Can you believe it’s 25 years since James Cameron’s TITANIC film hit the theaters?
And guess what, it’s back in theaters this weekend!!
I’ve seen all the Titanic films — even the one made in German — but the 1997 film is an event to be enjoyed over and over again.
So I have a question, will you go back to the in-person theater and see it again?
OR: enjoy it once more in your own home?
I’d love to know how you feel about seeing it again in the theater.
Jina (dressed as a Titanic First Class lady)
And if you can’t enough TITANIC, check out THE RUNAWAY GIRL — my Titanic love story starring Ava O’Reilly, my Irish heroine.
I had no problem writing an Irish heroine.
When I was a little girl, I lived with my Irish grandmother for a while and I remember sitting at the big, wooden table with her as she added flour, milk, and herbs to leftover mashed spuds for potato cakes, or wound her blue rosary beads around her gnarled fingers while she spun tales about life in Ireland. Grand times they were, and a lovely thread woven through the quilt of my childhood.
Meet Ava O’Reilly, in THE RUNAWAY GIRL, a girl who wants to better herself by reading books but it’s forbidden to the servants in the grand house in Ireland where she’s in service.
Then when she’s wrongly accused of stealing a diamond bracelet, she escapes.
To the Titanic.
And every tale I’d heard at my grandmother’s knee, every book I’d read, every film about the ship of dreams I’d watched over and over again became the fodder for telling my own story about the Titanic.
Based on my girlhood and love of books.
And the sea.
And yes, romance, too.
And how an Irish girl makes a daring choice on that fateful night when the Titanic hits an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. that changes her life forever…
Super Romance Sale now until February 15th on #Kobo #Audiobook THE RUNAWAY GIRL is $9.99 AUDIOBOOK
Two women hold the keys to his heart. Only one will survive that fateful night…
When Ava O’Reilly is wrongly accused of stealing from her employer, she has no option but to flee Ireland. The law is after her, and she has only one chance at escape – the Titanic.
Aboard the ship of dreams, she runs straight into the arms of Captain ‘Buck’ Blackthorn, a dashing gentleman gambler who promises to be her protector. He is intrigued by her Irish beauty and manages to disguise her as the maid of his good friend, the lovely Countess of Marbury. Little does he realise, that the Countess is also in love with him.
As the fateful night approaches, tragedy strikes further when Ava is separated from Buck, and must make a daring choice that will change her life forever…
A sweeping historical romance set aboard the Titanic, from the author of Her Lost Love (Christmas Once Again).
Praise for Jina Bacarr:
‘A delightful holiday romance that has all the charm of a classic Christmas movie. Christmas Once Again is perfect for anyone who loves a holiday romance brimming with mistletoe, hope, and what ifs.’ Andie Newton, author of The Girl I Left Behind
‘A breathtaking holiday romance that is sure to stay with you long after reading’
‘A mesmerizing holiday romance that is sure to sweep you off your feet and take you away to another place, another time.’
‘A fabulous book you won’t want to miss’
THE RUNAWAY GIRL e-book, print and audio book:
Do you remember the hilarious scene in an episode of ‘I Love Lucy’ where Lucy and Ethel are working in a candy factory and the conveyor belt speeds up and they stuff their mouths with gourmet chocolates?
I didn’t have that experience, but I did have a blast researching the art of chocolate up close and personal for The Orphans of Berlin, tasting and munching on creams and caramels to my little heart’s content.
Then running on the treadmill for hours…
It was worth it.
I wanted to get a feel for what it was like to grow up in the world of chocolate like my debutante-heroine Kay Alexander and become familiar with how candy is made… as well as its importance during World War 2 when Ration D chocolate bars were loaded with vitamins and included in every soldier’s military ration kit.
It all started in 1868 when Kay’s candy-loving, Irish great-grandfather started a candy business called ‘Radwell’s French Chocolates’. Being a candy heiress gives Kay the opportunity to spare no expense getting Jewish children out of Nazi Germany.
I discovered a publication called the ‘Confectioners and Bakers Gazette’ which detailed the candy business from 1896 – 1930, including candy factories in Philadelphia (in 1908, there were twenty-five factories in the US manufacturing chocolate). I find it odd it ceased publication during the Depression since candy sales boomed during those lean years, including Radwell’s French chocolates.
‘Sorority Chocolates’ were a big seller reputed to reach seventy-five million customers, appealing to high school girls, their moms, aunts, and grandmas.
Other notable facts include the use of synthetic vanilla called vanillin even back then; but as any Christmas cookie baker will tell you, real vanilla in his cookies is what makes Santa smile.
