Book Title: Full Balance (The Peachtree Series, Book 3)
Author: Brigham Vaughn
Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press
Cover Artist: Brigham Vaughn
Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance
Trope/s: May/December, age gap, hurt comfort, workplace romance, found family,
Themes: Marriage equality, family acceptance/homophobia, exploring light kink,
friends and chosen family, emotional baggage, established couple, adoption.
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 108 000 words
Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited
Love doesn’t always look like you expect.
Russ Bishop and Stephen Parker have settled into wedded bliss.
They’ve moved into a spacious new condo, found professional success, and their connection in the bedroom is as sizzling as ever.
Neither of them ever expected to become parents but when their volunteer work at the Open Doors Shelter makes them realize how many LGBTQ youth are in desperate need of a home, they begin to reconsider.
After a snarky teenager named Austin comes into their lives, their future together will never be the same.
Russ let out a contented sigh.
“I swear it just gets better with time,” Stephen said.
Russ kissed him. “Me too. I had no idea married sex would be so good. If I did, I might have been more eager to get married when I was younger.”
“This is going to change, won’t it?”
Stephen slipped an arm around his waist, pulling him even closer as he studied his face. Russ’s expression was soft but there was a little edge of worry in his gaze.
“It will,” Stephen said, knowing he was talking about how becoming parents would change their sex life. He ran his thumb across Russ’s cheek. “We’ll have additional responsibilities and stressors. Much less privacy. But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’ll be tougher but that doesn’t mean we can’t find some benefits along the way.”
“Like what?” Russ gave him a curious, inquisitive look.
“Like … it may bring us even closer.” He took Russ’s hand and brought his palm to his lips. “It may deepen our relationship further.”
“I like that.” Russ pulled him closer.
“I think going into this with our eyes wide open is our best chance of success. We need our relationship to stay solid so we can give whoever we bring into our lives the best, most stable home we can. Which means working together to solve problems.”
“Agreed,” Russ said.
“No running away.”
Russ gave him a wry grin. “Got it.”
“Hey that’s not just a reminder for you,” Stephen said gently. “I’ve pushed you away at times too. And I think this will probably bring up a lot of baggage we both have about the ways we were raised.”
“True.” Russ’s expression turned serious.
“So we can’t let that overwhelm us. Or come between us.”
“Absolutely.” Russ hesitated. “Are you excited about this at all though?”
“About the idea of becoming parents? Yeah, I am,” Stephen said. “I remember how satisfying it was to see Evan grow into himself and he was an adult and only with us for a month and a half. The idea of being able to watch that growth over years in someone who needs it even more … well that’s a challenge I never expected to take on. But I am excited about it.”
“Me too.” Russ grinned. “I am really looking forward to calling my sister and telling her she’ll be Aunt Addie.”
Stephen chuckled. “I look forward to that as well. Jeremy is going to be shocked. That should be fun.”
“We have a lot to look forward to, don’t we?”
“We do.” Russ pulled him in for a kiss and Stephen went willingly. “Thank you for making this a very happy Valentine’s Day.”
“You know, if someone had asked me five years ago how I’d feel about making the person I’m married to a father, I would have kindly assured them they were very, very confused,” Stephen said drily.
Russ’s laugh was loud and genuine. “I would imagine.”
“And yet …” Stephen couldn’t quite finish the thought. His heart was too full.
Russ smiled as if he understood. So Stephen leaned in to kiss him again. They had the whole night ahead of them to celebrate this happiness. Why not take the time while they had it?
Their lives were about to change in a very big way.
Q & A With Brigham Vaughn
Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.
I am a full-time author of contemporary LGBTQ romance. I primarily write m/m, but I have a a few f/f and m/m/f books as well.
Ultimately, my goal is to be able to support myself, move to Ireland and live comfortably with enough money left for a little travel, and feel like I have the flexibility to push myself to release at a reasonable/sustainable pace.
Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it.
What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?
Thank you! I adore both Russ and Stephen (and Austin of course) but I have to admit, one of my very favorite characters in The Peachtree Series is a side character who we see a little of. Jeremy’s interactions with Austin were just so perfect. He’s sarcastic and blunt and he just cuts through all of the bullshit. And Austin really respects that. He’s been let down by so many people and I think he can see that Jeremy is straightforward and trustworthy.
