LOVE IN DARK SETTINGS ¶ Historical speculative fiction & suspenseful lgbtq novels on romance, friendship, and faithful service ¶ By Dusk Peterson

Imprisonment. Slavery. War. Love.

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Honored in the Rainbow Awards, Dusk Peterson writes historical speculative fiction, including lgbtq novels. Suspense plays an important role in many of the tales; the conflict in those tales is both external and internal. Peterson's stories are often placed in dark settings, such as prisons or wartime locations. The mood of the stories, however, is not one of unrelieved gloominess: romance, friendship, and faithful service are recurring themes.

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Love in Dark Settings Press: December 2014 e-books, free fiction, honors, bestsellers, and news

Historical speculative fiction and suspenseful lgbtq novels. All e-books are DRM-free; new e-books and reissues are multiformat.

NEW E-BOOK: Split (The Eternal Dungeon)


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

This suspenseful novella (short novel) can be read on its own or as the third story in the "Sweet Blood" volume of The Eternal Dungeon, an award-winning speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips. Friendship, family, gay love, and rebellion are intertwining plotlines in the series.

Available as a multiformat e-book (epub, html, mobi/Kindle, pdf, doc): Split.

Tags: prison fiction, gay love, friendship, bisexual characters, mentally ill characters, torturers, prisoners, guards, rebels.


The narrow breaking cell was warmer than the corridor. Although the Eternal Dungeon, with due caution toward the ingenuity of its prisoners, refused to place stoves within the breaking cells, the prisoners were kept in relative comfort. The ceiling held electric lights behind unbreakable glass, while a vertical hypocaust blasted warm air through the old furnaces, located behind glass blocks along the short end wall of each cell. The old stone ledges in the cells were in the process of being replaced by tall beds that matched the design of beds in the Seekers' living quarters; this particular cell had already made the change. In this redesigned breaking cell, there was also a washstand, a small shelf beneath it for toiletry articles, and a shelf on the wall on which were placed a copy of the Code of Seeking and the prisoner's choice of a prayer book. There were even plans to add a toilet and running water to every breaking cell. In design, the prisoners' cells of the Eternal Dungeon offered the appearance of being quite modern.

Vito could well guess why the High Seeker had sought to disguise, through superficial changes, the antique cruelty of the dungeon. Inconspicuous against the long wall was the whipping ring, while the dungeon racks were kept in separate rooms, never shown to dungeon visitors, other than the prisoners.

The prisoner in this cell was hard to see, for he had somehow managed to cram himself under the tall bed. He was sitting on the hard floor, his arms wrapped around his legs, his face pressed against his knees, his body rocking back and forth.

Vito paused at the entrance, hearing the cell door lock behind him. Then he cleared his throat. "Mr. Gurth?"

The rocking continued, unabated.

He tried again. "Edwin Gurth?"

A face looked up cautiously. It was young. It said nothing.

Vito did not make the mistake of walking forward to take a closer look at the prisoner. Seekers died that way. "Sir, will you stand up, please?"

He expected, at best, a cautious rising; instead, the prisoner scrambled quickly out from under the bed, leapt to his feet, and stood rigidly at attention. Fear was stark upon his face.

So much for the guards' assessment of this being a dangerous prisoner. Vito lowered his voice accordingly. "Mr. Gurth, I am your Seeker—"

"Seeker?" The prisoner's face took on a look of bewilderment. "Seeker? Am I in the Eternal Dungeon?"

Once again, Vito paused, taking in the prisoner's appearance. Prisoners in the Eternal Dungeon were permitted to keep their own clothing, other than their jacket and vest. This prisoner's shirt and trousers were manifestly commoners' clothing, yet his accent, unexpectedly, was that of a mid-class man. Perhaps he or his family had received a downturn of fortune.

"Yes, Mr. Gurth. Were you not informed at the time of your arrest that you would be brought here?"

He was prepared for anything at this point, but even so, the prisoner's response took him off-guard. A look of shock blasted across the young man's face, like a storm-wave. The prisoner fell to his knees. "Oh, no!" he cried. "Is Gurth in trouble again?"

Available as a multiformat e-book (epub, html, mobi/Kindle, pdf, doc): Split.

FREE FICTION: First Lesson (Loren's Lashes)

"He couldn't remember later why he began talking about bondage."

When a security guard walks into the wrong bar in town, he learns about the dark side of desire, and also about the hope that lies beyond it.

