steampunk, steampunk detective, steampunk romance, Sherlock Holmes, female WatsonRelease Day is here! ::Takes a moment to Snoopy Dance::

The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, a romantic steampunk history, is the culmination of a dream I had as a teenager when first read Hound of the Baskervilles and hoped I could write characters as fascinating as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

You can buy it at Samhain Publishing, Amazon, B&N, and any of your electronic bookstores.

Not being Arthur Conan Doyle, my idea for a Victorian mystery ended up quite differently, with a dash of magic, technology and an strong element of romance.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes form the book, a classic “detective meets client” scene with a little dash of sexual tension.

Bookshelves covered the walls, their dark color matched by the huge throw rug on the floor that was decorated with swirling Oriental-style designs against a black background. In the center sat a comfortable sitting couch with matching chairs on either side.

Gregor Sherringford was not as indifferent to his surroundings as he had first appeared. She could certainly picture him here, curled up with a book, his dark hair falling in front of his eyes. A pleasing image.

She heard the door close behind her. She turned, her face full of color. She had no reason to be embarrassed, but she was.

“Why did you not tell me to wait here at the beginning, sir?” she asked.

“It is interesting to see how people react to the workroom. If they are appalled or otherwise react badly, then they’re not people worthy of my time.” He hung his leather apron on a coatrack and rolled down his sleeves. “And I was in the middle of an experiment.”

“I do not much like trusting my future to someone who tests me like that.”

“And I don’t like being interrupted by someone ill-mannered enough to snap at me. If you wish to leave, you know where the door is located.”

She reluctantly shook her head and kept a firm grip on her tongue. If she could keep her temper with her father, she could keep it now. “What I wish is to have had no need to come to you, sir, but that is sadly not the case.”

“I’m clearly your choice of last resort. That would not be unusual among my clients.” He smiled thinly, as he had a moment ago in his workroom. “Please, stop glaring at me, Miss Krieger, and have a seat. We will both be more comfortable. Also, no more calling me sir. Mr. Sherringford will do.”

“I was not…” She cleared her throat. She had not been glaring. She had been studying him. In this setting, he belonged. The softer light burnished his hair and skin, as some silks glowed in certain candlelight. Now, she could well imagine him a gallant romantic hero as well as a champion. “I suppose I was glaring. My apologies. I have never done anything like this before. It has me off-balance.” She clutched her pendant tight as she sat down. “How much do you charge, sir?”

“That depends,” he said. “On how much I can afford to pay?” she asked. He drew his eyebrows together. She had angered him somehow. Again. “It depends on your problem. I have valuable work, as you saw. I dislike interrupting

it.” was like trying to get a proper measurement off a squirming customer.

“So it must be a problem that can be solved quickly?” Trying to sort out what he meant was like trying to get a proper measurement off a squirming customer.

“On the contrary, only a complicated problem would be worth setting aside my other matters. As to the fee, if it presents a proper challenge, I will waive it.”

“Excuse me? Usually, more work means a higher fee, not a lower one.”

“So I have been told. But those are my terms.” He looked at her and opened his palm, clearly signaling the next move was hers. “You definitely seem like a person who might have a worthy case. Thus my interest in hearing you out.”

She had an unsettling feeling that he was as interested in her and why she had come to him for help as he was in the problem itself. To him, she might be like one of his experiments, something to be examined and studied. Did he have feelings underneath his cool demeanor?

“I am not certain if my problem is complicated. My mother believes I could be imagining it. Or even losing my mind. Yet there is still a woman dead, and I want to know how she died.”

Official blurb:

Magic—and love—balanced on the tip of a needle…

The Steampunk Detectives, Book 1

Magic existed at the fringes until Prince Albert discovered he was a mage. Now he and others like him are leading a revolution in steam technology that’s held tight in the grip of the upper classes.

A man of half-Indian heritage, rejected by his upper-crust, mage-gifted family, Gregor Sherringford lives in working-class London, investigating cases involving magic among the lower classes. But he’s never met a client quite like spirited, stubborn Joan Krieger.

