Sunday, March 29, 2015

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING MARCH 28, 2015

Okay folks. I've got a lot going on right now, so I definitely feel like this poor fellow to the left of the text, on a tricky tight rope to traverse.

On one hand, ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON is going well. Still in-between the recently revised Chapter 15 and what will now be Chapter 16.
My friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader Nancy Hansen hasn't had a chance to see either yet, because she has a lot going on in her life too, including the recent release of her latest novel MASTER'S ENDGAME, which is the exciting conclusion of the trilogy that began with "Fortune's Pawn" and continued in "Prophecy's Gambit".

Concurrently, another of my tales from the marathon short story season of 2014 has finally seen publication. That now makes 4 out of 10 written last year, with at least two more guaranteed to see print by the end of 2015.
"It All Started Innocently Enough..." is the opening story of the CHARLES BOECKMAN PRESENTS JUDSON AND GARDNER anthology from Pro Se Press. A reporter and a small town deputy's investigation into an unfortunate car accident leads to the discovery of...
Well, let's just say it was a lot more than either of them expected.

Nancy's stuff, my work, and the creative output of a lot of other great authors, like Rick Steeves, who shares the JUDSON/GARDNER anthology with me; are all available on Amazon (dot) com.

Meanwhile, out of the blue, I've been invited to contribute a short story to an anthology that is right up my creative alley.
I'll admit I was flabbergasted when asked personally by the anthology's editor, but between that and the subject matter, there was no way I could say no.

This is on top of the two short stories I have already committed to for 2015, both of which I still have to write at some point (probably in-between ALPHA 2 and HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE 3), but this invitation also came with an already on the horizon deadline, so I am hard at work on it while awaiting the pending chapter reviews from Nancy.
So to keep everything in balance, I better get back to work now.
See you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
29 March, 2015
















Sunday, March 22, 2015

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING MARCH 21, 2015

Okay, once again there has been progress on ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON this past week, but it may not seem like it until you read further along.

I got Chapter 15 back from Nancy Hansen, my friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader.
However, when all is said and done, Chapter 15 turned out to be only four pages long.

While there are no rules in regards to how long a chapter should be, that just didn't seem right to me, so I folded in what would of been Chapter 16 into Chapter 15 to make a longer chapter.

So Chapters 15 + 16 = 15.

In return, that now makes what was Chapter 17 actually Chapter 16.

Chapter 17 - 16 = 16.

Great juggling act, isn't it?

Reminds me of that classic Looney Tunes moment when Bugs Bunny tries to convince Daffy Duck that "this week was next week last week".

The story is actually where it should be at the moment, rushing towards a climax to resolve everything.
Just the chapter divisions are different than they were this time last week.
And of course, Chapter 15 is now once again with my friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader.

So maybe this week was next week last week after all?
In any event, take care, and I'll see you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
22 March, 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING MARCH 14, 2015

Okay, there WAS progress this past week, but it might not seem like it until I explain.

I've finally gotten Chapter 15 of ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON back from my friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader Nancy Hansen. Meanwhile, I've been bouncing between Chapters 16 and 17 of the manuscript while waiting for 15.

With me so far?

Now then, I started going over 15 when I realized something was off, so I double checked Chapters 16 and 17.

I had the sequence of events wrong!

The bad guy sprung his trap before Alpha was even in the area!
It was like everyone jumping out of hiding to yell "Surprise!" at a party and the guest of honor hadn't even shown up yet.

This is why I not only double check my work, but also have my friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader on hand.
Can you imagine how embarrassing it would have been to submit the manuscript as is with that glaring mistake?

Thankfully we're not talking another major rewrite here, because this is my fourth attempt to complete a first draft on Book 2, since I'm trying to build the foundation for the future of the ALPHA series with this novel.
Followers of this blog can go over all my previous posts to see how things went up to this point.
In this case, I just have to rework and juggle sections of 15, 16, and maybe 17.
Either way, Nancy will be getting Chapter 15 to go over once more sometime later this week.

