Looking Back at 2018

2018.jpg

This past year was a productive one for me. I released a poly novella, took three short stories I’d previously released as a novella and turned them into an mm novella. I released an mm novel and a short paranormal mm story with K. Evan Coles. Released an mm solo novel, took two novels and turned them into a single very long mm novel, re-released a mm holiday short story, and wrote an mm YA holiday short story.

Am I tired? Well, yeah. My brain is pretty full these days and the hours I put in are long.

But it’s been an interesting year. Since I began the writing full-time journey in mid-2015, my sales have steadily declined. Some of it was because the market had changed and my divorce took me away from that at a critical time. I needed time to recover emotionally and then I took some more time to take care of myself better physically. But even once I got back to writing, it wasn’t working anymore. I had missed so much and I felt like I could never get back on track.

Book releases were flat and disappointing. Nowhere near where they’d been before and not even close to allowing me enough to move out of my parents’ house. I’ve been here for three years now, far longer than I thought I’d be. Several times I’ve reached a point where I seriously considered throwing in the towel and finding a new career. Nothing I tried was working.

I got progressively more and more frustrated until about August. I knew I wasn’t as organized and focused as I needed to be. I complained to someone I was dating at the time and he said, “I can help.” His career requires him to manage a ton of projects with shifting deadlines and multiple stages of work–pretty applicable to being an author.

So we sat down and he helped me create a paper calendar with color-coded sticky notes that’s infinitely flexible. I organized current projects and also laid out a plan for which books to tackle next. It’s glorious. And as I moved forward with that, I stopped feeling like I was flailing around with no focus. I had a plan and a way to achieve it.

I decided that this was it. My final shot to see if I could make a living at writing.

I wasn’t thrilled about putting books in Kindle Unlimited. I’ve never loved the idea of being exclusive to Amazon, even if it’s only a 90 day period, but I had to decide which I felt more strongly about. I could live with putting books in KU. I couldn’t live with giving up on my career.

KU Releases.jpg

So I did a shitload of research and threw everything at the wall to figure out what worked. Since September, I’ve put five books in Kindle Unlimited, organized two PW giveaways to build up the following for my newsletter with K. Evan Coles, started experimenting with BookBub and Amazon ads, ran a Kindle Countdown Deal promo, took part in a ridiculous amount of Facebook events and group takeovers, and generally pushed myself as hard as I possibly could without burning out.

Some of it fizzled, but you know what? Overall, it worked. Sales have dramatically increased since September.

12-31

Now, it’s all relative. It’s still a fraction of what I made working for a hospital in a relatively low paying job. I’m still wildly below the poverty line. But it gives me hope.

I finally, finally–for the first time since I quit that hospital job–feel like I’m on the right track again. It gives me hope that as long as I keep writing and releasing books on a regular basis (I have a plan for that!) and trying new things, I have a chance of getting there.

Being a full-time author is a fucking hard job. I’m not going to sugarcoat it in any way. The hours are long, the amount of time I spend working and thinking about what I need to be working on are ridiculous.

48366962_1955803867870335_2082431450564526080_n

That meme is painfully accurate.

But I love what I do and I’m going to fight to keep doing it. I love creating characters and stories and making them come alive. I love the feedback from readers and the connections I make with them through my books. I love that I have the opportunity to keep trying to support myself. It’s an amazing feeling to check my dashboard and see that I am reaching more readers. My books are finding their way to more people. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.

So I want to thank all of you who helped me get there. K. Evan Coles, my co-author, has done so much to help me. Enough I could write an entire post about, but there isn’t time for that. So I’ll just say I’m deeply grateful for her. I’m thankful for my parents allowing me to live with them rent-free while I struggle at this. I’m thankful for all my friends who let me vent. For the bloggers and reviewers and organizers and every single person who shared my book releases and helped me do this. I appreciate my beta readers and my editors. And I appreciate you readers. Because your joy in my stories is what keeps me going.

I’m ending a very tough year on a high note and a lot of hope.

I don’t know what next year is going to bring and I know I have a shitload of work ahead of me. But I have a plan and a renewed sense of determination that 2019 will be better than 2018.

And I can work with that.

 

Advertisements

New Release – Seeking Warmth

Seeking Warmth Cover - Medium.jpg

“Seeking Warmth” is live everywhere!

Four years ago, I did a holiday blog hop.  The rules were to write a flash fiction with a winter holiday theme and a bad boy character. There was a black and white photo of two young men embracing in what looked like a gift shop.

