Monday, December 12, 2016

Reality check...

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I had a heart attack just before Thanksgiving and it's taken me to now just to  have the energy and desire to write.

I hope to be up to speed in the next few months, the docs all say I'm doing really well.

Here's the reality check.

If you think something isn't 'right' or you've noticed that you're energy and drive have suddenly dropped.... talk to your Doctor!! Especially if you're over 50 and/or overweight.

More about writing as I climb back up the energy ladder, right now I'm pooped just from doing this.

Take care of yourself, you're the only one that can tell how you feel. Pay attention.

Merry Christmas, all.

PS. My wife saved my life by telling me that we WERE going into the emergency room as soon as I said 'Something isn't right'.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Write when the muse speaks, you need to listen...

I like to write at night, after dinner and little time on the couch watching something mindless on TV.

I pick up my laptop, check my tweets, posts and gmail and then open up my latest project. I dump my notes from  the day that I keep in EverNote on my phone and I'm off, plowing in the fertile fields of my imagination.

One of the things I'm learning, that you may or may not already know, is that ideas don't come at convenient times. The Muse is always active, always 'tinking and, well, musing. She has no time table, no agenda, no sense of 'now'. She just does her thing when she feels like it and then taps you on the mental shoulder. 'Here. What about this?' Then she moves on, tiptoeing through your mind, looking for more goodies to create with.

So I'm advocating that you get something like OneNote or EverNote and make it a habit to write down those flashes of inspiration, good and bad, whenever and where ever they appear.

Then, during your 'normal' writing time, review them. Add them, play with them, chuck them, whatever you think best.

Just don't ignore them.

Ideas come to you for a reason, even if you don't immediately know that reason.

Be cool.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Don't wait, start that novel today!

I talk to people everyday, on blogs, on Face Book, in tweets and face to face about writing.

The questions are usually along the same lines. How did I get started? Where do I get my ideas? How do I find the time to write and hold down a full time job? Do I edit my own books? Do I have an agent and do I want one? Is it really fun or a drudge.

All good questions. But what they are really looking for is where did I get the motivation to just do it? They are looking for that spark that will motivate them to finally start their own journey. They want to know how to get off the starting block and start running.

My best advice comes from a special friend of mine from a long time ago. In the late 70's, I worked in a small startup company in Colorado where I was fortunate enough to meet George S. Lehsten, an inventor from England. George was doing amazingly cool things with electricity, electronics, power management and the coolest of all, sonar based on dolphin echo location.

Among his many achievements, George invented a version of the eight track tape player/recorder, quadraphonic and multi channel audio systems, tracer bullets during WWII and a slew of other inventions by himself and with others.

George was an amazing man and friend. I was a basically an intern, fresh out of 9 years in the US Nuclear Sub force. The only real electronics training I had was completing a Health Kit (yes HK) course where in the end I built my own 25 inch color TV.

I loved tinkering with electronic and computers and George knew it. He encouraged me daily, showing me white papers, getting me hooked on Dr. Dobb's magazines and asking me my opinion on projects he was working on, even though they were all over my head at first.

George took me under his wing on many occasions when I was frustrated with my lack of on the job experience with electronics and the fledgling field of 8-bit micro-controllers. George was patient, kind and full of positive energy.

On more than one occasion, George would take me on a walk at lunch, talking about the problems of the day and how we, not he or me, but we, could solve them. At the end of those walks, George would look me in the eye and say 'just do it'. Don't hesitate, don't worry about the outcome, don't stop to over analyze what could happen. Just Do It.

It's a simple, very positive tool that you should use every time you're stuck or unsure how to proceed. Say it out loud. Settle down, address the problem realistically and then just do it.

You want to write a book?

Just Do It.

Don't wait for an agent. Don't wait until you have the entire plot worked out. Don't expect it to perfect. Don't worry about the criticism you'll get every step of the way. Don't worry if it will sell. Don't worry if it's the 'right' story.

