Echoes of a Song – Best #Fantasy 2019

Yay! Echoes of a Song came top in the NN Light Fantasy category for best book reviewed in 2019!

https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/announcement-2019-n-n-light-book-award-winners

NNLight-AwardWinner.png

The other nominations are here 

Check out some of these awesome reads.

Echoes of a Song

A dozen tumultuous years after the dramatic events at the Paris Opera House Raoul, Comte de Chagny is still haunted by the mysterious Opera Ghost – the creature of legend who held staff at the Opera House under his thrall, kidnapped Raoul’s lover and murdered his brother. In Raoul’s troubled imagination the ghosts of the past are everywhere, and strange and powerful music still calls in his dreams.

Madness, obsession and the legacy of the past weave their spell in this short, tragic tale based on the Phantom of the Opera.

Available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and many other stores on the link below.

Universal Link https://books2read.com/Echoesofasong

Amazon .com http://amzn.to/2E7Cdu0

Amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/2BJwAgk

Print

https://amzn.to/2N0JIbI

https://amzn.to/2Nxki4I

Amazon Audio https://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Song-Legacy-Mask-Book/dp/B07HCKG3WK/

Amazon UK audio https://www.amazon.co.uk/Echoes-Song-Legacy-Mask-Book/dp/B07HCM1624/

Audible UK https://adbl.co/2xlH8Tz

Audible.com https://adbl.co/2MRTQP7

Echoes Banner New 1 Blue.jpg

Character Interview – Madam Giry – Tears and Crimson Velvet/Eclectica

Name: Madam Lise Giry

Which book/world do you live in? Tears and Crimson Velvet.

Tell us about yourself: I am a wardrobe mistress at the Opera House in Paris. I have been here many years – M. Giry died not many years after our marriage and the children from his first marriage ensured I was left with very little. I have a daughter – Meg – the only one of our children to survive and thus at first my life was hard.
How do you see your world? A friend, I suppose that is the correct term, arranged for my employment here. I have been seamstress, box-keeper, ballet mistress, and almost every role open to a woman in this grand establishment. I am eternally grateful to Erik, through his kindness my daughter has been educated, danced and we have had, if not a life of luxury then at least more comfortable than otherwise. Once I was an innocent girl with dreams. Now I am an old woman with arthritis, a heart that loved unwisely and memories of an angel in cage.

I have a kind benefactor – perhaps the greatest, but most unhappy and tragic of men. I could have a life so much worse.

What part do you play in this tale? This is my story, our story. The tragedy of the Phantom of the Opera is well known; the deaths, the disappearances, the music, the Opera Ghost. I knew the man behind them when we were both barely out of childhood. I suppose you might say I saved his life, and he changed mine.

Do you consider yourself a good person? I have tried to live a good life, a life to please God, and in that, I may have failed.

He could have left me to starve, or eke out my living in the slums, but he did not. He remembered me, and he repaid the debt he thought he had – and more. Women of my status and situation have very little on offer without a husband or money and I have seen many sell everything, including themselves. I could have, should have been one of those unfortunate women.

There was something about that young man, a caged songbird filled with despair, hatred and the most exquisite song, and marvellous tricks, even then. There is not another such as Erik, no do I believe there ever will. But that haunted, twisted face still appears in my dreams. An angel damned to wear the face of a monster and be shunned by man and god alike. I am not surprised he lived apart from men, and the tragedy of his misguided love happened. My heart broke that day. Now my friend is gone and the world is thus emptier.

Should I have told what I knew? Should I have turned in the man I suspected to be a murderer? Probably. Do I regret that I did not? No. Not for one single day. I should have told the authorities where he was, who he was and yet I perpetuated his legends and his secrets. Yet I have heard him sing, and seen the tragedy and the curse in his eyes. And I have been part of that curse.

