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)

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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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Three Shots is Live

“Three Shots”, my steamy new MMF erotic romance, is live everywhere!

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Reeve Jenkins is an amateur musician playing in a dive bar. Grant McGuire is a man drowning his sorrows in beer after a painful breakup. When Reeve charms a reluctant Grant into coming home with him, they begin a three-year friendship with some very nice benefits.

 But when the two gorgeous men walk into Hawk Point Tavern—the bar Rachael Bradford owns—one evening and greet each other with a kiss, it sets off a chain of events that leads to a steamy night and maybe something more for the trio.

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Cover Reveal – Doc Brodie and the Big, Purple, Cat Toy

Doc Brodie and the Big, Purple Cat Toy - Brigham Vaughn.jpg

Coming June 17th!

Grant Murchison is a computer programmer with a great job, a small house he’s fixing up, and a mischievous tabby cat named Molly. Doctor Brodie Hall is a veterinarian with a sleeve full of tattoos and an enormous mastiff named Ruby.

When Molly gets sick after nibbling on Grant’s favorite purple toy, he rushes her to the vet clinic where the doctor works. Grant’s embarrassed to admit what Molly ate, but Brodie finds Grant’s reaction charming.

Brodie decides to pursue Molly’s owner, but getting close to Grant is a bigger challenge than he anticipated. Despite Grant’s attraction to the vet, his past leaves him unable to trust in a future together. Doc Brodie may be great with scared and hurting animals but will his technique work on Grant?

Doc Brodie Teaser

I didn’t write a flash fic last week or this week. Mostly because I was immersed in the novella I’m planning to release in early June.

It’s an old short story that I wrote a very long time ago. At some point, I made some tweaks to it, but I hadn’t touched it in almost two years. When I finally dusted it off I realized I had the potential for a great novella and in the past seventeen days, gave one of the main characters a new backstory and motivation, and added 19,987 words to bring it to a grand total of 33,122 words. It’s with my betas now and I will release it on June 10th.

I don’t have a cover yet, but I should be able to make that this week so keep tuned for that.

In the meantime, enjoy this little teaser:

Veterinary clinic. Cute cat during examination by a veterinarian.

Brodie Hall yawned and stretched.  It had been a long, slow night at the vet clinic.  That was a good thing of course—fewer animals in dire need of his help was always a good thing—but he was bored and restless.  He rubbed at his eyes wearily, and resumed typing case notes from his previous shift.  He was nodding off at the computer by the time the tech peered in the office door.

“Hey, you’ve got a patient in exam room one.”

“Thanks, Annie,” he said, standing and stretching.  Sometimes he really hated night shifts at the clinic.  Ambrose Roberts, the clinic director and head veterinarian, would be retiring in the next few years. Brodie had been saving up and he was hopeful that by the time Ambrose was looking for someone to buy the practice, he could afford to. He’d be a hell of a lot busier once that happened, but it would allow him to work a shift that didn’t make him feel like a vampire.

“Nothing critical, I assume?”

“Nah,” she said.  “The cat ate something and is puking.  Her vitals are normal though, and she doesn’t seem to be in distress.  Her owner though … the guy seems pretty worried.  He’s sweet, but panicked.”

Brodie nodded, picturing an elderly, widowed gentleman bringing in the cat he’d owned for years.  He straightened his scrubs and swiped his stethoscope from the desk, draping it around his neck.  Brodie was usually good at calming down worried pet owners, and he figured this guy would be no exception.

The veterinarian snagged the chart from the bin beside the exam room doorway before he went inside.  His breath caught in his throat at the sight in front of him.  Rather than an elderly man, the man in front of him was young. Well, Brodie’s age anyway. Attractive, too, if slightly disheveled; his shirt was on backwards and his dark brown hair stood up on one side.  God, he even had black rimmed geek glasses which were more or less Brodie’s kryptonite.

He sat in a chair next to the exam table, speaking softly to the small gray and white tabby.  She rubbed up against his long-fingered hand, and Brodie suddenly wondered what those fingers would feel like stroking him.

Deciding he was clearly beginning to hallucinate from exhaustion, Brodie pushed down that momentary lapse in professionalism and reached for the kitten.  She tilted her head back as he rubbed his finger against the white fur under her chin.  “You’re a pretty little thing.  Yes, you are,” he crooned.

The cat’s owner lifted his head, his brown eyes meeting Brodie’s and widening.  A blush filled his cheeks, and he jerked back.  Now Brodie could see the fine features of his face, the faint cleft in his chin and the bookish handsomeness. Wow.

Brodie smiled reassuringly at the man. “What’s my patient’s name?”

“Uh, Molly,” the man stammered, licking his lips nervously.

“Well, I’m Doctor Brodie Hall, and I promise, I’ll take great care of Molly for you.”