Joan’s dream was to lead a fashion revolution designing women’s clothing suited to the new technology. But when her richest client mysteriously dies outside her shop, it deals a mortal blow to her dreams.

She hopes the handsome, enigmatic detective can prove the death a magical murder. She never expected a dark plot would be woven right into the fabric of her family. Or that cracking the case will mean merging gifts, minds—and hearts—with the one man who could be her partner in every way. If they survive the release of a soul-binding curse.

 

 

steampunk, steampunk detective, steampunk romance, Sherlock Holmes, female Watson

The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, available at Samhain Publishing, Amazon, B&N and other ebook stores!

Magic—and love—balanced on the tip of a needle…

The Steampunk Detectives, Book 1

Magic existed at the fringes until Prince Albert discovered he was a mage. Now he and others like him are leading a revolution in steam technology that’s held tight in the grip of the upper classes.

A man of half-Indian heritage, rejected by his upper-crust, mage-gifted family, Gregor Sherringford lives in working-class London, investigating cases involving magic among the lower classes. But he’s never met a client quite like spirited, stubborn Joan Krieger.

Joan’s dream was to lead a fashion revolution designing women’s clothing suited to the new technology. But when her richest client mysteriously dies outside her shop, it deals a mortal blow to her dreams.

She hopes the handsome, enigmatic detective can prove the death a magical murder. She never expected a dark plot would be woven right into the fabric of her family. Or that cracking the case will mean merging gifts, minds—and hearts—with the one man who could be her partner in every way. If they survive the release of a soul-binding curse.

—Almost here!

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

I’ve been intently watching Vikings on the History Channel this year. They’ve upped the storytelling a great deal, though it remains a very dense show. There isn’t a clear-cut hero but Ragnor, the lead Viking, is infinitely interesting as are many of the cast.

Plus, I just love the storyworld, not the least because I immersed myself in Viking culture to write Dinah of Seneca. One of the key scenes in my book features an alliance wedding with an exchange of swords, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to see something similar on television last night.

So I thought I’d share my own scene. Note: this is alternate history, where the Vikings and the Romans both ended up in North America.

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

“Do we need a priest?” she said, licking her lips.What, she wondered, would it be like to bed this man? Not easy or tender. Intense. Passionate.

Gerhard shook his head. “A marriage among my people consists of vows before at least three witnesses. We have more than enough witnesses.”

She nodded and tried to stare anywhere but at his face. She settled for staring at the laces of his wool tunic. A cruel joke of the gods to give her exactly what she’d prayed for, a husband, in exactly a manner she would fear the most. Gerhard took her hand, his sword calluses rubbing against her raw skin.

She raised her head and made contact with his blue eyes again. Caught.

“Repeat after me.”

She did her best to mimic his words. Their language was rough and sounded angry to her ears, rather than smooth and careful like Latin. In the silence, their voices echoed around the cavern. Gerhard said the oaths first in his language, insisted she do the same, then explained them for her in Latin, so she understood the promises. She agreed to care for him, despite good or bad circumstances, and he agreed to care for any children of her body. That was worded oddly and her tongue stumbled over the  phrase.

Her skin grew warmer, her voice clearer as the ceremony went on. She had never considered what her wedding could be like. She’d pictured her marriage beginning as her new husband and she moved into the same home, an arrangement that would be legally recognized, ceremony or not.

This was more.

It seemed another presence entered the cavern, Freya or one of the other Norse gods that Gerhard had called on to bless their union or perhaps one of he New World spirits who still lived close to this cave. Their presence made the ceremony a sacred  oath-bond, a bond that tightened around her chest, threatening to choke off breath.

Yet if she was bound, would not Gerhard be as well? Mykle said something from his place, a few paces behind Gerhard. Gerhard snapped his head to look at Mykle. They scowled at each other. Mykle said something, his voice lower but more sneering.  Gerhard raised his voice and chopped his hand in front of him. Even she understood the “cease and desist” in that gesture. Mykle shook his head but didn’t talk again. The other warriors lowered their heads or looked away from Mykle.

