What Are AmberPax™ Collections?

Simply put, AmberPax™ Collections are groups of five stories centered around a specific theme. Each story within an AmberPax™ is released individually, on the same day as the others, and can be purchased separately, but these five stories can also be purchased as a single unit (the full AmberPax™) at a discount, currently 25%. Generally, an AmberPax™ is similar to an "anthology" of stories, but instead of the titles being released in only a single volume (file), they are also available individually. These AmberPax™ Collections are sold exclusively through our website and only in electronic format.

THIS BLOG is for news about the Pax Collections - follow it to keep up with releases, find early news of the upcoming collections, and share Pax fun and chat with the authors!

All Amber Paxes can be bought at Amber Quill HERE.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

If you liked the Noir collection...

One of the best parts about the AmberPax collections is the wide variety of stories that can arise from a single theme. If you liked the Noir collection, there's even more at Amber Allure that might interest you.

Crime and Punishment is a collection of five m/m stories, all mystery/suspense centered around crimes and their repercussions. Stories include:

Take a chance! You just might find a new author to love.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Noir winner

We've had a full week, discovering more about everybody's contributions to the Noir pax, which means it's also the end of our giveaway. The winner of the complete Noir pax is...


We have your email address, so expect a message from us very soon.

Thank you to everyone for taking part with us to celebrate our new release!

Friday, 25 January 2013

To Write 1st person or to write 3rd, that is often the question….

As writers, we have so many choices to make – about setting, characters, plot, conflicts, motivation, even picking one genre or to mix them up. One of the most important choices is in which POV (point of view) we’ll tell our story – meaning who tells this story.

Most stories are told in either 3rd person (with multiple points of view, say two or three main characters or deep 3rd, where only one person’s view point is heard) or in 1st person (only one person tells the story).

Deciding which to use can often cripple us -- creating doubts, rewrites, and confusion. Sometimes, though, there is no other way to tell a story but through one character’s voice. When that happens, we’re amazed at the simplicity and ease the decision comes to us.

Often you hear writers say “the character spoke to me” “his/her voice was the only one I could hear” and such. Which is valid, completely, and if a writer is smart, he or she will listen and take heed. I’m not going to go into publishers or editors who refuse to even consider a 1st person story, or readers who do the same. They’re missing out. End of story.

However, some genres do better with a 1st person POV – such as mystery, romantic suspense (where whodunit is important to keep until the last moment). Memoir-style books (Call me Ishmael…) work well with 1st. Urban Fantasy is also filled with 1st person books. Some Science Fiction comes that way also.

Nowadays, more Young Adult books are written in 1st person than 3rd. I hear writers question not if they should write in 1st, but should they write in 3rd for a YA story.

One of the tried and true genres is the Noir story – usually told by a person, like a detective, cop, reporter – someone with a real stake in how it all plays out. The noir takes a look at the seedy side of things. The lift a rock and see what crawls out. The beautiful dame with a gun and a deadly secret or the rich kid in too deep with the wrong people. They are usually mysteries (see paragraph above) or suspense or even thrillers, set in a city where crime, danger and deception rule the day and the night.

I’ve written several 1st person stories. I love it. I love bringing that character’s voice to the paper – telling it like he or she would tell it, complete with inflections, speech patterns, and a view of themselves you just can’t get in 3rd.

My first book published, The Mercenary’s Tale, was in 1st person. I was so new, no one had told me “hey, you can’t write a gay medieval historical in 1st person!” What did I know, except the voice of this character, Drake the mercenary, spoke in my head so loud, I never even thought to make it 3rd.

I wrote It Takes a Hero, about a soldier, back from Iraq who had his leg amputated below the knee, in 1st person. His voice came through loud and clear. His pain, his loss of limb, dignity, and his struggle with his new reality could only be captured by him telling the tale.

In No Good Deed, Daniel Chan had to tell the story of what it was like being the only Asian-American cop in a small Texas town. His self-depreciating humor, his personal struggle with his sexual identity, and coping with parents entrenched in both the American way of life and their Chinese roots, could only truly come out in his slow talking Texas drawl and the running play-by-play of his life.

Pacific Nights, my homage to WWII, although not in true 1st person, was done in deep 3rd. The only voice you hear is Mike’s, the rough-edged one-step-ahead-of-the-law soldier, as he tells a story of two men placed on a small island in the Pacific to spot the enemy and break codes, but who discovers he’s more than who he thought he was and rises to the occasion.

Remember Me? Also written in deep 3rd. One of the main characters is unconscious most of the story, the other, an emergency room doctor is the only one who can talk, so yeah, I sort of had to tell it either 1st or deep 3rd.

So when the Noir PAX sign-up list went up, I jumped for it, knowing immediately I’d do a gay noir set in New Orleans in the time of Storyville. And I knew I wanted one of the characters to be a cop and tell the story of how his world was shaped and changed by his time walking the beat in this red light district filled with houses of ill repute, madams, whores and one irresistible piano player.