Available as online fiction or download FREE as a multiformat e-book: First Lesson.

Tags: contemporary fiction, gay leather, dark humor, abuse issues.


Click on the cover for more information.

Lord and Servant


Rainbow Awards Runner-upMercy's PrisonerRainbow Awards honorable mention

For the fourth year in a row, my writings have been honored in the Rainbow Awards. In addition to the honorable mention which it received earlier this year at the Rainbow Awards, Mercy's Prisoner (Life Prison) is a runner-up in the Gay Fantasy category. To celebrate this, the Smashwords edition of Mercy's Prisoner is 50% off during the month of December 2014. Visit the Mercy's Prisoner section of this website for more information on the discount.

My congratulations to all the winners and runners-up of the Rainbow Awards 2014, and a big thank you to Elise Rolle and the rest of the gang who organized the awards this year. I don't have any easy way to link to the books that received an honorable mention, but it's worth scrolling through all the blog entries on this year's Rainbow Awards, because the contest includes quite a few interesting titles.

On my awards page, you can see e-books of mine that received honors in previous years.


A sample of the Love in Dark Settings Press e-books that were category bestsellers during the past month. Click on the covers for more information.

TourBondsSearchingIn TrainingAs a SeekerTops and Sops


"Spectacularly clever. . . . The brutality is not the point of the tale, as in dubcon fics; it's a tool the author uses to subvert established tropes and trick the reader into something glorious." —Goodreads (Julio) on Life Prison (Life Prison).

"I read [The Breaking] for the title and the cover. Ooooh, I thought: a deviant story about deviants set in a prison called the Eternal Dungeon. It wasn't what I expected but I liked it." —Goodreads (Roger Teuting) on The Breaking (The Eternal Dungeon).

"What a strangely singular piece. I loved the textbook excerpts the author created. . . . [The excerpts provide] more background on the universe, how the changes that make the AU affect that universe versus our own, and give great little oblique meta-analyses." —Goodreads (Ayanna) on The Breaking (The Eternal Dungeon).


The covers for Split and the reissue of Mercy's Prisoner are commissioned art by Gregory Welter. I've updated Shared Universes: works set in Dusk Peterson's worlds by other authors and artists to include links to variant versions of Mr. Welter's art for the covers.

New Stories archive



Turn-of-the-Century Toughs

Tough (noun): a tough and violent man; a street ruffian; a trouble-maker.

Turn-of-the-Century Toughs is a cycle of speculative fiction series about disreputable men on the margins of society, and the men and women who love them. The novels are set in an imaginary version of Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic states between the 1880s and the 1910s. One of the series in the cycle, Waterman, combines elements of the 1910s with retrofuturistic imagery from the 1960s.

The Eternal Dungeon. In a cool, dark cavern, guarded by men and by oaths, lies a dungeon in which prisoners fearfully await the inevitable. The inevitable will be replaced by the unexpected. ¶ The Eternal Dungeon is a speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

Life Prison. They are imprisoned until death, and their lives cannot get worse . . . or so they think. But when an unlikely alliance forms against their captors, the reformers risk losing what little comforts they possess. ¶ Life Prison is a speculative fiction series about male desire and determination in nineteenth-century prisons.

Commando. The nautical nation is backed by the military might of an empire. The mountainous republic is populated by farmers and shopkeepers, and it has no standing army. The nautical nation is about to make the mistake of attacking the mountainous republic. ¶ Commando is a speculative fiction series that imagines what the South African Boer War could have been like if it had been fought on American soil.

Michael's House. In a world where temples are dying and sacred theaters have been replaced by brothels, what will happen when a hard-headed businessman joins forces with an idealist? ¶ Michael's House is a speculative fiction series set in a Progressive Era slum.

Waterman. How can a youth from a bay island boarding school survive when he is sent to a futuristic prison? ¶ Waterman is a speculative fiction series inspired by the Chesapeake Bay oyster wars, boarding school rivalries in the 1910s, and 1960s visions of things to come.

Darkfics. Only in the dark can one truly see the light. ¶ Darkfics collects side stories from Turn-of-the-Century Toughs.

Turn-of-the-Century Toughs series resources.

Yes, My Liege

Duty calls. Love compels.

Yes, My Liege is a cycle of speculative fiction novels on bonds of affection in service, friendship, and romance.

