Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Where the Magic Happens with Guest Blogger: Jerrica Knight-Catania

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Where the Magic Happens...

All right, get your mind out of the gutter! I am NOT talking about the bedroom! What I am talking about is that one particular spot where suddenly and magically the ideas begin to flow! The place you go when writer’s block has gotten the better of you or you muse has completely abandoned you.

This post is inspired by a presentation at my local Romane Writers of America chapter meeting a few months ago. The presenters, Isabo Kelly and Leanna Renee Hieber informed us that they may be the cleanest authors around because their best ideas tend to come to them while they’re washing their hair! Others say their ideas come while they’re doing dishes or cleaning house – that’s definitely not a magical spot for me! Not that I would know since I avoid doing those things at all costs.

This topic got me thinking, but for the life of me, I couldn’t pinpoint a specific location. Until one day while I was sitting in the chiropractor’s office, waiting for my appointment. One page into the book I was reading, my mind started to wander (no offense to the author I was reading, of course!)

And it wandered to a magical place that told me exactly what the back story for my next heroine needed to be. I whipped out my iPhone and flipped to the notes, only to discover that the last time I was in a doctor’s waiting room – a mere 11 days prior for an eye appointment – I had written notes for the major plot twist I’d thought of for the WIP I was working on at the time. So, in the end, it looks like being a hypochondriac has paid off.

I've also realized that workouts are a good time to let the muse take over. I really hate spinning with all my heart, but my husband loves it, so on occasion I compromise and join him for a class. What I find is that the only way to get through the grueling hour is to let my mind wander to my books and characters. I've had quite a few good ideas come to me in my misery!

Now that I have a baby, though, my workouts are quick and to the point, and when I’m waiting at a doctor’s office, I’m doing my best to keep The Princess entertained. Which means there’s not a whole lot of magic happening in the writing department these days—just the good ol’ fashioned butt-in-the-chair method and hope for the best!

Jerrica, thanks for joining us here at the Boost and inspiring us to get inspired! I hear you have a copy of your fantastic book up for grabs today...won't you tell us a bit more about it?

From A Gentleman Never Tells:


Benjamin Wetherby, Earl of Glastonbury and heir to the Marquessate of Eastleigh, has just received an urgent letter from home. His father is dying and he must return to England at once. Benjamin is a man bound by honor and duty, to both his country and his family. So, despite his reservations, he leaves his life in New York City behind so he may find a wife and assume his role as the Marquess of Eastleigh.

Miss Phoebe Blake is finally out of mourning for her father, and just in time. She and her mother could be days away from being carted off to debtors' prison, so Phoebe returns to society with the intent and determination to secure a rich husband.

Sparks fly when Benjamin and Phoebe meet, and it appears they have both found just what they are looking for. But will a dark secret keep them from finding their happily ever after?


Benjamin Wetherby, Earl of Glastonbury and heir to the Marquessate of Eastleigh, stared unblinking at the letter before him. It had been just under eleven months since he arrived in America, and now he was being summoned back to England.

Father is dying, his sister wrote. Dying. Was that even possible? His father had been the picture of health the day he left Ravenscroft Castle, but now less than a year later, he apparently had precious few days left.

As much as Benjamin was loath to return home, to leave the life he’d established in New York, he was duty bound. He could never ignore the position to which he’d been born. Besides, along with the title came great responsibility. Many relied on the marquess for their welfare, including his own family: his mother, his sister, his brothers.

“Lillian, get up,” he called from across the room.

His mistress stirred in the bed. Her blond curls stuck out from under the counterpane. She had been a comfort of sorts to Benjamin over the last few months, and he to her. Brought together by misery, they enjoyed one another’s company. But there was no room for a mistress in Ben’s life anymore. He had a duty to marry now, to find a woman who could serve as his marchioness. A woman reared in society, born and bred to the position as much as he had been.

“Come back to bed, Benny,” Lillian murmured sleepily. “It’s too early.”

“No,” Benjamin said quietly, more to himself than to her. “It might just be too late.”


London, England

Phoebe Blake stared out her second-story window as bolts of lightning lit up the rain-soaked streets ofBerkeley Square. The water cascaded down the panes like a gushing waterfall, obscuring her view of the chaos in the streets.

The storm had come on rather suddenly, and those caught without umbrellas ran for cover. Mud caked under horses’ hooves and carriage wheels, and to the hems of women’s dresses. She shivered, hopeful the storm would pass before the ball that evening.

“The stew is ready.”

Phoebe turned to see her maid, Becky, in the doorway of her room. With a sigh, she followed her into the hallway.

She poked her head around the edge of her mother’s bedchamber door. “Mama? Are you awake?” Her mother gave a tiny grunt, indicating she was not actually sleeping, so Phoebe proceeded into the room.