I hope I’ve captured the dark side of the city I love so much. I always struggle to do her right, show her off, lift her petticoats and give you a glimpse of what lies underneath, and bare her heart and soul to my readers.

And for this story, 1st person was the only way I could have written it.


When policeman Max O’Rouke first patrolled the Storyville red-light district in New Orleans, he fell for piano player Tommy LeBarre and Tommy fell for Max. During those two years, however, they never acted on their desires. After all, how could a cop and a piano player in a whorehouse ever be together?

But now, when Tommy’s bordello is raided and he is left homeless and on the run from danger, Max is the only person who can protect him.

Someone wants Tommy dead, and Max will do anything, even kill, to protect his boy...

Available now at Amber Allure.

If you'd like the chance to win the entire pax collection, just leave a comment on today's post. On Saturday, a winner will be picked at random from all the comments made this week on the blog. Comment on all five, and that's five chances to win!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

A bit more Ravishing

Want another look at The Ravishing? Read on!


Jeremy sat opposite from me and poured some evaporated milk into his coffee.

“How long you been seeing dead people?”

“Since I was a kid. My mother insisted I go up to the coffin when my Grandpa died and he spoke to me. I kept asking everyone if they heard him but it was just me. After that, I’d see them every once in awhile.”

“Must be disturbing.”

“No. Doesn’t happen often…that is, not until I moved here.”

“Then why don’t you move out?”

“The rent. I can’t afford much. And my roommate, he…well…”

“Your lover?” I met his gaze. “Come on, Jeremy, you apparently know about David and I. I guess we can be straight with each other.”

He nodded. “He was my lover, yes. Older, a big shot in the theatre. It’s more accepted in those circles.”

“So, what happened between you?”

“He got tired of me, I guess. Too many pretty boys flocking around. So, I wasn’t sure what to do. This place was the answer to my prayers.” I saw the troubled frown on his face. “Joe, I’ve seen spirits but I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I…”


I looked around. Someone said my name.

“What is it?” Jeremy asked.

“Someone said my name.”

“He’s here.”

A shiver ran down my spine.


I stood up. My chair went crashing to the floor. There standing in the doorway to the bedroom was David. He smiled at me. The tears lit my eyes. “David?”

Come to me, Joe.

I walked toward him as if in a dream. He reached out to me with both arms and I placed my hands on his face. I kissed his mouth with grateful tenderness. David. David. It’s you. Thank God, it’s you. You’re alive. You’ve come back to me.

Then he just dissolved in my arms. I felt his touch, his kiss and then he was gone. I stood in stunned silence, not feeling the hand that caressed my shoulder until Jeremy said my name. “Joe. Where did you go?”

I was sitting at the table, tears drying on my face. I looked up at him. “It was David. He was here. I kissed him.”

Jeremy nodded, smiled sadly at me. “I know. I saw him. That took a lot for him to do that. He was desperate to kiss you, to touch you. That love he had for you lingers even in death.”

I tried to speak. There were no words. Jeremy let me have my moment. He didn’t speak first. I did. “I couldn’t grieve,” I told him. “When David was murdered, I had to act like he was just another victim, not my lover. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I found him, you know.”

“I know.”

“I had to treat David’s death as a case. He was just another guy in the neighborhood, someone who might have seen something. That’s how we met. I interviewed him, never guessing he’d become a victim, never guessing I’d love him so much.”

Jeremy nodded.

“David told you?” My eyes widened.

“He’s told me everything. How you met, how he couldn’t take his eyes off you when you interviewed him, the way he felt the first time you made love to him. But there was pain, too.”

I felt as if Jeremy had suddenly stripped me naked. He could see inside my soul. “He wanted me to be with him, like a couple, and…I didn’t know how. It’s not that I didn’t want to. I would have had to give up my job, my life. How would we have lived?”

“He knew why you weren’t with him. His heart…” Jeremy trailed off.

“I broke it off with him but I couldn’t stay away. That night I came here, he wouldn’t open the door to me. I was crazed.”

“You stood in the rain for an hour. He said you looked like a drowned rat.” Jeremy laughed a little. “He never loved you more than when you took him into that room and told him you couldn’t live without him.”

The tears ran down my face. “Yeah, and two days later he was dead. He was murdered in the very bed where we’d made love.”


Available now at Amber Allure.

If you'd like the chance to win the entire pax collection, just leave a comment on today's post. On Saturday, a winner will be picked at random from all the comments made this week on the blog. Comment on all five, and that's five chances to win!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Video trailer for Noir pax

Wanna see something cool? We have a video trailer for the Noir pax!

If you'd like the chance to win the entire pax collection, just leave a comment on today's post. On Saturday, a winner will be picked at random from all the comments made this week on the blog. Comment on all five, and that's five chances to win!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The beginning of a love affair

I have been in love with noir fiction and movies since I was eleven, so when the opportunity came up to be a part of the Noir pax, there was no way I wasn't going to be one of the first five to volunteer.

