Posted by: Jina Bacarr | April 14, 2013

Sneek Peek Sunday with Titanic Rhapsody

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101 years ago tonight, the grand ship, TITANIC, hit an iceberg and sank. Here is the story of 3rd class passenger, Katie O’Reilly…

From Titanic Rhapsody by Jina Bacarr:

(Wrongly accused of theft, Katie O’Reilly is locked up in a third class cabin belowdecks when the Titanic hits an iceberg.)

April 14, 1912 Sunday 11:40 p.m.

Shutting her eyes tight, Katie bowed her head and prayed to regain her courage. She would need it when they came for her. She’d not shame the name of O’Reilly, whimpering and sniveling like a sorry lass with no faith and no backbone. She was better than that.

No sooner did Katie take a deep breath and begin her prayer when several violent bumps shook her. No, not again. She blinked, not believing it when she slid across the cabin on her arse and saw the rosary beads bouncing about on the floor. She made a quick grab for them, but the ship’s shifting motion put her off balance. She held onto the sink for dear life, her cold fingers knotted around the white porcelain bowl so tight her knuckles turned white.

Then she prayed. By the wings of the holy angels, please, God, help me. Perspiring like she was waiting for her turn in the confessional, Katie didn’t move. Shaking and trembling, believing her only chance was to kneel and say her prayers proper like even if she only had a broken rosary. It was still night, but a shimmer of light blistered overhead from the dying light bulb. Dawn was still several hours away, but she couldn’t go back to sleep. Tossing and turning and now this.

A feeling of dread haunted her that something awful had happened. It made her afraid to think about it, but she must cling to hope. Katie pulled herself up, then looked down. She gasped. A steady stream of water along the floor lapped around her feet. Seeping in from under her cabin door. She froze. Blessed Virgin, is the ship sinking?

And her locked in here without so much as a proper prayer to save her. Lucky for her she’d fallen asleep with her boots and stockings on or they would be as wet as a cow’s hide in a summer storm. Katie looked around for what was left of her mother’s rosary beads, but they’d disappeared under the water. Her fingers tingled from the cold water as she searched the growing puddle on the floor for the black beads. She tried to convince herself nothing was wrong. A loo overflowed, she decided, or the swimming bath. Something, anything. It wasn’t seawater lapping around her feet. Was it?

Her mind reeled as she realized the water was coming in faster and showed no signs of stopping. Frantically she grabbed the broken pieces of the rosary as they floated to the surface, then stuffed them into her skirt pocket. She began to tremble as she pulled her skirts tight around her legs then banged on the door. Calling out for help. She stopped, listened. Nothing. What was to become of her? It was late, no one outside to hear her or come to her aid.

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As Walter Lord so aptly put it, April 14, 1912, was A Night to Remember

I spent many hours laboring over the events of that night, checking the names of the passengers in each lifeboat…what time each boat was lowered…whether it was from the port or starboard side. Intense research so I could know exactly where my heroine, Katie O’Reilly, and her handsome gentleman gambler, Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn, are at every moment in my romance, TITANIC RHAPSODY.

To give you a feeling of what happened during those last hours after the Titanic hit the iceberg, we’ll go through what a first cabin lady experienced, then a second class gentleman, and finally, a family in steerage.

If you’re a first cabin lady, you’re most likely asleep in your cabin where it’s cozy and warm with the electric heater going, the lights dim, when suddenly something jolts you awake.

Strange, you think, but nothing to be alarmed about. You try to go back to sleep until you realize the engines have stopped.

Here, in the middle of the Atlantic?

You’re curious, but not worried since everyone says the ship is unsinkable. You throw a heavy coat over your nightdress and peek outside, running down the corridor in your soft satin slippers. Others are about, gossiping, yawning, until the bedroom steward in a very nice manner tells you to put on your lifebelt and go up on deck.

In this cold? you ask him.

Yes, he tells you, though he assures you it’s merely a matter of precaution. Begrudgingly, you tell your lady’s maid to help you put on your corset, then fasten on the lifebelt made of six squares of cork. All the while the girl frets about, saying you’re all doomed. At the last moment, you grab your gloves and hat and scarf and join the other ladies and gents on the Boat deck.

