Pro Se Productions, a company known for breathing new life into long forgotten creations, announces a submissions call for an anthology featuring an obscure detective character first debuting in 1912. Proposals are now being accepted for THE ADVENTURES OF ASTRO, MASTER OF MYSTERIES’, an anthology in Pro Se’s PULP OBSCURA imprint through February 3rd, 2020.

Astro, originally appearing in 1912, is a character created by Gelett Burgess making his living traveling the world as a psychic. Actually just a master of observation, Astro, with the help of the lovely Valeska Wynne, gathers information to make his honed abilities to seem extrasensory. Along the way, Astro finds himself assisting in solving mysteries of all types, proving formidable both as a con artist and a crime solver. The original book can be requested by emailing editorinchief@prose-press.com.

Proposals for this anthology must include a synopsis of the story, written as a true synopsis, not like a sales pitch. If accepted, stories must be 8,000-10,000 words in length and will be due by April 19, 2020.

Stories may be set in any period from 1912-1950. Assumed in his mid 20s in the original novel, Astro may be written up until he is in his late 50s, but regardless of age, his role as phony medium and detective must be the same. A minimum of one story is needed to fill out this collection.

For more information, email editorinchief@prose-press.com and check out Pro Se Productions at Facebook.



Hugh Monn
Author Lee Houston, Jr. returns to the glistening and grimy streets of science fiction mystery with his own futuristic shamus in HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE VOLUME THREE: FEMME FATALE, now available in print and digital formats.

“In the early days of Pro Se,” says Editor in Chief Tommy Hancock, “not only was Lee Houston, Jr. one of our first authors, he also introduced one of the characters that people still ask about. Taking everything a fan of 1950s type detectives would enjoy and wrapping it up in the glittery, galaxy studded package of the future, HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE shows the impact of Pulp as a style and what a dedicated writer like Lee can do with it. FEMME FATALE is a long awaited addition to this fantastic series.”

Even in the future, love and lust can get a Private Eye killed… Hugh Monn, Private Detective, finds his latest case strikes too close to home when his girlfriend’s apartment is trashed and her roommate missing. But is the lady on the run from the villain or the authorities? As Hugh fights to find both the truth and the woman, he trips across a few old favorites of any galactic gumshoe- thefts, a blackmail scheme, and murder. But the lines get blurred as they tangle about Hugh’s proverbial neck, lines between love and hate, life and crime, victim and Femme Fatale.

Featuring an atmospheric cover by Larry Nadolsky, main title design by Sean Ali, and print formatting by Carol Morris, HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE VOLUME THREE: FEMME FATALE is available in print at Amazon for $9.99.

The third volume of New Pulp’s resident 1950s type detective in the far future is also available as an eBook formatted by Morris for the Kindle at for only $2.99. The book is also available to Kindle Unlimited members for free.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email editorinchief@prose-press.com.
To learn more about Pro Se Productions, Follow the link to our website. Like Pro Se on Facebook for the latest news and happenings.

A kidnapping

A snippet from the 1500 words this afternoon.

“An afternoon thunderstorm left the evening uncomfortably muggy as Mopsy waited for the jitney. Her feet hurt so she leaned against a lamppost. A gorilla wondered out of Monyet’s 5&10 to stand nearby, apparently waiting for the jitney.

Joe was hired muscle, and he was good at it. He like breaking kneecaps. Kidnapping wasn’t his thing, but the bookie needed to be cashed out, hard. Someone wanted this middle aged florist, and for the money offered, the Gorilla Bridge gang didn’t ask why.

While the jitneys didn’t run on any schedule, they came around roughly a couple times an hour. A glance at the corner bank clock told her the nickel car was almost 20 minutes later than usual.
In a few more minutes the jitney, a 1923 Onyx, came around the corner. Its lights flashed as it pulled to the curb.

The kidnapping was over in a second. One minute Mopsy was there looking for a nickel, leaning against the lamppost and then she was gone. No-one saw a thing, no-one heard her muffled scream, no-one was alarmed in any way.”

