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An Italian Princess and an English Lord for International #BathDay

It’s International Bath Day!

I used to write travel articles — one of my favorites was a story I wrote about European bathrooms — and oh, the tubs I found in such exotic places as the shared bath in my pension in Paris near the Boulevard St. Germain . . .

Or the bath with the century-old pipes and no heat in Passau, Germany . . .

And the most fabulous bath I’ve ever seen in my hotel in Venice, Italy! The shower was a waterfall coming down from the ceiling. Bellisimo!

———-

I promised you an English lord in a bath, too, so here is Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn:

TITANIC and the Loo

Today April 10, 1912, the Titanic set sail from Southampton, England with a handsome gentleman gambler aboard. Here we meet Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn:

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A funny thing happened to my heroine, Katie O’Reilly, on the way to the loo when she boarded the Titanic. She couldn’t believe what she saw in the stateroom of Captain Lord Blackthorn (Jack):

“I’m still waiting for you to remove your clothes,” Jack  said, agitated. She was not listening to him, marveling instead at the modern appointments in his elegantly furnished cabin. She seemed especially intrigued by the bathroom with its double sink and commode.

Had the girl never seen an indoor toilet before?  

I’m sure you’re wondering why his lordship asked Katie to remove her clothes. I’ll tell you this: it’s part of his plan to hide her from the captain and the ship’s officers during the crossing. Kate is reluctant to do what he asks:

“I’m leaving me homeland to be rid of such frippery and do fine and proper work.” Katie started putting her clothes back on. She wasn’t set on going to America all blushes and roses only to be pushed back into service. “No, me lord, I’ll take me chances with the captain.”

“Then you won’t change your mind?” 

“No.”

“Too bad,” he said with a smug attitude. “The countess’s stateroom has its own private bathroom.”

Her eyes bugged out. “You wouldn’t be fooling me?”

What Katie is about to find out is that Titanic’s first class passengers enjoyed such luxuries as an electric heater in their bathroom, linoleum tiles and pure Vinolia Otto toilet soap smelling of lemon and spice. The captain enjoyed his bath with a choice of fresh or seawater, hot or cold.

Third class or steerage had plenty of lavatories, but they didn’t wash much if the number of tubs on board was any indication, as Katie found out:

He shook his head. “I hear there are only two tubs in steerage for seven hundred passengers.

“Two tubs for all them people?”

“Rather cozy, if you ask me.”

“And you call yourself a gentleman?” Katie said. A girl might be convinced to take off her clothes with that kind of talk. That and a private bathroom. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you were like them gents who took advantage of a lady and kissed her full on the mouth.”

He smirked. “The ladies I’ve met have never objected.”

Captain Lord Blackthorn is quite a rogue and finds Katie more than he can handle. Can this plucky Irish lass win the heart of a titled British gentleman?

Or is it just a shipboard romance he’s after? After all, he’s used to a life of privilege and entertaining the most beautiful aristocratic ladies.

Wealth came with its own set of rules and the first passengers played it for all it was worth…will Captain Lord Blackthorn see that his world is coming to an end before it’s too late?

Before he loses Katie?

===============

Check out my Titanic novel, “Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED

*The Denver Times was the afternoon edition of the Rocky Mountain News, which ceased publishing in 2009.


Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon.

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TITANIC and SOS: #MorseCodeDay: what’s the real story?

 

What if you found yourself on the Titanic today?

The ship sinking…seawater coming higher and higher on each deck. What would you do?

Grab your cell phone. Call or text for help.

If wasn’t that simple back in 1912.

The wireless was the only means of long distance communication between Titanic and other ships (the Morse lamp was used for ships within visual range as well as rockets) as well as land.

Much has been written about the Marconi wireless and how novel it was to the passengers on the ship.

Who can forget the scene when operator Jack Phillips “yells” back to the operator on the nearby Californian, “Shut up, shut up! I’m working Cape Race.” (Cape Race was the first wireless station in Newfoundland and the only land station to receive the Titanic’s distress signal.)

Frustrated, the operator shuts down his wireless and goes to bed. No further communication with him was possible that night.

He didn’t hear the “CQD” or the “SOS” after the Titanic hit the iceberg.

The Californian didn’t know until it was late the ship was sinking.

According to newspaper reports at that time, CQD was the British landline operators’ signal (“CQ” for “all stations”) with the addition of “D” by the Marconi company for added emphasis (danger).

“SOS” was adapted because of its distinctive Morse Code pattern of three dots…three dashes…three dots.

The Titanic had a first rate wireless room and could receive signals as far as 400 miles during the day and seemingly unlimited range at night.

Which meant they weren’t the only ones sending messages back and forth (the Titanic had sent 250 messages during the voyage).

According to the NY Herald, April 18, 1912, something had to be done to regulate the wireless lest more disasters at sea take place because their distress signal wasn’t heard. “Wireless meddlers” crowded the airwaves with messages and a Senate bill was drawn up to set up to regulate operators with a license.

No post about Titanic and the wireless would be complete without mentioning the two Marconi operators and their dedication to duty.

J.G. Phillips, 25 years old, was the chief operator and had served on the Mauretania and the Lusitania. He had been with the company for seven years and did not survive.

