Today I am so pleased to welcome Brigham Vaughn to Joyfully Jay. Brigham Vaughn has come to talk to us about her release, Cabin Fever. She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Writing Real Places
I was born in December in Michigan. I learned to ice skate and ski at a young age. And I run very warm all year round. So winter has always been one of my very favorite seasons.
Give me a big snowfall, a cozy fire, a mug of hot chocolate, and I’m happy. Add books, Christmas lights, and people I care about? *bliss*.
When it came time to do a snowy, winter-time story, I knew Michigan was the perfect setting for Kevin and Drew’s romance. I wanted there to be a cozy cabin and a lot of snow, so the northern part of lower Michigan was where part of the story needed to take place.
And I had just the cabin in mind.
My best friend’s family has a cottage on a lake up north that I have very fond memories of, so I knew it was the perfect starting point. One year in college over spring break, she and I decided to spend a long weekend relaxing there. Michigan State University schedules meant the break took place in March. Most of the students headed south for the week, desperate for warmer climates but we headed north. March in Michigan then meant there was almost guaranteed to be at least a foot of snow on the ground.
We spent the week reading and relaxing. I attempted to teach her how to cook. She was mostly bored with the whole labor-intensive process of making coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon (I was taking French at the time) but she did enjoy eating it. And we polished off a bottle of brandy while playing rummy and watching old sitcom returns. Despite the resulting hangovers and accidentally locking ourselves out of the cottage once, we had a fantastic time.
When it came time to create Drew’s family cabin, I pulled from my own memories. I’ve always found that incorporating touches of real life adds layers and depth to the story. And enhances the emotional connection for me as I write it.
A few things needed to change for the purposes of telling their story, of course, so the lake became a wetland. The deciduous trees became evergreens. But the wide stone fireplace, the lofted bedroom, and the massive windows overlooking big old trees all came from my memories. Falling in love with my best friend’s dad like Kevin does certainly didn’t happen in real life but I do love when I can tuck those real settings into my writing.
Though there are only a handful of people in the world who would recognize the setting, and even fewer of those who will read the book, it was a touch of cozy nostalgia that gave me all the warm-fuzzies when I wrote it.
So I hope as you read it it’ll give you that sense of coziness too. And that you’ll fall in love with Drew’s family cabin, and Kevin and Drew, every bit as much as I did.
Drew was taking his turn in the shower when Kevin walked out into the living room. He looked around the main floor, loving what he saw. There was one large open space, with a living area with a big stone fireplace and vaulted ceilings at one end and a simple kitchen plus a circular dining room table big enough to fit six people at the other. A short hallway opposite the front door lead to the two small guest rooms and the bathroom, with the upstairs area for Drew’s bedroom and bath above. Simple, cozy, rustic, and comfortable. There was a huge bookcase packed with books, and Kevin was looking forward to parking himself on one of the comfy-looking couches and reading. He wandered over to the large picture window. The view through it was almost as spectacular as the one upstairs, but in this case, it overlooked uninterrupted pine forests.
His breath fogged the window as he stared out, and he realized just how alone he and Drew really were here. There were no neighbors in sight, and the drive through the forest from the paved road had been long and winding.
“Hot cocoa sound good?” Drew asked and Kevin turned to look at him. He’d changed after his shower too, and he now wore a blue-and-white plaid flannel shirt over a white Henley. Kevin suppressed a sigh of appreciation. He looked so casual, rugged and manly, and the flannel looked like it would feel soft under Kevin’s palms. He shoved his hands in his own pockets rather than reach out like he wanted.
“Yeah, cocoa sounds great.”
Drew turned toward the kitchen. “You want a splash of something stronger in it?”
Kevin considered the idea. “Nah, I’m okay.” Probably best not to drink too much this week. He didn’t know what would happen between him and Drew, but whatever it was, he wanted to be sober for it.
“I’ll whip some up then,” Drew said. “Know how to lay a fire?”
“Of course I do!” Kevin protested.
Drew grinned at him. “I wasn’t sure if you Washington State boys would know what you were doing.”
“Oh, I’ll show you what I can do,” he countered, crossing his arms over his chest.
Drew looked him up and down and licked his lips. “Looking forward to it.”
It may be cold outside, but inside, the temperature is rising.
When grad student Kevin Taggert goes home with his best friend for Thanksgiving, the last thing he expects is to drool over the guy’s dad.
Forty-eight-year-old Drew Freeman would love a relationship, but he never expected to find it with his son’s best friend.
When a last-minute change of plans leaves Drew and Kevin alone in a cabin the week before Christmas, the heat between them is too much to deny.
Although they promise it’ll only last the week, every day that passes brings them closer together. When Christmas Day arrives—along with Drew’s son—can they salvage the relationship and the holiday?
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.