Two book title reveals and some fanart

A month post-The Jasmine Throne's release, I have some news!

It’s been over a month since The Jasmine Throne came out! I’m so thrilled by the reaction the book has received. It’s the work I’m most proud of, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the generous response it has had from readers.

If you’ve emailed me about it, I’m working my way slowly through my messages and I’ll get back to you soon - just know I’ve seen your messages and loved them so much!

Betwen The Jasmine Throne’s release, a few life updates, and working on The Jasmine Throne’s sequel and my YA remix of Wuthering Heights, this is going to be a big old update. So without further ado…

Some highlights since our last chat:

  • The Jasmine Throne was the Illumicrate book for May

  • The Jasmine Throne has gone into its second printing (!!!)

  • I’ve been blessed with some gorgeous fanart

  • Some sequel woes and thoughts on social media

  • I can now reveal the title of The Jasmine Throne 2!

  • Aaaand I can also now reveal the title and blurb of my YA Wuthering Heights remix (drum roll please…)

Illumicrate

Illumicrate is a book subscription box I’m a big fan of, and I was dying to tell everyone about The Jasmine Throne’s inclusion in it. But the book included each month is a secret, so I couldn’t really squee until now! I was sent a free copy of the special edition and of the book box, which included a book sleeve (which I… didn’t know was a thing? Super useful for carrying around hardbacks??), a customised TJT pin, a tea caddy and a notebook. I was delighted. The tea tin is now full of jasmine flower tea on my work desk.

A post shared by @illumicrate

Second Printing

Going into a second printing means that The Jasmine Throne has been more popular than my publisher necessarily expected it to be straight out of the gate, which I am so pleased about. Thank you for buying the book and requesting it from your library - every request and sale helps me to keep on publishing and writing my weird yearning chonker books.

If you’ve read it and you’d like to leave an honest review, please consider popping over to Amazon, B&N, Waterstones or whichever online retailer suits you best and leaving your feedback. All reviews help other readers find a book, so I’d very thankful.

Fanart

One of the things I’ve loved most since The Jasmine Throne’s release has been receiving fanart. If you’ve created any art for TJT, I’d absolutely love to see it - please consider tagging me on Instagram, or emailing me. It’d bring me no end of joy!

Here are two pieces of fanart I recieved recently that are just brilliant. If you’d like to go and send the artists some comments or likes, I’m sure they’d be really happy to recieve some praise.

A post shared by @citrus._.leaves

Sequel Woes

I’ve been working hard on the sequel of The Jasmine Throne. No spoilers here, but it’s another thorny story, with lots of POVs, strange magic and women carving out their own power - sometimes literally. I hope it’ll rip your heart out. (In a nice way. Possibly. Who knows! Not me.)

Unfortunately, life has interfered with me finishing the book as quickly as I had hoped to. Without going into detail, I have had some repeated family health scares that have meant I’ve had to prioritise my personal life. So it is possible that the second book in the trilogy will be a little delayed, and won’t be out in May 2022 as planned, but I’ll give you all an update as soon as I know more. It will still be out in 2022 though, no fear.

Trying to do justice by this book, and also by my family responsibilities, has also made me reflect on how I want to engage with social media and promotion. Twitter has become a more unpleasant place recently, and I find myself less equipped to deal with with it emotionally. Far more eloquent people than me have written about the problems authors face on Twitter, as a platform: Nicole Brinkley and Kacen Callender are two brilliant examples. So I’ll leave their words here, and let them speak for me.

I love talking to readers and other writers - and frankly, when my life settles I may feel better equipped to engage with Twitter fully again - but for now I’m stepping back to a more limited scope of engagement. But you’re still welcome to email me, or visit me on IG which is a much quieter space. I’m also on TikTok, but we don’t need to talk about that. ;)

I am considering making this newsletter more frequent to cover the gap left by Twitter, but I’m still debating on that one. (Partly, unfortunately, because Substack as a platform has made some questionable choices, and I’m afraid I may need to move this newsletter to an alternate platform when I find one that works for me.)

The Burning Kingdoms II - Title Reveal

Right, onto much cheerier news. The title of the second book in the Burning Kingdoms trilogy is:

The Oleander Sword is a very, very fitting title for the book in a few different ways. Aaaand I’ll say no more than that for now. I’ve also seen a draft of the second book’s cover and I really love it. Any guesses what - or who - is on the cover of the second book? I bet you could work it out…

Wuthering Heights Remix - Title Reveal

And, with the addition of another graphic, the title of my YA Wuthering Heights remix is…

What Souls Are Made Of is a title I feel fits the book really well, and it’s a paraphrase of a very famous quote from the original Wuthering Heights, “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” ROMANCE.*

(*By romance I mean, a darkly gothic exploration of what it means to be human, what it means to love, and what it means to be haunted when your tangled family histories are all erasure, trauma and shadows. Like I said. Romance.)

