Going Courting

My dear readers,
I apologize for my long absence. However, I have an explanation and it ties beautifully with this post. I have met the man of my dreams, and he is keeping me very busy, and very happy.

Courting in the modern-day is very different from courting in the early 1900’s. My research about this topic has been quite the adventure. My book begins at the tail end of the Victorian era, in which Queen Victoria set strict guidelines for how courting was to be carried out. For example, a woman could not, under any circumstances, talk to a man of whom she had not been introduced. Her father, an older couple, or a mutual friend had to make the introduction. Once introduced, say for the purpose of a dance, the man could reintroduce himself and encourage the friendship, or he could choose not to do so. Men were allowed to approach a woman as long as there was a chaperon or escort with her that he could introduce himself (or greet) first. Women overcame this obstacle by using their fans, and body language to catch the eye of a man, and flirt without having to be introduced first.
Once the meeting had been established there were new rules to how much contact they were allowed to have. First names were not allowed (it was thought to be too forward), until an official courtship had been announced. They were allowed to walk together, but had to stay at least a foot apart. Dinner tables, and parlor rooms hosted most of the courtship, as they were within the watchful eyes of the family. Group courting became a great way for couples to spend some time somewhat alone.
Those are just the most basic of courtship rituals in the early 1900’s. The somewhat sad part, is that most of the courtships and marriages came about due to business arrangements, and personal financial gain. There were rare cases of true love, but that was not the main objective.

I, for one, am a hopeless romantic. Thus, my characters are marrying for the sake of being with one another for the rest of their lives. Writing their love story has been rather sweet for me lately. It is not every day that you get to fall in love at the same time as your main character. Thus, Walter has taken on a few of my love’s finer characteristics. I have also stolen some of my love’s text’s to insert into Walter’s romantic speeches to Julia. ‘Borrowing’ from the real world is what we writers have to do sometimes to add realism.
I leave you with words from Walter as he sits in a pub in Belfast Ireland.

I am forever changed because you are in my life. That it always has been, and always will be you. Here I am, sitting in a noisy Irish pub, wishing with all of my heart that I was by your side instead. But, I am here for you, my love. Here to secure our future together. I fully intend to provide for you, and to protect you from any harm at any cost. Julia, you have captivated me. All that I am,and all that I have I give to you freely. You make me the best man who I could ever hope to be, and I pray that I never have to live in a world in which you don’t exist.


Interlude: I Saw Three Ships

Friday eve I met with a Hodgepodge gang of writers for a an evening of dining, no whining, and writing. We ate waffles, with their accompany of sides. We also went around and talked about our individual projects, and brainstormed trouble spots in a few of the stories. We then tried a writing prompt based on a photo. My story did not flow as well this time. I stared at the blank page trying desperately to summon…something. Finally, a combination of things happened. I thought of the Christmas song “I Saw Three Ships”, I remembered a line from a book “It’s always two hundred years in the stories”, and then in my head I heard the voice of a nine-year old Irish boy. In these prompts I have been experimenting with different view points and styles that I have wanted to try, but haven’t in my previous writings. I will resume the research posts after this, but first, here is the picture, and my short story in its entirety.

Dream with me.  Once again. by anndr

Every year I watched and waited for the ships to come sailing in. Me mam told me all about them growing up. No one knows exactly where the ships come from, or why they only visit our planet once every two hundred years. They travel in fleets, bringing wealth, magic dust, and books filled with stories from the other realms. But, most of all they bring hope. It is said that they are angels, sent to give us help when it is most needed. That is why I am sitting on the docks in the middle of winter. I’ve never known a year so filled with trouble. The crops were bad this year, many have lost their jobs, and are starving. The worst of it though, is ma da left mam and me. I don’t know where he went, Mam won’t tell me. She says I’m too young yet. I’m not sure what that means. Adults are always hiding things. When I grow up I’m gonna tell ma kids everythin’. Mam says that he will come back one day. I asked her when, and she sighed and told me for heaven’s sake not to ask her any more questions. So, I asked her again.

“When the ships come in”, she replied. I don’t know why she said like she doesna believe it’s goin’ to ‘appen. But, she’s an adult, they have so much sense echoing in their heads, they sometimes don’t have room for belief. I believed that they ships would come. They always come when our world needs hope the most.

