Friday, August 19, 2011

Guest Author - Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Today I'm pleased to feature something a little different. Joining us is author Kathryn Meyer Griffith. She's here to talk about her novel Egyptian Heart.

A word about Kathryn Meyer Griffith, August 2011...

Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21 and have had fourteen (nine romantic horror, one historical romance and two mysteries) previous novels published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press.

I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-three years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have two quirky cats, Sasha and Cleo, and the four of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die.


Maggie Owen is a beautiful, spirited Egyptologist…but
lonely. Even being in Egypt on a grant from the college she
teaches at to search for an undiscovered necropolis she’s
certain lies below the sands beyond the pyramids of Gizah
doesn’t give her the happiness she’d hoped it would.
There has always been and is something missing. Love.
Then her workmen uncover Ramose Nakh-Min’s ancient tomb
and an amulet from his sarcophagus hurls her back to 1340
B.C – where she falls hopelessly in love with the man she
was destined to be with, noble Ramose, who faithfully serves
the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton and his queen Nefertiti.

She’s fallen into perilous times with civil war
threatening Egypt. She’s been mistaken for one of
Ramose’s runaway slaves and with her blond hair, jinn
green eyes and fair skin she doesn’t fit in. Some say
she’s magical and evil. Ramose’s favorite, Makere,
attempts to kill her.

The people, angry the pharaoh Akhenaton has set his queen
Nefertiti aside and he’s forced them to worship his god,
Aton (instead of their many Egyptian gods), are rising up
against him.

Maggie’s caught in the middle of it in a dangerous land
and time she doesn’t belong in.

In the end, desperately in love with Ramose, will she find a
way to stay alive and with him in ancient Egypt–and to
make a difference in his world and history?
Because Maggie has finally found love.

The Story of Egyptian Heart
A backstory and other tidbits from an old writer’s life

Let me start with this: I have always loved ancient Egyptian stories since I was a child. I remember I wrote one of my first school papers at around eleven years old in pencil on the ancient Egyptians after dragging home an armful of musty smelling books from the library. I don’t recall exactly why I loved this particular time period and the people that lived in it but it might have had something to do with the movies The Ten Commandments (I was raised a Catholic), the horror mummy movies of the 1960’s and the early TV shows on Nefertiti and Cleopatra. I just had this affinity for the period.

It was February 1994 (I noted it on the outside of the manila folder where I keep a running book history on each novel) when I began Egyptian Heart. Originally I called it The Cursed Scarab. Later, I retitled it Egyptian Heart because I wanted it to more reflect the romance tale it had become.

I still had my agent, Lori Perkins, who’d sold four earlier novels for me to Zebra Books (Vampire Blood, 1991; The Last Vampire, 1992; Witches, 1993 and The Calling, 1994…after I’d sold my first three novels on my own to Leisure Books: Evil Stalks the Night, 1984: The Heart of the Rose, 1985; Blood Forge,1989) and she’d told me about a new romantic horror line that Silhouette was starting called the Shadows Line. They wanted to tap into the darker romantic paranormal market. Lori said they wanted the kind of story I wrote but with more romance. It was Silhouette after all.  I’d been labeled as a horror writer from the get go, though all my novels blended genres; usually I wrote a romantic horror mixture with dashes of adventure, suspense and sometimes threw in a little history or mystery as well…but in those days the big publishers felt the need (and I think they still do) to squeeze a writer into one narrow slot. So I was a horror writer.

But my 1994 I’d lost my sweet editor at Zebra and a new one took her place...and over the next year he didn’t like anything I wrote for him and later that year Zebra unceremoniously dropped me and my latest book (Predator, a story about a dinosaur in Crater Lake…which never came out but still lingers like some weird ghost book in every computer on the global Internet) only six weeks away from going to the bookstore shelves. I’d begged the new editor not to call it Predator, bad title since there was a popular movie out of that name and it was nothing about a dinosaur, and the cover was awful, an empty boat on a lake…what!!! Having that book – my first ever – dumped like that was a crushing experience, let me tell you. I had a stack of finished, printed covers and had already done my final edits! I got to keep my advance but the book was officially dead. The new editor-that-didn’t-like-my-writing explained: “No one wants to read a book about a dinosaur.” And six months later Jurassic Park came out! The book is still sitting in a drawer somewhere (perhaps one day I’ll resurrect and finish it as well).

