Africa Creates New Year Giveaway

So… Happy New Year! And to launch 2018 in style, I’m giving away a few African curios. These handmade treasures are unique, beautiful and make great gifts (in the unlikely case you don’t want to keep them yourself).

Prizes include:

  • A collection of hand painted cards that are so delightful, they can be framed and hung on the wall;
  • Paintings of typical African scenes will certainly have your houseguests in awe;
  • Beaded keychains so your keys can rock 2018 in style;
  • A tea cozy (which can also be used over a coffee pot) that is as colorful as it is practical.

There are two parts to this giveaway, each with their own set of goodies. By participating in both, you increase your chance of winning one of six awesome prizes. Keep reading for more info.

Africa Creates Giveaway, Part 1: This is a public event (ie: everyone and their dog can enter). If you’re interested, hop on over here — — and join the giveaway! The more you share, the more entries you receive.

Africa Creates Giveaway, Part 2: This is in the form of a short survey and is only open to people subscribed to my newsletter. Answer three quick, multiple choice questions, and I’ll put your email into a private giveaway contest. The survey is here:

The giveaways close on 26 January 2018.

Good luck!




A teacup of death has arrived

Have you ever wondered how different cultures imagine Death? Hint: the African version doesn’t carry a scythe and he doesn’t appreciate nicknames (even if he is grim at times). Find out more in the latest adventure of Miss Knight and her friends as they race to save life by saving Death.

With the Wedding Killer behind bars, the witchy Beatrice Knight Timmons is able to focus on managing The Cozy Tea Shoppe. But when the African God of Death pays her a visit after losing his throne, death is back on the menu. All decorum is thrown out with the tea leaves as the line between the living and the dead gets thinner. Only Miss Knight can persuade the powers-that-be to reinstate Death and the circle of life. But everyone has their own agenda, and time is running out. While the small colonial town of Nairobi is used to all manner of monsters and mayhem, this latest debacle might need more than a pot of tea to endure it.

Case 2 of the Cozy Tea Shoppe Mystery series, Death in a Teacup, is now available in paper and digital version. Get your copy at any of the usual stores, including:


For more links, visit

Here’s what one reviewer wrote:

Death in a Teacup is now my favorite. Although Bea’s stoic attitude and sarcastic humor has always made me smile, it was her understandable vulnerability in this book that made me love her even more… Death in a Teacup is a very well written page turner with twists, turns and surprises.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of this one!



Death has arrived – in a teacup…

I’m super excited about the upcoming release of Death in a Teacup. The adventure and emotions intensify in the second book of the Cozy Tea Shoppe Mystery series.

Here’s a sip for your teatime pleasure…


Chapter 1 of Death in a Teacup

While being gored to death by an enraged elephant is hardly a fitting end for a gentleman, it was a suitable conclusion for a hunter with no morals. Or so I reassured myself. As my opinion on the matter was clearly at variance with the majority of the funeral attendees, I maintained a cordial silence.

“How distressing it is,” Cilla whispered to me as we followed the line of mourners toward the patch of land reserved for the disposal of human bodies.

“Indeed it is,” I replied, inspecting the ends of my long, dark braid. “It is now past afternoon tea, and there’s no sign of this business finishing soon.”

My dearest friend merely sighed and shook her head, a strand of her dark blond hair swishing against her round, rosy cheeks. “Surely you can’t be so disinterested,” she said, her blue eyes bright with tears.

Smirking slightly, I said, “Surely I can.”

Ignoring the glare bestowed upon me by a mourner, I stared past the small graveyard and out to the savannah. The return of the rains had transformed the dusty, dry land into a herbivore’s paradise.

Tall grass blanketed the land in green, and flowers of red, yellow and orange covered the trees. The scent of the flowers mingled with that of fresh grass and rich earth. The number of birds and insects had exploded, filling the air with a variety of calls, chirps and songs. Giraffe strolled amongst herds of fattened zebra and dark-skinned wildebeest. Of the elephants there was no sign.

Cilla clucked and said, “Do try to behave, Beatrice.”

“That might prove difficult,” I muttered, my eyes narrowing. If anyone had dared stare at me, they would have noticed a peculiar yellow glint to my light hazel eyes. The yellow was the only obvious indication of the werewolf bite bestowed upon me while I was a child; when I was irritated, the color tended to be more noticeable.

The other symptom of that bite, a wolf energy which was connected to my own, twitched within the delicate clockwork mechanism of my metal left hand. I had only to think the command, and the wolf would leap out and cause havoc. Admittedly, I was tempted.

Glancing at me, her blue eyes wide with concern, Cilla said, “Please control your wolf.”

Impressed she’d divined the direction of my thoughts, I clenched my left hand, the various cogs and metal bones glinting in the sunlight. “But of course.”

