First, please tell us a little bit about the Wine Tasting series.
The Wine Tasting Series begins with the first story, Spit or Swallow. Sean Powell is a wine distributor who butts heads with Lucas Spencer, the new sommelier at a restaurant called Bistro Argent. Their initial meeting is very rocky and the men are both irritated and attracted to each other.
In Aftertaste, Lucas grows worried that he could be risking his new job if he pursues a relationship with Sean. With an eleven-year age difference between the men and a bad previous relationship, Sean is afraid that he isn’t enough for the younger, gorgeous sommelier.
The third part of the story, Finish, takes them further into their relationship and explores the issues of trust and honesty that crop us as they take a trip to Traverse City to explore the wineries there.
I was quite impressed with how quickly I became invested in Lucas and Sean and with the immediate and intense chemistry they shared. What made you choose to tell Lucas and Sean’s story in series format rather than in a full-length novel?
To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t a conscious choice to write a series. *laughs* I initially planned to write it as a single, stand-alone short story, but when I wrote the first part, it didn’t quite feel like I’d told enough of their story. I realized the characters, particularly Sean, had a backstory that made their relationship more complicated and it was something worth exploring. When my readers told me they were dying to read more about Sean and Lucas, I knew I should expand it into a series and three short stories felt right. Altogether, it’s 34,000 words so roughly novella length.
Obviously, food and wine play a significant role in this series and in your other short story Love in the Produce Aisle. How do you think culinary elements help people forge relationships in real life?
Well, my husband and I are both foodies and very into wine. One of the first things we discovered when we began dating was how much we enjoyed cooking together. Even after ten years, we still cook dinner together most nights and I think it’s a great way to connect to another person. Cooking can actually be a rather intimate act, and a way to express love for another person. Eating can be a pleasurable, sensual experience and I think that sharing that with another person can help deepen the relationship.
Ok, I have to ask. What is your favorite meal and wine? Please feel free to share as many as you like!
Ooh, that’s a tough one. Our wedding dinner was a favorite. Our big splurge for the wedding was the caterer. We got married in the fall and wanted a seasonal menu. We served baked brie with pear, wild mushroom cheese puffs, wild field green salad with gorgonzola cheese, roasted walnuts, sliced apples and Dijon vinaigrette, fire roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, asparagus, grape tomatoes, portobella mushrooms, fennel and beets with chipotle vinaigrette, wild rice with almonds, roast pork loin with apple-cranberry chutney, maple mustard salmon, and vegetable strudel, along with carrot cake, chocolate raspberry torte, and pumpkin cheesecake. For the wine, we served chardonnay and pinot noir, along with mead brewed by a friend. Everyone raved about the food and it was a wonderful meal to share with friends and family.
We went to Paris on our honeymoon and of course had fantastic croissants, cappuccinos, and crepes. I still dream about the runny goat cheese we ate and one dinner in particular stands out. We stopped at a random restaurant one evening after sightseeing. It was this odd little hole-in-the-wall place. It featured food from the southwest region of France and we had this amazing sampler of duck dishes and a phenomenal Beaujolais wine. I want to go back and eat there again but I don’t remember the name of the restaurant. Hopefully it’s still there when we go back someday, I think I could find it again if I took the time to wander the streets near the apartment we stayed in.
Then there are simpler meals we make ourselves like a big pot of chicken soup from scratch. My husband makes incredible pulled pork in a smoker and every year for his birthday I make him a batch of dark chocolate mocha cupcakes. Family recipes we cook bring back wonderful memories, and I think it’s those memories as much as the actual food that make them favorites. At the moment, my favorite wine is semi-dry riesling. All of the arguments Lucas made about what a versatile wine riesling is were how I feel about it. I think it pairs beautifully with a variety of foods and is very enjoyable to drink without a meal.
What current m/m authors bring out the fangirl in you?
Oh man, there are so many! Abigail Roux is one of course; I adore the Cut & Run series. L.A. Witt, Aleksandr Voinov, Mary Calmes, Heidi Cullinan, Rhys Ford, Posy Roberts … I could probably go on forever. *laughs* Oh, I absolutely can’t forget Josephine Myles. Love her stories.
Who have been your literary influences throughout your life?
My favorite stories as a child were the Nancy Drew Mysteries, Madeline L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time series, and Little Women. Oh, and Edgar Allen Poe. I scared the pants off myself reading The Pit and the Pendulum under the covers by flashlight.
Later, Alice Hoffman, Laurie R. King, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. Margaret Atwood will always be my biggest influence, reading The Blind Assassin changed the way I viewed writing. I cried when I realized my writing would never sound like hers; it has such a beautiful, lyrical quality. My favorite quote of hers is “Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.” It’s something I’m actually considering getting as a tattoo at some point.
What would you like to tell our readers about the other works you have published?
