New Release – Famiglia (Italian)

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For over a year now, I’ve been working with Quioxte Translation (formerly Francy et Alex Translations) and I can’t speak highly enough about them. They’ve been a joy to work with.

In spring of 2016, I released Compromessi, the Italian translation of “Equals”.  Last November I released the second book, Partners (apparently there’s not a direct translation for the title in Italian).

Because the third book is set around the holidays, we decided to wait until this December to publish the third book. It is now live!

After much internal struggle, I decided to release it on Kindle Unlimited. I’ve avoided doing that with any other books. I’ll be honest, I have a lot of concerns that long-term, KU devalues books and harms authors sales.

But sales are down all over and when the people at Quioxte Translations strongly suggested I enroll Famiglia in KU, I decided to take a gamble. They know far more about the Italian market than I do and I’m looking at it like an experiment. I’ll see how the book does and go from there.

So for the next three months, Famiglia will be exclusively available on Amazon. Click on the image below to grab your copy!

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Trust Release – Love is Not a Cure-All

Cover Final

I am so excited to share “Trust” with you. I adore Evan and Jeremy and telling their story was wonderfully challenging for me as a writer. “Connection” and “Trust” both required a lot of research to get the details right. In addition, taking two bruised and battered men and bringing them to a point where they were healed enough to have a realistic and healthy HEA was an interesting struggle.

Love is amazing. It’s one of the best things out there as far as I’m concerned. But it doesn’t conquer all. It doesn’t fix gaping wounds.  In some cases, it can bandage them enough to allow time and proper treatment to heal them. It can inspire a person to work harder, be better, fix their own problems. But on it’s own it is not enough.

You’ll probably never read a book of mine where love is the cure-all. The idea that humans must heal themselves is too deeply rooted in my beliefs. Sure, I’ll write characters who make decisions I’ll never make. I will write awful, abusive characters like Evan’s father Jimmie. I’ll write horrible, neglectful characters like Jeremy’s parents, Kevin and Barbara.

But I won’t write main characters whose lives are magically fixed by love. That’s too easy and too unrealistic; it’s not what romance is about to me. To, me the beauty of a story lies in the struggle. Characters learning and growing and changing is what fascinates me.

It took me nearly 145,000 words and the better part of a year (in the story) to get Evan and Jeremy to a point where their HEA felt believable to me. Evan seeing past Jeremy’s scars didn’t cure Jeremy’s discomfort with them. However, it allowed Jeremy to work with his therapist to come to terms with them. Would Jeremy have done it without Evan’s love? Probably not.

Would Evan have been strong enough to tell his mother how he deserved to be treated if not for Jeremy’s love? I doubt it. But Jeremy’s love didn’t cause that, it merely created a safe place for Evan to flourish and grow.

Looking further out, I could argue that Russ and Stephen’s love for Evan and Jeremy was equally crucial for their growth. Because romantic love is only a part of what these men were looking for. All four of them were searching for love and connection. For family and trust and equality. And, in the end, I think that’s what all human beings are searching for.

We want to surround ourselves with people who love and support us. Who create the kind of environment where we can become the best possible versions of ourselves. Who love us, but know that we are the ones who need to do the real work. Who give us that opportunity and are proud of us when we achieve it.

Who love us and let us grow.

Summary:

Evan Harris thinks his relationship with Jeremy Lewis is going well.  But when Jeremy bolts, Evan is left nursing a broken heart. Jeremy loves Evan, but his inability to trust holds him back from facing his past head on and building the future he desperately wants. Evan’s patience is at the breaking point, and he struggles to decide if Jeremy deserves another chance.

Evan Harris thinks his relationship with Jeremy Lewis is going well.  But when Jeremy bolts, Evan is left nursing a broken heart. Jeremy loves Evan, but his inability to trust holds him back from facing his past head on and building the future he desperately wants. Evan’s patience is at the breaking point, and he struggles to decide if Jeremy deserves another chance.

Scarred by his own parents’ treatment of him, Jeremy doesn’t trust Evan’s mother’s motives when she reappears in Evan’s life after his father lands in jail. The ensuing disagreement about his concerns puts further pressure on their developing relationship.

Unless Jeremy can learn to trust and Evan can let go of past hurts, they’ll miss out on the relationship they’ve both been searching for.

Excerpt:

Jeremy wrestled his shoe on and stood. He swayed on his feet for a second as his skin went chalky again. Evan reached for him, but Jeremy shook him off. His anger seemed to dissipate as his shoulders dropped and his voice softened slightly. “Look, it’s time you find out what the rest of the world is like. Go meet guys, go be young and stupid.” He ran his thumb across Evan’s cheek, his smile sad and wistful. “Just not too stupid.”

