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Author, Avid Tweeter & Blogger, Lover of books, Teacher of Maths & Swimming, Mother, Speaks Spanish, Friend to many...

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Happy Easter

Since I have lived away from Gibraltar for nearly 20 years (I know... shocking) Easter has lost some of its religious significance. When I was growing up (did I ever? HA) in Gibraltar, the Easter period was massive since most of the population is Catholic.

My recollections growing up are...

* Fasting over the 40 days in Lent (mainly chocolate or giving up sweets!)

* Making crosses out of palm tree leaves on Palm Sunday

* Good Friday reenactment of the Crucifixion (click here for lots of images) - I will never forget the sight of women walking barefoot with a look of utter desolation

* Watching my mum bake & cook a lot (recipe's & picture to follow...)

* Chocolate... especially the mini Suchard Chocolate eggs in a tube (I searched the internet and could not find a picture of them... boo hoo)

* AND family time. Lots of friends & family sharing good food & company.

In England, all around I see a LOT of chocolate for sale, although at my children's school they did go to Church for a service the day before they broke up for school. And they had a Easter themed competition for best use of materials, best cake, most religious, and best Easter garden ...

My daughter made a Simnel cake all by herself - I was very proud!

Some of the entries.
This year I decided to try and adopt some of recipe's handed down to me and have been busy baking with my niece and two daughters.

So, I decided to share the recipe's here and show you the goodies!

Bollos de Hornazo (Easter Bread)

This recipe was handed down to me by my mother, who learnt it from my grandmother, who learnt it from... (you get the picture)

This one was made by my niece!

Find the recipe HERE - my last Easter post!

Mantecados (Spanish Crumble cakes!)

Choose a cup & fill with sugar, then refill the same amount with vegetable oil. Add self raising flour until you form a firm dough. Break off pieces, roll them up, then dip in sesame seeds, and place on a baking tray.

Bake for approx. 5-10 mins until golden, 200 degrees C

Torta de acerga (Spinach Pie)

First time I have tried this... until I taste it tomorrow the jury is out!

HERE is an online recipe via Mama Lotties - an online Gibraltar Recipe Website!

I also made up a new dish this week!

Salmon, Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne.


Since I rarely get comments... here is an incentive to chat. If I get more than 10 comments I will share the recipe)

So, that's it FOLKS... have a very HAPPY EASTER tomorrow & try not to get sick eating too much chocolate!
My daughter's second Simnel cake - the first one had to be sampled & devoured two weeks ago!
All the best,
Vanessa :) xx

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Welcome Amalie Jahn... a writer with a conscience




Thank you, Amalie, for agreeing to say Hello via my blog! Firstly, how did you end up becoming a novelist and why?

I became a novelist because I have stories inside of me that need to come out! And, I love to write. I tried for years to make it work, but there was always something preventing me from moving forward. Finally, I turned the page on a chapter in my life, and realized it was time. And here we are.

I have read “Among the Shrouded” and I loved it - this was my review. What do you think? Is it fair?

“I started this book yesterday afternoon and have been gripped ever since. I have not read a book so quickly in ages, and even though I am now disappointed that I have finished it, I am thrilled to bits I found it in the first place.

I loved the main characters...

Mia, a strong, intelligent woman surprised to find love in the shape of an "aura-less" seemingly average man. With the power to "see" the good in people, she has to learn to use her instincts instead.

Thomas, a man forced to adapt to life in adoptive care and all the stronger for it. He has always "found" a way to stay out of trouble, but his free will is going to be put to the test.

Kate, a Ukrainian student wanting more out of life and willing to do what it took to secure the future of her sisters at any cost. Her positive outlook and ability to "enable" the right thing to happen lead to a tricky situation.

All three are inter-linked in a plot that is laced with intrigue, suspense, romance and a fast-paced thrilled.

Ticked all my boxes! Loved it... And the best bit was, it had an important message in the end - you'll have to read it to find out more! Enjoy :)” January, 2014

First, thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to read the book. It’s an honour. And the gift of your review is truly the icing on the cake. I am so very happy you enjoyed it. I especially appreciate that you saw how each character was forced to grow beyond the confines of their gifts. I think character growth is fundamental to a story and I’m glad you were able to pick up on it.

I have to ask this… how did you end up writing about this very difficult subject matter? I recently watched a documentary about men promised jobs and then held to ransom by their employers – basically, do as you or told or we will kill you? It’s pretty grim stuff, and yet in your story it is not too hard to read about what can happen. The spiritual element to the story kept it from being completely believable (if that makes sense).

I live a very blessed life. The freedoms I’m allowed simply because I was born where I was, instead of somewhere else are not lost on me. Fresh water to drink, sanitary living space, extra food to throw away, and the gift of waking each morning without fear… these are all things most of my readers enjoy and very often take for granted. 

Sadly, human trafficking takes all of these basic necessities from millions of women and children all over the world. And it’s a crime that goes largely unnoticed by most of us, even when it’s happening right in our own neighbourhoods. I felt called to simply make people aware, if nothing else, about the reality of modern day slavery, and adding the paranormal element was a vehicle to present the information without coming across as preachy or critical.

What do you enjoy more from writing? Escapism or creativity burst? Why?

I enjoy both! It’s amazing to be able to step out of my own shoes while I write and step into someone else’s. I get to make choices that I wouldn’t necessarily make in my own life and have relationships with my characters that don’t actually exist! But I like creativity bursts as well. I love when something hits you and you MUST stop what you are doing RIGHT THEN to get it out. And it just flows. It’s a beautiful thing.

What about the editing process? Fun or hardship?

Ugh. I like making my manuscripts better and I like getting to that final product, but actually doing it… drudgery! It’s hard to pick just the right words and get sentences so they flow perfectly. It’s hard to know what’s important to keep and what can get trashed. It’s hard waiting for my editor to get back to me with the next instalment. It’s all just hard!

Do you think social media is important? If so, how do you prioritise your time?

Absolutely. I have learned so very much from the authors who have paved the way before me. They have so much knowledge to share. Additionally, without the mass market media that comes with a large publishing contract, I am in charge of creating my own brand and doing my own marketing. It would be impossible to reach my target audience without social media. 

It is, however, a blessing and a curse. It’s easy to get sucked into the social media vortex and abandon writing for the day. I’m guilty of it, but I try to make sure I set aside time to either write or market, one at a time.

What is the most important thing you have learnt, as an author, since you published your first book?

Follow your heart. There’s no one way in this business, and every day, people will come at you with the next guaranteed way to sell a million books by next Tuesday. You just have to know what is driving your ambition and let it guide you. I have no aspirations of stardom… I just want to share my stories and make people feel something. That’s it. And so I let that lead me along my path.

What advice would you give to new authors?

RUN AWAY!!!!

Just kidding! There’s a huge learning curve in this business and if I knew then what I know now, I might have never published my first book. I would tell them to learn as much as they can from everyone around them and never give up on their dreams. It’s as simple and complicated as that.

What is your current project? Are you giving yourself deadlines, or are you just seeing where it goes?

I’m editing a follow up to my first novel “The Clay Lion” entitled “Tin Men.” It will be off to the editor’s in a few weeks and then the waiting begins. While that’s going on, I’m partnering with a good friend of mine, who happens to be a wonderful chef, on a cookbook! I’m looking forward to it!

Can you name a children’s and adult author you admire and why? What is the best book they have written and why did you enjoy it?

Children’s author would have to be Katherine Paterson who wrote “Bridge to Terabithia.” I hated reading as a child. I was (and still am) a slow reader, and it always felt like a ghastly chore to sit and read. When I read “Bridge to Terabithia” in sixth grade, it was the first time a book ever made me cry. Once I realized the enormous power of the written word in the form of conjuring emotions, I was done. I’ve been an avid reader and writer ever since.


Dean Koontz is one of my favourite adult authors. I’ve pretty much read everything he’s ever written. I’m always impressed by how descriptively he writes (one of my weaknesses) and how prolific he is as well. He’s written over 178 books. Can you imagine having that many stories inside you? Amazing.

Where we can find out about you and buy your books?

Amazon The Clay Lion http://amzn.to/Ztvzj7
Amazon Among the Shrouded http://amzn.to/16s6ADF
Amalie Jahn Amazon http://amzn.to/17NSyKr
Author Website www.theclaylion.com
Amalie Jahn Author Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/AmalieJahn

Thanks so much Vanessa! I enjoyed answering your questions and look forward to seeing the interview! XO

Amalie

It was a pleasure to feature you.
Vanessa :) xx

Monday, 24 March 2014

Books, Charity, and Reflection


I admit that I have not been very good at keeping you updated on my general well-being of late.

Basically, I have been reading more, chilling out with my family, and doing research for my next book!

I also decided to undergo laser surgery just over 2 weeks ago and have only just started to get my vision back to a reasonable level. It is amazing to be able to see without glasses/ lenses for the first time in over 20 years!

Before the surgery, I did manage to go on holiday to Switzerland to see the in-laws. It was amazing... beautiful!


Anyway, as you can see on the right-hand side of this blog, I have many links to other blog sites. I found it easier to try to split everything up into different topics, otherwise one blog would become cluttered (I have always been too organised for my own liking!)

So, I wanted to update you on my latest the postings...

THE EVOLUTION TRILOGY

My post on my Trilogy being available at the local library.

A READER'S PERSPECTIVE

This is where I review books (and occasionally movies)... Find out about the books I have read recently, and why I liked them. I do post all my reviews on Goodreads - link is on the site.

STORIES FOR ALL

I recently posted about a donation made to Gurnard Primary School.

TIME TO ESCAPE

Find out about recent donations made to various charities.

Happy reading!

Vanessa :) xx

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Welcome to the lovely Val Poore

Thank you, Val, for agreeing to be featured on my blog. You are a regular at this blog and I really enjoy reading your comments! So, it’s time for us to find out about you, via one of your books…

I have read “Watery Ways” and really enjoyed it.

4 stars – Review on Amazon and Goodreads

“I rarely read a book like this, but I have to admit I really enjoyed it. The best way to describe it is as a diary, albeit, a very well written one!

Having lived in Rotterdam for over three years over several years, and having had my first daughter there, I was intrigued by this story, which is on the whole based in Rotterdam. I lived close to the Oude Harbour when I first lived there and frequently went for walks alongside. But, I had no idea about what it was like to live on a barge (apart from the fact I suffer from sea-sickness, so prefer to be on dry land).

My husband’s parents are Dutch too, so I found the descriptions of Dutch traditions and locations really interesting.

I have to admit that many a time I found myself laughing out loud due to some of Valerie's experiences... Especially the one where she falls in the water!

I would highly recommend this book if you have a interest in Dutch culture and would like to know what it is like to live on a barge, as well as the work involved to do so.”


What do you think of my review?

Vanessa, it was really great to read your take on the book because you know Rotterdam, you have Dutch relatives and you are familiar with my world, so it felt as if you were really interested. To be honest, I was a bit nervous when you first mentioned you'd lived in the Netherlands, as I sometimes take the mickey out of my Dutch friends, so I wasn't sure what your response to that might be. It was quite a relief to know you recognised certain characteristics and found my descriptions amusing. (I did indeed!)

Do you find it hard to write about real life? Are there times when you leave things out on purpose? I always worry someone might get offended if it’s real!

Well, as I've just said, I'm usually a bit uneasy when I know people know the country and the places I'm writing about. It was the same with my first book, African Ways, which was about South Africa. I don't find it hard to write about real life, no. In fact, I like it because there are always things you can observe in real life that are funny or strange or make good anecdotes. But I always try and write with affection as well as humour as I am genuinely fond of my adoptive countries and their people. I tend to hope that will come through in my writing so that no one will feel any reason to be offended.

Can you tell us a bit about how you came to publish your book? What was the editorial process like?

Watery Ways is my second book, so you might say I'd already had a trial run with African Ways. I published through the Internet print-on-demand site, Lulu.com, and they used to have heaps of useful tutorials about editing and formatting. I'm afraid there are fewer of these now as they try and sell those services, but when I started, these were a huge help. I've written all my life, and I used to do marketing and copywriting for my job in South Africa, so I've been pretty used to the whole editing process for years. All the same, I made a lot of mistakes with the formatting of African Ways, and I tried to correct them when Sunpenny Publishing offered to publish Watery Ways for me. Each new book has been a learning process and since I've now published five books, I hope one day I'll really get the hang of it!

Do you think social media is important? If so, how do you prioritise your time?

Yes, I do think it's important, especially these days when so much is done online. Most books are sold as e-books now, and people get to know about authors on the Internet too, so you can't escape it really. Unfortunately, as I have a busy day job as a teacher, I don't have much time for social media, so I try and do a bit in the morning and in the afternoons or evenings between classes and marking assignments, but I never really manage as much as I know I should. I usually end up doing a splurge before I go to bed, but since that's when everyone else is going to bed too, I probably lose most of the benefit that might bring. It all disappears into cyberspace!

Do you have a favourite author or genre? Did anyone inspire you to start writing?

I don't really have a favourite genre, no. I like detective fiction as long as it's not too gory, and I also like historical novels, but I try to read contemporary literature as well because I really love beautiful writing for its own sake. I'm a big fan of Graham Greene and John Steinbeck for that reason. I also read a lot of non-fiction, and I love books about living in other countries. It was Peter Mayle's Year in Provence that inspired me to write African Ways, actually.

Would you ever write a fiction book? If so, what genre?

I have actually written two novels. One is the story of a barge skipper's son  (The Skipper's Child) and it's an adventure set on the Belgian waterways in the winter of 1962. It's targeted to young teenagers or YA, but it's really for all ages. The other is a humorous book about a girl trying to do the self-sufficiency thing back in the 1970's. It's loosely based on my own attempts at smallholding (a euphemism for pretending to farm). I don't really know what genre it is except humour, but maybe you could call it women's fiction.

Personally, I loved living in Rotterdam. Can you tell us your favourite places there, and why?

What can I say to that except the Oude Haven where I have my barge? I have loved it there ever since I first saw it. It's lively and quirky and eclectic. It's also very noisy, which is why I nearly always go away at the weekends. But I also love the Witte de Withstraat which is the arty area. It still has the old classic buildings and it has a great vibe too.

Can you name a Dutch dish that you love and another you hate?

Aah Dutch food...yes...I actually quite like it. For instance I really enjoy stamppot - you know, when they mash veggies into potato and pour gravy over it. I also love stroopwafels, those syrup wafer biscuits, and gevoelde koek, the almond filled crispy cake things...yum. One, no two, things I loathe are raw herring and eel. To me, that is totally gross!

If you were to write a book about your youth, can you tell us something that comes to mind that we would enjoy reading about? Come on, I bet you have some good ones…

Well, you could say I've done it already. The humorous book I mentioned earlier, which is called How to Breed Sheep, Geese and English Eccentrics, is full of things I got up to in my youth, such as carting sheep around in an old Renault 4 and even in a VW Beetle. I had a lot of fun back then, which is why I decided to write a novel and weave those true anecdotes into the story. I was a real hippy back in the day, so maybe that will come out in another book sometime!

Where we can find out more about you and buy your books?

I have a blog, Vanessa. In fact I've been blogging for more years than I care to remember! It's about anything and everything I feel like writing about, so it's very mixed, but it is sometimes about my writing, and my fellow authors too - people like you come and join me there now and then.

My books are all available at Amazon worldwide, as well as through the Book Depository and of course on Lulu.com. There are also four of them on the iBookstore, which is thanks largely to Lulu.com.

I tell you what. I'll put all the links below here, so anyone who's interested can follow them.

Thanks a million for having me here Vanessa, and I hope you'll also come and join me for a visit to mine when the weather's a bit warmer!







Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Game of TAG... Writing Process - what is yours?

My Photo
I am thrilled to be tagged by Shelley Wilson - read her post HERE!

I just met Shelley via Twitter (@ShelleyWilson72) and she sounds like a lot of fun.

It's been a long time since I got tagged for anything and this is the kind of challenge I enjoy. Recently, I have seen a range of "awards" been handed out like sweets, which has made me doubt their authenticity.

This, however, is a simple game of TAG... I read her blog, which was really enjoyable, then answer the same questions and pass it along to other authors. Sounds good to me! So, here goes.

Firstly, can I say that I LOVE Shelley's resolutions - I relate to them completely... let's hope I do her post justice!

WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

At the moment (and might I add this is the first time I have written this for all to see) I am researching the life of my great, great grandfather and grandmother. 


The story will be historical fiction, and is based on the information I have managed to get via letters found by my father. It should be fascinating... when I finish it! Someday...

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHER WORKS IN ITS GENRE?

The story of a Lancashire man who sails the world and ends up in a place like Gibraltar had never been written before - you can't get more unique than that!

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

I write to escape from everyday life. I also like to explore themes, ideas and human nature. I have always been interested in maths and science and so enjoy investigating the possibilities. I did this with my TRILOGY, and will do it again for my historical fiction novel.

Recently, my life has taken priority and promoting my trilogy has taken over. I am planning to focus more once things settle and I have most of the research done. 

I have started writing the new book, but it is a daunting task. I want to make sure that I do the characters justice, and the more I dig the more I want to dig... the past is intriguing.

HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?

Once I start writing, I just let it flow. 

With HYBRID, I just wrote and let the characters dictate what happened. This is probably why there are so many characters - I never consciously stopped characters popping in the pages, and just wrote as if it was real life. I mean, in real life, especially at university, you meet hundreds of people. So, to restrict a book to ten characters in that setting would have been wrong. 

But, as I learnt the 'trade', I realised I had to curb my use of characters so as not to confuse the reader.

COMPLICATIONS continued on from Hybrid and I did have to go back and check details, but overall it is a different scenario and I could still play around with the situation.