It started innocently enough. Every summer, I used to go live with my aunt and uncle and help watch over my two young cousins for them. It was a win/win for all of us. They got a free babysitter, and I got three months of living an almost completely different life. Different house, different rules. They even lived in a different city, so in a lot of ways, it was almost like being on vacation. Well, except when my cousins would be brats. Or do something stupid like stick Life people pegs up their noses. Do you have any idea how hard those are to get out of a four-year-old's nostril?

Anyway, my uncle was a night owl. One night, I woke up from a bad dream and wandered out to the living room to find him in his recliner, watching a grainy black-and-white movie. After determining I was too scared to go back to bed, he let me curl up on the couch and watch the movie with him. The film was Double Indemnity (he had a real thing for Barbara Stanwyck, I also blame my love of westerns from watching so much of The Big Valley with him), and thus began my love affair.

My exposure to classic noir films was limited to the time I spent at their house and the odds of finding one on TV when nobody else cared about what we watched. But when I got to college, I took every class I could that was even remotely connected. Film history. The mystery/detective story as an American art form. An English course completely dedicated pulp fiction.

I love this genre, plain and simple. I love the darkness, the moral ambiguity, the questions it raises about what kind of person you really are compared to what people think you are. I'm proud to be a part of this collection.

In conjunction with my release, I'm offering a giveaway! Comment on this post and your name will be thrown into the hat for a collection of classic noir films on DVD. Specific details are at my blog.


It was supposed to be simple. 
All struggling actor Carlo Baresi had to do was pick up a man in a taxi, drive him to the location he specified, then report where he’d taken him. The only problem is, the man isn’t who he claims to be...and they both know it.

Bookstore owner Joe Donnelly has a reputation for helping those in need, but this plan has been a bad one from the second he stepped in. Discovering someone has switched out the taxi driver is one more complication he doesn’t want, especially since Carlo is the kind of distraction that can get a man in serious trouble if he’s not careful.

But the men have something in common other than their mutual attraction. They’re both loose ends, struggling to find out what is really going on.

And murder is always complicated, even when you’re on the same side...

Available now at Amber Allure.

If you'd like the chance to win the entire pax collection, just leave a comment on today's post. On Saturday, a winner will be picked at random from all the comments made this week on the blog. Comment on all five, and that's five chances to win!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Love For Sale by A.J. Llewellyn

noir (nwär)
1. Of or relating to the film noir genre.
2. Of or relating to a genre of crime literature featuring tough, cynical characters and bleak settings.
3. Suggestive of danger or violence.

I have loved the genre of noir since I was a kid. My first encounter with it was when my Greek-born grandma, who couldn't speak English but was helping my dad to raise me and my two brothers, woke me on a school night and asked me to translate an episode of Robert Taylor's The Detectives for her.

I fell in love with Robert Taylor then and there. Not one single member of my family has ever let me live it down that I kissed the TV set whenever I saw him. But who wouldn't fall in love with a character like Matt Holbrook? I mean, look at him!

Growing up in Australia, I was fascinated by all things Hollywood. One of the detectives in the series had been harvested from the Bunco Squad, a term that tickles me to this day.

As Australia caught up with the US and we started to get American shows in a more timely fashion, I found myself longing to kiss the TV whenever episodes of Mike Hammer went to air. The notion of a hardboiled private eye who drank too much, smoked too much, routinely consorted with the wrong men, the wrong women, got beaten up and ripped off as he tackled cases on the seamier side of the tracks ignited ideas in my mind that wouldn't go away.

When Amber Allure author Christiane France suggested a Noir PAX anthology, the race was on to snap up the chance to be one of the five contributing pieces to it. I knew the story I wanted to tell. I knew the city I wanted to set it in. I wanted to write a contemporary mystery about a gritty, down-on-his-luck Los Angeles private eye, Matt Killian. Matt's first name is in honor of Robert Taylor's The Detectives. Killian is in honor of my friend Adam Killian, director, producer, gay porn icon etc. Adam even has a cameo in the story.

Love For Sale is set in the often secretive world of gay porn. My hero investigates the case of a missing gay porn director and ends up having to masquerade as a go-go dancer at a leather ball. Embarrassed at first, he's dazzled by the amazing tips he receives, not to mention the hot leads…

Noir is a concept writers have adored for decades. Even the kids' movie Home Alone tips its fedora to the genre. Little Macaulay Culkin is influenced by Angels With Filthy Faces a 1950's spoof of Angels With Dirty faces. Spoof or not, he uses dialogue to scare off some determined burglars who become worried about fearsome criminally-inclined pizza delivery apparently stepping on their turf.

"Snakes? Who the hell is Snakes?" Joe Pesci muses.

