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A.F. (scribe77) | 369 comments Mod

J. Lynn Else

J. Lynn Else

The Forgotten: Heir of the Heretic

It is a time of new beginnings! Pharaoh Akhenaten has declared that there is only one god to be worshipped throughout Egypt. He has also made a promise to his oldest daughter, Merytaten, that one day she will be his heir and the future pharaoh. However, as pressures build up against the new religion, it falls upon Akhenaten's wife, Nefertiti, and Merytaten to help prevent an insurrection.

Merytaten soon finds herself trapped in a world of broken dreams and empty promises. When she loses the meaning to her life, how can she possibly help the citizens? What can she do to assist the people who are falling into poverty? How can she save those she loves when Death's shadow looms large across the city?

Discover the struggles and triumphs of one young woman's lifetime...

"Heir of the Heretic" is book 2 of 'The Forgotten' series by J. Lynn Else. Learn more at

And be sure to check out book 1 of 'The Forgotten' series, The Forgotten: Aten's Last Queen.

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J. Else (JElse) | 27 comments How it began…

The exhibit, "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," sparked the idea for my first book, which has now multiplied into two books. The exhibit revealed some fantastic exploration into the world of pharaohs with an emphasis on King Tut. Of our tour group, I took the longest time going through the exhibit. I loved standing in front of the pieces and simply gazing up at them. They were so beautiful.

One of my favorite pieces was a sketch done of Akhenaten's daughters. I loved seeing the light design carefully crafted and refined. Here's the image zoomed close to the face. See how delicate the lines are and how soft the edges appear? Just gorgeous. As someone who also sketches, this part of the exhibit was quite personal to me.

I knew from all I read and saw at this exhibit that the story of King Tut's wife needed to be explored! That's when I decided to explore her life through research and my own words...

message 3: by J. (last edited Feb 28, 2017 06:23AM) (new)

J. Else (JElse) | 27 comments Places you can find me:






Amazon Author Page:





For those of you checking me out before CyCon begins, be sure you also check out the "Save The Date" at You can win a chance to win $100 Amazon Gift Card just for clicking the Save The Date :)

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J. Else (JElse) | 27 comments Merytaten's father initiated monotheism in Egypt. They worshiped the sun god, Aten. This image, typical for Akhenaten's reign, shows the family basking in the Aten. Aten's rays of light reach down like hands to bless their family. Akhenaten stands first with principle wife Nefertiti behind him. Next stands Meryaten, their oldest child.

Related image

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J. Else (JElse) | 27 comments Another lovely family photo.

Related image

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J. Else (JElse) | 27 comments In my novel, “The Forgotten: Aten’s Last Queen,” Ankhesenamun, wife to King Tut, must watch as the tomb is sealed on her husband’s short life. When bringing to life the funeral procession, Opening of the Mouth Ceremony, and sealing the sarcophagus, I was constantly flipping back and forth between reference books to make sure my descriptions were as accurate as possible.

One of the scenes that easily got mixed up in my head was putting the consecutive lids on Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus. There were multiple layers, and there were also fabrics and flowers placed between each layer. I think I went over that scene more than almost any other in making sure everything was being done in the correct order.

Seeing the replicas of these lids was astounding. The amount of detail and brilliance of each piece of King Tut’s sarcophagus literally stops you in your tracks. Additionally, because I was looking at replicas, I could see what these items would have looked like when they were first created. The delicate lines, the inlayed jewels, the bright shine of gold, I had a hard time leaving the sarcophagus display room!

Additionally, because I was looking at replicas, I could see what these items would have looked like when they were first created.  The delicate lines, the inlayed jewels, the bright shine of gold, I had a hard time leaving the sarcophagus display room!

So let’s bring in my narrative with photos from the Putnam exhibit.  This should be exciting... 

message 7: by J. (last edited Mar 02, 2017 08:52AM) (new)

J. Else (JElse) | 27 comments ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Hidden Things of the Heart (Excerpt)
1322 B.C.
Funeral Procession of Pharaoh Tutankhamun

            We stood in the breath between silence and speaking.
            The large rectangular stone sarcophagus, which had been prepared inside the tomb, had bided its time.  Like courtyard walls without a central household to protect, it had waited hollow and alone, as if the gods had reached down and scooped up everything inside with their gigantic hands.  It was situated atop a lion-shaped bier which had yet to feel the weight of more than just gold but also a king’s soul.  
            At last, his golden coffin had arrived.  As it finally sat inside the sarcophagus, the coffin we had followed here looked dwarfed by its outer shell.  Servants scurried over with the first lid to be placed over my husband’s image.  I watched as the lid was slowly laid over the coffin, sealing and protecting the House of His Body. 

