Zara – A Name Among The Stars – SciFi Adv/Rom – Episode 7

We left Zara having a stand-up, screaming argument with Gaude, the manager of Duke Tremayne’s estate. Gaude’s just told her that there is no job for her as Dancing Mistress at the estate, and then goes on to accuse her of carrying fake ID!

What’s she to do? Is there another job she might apply for? Will she be able to get the charges against her dropped? What if they find out her real history? (Dramatic music)

Long epsiode this week (7k words). We’re at about 32k words total, so around 1/3 of the way through!

Thank you for the comments and questions generated last time. All very welcome. Comments and questions and speculation will be welcome again this time. πŸ™‚

I too have question: what frequency and amount would you prefer? What you’re getting at the moment is a weekly episode which gets written basically on Friday evening & Saturday morning. I could make episodes twice as long, but then they’d be every other weekend…
Also, which day is best? (Friday seems very popular! I would need to get an episode ahead.)

Thanks! Enjoy!



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 book, 'Sleight of Hand' is available on Amazon at

18 responses to “Zara – A Name Among The Stars – SciFi Adv/Rom – Episode 7”

  1. Sarah L says :

    Arghhhh! So good!! The downside? I’m tempted to go investigate other books in the genre and my reading pile is already attempting to smother me πŸ™‚ Love the twist with the Tremayne family being a mirror of Zara’s, honestly didn’t see it coming. I have a good feeling about Rhoswyn, I like her already. And I love the Cornish references, I knew the words and names seemed familiar (and in fact the coastline descriptions, along with strange rocks) but hadn’t put any thought into where from.

    The wait is agony now that I am so invested in the story, but how you’re doing it is just fine. I believe your chapters are longer than other serials I’ve read (Grace Draven and Ilona Andrews being the main two, Elizabeth Hunter does it as well, although not as frequent episodes) which is very satisfying. Weekly is good with me, a fortnight and I might start to forget the details.

    Loving this so much.

  2. azrm says :

    Mark, I am delighted by your world building. I also appreciate that your physical descriptions of people are improving. I was going to mention that this story did not seem to have the same degree of physical identity the Bite Back series has. I could picture Rhoswyn much more clearly. However, when she mentioned she wanted to cut her hair like Zara, I couldn’t remember what Zara’s hair looked like. A description of some type would have been nice. Reminders along the way of what people look like helps me keep the characters in mind. I do love the detail you add about the clothes. It really adds to the ambiance. You are really good at that. Did I mention that I really like how this storyline is developing??? It’s intriguing!

    Please keep it every week. Every other week would be much more difficult to follow…and remember… Friday is probably good for people who work.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Rosemarie.

      I hope to tidy up some of the earlier descriptions when I publish.

      Yes, I’ll put in a reference to Zara’s hair near the comment from Rhoswyn (Zara’s hair is cut short as a boy as part of her disguise to escape Newyan).

      Weekly seems good.

  3. Mark Henwick says :

    Gosh, so many typos!

    I rushed this a bit, sorry!

  4. amper5andrew says :

    I’m really enjoying this, Mark. I don’t really have an opinion on when you should post it. I am apparently subscribed to the blog, so it updates when there’s a new entry. Longer is better, I’m going to vote for fortnightly.

  5. colleenjc says :

    I usually look for seriels I follow weekly. Beyond that I forget if I read the last one or not. I am really enjoying this!

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Having it arranged in posts on this page makes it hard to flick back (to check something) if I do other posts. I may dedicate one page from the site for serials. Looking into it.

  6. Mark Henwick says :

    Some explanation of the names, starting with Basque and Chinese from the early part of the story.


    Izarra Azenari : This is the alias that Zara adopts during her escape
    Izarra is derived from the Basque name ‘Izar’=’star’
    Azenari is from the old Basque meaning ‘fox’

    Zarate Mirari Aguirre : This is Zara’s real name
    Zarate actually a Basque surname from ‘Zara’=’forest’ and ‘atΓ©’=’door’
    Mirari means ‘miracle’
    Aguirre means ‘prominent’

    Harantza : The name of the estate producing the tea used in the ceremony
    Derived from Aranza which means ‘bush’

    Duhalde : Basque surname signifying a family living beside water,
    from ‘ur’=’water’ and ‘alde’=’side’


    (approximations of sounds)

    Shohwa : the name of the AI and the ship she resides in. ‘Gathering Blossoms’.
    Derived from ‘shouji=’gather’ ‘hwa’=’blossom’

    Xian Hegemony : The name of the union of planets that the Shohwa comes from. Pronounced ‘she-ann’. Name of a city in China. Means ‘ancestor’ or ‘omen’.

    Chang field : The name of the field surrounding an object which removes it from the constraints of our time-space continuum.
    Chang is actually the Chinese word used for field (as in electric field).

    Suidao : The name of the engine used when inside the Chang field
    Derived from Chinese for ‘tunnel’

    Newyan : The name of Zara’s home planet
    Dervied from ‘NuΓ²yΓ‘n’=’promise’

  7. Richard says :

    Perfect cliff hanger…your mission, should you accept it!

    Sounds like the beginning of a long running serial, tune in next week for the further adventures of Zara Aguirre. πŸ˜ƒ

    I like how she identifys with Rhoswyn because of her own history, and takes the position of dancing mistress seriously. Even though she has been told the position no longer exists. I expect the other applicant to be nothing more than a smooth talking gold digger, pandering to expectations of others and not the needs of the girl.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Yup. That’s a definite hook. This indicates (in a very vague way) that the book will be 100k-120k words. We’re at 32k in 7 episodes…so another 14-20 episodes left. That’s dependent on whether I increase the episode length, and also, I warn you, I may get to the 3/4 point and publish the book.

      We will meet Hanna Esterhauze in the flesh shortly…

      • Richard says :

        Well ….. If you’re going to be that way about.
        Don’t be surprised when I buy it.


  8. Michael Orton says :

    I have a slight preference for weekly postings, but if the plot doesn’t reach a suitable break-point at that size chunk of text then I’d prefer to wait longer to keep the story flowing correctly.

    Charles Dickens published many of his works as weekly serials and sometimes it shows when there is an unnecessary cliff-hanger just to make sure people come back next week. He could get away with it, though I’m sure the final versions of the stories would have been even better without those distortions. (Please don’t ask for specific examples, but you might look at both “Pickwick Papers” and “Our Mutual Friend”.)

    You are not selling these chapters trying to live on the proceeds week by week and I’m more interested in buying a quality book when you are ready to sell it.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Yes, cliffhangers to get readers back next week seem to be a requirement in serials. The early ones just seemed very obvious to me and, from the reaction, they worked well. The next but last one (i.e. end of episode 6 – Gaude challenging her ID) felt ‘manufactured’, partly because I’d given the game away by having him call her Esterhauze as she prepped the plane. That should never happen if I plan, but part of this exercise is to write without the detailed planning I use for the main books.

      I’m looking to keep posting weekly, with the posting on Fridays to leave the whole weekend as the main time for people to read and react. Life will intrude from time to time, I’m sure!

  9. ptitelau says :

    Hi! Much prefer the weekly installments myself, thanks for choosing that!

    Still hooked,


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