Coming Soon – The Ghosts Between Us

If it feels like I’ve been teasing you with promises of this book for years, it’s because, well, I have. Somewhere about five years ago, the idea for it popped into my head. I jotted a few things down and then went on to work on other projects. Slowly, over that time, I’ve worked on the story. I did it in fits and starts as I struggled with it. First titled, “In Mourning” it slowly morphed into a massively long novel that explores grief, family, relationships, and love.

To be honest, it’s felt like a story I had to grow into. Both as an author and as a human. There were life experiences I needed to have along with writing skills I needed to develop. This story refused to be ready because I wasn’t ready.

But in a sudden burst of both inspiration and motivation, it came together. My beta readers returned it with some helpful suggestions for how to tweak and polish it, and a blog tour is being arranged.

I am truly excited to share this book with you–maybe more so than with any other book I’ve previously written–because I am so proud of it. I love the characters and I love the story and it was a real stretch for me as an author. I hope you’ll keep an eye out for it next month when it’s available because I know you’re going to love it as much as I do.

Ghosts Between Us Cover (1).jpg

Title: The Ghosts Between Us

Author Name: Brigham Vaughn

Tagline: From Loss, A New Beginning

Series: The West Hills (Book 1)

While the stories in this series are connected, each book features a new couple and can be read as a stand-alone.

Summary:

Dr. Christopher Allen knows how to deal with death. He’s a psychiatrist who works with hospice patients and their families, helping them cope with grief and letting go. But Chris’s job doesn’t prepare him for the sudden death of his devil-may-care brother Cal.

At Cal’s funeral, Chris is completely thrown when he meets Elliot Rawlings, an artist Cal has been dating. Chris is hurt to discover that the brother he knew as straight was actually bisexual. Elliot is angry and resentful of having been kept hidden from Cal’s family.

After the funeral, a night of drinking at the bar with Cal’s friends leads to Chris and Elliot falling into bed together.  The next morning, they’re overwhelmed by guilt and grief and agree to never speak of it again.

But Cal’s apartment needs to be packed up and Elliot reluctantly agrees to help Chris, as well as answer some questions about Cal’s life and their relationship. Despite their guilt and initial dislike for one another, they sort through the pieces of Cal’s life and begin to fall for each other.

Despite his best efforts to fix things, Chris’s family seems to be crumbling around him and he begins to question who he is and what his role with them is.  As his feelings for Elliot grow, Chris must decide if they’re worth further damaging his fragile relationships with his friends and family.

Elliot’s rough upbringing has left him distrustful of getting close to anyone, much less another man who isn’t willing to acknowledge him in public. The odds seem stacked against Chris and Elliot, but if they can overcome them, they may be able to lay Cal’s ghost to rest, along with their own demons.

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

Publication Date: February 26, 2019

Word Count /or Page Number: 130k + words

Formats/Price: eBook – $5.99 Available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43690574-the-ghosts-between-us

 


The pre-order for this book won’t be available until February 22, but if you want to be notified about The Ghosts Between Us when it goes live there are two options!

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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?”

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Coming Soon – Corked (Wine Tasting Series Re-Release)

Coming Soon.jpg

Four years ago, very early on in my publishing journey, I wrote Spit or Swallow. It was a funny and hot little short story about a wine distributor and a sommelier butting heads over wine.

I hadn’t originally planned to write Aftertaste, but readers clamored for more of Sean and Lucas’s story, and I eventually wrapped up their happily-ever-after with Finish. 

Because they were short stories, I didn’t get an overwhelming amount of sales. I thought bundling them into a single file as The Wine Tasting Series might help, but the sales were even lower for that. Some of it, I think, was a lackluster cover and lack of promotion. I had other projects to work on though that needed to take priority, so I let it languish in my backlist.

A few months ago, I pulled it out and dusted it off and realized that while the plot itself was solid, my writing had drastically improved over the years. I began to ponder the idea of a re-release. Three short stories together came in at about 34,000 words, which was novella length. Could I fix it up so that I could bring new readers in?

