The Beautiful Woman Has Come

The Beautiful Woman Has Come
A Historical Novel by Debra Giuffrida

Thursday, October 25, 2012

To Market To Market...

Today is the 25th day of October which means we are 6 days away from... drum roll please....
NANOWRIMO! Applause.
I am partaking this year and I'm not alone this time. After returning to the community of Compuserve I will have a lot of wonderful thread mates to commiserate with. I am so excited.

So without further ado I am going to post another segment of my current WIP "Unquiet My Heart."

Unquiet My Heart copyright 2012 Debra J. Giuffrida, all rights reserved.

Lady TasheritRa
With a string of copper debens and a small bag of barley in each of our hands Tepi and I set out to the marvelous market here in Waset to purchase a gift for MaatKaRa and if we were frugal shoppers perhaps something for ourselves.
Brother had arranged a carrying chair for us. It was wonderful. Four armed guards lifted us up as we sat inside pillow-filled luxury.
“Tashi, I feel so rich,” Tepi said spreading the curtains aside just enough to stick her nose through. “I can see everyone through these curtains; do you think they can see us?” I pulled her back.
“Stop that, Ahhotep,” I hissed taking my sister by the shoulders and facing her forward. “They can see you and some of them aren’t very happy, so sit up straight and don’t stare at anyone. We’ll embarrass brother.” What I didn’t want to admit to my sister was I felt ill as we sat within this grand carrying chair watching as people stepped out of our way. When the runner in front of our chair yelled at them, I cringed and whenever he hit slow movers with his staff I felt their pain wash over me in great awful waves. It hurt so much I was afraid that welts would rise on my arms and back.
With relief we arrived at the market and the first thing I noticed when we were handed down from the chair were the raw smells. Breathing deeply the aroma of spices and burning incense filled my nose.
“Too bad we have already eaten, Tashi, do you smell the bread?” Ahhotep stuck her nose in the air, closed her eyes and sniffed. “Oh,” she pulled on my arm, “look over there, melons. Do you think we could buy some? We haven’t had any melons since we left Imet,” Ahhotep said pointing to the stall where there were great piles of green striped fruit.
I looked around at the many sellers of produce; their stalls were overflowing with lettuce and onions and all manner of vegetables and fruit. Ahhotep and I walked hand and hand down the aisles under sagging awnings past the farmers and we soon found ourselves in front of a weaver’s large stall. His tables were stacked with neatly folded piles and thick bolts of cloth. The colors were dazzling—reds and blues and yellows and mixtures of each. We kept on walking listening to the vendors sing out the qualities of their wares and watching as other nebets haggled over their purchases. We wove in and around buyers and sellers and stepped over children playing in the dirt. It was loud. Babies cried, dogs barked, it was wonderful.
“Oh, Tepi, look at these beautiful earrings,” I said walking up and reaching for one of a pair of delicate earpieces with green faience beads that dangled from small chains of gold. “These would look lovely on you.” I held them up next to my sister’s ears.
“They are lovely, Tashi, but they look expensive. Besides, Sen gave us these deben to buy a present for–”
“Expensive? Nonsense, we have more than enough to buy for ourselves too,” I said putting down the earrings and moving on towards a necklace.
“Ah, nebet, I see you have exquisite taste,” the approaching vendor said reaching over and holding up another pair of earrings for me to admire.
“I do? Yes, I do, but I prefer this pair,” I said passing over the vendor’s choice and reaching for a pair of large circles of gold with what appeared to be rubies set into a delicate filigree. “These,” I said turning to the vendor, “what are their price?”
“Oh Tashi, they are absolutely beautiful.” Ahhotep reached a hand out to touch the earrings but I drew them away, holding them up to my ears.
“What do you think?”
“They are very expensive, nebet,” the vendor said, “those are real gems from the mines deep within WaWat.”
Turning back towards the vendor I looked him full in the face. The door within my ka opened and I allowed the vendor’s ka to walk through. “Their price, neb?” I asked again watching and listening.
“Well, it is difficult to say, they are very rare, such as your beauty, lovely nebet,” the jeweler said brushing my hand with his fingertips as he reached for the earrings. “They highlight the delicate color of your skin,” he continued, smiling, his eyes assessing me. I want more than your deben little mew, I can make you purr. His ka spoke and I pulled my hand out of his reach.
“I am sure we can come to an agreeable price for this pair as well as that green pair and,” I paused looking down my nose at the rest of his wares, “something that would be suitable for the Per A’a.” I heard Ahhotep’s sharp intake of breath, and I was sure her eyes were wide and pleading.
“The Per A’a?” the jeweler sputtered. What does this one have to do with the Per A’a? He looked up and down the market then turned to rummage in a large leather strapped chest.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

No Honey Dews Today

I have to laugh, as a reluctant author I can find an excuse not to write everywhere I look, but this week it has been a piece of cake. My other half has been working at home the last few days and thus our definition of proper work environment has been put to the test.

