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Category: Jina’s Book Chat

Jina Baccar's column
Home > Columns > Jina’s Book Chat

The Writing Life: What I learned in high school . . . and why it’s still relevant today by Jina Bacarr

May 11, 2017 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Storyteller, Writing, Writing Contest tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

*****2nd UPDATE***** Monday early a.m. May 22, 2017

I did it!! CRYSTAL GIRL is listed among the entries for the Kindle Storyteller UK 2017 contest!

After being sleepless in SoCal all weekend, I checked before I powered down tonight and there she is! Excited that I did it right and fulfilled all the requirements.

It wasn’t easy to enter – writing the book was only the beginning. Formatting it and also doing a print version, getting them linked, right keywords, did both covers myself. Crazy, but I’m just happy to have a chance.

Thanks for listening!
~Jina

 

****UPDATED**** Saturday May 20, 2017

Thursday night . . . I felt like Cinderella waiting for the clock to chime at midnight . . .in England.

That was the deadline looming for the Kindle Storyteller UK 2017 contest (see below for the scoop). I was almost finished with editing, formatting, etc. CRYSTAL GIRL, a prom queen wannabe sells her soul to the devil to get thin, watching the clock. You have to upload a print book as well as an e-book. Formatting an e-book I can do.

The print book.

Well, let’s say I used up a pot of coffee stressing on that one. However, I’m pleased to say that Amazon has made it exceptionally doable for authors to turn their e-books into print. Kudos to them.  It takes some studying, a few trial runs, but I did it.

So . . . I uploaded everything before the deadline. I’m all set, right?

No. My entry isn’t there.

At least I can’t find it.

So I emailed Amazon support and they’re helping me figure out what’s happening. So, that’s my update. I did what I set out to do and that in itself is a win. But I’m hoping, really hoping, that my book will show up in the contest. It may take a few days to show up, but I know in my heart I’ve done everything I can.

Will I win if the book joins the entries? That’s in the hands of the angels . . .

~Jina

PS — meet Kaylee Russell in Crystal Girl –– how far would you go to get thin? Read her story here.

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

I love to wish on the stars.

Big ones, little twinkling ones. I’ve always been the type to jump headfirst into a challenge and then wonder later how I’m going to do it. Like the time I was a freshman in high school and I was a newbie on the Speech and Debate Team. The team was entered in a big speech contest over the weekend where each contestant performed a piece in front of judges.

At the last minute, somebody dropped out. I raised my hand and said, “Yeah, I’ll go!” Eyebrows raised. Throats cleared. Obviously, I was not their first choice. Far from it. But I wanted it so bad, the teacher must have seen the stars in my eyes. I was so eager to get out into the world and try out my wings. They had no one else, so I went. This was a Thursday. I needed my speech ready by Saturday.

I was too young and naive to be scared.

Too green to know everybody thought I’d freeze up.

Hey, I was fourteen.

By Saturday, I had the speech down. Kinda. Not perfect. But okay, I couldn’t back out now. I’ll never forget the snickers, the whispers when I got up in front of the judges and jumped into my speech. It was a speech about life and its many roads and the choices you make. A bit too mature for me, but what the heck, I forged ahead like I was on a mission to Mars.

Then reality set in. I forgot a line . . . then two. I stopped, grinned like a puppet with its strings cut. Now what?

Thank God I have a bit of blarney in me. I filled in with personal anecdotes about roads my family took. Literally. I talked about our wild adventures living in different places from coast to coast. No one breathed. Or made nasty comments. They just listened.

When I was done, I left the room as fast as my ballet flats could take me. Went to the girls’ restroom and cried.

I messed up.

Or did I?

I don’t believe I did. Even now as I write this, I never forgot the feeling of taking that risk and getting through it even if I wasn’t successful. Just putting myself out there made me grow up.

And in case you’re wondering, here’s how I scored: 4 judges = 2 third places; 1 honorable mention; and 1 second place.

Not bad for a kid at her first speech contest.

So, why am I telling you this?

Because I’m wishing on the stars again. This time it’s the Amazon Kindle Storyteller contest. (Get all the info HERE). A writing contest and the deadline is fast approaching. I have to wrap up my YA Novel entry asap.

God help me, I’ve seen the sun come up the past few days. Did you know the birds start chirping outside my window at 4:30 a.m.?

I’ll fill you in more later about my story with updates here. Post the cover, etc. It’s called CRYSTAL GIRL and it’s the story of a prom queen wannabe who sells her soul to the devil to get thin.

So that’s it for now.