So, some among Gerhard’s tribe opposed this marriage. They were probably as displeased about Gerhard marrying a Roman as she was about marrying a barbarian. Again, why had Gerhard done this? He could have just agreed to the alliance or even slaughtered her and the rest of the Romans. Or slaughtered the rest and taken her.Sacred oath-bound or deception? She did not know which was worse.

An odd silence fell as Gerhard turned back to her, his expression now blank. There was so much about this that she didn’t understand. “Dinah.” Gerhard cleared his throat. “Listen.” She blinked her eyes and nodded. Gerhard said a word that sounded like “mother,” which rooted her firmly back in reality. He bowed to her, took out his sword and offered it to her, hilt first.

“It is custom among our people that the wife receive the husband’s sword, to hold in keeping for their eldest son.”

His face filled with a sudden hope, which died so soon Dinah wondered if she’d imagined it. Her hand shook as she closed it over the jeweled hilt. Good workmanship, there, she thought. Someone had set the gems in far enough that they wouldn’t interfere with wielding the sword. And the blade was steel. Gerhard’s people had been wealthy once, to trade with Romans for steel.

After a moment, Gerhard took his hand off the sword, raising his eyebrow to her. She could end this right now if she wanted, she knew enough about handling swords to run him through.But this sword was for a son. A family.

Your sons will be kings.Flee or stand? The choice was now.

Here’s the full episode of the NickMom show, Take Me To Your Mother, in which comedian Andrea Rosen talks to other moms about how to geek out.

You’ll see me, in full geek mode as Lois Lane, about halfway through but the whole episode is a lot of fun, with Andrea taking her son to a museum, meeting us comic geeks, and LARPing!

Take Me To Your Mother

Yes, in my head, the hero of Ghost Phoenix looked liked this in his original time period

He is pretty, isn’t he? For those who don’t recognize him, that’s Tom (Loki) Hiddleston in “The Hollow Crown” Shakespeare series. More specifically, that’s him playing Henry V in Henry V.

Ghost Phoenix‘s hero, Richard Genet (aka Prince Richard, Duke of York), is a close cousin to Henry V of England. So he could totally look like this, right?

Right!

And that’s part of the big sale news I have for everyone. Over the next twelve months, I’m going to release FOUR books.

The already mentioned The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, a romantic steampunk detective story, on April 29th.

And then…

Ghost Phoenix, out on October 7 this year.

Richard Genet is the hero, an immortal prince disgusted with his immortal court and currently mellowing out as a surfer dude. Marian Doyle is the heroine, the latest in a long line of Doyles blessed with the ability to walk through walls. Together, they go on a quest to heal Richard’s dying Queen and instead become embroiled in the clash between the Phoenix Institute and an unknown and very dangerous enemy.

Ghosts of Christmas Past, due out November 25th this year.

Charlton City Police Detective. Aloysius James and Noir are back fighting crime. After meeting and defeating the mad scientist who tortured Noir aka Lucy in Luminous, the couple finds their relationship at a crossroads during the Christmas season. A murder at a local museum doesn’t help, nor does the fact that one of Lucy’s new friends is the main suspect. It’s going to take a little inspiration by Charles Dickens to solve the crime and keep them together. Oh, and some pie.

Phoenix Inheritance  due March 3, 2015.

After taking a trip across half of Europe in Ghost Phoenix, I thought it was time to pull the series back to something more personal. This book’s hero is Daz Montoya, the head of the Phoenix Institute F-team and the man who taught Alec Farley about honor. Daz is determined to get back with the mother of his son but their nasty break-up plus their son’s insistence that he can telepathically talk to animals is causing some serious problems with Daz’s romantic plan. Throw in one nasty snowstorm, an arrogant cat, and two search-and-rescue dogs and…well, this may turn out to be my most personal story yet.

All except Curse are part of the Phoenix Institute superhero romance series, which already includes Phoenix Rising, Phoenix Legacy and Luminous.