Mine consists of complete quiet, a cup of coffee with cream or perhaps one of tea, my dog curled up at my feet and the cat stretched out on her window perch, sunning herself, purring. Peaceful, serene, conducive to thoughts of ancient history and love. His, on the other hand, is sitting in front of his computer with the TV on some moldy rerun from the 60's or 70's or perhaps, if it is the weekend, a cooking show--nonstop food from dawn to dusk.

So you see how this could be a problem, for me, not for him.

It's been a week and I am going insane. My romance novel is stalled and my New Idea is also bobbing along in the doldrums. What am I to do? I hate writing anywhere but at home and my other half puts up a huge stink if I complain about the noise. So should I just buck up and stop complaining? What do mothers do when they have children underfoot crying (literally) for attention as well as the spouse wondering where dinner is, or a clean sock, or a bar of soap because the whole lot of them are as helpless as a newborn lamb? I haven't the foggiest. Nor do I want to contemplate their dilemma.

So instead of moaning and mooning about the house I go outside and work with my horse. He is getting sick of seeing me. In fact when he spies me walking towards him he trots off to the far end of his paddock and turns his back to me. Sick of getting groomed...yep, just tired of it all, same as me, same as me.

Thought I would post a tidbit from my romance.

Unquiet My Heart, copyright 2012, Debra Giuffrida, all rights reserved.

