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

Sunday, February 8, 2015

THE 2015 PULP FACTORY AWARDS

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take a moment out of my busy schedule to let you folks know about an awards program important to many action/adventure writers and creators.

The Pulp Factory is now accepting votes for their 2015 slate of awards in the categories of Best Pulp Novel, Best Pulp Short Story, Best Pulp Cover, Best Interior Illustrations, and the brand new category: Best Pulp Anthology.

Now, as you can see in the ballot below, I don't have any nominations this year, but several of the nominees I know and have read.

If you'd like to vote, all you have to do is cut and past the ballot into the body of an e-mail addressed to Andrew Salmon at andrewsalmon2000@yahoo.com.

Only one ballot per person with just one vote per category, and may the best work(s) win.

OFFICIAL BALLOT
PULP FACTORY AWARDS 2015

Please vote for only one in each of the five categories by putting a X in the appropriate circle. Once completed, send directly to andrewsalmon2000@yahoo.com You have until the end of March to vote and turn in your ballot.

BEST PULP NOVEL:
( ) The Bay Phantom: Confederacy of Devils by Chuck Miller (Airship 27 Productions)
( ) The Cast Away by Wayne Reinagel (Knightraven Studios)
( ) Legion III: Kings of Oblivion by Van Allen Plexico (White Rocket Books)
( ) The Vril Agenda by Derrick Ferguson & Joshua Reynolds (Airship 27 Productions)
( ) Young Dillon in the Halls of Shamballah by Derrick Ferguson (Pro Se Press)


BEST PULP ANTHOLOGY:
( ) The New Adventures of Major Lacy and Amusement Inc - David Brezski, David White, Morgan Minor, Ed. (Pro Se Press)
( ) Pride of the Mohicans - Van Allen Plexico, Ed. (White Rocket Books)
( ) Sgt. Janus Returns - Ron Fortier, Ed. (Airship 27 Productions)
( ) Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol 6 - Ron Fortier, Ed. (Airship 27 Productions )
( ) Sinbad: The New Voyages Vol 4 - Ron Fortier, Ed. (Airship 27 Productions)

BEST PULP SHORT STORY:
( )  "Beasts of the Bowery" by Michael Panush from El Mosaico: Hellfire (Curiosity Quills Press)
( ) "The Fort of Skulls" by Ian Watson from Pride of the Mohicans (White Rocket Books)
( ) "Kissing Cousins" by Ralph L. Angelo Jr. from More Blood - a Sinanju Anthology (Destroyer Books)
( ) "The Seventh Serpent" by Graham McNeill (Black Library)
( ) "The Strix Society" by Joshua Reynolds from Occult Detective, Vol. 1 (Airship 27 Productions)

BEST PULP COVER:
( ) Michael Kaluta, Challenger Storm – Curse of Poseidon (Airship 27 Productions )
( ) Douglas Klauba, Domino Lady Money Shot (Moonstone Books)
( ) Jeffrey Hayes, Gary Phillips’ Hollis PI (Pro Se Press)
( ) Mark Williams, Legion II: Sons of Terra (White Rocket Books)
( ) Adam Shaw, The Vril Agenda (Airship 27 Productions)

BEST INTERIOR ILLUSTRATIONS:
( ) Zachary Brunner, The Bay Phantom: Confederacy of Devils (Airship 27 Productions)
( ) Rob Davis, Robin Hood, Forbidden Legend (Airship 27 Productions)
( ) Rob Davis, Sherlock Holmes – Consulting Detective Vol 6 (Airship 27 Productions)
( ) Phil Cho, Sinbad – The New Voyages Vol 4 (Airship 27 Productions)
( ) Fabio Listrani, Zombies Vs. Robots: No Man's Land (IDW)


PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 7, 2015

With the passage of another week, you must be wondering how things are going on ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON since I posted here last?
The answer is: pretty good, actually.

ALPHA
Alpha is between the end of his second night and the dawn of his third day on whatever planet he finds himself on at the moment; and no, I still will not reveal where he is, because that's part of the excitement of the novel.
There are events happening all over that planet that will affect the overall outcome of the story.

I'm actually somewhere between Chapters 14 and 15 at the moment, because I'm writing several sequences out first and then will finalize the time line and the dividing point(s).

My friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader is running a bit behind, due to family commitments; so she's somewhere between Chapters 12 and 13 right now.
But don't worry, I'm a very firm believer of quality over quantity, and I want this novel to be the best book I can humanly make it.

On that note, I better get back to writing now.
Take care everyone, and I'll see you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
8 February, 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING JANUARY 31, 2015

Well folks, I'll be honest and admit that I'm not exactly sure what to tell you in regards to my progress this past week working on the manuscript for ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON.

As I wrote last time, there has been plenty of writing and editing done. I've solved most of my action versus exposition problems, resulting in an additional chapter of material in the process.

On the other hand, I'm about where I was in the overall story when the whole problem originally reared its ugly head, only now I'm starting with Chapter 15 instead of 14 since there is that new chapter of material.

I truly wish I could tell you more details about where Alpha is, what is happening to him now, and what comes next; but to do so would spoil the surprises when the novel is published.

Alpha art by Marc Guerrero
I can remind everyone that what I am attempting to do with BOOK 2 is lay the foundation for the future of the series, since BOOK 1 (Project Alpha) revealed his origin story and first adventure.
Now Alpha is trying to find his place in the universe. Will this strange new world he finds himself on be it?

Barring anything unforeseen, I should be finished with the manuscript sometime between late March/April. Then it will require a final beta/proofreading before the novel is submitted to the publisher. The actual publication date will be determined by them sometime after that.

But to do my part, I better get back to "work" now.
See you around the Internet!
Lee Houston, Junior
1 February, 2015

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