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Christmas during the Civil War in 1862 from “Love Me Forever”

December 11, 2015 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Christmas during the Civil War in 1862 from “Love Me Forever” from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Christmas is the time of year when we put aside our differences and celebrate the joys of the season.

Even during the Civil War.

No better place to do that than Rosebriar Plantation on Christmas Eve 1862.

The beautiful antebellum house in Virginia has been turned into a battlefield hospital after the Battle of Fredericksburg with Union Army surgeon, Major Flynt Stephens at the helm. There they treat the wounded from both the North and the South.

There’s also a mystery afoot in the major’s eyes. He swears there are two women playing the role of his fiancée and the mistress of Rosebriar.

Identical twins.

But which is which?

Liberty (his lady in gray and a time traveler).

Or:

Pauletta Sue (belle and spy).

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from LOVE ME FOREVER, my Kindle Scout winner.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

~Jina

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

December 24, 1862

Christmas Eve
Later that evening . . .

Flynt placed the metal star at the top of the Christmas tree.
Behind him, he could feel the stares boring into his back. Men from both sides lay huddled together in the great hall of Rosebriar, each one believing it was his tree with his Christmas star.
North or South.
He smiled. Wasn’t it Dickens who said every man should keep Christmas in his own way?
That was as it should be, he thought, stepping down from the ladder and standing back to admire the fifteen-foot-tall pine tree the soldiers had erected in the main receiving room. Peace on earth. For now. The yellow flag Flynt hung outside the grand house ensured every soldier knew it was a hospital and both Union and Confederate wounded lay inside. The fresh red,   white, and blue candles glowed brightly and the small net bundles filled with nuts and golden apples hung on the boughs of the tree. Someone had made a strand of beans and strung it around the bottom. Glass ornaments, round and blue and silver, hung on the top branches.
New-fashioned ornaments he’d bought on a whim back in medical school before the war. Who could have predicted this horrible conflict? And its casualties. Outside, a heap of amputated feet, legs, arms, and hands lay at the foot of an oak tree a few yards from the main house, waiting to be taken away.
Light, melting snow covered the pile.
But the weather was turning clear and mild.
He prayed that was a good sign and next Christmas would be different, though talk was the country was discouraged after the devastating Union loss two weeks ago at Fredericksburg. The people didn’t want to continue the war. If Burnside and the other generals couldn’t pull off a victory soon, he doubted if the government would get the support it needed to go on with the war.
That meant supplies.
Field hospitals were in want of fresh food, especially fruits and vegetables, causing cases of scurvy to break out. Rosebriar, on the other hand, had more than enough stored food and wood and, thanks to Pauletta Sue, the wounded benefited. They had fewer deaths and less cases of typhoid. It amazed him how a few changes in procedure saved so many lives.
Flynt let his gaze wander over the soldiers brought into the hall, most reclining on straw mattresses. Some had spent days in tent hospitals, lying on the frozen ground with only pine or twigs underneath their blankets. Every man able to sit up or raise his head was brought in to enjoy the Christmas celebration.
He’d never forget the look on the men’s faces when Pauletta Sue went around to each wounded soldier and gave him a small glass filled with brandy, insisting on using as many clean glasses as possible. Aunt Fairinda raised a ruckus in the kitchen, but she calmed down when she saw the men smile. He could still hear the hushed voices of his cook and the other servants oohing and aahing over the tree, saying it was just like the old days before the war started. Even Old Dan shed a tear. Surprised Virginia folk knew how to do up Christmas right, he’d said, like Tennessee folk.
And the singing.
Flynt’s heart warmed to the voices of the wounded men lifted up in the chorus of a popular holiday carol. Pauletta Sue’s light soprano rang out loud and clear. She sat at the pianoforte, her fingers skipping over the keys, turning her head and flirting with every man who caught her eye. He stood in the corner, watching her. Wanting her. His glance moving up and down her body, taking in her deep green silk dress covered with black velvet trim spread out around her, setting off her ivory-skinned beauty like emeralds surrounding a precious pearl.
The perfect mistress of Rosebriar.
Every man in the room envied him.
The real question on his mind was, was this Pauletta Sue from Tennessee?
Or his lady in gray?
It didn’t take him long to find out. Somehow, when he wasn’t looking, he swore they’d switched places. The two women were playing games with him. The lady in gray tended to the soldiers earlier, then the real Pauletta Sue took her place to entertain the officers.