     “Come neb! Pick up that spear tip! You, there, have you ever drawn a bow?” I shook my head. “Gone for one flooding and you all become a bunch of little nebets!” A bowman behind me laughed. I turned to him, looked him up and down. His laughter died in his throat. “You, neb, hit that bird, there!” I swiveled and pointed at a marsh duck winging its way with two others.
Without hesitation he raised his bow and drew the string taut, the arrows fletch between his fingers, resting against his cheek. He aimed, following his preys advance, judging the trajectory. His fingers uncurled letting the arrow fly, zinging through the hot air. It found its target, sending the bird plummeting to the ground.
    With a whistle and a sweep of my arm, my hounds, exploring close by, cast out to retrieve the fallen water fowl. I turned back to the bowman, clapped him on the back. He was all smiles, I was not.
    “As it should be. I expect no less,” I said. The smile disappeared from the soldiers face. “What is your name, bowman?”
    “MinNakht, Lord General,” the bowman replied, standing stiffly at attention, a single bead of sweat rolling down his smooth brow.
    “How old are you MinNakht?”
    “I have seen 16 floodings, Lord General!” he yelled, his chest puffed with pride for being singled out.
    “You have skill,” I said indicating the bow in his hand with a nod of my head.
    MinNakht stood stiffly, his eyes watching me walk around him, coming at last to face the young bowman. 
“Hence forth, you will lead your squad. You are to instruct your company, teach them what you know.”
    “As you command, Lord General!” he yelled, his eyes widening, a smile returning to his lips.
    “Go, neb.” The new squad leader hesitated. “Now!” MinNakht saluted me then turned back to his attentive comrades who gathered round him all talking at once.
    “Menena, attend me,” I called, out scanning the arena, to the chief scribe of my forces of Ptah.
    “As always, Lord General,” he said running up to me, his shaven head gleaming in the sun. He carried his reed case and palette slung over his shoulder.
    “I want you to record the change in rank of that bowman, there.” I pointed. “MinNakht, I promoted him to squad leader, see that he is compensated accordingly.”
    “Yes, Lord General,” Menena said.
    “Check that ledger of yours, do we have our full compliment yet?”
     “No, Lord General, we only have half the number we will need,” he said then lowered his head to check his ledger, “roughly five companies of 200 each,” he said frowning. I walked off, watching my men practicing their skills and learning new ones. My stomach muscles clenched with the knowledge that we were weak, vulnerable to our enemy. What would I tell MaatKaRe when she asked after her armies readiness? Leaving their preparedness to others while I traipsed about the empire at my Per A’a’s beck and call wasn’t an excuse. I was the General, their condition rested on my shoulders. I would ultimately take the blame for their failures, should the unthinkable happen. The gods help us if it did. Menena quickened his steps to keep up with my longer strides. We passed the commander of a company of infantry who stood at attention and saluted me.
     “Djhutmose,” Menena said for my ears only.
     “Djhutmose” I called out, returning the commanders salute, walking on.
     “Menena, how many maryannu do we have.”
     “Well,” Menena exhaled through his nose, then took a breath. “We have chariots for 200, but only enough trained horses for half that number,” he said referring to his ledger.
     I stopped short, turned and looked at him, my hands clenched into fists.
     “What? How?” Then with a sigh of resignation, “get a message to, to, oh, what is his name….” My frustration was growing with each new revelation.
     “KhnumMoses, he’s the,” I looked at Menena and raised an eyebrow.
     “Nomarch of [---].”
     “Yes, Nomarch of [---]. He has at least as many trained chariot horses and access to experienced Naharini drivers if need be.”
    “Yes, Lord General, at once.” He made a notation in his ledger.
    My hounds ran up to my side, one with the duck between his jaws, the others’ tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, lips pulled back in a human-like grin. The one with the duck between his jaws sat in front of me and gingerly placed the dead bird at my feet. I squatted down and picked up the duck, patting the dogs head, ruffling his long-haired ears. He closed his eyes in pleasure, his tongue clinking as he panted as much from exertion as from the day’s heat. Menena and the dogs fell in step with me.
We passed by the cooks gauze covered pavilion where they were preparing food for MaatKaRe’s army. I tossed the duck to one of the cooks helpers.
     “This is for my table.” 
     The young boy caught the bird, eyed the arrow in the birds neck, then nodded his head and bowed at the waist.
     “I have to leave soon,” I said to Menena and he nodded. “But, I want everything,” I swept the field with my arm, “ready for inspection when I return.”
     “Yes, Lord General, whom will I entrust this task to?”
     I paused, pursed my lips and rubbed my chin. “Who do you recommend?” I asked though I had someone in mind. Menena’s shrewd opinion, with his knowledge of gossip and secrets, rivaled no mans.
     “That one, back there,” he said, meaning Commander Djhutmose. I raised an eyebrow. “He is fair with his men, Lord General, and he is loyal to MaatKaRe and to you. He will see that the Per A’a’s army is ready.”
     “Then, let is be so. Write up the necessary orders and I will affix my seal.”
     “As you command, Lord General,” Menena said bowing at the waist as I turned and left the small pudgy scribe.
     YaYa was lounging inside the relative cool of my sunshade. As I approached, my hounds raced ahead and jumped up on my body servant, barking and yipping. YaYa laughed, rubbing their ears then pushed them away.
     “I’m leaving, YaYa, prepare Nahgua,” I said not relishing the thought of this new assignment. 
    “Yes, Lord Prince,” he said bowing at his waist, hands on his knees. He stood up and approached me, unlaced my breastplate and removed it, cradling it in his arms.
     “Leave me,” I growled, not in any mood for company. On her perch, my hooded raptor fluttered her wings and squawked at my sharp tone. My neck muscles where stiff and sore. With closed eyes I rolled my head around rubbing the back of my neck, listening to the creaks and cracks. Untying my sword belt, I let it and my sword drop to the ground, then sat heavily on a deep-seated, high-backed leather chair. A jar of wine sat on a the small side table next to a silver bowl full of dates. Pouring a cup full of wine I took a mouth full, rolled it around once before swallowing. I popped a few dates into my mouth, chewed and spit the pits out in a fine trajectory, watching them hit the sand outside the sunshade.
     With wine and dates in my belly, my body started to relax, allowing my thoughts to wander. I dozed.
     The smell of roasted marsh duck roused me from my sleep. YaYa was standing behind a table laid out for my meal. I stood, stretched, yawned and scratched myself. YaYa handed me a small ewer, I pulled off my nemes and dumped the sun-warmed water over my upturned face, allowing it to run down my neck and onto my shoulders. Blindly I reached for the towel that YaYa held out for me and wiped off the sweat, grit and water.
     I hadn’t realized how famished I was until I took a bite of the roasted bird and tasted the tangy moist meat. It had been stuffed with a mixture of bread and onions and raisins. Chewing and swallowing with relish and satisfaction, I noisily licked the grease from the crispy skin off my fingers, one by one and washed the meal down with more of the wine.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Bit of Romance

To day I will be working on my plot structure for my Historical Romance titled "Unquiet My Heart." This is proving a daunting task. I don't know what is going to happen past their meeting and falling in love! I can't believe I am stuck! This is awful and I really thought that with my heroines new 'abilities' I could get a handle on this story and move it along lickety split, but that is not the case. Or, and this is probably a better excuse, I am swimming around in a brain fog this morning and can't think past feeding animals and drinking a cuppa.