Becky followed along behind with the luncheon tray while Phoebe pulled the heavy curtains back to let light in the room, the only room that was still fully furnished. Her mother shielded her eyes, even though there was no sun to shield them from, and rolled over to bury herself in her pillow.

Phoebe sighed. Would she never see the end of her mother’s mourning? A year had gone by since Phoebe’s father had died. And every day her mother grew a little thinner. Much like their pockets.

Just that morning, another notice had come from yet another debt collector. Her mother wouldn’t have known, but half their furniture had been carted away already, including the Broadwood piano that once sat in the parlor.

That had been the worst of it for Phoebe, and the last straw towards her decision to re-enter society and find a rich husband. If she didn’t, they’d all be in the poorhouse within a few months. And that would be the final nail in her mother’s coffin, Phoebe was certain.

She pushed the dilemma from her mind and focused on the task at hand: getting her mother to eat. It was not easily accomplished, and three times a day, Phoebe found herself nearly force-feeding a woman who would rather die than take a bite of mutton stew. Of course, Phoebe wouldn’t allow her mother to simply waste away, so she bore the task like a good daughter.

She settled on the edge of the bed. “I’m going to a ball this evening, Mother,” she said as she spooned the first bite into her mother’s mouth.

Lady Grimsby’s eyes widened; it was the first show of emotion Phoebe had seen from her in months. “A ball?” she repeated. “But we’re still in mourning, Phoebe. It’s only been…”

There was a pause as her mother tried to figure out how long it had been since the baron had died, but it wouldn’t matter if she sat there all day with her mind on the task. She had no idea how many days—months— had passed.

“It’s been a year, Mama. A year, yesterday.”

Pain, clear as day and so horrible to see, passed across her mother’s face. She pushed the food away and turned her gaze to the window, but Phoebe knew she didn’t see anything in the street below. Her grief blinded her to all else. Resigned, Phoebe stood from the bed and left the room. Her mother would eat tomorrow.

Want more Jerrica?

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To be eligible to win a signed copy of A Gentleman Never Tells...just leave a comment or question on today's post. Winner will be drawn on Friday and posted here on the blog. It is your responsibility to check back and see if you've won. All winners should contact us at thebookboost@gmail.com to claim your prize.


Clarissa Southwick said...

Did I hear you right? You are giving away a free, signed copy of AGNT? Please, sign me up! I love that story!

AvonLadyJerrica said...

Thanks, Clarissa! :)

Erin Knightley said...

Lol - if only being a hypochondriac worked for me! No, for me it is always when I am just drifting off to sleep. I know that I will never remember the 'genius' idea the next day, so I drag myself up, turn on the light, grab my trusty notebook (which I learned to keep on the nightstand) and get it down on paper. Really, it is quite inconvenient!
The excerpt is awesome, Jerrica! Hopefully I'll be able to get my hands on that autographed copy :)

Marie Higgins said...

Funny thing, Jerrica...before I came out of the closet (so to speak) and started writing Christian romance, my mind would have been in the gutter when reading your title - Where Magic Happens. heehee But I didn't even think of it this time and when I read "get your mind out of the gutter" I had to go back and read it again to see why my mind should have been there in the first place. ROFL But I love your blog!! We think a lot alike. (grins)


Mystic Faery said...

Count me in too!! Jerrica is a fantastic writer!! ;)

AvonLadyJerrica said...

Erin, you're so committed! LOL! I would totally go to sleep and hope for the best! Ha!

Marie, that is too funny! How quickly we can change! LOL!

Thank you both for stopping by!

JStewart said...

I've found that inspiration is all around all of the time. My problem is that I'm too busy to listen. So, your blog post reminds me to pay attention! Thanks.

Andrea I said...

Count me in. I would love to win this book.

Deb said...

Ooh, this book sounds good and you are a new-to-me-author, Jerrica! Thanks for blogging today.

AvonLadyJerrica said...

Anne, so true about being too busy to listen! Sometimes I have to intentionally shut off the creative part of my brain because I know I just don't have time to write anything down! LOL!

Andrea and Deb, thank you both for stopping by!

Oh, and Mistifaery, too! I almost missed you! :)

Lydia Dare said...

Hey, Jerrica! For me it is when I'm closing my eyes at night, which is SOOO inopportune.

susan said...

I loved this article and love the sound of the book. Please count me in for the drawing of the free book.I am so sure it will be enjoyed very much. Thanks for your time spent doing this for everyone and have a nice day. Hope your Sunday will be great. susan L.

The Book Boost said...

See the side bar (right hand side of the blog) for winner of this blog post contest in the Recent Winners @ the Boost box.

Thanks to all who participated.