Harold Sydney Bride, 22 years old, had only been with the company twelve months and did survive. (He was on the same overturned lifeboat along with the hero in my romance novel,  “Titanic Rhapsody,” Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn.)

It was Phillips who sent the famous wireless message to Harold Thomas Cottam, the sole wireless operator on the Carpathia:

“It’s CQD, old man. Distress call.”

Mr. Cottam was off duty and had not gone to bed when he heard the distress call. He insisted on waking up Captain Rostron. Because of his actions, 705 people survived that cold, bitter night.

Why was Mr. Cottam listening to the wireless if he was off duty?

He was hoping to catch the Saturday night football scores broadcast from Cape Race.

His alertness was a touchdown.

————–

Check out my Titanic novel, “Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED:

US: http://a.co/1wSE0rb

UK: http://amzn.eu/hGXYjfa

 

Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

 

TITANIC Week Day 7 Bonus: Titanic Trivia Quiz: How many can you get right?

TITANIC Week here on “Once Upon a Story.” Day 7: Titanic Trivia Quiz

We’ve seen the films, read the books, but what do you know about the Titanic, really?

Take the quiz and find out!

(answers at the bottom of the page)

================

 Titanic Trivia Questions:

  1. You’ve just spent your honeymoon in Paris with your handsome husband and it’s time to return to America. He surprises you with first class tickets on the Titanic. From what French port do you sail?
  1. Marseilles
  2. Cherbourg
  3. Calais

 

  1. The Titanic has just arrived in Queenstown  and you see several bumboats with vendors hawking their wares. They come aboard ship with their Irish souvenirs. When John Jacob Astor buys his new bride a souvenir, your husband buys you one, too. What did Colonel Astor buy his bride?
  1. a set of china
  2. a Celtic brooch
  3. a lace shawl

 

  1. You’re thrilled to find fresh flowers in your cabin when you and your new hubby come on board the ship of dreams. You’re also excited to find out you’re one of several honeymoon couples sailing to New York. According to reliable sources, how many honeymoon couples were there on the Titanic?
  1. 8
  2. 11
  3. 13

 

  1. You hear heated whispers in the first class dining saloon when American millionaire Benjamin Guggenheim arrives with his latest mistress. Everyone’s curious, who is she? And where is she from?
  1. Mlle. Aubart, a Parisian entertainer
  2. Madame de Villiers, a Belgian cabaret singer
  3. Miss Annabelle Pearl, a British fashion designer

 

  1. You’re late for dinner in the first class dining saloon and lost in the maze of dead end corridors when you run into that handsome gentleman you met last night. He shows you the way to the dining room, then sneaks a kiss in the elevator. How many first class elevators are there on Titanic?
  1. one
  2. two
  3. three

 

  1. While you were waiting to board the ship at Queenstown, Ireland, you couldn’t resist flirting with the handsome lad who helped you carry your traveling bag. He whispered in your ear he’ll sneak into the single women’s 3rd class quarters to see you later. Where are the women’s steerage cabins on the ship?
  1. fore
  2. aft
  3. amidships

 

  1. You want to look alluring when you meet that handsome gentleman for dinner later in the first class dining saloon on D deck, so you pamper yourself in the Turkish baths. The bath stewardess insists you try out the latest beauty treatment:
  1. an electric bath which tans your skin with ultraviolet lights
  2. a face peel
  3. an exercise machine where you walk in one place

 

  1. Tonight you’re dining in the exclusive À La Carte Restaurant some first class passengers call the Ritz when you hear the ship’s musicians playing a lovely waltz. Later you hear them playing that same musical piece when you’re getting into a lifeboat. Some say it may have been the last song the musicians played as the Titanic foundered. What was the name of that waltz?
  1. Autumn
  2. Emperor
  3. Vienna

 

  1. It’s 10 p.m. on Sunday night, April 14th, and you can’t resist a stroll up on deck with your husband. It’s misty and getting colder. Even with his strong arms wrapped around you, you can’t stop shivering. How cold is it?
  1. 45 degrees F
  2. 29 degrees F
  3. 32 degrees F

 

  1. It’s 11:40 p.m. and you’re in bed with your husband enjoying a night of wedded bliss when the ship hits an iceberg. You want to cuddle up next to him in your warm bed, but he insists you get dressed and get into a lifeboat. How long do you have before the ship sinks?
  1. 1 hour and 45 minutes
  2. 2 hours and 40 minutes
  3. 2 hours and 10 minutes

 

Answers:

  1. (Answer: B Cherbourg)
  1. (Answer: C a lace shawl)
  1. (Answer: C 13)
  1. (Answer: A Mlle Aubart)
  1. (Answer: C three)
  1. (Answer: B aft)
  1. (Answer: A an electric bath)
  1. (Answer: A Autumn)
  1. (Answer: C 32 degrees F)
  1. (Answer: B 2 hours and 40 minutes)

————

 

 

===============

Check out my Titanic novel, Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on AmazonKINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED


Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon.

My Titanic romance “Titanic Rhapsody” is available in the US and the United Kingdom:

US: Amazon Kindle and Amazon KU http://a.co/1wSE0rb

UK: Amazon Kindle and Amazon KU http://amzn.eu/75Lw9NS

 

TITANIC Week Day 7: Today we honor the Titanic victims and share some of their stories

TITANIC Week here on “Once Upon a Story.” Day 7: Titanic Victims’ Memorial

On April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. and sank at 2:20 a.m.