So I must unfog myself. How do I do that? Do I go work out and hope that exercise with get the cranial blood flowing? Do I jump on the internet and hope that someone else has a blog post that will turn on the creative switch? All of the above?

In my last blog post I included a snip from my other work in progress and it felt good to get it out there. That one is stalled too, by the way. But it is only stalled because I have to figure out if I am going to go for the conventional publishing route or if I am going to go with Amazon, self publish and hope for the best. I like the idea of 70% return on my dollar but I need the conventional publishing worlds machinations; the editors, the designers, the publicists and all that wonderful marketing. I am at a crossroads.

So today I am going to drop in a little snip from my romance. The two have met already but my heroine didn't know who my hero was until just before this scene. In fact when she found out she hated him for not revealing his identity. What she really hated was the fact that she couldn't read his mind nor figure out his feelings like she could everybody else and this threw her for the proverbial loop. She hasn't quite got past that but the emotional and physical attraction eased her anger and soon they were kissing and they almost made love. They were interrupted by my heroines brother who was outraged and my hero departed frustrated and angry.

So this is that same day, but late at night, just before dawn of the next day. Both the hero and the heroine are staying at the palace as guests.

Unquiet My Heart copyright Debra Giuffrida 2012

Golden is she
Who greets the dawn
Her breath sweet
Cool limbs entwine
We rise as one.
Prince NakhtSet, General

My sleep was restless, I dreamt of her. Awaking, the dreams images faded on the nights breeze which ruffled the linen drapes protecting me from biting insects. Quickly I sat up on the edge of the sleeping couch pushing the drape aside, my feet hitting the cool tile on the small chambers floor.

Since the last flooding I had awoken in many strange beds, some just woven mats in musty tents. As a solider I didn't complain, hastily set camp beds were my usual resting place. This one here, under the hospitality of the Good God, was better than most, but it was still a strange bed.

My hair was damp with dream sweat, I ruffled it then drug a hand over my stubbled cheeks and chin. The thought of her lingered in my heart just as my fingers and lips still carried her perfume, the feel of her silken skin. I groaned and rose. YaYa was snoring at the beds foot. I stepped over him and walked out into the courtyard beyond my chamber.

Khonsu was low in the night sky, just a slice of the god remained giving off little illumination. Windows and open doorways glowed faintly around the perimeter of the garden adjacent to my chamber, a reminder that I wasn't alone. It was quiet, though, only the splish of fish within the small central lotus pool making a meal on a predawn hatch of insects and the crackle of palm fronds  disturbed the stillness.

A puff of breeze rose goose flesh on my naked body as the sweat dried on my skin. 
I didn't see her until it was almost too late. Tashi was leaning against an acacia tree, a soft looking shawl covering her slender body. She was facing away from me. 

I left that day for MenNefer.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I have been complaining about having to retranscribe my current work in progress. I really shouldn't complain. This is an opportunity to review my hits and correct my misses. In fact, it has given me the opportunity to realize that I have to slash and burn a lot. And I mean a lot. But that's OK, I'm cool with that. It is an chance to rediscover my characters and also to crack my 'tough nut'. My favorite author, Diana Gabaldon, had a few of those, so she says. In fact one of her principle characters was a tough nut. It happens to be one of my favorite characters in her books...Brianna. So if Diana can crack her tough nut and hit one out of the park, maybe I have a chance.

Anyway, I have decided to share my new journey with Unquiet My Heart by posting a snippet of my daily writings. Hopefully it will get around and more people will come over and see what I have to say. Not that I don't mind if it's quiet here. I like quiet. It's just that now and then I want to know that I'm not all alone.

So without further ado here is this weeks snippet from my other WIP, House of the Rising Sun.

