Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Collar & The Cavvarach Guest Post by Annie Douglass Lima

I'm (Annie Douglass Lima) excited to announce that my young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach

First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: 

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?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).  

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with "have a rack"), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

Click here to order The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon 

for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

Bensin, 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 order The Gladiator and the Guard in Kindle format from Amazon 

for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through April 28th!

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats) 

for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through April 28th!

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and
later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her
husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at
Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since
her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and
adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her
students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially
fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with the Author Online:

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach!

Or find the giveaway at this link:

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Mother's Day Story, by Lorilyn Roberts

Christmas 2015

A Mother’s Day Story

“Ms. Roberts,” I believe your new daughter is blind in her left eye.”

“What?” I exclaimed. We had just arrived from Nepal less than twenty-fours earlier. Now I was being told my new three-year-old daughter was half-blind. How could this be? 

Jetlagged and sleep deprived, I struggled to understand. Experiencing for the first time the blessedness of motherhood had turned into a nightmare. This just couldn’t be true.

The doctor tried unsuccessfully a few more times to get a pupil response to his penlight. I studied my daughter who had grown tired of being examined and lashed out at the doctor.
A few months after arriving in America

“I can give you a referral to an ophthalmologist for further evaluation,” she suggested, “although I don’t know how long that will take.”

“Yes, let’s do it,” I said.

The doctor left the room to set up a referral, and I struggled to remain calm, once again crying out to God for yet another miracle. “Please don’t let my daughter be blind,” I prayed.

Until now, I hadn’t noticed any difficulty in her seeing. Could what the physician said be true? My thoughts raced ahead to how her life would be with a sight impairment—playing sports, driving, reading, and general safety. I didn’t want to think about how she would be compromised.

The physician returned a few minutes later and handed me an appointment slip. “I was able to get you an appointment in just a couple of hours with an eye specialist who works specifically with children.”

I thanked her profusely—the wait and worry would be short—and we left to go eat at a Wendy’s restaurant outside the medical complex.

After getting hamburgers and fries, we sat by a window overlooking a busy highway. Manisha played more with the free toy than eating, and I sipped on the coke filled with anxiety. As I watched cars zoom down the road, my sudden claim to motherhood hit me like dynamite. 

Insecurity crept into my thoughts. Was I prepared emotionally to raise my daughter without a husband? I had imagined life would be easy once we arrived home. All I wanted was normalcy when we were in Nepal, but now, I worried. Had I made a terrible mistake?

I poured my heart out to God, and soon peace filled my anxious thoughts. God was my husband. Whatever happened, He would never leave me.
I cast my worries about Mansiha onto my heavenly father and husband, as best I could, and praised God that here in America, if she was half-blind, she would have access to the best medical care she would need to live the life God had given to her.

A few hours later, we arrived for her eye specialist appointment, and the medical tech dilated Manisha’s eyes for the more extensive examination. My new daughter cried out in fear. Why hadn’t I waited a few days to allow her to acclimate to America before forcing her to endure so much trauma? Motherly guilt crept in, and once again, I doubted my ability to be a good mother.

Soon the ophthalmologist finished his examination and his words soothed my aching heart. “Her eyesight seems to be fine out of that eye. I think the reason her doctor couldn’t see the reflex is because her eyes are so dark, but her eyesight, as much as I can tell, is normal.

Manisha was so uncooperative, I was amazed he could tell anything, but all that mattered to me was she could see out of that eye. I breathed a sigh of relief and praised God that her eyesight was normal.

I’ll always wonder if Manisha had a miraculous healing that day, but I went home no longer doubting that I could be a good mother—God would be there for me through every trial and tribulation.

Twenty-four years later, Manisha has the best eyesight of anyone in the family. She is the only one who doesn’t wear glasses.

May 8 is the day we arrived home from Nepal—May 8, 1994, which was Mother's Day. Manisha Hope has grown into a beautiful young woman and is on her own now.

