The Ghost of Backstory in DEATH PERCEPTION

This post appeared originally on the blog of Jason Jack Miller, author of The Devil and Preston Black, Hellbender, and The Revelations of Preston Black. Check out his site.


 

The Ghost of Backstory in DEATH PERCEPTION

Backstory is everything that happened to the protagonist before the story begins. In The Anatomy of Story, John Truby calls this the “ghost.” The ghost is usually some negative event from the past that still haunts the protagonist in the present. This past trauma is the source of the hero’s current psychological and moral weakness. It’s his internal opponent, what Truby describes as the “great fear that is holding him back from action.”

Fire SkullIn DEATH PERCEPTION, my just-released supernatural thriller, young protagonist Kennet Singleton’s backstory ghost is his father’s drunken violence, resulting in his father’s death and the loss of his mother’s eye. Lack of a good role model has crippled Kennet from striking out on his own; at 19, he still lives with his invalid mother in a personal care home and holds only a part-time job at a local funeral home.

However, Kennet’s natural hypersensitivity toward his father’s moods and abusive behavior birthed a psychic gift that blooms when an old prophetess lays her hands on him. Later he discovers that he can discern the cause of death of those he cremates—by toasting marshmallows over their ashes.

When he begins believing in himself and using his gift to avenge the spirits of those who have been murdered (ghosts of a different sort), Kennet finds the courage to stand up for himself and forge his way toward independence.

Good stories dramatize the process of a flawed character overcoming past wounds on the path to wholeness. Even in a tale of horror and supernatural crime, Kennet’s “ghosts” find justice—and peace.

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


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Malina Roos Reviews DEATH PERCEPTION

Malina Roos, book reviewer for Hellnotes, reviews DEATH PERCEPTION. (I copied this from her Facebook post.)

Lee Allen Howard is quickly becoming a huge favourite of mine. He crafts his characters so well and gives them depth, flaws and realism that you expect from a much more seasoned writer.

DEATH PERCEPTION by Lee Allen HowardDEATH PERCEPTION is a well-thought-out story about Kennet, a troubled yet gentle young man who lives in a nursing home with his elderly mother. He has a job in a crematorium working for a profit-driven, moral-less boss, but Kennet does his job with dignity and provides a graceful ending for all the people he deals with, regardless of cost.

Then people start dying in the home where Kennet lives… and the death certificate doesn’t quite match up with what Kennet sees as the cause of death. Kennet’s gift is to see how people die, and therein lies the problem.

I loved this. What a great read. Kennet is a character that I really want to read more about [because] he was brilliant. I loved his outlook, the way he related to everyone, his spirit, everything about him.

DEATH PERCEPTION is smart, funny, engaging, and endearing. A true work of art. I love this book and I hope there will be many more Kennet stories.


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.

DeathPerception_BlogTour

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/

ARMAND ROSAMILIA

However Crazy, Honor the Idea

Lee Allen Howard

LeeAllenHoward

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!