Thanks for reading,





Rising from Forgotten Four Color Origins, Characters of All Types Live Again in a shared World of Their Own! PULP DOMAIN, an epic concept reviving obscure comic book characters in the Public Domain as modern Pulp Heroes and Villains, brings the weird and wild, the brave and unbelievable, the vile and out of this world to life once more, thanks to concept creator and author Tommy Hancock. The second of eighty stories in PULP DOMAIN’S first wave, THE LEAGUE OF STORMS: THE ELECTRIC RAY is now available as an ebook for $0.99.

Ray, a man of multiple talents, found himself endowed with strange electrical powers after falling into an electric transmitter while trying to stop saboteurs in a plant. Successfully stopping the criminals, Ray found it necessary to leave the city, both to keep from answering questions concerning the dead traitors and to figure out how best to deal with his new abilities.

Seeking out an old friend in Little Rock, Arkansas, Ray crosses a group calling itself The League of Storms. With a slogan of ‘Warn, Strike, Cleanse’, this League reminds Ray of Hitler’s Nazis and this rings true when The League decides that the man the newspapers are calling ‘Electric Ray’ is the next to be cleansed in a storm of lightning and blood!

THE LEAGUE OF STORMS is Book Two of Eighty short stories establishing the good and bad guys and all that fall in between for the shared universe of PULP DOMAIN. Concept created and written by Tommy Hancock.

Featuring a thrilling cover and digital formatting by Antonino Lo Iacono and Marzia Marina, THE LEAGUE OF STORMS: THE ELECTRIC RAY is available digitally only for $0.99 on Amazon. The book is also available to Kindle Unlimited members for free.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email our Editor in Chief.
To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to our website Pro Se Productions. For the latest updates and open calls follow Pro Se on Facebook.

CONtraflow 2019 Nov. 15-17 Update

Hey Everybody!

Received my panel schedule for CONtraflow IX  coming up on Nov. 15-17. Here is a list and summary of the panels I know will be moderating or presenting. As always, schedules can fluctuate. Hope I’ll see you there!

ContraFlow 2019 Panel Schedules
Ernest Russell


Self-Promotion on Social Media
Friday, 8pm, Panel Room 3

Self-promotion is difficult for many of us. Yet in today’s markets more and more of the promotional burden is shifting to the author/artist. It is hard to strike a balance between work, creating, promotion and living is difficult at best.
Social media manager apps are not the focus here. I have attended promotion on social media panels and that is all that was discussed. The time it takes to do it and how to maximize the bang for your buck.
Those panels never really addressed what TO DO with or on your social media accounts. That is why I put this panel together. Regardless of what sites you are on, what programs you use or how much time you spend on it; what can you do to maintain interest and build an audience?


The Age of Lovecraft
Saturday, 5pm, Event Two

Co-moderated with Joslyn Delfreya a.k.a Jenna Pilley

Lovecraft is one of those authors who many people have heard of, but few seem to have read. Over the last century his extensive influence can be found everywhere – from graphic novel and comic book appearances, popular role-playing and board games to Swiss surrealist paintings, and heavy metal music and more. The legacy of Lovecraft’s mythos has been revived, and since his quiet death in 1937, his legacy — once impoverished and unrecognized — has flourished. So when exactly is (or was) the age of Lovecraft? And if it’s now, then why?

Tropes – Good, Bad or Ugly
Sunday, 11am, Event Two

Every writer wants to craft a uniquely original story, and we all know how important it is to avoid clichés. Every fan wants to read or watch and find new things to be excited – But there’s also something to be said for the comfort of familiarity. Tropes are handy tools to communicate a situation. Most of the time, people want something “like this, but different.” When they say that, what they’re actually saying is they want a new take on their favorite tropes, whether its fairytale retellings or the boy next door or a classic whodunit. What makes a trope good, bad or ugly for you?

What is Decadence and Why do we still love it?
Sunday, 1pm, Panel Room 1

Co-moderated with Kimberly Richardson

Decadence, the word is defined as a moral or cultural decline which is characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury. Join us for a discussion of Decadence Movement of the late 19th-early 20th century which rippled through art, literature and music.