I thank God for both my daughters, Hope and Joy. I have been blessed beyond measure by God’s tender mercies. I wouldn’t have either of my daughters if God had not done the impossible.

Joy getting her driver's license

Isn’t that the kind of God we have, though, a God who is in the business of doing the impossible? As Psalm 113:9 states, “He puts a sterile woman in a household, and she is a cheerful mother of children (Aramaic Bible in plain English).

family picnic

Loirlyn at a friend's wedding

If you haven’t read my memoir, Children of Dreams, it is FREE through the weekend on Amazon Kindle. If you have not subscribed to my email list, sign up today at, where you can also receive Children of Dreams for free as an eBook in multiple formats. 

Family trip to Nevada

Children of Dreams is also now available as an audiobook on iTunes and Audible for those who like audiobooks.

I have recently re-edited Children of Dreams, and if you already have the original version on Kindle, you can download the newest version from Amazon. Just go to your Kindle downloads and re-download.

For one lucky person, here is a code number to order as a free audiobook from Audible. TY93G224HD46Z

Special meal

In addition, please consider leaving a review. Because Amazon has removed so many of my reviews (for no apparent reason), I’m now asking people to consider leaving a review on Goodreads instead of Amazon. Click here for the link.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Paying It Forward - The Amazing Give, May 3, 2016

Last week when I went to Starbucks, I had something unusual to happen. When I pulled up to the drive through window, the cashier said, “You don't owe anything. The person in front of you paid for your drink.”

I watched as the car pulled out onto Newberry Road. I couldn’t see who it was, and I will never know. As a broadcast captioner, I had heard about such stories. They call it “paying it forward.” 

As I sipped on my latte on the way home, I asked God, “How could I pay it forward for someone else?”

I awoke early this morning at four a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. Sometimes that happens because of the crazy hours I work. At six a.m., I decided to get up and make the most of the day. I have updated two of my books, Children of Dreams and Seventh Dimension – The Door, and I wanted to donate the few remaining first editions I had, but I didn’t want to give them to just anybody.

Immediately the Ronald McDonald House came to mind. I’m not sure why—after all, I haven’t been to the House in over thirty years. I volunteered there from 1983 to 1987. The House had a small library of donated books, and families would often take books with them to the hospital to read.

As I approached the entrance to the Ronald McDonald House, my anticipation grew. When I walked in, Carla Sly greeted me and took me into her office. As I shared with her my experiences from many years ago, fond memories returned of the families who were at the house during that time. 

I soon realized my involvement with the House ran deeper than just being a volunteer. The House was like a sanctuary to me. While I was a volunteer, my husband, a physician at Shands Hospital, had left me for another woman. Fay and Pete Armes, the managers, took me in with open arms that night—just as they had done for hundreds of other families. I spent a lot of time at the Ronald McDonald House over the next few months, and the families at the House became like extended family. I had no other family in Gainesville.

That Thanksgiving, as the families gathered in the dining room, thankfulness filled the House. How could I be depressed about my marriage when others were dealing with things so much worse? Knowing I was not alone was like a taste of heaven. In the Ronald McDonald House, love overflows, poured out in abundance.

Through the years, the volunteers have changed and the staff is different, but the goal and purpose of the House remains the same. When you walk through the front doors, you feel it. The Ronald McDonald House is a House built by love.

Many families come from faraway places. While I was a volunteer, one family came from South America. A little girl about seven had a large tumor on her chin. She went home a different child than when she arrived. Doctors can do miracles for children in the medical arena, but if families are worried about where they are going to stay in a city where they have no friends or family, the crisis becomes even more magnified.

No one is immune from unforeseen medical emergencies. Faye and Pete Armes lost their daughter to a rare blood disease while they were the managers. Pete died about a year later. Through all of this, Faye stayed on as the manager—strong, courageous, and steadfast. I probably learned more from Faye and Pete about how to live than I've learned from anyone else.

