Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

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Welcome Our Guest : Author JENNIFER MCQUISTON

Blog-McQI am a romance writer at heart, and in my fictional world, heroines always have good intentions. But in the real world, it doesn’t always work out for the best.

Take this week, for example.

No, really. Take this week. Please. Take it and hide it, so I can pretend it never happened.

You see, I only had good intentions: make my 9 year old’s birthday one she would never forget. She’d been dreaming of a bunny. And by dreaming, I mean really dreaming: she’d wished on every star and every candle for at least 2 years for a sweet black bunny she could cuddle in her arms. Her birthday was nearly here, and my husband finally agreed.

We’d get her a bunny and sail off into the sunset as the Best. Parents. Ever.

Holy cow was she excited. And by excited, I mean really excited. Couldn’t draw a proper breath, hyperventilating on the floor excited. I felt like a heroine extraordinaire to have been able to make this dream come true for her, even though it mean having a cage the size of a MARTA bus in my daughter’s bedroom, and urine-soaked shavings floating on air currents throughout my house. The bunny was adorable. She was little and black with a white tip on her nose. She would curl up in our laps, and give random kisses. She was theBlog-McQ-Bunnyperfect gift, bar none.

And then, about a week into this idyll, the call came from school: “Come and fetch your daughter, she’s covered in hives.”

I broke out in a cold sweat. The mother in me immediately started chanting, “It can’t be the bunny. It can’t be the bunny.” My mini-heroine had never shown the slightest tendency toward allergies before.

But the scientist in me was ticking off the possibilities and arriving at an alarming hypothesis: It HAD to be the bunny. The timing was right, accounting for the crucial period of allergic sensitization. It was the only change in her environment, the only interloper in a household that had previously never suffered a single hive. Worse, this was no ordinary allergy, no benign sniffling/sneezing/runny-eyed thing. This was an evil, itchy, one-step-away-from anaphylaxis type of allergy and I was running scared.

So I put her through a series of tests. I sat her down and put the bunny in her arms. Hives.

I had her feed the bunny and then touched the hand to her shoulder. Hives

I touched the bunny and then touched her. Hives.

So this week, I was forced to the decision no parent wants to make: my daughter’s happiness or her health. I chose her health, presuming I could work hard to restore her trust and happiness. *Gulp* So we found my daughter’s bunny a new home, amidst tears and promises and hearts heavy with regrets.

That will teach me to be the Best. Parent. Ever.

How can a heroine recover from a setback like this? I like to think I’ve got some brilliant examples of fortitude and perseverance in many of my favorite romances. After all, no one gets a Happily Ever After without a lot of conflict, right? In my newest historical romance, Moonlight on My Mind, my heroine experiences (and to some degree causes) a series of painful setbacks in her life. She survives by being loyal to those she loves, and stops at nothing until she singlehandedly rights the wrongs she has inadvertently caused, winning the hero in the process. I need to channel some of that now. Blog-McQ-cover

For my daughter, I have to look at this as part of her backstory, a piece of her childhood that helped her grow up. For me, I have to look at this as a learning experience. And boy have I learned my lesson. The next time my daughter wishes for a bunny, I am going to get her another pony.


Jennifer McQuiston writes Different. Historical Romance. She is the NYT and USA Today Best-selling author of What Happens in Scotland, Summer is for Lovers, and Moonlight on My Mind. She lives in Atlanta with her family and the pony she promised her daughters with mommy’s first book deal… but alas, no longer a bunny.


MOONLIGHT ON MY MIND is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Mary Preston - March 26, 2014 - 3:55 am

My daughter has food allergies. You do what is best.

Carol Burnside - March 26, 2014 - 4:30 am

Ack. That was a harrowing tale. You are indeed intrepid, just like our heroines must be. Congrats on the new release. The cover is lovely and the story sounds great.

Marilyn Baron - March 26, 2014 - 4:57 am

Welcome to the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales blog. That is so sad about the bunny. I saw the video you posted when your daughter got the bunny for her birthday. She looked so happy. My nieces have a bunny but no allergies to it. Maybe you can get her a dog. Your book cover looks beautiful and the book sounds great.

Jennifer McQuiston - March 26, 2014 - 5:50 am

You guys are very sweet. I know we are lucky this is an allergy we can actually remove from her life rather easily… and I do count myself fortunate that she is better now. No more hives. :) And Marilyn, we are a house FULL of pets. She already has cats, dogs, pony, and fish, so she is just going to have to cuddle what she has. :)

Thanks for lovely comments on the cover… I am so fortunate that Avon has given me such beautiful, eye-catching covers!

