Winter Promotion After-Action Report

Hi, everyone. First, thanks to all who selected my titles during the Smashwords promotion that ended yesterday. Here is how it all went.

No one selected any titles that were discounted at 50 or 75 percent. Many selected titles that were free of charge. In order of popularity:

With 27 selections, Clytie’s Caller was the most popular title. In second place, with seven selections apiece, came Through the Opera Glass and It Happened in Memphis. Down on the Corner of Love and Brief Interludes had six selections each. Five people chose Flowers of Europe. Two Days in June, Hard-Boiled Blues, Yellowjack and The River Man, and Last Stop: Storyville, each garnered three new readers. Finally, 2010 Hindsight, Les Pensées Dangereuses, and His Beloved Infidel were each chosen once.

While it’s obvious that a lot of people enjoy the sweet, Regency romance of Clytie’s story, it looks like the most popular works were those in the Pocketful of Stories series. Thirty-four people added those titles to their libraries.

Thanks to all who chose my titles. I would love it if you were to review them and share your thoughts on your favorite site. Much appreciated.

Winter Promotion

sale with red shopping bags, vector background

Hi, everyone. As you know, I occasionally do sales and promotions of my eBooks. Through January 1, 2021, my eBooks are either free or heavily discounted on Smashwords. Sales links and prices:

Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes Series

In The Eye of The Beholder – 99 cents; Through the Opera Glass – Free; In The Eye of The Storm – 99 cents; Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes Omnibus – $2.99

Pocketful of Stories Series – All Free

Last Stop: Storyville; Yellowjack and the Riverman; A Light Across the Lake; Down on the Corner of Love; Two Days in June; Flowers of Europe; It Happened in Memphis; Hard-Boiled Blues

Full Length Fiction

Bayou Fire – 99 cents

Short Fiction

Around the World in 80 Pages – Free; The Rock Star in the Mirror (Or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life) – Free; His Beloved Infidel – Free; Brief Interludes – Free; Clytie’s Caller – Free

Non-fiction and Essays

Les Pensées Dangereuses – Free; Sui Generis – Free; 2010 Hindsight: A Year of Personal Growth In Spite of Myself – Free; Some Brief Advice for Indie Authors – Free; Hugs and Hisses (benefits Humane Society Silicon Valley) – $1.99; Music, Mayhem, and Bad Decisions – $1.49

If you enjoy my work; I would appreciate reviews wherever you prefer to leave them. Thank you!

Sample Saturday: “Through the Opera Glass”

Opera Glass AlternateToday’s excerpt is from my award-winning Phantom of the Opera short fiction collection, Through the Opera Glass. Enjoy!

A Birthday Gift
Written March 12, 2012
Clever Fiction Writing Prompt: “I used to dream …”

Spring, 1907
San Francisco

Veronique opened the letter her mother handed her. The writing on the envelope was as familiar to her as her own: Papa’s, albeit weakened by his illness. The envelope was addressed “To Veronique, for her 16th birthday.”

Claire had handed it to her that morning, along with the case that held Papa’s Francois Chanot violin. Veronique had wanted the precious instrument for many years but had, for the most part, held her peace. She had suspected that Papa had planned for her to have it eventually.

In the privacy of her room at last, Veronique opened the case first. She held the unusual violin carefully and checked its tuning. It sounded a little thin, but she knew that would change as it was played. Papa, as well as all of her teachers, had explained that playing violins made them sound more beautiful; the varnish warmed up from the vibrations and improved the tone.

She tucked the instrument under her chin; yes, it fit. She then picked up the bow, which was in surprisingly good condition. Papa had loosened it before putting it away for the last time, and none of the hairs were sprung.

Tightening the bow and gliding it across the rosin block made her ready.
A few scales. An etude. As she played, the violin’s tone improved by tiny increments. Tears slid down her cheeks; she could remember Papa playing before he fell so ill.

At last, she put away the instrument and opened the envelope.

“My dearest Veronique.”

Papa’s writing seemed to swim before her eyes as she continued to cry. Yet, she read on.

~~~
I have asked Claire to give you my violin, and this letter, on your sixteenth birthday. I used to dream of giving it to you myself, but it becomes clearer with each passing day that I shall not live to see that day.

I don’t know if I ever told you how I chose your name. Veronique comes from the Greek, bere nike. It means “bringing victory.” You are my greatest triumph; no opera, no aria, no symphony could mean more to me. Your birth was the proudest moment of my life.

Long ago, a young woman called me her Angel of Music. She believed her papa had sent me from Heaven to look after her. She was wrong. However, please remember that I will always watch over you from Heaven myself.

With much love and the highest regard, I remain, your papa,

Erik LeMaitre
~~~

Veronique refolded the letter into its envelope and tucked it into the violin case. She picked up the instrument once more, this time to play a requiem.


