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Blogging from A to Z: T is for Lt. Col. George H. Torney

Blogging from A to Z:  T is for Lt. Col. George H. Torney
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Maman also went to visit Lieutenant Colonel Torney, the commander of the general hospital, to see how we could all help out. Between the regular hospital and the field hospital, they were horribly short-handed. The Presidio General Hospital was the first to allow women from the Army Nurse Corps, and so Colonel Torney, whom Maman called Georges (his first name was the English George) accepted Maman’s offer of assistance.   So, many mornings, Maeve, Maman and I would be on the wagon over to the field hospital in Golden Gate Park. We helped distribute food, write letters … whatever was needed. Maman’s staunch attitude in the face of horror saw her helping out the orderlies in surgeries. Maeve K...
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The Truth in Your Make-believe #atozchallenge2017

The Truth in Your Make-believe #atozchallenge2017

This is why I share all of those “Facts from my Fiction” posts; I enjoy doing the homework involved in creating historical fiction. The End Justifies the Journey Many people, I believe, think that writing fiction is all about the imagination. After all, you cannot write a fictional story without making up something that did not really happen. That’s creative writing, So they’re right, right? NOT SO MUCH. The fact about creating fiction is you add truth to the make-believe. Sure, imagination is the major tool to use, but even make-believe needs to be somewhat, well, believable. Say you are working on a science fiction story. Do you simply say the aliens have arrived and then every person or t...
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Review – Judy: A Dog in a Million – Damien Lewis – Military History, WWII, Animals

Review – Judy: A Dog in a Million – Damien Lewis – Military History, WWII, Animals

An amazing story of a true animal hero. Judy’s story is a tremendous tale of love and devotion. Library of Erana Review- Judy: A Dog in A Million Damien Lewis 5 stars https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judy-Million-Runaway-Worlds-Heroic-ebook/dp/B00HVBK15U/ The impossibly moving story of how Judy, World War Two’s only animal POW, brought hope in the midst of hell. Judy, a beautiful liver and white English pointer, and the only animal POW of WWII, truly was a dog in a million, cherished and adored by the British, Australian, American and other Allied servicemen who fought to survive alongside her. Viewed largely as human by those who shared her extraordinary life, Judy’s uncanny ability to sense danger...
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World Book and Copyright Day — and a Gift For My Readers

World Book and Copyright Day — and a Gift For My Readers
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Hi, everyone.  Today is World Book and Copyright Day, as designated by UNESCO .  The date is symbolic:  Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died on April 23.  The stated purpose of the event is to pay world-wide tribute to books and authors, and to encourage everyone to discover the joys of reading.  The event was begun in 1995, as a way to pay respect to the “irreplaceable contributions of those, who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.” In honor of the event, I am offering a 24-hour coupon to my readers.  Click on the link to get a free copy of His Beloved Infidel by using coupon code RG38E at check-out.  The coupon will expire on April 24, 201...
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Blogging from A to Z: S is for Sofreh Aghd

Blogging from A to Z: S is for Sofreh Aghd
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Farukh kept his eyes shut for a moment as he held his breath. When he opened his eyes to look into the mirror of fate, he thought he had never seen anyone look so beautiful. She wore a white sheath dress, over which was tied a snug-fitting jacket covered in silver lace that then draped down over her skirt. Her veil, which hung to her knees, was secured by three silver chains across her forehead. It was a modern version of the traditional wedding dresses of his country, and his bride was beautiful in it. — From my novella, His Beloved Infidel   Traditional Sofreh Aghd/Shang Chen Photo Sofreh aghd is a traditional Persian wedding.  Steeped in the traditions of Zoroastrianism, the ceremony sees...
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Blogging from A to Z: N is for Notre Dame de Paris

Blogging from A to Z: N is for Notre Dame de Paris

Catherine paced back and forth in front of the cathedral, trying to keep warm as she waited for Farukh. At least the weather was dry. She had wondered more than once over the course of the week what had made her ask Farukh for supper; she could have bought him some small gift, after all.   But then she remembered his cat-like dance down the institute’s hallway and could not help smiling.   “I hope you have not been waiting too long.”   Catherine hadn’t even recognized him as he approached. She’d been watching for the admittedly dreadful beard … which had been trimmed into chic submission. His thick black hair was wind-tousled.   “No, not long.”   “Your cheeks are red...
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Blogging from A to Z: L is for LaLaurie Mansion Fire

