An Ali Review: We Three Kings by AF Henley

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Chicago 1982 is a goldmine for the construction industry, and Eric and his two business partners are thriving. Once nothing more than orphans in a Catholic boys’ home, they’ve overcome poverty and abuse to obtain success. Now living the lives they once only dreamed of, they’re sure of one thing: they will never look back.

Then the past returns, by way of a cheap polyester suit and a smile Eric has never forgotten—and all the dark memories come crashing back. Lucky for him, Jimmy has no idea who Eric is, or who Eric used to be…
This is a beautifully written story about forgiveness and redemption.  Eric and his two best friends, Mark and Devin, have overcome the abuse they suffered at the hands of the church run orphanage they grew up in.  They are now successful businessmen and they try to live their lives in a way that is positive and helpful to others.  Eric’s past behaviors though still haunt him and the walls he’s built come crashing down when he interviews Jimmy for a job at their company.  Eric sees hiring Jimmy as a way to fix past wrongs. Unfortunately the longer Eric is not honest with Jimmy, the harder time he has with the truths about himself.
This story is told from Eric’s point of view and I found him to be a fantastic narrator.  He begins each chapter with memories from his past.  I was worried about this part of the story going in because I saw that movie Sleepers and I remember it being pretty hard to watch.  Fortunately the author doesn’t make these scenes graphic.  Despite that you still get the feel for the terror these boys went through in every creak in the hallway or dark shadow that passes their door.  I was on pins and needles for everyone of those flashbacks.
Despite his lack of honestly with Jimmy, Eric finds himself attracted to the man and begins a romantic relationship.  Eric is slowly unraveling and while he knows his decisions are bad, he can’t seem to stop himself.  Throughout he does a bunch of soul searching and he’s stuck on his anger at himself for both the past and the present.
While part of the story is about Jimmy and Eric falling for each other, Jimmy is almost a side character.  He has a strong role and a place of importance but really this story is Eric’s.  I thought the connection between the two men was touching.  Eric’s two friends have smaller roles but they play a major part in the end of the story.  By far though, my favorite side character was Meryl, a homeless man that Eric talks to every day.  This was so well done.  So creative and thought provoking. I don’t want to say more about this because I don’t want to spoil anything but I loved these interactions. He and Eric are characters that will stick in my head for a long time to come.
In the end, yes, this is a romance, but it’s also a story about letting go of your past, of your fear, you anger and/or self-loathing and starting afresh.
There are a few authors I wish got more attention and this is one of them.  I’ve loved everything I’ve read of hers and I would have everyone I know read this if I could (and after this go read her Wolf series).
Cover by Aisha Akeju:  I liked the cover.  It was nicely done but did not stand out in any special way to me.
Sales Links
Book Details:
ebook
Published March 1st 2017 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620049600
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Jeri Review: Wolf, in League (Wolf #3) by A.F. Henley

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

3135820wolf-in-league-wolf-3-by-a-f-henley7I really enjoyed Wolf, WY, the first in the series. If was really focused on just 2 men for the most part, and their story. I looked forward to book 2, Wolf, en Garde, but was mildly disappointed. But I held out hope that book 2 was a bridge to book 3. And it was. On the other hand, you could pretty much read this book as a stand alone if you wanted to.

Wolf, in League, really expands the world that the story is in. The Committee is investigating not only the wolves from the first two books, but also Arius and other vampires. To do this, they send two men to act as a married couple. When the Committee goes to Gavin- a respected geneticist- about this, Gavin also learns that paranormal creatures are real. And he is to live with one of them during this ruse.

Naturally, throw the two main characters together and there are sparks flying. But the characters were interesting and well thought out. And they discover far more sinister things at work in the paranormal world. Gavin and Matthew are thrust into the middle of everything to help save, well, everything.

An interesting and enjoyable story that was fast paced that leaves the possibility of another book- or series- out there.

Cover art works for the book and series.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 12th 2016 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620048771
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttps://afhenley.wordpress.com/wolf-in-league/
SeriesWolf #3

A Jeri Review: Wolf, en Garde (Wolf #2) by A.F. Henley

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Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

Wolf en Garde Front CoverThree years ago Lyle made a mistake that cost him his freedom, and almost his life. Now, sick to death of watching his father love the man that Lyle wanted, Lyle accepts an offer to leave Wolf, WY behind and see what life in Washington, D.C. can do for him instead.

When Lyle comes across a seductive, attractive stranger with a fascinating yet terrifying view of humanity, he’s more than intrigued. It doesn’t take Lyle long to realize that Arius isn’t just playing games, though, and when Lyle runs across a secret in Arius’ lair he has no choice but to flee, even knowing his actions will enrage Arius.

On the run, with only a psychic’s second sight and his own instinct to help him, Lyle has nowhere to go but home. The only question is, will they have him when he shows up.This book is a follow up to Wolf, WY. In that book father and son shifters were vying for the same man- although that man was only interested in one of them. Fast forward a bit to this book.

Lyle and family head to Washington, DC to visit his dad’s boyfriend’s family. Lyle has never been out of Wyoming and although he is completely uninterested in the “family” part of the family trip- he is beyond excited to see a new place. Even though his father forbade him from shifting while there. But Lyle was never really one to listen. After shifting and sneaking out his first night, Lyle comes across an old vampire who is determined to woo him. Young, impressionable, never out of WY Lyle falls right into his spell. But the vampire has some dark secrets.

So when I started reading the story I assumed that Lyle and the vampire, Arius, were the couple to fall in love against all odds, yada yada. I was wrong. In fact, we don’t meet the man Lyle is going to fall for until about two thirds into the book.

Honestly, this book kind of felt like a super fleshed out outline that was basically just setting us up for book three. Tons of things were left up in the air, too many questions left unanswered. And the instalove between Lyle and BOTH guys (ok, instalust?) was just a bit much.

Why did Arius taunt Lyle about Randy? How was Randy’s dad so clueless about Randy’s mom? Why was Randy’s mom so incredibly cold toward her son?

Too many questions which beg for a book three, but I really don’t know if I will invest my time in book three.

The dark cover with only bright green eyes and a full moon visible is catching, yet not unique for a wolf shifter book.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press |  ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 254 pages
Published May 18th 2016 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN 1620047748 (ISBN13: 9781620047743)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesWolf #2 settingWashington, D.C. (United States)

Love Wolf Shifters? A.F. Henley is Here Talking Wolf, en Garde (Wolf #2) (guest post, special teaser and giveaway)

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Wolf en Garde Front Cover

Wolf, en Garde (Wolf #2) by A.F. Henley
L
ess Than Three Press
Release Date May 17

Cover Artist: Raphael (website https://boysininkandcolour.com/ )

Pre Purchase/Buy Link/Read a Full Excerpt Here

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is thrilled to have A.F.Henley here to talk about the sequel to Wolf.  Welcome, A.F., tell  us more about Wolf, en Garde and what we can expect from this amazing series.

