4 Stars, A.F. Henley, Genre Romance, Less Than Three Press, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: Baby’s on Fire by A.F. Henley

Title: Baby’s on Fire

Author: A.F. Henley

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: I can’t profess to reading all of AF Henley’s books, but I can say I’ve not read one yet that has disappointed.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: 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.

Dividers

Review: There are so many things I simply adored about A.F. Henley’s Baby’s on Fire. It’s a story of redemption and second chances, at its heart—not necessarily a new motif in romantic fiction, but the circumstances around which Gerry Faun and Mark Devon loved and lost were unique to them, a bit nostalgic and even somewhat tragic, and that, I very much enjoyed.

At the tender age of twenty, in 1974, Gerry finds himself star-struck by glam rocker Maxx Starlight—think Ziggy Stardust—Mark’s on stage persona. The genesis of Gerry and Mark’s relationship revolves entirely around a chance sexual encounter, one that eventually leads to Gerry losing his family, though Gerry quickly becomes immersed in Mark’s world: an unfortunate calamity of drugs, booze, facade, and duplicity perpetrated by those who are out to use and manipulate the superstar for their own gain.

This story, however, opens in 1994. Gerry, by then, has hit middle age, works a rather mundane 9-to-5 office job, though it pays the bills, and hasn’t seen or heard from Mark Devon in twenty years. Gerry is barely avoiding tumbling over the precipice into a lonely and miserable existence. The reader is engaged from the outset by living his story backwards through flashbacks, as we see an older Gerry juxtaposed with his younger and far more idealistic self. The effect this narrative choice has on the novella is twofold; it teases the story out, the reader knowing the romance between Gerry and Mark had not only failed but failed epically, as well as the added advantage of having the opportunity to see Gerry’s hope and optimism decay toward the disillusionment he still carries around from a past he can’t seem to escape. Nor, in fact, does it seem he really wants to. In these flashbacks, we watch the gradual realization that Gerry’s not only out of his element in Maxx Starlight’s stratosphere, but that he’s also in love with a man who doesn’t seem to know exactly who he is when out of the spotlight. There’s a bit of a “kill your heroes” lesson learned as Gerry, who is at first awed and worshipful of the glitter and glamour Maxx exudes, sees the image tarnish by degrees while he learns his love for Mark doesn’t shine nearly as bright as the money and the stardom.

As the bitter overtakes the sweet from present to past and back to the present, the past comes back to call on Gerry, a call he’s none too happy or willing to answer. Mark is looking for forgiveness and another chance to do right by the man he’d betrayed two decades before, a private failure that overshadowed nearly every surface of his public success. This was the point of total emotional engagement in the story for me, as Henley doesn’t make this reunion in any way easy. Gerry harbors so much hurt and resentment toward Mark for abandoning him in what he came to believe was their one-sided love affair, a resentment we eventually see as the pain of that abandonment seeping through the knowledge he’d never truly stopped loving his betrayer.

While the greater part of the resolution of conflict between Gerry and Mark takes place off-page, something I’d have preferred to see play out in more intimate detail, the satisfaction comes from those twenty years not simply being swept under the proverbial rug. While we don’t see the slow repair of Gerry’s heart, we are given a timeline of the building of this new and more solidly grounded relationship, which eventually leads to a sweet and heartwarming end.

I can’t profess to reading all of A.F. Henley’s books, but I can say I’ve not read one yet that has disappointed. Baby’s on Fire is no exception, and would recommend it when you’re in the mood for a not-quite-contemporary, not-quite-historical romance that makes its couple work for their happy ending.

TNA_Signature_Lisa






You can pre-order Baby’s on Fire here:

All Romance eBooks

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4 Stars, A.F. Henley, Genre Romance, Less Than Three Press, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: The Chase and the Catch by A.F. Henley

Title: The Chase and the Catch

Author: A.F. Henley

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Pages/Word Count: 192 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: After one of his fans committed suicide, John lost everything: lover, confidence, drive. When he is given a chance to get back on his feet, he is happy to take it—even if it’s just writing an actor’s biography. It might not be romance, or even fiction, but it’s something, and there are worse people to work for than the charming, successful Parker Chase. Continue reading

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A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

Excerpt and Giveaway: The Chase and the Catch by A.F. Henley

AF Henley_TCTC Blog Tour ImageI personally love excerpt and giveaway posts. For one thing, I have a hard time coming up with clever and interesting things to talk about. One can only poke one’s friends so often for ideas before said friends start telling you to leave them the heck alone. For another, it’s the story I like to hope we’re all here for… what’s it about? Who are the main characters? What is it these characters want to tell us with their story?

