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2016 in the MPM Fan World (Prequel)

Now that we’ve made it through the incredible highs and lows of 2017, we have a moment to look back – not only over this past year, but also over 2016.  (Thanks as always to @TeamRamses, who had already prepped most of this post for 2016 last year as the Painted Queen frenzy was beginning to hit!!  Our bad that we’re just now catching up ….)

2016 marked some amazing moments that highlighted not only the humor and continued energy of the MPM fandom … but also its kindness and generosity.

In April of 2016, Papyrus-Leaves a.k.a. BookishArdor bid on a batch of MPM’s book collection at an auction and won! She has also been doggedly reading every MPM novel (yes, every. single. one.) In September, she posted about her favorite Barbara Michaels novels here.

Every day in May, Artist Élena Nazzaro illustrated a portrait of strong female literary characters, and May 4th was our very own Amelia. Check it, and her other lovely artwork, out at her website: blog.frenchtoastgirl.com.

In July, the Meet Mystery Book Club (@MeetMystery) took the fans through a lively discussion of Crocodile on the Sandbank on Twitter.

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In September, in the true spirit of the Amelia Peabody, the community joined together to help a fellow fan who lost her beloved MPM book collection in the Louisiana flood.  On Tumblr, AmeliaPeabodyBookClub tracked the donations so we didn’t duplicate, and in the end not only all the Amelia books were retrieved, but quite a few other Elizabeth Peters books as well.  Here is the thank you note we received from our fellow “dear reader” after receiving books mailed from all over the place:

To the thoughtful fans of Elizabeth Peters —

You have touched my heart! As you know, the recent floods in Baton Rouge devastated our home. Even worse, it drowned my cherished collection of books by the amazing Barbara Mertz. The water rose above the eaves on our roof and our beautiful home sat there, stewing in the water, for almost 7 days. When we were finally able to get inside and sort through the soggy remnants of our life, it was one of the lowest moments I’ve ever faced. I picked up book after beloved book and forced myself to toss them into the growing pile of trash. They reeked. The pages were glued together with mud and the bindings were falling apart in my hands.

It was beyond devastating. This feisty Amelia Peabody had become a friend to me. I valued her advice. I loved her wit. I shared her with fellow book-devourers. We even had a history together, Amelia and I. You see, I wielded her like a secret weapon on my little sister, a college student, who for years could not be convinced to enjoy reading. I gave her the first Amelia book with the promise that if she did not fall in love immediately, I would never pester her again about reading good books. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now, imagine my surprise when, on my birthday, I open a box full of books — cherished, treasured books. The sheer shock… and joy! The thought that each was chosen for me, from your personal libraries, is emotionally overwhelming. (Yes, I know Amelia would have something to say about my emotional state!) There were also several Vicky Bliss novels sent that I can’t wait to introduced myself to. I found that many of the books had notes tucked inside, full of kind and inspiring words. These things have become my new treasures.

I think that Barbara Mertz would have been pleased to see what she inspired in those who adore her work – this community of friends, willing to give pieces of themselves to someone they’ve never met. Thank you all – you have brought Amelia to life for me one more time and I’m forever grateful!

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Throughout the year, TeamRamses took us on a journey back through Seeing a Large Cat. The fandom spent a good chunk of time sobbing over Bastet (#notoverit) and researching French playwrights. Two things that probably don’t seem to go together but totally do when you are an MPM fan!

And of course, many, many, many fans shrieked and did a little jig to (finally) have the official announcement for The Painted Queen.

……. and THAT adventure was just beginning! To be continued (as soon as we can collect enough of the events from 2017 into one document and post it!) ….

Credit & thank-you to @TeamRamses for writing most of this post

2015 in the MPM Fan World

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Snowfall at “MPM Manor”!

Hi all!  This post took some time to compose, but with help from fans and friends, we’ve begun to pull together some of the diverse threads of the Mertz-Peters-Michaels fandom for this “Review of the MPM World in 2015.”  If you know of something we missed, we’d love to hear from you!

This has been an exciting time for us.  As novices in social media, we at MPM have been really enjoying our introductions to the rich and creative discussions and posts in places like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr …  and we’ve just started to venture into Pinterest as well. MPM fans are doing everything from readings of Amelia books (complete with period illustrations and background research) – to a collective effort at developing a timeline for the AP series.   And there are fun musings on all aspects of MPM’s writings in a number of places – we keep finding more….

