Sunday, September 14, 2014

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 13, 2014

First and foremost, I have submitted that short story with the Halloween deadline to its potential publisher AND returned my friend's novella with my notes and corrections, so those two projects are completely off my agenda now!

As to ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON...
I went back over Chapter 7 and a few of the corrections there led to a couple of other changes, which resulted in me going back over Chapter 8 before resubmitting it to my friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader Nancy Hansen for review. She will be getting the new version sometime this week.

I want to get all my ducks in a row and make sure the manuscript is as good as I can possibly make it before submitting it to the publisher.

THE STORY SO FAR...
At this moment in Chapter 7, Alpha has been on planet <???> for less than a couple of hours, as we measure time, and is already in the middle of a pretty intense situation. The <???> is <???> by hostile forces and unless <???> isn't <???> soon, the hostile forces will <???
>!
All this, plus the fact that Alpha hasn't decided yet whether or not he even wants to be on planet <???>.

The pretty intense situation at <???> will run though at least the beginning of Chapter 10, and then afterwards... <???>

If you're wondering what all the <???> are about, it's just my sneaky way of telling you what's going on without giving away all the great details before the novel is published.

All of this, plus the fact that The Free Choice E-zine celebrated a couple of major milestones this past week, achieving 1000+ page views for 3 consecutive years AND 2000+ page views for one full year!
So you can imagine how happy its Editor-In-Chief (me) is.

In any event, I better get back to work now.
See you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
14 September, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 6, 2014

There IS good news this week!
I have not only finished the first draft on the short story that is due by Halloween, but I have also received Chapter 7 of ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON back from my friendly neighborhood beta/proof reader!

Nancy Hansen still has Chapter 8 to review, while I am in between Chapters 9 and 10 of the overall manuscript.

That may seem like a lot, but we are talking almost 25,000 words of a (minimum) 60,000 word novel. As I've previously said, between spending a lot of time on short stories and having to restart the manuscript a couple of times because I want this novel to be as good as humanly possible since it will be the foundation for the future of the ALPHA series, Book 2 will probably not be published until 2015.
The fault/responsibility for that is totally on my shoulders, but the manuscript WILL be finished this year!

ON THE AGENDA FOR THIS WEEK:
*Giving that completed short story a final proofread before submitting it.
*Finishing proofreading that novella for a friend, and sorry I can't talk more about that project; and
*Continuing to write ALPHA, BOOK 2.

Well, I better get back to work now.
See you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
7 September, 2014

And considering what tomorrow is: LIVE LONG, AND PROSPER!

Monday, September 1, 2014

MY TOP TEN: BOOKS THAT HAVE STAYED WITH ME

Recently, I was challenged on Facebook to name the ten books that have stayed with me some how. Considering what an avid reader I am, that's a pretty tall order, but let me take a shot at it.


Art by Seuss
01. Anything by Doctor Seuss
I have fond memories of my parents reading to me when I was a child. To this day, I can still recite passages from Green Eggs and Ham. Seuss can be fun and topical even for today's readers.
Art by Frazetta!

02. A PRINCESS OF MARS by Edgar Rice Burroughs
While my discovery and lifelong love of comic books predate this, I have made no secret of the fact that this was the first straight prose, no interior images, book I ever read on my own. If I wasn't already on the road to wanting to be a writer by this point, this book certainly inspired me on that path.
While some claim the material is “dated”, I say it and the overall series still stands on its own creative merits and Burroughs imagination. I also highly recommend the rest of the Barsoom (Mars) novels and Burroughs' Carson of Venus series too.

03. Anything by Ellery Queen
Hutton, Wayne
There are three authors whose work I discovered via television. In order, the first was the wonderful, but short lived series from the 1970s featuring Jim Hutton as Ellery and David Wayne as his police inspector father. These are such great mysteries that only time I ever beat Queen and solved the case before him was because I had read the short story that the episode in question was based upon after I started hunting my local library for his books.
Yes, I know the back story about the two cousins, but you have to admire the “fair play” presentation of the mysteries (something I strive for in my Hugh Monn, Private Detective series) and it's a dang shame the respective estates will not allow the book series to continue in other capable hands, for I feel the characters would work well and are much needed in the 21st century.

04. Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Rathbone, Bruce
A few TV presentations of movies featuring Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Doctor John Watson led me to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
While Edgar Allen Poe is accredited with creating the mystery genre, Doyle is the first author to create a very (if not the most) popular series within it, with both Holmes unique powers of observation and his human foibles, as represented by THE SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION, which is also an interesting post-Doyle novel by Nicholas Meyer. A diverse collection of authors have taken on the Victorian detective since Doyle's passing, but the originals are well worth (re)reading.
HONORABLE MENTION: Laurie R. King's excellent Mary Russell-Holmes novels.

