Romans, Vikings, alternate history, ancient North American, Native Americans

 

This is the book that began with the idea of Romans and  Vikings in North America, a pagan fertility ritual, and a heroine named after Black Canary. 🙂

It starts 9:45 a.m. EST!

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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

Yes, I have to put this over in my review page but I wanted to share it here too because, well, I like praise.

Dinah of Seneca reviewed over at Scribblerworks.

And, yes, later today will come the second part of Lee Child. I got distracted by stuff, including my birthday….

I’ve also added the link to my review page but I wanted to make a separate post about the review because it’s my first for Dinah of Seneca and the reviewer really got the story, which thrilled me to no end.

Quote:

“Final Verdict: I think, given that many of us like our action mixed with a bit of romance and vice versa, this is a book with a wide appeal to fandom in particular. It’s well-researched, well-written, and enjoyable; classics geeks will like the setting and structure, but it’s not so specific that anyone else will feel shut out. It took me about two chapters to get into it, but after that I kept coming back to it whenever I had a spare moment, and I finished it over the course of a weekend which for me is pretty good. ”

The review did send pondering again about what exactly what genre my stories belong in.

I think Dinah of Seneca and Freya’s Gift are both alternate history romance, though the short story has much less action. Okay, much less physical action. Okay, wait, much less action involving *steel* swords and battles. 🙂

Basically, I wrote exactly the kind of romance I enjoy reading. But I have the feeling what I write is not what people envision when they hear the word “romance.” I was talking to an agent at a conference a couple of months ago and she said what I write falls into the gray category where it would likely not be on the romance shelves but, like Lois McMaster Bujold and Linnea Sinclair, it would be in the SF/F shelves in a bookstore.

It’s not an issue right now because the novella is an ebook and Dinah of Seneca won’t get mass distribution from my small press publisher. But it does confirm to me that I write in that gray area that I call relationship stories–though I can say right now that I can’t stand to write an unhappy ending.

I can write tense stories where bad things happen but I’m not going to write an out and out tragedy. It’s just not in me.

I want some hope in what I read. And I can’t write a story without some hope in it.

*Aside on the reviewer: Dr. Who & Torchwood fans should check out the rest of copperbadge’s livejournal. It has some great, great posts.

The Cherry Forum is hosting a book club discussion for Dinah of Seneca beginning on July 15.

Come join us if you can!

When I joined the Cherry yahoo group years ago, I didn’t expect to find such wonderful, awesome people, including  Jenny (Jennifer  Crusie–The Cherry) and I’m just honored that the mods at the Forums want to feature my book.

It seems very surreal. I know, I keep saying that. But all of this publishing stuff does feel that way. 🙂

Just something very short. And it’s not even erotic. I know, bummer. 🙂

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

“The problem belongs with you, as chief’s wife. If you wish to lead us, then lead us.” Gerhard turned the full intensity of his gaze on her. “Find a way. Or else we will be planting bodies in the ground instead of seeds this spring.”

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Men. Always expecting us to solve the big problems. 🙂

I’ve just opened to a random page of my book to get this quote. I may make this a habit. 🙂

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

Sif stood once more and walked to Dinah. Before Dinah could object, Sif grabbed her hand and lifted it to rest on the swollen stomach.

Dinah could feel the child move under her fingertips, a small but powerful poke under Sif’s bulging belly. Dinah’s hand grew clammy and all the muscles of her arm stiffened.

“Sif says her tribe and the future of her unborn child are in your keeping,” Gunnhilda said. “You will choose their fate, when you choose your own.”

25 Days to go until publication!

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“Tabor, do you understand what you are asking? You want me to sneak into the camp of an enemy I know nothing about, evaluate their
strength, and report back, all in a single night? On terrain I know nothing about?”

He smiled. “Yes.”

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

I could have sworn I posted Dinah’s first chapter somewhere but apparently while I’ve posted the first meeting of Dinah and Gerhard, and a glimpse of the Roman Commander, Tabor, I neglected Dinah herself.

So here it is.

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Chapter One

The New England of a different timeline than our own, circa 950 A.D.

The ring must be perfect.

It had taken over a year for her work to attract the elder Seneca’s attention. If he was pleased with this signet ring for his grandson and eventual heir, it would be the beginning of a long and valuable patronage. She’d finally have enough coin to stand on her own. Enough, maybe, to begin a family.

Dinah bent her head lower, determined to finish today. The eagle’s wing feathers had to be just right, wispy enough to suggest flight, thick enough to suggest power.

Her wooden door swung open so hard it smacked against the far wall. She glanced up and saw a Roman soldier in her doorframe, blocking the rays of the setting sun.