RETURN, was the hardest because I had to tie up all the loose ends, make sure I was consistent, and ensure I got a different type of ending - which I got! Yay! In theory, it is an ending that leaves you thinking...

I think it is important to write something slightly different form the norm, even if you are inspired by mainstream ideas. Make it your own.

I have to add that I started writing ideas down on a notepad, then transferred it on to an old laptop, then wrote straight to the computer, and now have started writing notes on good old fashioned paper again. Whatever works for you! But, I have been plagued with migraines too so my writing has had to take a back seat until I get better.

Anyway, that's it - four short questions answered.

I recently blogged about Gary Alan Henson (@garyalanhenson) and would like to tag him to answer these questions . I would also like to tag Jerrie Alexander () who I recently meant via the ASMSG group.

Thanks for reading,
Vanessa

p.s. Tomorrow I am bravely going to go for eye surgery to hopefully give me 20-20 vision (I might even become bionic... maybe not!) so I might be offline for a week or so... wish me luck! :0)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A fantastic FREE eBook for children

Last year I decided to compile ***GURNARD’S BOOK OF DELIGHTS*** after I launched a literary competition to celebrate World Book Day 2013 at Gurnard PrimarySchool

On World Book Day, I presented the school with two signed copies of The Bother in Burmeon by S.P. Moss, and challenged the school children to write a story involving time travel.

Luckily, some did.

The imagination these children showed was fantastic, and the effort taken by the younger ones to illustrate their stories impressive. All children received a certificate, and some The Bother in Burmeon goodies kindly donated by S.P. Moss, who subsequently agreed to judge the Years 4 and 5 entries for an overall winner. I judged the Reception to Year 3 entries. These overall winners in each year group received a £5 Amazon Voucher I donated.

I wrote my first children's story, DETECTIVE GLEN, specifically for this collection and had a lot of fun with it.

Anyway, it's "Read an eBook week" and we are also celebrating World Book Day this week - so it seemed like a great time to run a FREE promotion. So, for the next five days you can get this wonderful collection for nothing! 

Please download it now via amazon to your kindle or kindle device, and if you would be so kind as to leave a review once you are finished I would be really grateful.

=>=>=> Amazon LINK Worldwide

Have a fantastic day.
All the best,
Vanessa

Gurnard's Book of Delights is a collection of stories written by children aged between four and ten years of age for a Primary School literary competition. They had to write a story involving an element of time travel... and they certainly did that.

It features three bonus stories by authors, Vanessa Wester and S.P. Moss, who judged the entries.

"I've had so much fun reading your wild and wonderful stories. There were stories that made me giggle, stories that made me gasp and stories that amazed me with the places they took me to. I travelled in time back to the war, the Victorian times and even further - to the Aztecs, the ancient Greeks and ancient Egyptians with your stories. The time travel mechanisms were most ingenious - from boffin-like time-travel machines to everyday objects like a TV and a toy train. Not to mention a hat and some rather fabby pink boots - and even magic guinea pigs! Thanks to all of you who took part and keep on writing..." 

S. P. Moss

"At Gurnard Primary School we have always been proud of the children's Literacy achievements, which we believe to be strength of the school, so I was delighted when Vanessa Wester approached me to discuss running a story writing competition, as this would be a way to celebrate the children's work and share their skills with others. The result is "GURNARD'S BOOK OF DELIGHTS" which includes stories written by some of the children in an anthology, published alongside excerpts and short stories by professional authors.

Having now read the children's stories and witnessed their creative talents, I know my confidence in their abilities has been justified. There is such a wide variety of themes here, with the winners in each year group producing some fantastic storylines. I hope, as you read through this anthology, you will agree we have some very talented children, who may well grow up to become authors in the future.

Reading and writing are such important skills for life, by encouraging and motivating children to take an interest in these areas; we are providing them with the tools for the future. In turn this will enable them, as they grow to adulthood, to access and maximise the exciting opportunities in the work place and indeed in the world that will be available to them, many of which do not even exist at this moment in time. 

Many thanks to Vanessa Wester and S.P. Moss for the time they have given to judging the entries and also to Vanessa who has given so generously of her time in compiling this - our first book of stories. I do hope you will enjoy reading the children's stories and who knows; if this book is successful we could look forward to several more editions being published in the future!

Congratulations to all of the children who have had their work published - I am very proud of you all."

Liz Jackson
Head teacher - Gurnard Primary School 2013

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?

Eureka!
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.

13540895
‘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!"

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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... :)