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.
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.
“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.
(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
1312 E Cary St.
Richmond, VA 23219
Saturday, March 2 ~ 7:00pm
Saturday, March 2 ~ 7:00pm
55 Haywood St.
Asheville, NC 28801