I first met Ed Hill when he was lecturing onboard a cruise ship in Alaska, dressed in his Royal Canadian Mounted Police red dress uniform with the high polished brown boots, leather belt and dress hat. With his gray hair, trim build and ramrod straight posture, he struck an imposing figure.
One of my favorite finds reported this year stems from a dig by Japanese archaeologists working near present-day Luxor. It turns out the elaborate tomb was for a beer maker who lived at the time of the Ramses kings.
As if 2014 isn’t already one of the most remarkable in archaeological history, with its incredible finds about Ancient Egypt, we now hear news from National Geographic that thousands of ancient villages and towns throughout the Middle East have been found using satellite imagery.
The incredible research findings about Ancient Egypt just keep coming. This week I saw a report by French chemists at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France. They reported that they analyzed samples of eye makeup worn in ancient times and found- SURPRISE!- that the eye makeup actually prevented diseases!
I’m happy to report to readers of my First Dynasty Series that I just completed the initial full draft of the third and final novel.
Like I said in my last post, 2014 is already one exciting year for aficionados of Ancient Egypt. The Petrie Museum of University College in London has just released a set of objects in their collection that have been scanned in incredible detail in 3-D.
Please Help… I Need Some Advice
Honestly, I’m looking for some advice. For those of you who are fans of my writing, I thank you and am very grateful. I feel blessed to have you on board.
And for those of you who have offered constructive critique - misspelled words or an error here and there- I doubly thank you. Your efforts have strengthened my storytelling.
But what is an author to do when someone writes in a review something that they are entirely wrong about? That is were I need advice.
Case in point. In a recent review of The First Pharaoh, the reviewer makes some solid, critical points. Hey, I accept that. No book, no matter how well written, is for everyone. But then the reviewer goes on to say that I made a historical error in describing King Narmer’s wife’s negative reaction to him taking a Second Wife. It was common practice back then, she said in her review, and even multiple concubines was common practice, so the Queen’s reaction was overboard and historically inaccurate.
Excuse me? This reviewer is dead wrong! What she is describing is an Ancient Egypt far later than Narmer’s time. The fact is that we know precious little about the First Dynasty and we have absolutely no reason to believe that even a Second Wife was a common occurrence at that time, let alone concubines servicing the King. This is backed by original source materials by such current notable Egyptologists as Dr. Toby Wilkinson of Cambridge University and Dr. Gunther Dryer of the German Archaeological Institute, both specialists in the earliest Dynasties and both my mentors for the historical accuracy of my books.
Egypt was not a static culture and many of their traditions developed slowly over time. While once adopted they were slow to change, but they did, in fact, change. The difficulty arises when people take a static snapshot of Ancient Egypt, mostly because their reading focuses on the later Dynasties, but then erroneously extrapolate that knowledge to the entire 3,000-plus year span of Dynastic rule.
So my questions to you readers go like this:
How do you feel an author should respond to such errors by a reviewer? Do I keep silent or respond in print? Assuming my tone is respectful and not argumentative, does responding accomplish anything? Does it make the author look petty and/or defensive?
Like I said at the top, I would sincerely appreciate your input. How should an author respond, if at all? And, thanks in advance.
The third novel in my First Dynasty series about Ancient Egypt was due to be completed by the end of this month. Sadly that will not happen and I am offering a sincere apology - and an explanation for the delay - to my loyal fans.
Here is what happened; lots of foreign travel assignments slashed my writing time. Then, after long contemplating moving our home and my office, we finally bit the bullet (where the heck does that expression come from??) and bought a place. That has entailed all the distractions of moving and fixing up one home for sale and another for living in.
Now I am the type of writer who needs long periods of uninterrupted concentration to write effectively. I need to live in my characters heads so that I think about them and the trials and tribulations they face. I simply cannot dip my toe into the story as chance allows. I have to carve out my writing time and even vigorously defend it. Thankfully my understanding wife supports that neurosis.
In any event, I am committed to getting back to the story line and have even had some interesting plot ideas rolling around in my head during this break. Please stay tuned for updates. And, thanks for your positive and inspiring comments about the first two books in the series: The First Pharaoh and The Dagger of Isis, both available on Amazon.
Here’s a little tip that I’ll share with you. A fellow writer with whom I write every Tuesday morning, urged me to share this with you. I suggested it to him one day when he complained to me about a motivation problem as he faced a blank page the morning after finishing an important chapter in his novel. He has used this tip ever since with a good deal of success.