Princeling. In a world in which only the pitiless nobles who wage war hold power, and those who cannot fight must suffer or seek slow death . . . What would you do if you were a noble, and you lost the ability to fight? ¶ Princeling is a speculative fiction series set in a world where war has lasted for generations.

The Three Lands. He vowed himself to his god. Now the god is growing impatient . . . ¶ The Three Lands is a fantasy series on friendship, romance, and betrayal in times of war and peace. The series is inspired by conflicts between nations during the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages.

Darkling Plain. Separated in time and place, these young women and young men are united in their goal: to protect those they care for from the destruction of battle. The odds are against them. ¶ Darkling Plain is a collection of speculative fiction tales about young people in times of conflict.

The Three Lands series resources.

Sweet Suffering

An aircar chauffeur tests the boundaries of his enslavement. A despairing captive in a Renaissance prison must choose whether to obey the deadly command of a lord. Hurt, comfort, angst, and love.

Sweet Suffering is a cycle of fantasy and science fiction series on friendship, romance, and faithful service amidst hardship and transformation.

Master/Other. Masters come in many forms. Some don't even know they're masters. ¶ Romantic and poignant, Master/Other offers speculative fiction stories exploring the dangers and sweet bonds of power.

Slaves of the Northern Corporate Dominion. When humans are seen only in terms of profit and loss, what happens to humanity? ¶ Slaves of the Northern Corporate Dominion is a shared-universe science fiction series on exploitation and love, set in a time when a nation's corporate government has institutionalized slavery.

Contemporary fiction

Stories on male/male attraction and male romantic friendship.

Unmasked. Behind the screaming news headlines, behind the hype and the sensationalism, lies the quiet but dramatic tale of people whose actions may change the lives of the next generation. ¶ Unmasked is a contemporary fiction series on a challenging topic.

Main Street Leather. Leather is a world of rich pleasure palaces and endless sensual delights, where dreams can be pursued without limit, provided that a man has the strength to stand the test. . . . But in the rural town of Mayhill, population 32,000, leather life is a little different. ¶ Main Street Leather is a cycle of contemporary series with gay love stories and satire on transgressive sexuality in past decades and the present.

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Memoirs, journalism, and writings on literature, history, and other topics.

Pixel-Stained: a documentary memoir of the electronic publishing revolution in gay genre fiction. The Pixel-Stained series publishes Peterson's memoirs in the form of e-mail, posts, and other documents. These accounts depict life at several electronic literature communities connected with gay genre fiction, as witnessed from the inside of those communities.

Narrative Nonfiction. Narratives and other nonfiction about religion, literature, gender, sexuality, and other topics.

Online nonfiction. Just click on the link. It's a long list.


My blog, list, and social networks. Stop by to see which stories I've just released, or simply to chat.

Subtext. My fan fiction (rare litfic), as well as a list of the novels that inspired my original works.

Shared Universes. More fan works! Also, commissioned art. Stories and art set in my worlds by other authors and artists.

Buried Treasure. My recommendations of online male homoerotic stories and male friendship stories (and anything else that catches my interest).

Beta readers for my stories. My editors, editorial assistants, proofreaders, and technical consultants, with links to their websites.



List of published writings, positions, and honors: Divided by date.

List of published writings, positions, and honors: Divided by subject.

Word counts and progress report. Includes a list of the stories I'm currently working on.

Updates e-mail list, blog, and social networking profiles.


All writings, images, and videos by Dusk Peterson are copyright © 1981-2014 Dusk Peterson. For more information, see the author's policies on copyright, sharing, derivative works, and fan works.

Cover designs: Dusk Peterson. Permission is granted for the reposting and reprinting of the banners, covers, and story summaries (blurbs) for the purposes of providing information on Dusk Peterson's writings. Please link to if possible.


If you send me pretty compliments, I will print your letter out and frame it above my computer. (This isn't much of an exaggeration.) If, on the other hand, you send me a letter that begins, "What kind of nit-witted writer are you? You gave your character blue eyes in scene one and green eyes in scene two!" then I will raise up a shrine in your honor and burn candles upon your altar.

Constructive criticism, enquiries, and idle chit-chat may be sent to Dusk (or Mx. Peterson, if you wish to be formal) at  duskpeterson(at) When I take breaks from the Internet, my e-mail inbox is monitored by my assistant; please mark any urgent e-mail with the subject heading "Time-sensitive."