That being said, there’s not a lot of fun in reading the same post over and over again. So, I thought what might be cool is taking the opportunity to, one post at a time, introduce the characters of The Chase and The Catch to you. Continue reading

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3 Stars, A.F. Henley, Genre Romance, Less Than Three Press, Reviewed by Tina

A Man Begins The Climb Up From Rock Bottom In A.F. Henley’s “Forty-Two Stairs”

Title: Forty-Two Stairs

Author: A.F. Henley

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Pages/Word Count: 174 Pages

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb: Owen has been struggling with addiction since he was a teenager, but it takes a DUI involving another vehicle for him to finally face his issues. The road to recovery is a rough one, and for Owen it’s a journey made harder by bankruptcy, loneliness, and repressed memories. Continue reading

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A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

A.F. Henley Joins Us Today On The “Forty-two Stairs” Blog Tour And Giveaway


A huge thanks to The Novel Approach for having me by today to talk about my upcoming release titled Forty-two Stairs.

It’s been said that sometimes a person has to lose everything they’ve ever wanted, to understand what it is they actually need. In Forty-two Stairs, Owen is all too familiar with loss. He lost his partner, his home, his job, and his license. He also came way too close to losing his freedom. And the only person Owen has to blame for all that is himself. See … Owen is an alcoholic.
Continue reading

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A.F. Henley, Brita Addams, Daniel A. Kaine, Grace R. Duncan, Kenzie Cade, L. Dean Pace-Frech, Lane Hayes, Poppy Dennison, Rebecca Cohen, Rick R. Reed, Sneak Peek

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week


Hello, folks, I hope you’ve all had an outstanding week. I had the great privilege of spending Saturday working a booth at Indy Pride with authors Jambrea Jo Jones and Lynley Wayne, where we spent the day sharing our love of the M/M Romance genre with the good people of Indianapolis. It was great day!

Now, here’s what’s on tap for the week ahead.

MondayLane Hayes kicks off the week with a giveaway on the Better Than Friends Blog Tour

TuesdayGrace R. Duncan drops by today with a giveaway on the No Sacrifice Blog Tour, with an article on bisexuality

Brita Addams is also here with a guest article on disembodied body parts in writing

WednesdayDaniel A. Kaine is our guest today, with an interview and giveaway on the Slasherazzi Blog Tour

A.F. Henley is also here today, with a giveaway and guest post on the Forty-two Stairs Blog Tour

ThursdayPoppy Dennison wants to share some memories and photos from the UK Meet with us today

Rick R. Reed is also with us today, as he kicks off what will be the first of his monthly visits as a new guest contributor to The Novel Approach—Rick R. Reed – True Confessions

FridayRebecca Cohen will be sharing a giveaway with you today on the Crofton Chronicles Blog Tour

SaturdayKenzie Cade stops in today with an interview and giveaway on the Son of a Fish Blog Tour

SundayDean Pace-Frech is making the rounds, and we’re happy to have him back as our guest today to close out the week

Until next week, happy reading!

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A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

The “Second Star to the Right” Is Where You’ll Find Love


“For to have faith is to have wings.” ― J.M. Barrie


Title: Second Star to the Right

Author: A.F. Henley

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Pages/Word Count: 43000 Words

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Be it unrequited fascination with his straight best friend or impossible fantasies of rekindled interest with his heartbreaking ex, Mason has no clue why the perfect connection seems to keep slipping through his fingers. When another lonely holiday seems like too much weight to shoulder, Mason gives up on romance and seeks out the next best thing—rented company. Jack is everything a person could want in an escort: willing, hot, and built like an angel.
Continue reading

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A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

AF Henley’s “Second Star to the Right” Blog Tour Lands Here Today, And There’s A Giveaway


Welcome to the new visitors of the tour, and hello again to my returning friends. As I’ve been explaining throughout, Second Star to the Right is a romance story about a man seeking to define himself, an escort caught between the desire to find connection yet keep himself grounded, and how the brilliance of love can be the brightest light in dark skies if we’re willing to let it burn.

So… in an effort to attempt something a little different for this blog tour, I decided it might be cool to connect with you, the reader, and explain how I define myself. I sent out a call, asking “Inquiring Minds” to throw some questions at me, and offered to do my best to answer them. Let’s light up the sky together, and hopefully have a little fun in the process…

(Be sure to read through to the end for details on the release, as well as a chance to WIN your very own ebook copy.)

vinvalen asks: As someone incredibly prolific in your writing, I always wonder where you find your inspiration! <3

Henley replies: First of all, thank you. That’s very nice of you to say so. Some days I feel more prolific than others, most certainly. As for your question, I don’t get inspiration from any one thing. I wish I did – that way I could just hit up whatever it is whenever I’m looking for a mental boost. Inspiration can come in the form of a person that I know, a problem that I’m dealing with, a prompt from a friend or an open call, a picture of a man with a seemingly happy smile but hauntingly sad eyes, something from my past that’s started to gnaw at me from out of the blue, or a set of stairs that gives me a moment’s pause. If it hits, it’s stuck there until I finally write “The End.” And on the other side of things, if there’s nothing, man, oh man, there is nothing. I can’t force an idea to grow.

I tend to feel like I just wander along with an open mind and something in the Universe throws out a story tentacle, and then forces that tentacle up one of my nostrils whether I’m interested in it or not. For example, I used to swear that I’d never write about vampires. I, obviously, was a great big ‘ol liar. More recently I sat down and wrote an eighteen-hundred-word plot synopsis for a new novel, start to finish, about characters I’d never thought about, in a world I didn’t know, and a story that I couldn’t even figure out the point of until I wrote the last line.