I wrote about two thousand words and posted it on my blog, but I knew that someday I’d want to expand it. At some point in the past few years, I did start to expand it, so when I got the itch to write a holiday story, I knew I had something solid to start with. In the end, it came in around twenty thousand words, which makes for a perfect short story length.

I really loved telling Benny’s story and I hope you enjoy it too.

Title: Seeking Warmth

Summary:

Benny Fuller is on his way to rock bottom. He’s seventeen, fresh out of juvie, homeless, and desperate to find a job.  His dad’s in jail and his drug-addicted mom is in no shape to take care of his sick sister, Angel. A run-in with his ex-boyfriend, Scott Sullivan, makes Benny feel even worse. He’s a thief with no future. Scott is smart, with plans for college and a great future ahead of him. Benny knows Scott can do so much better than him. Because no matter how hard Benny tries, he can’t seem to find a job or a way to take care of Angel.

The further Benny falls, the more he needs Scott’s help. Benny will have to let go of his pride and trust Scott and the Sullivan family in order to get the Christmas miracle Benny and Angel so desperately need.

Reader Advisory: This is an older (15+) YA story with themes of homelessness, drug use and prostitution (off-page), neglect of minors, and foster care.

Excerpt:

People hurried past Benny Fuller without seeing him. They were bundled up warmly against the snow, clutching their holiday shopping bags and packages. They were too intent on their destination to see the kid they pushed past. Now that the sun was going down, the crowds were beginning to thin. The wind picked up and the fat, fluffy snowflakes grew smaller and sharper. They stung his cheeks and made his hands ache. It had been early spring when he went into juvie. He’d had a hat stuffed in his old, beat up Army-style jacket but no gloves.

When the caseworker picked him up at the juvenile detention center and drove him to a foster home, she frowned at his bare hands. She said something about making sure he had a pair of gloves—and a warmer coat and boots—but she got a phone call a few minutes later and apparently forgot. He hadn’t said anything to the foster care lady about it either. So now the slushy snow soaked into his shoes as he walked and he still had no gloves or winter coat. He’d have to make do. But that was nothing new for him, was it? Benny had been doing that for a while now.

He kicked at a piece of torn, soggy cardboard on the sidewalk as he passed it. It did nothing to relieve the gnawing hunger in his stomach or the cold air that crept down the collar of his jacket and numbed his fingers.

It was satisfying though. Something to do to let out all of the frustration and fear boiling inside of him. His job search had amounted to nothing. Everything amounted to nothing. There were no opportunities for kids like him.

He’d been wandering the city for a week. Ever since he left the foster home they placed him in. It hadn’t seemed bad at first. It was clean and there were only two other kids there, both younger. But one of them was a nightmare. Benny had never seen anything like it. The boy screamed and tried to hit the little girl all the time. The foster mother did nothing to stop it. The little girl had bruises on her arms and legs from the boy and it made Benny sick to watch it happen. Within the first day Benny was there, the boy bit Benny hard enough to draw blood, but Benny was the one who got yelled at by the foster mother for provoking him. Benny hadn’t done anything but sit down next to the kid.

Benny had tried to help out, thinking maybe the woman was just overwhelmed, but she yelled at him for interfering. The day after he got there, the little girl had to go to the doctor for pinkeye. Benny was left home with the boy. It was a nightmare. After the boy screamed and hit him and acted like a little monster all day, Benny couldn’t handle it anymore. As soon as the woman got home with the girl, Benny crawled out the bedroom window and left.

He went straight to his childhood home, even though there was no one there waiting for him. He collected his car and a few belongings, but he knew he couldn’t stay or Child Protective Services would just drag him out of there and back to a foster home.

But once he left his old house, he had nowhere else to go. He had a car though, thankfully. It had sat, unused, while he was in juvie. It was still registered, thankfully, although the insurance on it had lapsed. He’d have to hope he didn’t get pulled over, or he’d be in big trouble.

With no home and no job, what else could he do now but wander? Sit in his car and feel sorry for himself? Even if he wanted to, he didn’t have any money for gas so he couldn’t do it for long. He tried to run the engine as little as possible. Just enough to keep himself from freezing to death. At least when he was up and walking, his blood was flowing.

He wasn’t warm, but at least he wasn’t dead. That was something, right?

Up ahead, a brightly-lit storefront spilled yellow light onto the snowy sidewalk. Its warmth beckoned Benny to come closer, but as he approached, he recognized the building and scowled. Sullivan’s Fine Gifts, the sign on the window read. Damn it. His wandering had taken him to the last place he should be.