***********

 

So, here we are again! I’m crazy excited to be joining you here on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to introduce (or, in some cases reintroduce) the characters and places of my newest release, Wolf en Garde. For those who joined me months ago with the Wolf, WY tour: welcome back; I’ve missed you! For those who are meeting the friends and villains of Wolf for the first time—hello, it’s great to meet you!

I’ve said it before, but I’ve never been a series writer. When I wrote “The End” I meant it. I left the characters with their HEA or HFN, and that was that: farewell, amen, good luck. However, with Wolf, WY there was an entire story brewing underneath the romance of Randy and Vaughn. I could see it trying to bubble up through the rest of the words and it intrigued me to no end. Had it been just a case of, “Okay, but what happened to Lyle? Or Isaac or Hannah?” I probably wouldn’t have bothered. Not because I didn’t care, but simply because there are a million stories in the naked city (or however that goes) and my head always seems to be swimming with them. Wolf had something it wanted to say to me, to you, and it wasn’t about to let me stop.

And here with are… with Lyle’s story, and the next “chapter” of the Wolf series.

I’d like to take you on a bit of a journey with this blog tour; give you a chance to meet the new characters and to shake hands with the ones you already know, explain the settings and the locations, and hopefully pique your interest in the “what comes next” of the Wolf series with some tiny teasers from the novel. But I won’t ask you to hop on board without a thank you for showing up. Follow through to the end of the post to learn how you could win your very own signed, print copy of Wolf en Garde, a sterling silver (nickel and lead-free) Howling Wolf Bangle, and a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market. After all, your time is valuable, and I can’t thank you enough for being here.

But first, the teaser. And what better way to start than with our main character: Lyle O’Connell. When we met Lyle, he was a young man going through the kind of change that we’ve all experienced but with a whole heck of a lot of extra… uh… fun?… thrown in for good measure. Let’s hope it made him a better man…

Tiny Teaser: Introducing – Lyle O’Connell

For all the times Lyle had ever included the words “teeming with” in a thought or statement—which, when he considered it, were actually few and far between—none had been as accurate as his thought that the airport was teeming with people. From the smallest shrieking infant to the tallest ear-budded man, from the casual vacationer in their comfy travel clothes to the business people in their suits and skirts, every shape, size and ethnicity was represented. It was the largest, loudest, most chaotic group of people that Lyle had ever been part of in his life. And it was fucking amazing.

He’d felt the buzz of the terminal before he’d been halfway across the jet bridge that brought him from the small plane that had carried him, his father, his siblings, and Randy, his father’s—partner, Lyle thought, and instantly diminished the word to friend—from the airport in Casper to their current stop in Denver. They wouldn’t be there for long, a mere hour before they’d step back onto a (hopefully) much bigger plane and finish their journey up to D.C., and Lyle intended to enjoy every single second of it. The smells were intense and copious: hormones heavy with fear, anxiety, grief, and excitement; fast food, restaurant food, alcohol; cologne over sweat and perfume over fabric softeners. If he could have done it without consequence, Lyle would have forced himself into a shift right then and there. The thought of experiencing all those scents with a nose more educated than the one he wore at that moment was almost too seductive.

His father wasn’t doing quite so well, which meant that, through proximity alone, neither was Randy. That fact was more amusing than it probably should have been, though Lyle was doing his best not to let his amusement show. His father, Vaughn, wouldn’t be impressed in the least if Lyle made those feelings obvious. Respect and subservience to the normal majority of their world was not just expected, it was insisted upon—to the point that when Lyle had wandered a little too deep into instinctual territory over dominating those around him, Lyle had been shipped off and brainwashed by the fucking committee until he’d sworn up and down that he was wrong and was going to live within their rules. It had been a bullshit season for Lyle, that winter and early spring he’d spent in the clutches of the GDBCG (the Genetics Development and Biological Connectivity Group, who worked for the Committee with respect to research and rehabilitation), and Lyle had no intention of ending back there. Besides, the next time it might not just be a few months of parroting back rules and expectations. Next time, they just might decide Lyle wasn’t worth the effort and put a bullet in his head. They could do it, too. Without anybody ever lifting an eyebrow over what had happened.

Wolf, en Garde Excerpt
© AF Henley, 2016

Wolf Animation GIF Header

Blurb

Wolf, en Garde

Three years ago Lyle made a mistake that cost him his freedom, and almost his life. Now, sick to death of watching his father love the man that Lyle wanted, Lyle accepts an offer to leave Wolf, WY behind and see what life in Washington, D.C. can do for him instead.

When Lyle comes across a seductive, attractive stranger with a fascinating yet terrifying view of humanity, he’s more than intrigued. It doesn’t take Lyle long to realize that Arius isn’t just playing games, though, and when Lyle runs across a secret in Arius’ lair he has no choice but to flee, even knowing his actions will enrage Arius.

On the run, with only a psychic’s second sight and his own instinct to help him, Lyle has nowhere to go but home. The only question is, will they have him when he shows up.

Genre: Gay, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Notes: Wolf, WY contains some explicit and violent content
Book 2 in the Wolf series

Purchasing Link above – save 15% by preordering your copy today! Discount available until May 17th

 

The Giveaway

On behalf of the tour, please join the giveaway by taking part in the Rafflecopter below. The prize consists of a sterling silver (nickel and lead-free) Howling Wolf charm bangle, a $20 Gift Certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market (free books!), and a signed, print copy of Wolf, WY.

For all the terms and conditions, please check out the t’s and c’s posted on the Rafflecopter.

** Please note that this giveaway is being offered tour-wide and there will be one winner awarded for the entire event.

Wolf en Garde Giveaway

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As always, my heartfelt thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me today. It is an honour and a pleasure to be back and I can’t stress enough that authors like myself could never pull it off without sites like yours.

And a huge thanks to you, my friends, for reading and joining me. Best of luck with the giveaway and I hope you enjoyed the post!

Until next time,

AF Henley ❤

AF Henley_Avatar cropped

About the Author

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.

A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.

Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012.

For more information, please stop by for a visit at afhenley.com.

A Jeri Review: Wolf, WY (Wolf #1) by A.F. Henley

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Wolf, WY CoverThere’s nothing like a fresh start, and for Randy, still nursing wounds left by a cheating ex and harboring a deep mistrust for all things corporate, Wolf, Wyoming seems like the perfect place to start over. Secluded, quiet, and self-sufficient, Wolf is bound to not only inspire, but to bring Randy the peace he needs. The view’s not bad, either.