House of the Rising Sun copyright Debra Giuffrida 2012

It has been a point of research that of all the Pharaohs that followed Akhenaten, Horemheb hated him the most. I have puzzled over this as to his motives. To so completely destroy the burial goods and to adze (an ancient implement much like a pick) out carvings of both Akhenaten's visage and name every place that it occurred was an act of a hateful and vengeful man. This got me to thinking. Horemheb was a scribe of the military and the ruling family that had control of the military were from the town of Akhmin. This was Tiye's family. Tiye was Amenhotep III's Great Royal Wife. Her father was Yuya and his titles included High Priest of Min, Commander of the Pharaoh's Chariotry and Lord of Akhmin. So that put Horemheb in contact and under the thumb of Aye, who was the son of Yuya, the brother (hypothesized) of Tiye and (hypothesized) the father of Nefertiti (who marries Akhenaten). This in itself would not make Horemheb hate Akhenaten unless Akhenaten did something to Horemheb either knowingly or by accident. I think is was a little of both. So without further ado, here is my hypothesis.

Horemheb ~ Scribe of Recruits Division of Chariotry


  She came down to the royal stables nearly every day. I couldn't help watching her. Young, slender, always smiling and totally oblivious of me. The rest of my fellow scribes watched her too, poking each other in the ribs, rolling their eyes and whispering comments behind their hands. I didn't join in. It wasn't proper, she was the granddaughter of the Commander of the Royal Chariotry and the niece of the Per A'a, not in our class at all. But that didn't stop the others. It made me sick to be near them. I usually picked up my pallet, reed case and mat and left them, muttering an excuse that I was sure they either didn't believe or didn't care enough for it to matter. 

     Today was different. My frown turned to one of surprise when I nearly ran into Commander Yuya as he rounded the building's corner.

"Hold on, neb, what is your hurry?" I dropped my pallet and reed case as the Commander grabbed me by the shoulders more to keep himself on his feet than to help me.  Yuya looked me in the eye then smiled. "Horemheb, just the neb I needed," he released my shoulders and took a step back looking me up and down. "Have you forgotten how to handle a chariot?" he asked and I was sure he was ready to reach out and pinch my upper arm to test the muscle. "If I remember you were the best of my young recruits."
   "Yes Commander, I mean no I haven't forgotten," I faced the Commander and stood square. Yuya slapped me on my shoulder and laughed.

    "Good, then come I have a job for you," he left me to pick up my scribal kit and follow.

  From a narrow window high up in the dim stables a shaft of brilliant sunlight illuminated her.  Nefertiti stood next to a copper colored stallion rubbing its face with a linen rag and it sounded as if she was singing to it. 

"Nefertiti, stop that noise, I've told you before not to sing to my horses. Come here, benerib, I have a task for you." Nefertiti looked in our direction then handed the stallion and the dirty rag to a stable boy then wiped her hands on the dark red sheath that covered her slender body. She walked towards us, her hips swaying back and forth, back and forth. 

"But he likes it when I sing to him, WerAt," Nefertiti wrapped her arms about her grandfather. The old man smiled but gently removed her arms one at a time.

   "This neb is going to teach you to drive a chariot, listen to him, benerib," Commander Yuya took Nefertiti by the upper arm and propelled her in my direction. Her look of amazement must have been mirrored on my face because hers disappeared and was replaced with a smile and a cocked eyebrow. I felt my face burn and looked down at my bare feet.

     "I already know how to drive a chariot," Nefertiti sniffed and I looked up and saw her lower lip shoot out in a pout. I couldn't stop myself from staring at her.

     "I have seen how you drive and no, you do not know how. This neb will show you the proper way, am I right?" This last was directed at me and with a swallow I tore my gaze away from Nefertiti and looked at Commander Yuya.

     "Yes, Commander, if my father had not wanted me to be a scribe I would be a maryannu," I said with pride. The Commander sniffed and with pressed lips nodded his head.

    "Very well, show her and you will be rewarded," the Commander walked away leaving Nefertiti in my care.

     "I already know how to drive a chariot, neb, the Horus Djhutmose showed me and he is the best in all of Kemet."

     "Of course," the Horus Djhutmose was the best driver,  "maybe I can teach you something else. Have you ever ridden a horse astride?" The gods had given me a chance to spend time with this girl but it was up to me to make the most of it. Nefertiti brushed an errant strand of shiny black hair out of her eyes. Those eyes, they were the color of a jar of beer.

   "Astride? What do you think I am? A royal messenger?"

     I had been dreaming of her wondering what she would smell like and her harsh statement made me cringe.

     "No, but you will be able to do something no one else can do. Come, I know of just the horse to use," I turned, hoping she would follow me.

     "But don't tell anyone, I don't want them to laugh at me."

