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In creating The Cove Chronicles, I wanted to infuse the main characters with heroes rarely seen in an epic science fiction tale: Native Americans, namely in this instance, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (or Iroquois) of upstate New York. You may know them individually as the five nations that originally made up the Confederacy: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The Tuscarora were the first nation to join the Confederacy in 1722.

In this sci-fi melodrama I also wanted to explore the fringe scientific concepts my Native characters would be masters at manipulating. Thus, with apologies to Arthur C. Clarke, their advanced technology applications during a time shortly after the American Revolution would appear for all intents and purposes as magic.

To ensure I did no damage to the culture of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy—a culture I have deep respect for—I decided to off-world this whole saga by putting it into an alternate universe very like our own but with subtle differences that would allow me to tell the story as I saw it. This in no way diminishes the proud heritage of the Haudenosaunee peoples, just more of a what if…scenario I present to tell this fantastical tale with Natives at the core of the story—giving voice to the people and placing them beyond the stoicism shrouding them in many other works and historical recordings. They are real, fully dimensional people. They deserve a saga based on their own stories and legends.

The book you now hold is the first of a six-book series: three of them set during the 1800s with the following three set in current times. I have also borrowed from my husband’s lineage as he is a direct descendant of the real Elizabeth and William Hallett of early American history. (Ever read The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton? I highly recommend it.) The original Hallett’s Cove is now Astoria, New York (shame on New York for changing the name).

As with many creation myths, this one also bears the mark of a battle of good versus evil and how the people will rise to meet that challenge—in this case, the people of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. For any Haudenosaunee reading this, I knowingly blended portions of the legends to suit my fictitious story. Please indulge me.

Another diversion from our collective timeline with regards to the great people of the Confederacy is there was a period during the Revolutionary War where the British promised to assist the Haudenosaunee (and potentially other nations) in establishing a truly sovereign nation on the same continent in exchange for their help against the rebellious Americans. The British reneged on their promise at the Treaty of Paris which ended the Revolution, and the established nation never happened here. In my alternate world, the promise was honored. So, the new Americans find themselves being contained along the eastern seaboard as the newly formed (and formidably enforced) border of the Akwe:kon nation is established. It is growing as more Indian nations join the Confederacy under The Great Law of Peace, seeking its protection from American expansion, thus creating even greater tensions for our heroes and their companions.

I hope you enjoy the journey of my ensemble cast and open your hearts to the rich cultural heritage of the great people of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

—SA Collins
The cover to Beware Mohawks Bearing Gifts, due October 28, 2019 from NineStar Press.

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So… been working on the map for my “Beware Mohawks Bearing Gifts” book due 10/28 (print edition will be a b/w version of this map).

There’s a whole backstory that I had to reconcile against what happened in our world vs. what is going on in my alternate Earth story. All of this ties to events of the “road not taken” in our world.

Just what would a “Native American” nation look like? What form of governance would be in place to accomodate the vast and varied sovereign nations within its borders? Book one only hints at the backstory of how this all evolved. But the rest of the series will grapple with how this world evolved differently from our own.

The Haudenosaunee “Great Law of Peace” plays a big factor in it. And this United States (trapped along the eastern seaboard) is threatening all out war to gain territory from Native peoples (some things never change, do they?) The things you know to be true about our world: The Lousiana Purchase, the Civil War, have no place in my world. So, what would that world look like?

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Beware Mohawks contains a smattering of the Mohawk language. Rather than get my readers tangled with tons of phonetics in trying to pronounce the Mohawk terms, I decided to go with phonic spellings - which I think are more user/reader friendly. What do you think?

General Disclaimer - As I write fictional literature with a decidedly queer perspective, I want to make it abundantly clear that I have used imagery of male models that I feel help me convey the vision I have in my head and in my works, but in NO WAY does it imply, construe or insinuate the nature of the male model's proclivities or personal orientation. They are intended merely as a representation as near to I can come to visually describe the men in my works. All copyrights apply to their original content owners (where applicable). I make no such claim.

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy Links