I also read books on chocolates and searched the Internet for chocolatier’s ‘secrets’ and favorite recipes to come up with my own special chocolates for the Radwell’s brand.
Here are a few samples for your taste delight:
Renoir Dark Chocolate Bars
Hand-dipped, chocolate-covered squares
… topped with a swirl of buttercream
Caramels de Vendôme
… filled with honey caramel and vanilla ganache
Truffles à l’Opéra
…filled with raspberry ganache
Dark chocolate thin mints
… with flecks of almonds
Versailles Soft Creams
Dark chocolate hearts
… filled with raspberry buttercream
White chocolate truffles
… filled with pecans and vanilla ganache
I invite you to give yourself a treat when you’re reading The Orphans of Berlin. Stock up on your favorite chocolates filled with creamy mousse, rich ganache… and decadent truffles.
I dip my fingers into the box of gourmet chocolates and grab the last piece. A raspberry dark chocolate truffle. Mm… delicious. A gift from the candy gods.
Ah, the travails of a writer’s research… a tough job.
But somebody’s got to do it, n’est-ce pas?
When I was a little girl about six, I lived with my Irish grandmother when my mom was away doing amazing things… I thought she was a princess doing good deeds because I heard from my grandmum about the ‘people she helped’ and saw her wearing beautiful dresses in the pictures she brought home.
Ah, yes… my grandmum loved to spin stories about how my mom was the spitting image of her grandmother, an English lady of the realm who fell in love with an Irish rogue and ran away from home with him.
My mother was a model.
The people she ‘helped’ were the ladies in the audience.
And the dresses I saw were designs she wore for shows.
And the part about English royalty? My grandmum swore it was true, her eyes sparkling as she mixed up Irish potato pancakes (boxty, my favorites) and I believed it.
Because what little girl doesn’t want to believe her mom is a royal lady?
I still don’t know if the story is true, though my Great-Aunt Marie swore it was… and since she was a pious lady who lived her life as a lay sister among the nuns, who’s going to dispute it?
So what does this have to do with my upcoming Paris WW2 book?
It’s about the dynamics of how we see our mothers and how it shapes us growing up. My mum taught me to be a ‘lady’ and look for the good in everyone and never be selfish if we had extra cake or leftover pot roast and share it with someone who needed it. Since Mom was a great cook, she never lacked for takers.
My mom became the inspiration for the German girl’s ‘Mutti’ in my story. Kindness, understanding… and also the model for the American heiress’s mom… Philadelphia society with an Irish lineage.
Mothers and Daughters… a quilt rich with history and ideas… highs and lows… sorrows and sighs. But in the end, they’re our mothers and God bless them.
Mom and me
My next Paris WW2 book will be released in Fall 2022. More info coming!
check out my Paris WW2 novels:
The Lost Girl in Paris
My heroine, Angeline de Cadieux, is a Roma girl in WW2 Paris… she’s strong, fights in the Resistance… makes exquisite perfumes and comes up with an amazing marketing campaign during the war to boost morale in France.
The Resistance Girl
Juliana discovers her grandmamma was a famous French film star in Occupied Paris & her shocking secret…
(The video above takes place on a train in 1944 Germany — my heroine, Angeline, is very pregnant and on her way back to Auschwitz with two SS guards…)
Nothing is more heartbreaking than holding a newborn baby in your arms and it doesn’t cry.
The anguish, holding your breath while you wait for that first sign of life, the tears that fall upon your cheeks as you pray for that lovely, beautiful cry.
Then… a burst from the baby’s lungs and a heart-swelling joy overcomes you when the infant’s wail fills the air like an angels’ choir.
But what if you’re pregnant and imprisoned in a concentration camp in Southern Germany? A place where American soldiers were so devastated by the horror they found when they neared the camp, they wept when they liberated Dachau on April 29, 1945.
They discovered more than thirty railroad cars filled with dead bodies.
What if you were imprisoned there? Would you have lived? The odds were against you if you were a soon-to-be-mother.
It’s well documented the chances for survival for pregnant women and their babies in the camps was practically zero. They were immediately singled out for execution when they arrived.
It pains me to write this, but Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, was determined to exterminate all Jewish children (he proclaimed his policy in a secret speech in Poland on October 6, 1943).
As many as 1.5 million Jewish children died in the Holocaust.
Thanks to survivors’ stories and seven Jewish mothers from Hungary, we have the miracle of the Dachau babies. How for reasons never made clear, these mothers were allowed to live and brought to a sub-camp of Dachau in the waning days of the war known as Kaufering I.
