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, 24 February 2013

If you liked the steampunk collection...

The steampunk pax is a first for Amber Allure, so finding similar collections that readers might enjoy isn't as easy as you'd think. But one of the aspects that sets steampunk apart is how it takes you into a different, but familiar, world. You don't have to just go into the past for that.

Look to the Future is a collection of five m/m stories all set in the near or distant future. Stories include:


The collection is currently 25% off, which means you can get all five stories for only $16.50. Now that's a deal!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Steampunk winner


What a great week! Who knew steampunk had such diverse roots? But the end of the week means it's also the end of our giveaway. The winner of the complete Days of Future's Past pax is...

Susan!

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, 22 February 2013

More from The Whore of New Slum by T.A. Chase


Enjoy the excerpt!
*_*_*_*
Abdur stared out the window of his room, watching the dark-haired man stride down the stairs and turn left on the sidewalk. He studied the way broad shoulders slimmed into narrow hips. The long fall of black hair intrigued him. His hands itched to touch and play with it.
He clenched his hands, and the hiss of steam as the metal joints making his left hand move drew a frown from him. He might want to touch the man, but he never would. Abdur had thought he had accepted the reality that he would always be alone.
"Abdur, you need to rest. The general wishes to talk to you tomorrow, so you need your strength for the trip to New Island."
The Mother Superior walked in. She'd gotten used to Abdur's ruined visage, so she didn't react when he turned to look at her. He'd taken off his mask when he'd gone back in his room and forgotten to put it back on.
"I don't feel like sleeping," he said, but he went to his bed and sat on it, accepting the tray she handed him.
"I know you don't, but I think it's best."
He set the plates aside before resting his hands on his thighs. "It still hurts."
Whether he was talking about his voice, his body, or his soul, he couldn't have said. All he knew was the pain had become second nature to him. It was a familiar weight he carried around, like a coat he never took off.
He simply knew it hurt.
"I'm sorry. Do you need more pills? Maybe I could convince the doctor to bring a magic user up to cast a pain spell on you." Mother Superior looked worried.
Abdur shook his head, even though moving it added to the ache. "Magic won't work on me any more. I had too many spells put on me right after my injuries to keep me alive."
She reached out, but held her hands inches from his left shoulder. He had to get used to never being touched again. No one would want to get close to the monster he'd become.
"Eat, then try to get some rest. If you need anything, you know where I'll be." She patted the sheets next to him.
"I'm not supposed to wander the halls. The generals were very specific about not letting anyone see me." He snorted. "That didn't work out so well this morning."
Mother Superior glared at him. "Who saw you?"
He shrugged. "He was pretty with long black hair and dark eyes. The doctor was a complete ass to him."
"Did he have a flower branded on his cheek?" She touched the same spot on her face where the man's brand had been.
"Yes."
Abdur shifted slightly as his cock stiffened at the memory of how beautiful the man had been. Why had this attraction hit him so hard? Before his attack, he'd jumped from bed to bed, never becoming attached to anyone in particular, but he'd discovered that kind of lifestyle ended up leaving him alone. No one had tried to see him while he was in the hospital, and once the military took him, he didn't have anyone to argue for him about their actions.
"Ah, I wonder how he got mixed up enough to come down this hall. Wendall comes every Monday to visit his sister. She's in the terminal ward on the third floor. He did tell me he'd be coming every day now, since Molly is dying and she doesn't have much time left." Mother Superior shook her head and sighed. "It's so sad. Such a beautiful young woman, yet this life crushed any chance she had of being anything more than a statistic."
"What does her brother do? Why was the doctor such an ass to him?" Abdur wasn't from New Britain. He'd been taken from New France and brought to the building he was in.
"Wendall is a sex peddler. He works at The Pink Carnation brothel a couple blocks from here." She didn't sound disgusted or upset by what Wendall did.
He glanced at her, studying her expression. "You don't look down on Wendall for what he does?"
She shook her head. "I understand why he chose to do what he does. When one lives in New Slum, one must do whatever one can to survive to the next day. My sisters and I came here to help them, but after a week, I realized we couldn't save them all. Abdur, we will be unlikely to save most of them."
Mother Superior headed toward the door, but she turned and looked back at him. "Wendall is a good man, no matter what he does to survive. It's not my place to judge anyone. I'm simply here to help as best I can."
Abdur waited until she left before he stood and made his way back to the window. He stared out at the dirty streets and soot-covered buildings surrounding him. As he studied the people strolling along outside, he heard some nuns chatting outside his room.
"Some medical supplies arrived earlier today," one said.
"Did The Whore send them?" Excitement colored the other nun's voice.
"Yes--or at least I think so. Mother Superior wouldn't answer me when I asked."
Their voices faded away, and Abdur wondered who The Whore was. He'd overheard the nuns and doctors at the hospital talk in whispers about the person almost from the minute he arrived. Suddenly, he wanted out and he wasn't going to stay in the hospital anymore. The general would have him brought back to the base any day now. Once that happened, he would never be free again.
After making his decision, he sat and ate. It helped to have a plan, so he stripped and laid down to rest. If all worked out, he would be spending the night somewhere else, and maybe be touched for the last time in his life.


The Whore of New Slum is now available 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, 21 February 2013

Seeing Steampunk: A Highly Personalized List of Favorite Steampunk TV shows, Movies, and Comics by Helen Louise Caroll


Steampunk is a wide open genre that seems to be, if you’ll pardon the pun, steaming right along, gathering new fans every day.  Some come to it through the literary door: either by way of classics like Michael Moorlock’s Warlord of the Air, K.W. Jeter’s Infernal Devices, or William Gibson and Bruce Sterling’s The Difference Engine, or newer entries such as Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series, Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris’s The Ministry of Peculiar Occurances series, and Karina Cooper’s St. Croix Chronicles

But steampunk also has a history in the visual arts, whether in costumes, inventions, or a short-lived TV series.  The latter is what caught my attention and brought me into the steampunk fold.  Following is a short – very short – list of the movies, TV shows, and graphic novels that made me a fan of the possibilities of the genre.