Today we honor the victims.

Amen.

================

As I mentioned in an earlier post, no official passenger list for the Titanic exists, but the U.S. Senate Inquiry Report compiled what they considered to be the most comprehensive list of those who survived and those who didn’t. Now that you’ve lived the experience of Titanic, here are some stats to put it in perspective for you.

The numbers speak for themselves.

First cabin ladies and children had the highest survival rate with 11 lost out of 156. First class men didn’t fare well with only 54 saved out of 119; second class men had the lowest survival rate of both passengers and crew percentage-wise: only 15 out of 157 men survived. Second class women and children did better: 24 were lost out of 128 on board.

And what about third class? A total of 710 steerage passengers boarded the Titanic at Southampton, Cherbourg and Queenstown. The women and children numbered 224 and the men 476. Less than half the women and children were saved: 105 survived compared to 119 lost, while the third class men suffered great losses: 69 men saved: 417 lost to the sea.

The male members of the crew suffered the most as far as sheer numbers: only 194 male crew members survived with 682 lost. Nearly all the female crew members (20 stewardesses, 2 cashiers and one “matron”) survived: 20 out of 23 on board.

But the stats don’t tell the whole story. Here are stories of passengers and crew whom we know were lost. Some you’ll recognize because their fame precedes them, while others share the distinction of having been aboard the Titanic when she sailed.

In first class, Colonel John Jacob Astor was the wealthiest man aboard. He was worth more than a hundred million dollars. He went down with the ship after seeing his pregnant young bride into a lifeboat; Benjamin Guggenheim and his valet refused lifebelts and dressed in their formal attire for their final hour. Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Strauss of Macy’s fame stayed together until the end. The artist Francis Millet and Broadway producer Henry B. Harris were lost, along with Walter Porter, who was in charge of sales for his manufacturing company in Massachusetts, Richard Smith, who worked for a British tea firm and was considered a tea expert, and author Jacques Futrelle who had just celebrated his 37th birthday in London.

First cabin ladies lost include Miss Edith Evans, who had been warned by a fortune teller to beware of water, Miss Ann Elizabeth Isham, whose father founded a law firm with the son of Abraham Lincoln, and Mrs. H.J. Allison and her young daughter Loraine—Mrs. Allison refused to leave the ship without her husband and little son Trevor (who was saved by his governess).

Second class men who didn’t survive include Jakob Birnbaum, a jeweler carrying diamonds from Antwerp; John and Sarah Chapman, a honeymoon couple from Cornwall, England; Harvey Collyer, who had his life savings on him when he died: $5,000 (his wife and daughter survived), and Reverend Robert James Bateman, father of seven children. And what about J. Dawson? A stone in the Halifax cemetery marks his grave. No, it wasn’t Jack, but Joseph Dawson, a stoker from Dublin who body was identified by his National Sailors and Firemen’s Union card.

Second class ladies lost include Henriette Yrois, traveling with filmmaker William Harbeck (he had five cameras with him)—it was speculated she was his mistress; Mary Corey and Claire Karnes (married ladies returning from India without their husbands); and Mrs. Mary Mack, a recent widow who was wearing her gold wedding ring and a fur boa when her body was recovered.

Third class or steerage male passengers who didn’t survive include James Flynn from County Mayo, Ireland—he was traveling with a group of fourteen from the same parish in the county—eleven perished; Johan Andersson, who was originally from Sweden but he had become a U.S. citizen—he was returning to Connecticut after visiting his parents; and Jovan Dimic, a farmer from Croatia on his way to Montana.

Third class ladies lost include: Cordelia Lobb, traveling with her husband—her body was identified by the initials on her wedding ring before she was buried at sea; Kate Connolly, 35, who boarded in Queenstown—ironically, another Kate Connolly, 23, also boarded in Queenstown but survived in lifeboat no. 13; and Margaret Rice with her five sons. Mrs. Rice, a widow from Ireland, had a photo of her and her boys taken before she left which has only recently resurfaced.

Crew members who lost their lives include many firemen and stokers like Henry Allen, Walter Jarvis and Patrick McGee—men who shoved coal into the Titanic’s 162 coal-burning furnaces with back-breaking work.

Stewards as well died in the sinking, including Harry Bristow and L. Mueller from Germany who was an interpreter for steerage German passengers; and waiters like Signore Angelo Mario Rotta and seamen like Frank Couch from Southampton and Harry Holman from Belfast. And stewardess Mrs. Lucy Violet Snape.

And the brave eight Titanic musicians who played until the end, including their leader, Wallace Henry Hartley. When his body was recovered, it was rumored his violin was found strapped to his body and given to his fiancée, though the authenticity of the instrument which has resurfaced hasn’t been substantiated as of this writing.

Here are stories of survival as recorded by newspaper stories or by their own hand:

First class gentlemen who survived include famous celebrities such as J. Bruce Ismay, chairman and managing director of the White Star Line (he was vilified by the press and the public after the sinking) and Sir Cosmo Edmund Duff-Gordon. He gave five pounds each to the seamen in the lifeboat with him as a good will gesture, but he was haunted by rumors for the rest of his life that he had bribed them to row away quickly from the ship to secure escape for his wife and himself. One seaman called the lifeboat carrying Sir Cosmo the “money boat” when questioned by authorities in New York.

