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Monday, February 18, 2013

Today's Special - - Jennifer McQuiston

I am so happy to introduce you to debut author, Jennifer McQuiston.  I first met Jennifer at the RWA National Conference in New York City when a mutual friend asked me to join a group of writers from Atlanta for dinner.  I was awed by her professional accomplishments (she's a veterinarian and infectious disease specialist) and charmed by her warmth and humor.  That humor is clearly evident in her debut romance novel, WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND.  I've now read it twice and both times it had me grinning from beginning to end.  Jennifer joins us today to blog about an object that has a very important role in her book.  Take it away, Jennifer!  








One of my most prized possessions is a chamber pot.

There. I wrote it. Out loud. On the Internet.

Think I am strange, if you must. But the chamber pot in question came from my great-great grandmother on my father’s side, and I like to imagine it carries inside it the stories of my hard-scrabble mountain relatives (if not residual traces of their DNA).

I have used it as a raffle bowl, a place to toss my keys when I walk through the door, and of course, a conversation piece. This morning it is being used as one half of a book-end, holding up my Complete Works of Charlotte Bronte. It is always proudly and prominently displayed in my house, but most folks have no idea what it is because it’s so darn pretty: delicate white porcelain, with scalloped edges and a floral and wheat design. I like to imagine I could have willingly done my business in such an imaginative vessel, once upon a time, but nope.

I think I would rather serve soup in it.

Or chocolate truffles. I admit my sick sense of humor has made me consider just such a scenario.




It has also served as one of my most important muses. You see, it’s prominently featured in the opening pages of my new book, What Happens in Scotland. In fact, a chamber pot that looks exactly like this one is the hero’s first clue that something untoward has happened the night before—not that he can remember any of it.

An excerpt from What Happens in Scotland:

“Can you hear me, you sodding fool?”
            Though better sense bade him not to, James MacKenzie opened his eyes. His brother William loomed over him, his face strung with a smirk and his fingers curved around shards of white pottery.     
“Bugger off,” James moaned, his head a mass of mangled thoughts and pain. “Can you not see I am sick?”
William hefted the ruined bit of china and dangled it above James’s nose. “I confess that was my first thought, but by the looks of things here, it seems you have put the chamber pot to a different use.” He frowned a moment, the motion looking more like a grimace. “Injured, is more like it. Did you get in a fight with your piss pot, then?”
James squinted up at his brother, absorbing his words like water into sand. His evening had consisted of dinner and several draughts of ale in the local pub house. Now he felt as if he had been hauled in from the knackers.
What had any of that to do with a ruined chamber pot?
“You don’t know what you are talking about.” James started to shake his head and then decided better of it. Life seemed so much better when his brain wasn’t bouncing around his skull.
“Oh that’s rich, coming from a man who doesn’t know where his boots are.” William  tossed a pair of battered footwear onto the bed. “Tis a bonny nap you’ve had, nigh on two hours since dawn. But the innkeeper insists on your removal now, I am afraid.”
“Innkeeper?” James sat up and waited until his chest stopped heaving and the walls stopped bending toward corners. “Is that where I am?”
He swung his bare legs off the edge of the mattress. The floorboards crunched under his feet, and the sharp, sweet odor in the air gave him pause. Christ, had he smashed a bottle of brandy on the floor last night? He peered around the room, took in the ruined wardrobe, the upturned washbasin. Feathers floated in the air and stuck to the walls. A woman’s corset hung from the drapery rod, something plain and demure but oddly beautiful for its lack of adornment. There was no denying the room looked as if a bloody good party had taken place.
“I hope she was worth it, you daft fool,” William snorted.
“Who was worth it?” James muttered, grabbing his shirt from the floor.
“The woman you brought up here last night.”
James stiffened against the slide of fabric across his chest. The shirt seemed different. It smelled of brandy, and an exotic fragrance that he could not quite name. “What woman?” he managed, starting in on his buttons. “And where in the bloody hell am I?”
“The Blue Gander,” his brother chuckled. “And the woman you married last night.”

