Tuesday, September 20, 2005

New Character in Development

A new character is coming soon to Amber Circle...

Avalon Lee

Although this Asian beauty is currently in the "personality development stage," we do know she is the daughter of Chen Lee (Dana Grayson's mentor), highly educated and in her mid-twenties, and will come to Amberston at Dana's request to help in the Chantilly investigation. The authors assigned to "create" Avalon say she is a world traveler and also, like her father and Dana, a dealer in antiquities. Because of her knowledge of all things supernatural and mystical, Avalon will not only aid Dana in her "ghostly research," but will also find herself on the extremely long list of Olivia Devon's enemies, especially when she shows her shrewd sense for business and unshakeable defiance. Her exotic good looks will also turn the heads of several men in Amberston, and one man in particular will quickly develop an obsession for her.

At this point in time, it's uncertain when exactly Avalon will make her first appearance in Amber Circle, but her arrival will likely be shrouded in mystery and will definitely make an impact on the other principle characters.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Episode 2 of Amber Circle Now Available!

Amber Circle: Episode 2
by T. C. Jilké
ISBN: 1-59279-602-8 (Electronic)
E-Soap Opera (Romance, Suspense, Mystery, Paranormal)

(Please be aware: Episodes may occasionally contain material of an adult nature, including graphic language, sexual situations, and themes unsuitable for a younger audience. Reader discretion is advised.)

Welcome to the town of Amberston, California, a place where lies, deception, and intrigue hide behind every door, where dirty secrets are buried in attics, basements, and cemeteries, where love and hatred blur into a blood-red haze of passion, danger, and even death...

In Episode 2...

— Consumed with jealousy and uncertainty, Kendra Tayte confronts her new husband about everything she has learned…

Olivia Devon takes the next desperate step in her scheme to achieve the independence and power she’s always craved…

— Sensing an opportunity to gain financial security, Talia “T. J.” Jewell turns the tables on her secret benefactor…

Harold Devon makes inroads as to understanding his son Neville's tortured past...

Jeannine Ashton, gossip columnist for Amberston's leading newspaper, witnesses an unpleasant scene involving members of the Devon family…

— Though attempting to help her best friend, Kendra, through her recent troubles, Bliss Peyton still manages to indulge in a secret obsession…

Chastity Evans hears startling news that confirms her suspicions regarding the Devon family situation and provides her with the leverage she’s been seeking for years…

Skylar Tayte, haunted by his past, vows to put an end to his marital woes before he loses everything…

For regular doses of passion, danger, and intrigue, the world of Amber Circle is only a click away…

To purchase Episode 1 or 2
of Amber Circle, click

Amber Circle gains sponsors!

The one good thing about TV soaps is that the fans can partake in all the romance and drama and mystery they want on a daily or weekly basis and enjoy them competely free of charge, apart from paying for their cable or satellite bill, that is. Of course, the reason for this is because advertisers and other "sponsors" cover the cost of a show's production...the only requirement for a TV soap fan is that they have to suffer through an endless string of commercials every 10 minutes or so. (I'm sure there are many people like myself who thank God on a daily basis for VCRs, especially with commercials eating up more and more minutes each year on any given network, including cable channels. It's to the point of absurdity when you click on any given channel at any time or the day or night and you find nothing but commercials.)

But I digress...

So what's a book company to do when they have a similar product? I mean, apart from the consumer dishing out their hard-earned money to purchase each episode of your soap opera, how would the writers, the editors, the artist, the webmaster, and the book formatting staff get compensated for the 50-100 hours needed each month to produce novella-length offerings?

The answer is surprisingly simple...take a page (no pun intended) from their television soap opera counterparts and seek advertisers, sponsors who are willing to help cover the overhead costs of producing an E-Soap Opera.

Can it work? Thankfully, the answer is "YES."

The powers that be at Amber Quill Press have worked out the details of having Corporate Sponsors for Amber Circle! And because of the sponsors already on board, helping to defray the cost of producing each new episode, the company is now able to cut the price of all Amber Circle episodes in half. These new sale prices go into effect immediately! $2.50 per episode (or in other words, $2.50 for a book approximately 25,000 words in length—about 100 pages, depending on the e-format and reading device one uses). Not too shabby in today's e-book market where books of this length usually run anywhere from $5.00 to $7.00. Yes, this price drop is definitely welcome news for the consumer, thankfully, as well as the entire Amber Circle staff.

A rousing "Thank You" to the sponsors currently on board who have made this drop in consumer pricing possible!!!



Are you interested in having ads for your products or services appearing within future episodes of Amber Circle? We are currently offering full- or half-page ads within future episodes, with another complimentary "sister-ad" on the official Amber Circle website.

