Writing & Book Update

If you caught my last update, you saw that PERMANENT INK and OFF THE ICE had been temporarily removed from sale while the rights reverted back to me and Avon Gale. Good news: they’re now available to purchase again! I’ll post the buy links below, but just FYI, if you bought either of these titles last year, we haven’t made any editorial changes to either story, so there’s no need to re-purchase.

PERMANENT INK (Art & Soul #1)

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iTunes

OFF THE ICE (Hat Trick #1)

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iTunes

As for the rest of both series, Avon and I will be self-publishing the subsequent titles. GOALIE INTERFERENCE (Hat Trick #2) is tentatively slated for a mid-summer release. NECESSARY ART (Art & Soul #2) will likely be released in late 2018/early 2019. As soon as we have more specific dates in mind, I’ll post another update.

 

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Update: Riptide Publishing Titles

Avon Gale and I have requested and received the reversion of rights for both our Hat Trick and Art & Soul series from Riptide Publishing.

We’ll be rereleasing OFF THE ICE and PERMANENT INK as soon as feasibly possible and intend to self-publish the remaining books in both series. We’re currently unsure what will happen with regards to the PERMANENT INK audiobook, but there’ll be more info to come as and when we have it available.

Asking to dissolve our contracts wasn’t a decision we made lightly, but as a Latinx person who writes characters of color, Riptide no longer feels like the right publishing fit for me or my work. We hope that in the future, Riptide will become the inclusive publisher they intended to be from the beginning. We also hope that readers will please consider continuing to support Riptide authors. I fully understand the current situation is complicated and emotionally charged, but it truly hurts my heart to think these authors who worked so hard might suffer through no fault of their own.

Thank you.

 

Follow-up Statement Regarding Santino Hassell & Apology

A few days ago I posted a preliminary statement regarding Santino Hassell. At the time, given what I was still learning about the sheer extent of the accounts and accusations being made against him, I kept my statement fairly straightforward while I examined the information more thoroughly.

First, I’m deeply sorry so many people were hurt through the actions of Santino Hassell. I’m even more sorry for the people I hurt by publicly vouching for him and by making his accusers less credible. I recognize my platform and position as an author gave me the power to influence and/or harm people, and I’m sincerely sorry for the damage I caused.

Now that I’ve read accounts and had numerous conversations, I’m completely dismayed by what I’ve learned and the gaslighting and manipulation I’ve seen described. It’s led me to reexamine every conversation or interaction SH and I ever had, and while doing so, I recognized a disturbing pattern of behavior, of lying and pitting friends against each other, that’s made me realize I never truly knew the person behind the name.

As I said before, I do not condone or excuse gaslighting, coercion, manipulation, or harassment. I’m horrified by the idea that someone I trusted and considered a friend could behave in such a manner—and that I could have been ignorant for so long.

I believe the people who’ve come forward, and I’m sorry it took me so long to say so, and that my support of SH helped to harm them.

I took Santino Hassell at face value. Like many people, I believed what he told me. When he claimed people were trying to harm him and his family, I blocked accounts without engaging or looking into them too deeply out of respect for his privacy. A couple of months back, when he posted pictures of his face, I spoke up on behalf of the person I thought I knew—because at the time, I believed him. I sincerely regret that my support of him caused people to cast their own doubts aside and made others more vulnerable to his manipulations.

When SH mailed me a paperback a year or two ago containing an invoice that listed a male name, I kept that name private, as I would’ve done for any other person, because I’d never give out anyone’s legal name under any circumstances without their express permission. The name didn’t raise any red flags or hold any particular significance to me, beyond the fact that I assumed it was his because it was tucked into the book. Earlier this year, when we drew up a legal contract for the series we’d intended to self-publish—which has now been cancelled—SH signed that contract using the same male name I’d previously learned.