Drawboy7 asks: You just typed the very last word of a new novel. What are your thoughts then?

Henley replies: There is a ridiculous amount of relief in typing out the words “The End.” It is, however, a short-lived moment of gratitude. Once you’ve been through the process once or twice, and you have a handle on what happens next, you know, in that moment, that the next few weeks are going to be emotional hell.

See… the elation of completion is immediately followed by the self-loathing that takes place while you run through your own personal editing process, and do your best to convince yourself that it’s not all a bunch of hogwash. Or, if necessary, that it is and needs some major revision.

That feeling is quickly replaced by the angst of submitting. Waiting for a reply can be all-consuming and gut-wrenching. (God, they have some issues with it. No, they don’t like it. They actually hate it. They hate me. They hate my whole family! Why do I do this for a living? I’m obviously terrible at it! Oh, hey, is that an email…)

Then comes the official editing process. Now, I’ve been lucky. I’ve had supportive, considerate, reasonable editors. However … I also have a tendency to, well … wax poetically. As the gods are my witness, nothing slices deeper in the soul of a creator than the emotional turmoil of having to accept the beheading of one’s flowery prose. (See what I mean?)

After that comes tour planning, blog writing, dealing with those first few reviews … Terrifying process start to finish. Knowing what’s coming next can definitely put on an edge on the joy of finishing your newest work.

Christopher D asks: Do you have any causes that are near and dear to you?

Henley replies: Cause (noun): a principle, aim, or movement that, because of a deep commitment, one is prepared to defend or advocate. (Thank you, Google.)

That’s a surprisingly tough question to answer. Mostly because my “causes” tend to jump from day to day, depending on whatever’s got me riled most at that given moment. In other words, there are a lot of things I’d be more than happy to pick up a sign for. The problem with causes though, is that I’ve got to an age where the black and white of my beliefs have bled into grey. I can’t stand on a soapbox and scream about things without pointing out that there is, indeed, a level of responsibility and some kind of a cap to how far things can be pushed. For example, I’m all for freedom of speech, as long as your speech isn’t hateful or destructive to somebody else. I think everyone should have the right to live their life as they see fit – as long as they aren’t hurting anyone or anything in the process. Worship the God of your choice, but don’t try and shove your beliefs down anybody else’s throat. I could go on… but I promise, I won’t.

That being said, if I was standing in front of some kind of pearly gate, and being asked to recant the things I did to make the world a better place, to recite the principle aim that I committed myself to, I’d probably tell the petulant angel staring at me over the rim of his glasses, that I chose to preach the gospel of Universal Connection and do my best to offer the world a tiny taste of romance to the tune of “Happily Ever After.”

Bet you weren’t expecting an answer quite that cheesy, were you? :D

Second Star to the Right
By AF Henley

Be it unrequited fascination with his straight best friend or impossible fantasies of rekindled interest with his heartbreaking ex, Mason has no clue why the perfect connection seems to keep slipping through his fingers. When another lonely holiday seems like too much weight to shoulder, Mason gives up on romance and seeks out the next best thing—rented company. Jack is everything a person could want in an escort: willing, hot, and built like an angel.

Mason can’t resist. After all, who wouldn’t be interested in a guy who loves kid’s movies, is a self-professed Peter Pan, and has no problem throwing caution to the wind at a moment’s notice. But then interest quickly blooms into a whole new emotion—an emotion that Mason knows far too well, especially when Jack has no interest in returning it, preferring to keep his heart safely tucked away in Neverland.

• Word count: 43,000
• Pairing: M/M
• Content: Contains some explicit content.

Purchase Link

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 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 me at:

AFHenley.com
Goodreads
Less Than Three Press
Amazon
twitter

The Giveaway:

As a thanks for reading, I’m offering up an ebook copy of Second Star to the Right, in the format of the winner’s choice. Simply leave a comment below to be entered in the draw.

And! As an extra bonus! All participators in the blog tour giveaway will AUTOMATICALLY BE ENTERED in a future-dated contest for a signed print copy of the novel, and a genuine Swarovski pendant, hand-picked for Second Star to the Right significance. Stay tuned to any of the above-referenced AF Henley sites for details.

Rules:

• Please ensure The Novel Approach has a way to notify you of the win.
• Contest is open from now until March 2nd, 2014.
• Winner will be picked using a random number generator.
• By commenting below you guarantee that you are legally able to accept the prize.

~*~

A huge thank you to The Novel Approach for having me today, as well as to the readers, friends, associates, and followers who stopped by to take part. Here’s hoping you have an awesome and adventurous day. And off we go…

THE E-BOOK CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

:D

AF Henley <3

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A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

AF Henley Is Here With Us Today With “the Gift” And A Gift!



Man, oh man, but I do love the idea of magic. (I know, who doesn’t, right?) After all, there are just so many perks that come with it – power, glory, security. Sure, there are also those nasty little side dishes of responsibility and selflessness, but those are merely expectations as opposed to requirements. We’ve all read enough villains in our time to know that not everybody picks the side of good when it comes to magic.

