It's my pleasure to bring back my friend Veronica Scott who has another new release. She took a break from science fiction romance and delved into Egyptian mythology. Fascinating! Before reading her other books in the Gods of Egypt series, I knew little about Egyptian myths. Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, yes. Egyptian and Norse, not much. I guess I will always be an eager learner.
Here's Veronica to tell us about her new book.
Thanks for having me as your guest!
I’ve always loved ancient world romance, but of course being me, I have to have those mystical paranormal elements included. It’s not a huge audience – or at least not currently, things can change- but I have an enthusiastic core of readers for the Gods of Egypt novels and I’m grateful. The new one, Heiress of the Nile, is my tenth story to revolve around events in Pharaoh’s court of 3500 years ago (about the time of King Tut, although my Pharaoh is fictitious).
I’m proudest of a review I received from the Dear Author blog for Ghost of the Nile, where they said, “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.” I felt the reviewer caught exactly what I was striving to achieve with all of these books, which is to take the reader with me into my version of ancient Egypt and to enjoy the action, adventure and romance.
In the current book, I got to tell the story of General Marnamaret, who’s been a supporting character in the other novels. Turns out he’s a boyhood friend of Pharaoh’s and a proud soldier looking for just the right woman to share his life and the Afterlife. He also has a mother who isn’t getting any younger and wants grandchildren.
Here’s the blurb:
Forced by a vengeful Pharaoh to flee for her life and hide in the poorest section of Thebes, Lady Pebatma has scraped and struggled to support her ailing mother and young brother for the past two years. Now, out of funds with the rent to pay and no possessions left to sell, she begs the goddess Hathor for help. With a new pharaoh taking the throne, surely something can be done…
A powerful general in command of the army and best friend to Pharaoh, Marnamaret has everything a nobleman in Egypt could desire…except for true love. He refuses to settle for less. On a whim, he prays to Hathor to send him the woman of his dreams.
Will the goddess answer these heartfelt petitions? And if she does, will Shai the god of Fate allow the course of two lives to be changed by love? For none can deny Fate….
Author’s Note: This is a connected series. Heiress of the Nile can be read as a standalone. Although it’s my newest novel, the story falls between Priestess of the Nile and Warrior of the Nile timewise and is set in the early days of this Pharaoh’s reign.
A quick excerpt:
General of Pharaoh’s Army Marnamaret was an early riser. He liked to watch Ra’s sunboat surface from the night and begin its daily journey across the sky. Everything was peaceful at dawn and he could pray to his own sworn Great One, Horus, and gather himself for the day ahead. Currently, with his boyhood friend Nat-re-Akhte installed as Pharaoh after a long and grueling war with the Usurper, life was fairly peaceful. Marnamaret was sure there’d be more action in his future, to complete the job of driving the Hyksos from Egypt and assuring the security of the Black Lands.
He varied his choice of secluded spots each day, depending on his mood. Today he chose the roof of the sprawling house a grateful Pharaoh had gifted him, along with a large estate, gold of valor and other tokens of appreciation. As the General of Pharaoh’s army, Marnamaret had vast responsibilities and nearly limitless power and he carried the attendant duties easily.
Yet this morning his thoughts wandered to the softer side of a man’s life—home, wife, children. He had the home of course, none finer save for the palace. But there was no one to share his life and no prospect of having the family he craved. Pharaoh was happily married and wished for all his companions to know similar bliss. He pushed subtly for Marnamaret to choose a worthy woman and settle the issue. His own mother, blessed be her ka and may she know only peace, prosperity and health, was much less subtle on the topic and had the habit of suggesting specific girls to him.
Sooner than later we’ll be on the campaign trail again against the Hyksos or another enemy. I need to stop waiting for the god of Fate to send the right woman for my heart into my path and take action before the wars resume.
The decision brought him no comfort. A loveless marriage sounded abhorrent to him. He wanted what his parents had enjoyed, the proof of which was painted all over his father’s tomb, in lively and happy vignettes depicting the best times the two shared. His mother had no fear of the Afterlife, because she was unshakable in her belief they’d be reunited.
Marnamaret shivered, fierce soldier that he was. If I pick the wrong woman now, will I be tied to her for all the millions of years of Afterlife? A more daunting prospect than facing a line of Hyksos chariots while on foot and unarmed. Seized by an unaccustomed whimsy, he went to the household altar, which was dedicated to the primary Great Ones worshipped by his family, made obeisance and whispered a name which rarely fell from his lips, although his mother and sister prayed to her often.
“Great One Hathor, Mother of us all, I beg your help in finding the love of my life, the woman to stand with me as partner, side by side, arm in arm, the way my own parents are depicted in their tomb carvings. Clearly I can’t accomplish this on my own since I’m still unmarried.” He grinned at the idea of himself praying to the goddess, which wasn’t something soldiers often did. Setting the sacrificial fruit, beer and bread on the altar, he bowed his head.
A breeze wafted across the roof and he caught the scent of the blue lotus, which was odd because his house was some distance from the Nile. Goosebumps rose annoyingly on his arms and he pulled his red cloak closer.
Today is the day.
Marnamaret was on his feet instantly, hand on his dagger but the roof was empty. Had the goddess truly whispered to him or was he beguiled by the breeze? Staring at the painted image of Hathor, he wondered if she’d given him a blessing. In Pharaoh’s company he’d certainly met Horus the Falcon and several other Great Ones, such as Sobek the Crocodile. Perhaps the goddess was less likely to reveal herself to a mere soldier?
Now the wind carried a distinct chuckle, followed by the faint sound of sistrums, her sacred musical instrument.
Slowly the sounds faded and he was alone. “If—if you have chosen to honor me by accepting my plea, Great One,” he said slowly, searching for the right words as carefully as if he was addressing a high born woman of the court, “Then I’m blessed indeed and I dare to hope it won’t be long before I meet the lady.”
A ray of sun struck the golden disk between the graceful horns of the statue and rebounded into his eyes, making him blink hard. There was no further sign from the goddess and he could no longer smell the lotus which heralded—perhaps—her divine presence.
“Darling, why in the name of the blessed Nile have you sacrificed to Hathor today?” His mother stepped onto the roof and strolled toward him. “I can’t remember the last time you prayed to her.” She deposited the flowers she was carrying on the altar next to his offerings before rising on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek. “Are you all right? You seem out of sorts.”
“Fine, mother. I’ve got to run or I’ll be late to the palace and my first meeting is with Pharaoh today.” Best to forestall her questions right now, before she pried his melancholy truth loose from his heart and made any awkward suggestions about specific girls of marriageable age. None of the ladies at court spoke to his heart.
Author Bio and Links:
USA Today Best Selling Author
Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!
She read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the official audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”