Corner of Love – 4
Hard-Boiled Blues – 4
Last Stop: Storyville – 4
Two Days in June – 4
Yellowjack and the River Man – 4
The Rock Star in the Mirror (Or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life) – 2

Here’s the geographic breakdown:

United States: 41
Country not listed – 11
Ethiopia – 11
Germany – 8
Canada – 4
Malaysia – 2
United Kingdom – 2
India – 1
Philippines – 1
Spain – 1

I have to say, Ethiopia gave me food for thought. The average income in Ethiopia works out to about $170 USD/year. That means there is not a lot of money for books. That a reader there would take the time to select 11 of my titles was huge.

If you selected one of my books this time, I do hope you will enjoy it and leave a positive review at your site of choice. Thank you, as always, for being such great readers and friends.

Year-End Gift For You: All of My Short Fiction is Free!

Hi, everyone. Once again, I’m participating in Smashwords’ Year-End Sale. I’ve made all of my short fiction free as a gift to you, including the entire Pocketful of Stories series. Here are the links, blurbs, etc.

atw80pAround the World in 80 Pages: Ten short stories of various genres, each taking place in a different location. With subject matter ranging from paranormal to historical fiction, urban fantasy to literary fiction, there is something in this sampler for everyone. 

rockstarThe Rock Star in the Mirror  (Or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life): Joe is a small-town Oregon guy. He’s madly in love with Lynnie … who has a huge crush on David Bowie. Joe will do almost anything to get Lynnie’s attention, but there are always consequences.

ttogThrough the Opera Glass: Author Sharon E. Cathcart took up a challenge in 2012: to write flash fiction and full length short stories based on various prompts. Each story features one or more characters from In The Eye of The Beholder: A Novel of the Phantom of the Opera or its sequel, In The Eye of The Storm. Brimming with historical detail, the stories in this collection range in place and time from 19th Century Persia to post-World War II San Francisco.

infidelHis Beloved Infidel: 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? Set against the backdrop of real-world events, this inter-ethnic romance tells the story of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events.

clytieClytie’s Caller:  Bath, 1816. Clytemnestra Preston has become so terrified of life that she refuses to leave her room. Not even her family can convince her to take her place in Society again. Doctor Samuel Whittington, late of His Majesty’s Army, may be her only chance for a cure … and romance. Can Sam convince Clytie to open the door, and her heart? 



Last Stop: Storyville: Riding a New Orleans streetcar is an everyday occurrence for Tulane freshman Jimmy Arceneaux (Bayou Fire). But one evening, things are different.

Yellowjack and the Riverman: Yellow fever. Voodoo queen Marie Laveau. A long-lost relative’s homecoming. The Underground Railroad. All of them are part of Alcide Devereaux’s (Bayou Fire) continuing story.

A Light Across the Lake: Return to Paris’ glamorous Opera Garnier, and the world of the award-winning Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series! A Light Across the Lake is the tale of apprentice set builder Lucien Dubois, who is determined to see what lies in the fifth cellar. Will his exploration raise the ire of the infamous Opera Ghost?

Down on the Corner of Love: Being a civil rights activist isn’t easy in rural Louisiana. Raine’s found herself ostracized and alone because she’s a woman who speaks her mind. Fed up, she leaves her country world behind for beautiful San Francisco. There, Raine meets a new best friend, Jo, who is free-spirited and living life to the fullest. But Jo’s in more danger than Raine realizes.

Two Days in June: 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.

Flowers of Europe: Thaddeus Flowers, American inventor and charming rake, is chasing adventure and romance across Europe. English scientist Arabella Abingdon is always one step ahead of him. Join the excitement in these steampunk-tinged historical tales that take you from Hyde Park to the Place des Vosges. 

It Happened in Memphis: 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! 

Hard-Boiled Blues:  Two dead bodies. Two policemen, one in New Orleans and one in Memphis. Not all crimes have easy solutions in the Jim Crow South.  It’s enough to make you sing the blues.

The promotion runs through January 1, 2022, and you’ll find formats for any eReader. Happy holidays to you!

