Exciting News

I have two bits of exciting news for you today.

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First, “Equals” will be translated into Italian! I was pleased and flattered when Francesca of Francy and Alex Translation contacted me about translating the first book in the series into Italian. They came highly recommended by authors who had worked with them previously and, so far, they have been wonderful to work with!

I am very excited that my books will be reaching a wider audience *waves at the Italian-speaking readers* and am looking forward to the experience.

The book will be released in the spring of 2016.

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My second announcement is that I started a Facebook group for fans of my writing!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/brighamsbooknerds/

My goal is to make it a fun place to receive updates, ask questions, post pictures, and most importantly, discuss books! I’ve already shared a teaser from my upcoming novel “Trust” and an exclusive preview of the cover.

Please join us! I look forward to seeing you there.

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

Etsy Shop – Two Peninsulas Press

I had a handful of people ask me about signed copies of the Equals Series paperbacks.  In order to save myself some headaches with keeping track of orders and figuring out shipping costs, I decided to set up an Etsy shop.

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A billion years ago (or maybe 10-12) I had an Etsy shop where I sold my photography. Etsy’s a whole lot bigger now, so it took me some time to get everything set up, but it’s up and running now.  I’ll be adding a few other items (bookmarks, magnets, etc.) in the near future, but the signed paperbacks are available NOW.  Be sure to include the name you’d like me to make the book out to in the “notes to seller” section.

The prices for the books are the same as they are on CreateSpace and Amazon and Etsy will calculate the shipping cost to get it from me to you.

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.”

Price Adjustment

Eight months into this self-publishing thing and I’m still figuring it out.  Each release teaches me a little more but in some ways I still feel like I’m floundering and unsure of what I should do.  

Pricing is one of those things.  Because Amazon is my biggest seller, I have to follow their guidelines.  In order to get the 70% royalty rate, I have to price stories between $2.99 and $9.99.  Just so you know, the author is only getting 35% royalty rates on those $0.99 and $1.99 books you buy.   

There are two schools of thought when it comes to pricing eBooks.  Well, probably more than just two, but there are two major ones.  This blog post does a pretty good job at going into an in depth discussion of it.  It’s one of many, many blog posts/articles/discussions I’ve taken into consideration.  One school of thought is that basically the book should be priced as low as possible to bring in the largest number of readers.  The idea is that the loss of money per sale will be made up by the increased volume of sales.  The other is that books should have value and you should price according to that.  Isn’t it worth spending money on something that will take you hours to read?  

I’ve seen the comparision to fancy-shmancy coffee drinks saying that since people are willing to pay $3-5 for a latte that they’ll drink in 15 minutes they should be willing to pay for a book will last them 6.5 hours.  Those numbers don’t really apply to me personally.  I bought a frozen latte with a raw sugar and extra shot of espresso in it for $4.87 this morning.  It’s been 45 minutes and I’m only halfway through with it and it’ll probably take me the full hour and a half to drink it.  An average novel takes me 2 hours to read.  I won’t pretend most people are either that slow at drinking coffee or that fast at reading, but it does point out the way people assign value.  Most days I try to bring coffee from home anyway (so I can save money to buy more books!) but I do enjoy the occasional latte from my local coffee place.  The baristas make killer lattes and are cute and sometimes flirty.  There are times that having someone remember my face and order and give me a big grin is worth $5, especially first thing on a Monday morning!

I thought the image above was interesting though. Time invested is something to consider.  My next release is Partners, the follow up to Equals, and will be roughly 41,000 words.  I’ve been working on it since July and it will release in September.  In order to create that book, there’s planning, research, writing, feedback, editing, blurb writing, cover image making, marketing, etc.  Yeah, I don’t even know how many hours go into a story like that.  And the novels I’m working on right now are nowhere near done and I’m at least a year in, so the two year mark for a novel isn’t so far out, especially for ones that require a lot of reasearch.

My short stories were priced at $2.99 for around 10,000-15,000 words and the Wine Tasting Series is a collection of three of them and comes in around 36,000 words.  If you buy all three individually, they cost $8.97 so pricing them at $5.99 seemed very reasonable.  When I released Equals, I priced it at $5.99 as well which seemed logical for a 48,000 word novella.  Equals did well.  Very well.  I sold nearly twice as many eBooks as I had in previous months, even taking into consideration that I didn’t release anything in June.  

But when I thought about what I should charge for the novels I will release eventually, I realized $7.99 did seem a little high for something that will probably be in the 80,000 word range.  If I scaled back and charged $6.99, $5.99 for a novella at half the length seemed a little bit high.  So I am giving it a try.  I dropped the prices of the Wine Tasting Series and Equals to $4.99 and will price Partners the same when it comes out.  

Hopefully the roughly $3.49 I get in royalties for each sale (instead of $4.19 I have been getting) will be made up for in increased sales volume.  I don’t really know.  It’s an experiment.  

The advantage of going through a publisher is that they take care of all of that.  They set the prices and save you the headache.  The beauty of self-publishing is that I can discover what works best.  I have the flexibility to explore my options when I want.  

My question to you is, what do you consider a reasonable price for a short story? For a novella? For a novel?

Final Stop on the “Equals” Blog Tour – Rainbow Gold Reviews – Audio Excerpt

Today is the final stop on the Equals blog tour.  Marc, from Rainbow Gold Reviews, talked me into doing an audio excerpt.  Mind you, I hate listening to my recorded voice, so this was way out of my comfort zone.  But since that’s pretty much what my whole writing career has been, I figured I should plunge ahead and give it a shot.

Equals Cover 1 Final

Please go check out the audio excerpt on the blog and let me know what you think.  I’d really love your feedback on this.  And don’t forget this is the final chance to be entered in the giveaway!

Giveaway:

At each stop, one commenter will win their choice of a backlist title from me. In addition, one commenter in all of the tour will win a $10 Gift Card from Amazon. See the stops on the blog tour for more details.

“Equals” Blog Tour – The Kimichan Experience Book Reviews Blog – 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Brigham Vaughn

Come check out The Kimichan Experience Book Reviews Blog for 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Brigham Vaughn and another chance to be entered in the giveaways!

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Blog Tour Stops:

7/11/2014Prism Book Alliance  http://www.prismbookalliance.com 

 7/12/2014Love Bytes Reviews http://lovebytesreviews.com

7/14/2014The Novel Approach http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/

7/16/2014GGR Review http://www.ggr-review.com/

7/19/2014The Blogger Girls http://thebloggergirls.com/

7/21/2014Kimi Chan Experience http://www.kimnsarah.co.uk/

7/23/2014The Hat Party http://raineotierney.blogspot.com/p/the-hat-party.html

7/25/2014Rainbow Gold Reviews http://rainbowgoldreviews.wordpress.com/

In addition, next Sunday, 7/20/20, join me on Facebook at 2:30pm EST for a half hour chat on the Rainbow Gold Reviews FB page to celebrate Pride!

Giveaway:

At each stop, one commenter will win their choice of a backlist title from me. In addition, one commenter in all of the tour will win a $10 Gift Card from Amazon. See the stops on the blog tour for more details.