Do you follow any religion? I was raised a Catholic. Do I still believe? I pray, but mostly it is out of habit. The prayers are hollow. I have seen, and been complicit in too much to believe I will be forgiven. Once I may have thought that, but many years have passed.
What is your favourite music? I love Opera – the glory of the human voice and the excitement. One cannot work here without that love.

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Blown – Diana Deverell
Socks and Pins and Aliens – Thea Hutcheson
Tales of Blood and Ink – Kate MacLeod
Tales of Tomorrow – Debbie Mumford
Shaken, Not Stirred: A Dawna Shepherd Short Story – Diana Deverell
City Shadows – Chuck Heintzelman
Outside the Walls – A.L. Butcher and Diana L. Wicker
Tales of an Altered Past Powered by Romance, Horror, and Steam – Donald J. Bingle
Dear Brother – Felicia Fredlund
The Cache and Other Stories – Sherry D Ramsey
Sword Oath – Jackie Keswick
The Hooded Man – Barbara G. Tarn
S F & H – Harvey Stanbrough
Resonant Bronze – J.M. Ney-Grimm
Hitomi’s Path – M.L. Buchman
Children – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Jhyoti Planetside – Marcelle Dube
Petra and the Blue Goo – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Tears and Crimson Velvet – A. L. Butcher

Three Questions With… Raoul Comte de Chagny #Phantom #Echoesofasong #Legacyofthemask

As part of the author/character features for 2019 I am starting 3 Questions With….

We get to meet, in brief characters or authors who answer only 3 questions, but have to bare their soul…

 

Three questions with…

Name: Comte Raoul De Chagny

Tell us a little about your life and story:

My life is one of riches and luxury, I should have everything I money can buy. Yet I do not. I have an aching loneliness, sadness and my family is touched by a curse. I have three children – a son and heir, and two daughters – but I cannot love them, not truly as a father should. My wife Christine lies in the marble tomb yonder and my heart with her, but my soul belongs to a devil in a mask, who sang like an angel and entrapped us all. And I am ashamed of it. I could not save her, he was beyond saving and I surely cannot save myself.

I was a young man, wealthy and privileged, I married beneath my station and that choice brought death to my family, and left us semi-exiles. I loved Christine and was foolish enough to believe she loved me. But love is strange – there is the love of the heart, and then there is the love of the soul.  Love keeps us alive as it slowly kills us. I would have died for her, and almost did, and her loss tears me apart. But I know now I am not worthy of her love, and certainly not his pity or love. And so love and hate dance hand in hand and I can tell not one from the other these days.

They boy – Charles looks through me, he is far more intelligent than either myself or his mother. I see nothing of myself in him, and he misbehaves. The girls grow more like their poor mother each day – and it breaks my heart. What lives will they have when I am gone? Who will take care of them? We are the last of the De Chagny’s in a world where the old nobility is long fallen. Once we had a name, now we have a curse.

Who is this nemesis?

Erik. I do not know his family name if he even had one. I can’t tell you from where he came, or how. He is a ghost, a monster and an angel. I once believed he was just an unfortunate man – disfigured by God for his sins, but I am not sure. There was that music – I still hear it in my dreams, oh God that music.

Erik is dead. He died over a decade ago, yet I cannot escape him. I will never escape him whilst one of us lives. That terrible night he let us go – I thought myself the victor. I thought the loss of her would kill him, and surely it did – but this ghost of a man haunts me still and I get no satisfaction in my gains and his loss. The world is poorer for his loss. Some nights I wonder if he ever existed, or if I do. It all seems so far away, and so bizarre – it must be a dream or the plot of one of the Operas we used to attend.

How do you see your future?

My mind plays tricks and my sleep is plagued by awful dreams. Laudanum is my solace and my vice. I hope to see my children grown but ever winter becomes harder to bear, ever summer a little colder. I see the darkness and the mask which haunts me. I hear the music calling… the music always calls.

 *****

Raoul was originally created by Gaston Leroux, he has been adapted in many forms and by many writers. My own tragic adaptation is here in Echoes of a Song.