In all the time I’d known SH online, we only ever hung out in person during one trip—the weekend we and some friends spent as a group in New Orleans this past November. Back then, I had no reason to suspect SH was anyone but who he claimed to be, or that I was writing the book with anyone other than the person I believed him to be—a bisexual man, who’d published books I loved and who’d told me he lived with a roommate.

We plotted Bishop’s Move through a series of chats. We wrote our sections from our respective locations, in separate states. We never wrote together on FaceTime or on Skype or in the same place at the same time. Even when we had writing marathon days, it was me looking at my screen, working on my own chapters, in my own home, and checking in via chat. So, as much as it humbles me to think I could have been so thoroughly fooled by someone, I have to acknowledge that I can in no way be certain who was behind the keyboard on SH’s end throughout the writing process. The entire time we were writing and editing, I assumed I was working with the man I’d met, the man who signed our coauthor contract.

I’ve been publishing M/M romance since 2011, and I have so much love and appreciation for my readers and the friends I’ve made in the community. Please know, I would never knowingly engage in any type of deception. Nor would I ever risk damaging my career or my reputation by trying to cover up for anyone, nor by helping someone perpetuate a false identity. I value my readers and friendships too much for that, and if I’d had any suspicions that SH wasn’t who he claimed to be before we started, or at any point during the process itself, I never would have started writing with him or continued doing so. I would never intentionally try to harm anyone. But I realize my intentions are meaningless in these circumstances. Only the impact of my actions matter—and I know my actions caused people to believe SH and made them disbelieve his accusers. For that, again, I’m profoundly sorry.

Thank you,

Piper

Off the Ice Instagram Tour

IG Tour Doc updated (1)

#OfftheIceTour

Presented by: Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn, and A Novel Take PR

 

Hosted by:

10/28: @anyaminx, @gaybookreviews, @loveqhuay, @lovinghotbooks1, @mikku_chan0711, @thefictionfaery, @write.read.learn

10/29: @apolishedreader, @hoards.jumble, @dtr_downtoread, @fernsbookblog, @zaza_bdp

10/30: @booklovcrs, @erchomaiii, @loveunchainedreviews, @wild_heart_reads, @danielapolegre

10/31: @dirtybookobsession, @alphabookclub, @realtalkbooktalk, @wickedgoodreads, @surletagere, @southernbabesbookblog

11/1: @KarenBoudoir, @em_b_whittmann, @expect_books, @thebookcorps

11/2: @bookish_notes, @bookishgerman, @bookly_reads, @Riverreads_, @strandedinbooks, @bookhaulholl

11/3: @szangelika79, @hearts_on_fire_reviews, @two_chicks_obsessed

 

OFF THE ICE, a contemporary m/m hockey romance featuring a professional hockey player and his surly Sociology professor falling in love, is out 10/30/17! To celebrate we have 7 days of awesome #bookstagram photos hosted by some truly gorgeous accounts!

What it is: for seven days, 10/28 – 11/3, stop by each of the hosts to see their photos of and take part in the tour challenge.

Tour challenge: comment on any of the host photos & use the hashtag #OfftheIceTour, tag any of the daily hosts, tag the authors (@piper.vaughn and @avongale), and A Novel Take PR (@anoveltakepr) and you’ll be entered in the giveaway.

You can enter on every post from one of the hosts!

Can’t wait to see all of your photos!

***Giveaway details: up for grabs and open internationally!***

Signed paperback + swag pack from the Off the Ice Hockey team, The Venom:

Venom T-shirt (https://www.zazzle.com/venom_t_shirt-235129640364916786)

Venom button (https://www.zazzle.com/theavaughnshop/gifts?f_cg=196626168205879547)

Venom pen (https://www.zazzle.com/venom_pen-256103053089540914)

Venom player spiral notebook (https://www.zazzle.com/venom_player_spiral_8_5_x_8_5_notebook_holt_57-256932640330558309)

Winners chosen by 11/9 and contacted about their prize via the Instagram account they used to enter

Upcoming Release Schedule

Hi, all! For anyone wondering, this is my list of upcoming releases and works-in-progress. All dates are tentative/subject to change, but this is how things stand right now. 😀

RELEASE SCHEDULE:

October 2017 – OFF THE ICE (Hat Trick #1) – with Avon Gale – Riptide – Contemporary romance. Sports. Age gap. Earnest Midwestern hockey player meets grumpy Puerto Rican sociology professor with a dash of kink.

