Giving up the day job…

IMG_6698I am one of the lucky ones.  I had career I loved, working with amazing people in great organizations, doing roles I enjoyed.  Then, early in 2021, largely as a result of the global pandemic, an opportunity arose to apply for voluntary redundancy.  Now, those of you who have read my books will know that Merry’s adventures begin on a ‘time-out’ holiday, having taken a voluntary redundancy from a 15 year career in corporate communications (just because, really!).  My career has been just a little over double that timespan.  But I couldn’t help but want to follow in my central protagonist’s footsteps and see what might await me on the other side … if only I could be brave enough to take the leap…

Sadly, I doubt I will have adventures of the sort Merry finds herself wrapped up in !  But, inside my head, I might just be there at her side as she has them …

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Book 1. Carter’s Conundrums.

My dream has always been to have time to pursue writing as something more than a hobby.  The first nine of my books charting Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt were all penned while I worked full time in demanding executive roles, in my case in Human Resources and Organisational Development.  Writing the books was my way of switching off, of escaping to a different life.  And of going to my favourite place on the planet – Egypt – in my imagination even when it was impossible to go there for real.  My first book in the series, Carter’s Conundrums, was written in the spring of 2012. In some ways, it seems a long time ago, in others, just yesterday.

I remember how the first line came to me, sitting at traffic lights, having filled my car up with fuel after going see a movie – Sleeping Beauty – with Julia Roberts as the queen and Lily Collins as Snow White.  I came home, fired up my laptop and wrote most of the first chapter of Carter’s Conundrums.

Now, nine years later, I’ve written ten books.  And now, I need to learn how to get them in front of people.

Ramses’ Revenge - Book 10 - hi-resI have just published book 10 in the series, Ramses’ Revenge.  I started writing it in the first UK lockdown in spring 2020, but found it impossible to get a clear run at it, given the much more pressing needs of the day job.  I think the idea was already starting to form that what I really wanted was to see if I could turn my writing into something more than a hobby.

Since leaving my last role at the end of March 2021, I have written solidly.  And the result is the tenth book in my series, published last week.

I self-publish.  As an executive with a demanding and rewarding day job, I always told myself my books were my hobby.  Again, I was lucky: I had hobby that paid me !  Not very much, admittedly.  But better than paying for a gym membership (I’m full of good intentions) or ski equipment, or whatever.

Now, I need to see if I can turn this passion into something that will actually pay the bills !!  I find I need to learn an entirely different set of skills.  It is not enough to write the books.  I must market them too.  I’m new to this.  I’m English too, so I find it hard to ask for reviews (but if you should be so motivated, I’d be ever so grateful !)

So, the purpose of this post is twofold:  First, I want to pay homage to an incredible career and to all the wonderful people who helped make it such a positive experience.  Second, to ask for your support in making this transition.  If you can like, or share, or, better yet, read my books and review them on Amazon and ideally recommend them to others, well, that would be amazing.

So, a shout out to some incredible people (you know who you are) Mary, Steve, Michael, Tracey, Tina, Rhona … you either showed me the way, or stood at my shoulder.

HR_Excellence_Awards_2012_080[1] (2)Together, we achieved a lot.  9th place in the Sunday Times Top 100 when I was Executive Director of Corporate Services AmicusHorizon.  Plus 6 x HR Excellence Awards.

FTUJ7144Then, at Network Homes, 5 x HR Excellence Awards, 39th place in the Sunday Times Top 100, and 2 x Personnel Today Awards.  In 2019, I won HR Director of the Year in two separate award ceremonies.  A legacy I’m proud of.

But now, I have given up the day job – must see if I can make the transition of turning a hobby into a new career.  I can live on my redundancy money for so long, but then I will need to get another position.  But I would love not to have to …

This is a peek behind the curtain into my life, who I am, who I have been. I don’t pretend, yet, to be any good at the promotional stuff – but I have to learn.  Some people may love my audacity.  Some will hate me for putting myself out there, asking for reviews or shares.  Par for the course.

So, please wish me luck as I start on this new chapter of my own life.  And, if you’re interested in seeing more about my own adventures in Egypt, please click here to see photos of me on my travels.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

Reviews really help

I am thrilled to see that I already have two 5-star reviews on my new book Ramses’ Revenge, less than two days after it was published.