“Thanks,” he said gratefully.  “Um, I’m Grant Murchison.”

“Nice to meet you, Grant. So, this little girl ate something that disagreed with her, huh?” Brodie asked.

Grant nodded.  “Yeah, I woke up to her throwing up.  I rushed her right over.”

“Any idea what she ate?”

“Uhm.”  He blushed again and lifted a plastic bag out of the paper one on the floor, showing the vet a mangled purple silicone sex toy.

Brodie’s eyes widened as he fought back a smirk.  That was a first.  He cleared his throat before he spoke.  “Is that what I think it is?”

Grant nodded, closing his eyes, as if he was trying to shut out the embarrassing truth.  “Uh, if you think it’s a dildo, then yes, you’d be right.”

“That’s … uh, well, I have to say this is a first for me,” Brodie admitted.

Delays and Good News

If you’re a member of my Facebook fan group, Brigham’s Book Nerds, or a friend on Facebook, you’ve probably seen me mention that “Push & Pull”–the second book in The Midwest Series–is stalled. I’m at about 30,000 words but getting to that point has been like pulling teeth and I am still struggling to figure out what I’m doing wrong.

The added pressure of knowing that I need to release on a timely schedule (so, hopefully, I can sell enough books and move out of my parents’ house) is not helping.

There are other things demanding my attention as well. The Italian translation of “Equals” will be coming out soon. I am formatting and making covers for the print copies of “Bully & Exit”, “Connection”, and “Trust” and hoping to have them available to sell at Ferndale Pride on June 4th.

Good things are happening and I am certainly continuing to work hard, but I came to the realization that I need to set “Push & Pull” aside for a little while. I’m not hearing Lowell’s voice at the moment and he’s such a wonderful character that I don’t want to shortchange his story. In order to keep the release pressure at bay, I am dusting off an old novella. It’s a funny, sweet erotic romance that I wrote several years ago.

At the moment, it is a solid story of 12,000 words. I dusted it off this morning and plan to flesh it out a bit further and turn it into a novella of roughly 25k.

Working on the new novella feels like a breath of fresh air after the stagnant struggles of “Push & Pull” and I am confident that the story will be ready for release in a few weeks. That will take the pressure off me and allow me to take a sorely-needed break from “Push & Pull.” I will never abandon Lowell and Brent, but I’m going to set them aside for a short while. Hopefully, when I come back, I will know what I need to do to fix the plot problems and finish the story!

In the meantime, there’s a new novella coming your way soon!

Doc Brody and the Big, Purple Cat Toy

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Can a tabby cat with an appetite for silicone toys bring together a lonely computer programmer and a hot veterinarian looking for love?

Review – “Hotel Pens”

Hotel Pens

 

Hotel Pens

Summary:

Travel writer Joe Jordan hasn’t been home to New York since his boyfriend broke up with him. Instead he’s hopped from hotel to hotel, collecting pens like a child in a fairytale might leave a trail of breadcrumbs hoping to find his way back. But now he has an assignment, an article titled “5 Ways to Rediscover New York.” Being back on his home turf is daunting—until he meets Claude Desjardins, a gay romance translator staying in his hotel who, after a night of near passion, leads Joe on a treasure hunt through Manhattan, writing clues on Joe’s skin using hotel pens. But it isn’t just New York Joe needs to rediscover.

Review:

This story is a novella, and on the shorter side, but completely worth it.  I picked it up on a whim during Dreamspinner’s sale a while back and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It certainly wasn’t a heavy book, but it was a nice sweet read without lacking substance.  Joe’s past issues were believable and the relationship that develops between him and Claude was very believable.  The treasure hunt on Joe’s skin was such a fun thread throughout the book and I loved the way Claude’s creativity shook Joe out of his humdrum life.  There’s a bit of a lingering question throughout the book that causes some angst and lthough I guessed the “twist” to that issue long before the end, it didn’t make it any less wonderful.

While it may not be a story that changes the world it’s a very solid feel-good read.

The What Ifs


Tomorrow is the big release for Equals, the novella I told you about a month ago.  It took longer to finish than I expected.  The feedback I get from my talented team of pre-readers is something I take very seriously.  When they told me they felt like things were missing, I listened.  When they told me tweaks needed to be made, I agreed.  I took their feedback, read through the story again, and made the changes.  Not every single last one–there are always a few suggestions that I know just don’t feel right for the characters–but I thought them all over thoroughly.  And they were right.  Before, I felt like the story was good.  Now, I feel like it’s great.  Well, at least I did.

In the last few weeks as I put on the final touches, polished the document with my editor, and prepared the book for publishing, my confidence began to waver.  When I thought about the July 11 release date, my stomach knotted.  Had I done everything I could to make it a great story? What if I should have fleshed out this scene more? Cut that one?  What if the character motivation wasn’t strong enough? What if it bored the reader to tears?

