Who Won the Kindle Paperwhite?

And the winner of the DEATH PERCEPTION giveaway is…

What a release party it was! On Facebook from May 15–31, 2013, I posted special offers and trivia questions for prizes, including DEATH PERCEPTION magnets, signed limited edition postcards, coffee mugs, books, and… a Kindle Paperwhite!

Winner of the Kindle is Meg M. of Michigan. Congratulations, Meg!

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite

I will be sending out prizes this week. A BIG THANK YOU to all who participated and purchased a copy of DEATH PERCEPTION! All trivia contents on the Facebook events page are closed as of May 31, 11:59 pm.

Thank you also for subscribing to my email newsletter.

I’ll be reblogging the guest posts hosted at various sites over the past two weeks. Thanks to everyone who hosted me.

I’ve gained about 50 new Twitter followers, and over 100 new followers on my Facebook author page. THANK YOU, everyone, for your growing interest!

You made the release of DEATH PERCEPTION a special and exciting time for me. I hope you enjoy the book. If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear from you personally, or in a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, or my book page.

Thanks again. Now I’m off to write some more!


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Book Release: DEATH PERCEPTION by Lee Allen Howard

Supernatural Thriller DEATH PERCEPTION Now On Sale!

At long last! DEATH PERCEPTION—my latest novel full of supernatural crime, horror, and grim humor—is now available for Kindle, Nook, and in trade paperback from a variety of sources. (See “Purchase Options” below.)

In celebration, I’m throwing an online release party. Want to win nifty prizes?

DEATH PERCEPTION Coffee MugJoin the ongoing release party on Facebook. From May 15-31, I’ll be posting trivia questions from the book for chances to WIN COOL PREMIUMS—refrigerator magnets, postcards, coffee mugs, and tee-shirts—so be sure to order your copy NOW and start reading!

You could win a Kindle Paperwhite

There’s a Kindle Paperwhite in store for one lucky winner—join up and read to win!

Note on June 3, 2013: The winner of the Kindle Paperwhite is announced here. All trivia contents on the Facebook events page were closed as of May 31, 11:59 pm.

How You Can Participate

Purchase Options

Choose from the following ordering options.

Format Price Delivery Buy Now
Nook (.epub) $2.79 Email* PayPal
Nook (.epub) $2.99 B&N B&N
Kindle (.mobi) $2.79 Email* PayPal
Kindle (.mobi) $2.99 Amazon Amazon
Trade Paperback $14.99 CreateSpace CreateSpace
Trade Paperback $13.49 Amazon Amazon
Trade Paperback $13.56 Barnes & Noble B&N
Trade Paperback $11.99 Direct* PayPal

*Once your PayPal order is received and payment clears, your file will be sent by email (or paperback posted) to the address that was used to purchase within 48 hours. 7% sales tax is collected for residents of Pennsylvania (6% +1% Allegheny County tax).

About DEATH PERCEPTION

DEATH PERCEPTION is a supernatural crime story corrupt with horror yet preserved by a sprinkling of dark humor like those mini marshmallows in your Lucky Charms.

DEATH PERCEPTION by Lee Allen HowardNineteen-year-old Kennet Singleton lives with his invalid mother in a personal care facility, but he wants out. He operates the crematory at the local funeral home, where he discovers he can discern the cause of death of those he cremates—by toasting marshmallows over their ashes.

He thinks his ability is no big deal since his customers are already dead. But when his perception differs from what’s on the death certificate, he finds himself in the midst of murderers. To save the residents and avenge the dead, Kennet must bring the killers to justice.

Take a peek at chapter 1 of DEATH PERCEPTION in PDF. Enjoy, and thanks for helping me spread the word!

Praise for DEATH PERCEPTION

“Dastardly devious, cleverly conceived, and just a whole lot of fun to read, Death Perception is Lee Allen Howard on fire and at his finest. Rife with winsome weirdness, it’s like the mutant stepchild of Carl Hiaasen and Stephen King, mixing a truly unique paranormal coming-of-age story with a quirky cast of offbeat noir characters into a novel that’s simply unforgettable… and hilariously original. A supernatural crime story, blazing with creative intrigue… don’t miss it.”

—Michael Arnzen, author of Play Dead

“Lee Allen Howard’s Death Perception is a red hot union of Gothic crime thriller and grim humor that burns with supernatural tension. Beneath the sickly sweet scent of caramelized sugar lies the wildly entertaining tale of a man who delivers justice to the dead while fanning the fires of the living. Ever hear the expression, ‘laughing in a morgue’? Death Perception feels just like that. Howard has a gift for crafting eccentric characters and clever plots. This is dark fun at its best.”