And how under horrific conditions (no hot water, no instruments for the prisoner/doctor), they delivered seven healthy babies from December 1944 to April 1945 when fate stepped in and dealt them a cruel blow… I shan’t spoil it for you, but I promise you, I followed these events as they happened in ‘The Lost Girl in Paris’.
My heroine, Angéline de Cadieux, was there and very pregnant.
How did this Frenchwoman born Roma find herself in a concentration camp with Hungarian mothers-to-be? It was a challenge to orchestrate the series of events that bring her there… counting the days of her pregnancy in Paris, being honest to the unsanitary, degrading conditions found in the camps, the treatment of Roma by the Third Reich. Few have written about the Roma Holocaust and how anywhere from 220,000 to half a million Romani people died at the hands of the Nazis.
I admit it was a tremendous undertaking bringing all this to my story. I spent many sleepless nights trying to bring justice to these unbelievable women who not only survived the camps, but had the courage to tell their stories.
I have tried to tell one woman’s story albeit fiction, but everything Angéline de Cadieux experiences in the camps is based on truth.
So, my friends, cry as I did, become angry these events ever happened, but most of all, never forget.
THE LOST GIRL IN PARIS is now available across all platforms.
Available in e-book, print and audio
The Lost Girl in Paris universal link: https://books2read.com/u/3LyrdN
It’s the story of woman who survived both Auschwitz and Dachau, but never spoke about it until she meets a young reporter named Emma Keane who touches a nerve in her that now is the time to speak about those times. Her memories are as vivid to this eighty-year-old as if she were the seventeen-year-old girl who ran away to Paris to become a parfumier after losing her mother to the Nazi war machine.
I wrote THE LOST GIRL IN PARIS to pay tribute to the strong women who survived the Holocaust and willingly shared their stories with us. The horror of Nazi brutality, the loss of family, their dignity… but also about their strength just to ‘survive another day’.
And the strong bonds with their sisters-in-arms they formed with fellow prisoners. How they learned to trust each other and stood up against the enemy to save each other.
We must never forget.
Here is a second short excerpt from THE LOST GIRL IN PARIS:
The LOST GIRL IN PARIS is part of the ‘Get Inspired’ promotion in UK, AU, and NZ
I’ve had a zillion jobs in my career.
US Army rec specialist in Europe, AM/FM radio commercial artist, traveling cosmetic saleslady for a French company, club dancer, soap opera player, writer for kids’ TV…
And perfume model.
So, what does a perfume model do?
The gig started when I got a call from the modeling agency I worked for asking me if I was available to introduce a new perfume. Since I was freelancing for a travel magazine company in Beverly Hills back then, I jumped every time the agency called me with a perfume job.
The pay was good. The hours ranged from four to six hours a day. The location was always a posh department store (remember Bullocks, I Magnin’s?), and occasionally, I’d get to wear wardrobe from the couture department to complement the color scheme and theme of the perfume.
I felt like a film star.
After a session with the perfume rep explaining their marketing campaign, off I went. Sashaying around the store like I was walking on the red carpet. I’d engage customers in small talk and introduce them to the perfume.
I’d spray it on their wrist – or mine if they preferred – and then gave them a sample. It wasn’t easy. I was snubbed by snooty women, hit on by male customers, and constantly asked, ‘Where is the ladies room?’
By the end of my shift – toes squashed in three-inch heels – my feet were killing me.
But I loved it. The customers were enchanted by the quick whiff of a new fragrance and loved being whisked away for a moment of glamour. I’d regale them with my stories about Paris and the Belle Époque department stores I visited along with the history of perfume.
And the different notes of the perfume. Top, heart, base.
I soon discovered you didn’t sell the steak… perfume, that is… but the sizzle. The mystique, the mood. I had to evoke an emotional response in the customer and I did it by storytelling and learning as much as I could about perfume. How it’s manufactured, the ingredients, what that perfume can do for that customer to make her happy, feel sexy. Powerful. Loved. I became an amateur ‘nose’, learning about the different scents and essences and how they configure in varying ratios to make up a lovely new fragrance.
I used that perfume experience to create parfumier Angéline de Cadieux when I wrote ‘The Lost Girl in Paris’.
How a girl from a controversial upbringing becomes a famous perfumer during the war when she comes to Paris in 1940 to escape the Gestapo. Then how she uses perfume to do her part to win the war…
THE LOST GIRL IN PARIS is up for pre-order – and my just-revealed cover is on Amazon!
Release date: November 30, 2021
Jina Bacarr: Laura Burke Photography
Background: ID 137251284
Nearly 500 ratings on Amazon UK!
The Resistance Girl
Juliana discovers her grandmamma was a famous French film star in Occupied Paris & her shocking secret…
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