Writing Characters with Psychic Abilities

This appeared originally on the blog of Hunter Shea, author of the dark and paranormal. Check out his site.

Hunter Shea

Don’t you love paranormal protagonists, like Koontz’s Odd Thomas? I do. Any fictional character with paranormal powers—abilities that most readers consider supernatural—moves your story into one of the speculative genres. This could be sci-fi, fantasy, horror, paranormal, or magic realism. Actually, you can blend the paranormal with any genre, as I do in DEATH PERCEPTION, which is a supernatural crime cake iced with horror and sprinkled with dark humor.

In fantasy, a character’s abilities may be a given, established in your story’s genre ruleset from the very start. For instance, Tolkien’s Gandalf is a wizard, and there’s no explanation for him. In The Wizard of Oz, monkeys fly, and that’s that.

Other stories with a mooring in everyday reality require that a character’s supernatural abilities be explained. There must be a reason why the character can do the things she does, and this explanation encourages readers to suspend their…

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Guest Blog Post — Adding the Supernatural to Crime by Lee Allen Howard

This post first appeared on Mary SanGiovanni’s official website, May 17, 2013.

A Writer's Life

Hi, folks! Today I have a special treat for you — a guest blog post by friend and fellow SHU alum Lee Allen Howard. Lee’s on a book tour to let folks know about his latest supernatural crime novel, DEATH PERCEPTION, and I’m pleased to have him make a stop here.


Death Perception: Adding the Supernatural to Crime

I love horror; I write horror. But I also like crime. Along the spectrum of speculative fiction, most of my writing lies outside of science fiction and fantasy, but begins at dark fantasy, expands with horror, and then branches at crime:

* Dark crime: non-supernatural horror that covers aberrant sexual crime, sadistic   homicide, serial killing and the like. My stories “Mama Said,” “Poor Old Soul,” and “Mixed Breed, Loves Kids” are dark crime.

* Supernatural crime: a crime story with elements of horror dealing with fantastical or supernatural situations and entities…

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The Spiritualism of DEATH PERCEPTION

This was originally posted at http://buildingthebridge.wordpress.com, the site for my metaphysical and spiritualistic musings. From the acknowledgments page in the book: “We affirm that communication with the so-called dead is a fact, scientifically proven by the phenomena of Spiritualism.” –Principle #5 of Spiritualism

Guest Post: Lee Allen Howard

This post kicked off my DEATH PERCEPTION blog tour. It was originally posted by Armand Rosamilia: http://armandrosamilia.com/2013/05/15/guest-post-lee-allen-howard/


However Crazy, Honor the Idea

Lee Allen Howard


If there’s anybody who knows about crazy ideas, it’s Armand Rosamilia. A gun that turns people into zombies? Crazy! But cool.

Such a crazy idea was the inspiration for DEATH PERCEPTION, my latest supernatural thriller tinged with horror and peppered with dark humor. Way back in 2003, I got this wacky idea that wanted to use me to become a novel. It was about a guy who could psychically discern the cause of death of the corpses he cremates—by toasting marshmallows over their ashes. Laugh or say, “Ewww!”, you gotta admit it’s a zany premise.

Nineteen-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…

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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!

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).


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!


“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
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

Winners of the Goodreads Giveaway for DEATH PERCEPTION

From May 4-14, 2013, I hosted a Goodreads giveaway for 5 trade paperback copies of my supernatural thriller DEATH PERCEPTION. The giveaway is now closed.
DEATH PERCEPTION by Lee Allen Howard

The winners are:
Michael S., UK
Tamara A., Canada
Mary E., US
Toni H., US
Zack W., Canada

Congratulations, folks! I’ll be shipping your books this week.

You can still mark DEATH PERCEPTION as “Want to Read.” And please recommend it to some friends who like supernatural crime!

DEATH PERCEPTION is announced on the site for award-winning genre writing text MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT, to which I’m a contributor. Read all about it here:


P.S.: Don’t forget to join the Facebook release party now. From May 15-31 I’ll be posting
trivia questions for a chance to win some cool prizes, including a Kindle Paperwhite. Order options are listed here. Order your copy today and start reading to win!