Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Civilization's Beginnings

As told by Alfred D. Byrd:

Once, thousands of years ago, there were two valleys where civilization was about to arise. The first valley, in northern Africa, held a wonderful river that flowed from mountains in the south through a desert in the north. Every year, just before time for planting, the river flooded its banks in the desert with rain that it had carried from the mountains; then, subsiding, the river left on its banks a fresh layer of soil on which the valley's people could raise two or even three crops a year. The valley's inhabitants were so fond of their wonderful river, which gave them life in the desert, that they built the entrances of all of their houses facing the river so that it would be the first thing that they saw when they rose each morning. In fact, it isn't too much to say that the inhabitants thought of their river as their boyfriend or husband, for, at certain times each year, they'd dance beside it and sing songs of love to it. We might think of this river's valley Happy Valley, or we might think of it as Hapi Valley, for Hapi was the people's name for the river, which we call the Nile. The Nile's people, the Egyptians, are fascinating, well worth our study, but we'll leave them now, for they weren't the first to found a civilization.

Read the rest of this humourous and informative piece at his website, in A TALE OF TWO VALLEYS: An Archaeologically Correct Sumerian Origin Myth.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Slave Of The Nile

That is the title of the Czech edition of Asenath

Yes, at long last, the first foreign edition of my novel has been released. I am excited and flattered about this. 

I was looking forward to seeing how Alpress would present my novel, and I am impressed with what they have done. 

The new title does sound rather intriguing. Plus, I suspect they thought that having "Nile" in the title would help sales since people are always interested in reading about Ancient Egypt.
After all, there's Mara: Daughter of the Nile, Lily of the Nile....

They gave me a really lovely cover, too.

The model, whoever she may be, is so pretty. And the background scenery is majestic.

Clearly, they put a lot of work into this. Now, I can't wait to receive my author's copies.

Thank you, Alpress!

Monday, 10 March 2014

"2014 Is Jam-Packed With Bible-Based Movies!"

Exactly a month before Noah and his ark arrive, another Bible-based movie is hitting the big screen, and this one already has earned the stamp of approval from religious leaders.

Son of God (Feb. 28, Fox) features a mix of new and used footage from History's hit miniseries The Bible -- which averaged 11.4 million viewers during its five-week run and became the top-selling miniseries on DVD of all time -- to tell the story of Jesus Christ. 

Full article here.

I can't wait to see all of these!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Another Tomb Discovered in Egypt

Archaeologists have discovered the nearly 3,500-year-old tomb of a royal stable master from the pharaonic era in the famed temple city of Luxor, Egypt, the government said on Tuesday.

The tomb was found by Egyptian, Italian and Spanish archaeologists while excavating another tomb on Luxor's western bank, the Egyptian ministry of antiquities said.

"The tomb belongs to an important statesman from the 18th dynasty called Maai," antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim said in a statement.

Full article here.

Many thanks to Al for showing this to me.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Christian Poetry

Al has posted some poetry on his Christian Writings website. Acto him, these poems were written during his early development as a Christian and as a poet.

Nine Poems on Faith and Doubt

Do have a look at the other writings on the site as well.

Friday, 14 February 2014

History Lovers

A few days before our wedding, Al and I had our engagement photography session at a most unusual site: the Lexington Cemetery.

I know it sounds morbid. But actually, the cemetery is a lovely place. Al and I visited it the year before, and we were surprised and impressed at how serene it is. There are ponds, flower beds, fountains and bridges. I remember we even sighted a heron.

Additionally, what endeared the place to us were the historical treasures. There were graves that dated all the way back to the 1700s, as well as Civil War monuments and tombstones the shape of Ancient Egyptian obelisks.

When Al and I discussed our engagement session, we knew we wanted a theme that would reflect our love for literature (as can be seen in the Christmas photo a few posts back) and history. Al readily suggested the Lexington Cemetery.
Though I agreed with him, I was also a bit wary as to how the photographer would react to shooting in so strange a venue.
Fortunately, she was eager to do it.

We brought a few props, including some novels and my little inflatable sarcophagus (not pictured). In the above photo, Asenath can be seen at the corner. I thought it was all too fitting to be photographed with the obelisks since that is what Asenath's hometown, Heliopolis, is known for.

Later, I would learn that there are also others who appreciate Lexington Cemetery's unlikely beauty. Apparently, some folks even hold their weddings there.


Our photographer, by the way, was Melanie Mauer.

And you can read Al's article about our first visit to the cemetery here.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Best of Joseph Fiction

As an enthusiast of the Joseph narrative, I have read more than my fair share of Joseph fiction over the years. I will recommend my favourites.

Till Shiloh Comes by Gilbert Morris 
In my opinion, this is one of the top novels about Joseph. This is actually the fourth installment of a Biblical fiction series, Lions of Judah.

Joseph appears in the latter part of the third novel, The Gate of Heaven which is primarily about his father Jacob. That too was a good book and I will speak more of it in a while.

For now, Till Shiloh Comes.

I really loved how the novel fleshed out Joseph. In addition to showing his character growth and emotions, Morris achieved a remarkable feat in showing a very human side of Joseph. A lot of the novels I have read portray Joseph as formal and distant. But in Morris' novel, Egypt's Hebrew vizier has a sense of humour, battles with annoyance and temptation, and, of course, a blossoming romance with the woman who would later be his wife.