As I polished the writing and tweaked the pacing so it flowed as a novella, I began to realize there were scenes that I could expand by showing, not telling. (My middle school English teacher would be so proud!)

And as the story came together, I realized it needed a new title. It didn’t take long before Corked popped into my head.  Once I had the title, a cover came together. And as I began the final editing process, I realized an epilogue would really add to the story. There was definitely more of Lucas and Sean’s story to tell. When it was all done, it came together with a grand total of 42,000 words. New readers will get to discover the story for the first time as a long novella and previous readers will enjoy almost 8,000 words of additional content!

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Title: Corked

Release Date: April 28, 2018

Length: 42,031 words (Novella)

Blurb:

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?


There’s no pre-order for this book, but if you want to get your hands on Corked as soon as it’s available there are two options!

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Flash Fiction Monday – In the Shadows

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“I’m very put out that you won’t tell me who keeps texting you,” Kevin said. There was no mistaking the pouting tone to his voice.

I watched Lucien silence his phone and sit upright, his gaze sliding over me with the barest contact. “I told you, Kevin, it’s nothing important.”

Ouch. I’d be hurt if I thought that dismissive tone and statement were true. Lucien was a damn good actor.

Next to me, Lizette Pond—the producer—droned on about budgets and cutting back on the scale of the film. I should have been contributing, but I was consumed with thoughts of Lucien. Of the way he’d tasted that morning. The fine, golden hairs that dusted the small of his back and the way they caught the sunlight. I was drunk on him still.

“Animal, vegetable, or mineral?” Kevin asked.

The briefest hint of a smile crossed Lucien’s lips. “Definitely animal.”

Last night, I’d edged Lucien without letting him use a ball gag, and after, had to apologize to old Mrs. Schumacher across the hall for the screams.

“Male or female?”

Lucien licked his lips. “Male.”

“Older or younger?” Kevin’s questions to Lucien were growing increasingly demanding, but I trusted Lucien to handle it.

“Older.”

God, I was the worst sort of director, preying on one of the young stars in my latest film, but in truth, we both had plenty to lose. He had to trust that this was more than an on-set fling with the potential to ruin his career. I had to trust he wasn’t using me to get ahead.

It was Hollywood. It happened.

Back hallway. Fifteen minutes. I typed the text with one eye on the screen, nodding at whatever Lizette said. I’d probably regret whatever I’d agreed to, since she was constantly attempting to gut the budget of my film, but at the moment, I didn’t care.

I slid the phone into my pocket and a minute or so later, pressed send. I hoped. I’d gotten pretty good at the technique in the past few weeks. On the floor in front of him, Lucien’s phone buzzed quietly.

He reached down to silence it and I cut Lizette off. “We’re going to break for twenty. Lizette, we can finish this conversation after rehearsals. When we get back, I want to start at the top of the scene.”

I stood and walked past Lucien, so close the fabric of my trousers brushed his upper arm. “And, Lucien, for the last time, silence that phone. I’m getting sick of telling you that.” He’d been ordered to leave it on.

I was the worst sort of sadist, setting my sub up to fail. But we both enjoyed the so-called punishments.

“Yes, Sir.” His tone was deferential enough to please me, but not enough to arouse suspicion.

I sauntered away, threading through the maze of hallways to reach the secret spot where Lucien and I met occasionally. I sent him another text as I walked. I slipped a little something into your bag while you weren’t looking. I expect it to be in place. Clock’s ticking.

With two minutes to spare, Lucien arrived, pink-cheeked and breathless.

“Good boy,” I murmured after I checked to see if he’d followed instructions. I pushed him to his knees and he needed no direction after that. We had to be quick.

I closed my eyes as his mouth moved over me, wet and warm.

I never saw the person waiting just around the corner, in the shadows.


I am afraid this is another one where the plot bunnies ran rampant.  Who’d like to read more of this?