Macaulay even uses a scene from the movie to scare off the poor pizza delivery guy who's just trying to make a buck bringing pepperoni to his backdoor on Christmas Eve.

To this day I find myself smiling at this memory and wanting to quote its best line, "Keep the change ya filthy animal."

Ah, noir, I love you. Thank you for countless hours of fiction, high drama and fantasy.

How about you? What's your favorite noir character/book/movie?

Please leave a comment to qualify for the random draw to win a free ebook copy of Love For Sale.

Aloha oe,



Available from Amber Allure.

If you'd like the chance to win the entire pax collection, just leave a comment on today's post. On Saturday, a winner will be picked at random from all the comments made this week on the blog. Comment on all five, and that's five chances to win!

Sunday, 20 January 2013


Visit the links to take advantage of our

Special Price


An AmberPax™ Collection of
Gay "Noir" Romance 
by Various Authors 
Genre: Gay (M/M) Mystery/Detective Romance 

Cover Copyright ©2012 by Trace Edward Zaber
Included in this collection of erotic romance...
(For more information on each title, or to purchase separately, click on the book covers below!)

Love for Sale
Love for Sale
by A.J. Llewellyn
Extended Novella
The Low Between
The Low Between
by Vivien Dean
Extended Novella
The Mayfield Speakeasy
The Mayfield Speakeasy
by L.A. Witt
The Ravishing
The Ravishing
by D.J. Manly
by Lynn Lorenz

In conjunction with our newest release, we will be having a giveaway! Starting tomorrow, leave a comment on any post made during the week (1/121-1/25), and you'll be eligible to win the entire pax collection. A winner will be picked at random on Saturday from all comments received.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Storyville by Lynn Lorenz

When policeman Max O’Rouke first patrolled the Storyville red-light district in New Orleans, he fell for piano player Tommy LeBarre and Tommy fell for Max. During those two years, however, they never acted on their desires. After all, how could a cop and a piano player in a whorehouse ever be together?

But now, when Tommy’s bordello is raided and he is left homeless and on the run from danger, Max is the only person who can protect him.

Someone wants Tommy dead, and Max will do anything, even kill, to protect his boy...

Genres: Gay/Nostalgic Contemporary (1910s-Era)/Mystery/Detective/Suspense/Thriller/BDSM (Light)
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (29k words)

Read a short excerpt...

...I’d been a cop walking a beat since I was nineteen. Nothing I ever wanted to do but be a cop. I’m Irish. It was cop, fireman, or bartender, but my dad was a cop, so, there you have it.

I’d been assigned to Storyville since I was twenty-seven, almost three years ago. In all that time, I’d gone with the flow, like the flotsam and jetsam in the muddy waters of the river running past this city headed to the gulf. If my captain said no busts in Storyville, I’d lay off. If he said go break some heads, I’d swing my baton.

Like a good cop. It’s all I’d ever wanted.

Until I stepped through the doors of The Pleasure Palace and caught sight of Tommy LeBarre playing that beat-up upright piano. I’d never wanted anyone so much. And I knew wanting him was so far out of line, so far over the edge of fucked up, that if I ever crossed that line, there’d be no turning back. Not for me.

Not for a good cop.

So I stuffed my want down deep. Kept listening to Tommy play that piano—jazz they called it—through the open windows of the Palace. Kept pushing him outta my head, and outta my cock and my balls, where the want for him was so bad it hurt.

And kept walking my beat.

“I heard there’s talk about shutting Storyville down,” I told James Stoli, my wop patrol partner, as we strolled down Basin Street.

That’s right—an Italian and an Irishman. We made quite a pair. Both of us were second generation. His parents could barely speak English, and if you count the thick Irish accent, neither did mine. New Orleans was changing; it was no longer just French and Spanish. Immigrants were moving in, changing neighborhoods, like the Irish Channel down around Magazine Street, where my parents lived.

His family lived off Esplanade behind the Vieux Carre. Lots of Italians there.

So, you see, James and I had more in common than you might think, us two cops on this beat.

All around us, Storyville came to life, rising out of the dusk. We passed old Joe at the top of his ladder lighting the streetlamp and raised our batons to him. He nodded as he swung the glass door shut.

“Never. Too many of the hoi-poloi have Blue Books.” James tapped his chest pocket where he kept his own copy of that little book describing Storyville’s most talented ladies of the night. Used to call them soiled doves, but here in Storyville, these doves were more like peacocks and their houses no cheap saloons, but well decorated salons where New Orleans’ rich and famous played.

The door to the Brown Pelican opened, and a woman stepped outside. She pulled a dark red flowered dressing gown around her, lit a cigarette, and inhaled deeply. “Hi, boys,” she drawled. Her whiskey-roughened voice and southern accent could excite even the most straight-laced men.

James answered, “’Evening, Miss Lavidia.” He doffed his hat to her. It worked on him, not me, but I gave her a polite nod.