 
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Who’s ever seen a Christmas Piano Tree? by Jina Bacarr

December 11, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , , ,

I asked myself that question when I was looking for ideas for a cover for my holiday romance, A Christmas Piano Tree.

You can’t stick a picture of a Christmas tree on a piano…and the story is a romance. Got to have gorgeous hero and pretty heroine on the cover…but where to start?

That’s when I decided to take a cover class from Andris Bear www.andrisbear.com and Lily Smith http://www.coversbylily.com through the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.

http://heartofcarolina.org

Andris and Lily critiqued and gave suggestions to my cover until I got it right. Thank you, ladies!! I highly recommend their class if you want to do your own covers. Lily and Andris are awesome!

I love www.Dreamstime.com for stock photos, and since I have somewhat of an art background, I enjoy the process of cover design (once upon another life I studied design for the theatre). Here is a Spanish-theme sketch I did for a Vegas-type extravaganza.

Jina Bacarr's photo.
 

I’ve always had a love for design since I was a kid and I drew pictures in my dad’s encyclopedias (remember those?).

Here’s a sketch for a dress design I did at age 11. Somehow it has survived numerous moves around the country and overseas…

What kind of covers do you enjoy for Christmas books?

I totally enjoyed putting the cover together for “A Christmas Piano Tree,” the story of a pretty young war widow who re-discovers the magic of the holiday season with the help of a homeless vet and an old piano. I hope you like it.

Check out my Christmas Piano Tree Pinterest board!

 Cyber Santa is asking for your vote…

The Christmas Piano Tree” is included in the December Cover Wars on Masqueradecrew.blogspot.com!

Check out all the wonderful covers and vote for your favorites… 

Thanks for listening! 

~Jina

Vote for The Christmas Piano Tree or one of several others: http://buff.ly/1vD4xsW

www.jinabacarr.com

http://www.pinterest.com/jbacarr   

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Veterans Day with “The Christmas Piano Tree” by Jina Bacarr

November 11, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Veterans Day is for healing…let’s not forget our wounded warriors who suffer not only the physical pains of war, but the mental as well.
 
PTSD was first talked about during the Civil War by physicians who described it as nostalgia, while others believed it was a disturbance of a soldier’s mental capabilities caused by severe trauma to the brain.

 
After World War II, John Huston directed a documentary called Let There Be Light, about the care of soldiers with mental disturbances suffered during wartime.
 
These are wounds you do not see.
 
But they are very real to the soldier with PTSD.
 
In my holiday romance, “The Christmas Piano Tree,” the hero is a wounded warrior suffering from PTSD.

The gate is the entrance to the Mary Huber School for Girls where my heroine, Kristen Delaney, works…she’s been feeding homeless vets with leftover food as a way of keeping her husband’s memory alive (he was killed in Afghanistan)–this is a very difficult Christmas Eve for her and her little girl Rachel…until this soldier shows up!!

Here’s a short scene where we first meet him. Kristen gets a funny feeling when she sees a tall man walking toward her… 

 
 

      “She pulled her steering wheel hard to the right to avoid colliding with the tall man bundled up in a black field jacket and khaki pants, a duffel bag strapped on his back, his broad shoulders dusted with falling snow.

      “She stuck her head out of the window to give him a piece of her mind and then stopped.

      “Something about him made her stare at him. He had that swagger she knew so well. Military. Seeing him touched a nerve. Another homeless vet. Kristen shook her head, understanding. He was the third one this week looking for a hot meal.

      “Not surprising on Christmas Eve.”

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

Who is the handsome soldier? And how is he tied to Kristen’s past?

 
 Sgt. Jared Milano is suffering from PTSD from his last mission in Afghanistan: 

http://amzn.com/B00OY9L8KO

 

“His brain went into freefall and he couldn’t stop it. No matter how hard he tried, how much he squeezed his mind, the memory stayed lost in a thick, suffocating fog swirling around in his head.

Lost.

Dead and forgotten.

Angry, frustrated, he tried to reach out and grab it, but whatever his buddy said to him before he died remained silent and still in his mind.

When would he remember? When?”