—Jason Jack Miller, author of The Devil and Preston Black and Hellbender

Death Perception has officially made me envious of Lee Allen Howard. It sings like a choir of angels, yet weeps like a ghost in winter. Everyone should have this in their collection.”

—Trent Zelazny, author of To Sleep Gently and Butterfly Potion

“Part ghost story and part murder mystery, Howard’s clean prose and spot-on timing make for a compelling read. If you enjoy ghosts, revenge tales and mysteries this book is for you.”

—Jennifer Barnes, Managing Editor of Raw Dog Screaming Press

“Part crime novel, part supernatural thriller, part… funeral pyre ‘n smores (I kid you not), this is Howard at his very best—putting you in the front car of the roller coaster, careening you past memorable characters, jostling you through hairpin plot twists, and trying his darndest to scare the bejesus out of you while managing to satiate the most macabre of sweet tooths. …A really fun read!”

—Mike Mehalek, Writing is Tricky

“Lee Allen Howard has seamlessly joined the characters in this book, and you find yourself hoping that good prevails and that Kennet doesn’t meet the same fate as some of the customers he cremates. I highly recommend this book to anybody who is looking for something a little bit different and offbeat. Lee Allen Howard is definitely going on my favourite author list!”

—Pinky Pollock

“Lee Allen Howard’s Death Perception is a novel in the likes of a mellow Stephen King.”

—Bruce J. Blanchard

“This is enjoyable and dark—a real good read.”

—Sandra Scholes, SF Site

“Outstanding! … Death Perception is a brilliant twist of the paranormal. It has everything a reader would desire, suspense, twists and turns galore. I urge you to read this one.”

—Sherry Bagley

 

Get a free Authorgraph from Lee Allen Howard
Get a free Authorgraph of DEATH PERCEPTION
from Lee Allen Howard
  
Death Perception
DEATH PERCEPTION
on Goodreads

Blog Tour Posts

Here are my posts in the DEATH PERCEPTION blog tour. Check them out, and peruse the hosters’ sites.

When the Dead Speak, You Should Listen – Lyndi Alexander – 5/16/2013

However Crazy, Honor the Idea – Armand Rosamilia – 5/15/2013

The Spiritualism of Death Perception – Building the Bridge – 5/16/2013

Adding the Supernatural to Crime
– Mary SanGiovanni – 5/17/2013

Release announcement – Heidi Ruby Miller – 5/18/2013

Writing Characters with Psychic Abilities – Hunter Shea – 5/20/2013

The Ghost of Backstory
– Jason Jack Miller – 5/21/2013

Using Beta Readers to Evaluate Your Fiction – Mike “Tricky” Mehalek – 5/22/2013

My Path to Publication – Joseph A. Pinto – 5/23/2013

Fleshing Out Your Villains – Mary DeSantis – 5/24/2013

Using Your Day Job in Your Writing – Sally Bosco – 5/25/2013

The Importance of Research in Your Fiction Writing – Anne Fotheringham – 5/28/2013

Death Perception’s Kennet Singleton: A Psychic Medium – Patrick Keller of Big Seance – 5/29/2013


Book Review: INSTIGATION by Michael A. Arnzen

INSTIGATION: Writing Prompts on the Dark Side by Michael A. Arnzen from Mastication Publications

“Where do you get your ideas?” Since it’s not cool to say, “From fantasizing about strangling the living shit out of you,” I’m telling everyone, “From Mike Arnzen’s Instigation: Writing Prompts on the Dark Side.”

Michael A. Arnzen, PhD, is an award-winning author of horror fiction (four Bram Stoker awards), an English professor at Seton Hill University, and a mentor in their Writing Popular Fiction MFA program, of which I’m an alum (with an MA).

INSTIGATION: Writing Prompts on the Dark Side by Michael A. Arnzen

INSTIGATION by Michael A. Arnzen,
from Mastication Publications

Over a decade ago, he began writing a column for Hellnotes journal called “Instigation,” which provided not only creative—but darkly creative—writing prompts for writers. He continued this tradition at Gorelets.com and in his Goreletter (totally worth subscribing to). Arnzen has expanded his original collection of prompts and revised, updated, organized, and supplemented it into a terrific resource for creative writers on the dark side.