“Coming ’round later?”

He gave me a quick look, then said, “Sure. Tell Miss Victoria I’ll be by after my shift.” Not for the first time I wondered if I should say something about James’ fancy for Miss Victoria, a mulatto whore he’d fallen for hard.

We all knew nothing could come of it, but that didn’t stop James from giving it to her every chance he got. For a fee. Miss Victoria might have liked James, but she was still a whore and still charged him, just like all the others.

Another thing James and I had in common. We were both in love with the wrong person.

Miss Lavidia winked, finished her cigarette, and then stubbed it out on the cement steps of the large house. Ever since the Chicago fire, people were more careful.

James puffed up and twirled his baton on its leather strap. I hated when he did that—made him look like pompous ass. Not that he wasn’t, but I had to walk next to him.

Old Joe had carried his ladder on to the next lamp on the street.

Across the street, at The Pleasure Palace, music floated out of the open windows. My mouth went dry and my cock took notice. Tommy had started playing early...

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Ravishing by D. J. Manly

Joe left the police force to set up his own private investigation agency after working homicide on a series of ten unsolved murders, the victims all young men who frequented the cafes during the Beat generation. The last victim, Joe’s lover at the time, hit too close to home. And just when Joe believed he was getting close to solving the case, the murders stopped.

Joe never expected to find the killer, so he left the police force, defeated. But now, four years later, a young man walks into Joe’s office with an interesting story about those murders, stories Joe can’t quite believe until he begins to see things more clearly.

Jeremy wants Joe’s help, he’s scared, and unless he can get Joe to believe him, the murders are going to start all over again. Yet the question remains—by whom?

Genres: Gay / Nostalgic Contemporary (1950s-Era) / Mystery / Detective / Suspense / Thriller / Paranormal
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (19k words)

Read a short excerpt...

...I grabbed a glass and emptied the rest of the bottle into it, deciding I’d close my eyes for a spell. The radio droned in the background. They were talking about Cuba and Castro, who was now at the helm. Guess I wouldn’t be smoking many Cuban cigars.

I didn’t hear anyone come in, so when I heard someone say my name real soft-like, my eyes flew open, I lowered my chair onto all four legs with a thud and put my hand on my gun.

The young man in my office looked as startled as I was. He backed into the corner and raised his hands. “Don’t…shoot me.”

When my pulse began to return to normal, I took a gander at the figure clinging to the wall. He looked like a kid around nineteen, but something told me he was older than that. He was pale, his blond hair almost scraping his slight shoulders, and as he propelled himself away from the wall and came forward, his large blue eyes had me reeling. I was a sucker for blue eyes.

“My name is Hanson, Jeremy Hanson.” He looked around as if someone were chasing him. He leaned forward. “Are we alone?”

“Yeah,” I said. “You look spooked. Have a seat.” I noticed his hands shaking. He clutched the arm of the chair as he lowered himself. I got up and poured him some water from the pitcher Doris had left on the sideboard. I handed it to him. It was probably warm but it was wet. He didn’t seem to mind.

He nodded his thanks and took a few swallows.

I retook my seat and waited for him to speak.

“You were a policeman a while back.”

“A while back. If you’re trying to find out my qualifications—”

“I know your qualifications. I do my homework.”

“What’s this about?”

He lowered his voice and leaned forward. “The ravishing.”

Something in my gut knotted. How could he have known that? No one except those admitted to the crime scenes knew those words. “Look, if you’re writing a story, that boat has sailed. I had nothing to say before, and nothing to say now.”

“What if I told you”—he swallowed—“I know who he is?”

“I’d say you were hallucinating. Unless you were an eye witness and didn’t come forward, then you are an accessory to—”

“He showed me everything.” Jeremy ran a hand though his unruly blond hair.

“I see,” I said with a sigh. This kid is one sick puppy.

“That’s what people think,” he nodded.

I stared at him. “I don’t follow. What people think about what?”

“You said I was one sick puppy and I’m not a kid. I’m twenty-six. Your initial assumption that I look younger than I am was correct. You’re a good cop.”

“I’m not a cop anymore.” Had this kid read my mind?

“You were. You were lead investigator on that case, and you were the only one who really gave a dam.” His eyes flew to the open flask sitting on my desk. “He knows you haven’t forgotten. I see that he’s right.”

“What is this, some kind of a joke?”

“No joke. I started with these dreams a little while ago. They come almost every night, one after another, ten in a row. Then they stop and begin again. He’s ready to start again, another ten murders. He’s just biding his time.”

“Look, the details of those murders are, for the most part, readily available. You read about it like everyone else and they influenced your dreams. Try reading something lighter… an Emily Bronte novel will do the trick.”

“But you forget, there were some details not divulged to the public.”

I waited. I wasn’t sure where he was going with this but I knew from experience there were a lot of nuts in the New York City mix. This one looked like a real crackerjack...