“Centurion, I told you the jewels for your bracelet would not be here until next week.” She went back to her work, not wanting to lose focus at this stage of the engraving.

“I care not for a bracelet.” The soldier stepped inside.

Her head snapped up. This was not the over- eager centurion.

“Licinius?”

The big engineer wore his full on-duty uniform, including the chest plate. In his wake stood his young assistant, Ceti, also in uniform.

“Commander Tabor summons you, Dinah,” Licinius said. His face and his voice had no emotion at all.

No. She took a deep breath as her stomach began to swirl with acid. “I don’t understand. What has happened?”

She kept her voice clear and unwavering, even while fear crept throughout her body. Never show weakness. She’d learned that a long time ago.

“You don’t need to know. You simply need to obey,” Licinius said.

She curled her hand around the ring. “I’m not Tabor’s soldier, I’m not under his orders, and I have work to finish.” Gods, Tabor, you cannot truly need me. You cannot truly be asking this of me, to become less again now that I’ve worked so hard to become more.

Tabor finally had the damned Legion he’d pleaded for to defeat the Mahicans who’d been harassing the settlement. There was nothing she could do that the soldiers could not do better.

“Dinah, I do not have time to spar with you,” Licinius said, his voice strained. “He said fetch you, your skills are needed.”

Ceti, Licinius’ assistant, placed his hand on the hilt of his gladius. She scowled, wishing for a knife in her hand for the first time in over a year. Licinius waved Ceti back, took off his helmet, and placed it under his arm.

“Tabor is your patron. You owe him duty,” Licinius said, his voice gentler. “Do not make me use force.”

No more a slave but she still wasn’t free.

“I’m not—” Not what I was. “Licinius, no. Tell Tabor it’s been too long. I’m out of practice, my old skills are useless to him.” She slapped her palm on her granite anvil. Her bowl of acid, needed to etch the design into the ring, almost tipped over.

“Tabor obviously disagrees,” Licinius said.

Ceti drew his gladius and the sound of the blade scraping the scabbard echoed around her home. Oh, yes, that would make her surrender, a soldier who didn’t even know how to draw his sword properly.

“Ceti, don’t be an idiot.” Licinius removed his hands from her worktable. “I will allow you time to put your tools away, Dinah. Then we go.”

She looked up to her loft bed. A real bed, with a real mattress, the first she’d ever owned. “Licinius, you know what this could cost me.” She stepped off her stool.

He leaned toward her, his clean breath flowing over her face. “I know. I am sorry for it. I will be sorrier if you refuse and I have to hurt you.”

If he could hurt her. Once, she could have taken him down within seconds, despite his size. She stepped back and gathered the ring and her tools together, making each move deliberate, buying more time, yet giving Licinius a reason to think she was cooperating.

A weapon, she needed a weapon. Ducking her head, she looked around her home. But there was no salvation to be had from the shelves of raw stones to her left, her woven chair by the fire, and the hanging oil lanterns near the door. She closed her hand around the bowl of acid. Scar Licinius. Far too cruel. He’d been more than kind to her. Besides, it was Tabor who’d ordered this.

“Hurry,” Licinius said.

“You could tell Tabor I was not here,” she whispered, fearful that Ceti might overhear.

Licinius put his helmet back on, the crest brushing the top of her roof. He shook his head. “I cannot. Just as you cannot forget your debt to Tabor. If not for him, you would not be here at all.”

That was simple truth. She closed her eyes and shuddered. All the fight, all the dreams, all her hopes faded from her body. “As you command.” “As Tabor commands.” Licinius shook his head again and turned to Ceti. “Sheathe your weapon, boy, and wait outside.” The boy took a long look at her, as if trying to figure out what was going on, then followed orders.

Just like she was.

She put her tools away in the drawer of her worktable. She pressed a section of the table leg with her foot. A hidden compartment popped open and she slipped the ring inside. Maybe this would not take too long, maybe she would get back to it, soon.

And maybe Augustus himself would come down from his place with the gods to make things right with the Empire that he’d founded.

Meaning, no chance at all.

She retrieved her cloak from a hook in the corner, taking a moment to place her palm flat on the stained glass window, letting the chill on the glass seep into her hand. In her dreams, a crib holding a healthy child sat under the window, the babe looking up to glorious multi-colored light. A child to care for, to be loved, and never to be sold, as her parents had sold her.

Turning, she tied her woolen cloak around her neck, feeling for the handle of her hidden knife. She pulled the hood of the cloak over her head as she stepped through the doorway.

Full dark had fallen.