 
================
 
 
The Christmas Piano Treeis the story of a pretty young war widow who re-discovers the magic of the holiday season with the help of a homeless vet and an old piano.
 
I’ll never forget the Christmas I spent stationed overseas in a small town in Italy. The hot chocolate and cookies I baked and gave to the soldiers who signed up for my Christmas Eve Midnight Mass tour. Off we went on that wintery night in an old military school bus…
 
We were a motely group of military and Special Services personnel attending the service in a medieval cathedral that was cold and damp, but filled with song and hope for a better future.
 
Many of those men had seen the horrors of combat and suffered from PTSD (what we called DSS–delayed-stress syndrome–back then). Their stories as they told them to me have stayed with me always…
 
Thank you for spending part of your Veterans Day here with me. We thank all those who have served for their courage and bravery in keeping us and our families safe. God bless you.
 
~Jina
 
 
 
 
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Self-Pub Corner: Back Cover Copy “FInalist” in I Heart Indie Contest by Jina Bacarr

August 11, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The sales pitch.

You either love it or hate it.

For your novel, it’s called the back cover copy. It can be even more difficult to write than the dreaded synopsis when you’re self-pubbing a novel. But you gotta do it.

The tease. The logline. The character descriptions.

Sometimes it seems it takes longer the write the back cover copy than the novel itself (just kidding…).

So you can imagine how excited I was when I found out my back cover copy and beautiful cover from Covers by Ramona for A Soldier’s Italian Christmas is a finalist in the Novella category in the I Heart Indie contest!

Here’s the back copy cover:

He is a U.S Army captain, a battle-weary soldier who has lost his faith.
She is a nun, her life dedicated to God.
Together they are going to commit an act the civilized world will not tolerate.
They are about to fall in love.

December 1943
Italy

The ravages of combat have taken a toll on Captain Mack O’Casey, who has lost his faith after seeing the horrors of war as the Nazis fight hard to keep the Allies from reaching Rome. His beliefs are challenged even more when he loses his way and ends up in a mystical place called Monte D’Oro Rose during the cold winter of 1943…and falls in love with the beautiful Sister Angelina.

The young nun has a secret of her own, one she will die trying to protect: the lost Cross of Saint Cecelia. She must find the religious relic first before the brutal Nazi major who will stop at nothing to get it. Even murder. Sister Angelina risks her life to save the cross for the Church, but will she also risk her heart? Falling in love with the handsome American soldier is against the rules, but she can’t deny the stolen moments with him have made her question her vows.

It is Christmas Eve when these two lonely people come together on this holiest of holidays and how faith helps them overcome their greatest fears. A time when the whole world holds its breath as brave men and women fight for freedom.

And a soldier and a nun dare to fall in love…

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

And here is the cover! Check out this extended video excerpt from Chapter One from A Soldier’s Italian Christmas


A Soldier’s Italian Christmas: Excerpt from Chapter One from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

To celebrate being a finalist in the I Heart Indie contest, A Soldier’s Italian Christmas is FREE for August 11, 12, and 13th!! Grab your copy HERE.

Best,
Jina

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

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2014: Why haven’t you finished that book yet? by Jina Bacarr

January 11, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
© | Dreamstime.com

The clock is ticking…

Tick tock…tick tock…

How many words did you write today? Why haven’t you finish that book yet?

We all torment ourselves with these phrases and then blame our lack of productivity on…

Twitter…Facebook…Instagram…kids…family…the Internet…not enough coffee.

It’s all about focus.

And finding that beautiful space in our minds where we can run free and create and write and write and write.

It can be as elusive as a butterfly.

But well worth going after, no matter what gets in our way.

According to experts, interruptions can put a big damper on our concentration and it can take about ten minutes to get the writing flowing again.

So the next time an email pops into your Inbox, or the phone rings, or someone yells, “Hey, Mom, are you busy?” know that it’s not your fault if it takes a few minutes to get back into the moment.

Then let the butterfly in your mind run free…

Best,
Jina

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

In case you missed it, here is an 11-minute video with an excerpt from Chapter One in my novella, “A Soldier’s Italian Christmas” available on Amazon Kindle.

You can be sure I had a lot of interruptions putting this together, but I finished it!


A Soldier’s Italian Christmas: Excerpt from Chapter One from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

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