Do write every day. Do keep a note book or tablet with you at all times, and use it EVERY time you get an idea, no matter how small. Do keep a pad by your bed stand and DO write down that cool idea or dialogue, because you will NOT remember it the next day. Do write as long as the ideas are flowing, you can prune later.

Just Do It.

Start right now.

Be Cool!

Friday, September 2, 2016

OK, experiment over... ;-)

I admit it, I was curious what ads were all about on blogs. I see them on lots of blogs, some of them writer's blogs.

I think for more 'commercial' blogs it's OK. Maybe sponsored blogs. Well known writer's blogs, etc.

But they just don't seem appropriate for my writer's blog, so I turned them off.

I'm still learning about 'social media', so forgive me if the ads turned you off to my posts. I'm slow, but I am trainable.

Thanks for you patience and understanding.

Be cool.

Monday, August 29, 2016

You must watch this excellent TV series! #BetterLateThanNever

'Better Late than Never' is a TV series NOT to be missed, trust me!

Four icons of television and movies go on a hilarious trip that can only be described as 'the mother of all bucket list adventures'. I've added their twitter handles so you can tell them what you think.

Henry Winkler, @hwinkler4real of TV's Happy Daze days, dozens of movies and TV specials. He's co-author of several wonderful kids book series, 'Hank Zipzer' and 'Ghost Buddies', and my favorite recent work on the 'Hank Zipzer' TV series for CBBC. Henry is the anchor for this team of 'mature' travelers. Henry displays the appreciation of life and camaraderie that makes him a beloved celebrity around the world.

William Shatner, @WilliamShatner of TV's Star Trek fame as well as dozens of other series and movies is wonderful. Funny, sarcastic, unexpectedly humble and fearful for his life at times.

Terry Bradshaw, @terrybradshaw of football fame is a surprisingly hilarious traveler in this troop. I knew he had a great sense of humor from watching him on sports shows, but I was not expecting the full-tilt-cowboy-night-on-the-town fun! Love ya', Terry.

George Foreman, @GeorgeForman. If you don't know his lineage then you've been living under a rock. A very humble and funny man. Love his zingers in the background! I get the feeling poor George is getting more out this adventure than he bargained for. ;-)

Jeff Dye @JeffDye of NBC's 'I Can Do That' tries in vain to keep the four troopers out of trouble and on the road of adventure.

The first episode was in Kyoto and Hong Kong. I still giggle when I remember them trying the 'exotic' sushi. You have to see it to believe it, I can't repeat it here. Sweet Josephine, did they really eat that??

I rarely watch 'specials' that feature celebrities and never bother with reality shows of the rich and self-famous. I decided to watch this one because of Henry Winkler and William Shatner, two of my all time favorite 'people I'd love to meet'.

Both of these men have done wonderful TV, movie and specials. They are down to earth, humble (yes Shatner is humble, he just hides it well ;-) and caring men. Both do special work with kids and give back to their followers whenever possible.

Please do yourself a funny bone favor and watch this series.

100 out of 100 on my Laugh-o-Meter!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Time to let the imagination free again!

I'm scanning my outlining notes for my 'Arlo and Jake' Scifi series, feeding the basic story line to my imagination. It's like putting a pot on the stove and adding everything in the frig that hasn't spoiled yet. Makes for a great stew!

I'm rereading the first 3 books, and taking notes on new ideas that pop out. The outline is already there but of course that's just a guideline. Something to start with, not set in stone. That doesn't work for me.

I know it does for other authors. They sketch out entire books before starting Chapter One. Wow, that sounds really boring. I like to get a good, solid plot in my head and then let my characters loose. I never know where they'll go!