First class gentlemen saved who were not as famous include Samuel Goldenberg, who was coming to New York to judge a dog show, Frederick Hoyt, who owned three racing yachts, Pierre Marechal, a French aviator known for sporting a monocle, and Algernon Henry Barkworth, a justice of the peace from Yorkshire, who used his fur coat and briefcase to keep himself afloat in the water before finding his way to a lifeboat.

First cabin ladies who survived include the elite society of New York like Mrs. Arthur Ryerson,  Mrs. George Widener and Lucile Polk Carter, a descendent of President James K. Polk; but none as famous Margaret Brown, labeled “unsinkable” in the years to come. Mrs. Brown insisted her friends call her “Maggie” (Molly was invented by the Hollywood press years later in the 1930s). Mrs. Brown founded the Survivors’ Committee aboard the Carpathia and is famous for standing up to the quartermaster in her lifeboat and telling him that she and the other ladies could row as well as any man.

And then there was first cabin film actress Dorothy Gibson, who was in Europe on vacation with her mother when she was called back to the U.S. by her employer to start a new film. She never expected she would later make a film called “Saved by the Titanic,” which was released a month after the sinking. In the film, she’s wearing the same dress she wore on that fateful night.

Second class gentlemen who survived include Lawrence Beesley, who studied at Cambridge and was a science teacher. He wrote the most comprehensive accounting of the sinking. Albert Caldwell was a missionary in Siam who first heard about the Titanic in Naples—he was returning home to the U.S. because of his wife’s health (she also survived along with their little boy) and Sidney Collett, who had already received two cancellations on his travel plans to study at a seminary in Missouri. The Titanic was his third choice.

Second class ladies who survived include Mrs. Jane Quick and her two little girls. She was traveling without her husband—they were reunited in Detroit after leaving the ship in one of the first lifeboats; Kate Buss from Kent, England, who traveled on the Titanic in April with her trousseau (she was to be married in San Diego) because she was superstitious about a May wedding. And Maud Sincock from Cornwall, England, who jumped into a lifeboat wearing only her nightdress and lace-up boots and no stockings.

Third class male passengers who survived had to overcome major obstacles to save their lives: Victor Sunderland, a farmer from London, couldn’t find a lifebelt anywhere and jumped overboard before swimming to overturned collapsible B. Carl Jansson from Sweden only had time to grab his watch, but not his shoes before his cabin filled with water; he jumped overboard and swam to collapsible A. Patrick O’Keefe from Ireland had a premonition about the crossing and jumped into the sea; he also made it to collapsible B.

Steerage women also had to prevail through the worst of circumstances. Those who survived include sisters Kate and Margaret Murphy from Ireland. They secretly bought tickets on the Titanic through the help of their neighbors so they could escape an overbearing brother. Sarah Roth from London, England married one week after arriving in New York on the Carpathia with fellow passenger Emily Badman as her bridesmaid. Anna Katherine Kelly barely got off the ship and suffered from shock and exposure afterward. She was released from the hospital wearing only a nightdress. She believed her rescue was a miracle and became a nun known as Sister Patrick Joseph Kelly, known affectionately as “Sister Pat.”

Crew who survived: stewardesses Mrs. Annie Martin from Guernsey and Miss Mary Gregson, who earned approximately 3 pounds 10 shillings a month (the stewardesses were married as well as single ladies). Half of the ship’s eight officers who didn’t perish either commandeered a lifeboat and found their way to a collapsible.

Seamen who survived include James Anderson from Newcastle; Edward Brown, a first class steward from Wales, who was washed overboard trying to launch collapsible A and found his way to the lifeboat. Fireman John Pearce from Southampton survived in lifeboat 15. The five postal clerks perished, but all six lookouts survived that fateful night.

And finally, we all grieve at the thought of so many lives taken too soon, but perhaps more so the 55 children who died on the Titanic. Nothing has garnered more interest at the cemetery in Halifax than the unknown child, identified in 2011 as Sidney Godwin, nineteen months old. Sidney’s entire family (mother and father and five siblings) all died in the sinking.

The Godwin family was traveling third class from England for a better life in Niagara Falls. Only through the heartfelt intentions of a Halifax police sergeant to give the tiny leather shoes to the child’s family were they saved. No one claimed them and the shoes remained in his drawer for years. When he died, his family donated them to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, part of the Nova Scotia Museum in Halifax. With the aid of modern DNA technology, the shoes solved the mystery of the unknown child. Today those shoes sit near the gloves of a millionaire in the Titanic exhibit in the museum.

I pray you have embraced all I wanted to share with you about the Titanic, felt the joy and pain of the passengers and crew, and come away with a better understanding of the tragedy.

I pray also that when someone mentions “Titanic,” what we’ve discussed here will ring in your ears and you’ll be able to tell them the real story of what happened on that starry night, April 15, 1912.

Because you’ve been there.

Jina

===============

Check out my Titanic novel, Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon.