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Mayfield Speakeasy by L. A. Witt

Walter Mayfield has his hands full. He’s trying to keep the peace between his brothers, but at least the cops don’t bother him much about his illegal speakeasy. After all, the place is frequented by members of two volatile gangs, and as long as Walter can keep them from killing each other, the cops leave him alone.

That is, until Detective Joe Riordan comes through the door. But Joe ain’t interested in what’s being poured. He’s got three dead bodies, and all three of them are connected to one of Walter’s brothers.

Walter keeps the detective away from the speakeasy and cooperates as best he can with the investigation. Trouble is, he’s taken a whole different kind of interest in the detective. An interest that’s very mutual.

But no matter how much Joe and Walter like each other, the investigation threatens to disrupt the fragile peace in the Mayfield Speakeasy as well as tear apart the Mayfield family. And there’s also still a murderer on the loose, and Joe and Walter need to catch him—or her—before another body turns up...

Genres: Gay/Nostalgic Contemporary (1930s-Era)/Mystery/Detective/Suspense/Thriller
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (19k words)

Read a short excerpt...

...Maybe the information could have waited, but Walter convinced himself it couldn’t. He also could’ve called, maybe, but he spent the cab ride back to the Oleander Hotel telling himself he ought to do this in person. Where nobody could be listening in, you see. Never could tell who might be listening on these phones, especially in his speakeasy. The cops left well enough alone, but that didn’t mean they didn’t have an ear to the ground.

Maybe it could have waited and been over the phone, but Walter tapped his knuckle on the door to the room he’d stormed out of not two hours ago.

“It’s Walter Mayfield,” he said. “I need to talk to you.”

Commotion and voices on the other side made his heart jump. He took a step back. Other cops? Another suspect? Anyone he didn’t want seeing him walking into a detective’s hotel room at this hour?

The door opened, and a disheveled kid—couldn’t have been more than twenty—scurried past him with his jacket and hat against his chest. One shirttail hung out, and only one of his shoes was tied, and he kept his eyes down as he rushed past.

Dumbfounded, Walter watched him go. Pity he didn’t get much of a look at him before he turned the corner, because just the glance Walter’d gotten of his face and his front, he was good-looking. Broad in the shoulders, narrow in the waist, blond hair that was a bit longish, and—

A cleared throat spun Walter around.

Joe stood in the doorway. He was buttoning his shirt. That dark hair of his wasn’t as neat as it was earlier, and the way his face was flushed told Walter all he needed to know about why that kid had been in here. If he still wasn’t sure, the rumpled—but not entirely turned down—bed behind Joe filled in the rest. Walter didn’t dare look below Joe’s belt, or he might’ve forgotten why he was here.

Walter cleared his own throat. “I…I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

Joe gave a quiet, amused grunt, and Walter was sure he saw him give a quick, appraising down-up glance before he stepped aside and nodded for him to come in. “This is more important.”

And more dangerous, some voice in Walter’s head protested, but he followed Joe into the room anyway.

“You spoke to your brother?” Joe leaned against the wall beside the door.

Walter opened his mouth to speak. He’d come here for a reason, hadn’t he? Something important enough to bring him halfway across town at this hour of the night? Except he couldn’t get that blond-haired kid out of his mind. Or why that kid had been here, or the way Joe’d looked him up and down while he’d buttoned his shirt.


“Right. Sorry.” Walter shook his head and forced himself not to watch Joe rolling his sleeves to the elbows. “John knew the girls. All of them. He was…having affairs with all of them.”

Joe’s hand stopped, his sleeve only rolled halfway. “Was he?”

Walter nodded. “But he says he didn’t hurt them, and I believe him.”

Sighing, Joe continued working at his sleeve, tugging it across his powerful forearm and disheveling the sprinkling of dark hair. “If he didn’t, then who did? And why in the world are they killing women involved with John?”

“I don’t know,” Walter said. “But he gave me the name of the girl he’s got now. A Carol James. He says he’ll do whatever he needs to do to make sure this guy doesn’t hurt her, too.”

“Still doesn’t make sense. Unless there’s another girl who’s jealous and doesn’t want any competition.”

“Think that’s possible?”

“It is,” Joe said. “I’ll warn you, Walt, people are capable of things we don’t think they are. Nobody thinks someone’s a murderer till they’ve murdered and been caught...”

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Low Between by Vivien Dean

It was supposed to be simple.

All struggling actor Carlo Baresi had to do was pick up a man in a taxi, drive him to the location he specified, then report where he’d taken him. The only problem is, the man isn’t who he claims to be...and they both know it.

Bookstore owner Joe Donnelly has a reputation for helping those in need, but this plan has been a bad one from the second he stepped in. Discovering someone has switched out the taxi driver is one more complication he doesn’t want, especially since Carlo is the kind of distraction that can get a man in serious trouble if he’s not careful.