     I couldn't help but smile.


The mare I sought stood with her companions under a date palm swishing at flies with her long white tail. She cocked an ear in my direction as we approached.

"She's fat and old. Do you expect me to ride her?" Nefertiti came to a stop. 

"She's not fat she's heavy with foal. Her name is Mut, and she was the first horse I ever rode." I ran my hand along her neck feeling her silken hair coat under my fingers. Mut nickered and nuzzled my chest with a firm puckered lip. 

"She remembers you," Nefertiti said coming up alongside me putting her hand on Mut's neck next to mine. Mut lowered her head and searched the dirt for anything she could find imagined or real. Nefertiti ran her hand from Mut's withers on down her rounded side. "Oh, I just felt the foal kick! Oh Horemheb, I can't ride her."

She spoke my name. My heart swelled with love for this girl but just as it was about to burst I remembered who I was and who she was. I searched her face for any indication that she felt for me as I her but saw only pity for the old gray mare. A deep sigh escaped my lips and I turned to face Nefertiti.

"Mut would be happy to carry you, she is kind and gentle and you will not hurt her or her foal. Here, let me help you up." I laced my fingers and bent over. Nefertiti stepped back. "Come on, Mut is agreeable now, but she is not a patient beast." Nefertiti cocked an eye at me, lifted her sheath around her thighs and put her foot on my laced fingers. With no effort I lifted her up onto Mut's back. The mare raised her head and pinned her ears, raising her upper lip and exposing ivory colored teeth.

"Grab hold of her mane, Nefertiti, with both of your hands." Just as the words came out of my mouth Mut took off at a fast trot bouncing Nefertiti up and down.

"Make her stop, make her stop," Nefertiti cried. Visions of my nose being removed from my face flashed before my eyes and I took off after the pair. Mut didn't go much further. Nefertiti bounced two more times and started to slide off the mare's back. Mut came to an abrupt stop and Nefertiti pitched forward onto the mare's neck. 

I came up to the pair and expected to find Nefertiti mad or crying or both but she was laughing, wide eyed and laughing, her hands still buried within the mare's long, silken mane.

"Are you injured?" I asked fearful of her reply.

"No, I don't believe so," she frowned, looked about then smiled at me.

I reached out for her and Nefertiti let go of the mares mane and allowed me to help her dismount. She faced me. We were a hands breath apart, her nose almost touching my chin. My heart beat so hard within my breast I was sure that she heard it but I couldn't stop it nor could I stop myself from kissing her on the lips. With a sharp intake of breath Nefertiti stepped away from me. I opened my eyes, I hadn't realized they were closed, and saw her touching her lips with her fingers, her eyes wide.

My life was over.

Monday, July 23, 2012

In the Heat of the Moment

Throughout the country a heat wave is searing the landscape. If a satellite photo were to be taken of the United States you would see heat waves shimmering up towards the heavens. Too bad my laptop isn't smokin' too. I seem to have a problem right now, one of boredom. I am transcribing my romance back onto my computer. You see, I lost it to a hard drive crash and my backup disappeared in my last move. I now have bald patches where I have pulled my hair out by the hands full.  The only bright spot was that I had a print out that I was using to edit. I can't seem to effectively edit on screen. Lucky me!

So, here I sit, taking a break from typing like a secretary, the only bright spot is my own writing and I enjoy reading my writing. Not too very vain am I? I feel that if a writer doesn't enjoy his own work, then who else will?

I have had a lot of help in the last few weeks. The Compuserve Writers Forum has been a second home for me, and all the wonderful members have taken time and effort to read my offerings and comment on them. And there is an added benefit. One of my favorite author is a mainstay--Diana Galbadon. What more can a reluctant author ask for? Oh yeah, a completed first draft would be nice.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Can You Believe That?

It seems that people actually like my writing! Can you believe that? Yeah, I almost didn't think that anyone would ever enjoy reading anything I wrote. Someone even said I was an imaginative story teller! Can you believe that too?

So, my reluctance is wearing thin lately and I think that if I put my fingers to the keyboard with more diligence than I have in the past I just may finish a first draft. Can you believe that?

I read an excellent blog about silencing ones inner editor. If I silenced my inner editor there would be no one in my head. Really, I am constantly censoring and editing myself, be it thoughts or the written word. Too bad I let words fly out of my mouth without thinking, though. My mouth has gotten me into a mess of trouble over the years. Hey, wait a minute! Get your mind out of the gutter... I didn't mean it that way.  Back to the inner editor, please. Zan Marie wrote this wonderful informative blog on her inner editor. She figured out, after a very nice conversation, that if she offered up the first book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series along with a cup of tea her inner editor would take a take a hike for awhile so she could finish a draft. It was a wonderful bit of writing.