Life goes on, and there came a time when I was no longer able to be a volunteer. A few years later, I became a single mother by choice and adopted two daughters, the first one from Nepal and the second one from Vietnam.

When I received a letter from Faye that she was retiring from the House, I knew I wanted to attend her going away party. We brought balloons and celebrated with the extended Ronald McDonald House family this new season in her life as she made plans to return to her home in Jacksonville.

What I didn't know is one week later (see the photos), my 7‑year‑old daughter from Nepal would be rushed to Shands after becoming unconscious from a partial complex epileptic seizure.

I spent nine days in the hospital with an inconclusive diagnosis. I remembered the families who had gone before me, families I had comforted, families like me who were overwhelmed with anxiety and fear.  Even though I had been a volunteer, now I knew personally the real depth of their pain. I don’t think there is any pain deeper than seeing your child suffer, especially when you aren’t sure they are going to make it.

I didn’t go home the first seven days of Manisha’s hospitalization. Even though I live in Gainesville, it was too far to travel. I wanted to be within walking distance of the hospital in case she needed me or if something happened.

During Manisha’s hospitalization, I met other families with sick children. For those from out of town, the Ronald McDonald House was everything. I saw once again how much the House meant to those families.

Because the doctors at Shands were unable to come to a definitive diagnosis for my daughter’s medical emergency, I took Manisha to Yale for a second opinion. I knew there must be a Ronald McDonald House near the hospital, and upon doing a little research, I found one. We booked our reservations to stay at the House. Upon arriving, the House put us up in a hotel because of renovations, so we didn’t stay at the House, but they paid the costs for us to stay at a motel across from the hospital.

Life is like a merry‑go‑round, isn't it? When I arrived to deliver my books to the Ronald McDonald House, I had no idea I was going to share my story with the House staff. Sheri Houston, the executive director, said I was her Godwink. The House is in the process of raising donations to expand. Too many families must wait on a waiting list because the House is always full. Ms. Houston asked me if I would be willing to be an ambassador and share my story of how much the Ronald McDonald House meant to me. I didn’t tell her this, but I knew this was my opportunity to pay it forward, as I had asked God to show me. My trip that morning wasn’t just to deliver books. It was to share my heart.

I’m thankful to say that Manisha, who is twenty-five now, is healthy and seizure-free. The doctors determined she did not have a tumor and diagnosed her with neurocysticercosis—a parasitic infection of the brain caused by a tapeworm lavae, something she contracted before I adopted her from Nepal.

I am convinced life is full of Godwinks and divine appointments. If I have piqued your interest, I hope you will take this opportunity to learn more about the Ronald McDonald House. Many opportunities abound, including volunteering, cooking a meal, donating money that will go toward the expansion—even learning more about how the Gainesville community is helping families and children from around the world.

The storms of unforeseen medical crises hit hard and when least expected, but at the Ronald McDonald House, families don't have to walk that road alone. A volunteer, staff member, or friend is always nearby ready to help and offer hope.

Do you think you could make a difference? You bet. Click here to learn more about the Amazing Give 24-hour Fundraising Campaign.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Goodreads Giveaway of "Seventh Dimension - The City" - Enter for FREE!

The City is an incredible adventure set during the end of days. The fourth book in the Seventh Dimension Series will have readers on their toes as Shale and Daniel set out to rescue Daniel’s father. Lorilyn has done an excellent job in creating a YA series that while entertaining, presents a solid foundation of the Gospel message. With a little bit of fantasy, mixed with science, conspiracy theories and Christianity, the book culminates with a superbly written, yet horrifying look at what awaits those who reject God. YA readers will find this one hard to put down without thinking long and hard about their future.  
- best-selling author Laura Davis

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Seventh Dimension - The City, A Young Adult Fantasy by Lorilyn Roberts

Seventh Dimension - The City, A Young Adult Fantasy

by Lorilyn Roberts

Giveaway ends May 01, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

This opportunity has expired, but you can purchase "The City" from many different websites at the following link: