Victory Is Ours DANCER OF THE NILE Weekend Writing Warriors

better wewriwa???????????????????????????????Continuing on with my paranormal romance set in ancient Egypt…Nima and Kamin have been captured by a caravan master who plans to sell them to the pursuing enemy. Nima challenges the man to a game of senet, with her life and Kamin’s as the stakes and a blood oath between herself and the caravan master that they’ll each honor the outcome. Ptahnetamun, the caravan master, brings out a gameboard and they play, with Kamin, all the caravan workers and many of the caravan passengers watching. Today’s excerpt seems a bit spoiler-y but so many people wanted to see how the game ends…

(Based on my research and my consolidation of the differing views, painted sticks rather than dice were thrown to determine the number of spaces moved by a pawn. My sticks are black-and-white and earlier in the book I explained the points scoring system but basically if a white side is showing when the stick comes to rest, that’s worth one point and the pawn can advance one space. )

…Nima dropped the sticks on the table, much as Ptahnetamun had done a few moments before. As the counters rolled and spun, all eyes following their path across the table, a cold breeze swept across the campsite, causing the fire to dance and flicker eerily. One black side, then one white side to secure half the needed points. Two sticks kept going, tumbling ever more slowly. A white side—one more hard-won point. The fourth stick slid lazily across the table, black side showing, before taking an odd jump, ending on the white side and giving her the needed third point.

                “You won,” Kamin said, half in disbelief.

                Deliberately, touching each square in turn, Nima moved her pawn off the board, saying as she did so,  “Victory is ours.”

VS sez: Ah, but how does Ptahnetamun react?

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I  love and appreciate your comments and feedback every week! Go here  to find all the other Weekend Writing Warriors and read  an amazing variety of  terrific excerpts…

The story:

Egypt, 1500 BCE

DancerOfTheNile_1600x2400Nima’s beauty and skill as a dancer leads an infatuated enemy to kidnap her after destroying an Egyptian border town. However, she’s not the only hostage in the enemy camp: Kamin, an Egyptian soldier on a secret mission for Pharaoh, has been taken as well. Working together to escape, the two of them embark on a desperate quest across the desert to carry word of the enemy’s invasion plans to Pharaoh’s people.

As they flee for their lives, these two strangers thrown together by misfortune have to trust in each other to survive.  Nima suspects Kamin is more than the simple soldier he seems, but she finds it hard to resist the effect he has on her heart.  Kamin has a duty to his Pharaoh to see his mission completed, but this clever and courageous dancer is claiming more of his loyalty and love by the moment. Kamin starts to worry, if it comes to a choice between saving Egypt or saving Nima’s life…what will he do?

Aided by the Egyptian god Horus and the Snake Goddess Renenutet, beset by the enemy’s black magic, can Nima and Kamin evade the enemy and reach the safety of the Nile in time to foil the planned attack?

Can there ever be a happy future together for the humble dancer and the brave Egyptian soldier who is so much more than he seems?

DANCER OF THE NILE, an Amazon Best Seller, is AVAILABLE on Amazon   Barnes & Noble   All Romance eBooks iTunes   Smashwords

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The Game Is On DANCER OF THE NILE Weekend Writing Warriors

better wewriwaContinuing on with my paranormal romance set in ancient Egypt…Nima and Kamin have been captured by a caravan master who plans to sell them to the pursuing enemy. Nima challenges the man to a game of senet, with her life and Kamin’s as the stakes and a blood oath between herself and the caravan master that they’ll each honor the outcome. Ptahnetamun, the caravan master, brings out a gameboard and they play, with Kamin, all the caravan workers and many of the caravan passengers watching. I  thought you might like a glimpse of the game.

Based on my research and my consolidation of the differing views, painted sticks rather than dice were thrown to determine the number of spaces moved by a pawn. My sticks are black-and-white and earlier in the book I explained the points scoring system. Each player has five pawns. I actually played this game between Nima and her opponent several times to make sure I’d gotten the moves and counts right!

              …it seemed the audience admired both the gaming and the cheating skills on display and was content to accept the outcome. The betting odds evened out, although still slightly favoring the caravan master to win.

                Thunder rumbled as Ptahnetamun marched his fourth pawn off the board. His fifth was ten squares back, and Nima passed him by. There was an audible gasp from the crowd as she threw four white sides, sending her next-to-last pawn to safety. Now the game sat with one pawn belonging to each player still on the board. The wily caravan master was a few squares closer to claiming victory, but Nima was gaining on him, until finally both pawns sat crowded on square twenty-six, the House of Happiness, one of the few spaces that could be so shared.

                “Yet only one of us will have happiness within their grasp this night,” Ptahnetamun said.

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I  love and appreciate your comments and feedback every week! Go here  to find all the other Weekend Writing Warriors and read  an amazing variety of  terrific excerpts…

The story:

Egypt, 1500 BCE

Nima’s beauty and skill as a dancer leads an infatuated enemy to kidnap her after destroying an Egyptian border town. However, she’s not the only hostage in the enemy camp: Kamin, an Egyptian soldier on a secret mission for Pharaoh, has been taken as well. Working together to escape, the two of them embark on a desperate quest across the desert to carry word of the enemy’s invasion plans to Pharaoh’s people.

