February 08, 2014

Jay Vaughn: Rough Boys

First, I’d like to thank Chris for allowing me to come talk about my Rough Boys trilogy here. It’s very generous and much appreciated. Here’s wishing you wonderful karma, Chris.

The trilogy includes three novels: Rough Boys: Runaway, Rough Boys: Redemption, and coming out on Valentine’s Day, Rough Boys: Revenge.

Rough Boy’s Blurb
A runaway, a dreamer, a gorgeous femme … are they rough enough to survive the brutal city?
Ty is only seventeen when he flees in terror from his homophobic father, but surviving on the streets is more difficult than he could possibly have imagined. When bad choices send him spiraling toward ruin, can Ty be saved by love?
Dani leaves home with stars in his eyes but his feet on the ground, fully expecting his road to success to be long and difficult. What he doesn't expect is to fall head-over-heels in love with a gorgeous, self-centered rock star. Can Dani find happiness with the arrogant Englishman or will his heart be broken?
Kaeden is banished by his conservative Asian parents when he comes home with extreme hair, false eyelashes, and glittering fingernails. He naively accepts a position with a male escort service, dreaming of fancy parties and wealthy men. Instead he finds himself playing Russian roulette with his heart.
This gritty urban romance follows the lives of these three young men as they forge strong bonds of friendship in spite of, or maybe because of, the challenges they face. 

Excerpt from Rough Boys: Runaway
“Fuck you!” Ty hissed through gritted teeth as his rage got the better of his judgment.
“What did you say?” His father was in his face, blue eyes blazing.
A cold wave of fear crashed over Ty, washing away his anger. He tried desperately to pull his father’s attention away from what he’d just said. “I’m almost eighteen, Dad. I’m old enough to make decisions about my own hair, for God’s sake!”
“That discussion is over.” His father’s voice was tight with barely controlled anger. “What I want to know is what you just said to me.”
“I think you know what I said. I’d rather not say it again.” Ty knew he sounded like a snot. Why do I always bait him? he wondered.
His father’s jaw clenched. “Boy, you need to learn some respect!” He loomed over his son, his paunch almost touching Ty’s taut stomach.
“You can’t beat respect into me,” Ty said, tilting his chin up defiantly. “You have to earn it!” Why the hell can’t I keep my fool mouth shut and pretend to respect him?
“You little shit!” His father grabbed him by the collar with both hands and shook him.
Ty clenched his jaw to keep his teeth from rattling. He has no right to shake me like this! Fury exploded within him. “Fuck you!” This time he yelled the words in his father’s face. Twisting suddenly, he managed to pull out of the older man’s grip. He tried to duck under his arm, but his dad grabbed him by the shoulders and shoved him back into the kitchen counter.
His father drew back his fist and let it fly toward Ty’s face. It seemed like the fist came at him in slow motion, but he still couldn’t avoid it. The punch slammed into his eye, cracking his head into the cupboard behind him.
As Ty’s vision clouded, he gripped the counter to keep from going down. His injured eye immediately started to stream tears. Pain fueled his anger, causing another blinding flare-up. He swung at his father, clipping him in the jaw with a hard knuckle. Ty felt a jolt travel from his fist up his arm and he registered shock. This was the first time he’d ever struck his father.
Oh shit!
