lady of the nile

Cover by Fiona Jayde

Earlier this week I was really honored and excited to receive a phone call telling me that Lady of the Nile, my 7th paranormal romance set in ancient Egypt, had been selected as a Finalist in the Romance Writers of America Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter’s PRISM Award!

That’s exciting stuff to a writer in the FF&P romance genres…see the full list of Finalists in all categories here. Congratulations to everyone whose book Finalled! Winners will be announced at the national conference in July.

I write my ancient Egyptian tales as a labor of love – not that I don’t love my scifi romance books because I DO and those are my main focus and genre – but the reader audience for ancient world romance tends to be smaller, without much crossover between the SFR genre and this one. I’ve often written about how the YA novel Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw first inspired me to want to write tales set in the far past. I was further inspired by seeing the King Tut exhibit many years ago, which included the amazing golden mask. And then there’s my favorite 1950’s ‘B” movie, ‘Princess of the Nile’.

Mara_Daughter_of_the_NileMy titles are an homage to McGraw’s book in fact (“…of the Nile”). I read that novel in elementary school, still have a copy and reread it periodically. (I also named the heroine in Wreck of the Nebula Dream ‘Mara’.) So when I place myself in ancient Egypt it’s a complete change of pace for me from my futuristic stories and a fun challenge as an author.

I try to put myself in the head of a person who might have lived then, and I make sure the gods and goddesses are present and involved in the daily lives of the people, as the ancients believed and hoped they were. As the reviewers at Dear Author said of Ghost of the Nile (itself an award winner): “There’s Egypt and gods and magic and strong men and stronger women and love even beyond death and into the Afterlife. The historic details add spice throughout the story and these definitely aren’t 21st C people in linen kilts.”

My heroes are usually the Special Forces men of their day – Pharaoh’s Own Guard, which is a unit I created (tell me Pharaohs didn’t have their own elite guard forces!) – strong, tough, smart, loyal…and the heroines are priestesses, healers, land owners…in ancient Egypt women could play many significant roles and my women carry on that tradition.


Cover by Frauke of Croco Designs

And of course Priestess of the Nile was my first published book, thanks to Carina Press. So the ancient Egyptians have been very good to me as well. I think of the Crocodile God Sobek as my special good luck charm, since he was the hero in that book.

There was even some serious Hollywood interest in making Priestess into a movie! Although that never came to fruition, like so many failed projects in the entertainment world but still…never say never.

I recently received the best compliment ever from a reader, who sent me a message that she’d been to the current King Tut exhibit at an LA museum and was amazed how familiar to her all the items and the various gods and goddesses seemed because she’d read my novels.  (My books are set about 300 years after the time of Tut.) That was a fun and deeply satisfying thing to hear as an author! I have a page on this blog devoted to my approach to historical accuracy...I’m not writing ‘historical novels’ but I do my best to infuse the time and place into the books as thoroughly as I can.

The story:

Tuya, a high ranking lady-in-waiting at Pharaoh’s court, lives a life of luxury, pageantry and boredom. Khian, a brave and honorable officer from the provinces temporarily re-assigned to Thebes, catches her eye at a gold of valor ceremony. As the pair are thrown together by circumstances, she finds herself unaccountably attracted to this man so unlike the haughty nobles she’s used to. But a life with Khian would mean leaving the court and giving up all that she’s worked so hard to attain. As she goes about her duties, Tuya struggles with her heart’s desires. 

When Tuya is lured into a dangerous part of Thebes by her disgraced half-brother and kidnapped by unknown enemies of Egypt, Khian becomes her only hope. Pharaoh assigns him to bring the lady home. 

Aided by the gods, Khian races into the desert on the trail of the elusive kidnappers, hoping to find Tuya before it’s too late. Neither of them has any idea of the dark forces arrayed against them, nor the obstacles to be faced. An ancient evil from the long gone past wants to claim Tuya for its own purposes and won’t relinquish her easily. 

Can Khian find her in time? Will he and his uncanny allies be able to prevent her death? And if the couple escapes and reaches safety, what of their fledgling romance?

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canva all 7 books corrected


My Jewelry Box vs. King Tut’s

One thing the ancient Egyptians really did right was the jewelry – colorful, big, beautiful. Although I don’t have the elegant swan neck of Nefertiti, which my mother always declared was essential for wearing anything other than button earrings, I decided early on that earrings were going to be my signature style element. Hey, at 5’ 2 ¼” the swan neck was not happening so I figured I might as well enjoy myself. (Mother was not always right either, not about men or about jewelry!)

The longer and more fabulous the earrings, the better! I still have the first  pair I ever bought, at Penneys in the 1960’s – enameled blue tulips.  By the 1980’s I had discovered a brand by the odd name of Banana Bob and fell in love with them. (BBob as it’s known among We The Earring Obssessed.) I would allow myself one new pair a payday back then and spend at least an hour deciding between the available pieces.  The company is sadly long out of business, although you can find the earrings on eBay (and I do search them out, believe me!). The earrings are usually thematic, with color and charms, anywhere from 2-4”. I never got my ears pierced (that pesky maternal influence again) but I learned how to adapt pierced earrings to clip style and was good to go.

Complete strangers will stop me to compliment my earrings. One supervisor at work told me his entire department had a bet going on how long it would be before they saw me wear the same pair of earrings twice. A friend teased me at her baby shower that she’d expected me to give her unborn child earrings, not onesies. Irony of ironies? Neither of my daughters is into long earrings! No granddaughters as yet either.

I’ve never found another company that can satisfy my craving for chandelier fashion jewelry earrings the way BBob did, although Lunchattheritz comes close with some of theirs.  I guess I like the idea of wearing something unique. I know I love the tiny charms and detailed elements of the BBob earrings.

But nothing modern day can match the grandeur of my favorite pair of winged earrings from King Tut’s tomb – gold, blue glass, faience, beads,cloisonné, incredible attention to detail (the king’s portrait is painted on the fastenings) – I would give anything to wear them for even a minute. Wouldn’t that be amazing?  I’d get my ears pierced for that.  They’re over four inches long and more than 3000 years old…maybe I can’t ever wear them, but I guarantee one of my Tales of the Nile heroines will have them in her jewelry box!

(My oldest daughter took all these earring pictures for me–except the King Tut ones–and when I opened my email I found another picture had been sent along with them…do you think somebody was feeling ignored?)