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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Eclectica A Short Story Bundle
From fantasy to space adventure, pirates, mystery, horror, historical fiction, romance and coming of age you’ll find short, snappy reads herein. There is something for everyone in this lucky dip.

19 short stories and collections from multiple authors.

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

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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Amazon UK audio

Amazon audio

Audible UK


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!


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


Amazon Audio

Amazon UK audio

Audible UK

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

Tears of Crimson Velvet Cover Draft 1.jpg


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


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.

Review of In The Eye of the Beholder (A Phantom of the Opera Novel) – Sharon E Cathcart

Now I have been a fan of The Phantom of the Opera since I was about 11, when Michael Crawford played the title role on a stage in London.  Since then I have seen the stage show more times than I can remember as I stopped counting after about 25.

The novel by Gaston Leroux is superb, although quite different to the stage show and certainly different to most of the movies, save the recent offering.

I have multiple copies of the novel, have seen every film (some I would NOT recommend) and have my own set of fan fic hiding on my PC.  There are a couple of books centred around the original story (which is part tragedy, part love story, part mystery) as you can image I am quite a fan;)

I was delighted to find this sequel, although I have to say I began reading with some trepidation as often sequels so long after the “event” smack of fan fic, not that this is necessarily bad.  This is an extremely well done follow up set sometime after the events of Phantom, it is both tragic and wonderfully happy.  At one and the same time it is both a simple and complex love story of two damaged souls who find not only love but a new acceptance in a hostile world.

The female main character, Claire is strong, independent and resourceful. Yet she is still a woman in a man’s world of the late 19th Century and the trials she faces and the strength she finds to fight the prejudice is dealt with well

Not so much of Erik’s dark past is made or the Opera house years but as this is set after the event  it is a new chapter. As with the original novel, and Erik himself, there is a good deal more below the surface than first glimpse reveals.

Recommended for fans of the story and fans of Erik.

5 stars:)