And here is the book blurb:

“As the abandoned son of a Lascar—a sailor from India—Heathcliff has spent most of his young life maligned as an "outsider." Now he's been flung into an alien life in the Yorkshire moors, where he clings to his birth father's language even though it makes the children of the house call him an animal, and the maids claim he speaks gibberish.

Catherine is the younger child of the estate's owner, a daughter with light skin and brown curls and a mother that nobody talks about. Her father is grooming her for a place in proper society, and that's all that matters. Catherine knows she must mold herself into someone pretty and good and marriageable, even though it might destroy her spirit.

As they occasionally flee into the moors to escape judgment and share the half-remembered language of their unknown kin, Catherine and Heathcliff come to find solace in each other. Deep down in their souls, they can feel they are the same.

But when Catherine's father dies and the household's treatment of Heathcliff only grows more cruel, their relationship becomes strained and threatens to unravel. For how can they ever be together, when loving each other—and indeed, loving themselves—is as good as throwing themselves into poverty and death?”

In future newsletters, I’m going to try and talk a little more about the history that fed into What Souls Are Made Of. But for now, I’ll just say that you can pre-order WSAMO from Macmillan’s website. And you can add it on Goodreads here.

And Finally

Thank you, as always, for all your support. Next time, I’ll try and include some more pet photos. But I promise Wei Ying bunny, Lan Zhan bunny and my scraggly old lady cat Asami are all doing well.

The Jasmine Throne is out TODAY!

The Jasmine Throne is out today! Unless you’re in the UK, in which case it’s out on Thursday. But either way, it’s release day somewhere or very close, and I’m so excited!

I found a copy of The Jasmine Throne ready for shelving at a Waterstones on Gower Street in London and they allowed me to sign a few copies. Also, I got to meet my book in the wild for the first time next to a Dalek - nothing could be better than that.

You can buy The Jasmine Throne at any bookshop, and if you don’t have a local indie bookstore you can probably get yourself a copy from Bookshop!

If you’re UK-based I have a special soft spot for Forbidden Planet (who have signed copies), The Portal Bookshop in York, Gay’s the Word in London, Category Is Books in Glasgow, and Lighthouse Books in Edinburgh. If a bookshop I’ve mentioned doesn’t have The Jasmine Throne, you can always order via UK Bookshop.org.

Of course, you should order the book from wherever suits you best. I’m grateful for any support you’re able to give!

Finally, I have an event TODAY at 2pm EST or 7pm BST (UK time).

You can register here. It’s worth registering even if you can’t make it, because you can submit questions for me or for Shiromi (the narrator of the audiobook) to answer, and you can watch the event later via playback.

And that’s all! Thank you so much for all your support. This book is so special to me, and I hope it becomes special to you, too.

The Jasmine Throne - out in two weeks!

*walks in late with Starbucks*

HELLO.

I have some news:

  • The Jasmine Throne is out on June 8th (or June 10th in the UK). Buy links: US | UK | International

  • There’s a US & Canada only Goodreads giveaway for a print copy here

  • I have an event on Tuesday 25th with Suyi Davies Okungbowa at 2pm EDT/7pm BST - you can still sign up here!


Pre-Ordering The Jasmine Throne

It’s not long now until The Jasmine Throne is out in the world, which is so exciting. And nerve-wracking. I have a lot of complicated feelings about the book being out in the world, and what it means to me. I wrote a little about this on my website here.

The pre-order gifts I announced in my last newsletter are now all gone, and I’m in the process of sending them out. Please be patient with me, I am but one woman, etc. But there’s still time to pre-order, if you’d like to support the book release. The benefit for me, if you order the book in advance, is that it helps my publisher know the book has support and encourages them to push my work. The benefit for you is that you get the book faster. A win all round, wink wink.

Some US buy links are available here. Some for the UK are here.

You can also order by contacting your local bookshop directly, which is a great way to support local stores!


Upcoming Events

Tuesday 25th May (2pm EDT / 7pm BST) - Tasha Suri & Suyi Davies Okungbowa: Q&A Conversation

Saturday 5th June (8:30 pm BST) - To Make and Break an Empire with Andrea Stewart and Tasha Suri [Tickets: £3/£5 plus 50p booking fee]


And that’s all from me until release day, when I’ll be sliding back into your inbox with more news and/or excited screaming. Thank you as always for all your support - I’ve been so overwhelmed and delighted by the kind responses I’ve had to my books, and I appreciate you all.

The Jasmine Throne character art (and a pre-order gift)

It’s about four months until The Jasmine Throne hits bookshelves on June 8th. Before I get into something I’m really excited to show you (character!! art!!), I have some events are coming up!

  • I’ll be chatting to C.L. Clark, author of the fantastic novel The Unbroken on March 16th, 7pm GMT. You can sign up here

  • I’m taking part in the Read for Pixels campaign, in support of ending violence against women. I’ll be on YouTube here on the 21st March

I’ve never commissioned art for one of my books before, but this time I was determined to treat myself to something really beautiful. So after some research and creeping through the social media of a lot of artists, I commissioned Kim Ekdahl/Pinktofu Art (rep’d by the Bright Agency) for character art of two of the main characters from The Jasmine Throne: Priya, the maidservant who is secretly a priestess with forbidden magic, and Malini, the vengeful princess.

