AF Henley Monthly Spotlight! #GuestPost @AFHenley 7

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Hope Springs Eternal


Hello, and a belated Happy New Year to you and yours. I have to imagine that by now many of you are thigh-deep in New Year’s resolutions (and that just as many of you have decided to toss them out the window), and I wish you luck (or peace of mind) with that. I, for one, although I am writing this in the past, can say with the utmost assurance that I have made no such resolution. I found out a long time ago that I can’t do it, and I’m too old and tired to beat myself up over that anymore.


Kelly: And what fun is there in beating yourself up?


True enough. But what I do tell myself every year at this time is: on to bigger and better things. While I won’t resolve to do more, strive harder, think clearer, I will hope for it. For as Alexander Pope has been quoted to say, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”


Kelly: Are you sure you just don’t like typing the word ‘breast’?


No. I’m not sure of that at all.


My point being, that hope… well, it’s one of those things that I just can’t seem to get enough of. Never mind what the gods might have planned for us or what our most-important-they-that-are might wish for us, if we don’t hope for ourselves then nothing that anyone else wants for us will matter.


Hope was the story behind one of my earlier novels, Forty-two Stairs. If you haven’t read it, Forty-two Stairs is about a recovering alcoholic who (as many recovering addicts have) lost anything and everything that was important to him before he finally got a handle on the fact that he was killing himself slowly but efficiently. There are a thousand reasons as to why people fall, but I like to believe that is hope that makes us stand again. ‘One day at a time’ is just another way of saying, “I hope I make it through today, and I hope that making it through today will help me make it through tomorrow.”


It’s easy to give up on… hope. At the risk of running too high up on the sands of ‘preachyhood,’…


Kelly: Oh, boy. Here we go


… I recall being much younger than I am now…


Kelly: So, think way, way, way back into the void beyond space and time…


*chuckling* … and reading a verse (that I had to look up to get the actual quote right) that went, “My endurance has expired; I have lost all hope of deliverance.” Wow. I mean, no wonder the book that rested in was Lamentations. I’d be lamenting myself. Hell, just reading that made me lament. What seems more broken than having lost ALL hope? However, the cool thing about hope is that you rarely hear ‘hope’ get anything but ‘lost’.


“I have lost all hope.”


“Hope is lost.”


And one of the best: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


Because that which is lost… can usually be found. If we try, right?


All right, all right, I’m pulling back now. Reversing the rudders, so to speak. Getting away from the podium before you start imagining me in a dark suit with a notched collar.


Kelly: Why? It’s a good look.


Thank you, my friend.


But as for the rest of this, I just wanted to say that I hope that you hope that 2016 is going to be a fantastic year. I hope that you are all well, and happy, and things get progressively better and you feel increasingly stronger.


I hope for the best. We deserve it. It was a tough year… and when the going gets tough, hope is all we have.



Forty-two Stairs – Excerpt


He was another three trips in, panting and wheezing like a dog left in the backseat of a sealed-up sedan, when Dennis met him on the staircase. “Did you know someone’s sitting on your couch down there?”


Owen nodded, using the break to set his ass down on the stairs and wrestle with heartbeat. “Baba. Apparently. He’s watching my stuff.”


“I’m not sure I’d trust some purple-haired freak—”


“There’s nothing left to steal, Dennis,” Owen said, exhaustion weighting the words as though the act of

speech was even too much to take. “The good shit’s been sold, the mediocre shit’s already been carried up, and I can’t see a guy the size of a pixie walking away with my couch.”


“Pixie’s have fairy dust.” Dennis smirked and wiggled his fingers like his hand had become a five-legged insect. “Makes things fly.”


“Fairy dust,” Owen huffed and hauled himself upright, doing his best to grin at his brother but more than sure the expression failed from pure fatigue. He felt like his legs were going to give out and his chest explode. “Let’s hope so.”


Dennis rolled his eyes and Owen’s need to laugh won out over body shutdown.


“What?” Owen asked with a shrug. “He’s cute.”


