Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery

Book Deal Announcement: The Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series Continues

It's official. I've signed the contract to publish the next Jaya Jones book with Henery Press!

It's perfect timing, just in time to celebrate at Malice Domestic, and then on to Scotland for a writing retreat that I've fantasized about doing since I went through chemotherapy nearly four years ago.

You know what else a book contract means? Book deal shoes! I love Fluevogs for being the perfect combination of oh-so-cute and oh-so-comfortable, but one really needs something to celebrate to justify the expensive shoes. I'd say a book deal is a great excuse for a new pair of shiny pink Fluevogs.

p.s. I'm still writing the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, too. That's exactly why I need this writing retreat!

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),

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:


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
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.

Help Me Pick a Title for Jaya Jones Book 3!

Would you like to appear in Jaya Jones Book 3 as a tourist at the Louvre in Paris?   

Here's how you can make that happen:

I need a title for Jaya's next adventure in France, coming from Henery Press in March 2015. While I love coming up with twisty-turny puzzle plots, titles often elude me!

Send me your title ideas by July 1, 2014. If your title is selected, you can appear in the novel as a tourist at the Louvre in Paris. (Or you can simply be thanked in the acknowledgements, if you'd prefer.)

You can send me an email at gigi [at] gigipandian.com, or leave a comment below.

Here's what the book is about:

Jaya's latest quest for a treasure from colonial India takes her to places she's never been—including the wrong side of the law during an art heist!

A clue about the French East India Company sends Jaya from her university in San Francisco to the Louvre in Paris, the quicksand-surrounded castle monastery of Mont Saint-Michel, and the park of fantastical mechanized creatures at Les Machines de L'ile.

To extricate herself from the clutches of a devious con man, Jaya seeks the help of her sort-of boyfriend Lane Peters who's being pulled back into his old life, librarian Tamarind Ortega, her best friend Sanjay Rai (aka The Hindi Houdini), and a 90-year-old stage magician.

Pirate Vishnu: The Treasure Hunt Begins in One Month! In the Meantime, Fun is Afoot

Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery #2, Pirate Vishnu, hits shelves in exactly one month, on February 11. Leading up to the launch, here's some fun: two giveaways, a free short story, and a book launch party two days before the official book release!

Two chances to win one of two signed copies of Pirate Vishnu along with an India wall-hanging that has a pocket to hold letters or magazines. 

Chance #1: Sign up for my email newsletter by February 10. All subscribers are automatically entered.

Chance #2: Like my Facebook page by February 10. All new Likes are entered, and all existing fans who comment between January 1 and February 10 are also entered.

Giveaway: Signed copy of Pirate Vishnu in a wall-hanging from India.

Download my locked-room mystery short story "The Hindi Houdini," available FREE for the month of January 2014. 

The story features Sanjay Rai, aka The Hindi Houdini, Jaya's magician best friend who plays a big role in Pirate Vishnu, so I thought you might like to check it out before Pirate Vishnu comes out. 

(Normally you can buy the story in Fish Nets: The Second Guppy Anthology, a mystery anthology full of lots of great stories.)  

The Hindi Houdini short story by Gigi Pandian, free in January 2014

And if you're local, join me at the book launch party!

Sunday, February 9
6 p.m.
6120 LaSalle Ave., Oakland CA
(in Oakland's Montclair Village) 

The event takes place at the fabulous independent bookstore that hosted the book launch party for Artifact. That party was a blast, so I hope you can make it to this one! Drinks, snacks, prizes, good company, and you can buy Pirate Vishnu two days before its official release. 

More party details are on Facebook, where you can also let me know if you plan on attending. 

It's such a strange time leading up to a book release. I've only done this once before, so it still feels so new! I love this book, so I'm excited to share it with the world.

15 Days in France

I kicked off my sabbatical with 15 days in France. I wasn't playing hooky from my 100 days of being a full-time writer. True, I'm definitely still in post-cancer seize-the-day mode. But in addition to being a fun vacation, the trip also served a practical purpose as part of my sabbatical: it was a research trip for two books I'm working on right now.

Jaya Jones Book 3 takes Jaya to several destinations in France, a country she's never been to before. And in The Accidental Alchemist, the first book in my new mystery series, American-born Zoe Faust lived in Paris for many years before ending up in Portland, Oregon, and her sidekick Dorian the gargoyle is from Paris. (Dorian is related to my stuffed animal gargoyle Dori, who stowed away in my luggage on this trip.)

While my critique partners are reading a draft of The Accidental Alchemist this month, I'm writing the next Jaya Jones book for NaNoWriMo. I finished an outline for the book over the summer, so this trip was exactly what I needed to fill in some details and get inspired to dive into the book. Here are a few highlights from the trip.

Les Machines de l'ile of Nantes

The old shipping warehouses of this port city along the Loire have been converted into a mechanical wonderland based on Jules Verne and Leonardo da Vinci.