Blogging from A to Z: L is for LaLaurie Mansion Fire

At the corner of what is now Royal Street and Governor Nichols Street stands a three-story mansion with a beautifully carved white door and wrought-iron Spanish-style railings around the second story gallery.  It is a private home, once owned by Nicolas Cage, and there are no tours offered. Now why, you might be asking, would someone want to tour this house?  Well, I’ll tell you: it is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in New Orleans.   Here’s why. On April 10, 1834, a fire broke out in the cookhouse of the mansion at the corner of Royal and Hospital streets, which belonged to Doctor Leonard LaLaurie and his wife, Delphine McCarty LaLaurie.  Delphine was a...
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“Bayou Fire” in 2017 AUTHORSdb Cover Competition

“Bayou Fire” in 2017 AUTHORSdb Cover Competition

Hi, everyone. James Courtney‘s fabulous cover design for #BayouFire has been accepted in the AUTHORSdb 2017 cover contest. Won’t you please take a moment to go vote? https://authorsdb.com/2017-cover-contest-results/24254-cover-contest-2017-bayou-fire Original link .rTable { display: table; width: 100%;} .rTableRow { display: table-row; } .rTableHeading { background-color: #ddd; display: table-header-group; } .rTableCell, .rTableHead { display: table-cell; padding: 3px 10px; border: 1px solid #999999; } .rTableHeading { display: table-header-group; background-color: #ddd; font-weight: bold; } .rTableFoot { display: table-footer-group; font-weight: bold; background-color: #ddd; } .rTableBody {...
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Blast from the Past: Remembering Joseph Carey Merrick

Blast from the Past: Remembering Joseph Carey Merrick

A text-only version of this article appeared on the now-defunct Red Room in 2004 and on Wattpad in 2010.  I’ve updated the date information and provided some new links. Enjoy! Sometimes I think my head is so big, because it is full of ideas. — Joseph Merrick, in Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man Those who have read In The Eye of The Beholder: A Novel of the Phantom of the Opera know this already, but I don’t mind sharing it here: Joseph Merrick is featured in the story.  No spoilers, I promise. Joseph Carey Merrick, aka “The Elephant Man,” lived during the Victorian era.  He suffered from what we now understand as Proteus syndrome , where parts of the body grow at different...
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Blogging from A to Z: I is for Independent Authors

Blogging from A to Z: I is for Independent Authors

I read across a variety of genres.  This is probably no surprise; most writers are voracious readers.  What may be surprising is how many independent authors’ work I read.  I define an independent author as one who is with a small press or self-published, or some hybrid of the two (this is the category into which I fall with my own works).  Thing is, there are some amazing authors out there who, though they may not be part of the Big 5, put out some quality work.  I am going to share some of them here. In the interest of disclosure, I will tell you that I have gotten to know these folks either in person or on-line directly as a result of their writing.  I am not...
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Bayou Fire Available for Pre-Order

Bayou Fire Available for Pre-Order

Hi, everyone.  I’m very excited to announce that the eBook edition of Bayou Fire is available for pre-order via Kindle and Smashwords today, with a May 1 release date. The paperback will be following soon. Description: 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. Origina...
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A show of support for blogging’s annual marathon

A show of support for blogging’s annual marathon

A great article about the #atozchallenge! ROAMIN' GNOMIALS I’ll let you in on a little secret: A lot of professional journalists feel pretty snooty about bloggers. I know because I used to be one. In fact, I probably would have created a blog much sooner if not for the fact that for the longest time, I didn’t want to be associated with “amateurs.” With a bit of understanding, journalists (and retired journalists) might be excused for the hostility. Most journalists went to school to learn to do what they do, while many bloggers went to school and learned to do something different … something that probably pays better. Journalists view writing as their career, their milk and bread, while most...
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Weekend Reads: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Weekend Reads: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have become such a fan of Lisa See ‘s writing that I don’t hesitate to pick up her books as soon as they’re released. This book was no exception, and I’ve enjoyed every word of it. Li-yan is an Akhu (Chinese ethnic minority) living in a small, impoverished mountain village. Her sole inheritance is a well-hidden tea tree, and she doesn’t think much of it. She would rather have silver, and a fine home. Li-yan falls in love with San-pa, whom her family thinks is an inappropriate match — and then Li-yan becomes pregnant. She doesn’t tell San-pa, who has gone to Thailand for work while she plans to take the secondary school ex...
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Blogging from A to Z: F is for Fais-do-do