For me it's a process. I dream up lots of cool ideas, some outlandish characters, new side kicks and new villains I'll add some far out weapons and ships and make sure there's lots of adventure and just plain fun. I'll get out of the way at some point and listen to Arlo's corny Sean Connery imitation tell me what to write. ;-)

I hope to continue the fun and adventure with Book 4, 'Deep Cover'. The guys get a daring assignment to ... hmm. I think that this time, I'll post my progress here and let my readers in on the fun as I write, rewrite, throw away, massage and stagger forward.

I hope you'll follow along and enjoy the ride as much as I do.

Be Cool!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Indie writers ROCK!

Check out my review of Arthur M. Doweyko's new book 'As Wings Unfurl' in the 'Review' tab. I devoured the story over the weekend. Great concepts and well thought out plot. I'll be reading more of his books!

I've made it a habit to find and read mostly indie books in the past few years. I still read main stream books, but the ratio is probably 5 to 1 in favor of the indie side. 

Indie writers tend to be grittier and far less flowery than main stream 'successes'. Too many times I've picked up a 'best seller' and found that half the book is fluff that adds nothing to the story. James Michner was the worst but there are plenty of others.

To be clear, I like some of Mr. Michner's works. I just find it tedious to scan through another description of a flower or analyze another character's inner angst when I just want to find out what happens next. I've read that publishers will prod writers to add more 'flavor' to their stories to boost the word count and justify a higher book price. I'm sure that happens but I think sometimes that authors just like to hear their own voices in print. ;-)

Indie writers haven't been tainted yet. We're still babes in the woods, trying to find our writing style and 'voice'. And I really like that. We want the story to unfold at a good, measured pace. Keep the reader's interest on every page, not just every chapter.

I know that many people like the more eloquent depictions and long flowing story arcs.  That's great. Glad there are writers that address your needs. 

Me? I'd rather read a short gripper than a long-winded tomb. 

What do you like?

Be Cool!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Something for everyone!

When I released 'Walk with Me' in May I hit an amazing milestone:

Six books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 


When I launched 'Genome' in 2006 I never thought I'd see more than 1 or 2 books out there. It took so much time and karma to produce that story. I had so much to learn. It took everything I had at the time, I never considered I'd have enough gas left to make more!

Then I decided that I really wanted to write the kind of stories I like to read and watch in the movies. Fun. Adventurous. Exciting. Just a little warped with maybe just a little naughtiness thrown in.

That's when the 'Arlo and Jake' series was conceived! I've never had so much fun. Coming up with new civilizations, wacky creatures, truly evil bad guys and noble heroes. Now on that noble hero concept, I decided that sometimes, clueless worked better than self assured. Why? Because that's me. Clueless, but somehow making it through life without too many major scars. ;-)

'Arlo and Jake Enlist' is the first book in the series. I introduce you to Jake Jasper and his pet chameleon, Arlo. Jake has a lot of my history behind him. Retired software nerd. Submariner in the nuclear navy. Wise ass with a warped sense of humor. What's not to like?

'Arlo and Jake Galactic Boot Camp' continues the adventure, putting my guys through a grueling Federation of Thirteen Galaxies training camp. But I can't just have you follow them through that, oh no. I've got some very nasty surprises waiting for them.

'Arlo and Jake Lost Partner' is Arlo's first solo adventure. Jake's little buddy goes missing and Jake cannot go after him because the Squids are at it again, trying to Aquaform an entire system! Jake has to suck it up and go help save the Universe, leaving his buddy and hoping he's OK. Arlo finds he's more than just a little lizard with a knack for spatial mechanics. He's got a little of the hero inside, just waiting to get out.

'Etchings' is my first real ghost story, from start to finish. It's based on some real locations in the mountains of Colorado. I've been fascinated with stories of ghost towns and spooky cemeteries all life. This one gave me nightmares and I wrote it!

There are more stories coming, including the next 'Arlo and Jake' adventure, and a series based on the AI in Genome, for kids. That one is rattling around in my imagination, trying to kick it's way out. ;-)

I hope you'll use the links above or head over to Amazon and type 'gary henson' to find my books. I write to please our need for adventure and fun!