I recently downloaded INSTIGATION and gave it a spin. I’m so glad I did.

In “Here Comes the Fork: An Introduction,” Arnzen discusses writer’s block and creative desiccation, and how writing prompts can get the imaginative juices seeping again.

One trick to getting started is to sidestep the burden of coming up with ideas or a plot first. That’s what a prompt does — it challenges the writer to respond without having to worry too much about premise or plot. It hands you a deck of cards and maybe even the rules too and encourages you to simply start dealing them out.

Yet for the writer of dark fiction, most writing prompts fall short, providing only inspiration. “Rarely,” he says, “do they push you to do something truly weird, taboo, goofy or unthinkable (ergo, original).” Sure, your plot and writing may follow typical form, but Arnzen believes that “the best genre fiction always marries convention with invention.” And that’s where his envelope-pushing prompts slither in.

Arnzen suggests successful usage in “How to Use This Book,” while advising that, when writing, the best counsel is, “Do whatever works.” This may involve journaling or freewriting.

“365 Sick Scenarios” lists a story starter for every night of the year, with prompts like: “Create a numbered list: ‘Rules for Human Hunting'” and “Clot a wound or make a tourniquet with an unexpected object.”

“Spurs: 31 Turns for the Worst” includes prompts for works in progress—when you need a jab in the flank by your demon rider to “take things in an unexpected direction.” Like “Torment with temperature” (a creative way of saying turn up the heat on your character).

“Resurrections” are prompts that will help bring your story “back from the dead” during revision. This will come in handy for me soon.

“Memoir Mayhem” is a collection of journal prompts to inspire you beyond the realm of dark fiction.

The D.I.Y. section, “The Devil Made You Do It Yourself,” enables you to customize his prompts or come up with your own writing exercises. I particularly like “The Monster Mash” and “Weird Sins.”

All these sections are numbered with a scheme so that you can do a random search to pick a prompt out of the skull cap.

INSTIGATION concludes with a few short articles to help you overcome writer’s block. (Which makes me think of a chopping block. “Stick your neck out and write, or just stick your neck out.” How’s that for inspiration and encouragement? You only have me to blame for this prompt, I’m afraid.)

Arnzen encourages INSTIGATION users to write their own material and drop him a line to get a link to their work posted in his “Instigation Showcase.”

My favorite phrase from the book: “sloshing, galumphing breasts.” To find out what that’s all about, writer, get your copy of INSTIGATION: Writing Prompts on the Dark Side by Mastication Publications, providing “Unusual Ideas to Chew On.” Ebook formats include Kindle (.mobi), Nook (.epub), and PDF. Only $3.99.

Subscribe to the Mastication newsletter, and get a 25% off discount code!

Then incise an artery and start writing.

Mike Arnzen is also the creator of “The Refrigerator of the Damned” magnetic poetry kit. Take down your kids’ drawings and post a horrific poem about how they cried. Get your kit at Raw Dog Screaming Press.

Search for #TFOTD on Twitter. Follow @MikeArnzen and Like his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/gorelets.

I describe how Mike Arzen has inspired me in How Arnzstigation Set Me Free.


Guest Post: Stephanie M. Wytovich, Member of the Dead Poets Society

The number one rule in writing is that if you want to write, and write well, you must write every day. Poetry is no exception. When I decided I wanted to become a poet—something I distinguish greatly from being a fiction writer—I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Poetry doesn’t have a huge market, it certainly doesn’t pay well, and to add to the frustration, when you throw genre on the table, you’re looking at a dead end.

Except you’re not.

I’ve dabbled in literary—as I think every up-and-coming poet should—but anyone who knows me realizes my heart is firmly cemented in the black shadows of horror. So not only am I a poet, but I’m a horror poet, and contrary to the monsters and creatures that we all know and love, we do exist and there is a market for us.

And for you, if you’re willing to take the jump.

My connection with poetry has always been very visceral and intuitive, and I’ve come to realize, that unlike my prose, it’s not something that I can just sit down and work on routinely like a job. I need inspiration, crave it, and much like a succubus, I bleed the art form dry when I’m done. It’s hard for me to describe it, but for anyone who has seen what Bo does to her victims in Lost Girl, you can get an idea of how poetic energy works for me. Before I can act, I need a source. A vein. Something living that I can tap into.

Usually it’s art.

Most of the time it’s music.