Thanks for reading,

Ernest Russell

Dillon Odd Jobs



Considered a cornerstone of the modern New Pulp Movement, author Derrick Ferguson’s Dillon returns in a brand new anthology of stories by a variety of authors. DILLON: THE ODD JOBS is also the first release in Ferguson’s author imprint POWER PLAY through Pro Se Productions. This collection of four stories is available now in print and digital formats, only 99 cents for a limited time in digital.


A soldier of fortune gifted with an astonishing range of remarkable talents and skills that make him respected and feared in the secret world of mercenaries, spies, and adventurers. A world inhabited by amazing men and women of fabulous abilities that most of us are unaware even exists. Fueled by a taste for excitement, driven by an overpowering desire to protect the innocent, to see that wrongs are righted and assisted by a worldwide network of extraordinary men and women, all experts in their fields. Dillon spans the globe in a never-ending quest for the wildest and most breathtaking adventures of all. Dillon’s adventures have taken him across the globe to face the improbable, the impossible and the incredible as a freelance troubleshooter and self professed ‘international instigator’.

Dillon has been fortunate to team up with talented individuals in many of these adventures who share the risk and use their unique skills in dangerous and unusual situations. The talented individuals that travel with Dillon in this volume are no less capable and will also have the unusual distinction of being in the driver’s seat with new adventures that are off the beaten track.Join Erik Fromme, Russ Anderson, Jr., Joel Jenkins, and Mark Bousquet as they, and Dillon, take on THE ODD JOBS.

Featuring a fantastic cover, print formatting and cover design by Sean Ali, DERRICK FERGUSON’S DILLON: THE ODD JOBS is available in print at for $9.99.

This thrilling New Pulp Anthology is also available as an eBook formatted by Atonino Lo Iacono and Marcia Marina for the Kindle at for only 99 Cents for two weeks, then $3.99 beginning on November 8, 2019. The book is also available to Kindle Unlimited members for free

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, come visit our website. Keep up with the latest happenings  just Like Pro Se on Facebook.


CWC AuthorCon 2019

This weekend is the first CWC AuthorCon 2019! I am excited to be invited as a guest this weekend. Follow the link to their Facebook Event page for details.

Ernest Russell has written for Pro Se Productions, Beyond the Threshold Studios, and the literary journal Violet Windows. Some of his favorite things (besides coffee) are Science Fiction, Horror, Steampunk, and Fantasy books and movies. His writing is split amongst those genres and when not writing can be found playing board games or a RPG.

In the last year, Ernest has joined the staff at Pro Se as contributing submissions editor and, as time allows, content and copy editor.

He has managed the Facebook page for The Week in Geek 99.5 WRNO Talk radio and still makes contributions to this great show, a radio show dedicated to all things geek.

You can follow Ernest on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIn and Amazon.



Adventures in Editing, or The frustration of English.


To hyphenate or not to hyphenate, that is the question.
Currently, I am working on reviewing galley proofs for an upcoming Steampunk Fantasy from Pro Se Productions.
What’s a galley proof? Very simply, it is the last step before publishing. It’s an ancient term, from a time when type was actually hand set using wooden or metal blocks and placed into metal trays called “galleys.” Then single-column pages of type, or “proofs,” was printed. The authors would edit and make corrections to the text and send it back to the printer. The printer would then take great delight … uhm, curse the author to the third generation, while rearranging the blocks of type that needed to be corrected. Lather, rinse repeat until the book was perfect.
In this case, a) not my book just double-checking the copy edits and b) it reads well. There is not much in need of correction…except two lines which caught my attention. And they don’t need correction, they just got my curiosity up. They are:

  1.  “You’re always snooping around the back alleys…”
  2.  “There are other means of employment besides back-alley robbery,..”