Voyagers!:  My first.  Not that I realized this television show was steampunk at the time.  No, when it first aired on NBC back in 1982 for its one and only season, I was more interested in watching the very cute Jon-Erik Hexum dashing about in quasi-piratical duds with young Meeno Peluce.  It wasn’t until later that I realized the alternate histories they were trying to fix were often steampunk in nature.


Nadia: the Secret of Blue Water:  This anime (Japanese animation) features the spunky, orphaned acrobat Nadia, the adorkable inventor Jean, Nadia’s pet lion King, the comic Grandis Gang, Captain Nemo, and the Gargoyle organization.  Over thirty-nine episodes, viewers watch Nadia grow from a stubborn, narrow-minded girl to a compassionate young woman as she uncovers the secrets of her origin and learns to love the faithful Jean.  Though the “Island” arc of the storyline moves a bit slowly for my taste, the series as a whole is funny, romantic, gripping, and dramatic.  It’s a classic for a reason.

Laputa: the Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle:  Two films by the great Hayao Miyazaki.  While they aren’t my favorite of his many works – my heart will always belong to My Neighbor Totoro – both really need to be seen by anyone who enjoys steampunk.  Laputa is similar to Nadia – only without the submarine.  Heroine Sheeta literally falls into hero Pazu’s arms from the sky, her glowing pendent protecting her from harm.  Pursued by Ma Dola’s comic air pirates and a much more sinister organization, the pair discovers the legendary floating city of Laputa, forcing Sheeta to make a difficult choice.  Howl’s has only a surface similarity to the Dianna Wynne Jones book it’s based on.  However, if you enjoy cocky wizards with soft hearts, smart-mouthed fire demons, and a heroine who finds the freedom to be herself after she’s turned into an old woman, this is the movie for you.  Both films are full of Miyazaki’s trademark flying scenes, strong female characters, and visually stunning worldbuilding.  Labeled children’s films, they’re very much for anyone who enjoys great movies.

Girl Genuis:  Originally a comic book by Phil and Kaja Foglio Girl Genuis has since become a webcomic, and a series of novels.  Heroine Agatha Clay is a “spark,” an inventor of weird and wonderful gadgets.  But she doesn’t know it.  She does it in her sleep.  She’s also heir to a fascinating legacy that puts her right in the crosshairs of the powerful Baron Wulfenbach and his son Gilgamesh.  There’s also a talking cat, a bloodthirsty air-pirate queen, an army of monsters, an enthusiastic swordswoman, and plenty of mad science. While there’s action, adventure, humor, time-travel, betrayal and romance Girl Genius is at heart a story about the weirdness and wonderfulness of family. 


The League of Extraordinary Gentleman: Originally a comic book mini-series by Alan Moore and artist Kevin O’Neill featuring Victorian-era characters such as Mina Harker, Allan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll, and the Invisible Man in a fight to save Britain from Fu Manchu and Doctor Moriarty, the League became a series of mini-series collected in graphic novels, and, eventually, a movie.  While the comics are fantastic, showcasing Moore’s imagination and intelligence, I actually like the movie a smidge more.  If only because it has Sean Connery’s Quartermain mentoring Shane West’s cocky Tom Sawyer.  Mrrrwww.

The Adventures of Luther Arkwright:  The original graphic novel by Bryan Talbot is dense with information and sometimes confusing, but it’s fascinating reading and viewing.  In contrast, the sequel seemed kind of blah.  Able to travel across parallel universes, hero Arkwright is taxed with protecting them from upset and ushering in a new age of humanity.  It’s a more adult and philosophically sophisticated Voyagers, without the kid sidekick.  Which brings me back to where I started.

Steampunk embraces a variety of styles and stories and is waiting open-armed for new readers.  Dip in and try it.  You might like it a lot.  


*_*_*_*

Pinkerton agent Brom Donker’s arm and legs were taken from him during the American Civil War. Now, ten years later, although he’s adjusted to the metal limbs that replaced his real ones, there are times when he still feels like less than a man. Especially when he’s near Simon Wain, his physician/mechanic.

Simon has cared about Brom for years. As his patient. Lately, though, he’s been seeing the handsome agent as more than that. But how can a lowly physician/mechanic fit in with a man from a powerful and influential family?

As Brom deals with missing gun shipments, rogue Sasquatches, and disaffected Southerners, he and Simon confront their feelings about themselves and for each other.


The Tinkered Pinkerton is now available 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, 20 February 2013

Another glimpse at Iron Eyes by Vivien Dean

When it came time to try my hand at writing steampunk, I wanted to do something different. I love the genre to pieces, from the gadgets to the punk mentality, but at the same time, I wanted to focus on the romance. That meant taking a risk.

I chose to pluck ordinary men from a steampunk world and concentrate on them. I also opted for a time and place that I hadn't seen before.

Iron Eyes is set in 1922 on a northern Canadian island, cut off from civilization. Cap Kaufman is an ex-soldier who kidnaps a talented Hollywood engineer named Hector Gabourel. Hector is a genius when it comes to lenses, and Cap wants him to find a way to restore his ward's sight. The story focuses on the drama between them, rather than the world they inhabit. In this case, that's what the romance dictated.

On the Amber Allure website, you can read the excerpt where Cap first proposes the deal to Hector. The scene that follows takes place that night...



*_*_*_*

During the day, the view was spectacular. The cliffs stood sentinel for the rest of the island against the vastness of the ocean and its denizens, the rocks below just as deadly and beautiful. The constant roar of the waves lapping at the shore underscored any visit. Even the birds that circled overhead in search of dinner couldn't drown it out. The woods carpeted the hill that led up to the escarpment in rich greens and browns, but in the winter, their bare branches looked like skeletons rising from the earth to protect intruders from plundering below.

