Horsing around

One of my favorite characters in the Society for Paranormals series is Nelly. While she doesn’t say much (horses generally don’t), Nelly still makes her presence known. Beatrice Knight was given the flatulent horse as a gift, and we all know the dangers of looking a gift horse in the mouth, especially one that belches as much as Nelly does.

Little known fact: Nelly is a combination of two real horses. When I was 5 months pregnant with child #1, my husband and I went to the Mount Kenya region for a few days. The lodge offered horse riding safaris, and how could we resist? After all, the two (and a half) of us, accompanied by a guide, would be riding among the herds of zebra, antelope, giraffe and other creatures while on horseback. The wildlife are far more tolerant of horses than they are of humans, so we would be able to get quite close.

Now, in my defense, I did request a gentle, docile horse as I pointed out my obvious condition. The guide was quick to affirm his perfect understanding of the situation, and shortly thereafter, we departed for our horsey stroll across the savannah.

It quickly became clear that something had been lost in translation.

My husband’s horse could barely keep awake. Every few minutes, it dozed off, and only a lot of heel kicking, arm flapping and loud encouragement could convince the sleepy nag to stumble onward.

On the other hand, the horse given to the obviously pregnant lady was bright eyed and bushy tailed. By that, I mean someone must have poured a few pots of extra-strength coffee down its throat. My mount ran circles around the other two, skipping in a caffeine-induced merriment that was wholly unbecoming of a safari horse. It was all I could do to maintain my balance and observe the giraffe gracefully gliding by.

I swear the wildlife were laughing at me.

Fortunately, that’s all in the past. Speaking of history, check out the Mad March Historical Fiction Giveaway. Pick up some great free books and special offers until 24th March. Just click this link: http://www.authorstoreaders.com/historical-fiction.html. This event is so cool it even has its own hashtag: #authorstoreaders

Sticking with the history theme, why not head on over to 18th century China? Lady Qing has spent the past seven years languishing inside the high red walls of the Forbidden City. But when a new concubine arrives, Qing’s world is turned upside down. Pick up a free copy of The Consorts over here: http://www.melissaaddey.com/free.

For you mystery, suspense and thriller fans, how about some 99c deals? Over 50 books will be on sale 18 and 19 March. See all the deals by clicking over here: http://www.reneepawlish.com/promo.

Have fun, and watch out for flying horses.


Posted in Gifts & Treats

more monkey business

What’s inside: monkeys (you know how I feel about them) + more book deals

It turns out that African kites aren’t the only predators interested in weaver bird eggs. A few days ago, something leaped into the trees by our balcony. Howling in outrage, my dogs started hurling themselves at the trunk. As I wondered if the dogs would attempt to climb the tree, the branches above began to shake as something moved through them.

The shaking increased in violence as a creature approached the balcony. The various residents of the weaver bird colony began to fly around in agitation, and I wondered what new egg-stealing beast was threatening my little weavers.

With one final branch-bouncing motion, a monkey emerged among the foliage, clearly eyeing the various bird nests littered among the branches. Between the birds’ screeching and the dogs’ barking, it was audible chaos.

Then my son, concerned for the wellbeing of the next weaver generation, began tossing dry dog food pellets at the invader. Eventually, the monkey got the message and leaped through the trees and onto the neighbor’s roof.

All I can say is it’s a good thing monkeys don’t eat books or kindles. Then we’d really have a problem. But enough monkey business.

Check out the March Cozy Mystery FREE for All, running 5th to 9th March. Every book is free for a limited time. You can also enter in the draw to win a $25 Amazon gift card. More info is over here: http://lovekissedcozies.com/march-free-for-all/

How about a round of applause for all those Women in Mysteries (including but not exclusively our very own Beatrice Knight). I’ve teamed up with more than 45 fantastic women sleuth mystery authors to give away a huge collection of novels to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a Kindle Fire to the Grand Prize winner! Find out more over here: bit.ly/women-sleuth-myst

I do adore the Victorian era. Here’s a dark Gothic fantasy set in Victorian London that looks interesting, and at 99c, it’s hard to beat price-wise. Could mankind’s greatest enemy also be its only hope? Find out here: https://books2read.com/u/mBeBqv



Posted in Gifts & Treats

Out of Africa & into my home

Some of you have asked for photos. I don’t usually include these in my emails, because some email providers don’t like photos (they either block them or spam the whole email). So I’ve put some up here for your visual enjoyment!