The lack of tea and other sustenance had plunged me into a foul mood. Relishing the heft of my walking stick, I slashed it against unoffending underbrush. I wasn’t infirm or crippled by any means. Nor was I too old, having only recently survived my twenty-sixth birthday—much to my surprise and my family’s delight. However, the oxide green metal walking stick was a most useful tool for a paranormal investigator, filled as it was with tools tucked inside hidden compartments. At that moment, I was considering using the sleeping darts on the minister if he dawdled overly with his graveside speech.

“All this fuss for what?” I asked.

“Beatrice Knight Timmons, you don’t mean that,” Cilla scolded me, attempting to appear firm and aggrieved but she was too gentle to be anything but kind. “Mr. Turner is dead. He was such a young man, tragically removed from life before he could truly begin it, trampled by a rampaging elephant.”

The mention of the murderous animal called to mind the elephant herd which had not so long ago assisted us in a battle with an army of skeletons. I recalled with a soft smile the matriarch and her sweet, tiny baby, both of whom—according to Koki the she-demon—were my friends forever. This inevitably turned my thoughts to my own as-yet unborn baby, a secret I had revealed to no one. Resisting the urge to place a hand over my abdomen, I returned to the conversation.

“And what of the elephant?” I asked, glancing at the front of the crowd of mourners where a coffin was being lowered to the ground by several of the young man’s fellow hunters. “No one has spared even a moment to consider the feelings of that poor beast, shot down in the prime of life. How many little Loxodonta africana orphans are created by the cruelty of these visiting hunters?”

“Then why did you come?”

“You insisted,” I said, not bothering to add that I fervently wished I had declined the invitation. The only possible excuse available to me—bouts of nausea and an unnatural debilitation which had plagued me for the first few weeks of my pregnancy—had passed as rapidly as it had appeared. The unfortunate timing of my improved health allowed me no excuse as I was more than capable of attending the funeral.

“Beatrice, I know you miss Simon,” Cilla said. “I do too. But if anyone can defeat trumped-up charges, it’s my uncle. Don’t worry.”

At the mention of my husband, my throat constricted. I’d lost track of the days since he’d left for London. Under arrest for attacking his former fiancée, Simon Timmons had decided to face the court rather than escape with our friends into the wilderness of Africa. Not a day passed when I didn’t think of him and worry about our future while cursing his obstinance.

No further conversation was possible for at that moment, a hush descended on the crowd as the minister launched into a long-winded speech in a droning voice. “We can only find comfort in the divine promise of eternal life,” he pronounced as he scratched the side of his bony nose. “And in the fact that Mr. Turner, in his last moment of life, killed the elephant with one shot through the eye and into the brain.”

“Lucky shot,” I muttered. Cilla jabbed me in the side with her elbow.

Standing at the edge of the open grave, the minister gazed out at the crowd, raised a hand to the sky and concluded, “We can all rest easy knowing the savage beast is dead.”

“By savage beast, is he referring to the elephant or Mr. Turner?” I whispered to Cilla.

“Hush,” she said as the coffin was lowered into the hole.

Sighing, I glanced around the newly delineated cemetery. There was no reason why that plot had been selected over the neighboring plot; indeed, there was no distinguishing markers at all apart from a hastily erected fence. At least the dead would have a decent view of the forested slopes to one side and the savannah stretching out to the distant horizon on the other.

Turning away from the hole in the ground, I studied the small town of Nairobi. It wasn’t much to look at really: a huddle of shops and offices lined a dirt road named after our monarch Queen Victoria; the ramshackle Bazaar sprawled around one end of town; and to one side squatted the tented camp which housed the Indians who were in British East Africa to construct Her Majesty’s railway across the colonies. Even from this distance, I could see the stains of red clay soil and dust on the canvas tents and the growing pile of camp-related debris.

“Beatrice,” Cilla hissed and elbowed me sharply.

Obediently I turned to face the minister who predictably had much to say about a man he had never known. I’d hoped that perhaps Gideon, my dead first husband, would attend, thus entertaining me with graveside antics that would certainly have been inappropriate but highly amusing. Alas, he refrained as did my other paranormal acquaintances and family members.

It was therefore with great relief that I observed the lowering of the coffin into the hole. Members of the East African Ladies League, led by their chairwoman Mrs. Mayence Bent, clustered around the bereaved, ostensibly to provide consolation but in reality to mine them for any gems of gossip. After all, Nairobi had been quiet as of late. Even the heavy April rains, prolonged by a perverse fit of nature into June, had petered out, leaving in its wake the perpetually overcast sky of the cool, dry season that some referred to as winter.

As there was no reason to remain, I started along the path leading to town, the chatter of the gossips fading behind me. Fervently I hoped that Jonas, my gardener and driver, hadn’t taken it upon himself to depart for home.