Stupid. Why did I come here? He wondered. It wasn’t like he could go in and see Scott Sullivan. God, he wanted to though. Scott was the only person Benny had ever trusted. The only one who really knew him. Scott was the best thing that had ever happened to Benny. Too bad Benny was the worst thing that had ever happened to Scott.

Benny stood in front of the gift shop long enough for the snowflakes to settle on his too-thin jacket. His breath fogged the window and cold and hunger faded away as he stared into the store owned by his ex-boyfriend’s parents, mesmerized by the cheerful lights and decorations. It advertised home and family.

Warmth. Security. Love.

All the things Benny didn’t have.

Buy Links:

Available for FREE with Kindle Unlimited and for $2.99 on Amazon.

Click the Books2Read button below for the universal link.

Books2Read Button.jpg

 

Add on Goodreads:

goodreads-logo-square.jpg

 

Halloween Derby!

The Halloween Derby is here! It includes both writing and artwork and they are being shared now through October 31 as blog posts or downloadable files.  All content is FREE!

For the Derby, I co-authored a short story called Inked in Blood with K. Evan Coles. She also wrote a fabulous short story called Moonlight that you definitely need to check out.

 

Universal download link for Inked in Blood: https://books2read.com/u/4EyjOA

Universal download link for Moonlight: https://books2read.com/u/38rNBd


We’ve also set up a Prolific Works/Instafreebie group giveaway for the Derby that includes Inked and Moonlight among its ten FREE spooky reads!

(Click on the button below to go to the giveaway)


To wrap up the Derby, we’ve organized a Facebook event. It’s a great opportunity to meet the authors and artists who participated. You can ask them questions and learn more about their work. We might even have a few extra treats for you, so be sure to join us!

(Click on the button below to go to the event)


I originally intended to write a solo short story for the Halloween Derby as well. Unfortunately, as they’re wont to do, the plot bunny turned rabid and sunk his teeth into me. This nice little short story quickly turned into a paranormal BDSM series.

Since I am trying to stay focused and stick to a much stricter schedule of when I write and release my books, I had to set it aside. It won’t be available until at least mid-2019.

Blood Bound Teaser.jpg

If the picture piques your interest, you’ll definitely want to sign up for the Coles & Vaughn newsletter. If you join now, we’ll send you an exclusive teaser for “Blood Bound”!

(Click on the image below to go to the sign-up form)

Logo 2-5

New Release – Push & Pull

Push & Pull eBook Cover w_ Text

“Push & Pull” is live everywhere!

I am SO excited to share this story with you. Three years ago, I wrote the first book in The Midwest Series. I loved writing Nathan and Caleb’s story in “Bully & Exit”. But as I wrote it,  Caleb’s roommate, Lowell, started talking to me, His voice got clearer and clearer and he started flirting with Nathan’s roommate, Brent. Now, Lowell flirts with everyone. But I loved how flustered Brent got by it and it was clear that there was some mutual attraction there.

As the book wrapped up, I realized that Brent was supposed to be going on an epic road trip with Nathan. Since Nathan had just reunited with Caleb, he didn’t want to leave him for the summer.

This gave me the perfect opportunity to create a little conflict and set the scene for “Push & Pull”, which pairs Lowell and Brent together as they travel around Lake Michigan. Of course, both books set the scene for the third book, which will feature Micah Warner. Micah’s story, “Touch & Go” which will be released in 2019.

Why did it take me three years to get “Push & Pull” done? Well, my divorce happened, for one. I lost a lot of the momentum I had. And, apparently, Lowell didn’t like being ignored for a few months because he started to act up. Writing the story was like pulling teeth. Lowell wasn’t talking to me. Brent was being an asshole. Ugh! So frustrating. But after many, many drafts and even more long hours, it finally came together.

I am so proud of the way it turned out and so pleased with the story. I hope you love it as much as I do!

P&P Collage 1.jpg

Title: Push & Pull

Tagline: When is it time to stop living in the moment and think about the future?

Summary:

Brent Cameron has been dreaming about a road trip around Lake Michigan for years. When his best friend, Nathan, ditches him to spend the summer with his boyfriend, Caleb, Brent is pissed. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, he reluctantly agrees to take Caleb’s best friend, Lowell Prescott, instead.

Brent is a former hockey player and recently out of the closet. Lowell is an in-your-face gay guy who rebels against the limits people put on him. Tempers fly and sparks flare as they hit the road, which leads to a hot night they both regret in the morning. Despite the rocky start, Brent and Lowell slowly begin to realize they have a lot in common. As the miles disappear behind them so does their animosity. Casual hook-ups aren’t Brent’s thing, and Lowell doesn’t do relationships, so they agree to focus on their friendship.