Sure, I have times where I experience a swell of emotion spiraling inside of me and it’s easy to find the words to expel it, but other times I need to look at or listen to something so I can get hold of its story. Pinterest has been a great optical vessel because I can sweep through pages and save visuals and sayings that speak to me, and make collages or boards based on a specific piece or particular emotion. This is a great way to do character studies or pinpoint locations, and I find myself coming back to it more and more when I need assistance purging a poem.

Spotfiy, however, is my auditory mistress. I pace my writing based on the song I’m listening to, and I recently became enthralled with artists such as Jill Tracy, Johnny Hollow, and Sopor Aeternus. Their music is dark, seductive and beautifully gothic; it’s a wonderful aid when it comes to soft, psychological horror. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that one of my favorite pastimes as a horror writer is creating and administering the kill scene. In poetry, you don’t have the luxury of going on for pages about a kill. You have to be quick, fast, practiced, and effective. Much like if you were actually going to commit a murder.

So let’s write a horror poem using this process.

Step 1: Find your victim. Put on your favorite, high energy song or look up a piece of artwork. (These don’t have to be scary. They just have to elicit emotion). For example, here’s my current inspiration:

Currently playing: “Click Click Boom” by Saliva
Victim: A stalker

Step 2: Predict their next move. If it’s not scary, how would you make it creepy? If it is, how does it make you feel? This will give you your topic. Here are thoughts I jotted down:

Observations: He doesn’t see me watching him, watching her. He thinks he’s going in for a kill, but doesn’t realize that tonight… he’s the victim.

Step 3: Stalk and take notes. Write down individual words or phrases that come to mind when thinking about the subject matter.

Notes: Oblivious, sloppy, unaware, misogynistic, rape, watching, young, pain, knife, old blue jeans, broken, pervert, swelling sex, doesn’t understand, who does she think she is, I deserve this, curls, masturbation, innocence, gun.

Step 4: Go for the kill. Be creative and don’t limit yourself. Feel free to play.

Here’s what I came up with using this process.

Her Stalker’s Stalker
By Stephanie M. Wytovich

He watched her pull her auburn hair
Back into a loose ponytail, moaning
As flyaway strands caressed her teenage face.
He stroked the barrel of his gun, pretending it was her
Fragile hands around his cock,
Thinking, hoping, that after tonight he
Wouldn’t have to imagine it anymore.
He liked to watch her like this—
Catch her in the throes of passion
As she discovered her womanhood,
Felt what it was like to touch herself
Between the legs—but what he didn’t
See, was me. Me pulling back my soft,
Black curls into a ponytail, and
Fingering my knife as I watched him
Watching her, while I planned my kill.

I’d love to know how this process worked for you. Send your creations and trophy kills to wyt3319(at)gmail(dot)com, and I’ll showcase your poems on my blog at: http://joinmeinthemadhouse.blogspot.com/

Stay Scared,

Stephanie M. Wytovich

About Stephanie M. Wytovich

Stephanie M. WytovichStephanie M. Wytovich is an alum of Seton Hill University where she was a double major in English Literature and Art History. Wytovich is published in over 40 literary magazines and her collection of poems, HYSTERIA, will be released this summer. She is currently attending graduate school to pursue her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction, and is working on a novel. She is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, a book reviewer for S.T. Joshi, Jason V. Brock, and William F. Nolan’s Nameless Magazine, and she plans to continue in academia to get her doctorate in Gothic Literature.


How Arnzstigation Set Me Free


 
Arnzstigation Days


When I was earning my master’s in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University, professor of dark literature extraordinaire Michael A. Arnzen was my mentor while I wrote my thesis novel, DEATH PERCEPTION.

Besides being a terrific teacher with a great sense of humor, Mike is super creative in supporting the careers of fledgling writers. In his critique of DEATH PERCEPTION, I’ll never forget one suggestion he made about protagonist Kennet Singleton. Mike pointed out that he could get revenge through fire, which, as a crematory operator, is Kennet’s element. My book is so much better for his input.

So is my career. As I’ve struggled to honor the ideas that come to me, however twisted, Arnzen taught me that it’s okay to be dark, and that I must go there without flinching. In the past my darkness has gotten the better of me and laid me low more times than I can count. But since I posted a Facebook status about a month ago, all Arnzen’s past advice seemed to jell like clotting blood. “I exult in my creepiness!”

Arnzstigation set me free. I’m now working on the darkest story I’ve ever written, and it’s sharp as a scalpel.