As they flee for their lives, these two strangers thrown together by misfortune have to trust in each other to survive.  Nima suspects Kamin is more than the simple soldier he seems, but she finds it hard to resist the effect he has on her heart.  Kamin has a duty to his Pharaoh to see his mission completed, but this clever and courageous dancer is claiming more of his loyalty and love by the moment. Kamin starts to worry, if it comes to a choice between saving Egypt or saving Nima’s life…what will he do?

Aided by the Egyptian god Horus and the Snake Goddess Renenutet, beset by the enemy’s black magic, can Nima and Kamin evade the enemy and reach the safety of the Nile in time to foil the planned attack?

Can there ever be a happy future together for the humble dancer and the brave Egyptian soldier who is so much more than he seems?

DANCER OF THE NILE, an Amazon Best Seller, is AVAILABLE on Amazon   Barnes & Noble   All Romance eBooks iTunes   Smashwords

                

From the Archives Board Games of 5000 Years Ago

???????????????????????????????Revisiting a post from last summer, on Ancient Egyptian board games, which is timely again because I was talking about my novel WARRIOR OF THE NILE, which was out on  submission at that point. This is the new book I now have coming out from Carina Press in September – SQUEE!.

Here’s how the blog post began (and then there’s an excerpt from WARRIOR, although it may have changed somewhat in final edits) ….

“The Ancient Egyptians worked hard, but also loved to play. They had many leisure pastimes, with board games high on their list.  One of the most famous games is senet, invented over 5000 years ago.  Played with two sets of pawns, some kind of dice and a board with thirty holes, the game was symbolic of the journey of the dead. A player who did really well at this game was considered to be under the protection of a major god or goddess. We don’t know the actual rules any longer, although various scientists have put a lot of effort into coming up with reasonable ideas.

In a [WARRIOR]… my heroine discusses playing senet with the goddess Isis herself (although the movie still below involves Hounds & Jackals).  Please travel here to read more about  the board games and the excerpt from the novel…..

Ann Baxter,actress,movie still from The Ten Commandments

Board Games of 5000 Years Ago

The Ancient Egyptians worked hard, but also loved to play. They had many leisure pastimes, with board games high on their list.  One of the most famous games is senet, invented over 5000 years ago.  Played with two sets of pawns, some kind of dice and a board with thirty holes, the game was symbolic of the journey of the dead. A player who did really well at this game was considered to be under the protection of a major god or goddess. We don’t know the actual rules any longer, although various scientists have put a lot of effort into coming up with reasonable ideas.

In a Tale of the Nile novel I have out on submission right now, my heroine discusses playing senet with the goddess Isis herself. Here’s the excerpt (Khenet, one of Pharoah’s warriors, is the hero):

Isis returned to her contemplation of the game board. “Do you play senet?”

Startled, Tiya didn’t quite know what to say so she kept silent.

Picking up one of the major pieces, the goddess slanted a sideways glance at her. “I ask because life is much the same. I pose you a question – what outcomes are possible in senet?” She tossed the piece to Tiya.

Automatically, she cupped her hands to prevent the elaborately carved piece from falling to the ground. “Win, lose or draw, Great One.” Tiya glanced at the small token in her hand and gasped. The face was unmistakably Khenet’s, carved in great detail, even down to the scar on his cheek and the tattoo on his upper arm.

“Exactly,” Isis was saying. “Arriving at any one of the outcomes involves many game pieces, deployed in a vast array of choices. You and this Khenet are game pieces. Harsh for a mortal to hear, but true.”  Shaking her head slightly, beads in her elaborate wig chiming, the goddess held out her hand for the pawn. Taking a step forward Tiya reluctantly set the piece upright in Isis’s palm. For a heartbeat, the queen studied the pawn’s face, before returning it to a position among the ranks of other pawns.

In another work in progress I’m still editing, the heroine plays a different, high stakes game with a wily caravan master. They play hounds and jackals, which seems to be an early version of our snakes and ladders. The object was to get your five pieces around the palm tree “course” and all safely onto the eternity hieroglyph first. I have a feeling you could probably send other players back to the start, depending on how the dice fell, but again, we don’t really know. The game pieces are irresistible though!

And then there was mehen, named for a great serpent who protects the sun god Ra as he makes his journey. This game is also about 5000 years old, played on a board shaped like a snake. The pieces may have been shaped like lions and lionesses, and there may have been dice or small stone balls like marbles.  The serpent was segmented into “spaces” and it is believed as many as six people could play. Over time, the game fell out of favor, possibly due to an increasing belief by the Egyptians that the segmentation of the snake on the game board might actually be hurting or killing the “real” Mehen snake who guarded Ra, thus endangering the daily rising of the Sun.

Parker Brothers never had to worry about things like that with their games! Monopoly and Risk were always big favorites at our house, though we usually gave up before anyone declared a decisive victory. Scrabble and Parcheesi  are the other, quicker games we play. I think the Ancient Egyptians would get the point of any of today’s games rather quickly and join right in!

What’s your favorite board game? What would you invite visitors from the past to sit down and play?