Ah, there’s nothing to worry about, you decide, relieved. The ship’s musicians are playing a lively ragtime tune and everyone is chatting about the chunks of ice on the forward well deck—then a ship’s officer orders you into a lifeboat. Yes, orders you, like you’re a common servant. Why, the nerve of the man.

Women and children first, he says. What about the gentlemen? You hear someone whisper men are being allowed into the boats on the starboard side, but not here. Why get into the boats at all? you wonder, believing you’re safer on the ship than in that small boat.

Then someone says the Titanic is sinking

Titanic hit the iceberg

It can’t be that serious, can it? you wonder, not believing it possible You wait with your maid on the port side of the ship, watching the ladies being separated from their husbands and put into the lifeboats. Boats not even half-filled. No need to hurry. You hear someone say they’ll be laughing about this over breakfast.

Really? You start to shiver from the bitter cold…frosty puffs of air come out of your mouth when you speak. Unbelievable noise fills your ears.

From the boilers, someone says.

Ladies screaming as they’re pulled from their husbands’ arms. Then you notice the ship is listing heavily to one side.

Well, what are you waiting for? Get into the damn lifeboat!

You don’t protest when a seaman tosses you into a boat.

Then your maid.

After all, you’re the lucky ones, you realize as the boat is lowered over the side and hits the water. The lifeboat pulls away from the ship so as not to be pulled down by the suction when the ship sinks…yes, it is true. The Titanic is going down.

You put your shoulder to the oar and row…listening to the whispers that a rescue ship is on the way…the Carpathia. Will it arrive in time?

Will it?

Not if you’re a gentleman in second class…


Next time, what happened if you were a gentleman in second class after the Titanic hit the iceberg.

And a special thanks to my grand Irish family in the old photos I’m using for this three-part series. They were a wonderful lot…hard-working and filled with the gift of the gab and storytelling.

And for that, I am forever thankful…

Posted by: Jina Bacarr | October 8, 2012

Titanic: Blood and Steel on Encore October 8-13, 2012

© Gorgios |

Who doesn’t love a good backstory? The fun of discovering exactly why things happened as they did on that fateful night of April 14, 1912 when the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic.

Why weren’t there enough lifeboats for everyone on board? Who made that decision?

Why wasn’t JP Morgan, the owner of the White Star Line, on board?

Who came up with the name “Titanic?”

Check point in Northern Ireland

I remember the city of Belfast when it was filled with strife and the “Troubles,” a time when my da convinced the local authorities he was an American tourist and not the man they were looking for by pointing to his Made in the USA sneakers.

And when my beautiful mum went to buy some lace and minutes after she left the shop, the street was blown up. Another time we found ourselves stuck at a checkpoint behind a horse and wagon, and later on we feasted on the best breaded chicken dinner I’ve ever had.

Horse and wagon in Northern Ireland

This was Ireland on a cloudy day when the air was heavy with the smell of the earth fresh from the rain, when the blanket of green covering the land was so bright it made your eyes hurt. And when the wildflowers I picked made me think of sweet kisses from the handsome lad who’d winked at me.

Belfast was where the Titanic was born.
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 and 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 before she set sail on April 10, 2012 from Southampton.

Posted by: Jina Bacarr | September 4, 2012

Romancing the Hop “Titanic Rhapsody” Winners

From Carrie Ann Ryan:

After over 9,000 comments our Romance Hop has some grand prize winners!!

Grand Prize Winners:

 Kindle Fire Winner:

Laurie Goudge

(from It’s the Journey that Counts’s Blog)

 $130 Amazon Gift Card:


(from Carrie Ann Ryan’s Blog)

 Swag Pack:


(from Dana Delamar’s Blog)

The grand prize winners have already been notified and have their prizes or the prizes are on their way!

Carrie Ann Ryan

Congrats to the Grand Prize Winners!

And to my Titanic Rhapsody Winners:


Thank you to everyone who stopped by and commented on their favorite “Bodice Rippers.” I am amazed and thrilled to find so many fans of these grand novels.