So I better get back to work now.
Take care, see you around the Internet, and Happy Saint Patrick's Day.
Lee Houston, Junior
15 March, 2015

Sunday, March 8, 2015

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING MARCH 8, 2015

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL
WOMEN'S DAY!

Chapter 15 of ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON is with my friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader. Nancy Hansen has been busy dealing with some stuff of her own, but promised me she would get to it as soon as humanly possible.

Meanwhile I celebrated my 53rd birthday March 5th, the daytime highs will finally be ABOVE freezing this week (although I can't say the same about the night time lows), and I'm working on Chapter 16 right now, as all the plot threads are starting to come together toward a grand finale.

Okay, this turned out to be one of my shorter progress reports,
but at least there IS progress!
I better get back to writing now.
See you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
8 March, 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 28, 2015

George Harrison penned a classic song with the line
"Little darling, it's been a long, cold, lonely winter"
and truer words were never sung.

A day above freezing since the first of the year has been rare. Most February nights have been near, if not BELOW zero!
As much as I love Harrison's tune, I unfortunately won't be singing the rest of it any time soon. Another 6-7 inches of snow is predicted before Monday morning (March 2), with more snow possible Wednesday and Thursday this week.
We should start seeing a gradual warming trend, at least during the days, afterward; although the nights will still be below freezing for the foreseeable future.

So, what does all of this have to do with ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON?
I'm afraid there really hasn't been much progress this week.
Chapter 14 is back from my friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader, and I am working on Chapter 15.
Otherwise, I've been battling the winter woes this past week.
Trying to stay warm, keeping the wood stove going, trying to stay warm, keeping up with the rest of the housework, trying to stay warm, trying to figure out why the car won't start so I can go grocery shopping, trying to stay warm...

Did I mention trying to stay warm?

In any event, hopefully this coming week will be more productive.
At least, I will definitely be staying inside where it's warm!

Take care, and I'll see you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
1 March, 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 21, 2015

Art by Marc Guerrero
As far as ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON is concerned, I'm working on Chapter 15 right now, and have just gotten Chapter 14 back from my friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader, but haven't had a chance to go over it yet.

It's the beginning of Alpha's third day on the mysterious planet I will not name, but you will discover the answer when you read the book.
All the plot points are beginning to converge as I approach the 48,000 words mark.
What the final word count will be remains to be seen, because a few of the things I wanted to do in Book 2 have (for better or worse) been pushed back to Book 3.

Otherwise, I am just trying to stay warm and healthy as winter continues to maintain its icy grip on my part of the world.
However, there is one small ray of hope, despite all the bone chilling temperatures and the endless supply of snow.


Spring training has started for the upcoming baseball season!

Take care, stay warm (where applicable), and I'll see you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
22 February, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 14, 2015

I sincerely hope everyone had a fantastic Valentine's Day!

Chapter 14 of ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON is with my friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader right now, but before I can go on to Chapter 15, Nancy Hansen has pointed out that I have a bit of a timeline problem between Chapters 11 through 14!

She does realize that it is the night of the second day for Alpha's visit on whatever planet he's on (and no, I'm still not revealing that information because it's a plot point of the novel), but exactly when during the night is never mentioned!
There are no outside lights on when needed, or somebody stating what time it is when that fact is important to know. Just a bunch of little things that I, as the author, am aware of but that get overlooked sometimes when writing.

Sean Taylor will be posting a round table later this week about the importance of beta/proofreaders, and the above is one of the reasons I have one: to catch mistakes like this before a manuscript is submitted and the editor finds it.

{ADDENDUM: As of February 19, 2015; Sean has posted that article and it can be found HERE.}

Now, writers are only human beings and we do make mistakes.
No matter how well you write (or think you write), or how many beta/proofreaders you have go over your material before you send it to the publisher, their editor(s) will still go over it again before your words are released to the public. So the more work you put into your manuscript now, the less problems there will be down the road.
It all comes back to one thing: QUALITY OVER QUANTITY!

I have to get back to writing now.
See you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
15 February, 2015