"Be careful," Cap said. "It ices over quickly up here, and it's impossible to see it in the dark."

Hector nodded. "Is that why there's no train to get up the slope like there is to the beach? So you can keep Diana from wandering up here?"

"She doesn't leave the house without someone with her, though Miss Forster would never bring her this far out. She thinks it's too dangerous."

"You just warned me," Hector said with a quirk of his brow. "It is too dangerous for a little blind girl."

Cap let that go. He had no need to contest a valid point.

Moving away from the trees, Hector tilted his head toward the heavens, circling around and around in a seemingly aimless pattern. Cap retained a respectful distance, content to watch. It was better to be the primary set of eyes on their surroundings, too, since, in spite of accepting Cap's alert, Hector didn't appear to be heeding where he stepped.

As right as Hector looked amidst the iron and glass of his workroom, both on the island and back in Los Angeles, he fit in just as well out here, his wildness a near ideal complement to the ragged terrain. The clumps of grass around his feet might have sprung up there at his presence, clustering to adorn his roots as much as any tree. Best of all, this was how Cap felt most comfortable around him, watching without being watched in return, free to appreciate and assess when the subject of his attraction was focused on something else.

"The stars are different here," Hector commented without looking away.

"Is there one in particular you're looking for?" He'd spent hours on these cliffs, his primary escape when he felt smothered. "I could help."

"Nah, that's okay." Bringing the telescope to his eye, his fingers moved over the unexplained gears as he continued to wander around. "They've never looked so bright before."

"That's because they're not fighting with the city for your attention." Cap edged closer, his gaze darting to the precipice to gauge the distance. Still safe. "Have you always lived in Los Angeles?"

"Mostly. I was born in Belize, but my parents moved us all to California in '97."

"Do you remember anything about Belize?"

He caught a flash of white as Hector grinned. "I was three. What do you think?"

Cap chuckled. The age surprised him, though. He'd pegged Hector as older than him, but at thirty-four, that made Cap the senior by six years. "I've been a lot of places, but nothing south of the American border."

"According to my parents, you're not missing too much."

"So they like it in L.A."

"Love it."

Hector froze, fingers, feet, all of him, his breath pluming in front of his face as he fixated on the star he'd been looking for. Cap did the same, searching the sky for what had ultimately captured Hector's focus. The aim of the scope didn't correspond with any constellation Cap recognized. All he saw was a cluster of stars, most of them duller than their neighbors.

"Like I said, Doc's book was pretty boring." The comment came out of the blue, as if they'd been discussing it all along instead of it being a throwaway observation made forty minutes ago. "But it convinced me of one thing. Even if I did make a lens Doc could use to replace the one she's got, in the long run, Diana wouldn't be better off for it."

Hope surged through him. Hector wasn't saying he couldn't do it anymore. "What're you talking about? Of course, it would help her."

"For how long, though?" His fingers shifted a fraction of an inch. A metallic click as one of the gears moved echoed between them. "Glass doesn't grow, Cap. Little girls do."

He was too stunned by the logical statement to fully appreciate Hector's new familiarity with him. Doc had said all along he could remove the cataract that had completely obscured her vision, but replacing the damaged lens required special treatment, something well beyond the current medical establishment's expertise.

"It can't be done," he'd said, and Cap had ignored his negativity.

"So we think outside the medical establishment," he'd countered.

And thus, Hector Gabourel and his magical cameras that were turning the budding film industry into an international phenomenon had been discovered.

But in his focus on the bigger picture, Cap hadn't seen the simple facts. Diana would not remain a seven-year-old child forever. Whatever was created for her now would need to be replaced with a larger model, even if it was only marginally bigger. The operations wouldn't stop at one. The risk of something going wrong would increase every time.

He lacked the words to argue, his throat like ice, his eyelids frozen open to keep him staring sightlessly toward the invisible horizon. Hector broke the silence first.

"Doc told me you don't hear what gets said to you." He lowered the scope to turn his sympathetic gaze to Cap. "Looks like he's wrong about that, too."

"I'd be torturing her," Cap murmured. "I just want her to see again, but the price of it..." A brittle laugh escaped. It cut through his chest, more painful than the phantom aches that still plagued him when he least expected. "That might've been the easiest money you ever made. Less than a day's work."

"Well, I'm good, but there's no way I'll have it done by morning."

"You're done now."

"Not the way I see it."

He could finally move, though his entire body hurt from the effort. He felt like he'd aged a century in the last two minutes. "What's there to do? She's still growing. Her eye--"

"Will be done in six or seven years," Hector finished. "That's what I learned from that book. So anything I could come up with now, even if having a chunk of glass in your eye wouldn't hurt like the dickens, would be useless within months. Because every millimeter matters. As soon as her eye grows, even the smallest bit, the lens wouldn't work the same."

"This sounds like I'm right, then. You're done."

"If you want me to focus on fixing her eye, then yeah, I'm done. On the other hand, if you want me to fashion something that works on the outside of her eye..." With a quick flick of his wrist, he tossed the telescope to Cap.

Cap caught it on reflex, but his brain had tripped over Hector's implication. The outside? He hadn't considered that, but people wore glasses, didn't they? He'd thought Diana's injuries were too extensive for anything but replacement--so did Doc, for that matter--but maybe Hector had thought of something they hadn't.

His gaze fell to the scope.

"I can't guarantee it'll be pretty," Hector said. "And the gears might do what I want to move the lenses in the telescope, but I'm still not sure I can speed them up enough to keep up with her blinking. But the thing is, you paid me to try, right? Not to mention, you had a valid point before."

"About what?"

"About the last thing she ever saw." He jerked his chin toward the view. "That's a hell of a lot better to have memories of. For anyone."

The hope that had been squashed at Hector's reality check began to blossom again, seeking out the light he offered, but Cap was almost afraid to let it. He held the scope to his eye and looked into the sky, but the stars were a blur, no matter how much he fiddled with the tiny gears at the side.

