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.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Sanctuary of Subways by Vivien Dean

When I was eighteen, I went to New York City for spring break. Believe it or not, I went for college credit, the culmination of a course called the "Urban Experience." It was the first major trip of my life, and for a girl who grew up in the middle of nowhere Michigan, the most exciting thing I had ever experienced. That was the week I fell in love with a city for the first time.

I had never experienced mass transit. It makes me sound like a country bumpkin, but the subway pretty much blew my mind. I loved the heat and crush of people. I loved that I could go just about anywhere with so little trouble. I loved the rhythm and pulse of just riding. If you can believe it, for me, it was relaxing. Once, I even fell asleep on the way to the Bronx. (In my defense, it was the end of an exhausting week, and I was with a group of people so felt completely safe.)

So when it came time to write a story with a train theme, I went straight to the first train of my heart. I wanted to write about how it can be a sanctuary, but right away, I hit a wall. Manhattan is a madhouse during the day. The subway is always crowded. How could I create a haven amongst so many people? And why would my hero need it as an escape?

The answer seemed so simple when it came to me. He's on the train at night. And thus, the beginnings of Sean the insomniac started to form.

Building characters is almost always how I create stories, but often, I learn a lot as the story progresses. Things change. The plot moves in new ways. This might be one of the few stories I've done where I wrote more words in history than I used in the entire story. See, one aspect of Sean I knew very early was that he'd written letters to his dead boyfriend as a part of physical therapy for his hand after he'd almost lost it.

So...I sat down and wrote those letters out. A lot of them. And not a single one of them ended up in the story.

But you know what? They introduced me to Sean in ways nothing else could have. I learned how angry he was. How guilty he was. How sad. And when it came time to start writing, choosing to write it in 1st person from Sean's perspective was the most natural thing in the world. I knew him. I'd been in his head for several weeks already. The Unbeaten Track absolutely needed to be told in his voice, because this is his story, his rebirth as he finds a new haven, a new life.

Since the letters didn't end up on the published page, I'm going to share one here. So you can meet Sean like I did. It takes place ten years before the story starts, but it's at the crux of who he is.


Dear Dixon,

My hand hurts like a bitch. I still have the cast on my wrist but the PT guy says they're going to move me to a sling his week. Those assholes really did a number on me. Dr. Willoughby says I'm lucky I still have motor control, but I don't feel lucky. If I was, I wouldn't be stuck in a psych ward and you wouldn't be dead. I told her that, too. She asked me if I wanted to switch places with you.

I lied and told her no.

It's too quiet here. Nobody comes to see me. We made the news, you know that? Except they called it gang violence and we were just victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mom and Dad figured out the truth when I went berserker on the EMT who showed up and tried to pull me away from you. Dad decked me, and then the cops pulled him off. I haven't seen him since. I only saw Mom once. It was after my first surgery. She looked like shit and asked me how long. I said, how long what, and she goes, how long were you and Dixon. Just like that. She couldn't even say the words.

That pissed me off. I knew you were dead by then. One of the nurses told me. So I go, how long were we fucking, you mean? And she went real pale, like she wanted to throw up, and says, all quiet like she's afraid people are going to hear, don't you dare speak to me like that again. Then she left and I haven't seen her since.

I miss you so much.



The Unbeaten Track by Vivien Dean 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, and that's multiple chances to win!

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