May 2018 – GOALIE INTERFERENCE (Hat Trick #2) – with Avon Gale – Riptide – Contemporary romance. Sports. Rivals to lovers. Bisexual character. Interracial relationship. D/s elements. POC characters. Two ice hockey goalies competing for the starting slot on the same team. Tempers flare and things get hot. 😉

August 2018 – NECESSARY ART (Art & Soul #2) – with Avon Gale – Riptide – Contemporary romance. Graffiti artist/skater. Lawyer-turned-sculptor-turned-non-profit-organizer. Age gap. Opposites attract. Demisexual character.

November 2018 – TRADE DEADLINE (Hat Trick #3) – with Avon Gale – Riptide – Contemporary romance. Sports. Friends to lovers. Sweet and sexy. Bisexual character. A veteran hockey player is traded to his hometown team and reunites with his best friend/first crush from childhood. When I say sweet, I’m serious, y’all, there are DOLPHINS.

WIPs:

ANOTHER ROUND – In progress – First book in my texting trilogy. Contemporary romance. Opposites attract. Multicultural couple. Cute, nerdy number cruncher meets hot, bearded, tattooed gym owner/MMA fighter through rather unconventional circumstances.

Vloggers trilogy – In planning

Hard Hats #3 – Outlined

Permanent Ink Release Instagram Tour

permanent ink tour 5

 

#PermanentInkTour

Presented by: Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn, and A Novel Take PR

 

Hosted by:

 

8/7: @bookish_notes @apolishedreader

8/8: @benbendiks @books.and.moonlight

8/9: @Two_Chicks_Obsessed  @midnightclockwork

8/10: @KarenBoudoir @alphabookclub @booklovcrs

 

PERMANENT INK, the kinky tattoo artist romance from me and Avon Gale, is out 8/7! To celebrate we have 4 days of awesome #bookstagram photos hosted by some of our favorites!

What it is: for four days, stop by each of the hosts to see their photos of Permanent Ink and take part in the tour challenge.

Tour challenge: post your favorite tattoo snapshot & use the hashtag #PermanentInkTour, tag the daily host, me (@piper.vaughn) and @avongale, and A Novel Take PR (@anoveltakepr) and you’ll be entered in the giveaway.

People can enter once a day as long as they tag a daily host.

Can’t wait to see all of your photos!

***Giveaway details: up for grabs: 3 e-copies of PERMANENT INK. Winners chosen by 8/15 and contacted with their prize via the Instagram account they used to enter.***

New release: Black John

Hi, all! It’s been a while since I updated, but I have a surprise rerelease to announce today!

My short story, Black John, was originally included in DSP’s “Cross Bones” pirate anthology. I got the rights back a few months ago and decided I would rerelease it as an individual title for those who didn’t pick up the anthology, or those who read the other book in this universe, Love Rising (currently available from Dreamspinner Press). The two stories are set in the same world, but can definitely be read as stand-alones. Please note: Love Rising does have a fantasy element. If you’re a fan of mermen, check it out! 😀

This fab new cover was designed by Natasha Snow. I ♥ it.

blackjohn-f-web

Former pirate Juan “Black John” de Avila has found a home on Isla Sagrario, a safe haven for men who desire other men. When Jacob, the lover he thought had died, washes ashore after a shipwreck, Juan believes he’s been given a second chance at love. But Jacob Bellamy thinks the safety of Sagrario is an illusion, one that will come to a brutal end should their enemies ever catch wind of their whereabouts.