Les Machines de l'ile (The Machines of the Isle) includes amazing creations including the Great Elephant that roams the park, and a carousel straight out of a fantasy novel. If you're into the steampunk aesthetic, you'd love this place. I'd never been here before, but after I stumbled across it last year when researching France, I knew that I wanted to visit and that it had a part to play in the next Jaya book. 

The Great Elephant at Les Machines de l'ile in Nantes, France.

A sign warns people to watch their children while the Great Elephant roams.

Clisson Castle

No trip to Europe would be complete without a day trip to castle ruins. Clisson is a medieval town not far from Nantes with a wonderful castle. 

Dori the gargoyle exploring Clisson Castle.

Clisson Castle.

Mont Saint Michel

When we arrived at Mont Saint Michel, the small island off the coast of Normandy, it was Halloween and a storm was approaching. That made for an amazing Halloween to explore the cobblestone streets and ramparts as the clouds rolled in.

Mont Saint Michel with a storm approaching.

The storm also gave me a perfect opportunity to kick off National Novel Writing Month on November 1 while sitting inside a cozy hotel room with my paper notebook while the storm raged outside. Our hotel room was a converted fisherman's cottage high on the mount, overlooking the quickly-rising tides. 

View from the hotel room, overlooking low tide in the Mont Saint Michel Bay.

I first visited Mont Saint Michel when I was backpacking after college and I knew I wanted to return. It's such an amazing place full of history and mystery that it's going to get blog posts of its own -- not to mention being an important part of the book! (One of my favorite mysteries, Old Bones by Aaron Elkins, also has two scenes at Mont Saint Michel.)

Mont Saint Michel on a foggy Halloween night.

Exploring the Mont Saint Michel Abbey.


Eating out in France is fun, even for someone like me who gave up meat. I enjoyed many meals before we got to Paris, but it was wonderful to rent an apartment and do some cooking! I love going to the markets in foreign countries to try new things that aren't available at home. The shallots in France are heavenly and my favorite snack was chocolate-covered rice cakes.

The Louvre is in the new Jaya book, so I visited twice, once during the day and once at night. Nothing as dramatic happened as when I visited in 1998, but it still provided much inspiration.

The Louvre at sunset.

The Musee D'Orsay.

I stopped by to visit my old friends at Notre Dame.

Dori the Gargoyle Exploring Paris 

My stowaway Dori had fun, too. (Dori is distantly related to Dorian, the gargoyle in The Accidental Alchemist, but Dori is much fluffier.)

Dori the gargoyle at the Eiffel Tower.

Dori the gargoyle at Notre Dame.

Dori the gargoyle exploring the Marais neighborhood.

Dori hiding out in my luggage.

Time to get back to work on those books the trip inspired!

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.

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. 

PIRATE VISHNU: The Second Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery — Cover Art!

UPDATE: Pirate Vishnu was acquired by Henery Press in a three book deal for the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series. Along with a new cover design, the release date is being pushed back a few months, until early 2014. I'm thrilled to have such a great publisher backing the series!

My second Jaya Jones novel comes out September 3, 2013. It's now four months before the book comes out, so Advance Reader Copies have arrived! Here's the cover art and details about the new book:

PIRATE VISHNU: A 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.

1906. Shortly before the Great San Francisco Earthquake, Pirate Vishnu strikes the San Francisco Bay. An ancestor of Jaya's who immigrated to the U.S. from India draws a treasure map…

PRESENT DAY. Over a century later, the cryptic treasure map remains undeciphered. From San  Francisco to the southern tip of India, Jaya pieces together her ancestor's secrets, maneuvers a  complicated love life she didn't count on, and puts herself in the path of a killer to restore a revered treasure.

The book is available for pre-order on Amazon and more details can be found on my website.

I had so much fun writing this book that I can't wait until it comes out! It feels funny that I'm heading to Malice Domestic this week to promote Artifact, when I'm most excited about talking about Pirate Vsihnu. Don't get me wrong. I'm having a great time with Artifact out in the world. But I've been focused so intensely on the latest book that it's a bit of a challenge to switch gears!

One of my favorite things about creating a world of characters is when readers really click with what I was going for. Advance reviews are starting to come in for Pirate Vishnu, and it was such a kick to find Jaya compared to two favorite characters of mine: Vicky Bliss in the books by Elizabeth Peters, and Joan Wilder from the movie Romancing the Stone.

"Move over Vicky Bliss and Joan Wilder, historian Jaya Jones is here to stay! Mysterious maps, legendary pirates, and hidden treasure—Jaya’s latest quest is a whirlwind of adventure."
—Chantelle Aimée Osman of THE SIRENS OF SUSPENSE

I'm getting ready for the Malice Domestic mystery convention, taking place in Bethesda, MD this coming weekend. I'm on the Treasure Hunt panel on Saturday, May 4 at 3 p.m., signing at 5 p.m., and featured on the New Author Breakfast on Sunday, May 5 at 7 a.m.

Done With Revisions: PIRATE VISHNU Comes Out September 3, 2013

Gigi Pandian post-chemo hair, March 2013
Gigi's post-chemo hair, March 2013. 
Revisions inevitably take longer than anticipated. For me, it tends to take me about twice as long as I estimate. Since I've learned a thing or two over the last few years, I doubled the time I thought I needed to finish revising Pirate Vishnu: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery. 