And, yes, I did a ton of writing last year. Hope to match that this year and have news of more sales down the line to tell you all about!

 

Yes, I’ve been absent. My youngest son has had a recurrence of a serious chronic illness and we’ve been dealing with multiple doctors and hospitals for the last two months. He’s stable now and hopefully will remain so.

Which brings me to my first item.

That same son has a four-page story in this anti-bullying comic: You Are Not Alone.

This can be purchased at Grayhaven’s website and I believe if you’re a school or non-profit, Grayhaven will be able to supply some free copies. So proud of this kid! :) :)

And, well, if you’re at the Grayhaven site, you might also want to look at this Steampunk comic.

There’s a story in there featuring the hero of the upcoming The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, plus 38 more pages of great steampunk stories.

Be back tomorrow with more news of upcoming books! :)

I first realized that some writers, by only using a few words here and there, can create scenes that basically exist just in the reader’s imagination.

So I’m musing on exactly how to do that over at the Savvy Author’s Blog today!

This is an intense kind of book, so I searched for a scene to reflect that without giving away too many spoilers, yet still make sense without a ton of context. Alas, that meant the sex scene was right out. :)

But this is just as charged a scene, if in an different way. Philip is so very messed up. Maybe that’s why I adore him so much. :) This is about halfway through the book, where Philip and Del, the heroine, finally confront their shared past.

Obligatory BSP sales link: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/corrina-lawson-pa-1341.html

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

He closed the door behind him carefully. She stood and stared at him. He stared back. His face had no expression. But she could tell.

He knew.

She drew out the gun and pointed it at him. “Over here. Kneel next to the chair.” Her hand was shaking but her voice was steady.

He did as she asked. She stood behind him, gun at his temple. “You know why I’m doing this.”

“I know, Lily,” he said.

She walked around to face him. “Don’t you dare call me that.”

“Lily.” He stared at her. “You grew up to be so beautiful.”

Philip saw the blow coming. He made no move to avoid it. He’d goaded her into it. He wanted her to hit him. He deserved it.
The gun barrel smashed into his cheek. He fell forward to his knees and felt the blood trickle down his face. Pain exploded across that whole side of his head. She hadn’t held back. It was possible she’d even cracked his cheekbone.

“Why didn’t you kill me?” he whispered. “You should.”

She grabbed his collar to make certain they were face to face. Tears were running down her cheeks. She’d bitten through her lower lip. Blood dripped from her chin.

“You should kill me, Lily. I murdered them.”

She hit him again, lower this time. He felt his jawbone crack. He toppled sideways and his shoulder hit the floor with a thud.

“Why? That’s what I’ve wanted to know all these years. Why did you kill them? Why, Hawk?”

Philip blinked, trying to clear his vision, trying to focus past the pain to call on the healing power. Oh, God, this was good, the best pain yet. Agony and ecstasy flowed together, became one, became perfect. He curled into himself, every nerve singing, hiding his erection from her.

Half of him wanted her to hit him again, to keep the glorious agony coming. The other half wished she would finish it, end his existence once and for all.

His vision cleared. He felt the tingling of inner warmth as his power kicked in. She stood over him, the gun pointed directly at his forehead. She wanted to lance her anger, lance the pain of the loss of her parents and put it behind her once and for all.

He’d give that to her. It was all he had left to give.

“Lily—”

He couldn’t speak further. His jaw seemed locked shut. She put the gun under his chin. He offered no resistance.

“Don’t call me that. You have no right to call me that,” she said again.

“I know.”

He closed his eyes, concentrating. He knew a few moves that might disarm her. He had the gun in an ankle holster. A head butt would work and hurt her more than him. He could do a body slam that would knock them both into the wall and loosen her hold on her gun. But she might get hurt with either of those moves. He might hurt the child growing inside her. Her son. His son.

He couldn’t risk hurting her, not when he’d hurt her so much already.

“Delilah,” he whispered. “End it.”

