Henery Press

The American Library Association Conference in San Francisco

I attended my first ALA last week. The American Library Association convention took place in San Francisco this year, giving me a great introduction to the amazing event. With my author hat, I signed books for librarians; with my reader hat, I took in the huge (and I mean HUGE) gathering of librarians and book-lovers.



The Sisters in Crime booth

Sisters in Crime is an organization that does so much for its members and for the mystery genre as a whole. (Here's a brief history of SinC.) One of their programs is "We Love Libraries," in which they give $1,000 to a library each month. So it's no surprise that each year at ALA they sponsor a booth where members can sign books. Big thanks to SinC Library Liaison Cari Dubiel for coordinating this year's table, and to all the volunteers who worked at the table to promote SinC and its authors. 

SinC Library Advisor Mary Boone and Doris Ann Norris
volunteering at the SinC booth.

Authors Kate Carlisle and Jenn McKinlay at the SinC booth.

Henery Press donated copies of Quicksand that I signed at the Sisters in Crime booth, and Midnight Ink donated copies of The Accidental Alchemist for me to sign at the Llewellyn booth. Unlike bookstore signings where event attendees are already familiar with an author, ALA signings provide a wonderful opportunity for librarians to discover new authors. It was a lot of fun to talk about books with avid readers and librarians who are passionate about what they do.


The Midnight Ink / Llewellyn Worldwide Booth 



Flux Publicist Mallory Hayes.

The Exhibit Hall

Between my signings there was time to explore the exhibits. I learned that it's not only specialty library services vendors who exhibit at ALA, but pretty much anything book-related is welcome -- so there were plenty of fun surprises at every turn.

This was only HALF of the exhibit hall at the Moscone Center.

#WeNeedDiverseBooks

Look who I found at ALA: artist Jennie Hinchcliff! I adore her mail art and books. Simply seeing her briefly made me want to send more hand-written letters. 

Jennie Hinchcliff from mail art zine Red Letter Day.

Definitely an inspiring day.



Jaya Jones and The Hindi Houdini in Edinburgh

Last week I shared a recap and photos from my writing retreat in Edinburgh, where one of the highlights was revisiting the Edinburgh setting of "Fool's Gold," my novella prequel to Artifact. 

Jaya and Sanjay solve a mystery at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that involves Scotland's famous Lewis Chessmen.

The novella was published in 2012 in Other People's Baggage, and this May was the first time I'd been back to Scotland since the mystery came out! So of course I had to stop by both the Edinburgh Fringe Festival office and the National Museum of Scotland where several of the chessmen are on display.

My Lewis Chessmen replicas, next to my book in which they appear.

Why are the Lewis Chessmen so intriguing? In addition to their origins remaining a mystery, the 12th century pieces themselves have so much personality, as can be seen in my photos below.

The Berserker biting is shield is one of my favorites!

When I was a kid spending the summer in Scotland with my mom while she did academic research, I got to attend the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world's largest arts festival (also purportedly the world's largest street festival) that takes place each August.

Several years after I attended the festival, I performed in a theatrical production in Edinburgh during my junior year abroad. Since I doubted I'd ever again perform in Edinburgh, when I became a writer it occurred to me that I could send my characters there!

So I combined the Lewis Chessmen with the Ed Fringe Festival in the locked-room mystery novella 

"

Fool's Gold

.

"

All historian Jaya Jones wants is a relaxing vacation in Scotland before starting her first year teaching college. But when a world-famous chess set is stolen from a locked room during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Jaya and her magician best friend, The Hindi Houdini, must outwit actresses and alchemists to solve the baffling crime.

The novella is connected to Diane Vallere's "Midnight Ice" and Kendel Lynn's "Switch Back." Four years ago, Diane, Kendel, and I had the idea of collaborating on a project. The result was 

Other People's Baggage,

 a collection of interconnected mystery novellas featuring our mystery series characters. The premise: 

These are the stories of what happened after three women with a knack for solving mysteries each grabbed the wrong bag.