Evan stared at him. “And what will you being doing?”

Jeremy’s voice came out gruff. “Feeling lucky I was your first for a few things.”

“Don’t do this, Jeremy.” Evan hated the way he sounded, like he was pleading with him. He wanted to drop to his knees and beg Jeremy to stay, but he was afraid that would only make things work. That it would make Evan seem weak in Jeremy’s eyes. “Please.”

“I can’t be the guy you’re looking for,” Jeremy murmured. “You have no idea how much I wish I could, but it’s not possible.”

“Why?” He winced, hating the way his voice cracked. “I don’t understand.”

“I’m too … damaged and I have too much of my own shit to deal with. I can barely manage to give you a handjob much less anything else. I’m not able to be what you need. I’d be a shitty boyfriend.”

Evan straightened and brushed away the tears. “What if—if you didn’t have to commit to me and we … we slept together. It wouldn’t have to mean anything. Give me rules about where I can touch you. You can keep your pants on. I don’t care.” Right then, he wanted anything, whatever Jeremy would give him.

Anything but losing him.

“I’m in no shape for sex and you deserve a hell of lot more than a cripple for a lover.” Jeremy’s voice was surprisingly gentle. “And let’s be honest, it’s more than sex, isn’t it? You want the rest too. Wouldn’t it hurt you to wonder why you weren’t good enough for me to commit to?”

Evan flinched. “I wouldn’t,” he protested, but he knew he was lying.

“You would. And I know I’m hurting you now, but it’ll hurt a lot less than some half-assed non-relationship.” Jeremy brushed Evan’s hair off his forehead. “I care about you, Evan, way more than I should. What happened last night was a mistake and we can’t repeat it.”

“Wasn’t it good?”

“It was perfect.” Jeremy sighed, the corner of his mouth twisting up in a sad smile. “But that makes it worse, right? I can’t give you what you need and it’s going to end badly if we continue. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, Evan.”

“You already have,” Evan whispered.

“Oh, kid.” Jeremy wrapped his arms around Evan and he collapsed gratefully, his cheek against Jeremy’s shoulder. “I know. And I’m sorry.”

Buy Links:

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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

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.

New Release – “Family: A Holiday Novella”

 

 

 Summary:

After too many holidays alone, Russ Bishop and Stephen Parker decide to invite Russ’ family to spend Christmas with them. Russ wants to repair the fractured relationships with his father and sister, and Stephen wants to feel like he’s part of a family. But when Russ’ sister, Addie, brings an unexpected guest, it makes an already challenging situation more complicated. The Christmas Stephen gets may not be as perfect as the one he imagined but perhaps happiness can be found in the flaws.

Excerpt:

Peter clapped him on the back. “I’ve known you for a lot of years, Stephen. I saw you with Jeremy and after his accident. I saw you when you believed you’d never fall in love again. This relationship with Russ—it’s made you a new man. You may not see it, but it’s changed you.”

“I know it has,” Stephen acknowledged. Peter left, and Stephen sought Russ again. He was in line at the bar now, and he held up his empty glass, mouthing “be there in a moment”. Eager to go to him, Stephen set down his own empty glass on a deserted table as he crossed the distance between them. Russ, distracted by something the person in front of him said, didn’t notice Stephen’s approach.

Stephen leaned in, whispering in Russ’ ear as he rested his hands lightly on Russ’ hips. “Dance with me?”

Russ turned to look at him, surprised. “Are you sure?”

“Sure I want to put my arms around the man I love? Yes.” The earlier doubt he’d felt was gone. Peter had some valid points, and what Stephen wouldn’t give to feel Russ in his arms right now. Over the years, he’d conditioned himself to expect less than others, simply because he was gay. Straight couples didn’t think twice about dancing with each other during the holiday party. Why should he?

Stephen and Russ Final

 

I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating this story was to write. What should have been a relatively easy, fun holiday novella wound up becoming a writing challenge.  I struggled with this story from September to November, trying to get it right.  When I finally felt like I had it ready, I sent it to my betas.  The majority of them told me it  had potential but needed work.  I got nearly idential comments from several people telling me it didn’t flow well and felt repetitive.  Clearly I needed to re-work it.

So I tore it apart, completely decimating the timeline and re-working it. I cut a few scenes, tweaked the remaining ones, and by the time it was done it was much tighter.  I felt better about it and the feedback on it was good.  And I learned a lot from the experience.