But you know what’s funny to me? I don’t feel any different than I did at fourteen when I jumped into the speech contest and did the best I could. I love the challenge and I trust the storyteller in me to accomplish my goal.

I hope I never lose that feeling.

And I hope I never run out of stars . . .

Jina

High school can be such a pain, remember? I do.

Here’s a very short story I wrote about that first kiss.

VIRGIN KISS is **FREE** May 11 and May 12 on Amazon Kindle.

You can find me on social media at:

Once upon a Story blog

Facebook: http://facebook.com/JinaBacarr.author

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JinaBacarr

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jbacarr

Videos: https://vimeo.com/user216350

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001IU2P8G

 

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Titanic: 105 years later and where have all the lifeboats gone . . . by Jina Bacarr

April 11, 2017 by in category historical, Jina’s Book Chat, romance novel, Writing tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

 

Women and children first

This was the cry heard on that cold, bitter night of April 14, 1912. Earlier that Sunday morning passengers of all classes had attended divine services and offered prayers for a safe crossing.

At 11:40 pm the Titanic struck an iceberg and she was sinking fast.

Everyone scrambled to get to the lifeboats.

“Women and children first,” called out the ship’s officers.

Why then, when lifeboat number 5 was lowered (capacity 40), were there only 2 women and 10 men aboard?

If the call was for women and children first, why were gentlemen permitted to get into the boats on the starboard side?

While no male passengers were allowed to enter a lifeboat on the port side of the ship when there were women and children about?

And who can forget the look of pain on faces of the Irish family–the da, mum and three children–who fought their way up from the bowels of the ship only to discover there were no more lifeboats?

No more lifeboats.

With only a rosary and prayer and their arms wrapped around each other, they faced the end bravely.

Still, the question, persists, why were there not enough lifeboats?

Some put the blame on J. Bruce Ismay, the Chairman and Managing Director of the White Star Line, who insisted the number of lifeboats be cut from 48 to 16 (in addition, 4 Englehardt or collapsible lifeboats were stored on the Boat deck) because they “cluttered” the deck.

For the record, Mr. Ismay escaped the sinking in collapsible lifeboat C.

The White Star Line argued that it had followed the British Board of Trade regulations that dictated for a liner the size of the Titanic (using a specific formula based in tonnage), sixteen lifeboats was more than the number of boats required.

Here is a model of the Titanic decks and lifeboats showing rigging and funnel so you can get an idea of what the upper deck looked like.

Here is a model of the Titanic decks and lifeboats showing rigging and funnel so you can get an idea of what the upper deck looked like.

This rule was hopelessly outdated when the Titanic was launched.

But no one seemed to notice.

Until it was too late.

It does me heart in, as my heroine Katie O’Reilly would say, to write this post, knowing so many more passengers could been saved if they’d had more boats. As it was, several lifeboats were lowered half full or less. (The first lifeboat left with only 28 people–it could hold 65). Again, there is some confusion as to why this happened. The lifeboats had been tested and could hold forty to sixty-five people, but the captain decided to lower them half full, then fill the boats with passengers from the lower gangways.

That never happened. The doors were never opened.

As the lifeboats rowed away and the horrified passengers in the lifeboats watched the horrifying scene. I wrote about it in Katie O’Reilly:

The Titanic sinking into the black, calm sea as smoothly as if a Divine hand parted the waters to ease its descent into a lasting grave…the wild explosions shattering the quiet night… then the harrowing distress calls…the unbearable moans in a chorus of shouting and cries that lasted more than an hour then became feeble until they died out…then silence. As cold and still as the sea surrounding them.

God rest their souls…

 ~Jina

Check out my Titanic novel, Titanic Rhapsody

Two women hold the keys to his heart. 

A beautiful Irish girl.

An enchanting countess. 

Only one will survive that fateful night.

Titanic Rhapsody on Amazon

Thanks for stopping by!

~Jina

Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

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How Mercy Street on PBS reminded me why I write romance by Jina Bacarr

February 11, 2017 by in category Jina’s Book Chat tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

It’s been a rough week.

Make that year.

A lot of stuff going on in my life that sometimes makes me crumble in a heap and ask myself why I keep going.

But I do.

Because I like I what I do. Writing. Some days I love it, other days . . . well, you know the drill.

Recently, I’ve taken on a deadline to write a new book for a Kindle Worlds series (there’s nothing more gratifying than when you’re asked to write for a line), but it’s a short deadline and it’s a genre that’s different than what I’ve been doing (vampires as opposed to princesses — more about that as we hit that March deadline).