Please note: Because of the technical limitations regarding several formats of electronically released books, ads featuring "images" are not possible within the episodes themselves. Although only "Text Ads" can be included within electronic book files, "image-based" ads ARE possible on the website...and at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. Therefore, every "text" ad purchased and scheduled for inclusion within any future Episode can have a free "graphic" ad displayed on the website as well. That's two ads for the price of one!

For advertising rates, up-to-the-minute scheduling and space availablity, and further information, please contact us at business@amberquill.com with your queries. Please also put into the Subject Line "Amber Circle Advertising" (or similar wording) so your questions can be directed to the proper individual within our marketing department.

(Although Amber Circle occasionally contains material of an adult nature, we reserve the right to reject any advertisement containing material we consider improper for inclusion within future episodes or on our website, as well as ads for services we consider inappropriate for a more "general" audience. Further details are available upon request.)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Congrats to Author Paris Dixon

Congrats go out to Paris Dixon, 1/6th of the Amber Circle writing team. Her short contemporary erotica story, News At 11, was named "Best Short Story of the Year" by the book review website, Enchanted In Romance. (The story had already garnered a "Road To Romance Recommended Read" award.) Here's the short premise...

At first, driven and ultra-professional Savannah newswoman Tess Iverson has more than a few serious reservations about sharing the spotlight on her news show with a recently hired co-anchor, a young, inexperienced hot-shot from New York City. Her reservations, however, swiftly redouble and become sheer panic when she meets the charming and drop-dead-gorgeous Yankee, Jared Cox, whose engaging smile, hypnotic eyes, and sculpted physique engender desires she has long supressed. And faster than she can say "Welcome to the Eleven O'Clock News," Tess finds it impossible to keep her mind on business—or her hands to herself—even during the broadcast...

To learn more about this award-winning story, to read an excerpt, or to purchase it, visit this page.

Once again, congrats to Paris!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Best wishes to Barbara Clark!

The writing team of T. C. Jilké, not to mention the entire staff at Amber Quill Press, sends our prayers and best wishes for a "quick and speeeeeedy recovery" to author Barbara Clark, 1/6th of the Amber Circle writing team, who faced heart surgery this afternoon! Babs, you are definitely in our every thought and we miss you dearly!!! Get well soon, babe...besides, Dana Grayson is waiting for your firm direction as to where she needs to go in her quest. :)

We love you, Barb!!!!

Another Episode Completed.....

Well, another final manuscript is "in the bag."

And not a moment too soon! :)

I regret to admit, I surpassed my self-imposed deadline by more than a week. Needless to say, our Production Department at Amber Quill Press "ain't thrilled" with me for taking my sweet time. But at least the darned thing is done---AND prior to the actual release date, right???

Anyway, were there any major differences between the way this 2nd Episode was developed vs. the 1st Episode?

Actually, a few significant differences did occur....this manuscript was longer by about 4,000 words, and more elaboration and storyline ideas poured from this Episode during the tweaking of the various scenes. The writers seem to be generating an aura, a bizarre form of sixth sense, where each of their individual sections merge into the other authors' sections and characters. A great deal of dastardly and dark "back story" came out these past few weeks, and most of it wasn't even added to the final scenes for this Episode (only plotted and saved for future scenes/Episodes featuring these characters and their particular stories). I faced a wealth of rich, quality material to work with, so thank you, authors....I couldn't be more pleased and excited with the scenes you provided and the "non-written extras" that came with them.

So what does the 2nd Episode end up including? Frankly, not everything I originally "planned" to include, since again, I had much more material to work with than I expected, especially when the individual scenes and characters starting coming to life and "spreading out" to add so much unforeseen drama and storyline possibilities. Once again, a "good thing," to say the least.

Nevertheless, here's where the 2nd Episode stands in its final draft....


-- Consumed with jealousy and uncertainty, Kendra Tayte confronts her new husband about everything she has learned…

-- Olivia Devon takes the next desperate step in her scheme to achieve the independence and power she’s always craved…

-- Sensing an opportunity to gain financial security, Talia “T. J.” Jewell turns the tables on her secret benefactor…

-- Harold Devon makes inroads as to understanding his son Neville's tortured past...

-- Jeannine Ashton, gossip columnist for Amberston's leading newspaper, witnesses an unpleasant scene involving members of the Devon family…

-- Though attempting to help her best friend, Kendra, through her recent troubles, Bliss Peyton still manages to indulge in a secret obsession…

-- Chastity Evans hears startling news that confirms her suspicions regarding the Devon family situation and provides her with the leverage she’s been seeking for years…

-- Skylar Tayte, haunted by his past, vows to put an end to his marital woes before he loses everything…


A final thought: One thing I did notice when adding the finishing touches to the 2nd Episode, something that was actually "hinted at" in Episode 1, is that these characters really are "quirky" in a lot of various respects.....the 2nd Episode has much more humor, snappier and racier dialogue, and in parts, has even more "darker" elements (or backstory for the future) than I originally envisioned. Even the secondary characters that made their initial appearance in this Episode have moved into the realm of possible "contract players" (to use a TV-soap term) and may see their own storylines added in the future (and their photos added to the website/character profiles to the official website at http://amberquill.com/AmberCircle/), or play a more substantial role in future Episodes than originally planned.