So, here I am, sitting on the docks…but, I guess I’ve already said that. I guess I should explain instead that the docks I’m sitting on aren’t like the docks on earth. Or, what I have heard of them from the elder’s stories. We don’t travel on the sea anymore; the whales did not like it. They said we over crowded them. They threatened to start a war, but by that time our Governor had already decreed that we were to take to the skies. Our people built the long wooden docks on the edges of cliffs, so that our air crafts would have plenty of room to float, and would not hurt the other. The wood is smooth and cold beneath me. I can feel it through the thin fabric of ma breeks. A strong wind blows over my face. I close my eyes, and breathe deeply. I feel the cold air opening my lungs. I hold out my arms, and pretend that I am a crew member on one of The Ships sailing in.

“Matthias, ye’ll catch yer death if ye stay out here.”

I turned to see Lucille ambling towards me. Lucille is one o’ ma best friends, even if she is a girl. She turned twelve last week, and thinks she knows everythin’. I would never admit it to her, but I don’t really mind her knowing things. She tells me all sorts of things that the adults never want to.

“I don’t mind if I do. I want to see the Ships”.

“It isna possible for you ta know that The Ships are comin’ today” she stated as a matter- of- fact.

“It is to! I looked up the last date that The Ships were here, and it is exactly 200 years ago today.” I stubbornly fixed my eyes on the horizon. She sighed, and sat down beside me. She hated being wrong.

“How long are we going to sit out here? It’s cold”

“Then go away! I’m staying til the ships come!”

“You don’t have to be so touchy about it”, she huffed and crossed her arms over her chest. Girls! Why did they have to be so annoyin’?

We were out there for ages and ages. My fingers turned blue, and my teeth chattered. Finally, I gave up hope, and bowed my head.

“Let’s go! They arena comin’”

“Wait! Look on the horizon! What is that?”

At first it was a glimmer, which turned into vague shapes. Which turned into a fleet! The Ships had come!

Interlude: Writing Prompt with Erin!

Here is a short story based on the following photo.


Oxygen. Yes, oxygen that is the thing I need. I feel the need for it burning my lungs. It’s dark, and I can feel the current pulling me along. Which way was up again? I can feel my limbs moving, striving to desperately find the surface. A seed of panic starts in my stomach and slowing grows until I feel it paralyzing every limb. Not yet I pleaded to the darkness, I need more time. Don’t take me yet.  Consciousness is slowing slipping away. I can feel it on the edges. How strange it is to feel one’s consciousness slipping, and yet still be so aware of what is happening. My mind presented facts to me coldly, plainly, sharply.

My limbs are growing tired, and they resist my minds incessant order to move. The water feels thick and heavy, alternately warm and cold. One last reach, and my hand has broken the surface. Hope renews my energy and I double my efforts.

The first gasping breath is almost painful to my tired lungs. The second was better. I wipe the water from my eyes, and try to catch a glimpse of my surroundings before another wave crashes down on me. I cough, and lift my eyes to the grey sky. The clouds are a dark ominous green, with veins of yellow and black coursing through them. Lightning strikes and highlights their color. The wind picks up and beats relentless at my face and hair. I was thankful, not for the first time that I had cut it before setting out on this mission. Everything about this weather bade me unwelcome. Maybe it was a mistake to have come, but to have turned the council down would have been a worse fate.

Anya, don’t let them take me!

I pulled myself into a ball as the young voice echoed through my mind. Oh Natalia!  She was only six. What could the Betrayer want with such a one?

That isn’t who he was after, you know it isn’t. He wants what you stole. A life for a life, the debt has not been paid.

I tried to shut the voice out of my thoughts; I had to get to safety. I had no time for the demons in my head.

I turned in a slow circle, gasping when I saw what was before me.

It was a castle made entirely out of black metal. Smoke plumed from one of the many turrets in a manner that suggested it had always done so and that it could not be bothered to change now. The windows were dark and were framed by metal twisted in an ancient pattern. Marble stairs led from the shore to its iron gates. They were open in a silent dare to enter.

Tired as I was, I had to get out of there. I was too exposed and vulnerable in the ocean. Taking a deep breath, I dove beneath the surface, and struggled to move my aching body in the direction of the castle.