When Hector's hand closed around his on the copper, his fingers were oddly warm. Cap lowered and released it, but the heat lingered.

"This what you want?" Hector said, his voice low.

Cap only had one answer. For everything Hector was asking.

"Absolutely."


Iron Eyes is now available 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!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Balthazar Starblitz: Steampunk, Werewolves and blood, oh my! by A.J. Llewellyn

I've loved steampunk ever since I first heard the word attached to the Back to the Future movies and the Doctor Who TV series. I had no idea that some of my favorite 'classic' books such as the works of Robert Louis Stevenson (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and H.G. Wells's The Time Machine, were also considered steampunk and began to delve into more contemporary titles. 

My first purchase of a contemporary steampunk novel was The Girl in the Steel Corset. I absolutely loved this book and relished the traditional steampunk elements such as gas lit streets (the book is set in Victorian England), a character called The Machinist and a feisty heroine who is clearly contemporary and strong as all hell.

I then discovered Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series. Though I loved Clockwork Angel, my geriatric next door neighbor mentioned Clare's Mortal Instruments series and I fell in love. We talk all day about the books and the upcoming movie based on the first one, The City of Bones.

There are, frankly dozens of stories that can be categorized as steampunk but there are purists who will argue. At the risk of inciting a war right here I'll leave it at that.

When my lovely friend, author Christiane France posted the suggestion of a steampunk anthology to the Amber Allure PAX authors, I jumped at the chance to pen my own tale. 

I wanted to honor a rich tradition of stories that involve historical times, steam engines and of course, a megadose of paranormal activity. 

Balthazar Starblitz tells the story of Flip McCabe, a young LA guy who answers an ad to work in a tea shop at Union Station. When he gets there, he finds the tea shop doesn't exist…except that it does. It is trapped in time appearing and disappearing on an old steam train line at the fabled train station.

I had so much fun writing this story and wove in certain well known criminals from the past who were all somehow involved with train travel. Remember Winnie Ruth Judd, who arrived at Union Station with her steamer trunks containing the hacked-up bodies of her best friends?

No? Well, here's your opportunity to get to know her since she was in the past an obsession of mine. And then there is Balthazar Starblitz, a werewolf whom Flip falls for before he learns the secret of the were's lonely existence.

Here is the link for Balthazar Starblitz: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/BalthazarStarblitz.html

And the blurb: 

When Flip McCabe spots an unusual ad in a magazine requesting a young man or woman to train in the fine art of tea service, he's pleasantly surprised to learn that it's still available. He needs this job—any job—desperately, but his new boss, Mr. Chen, will mysteriously tell him only to report for duty at Platform Thirteen at LA's Union Station at nine o'clock the following morning. 

Arriving in plenty of time, Flip becomes panic-stricken when he can't find any such platform, nor is there a tea shop listed at the bustling railway station. Frantic to get to work, he stumbles across an old line on an outdoor platform and is catapulted in another era of the station somewhere else in time. 

The elegant, old-worldly Mr. Chen dispenses tea and serious help for those who need it, but his frail body is no longer up to the dangerous escapades involved with murder, mayhem and steam trains. Flip is sent back to the past to help various famous, often wrongfully convicted criminals, and then plunged back to the present to find a man who needs not only his help, but his love. 

But will Flip be able to aid the dynamic, exhilarating Balthazar Starblitz, a werewolf on the run from charges related to a series of grisly murders he did not commit? 

Genres: Gay/Steampunk/Dark Fantasy/Werewolf/Action/Adventure/Time Travel 
Heat Level: 3 
Length: Novella (23k words) 

Aloha oe,

A.J.
www.ajllewellyn.com

*_*_*_*

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, 18 February 2013

What is steampunk?


When I decided to write this story, it was a little scary, like going into a world I had little connection with or knowledge of. The first thing I asked myself was… what in the world is Steam punk and how do you write a story worthy of being called one?

The answers I received varied widely. Basically, I was told that steam punk is anything with steam in it.  Steam? Okay, old steam engines, a flat iron, industrial revolution…ah... great. So I’d signed on to write a story about an old steam engine? How thrilling! How in the world was I going to write a story someone wanted to read about an old steam engine?

But there is a lot more to steam punk than steam. Steam punk is the unusual. It can be a melting pot of genres wrapped around the mysterious and the unknown, kind of cool and different but with all the elements we’ve come to love in our genre. Steam Punk is like entering a cave to go exploring and finding the unexpected that feels well…somehow familiar.

Harnessing just came to me. Angus tells the story of how as a child everything was turned upside down when the blood drinkers came out of the skies and took over his world. He lost everything. His entire life became devoted to finding a way to defeat them, to take back his world.

But things don’t always go as planned. All seemed lost until he came, beautiful and deadly; Shylar just walked into his world, and represented all Angus had come to despise.

But then steam punk is all about the unexpected and the unusual. Read it and find out.

*_*_*_*

Angus has never known freedom. He was born into a world overtaken by aliens who drank the blood of humans. Only Doctor Often offered hope for survival, and every day a fascinated Angus would sneak into the caves to watch the brilliant man tinker in a laboratory with its menagerie of gadgets, glued-together test tubes, and frayed wires.

Then one day, Angus goes home only to discover both his mother and little brother missing. Alone, he returns to Doctor Often, who trains and mentors him. As time passes, Angus and the doctor build their underground community, rescuing humans while food sources dwindle for both aliens and humans alike. Meanwhile, they also work on a steam engine that will one day, hopefully, allow them to build a flying machine to fight their overseers in the sky. But even though steam is the necessity to their possible survival, it’s also in dreadfully short supply.

When a blood-drinker named Shylar surprisingly surrenders to Doctor Often and his followers, he says he can supply them with steam, claims he holds the key to defeating his own race, and will help them restore the world to the remaining humans. But can Angus and the doctor trust one of their world’s bloodthirsty captors, even if Angus has seen the compelling and alluring vampire in his dreams? Is Shylar leading them all into a deadly trap, or is the beautiful, mysterious alien their dark angel?