I’m not really surprised by that concept, either. Vices have a much stronger pull than virtues. They’re seductive little beasts. They sit back in velvet thrones and mumble intriguing scenarios like: sure, being good is its own reward, but you know what also makes a damn good reward? Money. Fame. Importance. The terrified servitude of millions.

Or, something like that… I try not to listen too closely.

My point being, that more often than not, it seems like the path towards the dark is a simple step, while the way towards the light is chock-full of sacrifice and suffering. This is probably where I’m supposed to point out that the rewards of the soul are far more sustaining than the rewards of mankind. Or offer some kind of prophetic sermon about how the more difficult the journey, the greater the prize when you reach your destination.

But, sometimes… well… sometimes it gets hard.

Hard as in: man-this-is-cumbersome-and-burdens-my-soul kind of way, folks. Get your minds out of the gutter. (Just kidding, I love the gutter. I have shares in Gutter Inc., I’m sure of it.)

This is the struggle faced by the main character, Doren, in the Gift. It’s also the same premise that his love interest, August, has to face. While Doren is offered all the benefits that fame and fortune can grant, August is offered the power to manipulate and chain someone’s heart. These are slippery slopes our boys tread on, indeed, but having the right people on one’s side when the time comes to start making decisions and weighing consequences, sure does help a whole hell of a lot…

the Gift
by AF Henley

Exclusive Excerpt for The Novel Approach

It was only by the grace of a power mightier than all of them that when Doren walked into the lobby, there was no one else there but the desk clerk. His eyes were red from tears. His hands were still bloody. He was exhausted, physically and emotionally, and it was hard to force his steps to continue bringing him forward.

But the clerk looked up and smiled, and Doren could swear that there was gratitude shining in the man’s eyes, maybe even pride.

“Ah! Doren, sir! What a pleasure to see you’ve made it back!”

Doren watched, swaying softly, unwilling to expend the energy to form words.

“You’ve had a busy night then, I take it?”

Again, silence followed the man’s question.

The clerk, however, didn’t seem to mind. He walked slowly around the desk and leaned towards Doren,
cautiously, before grabbing Doren’s shoulder in an effort to steady Doren’s body. Doren gave in to the fatigue and slumped against him. “There, there, sir,” the clerk said, patting Doren’s shoulder. “You’re going to be just fine now. Just fine indeed.” The clerk reached around and slipped his hand around Doren’s clasped one.

Doren looked at the juncture of both their arms and it took him a full minute to realize he had the CD clutched in his grip. When? How? He didn’t recall grabbing it from the car … yet there it was … back to haunt him, back to steal him away again. Horrified, Doren looked up at the clerk, questioning the man with his eyes as if the answers ought to be right there.

He smiled at Doren’s expression, but the look was full of kindness, as if to a child. “How’s about you just give that to me? I’ll take care of that for you.” The clerk pulled at Doren’s fingers, forcing Doren to release the grip that he himself could not seem to shake, and when the CD finally left Doren’s hand, a shivery sigh passed his lips.

An enormous weight lifted from Doren’s shoulders, tears flooded his eyes, and he looked up gratefully at the man who, at that moment, seemed very near to Christ-like.

“Now,” the clerk continued, slipping the blood-smeared CD out of sight on the desk. “Perhaps you have
someone you would like to check in on, hmm?”

Fear, then guilt, flooded Doren’s expression, unleashing memories he would have just as soon forgotten. “August,” he moaned, lurching from the clerk and down the hall.

Buy your copy of the Gift here: Purchasing Link

Blurb:

Doren was born with a powerful gift – a gift he’s managed to use to put him well on his way to becoming a star. But there is more to that gift than just musical talent, and as careful as Doren is to hide that fact, there are some who know of the power behind the sound, and all the ways they could abuse it.

August’s goal in life is simple: make an impact in the music industry. An opportunity to work as the personal assistant to Doren seems to be exactly the kind of break he needs to accomplish that goal.

But all too often in life, simple becomes just another complication, especially when there are people whose goal is even simpler: destroy and dominate.

Word Count: 89,000
Pairing: M/M
Content: Contains some explicit content

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 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.

Comments, kudos, and signature card requests are happily received at AFHenley.com.

The Giveaway:

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

And my thanks for reading.

AF Henley <3

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A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

A.F. Henley Delivers A Bit Of The Paranormal In “The Gift”



“The soul is a terrible reality. It can be bought, and sold, and bartered away. It can be poisoned, or made perfect.” – Oscar Wilde


A.F. Henley explores the unexplainable and twists certain absolutes into believable impossibilities in The Gift, a story that’s a blend of Extra Sensory Perfection and the Faustian tale of a man who has the power to become the next big rock ‘n roll star, if he’s willing to play the devil’s game by the devil’s rules.