Juan doesn’t want to lose Jacob again, but neither does he want to leave his home behind for a lifetime of hiding and secrecy. When the island comes under attack, Jacob is forced to decide what means more to him—spending the rest of his life safe and alone, or risking it all to be with the man he loves.

Genre: M/M Historical Romance
Length: Short story (approx 6K)

Buy it now for only 99 cents!:
Amazon
Payhip
Kobo
Barnes & Noble

Add it on Goodreads

Off-Topic Review: Acetone-Free Nail Polish Removers

Heeeey, all. So I might start a separate nail polish/art related blog eventually, but since the people who asked me for this review are people who follow me as Piper anyway, I’m going to post this here for now. If you’re not interested in nail polish/art, then of course, feel free to skip this post.

If you follow me on social media, you might have seen that I’ve been really into nail art for about the last two months. It’s become rather therapeutic for me, but along the way I’d noticed the strong fumes and intensely drying effects of pure acetone and acetone-based removers. I’d already started seeking more natural alternatives, but then, at the beginning of this month, I had a 4-5 day stretch of constant headaches, nausea, and dizziness. While we don’t know if it was related to acetone fumes — some of my symptoms persist even now, after avoiding acetone for a week — my doctor agreed that trying to use it sparingly in future would be for the best. So, I guess it was a good thing I’d already been seeking acetone-free polish removers and had some on order, eh?

If you’re interested in which is the best I’ve used so far, read on. They all do the job, but some definitely work faster and more effectively than others. I’ll list them from slowest to fastest.

Note: All of these polish removers were tested on a nail design with multiple layers and a dark red polish as a base, which stains and can be difficult to remove. I figured I might as well really put them to the test. 😛

Pure Vitality Beauty: 100% Natural Nail Polish Remover

img_1754

Price: $12.87 for 4oz on Amazon

Pros

-No fumes

-Plant based

-Safe for you and the environment (biodegradable, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, non-flammable)

-Light odor (similar to olive oil)

-Moisturizing for nails and cuticles

Cons

-Very slow

-Very oily

-Messy

-Can’t be used for clean up during polishing (Oils on nails can cause polish “shrinkage” and chipping/flaking and lessen the time your manicure will last)

Summary: This will remove your nail polish, but it’s going to take some elbow grease. It comes with a dropper, which you can use to drop the product onto your nails. They suggest doing that and waiting 5 minutes before attempting to remove the polish with a cotton ball or pad. Even after doing so, it took a lot of rubbing – and a lot of cotton pads – to get rid of the nail polish. That being said, I love that it moisturizes while removing polish and I love that the scent is nearly nonexistent.

~*~

Chrome Girl: Coconut & Island Rum Scented Nail Lacquer Remover Pads

img_1758

Price: $15 for 60 pads at Chrome Girl Nails

Pros

-Decent scent, though stronger than I expected

-Acetone and paraben free

-Contains cuticle moisturizer and nail strengthener

-Cruelty free

Cons

-Slow

-Not very cost effective (It typically took 1 pad per nail, though sometimes I could do 2 nails with one. The more stubborn polishes might take a couple pads each finger.)

-Difficult to use for clean up during polishing

Summary: These pads remove polish more easily than the plant-based remover listed above; however, if you do a lot of nail art, you’ll be lucky if they last for 6 or 7 manicures. They’re handy to have around, but they’ll never be my go-to remover.

~*~

ella + mila Soy Polish Remover

img_1756

Price: $20 for 4oz at HB Beauty Bar

Pros

-Mild lavender scent

-No acetone or harsh acetates

-Moisturizing

-Removes polish fairly quickly

-Cruelty free

-Vegan

Cons

-Oily (Though less so than the Pure Vitality remover)

-Price for quantity

Summary: This was the most expensive non-acetone remover I purchased, and the bottle you get is tiny. Since you’re supposed to soak a cotton ball/pad thoroughly to remove polish, I can’t see it lasting very long if you’re a nail art junkie. That being said, it removed more effectively than either of the previous two removers I listed, which means less time/effort/cotton balls. I haven’t tried to use it for clean up while doing nail art, and because of its oiliness, I’m not sure I will. If I do test it, I’ll update this post with how it went.