By the time they make it to the shores of Lake Superior, their feelings have deepened past simple friendship, but neither of them have the guts to admit it. When the past intrudes, will it derail the trip and the possibility of a relationship?

Excerpt:

“Do you really mean to tell me you don’t want to get to know me in all sorts of ways? I don’t believe that. I’ve seen the way you look at me.” Lowell reached out and dragged a finger across the black fabric of Brent’s T-shirt before circling his nipple. Brent flinched again, backing away, even as the skin tightened and his nipple hardened to a pointy little nub.

Flustered and irritated by the reaction, Brent pushed Lowell’s hand away and crossed his arms. “You’re nuts if you think I’m taking you with me on this road trip.”

Lowell’s lips curved upward in a playful smile. “Oh, sweetheart, that’s what you think.”

The smile and words only served to make Brent angrier. He looked back at Nathan, feeling used. “Have you all just been cooking up this plan while I’ve been gone?”

“We’ve been talking about it for a couple of weeks, yeah,” Nathan said softly. “Trying to figure out the best solution.”

“What the FUCK? You couldn’t be bothered to mention this when we talked?”

Nathan’s uneasy look deepened. “I thought it might be better if we could discuss it in person.”

“You could have fucking called me and said, ‘Hey, can we meet in person? I need to talk about the trip with you.’ Don’t I at least get a say in what happens with the next two months of my life? Jesus, you guys are unbelievable.”

Nathan opened his mouth but Lowell spoke first. “Look, Brent, I get that you’re pissed, but you don’t have a lot of options at the moment. Frankly, you’re between a rock and a hard place right now, and I’m your only solution. Either you cancel your trip and lose money, which sucks. Or you change your plans and go by yourself, which also sucks. Or you take me. I also suck, but in much more enjoyable ways.” Lowell winked.

Brent gaped at him for a moment. Lowell stepped forward and put his finger under Brent’s chin. “Unless you’re offering to do something useful with that gorgeous mouth, I suggest you close it.”

Brent snapped his mouth shut fast enough to rattle his teeth. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

Lowell’s eyes twinkled. “Well, there’s this thing gay boys do, it’s called—”

“I know what sucking cock is,” Brent yelled, confused and annoyed by the pretty twink with the big eyes who always made him feel off-kilter and out of control.

“Good to know, sweets, good to know.”

“And make all the jokes you want, but this isn’t fucking funny. My whole summer is ruined.” Brent turned to Nathan. “And you. You’re a complete traitor. You’re right though, I have no choice but to put up with him.” He jerked a thumb to indicate Lowell. “So fuck you, Nathan. If you think I am going to forgive you for saddling me with that cock-hungry twink for two months you have another thing coming!”

Nathan made a sound of protest. Brent scowled and held out his hand to Lowell, ignoring Nathan completely. “If I’m stuck with you, then we’re taking your car. And hand over the damn keys. I’m driving.”

Series and Number: The Midwest Series, #2

Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press (Indie/Self-Published)

Publication Date: October 24, 2018

Word Count /or Page Number: 91,409 words/275 pages

Formats/Price: eBook – 4.99

Paperback (Coming soon)

Buy Links:

Universal Book Link (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.)Books2Read Button.jpg

payhip-button

Add on Goodreads:

goodreads-logo-square.jpg

 

“With a Twist” is Live!

WithaTwist_PromoSquarePP_outnow.jpg

Love, Served With a Twist

The first book in The Speakeasy series is now live! K Evan Coles and I are so excited to share With a Twist with you!

As we worked on Wake and Calm we fell in love with many of the supporting characters. In The Speakeasy series you’ll see Will, Jesse, Kyle, and Malcolm, plus Riley and Carter, and a whole new cast of guys to fall in love with.

WithaTwist_9781786516848_ebook_1500x2400.jpg

Title: With a Twist

Pre-Order: Now

General Release: September 25

Blurb:

Nursing a broken heart when his ex-boyfriend, Riley, leaves him for the love of his life, Carter, Will Martin throws himself into teaching at NYU and writing. An invite from Riley to a speakeasy called Under helps Will begin to heal, and he finds himself enjoying both the drinks and the company.

Soon after, he’s shaken by news of his father’s cancer diagnosis and Will reluctantly returns to Long Island to see the man who disowned him after he was outed.