            My husband now began his descent into the Afterlife.  He would leave this world forever.  One lid had been laid, a lid carved to mimic the golden coffin’s appearance.  The last two were waiting to be placed, two more seals of protection also carved out with his image. 
            It was time to let go.
            In my hand was a wreath.  The base was of papyrus and was shaped beautifully from the season’s foliage: blue cornflowers, olive leaves, and the loose petals of blue water lilies.  I leaned over and blew a kiss down upon the first lid.  Then onto it, encircling the rearing cobra and vulture of the first lid’s crown, I reached down and laid my wreath to rest.  As I stepped back, priests came forward to cover this lid in white shrouds.  Then the next lid was held high before being gently lowered into place. 

            Using handles made from silver, two on each side, the lid was eased down.  I could see fragments missing, intentionally chipped off, from the toe portion of this protective layer.  It disgusted me to think that this was not properly measured in the first place.  The workmen had callously resorted to hacking away the images of my husband because of their own inadequacy.  This carelessness made me sick.  Was this the remembrance fitting a king?  This was what the land offered him?  Broken beauty, halved names, and thus forgotten prayers intended to seal his life.  That and subsequently more shrouds laid upon the surface by the dutiful priests.
            Next came the final lid, which had been crafted to match the base of the large sarcophagus.  But this lid had broken in its construction.  Originally of yellow quartzite, the workmen had to prepare a new one quickly, and the replacement was made from pink granite which was then painted over in yellow to attempt to match the base.  I sighed mournfully.  It was a poor substitute.  Everything about this day was underwhelming.  The world had moved so quickly, ready to leave Tutankhamun and everything associated with him behind in its wake -- including me.  The respect and love he deserved at his final goodbye was forgotten.

Photo by:

           The final lid was laid, and an echoing thump rang.  As the sound finally settled in my ears, I knew it was time to leave.  The funerary banquet would begin when we returned to the palace, and Ay would sit in my husband’s chair.
            I turned away, and the last thing I saw of his body’s house was the etchings of outstretched wings attached to one of four goddesses.  The four ladies, Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Selket, were positioned on each corner of the stone sarcophagus.  I did not look close enough at the high relief to distinguish which goddess it was, all I knew was that they would now protect him.  I did not want to look closely enough to see if these images were also damaged in some way.

Photo by:


Copyright 2015 J. Lynn Else
Published by J. Lynn Else at CreateSpace
(First published Aug 15, 2013)

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J. Else (JElse) | 27 comments According to observations made at the time of discovery, it was noted that parts of King Tut’s sarcophagus were, in fact, damaged!  From the quartzite lid to the ill-fitting coffin lids, despite the overwhelming beauty of the pieces, there were also many flaws.  Because completion of his funerary materials were prepared so quickly, mistakes were made, and there was not enough time to fix them.

When I was still in college, my grandfather passed away.  As a veteran of WWII, he was buried at Fort Snelling.  I remember being so upset with the trumpet player who performed taps at the end of the outdoor service.  It was played very quickly (like double time!), there were a few missed notes, and then he walked off.  I’m not sure if he had another funeral to get to, but I remember being so upset at the lack of respect and the hasty job that trumpet player gave my grandfather.  I brought this feeling into my story through Ankhesenamun’s feelings during the funeral procession and burial--only in her case, we’re talking about a ruler of her world, a Pharaoh.  Their belief system demanded strict rituals, prayers, and spells which enabled Pharaoh to pass through the different hours of the Afterlife.  

Howard Carter spent four painstaking years excavating King Tut’s tomb.  The grandest of all his finds was the intact stone sarcophagus containing three coffins nested within each other.  Inside the final coffin, made of solid gold, was the mummy of Tutankhamun preserved for more than 3,000 years.

Photo from:'s-tomb/

Per The exposed outer coffin of Tutankhamun, measuring 2.24 meters long with its head positioned to the west, rested on a low leonine bier that was still intact though certainly suffering from the strain of a ton and a quarter worth of weight it had endured over the prior 3,200 years. Fragments chipped from the toe of the coffin lid at the time of the burial, a crude attempt to rectify a design problem and allow the sarcophagus lid to sit properly, were found in the bottom of the sarcophagus. The chippings revealed that the coffin was made of cypress with a thin layer of gesso overlaid with gold foil.

The original design of the outermost coffin's lid had incorporated four silver handles, two on each side, which were used to lower the lid into place...these same handles would be used, once more to raise this lid, by Howard Carter and his team.