All of this thrilled me to no end, since the added spice is the main reason the Episode went beyond the anticipated word count for the "final galley" of the manuscript. It's also the reason it took me longer than expected to finalize the work, since a lot of "pulling and saving for later and making more notes like a madman lest I forget" played a role in my job these past few weeks.

Be that as it may, the 2nd Episode is now in the final stages of production, and should make its debut on or around September 15th. For more information, please visit the official Amber Circle website on this page---http://amberquill.com/AmberCircle/books.html

Regardless, I can't wait to get started on compiling the next Episode, since not only does it answer a bunch of questions from Episode 2---yes, a slew of nasty cliffhangers appear in this Episode---but also includes even more eccentric and multi-dimensional characters and storyline twists.

Yes, I'm having fun.....who knew???

Trace Edward Zaber
Head Writer for Amber Circle
The 1st E-Soap For The CyberAge!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

One of Megan's "brothers" - the really angsty one

Coming soon to Amber Circle....


Local "punk" turned "rock star" turned "has been" returns to Amberston to stir up trouble. Not only does the ex-Goth-Metal vocalist from the band Barbed Wire Bouquet appear unannounced on the doorstep of his big brother Brick Nash (a detective on the Amberston police force), looking for a place to crash while he gets his act together, but he pines for the love of one woman, Dallas Morgan, the jet-setting heiress to a nationwide chain of Waffle Houses. Aidan yearns for the day when he can once again see his face on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, before Dallas played "Yoko Ono" with his heart and got him fired from his band. Yet Aidan dreams of forming another group and resurrecting his dormant musical career, and he will do just about anything to achieve his goal, including using the Amberston women who are all too eager to help the town's number one "bad boy" in his quest.....

Watch for Aidan's first appearance in October, 2005!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Getting into character

One thing about this project I find so appealing is the chance to really get inside a character's head. Since we each handle different characters, it's fun to concentrate on the different sections and imagine how my character would react to something someone else has written, and then write it! Collaborative writing is something new for me, and I find working with other writers really expands my brain and creativity.

So, what do I do to get into character? A lot of it is music. Aidan is a musician, alternative/punk/goth rock...so I listen to lots of that sort of music and try to "channel" him. He's got a bit of a swagger to him, so I sneer a lot when I'm writing him. (Don't mock!) I also read his dialogue aloud.

The beauty of writing brothers is that I can have them interact and have a lot of fun, angsty plot and at the same time explore how very different they are!

It's great!


The 1st Amber Circle Interview

The following interview with Amber Circle head writer Trace Edward Zaber appears in Sasha's Secret Thoughts, the monthly newsletter from author Sasha White. For more information about this newsletter, click here.


SASHA: How did the idea for Amber Circle come about?

TRACE: At one of our Amber Quill Press, LLC, business meetings, the owners and staff were discussing a variety of topics, including future projects—"dream projects" for the company. During the chat, someone laughingly suggested we create an E-Soap Opera, since, to the best of our knowledge, it had never been done in the publishing industry. Since several of the owners and staff are big soap fans (yes, I admit, I’m an All My Children fanatic, and have watched just about every prime-time soap since Dallas) the notion sparked our interest, and the conversation continued for a while, most of it "tongue in cheek." But that’s what got the ball rolling.

Several days after the meeting, Catherine Snodgrass and I got to talking about the idea once again. One of us jokingly said to the other, "Hey, we could call it Amber Lane, since the name ‘Wisteria Lane’—from the show Desperate Housewives—had become so popular this past year." Well, the "joke" refused to die, and with each conversation I had with Catherine in the days that followed, the subject kept coming up. Finally I told her that, if she had some ideas, she should go ahead and write them down. (Being both the Editorial Director and Creative Director for Amber Quill Press, I had allowed my own writing to fall by the wayside. Yet I was itching to get back into a project, as long as I wasn’t solely responsible for it, considering my busy schedule. Therefore, the idea of collaborating with another author, especially someone like Cathy, was quite tempting.) Anyway, within days, to my amazement, Cathy sent me pages upon pages of story ideas, a list of a dozen or so potential characters, etc. We had a long phone conversation yet again, the "working title" Amber Lane eventually changed to Amber Circle, and the full project took wing.