Anyway, that's it... I just wanted to brag.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Arc, What Arc?

I have been working on my writing of a very long time, reluctantly. Now I know why. My WIP is an uncoordinated mess. I found this out from a wonderful new friend who lives in Sydney, Australia. We exchanged bits and then she asked for my whole WIP and that is when I am sure I heard sniggering clear over here in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Don't get me wrong, she is a very polite lady and she didn't come right out and give me a cyber belly laugh, I think I only imagined it, but it was obvious from her emails that my work was not what she expected.

She mentioned that silly word I have heard before but never knew what they were talking about...arc. She pointed out that my WIP lacked arcs of any kind. No story arc, no character arcs and from what I gathered that last one was a biggie. So living up to my blogs name I reluctantly jumped on the old PC and googled my fingers off.

I have seen the error of my ways.

Wrongly under the impression that what I thought people wanted to read was the "life and times" of my historical characters I just blithely typed my heart out. All of my research was great for a thesis project but even a thesis needs a start a middle and of course a conclusion. So I need to go back to square one and take a long hard look at what I have and see if I can salvage any of it. Or, I could just chuck the whole mess and start from scratch. I do know that a whole bunch of new authors never sell their first book because the first one is the mess they put out when they are learning what NOT to write about.

So here I go again. Starting from scratch again, not because my computer died but because what I put on paper was better used for bird cage liner. *loud bone racking sigh* If you are interested in my journey you can follow me because I am going to give you a blow by blow of my process. If this helps even just one person then maybe what I have done will be worth it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Different Decisions

Two different novels, two different feelings, one decision. OK, which is the better book? Which do I like better, whose characters do I feel more sympathetic towards? Ack! I need advice and know not where to turn. I feel that I am imposing on anyone when I ask advice. When I read my work to my mother she scrunches up her face into this tight fist and acts as if I am speaking in a language better left for dogs. Also, the story is not about her so why should she listen after the first sentence anyway? Even when it is about her she seems distracted with her own memories. *Sigh*

Lauren Haney is the author of a series of mysteries set in the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. Her main character is Lt. Bak. She was lucky enough to have a mentor in Dennis Forbes the publisher of KMT magazine. I wish he were my mentor... Another wonderful person is Stephanie Thornton. She just recently had her book picked up by a publisher (actually several publishers bid on the right to publish her books! Woo Hoo! Steph!!!) and she would be a good person to read my tomes, but alas... I feel that she is reluctant due to the fact that she has had to suffer through my writing on Panhistoria. Suffer through... yeah, I don't think much of my writing, do I?

Last but not least is another Panhistoria chum. But I feel he has too many eggs in his basket as it is, adding my omelet would be too much to ask him. Hmmm, there might be one more person to ask. Hey, what is the worst she can say? No?

I just recently dumped a chunk of my Amarna book on an unsuspecting writers forum. I got two critiques, one from a lover of Ancient Egypt and the other by a man who knew not what the heck I was writing about. The first liked my style but thought the chunk needed a chunk of work. The other didn't like my main character and thought the story was hooey. So, there you are, two opinions. *Sigh*

Friday, May 25, 2012

Blog Contests

Just a quick post... my fellow Panhistoria alumnus has just signed a 3-book deal! What a wonderful way to end the winter. Not only that she is having a celebration contest on her blog. Jump over and congratulate her. Her name is Stephanie Thornton and you can look for her book in 2013. I will keep you posted!

Blustery Days and Wild Mares

The wind is whipping it up outside. What is it whipping up you ask? Dust and debris (such as flattened empty cigarette packs, sheets of long ago paid invoices, folded pages of newspapers fluttering about like insane butterflies) to which my horses are having fits about. One mare twirled wildly in her stall banging her head and scraping her face. Poor thing and stupid smoker for just tossing his empty pack of cigarettes in an unsecured trash can. Which brings me to our trash collectors, they are a group of works who want to get their dirty job done with speed and an obvious lack of efficiency; hence the wind blown garbage dance in my stable yard.

The house just rocked from a particularly violent wind blast. Spooky. A once blue sky is now gray with wind born desert dust, yuck. Not fit for man nor beast.