Vaughn O’Connell and his family are Randy’s only neighbors for miles, and while Randy knows it’s somewhat unlikely that a man with three kids is gay, it doesn’t hurt to look. When a misunderstanding brings Randy face to face with both Vaughn and his eighteen year old son, Lyle, Randy’s not sure what to feel about either of them.

But things are not what they appear in Wolf, and the closer Randy gets, the stranger the O’Connell family seems…

Although I tend not to be a big fan of paranormal, I decided to give this one a go. Overall, I am glad I did.

The paranormal part of it (wolf shifters) really didn’t come to fruition until about ¾ of the way through the book. Before that we got to know the main character Randy, his potential love interest, Vaugh, and Vaughn’s three kids.

Randy moves to Wolf, WY to escape a life he wasn’t happy with. Working as a lawyer, he was defending people who were probably guilty and his conscience wouldn’t let him live with it any longer. Add to that an ex-fiance who not only dumped him, but was also cheating on him, made the move easy.

Vaughn and family are his closest neighbors by far. He tries to engage them with smiles and waves hello but is ignored. He does notice that Vaughn and his son are quite good looking, although he feels like the father is a jerk and the son is a bit too young for him.

This book is VERY descriptive as far as the scenery, what Randy is thinking and feeling and Wyoming in general. While it absolutely sounds beautiful, it could have been trimmed a bit. I would have enjoyed reading a bit more about Randy’s back story or even Vaughn’s back story. We actually get NONE of Vaughn’s story which disappointed me.

I did really enjoy the fact that Vaughn’s son was making a play at Randy. It added a dynamic that isn’t often seen in books like this. Vaughn’s youngest children were a delight and charming. They added to the story without unnecessarily upping the “cute” factor.

An enjoyable read with enough sex to make it steamy and enough imagery to take your mind to that house in Wyoming.

Terrific book cover.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | All  Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 223 pages
Published October 21st 2015 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620046180
edition languageEnglish
seriesWolf #1

A.F. Henley’s Taking Us Into the Wild & Supernatural with Wolf, WY (guest post, excerpt, and giveaway)

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Wolf, WY Cover

Wolf, WY (Wolf #1)
by A.F. Henley

Publisher:  Less Than Three Press
Sales Link:  Less Than Three Press

Wolf, WY BT Header

We are happy to have author A. F. Henley here today to talk about her latest novel, Wolf, WY, the first in a new series.  Welcome, A. F.!  Tell us a little about Wolf, WY or anything you want to tell us. 

 

 

The hardest thing (for me) about writing blog tour posts is the first few paragraphs of interaction. Should one be endearing? Excited? Analytical? I’ve tried a lot of different things along the way, but I’ve found that my favourite way of managing blog posts is to sit back in my chair and imagine the reader doing the same beside me. What would they ask me about the novel? What would I tell them back? I’ve often found the best thing I can do when discussing my novels is to turn the question back on the asker… What did you think?

Not really a fair question to spring on you guys, though is it? Considering the book doesn’t release for a couple of weeks, you would hardly be in a position to ask clear questions about the novel. So what I’ve decided to do with these posts is give you a sneak peek into the world and the characters that live between Wolf, WY’s beautiful cover. In exchange for your time, I’d like to offer you a chance to win a bunch of great prizes: a signed copy of Wolf, WY, a $20 LT3 gift certificate, and a cool Wind & Fire paw print bangle that will show the world just what you think of our furry four-legged friends. Be sure to read through to the end to find out how to participate.

But enough of me, let’s get to the point. In my last post I introduced you to Wolf, Wyoming as seen through the main character’s eyes using a “tiny teaser” directly from the book. Wolf isn’t the only community in the novel, however. Sheridan is a larger town approximately eighteen miles east of Wolf. For any of you that might have lived in a teeny-tiny community, think of it as the place where you’d head out to do your major grocery run or pick up gifts. Or, as Randy would think of it, the place you’ll head to when the folks are coming for a visit and cream of mushroom soup for dinner just won’t cut it…

So here’s a little sample of Sheridan, WY. Hope you enjoy your visit:

Tiny Teaser: Introducing – Sheridan, WY

There was a box of wine from the liquor store in his trunk, a bag of DVDs from the adjoining video/audio store (purchased, not rented, because not even God could guarantee when he’d make in back to the city), and sixty bucks’ worth of groceries from the Safeway. If nothing else he could eat, drink, and get lost in movies if—when—the weather flared back up.

The city was a mess of slush and snow piles. Elevated trucks with treads as deep as canyons grumbled by, their drivers staring down at Randy like he was driving something as foolish as a Corvette and not a bona fide 4×4 pickup. Brightly bundled kids made all manners of snow critters in postage-stamp-sized front yards while their parents shoveled their driveways clear. Snowmobiles tore up and down the side streets, whipping across the larger streets with a hope and a prayer when the way seemed clear of traffic and law enforcement. The entire city seemed to have become a land of winter worship. It was oddly uplifting, like stumbling across Santa’s workshop, except that it was well after Christmas and all the little elves had been allowed out to play. When Randy pulled into the parking lot of a diner, looked across the street, and saw two people vigorously scrubbing and hosing their snowmobiles at the Sudsy Bath Auto Wash, all he could do was shake his head over the coolness of it.

Wolf, WY Excerpt
© AF Henley, 2015

Blurb

Wolf, WY

There’s nothing like a fresh start, and for Randy, still nursing wounds left by a cheating ex and harboring a deep mistrust for all things corporate, Wolf, Wyoming seems like the perfect place to start over. Secluded, quiet, and self-sufficient, Wolf is bound to not only inspire, but to bring Randy the peace he needs. The view’s not bad, either.

Vaughn O’Connell and his family are Randy’s only neighbors for miles, and while Randy knows it’s somewhat unlikely that a man with three kids is gay, it doesn’t hurt to look. When a misunderstanding brings Randy face to face with both Vaughn and his eighteen year old son, Lyle, Randy’s not sure what to feel about either of them.

But things are not what they appear in Wolf, and the closer Randy gets, the stranger the O’Connell family seems…

Word Count: 70,000
Genre: Gay, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Notes: Wolf, WY contains some explicit content
Book 1 in the Wolf series

Wolf, WY BT Giveaway

The Giveaway

On behalf of the tour, please join the giveaway by taking part in the Rafflecopter below. The prize consists of a ‘Wind & Fire’ paw print charm bangle (a portion of the sales from this “Charms For Charity Bangle” goes directly to Guiding Eyes For The Blind), a $20 Gift Certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market (free books!), and a signed, print copy of Wolf, WY. For all the tiny-whiny terms and conditions, please check out the t’s and c’s posted on the Rafflecopter.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Less Than Three Press.