It worked! I made my deadline!

I sent off the manuscript to my copy editor over the weekend. Advance Reader Copies will be out in May, and the novel will be published September 3, 2013.

Now it's time to relax and have some fun! Well, perhaps I'd better clean my house, too... After ignoring housework while finishing these revisions, the house is a bit of a disaster area, especially my study. But even though I neglected housework while finishing the book, I remembered to take photos of my hair growing out. Here's the latest one.

Later this week I'm heading to Colorado Springs for Left Coast Crime. I'll be on two panels at the mystery convention. If you'll be there, please find me and say hello!

Literary Inspirations for Traditional Mysteries
Friday, March 22 at 9 a.m.
With panelists: Sara J. Henry, Charlotte Hinger, Christopher Lord, Susan Shea, and Mary Vensel White

Occupations to Die For
Saturday, March 23 at 11 a.m.
With panelists: Ellen Byerrum, Naoimi Hirahara, Tammy Kaehler, and Patricia Wood

Here's a tiny teaser of the new book I just turned in. More details will follow in April, along with the book cover.

Pirate Vishnu: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery

A century-old treasure map of San Francisco.
A sacred treasure from India.
Two murders, a century apart. 

Historian Jaya Jones has her work cut out for her. 

Announcing the Next Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery: FOOL'S GOLD, Coming December 3

ARCs for Other People's Baggage, which includes Fool's Gold.
This summer has been surreal in several ways: I finished my cancer treatments, released my first mystery novel, have been traveling around doing book events -- and this week I received Advance Reader Copies for the next Jaya Jones mystery being published by Henery Press on December 3!

Fool's Gold: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Novella is being published in the Other People's Baggage collection of three interconnected mystery novellas. It's a prequel to Artifact that I hope will tide everyone over until the next full-length novel comes out in 2013.

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.

At Malice Domestic 2012 with Kendel Lynn and Diane Vallere.
Working on this new mystery has been so much fun! It's a joint project with two other mystery novelists, Diane Vallere and Kendel Lynn.

We had all read each other's work, and we were struck by the fact that while our mystery series' were quite different, the heroines of our stories had a similar voice. We thought they'd get along famously. What was stopping us from bringing them together?

In Other People's Baggage, a storm reroutes planes and knocks out power, leading to a luggage mix-up as all three of our characters are headed out of town. Jaya, Elliot, and Madison end up with each other's suitcases, and they each solve a mystery with the help of something they find in the mixed-up suitcase...

OTHER PEOPLE'S BAGGAGE: Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas
(Henery Press, December 3, 2012)

These are the stories of what happened after a computer glitch mislabeled identical vintage suitcases and three women with a knack for solving mysteries each grabbed the wrong bag.

MIDNIGHT ICE: A Mad for Mod Mystery Novella by Diane Vallere
When interior decorator Madison Night crosses the country to distance herself from a recent breakup, she learns it’s harder to escape her past than she thought, and diamonds are rarely a girl’s best friend.

SWITCH BACK: An Elliott Lisbon Mystery Novella by Kendel Lynn
Ballantyne Foundation director Elliott Lisbon travels to Texas after inheriting an entire town, but when she learns the donor was murdered, she has to unlock the small town’s big secrets or she’ll never get out alive.

FOOL'S GOLD: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Novella by Gigi Pandian 
When a world-famous chess set is stolen from a locked room during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, historian Jaya Jones and her magician best friend must outwit actresses sand alchemists to solve the baffling crime.

Other People's Baggage ARC with my Lewis Chessmen, which feature into Fool's Gold.

If you're on Goodreads, you can enter to win an advance copy of Other People's Baggage, signed by me, Diane, and Kendel. The giveaway starts today and runs through October 24. 

Book Launch Party Photos

It was a packed house at A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland on Saturday night for the Artifact book launch party. Special thanks to everyone who joined me in person as well as to all of you who let me know you were there in spirit!

The party was a joint celebration for the release of my debut mystery novel and for completing a full year of cancer treatments. I'm happy to report that both activities were a success. Artifact is making more of a splash than I imagined, and my doctors can't find any evidence of cancer left in my body! Here are some photos from the celebration:

The fabulous bookstore staff.

Views of both sides of the store as I began my reading. 

Business manager (er, husband), with Sophie Littlefield and Juliet Blackwell. 

With Terry Shames and Sophie Littlefield. 

With my youngest fan. 
(And yes, in case you were wondering, the book is kid-friendly; the little one here is younger than my target audience, but the book is a traditional mystery that would be considered PG-rated.)

The bookstore's children's book room doubles as a signing room. 
After getting my book signed, many attendees bought books for their kids! 

In the signing room with Andrew MacRae and Pat Morin. 

We served a selection of Scotch whisky from the region of the Highlands of Scotland where the novel takes place, and had ARTIFACT coasters as a take-away.

The party was so much fun that it inspired me to get back to work on the next book in the series!