But the men have something in common other than their mutual attraction. They’re both loose ends, struggling to find out what is really going on.

And murder is always complicated, even when you’re on the same side...

Genres: Gay/Nostalgic Contemporary (1950s-Era)/Mystery/Detective/Suspense/Thriller
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Novella (38k words)

Read a short excerpt...

...Though he’d been expecting a full address, Carlo edged into the street without complaint. His pulse pounded through his palms, his eyes fixed on the road ahead. Maybe this could be salvaged. After all, he was nobody. He’d never even spoken to Joe directly. Recognizing Joe didn’t have to be the end of the world. All he had to do was fulfill his end of the deal, and Mr. Stout would be happy.

“This rain’s going to slow us down,” Joe commented.

“No worries,” Carlo said. “Nobody’s nuts enough to be out at this time of night to get in our way.”

“Nobody but us, anyway.”

Carlo laughed, mostly because he was meant to. “You warm enough back there?”

“I don’t think I’ll be warm again ’til June.”

He’d always liked the sound of Joe’s voice. The first time he’d heard it, Joe was coming out of the backroom of his bookstore with a comforting arm around an elderly woman whose face had been swollen from tears. Carlo had been on his knees, thumbing through some play collections on the bottom shelf in search of a monologue to memorize for an audition. At the unfamiliar deep rumble, he’d glanced up, then stared at the man for the several seconds he was in view before he and the woman disappeared into the stacks.

Eavesdropping told him the guy was the owner. Returning a couple times a month when he got matinee shifts at the theater filled in a few more details, but Carlo never forgot the swift heat that had consumed him that first time he’d heard and seen Joe Donnelly.

Joe wore his auburn hair short, like he’d been in the military, which, considering he had to be in his thirties, was probably a given, but his dark blue eyes couldn’t hide whatever painful history he was trying to forget. The melancholy was etched at the corners of his mouth, and though he had a smile to rival Van Johnson’s, Carlo had only ever seen it once. From what he could tell, Joe buried himself in the store. He always worked in the same white shirt, the sleeves rolled up to expose his powerful forearms, the cotton straining across his wide shoulders.

Carlo couldn’t resist sneaking a peek into the rearview mirror. Now that he was out of the rain, Joe had opened the top button of his trenchcoat and pushed its collar out of the way. The shirt beneath was black.

“Eyes on the road,” Joe said.

The wheel jerked in Carlo’s startled hands, his foot automatically tapping the brake, but he obeyed without question. A sigh came from the backseat.

“How long you been driving, kid?”

His face flamed, and his petulant chin tilted up. He hated being called a kid. “I have my license.”

“That wasn’t what I asked.”

He couldn’t make trouble or draw attention to himself, no matter what Joe provoked in him. His shoulders slumped. “Six years.”


His gaze snapped back to the mirror, but Joe hadn’t even moved. “What?”

“You heard me. I call bullshit. You’re twenty, tops.”

“I’m twenty-two.”

“Which is still bullshit. You haven’t been behind that wheel since you were sixteen.”

“Oh. No. That’s when I got my driver’s license.”

“I wasn’t talking about that.”

“I kind of figured that out,” Carlo grumbled. A light was turning yellow ahead. He started slowing before Joe tried giving him driving lessons again.

“So? How long?”

“Two years.”

“You like it?”

What was with the twenty questions? “It’s all right.”

“Not as good as acting, though.”

The car leapt forward as his foot slipped off the brake, but by the time he’d regained control and come to a stop at the now-red light, the cold muzzle of a gun was pressed to the back of his head...

Monday, 14 January 2013

Love for Sale by A. J. Llewellyn

When Matt Killian, a LAPD cop-turned-private-eye, is approached one rainy day in Hollywood to take on a missing person case, he initially wants to say "no" when the potential client tells him he chose Killian because he's gay. Killian changes his mind, however, when he learns the man is distraught because his son, Dane Marks—AKA notorious gay porn director, Danny Dark—is missing. Matt is further surprised to learn that Dane has already tried to take his own life, twice, and has now disappeared, possibly to escape interference in his third attempt.

It's a race against time as Killian tracks down Danny Dark and attempts to short-circuit the man's desire for self-destruction. Plunged headlong into the sometimes-amusing, sometimes-terrifying world of gay porn, Killian is mistaken for a go-go dancer and performs in a live show to get close to Dane.

Can Killian save Dane and show him that sex isn't love and love isn't sex...that love is amazing and is not for sale?

Genres: Gay / Contemporary / Mystery / Detective / The Arts / Exhibitionism / Public Places
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Novella (34k words)

Read a short excerpt...

...I was almost sick to my stomach by the time I got to my floor. I’d held my breath most of the way and released it as I charged along the corridor. I could smell cigarettes and pot and something else. It was strange and yet familiar. A metallic, chemical smell. Oh crap, someone was cooking crystal meth in their room.