She backed up a step, staring at the blood on the floor. She blinked away the tears in her eyes. In the last few months, she’d been medically raped, been the victim of an attempted kidnapping, been involved in a car chase and torn away from her home. And now a nightmare from her past had re-entered her life. People had killed under less stress and for far less reason. At least all this would be over now. He closed his eyes, ready for the bullet.

“Talk. Open your damned eyes. I need to know why you killed them,” she said.

”It doesn’t matter. You should kill me.”

“I can’t kill you until I have answers.”

Hell. He didn’t want to look at her. The way she stared at him, with those dark eyes, she seemed the same little girl who’d trusted him. Better, he thought, for her to be angry with him than to believe the people she had loved most in the world had planned to murder her.

“I went crazy. They were in between me and my stepfather.”

“No.” She knelt next to him, the gun carelessly held in her limp hand. “If you had gone crazy, you’d have killed him first.”

Him. His stepfather. The leader of their little clan. He’d terrorized them all, but Del’s parents had at least protected their little girl from his physical wrath.

“Why, Hawk? I have to know. I have to know.”

“No, you don’t.”

First, don’t forget to enter the Goodreads contest!

And if you go over to the Samhain Romance Book Club Facebook page, there’s a chance to win a $15 Amazon certificate by posting a comment on the post about my new print release.

Blurb:

Philip Drake is immortal by virtue of a psychic power that heals all but the worst injuries. He’s needed every bit of it as a black ops agent, a life so violent that the line between pain and pleasure is tangled up in his head.

When he walks away from the CIA, the last thing he expects is to discover someone stole his DNA to create a race of super-healers. And that the expectant mother is a woman from his past who’d consider it her pleasure to spit on his grave.

One moment, Delilah Sefton is listening to a seriously hot, seriously deranged man giving her some half-baked explanation as to why she’s pregnant with no memory of how she got that way. The next, armed men swarm into her bar, and she and Mr. Sexy-Crazy are on the run.

Safety at the Phoenix Institute is only temporary, but it’s long enough to put the pieces together. A madman plans to steal her son in a plot to take over the world. And to stop him, she must learn to trust the baby’s father—a man she blames for her greatest loss.

Warning: This novel contains fast cars (that are driven), numerous guns (that are shot), a hero who prefers pain over love, and a heroine determined to fight for those she loves.

Four and a half star out of five fromNight Owl Reviews!

“A wonderfully entertaining rollercoaster read that conjures up the fantastical worlds explored in comic books yet provides a romance between unconventional characters.”

Buy it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Samhain Publishing.

EXCLUSIVE  EXCERPT: This is Philip talking to Alec Farley, the hero of Phoenix Rising, the first book in the series. Philip is less than thrilled that his foster daughter is in love with Alec. They’re very different people, and I love that this scene shows the difference between them. You should be able to read both books independently but this should be fun for those who’ve read Phoenix Rising.

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

“You need lessons in extreme.” The firestarter was powerful, smart and he wanted to do the right thing. He’d changed the name of the Resource—which he’d inherited from his adoptive father Richard Lansing—to the Phoenix Institute to signal a new start for the place that had effectively held him captive all his life.

Alec intended to find and help children like him use their power responsibly. It was an excellent, noble goal. But Alec had been raised in a vacuum, essentially isolated from the rest of the world. It made him more than naive on a few subjects.

“Someone is using your DNA to create a race of superbabies, and you think taking an undocumented driving route is extreme? Not to mention the CIA might be monitoring me or you. Whoever kept this genetics lab running after Lansing’s death could be doing the same. And there’s still the matter of those watchers out there from an unknown source that you sensed on the container ship job. Aside from the one mention in Lansing’s notes, there’s no other information. Which tells me Lansing knew something but thought it was too volatile to write down. That’s never good.”

He paused to let the words sink in. Alec shifted in his seat, clearly uncomfortable.

“If you want to survive to do all this good you talk about, then you have to assume enemies are watching. All the time.”

Alec stared at the car’s dashboard for a while instead of replying. Perhaps the young man was considering what he’d just been told. Or, given his sheltered upbringing, he was checking out the car. Alec loved cars.

