Monday, 20 March 2017

Massive Kindle Scout Anniversary Sale With All Ebooks 99 cents!

Kindle Scout is celebrating its second year of reader-powered publishing by running a promotion on the entire Kindle Scout catalog on All Scout-discovered titles are available for purchase for $0.99 from March 20 through April 3. This includes, of course, my novel about the Syrian refugee crisis The Last Hotel Room, which was published last September after getting enough support on Kindle Scout to win a contract with Kindle Press.

I have big hopes for this sale. Kindle Press did a similar promotion for my book for all of February and my ranking leaped up to 10,000 for much of the time, and even reached 6,000 for a few days. Here's hoping I'll top that this time.

There are plenty of other great books in this sale, a total of 215! You can see the entire list here.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Travel Tuesday: Old Kingdom Death Mask from the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo

My recent trip to Egypt was actually the second time I visited that fascinating country. The first was way back in 1991. As I wandered around the sights, I was occasionally hit by deja vu. Other sights I remember clearly from my first visit. One of the latter is this arresting Old Kingdom death mask in the national museum in Cairo.

It stuck in my mind from my first visit because the face looks just like people you see in Egypt today. Indeed, despite Egypt being popularly perceived (and officially titled) an Arab nation, only 17% of the genetic makeup of the modern population is Arabic. A recent study by National Geographic found that the Egyptian population is genetically 68% North African, 17% Arab, 4% Jewish Diaspora, 3% East African, 3% from Asia Minor, and 3% southern European. Thus the modern Egyptian population is much the same as the ancient Egyptian population, and this 4,000 year old mask shows a face that can still be seen on the streets of Cairo today.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Back From A Writing Retreat In Egypt

I'm back from Cairo! Actually I've been back for a few days but returned to a heap of ghostwriting I needed to get done. I'm just now coming up for air.

This is my new writing buddy, the priest Padiamenopet, shown here posing as a scribe. He worked at the vast temple of Ra at Karnak in the 25th dynasty (760-656 BC). His right hand would have held a reed pen, which is now missing. You can see the scroll he's working on. I wonder what his daily word count was? Now he lives in the Egyptian Museum, which was just five minute's walk from my hotel. I ended up going there a lot! I also, of course, visited Giza, Saqqara, and Dashur. The last is the home to the famous Bent Pyramid, seen below. The last time I was in Egypt, way back in 1991, it stood inside a military base and was closed to visitors, so it was nice to finally get there.

I was very fortunate to attend the Cairo Video Festival, an experimental film festival, early in my stay. Because of this I met an interesting circle of Egyptian and Sudanese filmmakers, artists, historians, and writers who kept me busy for the rest of my trip.

Of course I was there for writing, and I got 35,000 words into a novel set in Cairo during the 1919 Revolution, an early major push for independence. Called The Masked Man of Cairo, it's a neo-pulp adventure story of a disfigured WWI veteran who, disgusted with Europe, moves to Egypt and starts a business selling antiquities. Soon he finds just as much trouble as he had during the war! More on that novel as it progresses. Our hero (more like antihero) lives in Old Cairo, a labyrinth of medieval streets and centuries-old buildings. I spent much of my time wandering this wonderful part of the city catching inspiration.

I'll be posting lots of Egyptian photos here and over on Black Gate, where I blog on Wednesdays. You can also see more pictures on my Instagram account. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Off to Egypt to write my next book

I'm off to Cairo tomorrow for a couple of weeks to work on my next novel, a neo-pulp adventure story set in Cairo in 1919. I write about it and the setting at length in this Black Gate post. While I won't be on much social media, I will be updating my Instagram account daily, so you can follow along with my exploration of Cairo and the surrounding area. You don't have to have an Instagram account of your own to see the pictures.

Special thanks to blogger buddy Lexa Cain for lots of tips on Egypt. Check out here blog for some interesting insights into the country.

Photo of the pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara from Wikimedia Commons. Everyone always shows Giza but this was the first pyramid, c. 2648 BC!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Happy Valentine's Day from Ancient Egypt!

This happy couple is a rare example of a double shabti. A shabti was a figurine placed in an ancient Egyptian tomb that would act as a servant in the afterlife. They come in a remarkable number and variety, but seeing double ones like this are rare. In fact I don't think I've seen one before. This example dates from the 19th or 20th dynasties (1295-1069 BC) and is made of faience. I spotted it in the archaeological museum of Bologna, which also has an incredible Etruscan collection that I've written about over on Black Gate. You can see some more examples of shabtis in a post I did about London's Petrie Museum on the same blog.

It kind of sucks that this happy couple has to labor ceaselessly for all eternity for some dead Egyptian noble but hey, at least they have each other!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

I'm on Instagram!

I just started an Instagram account. Yeah, I know I'm way behind the curve on this. I only have a few photos up so far but plenty more will go up in the coming days and weeks. Right now it will mostly be Morocco pics, like this feline cigarette seller from Tangier. I'll also be posting from Cairo once I get there. Later in the year you'll see travel photos from Spain and England and who-knows-where. Feel free to follow me!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Get The Last Hotel Room for only a Buck!

Kindle Press is promoting the electronic edition of my novel, The Last Hotel Room, for $1 all this month.

The deal is only available on the Amazon US store so all you furriners will see it at the regular price. It deals with the Syrian refugee crisis and an American who breaks out of his self-pity and apathy to try and help. I wrote it to be timely and political, and never thought it would get as timely and political as this! Please share. A portion of my royalties goes to Syrian refugees.

And a big thank you to all who voted for it during the Kindle Scout competition. You rock!
Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.