My Titanic romance “Titanic Rhapsody” is available in the US and the United Kingdom:

US: Amazon Kindle and Amazon KU http://a.co/1wSE0rb

UK: Amazon Kindle and Amazon KU http://amzn.eu/75Lw9NS

 


Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

TITANIC Week Day 6: Titanic and the Iceberg: Part 4 Steerage Class Irish Family

TITANIC Week here on “Once Upon a Story.” Day 6: Part 4 Steerage Class Irish Family

Today on April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. and sank at 2:20 a.m.

Would you have survived?

What were your chances?

Find out in my posts today (4 total throughout the day) as we experience what it was like that night through the eyes of a first class lady, a second class gentleman, and an Irish family in steerage class.

You might be surprised.

================

Steerage Class Family

It is time to speak of the steerage passengers, who until now have waited patiently for a steward to bring them up on top to get into the lifeboats.

Well, not all the third class passengers have been patient.

How could you be if you’re a good wife and mother and your family’s lot depends on you getting to the lifeboats?

Holy Mary, you’ve had time of it since you boarded the Titanic at Queenstown. Getting the two little ones, Mary and Bridget, settled in their bunks with Danny, a lad of ten, wanting so to follow his da around the ship.

And then there’s Patrick, your man. A strong, blustering bloke with strong hands and a big heart. Him always ready to enjoy a pint after a hard day’s work and eager to give you a hug and a kiss when you’re weary from toiling from dawn till night.

“You’ll have a better life in America,” he promises you, after buying passage on the grand ship. And now look at the lot of you. Huddling in the stairway down here on E deck like drowned rats after the seawater came flooding into your cabin. The ship hit an iceberg, they say, split her open where you’re quartered in the fore part of the ship in the married couples section.

And would you believe the likes of them stewards shouting and hollering to put on lifebelts that don’t exist? Only through the help of the good Lord did Patrick find belts for you and the children. And now they won’t let you through the gate to go topside?

“Have you no heart, man?” Patrick yells to the steward, asking him to let his family through. No, he tells him, you have to wait. Then you put your hands over the girls’ ears when Patrick lets go with a barrage of expletives and his fists. He pushes the steward aside and bangs on the barrier. With help from the other men, down it goes with a loud crash.

Then Patrick picks up the girls, one in each arm, and orders you to grab Danny and go ahead of him. Up the stairs you go, the companionway taking you up to the next deck. Then someone says go through the second class door and somehow through Divine grace you find your way up on top.

Oh, such chaos you’ve never seen. People yelling and rushing about like frightened mice with their tails caught in the jaws of a hungry cat. Patrick, good man that he is, doesn’t stop. From boat to boat he goes until he finds one that will take you and the girls. And Danny.

But not him.

Women and children first,” orders the ship’s officer, shaking his head. Patrick nods. He knew all along there’s no place for him, but he didn’t let anything stop him until his family was saved.

God bless him.

A kiss to you, lass,” he says, brushing your lips with his, then he tosses you into the boat and it’s lowered away. You huddle in the lifeboat with your children close to you. The sea is so calm, so smooth, the piercing screams and pitiful pleas for help sound sharp and clear in your ears, but you can’t cry. That will come later. Now you have to be strong. For the girls and Danny.

Patrick would want it that way.

————

And there you have it. A trio of passengers and how they fare on that fateful night. Then at 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the Titanic breaks in two and sinks into the North Atlantic, a pale gray vapor hanging like smoke over the spot where she disappears.

For the passengers and crew, cold and freezing in the lifeboats, it will be hours before the rescue ship Carpathia reaches them. Then it’s on to New York. Between twenty and thirty thousand people crowd Chelsea Piers when the Carpathia steams into New York Harbor around 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, 1912.

Even the aftermath of the Titanic is dramatic. Reporters hire their own tugboat to try to get to the passengers first and buy their exclusives stories; the newspapers blast the headlines for days about the society folks on board (third class passengers don’t fare as well—they’re sent to homeless shelters and their names don’t appear on the survivors’ list); and the U.S. Senate subcommittee holds hearings at the Waldorf-Astoria, interviewing first class passengers and crew.

We’ve come to the end of our journey on the Titanic and a grand tale it is. Before I go, I want to take one last look at the ship of dreams, though I shan’t walk her decks or open doors to her cabins.

No, I want to take one more walk down her sweeping Grand Staircase with the great glass dome overhead like Katie O’Reilly, my heroine, does in Titanic Rhapsody. We see the stars peeking through, heavenly witnesses to all that is elegant and romantic. A place of enchantment where everything is unique to this time, this place. Katie can’t believe she’s really here and neither can I.

I quicken my pace and leave the ship, knowing the Titanic will stay with me always.

Tomorrow I will pay tribute to the victims and survivors of the Titanic and answer your questions.

I pray you will join me.

Jina

 

Coming up tomorrow: TRIBUTE to the TITANIC and its passengers

===============

Check out my Titanic novel, Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED


Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon.

My Titanic romance “Titanic Rhapsody” is available in the US and the United Kingdom:

US: Amazon Kindle and Amazon KU http://a.co/1wSE0rb

UK: Amazon Kindle and Amazon KU http://amzn.eu/75Lw9NS

 

TITANIC Week Day 4: Titanic and the Pig

TITANIC Week here on “Once Upon a Story.” Day 4: TITANIC and the Pig

Today April 12, 1912, the Titanic is at sea . . . let’s meet one of her most famous passengers.