Sparks fly when Will meets his father’s mentee, Republican Senator David Mori, who is both mixed race and openly gay. Will is looking for a no-strings-attached fling and David is leery of getting involved with his mentor’s son, so they keep their affair a secret.

As his father’s health worsens, Will elects to remain in Garden City and his relationship with David grows beyond casual sex. Now, both men must decide how to bridge the divide between them.

Excerpt:

David did his best not to stare at William Jr. as they shook hands, but he nearly flinched away from the odd tingling sensation he felt where their skins met.

He’d seen photos of William Jr.—no, Will—around the Martin’s home, but they depicted a sweet-faced boy growing from toddlerhood into his late teens. Fully adult Will was, as David’s sister would say, stupidly attractive. He’d inherited both parents’ good looks, including Bill’s athletic physique and Agnes’ regal bone structure.

Tall and rangy, Will appeared lean beneath his gray Henley and dark jeans. He had a square jaw and the artfully styled brown hair his mother had spoken of so fondly. His large blue-grey eyes were almost dazed. He was checking David out—ogling him, really—and to say this surprised David was an almost comic understatement.

Where the hell is this coming from?

Bill and Agnes had talked at length about their children during his last visit, detailing educations and careers, and expressing affection for Olivia’s children and pride in Will’s accomplishments. They hadn’t mentioned their son being gay or bi, though, nor had anyone in the Senator’s social circles.

David dropped Will’s hand. “All right if I come in?” He gestured at the briefcase slung over his shoulder and tried another smile. “I need to unpack the docs and organize them a bit—shouldn’t take me more than a minute,” he added, keeping his tone even in the face of Will’s wide-eyed stare. “I have a card from the Senator’s staff and a few others signed by his colleagues, too.”

The tips of Will’s ears turned pink and he immediately backed away from the door, gesturing for David to follow. “Of course, yes, come in. I expected a delivery man or one of the neighbors and not…well, not someone like you.”

David quirked a brow and stepped into the foyer. “Someone like me?”

“Someone from my father’s office.” Will shrugged and shut the door. His features were pinched when he turned back to David. “I suppose it’s too much to expect him to wait a few days after major surgery before he starts back at it again, but how can he when you people enable him?”

Well, shit. David wanted to escort himself right back out of the door. Of course, Bill’s family would be feeling protective of him right now—he was fortunate to be alive. In the meantime, his son had definitely regained his composure and decided to focus his irritation on David.

“He’s barely been home twenty-four hours—how did you even know he’d come home?”

David didn’t bother correcting Will’s mistaking him for a member of Bill’s staff. “Agnes messaged me yesterday evening,” he replied gently and licked his lips at the surprise streaking across Will’s face. “I asked her to keep me updated on your father’s surgery, and we’ve been swapping messages since your parents drove to Philly.”

“You text message with my mother?”

“Just about Bill,” David assured. “Your parents have no idea I planned to come by today. Bill didn’t ask for these files. I used them and the cards as an excuse to stop by to see how he’s doing in person.” He watched the tension in Will’s face ease. “So, how is he? Doing, I mean.”

“He’s fine.”

Buy Now:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

Kobo

Pride Publishing

Add On:

Goodreads

Queerromance Ink

 

With a Twist Blog Tour Graphic.jpg

Blog Tour:

And be sure to follow the blog tour from September 25-October 8. There will be exclusive excerpts, interviews, blog posts, and a giveaway! You’ll have a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

 

Available for Pre-Order – “With a Twist”

Love, served with a twist.

 

WithaTwist_PromoSquarePP_preorder.jpg

K Evan Coles and I are so excited to announce that the first book in our new series is now available for pre-order. With a Twist has been in the works for a while now and we can’t wait to share it with you.

As we worked on Wake and Calm we realized that we had some awfully interesting supporting characters who demanded that their stories be told. Before we’d ever finished Riley and Carter’s stories, The Speakeasy series was born.

Since we’d tortured Will so much in the Tidal series, we thought it was only fair that he found love too. The idea for his story, With a Twist, came together quickly. Since we wanted to touch base with Riley and Carter from time to time, we created a place for all of the characters to hang out and we named it Under. It is a speakeasy owned by Jesse and Kyle, whose stories will also be told in the upcoming books Extra Dirty and Behind the Stick. And not to worry,  we haven’t forgotten Malcolm. He’ll find love too in Straight Up. 

We love all of these characters deeply and are so excited to share them with you.