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics.

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Connection Release

Connection Final Final Cover

“Connection” was a long time coming.  Since the moment I created Evan’s character in “Partners” I knew I was going to have to tell his story as well.  If nothing else, my betas would have come after me with pointy things until I did!

It was during a conversation with Allison that it occurred to me that Jeremy was the perfect partner for Evan. I actually gasped when I thought of the pairing, because it was so unexpected, but perfect.  I hadn’t planned on another May/December romance, but Jeremy’s a stubborn one, and despite the fact that he and Evan seemed all wrong for each other on paper, I knew they’d be just what the other needed.  Evan needs someone who can recognize his loneliness and pull him out of his shell a little.  And Jeremy needs someone like Evan who simply doesn’t see Jeremy’s scars as a problem.

Meredith King made me a beautiful trailer for the story and I am so in love with the way it compliments the story.

Summary:

After a lifetime of being told he’s worthless, shy, sheltered Evan Harris is forced out of the closet and kicked out of his home.  Friends in Atlanta give him a place to stay while he gets on his feet, but despite his eagerness to explore the city, it isn’t exactly what he expected.

Physically and emotionally scarred from a devastating car accident, Jeremy Lewis struggles to reconcile the brash, outgoing man he used to be with the social recluse he’s become.

Loneliness draws them to each other, but a strong mutual attraction isn’t enough to overcome their pasts.  In order to be together, Evan must discover his own worth and Jeremy must trust someone to see past his scars.

Excerpt:

“So how do you know the grooms?” The man he was pretty sure he recognized from the sporting goods store dropped onto the stool to his left, and Evan jerked, spilling some of his drink on the bar.

“Oh, um, I met Russ and Stephen last fall when they were in Stephen’s hometown. I worked at the funeral home there when they buried his father.”

The guy frowned. “So you’re just visiting Atlanta then?”

Evan shook his head. “No. I moved to Atlanta in February. When we met last fall, Russ was nice enough to kind of”—he struggled to find the right words as he mopped up the spill—“take me under his wing, I guess. Once I moved here, Russ and Stephen helped me get settled and find the guts to go off on my own.”

He chuckled and nudged Evan’s elbow with his. “I dunno, seems like you must have had some guts in the first place.”

“Maybe.” Evan blushed. “I’d like to think so.”

“How do you like Atlanta?”

“It’s lonely,” Evan said, surprising himself with his candor. The drink he was working on must’ve loosened his tongue. “I mean, it’s fine, I guess. I just haven’t met anyone yet.” In his head, Atlanta had been a gay man’s paradise where there would be available guys everywhere he looked, but it hadn’t worked out that way. At least, not for him.

“Amen, kid.” The guy raised his glass and clinked it against Evan’s. “What’s your name, anyway?”

“Evan Harris.” He glanced at the guy out of the corner of his eye.

“Nice to meet you. Jeremy Lewis.” He narrowed his eyes at Evan. “Wait a minute, you came into Johnson’s sporting goods a while ago, didn’t you? You needed running shoes, I think.”

“I … yeah,” Evan replied, shocked but flattered that the guy—Jeremy—had remembered him. “I did. Russ suggested I go there, actually. Um, thanks for your help, by the way. The new shoes are much better. The fit specialist did a great job.”

Jeremy grinned. “Glad to hear my employees know what they’re doing.”

Evan wasn’t sure what else to say about running shoes that wouldn’t make him sound like an idiot, but he didn’t want Jeremy to stop talking to him, so he changed the subject. “How do you know them?”

“Stephen and Russ? I just met Russ a few months ago, but Stephen’s my ex.”

“Really?” Evan gaped at him for a moment before all the pieces fell into place. Stephen had mentioned his ex’s car accident. That explained the limp and the scar. “Oh.”

“Mmmhmm. Stephen’s always had a thing for younger guys. We met when I was twenty, and he was … oh, must have been about thirty-two, thirty-three, maybe? Hell if I can remember. It’s been fifteen years.”