Which brings me to another point of interest. I loved the chemistry between Joseph and Asenath. Morris handled their romance very nicely.
It would give away too much of the plot if I elaborated on it. But basically, Morris has Asenath starting the novel as a spoiled brat who later goes through a change of heart and subsequently realises she is in love with Joseph.

I thought though that Asenath was portrayed a bit too harshly in her early scenes, to the point where it got a bit strange. I don't know. But I loved how her later romance with Joseph developed.

I just wish Morris has expanded on a couple of factors. This would have made the novel even better.

First, Morris had Potiphar's wife (named Kesi in this book) and Asenath as best friends. I was eager to see what would happen between the two women upon Asenath's marriage to Joseph. However, Kesi simply fades into the background.

I also wish some themes in The Gate of Heaven had been continued in Till Shiloh Comes. In the former, Joseph and Dinah are best friends. Dinah also marries a Cretan named Demetrius, and returns with him to his homeland.
Demetrius was a rather interesting character, and I would have loved for a reunion with him and Dinah and Joseph. Alas, Dinah was mentioned only in passing in Till Shiloh Comes.

Still, this is one of the best books I have read on Joseph. For that matter, I recommend The Gate of Heaven as well.

Joseph and Asenath by Alex G. Chappell
Another Joseph novel which I consider top-notch. As one can tell by the title, it focuses on the relationship with his future wife.

The author has clearly done extensive historical research. He even makes use of a lot of Ancient Egyptian phrases throughout the book.
At times, the story gets interrupted by what seem like "sermons." But quickly, the plot picks up once more, and the reader is taken on a fascinating, romantic journey through Ancient Egypt.

In this novel, the priestess Asenath is assigned to teach Potiphar's new slave hieroglyphs, among other things essential for life in Egypt. Overtime, they develop feelings for each other.

Alas, Joseph is betrayed by the scheming Mrs. Potiphar and thrown in jail. Asenath is then falsely informed that he is dead.

I cheered for Joseph and Asenath during their blossoming romance, and my heart broke for the couple as they were separated.

And the last thirty or so pages drew me to the edge of my seat.

Joseph And The Women Who Loved Him by Joyce Landorf Heatherley
The title alone intrigued me, the book itself intrigued me all the more. This is a rather innovative retelling as it presents Joseph's story as viewed by five women in his life: Rachel, Leah, Serah, Potiphar's wife, and - of course - Asenath.

The portrayal of Potiphar's wife was interesting, and quite believable. Here, Mrs. Potiphar (named Khnumet) starts out as a good person who is later corrupted by her desires for Joseph. She ends tragically.

What struck me about this book too was how - ah - deeply romantic it was. Nothing graphic, thankfully. But still enough to astound me. I suppose I was not expecting that, although Heatherley remains reverent, leaving much to the imagination. Which, in my opinion, is far more romantic.

The Dreamer, The Schemer, and The Robe by Jenny L. Cote
On the lighter side, this is an endearing children's novel which can be enjoyed by all ages. It follows animal angels in their guidance of Joseph throughout his life journey. I actually wrote about it sometime ago here.

I suppose I ought to take this opportunity to suggest some Joseph non-fiction I have read. In Potiphar's House by James L. Kugel provides a deep and interesting look at the Potiphar's wife narrative, even mentioning variations of it. Apparently, one of the legends includes an infant Asenath crying out Joseph's innocence upon his arrest.

The Wiles of Women / The Wiles of Men by Shalom Goldman compares and contrasts the Potiphar's wife narrative to the Egyptian myth of "The Two Brothers" as well as the Quran's retelling.

And for some life lessons, I recommend Charles R. Swindoll's Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness.

I am certain there are many more books about Joseph - both fiction and non-fiction - out there that I have not heard of. If you would like to recommend anything to me, please feel free to contact me. I am always eager to discover yet more Joseph books.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Christian Bale IS playing Moses!

Hooray, another Biblical movie to look forward to next - I mean, this year!

Empire has our first look at Ridley Scott's "Exodus," and judging by the impressive construction going on behind Christian Bale's Moses, this Biblical tale should be epic indeed.

The film follows the story of Moses, abandoned as a baby and adopted by Egyptian royalty, only to hear the voice of God as he grows older and ultimately lead the Israelite slaves into the promised land. In this image, Moses witnesses the suffering of his people at the hands of the Pharaoh.

Full article and photos here.

Interestingly, Bale played Jesus in a previous Biblical movie Mary, Mother of Jesus. He was quite good in the role, so I look forward to seeing him portray Moses.

Many thanks to Al for showing this to me.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Love Story Featured!

I am thrilled to mention that Al and I have been featured on the Inspirational Romance blog, which is run by my friend, author Rita Stella Galieh. I invite you to check it out.

And look how beautifully she entitled my post:

Thank you for this great opportunity, Rita!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Poor King Tut

The story of King Tut's death - and what followed - just got even more interesting, all thanks to a single piece of flesh.

That remnant of Tutankhamun is the only one of its kind known to exist outside Egypt, and British experts decided to analyze it after stumbling upon a decades-old record by one of the archaeologists who found Tut's tomb in 1922.

Full article here.

Thanks to my husband Al for showing this to me.