Title: With a Twist

Pre-Order: Now

General Release: September 25

Blurb:

Nursing a broken heart when his ex-boyfriend, Riley, leaves him for the love of his life, Carter, Will Martin throws himself into teaching at NYU and writing. An invite from Riley to a speakeasy called Under helps Will begin to heal, and he finds himself enjoying both the drinks and the company.

Soon after, he’s shaken by news of his father’s cancer diagnosis and Will reluctantly returns to Long Island to see the man who disowned him after he was outed.

Sparks fly when Will meets his father’s mentee, Republican Senator David Mori, who is both mixed race and openly gay. Will is looking for a no-strings-attached fling and David is leery of getting involved with his mentor’s son, so they keep their affair a secret.

As his father’s health worsens, Will elects to remain in Garden City and his relationship with David grows beyond casual sex. Now, both men must decide how to bridge the divide between them.

Excerpt:

David did his best not to stare at William Jr. as they shook hands, but he nearly flinched away from the odd tingling sensation he felt where their skins met.

He’d seen photos of William Jr.—no, Will—around the Martin’s home, but they depicted a sweet-faced boy growing from toddlerhood into his late teens. Fully adult Will was, as David’s sister would say, stupidly attractive. He’d inherited both parents’ good looks, including Bill’s athletic physique and Agnes’ regal bone structure.

Tall and rangy, Will appeared lean beneath his gray Henley and dark jeans. He had a square jaw and the artfully styled brown hair his mother had spoken of so fondly. His large blue-grey eyes were almost dazed. He was checking David out—ogling him, really—and to say this surprised David was an almost comic understatement.

Where the hell is this coming from?

Bill and Agnes had talked at length about their children during his last visit, detailing educations and careers, and expressing affection for Olivia’s children and pride in Will’s accomplishments. They hadn’t mentioned their son being gay or bi, though, nor had anyone in the Senator’s social circles.

David dropped Will’s hand. “All right if I come in?” He gestured at the briefcase slung over his shoulder and tried another smile. “I need to unpack the docs and organize them a bit—shouldn’t take me more than a minute,” he added, keeping his tone even in the face of Will’s wide-eyed stare. “I have a card from the Senator’s staff and a few others signed by his colleagues, too.”

The tips of Will’s ears turned pink and he immediately backed away from the door, gesturing for David to follow. “Of course, yes, come in. I expected a delivery man or one of the neighbors and not…well, not someone like you.”

David quirked a brow and stepped into the foyer. “Someone like me?”

“Someone from my father’s office.” Will shrugged and shut the door. His features were pinched when he turned back to David. “I suppose it’s too much to expect him to wait a few days after major surgery before he starts back at it again, but how can he when you people enable him?”

Well, shit. David wanted to escort himself right back out of the door. Of course, Bill’s family would be feeling protective of him right now—he was fortunate to be alive. In the meantime, his son had definitely regained his composure and decided to focus his irritation on David.

“He’s barely been home twenty-four hours—how did you even know he’d come home?”

David didn’t bother correcting Will’s mistaking him for a member of Bill’s staff. “Agnes messaged me yesterday evening,” he replied gently and licked his lips at the surprise streaking across Will’s face. “I asked her to keep me updated on your father’s surgery, and we’ve been swapping messages since your parents drove to Philly.”

“You text message with my mother?”

“Just about Bill,” David assured. “Your parents have no idea I planned to come by today. Bill didn’t ask for these files. I used them and the cards as an excuse to stop by to see how he’s doing in person.” He watched the tension in Will’s face ease. “So, how is he? Doing, I mean.”

“He’s fine.”

Pre-Order:

Click below to pre-order and you’ll get With a Twist the moment it goes live on September 25!

Pridelogo

 

 

 

Halloween is Coming!

I know it’s only the beginning of August, but K. Evan Coles and I have been planning a super special Halloween event for months.

Halloween Fiction Derby.jpg

All you need to do to take part is create something LGBTQ+ and Halloween-themed. It can be poetry, fiction, art, podcasts, or whatever else you love to create.

Entries can run from sweet and romantic to dark and scary, just make sure it has a Halloween theme!

We are so excited to share this with you. Stop by Diverse Reader for more information and how to sign up. Hope you’ll join us!

Paperbacks are Available!

*throws confetti*

I dragged my heels on getting the paperback out for “Between the Studs” *hangs head* but I got it done along with “Corked” so they are both available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! Just in time for Pride events!

BTS Print Cover.png

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Corked Print Cover Final.png

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 

Anyone interested in signed copies, please contact me directly at brighamvaughn@gmail.com or send me a PM on Facebook or Twitter.

