Sunday, January 25, 2015

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING JANUARY 24, 2015

Ah... there's VERY good news this week!

I have solved my exposition versus action problems, thus eliminating a lot of the "blah blahs" that my esteemed, friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader Nancy Hansen thought was weighing down Chapter 13 to ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON.

The solution?
I've been going back over Chapters 11, 12, and 13, restructuring the sequence of events. This has allowed me the chance to eliminate some words here and there, as well as creating opportunities for new sequences that, by the time I'm done with what was originally three chapters will now be at least four chapters worth of material, and maybe even at least part of a fifth!
One man's balancing act

The main problem wasn't just Chapter 13 itself, but the two prior chapters leading up to the issue in question. It turned out to just be a matter of balance.
Once I started rearranging sequences, it all fell into place.
Falling into place...

Of course, this also means that I have to backtrack somewhat on getting the new material/chapters proofread.
Hansen just sent me back Chapter 11, and I honestly don't know whether or not she's started going over Chapter 12 yet.
But now that I have all my ducks in a row,
Don't you just love puns?



the rest of the book should just be a question of time and effort.
I know some of you out there are disappointed that ALPHA, BOOK 2 hasn't already been finished and released, but wouldn't you rather read the best book I am able to humanly produce rather than whatever I can quickly "crank" out to get to the next project?

In any event, I better get back to work now.
See you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
25 January, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING JANUARY 17, 2015

Got a LOT accomplished this past week, so let's review.

Read the next two stories for Jim Beard's upcoming superhero anthology. Sam Gafford and Bonnie Sterling both submitted wonderful tales.

The Free Choice E-zine, of which I am its humble Editor-In-Chief, celebrated its 1400th Blogger post today, as Waxy Dragon talked about her vacation down on the farm for the Sunday Funnies.







And then there's ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON.
On one hand, I not only finished writing Chapter 14, but also got a good start on Chapter 15 too.
However, Chapter 13 came back from my friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader with a note saying it still needed work.
I just don't know what it is about that chapter!
There IS a lot of important information within that chapter that I need to share with the readers. However, I'm being told it needs more action. Otherwise, it's just a lot of "blah, blah, blah". You know, like that sound effect in all the Peanuts specials when an adult is allegedly talking off screen.
The problem isn't that I'm not capable of spicing it up with more action to make the chapter more interesting.
The situation is trying to come up with the appropriate action.
I do not want to contradict anything that happened within the first 12 chapters, nor do I want to tip my hand in regards to what happens in the remaining chapters.
So I definitely have an interesting challenge before me.

Well, I'll figure out how to accomplish this balancing act in time.
Better get back to work now.
See you around the Internet.

Lee Houston, Junior
18 January, 2015











Sunday, January 11, 2015

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING JANUARY 10, 2015

What is it about the number 13?
People have been superstitious about it for countless generations.
In my case, I will make sure the first reading session of a new book stops after page 13, and I will not stop in the middle of a writing project on page 13.
WHY?
Dang if I know, but I bring this up because Chapter 13 to ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON seems to be my main stumbling block at the moment.
It is kind of an intermission period between the big event in the first half of the novel, and what is to come in the latter pages.
Alpha
I've rewritten it twice already to make the information more interesting than just a standard "info dump" chapter, yet I don't want events in this section to either contradict what has already happened, nor do I want to tip my hand about what will happen in the future.
Then again, maybe what they say about "The third time being the charm" will come true in this case, because I have sent the third revision of this chapter back to my friendly neighborhood proofreader Nancy Hansen for review, and should get it back with her thoughts later this week.

Meanwhile, I've been privileged to read three more short stories in that upcoming superhero anthology I've been teasing everyone about in some of my more recent progress reports. Lisa M. Collins, Thomas Deja, and Jim Beard himself have now submitted their stories.
I've reviewed them and sent Jim my thoughts on each. Until the remaining tales arrive, I'm back at work on ALPHA.

See you around the Internet!
Lee Houston, Junior
11 January, 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2015

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING JANUARY 3, 2015

Before we get down to the new business of a new year, there is a bit of leftover old business from 2014 that must be addressed first.
Filling Blank Spaces closed out the previous year at 2,231 page views!
I would like to personally thank all my readers and fans for visiting this site and seeing how I'm doing.
Now then...

This past week has been quite exciting on two fronts.
Writing wise, I'm almost done with Chapter 14 and sent Chapter 13 of ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON to my friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader Nancy Hansen, who sent it back to me with some heartfelt notes and critiques; which promptly had me going back over the chapter for some serious revising.
It has since been sent back to her once more and I eagerly await her opinions.
Concurrently, the remainder of Book 2 IS plotted out, I just have to commit it from notes and memory to actual reality.