Doren is the man destined to become a musical legend, a man for whom sound means something other than merely hearing. For Doren, sound means power; it means he can take all the noises he hears and turn them back outward, using them to manipulate objects to do his bidding. And there is someone who wants to harness that power, a man and his coven of accomplices who want to cash in on that gift, to manipulate Doren’s fears, to manipulate his gift and morph it into something evil to set loose on an unsuspecting world—what they don’t expect themselves, however, is that there will be those who can, and will, stand in their way, those whose gifts, when banded together, will be the answer to a desperate need.
Continue reading

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A.F. Henley, Backlist Book Bump, Less Than Three Press

AF Henley Is Doing The Baclkist Book Bump, With A Giveaway Of “Inflori”!



If asked which of my novels is my favourite one, I always say the same thing: I have no favourite — each and every one of my novels tell a different story, a story that was important to me at the time, and, as such, they each have their own special spot on the bookshelf of my soul. Be it the premise of “we can’t choose whom we fall in love with,” or the struggle of obstacles seemingly far too high to scale, or the darker concept of having to make choices that tend towards the lose-lose scenario, I have a hard time writing lover-meets-lover/lover-wins-lover simplicity. Fucked up characters, putting themselves in bad situations, seems to have become the script-du-jour for me.

That’s not a bad thing — not for me, anyway. I’ve read other authors who get quite righteous in their indignation that the characters they write have nothing to do with them or their life. I, however, will resolutely, albeit somewhat ashamedly, admit that is not the case for me. I do, without doubt, expose the dirty little secrets of my heart on the pages of my stories, regardless of whether the concept is placed within plain sight to the reader or not. That kind of story tends towards the dark because, let’s face it, life is hard.

However …

“Choose (a) book to bump,” the Novel Approach asked me, “then … tell a little bit about why that book is special,” and for all the pontification that I do about how I have no favourites, my reply came without hesitation. Înflori.

I could have just spilled a couple of paragraphs about how Înflori was the first M/M novel that I wrote with serious consideration to publication. I could have rambled about how your first love is always the one that burns brightest in your memory. But that would have been white-washing the truth behind Înflori‘s existence. (And truth, no matter how hard you try to bury it, or how long you wear a mask over top of it, will never let you forget how you have let it down.)

Înflori was conceived with a simple question about a short story that I posted entitled Proteja. I paraphrase, but the question was something along the line of, “How in the hell did these two ever meet?” Good question, considering the differences between the two main characters. And I had no answer for it. So I started fumbling along the path of “how” to backtrack these two men’s steps and find a proper reply. You see, Nicolæ is no mere figment of my imagination. And when Nicolæ asks one a question, one best be prepared to offer him up an answer. Lest he visit you in the night and remind you by means of beheaded, yet somehow-still-hopping toads, that he’s patiently waiting to hear from you.

That’s why Înflori is special to me. It was a reply from my subconscious mind to a question posed from somebody valuable, and it became a journey of self-discovery that reminded me why I started writing in the first place — to prove the existence of love in the screwed up heart, mind, and soul of the every-man. The story sorted out the structure of how things don’t have to be perfect for them to work; that the effort and dedication a person gives to a relationship is the true definer of how much love exists underneath the sex and the fluff. You can offer a million rewards, but until you offer up your whole heart, you haven’t made an offer worthy of acceptance.

Thanks for reading,

AF Henley <3

Înflori
by AF Henley
Published by Less Than Three Press
M/M Contemporary Romance

Dustin gave up on being worthy of anyone’s affections a long time ago, drowning his problems in substance abuse and meaningless encounters. He has learned it’s better to avoid love altogether than risk the inevitable moment when it all comes crashing down.

Nicolæ has neither eyesight nor excess, but he does have a wealth of family and intuition. He is nothing that Dustin would have anticipated in a potential lover, but the more Dustin discovers, the more he finds himself willing to accept the risk – even if his conscience and the people in his life keep warning him away.

Purchase Link

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THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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A.F. Henley, A.J. Corza, Hayden Thorne, Jordan L. Hawk, Kaje Harper, Rhys Ford, Rick R. Reed, Sneak Peek, Susan Mac Nicol

And Now, Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week



Happy Sunday, gang, I hope it’s been an outstanding week for all of you. Or at least that the reading has been good. That alone can make up for a lot. ::nods:: :)

We’ve got another great week ahead, seven fun-filled days of giveaways, interviews, articles, and, of course, reviews galore just for you. So stay tuned, and take a look at what we’ve got in store for you at The Novel Approach.

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MondaySusan Mac Nicol will be here to talk a little bit about her latest novel, Saving Alexander, and she’ll also be offering a reader’s choice giveaway to a few lucky readers.

TuesdayJordan L. Hawk is back for a visit, doing a little Backlist Book Bumping in anticipation of the third book in the Whyborne & Griffin series, Stormhaven. Rumor has it there’ll be a Widdershins giveaway.

Wednesday – Today Rhys Ford wants to give you a Dirty Kiss. Or at least a few books, how’s that? She’ll be here to do a Backlist Book Bump and to offer one lucky reader the chance to win all three books in the Cole McGinnis Mystery series, plus a T-Shirt.

And, of course, as always A.J. Corza will be here to share some cover love with us, this time from the Master of the Macabre, Mr. Stephen King.

