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.
Forty-two Stairs follows Owen through his recovery (not to mention a budding, yet poorly-timed romance with an odd young man named Sebastian) and I thought it would be interesting to wander through the six major steps – yes, six – of overcoming addiction, as Owen experiences them, with some short teasers.
The American Psychological Association summarizes the process as follows (not verbatim):
1) Acknowledging that you are powerless to control your addiction;
2) Recognizing a higher power to draw strength from;
3) Examining past errors with the help of a sponsor;
4) Making amends for those errors;
5) Learning a new way to live life;
6) Helping others who are struggling with similar addictions.
** Today, step two, but if you’re interested, please feel free to follow along with the rest of the tour for steps one, and three to six. Be sure to read through to the end to find out about your chance to win you own eBook copy of Forty-two Stairs, a $50 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press Book Market, and an awesome simulated amethyst and silver bib necklace and earring set. **
Step Two – Higher Powers
For a person already seeking assistance for something they have so little control over, the further act of having to come to terms with a higher power can be overwhelming. One’s head starts running wild with the idea of church bells and confessionals – a serious issue for those out there that aren’t comfortable with the idea of organized religion. The cool thing about seeking out a higher power, however, is the realization that a force greater than one’s self can mean something different for everyone.
Excerpt – Chapter 2 – Higher Powers
Through the window of the coffee shop a mother walked past, two young girls in tow, and they caught Owen’s eye immediately. It wasn’t fashion or bling that entranced him, though. It was the way they moved together, as if something above the coffee shop had watched Owen’s and Craig’s exchange and, for once, was making a point that Owen could relate to.
The woman didn’t grip the girls’ wrists in an effort to keep them in place. No tethers, no scowls and no rebukes kept the younger versions of herself in line. Full plastic bags bearing the logo and name of a local dollar-mart bounced against the thighs of all three of them; no doubt full of discounts and deals best purchased there as opposed to the fancier, better-stocked shelves of the supermarkets. They looked happy. Sunlight glinted off plastic sunglasses, and tan lines marked the edges of well-worn but cute summer clothing. As if in sudden inspiration, one of the girls ran the few steps forward to call for her mother’s attention. There was no exaggerated sigh or rolling of eyes as the woman stopped, bent, and had a brief discussion with the child. When the woman finally rose, she extended a hand towards the girl with a smile. She didn’t grab for it. She didn’t insist on it. She just smiled and stretched out her arm, offering her palm, and the girl took it happily, skipping alongside her mother as the three of them continued down the street.
Cars passed. A bicycle courier flew by with the kind of daring disregard that only those that chose that trade seemed to manage successfully. Birds lighted on baking sidewalks and somewhere, unseen insects trudged by, following unknowable paths from nest to food and back again. And no one saw the exchange between the children and their parent. No one stopped to praise the woman for the fact that her daughters were obedient and happy. Not a being gave consideration to the happiness that shone on their faces, despite the fact they carried discount products in cheap plastic bags. There were no pats on shoulders to the children that followed so respectfully. And that, Owen thought, that right there was how it should be. Following something, someone, because they made you happy and you trusted the connection. Not because of fear or guilt or consequence, but out of love for its courtesy and emotional contribution.
Owen had heard so many beliefs on God and religion over his lifetime that he could have written a book on them. When one told others that one was an atheist, a lot of people seemed obligated to try and push their own thoughts into what they perceived to be a space that was lacking. To fuck his hole, Owen had thought on more than one occasion, with the cock of belief. So while he got the concept of what he was being force-fed about needing a spiritual being to support his efforts, Owen also knew that he hadn’t reconciled what that presence was yet.
“Well, Craig,” Owen said finally, “you have nothing to worry about then. I have no more patience for false anythings than I do for a cookie-cutter God.” He smiled at Craig and placed his coffee cup back on the table. “My ‘slot’—'” he copied Craig’s finger-quote gesture, “—is not empty. It’s full of disbelief and disillusion. It’s packed with regret and guilt. But on top of all of that is a good strong layer of determination and will to succeed. I will not let myself fall again. Because if I do, then I’m no better than the mindless minions who chase invisible men in robes that promise everlasting life. You’re right, alcohol was my saviour.” He shook his head and pushed his chair back, rising to Craig’s surprise. “But I don’t believe in saviours anymore.”
Owen pulled a toonie out of his pocket and dropped it on the table. If that didn’t cover the coffee, then too bad, Craig would have to spring for the rest. He tapped his chest as Craig started to stand as well. “The only one that can save me is me.”
Copyright © 2014, A.F. Henley
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.
His new apartment doesn’t help either. It’s small, worn, and hot as hell. The only way to reach it is a tedious stretch of stairs that seems like the final insult on top of a whole pile of misery. Thankfully, the mess comes with one bright spot: intense, pretty Sebastian, who seems to have a knack for keeping his head up and finding the beauty in everything.
Published by Less Than Three Press
M/M Contemporary Romance
Now Available for Pre-order
Save 15% until June 25th
So, you might be thinking … I’d love a shot at winning this eBook, not to mention that generous LT3 gift certificate and totally awesome pendant and earring set.
Very cool. I’m glad to hear that. Comment on this blog post to be entered into a random number draw for an ebook copy of Forty-two Stairs. As for the rest of the prize, please click here for the Rafflecopter entry.
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED
Please note, one ebook copy of Forty-two Stairs will be given away for each site visit, and the balance of this contest (the gift certificate and the jewelry) is open to all blog tour participants, post one to six. For a full list of contest rules, including eligibility, please click HERE.
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.
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