When it came time to picking a winner, I did it the “old fashioned” way–I printed out the name of each commenter and put them in a hat and voilà! I picked two winners. (check out the commenters’ names in the pic above)

It was fun getting “non-techie” for this blog. It made me appreciate the slower pace without all the gadgets and aps and smart phones. Kinda like the heroines in the bodice rippers I talked about. They lived in a time when you stopped to smell the roses…especially when the hero picked them for you.

Any questions you have on the Titanic, please ask me. Also, check out my blog for past posts on the ship, everything from First Class Ladies to the wireless to the Titanic Pig.

. “Titanic Rhapsody” and the ship of dreams is a romance in the grand tradtion.


Once upon a time in a land far, far away when Twitter and Facebook were but a twinkle in a computer programmer’s eye, I indulged in my passion for reading. Big books that went way over five hundred pages. Books like Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers and Tears of Gold by Laurie McBain.

Angelique and the King by Sergeanne Golan.

Marianne and the Masked Prince and Catherine and Arnaud by Juliette Benzoni.

They were called bodice rippers.

Here are my fave Bodice Rippers: love the covers!!

Why were they called that?

Because of the provocative covers showing a beautiful woman with a heaving bosom sighing in the arms of a handsome hero. I soon found out there was a lot more than sex going on between the covers (plenty of that, too!).

These heroines defied society, scratched and groveled to not only better their place in life, but to get the man they wanted. They fought pirates alongside their man on the high seas or dazzled a king with their charm to save their lover, then rewarded the man they adored with a passionate kiss. They were willing to risk everything to stand on their own and be somebody. They never forgot they were bold, adventurous women.

Not for one second.

In Tears of Gold, the hero tells Mara that he’s impressed with her spirit and how he admires that about her.

Or Angelique in Angelique and the King when she fears the great love of her life has been burned at the stake. She goes to the king to find out the truth and tries to seduce him during a storm, taking him to her breast and comforting him.

And they weren’t afraid to fight against evil. In Catherine and Arnaud, when Catherine sees an injustice done to the poor and a man is killed by a savage guard, she attacks him with a dagger and kills him. 

I couldn’t get enough of these books. I was an impressionable kid who spent more time in the library than anywhere else, especially when I discovered the adult section was a lot more interesting than the kids’ area. Authors like Sidney Sheldon and Harold Robbins fascinated me with their grand storytelling landscapes and bold heroines. It was only natural that I graduated to bodice rippers as soon as I shed my training bra.

When I pulled out the fave romances of my youth, I discovered that three of the five books I wanted to talk about were originally written in French. Ah, l’amour. Could it be that French women were way ahead of us on shedding Puritan values and embracing their lives as women? After all, it’s not unusual for a Frenchman to kiss his wife goodbye at breakfast, then make love to his mistress at noon.

Here are two of my fave “Catherine” books in French that I bought in Paris and Versailles.

But American heroines can be just as proud and sensual as a Frenchwoman; e.g., Rosemary Rogers’ heroine in Sweet Savage Love proves her mettle when she’s forced to show her spunk to save her husband. She’s willing to do anything, even sleep with another man, to save her husband’s life.

These heroines also possessed a sense of adventure and a willingness to go outside their realm and explore the world, like the heroine in “Marianne and the Masked Prince,” who has a love affair with Napoleon.

I wanted to combine all these romantic elements in Titanic Rhapsody—a grand sweeping novel in the old bodice ripper tradition. I wanted a heroine who had spunk (Katie O’Reilly runs away from a grand house after she’s wrongly accused of theft and sneaks aboard the Titanic).

A heroine who fell in love with a hero, Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn, who would do anything to protect her (even go down with the ship).

A heroine who fought for women’s rights (Katie wants to be equal in America), and a hero and heroine who defied the rules of society to embrace their love.

And, lastly, a heroine with a strong sense of faith (Katie has a running dialogue with the Almighty about her weakness for the flesh when it comes to Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn).

With all the romantic exuberance of my youth, I set sail on my ship of dreams to write the story of  Katie O’Reilly and Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn and never looked back. Thank you to these wonderful authors who inspired my journey and made a young girl believe there really is a happily-ever-after for each of us.