Thursday – It’s Rick R. Reed’s turn to do the Backlist Book Bump for his EPIC Award winning novel Orientation. Will there be a giveaway? Yes, yes there will.

FridayA.F. Henley will be our guest in the Backlist Book Bump project, with Înflori, and guess what? There’s also a giveaway of the book to a lucky reader.

SaturdayKaje Harper visits today with a Backlist Book Bump of her book Unacceptable Risk. Will there be a giveaway? You’ll have to tune in to see for yourself.

And finally, to wrap up our week here at TNA—

SundayHayden Thorne will be popping in on The Weeping Willow Blog Tour, and she’s offering one lucky reader the chance to win the book.

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And that’s a wrap for the week ahead. Until next Sunday, happy reading!

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A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

AF Henley’s Giveaway Is “Thicker Than Water”



Thicker Than Water
by: AF Henley
M/M Romance
Coming October 9, 2013, with Less Than Three Press
Novella for the Proud to be Vampire Collection

In a world now weakened with vampire presence, Ladomer’s first experience with one of the creatures was a harsh, life-changing event that fueled his hatred towards the beasts. When a hunter joins his village to fight off the vampire’s nest Ladomer is drawn to the man in a way that surprises him. Forcing himself into Zor’s life is not an easy process nor is it met with Zor’s approval. Yet as the years slide past, Ladomer and Zor become more than mere hunters fighting alongside one another. They become partners. They become lovers.When a new quest calls their attentions deeper into the belly of Eastern Europe, Ladomer gets a new appreciation for just how cold and cruel the vampires can be. Face to face, human to vampire, both are about to gain new understandings into the differences between an oath and a vow. More so, they are about to realize that one does not necessarily need a beating heart to crave love’s existence within it.

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Author: A.F. Henley

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.

Comments, kudos and signature card requests are happily received at afhenley.com.

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The Giveaway:

In celebration of the release of Thicker Than Water, and to thank The Novel Approach Reviews for allowing me to get the word out, I’ve decided to try something a little different … everyone who leaves a comment will be entered in a draw for a one month serial subscription to Less Than Three Press. (What is this? Here: check it out.)

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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FAQs:

Is Thicker Than Water a serial fiction post, then? No, it is not. It’s a novella that’s part of a collection. It is available for purchase as a stand alone novella, or as a part of the entire collection.

Do you have any serial fictions that I could read if I won? Yes. As a matter of fact, Rockaybe begins its run on October 30th. It, as well as many other fantastic serials, would be be available for your viewing pleasure.

How long does the subscription run for? One month. And if you love it, and decide you can’t live without it, LT3 has some very reasonable rates to continue your subscription.

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A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

Blood And Love And Adventure Are “Thicker Than Water”



“Every dystopia is masked by a utopia.” ― Rose Lovejoy



I have never read anything from this author, but was really interested in reading this story after reading the blurb. Vampires are not friendly in this book, they don’t sparkle, they don’t want to be your friend, they want you for their next meal. They are nasty, evil creatures who must be destroyed.

This is a short story, set in the future. The year 2219. Ladomer and Zor are two very different people who came together under dire circumstances. Ladomer, blamed by his family for the death of his brother is cast out and left on his own. Zor, a vampire hunter who saves Ladomer’s village is pursued by Ladomer to join him on his hunts. Together they set out to destroy vampires and try to save the human race.
Continue reading

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A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

And Now An Interlude With AF Henley… And There’s A Giveaway!

Huge thanks to The Novel Approach for hosting me today. It is an honour and a pleasure to be here.

To bastardize a famous quote(1), there are a million romance stories in the world, mine is but one. It truly is the same old process: person meets person and those two people fall in love. The prose is as old as time itself, as overdone as my grandmother’s lasagna, and yet somehow the need to read, write, watch, or listen never seems to fade away. So how to present this format, this already massively represented genre, in a way that will continue to pull in readers? It’s a question I struggle with. On one side of the equation, anything too similar becomes tiresome. In other words, if there was an actual formula to follow, readers would have already become sick of it and moved on. Yet at the same time, there’s a distinct *thing* about romance that draws people in, so an author has to keep somewhat consistent with expectations.

I try a couple of things to keep my characters offside of the norm. One thing I’m very fond of is writing characters with flaws. They are however, traits that I consider to be “realistic character-isms.” In life, people do things they aren’t proud of, things that are ingrained into their nature by reason of past experiences or negative beliefs. My characters will root through people’s cupboards. They’ll make regrettable choices. They will let fear of reprisal and societal expectations take too strong a hold. They make other characters feel bad, and occasionally forgo trust for suspicion. Because as good of a person as we all like to believe that we are, many of us, if not most of us, have done the same along the way.

Another path my MCs tends to take is what my mother used to refer to as “the long way around.” Basing fiction off real life yet again, I try to imply that my characters, even in a moment of epiphany, may not have completely learned their lesson. Issues don’t get solved over night. People don’t do one-eighties ninety percent of the time. I’ve often joked that there’s a reason people confuse the term “one-eighty” with “three-sixty.” More often than not we find ourselves right back at the point from whence we started and have to start all over again. I try to leave my characters in a state of learning and considering rather than suggest that they are reborn and newly-saint-like.