“I hate having to think that way.”

“If you want to live long enough to accomplish your aims, you’re going to have to learn.” And you damn well better learn enough to keep my daughter safe.

Alec nodded. “What if my kid is out there, Drake? Not a situation I’ve been trained to handle.”

Philip realized that the boy was truly looking for advice this time. Like it or not, Alec was a permanent part of Beth’s life. Which meant the question should be answered rather than

32Phoenix Legacy

ignored. No one had told him giving advice to a man sleeping with his daughter was part of fatherhood when he’d volunteered.

But here he was.

“We find the child and the mother and we help them. I can’t imagine you’d walk away from the child.”

“Never.” Alec stared at him. “Glad you know that.”

Philip nodded. “A child who’s alive and needs caretaking is a problem that can be solved. It could be much worse. For instance, if you’re too late to help someone and they wind up dead. Can’t fix that.”

Alec nodded.

“Are you worried about Beth’s reaction? She’d take care of any lost child, whether it was yours or even Lansing’s.”

Alec smiled. “We already talked about that. Actually, I think she’s more worried about your reaction than mine.”

“My reaction?” “It brings back the whole mess with Lansing for you.” “He’s dead, it’s over.” “He was your father. And you just smashed a coffee mug

because you were so pissed at him.” “I have plenty of mugs.” Philip shifted into low gear as he

slowed down for a stoplight. “Lansing wasn’t my father. He screwed my mother, then walked out. When I refused to join his unholy crusade as an adult, he hated me. My only reaction to his death is to be glad he’s gone.”

“Something changed when he died. You quit the CIA, you don’t seem to be doing anything, and you might as well live in a cave the way your home is closed up. Not to mention all those empty beer cans all over the place.”

“That speech must have come directly from Beth.” Alec shrugged. “She’s worried about you.” “If she’s worried about my apartment, tell her I like caves.”

The best year of his childhood had been spent living in a makeshift home in a cave. He and Lily had been able to wander away for hours. On their own, in the quiet of the woods, the two of them had had the best times. Once, they’d even laughed after they’d had to run up a tree to escape a bear. Lily had been the only good part of his childhood. Until he’d destroyed their friendship with two shotgun blasts. “And the beer was work.”

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Phoenix Legacy by Corrina Lawson

Phoenix Legacy

by Corrina Lawson

Giveaway ends December 09, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Go enter! It’ll be fun.

:)

As enticement, here’s a short snippet of Philip and Del’s first meeting. Philip’s just pulled into the parking lot of the bar she owns, and she’s looking at him from the window of her apartment above the bar. I’ll be posting a few more short things each day.

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

There was one unfamiliar face, though it was hard to get a look at him from this far away. All she could tell was that he had a thick shock of dark hair and that he was nicely built. She judged him to be about six feet tall. He wore jeans, boots and a short blue coat that showed off strong shoulders. From the possessive way he gestured at the Charger, he must be the driver.

Tall, dark and handsome man walks into a bar. She smiled. Sometimes clichés did come true. She could use a night of staring at someone like that. The distraction would be welcome, after today, just so long as he wasn’t arrogant, like Genet. She hoped the stranger had restored the car himself rather than buying it as a toy. That would mean he was a real mechanic, not somebody out for a joyride in his new toy.

Del opened the window and leaned out. The fall breeze blew her hair in her face and she had to push it aside to see. “Are you going to all spend the night in the parking lot drooling over that car?”

Jessica laughed. “It’s not just the car I’m drooling over!”

“Well, bring him inside and buy him a drink instead of staring at him in the parking lot! I need paying customers!”

The car’s owner looked up at her. Del couldn’t see his features clearly, but there was something familiar about the way he focused his attention on her. At first, she thought, “cop”, but that wasn’t it. Intense, she thought, despite the fact he was standing there calmly. She took a deep breath as her face grew warm. Oh, my. No wonder Jessica was drooling over him. He had presence, much like his car.

 

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