What Happens in Scotland is my debut novel, and I am so excited that the publication date (February 26th) is almost here! I have been writing for several years, but apparently my previous efforts were lacking the vital elements of a ruined chamber pot and a naked Scotsman with amnesia, because the moment I put those down on a page, my life changed forever. What Happens in Scotland was ridiculous fun to write, and I hope you find it an enjoyable read. It is a total romp—those of you expecting a dark, twisting Victorian tragedy might want to back away slowly.  But those of you wanting to know more about my naked amnestic Scotsman (and the woman he apparently married last night) should trot on over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble, where it is available for pre-order.

While we are waiting for February 26th (because honestly, does anything move more slowly than the week before a debut author’s release?), I can offer this as a consolation prize! I will choose one lucky commenter at random to receive this fun bag of Haggis-flavored potato crisps, imported directly from Mackie’s of Scotland.




‘Cause you know… nothing goes better with a yummy Scotsman (did I mention he was naked?) than Haggis. Except maybe chocolate. And brandy.

OK, I’ll throw in some of these amazing little brandy chocolates too! No, not the whole box, you greedy things. These things are potent.

And I’d hate for you to lose your memory and wake up in bed with James MacKenzie.




(Giveaway restricted to U.S. addresses only.)  


Discover more information about Jennifer (and some breathtaking photos of Scotland) at her website and connect with her at Facebook and Twitter.  You can also find Jennifer at the multi-author Dashing Duchesses Romance Blog. 


Jennifer will be going on a book signing tour next week along with historical romance authors
Sophia Nash and Liz Carlyle.


Thursday, February 28 ~ 7:00pm
Eagle Eye Books
2076 North Decatur Rd.
Decatur, GA 30033

Friday, March 1 ~ 12:30 to 2:30pm
Fountain Books
1312 E Cary St.
Richmond, VA 23219
Saturday, March 2 ~ 7:00pm

Saturday, March 2 ~ 7:00pm
Malaprops
55 Haywood St.
Asheville, NC 28801

78 comments:

  1. Congrats to Jennifer on her upcoming debut release. I had no idea there was haggis flavored potato chips.

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    1. Hi Jane!! I stumbled across haggis-flavored potato crisps on Amazon, and I was intrigued enough to buy a whole case of them. They have a smoky flavor, but do NOT taste like sheep innards. I am a vet so you can trust me on this. :)

      My kids refuse to touch them, but I like them.

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    2. They have a smoky flavor, but do NOT taste like sheep innards. I am a vet so you can trust me on this. :)


      Umm, Jennifer, does that statement mean you have tasted sheep innards? ;-)

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    3. I have tasted haggis, yes, and haggis is... well... yes!

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    4. I've always wondered if I would be bold enough to sample real haggis.

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  2. I will say that I have never heard of haggis flavored chips, but why not. I like haggis, so these would be a treat. Highland romances are a favorite and this one sounds delightful. Humor in a story is a must for me. Even serious, dark stories need a bit of it. Romps are great fun and I am looking forward to reading this one.

    Congratulations on your fist book being published and best of luck with the release of WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND. Keep that chamberpot safe : )

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    1. I definitely agree about humor being a vital part of life. I cannot believe I am finally getting to let my naughty side come out like this.... My whole life, I have skirted a good deal of trouble for writing (and saying) the kind of inappropriate stuff that has now resulted in my first book.

      I will definitely keep that chamberpot safe!

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    2. Pat, there is plenty of humor in this book but there's also a lot of heart. (You'll be able to read more details in my upcoming review) I've never tasted haggis but I won a bag of the haggis chips in a raffle at last year's Moonlight & Magnolias conference and they're not bad.

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    3. Jennifer, please keep letting that funny side out. WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND is so much fun and I'm eagerly anticipating more of the same!

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  3. Jennifer, Can't wait to meet you in Richmond as you begin your book tour. Also waiting not so patiently for Feb. 26 when your book will pop up on my nook!

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    1. Hi Joy! Please feel free to stalk your daughter all you want here at The Romance Dish. We adore her and her book!

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  4. Ladies, I present exhibit A: My mother. I am 41 years old, but I love it that my mom is so invested in my career she is blog-stalking me! She is also the one who GAVE me my chamber pot. So in some ways, it is also a mother-muse item.

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  5. I think people in medical fields view items related to bodily functions in a different light. As an ex-RN I think we're very practical and not grossed out by the mention of our natural body functions. I love your practical uses for the gorgeous chamber pot.

    I've read about eating haggis in many Scottish historical romances. I'd be willing to try haggis flavored chips. Brady flavored chocolates.. Oh my yes! They sound delicious!