Harnessing is now available 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!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

LATEST PAX RELEASE - Days of Future's Past





Visit the links to take advantage of our

Special Price

Days of Future's Past 

An AmberPax™ Collection of
Gay Steampunk Erotic Romance 
by Various Authors 
Genre: Gay (M/M) Steampunk Erotic 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!)

Balthazar Starblitz
Balthazar Starblitz
by A.J. Llewellyn
Novella
(Gay)
Harnessing
Harnessing
by D.J. Manly
Novella
(Gay)
Iron Eyes
Iron Eyes
by Vivien Dean
Extended Novella
(Gay)
The Tinkered Pinkerton
The Tinkered Pinkerton
by Helen Louise Caroll
Extended Amber Kiss
(Gay)
The Whore of New Slum
The Whore of New Slum
by T.A. Chase
Extended Novella
(Gay)

 
In conjunction with our newest release, we will be having a giveaway! Starting tomorrow, leave a comment on any post made during the week (2/18-2/22), 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, 15 February 2013

The Whore of New Slum by T.A. Chase




New Slum is the poorest borough in New City, and those who live there are considered the dregs of society. Yet they all have hopes and dreams to be more than what others say they should be.

Wendall works as a sex peddler, trying to survive as best he can in the Slum. One day, while visiting his dying sister, Wendall meets a man who will change his life, and puts into motion plans that have taken years to prepare.

Abdur is a prisoner of war, taken during battle between New France and New Britain. His injuries are such that the New Britain military have no problem experimenting on him. All he has to look forward to is more experiments or being used until he has nothing left to give.

Running into each other is a pivotal moment for both men. As they fall in love, they decide to shape the world around them to what they wish it to be, and start making their dreams come true...

Genres: Gay/Steampunk/Fantasy/Witchcraft/Magic/Action/Adventure
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Novella (37k words)


Read a short excerpt...


...If the sun shone in the sky, no one who lived in New Slum ever knew. Black smoke filled the air and blocked out any chance of light. At night, the only sources of illumination were the coal lanterns hanging from poles on the corners and the different steam lights in the saloons, pubs, and brothels that populated New Slum. The only chance any of the inhabitants of the poorest borough in New Britain had to see real sunlight was to sneak into one of the other four boroughs of the city, or simply glimpse it from afar.

Wendall strolled along what passed as a sidewalk in the Slum. He contemplated the dark sky for a moment before looking over to where weak early morning sunlight shone down on New Upper, the richest borough in New Britain, and the only one that could afford to buy a high level spell to ward off the cloud of coal smoke rising from the factories and mines. Well, New Island didn’t have smoke over it either, but since it was a military base and the air had to be clear for the airships, it didn’t count.

He coughed into his handkerchief, hating how heavy his chest felt. Christ! He’d thought working as a whore would be easier on his health than heading into the coalmines like his father, but apparently coal soot was bad for his lungs no matter where he breathed it in.

“Good morning, Master Wendall.”

Wendall glanced to his left, where a teenaged boy sat on the front steps of a pub. He paused in front of him. “Good morning, Jebediah. Are you waiting for Miller to open up?”

“Yes, sir. He pays me a few coins to sweep the floor and clean up before he opens to customers.” Jebediah grimaced. “I don’t really like it, but can’t turn down a job.”

He rested his hand on the boy’s shoulder for a moment. “It’s better than the mines or being a soldier, my young friend. You’re more likely to live long enough to get old, if you’re only sweeping floors.”

Jebediah nodded before gesturing to the flowers in Wendall’s other hand. “Off to see Miss Molly?”

“It’s Monday, isn’t it?” Wendall winked at the teenager, though there wasn’t any joy in his heart at the thought of visiting his sister.

Jebediah smiled as he stood, and the expression in his eyes showed he understood how Wendall really felt. Most of the people who called New Slum home dealt with the same situation Wendall found himself in. Overwhelming poverty allowed disease to run rampant throughout the Slum, and dozens of people died every day because of it.

“I have to get going. Want to get there before visiting hours are over.” Wendall pulled a coin from his pocket before slipping into Jebediah’s hand. “If you and your sisters need anything, you know where to find me.”

“Yes, sir.” Jebediah nodded.

Wendall continued his stroll, heading toward a large building on the next block. The Merciful Sisters of Hope Hospital was one of the bigger buildings in the borough. He hated the dark structure with its oppressive, soul-draining atmosphere. There was nothing happy or hopeful about the place, and it didn’t matter how hard the sisters tried to make it less depressing.

After shoving open the door, Wendall walked through the foyer to the reception desk. The pale nun sitting behind the plain oak table smiled at him.

“Master Wendall, I was wondering if you were going to make it today.”

He bowed slightly and grimaced behind the cascade of hair pouring over his shoulder to almost touch the floor. He hated his hair because it was hard to keep neat and washing it was a bitch. Yet the smog and dirt coating everything made it impossible for him to go more than a day without cleansing his hair. If he’d had a choice, he’d cut it, but it turned out the men who bought his services liked his long hair. Maybe for most of them, it gave the illusion of fucking a woman and they didn’t have to admit they were really using whatever hole they could find...

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Tinkered Pinkerton by Helen Louise Caroll



Pinkerton agent Brom Donker’s arm and legs were taken from him during the American Civil War. Now, ten years later, although he’s adjusted to the metal limbs that replaced his real ones, there are times when he still feels like less than a man. Especially when he’s near Simon Wain, his physician/mechanic.

Simon has cared about Brom for years. As his patient. Lately, though, he’s been seeing the handsome agent as more than that. But how can a lowly physician/mechanic fit in with a man from a powerful and influential family?

As Brom deals with missing gun shipments, rogue Sasquatches, and disaffected Southerners, he and Simon confront their feelings about themselves and for each other.