————-

Did you know there was a pet pig on the Titanic?

According to the New York Herald on April 19, 1912: “Five women saved their pet dogs …another woman saved a little pig, which she said was her mascot.”

The reporter goes on to say that she didn’t know how the woman cared for her pig aboard the Titanic, but she carried it up the “side of the ship [the Carpathia, rescue ship] in a big bag.”

How did the pig get into the lifeboat? Was the pig traveling first class?

In a word, yes.

More about this intrepid little piggy and the important part it played in the sinking of the Titanic later. First, it seems you can’t get away from pigs and the Titanic.

In Julian Fellowes’ mini-series “Titanic”, a passenger in third class isn’t happy about traveling steerage to New York. She tells her husband that her daughter said their Irish Catholic family is like “…six little pigs packed into that cabin, all trussed and bound for market…”

They’re not the only Irish aboard the ship with pigs on their mind.

Katie O’Reilly, the heroine in my romance, TITANIC RHAPSODY, nearly doesn’t make it on board the ship because of a pig.

Katie runs away from the grand house where she is in service after she is wrongly accused of stealing a diamond bracelet. The law is after her, but she has one chance to escape.

The Titanic.

“Stop in the name of the law, Katie O’Reilly!” she heard the constable yell down from the open second story window.

She looked up at him, disbelieving. Stop? Was the man daft?

With her ticket clutched in her fist, Katie took off running, up one winding street and down the next. The smell of cooked onions and cabbages filled her nostrils as she sidestepped piles of horse manure in the middle of the road.

Then her hat flew off. When she stopped to pick it up, she nearly collided with a large pig being driven through the streets by a farmer.

Was she about to be done in by a pig?

She thought not.

Katie jumped out of the way, then bent down to retrieve her hat.

The pig’s hooves had ripped it to shreds.

She kept going, the morning dew on the air giving way to a fine salty mist, sweeping away her fear and clearing her mind as the offices of the White Star and American Lines came into view.

Will Katie make it on board the Titanic before she sails? Only by the skin of her teeth.

Does she see the pig during the crossing?

Few passengers did because the cute little pig with the curly tail was the lucky mascot of Miss Edith Russell.

She loved to wind up its tail and it would play a lively musical tune similar to a two-step called “Maxixe.”

You see, the pig was a musical pig.

The reporter on the Carpathia didn’t know the real story behind Miss Russell’s pig. How it was given to her after she survived a horrific motorcar crash. She promised her mother it would never be out of her sight. When she realized the Titanic was sinking and she’d left her mascot in her cabin, she sent the steward to retrieve her lucky pig.

Still, Edith was hesitant to get into a lifeboat. When a seaman tossed her pig into a boat (believing it was a baby wrapped up in a bag), Edith insisted on getting into the boat, too. Its nose was gone and its legs broken, but Edith and her little pig escaped in lifeboat no. 11.

Overcrowded with sixty-eight passengers (nearly one-third were children), Edith realized her little pig could comfort others as it had her. She wound up its tail so it would play music for the children. Most of the little ones stopped crying as the pig’s sparkling musical notes calmed their fears.

Its furry, white-gray body wet with sea spray.

Its cute grin giving them hope they would be saved.

It was the little Titanic pig that could.

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Check out my Titanic novel, “Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED


Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon.

TITANIC Week Day 3: Katie O’Reilly and how Titanic was born in Ireland

TITANIC Week here on “Once Upon a Story.” Day 3: Katie O’Reilly and how Titanic was born in Ireland

Today April 11, 1912, the Titanic stopped in Queenstown, Ireland to pick up passengers including my heroine, KATIE O’REILLY, in TITANIC RHAPSODY.

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Let’s go back to 1907 and a time when Katie O’Reilly, the heroine in my novel, Titanic Rhapsody, was fourteen years old and living with her da and mum and her older sister, Mary Dolores, near Queenstown in Southern Ireland. She was filled with curiosity and yearned for a better life, which often got her into trouble with the local sisters at the Catholic school.

While Katie was discovering that a poor Irish girl had as much of a chance to better herself as a prize pig did of escaping the butcher, up in Belfast an enterprising gentleman named Lord William James Pirrie had grand plans to help Irish girls like Katie find their dreams.

Now mind you, this was a time when more than a million people a year emigrated from Europe to the United States. Before the great steamers made the crossing, the steerage or third class passengers had to bring their own food and spent the week-long journey in cramped, unsanitary quarters. Those lucky enough to get a breath of fresh air on the upper deck shared it with chickens in poultry coops.

You can be sure when the emigrants arrived in America, they wrote to the folks back home: “Smelly, dirty trip on the ________ Line. Get a ticket on another ship.”

But what if the emigrants raved about the crossing? Good, hot food at every meal that included oatmeal and currant buns. Clean cabins with running water and nary a chicken feather in sight. Can you imagine the stampede to book passage on that ship?

Lord Pirrie, chair of Harland & Wolff, major shipbuilders, did. According to the oft-told tale, the idea for Titanic and her sister ships came about over coffee and cigars in Lord Pirrie’s fancy London town house. There he convinced J. Bruce Ismay, Chairman and Manager Director of the White Star Line, that he could build two ships—the Olympic and the Titanic and later the Britannic—bigger and more luxurious liners than his competitor, the Cunard Line, had. Ships that would hold more passengers and raise his company’s profits substantially.

