Book Release: PERPETUAL NIGHTMARES

Vampires, beasties, zombies, ghouls… and the murderous kid next door. Twenty-four stories of human and supernatural horror and crime will chill you to the bone. Can you escape the perpetual nightmares?

This collection is now available in trade paperback (322 pages) from Three First Names.

“Lee Allen Howard is an imaginative writer with slick, vivid prose and high octane pacing. He writes like no one else, and I mean this in a very good way.”
—Trent Zelazny

For a limited time, PERPETUAL NIGHTMARES is available from CreateSpace for *15% off* the cover price. Order today! Apply the following checkout code for your discount: 9RNJG6SZ

PERPETUAL NIGHTMARES is available on Amazon for $16.99 (click the cover to buy now):

Perpetual Nightmares Cover

Click here to read the introduction.

“Lee Allen Howard stitches together a story where the suspense never lets up.”
—Ron Edison

Reviews are greatly appreciated!

Happy Halloween!

PERPETUAL NIGHTMARES Coming Soon

I’ve been hard at work collecting all my short fiction into one book, due out soon from Three First Names.

Vampires, beasties, zombies, ghouls… and the murderous kid next door. Twenty-four stories of human and supernatural horror and crime will chill you to the bone. Can you escape the perpetual nightmares?

“Lee Allen Howard stitches together a story where the suspense never lets up.”
—Ron Edison

Click on the cover to read the introduction:

Perpetual Nightmares Cover

Stay tuned for publication details!

The Psychology of Scary Movies

Hi, folks. I came across this 14-minute YouTube video today that I enjoyed. I thought I’d share it with you.

It’s called “The Psychology of Scary Movies” by Filmmaker IQ (John Hess).

Analyze, and then go watch something scary!


MAMA SAID Now an Audio Book

The audio book version of my most popular short story, MAMA SAID, is available from Audible.com. Check it out!

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Mama-Said-Audiobook/B00O4DC6WO/

The audio will soon be available on Amazon and iTunes.

MAMA SAID


Reading and Signing at AUTUMN OF FEAR

I’ll be reading and signing books at AUTUMN OF FEAR, October 5, 2013, from 6:00–9:00 p.m. This horrific event is hosted by Carla E. Anderton of Jozart Center for the Arts in California, PA.

Along with Anderton, author of THE HEART ABSENT, I’ll be there with writers Stephanie M. Wytovich, author of HYSTERIA, and Sheldon Higdon, author of “Hand-Carved Coffins” and many other dark tales.

If you’re in the southern Pennsylvania area, come see us It will be a howl of a good time!

http://jozart.com/the-autumn-of-fear

For more information:


The Creepier, the Better

I’ve been wanting to post this for months, but I’m just getting around to it.

My motto for 2013 is this:

THE CREEPIER, THE BETTER

Instead of being ashamed that I’m creepy (and I’ve been creepy since a very young age), since writing my Arnzstigation, I’ve decided to exult in my creepiness! It’s something that contributes to my uniqueness, and I’m going to capitalize on it. (Thank you to Mike Arnzen for setting me free.) And thanks to John Edward Lawson, I got this great graphic:

The Creepier, the Better

I’ve been buying creepy art for my home:

Creepy Art

And I’ve started to wear creepy jewelry:

Skull Ring

In the first quarter of this year, I wrote the creepiest and most disturbing novel I’ve ever written. Read more about CALL OF THE PISS FAIRY here.

What is the result of all this creepiness? I’M REALLY FREAKING HAPPY! It’s good to be creepy; it’s good to be me!

I just watched this nine-minute video about the nature of creepiness and loved it:

In the latest installment of VSauce, Michael Stevens takes a fascinating look at the subtler qualities of “scary stuff,” with a special emphasis on terror and creepiness – feelings he argues stem primarily from a sense of ambiguity:

Creepy things are kind of an ambiguity but they’re also kind of not, so our brains don’t know what to do. Some parts respond with fear, while other parts don’t, and they don’t know why. So instead of achieving a typical fear response – horror – we simply feel uneasy. Terror. Creeped out. Between the mountains of safety and danger there is a valley of creepiness, where the limits of our trust and knowledge and security aren’t very clear.