    It was nice meeting you here today. I will check out your book WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND! I'm glad that you can balance your love of animals with your passion to write.

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    1. Hi Laurie! I've never worked in the medical field but after caring for my late dh for five years, I understand well how you can become desensitized and not "grossed out" by such matters. Like you, I love Jennifer's uses for the chamber pot. It's lovely, isn't it?

      Hope you do pick up a copy of WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND. I defy anyone to read this book without grinning from ear to ear! :)

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    2. Hi Laurie! Yes, I have had some critique partners point out word choices as too graphic and gently recommend I change them for a non-medical/veterinary audience. I try to keep the readers' delicate sensibilities in mind...

      But then again, filth can be so funny.

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  6. Love this post! Can't wait to get a signed copy of your book in my hot little hands! :-)

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    1. Thanks Pam! I am so glad you stopped by! And if all goes well, in addition to the signings PJ mentions below, I will be signing two times in the Atlanta area:
      1)Thursday March 7th 7-8pm, I will be having a launch party and signing at Mac McGees in Decatur.
      2)Saturday March 16th 10am-12pm, I will be signing at the Georgia Romance Writer's meeting (At the Hilton Norcross)

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  7. Jennifer will be going on a book signing tour next week along with historical romance authors Sophia Nash and Liz Carlyle. Here's the schedule:

    Thursday, February 28 ~ 7:00pm
    Eagle Eye Books
    2076 North Decatur Rd.
    Decatur, GA 30033

    Friday, March 1 ~ 12:30 to 2:30pm
    Fountain Books
    1312 E Cary St.
    Richmond, VA 23219
    Saturday, March 2 ~ 7:00pm

    Saturday, March 2 ~ 7:00pm
    Malaprops
    55 Haywood St.
    Asheville, NC 28801

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  8. *waving* Hi, Jennifer! We are so glad to have you here today. I am so excited for you and your debut...especially after hearing about it at M&M! I can't wait to get my hands on James--er, I mean James's book. ;-)

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    1. Hi Andrea! Thanks for having me on the Romance Dish today! And YES to getting hands on dreamy heroes. :)

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  9. Good morning. When I first saw the cover of your book I knew I wanted to read it. Then read the back and knew I definitely wanted to read. Of course a recommendation from PJ is enough too

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    1. I am so glad you like the cover! It captures the dreamy mood of the setting, for sure. And I love the colors. Avon Art department was very kind to me. :)

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  10. I'm so thrilled for your success, Jennifer, and very much looking forward to getting my own copy of your fabulous book!

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    1. Oh wow, Hi Vanessa! *tries to hide gushing stalkerish tendencies* I was lucky enough to win a charity critique from Vanessa at a Georgia Romance Writer's conference, and she did a fabulous job critiquing What Happens in Scotland.
      If you turn to page 10, second paragraph, 1st sentence: THAT SENTENCE CONTAINS ACTUAL, HONEST TO GOODNESS WORDS FROM VANESSA KELLY!!! :)

      You are in my acknowledgements page Vanessa... so when you DO get a copy, take a look!

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    2. Jennifer, we can mutually stalk each other in Atlanta at RWA, i.e., we can meet up in the bar! I'm THRILLED that you included one of my sentences in your lovely book, and I'll definitely be bringing my copy for you to sign. Good luck, girl! Hope you sell tons of books!

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  11. Hi, Jennifer! I laughed so hard at your blog and excerpt today! What a hoot. I’m wishing I was in Asheville to meet up with you at Malaprops. It is such a neat bookstore. I live in southwest Florida but spent the summer in Hendersonville, NC last year where my son lives. We visited a number of antique stores in the area but I never did find a chamber pot. I think it would make a great conversation piece and I like the ways you have used yours. Not sure about making it a soup tureen though! ;-)

    The excerpt from your new novel sounds wonderful and I have been reading many great things about it. I have certainly put it on my Wish List too. Congratulations on your successes!