At my door I slid the key card into the slot across the top of the door handle. The green light flashed and I opened the door. It was a very nice room. Two double beds. No champagne, unlike the bridal suite, but it would do. I immediately closed the door, set up the computer on a round table overlooking the balcony and, beyond it, the hotel environs hugging Miami’s South Beach bay.

I checked Dane’s messages online. He’d alerted his two rent boys that there was a change in location. He told Thomas Conrad and Ricky Stanton that he was staying at the Hyatt. He left his cell phone number and signed off with DD.

Danny Dark.

I realized now that the name suited him. He was a dark personality. Or rather, that side of his personality was strong. I hoped it wouldn’t take over completely. I called his dad next and woke him. He seemed relieved when I told him I’d checked into a room on the same floor as his son.

“How much is that costing me?” he asked.

“Nothing. I’m posing as a go-go dancer. Somebody else booked the room.”

“A go-go dancer?” He laughed so hard I found it frankly offensive. It wasn’t that funny.

“Don’t call his room,” I warned Christopher. “I don’t want to spook him.”

“I won’t. I’ll be good. I promise. Go-go boy. Ha! I made a funny. Go boy! Go-go boy! Ha ha!”

“I’ll be in touch,” I said and ended the call. I took a quick shower, dried off, and threw on fresh underpants and a T-shirt. I checked the computer again and found that Dane hadn’t had any responses to his text messages. Perhaps his rental boys were mid-air or something. I turned off his computer and tucked it into my bag, putting it beside the bed. I was trashed. Absolutely exhausted. I set my cell phone for a two-hour nap. I’d be no good to Dane or his father unless I got some rest. I slid between what felt like expensive bed sheets, my body caving in to sleep.

It wasn’t long before I was awakened however and the sensation was bizarre. It felt like somebody was sucking my cock. Wow. Talk about wet dreams. I tried turning over but another man’s body had me pinned to the bed. I lifted my head a little and glanced down.

Holy fucking fuck fuck fuck.

I was getting a monster job and it was no dream. I was poised between heaven and hell. On the cusp of screaming “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” and gripping the man’s head to me in case he tried to stop.

But he wasn’t stopping.


I looked down at the totally astonishing sight of my target, Danny Dark, AKA Dane Marks, sucking my cock.

As if his very life depended on it...

Friday, 11 January 2013

December bestsellers

Starting on Monday, we're going to be featuring the stories in the next pax collection, Noir. Five m/m stories, all in a noir setting.

In the meantime, the December bestseller list for Amber Allure has been released, and guess what? All five of the That Gang of Mine pax hit the list, as well as one of the titles from the the Once Upon a Fairy Tale released in November!

1. Wallflowers - Sean Michael (Gay / Contemporary)
2. Familiar - M. L. Rhodes (Gay / Fantasy)
3. Chase The Ace - Clare London (Gay / Contemporary)
4. Doors Of Time - KC Kendricks (Gay / Contemporary)
5. Just Between Us - Aislinn Kerry (Gay / Contemporary)
6. Choices - Stevie Woods (Gay / Contemporary)
7. Steel's Redemption - Pepper Espinoza (Gay / Old West)
8. Tachinomi Hook-Up - Helen Louise Caroll (Gay / Contemporary)
9. Wild Rose, Silent Snow - Angel Martinez (Gay / Fairy Tale)
10. Eynhallow - A. J. Llewellyn (Gay / Shapeshifter)

Congratulations, everyone!

Friday, 4 January 2013

New Reviews for That Old Gang of Mine

The new year brings new reviews for some of the stories in our latest pax release, That Old Gang of Mine!

Serena Yates at Rainbow Book Reviews called Wallflowers by Sean Michael "a hot, yet emotionally fulfilling read."

Chase the Ace by Clare London comes "highly recommended" from Sean at Hearts on Fire Reviews, saying "you won't be disappointed."

At The Romance Studio, Teresa T. calls Just Between Us by Aislinn Kerry "an incredible, short story."

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Looking forward to 2013

Happy new year!

As much fun as it can be to look back over everything that happened for Amber Quill Press and the paxes in 2012, it's even better to look forward and see what we have in store for you in 2013. There are TWELVE AmberPax collections scheduled for Amber Allure alone, one for each month. That's sixty stories to revel in. How great is that?

So what are the themes you can expect?

Starting out the year, it's all about atmosphere, with noir and steampunk dominating the themes. In March, the collection is all about office affairs and the heat they can generate.

Coming up in the second quarter, we've got stories about gods walking amongst humans, musicians and the men who love them, and men hiding secrets.

Summertime brings more entertainment-themed stories, as well as tributes to both the gothic-style stories  and the angsty, tense romances between the enigmatic, international hero and his lover we all loved way back when.

In October, the always popular werewolves will be back, followed by location-specific tales, those taking place on trains and those at motels.

This year, there is undoubtedly something for everyone. It promises to be a great one!