So, tell me, what are your favorite bodice rippers?

Leave a comment with your email address and you’ll be entered to win one of two e-book copies of  TITANIC RHAPSODY.

Read an excerpt and see the VIDEO of Titanic Rhapsody.

And there’s more:

Carrie Ann Ryan has done an amazing job putting this Romancing the Blog Hop together with fabulous prizes.

Here is what Carrie Ann says on her blog:

“We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 100 times!

Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet

2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

3rd Grand Prize: The following Swag Pack!”

Carrie Ann Ryan


Ready for more Romance Blog Hopping?

CLICK on the LINK below to go to the next blog:

and here is Carrie Ann’s main blog page:


Vanessa did a wonderful job reviewing my story! 
(original REVIEW here)


Titanic Rhapsody by Jina Bacarr
Ellora’s Cave Blush
ISBN: 9781419937712
Reviewed by Vanessa

Katie O’Reilley is a poor Irish girl on the run from the law, and accused of a crime she didn’t commit. Katie can’t help it that there is something about her that people can’t resist, but she never asked for the attentions of another, which led to her employer’s daughter speaking lies about her. Katie seeks to begin a new life in America and then bring her sister to join her overseas. Finding passage on the large liner as she sets off for her maiden voyage, Katie has to rely on the kindness of strangers as she embarks on her new life. Katie, who doesn’t buy into societal places nor appreciate the boundaries that the class system has set up, soon finds herself enamored of Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn. She knows that in other circumstances they are so far out of reach from each other, but love doesn’t respect society. Katie is soon placed in a situation that she never thought she would be in, and she has a choice to make look towards the future that she had always longed for by living a lie, or give in and suffer the consequences that someone else has set up for her.

Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn is a gambler with a title, but no fortune. He was a former intelligence officer in the Army who left his position due to his father’s machinations. After stirring up some trouble back home, Jack accepts an invitation to travel on the doomed ship to get away from the gossip his actions had ignited. Jack doesn’t believe in love or marriage because of the way his father had treated his mother, and he has never met a woman that incited him enough to set aside these feelings. However, Jack soon finds that he may have met his match in the lovely beauty Katie O’Reilley, and it doesn’t hurt that he can’t resist a damsel in distress.

Titanic Rhapsody is an enjoyable story that takes place on a doomed ship amongst a lot of heartbreak and heartache, but true love prevails. I liked that in the end, despite the class boundaries, people still helped one another. Titanic Rhapsody actually mentioned several names that played key roles in that tragic event in history, and this further brought the story to life.

Reading the back blurb of Titanic Rhapsody, I was reminded of the film by James Cameron. Several similarities could be drawn between the two, but Titanic Rhapsody is a story unto itself that takes you through the various things that happened that night.

I liked that Jack wasn’t snotty as societal status would have dictated back then, but that he looked to the essence of the person, and he sought the greater good in them despite their social position. That in and of itself was uplifting given that for some reason, people seemed to think that because of an accident of birth they were better than others! Titanic Rhapsody did NOT have Katie adhering to these rules either. Despite what she was to be, she was more of a woman on the cusps of change for that time period. She wanted to pre-judge based upon past experience but, in the end, she went with giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Titanic Rhapsody wasn’t a surprise in the ending. I knew the ship would still seek the bottom of the ocean, but I wasn’t sure if the author would also send some of the protagonists down there as well. I liked that some of the things that were known to take place on that ship, on that night, were brought out in Titanic Rhapsody and the feelings that this invoked within the characters, too. Titanic Rhapsody further explored how the decisions made that night and the repercussions of them played out in the end, and Titanic Rhapsody didn’t close when the ship found her final resting place.

Posted by: Jina Bacarr | July 4, 2012

Titanic, the Liberty Bell and Me

Cover art by Dar Albert


On this Fourth of July, I can’t help but remember a school field trip that changed my life.

It is typical of me to poke my Irish nose where I shouldn’t.

Take the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

Everywhere on a prickly spring day back when I was a first grader, the nuns bustled about, running after their charges and trying to keep them together. Little girls in green uniforms and pigtails.