At that point, my agent wanted me to branch out so I wrote two manuscripts for the Silhouette Shadows Line or tried to.  Egyptian Heart and Shadow Road (a romantic suspense about a woman truck driver driving a dangerous wintry route with a murderer on her tail, which later I retitled and sold as Winter’s Journey). To make a long story short, Silhouette Shadows turned both down. Seems I had too much horror in them; not enough sex. I didn’t follow the formula. Sheesh. I’ve never liked depending too much on sex in any of my books or writing a book too predictable. The originality of the novel and the characters make the story for me.

After that my agent dropped me. Ah, the life of a writer.
So, then life (as it has many times in my 39 year writing career), family and job problems, and my other novels (I was into murder mysteries for years and sold two to Avalon Books), got in the way and Egyptian Heart and Shadow Road went into drawer hibernation until, oh, about 2004, when I rediscovered them, dug them out, rewrote them and began trying to sell them again. Sometimes, I’ve found, a book left alone in a dark cubbyhole ages like good wine. (Or sometimes it just turns to vinegar.)

Fast forward three years to 2007 and a new e-book (e-books still being considered a risky new-fangled craze at that time!) publisher called The Wild Rose Press contracted both and eventually a third called The Ice Bridge, a ghostly romantic murder mystery set on Mackinac Island, and published them. Good publisher. They treated me well. But in 2010 when I contracted my two newest novels, Before the End: A Time of Demons and The Woman in Crimson (both romantic horror) my new publisher, Kim Richards Gilchrist at Damnation Books wanted to bring out all my old out-of-print novels again (going back to those early Leisure Books from the 1980’s) in print – and e-books for the first time ever.  Seven old paperbacks. I’d rewrite them all, get new covers and they’d all live again. I was thrilled. And grateful. It would take a lot of work on both our parts but when we were done ALL my old novels would be in print again and in electronic form out in the world. I jumped right in.

Then when my two year contract (I was lucky, e-books still being new, it was only for two years; now most e-book publishers contract for five years or longer) ran out with The Wild Rose Press I happily switched Egyptian Heart, Winter’s Journey, The Ice Bridge and a novella Don’t Look Back, Agnes to Eternal Press (Damnation Books sister company). Kim Richards, and her husband William, had just brought Realms of Fantasy Magazine into the fold, as well.

So. Egyptian Heart has had a very long history. Simply put, it’s a romantic time travel paranormal romance set in the ancient times of Nefertiti and her heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton.  It’s more romance than history, though I did a lot of research in 1994… originally for my 1994 Zebra horror paperback The Calling. I thought: why waste all this hard worked for research on just one novel? So I also used it for Egyptian Heart and an erotic short story, The Nameless One, one that Zebra had placed in their 1994 horror anthology Dark Seductions. 

The new cover for Egyptian Heart by Dawne Dominique is amazingly beautiful and Kim Richards herself was my editor. Thank you both.

So from a child’s love of ancient Egypt to the finished book, it’s been a long journey and goes to show all you writer’s out there that, yes, persistence does sometimes win out.  And a good book never dies. It just ages like wine in a dark drawer.

