I’m a tea-drinker, through and through. That’s not a surprise to anyone who’s met me, but once or twice at conventions I’ve had super well-meaning readers ask me if they could get me a coffee, often mentioning how obvious it is I love coffee because of characters like the Bittersweets Club from my Village stories and novellas, who truly need their coffee.
I’m not blaming anyone for getting it wrong. It makes sense. But the coffee love? It’s all second hand experience from my friends and husband.
The truth is I can’t drink coffee. It’s a migraine in a cup. I tried a few times in University during late-night study sessions or to cope with early-morning juggling of the job-and-school issues, but every single time I had even half a cup of coffee—which I never liked the taste of, either—I got whammied with a major headache at least, or a migraine at worst.
Now, I was born in the UK and I grew up there and in Canada, so tea was always around and when it comes to the “I need to wake up” mug? That’s what’s in mine. Though these days I tend to drink caffeine-free teas for the most part during the day because I am a man in my forties and sleeping has started to feel like a battle rather than the soothing end to a day.
But a morning cup of Lady Grey, or a Rooibos? Yes, please. When I worked at bookstores in malls with tea shoppes, I also encountered the London Fog (an Earl Grey Latte) and let me tell you, that was life-changing. December retail with a to-go cup of London Fog in hand felt actually surmountable. I need to re-iterate that: six skids of books arriving and no room in the backroom to handle it and a line-up at the cash and someone just knocked down one of the bargain pyramids and one sip of that London Fog and I could handle it. The angry man who waited until December 23rd to buy a bestselling book who didn’t understand that bestselling meant it sold the best and has now sold out and is therefore accusing me of ruining his Christmas? I could stay calm because I had tea.
That’s magic. There’s a reason “A Little Village Blend” is dedicated to all the people who worked in those tea shoppes. Life-savers, every one of them.
“A Little Village Blend” has its first launch tomorrow—Bold Strokes Books releases its titles on the first of the month through their own webstore—and then has its full release on Tuesday July 13th, which is when it releases everywhere else. It’s a wee novella set in my Village series shared universe, only this time it takes place around NiceTeas, the tea place in the Village run by Ivan (who you may remember meeting in Of Echoes Born in the novelette, “A Little Village Magic.”)
There’s some magic. There’s some tea. There’s a tall, dark, and grumpy soldier, a cute husky, and a sister who is never wrong (so annoying). And it’ll all be here tomorrow…
According to Ivan’s sister Anya, Ivan’s tea leaves promise his perfect match is out there somewhere, just waiting to be swept off their feet. Ivan knows Anya’s always right—an annoying trait for a sister if ever there was one.
Ivan’s own knack with tea might not deal with the future, but it’s pretty good at helping with the here and now. When Walt, a tall, dark, and grumpy soldier shows up at his store, NiceTeas, in obvious need of a hand—and a dog-sitter—Ivan rises to the challenge and offers blends to make Walt’s life a little easier. There’s just no way he can help falling for the guy. But Anya says Walt’s not the one for Ivan, and the tea leaves don’t lie.
Is it worth steeping a here-and-now while waiting for the one-and-only? Ivan’s not sure, but everything tells him it’s all just a matter of finding the right blend.
Cover Artist: Inkspiral Design