Screen Shot 2021-06-11 at 09.18.18

Reviews make such positive difference, helping the mysterious Amazon algorithms to notice the book and link it to other similar products for more readers to find.

What makes me appreciate these first two reviews so much is that I don’t personally know either of the individuals who has posted them – they have both commented my website, which is how I am able to let them know a new book is available.

It is certainly true that friends and family occasionally can be prevailed upon to read the books and say a few nice words in print.  These account for less that 10% of the reviews I’ve received on my books over the years.

Of course, not all reviews are positive – it would be a boring world for sure if we all liked the same things.  I had a 1-star review a few years back on one of the earlier books from someone who said reading it was a bit like going round and round the M25 and not being able to get off. (For anyone not in the UK, that’s a circular motorway around London). It made my laugh, so I couldn’t be offended.

I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to leave me a review.  Naturally, I prefer the positive ones !!  And to FG and Deimos in particular, who have pushed Ramses’ Revenge out of the starting blocks – thank you.

So, if you are a reader of my books but perhaps less inclined to leave a review on Amazon, I am going to ask unashamedly for you to consider doing so.  This struggling, independent and self-published author would really appreciate it.  (I don’t quite live in a garret, but you get the gist!).  A positive review on any or all of the books really does make a huge difference.  Thank you 🙂

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

Ramses’ Revenge now published

Ramses’ Revenge - Book 10 - hi-res

I am delighted to announce that book 10 in the series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt is now published.  Set in Luxor, Egypt, it offers an opportunity to travel for those of us still unable to venture to foreign climes due to the pandemic.  As always, it is a modern adventure story with an ancient Egyptian mystery at its heart.

Please click here to find out more or purchase from Amazon uk or click here for Amazon.com 

Meredith (Merry) Pink has a sixth sense when it comes to unlocking secrets from Egypt’s ancient past.  It’s possible she is not the only one. When a guest staying onboard Merry and Adam’s dahabeeyah reveals an uncanny – some might almost say paranormal – insight into events that took place around three-thousand years ago, Merry realises it may be possible to solve a pharaonic murder-mystery.  She sets out to discover what really happened when Ramses III fell victim to what has come to be known by Egyptologists as “The Harem Conspiracy”.
Join Merry & co on another Egyptian adventure, this time spiced up with a splash of Hollywood glamour.
 
 
 
Here’s what some reviewers have said about previous books in the series:
 
“Highly entertaining take on modern and ancient Egypt”
“Outstanding page turner set in an exotic location”
“If you love Egypt, you will love these mysteries”
“Adventure, antiquities, good friends, and tea – wonderful!”
 
 
And, to get you started, here is an excerpt from the first page…
 
There’s nothing quite like an Egyptian wedding for sheer joyful exuberance.  As such, it reflected the groom’s character down to the ground.

Ahmed, our police buddy – returned to the bosom of the Luxor tourism and antiquities police after a stint as our bodyguard – can, on occasion, be inclined to take himself the teensiest bit seriously.  But there can be no doubting the vim and verve he brings to life.  His wedding to Habiba – sultry and beautiful Ministry of Antiquities Inspector – was cause enough for elation.  After all, they’d got off to a somewhat sticky start.  He hadn’t taken kindly to being assigned her ‘babysitter’ when she’d been posted from Cairo to Luxor a while back to investigate reports of looting in the area.  Nor had he much appreciated her instinctive inclination to poke fun at him.  But from such inauspicious beginnings, love had blossomed.  I daresay stranger things have happened.  So, here we were in the local mosque, celebrating the nuptials of Ahmed Abd el-Rassul, descended from one of Luxor’s most notorious families of tomb-robbing ne’er-do-wells, and Habiba Garai, PhD graduate, one of the nation’s new crop of fully emancipated young twenty-first-century women, and a Ministry of Antiquities Inspector to boot.

Quite how they would square his tomb-robbing antecedence and occasional strays from the straight and narrow with her strict ethics and modern-crusader-like tendencies would remain to be seen.  That they loved each other was not in doubt.  And maybe love could conquer all.