So that gives me the perfect excuse to stay inside to write. And write I have. My novel is perking along nicely, at least the first 20 pages or so. I can't seem to get past editing just those. I look over at the stack of neglected manuscript and then back at my computer screen and all I can do is shrug. I'll get to it, just let me tweak this one sentence...

I have been catching up on reading some of the blogs I follow and most of them this week are concentrating on the first 10 pages of submissions from writers they won't tell us the names of. So I guess my preoccupation with my first 20 pages is OK. Even my best girlfriend wants me to concentrate on my first few pages. So, I am going to follow their advice and slash and burn and swap around sentences and change adjectives and try to keep my writing from being passive... Wish me luck.

Monday, May 14, 2012

New Lease on Life

This is a new day.

I have been sitting staring at the computer screen since 9 o'clock this morning and have accomplished next to nothing. Facebook, Hotmail, Google, Craigslist not withstanding, oh, OK I did email a new friend that I met at the Art Festival in Henderson this past weekend, so I guess you could say I accomplished one thing. I also requested to be her friend on Facebook, two things, and called my mother, three things. It's still next to nothing see?

I spent this past weekend on a huge slab of concrete in the heat surrounded by over 50 other crazy artists drawing with chalk. Why? Didn't you see my last statement? Crazy Artists is what I said, right? Right. And after the 100 degree heat we braved for 2 or 3 days if we weren't crazy before we are stark raving mad now! Bwahahahaha! Anyway we had a wonderful time, I met some wonderful people and reconnected with a few others that I have drawn with in the past, so the weekend was very enjoyable. Another thing it did was fire up my creative juices so I am back to blogging and back to editing my Nefertiti novel and so it have given me a new lease on life. Now all I need are a couple more people to read these words of wit...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Editing and Art Festivals

I printed out my first novel the other day. All 271 double-spaced pages. These pages include all that I have written over the past years on Panhistoria that wonderful site that got me started writing about Nefertiti and my male counterpart Nakht-Set. I have since put aside Nakht-Set's story and have been devoting my time to Nefertiti and her brood. My only problem with that is that I can't seem to get beyond the first draft.

You see, I get so far then go back and start to read what I have written and make corrections. So my first dozen pages are killer but the rest... well, let's just say that there are serious gaps in the narrative.

So that is why I took the time to print it all out. I wanted to have those awful gaps stare me in the face so that I could devote the time and energy to them and leave well enough alone. At least until I have the full first draft complete. Good luck you are probably saying. You see I have the word procrastination tattooed on my forehead. In fact I catch myself talking myself into just forgetting about the whole thing! I think it's a Gemini thing. One side of my brain says "write, write, write," and the other side (the evil twin) says "ah, just go watch TV or play that cool new app on your iPhone!" Even at this very moment I am trying to put down the laptop to go outside and check on my horse... not that I need to, noooo, I just have this problem with sitting and working for more than 10 minutes at a time... attention span of a fruit fly.

The horse is fine. Yeah, I went out and checked on him. It's f'ing hot out there! Las Vegas in May is like any place else in the dog days of summer.

This weekend I have the honor of competing in a Chalk Art Festival. It is here in Henderson which is kinda like a suburb of Las Vegas. This is the third year that they are having it but my first competing. I have been lead to understand that the Rotary Club, which had been the hosts in subsequent years, is not hosting this year. And because of that fact a person that has never put on one of these chalk art thingies is running it. I shudder to think about it. Oh, and I haven't decided on the artwork that I will be drawing. Sigh... Here are my choices:

1. F. Schommer's painting of Alexander Taming Bucephalus. Wonderful BLACK and WHITE (did I say black and white?) copy of Alexander the Great and his big black horse Bucephalus. I want to do this but like I said, it's in black and white and I can't find the original painting anywhere. Nowhere. Nada.

2. William Bouguereau's painting entitled Charity. It's absolutely lovely. Ethereal. Stunning. A glowing woman holding to infants against her breast. Sigh... boring.

3. Sebatiano Ricci's The Fall of Phaeton. Dramatic colorful rendition of Icarus in the sun god's chariot plummeting to earth. It's number 2 on my list but I am afraid that there is too much going on and I would have a difficult time completing it.

Well that is the line up. I'll let you know on Monday what I chose and how I did... Oh, I almost forgot, there will be a People's Choice award. That's where the public votes for the drawing they liked best. But the rub is that it costs one dollar ($1) to vote!!!

See you Monday.