** Please note that this giveaway is being offered tour-wide and there will be one winner awarded for the entire event.

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY HERE:

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A great big thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me today… without sites like this these giveaways and promo opps would not be possible. I can never express my gratitude enough. And a huge thanks to you as well, my friends, for reading and joining me. Best of luck with the giveaway and I hope you enjoyed the post!

Until next time,

AF Henley ❤

AF Henley_Avatar cropped

About the Author

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica. A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.

Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since—an indentured servant to the belief that romance and true love can mend the most broken soul. Even when presented in prose.

For more information please stop by for a visit at http://www.afhenley.com.

A MelanieM Review: Baby’s On Fire by A. F. Henley

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Babys on Fire CoverIn 1974 Gerry Faun gets the break of his life—an opportunity to meet gorgeous, openly bisexual, glam-rock idol Mark Devon. Mark’s world is new, exciting, and Gerry finally gets to explore the side of his sexuality that he’s kept hidden. But the press is everywhere, and when Gerry’s father gets wind of what’s going on behind his back, Gerry ends up on the street. Mark offers to let Gerry come along with the tour and Gerry jumps at the chance. The tour is a never-ending party—and the start of what seems to be a perfect relationship for him and Mark. Until Mark’s manager decides Gerry isn’t worth the trouble he’s stirring up.

In 1994 Gerry is finally coming out of some tough times—he has a job that pays the bills, a car that hasn’t quite broken down, and a small rental in Jersey City. After a decade of barely getting by, if life was as good as it was going to get, Gerry figures he’ll manage just fine. It would be easier if he wasn’t still haunted by the man the media won’t let him forget, the man who stole his heart and then broke it… the man that’s shown up pleading for a second chance

In Baby’s On Fire by A. F. Henley, the author charts the rocky, troubled path to love for a rock ‘n roll singer and the young man who fell in love with him.  It’s a journey that swings back and forth between eras, the swinging drug-filled raucous years that were the 70’s and then forward to the 90’s, the present time frame for Gerry and Mark.

I have always admired Henley’s ability to capture the mood and character of each era she has chosen to write about, even if sometimes it is embodied only by a car (“Roadtrip“). In Baby’s On Fire, Henley tackles the 70’s, an era of contradictions and overindulgence.  It was the end of the innocence and hope of the 60’s while still continued that decade’s trajectory of drug use and music that pushed known boundaries.  There was soft rock, Hard Rock, Glam Rock which was also called Glitter Rock, personified by glam rocker Gary Glitter who sang Rock and Roll on his album “Glitter“, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust  (how I still love him) and so many others.  It  was the time of Studio 54 and the out of control New York club life that so many stars and singers got caught up in. Excess thy name is the 70’s!  And its all here inside the page of this often heartbreaking story.

Appropriately enough, the story begins in October 1994 and we’re dumped into the present reality of Gerry Faun.  He’s middle aged, and life hasn’t exactly been very kind to him.  In fact, its been a very real struggle to make ends meet.  He’s alone but finally has a job that will pay his bills and that he is good at.  But all it takes is a song on the radio to turn back time….for Gerry and the reader.

Ever  had a crush on a singer when you were a preteen or teenager?  Remember those times of utter devotion and yes, a little obsession?  Even if you don’t, all you have to do is look at (insert name of any boy band or Justin Bieber) and fans to get an idea. Its along those lines that this story takes hold, when Gerry Faun is taking his sister and friends to a concert by Maxx Starlight and his band.  It’s June 1974, and everyone is giddy over the fact that they will be seeing Maxx in person and listening to him sing.  Especially young Gerry who’s trying to be the cool older brother while being even more ridiculously excited than his younger sis.  Gerry is aware that he is gay but keeping it a secret, a smart move when his conservative father is already calling the rock ‘n roll star slurs (“f…..t”) as the small group walks out the door into a night that will  permanently change them all.

In a scene charged with energy and a drug/alcohol induced wildness, Gerry ends up backstage and meets his idol, Maxx Starlight aka Mark Devon and the dance between them begins as the narrative starts to switch back and forth between the turbulent excesses and confusion that is the life Mark and Gerry live in the 70’s to the discontent and emptiness of Gerry’s life in the 90’s.  I thought Henley’s authentic, “spot on” descriptions of a popular rocker’s lifestyle works at every level.  It’s too bright, too over the top, too much of everything from sex ‘n drugs “living on the edge” as well as the mindless adoration of hundreds of thousands of fans.  And we get to see and feel its impact on the jaded Mark/Maxx and the innocent Gerry, whose Bambi like nature gives him the nickname “The Faun”.

A dramatic scene from Gerry’s youth brings on a change in decade and we move forward to the man he’s become…unhappy, alone and forever caught in the past, no matter how much he denies it.  He’s stored his youth and his ability to love in with all his keepsakes in a box in the back of his closet, likewise his memories and emotions have been shunted to the back of his mind, not to be taken out and examined too carefully.  What happens to break up this stalemate is the arrival of Mark, back after over 20 years absence with the intent of getting back together with Gerry.

The return of Mark brings the 90’s section of the story and Gerry to life.  The 90’s narrative has been one of a certain grayness and enervation.   With the return of Mark, it’s the anger, pain, and emotion that comes roaring back to life in Gerry that starts to be a match for all the action, decadence, overindulgence, and high emotion of the 70’s scenes and events.  That anger, pain, and rage  propels Gerry into action making the connection between the readers and the storyline snap firmly in place for the duration of the story.

I thought Henley’s characterizations worked extremely well,  no matter what time frame they happened to be in at the moment.  Young Gerry aka the Faun’s very youth and actions ooze innocence and new passion, and its that unformed outlook on life that get’s schooled in the most raw, blinding manner possible by the man he loves.  Mark aka Maxx’s character works well as the over indulged rockstar losing himself to the persona he and the manager have created.  The 70’s characterization of Mark works so believably because we see so much of him and his actions through the relationship dynamics with Gerry and the “support/hangers on” that surround them.

Unfortunately, when Mark disappears from Gerry’s story, his lack of presence for most of the 90’s section reduces our knowledge of the older Mark to the detriment of the novel.  We are “told” what happened to him, and that manner of narrative distances the reader from Mark as well as reduces our connection to him and his reunion with Gerry.  To make the love between Mark and Gerry sing with all the vibrancy and passion of their youth, the readers needs more of the grownup Mark and his journey towards adulthood and responsibility for himself and his actions.   We get that with Gerry and for balance  and to make this story feel whole, we needed it for Mark as well.  Telling is never any substitute for “doing” or action and that is demonstrated in Baby’s On Fire.

That issue aside, I thought Baby’s On Fire by A.F. Henley a wonderful story and one I recommend.  The emotional journey to love and a HEA for Gerry and Mark brought back to life an era I lived through, sent me running back to pull up Youtube vids of Ziggy Stardust, glitter, and a sexy rock god in all his glory as well as all the fallout and maturation needed to make it through to the 90’s for so many.