Watching them declare their commitment to making it work, I squeezed Adam’s hand alongside me, suddenly dewy-eyed and nostalgic. I do so love a wedding.  I’d attended quite a few in recent years. Three of them were my own. 

 
It’s been a while since I published my last book – Ramses’ Riches back in 2018.  Sometimes real life takes over.  Before the craziness of the global pandemic, I took on a big new role in my day job.  This consumed a huge amount of energy, leaving little left for writing.  Earlier this year, I took the plunge and decided to take an opportunity (much like Merry) for voluntary redundancy.   I am now planning to devote myself to my writing.
 
I love to hear from my readers.  Please do leave a comment on my website.  And, if you enjoy my books, I very much appreciate review on Amazon.
 
I hope you enjoy Merry’s latest adventure of a rather dark chapter in pharaonic history.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums
Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

Lost Golden City

01-luxor-egypt-golden-cityIt is always so exciting to learn about new archaeological discoveries in Egypt.  The announcement, yesterday, of what is being dubbed “Egypt’s Pompeii” or the Lost Golden City offers new insights into one of the most glorious and controversial periods of ancient Egyptian history.

A team of archaeologists led by famous Egyptologist and former Minister of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, began excavations on the West Bank of the Nile near Luxor in September 2020. They were searching for the mortuary temple of Tutankhamun, a place where offerings would have been brought to honour the dead pharaoh.  Digging in a promising location between the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III (site of the famous Colossi of Memnon) and the huge temple of Medinet Habu built for Ramses III, they instead found the remains of an ancient city.  It had been buried under the sand for millennia.  Built approximately 3400 years ago, it dates from the reign of Amenhotep III.  He ruled in the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom, at the height of Egypt’s Empire period.  Hailed as “Amenhotep the Magnificent”, he had a long reign that may also have included a co-regency with his son, the “heretic pharaoh” who ruled as Akenaten (changing his name from Amenhotep IV).

Zahi Hawass and his team are hailing the lost golden city as the most important discovery since Howard Carter found Tutankhamun’s tomb.  And so it may prove.  Already human and animal burials are being found, along with items of jewellery, pottery and wine jar seals.  The team has unearthed remains of a bakery and kitchen, items related to glass and metal making and buildings with apparently administrative functions.  The team dangles the prospect of finding tombs filled with treasures.  Whether or not this hope will be fulfilled, it remains a remarkable discovery.  Some of the streets have walls almost ten meters high.  It promises to shed light on one of the most fascinating periods in ancient Egyptian history.  Evidence has been found to suggest the city was still in use under Tutankhamun and Ay, although Akhenaten abandoned ancient Thebes, building a new capital Akhet-Aten between modern Luxor and Cairo.

As a writer of adventure/mystery stories set in Egypt, it shows that it’s not so far-fetched to imagine new discoveries turning up all the time. The Lost Golden City is a story I will follow with interest.

Post images courtesy of Zahi Hawass.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

Golden Parade of Royal Mummies

Today is Easter Saturday, 3 April 2021. At 1600 GMT today on YouTube the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities will stream live the procession of twenty-two royal mummies. These are the remains of pharaohs and queens from Egypt’s glorious past. They are being moved from the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities (the wonderful Victorian building) to the new state of the art Egyptian Museum of Civilization in Fustat, approximately 5km away. The journey is expected to take approximately 40 minutes.

The mummies on the move will include Ramses the Great, Seti I, Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III, to name a few.

Links to the YouTube channel can be accessed here.

This is one of the most exciting things to happen in Egypt for a while.  Crowds of Egyptians are expected to line the streets to watch the procession of their country’s ancient kings and queens.  It is expected to be a lavish spectacle, complete with replica war chariots, triumphal music and, we trust, exceptionally tight security.

The vehicles that will transport these ancient treasures have been specially fitted with shock absorbers and climate controlled interiors filled with nitrogen to keep their precious cargo safe.

Naturally, fears of pharaohs’ curses are circulated again.  The apocryphal warning from Tutankhamun’s tomb “Death will come on swift wings to those who disturb the king’s peace” is being linked to recent disasters in Egypt ranging from the train crash in Sohag to the container ship blocking the SuezCanal !

