Sunday, February 23, 2014


I really hate to do this, but today I must start this post on a sad note.

Cover by Sean E. Ali
With the just released issue 20, Pro Se Presents has ended its run.
Sales unfortunately did this noble experiment in.
Now historically, anthologies have always been a "mixed bag" from one issue to the next; but as story editor, I tried to include something for everyone in each issue.
Might not have pleased everybody every time, but no one can say we (Pro Se) didn't try.

The last issue includes:
"Aloha McCoy: Peace Broke" by Ken Janssens
"Silver and Gold" by Ethan Nahte
"Life in Pictures" by Kate Beeton
"The Golden Ticket" by Melissa Robinson
"The Idea Book" by Patti Boeckman, wife of legendary pulp author Charles Boeckman
and the cover featured novella:
"Robin Hood and the Maiden in the Tower" by I. A. Watson

Over the course of the magazine, it has been my privilege to work with the above, along with the likes of Chuck Miller, Jilly Paddock, Kevin Rodgers, Nancy A. Hansen, Ron Fortier, Teel James Glenn, Aaron Smith, Erwin K. Roberts, and so many more that I just don't have the room to list them all.
Special thanks however must be given to Tommy Hancock, who's vision to attempt such a magazine in today's market gave writers a chance at seeing their work published.

Meanwhile, in other news, The Free Choice E-zine is doing well and I have finally finished that short story that I've been mentioning for the last few weeks and am back on Alpha, Book 2: Wayward Son.

See you around the Internet.
Lee Houston, Junior
23 February, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

PROGRESS REPORT: WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 15, 2014 (Alternative title: What takes so long?)

So how is everyone?

Depending upon where you live, the weather hasn't been all that great of late, so I've been using the time cooped up indoors, when I'm not trying to stay warm (a never ending battle in the middle of winter!) to finish that short story that suddenly gained a deadline.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've been working on that since early January, and I'm sure some folks are wondering why it apparently takes so long to write a 10,000 to 15,000 tale?

First off, every writer is different. For say, Walter B. Gibson, the man who wrote 287 out of the original 325 Shadow novels, especially back when the title was bi-weekly(!), a short story like this probably would have been only a day or two's work at the most for him.

The average writer, if they're lucky, is able to put in two to three hours a day at their craft, when they're not tackling other creative matters (like promotions and books sales), let alone the more mundane issues of life like doing the dishes and the laundry.

But while I have always been more concerned with quality over quantity, I WILL be done with that short story this week!

The story will be sent on to its publisher then, and I'll be back at work on the manuscript to Alpha, Book 2: Wayward Son.

When I'm not taking care of my Editor-In-Chief duties at The Free Choice E-zine, or the dishes, or the laundry, or...
See you around the Internet!
Lee Houston, Junior
16 February, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014


"I think, therefore I create!"
Since practically the dawn of time (if not earlier), writers have been asked and pondered the question: "Where do ideas come from?"

There are probably as many possible answers to that question as there are stars in the heavens.
If there is a "correct" response, I don't know it.
Personally, I think there are three sources, with the biggest being imagination.
Other people look at a situation and ask "Why?", while a writer will look at the same set of circumstances and ask "What if?"

But regardless of where they come from, what do you do with ideas?

First and foremost: WRITE THEM DOWN!

You may not use it today. You may not use that idea until years from now. But if you don't record them somehow (handwritten notes, storing them in your computer, or whatever), then obviously you won't have them when you need them.

Case in point: I've had the concept of Alpha the superhero for literally decades.
At first I tried producing it in the traditional comic book format, but my drawings were not that great.
When I finally decided to stick with straight prose writing, the very first draft was far from the finished manuscript that became Project Alpha, published by Pro Se Press in 2012.

Cover art by Marc Guerrero
Which leads us to the second contributor of ideas.
You can also draw inspiration from other sources.

The color scheme of Alpha's costume (sky/Columbia blue and white) is also that of my high school alma mater: Aldine Senior High in Aldine/Houston, Texas; and while many people have written about an ultimate utopia, I decided to name mine Shambala after the classic song by Three Dog Night.

There is also a third source: dreams, which is a bit more difficult to explain.
Sometimes, when your mind is on something else, or not really upon anything at all, the ideas flow more freely.
People tend to daydream. It's a natural part of life.
We also have dreams when we sleep, although I'm not about to speculate where they come from.
If you wake up in the middle of the night from a dream with a stray idea or two, find something to jot it down on.

Remember: First and foremost: WRITE THEM DOWN!

Over the past week, I've had dreams about not one, but TWO possible new series! The first would be a revival attempt of the classic swashbuckling space opera genre, although I'll be the first to admit that I have absolutely no idea how you buckle a swash, let alone how you are supposed to sing opera within the vacuum of outer space.
The other? I'm not sure how you would classify it, and I'm the guy who thought of it!

Right now, both of these potential projects are sitting in my idea file until I can clear some room on my schedule after the short story I am currently working on; finishing Alpha, Book 2: Wayward Son, and writing the third Hugh Monn, Private Detective book.
From dream to reality/art by David L. Russell

Will I use them? That remains to be seen. The inspiration for Hugh Monn
came from a dream I had while recovering from open heart surgery in 2007, and his first book wasn't published until 2011, although two short stories featuring the character appeared in the year before that.

But my point is to hang on to all those stray thoughts and ideas until such time as you decide whether or not to use them now, or save them for another time.

There are no time limits on how or when to use an idea, and the only limitations to ideas are those that you might impose upon yourself.

Yet how to go about turning those ideas to finished stories is another subject entirely, and one that must wait for another day, because I've got to get back to my own writing.

See you around the Internet!
Lee Houston, Junior
11 February, 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014


The results of overworking?
Hi everyone. Lots going on.

I've been so busy at the keyboard lately, I'm surprised my poor computer doesn't look like the one on the right.

Anyway, been working feverishly on the short story that now has a deadline, and hope to have it finished very soon.

Can't say much about it at the moment, except that it involves a tropical setting; a place I wish I was right now considering how cold the weather has been of late.

Yeah, I know, it's winter. After all, there's been a couple of times when the passing snow plow has woke me up in the middle of the night.

But I'm more of a Spring and Summer person. Thoughts of warmer days and the fact that all the baseball players will soon be reporting to Spring Training (GO RED SOX!) keep me going.

The future?

Meanwhile, I have also done some work on Alpha, Book 2: Wayward Son straightening my timeline issues; maintained The Free Choice E-zine in my capacity as its Editor-In-Chief, and have even contemplated some ideas for future projects that I have currently placed on the proverbial back burner to see what develops.

Monday I'll talk about ideas in greater detail, but for now, see you around the Internet!

Lee Houston, Junior
9 February, 2014

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Well folks, a new month is upon us, and I'm still working on my short story commitment at the moment. The one I talked about last week that now has a deadline.

The other short story currently on my 2014 agenda still doesn't have a deadline at present, but no sense in letting my work pile up on me.

I do promise to get back to work on Alpha, Book 2: Wayward Son as soon as humanly possible; although I will admit that this short break away from the novel has allowed me a chance to step back and discover an unfortunate timeline problem in what I have already written. Correcting it will be the first thing on my agenda when I get back to that novel.

Other than the above and that things are going well over at The Free Choice E-zine , the only other item to report at the moment is that soon I will be proofreading something very special that fans of a certain fantasy author have been eagerly anticipating!
More on that later.

Until next time, see your around the Internet!

Lee Houston, Junior
3 February, 2014