~*~

Nailtiques Non-Acetone Remover

img_1757

Price: $8 for 6 oz on Amazon

Pros

-Fast

-Effective

-Oil free

-Acetone free

-Contains aloe vera and conditioners

-Strong enough to be used with a brush for clean up (on the cuticle and skin surrounding nails) after polishing

Cons

-Intense chemical scent

-Contains ethyl acetate, which is used as an industrial solvent. It’s relatively non-toxic, but can cause ear/nose/throat irritation as well as nausea/vomiting/unconsciousness at high levels and other health issues with frequent, prolonged exposure. Carcinogenic properties are unknown.

Summary: It’s about as close to an acetone remover as you can get. It’s strong and a lot more effective at removing polish than the others listed in this post; however, the manufacturer’s definition of “lightly scented” drastically differs from mine. The scent is powerful and lingers for a while after using, but if you have a really difficult to remove polish and want to avoid acetone, this is probably your best bet. I’ll likely use this as sparingly as regular acetone.

~*~

And that’s it! There’s no denying acetone is the workhorse of nail polish removers and best for clean up during nail art and removing gel polish. I won’t stop using it entirely, but I’ll probably only use it during more complicated designs with more potential for errors – and to tackle really stubborn glitter polishes.

Piper’s Reading Roundup – March, April, & May

Hey, y’all! Whoops, it has been a while since I did one of these. Frankly, I had a long reading drought for a while there and couldn’t seem to settle on anything, so I haven’t read a ton of books in the last few months, but I did have some faves among the books I did read. Check them out below. 😀

PRc6NRaY

Power Play (Scoring Chances #3) by Avon Gale – See my review, which details why I love and recommend this book, but if you’re familiar with Gale and this series in particular, you know you can expect hockey, humor, well-developed characters, and lots of heart.

Full Strength (Point Shot #3) by V.L. Locey – I’m a big fan of this series and its main character, Victor Kalinski. He’s loud (and foul)-mouthed, he’s offensive, he’s arrogant, but behind the brash exterior is a loyal man who cares deeply about the few people he lets close to his heart. I loved watching him evolve as a character while staying true to himself. He didn’t make a complete 180. He’s still Victor… but a better version of himself. 🙂

The Benched Series by Misha Horne – This series starts with Rookie Mistake, and man, is it fun! Juno and Kyle are great characters, and and if you’re a fan of spanking and D/s elements, you need to be reading these shorts. I plowed through all 5 available stories in a couple of days, and I’m eagerly awaiting more!

The Harvest Young: Bound by Fate (The Next Generation #1) by MA Church – I love Church’s The Harvest series, and I think I’ve recommended it in previous posts. This is a spin-off series about the “young” of the couples we met in The Harvest (yep, there is mpreg in that series) now that they’ve officially grown up. I can’t wait for more stories!

Shutdown Pair by V.L. Locey – Yep, Locey is getting a second shout-out in this post. She wrote a story about amateur pick-up league hockey players, and while the game certainly plays a role, as with all her work, it’s her characters that really make the story. I loved Heath and Wyatt and would’ve happily read more about them.

The Galactic Alliance Series by KC Burn – The other day I posted asking for recs on Twitter and Megan Derr mentioned this series. I’d had the first book, Spice ‘n’ Solace, on my TBR list for a long time and I’d purchased it a while back, so I finally dove in. I’m glad I did! These were some sexy stories with fabulous characters that are perfect for anyone who’s a fan of sci-fi without an over-abundance of world-building and technical jargon to weigh the story down. I even went to ask KC Burn if there’d be more right after I finished the third book, which should tell you something. (She said yes, BTW. :D)

~*~

And that’s it for now! I seem to be on a reading binge at the moment, though, so hopefully I’ll have more titles to recommend next time.