05. The Spenser Books by Robert B. Parker
Like Queen and Holmes, I first discovered Parker's most famous creation via the Spenser: For Hire television series back in the mid-1980s before becoming interested in the books, but found out the hard way that it's best to read them in order, starting with The Godwulf Manuscript.
Parker's writing style and story presentation have definitely influenced many a mystery writer, including myself on the Hugh Monn, Private Detective series.
Dawson, Schwarzenegger

06. THE RUNNING MAN by Richard Bachman
Basically, what NOT to do in a novel, for this is one of the few times where the movie adaptation is far superior to the original prose. I went looking for the book after seeing the Arnold Schwarzenegger-Richard Dawson film and was seriously disappointed.



07. A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens
There have been many adaptations of this literary classic since its first printing, but the original novel of human redemption is well worth reading.

08. CAPRICORN 1 by Ron Goulart
I read this novel of the government faking a manned mission to Mars with disastrous results long before I ever saw the movie. A tense page turner and a sad reflection on the state of Earth's space program even over three decades after its original 1978 publication.

09. H. G. Wells and Jules Verne
While I did not discover their books until long after appreciating Burroughs, the works of these two gentlemen showcase the creativity of both the authors and the genre, especially considering how far in advance the books were written of such things as nuclear submarines, personal computers, etc.
Mark Twain

10. Anything by Mark Twain
While noted for his humor, there is an underlying sense of “telling it like it is” within Twain's works, no matter who it might offend. Some critics today try to censor his words for not being “politically correct” or whatever the current buzz term(s) might be. I wonder why everything of the past must be viewed with rose colored glasses?

VERY HONORABLE MENTIONS
As stated at the beginning of this post, being such a very avid reader, there are way too many books and authors to limit this to just ten, so while everything might not be in exact chronological order, I picked some of my earliest reading memories appropriate to the challenge.

All images via Wikipedia and/or Google and believed postable under common usage applications.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING AUGUST 30, 2014

Progress this week?
In all honesty, not as much as I would prefer.
Book 1, Art by Marc Guerrero
Still haven't gotten Chapter 7 of ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON back from my friendly neighborhood proofreader yet, but it's not her fault. Nancy Hansen just has a lot going on in her personal life right now.
Almost finished with Chapter 9, but for those keeping track, this is my fourth attempt at completing a first draft on the novel.
As I've explained before, I am striving for a high degree of realism in this novel, because Book 2 will be the cornerstone for the series going forward.
Alpha is trying to find his place in the universe after the conclusion of BOOK 1: PROJECT ALPHA, and I just want everything to be as good as I can humanly make it.
Hugh Monn 2
Then again, I have also been honest with everyone when I previously mentioned taking on and honoring all those short story commitments
since finishing and submitting HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE: CATCH A RISING STAR's manuscript.

Speaking of which...
Did get some more work done on the lone short story commitment that is still outstanding for 2014.
Will definitely have that completed before its Halloween deadline.
As I said in last week's Progress Report, the pendulum is swinging the other way right now, and I will be concentrating mostly upon novels for the foreseeable future. There is currently only one short story commitment for 2015, although I have had to pause everything for the last couple of days to proofread a novella for a friend.

In any event, I better get back to work now, despite the fact it's the Labor Day weekend here in the United States.
Take care and I'll see everyone around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
31 August, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: 99 CENT LABOR DAY WEEKEND SALE!

To celebrate the holiday weekend, Pro Se Press is giving you the chance to pick up some great e-books at a cheap price, including one from yours truly!

Pro Se Presents: The Sale!
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For Immediate Release-

PRO SE PRESENTS: THE SALE!
20 EBOOKS FOR 99 CENTS UNTIL SEPTEMBER 1

Pro Se Productions, a leading Publisher of New Pulp and Genre Fiction, announces its first PRO SE PRESENTS: THE SALE! From August 29 through September 1st, 2014, select digital titles, regularly prices $2.99, will only be 99 Cents at www.Amazon.com!
Read the best Authors in Genre Fiction! Explore Action, Mystery, Horror, and more in a variety of stories that only Pro Se Productions can provide! 20 novels and/or anthologies, every one less than a dollar!