Love a rock’n’roll love story?  Need a little more glitter and glam in your life to go along with the romance?  Pick up Baby’s On Fire by AF Henley and make this lovely indulgence your own.

Cover art by Raphael works but yes, I wanted a little more glitter.  Go here for images of David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust.

Sales Links:      Less Than Three Press      All Romance (ARe)     Amazon     Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: May 6th 2015 by Less Than Three Press
original titleBaby’s on Fire
ISBN139781620045398
edition languageEnglish

 

In the Spotlight: AF Henley’s Baby’s On Fire (guest blog and giveaway)

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Babys on Fire Cover

Baby’s On Fire by A.F. Henley
Published by Less Than Three Press
Release Day: May 6, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

A.F. Henley has stopped by with Baby’s on Fire, her latest release.   The author has a giveaway for all of you but first check out Henley’s guest post on Gram Parsons, a talented musician who died way too young but left an enormous impact on the music world…and a writer as well.   Now I’m off to listen to Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris sing Love Hurts…

Babys on Fire Blog Tour Header

Here’s A.F. Henley on Gram Parsons Stolen Corpse:  The Man, The Myth, and The Legend: 

 

A Giveaway and Blog Tour for my newest release… Baby’s on Fire

Welcome to the Baby’s on Fire blog tour and giveaway! For those of you that have already stopped in on the tour, welcome back! For those of you who are joining for the first time, here’s the background info.

Throughout this tour I’m going to be touching on some of the rumors, gossip, and occasionally actual events that took place in the late sixties and early seventies music world. It was a very interesting time: one of experimentation, and of learning and reinventing not only one’s self, but the world around one at the same time. The music industry exploded with new performers and bands that were daring to do things that no one have had the nerve to try before. Some performers got huge. Others, well, they didn’t have quite so much luck.

However, before I get into that, I want to remind everyone that a rumor is a rumor is a rumor, and gossip will never be truth. Even in the case of the most documented, researched, and investigated story, the only people that will know what really happened are the ones that were there.

** Please note that none of these posts are indicative of the main characters or the instances in my novel Baby’s on Fire. They do, however, give a very clear indication of what the MCs would have been experiencing both time-wise and with the reactions/mindset of the people around them.

And so, with that out of the way, I bring you the interesting and somewhat shocking story of:

Gram Parsons’ Stolen Corpse

The Man:BoF AtG BT Post2 STaRW Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons, an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist was born Ingram Cecil Connor III, in Winter Haven, Florida. He developed an interest in music while attending Harvard University and decided to pursue it. In addition to performing as a solo artist, he founded and played with the International Submarine Band (who disbanded before the delayed release of their debut Safe at Home), he performed with The Byrds in 1968 (Sweetheart of the Rodeo album), and then followed fellow Byrd to form The Flying Burrito Brothers in 1969. As a soloist, he popularized what he called “Cosmic American Music”, a blend of country, rhythm and blues, soul, folk, and rock. His career is described by AllMusic as “enormously influential” for the music industry, “blending two genres” (country and rock) “to the point that they became indistinguishable from each other.” Unfortunately, recreational drug abuse culminated in physical weaknesses that resulted in his death in September, 1973 at the young age of twenty-six.

The Myth:

During the early days of his music career, Parsons “fell in love” with the Joshua Tree National Monument (now Joshua Tree National Park) in southeastern California. He spent many weekends in the area with friends, Margaret Fisher and Phil Kaufman. Before the start of his 1973 tour, Parsons decided to go on one more excursion. Accompanying him were Fisher, personal assistant Michael Martin, and Dale McElroy, Martin’s girlfriend. Less than two days after arriving, Parsons was found unresponsive in his bedroom. He had overdosed on morphine and alcohol – revival attempts were unsuccessful.

The story, as sad but predictable as it is, doesn’t end there, though. While Parsons’ body was being readied to be shipped to Louisiana for burial, it disappeared from the Los Angeles International Airport. It seems that before his death, Parsons had said that he wanted his body cremated at Joshua Tree and his ashes spread over Cap Rock. His father, however, had arranged for a private ceremony back in New Orleans and “neglected” to invite any of Parsons’ friends or associates. Apparently, there was an estate involved and his father wasn’t taking any chances.

To fulfill Parsons’ last wishes, Kaufman and a friend stole Gram’s body, borrowed a hearse, and drove it to Joshua Tree. There, they attempted to cremate Parsons’ corpse by pouring five gallons of gasoline into the open coffin and throwing a lit match inside. A huge fireball ensued, police were notified and took chase, and though the two men managed to elude the officers, they were found two days later and charges followed. The site of Parsons’ cremation was marked by a concrete slab, which was overlooked by a large rock flake and is now known to rock climbers as The Gram Parsons Memorial Hand Traverse.

The Legend:

This rumor is, surprisingly enough, completely true. Kaufman and his friend were arrested several days later, and as there was no law against the removal/theft of a dead body, they were merely fined $750 for theft of the coffin.

Parsons’s body was eventually buried in Metairie, Louisiana, although the slab has since been removed by the U.S. National Park Service and relocated to the Joshua Tree Inn. There are no longer any indicators or monuments at Cap Rock to note Parsons’ “cremation,” however dedicated fans regularly assemble their own monuments by way of simple rock structures and passages written on the overhang – which the Park Service, in their infinite consideration, occasionally sandblasts to remove from time to time. Joshua Tree Park Guides are allowed the option of telling Parsons’ story while conducting tours, but there is no official mention in their brochures.

It’s worth mentioning that many of the sites that I researched for this had their own version of this to say with respect to Parsons’ death: Death is a great career move. Mr. Gram Parsons’, Ingram Cecil Connor III, became far more of a legend after his death than he ever did while he lived.

Sad, really. Worst, still, that he didn’t have the rest of his life to see if that would have changed. Gram Parsons’ career truly was one of those stories that were cut way too short. And, at the same time, is one of those stories that we’ve learned from the hard way. Drugs can kill you. And fame is something best enjoyed while one is breathing.

My huge thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me today, and a special thanks to you, my friend, for joining me. 😀

Until next time!

AF Henley ❤

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Baby’s on Fire

In 1974 Gerry Faun gets the break of his life—an opportunity to meet gorgeous, openly bisexual, glam-rock idol Mark Devon. Mark’s world is new, exciting, and Gerry finally gets to explore the side of his sexuality that he’s kept hidden. But the press is everywhere, and when Gerry’s father gets wind of what’s going on behind his back, Gerry ends up on the street. Mark offers to let Gerry come along with the tour and Gerry jumps at the chance. The tour is a never-ending party—and the start of what seems to be a perfect relationship for him and Mark. Until Mark’s manager decides Gerry isn’t worth the trouble he’s stirring up.

