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.

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.


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!

No comments:

Post a Comment