Be Cool
Be Happy
Just Be!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Talk to your characters...

OK, just have to get this off my chest.

I admit it.

I talk to my SciFi series characters, Jake and Arlo.

The cool part is that they talk back. ;-)

No, I can't hear them, folks, I'm not that far gone. (Yet).

It didn't start out they way, and it doesn't always work, but most of time I set them in motion and watch the fun.

I talk to them while I'm writing a scene and then just let my imagination guide my fingers. I type out a scene in simple bullets. Then I go back and fill in the bullets with dialogue and 'color'. I keep adding bullets and filling in the gaps with character movements, dialogue and adding environment and action.

There's also a lot of 'nah, that's stupid' and rewriting but that's OK.

But it really is a cooperative effort. As Arlo and Jake 'grew up' in book one, it became easier and easier to just let them work things out on their own. I'm on book four and it's a more fun than I can describe to you.

Jake has a lot of me in his persona. I intended that way. I spent 9 years in the nuclear Navy, mostly on fast attack subs and shipyards, though I spent time in Idaho as an instructor. Yes. Idaho. I trained students to operate nuclear/steam power plants on the submarine prototype for the Nautilus, the first nuc sub. Weird, right?! Then I've spent the next forty years as a software developer.

Jake's back story has a lot of me in it. You're supposed to write about things you know or have experienced. Honestly, that part has been a lot of fun. I've taken lots of experiences I had in the Navy and in the software biz and molded them into situations in the 'Arlo and Jake' series.

And that's helped my characters 'talk' to me. I can play the scene in my head and on paper and then think back on times in the service or in the code mines that are similar.

We said and did some really outrageous things back when I first entered the Navy. We were young and stupid, that's the gist of it. Invulnerable and incredibly cocky. Stupid. But every 19 year old is stupid. You don't know squat at 19. The world is new and clean and just waiting for you to discover everything. What could possibly go wrong? Ah, that'll never happen, let's go for it!


I use those feelings to get Jake and Arlo to be stupid and brave. Fearless and instinctive. Awestruck at the new Universe they've been plopped into. It flows really well if I just get out of the way when I'm writing.

Arlo is the easiest to write. I can sum up Arlo in one word. 'Snarky'. I LOVE that word. A bit of know it all. A bit of swagger (for a chameleon ;-) and sauce. Arlo's got your back and he's going to never let you forget it. He's the first one with a plan and the first one with a gnarly, smart ass comeback.

The other characters talk to me in the same way. I set them up, wind them up and stand back to watch the chaos ensue.

How about you?

How do you deal with reticent characters?

I hope you have as much fun with it that I do.

Be Cool.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The hardest part about being an indie/novice writer is all the promoting. Yeah, that's right. The promoting is tons harder than outlining, researching, 'tinking about plot arcs and dialogue, writing, rewriting, throwing away and starting over, rewriting, cover art, formatting, rewriting, obsessing over a sentence or even a word until you want to rip the words out of your skull! Sheeew.

But promoting stinks.

It's embarrassing to have to shout 'Hey, buy my books, they're really, really good' through the Cyberverse on Twitter, Facebook and of course writing blogs.

But unless you have an instant hit (no I have not) or an agent, what else can you do?

So here are a couple of things I've learned. I hope they help you.

First: Relax. Don't stress out every minute of the day worrying about your next sale. I've done that and it doesn't help at all. Checking your Amazon or Barnes and Noble account every hour will not make sales magically appear.

Instead give yourself a schedule. Say once a day, maybe before you start working on your next story or after dinner. And stick to it. Don't sneak a peek just this once. It will spiral into checking it every chance you get. Discipline, grasshopper. Control yourself. Make it a habit. Once a day.

Second: Keep writing. The best way to get a readership is to give them more of your stories. The more you give, the more you'll get. Simple rule, but it's very true. Keep writing and publishing. You'll get more reader and you'll get better at writing.