We're still friends after collaborating, so either we did something right, or nothing can tear us apart! And this year, the third books in each of our series came out.

OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE: 

“Midnight Ice” by Diane Vallere (A Mad for Mod Mystery Novella, the prequel to PILLOW STALK). The third Mad for Mod Mystery starring Madison Night, WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL, came out April 14, 2015.

“Switch Back” by Kendel Lynn (An Elliott Lisbon Mystery Novella, the prequel to BOARD STIFF). The third Elliott Lisbon mystery, SWAN DIVE, came out March 17, 2015.

“Fool’s Gold” by Gigi Pandian (A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Novella, the prequel to ARTIFACT). The third Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery, QUICKSAND, came out March 10, 2015.

Kendel Lynn, Diane Vallere, and Gigi Pandian in 2012 at Mystery Ink.

This weekend

I get to see my 

Other People's Baggage

 collaborators Diane and Kendel at the 

California Crime Writers Conference

 June 6-7, 2015!

Halloween in Hardcover!

For the past month I've been so focused on finishing my latest novel that I neglected to blog about the exciting news that the Jaya Jones treasure hunt mystery series is now available in hardcover!

Henery Press is still publishing all the titles in their original trade paperback format (as well as in all eBook formats), but these hardcover editions are an additional buying option. They're aimed at libraries in particular, since hardcover books last the longest in circulation. If your local library doesn't yet have copies of my books, you can request the hardcover editions.

The Jaya Jones treasure hunt mystery series in hardcover.
"Fool's Gold" (prequel novella in OTHER PEOPLE'S BAGGAGE),
ARTIFACT (#1), and PIRATE VISHNU (#2).

As the Henery Press office sorted through the new hardcovers, one staffer commented on Facebook: "They look SO LOVELY!! I keep walking by and touching them. (so yes, when the authors get them, they'll be all fingerprinty and if used in a murder, I'll be a suspect.)"

The Henery Press office, taking stock of the beautiful new hardcover books!

Now for my dilemma. When my writers group formed in 2009, only one of us had books out. I started a single shelf on my bookshelf (the top shelf of one of my biggest bookshelves) devoted to books by members of my writers group. Earlier this year, the shelf filled up! Where am I going to put all of our new books?

My writers group shelf that ran out of room last spring.

Perhaps this lovely, rainy Halloween will inspire me to reorganize my bookshelves... 



A Book Cover for Quicksand (Jaya Jones Book 3)

Here's the fantastic book cover the Henery Press team created for the third Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery:

http://henerypress.com/books-humorous-mystery-series-book/quicksand/

I love how the new cover is perfectly suited to the new story (isn't the illustration of Mont Saint-Michel gorgeous?) but also has the same style as the first two books in the series.



Here's a teaser from the Henery Press email blast that went out this morning:

Art Thieves & Adventure

Take a trip to Paris this spring where you'll find an art thief, a con man, and an ancient treasure. (Along with a page-turning love triangle!) QUICKSAND, the third Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery, has it all. Look for the next big adventure when it releases March 10, 2015!

QUICKSAND: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery
http://henerypress.com/books-humorous-mystery-series-book/quicksand/
A thousand-year-old secret room.
A sultan's stolen treasure.
A missing French priest.
And an invitation to Paris to rekindle an old flame...

Historian Jaya Jones finds herself on the wrong side of the law during an art heist at the Louvre. To redeem herself, she follows clues from an illuminated manuscript that lead from the cobblestone streets of Paris to the quicksand-surrounded fortress of Mont Saint-Michel. With the help of enigmatic Lane Peters and a 90-year-old stage magician, Jaya delves into France's colonial past in India to clear her name and catch a killer.