I, for one, will be tuning in to watch the Golden Parade in all its glories.  Nice to be reminded that, beyond the restrictions of national lockdowns amid a global pandemic, there is still a big wide world out there, with exciting things happening.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums
Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.
An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.
The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

Circumcision in ancient Egypt

I’m tempted to start this post by saying “please don’t try this at home”!

On a recent trip to Cairo, I explored the tombs around the ancient necropolis of Saqqara.  Here on the walls are carved reliefs showing the ancient practice of male circumcision.

These date from the Sixth Dynasty, and are dated to approximately 2,400 BCE.

Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BCE, wrote that the Egyptians “practise circumcision for the sake of cleanliness, considering it better to be cleanly than comely.”  Some say circumcision in ancient Egypt was a mark of passage from childhood to adulthood.

There are stories about it being a ritual practice carried out by priests on young men, using a sharp stone.  It appears that upwards of one hundred young men might have had their foreskins removed in a kind of mass event.

Here is a small home video of the carving I found on a tomb wall at Saqqara.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

A scene from Hatshepsut’s Hideaway

I recently visited Elephantine Island, located in the middle of the Nile at Aswan.  This is the site of ancient Egyptian ruins dating from the Old Kingdom onwards, with almost all the epochs of that ancient civilisation represented.

One of the best-preserved on the ancient ruins is the Temple of Satet, built in the early Eighteenth Dynasty under the female pharaoh Hatshepsut and her nephew/stepson and successor Thutmosis III.

It provides the location for a key scene in the third book in my Egyptian series, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

Here’s a short clip of me describing it …

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

The Egyptian Timeline

Egypt’s history spans an amount of time so immense it’s head-spinning.  I remember as a sixteen year old, on my first visit to Cairo, looking up at the Great Pyramid of Giza and finding it impossible to get my brain to compute a passage of something like four-and-a-half thousand years.

Frankly, I have the same problem today.  On a Nile cruise, it’s typical to see monuments spanning at least fifteen centuries, from the ‘old timers’ like Karnak through to the relative ‘newbies’ such as Philae.

Trying to sort them into some sort of chronology is no easy task.  As an author (of the series following Meredith Pink’ Adventures in Egypt) it’s important I’m accurate about the age of the ancient monuments relative to each other.  So, primarily to keep it all straight in my own head, but also to help travellers to the land of the pharaohs, and those with an interest in Egypt but – like me – no scholarly background … I’ve had a go at producing a timeline.  Here’s the result …

 

 

 

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

My own adventures in Egypt

Here I am aged 16  with the ram-headed sphinxes at Karnak.  It’s October 1983.  I’m on my very first trip to Egypt, courtesy of my dad working for an airline and qualifying for concessionary travel.

 

It took me almost thirty years to start writing adventure stories about the land of the pharaohs.  Yet the fascination was sparked back then.  And it’s never let up.

So I thought I’d indulge myself in a little trip down memory lane as it’s not possible to travel right now due to the Coronavirus lockdown.  Here are a selection of pics from each of the trips I’ve taken over the years.  These places have all inspired me, and many have provided locations for the action in my mystery/adventure series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.

Here I am in July 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A furiously hot time of the year to go.  But I was a bit cash-strapped at the time, and mid-summer is low season in Egypt so it was affordable on my meagre budget.  Here I am again with Karnak’s ram-headed sphinxes.

 

June 2002.  Another photo opportunity with the ram-headed sphinxes at Karnak (it seems to be habit-forming!), and also in the Open Court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 2004.  Another chance for a pic alongside the sphinxes at Karnak.  These ones are all crowded to one side of the Open Court.

 

 

And more sphinxes at Luxor Temple – human-headed this time. By this time I was reading everything I could lay my hands on about Egypt. Barbara Erskine was my book of choice on this trip.

 

 

2008 and I’m back again.  What can I say ?  Egypt exerts a magnetic pull on me.  But I’m yet to have the idea of writing about it.

I could afford something rather more special by now so this trip took me down Lake Nasser to see the mighty temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel, up to Cairo to visit the pyramids and sphinx and then down the Nile, with stops in Luxor (more sphinxes) and at Edfu temple.