Third: Let yourself enjoy the thrill of writing for it's own sake. You love it, or you shouldn't be doing it. It gives you joy. Let it. Nothing else I've ever done is as rewarding as writing a book. Following my characters as they jump and jive to my imaginary music is damn exciting and FUN!

Fourth: Tweet about your book, sure. But Tweet to other indie writers and check on their progress. Let them know you're interested in their stories. Tell them when you're stuck and help them out when they are. Twitter is for dialogue and friendship. I overdid (probably still overdo) it using Twitter as a sales platform. Promote your indie writer's books. Discuss good books you've read. Discuss terrible books you're read. Discuss why. Get involved and be friendly.

Fifth: Make Facebook page for you writing. Promote it. Keep it up to date. I think this is the best avenue for self-promoting your work. You can put so much more into a blog post or a Facebook post than a tweet. Show off your covers, invite discussions.

Sixth: Go find other sharing medias to explore.

But most of all, have fun. Explore and conquer my friends!

Be Happy

Be Cool

Just Be!

Monday, April 25, 2016

'Walk with Me' has been pub'd! Whoo Hoo!

That's right, my friends, I finally finished my latest work of art.. er.. book, 'Walk with Me'! ;-)

You can go to and search for 'gary alan henson' to find that book and my other books.

Sorry it took so long, but life is a challenge for all of us sometimes.

I hope you try it and enjoy my little story.

Be Cool and thanks!

'Walk with Me'

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Write, rewrite, redo, rethink and repeat

The more you reread your manuscript, the better your finished story will be. It's just the way it is. The sooner you accept that fact of life the better. I raise my hand as someone who is slowly learning that fact. Color me impatient, Bucko, 'cause I want it out NOW.

But it's not ready.

'Walk with Me' is a simple, endearing tale of what all encompassing love means. It's my first real story of love and tragedy. Of life lived completely and deeply.

I'm rereading it today and finding small areas where just a few more and sometimes a few less words are making a profound difference in the story. The characters are becoming more coherent and believable.

The characters are in my head as I write, but you don't see them. I hint at them, at their emotions and fears and joys, but I'm not doing a great job of letting you see that. I feel it. I love the characters. But it's my job to get those feeling on paper so you can enjoy them too.

I found a great cover image, too. Took me a while, but I'm determined that this book will be better. Something you will look back on and smile. I want you to enjoy the story.

I'll keep rereading and writing until I can read it through without thinking there is something missing, something not quite right.

I want to enjoy reading it. If I enjoy it, then I'm pretty sure you will as well.

Soon, my gentle reader, soon. ;-)

Thanks for all your continued support. It means the world to me.

Be Cool.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Study everything!...

Every time you read something outside your 'normal' genre, your comfort zone, you expand your mind just a bit.

You drop a new idea into the soup of your imagination, adding to the flavor.

You light a tiny flicker of something 'not quite right' into a dark part of your mind.

It's not always easy or fun. Some of the stuff you pick up will be utter piffle (a real word, look it up!) and will be filed away in your 'forget this' file cabinet.

But most of the stuff will add to your arsenal of things to explore. The more you read, the more you experience.

Pick up a high school biology book and just skim it, cover to cover. I bet you will remember less than I did! ;0) But didn't it spark a few ideas? I'll bet you had a dozen ideas for your books just by reading about DNA again! It sure sparked my imagination, it's in virtually everything I write now!

Read a genuine, old time western novel.

How about a, shudder, romance novel? Careful, these are addictive. ;-)

No matter what you pick up, study some of it. If it's fiction, get inside the author's head and see the story from his or her point of view. Keep going until you get SOMETHING that you've never thought of before.

Grab that idea. Swirl it around in your mouth, getting a taste of it. Feel the texture of it's
undercurrent; what makes THIS story so interesting to so many people?

Study everything.