Genres: Gay/Steampunk/Action/Adventure
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (17k words)


Read a short excerpt...


...“Are you almost finished?” Brom’s voice was strained.

Simon looked up. “Almo…” The word died on his lips. Brom’s face was flushed. Sweat beaded his forehead. “What’s wrong?” Simon leaned against Brom, concern replacing his earlier embarrassment.

“N-nothing.” The color in Brom’s face darkened. “B-but could you move your hand?”

Simon looked. Without being aware of it, he’d begun to stroke the scar crossed skin of Brom’s thigh. He pulled back his hand as if he’d been scalded, but he couldn’t help noticing that there was a definite bulge pressing against the soft material of Brom’s underwear.

“Thank you.” Brom’s voice was rough with embarrassment. Or something else.

“You’re welcome,” Simon muttered, bending to his work again.

Could Brom be interested in him? In that way?

The thought sent a shiver of excitement through him. His body tightened.

Did he want Brom to…want him? To…to…

He’d never considered it before.

No, that wasn’t strictly true. Simon’s cheeks burned. There had been dreams, half-remembered when he woke.

He defended himself. Brom was an attractive man. And desirable.

Simon’s heart rate increased.

It was impossible. He was Brom’s physician. His mechanic. It would be unethical. He would be taking advantage of him.

Not if Brom wanted it, too.

Simon closed the panel with more force than necessary, trying to shut out the tantalizing thought.

He couldn’t think like this. It was… He had to stop. He was probably only imagining Brom’s interest. Why would someone like Brom desire him? He was…ordinary and Brom was… Brom was older. Wealthy. He could be a man of influence, if he chose. His family regularly dined with senators and the president, offering advice over cigars and brandy.

That was a foreign world to Simon.

No. He had to put these foolish ideas and feelings aside.

He stood and stepped back. “Try standing now.” He kept his gaze lowered, focusing on Brom’s bronze feet and finely jointed toes.

There was the slightest hint of a hissing sound as the pneumatics in his legs allowed Brom to bend his knees and stand.

“How does that feel?” Simon didn’t wait for the answer. His eyes were on the left knee. The plates seemed to be aligned improperly. “Try walking.”

Brom moved his left leg forward. The plate at his knee slipped. Simon heard him swear. Brom started to totter. Simon reached out to catch him.

Simon’s arms wrapped around Brom. Brom’s arm pressed Simon tightly to his chest.

He could feel Brom’s heart pounding. Or was it his own?

Simon was conscious of the heat of the body pressed so firmly against his own. It burned through the layers of material separating them. Did Brom have a fever? Or did he?

He felt like he was spinning. He tightened his grip on Brom. In response, Brom crushed him to his chest.

Simon inhaled the moist, sweaty scent of the man. His hands, moving of their own accord, ran over the broad back.

Somehow in catching the stumbling man, he’d trapped Brom’s leg between his own. Brom’s thigh rubbed against his.

Simon moved against him, his body growing heavy and hard. His head fell back. He lifted weighted eyelids to look into Brom’s face. His breath caught. He had never seen that expression on Brom’s face before. It was a look of desperate hunger...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Iron Eyes by Vivien Dean



For three years, Cap Kaufman has been trying to make amends to his war buddy’s orphaned daughter—building her a safe home, and even finding her the best nanny. Now, he’s kidnapped the man her doctor says is the best bet for fixing her blindness.

When Hector Gabourel wakes up on a boat in the middle of nowhere, he’s confronted by a man determined to get his own way. He has no choice but to play along and wait for a chance to escape. What he doesn’t count on, however, is learning to respect the man who uprooted him from everything he knew, all for the love of a child.

For Hector, it’s a challenge. For Cap, it’s penance. For both of them, it’s a chance for love. All it takes is opening their eyes to see what’s right in front of them...

Genres: Gay/Steampunk
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Novella (36k words)


Read a short excerpt...


...Hector leaned against the iron railing that protected anyone from falling and stared long and hard at the machine in question. Disappointment didn’t even begin to cover how he felt when those inscrutable eyes swiveled in his direction without a single comment or thank you.

“I don’t see Doc’s bed,” Hector said.

“That’s because his room is inside.” Cap wandered over to the nearest bench and ran his fingertips over its pristine surface. The weight of Hector’s gaze made him oddly self-conscious, his muscles restless under the regard. “I told you. This is all yours.”

“I thought I was working with him.”

Cap savored the use of Hector’s present tense. “Your part of the job comes first. You’ll consult with Doc, sure, but I thought you’d prefer the privacy. You can work to your heart’s content in here without interruption.”

“Just because it’s big doesn’t mean it’s not still a prison cell.”

His hand jerked back, and his eyes jumped to Hector’s. “You’ll have free access to the rest of the house. Meals, the library, whatever you’d like.”

Hector snorted. “I was talking about the island.”

Perhaps it wasn’t as straightforward as he had hoped. “I didn’t have a choice.”

“People always have choices.”

“I told you. You wouldn’t have left your job behind.”

“I guess we’ll never know, though, will we? Because you couldn’t be bothered to approach me like I was a man instead of a tool for you to use.” His words stung, mostly because they were true. “Are we going to play twenty questions about what you want me to do? If that’s your plan, I pass. I’ll just get some of that sleep you told Diana I was getting.”

Enough was enough. This wasn’t how he’d envisioned this scenario playing out, but Cap’s imagination was notoriously flawed. “She’s the job. I want you to give Diana her sight back.”

Startling Hector was turning into one of Cap’s favorite things to do.

Hector stiffened and straightened, the near hostility he’d been showering down about his so-called prison overwhelmed by his shock at Cap’s simple statement. “That’s not possible,” he said.

“Doc says it is.”

“Then he’s a quack.”

“He’s the best optician in the country,” Cap countered. “And he says, with the right lens, she’ll be able to see again.”

“And you think I can make it for you?” Hector was incredulous. “Did you see where I worked? Not a white coat or nurse in sight.”