Photo from:

When an object is still able to be used as designed after 3,000 years!?! Well, that’s just master craftsmanship there.

To close, here’s a little verse for you:

The sacred barque will be joyful and the great god will proceed in peace when you allow this soul of mine to ascend vindicated to the gods... May it see my corpse, may it rest on my mummy, which will never be destroyed or perish.
— Book of the Dead, spell 89 —

message 9: by J. (last edited Mar 10, 2017 06:48PM) (new)

J. Else (JElse) | 27 comments

An excerpt from "The Forgotten: Heir of the Heretic," Chapter Three:

1342 B.C.

“How far are we now?” My eyelids were starting to droop again.  I rubbed the crusts of drowsiness from them with my fingers.

“Still another day before we catch sight of the capital.  I bet you will be surprised by all the changes it has undergone.  Brother has spoken so much about the city’s progress.”

Henuttaneb would soon be my father’s bride.  When we reached the city, they would hold a banquet in honor of their union.  Shortly thereafter, she would be blessed by the priests as Second Wife of Pharaoh.  It was surprising how carefree she was about the whole affair.  Her mother, Tiye, held many responsibilities, yet Henu acted like she had no accountability accompanying her new position.  Maybe she thought that the Great Wife would handle all things for her.  My mother completed most tasks for Pharaoh already. 
I responded, “It has been years.  I am sure all the sights will appear different from when I first viewed the city through much younger eyes.  They are more mature now.”

“That sounds very wise!  I will have to sound wise when I become a great wife.  I hear the Vizier of Lower Kemet is a bit of a show off.  Since he deals with merchants from other countries so often, it has been said that he sometimes speaks other languages while conversing.  He just slips into another country’s tongue without realizing it.  I guess that impresses some less-educated noblewomen.  Share with me some more smart declarations, Mery.  I want to share some of them at my table during the unification feast.  At least everyone will understand what I’m saying unlike that foreign-speaking Vizier,” Henu finished with a giggle. 

I cringed a little at the short name she used for me: Mery.  I had never liked the sound of it.  My mother’s short name for me possessed such beauty when she said it: Mayati.  It sounded like something recorded in the great writings from the past, stories about adventures and lovers or heroes and gods.  Mery sounded very boring.  I wanted to correct her but knew she would not listen, much less try to remember.

Henu was 18 years old now and had lived a very pampered life.  Her parents were all about living luxuriously.  So while she had hands well suited for crafting, she was only skilled at it because she wanted to be and not because she had to be.  She liked spending her time out on pleasure boats and lounging at banquets.  However, her lifetime of indulgences had begun to collect around her midsection, under her chin, and on her upper arms.  My mother kept herself to a strict diet.  She didn’t resemble a woman who had birthed four children.  One, maybe, but she did not appear to carry the accumulated weight from four pregnancies. 

Sometimes my aunt’s laxity regarding the events happening around her frustrated me.  While I understood this was just a product of the expectations on her, it still bothered me.  She had grown up with so few responsibilities whereas I was being trained to wear Pharaoh’s crown.  And it was not just one crown but two, one crown was for the upper state and one was for the lower state.  Together, they represented our nation’s hard-fought unity. 

Since the beginning of Kemet, pharaohs have worn the double crown with pride.  I could only imagine what the two crowns would feel like on my head.  The first pharaoh had brought together two cultures of people, once divided by their beliefs, into a single state.  But while joined by shared land, each state had kept their own ideals and separate identities.  Now Father and Mother were bringing the peoples together with Aten’s love in identity as well as in land. 

The thought of becoming ruler had been exciting the first few years during the extra training in school and with my mother.  I had stood alongside her in court and watched.  Mother and Father worked together on cases the viziers could not handle, which seemed to increase in number every year.  They reviewed each situation efficiently, quickly, but also differently.  Life centered on the citizens’ wants and jealousies for which they demanded Pharaoh to solve for them, and the solutions rarely lasted long.  They were as thin and brittle as poorly-made papyrus. 

When Henu’s new position had been announced, I had hoped for someone to share these responsibilities with.  Was that the cause my recent frustrations?

“Mery, are you asleep again?” Henu cut into my thoughts.

I blinked a couple times to clear my eyes and re-center them on her face, “Daydreaming a little.  I’m sorry.  You were saying something?” 

She harrumphed at me, “I didn’t want to think you had fallen asleep while I was talking, but it is pretty obvious that you did!” 

I sighed.  Nothing I said would be able to change her heart.  My mood soured.  However, I knew the rest of our travels would be easier if I made peace. 

