Thursday, August 4, 2022

Book Blitz and Giveaway: A Coup of Tea (Tea Princess Chronicles #1) by Casey Blair

Title: A Coup of Tea
Series: Tea Princess Chronicles #1
Author: Casey Blair
Publication Date: August 2nd 2022
Print Length: 324 pages
Genre: Cozy Fantasy

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When the fourth princess of Istalam is due to dedicate herself to a path serving the crown, she makes a choice that shocks everyone, herself most of all: She leaves.

In hiding and exiled from power, Miyara finds her place running a tea shop in a struggling community that sits on the edge of a magical disaster zone. But there’s more brewing under the surface of this city—hidden magic, and hidden machinations—that threaten all the people who’ve helped her make her own way.

Miyara may not be a princess anymore, but with a teapot in hand she’ll risk her newfound freedom to discover a more meaningful kind of power.

A Coup of Tea is the first book of the Tea Princess Chronicles, a cozy fantasy series full of magic tea, friendship, and lifting people up even when the odds seem impossible.

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EXCERPT:
“Well. I can’t deny I’d like to hire you, after a performance like that.”

A spike of panic. I don’t know how else to persuade her, nor how to get a job elsewhere.

“But?”

“This area is under a lot of pressure,” Talmeri says. “You need to make a living wage, and I’m not willing to pay you one.”

I steady my breathing, watching her, trying to think.

No. I need to listen.

I’ve heard how easily she manipulates her tone—she should have pronounced that with finality, and she didn’t.

This is the opening sally to bargain.

“I don’t need a living wage right away,” I say. “I need enough for food, general household items, and to style myself in a manner befitting your shop. I’d be comfortable starting with a low salary initially until I’ve proven to you how useful I can be.”

It’s a risky statement, with undefined parameters. But I need to turn the ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ before I impose conditions.

“A possibility,” Talmeri allows. “And what if I never decide you’re worth a full salary?”

“I’m confident you will.”

Talmeri laughs. “I appreciate that kind of confidence, but I’m looking for a plan of action here, Miyara.”

Certainty in her voice. “You already have one in mind.”

Her eyes narrow. “So I do. In three months my lease on this building expires. What do you think that means for a struggling business, when prices are rising?”

I think for a moment. “If your profits have been dwindling, then it isn’t enough to make as much as you used to. You need to be more profitable to compete.”

Talmeri nods. “Just so. Good, you understand the basics of commerce.”

“Lorwyn intimated she hoped I might assist with the business spreadsheets.”

“Ha! Clever girl, dropping that in. But one thing at a time, Miyara.”

“Yes, Grace Talmeri,” I say demurely.

“Good,” she approves. “Now. You understand that even if you took on more of the work around here, that wouldn’t be enough to turn our fortunes. If I can’t count on customer revenue exploding beyond my wildest dreams, what does that leave me to bargain with?”

“Providing a valued service to the community,” I say.

“I already have that. No, stop, I realize I can add value or services. That’s not the answer I’m looking for.”

I cast around, thinking of what else I’d heard from her this morning. She’s leaving her business to see a friend, she values her image, she’s proud— “Reputation,” I say.

Talmeri nods slowly, eyeing me with more appreciation.

It occurs to me that until that moment she wasn’t sure I was actually intelligent.

She waves her hand at me, indicating my body, my clothes, my poise. “Yes. Reputation. With a reputation, I have bargaining power. And you know what would bring me one?”

“A tea master,” I say. And: “Which you can’t afford.”

“But you, with no credentials, references, or paperwork to your name, I can,” she says. “Because I can pay you whatever I like.”

I keep my expression even. She wants a reaction from me at that, the implicit threat. She knows I’m desperate or I wouldn’t accept less than a full wage.

“But I’m still not a tea master,” I say. “And if you try to use my position as leverage for investments, every noble will know you for a liar. Which won’t be good for your reputation at all.”

“Ah, you know how the game is played. We’ll get along fine.” Talmeri smiles. “And that won’t be a problem if you become a tea master in the next three months.”

I blink.

She’s serious.

“Three months?”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Casey Blair writes adventurous fantasy novels for all ages, and her serial fantasy Tea Princess Chronicles is available online for free. After graduating from Vassar College, her own adventures have included teaching English in rural Japan, attending the Viable Paradise residential science fiction and fantasy writing workshop, and working as an indie bookseller. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest and can be found dancing spontaneously, exploring forests around the world, or trapped under a cat.

Website * Goodreads * Twitter
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GIVEAWAY:
Win the Tea Princess Chronicles series eBooks by Casey Blair!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. Xpresso Book Tours and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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4 comments:

  1. This sounds right up my alley! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I have not read any of your books- yet- after reading the book excerpt you had me hooked-thanks

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  3. This book sounds absolutely amazing. I really hope to read it. Thanks for the chance!

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  4. what a unique story line! Thanks for the chance to read it!

    ReplyDelete