Zara – SciFi Romance – 3rd installment

Fasten seat belts!

A little early this weekend, due to my being able to get the next section of Bian’s Tale out to the beta readers (and rattling off a couple of chapters of Inside Straight – been a good couple of days).


I have had to remove the episodes I posted here to fall into line with Amazon’s policies on Kindle Unlimited books.

The full novel is available on Amazon:




When I post stories on my blog, they will remain for at least a month after completion.

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About Mark Henwick

I was born in Africa and left out in the sun too often. An early interest in philosophy and psychology was adequately exorcised by tending bars. And while trying to enroll in a class to read Science Fiction full time, I ended up taking an engineering degree which splendidly qualified me to move into marketing. That in turn spawned a late onset career in creative writing. When not working, I get high by the slightly less conventional means of a small light aircraft. My first books are available on Amazon at

23 responses to “Zara – SciFi Romance – 3rd installment”

  1. bretthumphrey says :

    I am enjoying the story of Zara. It is different than your normal stories but I think you have captured the flavor of sci-fi very well. After all, the setting is just space but the character development and conflict is very well done. Thank you for some fun reading. Brett

    Sent from my iPhone, please excuse any tyops


  2. azrm says :

    Wow! What a place to stop!!! I want more! As a child, science fiction was my first love. You have all of the elements in place!

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thank you Rose! Yes, as a youth, I had to hide my enthusiasm for SciFi. To be fair, some of those book covers were greatly improved by brown paper and some of the stories were so much about the Big Idea or the Wacky Setting, people were cardboard cutouts. It’s amusing that it’s so mainstream now. But oh! the joy back in the 60s when the library in Lusaka got in a new Zelazny or Asimov!

  3. wiggiemomsi says :

    Oh my gosh, Mark, the story is fantastic and I want MORE! Your cliffhangers are becoming more and more diabolical … now, when’s the next installment?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks! 🙂

      Unfortunately for my readers I have a banner at the top of the working page for Zara – “Serials live by persuading people to come back”. I guess that means cliffhangers all the way. 🙂

      Part of my experimentation this time is to be very disciplined and produce at weekends, every weekend. I will also probably find the odd weekday or two when I get to editing Bian’s Tale and I will try to get ahead of the curve for Zara, otherwise this will last half the year!

  4. Michael Orton says :

    The absence of senior crew flagged that something significant was to be encountered on the flight deck. It didn’t have to be an AI, but it wasn’t going to be human.

    Terry Pratchet defined the traditional role of the security guards at the beginning of “Guards Guards” and then proceeded to write a book which turned that tradition upside down. These guards turned up on schedule but I can’t tell yet if we are following the traditional form or there is a Vimes or Carrot equivalent in play.

    Surely the AI is not going to be the romantic interest, though it may be that it wants to observe human romance and will set up suitable situations just to get the opportunity.

    That poor Customs Cutter does not know that Shohwa is in effect a Q-ship which could swat it out of space. Yet Shohwa cannot use its full naval capabilities when there would be evidence left to reveal what happened. It will take a while for the signals involved in this exchange to reach the planet, but they will. Direct combat is out so there will be a trick.

    This is fun. I only see one way to get Zara out of this. If I’m right I get to be pleased with myself. If I’m wrong I get the pleasure of a surprise. I win!

    Except, of course, for the delay while we wait for the next posting.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      There is one slim, extremely dangerous way to get out…

      I won’t answer your questions on the plot, other than to say, as far as the romance thread goes, this will be a traditional(ish) story. 🙂

      (Being mentioned in the same comment as Terry Pratchett makes my day. I will wear my black Stetson in his memory).

  5. Shana Pare says :

    I am really enjoying Zara. Well done. I await the next chapters with bated breath.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Shana!

      I am trying to make it near impossible for readers to not come back next weekend, so you may have a while before you can relax and breath easy! 🙂 (I hope)

  6. Justin Savely says :

    Haha I was right! An assassin of assassin’s. The verbal conflict between Zara and Shohwa, just right Mark. Not to aggressive, but not to friendly.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Yup, a Jack-of-all-trades type of anti-assassin, not a ninja, but an able retainer who may have to put her body on the line in defence of her charges.

      I’m enjoying writing about the Shohwa!

  7. K. S. Pollack says :

    Way to keep the cliffhangers coming. I hate you. (Not really). I almost wish that I would wait till the book is finished so that I could read it all at once. But I can’t do that now that I’m hooked. I think I know some of the next installment but not sure. Can’t wait.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Ohh. Be careful on the predictions, Ken, you know how I love to twist the threads. I find this coming to the fore as I write in this serial fashion.

  8. Daniel says :

    Well done Mark, i like Zara’s story as well, even the description of their FTL travel method is believeable and in depth of the matter. Very well done, will enjoy seeing where this story goes

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Daniel. I have a lifetime of reading SciFi and, for most of the time, I thought I would end up writing SciFi. Urban Fantasy just kinda popped up out of nowhere! 🙂

      I’m enjoying Zara. She’s not as clear to me as Amber or Bian, but she’s getting there.

      • Michael Orton says :

        I hope you mean you are learning about Zara’s personality rather than her total life history. Once you know all about a character, that character’s story is over.

        Of course for you each of the story lines has to end sooner than for everyone else: you have to write it before we can read it.

        You know where Amber’s story arc is going in far more detail than we can guess. That arc constrains Bian’s arc in as much as we know she will end up sharing that flat with Diana.

        But I hope you don’t know too much about any of these stories. I’m a terrible author, and there are many better story-tellers than me, simply because once I know my story in my own head I really can’t be bothered to write it down.

        It’s only the stories which develop as I sit at my keyboard which are enough fun to actually go somewhere.

        Then I lost the USB key with the text on. I still have the stories in my head, but I doubt I will have time to rekey them in the next 5 years.

        Moral: back up your files!

        You do back up yours I trust.

        • Mark Henwick says :

          Writing Zara is much more a discovery because I only do it at weekends and with the way I’m writing these serials, there’s simply not the time for careful revision, plotting and polishing.

          The same with Elodie, Livia and Julius, Seeche (you haven’t met yet) and Nyanga (one episode earlier this year).

          Bian (as a 15-year-old in Bian’s Tale 1) is still being discovered. I know very well where I’m going – the apartment with Diana as you put it – and much of what happens on the way, but it’s still feels new, and *how* it happens is there to be discovered.

          Amber is a friend who leans over my shoulder and comments. 🙂

          I back up to DropBox and I have generational, layered local backups (engineer in former life). I still lose stuff! Windows is nagging me to use OneDrive as well.

  9. Vroni says :

    Thank you – really Hard to know it’ll be another week before i Can read on. I enjoyed the tea ceremony.

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