Malice Domestic 2014: Photos & Highlights from the Traditional Mystery Convention

I often joke that I was born in the wrong era, because I grew up devouring the traditional mysteries from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction that ended long before I was born. But there are so many wonderful mystery writers carrying on the tradition, many of whom I've learned about through Malice Domestic, so by living in the present time I get to enjoy reading it all!

Therefore, the true reason I was born in the wrong era is because I'm awful at posting on social media in real time — I much prefer living in the moment and posting photos later. I arrived home last night, and I've been smiling all morning as I look through my photos. Here are some of my highlights from this year's Malice Domestic.

The fabulous volunteer board that runs Malice Domestic.

The mysterious display above the hotel bar.
I arrived on Friday afternoon this year, after attending the Edgar Awards banquet the night before in New York City. (My first Edgars! I'll post pictures from the Edgars later this week.) The first event I attended was the Opening Ceremonies, which was especially exciting this year because I was up for an Agatha Award.

Agatha nominees LynDee Walker, Kendel Lynn, and Gigi Pandian
at the Malice Domestic Opening Ceremonies.


At the Henery Press dinner on Friday night.

The Sisters in Crime breakfast was quite early for those of us on West Coast time, but so worth it!
Sitting with Verena Rose and Tonya Spratt-Williams
at the Sisters in Crime breakfast.
Frankie Bailey and Gigi Pandian at the Sisters in Crime breakfast.
At the breakfast, members of the Guppy chapter of Sisters in Crime wore boas as a fun way to find each other and see how many Guppies were in attendance. What a huge group we were this year!
The Guppy chapter of Sisters in Crime, wearing boas to the SinC breakfast,
getting ready for a group photo.
The Guppies began as the "Great Un-Published" chapter, where new authors could learn from each other at the beginning of their writing careers. It's still the chapter for newer writers, but published authors are welcome to stay on and share their knowledge. I learned about the Guppies at my first Malice Domestic, before I was published, and I love the camaraderie so I've stayed on.
Kendel Lynn, Diane Vallere, and Gigi Pandian in our Guppy boas
at the Sisters in Crime breakfast.
Hank Phillippi Ryan and Elaine Will Sparber announcing the new
Sisters in Crime book "Writes of Passage." Everyone attending
the breakfast got an Advance Reader Copy, hot off the press!

Hmm... I've realized this recap is going to be far too long if I keep posting individual photos, so I made a few collages!

Everyone was having a great time putting faces to names at a Guppy lunch. 

The four of us nominated for the Best Short Story Agatha Award were on the panel Short and Snappy, where we had such an interesting discussion that we didn't get to everything that we wanted to talk about! It was such an honor to be nominated with Barb Goffman, Barbara Ross, and especially the nominee who won, Art Taylor. Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine says: "Art Taylor is quickly becoming one of the most distinguished short-story writers of his generation. Since his EQMM debut in 1995, he's sold nearly three dozen short stories, several of which have received critical recognition." Good company, indeed!

The Best Short Story Agatha Nominee panel, Short and Snappy:
Gigi Pandian (nominated for locked-room mystery "The Hindi Houdini"),
Barb Goffman (nominated for "Nightmare" and "Evil Little Girl"),
our moderator B.K. Stevens (a distinguished short story writer herself)
Art Taylor (whose story "The Care and Feeding of House Plants" won the Agatha),
and Barbara Ross (nominated for "Bread Baby").

For the Agatha banquet that night, I hosted a table. In honor of my latest book, Pirate Vishnu, I brought pirate treasure to share.
Filling paper treasure chests with goodies for my banquet table.
Henery Press donated cute mugs, and after Scooby Doo pirate characters
were a hit at my book launch party, I brought some to Malice. 
Pirate treasure and good fun at the banquet table.
Lifetime Achievement Award honorees
Dorothy Cannell, Joan Hess, and Margaret Maron.
Daniel Stashower (who won the Agatha for his nonfiction book
The Hour of Peril) and Gigi Pandian.
Leslie Budewitz, Gigi Pandian, Daryl Wood Gerber.
Gigi Pandian, LynDee Walker, Larissa Reinhart. 