Move with the current, not against I floated a moment, trying to judge which direction it was moving. Once found, it was only a matter of moving with it, and focus on holding my breath and then letting it out in moderated increments. My feet strike land, and I surface.


Chapter 1: The Setting

Piccadilly Circus, London 1912

“I still don’t see why people would make such a fuss over a boat. No matter how grand it is”. Lily sniffed in disapproval.

“Miss Anderson, the Titanic is not just a ship” Mr. Brown enunciated the ‘p’ on the end with a slight ‘pip’ sound. “It is a sign of the progressive movement that was started with the industrial revolution. Our world is changing. It is expanding with new inventions, and ideas. A ship is being built that were it to be stood on its side, would be taller than any skyscraper in the world. If man can build such a thing, what is there to hinder us? Who knows what could be next? The world as we know it now will not stay the same for long”. – Excerpt from “Take Me to Titanic” (Working title due to change).

Come along dear reader! Hurry up, the train is leaving! We have to board before it leaves us ahead. Yes, ahead. For we are currently in 2015. We want to get back to 1912! Ah, here it is. Take your ticket, board, and join me in exploring this exciting time in our history. Comfortable? Good. Here we go…

I used to think of the early 1900’s as an idyllic time framed by tradition and chivalry. I did not think that women had many rights, and that their only expectation was to find a good marriage. However, the more I have researched, the more I have realized how wrong I was in that assumption. The years leading to Titanic, on up until the Great Depression were fast paced, and everything was changing. The women suffragette were gaining momentum in gaining votes for women! There were protests (peaceful, and not so peaceful), law changes, and more professions were opening to women. 1912 held the fifth Olympics, and 48 women competed!

There were also many inventions coming about at that time. Henry Ford had invented the Model T Ford, and it was just beginning to replace the horse and carriage. The Wright Brothers had their successful flight at Kitty Hawk NC, and airplanes were continuing to be improved on as the years passed. In fact, planes were a major part of World War 1 in 1914. That is where we get the story of the famous Red Baron. Trains were getting faster, and there was a competition between the different ship companies to find the quickest route to New York.

Times were changing, new things were being invented. As is the norm with both of these things, there were people excited for the change and those opposed to it. This is the world that Walter, and Julia (the main characters of my novel) are surrounded with. Being young, they are caught up in the enthusiasm. The Titanic becomes, not just a ship, but an important part of their life. Not just as a means of transport, but of the idea that they could do anything! This is an important theme to me to portray in my novel. Not to focus solely on the tragedy, but to capture the energy and momentum of that time.

This is only a glimpse of the world I have been living in the past few months. I hope you have enjoyed your first trip to the early 1900’s. We’ll dive more into their entertainment and courting rituals in the coming posts. For now, I bid you all a very fond good night.



I have been told since I was little that a good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. When I started writing class, I learned that there was more to each of the three main parts. One of these things is called a Prologue. It is the introduction to the introduction. It’s something that you need to know, in order to fully appreciate the rest of the books content. That is how I would like to start this blog.

I am writing an historical fiction novel based in the years 1911-1912 with a focus on the Titanic. We all know the story. The unsinkable ship sinks! There have been many stories and movies written about the event. I’m sure you’ve seen or read at least one in your lifetime. But, I hope to cover some areas that other authors have left alone. The book I am writing centers around two main characters, Walter Swane Brown, and Julia Edith Blakely. Walter is from the working middle class, while Julia is from the upper middle class. Walter is a journalist, and through his eyes we see the story of the Titanic start to unfold. We’ll start the journey in Belfast where the Titanic was built, and end the story in New York after the sinking.

Throughout the course of the book I hope to explore more of the ship than has been told about before. I hope to paint an accurate picture of what happened that night, and to help it become more real to you. I will also be showing what it felt like to be living in England during the progressive movement, and to highlight the new inventions of that time.

The main purpose of this blog is to share what I am learning about the early 1900’s, and about Titanic herself through research. I will also be sharing excerpts from my book, as well as quotes from authors from that time period.

So, my dear reader, we have come to the end of the prologue. However, I hope you will join me as we go back to the past, and explore one of the greatest maritime tragedies of all time.