Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Welcome to the fantastic Gary Henson!

First, thanks to Vanessa for hosting this blog post. Vanessa and the Seasonal Short Story Group members have been consistent supporters. I humbly and truly appreciate their friendship.

Gary HensonMy absolute pleasure, Gary – Welcome and thank you for writing a post for my humble blog. It has been an absolute pleasure to publish your work and you truly are a great asset for the group, with your constant promotion and support. Okay, back to Gary…

This post is about finishing. Finishing is harder, by far, than starting. Yeah, it seems like an obvious statement up front, but please don’t leave me yet! ;-)

Starting is hard, sure, and I don't minimize its place in any endeavor. To start writing, be it a poem, a short story or an epic novel series, takes guts and confidence. I think you’re lucky if you’re one of those writers that can just ignore your doubts and go for it, mindfully dismissing your fears. Yeah, that’s so not me.

If you’ve finished a project it’s easier, because you know you can do it. You know what’s ahead. You’re ready to begin a new adventure. You can look forward to stretching the boundaries of your imagination. It’s damn exciting to look at a blank sheet of paper, envision your dreams sketched upon it and KNOW that you’ve done this before.

In contrast, to finish a story takes stern will and dogged determination. It takes sacrifices of time, energy and soul.

"just chill out..."
When you want to watch a movie or just chill out on the patio with a glass of Texas Red and some nachos, you’ll have to force yourself to write a chapter first. Moreover, by the time you’ve written that chapter, it will probably be too late for the treats.

I don’t like missing out on my nachos or leisure time. I look forward to patio time all day during the Texas spring, summer and fall. Winter evenings are best spent indoors, in front of the fireplace, with a nice big mug of hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps. Hmm. But, I digress.

Finishing means that you care more about this story and these characters than you do your personal life. You will spend endless hours exploring plot arc possibilities. You’ll consider when and how to introduce new characters. Is this the right place to bring in a sidekick? Maybe I should do some foreshadowing earlier, let the reader get a taste of what’s to come. Does this paragraph push the story forward or is it just sparkling fluff?

Finishing means a daily grind of rewrite, rewrite and more rewrite. Then your paranoid Muse pipes up, whispering questions in your ear, fueling self-doubt. “Am I rewriting too much? Should I leave this passage alone? Did I give the hero a good enough reason to go on this quest? Will the reader understand what I mean here or is it too esoteric? Will I ever finish this chapter?” Shut up, you soulless, nagging harpy!

‘Finishing’ means more than anything else, not giving up. It’s not looking for an excuse to stop here and ‘put it aside for awhile’. It’s grabbing a bagel and a cup of coffee and sitting your butt back in the chair, instead of hitting the ‘close’ key for the night.

‘Finishing’ is everything that happens after the euphoria of the opening moments of your piece ebbs. After the moment when you realize this story is going to be very, very hard to get right. Sigh. ‘Honey, could you make me another hot chocolate?’

If you have more than a couple of ‘to be continued’ stories on your hard drive, you know how difficult it can be to finish. I have a few myself, and I’m working overtime to get them off the bit-box and into a publisher. They do no one any good sitting there rotting away, bit by bit.

‘Finishing’ is what makes you a writer, an honest to God ‘author’.

Go finish that story.

Wise words from the wonderful Gary! Now, hang in there… read on and find out about him J

My day job is a software developer for the healthcare industry. I’ve been twiddling bits since 1980, doing everything from printer and video drivers for Hitachi to full-blown enterprise suites. I’ve been studying classical and Texas boogie guitar (ZZ Top rules!) and creating retro games for the mobile market to stay sane.

Currently I have three books published on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and other venues.

‘Genome’ has been reviewed as ‘a creative mix of romance, technology and ghost story’. I wish I had thought of that synopsis, it fits ‘Genome’ to a T. ‘Genome’ was originally a screenplay that gathered a dusty nest of rejection/ignored slips before I decided to set it free as an ePub novel. It features a favorite character concept of mine, ‘PIP’, an AI or Artificial Intelligence. The ‘Geek Squad’ and PIP evolved from my decades as a software developer and AI hobbyist.

GENOME links - AmazonBarnes and Noble Smashwords 

Arlo and Jake Enlist
‘Arlo and Jake’ is a series of humorous Sci-Fi adventures whose concepts and characters are loosely based on my time as a submariner in the US Nuclear Submarine force. Jake is an ex-nuke white hat (enlisted man) and retired software developer. Arlo is Jake’s pet chameleon. My favorite review of the first book, ‘Arlo and Jake Enlist’: ‘Jake and Arlo are my new favorite characters in science fiction. This book was full of unique spins on science fiction and just plain fun.’ 

ARLO AND JAKE ENLIST LINKS - AmazonBarnes and Noble

I have read & enjoyed this wacky SciFi adveture - my review is on the Amazon UK site...

4.0 out of 5 stars Sci Fi Madness 30 Aug 2013

"I have never read a book like this before and so it took me a while to get to it. Even then, it was written more for (I think) a male audience, but it did make me smile a lot - It was an insight into the male mind.

The story itself is well crafted, highly imaginative, and it reminded me of Star Trek and Star Wars with a James Bond Twist - there were a lot of perfect women around! Personally, what was missing was a villain - maybe we'll meet one in the second book?

Follow the wacky adventures of Arlo & Jake Into space & battles - escape reality!"

For the second book, ‘Arlo and Jake Galactic Boot Camp’: 

‘The serial novel is making a comeback and I'm thrilled. Gary Henson has created a fun and engaging storyline featuring some great characters. Jake, a lovable old curmudgeon who is conscripted into a galactic navy and restored to youthful vigor, along with his telepathic sidekick, Arlo, a chameleon (how does Henson come up with this stuff?) had me laughing aloud.’

ARLO AND JAKE: GALACTIC BOOT CAMP links AmazonBarnes and Noble 

I also have short stories in several of Vanessa’s Charity Anthologies.

Adult Anthologies www.shortstoriesgroup.blogspot.com 
Anthologies for All www.kids4books.blogspot.com 

(Psst... guess what, =>=>=> OUT OF DARKNESS is ***FREE*** until this Friday 28th FEB!)

I’m currently working on Book 3 of the ‘Arlo and Jake’ series and a collection of short story mysteries based on Pip and the Geek Squad characters in ‘Genome’.

I blog about ePub and writing in general at ‘www.garyalanhenson.blogspot.com’. I have fun creating Texas haikus (loosely) and prose that I share on my blog as well.

Thank you so much for joining us, Gary - see you around on the WWW... :)


  1. Good post, Gary. 'Finishing' is hard - and there are several finish line to cross in writing...the first draft, second draft, nth draft, formatting, publication...each one is it's own little triumph and a bit further along the road to getting a book into the world.
    So glad to see Galactic Boot camp's out!

    1. Thanks, Katherine. You're quite right, the 'finish line' does seem to keep moving and moving ;-)
      Each time I think 'it's done' I reread and find a little more I could do.
      Thanks for the encouragement!