The questions multiplied. What if it was just regurgitating the same old story? What if I got it all wrong?  What if everyone finds out I don’t have a clue what I’m doing?

Why the hell am I doing this writing thing anyway?

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Self doubt is horrible.  It’s painful and crippling and as the release creeps closer the worse it gets.  In the past, I knew there was a limited audience for short stories.  My releases were small.  I knew the bulk of my readers were friends, people I already know.  There’s more pressure with a novella.  And I’ve set up a blog tour to promote the story and bring in new readers.  I had a blast preparing for it and I think you’ll love the excerpts and interviews.  But it somehow makes this much more “real”.  Cue the anxiety.

The book is done, the advance review copies are in the hands of the bloggers, and there’s nothing to do but wait.  Tomorrow everything starts rolling and all I can do is hang on. I’ll be posting links to the blog tour and of course I’ll have links to where you can buy the book.  I hope you’ll give the book a chance and that you’ll visit the blogs on the tour. What will I be doing? Well, I’ll be swimming through the what ifs and doing my best to make it through to the other side.

What Am I Working On?

I know it’s been pretty quiet around here, so I thought I’d bring you up to date on what I’m working on right now.  A lot, actually.

There are certainly more plot bunnies than I have time to wrangle.  I have a number of documents with a brief summary, a picture or two, and a few scenes or chapters written.  Some are short stories, one is a novella.  I have four that could potentially be novels.  Right now, they hang out in a folder and I pop in to add something if a really good idea occurs to me.

There are three I am focused on right now.  A novella, and two novels.  Yes, two novels.  One is a collaboration with the ever-fabulous Karen.  You know, the one who got me into reading m/m in the first place.  I won’t say much about it, but we’ve been working on it for about a year.  Collaboration can be slow, but I enjoy it.  I’m pleased with the way the story is coming together and when we get closer to having it ready, we’ll share more info about it.

The other novel I’m working on is something I’m doing alone.  It’s coming together nicely and I’d say the first draft is about 3/4 done.  There are a few scenes here and there that need to be written, but mostly I need to fill in a few missing pieces.  After that it’ll go to the pre-readers.  I feel like there are some issues with it that I am not sure how to correct, but I know with good feedback it’ll come together.

The novella is my top priority right now.  I hope to have it finished and available by the end of June.  I’ve been working on it for a few months, on and off, and it’s been slow going.  I didn’t quite have a grasp of the characters at first and until I can “hear” their voice, the dialogue doesn’t flow.  I can block out a scene and get a general idea of where it’ll go, but it’s difficult to get any momentum until then.  I had a brainstorming session with a few people on Facebook and they helped me figure out the motivation for one of the characters.  That really helped me get a better grasp on him and  I spent the weekend writing.   I parked myself at my desk, logged out of Facebook, and put my headphones on.  Other than a cat kneading my leg with his pointy claws I managed to keep the distractions to a minimum.

On Saturday I wrote 9,528 words, on Sunday 6,087.  I finished the first draft tonight and it’s roughly 41,000 words.  That’s a little long for a novella, but it’s what the story required.  It’s off with one of the betas right now and I am sure I’ll have a lot of work for me once I get it back.  There are parts I’ll need to tweak, but it feels great to have that step done.

It doesn’t have a title yet, but the main characters are named Stephen and Russ.  Stephen is in his late 40’s, Russ is in his late 20’s, and their relationship is an interesting one for me to explore.  Their dynamic isn’t one I’ve explored before but I enjoyed pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

 

Russell                                          Stephen

Here’s a little excerpt for you:

They made idle chit-chat as they ate, ignoring the elephant in the room; their plans for the evening. There was something titillating about knowing sex would happen but having to wait. It put him on edge, teetering on a fine point of arousal and anticipation. As he stared across the desk at the man devouring his salad he wondered if a weekend in bed would be enough to assuage the hunger he was sure they both felt. Not the kind satisfied by a deli lunch, but something deeper, more primal. He stared at Russ’ forearms, exposed by his rolled up shirtsleeves, tan against the whiteness of the cloth, lightly covered in hair. His hands, with blunt, strong fingers, and branching veins. His eyes, more hazel than brown as they picked up the olive tones of his tie. His lips, full and shiny as his tongue swiped across them to catch a stray smear of dressing.

Russ leaned in. “You’re going to get us both fired if you keep looking at me that way.”

Stephen blinked and cleared his throat trying to think of a witty comeback. He had none. He took a sip of his water instead. “I’d apologize, but we both know I’d be lying.”

Russ laughed and tossed his leftovers in the trash. “Right now I’d be lying if I said I cared if we did.”