AF Henley – Second Star to the Right blog tour & 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 stardefine 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.)

quadrant90 asks:             Pet Chihuahua? Tell us more. Any tips for aspiring writers?

chihuahuaHenley replies:                  Well, there’s not a lot to tell you about the Chihuahua except that her name is Penny, she’s approximately three years old, and is pretty much my best buddy. So here, have a pic. She thinks she’s adorable. (I guess I agree for the most part.)

I could probably pontificate for hours as to what will help bring a writer closer to their goal of publication, but I’m not sure the hosts of The Purple Teahousewould take too kindly to me posting a seventeen-thousand word tutorial. Besides, it is so very different for each and every person. There are, however, two things I can tell you with complete confidence. (1) Do not aspire to be a writer. Aspire to be published. Writing can always be accomplished. If you sat down today and wrote two lines, be it by hand or keyboard, then you are no longer an aspiring writer – you are one. You wrote. (2) Never stop writing, even if it’s just taking place in your head. Write even if you have to delete every word. You’ll never get anywhere with a blank page.

Coterie asks:                 In what ways do your own personal experiences influence your writing?

Henley replies:               I like to say there’s a little bit of me in every one of my characters. And I don’t just mean the protagonist – every villain, love interest, and support character, has some of me or my issues within them. I’ve read a lot of authors who insists that their characters have nothing to do with them or their lives, but in my case there is always a thread of my story in my novels. It’s how I deal with shit, because gods know, I am horrible at vocal communication. (Hear that? It’s the sound of my closest friends nodding their heads in adamant agreement.)

 

Darkprism asks:                One of the best moments of your life so far that is completely unrelated to writing/publishing?

Henley replies:                  Most of the best moments in my life have centered around my work for the simple reason that it is one thing in my life that I can actually be proud of as mine, by me. Everything else is so fleeting. For example:  a couple of years ago I would have said the purchase of a certain house was the best moment of my life. It was everything I wanted, and everything I needed, and it was sacrificed for, and worshipped reverently. Things change, priorities shift, and sometimes the most brilliant moment becomes the haunt of dark memory. That won’t ever happen with the writing.

I think, maybe, the best moments of my life are still yet to come. So I’ll designate that position of honour to “as yet undetermined.”

 

Second Star to the Right

By AF Henley

Second Star Cover200Be 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:stars

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 Purple Teahouse has a way to notify you of the win.
  • Contest is open from now until March 3rd, 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 Purple Teahouse 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…

Second Star to the Right, and … (you take it from here)

😀

AF Henley <3

AF Henley – On Writing Romance

It will be no surprise to anyone that I start this journal off with the following disclaimer – I am a romantic. Yet in the past several days I’ve found myself teetering on the edge of anxiety as to what that says about a person. What does romance mean? What is the basis of romanticism and how does it affect my writing and my characters? Is romantic synonymous with weak? Foolish?

I start my musing research, as I always do, with Google.

Merriam-Webster classifies romance as a variety of concepts that ranges from a type of literature, to something that lacks basis in fact, an emotional attraction, to a love affair. It’s a language, an instrumental, a literary form, and an action – inclusive of noun, verb and adjective.

That’s a huge scope of categorization and pondering that span I think I understand why. Every one of us, every single person, sees romance differently from the next. (And wouldn’t the world be mundane if we didn’t?) What is believable for one will be laughable for the next. What is idealistic over here could be viewed as repulsive over there.

It’s that diversity that suggests to me the need for a broad character approach. Not every romantic narrative is accomplished through the depiction of wide-eyed, soul-gazing, insta-love or with charming, perfect characters. Realistic portrayals of confusion, bad choices, and questionable judgement lead to two very powerful aspects of fiction:  credibility and relevance.

While every writer seeks to write an adored character, not every character needs to be adorable. Enter the imperfect protagonist—the conceited or the arrogant, the spoiled and the petulant, with the sarcasm that’s a touch too sharp and the brooding that’s a bit too dark—for these are traits that offer far more character development and realisation than the standard model. It’s a rugged journey that begins with regret – but it is a rewarding one to write. For regret leads to guilt, guilt points towards a need for pardon, and pardon is the first trembling step towards recuperation.

Flawed is real; we’re all flawed. We are not, however, all weak. This is the difference, be it in life or fiction, that defines how successful one will be in overcoming said faults.

In writing, triumphing against trauma is conceptual. The use of retaliation is an easy and familiar one. Human beings respond no differently than animals when presented with trouble. There is a natural instinct; the “flight or fight” shove. If that difficulty is further complicated by the removal of choice (i.e. flight option is not available), then the feral reaction of aggression tends to rush forefront, lifting both fists or, for the sake of fictional reference, the brandishing of one’s sword. “I’d kill him,” is not an uncommon sentiment to suffering, be it physically, mentally or emotionally.

So the act of stepping past that outlook is a writing tactic that can prove taxing, even unsettling. Vengeance, however, is a primitive instinct that fans the flames of war, results in rash and irreversible decisions, and turns good people into beasts. Therein lies the difference between humanity and creature – conscience. We have the ability to act better, do better, to be better. So why stop at giving your character mere reprisal when you can shove that angst-ridden bugger into purgatory, force his or her heart to concede and offer up a broken soul some forgiveness?

That’s romance for me. The completion of a union that’s not just physical but heartfelt. The “not only did you fulfill my need but you made me a better person” moment. That kind of love is what transforms a simple character into a hero. And that is a concept that is neither weak nor foolish.

Peace, love and honour,

AF Henley <3

 

Honour CoverHonour

by A.F. Henley

M/M Historical Romance

Recently docked after a voyage abroad, Emmett wants only to find a warm bed and good food, for himself and the cabin boy he’s taken into his care. Those plans are impeded, however, by an altercation in the streets—with a man he realizes too late is England’s heir to the throne, Prince Andrewe.

When the encounter unexpectedly leads to a position in the royal household attending the prince, Emmett is not certain what to think. On one hand, it’s a reliable income and ensures the safety of his charge. On the other, it’s neither the life Emmett knows, nor an environment that he’s comfortable in. Left to learn his lessons the hard way, Emmett spends his days contending with a spoiled, infuriating prince who leaves him in a constant tangle of emotions.

Then he begins to hear whispers of treason and must make a choice: defend Prince Andrewe, or betray him.

Word count: 45,500

Purchase your copy at Less Than Three Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble

Excerpt, bio, and cover artist information available here