Which meant Jeremy was in his mid-thirties now. Up close, Evan could see the lines around his eyes when he smiled. Evan liked them.

“You’re not jealous of Russ?” he blurted out, then bit his lip, hoping Jeremy wasn’t offended.

“It’s complicated,” Jeremy said with a sigh as his lips twisted in a bitter smile. “I know Russ is a hell of a lot better for Stephen than I ever was, and I’m glad they’re happy together. It’s … it’s not that I want to be with Stephen, and, hell, I’m not a relationship kinda guy, but something about seeing them together makes me envious, you know?”

“Yeah, I know.” Evan sighed.

Jeremy nudged him with his elbow again. “Come on, kid, I’m sure you can’t have any trouble picking up guys.”

Evan sputtered, nearly choking on his drink and wondering how the guy knew he was gay. Am I obvious? he wondered. “Umm, I haven’t exactly ever done it before …” he muttered into his glass, embarrassed to confess his lack of dating experience but unable to hold his tongue.

“Don’t tell me you’re a virgin?” Jeremy’s gaze was disbelieving, and the tips of Evan’s ears went red-hot.

“Okay, I won’t then.” Evan tilted his drink back and shook an ice cube into his mouth, crunching down on it. He refused to look at the guy next to him for fear he’d turn tomato red.

Jeremy whistled quietly. “Kid, if you go into a gay club it’ll be like waving a steak at starving tigers. They’ll be all over you.”

“I think you’ve had too much to drink,” Evan protested. “I’m nothing special.”

“Oh, Jesus, you have to be kidding me.” Jeremy stood with a groan. “Okay, unless you’ve got somewhere you need to be, I want you to come have a seat with me at a booth over there. My leg is fucking killing me, and we need to have a long talk about why you don’t realize you’re the kind of pretty little twink who makes gay men cream their jockstraps.”

Evan blushed, but he followed Jeremy toward the cozy booths anyway, embarrassed, terrified, and completely intrigued by the gorgeous guy who had called him pretty.

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Equals Outtake – Celebration

“Russ?”

He looked from his computer and turned in his office chair to face his husband. Stephen looked vaguely shell-shocked, and the hoarse sound of his name on Stephen’s lips worried him.

Russ rose from his chair, frowning. “What is it, Stephen? Is everything okay?” Oh no, what if something’s happened to Miss Esther? He thought, heart clenching. He knew she wouldn’t live forever, but apart from her arthritis she was quite healthy for her age. He’d hoped they—and especially Stephen—would have her around for years.

Stephen stepped closer, cradling Russ’ face in his hands, his expression impossible to read. “The Supreme Court ruling was announced.”

Russ’ heart took off, pounding so hard it felt like it would leap out of his chest. “And?”

His lips felt dry all of a sudden and he had to lick his lips. He rested his hand against the lapel of Stephen’s navy blue suit, his heart racing as fast as Russ’ was. Their marriage was legal in South Carolina. This ruling wouldn’t change anything, and yet….

“It’s legal, Russ. Everywhere.” Stephen’s eyes seemed even bluer than usual, and he blinked a few times, wetness glistening on his eyelashes. Russ could hear the shock and disbelief in his voice, the echo of Stephen’s younger self who had convinced himself he’d never have the opportunity to marry. Although they’d been married the fall before, Russ knew this governmental stamp of legitimacy meant more to Stephen than he could ever articulate. It mattered to the boy who’d grown up knowing he was different, to the young man who’d been disowned by his family, and the adult who’d never imagined he could marry his partner. “Our marriage is legal.”

Stephen,” was all Russ could manage. He felt Stephen’s lips against his, soft and needy, and he wasn’t sure which of them had closed the distance first. He lost himself in the taste and the feel of the man he loved, remembering the vows they’d exchanged on the beach nine months before. For a moment, he even thought he could hear the roar of the waves behind him and he pulled back to laugh with Stephen about it.

