Flame Tree Road (a prequel to Teatime for the Firefly)

flame tree_front
FLAME TREE ROAD is now available on pre-order from Amazon and will be in stores on 30th June, 2015.

Published 30th June 2015 (Mira/harper Collins)

A question I get asked a lot is: “Was the second book easier to write?” The answer is  complicated.

Teatime for the Firefly my first novel slipped out easily into the world. I wrote it in my own sweet time: I never imagined I would get a 3-book deal. That was two years ago. Teatime has gone on to become a favorite of book clubs, garnering rave reviews and I have my readers to thank for that.

With the second novel, not only did I have a publishing deadline but I was plagued with a  barrage of self-doubt and fears. The only way I could get past all that and write this book was to pretend nobody would ever read it. It worked!

Braiding the plot and characters together had its usual challenges but the revision process was easier the second time around. I now knew what to expect. I learned a lot when I worked with my first publishing editor on Teatime for the Firefly. I shared my experiences in an article I wrote for the Writers Digest:“Working with a Publishing Editor.”

So here we are: another milestone. Thank you all for your love and support. I could not have done it without you. I can’t wait for you to read FLAME TREE ROAD. Cheers!

🙂 Shona

CHECK OUT MY REVIEWS  goodreads-badge-read-reviews-2091036a1480ef4dec9cf59676584050

*Book will be shipped to you on June 30th 

FLAME TREE ROAD: Book Launch at the Poisoned Pen: 30th June, 7PM
FLAME TREE ROAD: Book Launch at The Poisoned Pen: 30th June, 7PM

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New year, new beginnings

This was the most beautiful rainbow I saw in the parking lot, the day I turned in my manuscript for Flame Tree Road
The incredible rainbow I saw in the parking lot, the day I turned in my final revisions for Flame Tree Road

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I am shocked to realize it’s been a whole year since I posted anything. 2014 was a crazy year! I turned in my final manuscript for Flame Tree Road (my second book) in mid-December – just before my editor went on maternity leave. That same evening I saw the most glorious full-arc rainbow in a parking lot. Being an incorrigible optimist, I take that to be a good sign.

Now to clear up some confusion: there has been a name change for book #2 from Song of the Flame Tree to Flame Tree RoadThere’s also a new cover in the works which I will share soon. The pub date for Flame Tree Road (as of now) is 30th June, 2015. These are very exciting times but more updates in separate post. Right now, I am trying to ease myself back into blogging as it feels like I’ve just returned from a long expedition to the North Pole.

Beautiful tea party setting for my author event put together by the West Side Stories and CELC Book Clubs of Goodyear.
Beautiful tea party setting for my author event put together by the West Side Stories and CELC Book Clubs of Goodyear.

Added to my writing deadlines  were a string of author events last year. Teatime for the Firefly has drummed up some serious interest in Assam tea. Readers want to drink the same tea I drink, even though I insist it’s no fancy tea– just good, strong Assam CTC. Several events I attended  this year served Assam Tea. Some groups went to extraordinary lengths to plan elaborate tea parties complete with exquisite table settings, fine bone china and dainty treats. Seeing all the excitement and appreciation over Assam Tea, I am convinced the days of the frufru herby teas are numbered.  America now wants earthy and good, strong Assam tea is right up there with the mud-clumped beetroot, goat cheese, pork belly and crusty bread.

If you want to try Assam Tea try this Assam Tea Sampler from Upton Tea
If you want to try Assam Tea, check out this excellent Assam  Sampler from Upton Tea. There are some nice varieties here. The CTC is the kind I drink because it brews stronger and takes milk well.

There’s breaking news on the caffeine front as well. New medical research shows Caffeine is good for you and a regular caffeine intake can prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimers. If you consider the copious amounts of high-octane Assam Tea I drink, I should be sharp as a stiletto, yet I can never remember where I last set down my tea-cup! There are half-drunk cups of tea all over the house, and possibly a dead one trapped in the microwave.

But nothing brings more cheer to a winter’s afternoon than the old cuppa, don’t you think? I will need plenty of cheer, I tell you, as I roll up my sleeves to tackle Book#3 this year. The electric kettle has just come to a rolling boil, as I write, and here comes the welcome “ting” as it shuts off. So join me dear friends to welcome this beautiful new year and thank you for your continued love and support. You keep me bushy-tailed and wanting to tell stories. Cheers!

Official Harlequin Cover Reveal of “Teatime for the Firefly”

The gorgeous book cover  designed by the talented art team at Harlequin/Mira
The gorgeous book cover designed by the talented art team at Harlequin/Mira

The big day is here!

Today Harlequin did a “Cover Reveal” on their Official Facebook Page. Many of you are familiar with the cover of my book Teatime for the Firefly but they were from the ARC (Advance Readers Copy: the unproofed version). This is the final cover. Yay, yay, yay! The finish and creative detailing of the book is jaw-dropping gorgeous and I am pleased as punch! People I show this book to say “I would buy this book, just because of the cover,” and that makes me really happy! And folks, even if I had not written this book myself, this cover would have called out to me in a bookstore and I would have picked it up in a heartbeat. Seriously.

Lovely theme-capture in the inside detailing. This beautiful henna motif appears on every chapter of "Teatime for the Firefly".
Lovely theme-capture in the inside detailing. This beautiful henna motif appears on every chapter of “Teatime for the Firefly”.

The art team at Mira Books really captured the essence in the cover of Teatime for the Firefly. We have the bone china English tea-cup alongside the Indian henna patterning and it gives the cover of  a cross-cultural feel which is what the story is all about. I have a lovely endorsement from Shilpa Somaya Gowda (NY Bestselling author of The Secret Daughter) that has been exquisitely laid out along the curve of the saucer (so as not to clash with the layered script background). The thoughtfulness and care in putting this book together is the result of a massive team effort at Harlequin/Mira. Writing a book is the simple part: getting the book ready and to market is the bulk of the business. The process is involved, complicated and by and large goes unseen. All the public really sees is the finished book and the writer and not all the munchkins doing the grunt work. It is humbling and I feel lucky to be a part of it all.

Teatime mugs designed by me. Perfect for that cup of strong, malty Assam Tea.
Teatime mugs designed by me. Perfect for that cup of strong, malty Assam Tea.

There are several events and appearances in the pipeline leading up to the official launch of October 1st. I will be updating the Events tab (above) from time to time. I hope to see you all in person. Connecting with you is the most exciting part. I am always curious to know about you. What do you read? What do you drink? Did I hear you say COFEEE? Eeesh! I will probably try to convince every die-hard coffee drinker to try Assam Tea, failing which, you will still be my friend, simply because you love something so passionately. I admire that over and above my need to win you over.

And thanks for staying with me on this journey – for all your support, kind thoughts, memories and all the funny things you share with me. No, no, no, I am not riding off into the sunset – although I sound like I am, with all the talk of “thanks”, “journey” etc. This is just an important milestone in Teatime for the Firefly and I am  happy to share it with you.

So here’s to tea and friendship. And I’ll see you around the corner, soon – yes?

Cheers!:)

Shona