I don’t think I’ve ever had such a stressful, rushed, and disorganized release though.  I was aiming to have this out by the first week in December but the extra time was needed and I’d rather put out a good story late than half-ass it and get it out on time.  If only it wasn’t so stressful.  I’m ready to pull the blankets over my head and sleep until the new year.

That being said, I really do love the story and am glad I was able to tell it.  Russ and Stephen are very dear to my heart and I had fun exploring what the holidays would be like for them.

I hope you enjoy the story.  And more than anything I hope you’re able to spend the holidays with the people you care about.  Because, like Stephen, I’ve learned that people you meet can often become as important–if not more–important than the family you were born into.

If there’s one thing I wish for this holiday season, it’s that everyone has at least one person in their life they can call family.  A person who feels like home.

 

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“Partners” Blog Tour – Rainbow Gold Reviews – Excerpt, Guest Post, Review, and Giveaway.

Today is the final day of the Partners blog tour.  Come check out Rainbow Gold Review for an exclusive excerpt ,  a guest post, a review of Partners, and a chance to enter the giveaway!

Partners (Equals, #2) - Brigham Vaughn

Blog Tour Stops:

9/19/2014 Prism Book Alliance  http://www.prismbookalliance.com

9/20/2014 GGR Review http://www.ggr-review.com/

9/21/2014 MM Good Book Reviews http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/

9/23/2014 Smoocher’s Voice http://www.smoochersvoice.com/

9/25/2014 Diverse Reader http://diversereader.blogspot.com/

9/27/2014 Love Bytes Reviews http://lovebytesreviews.com

9/28/2014 The Novel Approach http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/

9/30/2014 Padme’s Library http://padmeslibrary.blogspot.com/

10/1/2014 JP Barnaby http://www.jpbarnaby.com/

10/3/2014 Rainbow Gold Reviews http://rainbowgoldreviews.wordpress.com/

Giveaway:

At each stop, one commenter will win their choice of a backlist title from me (excluding the Dr. Feelgood anthology). In addition, one commenter on the entire tour will win a $10 Gift Card from Amazon. See the stops on the blog tour for more details.

“Partners” Blog Tour – JP Barnaby – Guest Post and Giveaway.

Join me on JP Barnaby’s Blog for a guest post about homelessness in LGBT youth and a chance to enter the giveaway!

Partners (Equals, #2) - Brigham Vaughn

Blog Tour Stops:

9/19/2014 Prism Book Alliance  http://www.prismbookalliance.com

9/20/2014 GGR Review http://www.ggr-review.com/

9/21/2014 MM Good Book Reviews http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/

9/23/2014 Smoocher’s Voice http://www.smoochersvoice.com/

9/25/2014 Diverse Reader http://diversereader.blogspot.com/

9/27/2014 Love Bytes Reviews http://lovebytesreviews.com

9/28/2014 The Novel Approach http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/

9/30/2014 Padme’s Library http://padmeslibrary.blogspot.com/

10/1/2014 JP Barnaby http://www.jpbarnaby.com/

10/3/2014 Rainbow Gold Reviews http://rainbowgoldreviews.wordpress.com/

Giveaway:

At each stop, one commenter will win their choice of a backlist title from me (excluding the Dr. Feelgood anthology). In addition, one commenter on the entire tour will win a $10 Gift Card from Amazon. See the stops on the blog tour for more details.

“Partners” Blog Tour – Padme’s Library – Excerpt, Review, and Giveaway

Come check out Padme’s Library for an exclusive excerpt,  a review of Partners, and a chance to enter the giveaway!

Partners (Equals, #2) - Brigham Vaughn

Blog Tour Stops:

9/19/2014 Prism Book Alliance  http://www.prismbookalliance.com

9/20/2014 GGR Review http://www.ggr-review.com/

9/21/2014 MM Good Book Reviews http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/

9/23/2014 Smoocher’s Voice http://www.smoochersvoice.com/

9/25/2014 Diverse Reader http://diversereader.blogspot.com/

9/27/2014 Love Bytes Reviews http://lovebytesreviews.com

9/28/2014 The Novel Approach http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/

9/30/2014 Padme’s Library http://padmeslibrary.blogspot.com/

10/1/2014 JP Barnaby http://www.jpbarnaby.com/

10/3/2014 Rainbow Gold Reviews http://rainbowgoldreviews.wordpress.com/

Giveaway:

At each stop, one commenter will win their choice of a backlist title from me (excluding the Dr. Feelgood anthology). In addition, one commenter on the entire tour will win a $10 Gift Card from Amazon. See the stops on the blog tour for more details.