In 1994 Gerry is finally coming out of some tough times—he has a job that pays the bills, a car that hasn’t quite broken down, and a small rental in Jersey City. After a decade of barely getting by, if life was as good as it was going to get, Gerry figures he’ll manage just fine. It would be easier if he wasn’t still haunted by the man the media won’t let him forget, the man who stole his heart and then broke it… the man that’s shown up pleading for a second chance.

Gay Contemporary Romance
Copyright © 2015 by A.F. Henley
Published by Less Than Three Press

Please note: Novel contains explicit sexual content.

Purchase Link:  Less Than Three Press – Amazon

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

For what seemed like the hundredth time, the traffic in front of Gerry Faun came to a slow-rolling halt. It was the rain doing the most damage, though the end of the workday was always ugly on the streets of New York City. Not that there were many pretty things on the street, regardless. Giuliani was trying, but the way Gerry had it figured, it was going to take more than a smile and a stand on graffiti and marijuana to clean up their kind of dirt. So while the rest of the city offered the mayor awe-induced stares of appreciation over recollections of Mafia Commission and Boesky trials, Gerry mostly sat back and speculated. When government officials got clever enough to stop assholes from blowing up pregnant secretaries and hard-working fathers, then they might actually get his attention. Until then, Gerry wasn’t putting any more trust in them than he would anybody else. He’d learned a long time ago that not all that glitters is worthy.

He was lost in thought enough not to acknowledge the tunnel. He was, in fact, well into it before he remembered to take off his sunglasses. He forgave himself the digression. It had been a long week. Though Gerry worked in the financial district, he was no more than a glorified yes-man for his boss, a real estate broker that had made a fuck-ton of money in the eighties, and was merely coasting until the inevitable retirement. He ran errands and answered phones. He took messages, and booked flights that he was more than sure did not drop Mr. David Manon in places of business. He made reservations in exclusive restaurants, paid Mr. Manon’s membership fees for a gym the man never went to, and bought Manon’s anniversary and birthday gifts for the wife-of-the-moment. Gerry had a flair for it, or so his boss would tell him whenever the requirement came up, and Gerry was cocky enough to verbally agree with Manon every time. Damn right he was good at it.

Tail lights suddenly flared in front of him and Gerry cursed and slammed his brake pedal down. His eyes flicked between windshield and rearview, assessing space and distance, and he blew a sigh of relief when he confirmed that the guy behind him had been paying more attention than he’d been. Maybe it really was time to give up the car.

He’d heard it a thousand times from friends, family, and casual observers: public transport would not only save him money, but they swore up and down it would save him time. God knew gasoline was getting more expensive by the day, and parking costs in the district were insane. Gerry considered it pretty much every time the numbers went up on the billboards beside the gas stations. One day he would, he’d tell himself. One day for sure. When he could convince himself that walking the six blocks from the bus stop in Jersey’s bitter January winds wouldn’t be as appealing as slitting his own throat with barbed wire. When he got over his control issues.

The side road whereby Gerry’s rental home waited for his return was already jammed with cars, so instead of parking on the street, Gerry carefully worked his 1984 Buick into the tiny concrete pad that served as his driveway. He nudged the car as close to the house as it would go, wincing when the fender butted against the foundation and the ancient bow window above him shook with disapproval. While some of the properties on the street had given up parking for an attempt at a front lawn, Gerry couldn’t see the point of bothering to maintain a six-by-eight square of greenery and have to fight for a place to park every day. Besides, what was the point? In the summer everything got so damn hot that his neighbors’ plants and grass got their lives choked out of them. In the winter, anything that had managed to get a hold on the Earth was quickly destroyed by the cold and the snow.

Looking, he was sure, about as sexy as a maggot trying to escape from a nostril, Gerry inched out from between his car and the base of the entranceway steps. His suit wasn’t worth that much, but it was worth too much to go rubbing it up against rain-mucked concrete or the wet door of a car that hadn’t seen an auto-wash in months. His breath puffed out from between his lips, the rain making October that much colder, and Gerry lifted his eyes to the sky. Dark, ominous clouds roiled in the gray heavens, and Gerry had serious doubts that the light rainfall was all the skies had in store for them.

In the second it took for Gerry to muse, a deep rumble of thunder broke, a distant sheet of lightning answered the call with a flare of brilliance, and the drizzle became a downpour. Without bothering to spit out the curse on his tongue, Gerry ran for the front door. The porch roof did nothing to protect him as the rain whipped against his back and legs, and he had to seat the key twice before it finally dug in and allowed him to open the door.

Dripping, mumbling, Gerry slammed the door behind him with a definitive clunk and flicked the deadbolt. He kicked off his shoes, sighing as small rivers of water raced across the lopsided flooring of the hallway, and he began to peel off of his wet clothes right where he stood. He might as well only drown one part of the house, and at least that particular location was vinyl tile. Most of the house had decades-old carpeting that, when wet, released all kinds of odors. None of them good.

With his wet clothes piled in his arms, Gerry stepped gingerly down the narrow hallway, and ducked into the bathroom. He dumped the armload into the tub, and grabbed a towel off the rack.

He didn’t pause to look in the mirror and fix his hair. The cut was short, short enough in fact that he barely had to brush it, and that always seemed to make his sister chuckle when she saw him. There was a time when God himself wouldn’t have been able to get him to cut his hair—when the arguments with his parents would grow to screaming matches over the bangs in his face and the uneven lengths that fell past his collar. But everybody grew up. Eventually.

Babys on Fire Blog Tour Header

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

On behalf of the tour, please join the giveaway by taking part in the Rafflecopter below. The prize consists of a set of ‘Crystal and Silver’ Glitter Ball Earrings, a $20 Gift Certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market (free books!), and a signed, print copy of Baby’s on Fire.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author. Click through for terms and conditions, further details, and your chance to win! See all the details here:

https://afhenley.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/the-babys-on-fire-all-that-glitters-blog-tour/

** Please note that this giveaway is being offered tour-wide and there will be one winner awarded for the entire event.

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY HERE:

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STRW Author Bio and Contacts

 

AF Henley_Avatar cropped

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.

A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.

Henley has been proudly working with LT3 since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since—an indentured servant to the belief that romance and true love can mend the most broken soul. Even when presented in prose.

