Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /hermes/bosnaweb04a/b2656/ipw.hollygra/corrina/wp-content/themes/mytheme/category.php on line 3
Corrina Lawson: Writer, Mom, Geek & Superhero » Eagle of Seneca

Eagle of Seneca


Dinah of Seneca by Corrina Lawson, alternate history, Romans, Vikings

Dinah of Seneca is now available in ebook form at Amazon, B&N, and my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, for $2.99.

This is great news for me for many reasons. And now I’m going to plead to you to give the book a chance at the lower price and why you should. :)

It’s my first very sale and thus, it holds an incredibly special place in my heart. It’s a book with a premise so unusual I had been told it would never sell at all. And it’s inspired by two disparate but favorite stories of mine, Birds of Prey from DC Comics (writers Chuck Dixon & Gail Simone) and Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan SF series.

The unusual premise?

The Roman Empire of this tenth century stretches from Russia in the East to a new continent in the West. But a new continent brings new threats to their rule. The Roman garrison in Seneca, located in modern-day New York, lacks the supplies and men needed to defeat an alliance of native Mahicans and immigrant Vikings.
Dinah, a former slave trained in espionage, had hoped Seneca would be the start of a new life. Instead, she’d pulled back into war. If Seneca is to survive, Dinah must reconcile her allegiance to Rome with her chance to create her own destiny in the New World with Gerhard, the Viking Chief.

Yes, I put Romans in North America, after extending their Empire an additional 500 years. This idea has been rolling around in my head every since I was a teenager and read S.P. Somtow’s Aquila series, in which a Sioux chief continually outwitted a Roman governor. A new Aquila story was one of the joys of getting Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in the mailbox when I was growing up.

And..Vikings? Well, they had been in the New World even in reality. I just moved them south a little bit.

Why? Because there are a fascinating contrast. Romans are a very patriarchal, rigid society, and Vikings were far more democratic and equal between the genders than is generally realized. Add to that the matriarchal society of the Native Americans, who had mixed with my wandering Viking raiders, and the cultural contrasts and conflicts offered a huge canvas for me as a writer.

And it’s a nice parallel to Britain around 500 A.D. as the leftover Romans, invading Saxons, and Celtic tribes vied for supremacy. Yes, it occurred to me I could riff on the Arthurian myth in some ways.

But that’s just the background. It’s the character of Dinah who I adore and who sometimes breaks my heart.

Dinah was named after Dinah Laurel Lance (Black Canary) of DC Comics, because I loved her mix of strength and connection to family. My Dinah begins the book lost and alone. She’s escaped slavery to create a new life for herself but she hasn’t truly escaped the past, as she pins her hopes on belonging to the man who helped her escape, Tabor, the local Roman commander. But Tabor is her patron, not her love, and Dinah soon finds out to truly belong somewhere, she had to reject the society she hoped to join.

Dinah is physically brave but emotionally terrified because she’s never had a true home and wants one so badly.

Then there’s Gerhard, the sometimes sullen Viking chief who decides Dinah was sent by his gods to be with him. He has good reasons for thinking the gods have done exactly this but he’s patient enough to let events play out and prove to Dinah that he’s right. Or maybe that’s just his excuse for falling in love with her after she spies on his camp.  Gerhard is somewhat of a mystery to me. He never gets a point of view and I’m sure he likes it that way.

That’s where Bujold’s stories come in because another idea behind this was “What if two Aral Vorkosigans existed in the same place but on opposite sides?” And that’s where the Roman Tabor and the Viking Gerhard come in. Enemies? Allies? Can they trust each other?

Dinah and Gerhard’s love story was a joy to write because neither of them rely on words. It’s all actions and when they commit, it’s solid and unyielding, even if it takes time and fightings through a literal army for each other to cement that commitment.