Sandy Elzie - March 26, 2014 - 6:08 am

Hi Jennifer,
Thankfully, (or maybe unfortunately) no one in my family has ever been alergic…therefore, we’ve had quite the zoo. Chickens, rabbits, hamsters, mice, guinea pigs, and a chorus of cats and dogs over the years. I’m so sorry your daughter had to lose her beloved pet.

Best of luck with the new book….Congrats!!!

Piper - March 26, 2014 - 6:20 am

You are the best parent, Jennifer, by removing the bunny. Hives are no fun at all, as someone who has had them. And it does teach her a valuable life lesson. She will thank you. The day may seem far off just now, but she will. Congrats on the new release!

Dianna Love - March 26, 2014 - 6:27 am

Jennifer – Congratulations on your latest book! I’m such a historical fan. That’s my getaway when I’m writing since I have no plans to ever write one. Avon always rocks the covers – yours are gorgeous!

Well, dang, on the bunny. I had one for a long time and manage to housebreak it. The biggest problem I had spraying all the electric cords with bitter apple to keep it from chewing through those. That’s too bad about her being allergic. Who woulda thunk, right?

Tracey Parker - March 26, 2014 - 6:33 am

Awww poor thing! Glad you got it figured out. It is always so sad to see our kids sad but like you said health comes first. Oh you guys have lots of animals! We lived in in s regular neighborhood in southern CA and we had a chicken, rabbit, tons of dogs, cats, birds etc I loved it!
Congrats on your release! Looking forward to getting it soon and reading.

Jennifer McQuiston - March 26, 2014 - 7:07 am

Well, she is being very stoic about it, and I am proud of her. But Dianna, I KNOW. She’s been exposed to every pet under the sun with no problem. I never in a million years would have predicted an allergy to this one! According to the pediatrician, its a different class of allergies, folks allergic to dogs/cats usually aren’t allergic to bunnies (they are more related to rodent allergies).

Chewing through cords is a terrifying thought. In vet school, we saw a cat who’d been electrocuted with a cord chew. Not good at all.

Connie Gillam - March 26, 2014 - 8:26 am

Congratulations on the new release, Jennifer.

As one who suffers from a few allergies, I feel your daughter’s pain. Sorry about the bunny. How about another pony?

Pam Asberry - March 26, 2014 - 10:40 am

My heart goes out to you all, Jen. I am so excited about your latest release! Continued success!

Linsey Lanier - March 26, 2014 - 11:45 am

That is a gorgeous cover, Jennifer. And your heroine sounds like someone everyone would want to read about. Congrats.

So sorry for your daughter. I feel for her but I’m glad she’s got a good mother who’ll take good care of her.

Sharlene Wegner - March 26, 2014 - 12:18 pm

I was following your story on FB. We have a bunny & I had been worried about my husband, who is highly allergic to cats. Luckily no problems with that. Hope your daughter has recovered. Looking forward to reading your new book! Best of luck!

Haywood Smith - March 26, 2014 - 12:44 pm

Love this book! Read it, or you’ll miss out on something special.

Sia Huff - March 26, 2014 - 1:43 pm

Sometimes being a parent is the Toughest-job-ever. So glad you figured out what was causing your Little Heroines health issue and could fix it.
“Moonlight on my Mind” sounds like another winner. I love your voice and look forward to reading your newest book. Wishing you many sales.

Jennifer McQuiston - March 26, 2014 - 5:06 pm

Thank you so much for having me on, my lovely PFHT bloggers and GRW co-conspirators! :)

Walt Mussell - March 26, 2014 - 5:27 pm


I know this was a tough decision, but it sounds like it was the best one.

Maxine Davis - March 26, 2014 - 8:37 pm

Jennifer, I felt so sorry for you and your daughter, but I must admit, I did laugh in a couple of places. I am not a sick human being, you just write brilliantly funny. Can’t wait to read Moonlight on my Mind. I love the title and the cover is great and I know you are a great writer. Thanks for stopping by Petit Fours and Hot Tamales.

Debbie Kaufman - March 31, 2014 - 10:22 am

Oh, Jennifer, I feel for you. What a horrible life “plot” twist. So, I see how you relate the life conflict back to your story, but the wicked, wicked mommy/writer in me wants to know if that bunny is going to show up in a story…

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