Join Prism Book Alliance® as Brigham Vaughn goes Outside the Margins today.
I’ve been struggling to get into a good rhythm with my new book. It’s the second book in “The Midwest Series” and follows “Bully & Exit”. “Bully & Exit takes place just before college graduation as Nathan tries to apologize and earn Caleb’s forgiveness for the way their relationship ended in high school.
The second book had been tentatively titled “Road Trip” for lack of a better idea. A few days ago, it got the official title of “Push & Pull”.
“Push & Pull” is about Brent and Lowell. They were Nathan and Caleb’s respective roommates/closest friends in “Bully & Exit”. At the end of that book, Brent and Nathan were planning to take a summer road trip after graduation. “Push & Pull” begins with Lowell inserting himself into the trip in Nathan’s place. Brent is pissed (and annoyed that he’s attracted to Lowell) so it sets them up for a trip filled with sexual tension and, eventually, romance.
Fun, right? I have been looking forward to telling their story for a while. I loved writing Lowell’s character in “Bully & Exit” so I thought I’d be able to dive into “Push & Pull” with no problem.
At first, I thought maybe I was just struggling because the story requires a fair amount of research. Yes, I live in the Midwest, but there’s still a lot involved in a story where the characters are traveling across the country! I want it set in the real world, in real places, so I need to research and get a feel for the locations they’ll be traveling to. I broke it down by chapter and tried to research and then write each scene.
Writing was still like pulling teeth.
My next thought was that maybe the characters weren’t fresh in my mind. I had written a few thousand words of “Push & Pull” by the time “Bully & Exit” ended, but that was last summer. The book was released in July of 2015 so it had been almost eight months since I’d tackled anything in “The Midwest Series” universe. Since it had been so long, I thought I’d re-read it to refresh my mind with the characters and their world.
Unfortunately, even after that the words still weren’t flowing. About five or six thousand words into the story I finally realized what the difference was between this story and the previous ones.
For the better part of two years, I’d been immersed in the world of the “Equals Series”. It included four novellas and two novels and I knew the four major characters in it like the back of my hand. I was in their heads. If you had asked me to answer any question about their backstories or how they would react to something, I could recite it automatically with very little thought.
Brent and Lowell are still new to me. I am going to need more time to get to know them. Though not quite strangers, they’re still acquaintances. All four men from “Equals Series” were like friends.
Coming to this realization took away a little of the pressure. Yes, I want to make progress on this book. I want to delve into Brent and Lowell’s story and have the words flow. But realizing that I need to take a little more time to explore who they are puts me on the right track to make that happen.
The other day as I was writing, I had a faint flash of a scene that will take place at the end of the book. I had a vague idea of what would take place in that pivotal scene and it didn’t require much research, so I jumped in and wrote it. It helped. Seeing the guys in such an important scene allowed me to understand their motivations better and the words began to flow.
Now that I realize what the problem was and how to fix it, I’m confident I’ll be able to tell their story which is a huge relief.
I hope readers are looking forward to this book as much as I am because I think it’s going to be a fun one!
Title: Bully & Exit
Author: Brigham Vaughn
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 07/09/2015
Cover Artist: Brigham Vaughn
Genre: Bisexual, Contemporary, Drama, Erotica, Gay, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance
“What happens when the past won’t let you go?”
Theater student Caleb Stockwell is ready to leave college behind. Too bad his past isn’t ready to let him go.
With less than a month to go until graduation, Caleb runs into Nathan Rhodes at a house party. Nathan is a star hockey player for Western Michigan University and finally ready to step out of the closet. He’s also the guy who broke Caleb’s heart in high school.
Nathan’s determined to make amends for what he did four years ago, but Caleb isn’t willing to risk getting his heart stomped on again. With only a few weeks left before they go their separate ways, it’ll take all of Nathan’s creativity and help from some interfering friends to convince Caleb to give him a second chance.
Nathan’s voice was soft when he spoke, gentle as it’d always been. “Caleb Stockwell. I’ve been looking for you.”
Caleb cleared his throat and ignored him, tipping the bottle up for another long drink. He licked the spiciness from his lips as he debated making another run for it. There was a shrub blocking his way in one direction and a hockey player in the other. Even if he hadn’t been drinking, the odds weren’t in his favor. “Nathan Rhodes,” he managed.
“Damn, I can’t believe it’s you!” Nathan leaned in, and Caleb pulled back, uncomfortable with him being so close.
Caleb laughed bitterly. “It’s me. Now that you’ve satisfied your curiosity, you can run along.” He motioned with his hand, encouraging Nathan to leave.
“It’s really good to see you,” Nathan said, ignoring him. He took a seat on the pile of discarded construction materials, his knees brushing Caleb’s as he lowered himself down. Caleb pulled away as if scorched.
“Yeah? Too bad I can’t say the same,” he muttered, his head swimming as the alcohol began to hit him. He eyed Nathan’s long, long legs and the way he was pinned in by them, remembering the way they’d felt tangled with his as they came, panting shallowly against each other’s skin. It brought it all back: the scent of Nathan’s cologne, the taste of his skin, the way Caleb’s heart raced in his chest when Nathan held him close. It brought back the memories, the ones he’d worked so hard to run from. The good and the bad. The sharp, intense happiness of falling for Nathan. The aching, crushing hurt that paralyzed Caleb for months after Nathan was no longer in his life. Everything he’d buried four years ago and vowed never to touch again.
He caught the first glimpse of doubt on Nathan’s face. “Are you okay, Caleb?”
“Oh, I’m motherfucking peachy,” he snarked and took another long drink. “I’ve made it through four fucking years trying to ignore the fact we’re on the same campus, and with barely a month left in my senior year, I thought maybe I’d managed to pull it off. But, no, Lowell had to drag me to this goddamn party, and, of course, you showed up too. Just my luck.”
He raised the bottle again, but Nathan wrapped a hand around the neck and tugged. He was stronger than Caleb, so Caleb let go, afraid he’d end up getting pulled onto Nathan’s lap if he didn’t. Nathan took a drink and passed the bottle back, licking the taste of rum off his lips before he spoke. “You’re so angry at me.”
“Ya think?” Caleb snarled. “Didn’t it ever occur to you I would be? What the hell makes you think you can waltz in here and pretend like all the shit that went down between us didn’t happen?” He tried to stand, but Nathan’s dark denim-clad knees were on either side of his, pinning him in place. The bottle was pried from his suddenly limp fingers and set aside.
“I don’t think that,” Nathan protested. “I was just glad to see you, and I… I wanted a chance to apologize. I didn’t … I wanted …”
Caleb’s lips parted in surprise as cool fingers framed his face, and for the first time in four long years, Nathan’s lips were pressed to his again. Involuntarily, Caleb’s eyes closed, feeling a rush of heat wash over him, taking him right back to the first time. Before Nathan broke his heart.
About Brigham VaughnBrigham 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.
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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