He convinced Mr. Ismay he could also increase profits by catering to the society crowd traveling across the pond on a regular basis and doing the grand tour. They were willing to pay big bucks to be pampered as if they were staying in a fancy hotel.

Who could resist such an offer? A new era in trans-Atlantic passenger ships was born. New slipways were constructed in Belfast to build the Titanic and three thousand workers hired to get the task done (450 were injured and 17 died during the construction). By the end of March 1909, the keel was laid down and on May 31, 1911 the Titanic was launched at 12:15 p.m. with great fanfare. Tickets were sold to the public with all the money raised going to charity.

Now the real work began to get Titanic ready for the posh passengers and eager steerage emigrants who would marvel at her interiors and wander up and down her long corridors. Also, we can’t forget the second class passengers, many of them tradesmen (including a perfume salesman whose sample bottles were retrieved from the wreckage) who relied on crossing the North Atlantic to keep their connections on the European continent current.

On April 2, 1912, the Titanic started a series of sea trials to prove her muster to carry passengers. All the while, my heroine, Katie was going through her own trials.

Her parents have died and she’s toiling in service in the grand manor of a fussy earl and lucky to have it. Katie got the job through the efforts of Mary Dolores, also a housemaid. A fine job it is for a lass like her, but Katie has dreams of bettering herself and yearns to be free to choose her own path in life.

Until the jealousy of the earl’s daughter is her undoing. When her ladyship’s beau is more interested in Katie than her, she accuses the Irish girl of stealing her diamond bracelet. That brings the law down on Katie. She swears she’ll not go to prison for something she didn’t do.

Next begins a wild chase through the streets of Queenstown to the docks with Katie doing her best to avoid the constable. She’s more determined than ever to sail on the ship of dreams. The White Star liner promises her a new life in America. If only she can grab onto it.

Not an easy task for a poor Irish girl. Hard to understand today, but people accepted the separation of the classes back in 1912 as an undeniable part of life. A time when clothes did make the man. This was also an era when upper class females were called “ladies” and all other females were termed “women.”

A lady back then spent a good part of her day being dressed and undressed by her lady’s maid. Which is why women’s blouses, dresses, coats, etc. have their buttons placed on the opposite side of a man’s similar garment—since she wasn’t doing the buttoning.

It was also an era when a lady or a woman didn’t wear her hair hanging down, but pinned up (only her husband was supposed to see her hair down). Which is why Katie’s hair flying around her shoulders and blowing in the wind like a beckoning sea siren causes such a stir to notorious gentleman gambler, Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn, watching her from the Promenade deck of the Titanic. Looking up from the deck of the tender to the grand ship, Katie is awestruck. She’s never seen such a man. Tall, muscular and possessed with an arrogance that intrigues her.

No wonder she’s fascinated with the pampering he shows her in first class, while trying to seduce her by offering her his protection. Quite a tempting proposition for a lass like Katie. Her God-fearing soul swears to resist him. But for how long?

Still, the Titanic offered unrivaled luxury to its passengers during the Gilded Age, a time when one million dollars worth of diamond jewels and paintings and gold dinner plates were not uncommon as wedding gifts. A time of diamond tiaras and titles, when ladies spent their days making calls and drinking tea and thought nothing of lavishing a small fortune on silk underwear from Paris.

And no income tax. With their husbands’ fortunes at their disposal, these elite ladies spent extravagant amounts on gowns, jewels and hats. Big hats. Like the one Rose wears when she boards the ship in the film “Titanic.” Plumes, jeweled hatpins and wildly provocative veils added a sexy, mysterious aura to an Edwardian first class lady embarking on the ship’s maiden voyage, especially the elusive Countess of Marbury…more about her later.

And here is our Katie on the dock at Queenstown, her plain black hat lost, her long glorious hair the color of a deep red sunset whipping about her shoulders and down to her waist.

When Katie takes a flying leap across the gangway and ends up on the tender, Ireland, ferrying passengers and mail to the liner, she helps out a young theology student ordered off the ship by his uncle, the bishop. What Katie doesn’t know is that he’s just taken the last pictures of the Titanic. Father Browne had no idea then his photos of the Titanic would become world famous.

Before Katie finds her way aboard the liner with the law at her heels, the White Star Line steamship makes stops in Southampton and Cherbourg to pick up passengers and mail (400,000 letters are stowed belowdecks). What a grand day it is for the Titanic. She is the biggest ship afloat with 1,324 passengers and a crew of 899. Can you smell the salty air and hear the sea gulls cawing as she leaves Queenstown? Hear her whistle blast three times?

It’s 1:30 p.m. on April 11, 1912 and the Titanic is on her way to New York. Our Katie is belowdecks…hidden out of view by Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn. I shan’t tell you where and spoil it . . .

===============

Check out my Titanic novel, “Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED

Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.