Thrill to the following Pro Se Titles-
*A WEEK IN HELL by J. Walt Layne - http://tinyurl.com/o24l5lt
*BADGE OF LIES by Jason Kahn- http://tinyurl.com/oztn3ub
*RAVENCROFT SPRINGS by Logan L. Masterson - http://tinyurl.com/m2bee92
*VIONNA AND THE VAMPIRES by Chuck Miller - http://tinyurl.com/qz3qq43
*THE BONE QUEEN by Andrea Judy - http://tinyurl.com/kac4jsd
*THE CITY OF SMOKE AND MIRRORS by Nick Piers - http://tinyurl.com/mebvuo6
*COMPANION DRAGONS TALES: A FAMILIAR NAME
by Nancy A. Hansen-http://tinyurl.com/o58wc7z
*DRAMATIS PERSONAE: PUBLIC DOMAIN
by Joseph Lamere- http://tinyurl.com/mx8xy47
*FORTUNE'S PAWN
 by Nancy A. Hansen- http://tinyurl.com/mcpqdrd
*JUST THE FACTS: TRUE TALES OF COPS AND CRIMINALS
by Jim Doherty-http://tinyurl.com/n632cn5
*MONSTER ACES by Various - http://tinyurl.com/m5jd2kp
*PROJECT ALPHA by Lee Houston, Jr. - http://tinyurl.com/l9qgjuh
*RABBIT HEART by Barry Reese - http://tinyurl.com/lr9svca
*SAVAGE NOIR by Greg Norgaard- http://tinyurl.com/n8oattf
*SENSIBLE REDHORN by Tim Holter Bruckner- http://tinyurl.com/lhmxd3u
*SNATCHED! A KATE AND CRAIG SUSPENSE STORY
by Charles Boeckman-http://tinyurl.com/kz6ceu6
*THE ADVENTURES OF PEABODY RICH by Donna Smith - http://tinyurl.com/lxtgsdv
*THE BISHOP OF PORT VICTORIA by D. Alan Lewis- http://tinyurl.com/nzttxof
*THE NEW ADVENTURES OF JIM ANTHONY, SUPER DETECTIVE:
THE DEATH'S HEAD CLOUD by Joshua Reynolds- http://tinyurl.com/m36e3ec
*YOUNG DILLON IN THE HALLS OF SHAMBALLAH
by Derrick Ferguson- http://tinyurl.com/k63k35h

The Best in Heroic Fiction can be Yours for 99 cents each through September 1, 2014. Pro Se Presents: The Sale!

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING AUGUST 23, 2014

Alpha
Well folks, in all honesty, the news this week is mixed.
I've completed Chapters 8 and 9 to ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON.
However, Chapter 7 has yet to come back from my friendly neighborhood beta-proofreader. Nancy Hansen has just had too much on her plate at the moment between her own writing and family commitments.

Meanwhile, the short story with a Halloween deadline has grown from 3700 words to 4715 words! Have been working on it off and on for a while now, but will have to devote a solid time block to finish it soon before the deadline.

So let's take a quick peek at my current things to do list.
*ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON; in progress.
*Last short story commitment for 2014: in progress.
*Sherlock Holmes short story for Airship 27: work starts as soon as the above is done.
*HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE: BOOK 3; work starts as soon as the above is done.
*ALPHA, BOOK 3: work starts as soon as HUGH 3 is done.

Right now, I only have the one short story commitment scheduled for 2015, ironic considering all the short stories I have written, which in part has contributed to the delay on having the manuscript for ALPHA 2 completed.
Three have been published so far this year.
*THE DEATH DEALER in The New Adventures of Diamondstone The Magician, Volume One; from Pro Se Press/Pulp Obscura/Altus Press.
*WOLF HUNT in Once Upon A Six Gun from Pro Se Press, and
*CAPTURED in The New Adventures of The Man In Purple, Volume One; from Pro Se Press/Pulp Obscura/Altus Press.

Out of the other stories that I have already written, REBEL will be out by the end of this year as part of Singularity: Rise of the Post-Humans from New Babel Books.

I have two more short stories awaiting publication at Airship 27 that are more than likely 2015 releases, one more (to date) pending at Pro Se Press, and two short stories that I have absolutely no idea when or if they will ever see the light of day at this point.

I will keep everyone posted as things develop, but I better get back to work now.
See you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
24 August, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING AUGUST 16, 2014

Yes, I'm proud to say there was progress this past week. Chapter 7 of ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON is with its beta/proofreader while I'm working on Chapter 8.
Also am currently about 3700 words into the short story that's due by Halloween, with the project having a minimum 5000 to 6500 maximum word limit. The subject matter? Here's a hint: a groovy time all in color for a dime.

But the above is intentionally a little terse so I can share the following with everyone in need:

Rest in Peace, sir.

See you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
17 August, 2014