The sound didn’t fade though and he turned his head and realized their co-workers were standing in a circle around his cubicle, clapping. He realized he was grinning and he felt Stephen squeeze the back of his neck as if to say, “I love you”. Russ and Stephen rarely touched in the office, unless they were in Stephen’s office behind a closed door, and they’d both apparently been too caught up in the moment to remember where they were. Russ glanced around the room at their co-workers, shocked by how happy they all looked, how supportive.

“Congratulations!” Stephen’s assistant, Elizabeth, threw her arms around both of them. “I am so happy for you both.” She squeezed them both before stepping back to wipe her eyes.

Russ felt a strange sense of vertigo as the rest of the office surged around them, shaking his hand, clapping him on the back. Dazed, he thanked them, shocked to realize they were all genuinely joyful for him and Stephen. Even Sherry, the office busybody who’d sneeringly seemed to celebrate the rough patch he and Stephen had gone through early in their relationship gave him a small smile and nod.

A few minutes later, Elizabeth appeared with a tray of rainbow colored cupcakes—apparently she’d been planning ahead, in anticipation of a positive ruling—and an impromptu office party broke out. Russ found himself leaning against his desk, holding hands with Stephen as they spoke to Peter, who was Russ’s boss and Stephen’s friend. Both he and Elizabeth had attended their wedding on Hilton Head.

Russ’ phone buzzed in his pocket and he pulled it out to see congratulatory messages from his sister, Addie, and her boyfriend, Joseph.  As he finished his responses to them, a call from his father came through.

“You heard?” Alan asked when he answered.

“Yeah, Dad, I heard.”

“Figured you had, but I wanted you to know how happy I am for ‘ya.”

“Thanks.” Russ’ eyes stung. “I feel pretty damn lucky to have your support.”

Alan scoffed.  “It’s common sense.  I’m only sorry it took the rest of the country so damn long to get there. Sometimes I wish I’d done more.”

“You told me I deserved this.  That’s all I needed,” Russ pointed out.

“I’ll let you get back to celebratin’ but I love you son, and tell that son-in-law of mine I love him too.”

“I will.”  Russ reached out and squeezed Stephen’s hand.  “We love you too, Dad. Thanks for calling. I’m really glad you did.”

His eyes were still stinging as he ended the call and he had to clear his throat when he turned to Stephen.  “Dad sends his love.”

Stephen just smiled. The lingering sadness that used to be in Stephen’s eyes every time Alan expressed his love had disappeared and Russ was even more grateful for his father.

“Damn, this is one hell of a day, isn’t it?” Peter said, peeling back the cupcake wrapper and taking a large bite.

“It is,” Stephen agreed, nodding. “I keep feeling like I’m going to wake up and find out I dreamed it all though. I was afraid to get my hopes up and now that it’s here….”

Russ knew how he felt. Although he’d always believed marriage equality legislation would pass, the idea that it was a reality had yet to sink in. He’d been smiling so much his cheeks hurt.

“Sorry we disrupted the office,” Russ said to his boss, who shrugged and took another bite of cupcake.

“Hey, this is a historic occasion. If we don’t set work aside to celebrate for something like this, we’re no better than robots.” Peter paused, a thoughtful expression crossing his face. “Why don’t you two call it a day, actually? It’s Friday. Take the rest of the day off and enjoy a long weekend together.”

Russ turned to Stephen who gave him a slow grin, nodding. “I like that idea.”

It was rare for either of them to take any more time off than was strictly necessary, but today, Russ wasn’t going to argue. He thanked Peter with a handshake that turned into a hug, and he got another teary hug from Elizabeth on the way out. In no time, he and Stephen stood on the sidewalk of Midtown Atlanta ecstatic, but slightly dazed.

Russ turned to face Stephen. “What do you want to do? I’m sure Midtown’s going to one big celebration. We could check it out.”

Stephen gave him a thoughtful look. “Maybe we could get together with Marc, Curtis, Jeremy, and Evan this evening to celebrate,” he said, referring to two gay couples they were friends with.