    OK. As a veterinarian, I want to ask for a grain of free advice. I have a spayed 6-month-old kitten and we absolutely ADORE her. I think it would be good for her to have a companion kitty and I’m thinking of a younger kitten. Do you agree? (Yes, that IS hutzpah for seeking your advice!) ;-)

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    1. I am a big fan of having two cats at a time. While some will argue cats are solitary creatures, we have two of the same age and they play together constantly. This works best, of course, when the cats are still young enough not to view the other with suspicion. So yes on a companion kitty, perhaps just a little younger (I would aim for 3-6 months old), and do it sooner rather than later! :)

      And I am so glad you are looking forward to What Happens in Scotland! Here's wishing chamber pots for everyone who wants one....

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  12. Congratulations on the book! It must all be very exciting. It sounds like a great read so I already have it on my list to order! If you ever make it to Chicago I will come to see you, but your current signings are a bit far for me. :)

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    1. Hi Crystal, thanks for commenting! My current signings are also a bit far for ME, but I am not complaining. :)

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  13. Congratulations on your debut, Jennifer. I've had What Happens in Scotland on my TBB list since PJ first raved about it. I always trust PJ's recommendations.

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    1. Hi Janga! I am so glad you are looking forward to it. PJ is a smart lady. I knew that even BEFORE she read What Happens in Scotland. :)

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  14. I've heard so much good buzz about this book. I can't wait to read it for myself. Congratulations!!!

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    1. Hi Ms Hellion, I recognize your name from the Dashing Duchesses, where I blogged about Sarah MacLean last week, yes? I am glad you are looking forward to it, and thanks!

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  15. I cannot wait to read this book. Have been dying to get my hands on it since we all got to squee about you selling last year. (Jennifer and I were both GH finalists last year, which I like to think makes me seem classier by association. *g*)

    And I'd like to discuss this "wake up in bed with James MacKenzie" thing.

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    1. Hi Terri! *waves frantically* Yes, let's discuss this wake up in bed with James MacKenzie thing. Every morning I get up and wonder where that man's gotten off to. :)

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  16. Your book looks wonderful. Best wishes and much success and enjoyment. Congratulations and all the best.

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  17. Highland Romances are unique and memorable. Congratulations on this fabulous release and have fun celebrating.

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    1. Thank you traveler! I spent the day celebrating riding my family's horse (the horse I bought my two girls with my book advance money, actually). I am sweaty and stinky, but in the loveliest kind of way.

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  18. Jennifer, your book sounds so fun! I like the fact that it's a Scottish romp. I cannot wait to read the story because the excerpt was great.

    My mother still has my dad's chamber pot from when he was a kid in the 1930s (indoor plumbing came to their house in 1938). It's a beautiful glazed blue turine. Go figure, right?

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    1. Oops, congrats on your debut novel!!!

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    2. Hi Deb, thanks! I would love to see a glazed blue one... my chamber pot looks fairly clean inside, but you have to wonder what white ones that were "well-loved" would have looked like toward the end. :)

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  19. Jennifer, That's a lovely chamber pot. And you are so creative with its uses. I remember we had a couple of chamber pots that we used as planters when I was growing up in south Louisiana. I wish I had them now! Congrats on your book.

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    1. I think planters would be a lovely use for them. And perhaps if they weren't too clean be self-fertilizing.

      See, there is something sick about me. Just sick!

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  20. Tell me the chamber pot was new if you're going to be serving soup in it lol. This has to be the most unique gift offered as a prize. I really enjoyed the excerpt and since I love reading anything Scottish, I'm totally intrigued. And I love stories that make me laugh and/or cry! Congrats on your debut.

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    1. Nope... this chamber pot shows some of its wear, fine cracks feathering along the edges. And I wouldn't REALLY serve soup in it. At least not to folks I LIKE.

      I am pretty confidant What Happens in Scotland will make most folks laugh, but I hope it has enough depth to make the more vulnerable eyes tear up a little too. Thanks so much!

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  21. Congrats on your up and coming release. It sounds really good. I love the chamber pot wish I had it. I have never seen one like that before. I have only seen the white ones trimed in red that my mother had when I was growing up.

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    1. I am wondering now if I should invite folks to post pics of their chamber pots on my Facebook page... wow. That is a fun thought. If any of you have ones, please do!!! www.facebook.com/jennifermcquistonauthor

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  22. I love reading Scottish romance, those men in kilt!! There's something about them.. irresistible. Can't wait to get my hands on "What Happens in Scotland".