TITANIC Week Day 2: Titanic and the Loo and a very sexy Lord in a Tub

 

TITANIC Week here on “Once Upon a Story.” Day 2: TITANIC and the Loo

Today April 10, 1912, the Titanic set sail from Southampton, England with a handsome gentleman gambler aboard. Here we meet Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn:

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A funny thing happened to my heroine, Katie O’Reilly, on the way to the loo when she boarded the Titanic. She couldn’t believe what she saw in the stateroom of Captain Lord Blackthorn (Jack):

“I’m still waiting for you to remove your clothes,” Jack  said, agitated. She was not listening to him, marveling instead at the modern appointments in his elegantly furnished cabin. She seemed especially intrigued by the bathroom with its double sink and commode.

Had the girl never seen an indoor toilet before?  

I’m sure you’re wondering why his lordship asked Katie to remove her clothes. I’ll tell you this: it’s part of his plan to hide her from the captain and the ship’s officers during the crossing. Kate is reluctant to do what he asks:

“I’m leaving me homeland to be rid of such frippery and do fine and proper work.” Katie started putting her clothes back on. She wasn’t set on going to America all blushes and roses only to be pushed back into service. “No, me lord, I’ll take me chances with the captain.”

“Then you won’t change your mind?” 

“No.”

“Too bad,” he said with a smug attitude. “The countess’s stateroom has its own private bathroom.”

Her eyes bugged out. “You wouldn’t be fooling me?”

What Katie is about to find out is that Titanic’s first class passengers enjoyed such luxuries as an electric heater in their bathroom, linoleum tiles and pure Vinolia Otto toilet soap smelling of lemon and spice. The captain enjoyed his bath with a choice of fresh or seawater, hot or cold.

Third class or steerage had plenty of lavatories, but they didn’t wash much if the number of tubs on board was any indication, as Katie found out:

He shook his head. “I hear there are only two tubs in steerage for seven hundred passengers.

“Two tubs for all them people?”

“Rather cozy, if you ask me.”

“And you call yourself a gentleman?” Katie said. A girl might be convinced to take off her clothes with that kind of talk. That and a private bathroom. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you were like them gents who took advantage of a lady and kissed her full on the mouth.”

He smirked. “The ladies I’ve met have never objected.”

Captain Lord Blackthorn is quite a rogue and finds Katie more than he can handle. Can this plucky Irish lass win the heart of a titled British gentleman?

Or is it just a shipboard romance he’s after? After all, he’s used to a life of privilege and entertaining the most beautiful aristocratic ladies.

Wealth came with its own set of rules and the first passengers played it for all it was worth…will Captain Lord Blackthorn see that his world is coming to an end before it’s too late?

Before he loses Katie?

===============

Check out my Titanic novel, “Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED

*The Denver Times was the afternoon edition of the Rocky Mountain News, which ceased publishing in 2009.


Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon.

TITANIC Week Day 1: The Passenger List that never was . . .

TITANIC Week here on “Once Upon a Story.” Day 1: who was aboard really?

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No one really knows exactly how many passengers sailed on the maiden voyage of the Titanic on April 10, 1912. Modern historians have settled on the number 2,223 passengers, though no complete passenger list exists.

What is known are the passenger names recorded on thirty-four handwritten pages from 1912 currently stored at the National Archives in London.

A rare second class passenger list was sold at auction a few years for $33,900 (Christie’s auctioned off a first class passenger list in a booklet in 1998), but no one knows for sure who was on that ship.

Fascinating fodder for a novelist…so many what ifs come to mind.

What if your heroine was traveling under an alias?

Not unusual for passengers at that time to travel under an assumed name. Like Lady Duff-Gordon and her husband traveling as the “Morgans” to allegedly avoid the press; or a Frenchman who kidnapped his two children and listed himself as a Mr. “Hoffman.” We can’t forget the gambler, George Brereton, who traveled first class under the alias “George Brayton.”

We know the Titanic wasn’t filled to capacity (the ship could hold 3,547 passengers and crew). And since no official passenger list will ever be completely accurate, it was exciting for me to create a  heroine named Katie O’Reilly because she could have been on the Titanic when it left Queenstown on April 11, 1912.

And no one would have ever known.

Until now.

Check out my Titanic novel, “Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED

*The Denver Times was the afternoon edition of the Rocky Mountain News, which ceased publishing in 2009.


Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon.

What do Hungry Writers do? They “Cook Their Books” #FREE Anthology #KindleScout

 

I’m so proud to be a Kindle Scout Winner and Kindle Press Author — a big bonus for me was meeting and hanging out with the other winners. Such a talented, witty group — and good cooks, too!

So a bunch of us decided to cook our books. We’ve just released a FREE anthology of recipes: KP Authors (Kindle Press Authors) Cook Their Books.

KS_cook_books_Oct12

Thanks to everyone who participated, but a big shout out to Fiona Quinn for organizing our cookbook drive and getting us off our butts. Fiona is an amazing mystery writer — check out her Lynx series HERE.

I hope you enjoy our recipes. Mine are from LOVE ME FOREVER. You can read an excerpt from my book along with a fun chat with my heroines, Liberty and Pauletta Sue.

~Jina

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Featured Image -- 2069If you love Civil War romance and time travel and TWO hunky military heroes, check out my Kindle Scout winner:

LOVE ME FOREVER

She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
And time.

LOVE ME FOREVER is now available from Kindle Press at Amazon.com

 

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