I post this with gratitude for Dr. Arnzen’s influence and support. And I want to tell you about a brilliant project he’s got going…

You know those magnetic poetry kits you can assemble into verses on your refrigerator door? Arnzen has created one for the darkly inspired, with words like headshot, grotesque, and embalmed. Here’s a sample that also showcases his photographic talents.

The project is called Fridge of the Damned. Although phase 1 is fully funded, providing the capital to produce the magnets, there’s still a push to complete phase 2 of funding so that the magnets can be packaged in custom tin boxes. (Phase 2 goal is $2700.) I’d much rather have a tin box than a plastic bag, wouldn’t you? (Especially if it contains something severed and dripping.)

There are plenty of support levels, and every bit helps. You get the coolest premiums! I know I want at least one set of magnets—packaged in custom tins, (un)naturally. E-books, too. Did I mention Mike is an award-winning poet and micro fiction writer?

If you are a lover of horror, you must get his stuff, and supporting Fridge of the Damned is a great way to kill two birds with one donation.

There’s only a week left. Please support now, and support big. This project and its creator are worth it. Besides enabling this creative dark poetry kit to be packaged in style, you’ll be able to damn your refrigerator—as if the tender parts packaged inside weren’t enough.

Support Fridge of the Damned Magnetic Poetry Kit Kickstarter Project Now

I Survived the Arnzstigation
Thank you. I’m all about making someone’s nightmare come true.

Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads. –Erica Jong

Who else is behind the project:

Connect with Michael A. Arnzen at gorelets.com.


The Next Big Thing: Death Perception by Lee Allen Howard

I’m participating in a blog hop called The Next Big Thing, about my latest work in progress. I’ve got other things in the work, but here’s what’s up next…

What is the title of your next book/work?

DEATH PERCEPTION. You can read the summary and the first chapter here.

DEATH PERCEPTION by Lee Allen HowardWhere did the idea come from for the book/work?

Where it came from, I’m not certain and am a bit afraid to know! But the original idea was that a young man can discern the cause of death of those he cremates–by toasting marshmallows over their ashes. When what he discerns differs from what’s listed on the death certificate, he finds himself in the midst of murderers.

What genre does your work fall under?

DEATH PERCEPTION is a blend of supernatural crime, horror, and the paranormal. With a touch of black humor.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m showing my age here with a few of these answers, but if he were younger, Casey Affleck would be a great fit for protagonist Kennet Singleton. Richard Deacon (if he were still alive) could play antagonist Cecil Grinold. And a younger Joan Collins would do justice to co-antagonist Flavia Costa. Reese Witherspoon could portray Kennet’s love interest, Christy Sprunger.

What is the one-sentence synopsis to explain where your work begins?

Nineteen-year-old Kennet Singleton is cremating his last corpse of the day when he receives a call urging him to visit his invalid mother.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m inquiring about agency representation for DEATH PERCEPTION, but have a plan to self-publish digitally, as I’ve done with my other works such as THE SIXTH SEED, DESPERATE SPIRITS, and “MAMA SAID.”

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

DEATH PERCEPTION was my thesis project at Seton Hill University, where I earned a master’s in Writing Popular Fiction. It took me two years in the program to complete the first draft. By the time I graduated, I was burned out on the project that I put it away for a few years. Off and on, I did a few more revisions and finally completed my ninth at the end of 2012.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Although I wrote most of DEATH PERCEPTION before I read the popular Dean Koontz book, the protagonist and his spiritualistic, paranormal world is similar to ODD THOMAS.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I became obsessed with the idea of someone who could communicate with the spirits of those he had cremated. It wouldn’t leave me, so I honored it and turned it into a story.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

When I first started this project, I didn’t believe in communication with the departed. Since then I’ve completed a course of study with the Morris Pratt Institute and now work part time as a Spiritualist medium. I found that many things in the early manuscript were accurate when compared to actual studies of after-death communication. In later revisions, I used my education and experience as a medium to flesh out Kennet’s psychic abilities and enhance scenes.

SUBSCRIBE to stay abreast of what’s happening with DEATH PERCEPTION and all things fiction and editing.

My Amazon Author page is here: http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Allen-Howard/e/B004U7773C/. Thanks for your support!

I was tagged for The Next Big Thing by award-winning author Meg Mims. Visit her and these writers for their next big thing!

Interviewed in the Madhouse

Horror girl Stephanie Wytovich interviews me at her site, JOIN ME IN THE MADHOUSE.

Go read the exchange and then let me know what your prognosis is…

INCOMING PATIENT: LEE ALLEN HOWARD