Leaning close to me and speaking in a conspiratorial whisper, Cilla said, “I heard from Mrs. Bent that our new mayor has formed a committee to better organize the town and more closely monitor hunting activities. And he’s single.”

“And you’re engaged to my brother,” I said. “Really, you should leave such commentaries to the unattached girls.”

Cilla giggled. “I have no interest in the new mayor,” she reassured me. “While he is pleasing in his form and manner, he’s rather dull compared to our family, wouldn’t you agree?”

I smiled and said, “If there’s one thing we are not, it’s dull.”

As if the mere thought summoned him, a bloodsucking firefly zipped before my eyes.

“Miss Knight,” he said, his silky voice filling my mind. “Hurry home.”

“Stop with the charm, Yao,” I grumbled and shook my head to clear the unseemly thoughts that the shape-shifting vampire always engendered in me.

“Yao is sorry,” he said and landed on my shoulder. “But have you arranged for the negotiation with Jonas?”

“How terribly romantic,” Cilla said, placing her hands over her heart.

“Hardly,” I said, glancing around to ensure we couldn’t be overheard chatting with an insect. “I have to persuade my gardener to give up his only daughter to a firefly in exchange for a few cows.”

“Adze,” Yao corrected, shaking his little wings. “Yao is an Adze, and Jonas will receive more than a few cows. My beloved Wanjiru is worth more than that.”

“At any rate, I’ve arranged for the negotiation,” I said, relieved to see our two-wheeled wagon up ahead near the outskirts of Nairobi. Jonas was leaning against the ox, pretending indifference at the approaching crowd of mourners. Nelly, my flying horse, was deflowering an angel’s trumpet bush, oblivious to the poisonous nature of the plant. “We’ll formally meet in three days, so there’s no need for me to hurry home at all.”

Yao buzzed closer to my ear, the beating of his little wings tickling me. “Yes, there is,” he argued, but I heard the mischief in his voice even before he added, “Miss Knight, you need to hurry home because you have a special guest waiting.”

“I wasn’t expecting visitors,” I said.

Yao chuckled. “No one ever expects Death to visit them until he does. Now he is here and he’s waiting for you.”

The Student & the Slave

Take a look at this exciting new young adult action and adventure novel, The Student and the Slave, now available for purchase. This is the third book in the Krillonian Chronicles, after The Collar and the Cavvarach and The Gladiator and the Guard
The Collar and the Cavvarach by Annie Douglass Lima
First, a Little Information about Books 1 and 2: 
Book 1: The Collar and the Cavvarach

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

Click here to read chapter 1 of The Collar and the Cavvarach.
Click here to read about life in the Krillonian Empire, where the series is set.

The Gladiator and the Guard by Annie Douglass LimaBook 2: The Gladiator and the GuardBensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

Click here to read about life in the arena where Bensin and other gladiators are forced to live and train.

And now, The Student and the Slave, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

Book 3: The Student and the Slave

Is this what freedom is supposed to be like? Desperate to provide for himself and his sister Ellie, Bensin searches fruitlessly for work like all the other former slaves in Tarnestra. He needs the money for an even more important purpose, though: to rescue Coach Steene, who sacrificed himself for Bensin’s freedom. When members of two rival street gangs express interest in Bensin’s martial arts skills, he realizes he may have a chance to save his father figure after all … at a cost.

Meanwhile, Steene struggles with his new life of slavery in far-away Neliria. Raymond, his young owner, seizes any opportunity to make his life miserable. But while Steene longs to escape and rejoin Bensin and Ellie, he starts to realize that Raymond needs him too. His choices will affect not only his own future, but that of everyone he cares about. Can he make the right ones … and live with the consequences?

Click here to order The Student and the Slave from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through November 31st!


Enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of the first two books in the series!



Would you like some dirt with that tea?

First, big news: the next installment in the Cozy Tea Shoppe series is with the proofreader right now! “Case 2: Death in a Teacup” continues the wacky adventures of Miss Knight as she joins Death to save the world (or something like that).

Here’s an interesting tidbit of information I gathered in my research: Miss Knight had to be very careful about the quality of tea she received. In order to lower their costs, some more unscrupulous suppliers would add sand and soil to the tea leaves. A package of tea could be as much as 50% dirt – true fact. Yuck!

Moving right along… It’s never too early to think about Christmas. Or so ‘they’ say. However, in this case, I’d agree. There’s a great double-promo going on right now. You could win a Christmas Book Hamper. And you could win a Kindle Fire. Who wouldn’t want that?!

Head on over to

First, check out all the book offers. Then, to enter to win the book hamper, click the ‘Win a Christmas Book Hamper’ image and follow the instructions which involve clicking the image again (?!). To enter for the Kindle, click the ‘Kindle Fire Giveaway’ image.

Now excuse me while I go check my tea leaves for dirt…