Want your own copy of Through the Opera Glass? Here are the back cover copy and purchase links.

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); Livraria Cultura (Brazil);  Love’s Sweet ArrowMondadori (Italy); Overdrive (via your local library); Porrua (Mexico); Rakuten Japan; ScribdSmashwordsWalMart.

Sample Saturday: “Through the Opera Glass”

Hi, everyone. Today’s sample is from my award-winning short fiction collection, Through the Opera Glass. Enjoy!


Opera Glass AlternateFrom Persia to Paris
Written June 25, 2012
Clever Fiction writing prompt: Winner/Leaving/Alone

Somewhere in the Persian Desert
1870

Erik reined his horse around to look, for one last time, in the direction of the Rosy Hours of Mazandaran. What an odd thing to call a palace of murder, torture – and yet the Shah and his Khanoum named it as such. Erik was glad to be leaving.

“Build me a torture chamber,” the Shah had demanded. Erik had done just that; he created a mirrored room that constantly reflected a tree with a noose hanging from it. This was not torture in and of itself; the room had no apparent exit, though, and could be heated to an unbearable temperature.

Eventually, the Shah’s victims would see the noose as their only escape … which allowed the Shah to declare himself the winner in many a battle.

Soon enough, the Shah turned a suspicious eye on Erik. Perhaps he had been too trusting of the disfigured man, assuming his face would keep the women away from him. He’d treated Erik as though he were a eunuch; that was the real error, Erik thought wryly. Soon enough, the women of the seraglio had discovered Erik’s voice. Soon enough, some of them were far more entranced with him than they were with their over-fed husband.

And so, Erik must go. But where? Russia and Italy held no more appeal; only painful memories lived in those places.

Rouen? What would he say to his stonecutter father? Or to the mother who turned him out? No, going to the place of his birth was madness itself.

Paris. A man could hide in Paris. He could live alone there and no one would know, so long as he kept to the shadows. Paris it would be.


Want your own copy of Through the Opera Glass? Here are the back cover copy and purchase links.

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

Chapters Indigo (Canada)

FNAC (France)

Kobobooks (available for 2400 SuperPoints if you are part of the program)

Love’s Sweet Arrow

Mondadori (Italy)

Overdrive (via your local library)

Scribd

Smashwords

WalMart

Authors Give Back – Listing Update

AGB Promo

Hi, everyone. After having nearly everything in my Smashwords catalog available free of charge for a full month, I’ve decided to change it up for a little bit. As of right now, I have left only my historical fiction in the promotion. The only exception is my Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes omnibus, as all of the included volumes are still listed separately.

If you have selected any of my titles, I hope you will write a review either in your blog or at your favorite review site. Thank you, as always. List of available titles, with direct links, below, in alphabetical order.

A Light Across the Lake V2A 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?

Bayou Fire – 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?

Clyties_CallerClytie’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?

DOTCOL V2Down 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, “Down on the Corner of Love.”

Flowers of EuropeFlowers 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.

Hard-Boiled Blues

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. Grab the final entry in “Pocketful of Stories” today!

31432511His 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?

ITEOTB Wrap Cover frtIn The Eye of The Beholder– When French equestrian Claire Delacroix loses her fiance in a tragic accident, she comes to live at the Paris Opera during its 1890s heyday. 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.

eye2In The Eye of The Storm – San Francisco, 1948. When a mysterious stranger approaches Clarice Kaye in her favorite restaurant, his words trigger a voyage of discovery: “You look just like your grandmother, but you have your mother’s eyes. There was only one question in Clarice’s mind: how could he know? Armed with family diaries that tell of the scandalous grandmother for whom she was named, Clarice embarks on a journey through Paris’ modern art movement, 1906 San Francisco, and the depths of the Opéra Garnier in this long-awaited sequel to “In The Eye of The Beholder.” “In The Eye of The Storm” is the 2015 Silver Medal winner for best fan fiction in the Global eBook Awards.

It Happened in MemphisIt 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! Buy “It Happened in Memphis,” Pocketful of Stories No. 7, today!

Storyville V2Last Stop: Storyville – Riding a New Orleans streetcar is an everyday occurrence for Tulane freshman Jimmy Arceneaux (“Bayou Fire”). But one evening, things are different. Find out how in “Last Stop: Storyville.”

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

Two Days in June V2Two 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.

Yellowjack V2Yellowjack and the River Man – 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. See what adventures come his way in “Yellowjack and the River Man.”