Defining Your Happily Ever After ~ Brigham Vaughn: Outside the Margins

Join us as Brigham Vaughn goes Outside the Margins.


Defining Your Happily Ever After


Russ and Stephen’s story was supposed to be a short little novella exploring the complexity of a relationship between men with a nineteen year age gap.  Nearly a year, four novellas, a spin-off novel, and a grand total of 220,000 words later, it’s finally wrapped up.

I am still somewhat puzzled as to how I got here.  Personally, I blame Russ and Stephen.  And my betas.  I can’t decide who to blame/thank more.  It has been an unexpected, joyous journey from first meeting to their HEA.

Although I love all my characters, Russ and Stephen have a special place in my heart.  In the past year I’ve gotten to know them so well that I feel like any question you ask me about them, I have the answer to.  I know them, inside and out.  I know their quirks, their reactions, their fears and needs.

When I sat down to write the final piece of their story, I knew marriage was a large part of it.  Logically, the assumption would be that Stephen would ask Russ to marry him, right?  After all, Russ is wary of commitment at first and Stephen is the one who’s been waiting for a partner to spend his life with.  And yet, I knew that wasn’t right for them.

Russ is younger and same sex marriage has been legal in certain states since he was fourteen.  For him, marriage is the ultimate expression of their commitment to each other.  He’s also more impulsive, the one who’d decide he was ready for marriage and propose without talking about it with Stephen first.

Stephen is more cautious, more hesitant.  His feelings about marriage are complicated, both because it wasn’t legal until he was already in his thirties and because of his past experiences.  He needs time to think it over, to explore the difference between signing power of attorney paperwork and making a public declaration.

With the fate of marriage equality in the hands of the Supreme Court right now, it seemed like an interesting topic to explore.  What does commitment mean? Is marriage the only commitment a couple can make? What past experiences influence what those things mean to each of the characters? To us as readers?

When I married my husband, we’d been together for years, lived together already, and didn’t want kids.  Except for the tax benefits, was marriage really that important?  I spent a long time thinking about it and ultimately decided that I could see both sides of the issue. It was serious, permanent, and one of the biggest decisions I’d ever make in my life.  But by the time we  moved in together, we’d already made those choices, already committed to each other.

So in some ways, a wedding ceremony was tying up the loose ends and throwing a great big party to celebrate what we’d decided years before: we loved each other and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together

A relationship, and what it stands for, has a different meaning for everyone, sometimes even for the two people (or more, I’m not about to limit things) involved in it.  While same sex marriage is being debated and judged on a legal, nationwide level, the one thing that sticks out to me is that the journey to get to whatever destination you choose is what really matters.  Learning about yourself and the person (or people) you love is the whole point of it.

However you define commitment and love, whatever private or public declarations you make about it, loving someone and building a life together is what matters.  And everyone should have the opportunity to make those choices for themselves.

If you’d like to read the final piece of Russ and Stephen’s story, Husbands is available for pre-order on Amazon, and will go live on April 24th!


Title: Husbands
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, M/M Romance

Russ is ready to make a lifelong commitment to his partner. That means marriage to him, but Stephen grew up believing that was out of the question. With marriage equality still not recognized in Georgia, Stephen is only concerned about the legal protection available to them.

Someone from Stephen’s past reappears and drives a wedge between them as Russ and Stephen struggle to agree on their future. Russ tries to understand Stephen’s complex feelings about marriage, but the differences in their background stresses the relationship further. Can the relationship they’ve built overcome the issues they face?


Russ had been fourteen when Vermont became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. State after state joined the ranks, and in the last few years it seemed to be gaining momentum. It was only a matter of time before marriage equality swept the nation. He’d grown up with the idea that someday he’d have the right to marry the man he loved. If he wanted it—and right now, he wanted it more than anything else in the world—there would be nothing to stop him.

Except, his partner—the one he’d been so sure wanted the same thing—apparently didn’t.

“How’d you know I was up here?” he asked hoarsely.

Stephen’s gaze lifted, his smile sad. “Because I know you.”

Russ’ tongue felt thick all of a sudden, unwieldy in his mouth. “I thought I knew you.”

The look of hurt in Stephen’s gaze was shattering, but no more so than the earlier rejection. “Can we talk?”

“I’m not sure what there is to say.” Russ walked out of the pool, limbs heavy after the grueling swim and time spent floating in the water. It was almost like the feeling of being back on land after spending a day on a boat. Except that made him think of sailing with Stephen, which was too painful to consider right now. “I asked you to marry me, and it’s not something you want. There really isn’t a compromise.”

Self Published
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

~ Brigham Vaughn

About Brigham Vaughn

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 three cats and an amazing husband who has always been her biggest champion.

Contact Brigham:
Twitter: @AuthorBVaughn

Farewell Giveaway
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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5 thoughts on “Defining Your Happily Ever After ~ Brigham Vaughn: Outside the Margins

  1. Great post, but then you already knew I felt that way. I can’t wait to read the final installment in Russ and Stephen’s story. These men have captured a special corner of my heart.

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