The morning after the banquet, I was so glad I decided to stay an extra day and relax. Hanging out in the lobby, I got to catch up with online friends, some of whom I'd never met in person before. I met the generous Jenny Milchman online years ago, but only met her in person two years ago, and I'd never had the pleasure of meeting Kaye Barley in person until this weekend. 

Jenny Milchman and Kaye Barley. 
Harriette Sackler was the first person at Malice Domestic I ever spoke to. The Chair of the Grants Committee, she called me on the phone to let me know I'd won a grant for my work-in-progress (which became Artifact). After being speechless for quite some time, I recovered, attended Malice that year, and have looked forward to catching up with Harriette each year I'm able to make it to Malice.
Harriette Sackler and Gigi Pandian.
In between running into readers and writers in the hallway, I made it to fun panels, such as Witches and Werewolves and Ghosts, Oh My!, Mixed Genre Mysteries, and Authors Reveal Their Fictional Crushes, and insightful interviews. 
Authors dressing as their characters!
Dana Cameron, Jim Lavene, Juliet Blackwell, Leigh Perry (aka Toni Kelner).
Poirot Award Honoree Tom Schantz (of Rue Morgue Press)
interviewed by Jim Huang. 
As usual, I couldn't resist buying more books than would fit in my suitcase, including some that I already owned! 
A few of the books I had to get back to California.
Daniel Stashower's award-winning nonfiction is good, but his Harry Houdini mysteries are just brilliant. I already own them all, but not with these beautiful reissued covers, and besides, I needed something to read on the plane ride home! I already have Sujata Massey's The Sleeping Dictonary on my eReader, but I got her to sign a print copy for my dad. I also already read Steven Rigolosi's new book, The Outsmarting of Criminals, but it's so good I had to get a copy for my mom. And I picked up the new Mystery Writers of America anthology at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York the day of the Edgars. The sad thing for my pocketbook? This is only a few of the books I went home with. 


Now that I'm home, I'm exhausted but so inspired. I already can't wait until next year. I had a great meeting with my editor to go over her feedback on a draft of the third book in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series, so now it's time to get back to work on the book! It'll be out shortly before next year's Malice. 

Cover Reveal: Pirate Vishnu

The folks at Henery Press have come up with an awesome book cover for my new Jaya Jones treasure hunt mystery!

A century-old treasure map of San Francisco’s Barbary Coast. Sacred riches from India. Two murders, one hundred years apart. And a love triangle… Historian Jaya Jones has her work cut out for her. 

The treasure hunt begins February 2014...



Read more on the Henery Press website or on my website.

Book Launch Day!

It's book launch day!

Today the Henery Press edition of Artifact comes out. This is the same book that I released last year, with three differences:
  1. It's got a gorgeous new book cover.
  2. There's an Author's Note about the Scottish and Indian history in the book.
  3. A Reader's Discussion Guide is included for book clubs.

For those of you who already read Artifact last year, I've got some fun things planned so you won't feel like you have to wait quite as long until Pirate Vishnu comes out in February 2014:

This October I'll be emailing my newsletter subscribers a Halloween-themed Jaya Jones mystery short story.

And if you haven't yet read "Fool's Gold," the novella that's a prequel to Artifact (Jaya and Sanjay solve a locked-room mystery at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival), the eBook on sale for only $.99 cents this week on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I'm not doing any in-person events right now, but I'm appearing at various online venues over the next six weeks, starting today with an interview for Henery Press and a memoir-y post on the fabulous blog of one of my favorite memoir writers, Rachael Herron:

UPCOMING ONLINE EVENTS

TWITTER CHAT with two mystery novelists who write about Scotland
Friday September 6
Noon-1pm PT / 3-4pm ET
Anna Lee Huber, author of the Lady Darby historical mysteries (Mortal Arts, Sept 3 2013)
Gigi Pandian, author of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series (Artifact, August 6 2013)
Use the hashtag #ScotlandMystery to join the conversation

Whew! It's a good thing I eat so healthily now so I've got the energy to do all this while still working on the third Jaya Jones book! And of course I've got my little gargoyle helpers...