Ian’s hands were shaking as he fumbled the key into his ignition. “Can I buy you a drink?” he’d asked, still panting from release, still trying to convince his legs that he could, in fact, remain standing.

“Nope,” Jordan had said, tucking away body parts and straightening his clothes. “Now you can piss off.”

It had caught Ian off guard. It shouldn’t have; Jordan had made it more than clear what the game was. But his tongue hadn’t stopped even though his brain had begged it to. “Maybe your number? I could call you sometime?”

Jordan had just shook his head, clicked his belt closed and unlocked the door. “Nope.”
Ian had stood alone for a long minute, willing breath and heartbeat back to normality while cock had softened and Ian’s confidence had died just a little more.

He’d tried to stop at the bar for a drink. To kill the trembling. To quiet the nervous hitch in his guts. The shot just made it worse.

So when he finally laid his head back against the seat of his car and stared into the rear-view mirror, his mind’s eye replaced his own brown pair with the blue eyes of his ex and he sighed. “Madison, I’ll never figure you out.”

Because how could a person want this? What was the point to a random encounter? Where was the attachment, the meaning?

Or was he the crazy one? The only person on the face of the earth that actually felt worse after blowing a load into a willing stranger? Maybe he was the anomaly.

“Fuck,” Ian hissed, shaking his head at his reflection. With gritted teeth and a headache starting in his temples, Ian slammed the car into reverse, revved the engine and peeled out of the parking lot.

If a protagonist is filled with realistic shortfalls and issues then they are, at the very least, relatable. And if they are, in fact, relatable then what a cool thing it is to watch them begin the journey of self-realisation and adjustment. After all, if they can do it, maybe we can too. If I can ignite the hope that true love just might be waiting for us at the far end of this tunnel we call existence; suggesting that there’s a possibility that in spite of flaw, with the help of the Universe and perseverance, we can find success with the hand we’ve been dealt … well, then my job here is complete. :)

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Sonata
by A.F. Henley

Publisher: Less Than Three Press
44,000 words
M/M Contemporary Erotic Romance

At thirty-six Ian feels done with the world. When a night at a bar goes as poorly as expected, he wants only to return home to be miserable in peace. Instead, he encounters Jordan. Hot, young and interested, Jordan is everything Ian’s ever wanted and nothing he believes himself capable of actually obtaining.

Jordan has enough going on in his life trying to scrape together a living for himself and his autistic son. When he meets Ian, all he wants is a brief, erotic moment and nothing else.

But fate throws them together again and again, and Ian finds himself determined to do whatever it takes to give their story a happy ending – no matter what secrets Jordan’s past has waiting for him.

Purchase Sonata here

The Giveaway:

What’s your personal take on flawed characters? Do you prefer Mr. Perfect as your main character or do you go for Mr. Needs-To-Work-On-It? What flaws do you hate to read about and what are the ones that get to your heart each time? I’d love to hear what you think. All commenters will be entered into a draw for a free copy of their choice of my Less Than Three Press publications, including the new release Sonata, in the ebook format that best suits them. Entry Deadline is midnight Pacific Time on Friday, August 9, 2013. The winner will be drawn on August 10, and notified via email.

Here’s hoping that you’re all managing to keep your eyes on the sky and a song in your heart. Thanks for reading.

AF Henley <3

1. The Naked City; Mark Hellinger Productions, Universal Studios, March 1948
“There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”

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A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

Music Is Its Own Language In A.F. Henley’s “Sonata”

“Where words fail, music speaks.” ― Hans Christian Andersen

Ian James is thirty-six years old, working at a job for which the prospects of advancement seem pretty slim, people won’t stop taking advantage of him—or just plain taking him for granted—and he’s just gone through a bad break up with his cheating boyfriend, who finally left him for “Guy #3”.

Suffice it to say that in the major scale of life, Ian’s has hit some pretty sour notes.

Hanging out in bars isn’t his idea of a great time, but that’s exactly where he finds himself the night he meets Jordan, a guy who doesn’t look old enough to drink let alone be in a public bathroom propositioning guys for sex. But, again, that’s exactly where Ian finds himself—in a stall trying to make a personal connection with a guy who just wants to get off and get out, no strings attached. It’s all fairly disheartening and humiliating for Ian, and though he gave Jordan his business card, he’s not holding his breath that he’ll ever hear from the guy again.

And, of course, that’s precisely when the universe decides to chime in. Whether you call it fate, destiny, cosmic interference, coincidence, synchronicity, or just plain old karma, Ian and Jordan’s worlds suddenly shrink to the smallest of spheres, one in which they keep meeting unintentionally, much to Jordan’s resentment, but will eventually discover a bond in Jordan’s son Cole, a boy with a disability that has left him little more than a prisoner within himself.