Sample Saturday: “Through the Opera Glass”

Hi, everyone. I thought I would share something seasonal for this week’s sample. Enjoy!

ttogA Theme of Gratitude
Written November 19, 2012
Clever Fiction writing prompt: “I will be thankful …”

November 1943
San Francisco, California

Clarice opened her black-and-white composition book and picked up her newly-sharpened pencil. Mr. Adams had written the week’s theme on the blackboard, and all of the Presidio Elementary School students in his class bowed their heads in concentration as they wrote about gratitude.

Clarice’s pencil scratched a little as the words flowed onto the paper.
I am still a little confused about Thanksgiving. My mother is from France and did not grow up with it. My daddy grew up here, but his mother is from Ireland and they didn’t have it either. It feels like an excuse to eat too much food, and so many people are hungry with the war on. We are not having a big feast this year; Mommy and Grandma Kaye want to save the ration coupons for Christmas.

I am not confused about gratitude, though. I am grateful for all of the blessings I have. I have a home, and warm clothes. My daddy is not in the war; he says he remembers the first world war too well. I have friends, although I miss Grace Sakamoto. It’s hard to be fully thankful when my best friend is living at the Tanforan horse racing track because she and her family are Japanese. Grace has written me a few letters; she says that it is very hard there, but at least they are all together. Some of the big boys in the camp are joining the Army, Grace says, and their families are torn apart.

Mostly, I will be thankful for my grandmother, Claire, who died in France when I was very little. Mommy says I look like her, and that my attitude about being kind to people who are different from me is my inheritance from her. Claire loved horses and music, just like I do. I am glad that Mommy thinks I am like her. Claire came here with Beau-Pere, Mommy’s stepfather, to start a new life. If they had not come from France, Mommy and Daddy would never have met and I would not be here to write this theme.

Clarice closed the copybook and walked it up to her teacher’s desk. She returned to her seat and looked out the window at the autumn fog that blanketed the city. There were blessings yet to count, but she’d done her part for the day.

Author Sharon E. Cathcart took up a challenge in 2012: to write flash fiction and full length short stories based on various prompts. Each story features one or more characters from In The Eye of The Beholder: A Novel of the Phantom of the Opera or its sequel, In The Eye of The Storm.

Brimming with historical detail, the stories in this collection range in place and time from 19th Century Persia to post-World War II San Francisco.

Through the Opera Glass is the 2014 runner-up for “Best Short Story Collection” in the eFestival of Words Independent Book Awards.

Amazon (click on this link to be taken automatically to the site for your country); Apple Books; Barnes & Noble; BOL (Belgium & Netherlands); Booktopia (Australia); Chapters Indigo (Canada); FNAC (France); Kobobooks (available for 2400 SuperPoints if you are part of the program); La Feltrinelli (Italy); Librerias Gandhi (Mexico); Livraria Cultura (Brazil);  Love’s Sweet ArrowMondadori (Italy); Overdrive (via your local library); Porrua (Mexico); Rakuten Japan; ScribdSmashwordsWalMart.


Blast from the Past: What Time Is It?

Facebook tells me that I wrote this twelve years ago, but it’s still pertinent to me as an author. Enjoy!

For today’s entry, I want to focus on the importance of timelines. As a historical fiction author, I find that it’s important to know what happens when.

Timelines matter for more than just world events, of course. You want to make sure you know where your characters fall into the scheme of things as well. If your character is four years old in 1895, she can’t very well be 5 years old in 1902, for example.

Timelines are crucial for continuity. I’m working on the second book of a trilogy, and the main character from my first book will be in all three of them. I need to know how old Claire will be during the events that I’ve planned for the third book so that I can figure out realistically what actions she can take. In other words, I can’t have a 79-year-old lady doing the same kinds of things she did at 29 in many cases. It’s just not reasonable.

One author friend keeps a notebook with her timeline written in it, as well as various details about what is in a given room, etc., so that her continuity is flawless from chapter to chapter. I’m not nearly that formalized, but that’s what works for her.

How do you keep track of time for your stories? Please feel free to share your comments.