Me among them.

The Sister of Charity in charge gasped loudly, then blessed herself when she saw me lean over the rope and drag my finger down the crack in the famous bell. Needless to say, she made me say five Hail Marys for my sin.

Oh if the founding fathers could see what you’ve done, she told me, raising her eyes to heaven.

They didn’t, but it made no difference to Sister Regina Marie. I spent the rest of the field trip sitting in a corner, staring at the Liberty Bell and doing my penance.

And smiling.

I couldn’t help it. I was secretly pleased that I had “touched” history.

And that’s how I’ve been ever since. Touching history in my own inimitable way, whether it’s up close and personal visiting museums and historic sites or writing about it in my novels.

Which brings me to one of my favorite passages in my historical romance, Titanic Rhapsody, when my heroine, Katie O’Reilly, arrives in New York on the rescue ship Carpathia and sees the Statue of Liberty for the first time:

Glory be, Katie couldn’t believe she’d done it.

Walked right past the immigration authorities with her nose up in the air and her heart in her throat.

She was in America.

She’d never forget the moment the Carpathia steamed past the Statue of Liberty, rain pouring down with lightning streaking through the sky overhead and making her tingle down to her toes. A grand feeling it was. And now she was here.

Not once did they look at her and say she didn’t belong. Smiling and tipping their hats to her like she was a lady.

Katie came to America to be free. Free to be her own person and to be treated as an equal.

On this Fourth of July, let us give thanks for the gift of freedom and pay tribute to all who came here seeking freedom.

Long may the bells of freedom ring

Happy Fourth!!

Read more about TITANIC RHAPSODY here and check out my Book Video!


Posted by: Jina Bacarr | June 19, 2012

Titanic Rhapsody “Romance Trivia” Questions

Think you know everything about the Titanic? The ship of dreams is a big story this year with the 100th anniversary. I bet you watched the mini-series, the documentaries and sneaked into the matinee of Titanic 3-D.
So I decided to test your Titanic knowledge with trivia questions, not the same old same old, but romance trivia questions. (answers at end of post)
Have fun! And if you’d like to read a Titanic romance, try my Ellora’s Cave Blush Romance: Titanic Rhapsody
Here we go:
1. You’ve just spent your honeymoon in Paris with your handsome husband and it’s time to return toAmerica. He surprises you with first class tickets on the Titanic. From what French port do you sail?
A. Marseilles
B. Cherbourg
C. Calais
2. The Titanic has just arrived in Queenstown and you see several bumboats with venders 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?
A. a set of china
B. a Celtic brooch
C. a lace shawl
3. 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 toNew York. According to reliable sources, how many honeymoon couples were there on the Titanic?
A. 8
B. 11
C. 13
4. 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?
A. Mlle. Aubart, a Parisian entertainer
B. Madame de Villiers, a Belgian cabaret singer
C. Miss Annabelle Pearl, a British fashion designer
5. 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?
A. one
B. two
C. three
6. 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?
A. fore
B. aft
C. amidships
7. 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:
A. an electric bath which tans your skin with ultraviolet lights
B. a face peel
C. an exercise machine where you walk in one place
8. 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?
A. Autumn
B. Emperor
C. Vienna
9. 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?
A. 45 degrees F
B. 29 degrees F
C. 32 degrees F
10. It’s 11:40 a.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?
A. 1 hour and 45 minutes
B. 2 hours and 40 minutes
C. 2 hours and 10 minutes
1. (Answer: B Cherbourg)
2. (Answer: C a lace shawl)
3. (Answer: C 13)
4. (Answer: A Mlle Aubart)
5. (Answer: C three)
6.(Answer: B aft)
7. (Answer: A an electric bath)
8. (Answer: A Autumn)
9. (Answer: C 32 degrees F)
10. (Answer: B 2 hours and 40 minutes)
Posted by: Jina Bacarr | May 20, 2012

Titanic and OZ

Titanic and OZThe Titanic sank into the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912 at 2:20 a.m. 

On this 100 year anniversary I felt drawn to write about a character who’s been on my mind since I saw my first Titanic film on TV. A redheaded lass with a curious mind and a sharp wit that more often than not lands her in trouble. 