I would be delighted to sign a copy (of any of my books) and send it your way!

 

 

 

 

Brigham’s Recommendations – “Double Dutch Courage” by Helena Stone

Double Dutch Courage (1563x2500px)

 

Sudden changes require great bravery. Can both men find the courage to be true to themselves and each other?

Blurb

Ronan Collins has spent most of his life in Dublin hiding who he really is. Coming out would hurt his mother, and Ronan isn’t going to be the second gay man to do that. When he receives news the father he has never known has died, leaving him both a house and a business in Amsterdam, he jumps on the opportunity to get to know the man who fathered him and to discover what he’s been denying himself for years.

Lucas Brandt thought he had it all when Paul Kelly offered him a job and rooms to live in. With Paul deceased he fears he may be about to lose both. He didn’t even know Paul had a son, and now this stranger is on his way from Dublin to pull the rug out from under Lucas’s feet.

The two men don’t expect to like each other, never mind feel attraction. With numerous reasons why hooking up would be a bad idea, why does giving in feel so much better? And is Ronan’s back story really as he’s always imagined it to be?

Excerpt:

Ronan seemed to search Lucas’s face for something, then lowered his gaze until Lucas was convinced he was staring at his lips. He mused that the sunshine had to be getting to him as the afternoon took on a dreamlike quality. Ronan licked his lips, the tip of his tongue tempting Lucas, teasing him. When Ronan leant forward Lucas wondered what was happening, whether he was imagining things. Surely Ronan wasn’t about to —

The soft press of Ronan’s lips against his elicited a sigh from Lucas. He would have been embarrassed about his reaction if he hadn’t been lost in the moment. It was the second time Ronan had taken him by surprise in this manner, except on this occasion he didn’t appear to have any intention of pulling back.

With so many reasons why this was the worst idea ever, it didn’t make any sense that the overriding thought running through his mind was more.

He cupped Ronan’s neck, keeping the pressure light, barely there. Ronan reacted as if Lucas had used force and pressed his lips firmer against his, parting them in the process.

Lucas was helpless against the onslaught. It had taken him days to stop obsessing about Ronan’s mouth after that quick, shy kiss a week earlier. There would be no coming back from this. He had no doubt he would end up hurt. Even as he had the thought, Lucas parted his own lips, slipped his tongue through the gap and tentatively caressed Ronan’s mouth.

“Oh.” Ronan’s soft exclamation meant his lips parted farther and Lucas took advantage. Fuck being sensible. Fuck worrying about tomorrow, or next week, or six months from today. He was here, now, and the tongue hesitantly exploring his was nothing like what he’d expected and everything he wanted it to be.

The kiss transported him back to his teenage years, to the first boy he’d ever kissed. Clumsy and with clashing teeth, it had been as awkward as it had been exciting. Pretty much as it was now, except this time it didn’t make sense.

He pulled back until the tips of their noses were the only parts of them still touching. Ronan’s lashes fluttered before he opened his eyes. They widened and he lowered his gaze.

“That bad, eh?” Ronan directed his words at the grass beneath their knees.

“Not bad.” Lucas tried to figure out what to say. Not sure what he was reacting to, he didn’t know which words to use either, so the truth would have to do. “It just brought back a memory of something I hadn’t thought about in ages.”

“Oh?”

Ronan still wouldn’t look at him and Lucas didn’t like it. He lifted Ronan’s chin with his index finger. “It reminded me of when I was fourteen and me and Hans, my best friend back then, decided to find out what the big deal about kissing was.”

“It was like your first kiss?” Ronan still tried to avoid meeting Lucas’s gaze.

“Yes.” Lucas smiled. He couldn’t believe Hans had slipped his mind. They’d done a lot of exploring together before Hans decided he was interested in girls after all. He got so lost in his reminiscence he almost missed the words Ronan muttered.

“Makes sense.”

It hit Lucas like a ton of bricks. Here was yet another reason why getting involved with Ronan was the worst idea ever. If he was right, he would be Ronan’s first in everything. The thought that Ronan’s inexperience might include kissing hadn’t crossed his mind until this moment. He wasn’t sure he could make that journey with Ronan without getting emotionally involved. He had to know for sure.

“I’m your first?”

The combination of shame and defeat Lucas read in Ronan’s expression tore at him. He didn’t need an answer. He also didn’t need to think about what to do next. Yes, he would end up getting hurt, but he’d deal with it. It wouldn’t be the first time or, in all likelihood, the last. He could be Ronan’s first and make it a good, a memorable, experience.

