Baby’s On Fire by A.F. Henley
Published by Less Than Three Press
Release Day: May 6, 2015
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…
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
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.
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.
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 ❤
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
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.
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:
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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:
Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/A.-F.-Henley/e/B00FIODWSK/
Publisher’s Page: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/author-a-f-henley/