Find more here:
Website: http://afhenley.com/
Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/A.-F.-Henley/e/B00FIODWSK/
Publisher’s Page: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/author-a-f-henley/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AFHenley
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AFHenley

A MelanieM Review: Road Trip by A.F. Henley

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

Road Trip CoverAt 35, car mechanic Boyd Matthis is feeling a bit disillusioned if practical about the way his life panned out.  He makes just enough to pay his bills and get by.  But what of the dreams he once had?  On his wall is a faded map of the country with pins pushed into locations he always wanted to visit.  A 60’s muscle car, another dream, would be the ideal ride that takes him out on the trip of a lifetime…all out of reach of Boyd’s finances.  Until a miracle happens.  Boyd finds his dream car for sale at a price he can afford after 15 years of saving and his life changes course.

One  cross country flight later and Boyd has the keys to his new ’69 Roadrunner in hand and the pedal to the metal. He’s got a plan and a time table to meet before he has to be back at his job.  It’s all working out for once.  Until Las Vegas when Boyd runs into Oliver Martin, 24, a young man in trouble trying to return home to Maryland.  Boyd just can’t turn his back on someone in such obvious pain and need of assistance.  Now its two for the road with time to get to know  each other and for affection if not more to settle as they ride east.  But Oliver’s troubles  aren’t over yet as the shadow of Oliver’s past is following behind them.   What happens when the dreams of one man has the potential to change both mens future forever?

A. F. Henley’s  marvelous Road Trip brought up so many emotions and memories for me.  Boyd’s dream car, what is now referred to as a historic vehicle was a car of my youth, along with 8 tracks, wide tires, and  call of  the road trip and the idea that your dreams could be realized somewhere along the way of that smooth, wide asphalt.  It was also a known “next stage” of adolescence.  From a boy and a dog, to a boy and his car, although in my case it was girl and a dog, to girl, dog, and a car.  It didn’t seem to matter that was a Ford Mustang ’65 or in this case a ’69 Plymouth Roadrunner, black on black.  To be the ruler of the road and master of your dreams, your ride needed to be powerful too.

Henley’s Boyd is a weary, good man who has about given up on his dreams.  Boyd has diligently saved for 15 years (at a small salary as a mechanic) to own his own holy grail of cars only to see life with all its mishaps continually reduce the4 savings he put aside to purchase his dream car.  A faded old USA map full of push pins outline a journey to places Boyd has thought about since childhood. Those dreams combined with the 69 Roadrunner encapsulated the hopes and future Boyd once thought he could achieve but are fast slipping away. I loved that Henley’s Boyd feels so familiar and real.   He’s matter of fact about his appearance, good points and bad.  His view of his life is unobscured by filters and he is accepting that his status, as a hardworking gay man of “singular” status might be permanent.  Bars and hookups for Boyd as a thing of his past.  And we get that because Henley’s portrait of a decent, hardworking man is so vivid and believable that Boyd quickly works his way into our hearts.

And then Boyd’s dreams come true and the feeling in these words are almost heartrending in their quiet joy.

…It was so much more than just a car, or just a road trip… It was that thing he’d been planning for, that one thing, and it was finally happening. It didn’t matter that he still rented a falling-down shack while all his buddies were buying houses. It didn’t matter that he didn’t own his own garage or that he had to scrape by on sixteen bucks an hour. He was getting his car. He was fulfilling a dream.

It was that flurry of emotion that gave Boyd the stamina to ignore the oversized man sitting to his left on the plane who snored most of the way there. It was the same rush that stopped him from losing his mind on the irritating woman to his right who kept bumping his arm with her laptop. He’d even been able to turn a blind eye when the brat in front of him kept popping over the seat to stick out his tongue.

When he arrived at the airport, Boyd waited with a patience even he’d been surprised he could manage for the cab that would take him from the airport in San Francisco out to West Sacramento. He didn’t get irate when they got stuck in traffic on the bridge, even though bridges freaked him the hell out— especially ones that seemed as long as small countries were wide. None of it mattered.

None of the tiny issues were going to get in the way of his adventure. He could have charmed demons if he’d needed to. Nothing in life had ever felt so gratifying as the moment when he finally got to stand beside that sweet little machine and call it his; when he got to hold the keys with the garish, dangling eight-ball and claim them. She was perfect.

There we are, in the moment as Boyd stands beside his dream realized, and its feels as powerful and true as if we were Boyd himself.  And it gets better as Boyd and Roadrunner hit the highway, heading for adventure and all those red pin destinations he has dreamed about his entire life.

Of course, Boyd’s intricately laid out plan hits a snag in Las Vegas (perfect place where many dreams go sideways).  There Boyd finds and we meet the second main character to this story, Oliver Martin.   Oliver is a scared, desperate 24 year old who followed his dream to Las Vegas only to see it crumble and try to destroy him.  Now he’s at a dead end at his journey with no hope in sight.  Until Boyd intervenes.  Oliver is another entirely believable personage.  Guarded, wounded, and clearly in need of help he won’t ask for, its a joy for the reader to see his character change and deepen as the men head east towards their respective homes in Syracuse, NY (Boyd’s) and Towson, MD (Oliver’s).   Sometimes such a difference in ages between the characters doesn’t work but it does here.  Oliver gives Boyd a fresh perspective on his vision of the trips and places they see plus Boyd gives Oliver a safe, firm foundation that allows Oliver to start to heal.  Their relationship starts off shaky yet slowly becomes so much more.  I loved that too.

And the third  main character?  Well, the ’69 Plymouth Roadrunner of course, black on black.  From the moment Boyd grasps that key in hand, that car roars to life, becoming as important to their relationship and story as they are.

…It wasn’t just the way the sun glinted off the chrome or the brilliance of the car’s finish; it was the entire aura of the automobile that caught everyone’s attention. It drew people by the dozens, be it at the pier, the beach, or even the Denny’s that Boyd ate breakfast at. The men asked questions they hoped made them sound smart, and the women came to flirt as if the car was some kind of bizarre extension of his cock.

..he was sure that he could make up the time in Vegas. He donned shades against the early evening sun, popped in a cartridge of Del Shannon, turned up the volume, opened both windows wide, and drove the car hard. The engine thrummed and the speakers cooed, both working in time to drown out Boyd’s voice while he tried to hit notes he should not have.

A braided steering wheel, a box full of 8-track cassettes and the open road…and A.F. Henley puts us in the seat next to Boyd where we feel the softness of leather, shield our eyes from blinding light from the chrome and sit back, lulled by the hum of a powerful car doing what it was manufactured to do…complete someone’s dream.  I could have stayed on the road with all three for pages and pages more than their journey ended.

But life and reality catches up with both in Maryland and what followed felt a little rushed and without foundation.  I felt this section of the plot needed a little more fleshing out, whether in background or characters, to bring it up to the wonderful narrative that comes before.  But it does supply a necessary element of drama and helps bring the story to a totally satisfactory conclusion.  I loved this story and all the characters, car included.