“Sounds nice.” Russ grinned at him. “And what did you have in mind until then?”

Grinning back, Stephen wrapped his arms around Russ’ waist. “Oh, I thought maybe we’d go home and have our own celebration.”

“I like the way you think, husband,” Russ said huskily.

Stephen’s eyes shone as he leaned in to brush their lips together and Russ felt happiness rush through him, filling him with effervescent giddiness. He didn’t think it was possible to be this happy.

Russ had never been so glad to be proven wrong.


I hadn’t planned to write an Equals outtake, but Russ and Stephen are never far from my mind and as I thought about the ruling, their voices were clear and strong.

They’ve always held themselves a little apart from the majority of their coworkers, Elizabeth and Peter aside, but I thought this was the kind of day that would break down that barrier a little bit. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of their celebration.

I assume most of you have read the Equals series already, but if you haven’t, stop by my page on Smashwords and pick up all of the books for free! Just use the following coupon codes to get the promotional price.

Equals – TT73J

Partners– WE93B

Family – TT74F

Husbands – FP59K

Paperbacks Are Available!!!

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I can honestly say formatting and building a paperback was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. I understand why authors go through publishers and pay formatters oodles of money to do the work for them. It is some of the most fiddly, exasperating work I’ve ever done.  And yet, I’m really glad I did it.

I learned an enormous amount, I accomplished something I thought was out of my reach, I pushed through the moments when I wanted to tear out my hair and scream, and I have some beautiful work to show for it.  I even figured out my business name and put together a logo.

Two Peninsulas Press Logo

I did a ridiculous (if completely necessary) amount of research before I began creating the paperbacks.  Even then, I found myself flying by the seat of my pants with some of it.  Wait, where do I put the section break? How do I unlink from the previous section? I couldn’t have done it without Mr. Vaughn (who put in at least $1,000 worth of work per book, if he billed me what his office bills his clients at his tech geek job).  He’s a whiz with headers, footers, and table of contents pages.  Plus, he took my original cover images and text and combined them into two beautiful covers.

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I went through a number of possible versions before I decided to combine the four novellas into two volumes.  It seemed like it would give you guys the best value for your money.  Volume One (Equals and Partners) is 272 pages (about 90,000 words), while Volume Two (Family and Husbands) are 230 (just under 70,000 words). I perused Amazon and compared my work to other m/m authors with books of similar length and arrived at $13.99 and $12.99 for the paperbacks.

They are available on Amazon and CreateSpace.  Did you know that authors get a larger royalty when the books are purchased directly through CreateSpace? I certainly didn’t. Amazon is certainly easier to purchase through, so you won’t get any complaints from me if you buy the books there, but if you have a few extra minutes and want to buy through CreateSpace it would be greatly appreciated.

Amazon                                                                                Amazon

CreateSpace                                                                          CreateSpace

Oh, and if you want signed copies? Give me a week or so and I’ll have some available.  I’m still working on that part.

Equals Series Outtake – Stephen and Jeremy’s First Meeting

Notes: I’ve had an idea for this scene since I wrote Equals.  Jeremy is such a compelling character for me and I love Stephen so much.  I couldn’t stop imagining what their first meeting was like.  I haven’t been able to do much writing lately, but recently I felt the urge to write and I wanted to work on something I didn’t need to do any research for.  This scene flowed right out and I hope you enjoy it.  It is unbeta’d so ignore any wayward commas.

This is set 15 years before Russ and Stephen ever meet.


Young Jeremy                           Young Stephen

Inspiration for Jeremy                                              Inspiration for Stephen

Meeting

“…in conclusion, being out in the business world does not have to mean sacrificing a successful career. In fact, under the right circumstances it can lead to a more positive working environment that benefits all employees.”  Stephen tidied the notes resting on the lectern and smiled at the crowd, trying not to let his gaze linger on the young man in the second row who’d been eyeing him since he began his speech.  “Thank you for having me here today. I wish all of you great success with your future careers.”