“I want to be your second, too.” He didn’t wait and pressed his lips back against Ronan’s before he could respond.

 

 

Kopstootje Meme

 

Review: 

I’ll be the first to admit, I am totally biased when it comes to Helena Stone’s books. We’re friends. I was staying at her home in Ireland when I beta read “Double Dutch Courage”. But biased or not, it’s a wonderful story.

“Double Dutch Courage” follows Ronan Collins from Dublin to Amsterdam as he learns about an inheritance left to him by his absent father, Paul, and begins to take the first steps toward being open about his attraction to men. Lucas Brant, Paul’s business partner and flatmate, helps guide Ronan along that path.

The author deftly weaves in Ronan’s discovery of Amsterdam through the story and it plays such a large role in the book, it needed to be mentioned. It’s wonderful and vivid and makes me want to travel there (more than I already did)!

This is a quiet story. Ronan’s journey doesn’t have huge, wildly dramatic twists and turns, but the gently unfolding self-discovery is no less compelling. The attraction between them and the building relationship is skillfully done and you’re rooting for them as Ronan overcomes those final obstacles and moves forward into the kind of future he’s always dreamed of.

“Double Dutch Courage” has wonderful characters, a fantastic setting, and a sweet romance. What more could any reader want?

Buy Links:

Amazon

Corked is Live (Almost Everywhere)!

Corked Cover

Unfortunately, I had a few hiccups with my book release yesterday. WordPress didn’t seem to want to let me create a new blog post (grr). The books didn’t go live in time on Barnes & Noble and Kobo (still waiting on Kobo). But I’m still very excited to announce that “Corked” is available for sale!

Available Now

In my previous post, I talked a bit about how the three books in “The Wine Tasting Series” became “Corked” but I should also talk about how the “Corked” cover came to be. I live in Michigan and I’ve made several trips to the Traverse City area for wine tastings with friends, so this is an area (and subject!) near and dear to my heart.

As I usually do, I took oodles of photos when I was there. I unearthed those photos when I planned the cover of “Corked” and was delighted to find the perfect image for it. Can’t you just picture Sean and Lucas strolling through the vines and admiring the view?

Corked Vineyard

Summary:

Sean Powell is having a terrible day. When he walks into Bistro Argent, ready to unwind over a glass of wine with the sommelier, he’s stunned to discover his friend has been replaced by a hot young guy with big ideas. Lucas Spencer is determined to liven up the staid and stodgy wine list, but his brash approach alienates the wine distributor during their first meeting.

There’s no avoiding each other though and the more they butt heads, the hotter the tension between them gets. As they work together and their relationship progresses, they have to figure out how to blend their professional frustration and personal attraction without risking their careers.

Lucas is eleven years younger than Sean, and despite their sizzling chemistry and compatibility, Sean can’t quite believe the feelings are mutual. A wine tasting trip to Traverse City, Michigan threatens their fledgling relationship. Sean’s insecurities rise to the surface as Lucas’s fears of losing Sean lead to jealousy.

Does the relationship have legs or will they find out it’s corked?

Excerpt:

“I want to talk to Richard about setting up some classes at the restaurant, maybe on Sundays after brunch, kind of an ‘intro to wine’ type of thing explaining the different types of wine and how to properly taste them.”

“Sounds great,” Sean said and then added, “Hey, I meant to ask, did Richard respond to your earlier text?”

“Oh, I’m not sure,” Lucas replied, handing Sean the box containing the half case of wine they’d purchased. He fished in his pocket for the phone. He pulled it out, smiling at the photo of Sean in the vintage truck he’d set as his background before he noticed the text notification. “Looks like he did.”

“Oh, yeah? What did he say?” Sean asked.

Lucas nearly tripped getting on the trolley as he read Richard’s response.

What is wrong with you two? You think about fucking at work and work during your vacation instead of fucking. Stop thinking about my goddamn restaurant and go screw.

He was still laughing as they took their seats, and Sean had to wrestle the phone away from him to see the message. “Richard!” he exclaimed, his hand going to his forehead to rub at his temples. “Jesus, that man is incorrigible.”

“He’s your friend,” Lucas pointed out, still laughing as he took his phone back and replied to Richard.

“I don’t claim him!” Sean protested. “Besides, he’s your friend now, too.”

“Damn it,” Lucas muttered jokingly. “That’s what I get for dating you. Couldn’t you have brought something better to the relationship than Richard Brayden?”

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo: PENDING

Payhip

Smashwords

Add On:

Goodreads

Queerromance Ink