 

 

 

Tears and Crimson Velvet – Audio Edition

When murder and mystery begin at the Opera House, one woman knows who is behind it and what really lies beneath the mask. Secrets, lies, and tragedy sing a powerful song in this “might have been” tale.

A short, tragic tale based on characters from The Phantom of the Opera.

Audio Edition narrated by Matt Jenkins

Available on Amazon, I tunes and Audible.

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Links:

Amazon UK audio

Amazon audio

Audible UK

Audible

Echoes of a Song – Spotlight

Echoes of a Song – A Legacy of the Mask Tale is now available as an audio edition – to celebrate here’s a spotlight!

Synopsis

A dozen tumultuous years after the dramatic events at the Paris Opera House Raoul, Comte de Chagny is still haunted by the mysterious Opera Ghost – the creature of legend who held staff at the Opera House under his thrall, kidnapped Raoul’s lover and murdered his brother. In Raoul’s troubled imagination the ghosts of the past are everywhere, and a strange and powerful music still calls in his dreams.

Madness, obsession and the legacy of the past weave their spell in this short, tragic tale based on the Phantom of the Opera.

Excerpt 1

(c) A. L. Butcher

The Angel of Death stalked the De Chagny’s so the whispers said. Maybe it was true. For once the Angel of Death had been a man. A masked man of magic, of music and of murder. The Angel had many names, and many guises; Raoul had once laughed scornfully at Christine’s infatuation with the Angel of Music. But now he understood the terrible bewitchment, for it was his now to bear. This man, this ‘Phantom’, who at once was angel, ghost, maestro, architect, and magician had held them all in his not insubstantial power. Erik – so he called himself – had almost brought the mighty Paris opera house to its knees. Erik’s opera house, so Christine had told him. And in those desperate nights, at least, it had been true.

Raoul pulled out the hidden drawer beneath one of the shelves and read the newspaper – now yellow and faded – as he had every night for three years like a consuming obsession. First the accounts of the ‘accidents’ at the opera: the terrible night the chandelier had fallen killing an employee, the apparent suicide of a stage hand and the murder of one of the foremost tenors. Wild stories abounded about an ‘Opera Ghost’ who’d managed to fool the managers into parting with a fortune, terrified the corps de ballet and whose face was so terrible to behold that any who saw it would die, but who sang with an angel’s voice. The truth was not something that bothered the Paris Tribune too much, but the truth could be strange beyond reason. And the Surete could hardly believe the wild stories of masked men and angry ghosts. They’d searched and asked questions, and considered a cuckolded husband or an angry father, but no perpetrator had been found. The case dwindled into obscurity. Months and years went by and other cases took prominence and now few remembered one death in a city where murder was common and adultery more so. Peering at the faded print in the bad light Raoul found the part he sought in the letters of the city’s more reputable rag.

“Erik is dead,” Raoul said it aloud. Three words. Three words which had haunted him these twelve years.

Echoes of a Song – Universal Link

Amazon .com http://amzn.to/2E7Cdu0

Amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/2BJwAgk

Print

https://amzn.to/2N0JIbI

https://amzn.to/2Nxki4I

Amazon Audio https://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Song-Legacy-Mask-Book/dp/B07HCKG3WK/

Amazon UK audio https://www.amazon.co.uk/Echoes-Song-Legacy-Mask-Book/dp/B07HCM1624/

Audible UK https://adbl.co/2xlH8Tz

Audible.com https://adbl.co/2MRTQP7

New Release – Tears and Crimson Velvet #Phantom #shortstory #horrorfantasy

Here’s today’s news:) I am delighted to announce the release of my latest short story – Tears and Crimson Velvet – a short story based (loosely) on the characters and events in Phantom of the Opera.

The latest Legacy of the Mask Tale features Madam Giry, a much underrated and misunderstood character.