Ty’s dad had three inches and at least seventy pounds on him. With a roar, he grabbed him by his hair, dragged him forward several feet, and smashed his face into the doorjamb. Ty’s cheek and nose met the pine with a sickening crunch. He fought to keep his feet under him, blinking rapidly, trying to see through the red haze of pain. Blood gushed from his nose, splattering onto the hardwood floor.
“Richard!” He heard his mother’s cry of shocked protest. She would not save him. She never did.
His father had a death grip on his hair and was on a mission. He dragged him out of the kitchen, down the hall, and up two flights of stairs in their rambling, hundred-year-old house.
Ty stumbled, trying to keep up, wishing he had cut his hair now that his father seemed to be pulling it out by the roots. He didn’t try to fight his father; he knew he couldn’t win.
Rage consumed Richard Iverson. The voice in his head screamed at him in fury. (The fuckin’ little shit hit you! That’s what comes from being too soft on him. He needs to know his place. You need to teach him some respect. You need to show him how to be a man.)
He was puffing by the time he reached the top of the stairs, dragging his son behind him. The boy had a way of making the voice in his head go crazy.
(He’s far too pretty for a boy. Boys should not be pretty.) With his beautiful eyes, impossibly long lashes, and pale, smooth skin, his son looked just like his wife. To make matters worse, he was too small. He was never going to make it to six feet. He would be lucky if he made it to five-eleven.
Richard dragged his son into his bedroom and pushed him onto his narrow bed.
“You really asked for it today, Tiberius. Take off your pants,” he ordered.
Ty hated to be called by his full name and his dad knew it, but he was not about to argue about that now. It was time for damage control.
“I’m sorry, Dad! I didn’t mean to hit you.”
(He doesn’t mean that apology), the voice said. (He’s just trying to get out of a beating. He is weak, and you’re weak too for letting him get like this.)
“You heard what I said.” Richard’s tone was calm, almost normal. From the speed at which his son flipped onto his stomach and pulled his pants down, the boy was obviously not fooled. A satisfied smile curled the corners of the older man’s mouth.
Ty’s nose was bleeding all over his dark blue comforter. He panted around gritted teeth as he waited for the lashes. This was getting to be a much too familiar scene. Why does he hate me so much? Ty wondered for the thousandth time. The first strike landed with a clink, accompanied by much more pain than he expected.
“Fuck!” he yelled, twisting around and catching the belt in his hands as it came down for the second lash. He hit me with the buckle end of the belt! “What the hell?” he screamed, clutching the belt in self-defense. He hung on for dear life.
His father’s face contorted. His mouth twisted. His eyes burned. With a cry of demented rage, he slammed his fist into Ty’s mouth, splitting his lip.
Ty’s head snapped back. His grip on the belt loosened, and his father snatched it out of his hands. Ty cringed, waiting for the next barrage. Instead his father stormed out of the room, locking the door behind him.
Thank God! He must have realized he was out of control.
Ty heard his mother’s voice, high-pitched—almost hysterical—asking questions. He didn’t hear his father’s reply.
As soon as he started to calm down, he was flooded with sensation: his face throbbed, his head pounded, and his stomach churned.
Why is he so controlling? Why can’t I keep my hair three inches long? Why the hell does he care? It had been such a stupid argument. “That’s two-and-a-half inches too long!” his father had decreed. “You’re getting a haircut on Monday!”
“No, Dad,” he’d replied calmly. “I think I…”