Watch “What Makes Creepy Things Creepy.”

Like my Facebook author page, and you’ll get a 9:00 a.m. #creepyphotos post every day.

Are you creeped out yet? If so, my work is done.

Now I’m going to go read a scholarly study titled, “On the Nature of Creepiness,” by Francis T. McAndrew and Sara S. Koehnke, Knox College, 2013. Because I’m not just creepy, I’m seriously creepy!

“Creepy people are unable to change, but they do not necessarily have bad intentions.”
–McAndrew & Koehnke

So, I can’t help myself. And exactly what my intentions are remains to be seen…


The Importance of Research in Fiction Writing

This article first appeared on Anne J. Fotheringham’s site, Book Editor Plus.


 
Although fiction is a product of the imagination, if it’s set in the real world at least partially, there will be some real-life things you must get right. This means being accurate with your facts. In a contemporary story, if you’ve got a seasoned outdoorsman who drinks water directly from a still pool in a stream, you haven’t done your research.

Water can be contaminated with a variety of things risky to health and isn’t safe to drink without some kind of treatment, including filtration, chemical disinfection, or boiling. Boiling is best. If this isn’t possible in your story, you’ll get points for realism and accuracy if your character knows the dangers and does his best to mitigate them. If you don’t know your outdoor lore, readers who do will detect your gaffe and call you on it. (They may also quit reading or complain in a review.)

DEATH PERCEPTION by Lee Allen HowardSo it pays to know your facts when you write. And that’s where research comes in.

For instance, in DEATH PERCEPTION, my latest supernatural crime thriller, protagonist Kennet Singleton runs the crematory at a local funeral home. When I first got the idea about a young man who can discern the cause of death of those he cremates by toasting marshmallows over their ashes, I knew nothing about funeral homes or cremation.

One of the first things I did was conduct a general Internet search to acquaint myself with the processes of cremation and embalming. Then I went to visit a funeral home with a crematorium. A friend arranged for me to meet the funeral director, and I spent an hour there one afternoon learning about their process.

Being a technical writer, I took copious notes and made sketches. I even tape-recorded the session so I could go back to it if I later couldn’t make sense of my notes. Back home I typed up the document, making computer diagrams from my sketches, and ended up with a 15-page document that I later referred to when I wrote scenes in which cremation took place.

I also read a lot of books on the subject of death, funerary tradition and processes, and cremation. I still have a carton containing these titles:

  • Purified by Fire: A History of Cremation in America by Stephen Prothero
  • Cremation in America by Fred Rosen
  • Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial by Penny Colman
  • Round-Trip to Deadsville: A Year in the Funeral Underground by Tim Matson
  • What Happens When You Die: From Your Last Breath to the First Spadeful by Robert T. Hatch
  • I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch by Lisa Carlson
  • One Foot in the Grave: The Strange But True Adventures of a Cemetery Sexton by Chad Daybell
  • Cemetery Stories: Haunted Graveyards, Embalming Secrets, and the Life of a Corpse After Death by Katherine Ramsland
  • Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies? by Kenneth V. Iserson, MD

Some of these books were more useful than others, but I gleaned something from all of them. I used this knowledge to build a foundational structure based on facts about death, embalming, cremation, funeral homes, and cemeteries.

I likewise did research on personal care homes. And more on marijuana growing, poisons, prescription drugs, sexual fetishes, crime, guns, and police procedure. (Yes, all of these are in DEATH PERCEPTION.)

Did I get it all right? I suppose if an expert in any of these areas reads my book, she might find a flaw. But I performed due diligence and did my best to accurately ground my fiction in fact. Even much of the Spiritualism and Kennet’s psychic abilities are based on research and experience.

All this said, must you know everything about everything? No. You can’t. Other funeral directors may do things differently in their places of business, and that’s okay. But my facts are accurate according to how one funeral director operates his crematorium.

Although you can’t know everything, it pays to do your research in as many areas as possible. Then have knowledgeable beta readers check your work for accuracy. Sound research lends authority and realism to your writing, and these are what loyal readers enjoy.

DEATH PERCEPTION is available in trade paperback, Kindle (.mobi) and Nook (.epub) at https://leeallenhoward.com/death-perception/.