Please welcome Brigham Vaughn with
Trust The Connection
After a lifetime of being told he’s worthless, Evan Harris is forced out of the closet and the only home he’s ever known. Jobless and homeless, he makes a desperate call to a couple he barely knows. They give him a place to stay at their place in Atlanta while he gets back on his feet. But he’s too shy to explore the big city and go after what he wants: a relationship.
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. He’s resigned himself to being alone, but an encounter with an ex-boyfriend shakes up his dull existence and brings Evan into his life. Loneliness draws Evan and Jeremy to each other, but a strong mutual attraction isn’t enough. At thirty-six, Jeremy is convinced a relationship would be holding twenty-one-year-old Evan back.
Evan must be strong enough to fight for what he wants and Jeremy must let someone close enough to see his scars. Otherwise, they’ll miss out on the love of a lifetime.
NOTE: This story was previously published as a two-volume serial under the titles of “Connection” and “Trust”. Minor updates have been made but the story is essentially unchanged.
This is a re-release.
Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press (Indie/Self-Published)
Publication Date: November 20, 2018
Word Count /or Page Number: 145,480 words/425 pages
Formats/Price: eBook - $5.99 (Available on KU)
“And how is your social life?”
“Yes, this again,” she said, leaning against the counter a few feet away. “Having a strong social network is paramount to recovery, Jeremy. You’ve done a remarkable job managing this alone, but you are suffering from mild depression, which concerns me. Have you been dating?”
He scoffed. “No.”
“Well, you should be. You’re a handsome young man in the prime of his life. Safe sexual exploration—particularly with a committed partner—is always encouraged. Sex has many mental and physical benefits, you know. It improves the immune system, lowers blood pressure, improves sleep, and lowers stress. Best of all, it lessens pain. Orgasms release a hormone that raises your pain threshold.”
“You offering to help, doc?” he joked.
She shook her head at him with a fond, half-smile. She was used to the shit he gave her at his twice-yearly appointments. “I thought we established long ago that we’re not each other’s type.”
“Well, there is that,” he agreed.
He’d been upfront about his sexuality from the get-go, and she had a photo of her female partner and their family in the office. It was one of the things he’d liked about her, and one of the reasons he’d opened up to her in the first place. Although, her insistence that he needed a sex life was irritating him at the moment.
“Look, sex is great, I’m not going to deny it,” he said. “But finding a guy who isn’t disgusted by my scars is difficult enough, then having to work to find a position that doesn’t cause me pain makes it not worth my time.” He’d found that out the hard way once he was back on his feet. He’d worked up the courage to go to a bar and pick a guy up, but once they were in the trick’s bed, it had quickly gone to hell. He hadn’t done a good job hiding his revulsion, and Jeremy’s erection wilted quickly. Coupled with Jeremy’s inability to put weight on his left knee for any extended period of time, it had pretty much killed any hopes he’d had of a normal sex life. He’d stuck to club bathrooms where he could keep his pants on during a blowjob. Once or twice he’d found a guy on Grindr to hook up with, but fucking a guy bent over a chair or couch was the best he could manage and was so taxing it wasn’t worth it. “I jerk off, so it’s not like I’m not getting some of the benefits, but sex with a partner’s not worth it any more,” he added. He was only lying a little bit. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d jerked off, or even felt the urge to.
Her voice turned gentle. “You’re overlooking the emotional benefits and satisfaction of sharing the experience with someone you care about. Jeremy, I can’t force you to date if you don’t want to. But as your doctor, I strongly recommend you get out more socially. Isolation is contributing to your depression, which is having a negative impact on your pain management. At the very least, go meet some new people. Make friends.”
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What’s the thing you find most challenging about being a writer?
For a long time I really struggled with how to keep track of the multiple projects I have going on at any given time. Digital calendars just don’t work for me. They’re too easy for me to ignore.
I had a huge breakthrough with that this summer. I put together a large paper calendar with all of my books and what stage of work each book is in (writing, editing, proof-reading, formatting for print, etc.). It’s very adaptable and it’s made a huge difference in feeling in control of my work and always being able to see at a glance what’s coming up next. I have released dates currently planned through May of 2019.
I think I may tweak that calendar a little bit to include my promotion, because that’s something I never feel as organized about as I should.
There will always be new challenges but I feel like I am making great progress with it and I think the more organized I can be the more successful I’ll be.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve been published for almost 5 years. In that time, I’ve written 8 short stories, 9 novellas, and 6 novels that have been released. By March, I should have two additional short stories and two novels available.
