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…


Why 20 is a magic number

Twenty can be a pretty magical number. Here are two reasons why:

Our breakfast table

Reason #1: A few weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. For real! To honor the two decades of togetherness, we flew to the Kenyan coast and stayed at a delightful hotel called The Nomads. Here are a few photos.

Anniversary dinner

The restaurant’s warning



The view from our breakfast table

I could get used to this.

Who needs a car when you have a boat!

Wouldn’t that be awesome?!


Reason #2: I’m one of fifteen authors who are stirring up trouble in a food-themed anthology of short stories. On 20th October, get ready for some kitchen madness in “Happy Homicides 6: Cookin’ Up Crime“. The book comes with a bonus gift of recipes and craft projects.

Enjoy this smorgasbord of yummy, culinary mysteries for a mere 99c — but hurry because the price goes up on 5th November. Sadly, it’s only on Amazon (sorry, everyone else): As if that’s not enough, we’re also giving everyone a chance to win a Cook’s Dream Basket:

Here are the short story blurbs. Mine’s Number 13…

  1. Joanna Campbell Slan — Kiki Lowenstein and the Smoothie Operator — A mother, a business owner, a crafter and an amateur sleuth extraordinaire, Kiki Lowenstein is a champion for other women who are wrongly accused of crimes. She’s especially sympathetic to anyone who struggles with her weight, because Kiki never met a sweet she didn’t like!

  2. Linda Gordon Hengerer — Dying for Spice Tea: A Beach Tea Shop Short Story — The curious death of a friend surprises BevAnne Wexler. Will a new method for making a frozen treat lead Alex and BevAnne to a killer?

  3. Teresa Trent — A Gift for Gus: A Pecan Bayou Short Story — Everyone deserves a treat now and again. Danny’s Cake in a Cup proves the perfect present for everyone, except for a woman who is determined to poison the future with a tall tale about the past.

  4. Terry Ambrose — Recipe for Murder: A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery — When a guest dies and her diamond necklace is stolen, a hapless dreamer is accused of the crimes. Can Rick, the owner of the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast, track down the culprit in time to save this hopeless romantic?

  5. Neil S. Plakcy — Nectar of the Dogs: A Golden Retriever Short Story — Steve Levitan and his golden retriever Rochester make a great team. In this story, they work together to exonerate one of Steve’s high school friends who is accused of murder.

  6. Randy Rawls — Irish Texas Chili Story: A Jonathan Boykin Short Story — A famous recipe goes missing when its creator is murdered. Can Jonathan Boykin stir the pot enough to cook up a killer?

  7. Amy Vansant — Dot Didn’t Do It: A Pineapple Port Mini-Mystery — Can a novice private investigator crack a bad egg in order to track down a foul crime? Charlotte Morgan wonders if the fungus amungus had a lethal after-taste.

  8. Christina Freeburn — Simmer to Death — Did sibling rivalry lead to the poisoning of an up-and-coming food personality? Or were simmering hostilities among the staff the real recipe for murder?

  9. Wendy Sand Eckel — Food for Thought: A Rosalie Hart Mystery — The death of a Civil War reenactor sticks in Rosalie Hart’s craw. Can she peel back the layers of history to uncover a motive for murder two hundred years in the making?

  10. Colleen Helme — Catering to Murder: A Shelby Nichols Adventure — Can Shelby Nichols use her special abilities to forecast the success or failure of a business venture? Maybe. But first the new owners will have to deal with the decomposing body in the deep freeze.

  11. Loulou Harrington — Murder, Moonlight and Muffins: A Myrtle Grove Garden Club Short Mystery — The never-ending hunt for unique merchandise to sell in their antique shop leads Jesse and Connie into a dark, deserted house that comes complete with a crime scene.

  12. Micki Browning — F is for Fruitcake — Baking fruitcake becomes an antidote for stress—and maybe something more?

  13. Vered Ehsani — A Death in Customs: The Cozy Tea Shoppe Mystery Series — When a dead man shows up in her tea shop, paranormal investigator Miss Beatrice Knight is perturbed by the inconvenience. Then again, no circumstance is too onerous when one is armed with a pot of tea and a fully loaded walking stick.