“He’s purple.”


“What’s wrong with purple?”


“As a shirt? Nothing. As hair …”


“I love it.”


“You would.”


Owen laughed. “Different is cool. Sexy even. But it doesn’t matter anyway. For one, I have no idea if he’s



Dennis lifted an eyebrow, and Owen grinned at the similarities the two of them always managed between their expressions. “Well, I don’t!”


Dennis only mouthed his reply, over-exaggerating each syllable with lip movement. Purple.


“That doesn’t mean shit.”


Purple was mouthed yet again.


When Owen parted his lips to try once more, Dennis cut him off with a repeat of the dramatic, silent process. Owen tsk’d soundly, and waved him off. “Besides …” Owen nodded. “No relationships. I’m supposed to know I can stay sober before I risk someone else’s heart. Healthy me, healthy them, that kind of thing.”


“Fuck that!” Dennis laughed. “Are they trying to kill you?”


“Nope.” Owen dropped a hand on his brother’s shoulder and started down the stairs. “I tried to do that to myself. Come on. It’s just the big stuff left, and Mom’s still upstairs putting everything where she thinks it needs to be. Let’s get this done so I can get her the hell out.”


The street and sidewalk seethed with heat, the afternoon sun creating an environment that would drive

sane men into northern-migrating animals. Not a spot on Owen’s body was dry. Chaffing was impossible to avoid, itching had taken on new meaning, and at that point in time Owen was more than sure someone very high up was doing their deity-powered best to make him pay, pay, pay.


The loveseat was a bitch to manoeuvre; the couch was a nightmare. The TV should have been easy but by that time every step was a journey into agony. It got to the point where Owen was counting each stair, and if Dennis’s face was any indication—grey lips, white skin, splotches of red—he was doing the same. So when Sebastian (his post at the furniture obviously forgotten), skipped past them for the third time, tripping up the stairs as easily as he bopped down, with rags and cleaning products for God could only know what purpose, both Owen and Dennis stopped and glared as though their eyes could launch



Sebastian simply bowed his head and continued past them. “Don’t worry. They’re only stairs.” He stopped at the landing, cocked his head and gave Owen a sideways glance that was both angelically sweet, and mischievously flirtatious. “You’ll get used to them.”



Copyright © 2014, A.F. Henley



Get your copy of Forty-two Stairs at:


Less Than Three Press:

Or Amazon:



Happy New Year, my friends.


Until next time,


AF Henley <3


Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and

AF Henley_Avatar cropped

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.


Henley’s newest release, Wolf, WY hit the market on October 21st and is now available at your favourite online book retailer.


For more information, please stop by for a visit at

7 thoughts on “AF Henley Monthly Spotlight! #GuestPost @AFHenley

  • Jack Frost

    You know, the Greek myth of Pandora suggested that hope was one of the greatest evils. Or so I’ve heard one interpretation. Pandora managed to close the box before Hope escaped. Which would add an odd twist to the idea of losing hope, meaning to lease it onto the world.

    Lamentations is a fascinating book. It’s essentially every complaint you’ve ever heard against the unfairness of this world in one place.

    Working off of the belief that hope is a wonderful thing. I hope you have the greatest of years yet. And you’re not old, stop that. xD

    • AF Henley

      Is it just me or do all of those old stories reek of someone of higher stature than the rest doing everything in their power to insist that people in general should remain content with their place in life and never strive for anything higher? Don’t hope, don’t dream, just be sweet and kind and serve thy master. I mean, the first thing the Bible tries to teach a person is to be wary of (if not outright fear) knowledge, lest we taste it and be driven from the sweet pastures of paradise (master’s got you… master will feed you and care for you and all you have to do is remain untaught and obedient). I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me and my cynical interpretations. XD

      Thanks again for an awesome comment, Frosty! It’s always a pleasure and you have a great knack for making me sit back and think. <3