“A lens is a lens.”

“If you think that, then you’re an idiot.”

“You think otherwise?”

“I know otherwise.” He marched hard enough back to the stairs for the iron railing to rattle slightly, but Cap remained in his place even when Hector towered over him. “Do you know what glass is made of?”

“Sand.”

“Silica,” Hector corrected. “Among other things. Each ingredient is unique. Each piece you add changes it some way. Whatever you cut out to make your lens will be totally different to the piece you cut out next to it. It’ll have its own life.”

“I know. Doc explained all that to me.”

“And he still thinks this is a viable plan?”

“Who do you think helped me find you?”

Another revelation to visibly shake Hector. His head swiveled to take in the waiting machinery around him, the empty surfaces hungry for his clutter. “A little girl is not a projector.”

“But an eye is,” Cap countered. “You don’t even have to worry about the surgery. Doc’s got that covered. All you have to do is make the lens he needs to replace what he cuts away.”

“Can’t be done.”

“Really? That doesn’t sound like the Hector Gabourel I heard about. Oh, yeah,” he went on, when Hector’s jaw firmed. “I know all about the nineteen-year-old kid who sneaked into the studio workshops after hours. The one who switched out the primary lenses on every camera in stock with his own design. The one who recreated the most complicated lens on the lot under the watchful eye of a dozen suits when they called him a thief. That Hector Gabourel doesn’t say it can’t be done.”

Fury bloomed in Hector’s face. His nostrils flared. “I was an arrogant kid who thought anything was possible.”

“Then I guess we have that in common...

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Balthazar Starblitz by A.J. Llewellyn



When Flip McCabe spots an unusual ad in a magazine requesting a young man or woman to train in the fine art of tea service, he's pleasantly surprised to learn that it's still available. He needs this job—any job—desperately, but his new boss, Mr. Chen, will mysteriously tell him only to report for duty at Platform Thirteen at LA's Union Station at nine o'clock the following morning.

Arriving in plenty of time, Flip becomes panic-stricken when he can't find any such platform, nor is there a tea shop listed at the bustling railway station. Frantic to get to work, he stumbles across an old line on an outdoor platform and is catapulted in another era of the station somewhere else in time.

The elegant, old-worldly Mr. Chen dispenses tea and serious help for those who need it, but his frail body is no longer up to the dangerous escapades involved with murder, mayhem and steam trains. Flip is sent back to the past to help various famous, often wrongfully convicted criminals, and then plunged back to the present to find a man who needs not only his help, but his love.

But will Flip be able to aid the dynamic, exhilarating Balthazar Starblitz, a werewolf on the run from charges related to a series of grisly murders he did not commit?

Genres: Gay/Steampunk/Dark Fantasy/Werewolf/Action/Adventure/Time Travel
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (23k words)


Read a short excerpt...


...An ad like that will get a million responses. Flip checked the time on the oven clock. Eight A.M. Mr. Chen hadn’t specified a time limit on calls. He’d only stressed that the calls should come on a weekday. Flip glanced at the publication date on the magazine. Wednesday, February 13, 2013. It was now the fourteenth. Maybe the job had been snapped up already.

It took him a second longer to square his shoulders and pick up his cell phone. He’d been frugal with it lately due to his dwindling minutes. But this was an emergency. He’d had to go cold turkey on calling his friends, even reading and sending text messages. Arggh! It had almost killed him.

He called the number and an old, quavering voice answered on the third ring.

“Chen’s Tea Service.”

“Mr. Chen?”

“Yes. To whom am I speaking?”

“My name is Flip McCabe. Well, Phillip McCabe. My friends and family call me Flip.”

“What can I do for you, Mr. McCabe?”

“I saw your ad in the Pennysaver.”

“You did?” The old man seemed surprised.

“Is the job gone?”

“We had one applicant and he never showed up. I rely on punctuality, Mr. McCabe. Are you the reliable sort?”

Mr. Chen’s voice seemed stronger, more resolute now.

“Oh, yes. Absolutely.” I think. I don’t know anymore. I’ve been on sixty-three job interviews in the last two months and my self-esteem is non-existent.

“Can you start work first thing in the morning? Nine o’clock?”

“I got the job?” Nothing like this had ever happened to Flip. He’d been through countless interviews, second interviews, vice presidential interviews, aptitude tests, credit checks, back ground checks—

“You will be given the opportunity to work with me for one day. Should you prove satisfactory, we can discuss terms.”

“What’s wrong with the job? How come it’s still open?” Aw heck! Why did I have to go and say something like that?

The old man was silent a moment. “The job is…not for everybody.”

“Right. You need someone reliable. I’m very reliable. Honest! Where do I come to?”

Another pause. “The tea shop on platform thirteen at Union Station.”

“Platform—”

“Do you consider yourself a resourceful young man, Mr. McCabe?”

“Um…yes, I do.” Flip was busy Googling the tea shop on Snow’s computer.

“Good,” Mr. Chen said.

Flip couldn’t see anything remotely resembling the shop. “What is the name of your establishment, Mr. Chen?”

But the old man had hung up on him...

Monday, 11 February 2013

Harnessing by D.J. Manly



Angus has never known freedom. He was born into a world overtaken by aliens who drank the blood of humans. Only Doctor Often offered hope for survival, and every day a fascinated Angus would sneak into the caves to watch the brilliant man tinker in a laboratory with its menagerie of gadgets, glued-together test tubes, and frayed wires.

Then one day, Angus goes home only to discover both his mother and little brother missing. Alone, he returns to Doctor Often, who trains and mentors him. As time passes, Angus and the doctor build their underground community, rescuing humans while food sources dwindle for both aliens and humans alike. Meanwhile, they also work on a steam engine that will one day, hopefully, allow them to build a flying machine to fight their overseers in the sky. But even though steam is the necessity to their possible survival, it’s also in dreadfully short supply.