And here they are:

I absolutely love this art and I hope you do too.

I wanted to thank people who have pre-ordered, and to that end I’m offering to send out art cards to anyone who submits proof of pre-order, as long as stocks last - and unfortunately they are somewhat limited, so do move swiftly.

The art cards, I think, are pretty swish! Here’s a preview for you, that’ll hit Instagram and Twitter later. And apologies, in advance, for my terrible lighting:

To get your pre-order gift, just fill in the form here. Just a little thanks, from me to you, for pre-ordering the book, as pre-orders really do make a huge difference to a book’s sales and support. x

A cover reveal (and bunnies)

mostly bunnies, I'll be honest

Hello, pals. It’s been a while since my last update. But on the plus side, I come with lots of news. I hope some of this will brighten your day, in what is an extremely difficult week for so many of us.

Which is to say: if you don’t have the brain space for publishing news, if you scroll further down you’ll find bunny photos.

Some highlights, since our last chat:

  • The Jasmine Throne now has a cover, revealed on SciFi Now (and below!)

  • You can order The Jasmine Throne in advance via these links

  • The Jasmine Throne’s publication date has been moved from April to June 8th 2021 (June 10th in the UK)

  • Empire of Sand was listed as one of the Time 100 Best Fantasy Books!

Without further ado… the cover!

I really love it so much. Sometimes I just stare at it. This is totally normal behaviour, probably.

The cover was designed by Lauren Panepinto; the art is by Micah Epstein. They did an absolutely fantastic job, and I really appreciate the work they and my editor have done on making the cover reflect the content. A brown woman! In a sari! Staring out at you! It just feels so MUCH, you know?

Or maybe you don’t. I’m not, admittedly, articulating this very well. But seeing a desi woman in a sari, on the cover of the kind of genre book I’ve always loved and always wanted to write is - huge. Maybe a little indescribable. Lovely, though. Maybe I cried a bit.

To expand on other news a bit: I’m absolutely blown away that Empire of Sand is considered (at least by someone at Time) one of the top fantasy books of all time. All time is a lot of time. (I’ve written the word ‘time’ a lot. I know.) Lists all have their limitations - some of my favourite books were not on there, after all - but it’s still a great feeling, and a real privilege.

I’m sorry the publication date of The Jasmine Throne has been pushed back to June, but I hope it’ll be worth the wait. You can pre-order it online via links here, if you’re inclined to. This is very helpful in indicating excitement for a book to publishers; but I also know it’s more than six months until the book is out, so it’s understandable if you are not quite yet inclined!

There will be a small pre-order campagin; but I’ll save that until January, at the earliest. Hold onto your receipts.

Life Stuff (aka Bunny Stuff):

In my last update, I told you about my new pet rabbits, Esme and Gytha. A trip to the vet revealed that Esme and Gytha were not wee girls, but were in fact wee boys. I was quite happy for them to keep the same names, but a family vote was clear: the boys needed ‘boy names’. (I know, I know.)

If you think I used this decision as an excuse to name them after a different set of characters I love:

Yes.

So Esme and Gytha are now Wei Ying and Lan Zhan. If you’ve watched The Untamed you’ll know the provenance of their names, but suffice to say that if you like yearning, necromancers, crying your heart out, m/m love stories, and bunny rabbits, you’ll want to check this series out.

A non-exhaustive list of things about them that are joyous about Wei Ying and Lan Zhan bunny: their long, tufty tails. Their intense delight at the sight of cabbage. The fact they love eating birch leaves, for no reason I can fathom. Their pale, fluffy bellies and the way that Lan Zhan likes to sleep with his entire belly exposed, in what I have dubbed the ‘melted bunny’ position. The way that Wei Ying leans on Lan Zhan’s head to reach the hay at the top of the rack. The way Lan Zhan gets so excited by food that he runs in circles. The way that Wei Ying inhales any food in sight… and eats Lan Zhan’s food while he’s running in circles. Oops.

But the best moments are when they climb onto your knee and placed their paws on your chest, and just breathe all snuffly and soft against your cheek. Or when they let you pet their heads. Lan Zhan likes to lean on your leg and close his eyes and let you stroke softly across his forehead, up to his pointy ears.

I am not convinced rabbits love the way humans love. But to have a small prey animal trust you so utterly is a kind of love. It fills your heart right up.

I’ll leave you with one final image and some advice: fling yourself into life the way Wei Ying flings himself at cabbage. With gusto (maybe make sure you have someone underneath you to catch you, as Wei Ying does with Lan Zhan, bless them).

I’m sending love to you all - these are very Trying Times, and I hope the bunnies are a little solace. Until next time. xx

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