I highly recommend that readers take this journey with Boyd and Oliver.  Pick up Road Trip and remember what is feels like to have your dreams come alive and the whole world ready to explore.  I leave you with the images of a car made to fly down our superhighways with the music blaring and you singing at the top of your lungs.
69 Black Plymouth Road Runner

 

Cover artist Natasha Snow did a great job with incorporating important elements in a design that feels timeless.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press     All Romance (ARe)    Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published February 11th 2015 by Less Than Three Press
original titleRoad Trip
ISBN139781620045077
edition languageEnglish

On the Road with A. F. Henley’s Road Trip! (guest blog and giveaway)

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Let’s turn up the music, roll down the windows

and head out on the road

with A. F. Henley!

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A Giveaway and Guest Blog  for my newest release… Road Trip

My Road Trip by A. F. Henley

Is there anything more exciting (and at the same time as nerve-wracking) as the prospect of taking a road trip? If everything goes smoothly, it can be one of the best times of a person’s life – odd places, interesting sights, the freedom of the open road, and the opportunity to experience something brand new. I think the idea calls to those of us who still have some of the wanderer buried deep down under the partitioned, organized, drudgery of day-to-day existence.

I took my own road trip while I was working on Road Trip, although mine was more of the Eastern side of the United States as opposed to Boyd’s journey of ‘sea to shining sea.’ It was crazy exhilarating, at times it was more than a little bit scary (yes, things really are different on the other side of that there border), but I can honestly say that I’ve never felt so empowered by something as simple as taking holidays before. I stopped where I wanted to stop, looked at what I wanted to look at, and if the idea of wondering off my chosen path hit me, I went with it.

I learned a lot as I travelled. For example:

• American border guards art not interested in your sense of humor, thank you very much, please step out of the car.

• The people in New York are either pleasantly content or grumpily hostile, and these two personas can be swapped for the either in less than a second.

• Pennsylvania is beautiful—resplendent in hills and mountains with breathtaking views, full of winding roads and courteous drivers, not to mention all kinds of back-to-nature goodness—and you will spend more time looking at your map thinking, how can I possibly not be through this state YET?!, because of it.

• Maryland is a super cool state to travel through because you get to mark off an entire state in what seems like the blink of an eye.

• When something goes wrong on the roads in Virginia, it goes very, very wrong. (By the time I arrived at my destination I had coined, and already begun overusing the phrase, “I blame Virginia for everything.”)

• The Outer Banks in North Carolina is where I will someday go to die. For all the right reasons.

• Unless I end up in Tennessee, as it is almost as beautiful as NC but doesn’t have those super-icky beach bugs. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t have the super-awesome beach.

• There are vending machines in the U.S. for almost everything, including placing food orders (and, apparently, hospital scrubs?!). This makes me far more wary than it probably should. Nothing says technological advancement like the slow but steady removal of human beings from damn near every process known to mankind. One day we’ll have a society with nothing left but the robotics and the government… And there, see? I have digressed. Because that is a story for another time.

See, the most important thing I learned along the way was that there is a whole heck of a lot of truth to the adage that the expedition is just as important (if not more) than where you end up. And if life truly is a journey and not a destination, then I’ll happily take mine behind the wheel of my car, with the sun through the windshield and the radio blasting, any day.

Speaking of the radio blasting… how’s about a playlist to carry us through the rest of the tour?

Until next time! ❤

Blurb & Cover for Road Trip!Road Trip Cover

For as long as Boyd can remember, he’s been pushing pins into a map. Carson City, Las Vegas, Albuquerque—all places he wants to see, for a dozen different reasons that wouldn’t mean a thing to anyone else. When he finally gets a chance to purchase the ’69 Road Runner of his dreams, at a price that even he can manage, Boyd jumps at the opportunity.

Oliver seems like just another kid with a broken dream when their paths cross in Vegas. Against Boyd’s better judgment, he offers to let Oliver hitch along for the ride when Oliver confides the need to get out and get gone.

But it’s not long before Boyd realizes Oliver’s reasons for running are more complicated—and more dangerous—than Oliver let on. But Boyd doesn’t like people who play hardball, and he definitely doesn’t like people messing with a man who’s managed to light a fuse that Boyd forgot he had.

Gay Contemporary Romance
Copyright © 2015 by A.F. Henley
Published by Less Than Three Press

Please note: Novel contains some explicit content.

Purchase Link:   Less Than Three Press

Excerpt

It was just another day—just another twenty-four hour period between all the rest of them. Sure, thirty-five years prior, Boyd’s mother had been forcing out a nine-pound, some-odd-ounces mound of entirely unimpressed infant from the depths of her lady parts, but Boyd figured that was an event that should win her more kudos than it should him. As far as celebrating his birthday went, Boyd’s big plan was the acquisition of a bottle of Jim Beam, followed by the slow-but-steady process of sipping himself into an alcohol-induced stupor.

It hadn’t taken long for thirty-five to catch up to him, and it was one of those birthdays where three and a half decades hit like seven. His back ached from sprawling on cold concrete for too many hours. His finger joints burned from years of gripping air tools and turning wrenches. He was bitter and disillusioned, tired and worn out, and doing his best not to lament over the possibility that life truly was as good as it was going to get.

Until he saw the email.

The auto trader website had promised the best deals in the country delivered directly to one’s inbox, free of charge. Simply enter some personal info, vehicle preferences, and wait. Boyd had been a member for almost four years, but it had got to the point where most of the ‘awesome’ notifications were marked and deleted before they were even read. This one had pictures, though, and even if it would take his ancient computer several minutes to chug them into existence, opening it would mean Boyd could live vicariously with somebody else’s chromed baby for a few moments.

The car was a beauty. The body was mint, the engine supposedly ran like a clock, and it was drive-away ready. So when he saw the price, Boyd almost ignored it. A typo, he assumed. Someone forgot a one. An asking price of six-point-two was unheard of. He even went so far as to close and delete the email, to shut down his computer, locate his keys, and head for the front door before he reconsidered. Because, what if…?

What if finally…?

The Giveaway

On behalf of the tour, please join the giveaway by taking part in the Rafflecopter below. The prize consists of a Vintage ‘Chrome’ and Leather Road Runner Key Fob (can you say awesome Father’s Day Gift?), a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market (free books!), and a signed, print copy of Road Trip (when available). Click through for terms and conditions, further details, and your chance to win! See all the details here

** Please note that this giveaway is being offered tour-wide and there will be one winner awarded for the entire event. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Author Bio :

AF Henley_Avatar cropped

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.

A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.

Henley has been proudly working with LT3 since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since—an indentured servant to the belief that romance and true love can mend the most broken soul. Even when presented in prose.

You can find or follow A. F. Henley here:
Website: http://afhenley.com/
Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/A.-F.-Henley/e/B00FIODWSK/
Publisher’s Page: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/author-a-f-henley/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AFHenley
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AFHenley