  14. Vincent O’Neil — Silent Harmonies — Charlotte and Myrna serve up breakfast and lunch from their food truck in a peaceful Rhode Island town. When a rival outfit’s crew member turns up dead one night, the list of suspects is already long—and it keeps on growing.

  15. R.V. Reyes — Fish Fried — The death of a protected species of fish causes Lilly a considerable amount of heartburn.







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a Japanese teapot + a dead bride = what?!

During this year’s annual migration to North America, I bought a Japanese teapot. It’s been a dream of mine to buy one, and now I have! It’s made of cast iron with an oxide green coloring, and has two delightful cups to go with it. I love it.

I’m not the only one who does. Miss Knight adores teapots of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities. As some of you know, the intrepid paranormal investigator has opened her very own tea shop in colonial Nairobi. She’s determined to move on with her new career. All goes well until a dead bride shows up amongst the teapots. How terribly inconsiderate.

I’m super excited to let you know that we (finally) have a launch date for “Murder for Tea“, the first book in the Cozy Tea Shoppe Mystery series. Get ready to make a pot of tea and re-enter the world of African mythology, Victorian etiquette, colonial intrigue and, of course, ridiculous amounts of tea.

Assuming we don’t have a zombie apocalypse (always a possibility), a meltdown of the Internet (I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet) or any other inconveniences, “Murder for Tea” will be available at all the usual online stores on 19 July 2017.

Cheers, and Long Live Tea.

PS: The Book Blurb is below.

Murder is brewing: While Beatrice Knight Timmons is part witch, the only thing she’s interested in nowadays is tea, and copious amounts of it. But that isn’t the only thing boiling in her life. No sooner does she open her very own tea shop in the small town of Nairobi, someone with a vendetta against young brides murders one and leaves the body in The Cozy Tea Shoppe. With her best friend’s wedding only weeks away, can Miss Knight stop the murderer while babysitting a monkey and serving difficult customers?

This is the first case in the “Cozy Tea Shoppe Mystery” series, where Jane Austen meets Lara Croft in colonial Africa. Tea isn’t the only thing that’s brewing in the delicious sequel to the “Society for Paranormals” series. Join supernatural detective Miss Knight as she attempts to keep the kettle hot and her customers satisfied (or at least alive) while dodging murder, mayhem and other inconveniences. Serving tea has never been more dangerous.


How many water sources does one house need?

A week after my daughter was born, a flash flood wiped out Nairobi’s water supply. For four weeks, our taps were dry. Fortunately (and somewhat ironically), it was the rainy season.

Collecting rainwater is somewhat tiresome but we managed. Every time it rained, whoever was home would run outside and place buckets strategically around the house. As soon as a bucket was full, we’d lug it inside and pour the contents into the downstairs bathtub.

After a month of towel bathing and refilling the cistern every time we flushed a toilet, we were ready for the miracle of indoor plumbing. It was awesome to have a shower again.

Our current home has three water sources: city council water; a private borehole managed by our street association; and several water tanks around our property. This is vitally important. After all, it is pointless to have electricity if you don’t have water for the kettle. And a dry kettle means no tea. Without tea, there is nothing but darkness and chaos.

Speaking of tea, I’m giving away 3 African cozies to cover your tea (or coffee) pot. If you’ve already entered, awesome! Remember to share with family and friends to increase your chance of winning, plus look for the confirmation email (it might have landed in your Spam box); you need to click the link to confirm your entry. For more details and to see what the cozies look like, visit here.

On another topic entirely, a friend of mine is releasing Blood Renegades, the newest book in her Rebel Vampires series. If you enjoy Gothic literature (think ‘Anne Rice’), you’ll love her series. And for this week only, Blood Renegades is only 99c!

Light – rebel, lover, anti-hero – will be burnt at the stake in fourteen days. In a hidden, paranormal London, he’s been branded a traitor and terrorist Renegade. He must now make the ultimate choice: to hide in the shadows. Or walk into the light… Betrayal. Death. Hope. Take what you know about vampire romance and throw it away. See what everyone is raving about here.