Also, I got to write a big old-fashioned medieval battle with Romans, Vikings and Native Americans involved, made some stuff blow up, delved a bit into ancient steampunk with the somewhat more advanced Roman technology, and there’s a moment near the end that surprised and delighted me, a calvary arriving just in time thing that I didn’t even know was coming and I love every time I re-read it. Oh, and there is a somewhat R/X rated fertility ritual scene that I should either warn or encourage you to read. :)

So, those are all the reasons why I love the story.

I cannot guarantee you’ll love reading it–I actually hate making a book sales pitch saying “it’s awesome, you’ll love it,” because reader taste is so very individual. But I hope you’ll give it a try, especially for $2.99. I feel such dedication to these characters and I would love to see them reach a wider audience because they deserve it.

Oh, and I have two upcoming comic stories set in the Seneca universe. One will be out in May,  features Tabor, and takes place after the events of the book.  You can see the first page below! So the Seneca-verse lives and will continue to live, either in novel or comic form. (The second book is Eagle of Seneca, details on my book page on this site.)

The second comic story is a prequel to the book and details how Dinah & Tabor ended up exiled from Europe and in the new world. No stuff blowing up there but I did manage a pitched battle and a little bit of nasty knife-work. :)  I can’t wait to see the pages on that.

 

 

I hope if I say that five times fast, it doesn’t automatically disappear. :)

It will be the second All-Women’s issue of The Gathering Anthology from Greyhaven comics. And, no, not co-writing or anything with Gail, just taking pages in the same book.

My story is yet another short tale from my alternate history Seneca series. It has its origins in a short tale I wrote as part of an exercise years ago on the just cherry writers yahoo loop. Essentially, it’s a character study of Tabor, the Roman commander of Seneca.

The art is by the lovely Romina Santana. I especially love the borders. It’s a four-page story in total.

Tabor is the one character in the Seneca series who never gets a point of view but he keeps haunting my thoughts. So, since I thought it would be fun, I present the short story that the comic is based on. (And Tabor haunts my thoughts so much that my next tale will feature him and Dinah, in the untold story of how they both ended up in Seneca.)

****************************

The Healing
Tabor rapped on the door, applying too much force for a polite knock. As he intended, the door swung open, and the ropes holding the door together creaked against the wood frame.

Gladys rushed the few feet from the cooking area to the door. Her hand went to her mouth in shock. “Lord Tabor, I didn’t expect you…”

He took advantage of her discomfiture to walk through the doorway, forcing her to step backward. Her face was a mixture of awe and apprehension and her hands rubbed her deerskin dress, flicking off dust that was not there.

Tabor let the door swing shut behind him and watched Gladys, to see how fast she would collect herself. The inside of the home was as modest as the outside, built along the lines of a long house favored by the People, a style adopted by many of the poorer Romans of Seneca.

So, Gladys was not doing this to enrich herself. A misguided compassion? A need to feel important? It would be important to determine which.

The woman straightened and pushed a stringy hair away from her face. “I’m honored, Lord. What may I do for you?”

Her gaze shifted from him to the shelves above her wooden dining table. “May I get you something? Something to warm you?”

Tabor brushed snow off the cloak that was flung over his shoulders. “A seat by the fire will do, thank you.”

Gladys pulled a stool from under her table, trying to shield the shelving with her body. The rumor was true, Tabor decided. He would have to be careful to not give away himself.

She took his cloak from him and hung it on a hook, all the while sucking on her lower lip, perhaps biting down words she wanted to say. Courtesy, of course, demanded that she wait for him. And he intended to make her wait.

He settled himself on the stool, legs out in front of him, crossed at the ankles. He let the heat from the fire chase away the chill before turning away from the flames to Gladys.

“What may I do for you, lord?” she said.

“You know why I am here.” Let her hang herself.

She rubbed her hands together. “I don’t understand what I do has to do with you?”

He snapped to attention, knocking over the stool as he did so. “I am the one responsible for the safety of Seneca. Safety which you endanger.” He advanced a step and she shrunk back, as if trying to blend in with the wall. He was terrifying her. Good, because what she was doing terrified him.