He acknowledged the applause with a nod of his head and stepped back.  He took a seat again as the final speaker stepped forward and began.  Despite his best efforts, his gaze wandered to the young man again and was rewarded with a wink.  Stephen’s mouth quirked up at the corner in response.  Like most of the students here, the guy appeared to be in his early twenties.  He had a square jaw and a smirk that wouldn’t quit.  He hadn’t taken his eyes off Stephen since the lecture began and Stephen couldn’t deny that he was flattered by the attention.

Taking part in the guest lecture series offered by the UGA gay-straight alliance group was something Stephen enjoyed, but he certainly hadn’t come expecting to pick up a man. It had been a long dry spell for him though–nearly a year–and he couldn’t deny how attractive the guy checking him out was. There was no guarantee they’d hit it off once they got to know each other, but Stephen definitely had plans to ask him out to dinner.

By the time the final speech was done, Stephen was half-hard from the attention and not entirely sure if his increased heart rate and the fluttering feeling in his stomach was from nerves or anticipation.

As expected, the moment the speeches ended and the students and guest speakers began to mingle, the young brown-haired man made a beeline for Stephen.  Unfortunately, Stephen got caught up in the crowd and had to spend far too long making small-talk with fellow business leaders congratulating him on his speech and students asking him questions.  With half his attention focused elsewhere, Stephen eventually managed to wrap up the conversations and excuse himself. The moment there was an opening, the young man crossed the room, headed straight for Stephen.

Between the slight swagger in his walk and his direct gaze, he gave off the kind of confidence Stephen envied.  He’d come a long way, but in college he’d had to work for that kind of self-assured attitude. It had never come naturally for him.

“Hey there.”  The man greeted him, his gaze traveling up and down Stephen’s body as his tongue peeked out briefly to wet his lips.  “Great speech.”

“Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

“Stephen, right?” The young man stuck out his hand.  “I’m Jeremy Lewis.”

“Yes, Stephen Parker.” They clasped hands and the touch lingered longer than most handshakes, ending with a swipe of Jeremy’s thumb across the back of his hand. Up close, Stephen could see that Jeremy’s eyes were hazel, somewhere between a warm brown and green and he had a cleft in his firm chin. Damn, he was handsome. “Nice to meet you, Jeremy.”

He was rewarded with another smirk.  “Look, Stephen I could bullshit you and tell you I wanted to buy you a cup of coffee so we could talk more about being gay in the business world, but I hate making small talk.  We both know it would just be a prelude to me inviting you back to my apartment, anyway.  Why don’t we skip the preliminaries and get to the good stuff?”

Jeremy’s voice was pitched low, but Stephen still glanced around to see if anyone was listening to their conversation.  They didn’t appear to be, but he leaned in anyway, his eyebrows raising in question.  “The good stuff?”

“Sure,” Jeremy said.  “You, me, a box of condoms, and enough lube we could swim in it.”

The loud bark of a laugh that came out of Stephen seemed to startle them both.  Jeremy grinned, revealing white, even teeth.  Stephen wasn’t sure how they’d gone from introductions to discussing the potential for sex, but he couldn’t deny that a part of him responded to Jeremy’s assumption that they would be lovers, cocky as it was.  “I’m afraid I don’t have that much lube.”

Jeremy shrugged.  “That can be remedied.   So, my place or yours?”

Stephen crossed his arms over his chest and gave Jeremy and assessing glance.  “What makes you think I’m even interested?”

“Because the eye-fucking we’ve been doing definitely hasn’t been one-sided.”

Grinning, Stephen acknowledged the truth of the statement with a nod.  “Fine.  I’m not denying I’m interested, but I am a little taken aback by the speed at which we’re going about things.  I typically prefer to get to know my partner first.”

Jeremy rolled his eyes.  “Don’t tell me you’re the sex-only-in-relationships type?  How depressingly heteronormative of you.”