But I’m also in a box set with a novella I wrote that releases next week. Now, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with the PBS Civil War series, Mercy Street. It’s simple. After a grueling week of staying up as late as 6 a.m. every night to write my novel and make videos (I do it all — from the voiceovers to the production of the videos with music and graphics), I finally got to watch Episode 3 of Mercy Street.

But not until I uploaded video #18 tonight — yes, I made 18 + 2 more videos in the past week to promote the box set (a 60 second video for each author). Yes, 20 videos in all.

I was bleary-eyed, slumped over, sick of listening to myself on the videos, and crazed over trying to make them perfect little gems (they’re not, but I try).

Then I watched Mercy Street.

***Spoiler alert — if you haven’t seen Episode 3 of Mercy Street, you may want to come back when you have.

Now I love Dr. Foster, the hero. He’s a lot like the hero in my Kindle Scout winner, Love Me Forever (a Civil War time travel romance) and Nurse Mary is like my time traveling heroine. Mary is sick — and the new meanie on the show, a Union officer whose name I don’t want to remember, is sending her away from the hospital (and Dr. Foster).

This is where the resident female rival comes into play. You just can’t help but want to kick Nurse Hastings in the petticoats most of the time, but on this episode she’s a true romance heroine. We find out she lost her soldier love in another war and she has a change of heart about messing up the lives of our doctor and nurse. She sends Dr. Foster back to the hospital hotel in time for him to go to the docks to see Nurse Mary.

Here’s the moment that made my week:

When Dr. Foster jumps onto the steamboat taking our Mary away, he claims her as his patient and comforts her. When he takes her hand and their eyes meet, I wanted to cry. Then he gives her a book. Ulysses. As they quote from the Tennyson tome about not giving up, you know they love each other. He kisses her on the forehead and their hands try to hold onto to each other, but they’re forced to break away. But in spite of the war and the mean old Union major, we know somehow these two will be together again.

Made me proud to write romance.

Because love endures. In spite of everything.

And ain’t that grand.

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

Thanks for listening! And in case you’re wondering about all those videos I made, here’s the promo for our Facebook Party next Wednesday, Feb 15th 7:30-11 p.m. (CLICK here to see the vids)


Happily Ever Alpha Facebook Party February 15, 2017 from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

See you next time!

Jina

PS — I’m worried about Nurse Mary. She may be sicker than we thought. Tune in next week to find out. I know I’ll be watching . . .

PPS — if you’re curious about the Kindle Scout program:

***You can read my posts about my experience with the Kindle Scout program by clicking on Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5

blog: www.jinabacarr.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/JinaBacarr.author
https://twitter.com/JinaBacarr
www.pinterest.com/jbacarr
https://instagram.com/jinabacarr/

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Civil War Letters: I’ll be reading letters from Love Me Forever at Lady Jane’s OC Salon by Jina Bacarr

December 11, 2016 by in category Jina’s Book Chat tagged as , , , , , , , , , , ,

When was the last time you wrote a letter?

No, not email!
Or text.
Or a bunch of acronyms that no one can figure out without a dictionary.
I mean, put pen to paper and wrote out the words, one by one.
Hmm! I didn’t hear anything. You’re not alone. Unfortunately, the practice of letter writing is a lost art, but there’s something about a letter no email can take replace.
The crisp, crinkly paper.
The lingering scent of the writer’s perfume.
The personal style of every curved letter, dot and period, and question mark. The hidden message in their writing style that only you can see.
Especially during wartime.
Those letters are precious, the last letter from a soldier to his sweetheart is the epitome of love eternal, which is why I’ll be reading letters from LOVE ME FOREVER exchanged between my heroine and her Union Army major at Lady Jane’s Salon on Sunday, January 8, 2017 at the Ripped Bodice Bookstore in Culver City, California. I’ll be joined by other authors and the program starts at 4 p.m.
I’m grabbing my parasol and dancing around in my hoopskirt, getting ready to read from the letters of my time-traveling heroine and the handsome major she’s fallen in love with.
But can never have!
Best,
Jina

Website: www.jinabacarr.com
Blog: www.jinabacarr.wordpress.com

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

Love_Me_Forever_500x798

LOVE ME FOREVER

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

 

 

BONUS excerpt from LOVE ME FOREVER


Southern Belle and Spy: Excerpt from LOVE ME FOREVER from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Christmas during the Civil War in 1862 from “Love Me Forever” from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.
 
I’d love to hear from you. You can find me on social media:

www.facebook.com/JinaBacarr.author

And on Vimeo you’ll find all my videos.

https://vimeo.com/user216350/videos

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