“This is not a topic for discussion!” His father had cut him off. “I want it high and tight by the time I get home on Monday.” He had turned to leave the room—conversation over.
That’s when Ty’s temper had gotten the best of him and he’d let out the “Fuck you!” In retrospect, with his swollen nose making it hard to breathe, he should have just gone along with the haircut again. He wondered if he’d be able to talk his sister into sneaking into the kitchen and getting him some ice for the swelling.
Suddenly his father charged back into the room. Ty took one look at his expression and began to silently pray, Please, God, don’t let him kill me!

About Rough Boys
I touch on a lot of themes in this novel, but first and foremost, it is a love story. Three different love stories, actually, and as with any good true love story, the course is never smooth. Let me introduce you to the couples:
Ty, a runaway, is rescued from freezing to death by Abe, who stumbles across him on the way home from his work as a trauma nurse. The connection is strong from start, but Ty has a lot of growing up to do before he can accept that he’s sexually attracted to Abe. For Abe, falling in love with Ty is easy, it’s being in love with him that is difficult.
Dani moves to the city from a small town to pursue a career in acting or music. When he meets the local favorite band’s English drummer in person, he can’t help but feel star struck. Nigel is struck by Dani too, but is he willing to change his wicked ways for the beautiful, talented young man?
Kaeden didn’t dream his conservative parents hadn’t figured out he was gay until he went over the top with his femininity one day. Give a choice between conforming to his parent’s ideal or moving out, the optimistic Kaeden set forth on his own. He is fortunate to find employment right away with a woman who is running an upscale escort service … or is he? Sean, an Irish musician who likes to live on the wild side, has always had a thing for Asians and is instantly smitten with the one-of-a-kind Kaeden. But are their lifestyle differences insurmountable?
Although Rough Boys could be considered a coming-of-age novel, I did not write it for young adults.
Indeed some of the scenes are quite gritty, especially the first chapter. The novel includes themes of abuse, homelessness, drug addiction, sexual abuse, homophobia, and racism. Although the novel is very dark in places, overall I think it gives a message of hope.
Turning Rough Boys into a trilogy was a decision I agonized over. I wrote it as a single novel, however, it ended up long (305,000 words). When I started researching publishing options, I realized that I would probably have better luck dividing it into thirds rather than publishing it as a single long novel. It turns out long romance novels tend not to sell well. Not only that, but to be taken seriously with a novel of that length I’d have to set the price quite high and that seemed like a steep hill for an unpublished author to climb. Taking a cue from Fifty Shades of Gray as well as advice from writer friends, I made the leap and turned it into a trilogy. I’m not sorry with that decision. If I hadn’t split it up, I never would have had PL Nunn create the other two covers, and that would have been a shame.

About J. Vaughn

I was about to create some fluff about me—well, not necessarily fluff, but you know, the typical marketing stuff. You can read that in my author blurb which follows. Instead, it’s occurred to me that I got tagged on Facebook not too long ago to come up with fourteen random things about myself. Here’s ten of them:
  1. I lived in the Philippine Islands when I was five and six years old.
  2. I have an MBA in International Business from NYU that I’ve never really put to good use.
  3. I learned how to read when I was three. We didn’t have a TV.
  4. I had a cat named Mala who was mean as shit and lived to be almost 21 years old.
  5. I had another cat named Vicious (or Vichyssoise when he was being good) who was even meaner than Mala.
  6. I had a helluva time figuring out how to spell Vichyssoise.
  7. I learned how to swim at the same time I learned how to walk (I learned how to read a few months later). We lived on Midway Island at the time.
  8. I was told by my doctor eleven years ago that I had six months left to live. I think she was a little pessimistic.
  9. I have two amazing daughters, ages fourteen and fifteen-going-on-twenty-five.
  10. I got out of being mugged on the NY City subway by pretending I had a gun in my pocket. I didn’t care about the $30 I had on me, I just didn’t want them to hit me on the head with that two-foot long wrench. “My (imaginary) weapon’s better than your weapon!”

Official Author Bio

Jay Vaughn lives in sunny Seattle, a clean, progressive city that is way too expensive for a writer’s income. Therefore, Jay holds down a full-time, computer-industry day job, but writing is her passion. It’s a hobby-gone-wild, so much so that her teenage kids accuse her of being an addict.
Jay carries her laptop everywhere and can often be seen combining other favorite activities with writing. For example, you can find Jay sitting at a small table in the back of the gay bar around the corner from her house, drinking wine and writing. Or waking up early while camping, dragging out the laptop, and writing. Or writing in the truck on the way to and from concerts, ski-trips, visits to relatives ... wherever.
Jay’s favorite genres are sci-fi, fantasy, and M/M erotic romance. She discovered M/M quite by accident when she was writing a traditional fantasy novel, and one of her characters ended up in an all-male prison for a bit too long. Whoops!
Find out what Jay is working on next at http://www.authorjvaughn.com or drop her a line at jayvaughn@live.com. She’d love to hear from you.
Twitter: @AuthorJVaughn

Where to Get Rough Boys

I’m making the first book, Rough Boys: Runaway, free, in the hopes that if readers like the first book, they will want to read the other two. It may take a few days for that change to take affect at all retailers. Rough Boys: Revenge will be out on February 14th and will be available at the same places as Rough Boys: Runaway and Rough Boys: Redemption.
Divergent Publishing: http://www.divergentpublishing.com/


  1. Shorty Chelle2/08/2014 11:44 PM

    Great interview and excerpt.


  2. Going to have to reread this!! Drama, revenge, and romance. Love it!