“I never said that,” Stephen countered.  “But I find sex is better if I know the man under me.”

“Jeremy Christopher Lewis.  Age twenty.  6’1” tall.  Born June 5 in 1979.  Gemini.  Business Administration major.  HIV negative. Versatile. And gagging to suck you off.  Any other questions?”

Stephen coughed and cleared his throat.  “That wasn’t quite what I meant.”

Jeremy shrugged, the impish grin never leaving his face.  “Look, we can go out for coffee and get to know each other if you want, but I think we’d both be lying to ourselves if we pretend like we’re thinking about anything but getting each other off.”

Grinning back, Stephen admitted defeat.  “Fine.  But how about after the first orgasm each, we take a little time to get to know each other, verbally rather than physically?”

“Deal.” Jeremy stuck his hand out to shake and they began to move toward the exit. “So, should I call you Daddy?”

The nickname made Stephen shudder.  “No. God no.  Calling me Daddy is the quickest way to end this before it even begins.”

Grinning, Jeremy nodded.  “I’ll remember that.”

Stephen rested a hand against Jeremy’s lower back as he held the door open, ushering him out into the warm evening air.

Jeremy paused outside the building and gave Stephen a speculative look.  “So, my place or yours?”

“I have a king-size bed,” Stephen offered.

“I like the way you think.”

Stephen glanced around to be sure no one was watching them before he leaned in spoke in Jeremy’s ear.  “You’ll like it even better when I have you bent over that bed, begging for my cock.”

“I was starting to think you might not be able to keep up with me, old man,” Jeremy teased.

Stephen slung an arm across Jeremy’s shoulder.  “Oh, I won’t have any trouble keeping up with you, pretty boy, don’t you worry.”

Brigham’s Recommendations – “Strangers in the Night” by Jaycee Edward and Helena Stone

Somewhere in the craziness of the past year, I let reviewing slide.  I’ve managed a few reviews here and there but nowhere near what I would like to do.  I am going to aim for one a week.  No ranking systems or anything fancy, just a way for me to get the word out about books I enjoyed!  The reviews will be posted on here, Amazon, and Goodreads.

Strangers in the Night – Jaycee Edward & Helena Stone

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Summary:

When Army veteran Slade stumbles upon an isolated cottage on a cold, dark night, the young man finds more than just the shelter he’s seeking.

Former club Dominant Callum is surprised to find a handsome stranger knocking at his door but invites him in despite his reservations. A nightmare reveals Slade’s deep-seated emotional issues, and Callum knows he needs to get creative if he’s going to help Slade leave the past behind.

Neither man is prepared for the feelings Slade’s introduction into the world of BDSM will unleash, and thirty-six hours will either be enough to bind them, or they will remain forever strangers in the night.

Review:

This book is one I’ve been meaning to review ever since I read it in March.  Not just because Jaycee and Helena are near and dear to me, but because I truly enjoyed the story.

The chemistry between Slade and Callum is there from the beginning.  It was fascinating to watch Callum peel back the layers of Slade’s issues and find ways to help him cope with them.  My favorite thing about this story was that this wasn’t a typical BDSM plot.  Callum’s creativity and deft touch with Slade was exactly what was needed and a more typical approach wouldn’t have worked at all.

It can be difficult to fully flesh out the characters in a novella, but I though they did that beautifully, and Slade and Callum were unique, well-rounded characters.  Given the length and the fact that the entire story takes place in just a few days there’s always a danger of the story feeling too rushed.  The authors handled the pacing beautifully, knowing the difference between instant connection and instant love.  True love in two days?  Unlikely.  The kind of connection that promises a chance for a future together? Absolutely.

The end of the story leaves us with the hope that these men might just have something special.  They aren’t promising each other forever, just a chance to see where it could go, which is exactly the right note.

I’ve heard rumors that there’s going to be more of Callum and Slade’s story to come and I am looking forward to it!

Buy Links:

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press