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): https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Homicides-Cookin-Up-Crime-ebook/dp/B076HBH58S/. As if that’s not enough, we’re also giving everyone a chance to win a Cook’s Dream Basket: https://www.facebook.com/HappyHomicides/app/228910107186452/

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.







Posted in Gifts & Treats Tagged with: , , , , ,

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.


Posted in African stories

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.

Posted in Gifts & Treats

Cover that Teapot!

To celebrate the upcoming launch of Murder for Tea, case 1 in The Cozy Tea Shoppe Mystery series, I’m giving away three handmade, African tea cozies.

Cover your pot with one of these beautiful creations; it will keep your tea or coffee warm while bringing a touch of Kenya into your home. Keep reading for entry details.

“The Cozy Tea Shoppe Mystery” series continues the adventures of Beatrice Knight and her wacky friends in the small town of colonial Nairobi. The first book, “Murder for Tea”, introduces The Cozy Tea Shoppe in which tea isn’t the only thing that’s brewing.

You don’t have to finish the “Society for Paranormals” books to start this new series (although I would recommend it!).

Enter to win one of these three beautiful, handmade, African tea cozies.

Enter here: http://veredehsani.co.za/giveaways/cover-that-teapot/.

The more you share, the greater your chance of winning.


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It’s raining rats

It’s the rainy season in Kenya (there are two a year), and you’ll seldom hear Kenyans complain about the arrival of the rain. We view it as a blessing. Everything greens up, the air is fresh, the crops grow, rainbows brighten the sky… you get the picture.

Not everyone likes the rain though. The rats living in the gutters, for example: they don’t appreciate being flooded from their homes. One such evicted family decided to move into MY home a couple weeks ago. Every evening, they come out from their new nest and run all over the house. It’s no joke when you walk into your kitchen, flip on the light and stare into the eyes of a rodent licking your plate clean.

At this point, I wish I had a hungry lion. Speaking of which, I learned from Emmanuel Paz that Kenya isn’t the only country blessed with man eating cats (as per the story in my last email). The man eaters of Njombe (Tanzania) were a pride of lions that devoured over 1,500 people in the first half of the 20th century. The British colonial government was trying to control the rinderpest virus which was killing livestock. To stop the virus, the government hunted down zebras and other wildlife. The poor lions were starving. I wonder how they’d feel about rats?

While you ponder that question, check out these free mysteries (+ an Amazon gift voucher giveaway): http://lovekissedcozies.com/reader-giveaways/may-free-for-all/. The giveaway closes sometime on 12 May.



PS: let me know if you have any tips to get rid of rats!

Posted in African Animals, African stories, Gifts & Treats Tagged with: , , , , ,