Blogging from A to Z: F is for Fais-do-do

The first time Miss Julie saw the young woman enter the Bayou Café, her hearty “where y’at” changed to “Welcome back, baby! Sit wherever you’d like.” She was sure that she’d seen her before that Monday morning. Diana looked at her in confusion as she took the Formica table near the window and pulled out the red-upholstered chair to sit down. “I’m sorry?” “No beignets today, baby. That fool in the kitchen, Felix, had himself a little too much fais-do-do over at Mulate’s last night, and everything coming out of the fryer is either burned to a crisp or raw in the middle. I’ll be over with your hot chocolate in a minute.” — From my forthcoming novel, Bayou Fire Fais-do-do is a Cajun term for a p...
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Blogging from A to Z: D is for Dufilho Pharmacy

Blogging from A to Z: D is for Dufilho Pharmacy
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The first licensed pharmacist in the United States was Louis Joseph Dufilho, Jr.  He received his license in 1816, and opened up the first U.S. pharmacy on Chartres Street in New Orleans in 1823.  As was the case with most businesses, the store was on the street level, and living quarters were on the upper two stories. Portrait of Louis J. Dufilho, Jr., above his license Mr. Dufilho compounded all kinds of medications, for humans and animals alike.  As was typical of the time, he also sold a great many patent remedies … which had varying levels of efficacy.  Some of the items you might find for sale are still used today (did you know that leeches are still used in hand su...
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Blogging from A to Z: C is for Cemeteries/Cities of the Dead

Blogging from A to Z:  C is for Cemeteries/Cities of the Dead
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One of the most interesting things you’ll see in New Orleans are the cemeteries.  Some people call them Cities of the Dead.  There are street signs helping people find the resting place of their loved ones, or a historical person … and the burials are all above-ground in vaults. The reason is simple:  much of New Orleans is below sea level, which means that the water table is very high.  Burials underground tend to float during floods which, to say the least, can be somewhat gruesome. St. Louis Cemetery #1 Historical MarkerFinal resting place of Homer Plessy, of Plessy v. Ferguson The above-ground burials consist of two-level vaults, which can only be re-opened after bein...
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Blogging from A to Z: B is for Bayou

Blogging from A to Z:  B is for Bayou
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When I was doing my research for Bayou Fire, I took two separate trips to New Orleans.  During the second one, I took advantage of an opportunity to go out onto Bayou Bœuf.  It was amazingly peaceful, and I soon put away my camera to just enjoy the atmosphere.   I learned a great deal about the wildlife and plants thanks to Captain Brian Torres , who was our skipper that day. Bayou Bœuf The first thing you should know is that a bayou is a calm, slow moving body of water typically found in a flat place (like much of Louisiana).  Bayous are home to a surprisingly large amount of wildlife, such as nutria, snapping turtles, egrets, blue herons and, yes, alligators. ...
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The Last Cover Update: “Brief Interludes”

The Last Cover Update: “Brief Interludes”

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve spent the past year working with cover designer James Courtney to update my book covers.  This is the last one.  Our previous design was too busy, and the font was practically illegible in thumbnail size.  Jim simplified the font, moved the award badge from the back to the front (where it should have been in the first place), and we replaced the overly complicated cover image with one that turned out to be perfect for the book’s concept:  short stories you can read over a cup of coffee.  This new cover will also go live this week. Save Original link
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Cover Update: “Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes”

Cover Update:  “Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes”

I have been updating book covers over the past year.  Sometimes you just get it wrong the first time … or the second time.  The good thing about being an independent publisher is that I can fix that with the help of my designer.  Things we thought were great concepts turned out not to translate well.  One of those things was the original cover for my omnibus edition, Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes.  I have to thank my eBook publisher, Mark Coker of Smashwords , for his honest criticism:  “It looks like the cover for a 1943 John Deere manual.”  It took a while to figure out where to go from there, which turned out to be good — because it resulted in what yo...
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Cover Reveal: Bayou Fire

Cover Reveal: Bayou Fire

Oh, you guys! I am so excited about this.  Here is the cover for Bayou Fire.  The model is Jason Aaron Baca.  His photo was taken by Portia Shao.  The photo of Bayou St. John was taken by me, and the whole thing was put together by the amazing James Courtney.  I can’t wait to put this book in your hands! Save Original link
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