When a blood-drinker named Shylar surprisingly surrenders to Doctor Often and his followers, he says he can supply them with steam, claims he holds the key to defeating his own race, and will help them restore the world to the remaining humans. But can Angus and the doctor trust one of their world’s bloodthirsty captors, even if Angus has seen the compelling and alluring vampire in his dreams? Is Shylar leading them all into a deadly trap, or is the beautiful, mysterious alien their dark angel?

Genres: Gay/Steampunk/Dark Fantasy/Vampire 
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (18k words)

Read a short excerpt...


...I was startled for a minute, startled by its sheer beauty. Dark, luminous eyes, black hair, chiseled jaw. It was tall, well muscled, and around my age if I had to put one on it. But we knew they didn’t age the same way we did.

That face. I’d seen it before in a…

It smiled faintly and said, “Hello, Angus.”

“What do you want? How do you know my name? Why did you come here?”

“Which question should I answer first, Doctor Leader?”

“You’re a hybrid, aren’t you? That’s how you survived entrance.”

“I’m not a hybrid.”

“Well, you’re not human.”

“No, but I was born here on your planet.”

“I didn’t think you things could reproduce.”

“Not anymore,” it said. “I was the last, conceived on our home planet.”

“Your kind has no home. You’re nomads, scavengers.”

“No, we had a home once,” it said.

I thought I heard sadness in its voice. Impossible! These creatures didn’t have emotions. “You will perish here. You were a fool to surrender. I can’t imagine why. Is there insanity among blood drinkers?”

“Much.” It nodded with a dazed smile.

“You’re a liar. You can’t be one of them. You wouldn’t be here. We have taken great measures to secure the entrance against your kind.”

“But I’m not a believer. You have to believe for it to hurt you.”

“An atheist blood drinker?”

“You have nonbelievers among humans as well, don’t you?” Its body sagged against the wall again, struggling against the searing pain I knew the silver was causing it.

I was horrified at the thought. I moved closer. “My God. Are there more like you, non believers?” If there were, we were doomed.

It shook his head. “No. They all carry the old beliefs. I was born here…that’s what…” Its words were fading. “Blood, please,” it groaned. “The silver, it is draining…”

“Do you think I would let you feed off my people?”

“Not…people.” It was struggling. “Animals.”

“Vampires don’t drink from—”

“But…I don’t…believe.” Its head drooped. It had lost consciousness.

I left to get Dr. Often. He returned with me and examined it, then took a sample of blood from its arm. I reported what it had said to me.

Often listened carefully to my words.

“Is it possible?”

“If it came through consecrated ground, and is not a hybrid…” He nodded. “It asked for animal blood, you say?”

“Yes.”

“Then let’s give it some. This is too intriguing. It’s possible it’s being sincere.”

“You really expect me to trust this thing!”

“It could help us, Angus. It could set us free.”

Panic had already set in. The news had spread. Our captive was a blood drainer. It took Dr. Often some time to calm everyone down. Meanwhile, Denise, who was responsible for keeping the rat population under control, drained several rodents and put the blood into a beaker. It was the only animal blood I was willing to provide.

I refused to feed it. Dr. Often actually held the tube to its mouth and urged it to drink. Sure enough, several minutes later, our captive lifted its head. It actually smiled. “How do you do, Dr. Often?”

I found that smile chilling...

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Happy Valentine's Day from Sean Michael

Valentine's Day is right around the corner. This really is the day for readers and writers of romance. What's a better way to spend the most romantic day of the year than wrapped up with your favorite romance? Or perhaps discovering a new favorite?

Ryan and DJ from Wallflowers are a great Valentine's Day pair. Old lovers reuniting, they've got a lovely HEA and will leave you feeling good any day of the year.

This is a little snippet that takes place on their first Valentine's day after the ending of the book.

*_*_*_*

Ryan settled in bed next to DJ with a big bowl of popcorn and the remote, though he refrained from turning on the TV. "So what do you want for Valentine's Day?" It wasn't anything he'd had to worry about before now, but for weeks now the TV, the radio, billboards and stores had been insisting that Valentine's Day was coming and he had to have the perfect gift for that special someone in his life. And this year, he definitely had a special someone.

"Isn't that something you're supposed to come up with on your own?" DJ asked, the grin on his face telling Ryan that DJ knew Ryan didn't have a clue. "I mean, it's supposed to come from the heart, isn't it?"

"I know you don't want a bag of blood..." He could tease, too.

"Oh, ew. No." DJ made a face and then laughed, leaning over and unerringly finding his ribs to tickle and make him shout. "Goof."

Walter barked and jumped onto the bed, wanting to get in on the fun, managing to not only knock the popcorn over but to slobber all over both of them as well.

"Speaking of ew..." Ryan grabbed the edge of the blanket and wiped dog drool off his face.

"Walter wants to make sure you get him something, too," DJ deadpanned.

Two could definitely play at this one. "He's easy, I know how much he likes those liver treats. Maybe I'll just get a giant bag and put both your names on it."

"I like chocolates," DJ noted quickly. "Lady Godiva truffles or Vogues Bacon Caramels."

"Ah ha!" Grinning, Ryan turned on the TV to distract DJ and grabbed his laptop to put in an order.


*_*_*_*



Ryan Coulter is a sports science graduate, who's deep in the closet. Returning to his college town to be in a frat buddy's wedding, he discovers he still has feelings for his old college lover, Daniel James Delout. Too bad he's still in the closet and DJ most definitely is not, the main reason why they broke up in the first place. To complicate matters further, DJ is now blind, and is, somehow, almost maddeningly Zen about the blindness, Ryan, everything.
Can Ryan ignore his stronger-than-ever attraction to DJ and just get through the wedding rehearsal, ceremony, and reception? Does he even want to? And what happens if he and DJ do reconnect? After all, he’s still in the closet...right?


Buy now!

A very Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Sean Michael
smut fixes everything
www.seanmichaelwrites.com