Do you notice the difference? Yeah, there is a hyphen in one and not the other. Ever had that experience where you look at a word, and it just doesn’t look right?
In the first sentence, “back alleys” is a noun. It follows the standard definition of Person, Place, or Thing. An alley, or alleyway, runs behind a row of houses, or between rows of houses. Definitely a place then. What about context? In the United Kingdom, (our story is set in London), a residence or other premises whose only entrance is on a back alley will have an address of the form “Back of [number] Something Street,” where the row of houses is in “Something Street.” It would appear, according to my sources, no hyphen is needed here.
Except… in sentence number two it is an adjective. A word or phrase naming an attribute added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it. By modifying robbery, back-alley (with a hyphen) is defined as dirty, unprepossessing, sordid, or clandestine.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to burn too many brain cells on it. A quick check of a sound source on editing questions, Editor Group, had the answers about hyphenation. Still, it reminds me of a quote about the English Language.
“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”
–James D. Nicoll
Pretty sure we can add torture to its list of crimes too.
Thank you for reading
Ernest Russell

Monday’s Musings

Types of Currency


I’m in my late fifties now and have had regular jobs since I was twelve. Throughout working these various jobs, a majority of them dealing with people and money, I naively believed I had seen the different categories of currency used in transactions. These categories, as I am calling them, relate more to the condition and method of carry at the time of a cash transaction. I share with you now my observations.
New Currency
Yes, this is the category of bright, crisp money. The bright greens popping against the white, wrapped in bands of green, reds, yellows, violets, and mustards being the most common wrappers denoting denomination, the number of bills and the amount of the bundle.
These are pretty unless you are a cashier. These deceptively attractive bundles which reputedly cause the world to go round are really quite the hazard. These same new bills take delight in striking to cause paper cuts. There is a legend in some circles these stiff, sharp bills can be just a sharp as any well-honed blade. Their intent to slip through your hands, laughing as they make good an escape. Their Velcro-like tendency makes it easy for two or even three to act together as one. At closing, anticipating a balanced drawer, your frustration growing as you try to balance. A vain search for the escapees, only to make up the difference from your own meager supply of cash.
Regular or “used” Currency
Have no fear, over time these bands of bloodthirsty marauders of the cash drawer and wallets are handled and beaten in submission. As we stuff them into our wallets, purses, and pockets their edges become blunted and the Velcro-like surfaces are sanded to a sleeker finish something begins to change. No longer brash and beautiful, the minty freshness dwindling to a memory as it is laundered, folded and crushed. This legal tender transitions in just that, an object as soft and pliable as a well-loved pair of comfortable jeans.
Now, you would think these are the two types of currency yet, they are not. There are other categories created by people. Just as our influence affects our surroundings, so too have people created subcategories of cash based on the method in which it is carried.
After all, how did you suppose this money achieved its delightfully soft and plaint condition? It has probably been through one, or more, of the following methods of carry.
The first of these subcategories is usually seen carried by women, and it breaks into two subcategories.
This is not meant to be a sexist reference in any way, it merely involves apparel those identifying as male generally don’t wear. The bra.
Yes, I am talking about –
Bra money.
Upper Bra Money
One of the amazing things is the number of items some women can carry in their bras without creating the appearance of being lumpier than badly mashed potatoes. No, it’s not a flattering picture, but when you watch the assortment of items some women remove from their décolletage, it can be downright scary to watch. Externally, there is no evidence all this “stuff” was ever there!
It’s the body pocket trope made real. You know the one where a character, often animated, reaches into a pocket or other space and pulls out a series of gag items until they find what they need. The array of cell phones, lipstick, makeup, keys, hard candies/mints, small wallets/ids/credit cards, hankies, and of course, money is impressive. Stages magicians weep at not being able to stuff this much up their sleeves.
This is cash stored in the bra on top of the breast. Presented with the amount due the customer reaches into her top extracting payment from the upper portions. The money is always warm and depending on the weather may be slightly damp.
Under Bra Money
Sharing many traits in common with Upper Bra Money it is found under the breast, held in place not only by placement between the bra and the breast but by the weight of the breast itself. This money is always damp, occasionally has an aroma, and the bills could be difficult to separate.
Both of the above methods do seem to represent a somewhat secure method of carry. Neither is likely to cause any loss of funds.
Those identifying as a male of the species rarely carry the particular forms of currency so far described. A predominately, though by no means exclusive, male category of currency is carried in the sock.
Sock Money
Sock money, as the name implies, is carried in the sock(s) of the bearer. The quality of this currency varies on many factors. Weather, as with Bra money, is a primary factor regarding the moisture level. So too does where in the sock the money resides. If an athletic tube sock, the cash held in place between the ankle and top of the sock, those bills on the interior of the fold may be relatively dry. The outer bill, or bills, which wraps the others will absorb any sweat produced.
Migration can occur with this method. If the cash migrates too far up the sock, there is a danger of it falling out, or even ejected between the elastic and motion of the calf muscle. At times, the bills carried in this manner may be pushed downward wedging itself between the ankle and edge of the shoe. It is recommended not to allow this position to continue as the cash rubbing against the side of the foot could cause various degrees of irritation.
I have witnessed some to carry the money placed deep in the sock, so the foot rests upon it. Thus providing additional arch support. Not being an orthopedic specialist I cannot attest to this and would suggest speaking with a qualified podiatrist before attempting.
Positioning the cash in this manner causes all of it to become soaked foot sweat and should it be raining it guarantees the money to be soaked thus rendering it very tender indeed. A condition for the cashier akin to separating wet newspaper.
As mentioned, carried above the ankle cash presented from this form of storage is generally damp for the outer bill or two absorb the sweat, leaving the inner bills in reasonable condition, and they exude little odor. For those bills which are carried inside the shoe, a very different matter. As one person removed his shoe, setting it upon my desk, thereby guaranteeing if I were any species of canine with a tracking ability I could find him anywhere, before proceeding to remove his sock. As he reached into the ecru nylon tube, it may once have been white, and stained with his footprint, I wondered what might emerge. Flashbacks to episodes of Rocky and Bullwinkle flashed before my eyes:
“Hey Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out this hat.”