Shortly thereafter, at a staff meeting, I presented the idea to my partners on the LLC and they gave the project the "green light."

SASHA: Was it hard to find other writers that wanted to work on the project?

TRACE: Actually, it was quite easy, for several reasons. We decided to go with six authors in total, including Cathy and myself, figuring we could spread out the writing duties without too much pressure on any one individual. Plus, what made it easier, is that the authors we approached are all current AQP staff members, in one form or another. (The current writing team includes Barbara Clark, Paris Dixon, Megan Hart, Libby McKinmer, Catherine Snodgrass, and myself, Trace Edward Zaber). We all knew the risks involved with this unique project—it could cut into our personal writing time or work hours, yet it could also be a lot of fun, especially for those of us who are "soap fans." Additionally, since this is an AQP-owned project, the authors work "for hire" and retain no rights to the characters or the finished product. We also decided that T. C. Jilké (a company pen name—see the note below) would be the overall "author" of the series, which would make the entire project less confusing should any authors leave the writing staff to work on personal material or new authors be added in the future. The entire concept of a singular penname, the group-writing, the "no rights to the material," could be quite tricky for authors who aren’t "invested" in the company, so that’s another reason why we decided to keep the authors limited to "staff members" while we "experimented" with this idea.

By the way, the penname T. C. Jilké is a combination of the first-name initials of AQP’s owners: Trace (Edward Zaber), J. L. (Abbott), Ingrid (Arbogast), Karin (Story), and Elizabeth ("E. J." Gilmer), along with Catherine (Snodgrass), who was extremely instrumental in creating the entire series for Amber Quill Press.

SASHA: How long will each episode/installment be? And how often will they be released?

TRACE: Each episode falls into the "novella" category—somewhere between 20,000 to 30,000 words. The first episode is scheduled for release on Monday, August 15th. Our goal is to release a new episode every 3 or 4 weeks, depending on our "normal" AQP work schedule. This should give the readers ample time to catch up on all the "dirty deeds in Amber Circle" before the next episode is released.

SASHA: Who’s your fave character?

TRACE: That’s a tough question, since I like all the characters so far. (I suppose that’s a "given," since if I didn’t like the characters, they wouldn’t be in Amber Circle.) But by being the Managing Editor, or Head Writer, if you will, I’m able to add or alter scenes and characters while putting together the final drafts of each episode. Therefore, since I have a hand in writing every scene, I’m become close to each of the characters in turn. Although several characters intrigue me more than others—Dana Grayson, for one, since her character adds a touch of "paranormal" to the series, giving it that extra "edge," and at the moment I’m also quite fond of Talia "T. J." Jewell, since I personally developed this "bad girl" and she’s been a lot of fun to write. But as I said before, each of the characters, for one reason or another, are loveable to me, whether they are heroes or villains.

SASHA: How hard is it to write as a group? Do you each just pick an episode? Or do you each represent certain characters? Maybe you get on IM or on the phone and "act" out scenes?

TRACE: Once again, this has proven easier than I ever imagined. As a group, we’ve had only a few story meetings in chat rooms, which basically consisted of swapping ideas and discussing various marketing strategies. Generally, each author has been assigned various "lead characters," and for the most part, they have free reign to develop those characters and the appropriate back-stories for them within the framework of the "town" we’ve constructed. This also means that not every author has "material" appearing in each episode, depending on where the overall storyline needs to go for the greatest drama or impact. Nevertheless, each author contributes enormously to every episode in the respect that many of the ideas that have emerged during our meetings or in individual character development magically seem to weave their way into scenes with other characters. Of course, we have a Bible for the series, and each author works from that Bible in order to know every detail created by their fellow authors. Yet somehow, the authors we've hired for the project also seem to have a bizarre psychic bond. When I piece together an episode, it’s obvious to me, by the way the scenes fit so perfectly together within the whole, that it’s almost as if the authors "knew" what their fellow authors would create. So far, the authors have delivered a wealth of material to play with, not only in the amount of actual "words" they’ve submitted, but in their highly imaginative suggestions.

One other thing I should mention, is that we’ve also decided not to "plot" too far in advance. We want to see what the "readers" suggest. The Amber Circle website (at http://amberquill.com/AmberCircle, which will be open to the public starting Monday, August 8th) has a message forum set up where the readers can offer suggestions of what they want to see happen to their favorite characters. Therefore, as authors, we’re keeping our options open as to which directions the various storylines will eventually take us.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Checking it out

This is so cool....I'm really keen on sharing how much fun, hard work, and how creative this process has been.


First visit to the new blog

Just checking to see how this blog works before I go back to writing more dastardly deeds for my folks in Amber Circle :)


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