In a previous post, I mentioned an adorable, vicious carnivore that likes to hang out on our balcony at night. Here’s what small spotted genets look like.

Speaking of wild animals in the neighbourhood, this hyena was caught on camera while strolling down our street! We were warned to keep a close watch on our small kids and smaller dogs. Eventually the hyena was captured and relocated.

Here’s our balcony. When I’m at home, I tend to be found in the corner seat.

And here’s the view I get from my balcony seat.


Not quite so wild, Mara (black dog) & Pluto defend the territory.

Pluto is a Great Dane – Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, and weighs only 60 kg (130lbs).

We love bougainvillea. The hardy plant is at its best in the dry season.


Over the December holidays, we packed up the family and dared to take them to Aberdare National Park where there was no electricity and – gasp – no internet. We all survived. I also managed to take a very rare photo of my 16 year old son Jalal. Those are water buffalo in the background.

Despite an altitude of 3,187m (10,500ft) and nights cold enough to leave ice sheets on the cabin roof, elephants roam the area. This photo isn’t about elephants, but I did like the waterfall!


Here is the hubbie protecting me from rampaging wildlife…

Can’t get enough hugs. Here my daughter, Kiara, and I admire a waterfall.




Lots of great hikes to enjoy!


On a totally different note: as part of a school project, my daughter Kiara and her friend set up a website on food waste. Go give it some love! End food waste now!

Also don’t forget to listen to Ghosts of Tsavo on Amazon’s Audible. If you download the free Kindle version of the book over HERE at Amazon, you get the audio book version at a 78% discount!!!

You can also find the audio HERE on iTunes.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Sound of Stories

Long before we invented written language, we were telling stories. The urge to share the details of an event or the latest gossip is part of human nature.

Oral story telling is still an integral part of many African cultures. And now it’s making a resurgence in other parts of the world through the advent of audio books.

I’m super excited to announce that ‘Ghosts of Tsavo’ is now available in audio! And the narrator is awesome. She sounds just like Beatrice Knight. Alison Larkin is an internationally acclaimed comedienne and an award-winning audio book narrator. She also happens to adore ‘Pride & Prejudice’ as much as I do, and does a brilliant job at narrating Victorian culture. It helps that she has a delicious British accent.

You’ll be hearing more about her later (she’s working on the second book). For now, I’d love you to listen to a sample of ‘Ghosts of Tsavo’ on Audible (Amazon’s audio book store).

Go to Amazon’s Audible and listen to a sample of ‘Ghosts of Tsavo’.

And here’s a sweet deal: if you download the free Kindle version of the book over HERE at Amazon, you get the audio book version at a 78% discount!!!

You can also find the audio on iTunes

Let me know what you think. Can you picture Miss Knight as you listen?

Posted in African stories

These stones may break your bones

The time is now: Stones of Nairobi has been officially launched! I am SO excited to share this story with you. If you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it, you’re going to love it. Reviewers are saying it’s the best book in the series so far.

For the next 48 hours, everyone who purchases a copy also gets access to seven more books.

To get this 8-book awesomeness, follow these steps:

1) Purchase a copy of Stones of Nairobi (links are below).
2) Download your copy as soon as possible.
3) Go to the Table of Contents and click on the Bonus chapter (it’s at the end of the Table).
4) Follow the instructions in the Bonus chapter to download your seven free books.
5) Do all of this before the wee morning hours of 31st January.

Remember: you’ll have only 48 hours to download the seven free books. After that, the Bonus chapter will be removed, and the books return to whatever price they were before the launch.

Stones of Nairobi can be purchased in most online stores:
for Amazon, click HERE
for Kobo, click HERE
– For links to iBooks, Barnes&Noble and Smashwords, click HERE

Cheers and happy reading!


Posted in African stories, Gifts & Treats