      • Jack Frost

        I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the Bible’s intention. xD Though I can see how people could come to that conclusion. God wasn’t against knowledge. The tree was the “Knowledge of good and evil.” So it wasn’t knowledge period it was knowledge about what’s right and wrong. Now on that note you can say “Oh he didn’t want them to know what he was doing was wrong.” Though technically all he did was give the love, an endless garden, and happiness. At least as far as is written. But that’s kind of the point, why make yourself the bastard when you’re going through the trouble of not appearing so? So, in the context of the story, I believe God would have gladly told them anything they wanted to know, but this was against two things 1) Shortcuts and 2) lack of wisdom. Knowledge is never a bad thing, but the lack of wisdom in the use and pursuit of that knowledge can be.

        Not arguing in favor of the Bible, but oddly enough my cynical side won’t let me grab onto this one. I don’t know why. So that’s my understanding side’s interpretation. *shrug*

  • Lavender Wynter

    I’ll have to say that there’s nothing you can do, including dressing in said black suit and notched collar, that will ever get me to believe it’s even possible. “AF Henley” and that get-up just 110% not possible. Not in my head anyway. XD

    Honestly though, on this thing with hope, and I’m long over due with a lengthy meditation session with Lady Hope on this, I’m not even sure what I’m hoping for anymore. 8 years ago, I know what I was hoping for. In the progression of 8 years, I have reached those goals that I’ve kept hoping for. Hidden along the gutter of the pathway, however, I find myself with a lot of things I’ve lost hope over. Anybody who keeps track of my personal blog and my Tumblr one knows exactly what (or who, I should say) I’m talking about.

    2016 was supposed to start off better and be better than 2015. At least, there’s the hope. How I ended up being burnt out 8 days into 2016 actually makes it marginally worse than 2015. I hope it gets better, but in light of what I have learned in the 8 days of 2016, I can only hope it gets better.

    Thank you so much for sharing and reminding us of Hope. <3

    • AF Henley

      At least you’re still here and you keep going (and that means with the writing aspect as well). That means a lot.
      Here’s to 2016 getting a whole hell of a lot better than it started out. There’s a lot to be said for that old adage that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? *pictures you flexing and preening your new muscles*

      And thank you again for your comment! It’s great to know that you’re still reading. I definitely hope that continues! 😀

  • Raphael

    You know, my friend, imagining you on a podium, dressed in a black suit and a notched collar would actually make me start praying! :3

    About hope. Of course we can not look into the minds of animals but just for arguments sake? I would say the concept of hope is what makes our species so unique and has gotten us very far until today. For me it is one of the fundamental things that makes us who we are. There are a lot of things we can hope for but have no influence on and there is hope for what our personal lives will be.

    Hope is like possibilities but like many things in life, these possibilities do not come for free. It is a promise that one may achieve something desired but one has to work for it. Hope is like the second stage in the desire for something. The first would be to dream about a goal perhaps. The next step is hoping to achieve it.

    It is up to us to do these steps. One after another as you so perfectly said. And sometimes hope co-operates with Luck and an opportunity comes along one’s way. Like suddenly Sebastian crossing Owen’s path in life. 🙂

    Hope also comes with a responsibility. I think there is little place for fantasies. I mean trying to reach unrealistic goals. It is up to us to recognize our abilities and strength and do with them what is possible.

    I am wondering that if having lost hope, given up hope would mean one has lost the ability believing in one’s powers. Because the way can sometimes be hard and straining.

    Choosing this excerpt from Forty-two Stairs is so perfect, buddy! 🙂 Owen, without being aware of it, already is on a path, working hard to better his life through love. Sebastian has been there and is now the promise at the end of Owen’s way. 🙂


    • AF Henley

      Thank you very much, buddy! I do love how you always manage to see how I’m trying to tie these excerpts into what I’m saying in the post. 😀

      And I couldn’t agree with what you have to say more. Hope is only the first step. After that comes hard work.

      Best of luck to you in 2016, and thank you for always being there to comment and help. It’s a pleasure to be your friend. <3

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