The Beautiful Woman Has Come

The Beautiful Woman Has Come
A Historical Novel by Debra Giuffrida

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.