Clarence Flannery was luckier than most men his age to discover his life’s ambition, particularly in the unpredictable years just following the Civil War. Born with an unmatched skill to play pool, he left his home in Kansas when he turned twenty-six and traveled throughout the Southwestern United States to make his mark as a legendary pool hustler, with every intention of amassing a fortune in the process. Clarence needed help for both support and protection, and recruited James Skinner as his partner, along with nine other highly-skilled pool players to assist him in his quest. Wanting to be included in the same sentence as Attila the Hun and Alexander the Great, Clarence changed his name to Hustle Henry, Skinner became the Cue-Ball Kid, and the eleven men would go down in history as The Hole-in-the-Table-Bunch, known far and wide for hustling wannabe pool sharks out of their life savings. All goes to plan and life has a rosy and profitable outlook, but Henry and his men want more than what pool halls and saloons offer, so they decide to challenge the more affluent clientele on a riverboat. Initially, the venture proves profitable, but the millionaire tycoon and owner of the fleet of riverboats, takes exception, and intends to bring down the Bunch and thrust Henry and The Kid into a life of destitution. Taking along the Kid’s girlfriend, Penelope Henderson, the Kid and Henry flee to South America – where there will be a final showdown… Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid is a fiction work of Western humor with an interesting and amusing cast of characters.
Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid was written for fun in the mid-1980’s on a Panasonic Senior Partner, an IBM-PC compatible DOS computer with a 9-inch display monitor. It is defined as transportable but too weighty to truly be considered “portable.” The unit, which cost $2,500.00, included a built-in thermal printer using paper rolls in a case looking a lot like a sewing machine. The manuscript was stored on a 5 1/4″ floppy drive. Here is a picture.
I frankly didn’t expect Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid to be commercially published and certainly not my first. At one point I considered not submitting it for publication because at the time I had completed my first mystery novel, A Head in the Game, and rested my hopes on that book being my first published novel. As time passed, I figured since I wrote it why not submit it. The worst that can happen is I’ll add to my ever-growing rejection slip collection.
After a few “nibbles”, numerous rejections, and several revisions, Solstice Publishing indicated interest in my manuscript, and on March 23, 2012, I submitted the full manuscript for their review. Less than three months later, on June 14, 2012, I signed my first publishing contract.
Over the course of the next several months, I partnered with an editor to revise the manuscript. To my delight, the editor’s suggestions focused on historical accuracy, grammar and spelling errors, yet she did not recommend any changes in character or plot, truly an accomplishment and boost to my confidence.
After six weeks of reading, research, revision, and some rewriting which included adding more than one character and plot point, I sent back the (in my humble opinion) much improved version to the editor, who gave it a big thumbs up! Following a proofread and less than 90 minutes of revision time to resolve remaining issues, the book was released for publication on February 22, 2013 . . . truly a milestone and a day to remember in my, I daresay, career as a budding author.
How to Order:
(Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid is now available in both E-book and print version.