Cole suffers from Asperger Syndrome, an affliction on the autism spectrum that makes any sort of interaction with him next to impossible, and often leaves the boy in an agitated state of inconsolable chaos. It’s through music that Ian is finally able to make a connection with Cole; it’s through Cole that Ian is finally able to reach Jordan, and it’s not long before Ian finds himself tangled in a wickedly complicated web of lies and evasions that brings Ian, Jordan, and Cole to the brink of crisis.

Sonata is a piece that begins seductively, is tempered with disharmony, and builds to a crescendo that left me more than a little shaken by its twists and revelations before it was done. A.F. Henley sets a measured pace in the telling of this story, one filled with deception and betrayal and falling in love while falling for the lies that build to a frenetic climax, then ends on a sweet note that left me wanting more.

This is a book I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend if you’re looking for a single-sitting-read filled with highs and lows and the in-betweens where love grows.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Sonata here:

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A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

When Blindness Does Not Mean The Inability To See – Înflori by A.F. Henley

Fate controls who walks into your life, but you decide who you let walk out, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go. – Author Unknown

Dustin is a man who can’t seem to get out of his own way. He is a man who performs random acts of blindness to escape the feels he doesn’t want to feel, with a tide of alcohol, a pharmacopoeia of drugs, and a slew of nameless, meaningless sex that signifies the distance between what he will allow himself to need and what he doesn’t even realize he desires. But a man with a past like Dustin’s is bound to be left with more than a few scars.

Nicolæ is the man who very much gets in Dustin’s way. He is a man who performs random acts of kindness to encourage people to pursue the sun that hides behind the clouds of their own impairments, and the needs that he recognizes with the gift of insight that far exceeds the limitations of 20/20 vision. Nicolæ may be blind, but his blindness is not a handicap to his ability to see and sense a longing in the complete strangers whose lives he touches. He is the gypsy gardener who travels through life planting the seeds of hope, as well as a seed of uncontrollable curiosity in a man whose past has cultivated nothing but a thicket of pain and sorrow, but who is now ripe for the possibility of growing something new in the soil of longing, if only Dustin can find the patience he’ll need to let this seed bloom.

Înflori is a story that blends a bit of the mysterious with the average, everyday weaknesses that make us all human: fear, memory, regret, if… If–a seemingly innocuous and insignificant word we use to try and make sense of the things that happen to us, to mourn the twists and turns of events, a word that Fate so often uses to upset the balance of things that are beyond our ability to control. It is a story of stereotypes and the way in which prejudice blinds a person, keeps them from seeing the man behind the intolerance, believing that where a man comes from dictates how he should behave, and even whom he should love. But then the man refuses to color inside the lines that people use to try and define him and the vision of the one who means everything obliterates the want of anyone or anything else.

A.F. Henley delivers yet another romantic tale in which the journey of a broken man begins with a simple patching of the smallest cracks and builds to the reconstruction of that man’s entire existence, ending with a bond that feels like the beginning of a new adventure, one that begins to feel a lot like home. It’s a story of the slow and careful and deliberate way Nicolæ teaches Dustin how to love, but even more than that, how to live.

You can by Înflori here:

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A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

Pride Goes Before Destruction – Honour by A.F. Henley

Pride does not wish to owe and vanity does not wish to pay. – Francois de la Rochefoucauld

But for the unforgiving whims of fate could a man’s quiet seafaring existence be suddenly and inexorably altered by happenstance, by an event so incapable of being foreshadowed that he finds himself in the service of the heir to the throne of England before he can even fully reconcile himself to the idea of being the First Gentlemen to a prince.

Emmett Fielde sailed on his father’s ships and trained himself in the ways of accounting for the business until the day he and young Aleyn, the cabin boy Emmett offers his protection in an effort to save the boy from a life of a very different sort of servitude, make a trip into the city and come face to face with their destiny.

Prince Andrewe is the epitome of everything that defines both the good and the bad of monarchical rule. He possesses a cool and regal beauty, and has been well groomed from birth to assume the yoke of the throne upon his father’s passing. But he is also spoiled and arrogant and fairly drips with a sense of entitlement and the expectation of unquestioned obeisance, something which does not bode well for Emmett’s smooth transition into his new role as his prince’s keeper.

Honour is a story of pride and of the way in which that single word becomes an agent of indignity and betrayal. It is a story of respect and the way in which that single word becomes an agent of conflict and chaos between a commoner and his prince. It is a story of duty and the way in which that single word obliges and dictates the difference between free will and the absolute absence of choice. Or worse—the absolute presence of choice but opting to ignore one’s heart and conscience in favor of vanity. It is a story of regret and the way in which that single word brings a man to his knees in despair, knowing that he would rather die than to live in a world where love exists and remains out of his reach. Ultimately, it is a story of redemption and the way in which that single word becomes the catalyst for a love affair that is the difference between the wish to possess and the need to belong.

A.F. Henley has written the story of a man who is not only a traitor to his prince but to his own heart, as well. The writing is lush and lyrical, erotic and romantic, rife with emotion and conflict between two men who must fight for every moment of unity while, at times, they seem bent upon tearing themselves apart.

I loved this story for exactly what it was: a grim fairytale with as happy an ending as was realistic for the prince and the man he refused to live without.

You can buy Honor here:

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