"You know those smart declarations?  I was just thinking about the way we say things.  Sometimes it is more how you say something instead of what you say.  You said I sounded wise, but that’s only because of how I worded my thoughts.  I do not possess much wisdom, other than what Mother has shared with me.”

Henu snorted in response, “And sometimes you make no sense.  Like now.  ‘It is what you say but not what you say?’  I think you are being mean and trying to confuse me.  Perhaps Pharaoh should make you a vizier too.”

“My mother taught it to me, and I’m not trying to confuse you,” I returned sorely. 

It was hard to keep the defensiveness out of my voice.  I knew if I bit back too hard, she would pout even more and then tell Father about it.  After that, Pharaoh would yell at me for a lack of respect.  He had been very moody these past cycles of the moons.  Perhaps his mood was affecting all of us around him, most particularly me.

“Nefertiti is smart with the kingdom, of course, but she’s not so wise when it comes to men,” Henu murmured after binding a row to the base of her basket. 

Something inside me boiled.  Was she actually talking to me about this?  Instead of letting my words escape right away, I breathed deeply through my nose and let the river’s air cool my heated response.

Henu kept talking, “You know it has been whispered that she loves some commoner?  How disgusting is that?  Someone who scuffs dirt with their toes and kicks up sand onto their body.  I bet he smells like horse dung.  Have you been to the stables recently?  You know the smell.  Just putrid.”

“Where did you hear such things?” I asked, shocked at her words.  She probably thought being queen meant saying whatever you wanted without consequence.  Her mother Tiye certainly held nothing back.  I knew that from experience quite well.

Henu leaned closer to me, like I was her co-conspirator, “There are rumors my mother has heard about how Nefertiti was intimate with this dirt-dweller after Meketaten was born.  Pharaoh and Nefertiti were having a disagreement back then about the new capital.  She would disappear for long periods of time.  Nefertiti said she was seeking answers through prayer in the temple, but Queen Tiye knew better.  My mother knows a woman’s heart.  She could see something afoul in Nefertiti’s eyes and smell the scent of another man on her when she returned from praying.”

“That’s vile, Henu!  Please stop!” I snapped, looking away. 

Sadly, my aunt’s gossip could not be easily halted, even when I yanked tight on the reins.  My tone did not sway her.

“Oh, that is not even the worst of it!  It is said that your second sister may not be of Pharaoh’s making,” Henu shared with lightness in her voice.  She must not have realized that words could weigh down hearts as they sought to tear others down.

“That could be considered blasphemy, Henu!  Be careful of your words,” I stressed while staring hard into her eyes.

How would I ever get used to living next to her, constantly spouting crass whispers?  Already I felt a determination to rip the ears off my head so I would not have to hear her voice anymore, and our life together was only just beginning.

“Why are you so serious?” Henu groaned. “You don’t remember, but I do.  When you and Meketaten were babies, you both cried and cried.  But Ankhesenpaaten was so quiet and calm.  It is like a hippo’s egg dropped into the crocodile’s nest.  My mother and I think Nefertiti has broken her loyalty to Pharaoh.  Why else would he ask me to be his bride?”

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J. Else (JElse) | 27 comments Here are some sketches I've done of my main characters.

This first one is a comparative of a photo of a bust believed to be Meryaten beside my sketch. I found it important to see her not as a faded image from the past but as a flesh and blood person who once helped rule a nation:

This sketch is of Merytaten's parents, Nefertiti and Ahkenaten:

Both of these photos are included in the back matter of my book, The Forgotten: Heir of the Heretic

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J. Else (JElse) | 27 comments I hope you've enjoyed this short intro into the world of my books. Ancient Egypt is a truly fascinating time. If you want to learn more about me, my writing, or other nerdy musings, please sign up for my newsletter at: http://teasippinnerdymom.us15.list-ma...

The inaugural newsletter is preparing for launch!!! Don't miss it!

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J. Else (JElse) | 27 comments Check out my YouTube video here to learn a little more about the writing of Heir of the Heretic.

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Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 57 comments Wow! Being a huge ancient Egypt fan, as well as a fan of the Aten years, I HAVE to read your books!

I was quite influenced by ancient Egypt myself, and used it as inspiration in my series. :)

message 14: by J. (new)

J. Else (JElse) | 27 comments Lyra wrote: "Wow! Being a huge ancient Egypt fan, as well as a fan of the Aten years, I HAVE to read your books!

I was quite influenced by ancient Egypt myself, and used it as inspiration in my series. :)"

Thank you! So enjoy sharing my love of ancient Egypt with others.

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