“What you are doing is unauthorized.”

She pushed herself away from the wall, causing small bits of soil to fall to the floorboards. “I am helping. And I cannot see how providing medicine to those who are ill is wrong.” She jerked her chin up, defiance warring with fear.

“You are a fool if you cannot see what is wrong.” He crossed his arms. “There is a reason I do not allow unauthorized trading with the People.”

“Because you wish to have all the wealth to yourself.” She pointed a long finger at him.

He smiled. This was better, far better. He much preferred her angry than afraid. “No. Because the balance between Seneca and the People is…” He walked over and put a hand on the edge of her shelf, where she presumably kept her ill-gotten medications, “…precarious. You may think your trading for medicine only helps those who are sick. But if the People do not trust us. That is why the trade is regulated.” He picked up a ceramic jar, curled his hands around the base. “If you cheat them, they will complain. It could tip us back into war.”

He tossed the jar up into the air. She gasped, would have run forward to catch it. But he put out one arm to prevent her, and caught it with his other. She whimpered and he placed the jar on the table.

“No more,” he said.

“I need to-”

“Stop this.” He gestured with his hand, taking in the whole of her small home. “I could have sent the garrison soldiers in here, ruined your home, confiscated your medicine, left you with nothing.”

She moved past him, snatched the jar and held it to her. “And what do you leave me with now?”

“Your health. And the promise of your trading being authorized, if you will let me take your supply to my physician, to verify that it does help and not hurt.” He took a deep breath and spread his hands in front of him. “You must give it all to me.”

Her fingers gripped the jar, almost to the point of breaking it. “That is your offer?”

“No, that is my order. And the next one will be to take what you have by force.”

“And what is this?” Her shoulders hunched forward, her arms went around the jar even more, as if trying to conceal or cover it completely.

“It is myself, as Lord of Seneca, asking for your trust, and for your word to follow my law. If you cannot do that, then your unauthorized trading could be a fatal offense.” He stepped forward, placing both hands on her shoulders, careful to offer comfort, not violence. “I have kept Seneca safe while its’ children
grow. Trust me that I have your best interests at heart.” Trust me, so I do not have to hurt you. And so I do not have to confess all to you.

Gladys shuddered, but uncoiled herself from the jar. Her fingers slid free as he took it.

She stood in silence as he put his cloak back on. He walked past her, took another jar from the shelf, the match to the one he already possessed.

He nodded to her. “I will send word if you may continue.” He turned to leave.

“My lord?”

“Yes?”

“Your wife is very ill, is she not?”

Tabor shook his shoulders, so his cloak fell around him. “Yes. She is.”

Gladys clasped her hands together, fingernails digging into her skin. “Then why did you not simply ask?”

“Because what you are doing is very dangerous.” He turned again to leave, thought better of it, and turned back to face her. “And because to ask is not my way.”

If you’re interested in that sort of thing. :)

Zita Christian, the host, is a member of my local Romance Writer’s of America group and put me at ease right away.

Hey,

I’m  usually so slammed with writing posts for GeekMom and GeekDad that I don’t get a chance to do guest posts on a blog tour. But I managed to get this one and there’s a giveaway of Eagle of Seneca involved, so check out Where Do My Mixed Up Genre Ideas Come From?

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Eagle of Seneca by Corrina Lawson

Eagle of Seneca

by Corrina Lawson

Giveaway ends January 31, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

I’ve also got a small giveaway going on at Gail Simone’s forums on Brian Bendis’ Jinxworld. You just have to pop into the thread to enter.

Leonard Da Vinci's flying machine, the inspiration for Ceti's aquila

I’ve been remiss about publicity for Eagle of Seneca, absorbed in finishing the GeekMom book. So this is going to be my BSP week for what I’ve been calling my ancient steampunk story. And this scene, the first with Ceti in this book, illustrates why.

*******************
“Ceti, doesn’t what happened to this man worry you?” Gaius pointed to a headless figure resting against the outside wall of the engineer’s workshop. “A person would have been killed.”