Signed a Three Book Deal for the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series!

The contract is signed, so I can officially share the news: Henery Press has acquired the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series!


From my experience with the Jaya Jones novella "Fool's Gold" in the Other People's Baggage collection, I knew the Henery Press publishing team was fantastic. I'm excited to be working with them on the rest of the series. 

If you follow my blog, you know about my publishing journey (you can read some of the story here and here). My life has been full of so many twists and turns the last couple of years, and in spite of the bumps it's been a wonderful ride. I've learned so much about the publishing industry and about myself: 
  • The mystery writing community is amazing. 
  • I'm good at sticking to a disciplined writing schedule. 
  • Cancer can't stop me from completing NaNoWriMo.
  • I love writing mysteries of all kinds.
  • Writers have so many publishing options available to them. 
  • There's an overwhelming amount of publishing information out there. 
  • If you present yourself professionally, you'll be treated as such. 
  • I don't enjoy the back-end details of publishing.
  • A scary health diagnosis helps set priorities, and enjoying life comes out on top.
  • My characters have many more stories to tell. 

Those bullet points add up to being thrilled to receive this offer from Henery Press. I'll have more details to share in the coming weeks, but for now I wanted to share the exciting news with you!

My office: Dorian the gargoyle (and friends) and my Henery Press mug. 

Book deal celebratory shoes: new Fluevogs!
p.s. You'll notice that links to buy Artifact and pre-order Pirate Vishnu have been taken down from my blogs and website. Artifact is being re-released by Henery Press on August 6, and Pirate Vishnu will be out in early 2014. 

Photos from the LA & OC Book Launch Parties for "Other People's Baggage"

I'm back from a fantastic visit to southern California. I was in town for two book launch parties for the Other People's Baggage mystery novella collection with co-authors Diane Vallere and Kendel Lynn. We were at Traveler's Bookcase in Los Angeles on Thursday night, and at Mystery Ink in Huntington Beach on Saturday afternoon. What great bookstores! The events were a lot of fun. Here are a few photos.

And if you missed the parties but are interested in the book, more details about Other People's Baggage (including links to buy it in print or as an eBook) can be found here on the Henery Press website.

Kendel, Diane and me popping champagne to celebrate the book launch!

The fabulous bookstore staff who hosted us: Traveler's Bookcase owner Natalie (top right) and staffer Victoria at their Los Angeles bookstore, and Mystery Ink owner Debbie with staffer John at their Huntington Beach bookstore. 

Display of our books along with our raffle giveaways. Since the theme of the novella collection is travel and mixed-up luggage, we filled each of these three mini suitcases with gifts from the parts of the world where our stories took place: Carmel-by-the-Sea (Diane's novella "Midnight Ice"), Texas (Kendel's novella "Switch Back"), and Edinburgh (my novella "Fool's Gold"). 

Everything was airline-themed at our snacks and drinks table. 

Mingling at Traveler's Bookcase before we read from our novellas.

 With Daryl Wood Gerber (who also writes mysteries as Avery Aames).

With wonderful old friends who stopped by.

Reading from our novellas at Traveler's Bookcase on Thursday, November 29.


 Over at Mystery Ink in Huntington Beach on Saturday, Dec 1, not far from where I grew up in Orange County.

 Chatting with attendees at the signing.

Authors Juliet Blackwell and Ashley Ream stopped by.

Diane and Kendel signing books.


Thanks to everyone who came to one of the events. And an especially big thanks to Traveler's Bookcase, Mystery Ink, and my amazing co-authors Diane Vallere and Kendel Lynn. Writing books isn't the solitary experience I expected it would be, and for that I'm very thankful.

--Gigi