Since my family came from Ireland during that grand time when more than a million people a year came to the U.S. for a new life on steamers like the Titanic, I wanted to write about a girl I call Katie O’Reilly. 

Katie is a steerage passenger who, like Dorothy in Oz, is given a chance to leave behind her black-and-white world in third class–

 and enter the colorful world of Oz.

First class. 

She 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. 

On board she runs into the arms of handsome gentleman gambler, Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn. 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?

Here’s an excerpt from Titanic Rhapsody when Katie first meets Jack aboard the Titanic:

She opened her eyes and let out a loud gasp. Dear sweet Jesus, it was him. The man she’d seen on deck, watching her.

She was all in a flap when she saw him. Like a burst of golden sunshine he was, shining down on her after she’d been drenched by a cold, drizzling rain in her dark, gray world.

He was a handsome gentleman, with black hair and black eyes that held dark secrets that could make a lass blush. He had an aristocratic air about him that tamed his wildness just enough to keep him on balance.

And put her off balance.

Stepping away quickly, almost too quickly, she flinched when his strong hands grabbed her around the waist, then hoisted her up into the air. Katie let out a big, loud groan, then wrestled to get away from him.

Struggling, she cried out, “Let me go!”

“Be quiet, you little hellion,” the man said, his voice ringing with authority. “I know you’re in trouble—”

Me, Katie O’Reilly, in trouble?” she said, chin up, his powerful and pleasing presence arousing her. “What makes you think that, sir?”

He put her down, but didn’t release his hold on her. “Steerage passengers don’t belong up here in first class.”

First class? She blinked. That explained the rich carpeting, ornately-carved banisters and wide staircases.

Katie relaxed. He thought she was a third class passenger and didn’t know the law was after her, or if he did, he was playing games with her. She was desperately unaware of his true motive and that made him dangerous.

She had to play it cautious.

 “Now if you’ll point me in the right direction to the third class deck,” she said, showing him her ticket, “I’ll be on my way.”

“And right into the hands of the law.”

She took in a deep breath. So he did know.

He continued, “You have no choice but to allow me to offer you my protection.”

“And who are you, sir?”

He bowed slightly. “Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn, at your service.”

What are you waiting for, girl? Look at the man.

He was tall, muscular and possessed an arrogance that intrigued her. Not to mention a building heat inside her that warmed her down to her toes. He seemed more alive to her than any man she’d ever seen. A man who knew his charm and savored it.

“And why would you help the likes of me?” Katie wanted to know, with a proud air.

He smiled at that, continuing to stare at her, his eyes dark and searching. “Come with me and find out.”

Katie laughed, disbelieving. After all she’d been through and now this. Why oh why did God put such temptation in her path? The devil himself he was, mischievous, wickedly self-assured and alive with a masculine vitality that set a girl’s pulse racing.

“Escape with you to where?” she asked, the words flying fast and quick between them.

“To my cabin in first class,” he said.

First class?” she said, “with all them rich swells?”

It was too much for her poor, tired mind to take in. Here were riches beyond what she’d ever dreamed. Here was the smell of grandness, that rich, seductive, cloying smell that grabbed her heart and singed her soul.

To run off with such a man was a sin, the priest reminded her each Thursday in the confessional box, but the law was after her. They’d take her back to Cork in chains with the shame of stealing marked upon her forehead.

 “You won’t escape them, Katie…that is your name, isn’t it?” he questioned. “The ship is large, but the crew knows every inch of it.”

Katie was at a loss. What was she to do? She could hear the sound of voices and footsteps pounding on the stairs, coming closer and closer.

“We must go, now!” he said brusquely. “Or I won’t be able to help you.”

His words brought her to tears, though she refused to let them fall and show weakness in front of him. She thought and thought and thought. No, she had to do what he wished and face the consequences later with the Almighty.

Katie nodded. “I’ll come with you, Captain Lord Blackthorn.”

Hurry, they’ll be upon us in a minute.” He grabbed her hand and pulled her close behind him.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, she prayed in a somewhat uncertain state of mind, her feet flying over the red carpeting down the long hallway. Was she condemned to hell for saving her own arse?