Giry finds herself embroiled in the tragedy unfolding at the Opera house; mystery and murder stalk the corridors and, it is said, a ghost haunts the place. Giry knows the truth, for she recalls the caged man she met so many years ago. This is her story, their story.

When murder and mystery begin at the Opera House one woman knows who is behind it, and what really lies beneath the mask. Secrets, lies and tragedy sing a powerful song in this ‘might have been’ tale.
A short, tragic tale based on characters from Phantom of the Opera.

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Tears of Crimson Velvet Cover Draft 1.jpg

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073TMFF9M/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TMFF9M/

 

Character Interview 41 – Erik

Tell Us About Yourself
Name (s):  Erik Le Maître
Age:  I am not entirely certain, if you must know.  I believe I must be more than 40 years old.

Please tell us a little about yourself:  I was born in Rouen, France, to a stonecutter who has since died.  I have lived in Persia, Russia, Paris, London, and finally just outside of Aix.  I am a musician, an architect, a magician … and an assassin.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less:  There is a reason I wear a mask.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it?  If you harm me or those I love, woe be unto you.

Would you kill for those you love?  I have done so in the past, and would not hesitate to do so again.

Would you die for those you love?  I have not been called upon to do so, but perhaps … for Claire, or for Veronique.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?  I would say they are the same.  I seek only to love and be loved … but society has made this a challenge for me.   Human interaction is difficult when one has been shunned.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why?  My wife, Claire, has given me a beautiful daughter, Veronique.  These two are beyond rubies to me.  My daughter delights me daily, and my wife dared to love me when others would not or could not.  Things are not always easy between us, and she is not the happiest of mothers … but we strive together, and that is what matters to me.

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions?  I have always liked them.  Claire and I have a cat, Pierre, and we had horses in London and Paris.

Do you have a family? Tell us about them.  My mother abandoned me to the tender mercies of a traveling show.  My father had died by then, and she did not want the burden of an ugly son.

My wife and daughter I have already mentioned.  I met Claire when she was working at the Opera Garnier, and we fell in love.  I am fortunate that she has blessed me with a child.

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you?  Being abandoned by your mother, and later being horsewhipped by an angry showman, will have an influence on you for a very long time, I should think.

Tell Us About Your World
Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.  Paris is such a beautiful place.  If you have not been, you really must.  The wide avenues, the beautiful parks and woods.  And then there is my opera house.  Truly, it is the crown jewel of this place.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour.  France is a Catholic country, but I am no longer sure that I believe in God.  I have lived among the Moslems as well, and I do not see that our ideas about God are so very different.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?  As I mentioned, I have lived in many places.  One of the places I lived for the longest was Persia, where I was in the employ of the shah and his khanoum.  The people there were, for the most part, very good.  I have one friend from those days, Zareh; he was the shah’s chief of police.  He has also come to France, and has been a great help to Claire and me.

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people.  Do you suppose that the story of Saint Denis walking around with his head tucked under his own arm counts?  It is said that this is just what happened after the holy man was executed.

Name three persons of influence/renown within your society and tell why they are influential (Could be someone like Christ/Mandela/Queen Elizabeth or a renowned figure from a non-human/fantasy world.) This is an interesting one to answer.  Perhaps I would start with Gustav Eiffel, although I hate that monstrosity that he has designed.  I predict that one day his tower will be razed by the people of Paris with their bare hands.  Then Charles Garnier, the architect who designed the Opera Garnier.  I am responsible for the design of the basement where I dwell, but Garnier won the right to design the exterior and public spaces.  I must say that he has done an exceptional job of it.  Lastly, I would name Queen Victoria of England.  When we lived there, she and her late husband had done a great deal of admirable work to help the people of London.