“Again? That trick never works.”
Indeed, many things came out of the sock. An ID, some loose change, and a crumpled bus pass. But no cash. He had forgotten which sock the money was located. The idle thought crossed my mind if he went through this process whenever he rode the bus, I suspect it was carried higher up. It is a question I regret not asking.
A repeat performance on the other foot occurred. This time cash was produced. It was damp, to the point of slimy but not to the point of inseparability, and for the rest of the day, the cash drawer emitted the distinct aroma of the combined unwashed contents of a basketball teams gym bags. It took several doses of Lysol, Febreze not yet invented, and a pine tree-shaped air freshener left in the drawer for about a week before the offending effluvia dissipated.
Honestly, until recently I had thought these were the ways people carried their stash of cash. Over the past few months, on a reasonably regular basis, there have been enough instances of this for me to think a new category should be added. Are you ready?
Underwear Money.
Yes, you read it correctly. For a few years, as almost everyone is aware, there has been a fashion trend among young males to wear their pants below their underwear. Not a style which suits me, but to quote Tim Gunn, “”If that’s the look you were going for, that’s quite a look!”.
My first encounter with this form of currency remains quite vivid. It was time for the young man to pay for his purchase. After hearing the cost he stands up, I thought to reach into his pocket. But no. It was to reach down the front of his black and white checked underwear. Not the pants, he very definitely pulled the underwear forward and reached down plunging about half of his forearm down the front of his pants, having to lean forward slightly as he did so.
Was this was some parody of Cleavon Little’s Sheriff from Blazing Saddles? It would not have surprised me had the young man said: “Excuse me, while I whip this out.” Which, disappointingly he did not, as he whipped out a crumpled wad of bills.

It did make me wonder if he had seen The Sting. There is a scene where a grifter is showing a numbers runner to carry the cash down the front of his pants “because no cop is going to frisk you there.”
So there I am with this crumpled wad of bills, glistening from unknown fluid, with a rather strong musky odor emanating from them. The young man proceeded to sort and count out the correct amount then duly returned the remainder to their resting place and sat back down. With no hesitation, I used a paper towel to scoop up the bills and left them covered by it in my cash drawer.
Several pumps of hand sanitizer later I felt almost clean again. This has not been the only time I have seen this occur. It has happened with enough frequency that it must be included here, though I do believe it to be limited to only young males at this point.
I leave you now with my observations on the ways people transport their money. Perhaps you have run into some and not others, if you have spotted other means not mentioned, I would be interested in hearing them. For now, it is enough to have shared my two cents and the descriptions herein. Until next time, try not to think about where your money may have been.
As always, thank you for reading,
Ernest Russell