I have six short stories that I’ve published independently and one available in the Doctor Feelgood Anthology that Dreamspinner Press put out in February.
I am working on two full-length novels right now, one of which is a collaboration. Writing short stories keeps my creativity flowing and I always have plot ideas simmering in my head.
When people fall in love they become vulnerable and that fear of vulnerability is something I like exploring in my stories. It’s one of the main themes of my most recent story, Geeks, Nerds, and Cuddles. I’ve tried to vary the stories, both the personalities of the characters and the point in the relationship in which the story takes place. Love in the Produce Aisle begins when the main characters, Michael and Tyler first meet, where Not So Suddenly is about two close friends, Austin and Spencer, and what happens when Spencer realizes he’s fallen for Austin. Baby, It’s Cold Inside explores what happens when an established couple like Emerson and Nate have the always-intimidating meet the parents experience.
Also, I try to balance humor with conflict in my stories and I always appreciate when I get feedback that I’ve managed to do that well. It’s especially important in short stories I think, when the reader has such limited time with the characters. Humor can help the reader relate to and connect with the characters quickly.
What do you find the most rewarding aspect of writing in the m/m romance genre?
I am still fairly new to it, but I think the support of the community is one of the most rewarding things. Making the decision to publish my writing was an enormously intimidating experience for me. Without the support of this community, I never would have been brave enough to make that leap. There are so many incredible people supporting and promoting authors and it’s wonderful to be a part of.
Congratulations on the recent publication of Finish. Can you give us a tidbit about what is in store for Sean and Lucas in this next chapter of their relationship?
The third installment is available now. In Finish, Lucas and Sean drive from Chicago to Traverse City to do several wine tasting tours. I’ve been on two tours there myself and the moment I decided Lucas and Sean should take a wine-related trip I knew Traverse City was the perfect place for them. The trip is a turning point for their relationship.
Here’s a snippet from the story:
Lucas didn’t wake until they were well into Michigan. He stirred with a quiet sigh and shifted, his knee nudging Sean’s hand where it rested on the gearshift. “Sorry,” he muttered, his voice a low, sleepy rumble. “Didn’t mean to fall asleep on you.”
“It’s fine, I like driving.”
“I was like this as a kid; get me in a car with a little bit of sunshine, and I’m out.” He stretched for a moment, then his hand came to rest on Sean’s thigh. Through the denim, it was scorching hot and the heat seemed to travel everywhere before settling in Sean’s groin. That was the way it always was with Lucas though. No matter how many times the man fucked him, he could never get enough. They’d switched it up a little, once Sean felt comfortable with the idea. That had been enjoyable too, but when it came right down to it, Lucas topping was what they both preferred.
“Where are we?” Lucas asked, his hand leaving Sean’s thigh as he reached for a water bottle.
“North of South Haven. We have a little less than three hours to go.”
“It’s gorgeous,” Lucas murmured, cracking the bottle open and taking a long drink. Blue Star Highway ran along Lake Michigan’s coast, and although it was impossible to see the lake at the moment, the green, leafy trees and occasional rolling fields were picturesque. “I’m glad we did this” —he squeezed Sean’s knee— “work has been so busy, and I’ve been looking forward to spending some time alone with my handsome boyfriend.”
A thrill still ran through Sean every time he was referred to as Lucas’ boyfriend, but he couldn’t resist teasing him. “Too bad you brought me instead.”
Sean didn’t have to turn his head to know Lucas was scowling. “Sean,” Lucas said, the note of warning clear in his voice.
Chuckling, Sean reached over and grabbed Lucas’ hand, threading their fingers together. “I’m kidding; you know that.”
“You better be,” Lucas grumbled. Hands down, Lucas was Sean’s biggest champion. For every moment of doubt he had, Lucas was there to gently coax him out of it.
Thank you for being with us today! How can our readers find out more about you and your work?
I am available on Facebook and Goodreads as Brigham Vaughn, Twitter as @AuthorBVaughn, and my blog is brighamvaugh.wordpress.com. My books are available on All Romance, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, and Smashwords.
From the Publisher:
After four months together, Sean and Lucas have never been happier, but a wine tasting trip to Traverse City, Michigan threatens that stability. Sean’s insecurities rise to the surface as Lucas’ fears of losing Sean lead to jealousy. Can they repair their relationship before it turns sour?
About the Author
Brigham Vaughn has always been a voracious reader with her own stories to tell. After many years of abandoned plots, something finally clicked. Now she’s eating, sleeping, and breathing writing and is excited to have finally figured out what she wants to be when she grows up. In the little time that isn’t spent writing or reading, she loves cooking, yoga, photography, and remodeling her ninety-year-old home. Brigham lives in Michigan with her four cats and an amazing husband who has always been her biggest champion.
Brigham Vaughn has kindly offered her Wine Tasting series to one lucky commenter.
Contest ends March 28, 2014 @ 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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