Are you a planner or a pantser? How much do you know about your story before you start writing? How often does your plan change? Why does this work best for you?
I’m a hybrid of both. Flying by the seat of my pants has been stressful but plotting too intricately seems to cause more problems because the characters often go rogue.
Recently, I have been using software called Plottr to plan my books and I’ve found a sweet spot where I enter that rough outline into Plottr on scene cards and then build the story as I go. As ideas pop in my head, I’ll enter them/write them. At most, I usually plot a couple of chapters ahead but sometimes I’ll get an idea for a scene, write it, then add it to the software. But having it there in a concrete format helps me to keep track of plot threads and keep pacing tighter.
Do deadlines motivate you or block you? How do you deal with them?
For the most part, they motivate me.
I have a sticky note calendar to map out release dates and when I need to have the first draft written/back from betas/to edits/to proofreaders/etc. and that has really allowed me to release more rapidly with much less stress. I also have some fellow authors to sprint with really keeps me on track.
Do you schedule a certain amount of time for writing each day/week, or do you just work it in when you can? Would you like to change this, or does your current method work well for you?
I generally aim for about 3k/day, 6 days/week. I try to be up and at my desk by about 8:15 AM. On a great day, I can knock three thousand words out in a couple of hours. On a day where it’s more of a struggle, it might take all. Having that goal to hit really helps keep me on track. I use Pacemaker to keep on top of where I’m at.
Because I write full-time and don’t have kids/a spouse I can have a pretty set schedule for my writing. As I said earlier, I’m part of a sprint group with a handful of other writers and that helps a lot for motivation/sticking to a schedule. They help keep me accountable and vice versa.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book? Why?
Probably the research. Foster care is very complicated. And trying to find a balance between telling a realistic story and make it entertaining reading is a narrow line to walk. In reality, it probably wouldn’t go as easily as it did for Russ, Stephen, and Austin. I took some creative liberties. I do hope I did a good job portraying the general experience, however. I certainly tried.
What are your favorite genres when it comes to your own pleasure reading? Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?
Historical mysteries are something I really love. I usually read ebooks but I’ve been doing paperbacks or hardcovers from the library lately and that’s kind of a nice change of pace too.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It depends on the day. When it’s going well, it energizes me. When it’s not … well, that can be pretty exhausting.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
“Get your shit together.”
What is the best money you ever spent as an author?
Buying the Plottr software. It was very inexpensive, it’s a great way to organize my plot lines and character bios, plus research links, and they are constantly adding more features and are very responsive to suggestions for new features.
What is your favorite underappreciated novel?
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. By most author’s standards, it’s very well known. But of hers, it’s rarely mentioned (Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace, and Oryx and Crake are much more common) so I’m constantly shouting about how much I love it.
Her writing is gorgeous and there are three storylines woven together in a way that feels simple and natural but is VERY complex. I’m in awe of her talent and I wish more people had read it.
How do you select the names of your characters?
This kinda feels like cheating but I often use a random name generator website. You can pick male/female and how common or rare of a name you want and it’ll spit out a huge list of names. I usually skim through the list and wait to see what pops out at me/what feels right. It generates first and last names so I often go through it and pick and choose to create the “right” name. I usually know when it feels right.
What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
I am very rarely in my car anymore these days. *laughs* Because I’m a full-time author, I work from home. I don’t have kids either, so other than groceries/the gym/seeing friends, I don’t HAVE to drive that much. Because of the pandemic, that’s cut down even more. I don’t see friends a lot or go to the gym so I spend a whole lot less time driving.
When I do, I always listen to music so I am rarely thinking about anything beyond belting out a song.
What were you like in high school?
Kinda nerdy but with a great group of friends. I was involved in band, theater, French, etc. on top of honors/advanced placement classes so I was busy. English and other language classes were always my strong suit.
And I had some fabulous weird and wonderful friends (a couple of whom I am still very close to).
So in many respects, very little has changed. Lol.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
I’ve been told I have a bit of a resemblance to Gillian Anderson so maybe her? The age doesn’t line up at all, I’m in my late 30s while she’s over 50 now but maybe toward the end of her X-Files career? *laughs* She was born in Chicago and I’m from Michigan so I think she could nail the Midwest accent for sure!
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 to novels. They explore gay, bisexual, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.
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