One terrific thing about this fandom is that it is always turning up news on Egypt, history, archaeology, pioneering women, writing and literature, mystery and fantasy, and …  the list keeps going!  (Let’s not forget cats, tea, stronger drinks than tea, food, chocolate …  but we digress…)  In other words, these are curious, imaginative, interesting and interested readers who keep the fun and new ideas going…. from Amarna to Jane Austen to Star Wars, there’s never a dull moment

Fans of Amelia characteristically turned up in force in response to the wonderful Trowelblazer group’s call for names of fictional trowelblazers (pioneering women in archaeology, palaeontology & geology).

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On Twitter and Tumblr, the unstoppable TeamRamses (TR) completed a spirited (and always funny!) reading ofLion in the Valley”, and set us up for a 2016 foray into “Seeing a Large Cat.”  (Check out the growing and beautifully illustrated set of quotes from “Cat” on Tumblr)  We especially appreciated TR’s explanation of 3 story arcs in the Amelia series.

MPM started its own Twitter account this year.  Other Twitter highlights in 2015:

Fans of Amelia have been popping up and gathering at amazing rates.  It’s really encouraging to see new people tuning in to say that they are so glad to find other fans! Or that they are just now discovering Amelia!  (lucky dogs!  Imagine having the whole series to discover).

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You can also now find MPM on Tumblr.

And, in addition to TR, there are some great long-term Amelia-ites on Tumblr:  CHECK OUT AmeliaPeabodyEmerson (APE) and AmeliaPeabodyBookClub (APBC), who joined forces this year to take us on a tour of the Petrie Museum in London. Take a look as they “hit up the Petrie Museum for some mutual Egyptology and Amelia Peabody geeking out.”

AmeliaPeabodyEmerson’s Tumblr tag line is a favorite Amelia-ism: “When one is striding bravely into the future one cannot watch one’s footing”… and the APE archive has some great quotes from the books.

Also on Tumblr, APBC updated the Book Club’s pages, which have a growing wealth of commentary, analysis, fanart, and more.  One of the more searching discussions of some hard-to-pin-down aspects of Amelia’s timeline can be found here. The Book Club crew also began a discussion and critique of some Egypt-related movies. In 2016 AMBC is inviting fans and friends to join in the the ambitious task of putting together a detailed timeline for the AP series – the start of which can be seen here.

Further Tumblr highlights in 2015:

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On Facebook, the venerable and venerated “Another Shirt Ruined” group continues to provide opportunities for fans and friends to share thoughts about MPM’s books, as well as memories of Barbara (thanks to Lyn Green’s leadership!).  In 2015, Don Ryan posted a lovely recollection:  “I met Barbara about 20 years ago and we became very good friends. She loved visiting Egypt from time to time, especially Luxor, where she rented the most expensive suite at the Winter Palace Hotel. She was usually accompanied by a small entourage of pals and they all had a grand time. Her visits coincided a couple of times with my expedition in the Valley of the Kings and we were delighted that she came out to the site to see what we were finding. And every evening she would have cocktails with her friends out on her balcony to watch the beautiful sunset over the Theban mountains.”

Lyn Green and William Joy also pointed readers  of “Another Shirt” to the way Barbara combined research for her books with hobbies such as vintage clothing and jewelry collecting.  And there were interesting posts to this group on Hilda Petrie and similarities between her and Amelia — as well as comments on MPM books beyond just the Amelia series.  You can also check out MPM’s own new Facebook page.

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And we are using THIS BLOG as our primary site for recollections of Barbara, inspired initially by Deborah Lehr’s wonderful piece written on the second anniversary of Barbara’s death in August of 2015.  We thank William and Laura for their work in getting us up and running in these various locations – and the generous friends and fans who’ve welcomed and supported these nascent efforts.

WEBPAGE UPDATE:  we’re in the process of shifting Barbara’s official webpage, and are awaiting that shift before anything more can be added.  Stay tuned for news on that and other developments, through this blog.

You’re very welcome to JOIN IN these efforts, or let us know about other efforts we haven’t yet discovered!  The MPM email is: mpmmanor@gmail.com

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