Picking favorites is so hard! But “Trust the Connection” is actually at the top. I loved Evan and Jeremy from the moment they appeared in the “Equals” series and I realized they were perfect for each other. Getting them to their happily ever after was such a challenge but it was really rewarding to write and see the characters grow. They are both so broken when the novel starts and it’s wonderful to see them flourish. I felt like I’d actually helped two people grow as human beings.
I really love my co-written “Tidal” series with K. Evan Coles. It took us years to finish the two books and the main characters, Riley Porter-Wright and Carter Hamilton, were a joy to write. It also spawned a four book series called “The Speakeasy” which is so much fun.
Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
I don’t really have a word count per day. I do, however, find that a word count per week is very useful for me. I’ve been aiming for about 10,000 words/week and found it very manageable. It’s enough that I am making good steady progress. If I push myself too much past that, my brain beings to feel like it’s going to leak out my ears. For November, I’m attempting NaNoWriMo for the first time. Which pushes it up to 12,500 words/week.
I have to admit, it’s been a struggle. I am having a hard time hitting that goal but I am going to keep trying. I think part of it is that I’m working on a story that is already mostly written. The timeline is a mess and I’m having to pick through and re-arrange sections and fill in the blanks. I’m on the right track but it’s much slower going than it would be otherwise.
What do you hope people take from your writing?
That my characters are complex, flawed people. They are works in progress. And so am I as a writer. The characters ending up together isn’t the interesting part. It’s how they get there.
And that love is always worth the journey, no matter how difficult it is to get there.
What do you wish you’d known before you started writing?
I wish I’d taken more time to research and plan ahead. The first story I published was a short story in an anthology with Dreamspinner Press five years ago. I submitted it, not expecting it to be accepted and was totally shocked when it was. A month or so after, I was talking to a friend who had self-published some stories and he suggested I try that as well.
I’m not sorry I went that route, but it felt like once I did, my career quickly snowballed and there was no way to put the brakes on and pause. I think it would have helped if I could have done a little more research first. Learned more about marketing and self-publishing. I think if I had been able to do that, I would have felt less like I was flying by the seat of my pants.
Five years later, I finally feel like I have a better idea of what I’m doing. But there’s been a lot of floundering and missteps and I think it would have been less stressful to get to this point if I’d done more research. Right now, I feel like all of that floundering has finally gotten me to a place where I’m confident and ready to tackle this career head-on, but it would have been nice if it had been a little smoother journey.
But who knows? Maybe if I’d done all that research I would have talked myself out to publishing altogether. And that would be sad because I truly love what I do.
Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?
It certainly seems like it for me sometimes. I don’t know that I can describe exactly what it’s like, but it can sometimes feel like I’m channeling my words from an outside source. That Muse is more like a conduit that helps me connect to my characters
At first, I’ll get a quick glimpse of a scene. It’s pretty clear, but very limited to that one specific scene. It’s often the pivotal point in the book, whatever the main conflict in the story is. I’ll “see” that in my head and write it down. And then I sit down and figure out what I know about the characters from that. As I explore that and decide where the story starts and ends and roughly how I’ll get there, the Muse begins to reveal the characters voices to me more and more. They get clearer and clearer as I go. And by the end, it’s like a stage play in my head.
The best way to describe it would be that my Muse somehow opens a window into another world. These characters feel so real to me that it seems like they must exist in some other dimension. My Muse is what allows me to find them and see them clearly.
What’s up next for you?
I may have a little Christmas story in the works. It’s still up in the air, but it was originally a very short (2k word) story I published on my blog. I had expanded it at one point and then abandoned it in my plot bunny folder so I’m currently dusting it off and getting it ready for release. In the end, it will probably end up being about 15-20k words.
In January, I’ll be releasing “The Ghosts Between Us”, a story I have been working on for a very long time. Here is the blurb:
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 thought 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.
I will also be releasing “Extra Dirty” the second book in “The Speakeasy” series. It was written in collaboration with K. Evan Coles. We’re both incredibly excited about it because one of the main character is Jesse Murtagh. He appeared in our “Tidal” series and grabbed our attention. He’s pansexual and has never been interested in settling down so it was fun to explore what it would be like for him to meet someone he did want a future with.
About the author:
Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time author. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga. She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.
Her books range from short stories to novellas. They explore gay, bisexual, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.
To stay up to date on her latest releases, sign up for the Coles and Vaughn Newsletter.
Find out more on her Facebook page, in her Facebook group, or on Twitter.
Promotional post. Materials provided by the author.