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links:

In The Eye of The Beholder

In The Eye of The Storm

Through the Opera Glass

Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes (Omnibus Edition)

Author name:  Sharon E. Cathcart
Blog and website contain sales links:

Blog:  sharonecathcart.wordpress.com

Website:  http://sharonecathcart.weebly.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/sharon.e.cathcart

Twitter:  @sharoncathcart

Echoes of a Song – New Release – Dark Fantasy/Horror/Phantom

Those of you who know me fairly well will be aware that the love of my life is the Phantom of the Opera. I first saw the stage show in London with the great Michael Crawford when I was 11 and from then I adored it. The original story was written by Gaston Leroux, a French author of mystery, suspense and horror in 1910 (and 1911 for the English translation).

I’m sure many of you know the story – or think you do but I’ll summarise it here:

The Paris Opera House has been ‘haunted’ by the mysterious Opera Ghost, whose antics include fleecing the managers out of a good deal of money, causing mayhem among the young and niave corps de ballet and a number of other rather mischievous and wicked events. Many tales abound of this strange figure but no one has really seen the man he truly is.

Christine Daae – the young and rather innocent daughter of a Swedish musician joins and the Phantom becomes her ‘maestro’, her ‘good genius’. Giving her singing lessons, filling her niave head with tales of angels, and fantasy he weaves a spell for them both that can only end in tragedy. And it does.

Erik, for that’s the name he uses, although we never learn his real name, is disfigured form birth. Leroux’s book describes him as a human skeleton – with pale, yellowish flesh, sunken glowing eyes and just a hole where his nose should be. Hence he wears a mask, hides himself away and is rarely seen by anyone except as the ghost. Erik is a tragic soul – he is a man, with a man’s desires, emotions and needs but because of his appearance cannot find love, or even affection. He claims not even his mother loved him. So when he falls hard for the young singer he tries to win her love with his voice. For he has ‘the voice of an angel.’ To complicate matters Christine is wooed by the young, handsome and equally niave Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny who ends up fighting the phantom for her hand. Someone is going to lose. And I confess I cried the first time I read the book, pretty much every time since then and at every show I saw – considering I worked for a month or more on the National Tour I still blubbed at the end. This story is passionate, tragic, filled with suspense and is, ultimately, a love story – and whether it has a happy ending depends on your point of view.

So what’s my point here? Echoes of a Song is a short tale from Raoul’s point of view set twelve or so years after the events at the opera house. Keep in mind his brother died there, he was imprisoned there, he was forced to try and rescue his fiancee there and almost die and so it’s not somewhere filled with happy memories. Raoul has issues. I guess now we’d call it PTSD or something similar. Anyway he’s not a happy bunny but he’s doing the best he can for his young family, despite what appears to be a curse on his family. In Raoul’s troubled imagination the ghosts of the past are everywhere, and a strange and powerful music still calls in his dreams.

Madness, obsession and the legacy of the past weave their spell in this short, tragic tale based on the Phantom of the Opera.

I haven’t seen a great deal of stories from Raoul’s point of view (I’ve read a few… not that it’s an obsession or anything) and so this is his story.  It’s dark, and leaves much unanswered, but that’s part of the point. Was Erik more than a man? Was Raoul and Christine’s life going to be simple? What aftermath was there?

This is a tale of love, of hatred and mystery – much like the original.

Available on Amazon for just 99c (99p) this a great coffee break read for phantom fans, and those who like old style horror.

Please note the Phantom of the Opera is a public domain work.

mask in hand.halloween concept

Synopsis

Echoes of a Song – Legacy of the Mask Tales

A dozen tumultuous years after the dramatic events at the Paris Opera House Raoul, Comte de Chagny is still haunted by the mysterious Opera Ghost – the creature of legend who held staff at the Opera House under his thrall, kidnapped Raoul’s lover and murdered his brother. In Raoul’s troubled imagination the ghosts of the past are everywhere, and a strange and powerful music still calls in his dreams.

Madness, obsession and the legacy of the past weave their spell in this short, tragic tale based on the Phantom of the Opera.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M1P25XF

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M1P25XF