Every thing you read and study will help grow your imagination. And that's where your stories come from.

Read. Study. Go!

Be Cool.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Dedicate more of your life to doing, less to worry

I'm still learning, even at 63 year old.

It's a simple lesson really, one I hope you'll think about for a moment. Because I think you'll get real benefit from this lesson.

Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage, get a sheet of paper or maybe an envelope and find someplace quiet. Just for the amount of time it takes to finish your drink, do nothing else, think about nothing else.

Write down three good things that you've accomplished in life. Things that came about mostly because of you. Go ahead, I'll wait. ;-)

OK. Now be honest with yourself. How did you accomplish each of these? Think about what was happening at the time; before, during and when they were done. What were you thinking? Did you plan? Did you 'just do it', as an inventor friend of mine used to say?

For me, it turns out that virtually all the good things I've done in life came about because I decided I needed to get 'it' done. I needed to take a leap of faith that I could get it done. I hiked up my britches and just went for it, sometimes scared stiff that I would fail.

I can think of NOTHING good that I've done that was the result of worrying about the outcome or how I was going to do it.

Simple, right?

Too simple? Not really. Lack of confidence, for a lot of people, will keep them from enjoying a lot of life. If you don't walk through that door, you'll never see what's on the other side.

Do you want to write?

Do you worry about whether or not you're good enough, smart enough? What if people don't like your story? What if your friends laugh at it and you? What if....

Set your doubts aside. Put a lid on your bottle of worry.

Do relax.

Do enjoy a few moments everyday, writing your stories.

Do pat yourself on the back when you reread a sentence you just wrote and it's awesome!

Do let yourself finish that book and get it published.

Do celebrate the launch, even if it's only a glass of milk and some cookies.

Life is for living, my friend. Writing is living.

Just do it.

Be Cool. I look forward to your books.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Happy 2016, Y'all!

Sorry it's a little late, but 'HAPPY NEW YEAR' to all my writing buddies, friends and everyone else who crosses this little blog.

In 2016 I sincerely hope you will:
- wake up every morning and say 'I love life' out loud (OK, internally if it spooks your spouse ;-)
- mentally confront your life's petty fears and kick them out the back door
- continue to execute a realistic plan to deal with your real problems
- get help if you need it, people will amaze you
- say 'Hi' to most of the people you meet today
- make eye contact, it may be just the thing they need to  prove that someone does care about them
- tell someone when something good happens to you
- listen with a caring heart when someone is sharing their bad news with you
- ask at least one person how his/her day is going and truly listen
- strive to do your best at your job, it's infectious behavior and both you and they will benefit
- take a walk at 10, 12, and 2, even if it's only for 5 minutes, it will clear your head and it's great exercise
- be alert to the world around you, but don't let the world's problems paralyze you, help where you can and trust that others will do the same
- read more
- try a different literary genre, stretch your world a little, you'll be amazed I promise
- get a book on your country's naval history or space program or government or parks or highways, ANYTHING that is not fiction so you can open the door to something new to you
- join a glee club or band or group of local guitarist or theater group or script writers. or take a pottery class or painting class or sculpture class, something that will get your creative self energized
- meet or re-meet a neighbor
- don't kick yourself for your mistakes more than once, learn and move on
- help in a fund raiser for those in need, give to a charity you care about
- take care of your body, start today
- realize you need to eat correctly and walk for your health
- take care of your mind
- do crosswords, puzzles, play games with friends, memorize poems like the Jabberwocky or a Doctor Seuss rhyme, add to your repertoire whenever you can
- take at least two mental breaks during the day, just close your eyes try to hear your own heartbeat
- encourage others with your smile, your love and your heart
- you'll have setbacks and problems, we all do. deal with them as soon as possible, do not carry them like a chain around  your neck
- don't be afraid to laugh out loud, it is music for the soul

Be happy, my friends, you deserve it.

And don't forget to be cool! ;-)