Happy reading, folks! 

Writing, Depression, & the Future of the Portland Pack Chronicles

For the last 7+ months I’ve been fairly open about my struggles with writing and depression, and more recently, the mystery illness that landed me in the emergency room and countless doctors’ offices over the last month (and has yet to be identified). Those of you who follow this blog or are friends with me on social media have doubtless seen some of my posts. I decided to be open about the depression in particular for two reasons:

1) The stigma that surrounds depression/mental illness is seriously upsetting, and I feel the only way to change that is through open discussion and for the people who suffer from depression not to feel forced to hide it like it’s some shameful secret.

2) Out of respect for my readers. See, I do 100% believe I’m entitled to my privacy and I don’t blame any author who might be in a similar situation for keeping it quiet. This is a decision every individual has to make for themselves. But, for me personally, because my depression affects everything in my life, including my writing, I wanted to be upfront about it. I didn’t want my readers to think I’m just taking some extended vacation and hanging my unfinished series out to dry without a care that people are waiting for more books. Authors are human—we need breaks sometimes, it’s true—but the reality is I want to be writing, and the fact that my words have seemingly abandoned me is a pain I deal with every day. I’ve written since I was around eleven, since the time when the only people who saw my stories were my friends in junior high, and I didn’t even entertain the hope that I might be able to make what I loved a career someday. Writing has always been cathartic for me, and being unable to write for over half a year now makes me feel like I’m missing some critical part of myself, my soul. Believe me, I didn’t make the conscious choice to stop writing, and I’m fighting to get through this block every day.

The TL;DR version of what happened is that back in October I got hit by the worst bout of depression I’ve ever dealt with. I experienced suicidal ideation, nearly ended up in the hospital, scared my family and close friends, and had to seek the help of a therapist for the first time since childhood.

I am only now, nearly 8 months later, getting to the point where I’m started to feel excited about writing again and hopeful that I’ll be able to break through this block and start putting words on the page. Still, I’m taking things cautiously. When the words do start flowing, I want to allow myself to write without any pressure. I’ve realized lately that I can’t write on a strict schedule. I have to focus on the story that is calling to me most strongly, and yes, that does mean that sometimes it’s a long wait between books in my series. I apologize for that, but I just can’t force myself to work on a project simply because I know I should try to keep series releases consistent, not if in my heart of hearts, I’d rather be working on something else instead. Forcing myself to try to write what I should be writing only stresses me out and makes it feel like a job. And while, yes, this is what I do for  a living, I started writing for love and for fun, and I don’t want to lose that feeling—the happiness I experience when I’m working on a project I’m truly excited and passionate about.

So, with all that being said, I’ve had to make a tough decision, and trust me, it’s not one I made lightly. Tears were shed. But being that I’ve received dozens of messages, tweets, and questions about the Portland Pack Chronicles, I know it’s a series that readers are eagerly awaiting more of. My coauthor, Kenzie Cade, is also eager to get back to our boys and continue writing. Unfortunately, due to my current circumstances, I’m the one holding things back—and I don’t think that’s fair, not to her, and not to the readers who’ve enjoyed the series so far, not when she could keep writing and get the stories to you faster than if I stayed involved. Because right now, with the lingering depression and the health issues that have plagued me over the last month or so, the only answer I can give about when I’ll be able to return to the Portland Pack Chronicles is “I don’t know.” So, sad as it makes me, I feel like this is the best decision for the future of the series. I’m sure Kenzie will more than do justice to the Portland Pack boys on her own. She’ll rock it—I’ve told her so—and I wish her much success!

As for my other in-progress series, fear not! The series I’ve started on my own will be completed eventually, even if it takes me much longer than I ever anticipated. I will break through this! I have so many stories I want to write and projects I’m excited about. I’m not giving up. Definitely not. Watch this space, because I’m sure, in time, I’ll have a much happier update to post.

In the meantime, thanks for your patience and understanding!

♥♥♥

~Piper

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