Book Trailer


The old woman had disengaged herself from me and stepped
away to stand behind someone else. Smart woman. The soldier
was still looking at me.
All I could do was appeal to his humanity. “Hello, perhaps
you could help me? I do not belong here. My name is Maggie
Owen. I am an archaeologist working at the Boston University
dig a distance
past the Khufu Pyramid.” I put my hand out for the man to
shake, but he merely looked at it and then at me and stepped
My nervous uncertainty and hunger made me start babbling and
I couldn’t stop myself. “I am here by mistake. I am not
a slave. I was lost out on the desert last night when you
rounded all these
people up. I am so glad to finally be able to talk to you
about this. But, truth is, I guess I need to speak to your
“Enough! Be silent! You never speak unless asked to
speak,” the soldier hissed at me, reached out with the
butt of his whip and slammed it against my head. I went down
like a dropped sack of rocks.
I must have blacked out because when I came to other
soldiers were standing around staring at and talking about
me as if I weren’t lying on the ground in front of them,
my mouth hanging open and my hands cradling my head. Blood
trickled down along the side of my face and was sticky
between my fingers. I couldn’t believe what had happened,
my mind was still trying to process it, but I wasn’t
talking without permission again anytime soon.
One of the soldiers stooped down and grabbed a handful of my
blond hair. I tugged the strands away from his dirty grasp
and hoped it wouldn't make him angry. It didn't. He seemed
confused and then I saw the apprehension in his eyes.
“She is different from the others,” he said, “look at
what she is wearing and look at her skin, so fair and
untouched by the sun... her hair... as silver and pale as
“Could be she is a house slave,” replied another heavier
soldier with darker skin than the others, she is dressed in
“A bed slave is more like it,” another one snickered.
I didn't know whether to be offended or frightened. This
wasn't happening.
“Please?” I tried again, dragging myself to my feet and
trembling. My head hurt and the world was spinning but I had
to make them understand I wasn't one of the runaway slaves.
My life might depend on it. This time my voice was more
respectful. “There has been a mistake. I am an American,
not anyone's slave. Can I please see the man in charge—”
The whip handle lashed out again and would have caught me on
the other side of my head if I hadn't jumped quickly out of
its way. I lost my balance and went down. I stayed. The
ground seemed safer. This time I couldn't stop the tears and
looked up through them at the three men tormenting me as if
I was some circus freak.
Had they no heart or compassion and why couldn't I get
through to them?
One of the soldiers prodded at me with his boot and I
recognized lust in his eyes. Shuddering, I realized I could
be beaten, raped or worse. Anything they wanted to do to me,
they could do. This wasn't my time, my safe world and there
was no one to help me. To them I was a no one, a worthless
“Look at those eyes of hers...that evil green color,”
the man who'd pushed me with his boot said.
The soldier with the whip breathed, “Jinn eyes.”
“She came from the desert,” another soldier offered.
“She could be one. I have heard men talk of the desert
jinns that appear out of nowhere to bewitch and destroy a
“We should kill her now before she puts a spell on us.”
“No, she belongs to Ramose.”
“She is trouble.”
“Jinn eyes. She is evil.”
And all three soldiers edged away from me.

Novels and short stories from Kathryn Meyer Griffith:
Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure, 1984; Damnation Books, July 2012)
The Heart of the Rose (Leisure, 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition out Nov.7, 2010)
Blood Forge (Leisure, 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out February 2012)
Vampire Blood (Zebra, 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out July 2011)
The Last Vampire (Zebra, 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out October 2010)
Witches (Zebra, 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out April 2011)
The Nameless One (short story in 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions;
  Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out February 2011)
The Calling (Zebra, 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out October 2011)
Scraps of Paper (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2003)
All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2006)
Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007; Author’s Revised Edition out again from Eternal Press in August 2011)
Winter’s Journey (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition out again from Eternal Press in September 2011)
The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition out again from Eternal Press in November 2011)
Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella and bonus short story: In This House (2008; ghostly romantic short story out again from Eternal Press in January 2012)
BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Out from Damnation Books June 2010)
The Woman in Crimson (Out from Damnation Books September 2010)

Her Websites: (to see all my book trailers with original music by my singer/songwriter brother JS Meyer)!/profile.php?id=1019954486

E-mail me at  I love to hear from my readers.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us!


1 comment:

  1. Ella,
    THANK YOU for having me on your looks beautiful! The blog, so classy and pretty, and the essay. Warmly, the author, Kathryn Meyer Griffith