 

Back at the end of the same year, and surprised to find how chilly it is in winter despite the beautiful blue skies.  Here at Medinet Habu and Deir el Medina.  (The book I am writing right now – number 10 in the series – is unravelling the mystery of the murder of Ramses III, who built this fabulous temple.)

In 2009 and 2011 I holidayed in Luxor with my extended family.  I made friends with Ramses the camel at the lovely Jolie Ville hotel.  Also snapped here at the Ramesseum, in Karnak’s Hypostyle Hall and outside Howard Carter’s house (which is where Merry’s adventures begin).  By now I’d discovered the wonderful books by Elizabeth Peters and the idea of writing novels of my own about Egypt was starting to form.

 

2012 and I’m back for a Nile cruise with my parents.  We visited in January, and I started writing Carter’s Conundrums at Easter.  Yes, you guessed it !  Here I am with some sphinxes !

 

2013 and back again, now writing Farouk’s Fancies and seeing it as a research trip.  Not my happiest visit, this one.  But regardless of what might be going on personally, Egypt never fails to impress and inspire.

Fast forward a few years and here I am in 2018, a Nile cruise this time.  Didn’t seem right not to include the pic with the sphinxes !

 

 

 

 

And so we are up to date and my self-indulgent reminiscences are nearly over.  Last year I was lucky enough to travel to Cairo twice, both times for a long weekend – just enough time to cram in the sights.  And then a wonderful 2-week idyll over Christmas and New Year.  Sitting on my hotel balcony in Luxor on New Year’s Eve, I could never have imagined what 2020 would have in store: travel restrictions the world over.  So, thank God for photos and memories.  And for writing !  Now Merry is embarked on her latest adventure I can journey to Luxor in my imagination whenever I choose.

And, to finish where I started, here I am with the ram-headed sphinxes at Karnak, not quite sweet 16 anymore, but still just as enraptured as I was on that very first visit.

 

So you see, when I was a teenager, Egypt reached out and grabbed me.  More than thirty-five years later it shows no sign of letting go.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

Ancient Egypt is so OLD !

There are some mind-bending facts about ancient Egypt which challenge our concepts about time.  They help to demonstrate just what an incredibly long passage of time the Egyptian civilisation can claim.

UnknownFirst, Cleopatra lived closer in time to the building of Pizza Hut than the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Cleopatra ruled as the last Pharaoh at around 30BC, before Egypt fell to the Roman Empire.  The Great Pyramid was already approximately 2,500 years old, having been built for the pharaoh Khufu in the Old Kingdom of dynastic Egypt in circa 2560 BC.

UnknownThe first Pizza Hut opened in 1958, approximately 500 years closer in time to Cleopatra than Khufu’s pyramid.

I can’t help but wonder if Cleopatra’s knowledge and understanding of the reign of her Old Kingdom predecessor was much as ours is of her: coloured by myth and legend, and the passage of thousands of years.

Broadly contemporary with Cleopatra was the first century Romano-Jewish scholar and writer Josephus. As far as we know his work contains the only reference to the earlier Egyptian historian and priest, Manetho, who wrote his fabled Aegyptiaca some 300 years before Cleopatra ascended to the throne.  It gave a history and chronology of the pharaohs.  Whether it shed any more light on the historical facts of the dynasties that pre-dated Cleopatra’s Ptolomaic ancestry than Shakespeare did on Cleopatra’s own story is a matter for debate.

tm9The other fascinating fact is that the first pyramids were built while the woolly mammoth still roamed the earth.  A small population of mammoths survived until circa 1650 BC, by which time Egypt’s empire was well established, and the pyramids were already about a thousand years old.

It’s mind-bending stuff : how the Egyptian civilisation spans what we might consider almost prehistory, right up to the Roman Empire whose influence can still be felt in Britain today.

Perhaps this explains why ancient Egypt is such a rich source of inspiration for writers of fiction such as myself.  With a history spanning something like three thousand years, with so many famous names, and with so much gold, how can we help but be fascinated by its mystery and romance?  And with the inevitable gaps in our historical knowledge after such an immense passage of time, how tempting it is to try to fill in the blanks.

That’s what my fictional series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt aims to do.  In each story, I take an ancient mystery and weave a story around it, letting my imagination put the flesh on the bones of what we know from archaeology and historical research.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.