    And I like your chamber pot!! Cool that you display it around your house.. Just as long as you're not trying to put food or candy in it, maybe only on Halloween. :p :D

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    1. :) Thanks for stopping by! I probably need to offer this disclaimer: the book is set in 1842, and James MacKenzie mostly wears trousers (well. Except when he is in bed and then he sheds even his unutterables). But I am SURE he knows how to wear a kilt when the occasion calls for it. :)

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  23. Congrats to Jennifer on the new release! Sounds fantastic :)

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  24. Awesome!! Love the book cover, the plot, and the pot!!!

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  25. Hi Everyone! I'm working a long shift today but I'll be back to play later tonight.

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  26. The cover is beautiful! Congratulations on your debut. It has such an interesting storyline.

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    1. Thank you so much! I called it my "she woke up married story" Victorian-style. That usually earns me a confused blink or two. But Scotland was indeed the place something like that could happen at the time...

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  27. Hi, Jennifer! The cover is beautiful, and the story line sounds like a hoot. Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. Good luck Cathy! *rubs hands together in delight.* Who wants some haggis chips????

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  28. As Jennifer's supremely lucky critique partner, I have tasted the haggis chips! Friends, they are actually rather tasty, though not as tasty as say, a box of brandy chocolates! But the most delicious thing in this post is by far the book. You'll want to devour it in one sitting :)

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    1. I completely agree, Kimberly! In fact, I've devoured the book twice and each in a single setting! :)

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  29. Yep, I have to agree with Kim. We're lucky to get to critique with Jennifer and the book is amazing. Ah. May. Zing.

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    1. the book is amazing. Ah. May. Zing.

      Yep, I agree. Thanks for stopping by, Romily!

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  30. Uh oh... two of my CPs have emerged from the shadows. If they are lurking, it can mean only one thing: they haven't tried those brandy chocolates yet. I've been saving them for giveaways. :)

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  31. Welcome Jennifer and much congrats~!! I can't wait for your book to arrive at my door step. I also wouldn't mind losing my memory and wake up in bed with James MacKenzie due to those magnificent little brandy chocolates of yours! :)

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    1. Kipha, I've "met" James (through an advanced review copy of the book) and all I can say is..."Bring on the brandy!" ::grin::

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  32. I can't wait to read your book, Jennifer! The excerpt is fabulous. I love kilted men. Especially in wind storms. LOL

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  33. Oh my, the naughtier commenters come out after dark! I am heading to bed (my bedtimes tend to be early, because I get up at 4 to write), but I will check in the morning. PJ, do I pick the winner or do you?

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    1. Thanks so much for being such a terrific guest today!

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  34. Well, according to my random number generator, the lucky commenter is Laurie G!!! Laurie, if you email me directly at jen@jenmcquiston.com you will soon be able to taste these haggis chips for yourself. And wash it down with brandy chocolates. :) Thanks to everyone for stopping by!

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  35. Wow! Thank you! I'm looking forward to reading about James after February 26th. Best wishes for continued success with your writing and your animals!

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  36. I hope that somewhere out in there in history the original owner of the chamber pot knows that is has brought great comfort (and a few laughs) to so many now. Pass the soup and see you on the big signing night at Eagle Eye Books!

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  37. Hi Jennifer!

    Congratulations on your release next week of What Happens in Scotland! A friend had told be about your website and I immediately fell in love with James and Georgette when I read about their story!

    How I would have loved being a chamber maid and walking in on them just as Georgette hit him over the head with a chamber pot! On the other hand, poor James just trying to help a poor innocent girl out and look what happens! Unfortunately I think that some good single malt scotch might be more to his liking than little brandy chocolates!

    All I do know is that I'm really looking forward to reading What Happens in Scotland!

    PS: Do you have a newsletter sign -up yet? I didn't see one on your website and would love to get news on your next release!

    Do you think that

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    1. Hi Jeanne, thanks for stopping by... I do not have a Newsletter. I probably ought to. But I do have the occasional blog post, and you can sign up to receive emails of those at http://www.jenmcquiston.com/blog/ I am so glad you are looking forward to What Happens in Scotland... and now it is officially OUT!

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    2. Jennifer, thanks for the link to your blog post so I could sign up and keep current with what you have happening.

      I hope everyone takes advantage of visiting because the pictures you have featured at the bottom immediately made me want to pick up the phone and make reservations for my husband and I to visit Scotland once again. Going to Scotland was the only "big trip" we've ever taken and it's experience that will never be forgotten.

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