Was she?

Or did the holy saints have something more alarming in store for her?

She found out minutes later in his lordship’s cabin when he ordered her to take off her clothes.

 Titanic Rhapsody from Ellora’s Cave Blush.

Posted by: Jina Bacarr | May 11, 2012

Titanic and Mother’s Day


We’ve all heard the stories of the mothers who boarded the Titanic with their children… Margaret Rice and her five sons in steerage; Mrs. Allison with her daughter Loraine and little Trevor in first class; Mrs. Becker with her two children as well as her daughter, twelve-year-old Ruth, in second class.

Some survived, some didn’t.

They all loved their children and would sacrifice anything for them.

But what about the mothers left behind?

Or waiting in New York?

I can only imagine the anxiety and fear gripping their souls, their hearts breaking.

The heroine in my romance, Titanic Rhapsody, calls upon the strength of her own departed mother when she questions whether or not what she’s doing the right thing when she decides to flee Ireland:

“The saints be warned,” Katie said now, banging her fist into her hand. “I’ll not be done in by that girl’s lies. I’ve seen how the world works and how you have to fight for what you want. Aye, fight. And that I will do…or me name isn’t Katie O’Reilly.”

She let out a deep sigh. It was no use. She couldn’t sleep. If only morning would come so she could be on her way to the dock. Hours yet until the sun came up.

Sitting on the edge of the open window sill, her mind wandered back to other times.

Happy times, then sad.

When her da was alive, she oft came to Queenstown with its narrow streets winding up steep hills, seeing him off on his fishing boat until the day he never returned. The sea had claimed him as it had so many others, his body washing up on shore while his soul roamed free.

It broke her dear mother’s heart, kind lady she was, her fingers always entwined around the holy black beads her sister in the convent had fastened for her. She’d buried three sons before they reached the age of five. Children lost to the ills of being poor, then her husband to the ravages of the sea.

That was six months ago. Before her mum died, she made Katie promise to join her sister in service. Now Katie had broken that promise and she was running off toAmerica.

With a price on her head.

Leave Ireland? Her home?

Was she daft?

Her parents were buried here. Not even a handful of dirt from their final resting place did she have to take with her.

Only her mother’s black rosary beads.

Katie gripped her hands together and beat upon her breast, calling upon the angels to help her.

Oh, God, please, she prayed, tell my dear mum I’m sorry, but I have to do this. And please, oh please, make her forgive me.

She would, wouldn’t she?

Had Katie not made every effort to be a good housemaid?

Was it her fault she got sacked because a man looked at her? She never expected the girl would accuse her of being a thief. She ran away from the grand house before the constable showed up.

There was a steep price to pay if she were caught.

Years spent in a cold, damp cell, but the wild intoxication of being free was a heady stimulant that surpassed any grim thoughts she might have.

For Katie had a plan.

That ticket was her passage to freedom.

She was going to America on the next steamship leaving Queenstown.

The Titanic.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I’d like to pay tribute to all these mothers who never gave up hoping and praying their loved ones would be saved.

And especially the mothers who sacrificed their own lives to save their children:

Margaret Rice died trying to save her five boys. A photo of her and her sons taken before she left Queenstown still exists and is a poignant reminder of the widow’s dedication to her sons.

Mrs. Allison refused to leave the ship without little Trevor, never knowing his governess had already put him safely in a lifeboat.

And Mrs. Becker never gave up hope of finding young Ruth after they were separated as the ship was sinking. They were reunited aboard the Carpathia, the rescue ship.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Would you like to win a copy of Titanic Rhapsody for your mother? Or yourself?

You can enter to win an e-book copy at: Tabby’s Nocturnal Nights Blog

The contest starts today, May 11th and will run until the 16h.

Here’s the scoop from Tabby’s Blog:

“Tabby’s Nocturnal Nights: Mother’s Day Blowout

We have 80 e-books to give away to one lucky commenter. Yep! One person will win it all! How fun is that? It is going to be really easy to win. All you have to do it sign up to follow the blog, leave a comment and email.”


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