Otherwise, I have not been idle, for on the other front, I have been wearing my editor's hat a lot this past week too.
While she had Chapter 13, Nancy asked me to beta/proofread her next installment of THE KEENER EYE, her private detective series.
The story is tentatively scheduled as a future Single Shot from Pro Se Press.

ALSO, I am in the middle of reviewing TWO stories for that future superhero anthology from Mechanoid Press I keep mentioning on this blog. I've almost finished Lisa M. Collins' contribution, and Thomas Deja's awaits.  When those are done, I will be returning to work on ALPHA 2.
More on the anthology as things develop, for not every tale has been submitted yet.

So in any event, I better get back to work.
See you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
4 January, 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015

LOOKING FORWARD AND BACK (2014/2015)

As I begin my second full year of maintaining a writer's blog, although the actual second anniversary of Filling Blank Spaces won't be until later this year, I decided that New Year's Day would be a perfect time to not only look back over what I've accomplished during the previous year, but to look ahead at what's on my creative agenda.
So let's briefly turn the page back to...
Sadly, I seriously over-extended myself on short story commitments this past year. On one hand, I did manage to honor ALL those promises and made every deadline, but alas, that seriously pushed back my novel writing, so ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON and any other book will not be released until later in 2015 at the earliest.


However, THREE of those short stories were released in 2014!

*THE DEATH DEALER in The New Adventures of Diamondstone the Magician, Volume 1; from Pro Se Press/Pulp Obscura/Altus Press


*WOLF HUNT featuring Sheriff William “Bat” Masterson meeting Little Red Riding Hood, appeared in Once Upon A Sixgun, Volume 1 from Pro Se Press; AND

*CAPTURED featuring the Man In Purple appeared in The New Adventures of The Man In Purple, Volume 1; from Pro Se Press/Pulp Obscura/Altus Press.

Looking ahead, most of the remaining short stories should appear sometime this year, including TWO from Airship 27, at least one from Pro Se Press, a superhero adventure from Mechanoid Press, and one from New Babel Books!

Alpha
On the writing agenda for this coming year...
*First and foremost is to finish the manuscript for ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON and get it to the publisher so all the superhero's fans can read it at last. Book 1, PROJECT ALPHA presented his origin and first adventure, while Book 2 lays the foundation for the future of the series.

After losing Shambala, can Alpha find a new home amongst the stars?

*Once that is completed, I have TWO, and only 2, short story promises to honor, for I will not make the same mistake twice.
One is a Sherlock Holmes tale for Airship 27, and the other I'm afraid I can't talk about at this time.
Hugh Monn

*But once the short stories are done, then I will finally get started on whatever the third book in the HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE series will be.

And of course, all of this is on top of my duties as Editor-In-Chief of The Free Choice E-zine and whatever else comes along.
Looks like 2015 is going to be a busy year.
I better get started on it first thing in the morning after breakfast.
Good night everybody, surf the Internet safely, and don't forget to tip your waitstaff.

Lee Houston, Junior
1 January, 2015.

All books mentioned above are available in both print and e-formats through Amazon and other fine retailers.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING DECEMBER 27, 2014

The holidays are a magical time, filled with a special joy and wonder uniquely their own. Sure, it's easy to get lost in the hectic rush preparing the "perfect" Christmas or get caught up in all the commercialism, especially if you work in the retail industry.
But when you take the time to truly savor the moment, there IS something special about this time of year.

Or at least, that's how I feel about the subject.

Other than getting to read Chuck Miller's story for the upcoming superhero anthology that will include the works of David Michelinie, Jim Beard, Erwin K. Roberts, and myself; for better or worse I didn't get anything else accomplished creatively this past week.

However, I did have a great time with my extended family and friends, so I think that is a far better achievement than anything I could of written this past week.

This week might wind up being a different story, for all I have to do is attend a New Year's Eve party and I don't even drink. So depending upon errands and housework, there are several days wide open that I might accomplish something in.

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas time.
Please party responsibly this New Year's Eve, for I'm sure your loved ones would like to enjoy the pleasure of your company in 2015 and beyond.

Take care, and I'll see you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
28 December, 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING DECEMBER 20, 2014

In all honesty, it's been a very busy week as the holidays approach.
Wrapping gifts, shopping, wrapping gifts, shopping for more wrapping supplies since I'm such a lousy gift wrapper to begin with.
Unfortunately not much accomplished on the writing front.

AGAIN!






I did get to read a story by Erwin K. Roberts that will be in that superhero anthology with David Michelinie, Jim Beard, Chuck Miller, a few other people, and myself.

But other than finishing going over Chapter 12, not much else regarding ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON this past week.

My friendly neighborhood beta-proofreader has asked me to hold off sending her any more work until after the holidays, and with the first of two coming up this week, I'm not sure how much I'll get accomplished writing wise this week as it.

Then again, how often do you get to spend quiet moments with family and friends?
So with that in mind...

Hope I didn't leave any out, and I'll see you around the Internet folks.
Lee Houston, Junior
21 December, 2014