“A person would have been able to land the aquila properly,” Ceti said, grinning. He felt like whistling. The last test flight had almost been perfect. He’d strapped the straw man, packed with heavy metal, into the aquila to test the effect of its weight on the flight. His creation had glided in the wind perfectly, even with the added burden of a person.

Well, the replica of a person.

“The wings handled the load just fine. And unlike the straw man, I’ll be able to control the aquila on the way down,” Ceti said.

“He lost his head,” Gaius answered.

“His head was sewn on. Mine better attached.”

**********************

Those who’ve read Dinah of Seneca will recognize Ceti, who’s a bit older and wiser now.

 

 

Born under a comet, Sky of the Lenape Wolf Clan tries

to live up to the destiny prophesied for her, but so far
she can’t understand what the gods want. When Ceti,
an engineer from the Roman colony of Mannahatta, literally
falls at her feet, Sky sees this as a sign and claims him.

 

Ceti is charged with protecting Mannahatta from an invasion.
The Emperor has sent his Imperial Fleet to bring the breakaway
colony back under his control, and Ceti sees a new test glider
as the key to victory—until it crashes and forever changes his fate.

Love may be enough for Ceti and Sky to overcome their personal
differences. But forging their two peoples into a force to fight
the Imperial Fleet means risking all, including their hearts.
Will it be enough?

Now available at The Wild Rose Press in print or as an ebook or at Amazon.


Woot!!! :)

I’ll be doing a giveaway next week in a few different places but I can’t let the release day go by without thanking Toni Andrews, Kristan Higgins and Dee Clancy, who helped me plot the book out one busy weekend.

And especially to Kristin for making me a t-shirt that says “And so Princess Fiery Wo-Ha lead her people to the Sacred Woo-Woo, thus saving their pathetic lives.”

Even if I did change the plot a little bit from that.

I couldn’t resist putting in a warrior using a glider to divebombing a battleship while tossing hand grenades instead.

And as the above sentence implies, there’s definitely an ancient steampunk feel to this book that makes it different than the first Seneca story.

Born under a comet, Sky of the Lenape Wolf Clan tries to live up to the destiny prophesied for her, but so far she can’t understand what the gods want. When Ceti, an engineer from the Roman colony of Mannahatta, literally falls at her feet, Sky sees this as a sign and claims him.

Ceti is charged with protecting Mannahatta from an invasion. The Emperor has sent his Imperial Fleet to bring the breakaway colony back under his control, and Ceti sees a new test glider as the key to victory—until it crashes and forever changes his fate.

Love may be enough for Ceti and Sky to overcome their personal differences. But forging their two peoples into a force to fight the Imperial Fleet means risking all, including their hearts. Will it be enough?

And look, it matches the Dinah cover so nicely!

Dinah of Seneca

This is the sequel to Dinah of Seneca, set in the same alternate universe where the Roman Empire survived to colonize North America. This one takes place mostly on ancient Manhattan:

Born under a comet, Sky of the Lenape Wolf Clan tries to live up to the destiny prophesied for her, but
so far she can’t understand what the gods want. When Ceti, an engineer from the Roman colony of
Mannahatta, literally falls at her feet, Sky sees this as a sign and claims him.

Ceti is charged with protecting Mannahatta from an invasion. The Emperor has sent his Imperial Fleet to bring the breakaway colony back under his control, and Ceti sees a new test glider as the key to victory—until it crashes and forever changes his fate.

Love may be enough for Ceti and Sky to overcome their personal differences. But forging their two peoples into a force to fight the Imperial Fleet means risking all, including their hearts. Will it be enough?

*******************

For those that read Dinah, many familiar faces appear. For those of you that read Freya’s Gift, well, fifteen years have passed and it seems at least one of those conceived in that story is ready to begin his journey.

And for fun:

Yes, my favorite Roman General is back in this book too….

If There Was Movie, Tabor Would So Be Russell Crowe