Joseph A. Pinto

barflypoet & author of dark fiction

Today, I’m giving my blog over to fellow horror author Lee Allen Howard, whose new book, ‘Death Perception‘ is hot off the presses.  Lee has been involved in the writing industry since 1985, so when he has something to say, chances are you should listen.  With that in mind, I asked Lee if he wouldn’t mind sharing with us how he discovered his publishing path in the first place…


Thank you, Joe!  As a creative exercise in second grade, Teacher had her pupils write a story. “Be as creative as you can be, children.” I penned—penciled, rather—my debut horror fiction on a ruled school tablet. Teacher, ostensibly pleased with her prodigy’s genius (more likely concerned with a tow-headed eight-year-old’s mental health), passed my work to the elementary school principal. (“Children, ‘principal’ ends with P-A-L—the principal is your PAL.” Keep reading, and then decide…)

Unknown to me, Principal Sprunger, also the president of the local Lions Club chapter in Berne, Indiana, read my story to the men of our little Swiss community and then in good humor fined my father a dime because the preacher’s son had written such an “awful tale full of skeletons, witches, and blood.”

That is the story of money first changing hands in relation to my fiction. (That dime never found its way into my pocket. If it had, I would have biked down to the White Cottage and bought myself a small soft serve cone, for sure.)

I continued to write through elementary and high school. The Brookville, Pennsylvania, Jeffersonian Democrat newspaper printed our school newsletter, for which I’d written a grisly Halloween story. They decided to reprint my story in the town newspaper. This should have overjoyed me, but they printed it anonymously and didn’t pay me for it, either. Bastards.

I placed a short story and some poetry in Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s New Growth Arts Revue. I stopped writing for a few years, but started again when I envisioned a scene about a young man who had been shot in the stomach and stumbled into an alley to die. I developed this into my first suspense novel for the Christian market, When the Music Stops, long out of print.

After completing my master of arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, I entered the publishing arena and compiled a trade paperback anthology of shorts based on the Ten Commandments. Thou Shalt Not came out in 2006. It’s a great collection of horror and dark crime. Check it out.

I’ve placed a few short stories for pay in the past decade, but after hundreds of rejections, two years ago I decided to take a different route.

One of the reasons I’ve had trouble in placing my work, especially novels, is because they don’t cleanly fit into a genre slot. Why is this important? Because brick-and-mortar bookstores need to know where to shelve a book. So part of the writing-for-print-publication process is writing for a shelf spot. (And length requirements in genre fiction in part are based on how many books will conveniently fit in a cardboard carton for shipping.) I think that’s just ridiculous.

I had been working on a novel proposal for Dorchester Publishing/Leisure Books. But after the debacle with their selling ebooks without remunerating authors, I stuffed that idea down the disposal.

In a nutshell, since second grade, I’ve learned that publishing by the traditional route is inorganically restricted and highly improbable. The royalties paid (if they pay)… well, suck.

So I recently published my second novel, The Sixth Seed for e-readers and trade paperback. It cost me nothing to post it, and I’ve been selling downloads at a 70% royalty. And I can add meta tags with no concern for a shelf spot or how I will otherwise categorize “a dark paranormal fantasy fraught with suburban Pittsburgh horror—family drama with aliens.”

I followed the same path for DEATH PERCEPTION, my latest supernatural thriller tinged with horror and peppered with dark humor:

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 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, he must bring the killers to justice.

DEATH PERCEPTION is available in trade paperback, Kindle (.mobi) and Nook (.epub) at



Lee Allen Howard writes horror, dark fantasy, and supernatural crime. He’s been a professional writer and editor of both fiction and nonfiction since 1985. His publications include The Sixth Seed, Desperate Spirits, Night Monsters, “Mama Said,” “Stray,” and DEATH PERCEPTION, available in various formats at

You can keep in touch with Lee on his Facebook author page: Follow him on Twitter @LeeAllenHoward.


19 thoughts on “Lee Allen Howard’s “Death Perception”

  1. abbiefoxton says:

    I always enjoy reading author introductions by other authors. There is a wonderful camaraderie and freedom on the page – likeminded pursuits and passions acknowledged, and life lessons shared…Respect!

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Hi Abbie! One thing I’ve learned…or should I say, experience…is the difficulty of gained support of your work and aspirations. I’ll never turn my back on that because I have the ability to do positive for someone else, no matter how small the gesture may seem

  2. Chatty Owl says:

    Awesome!!! Will look into it.

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Thatta girl!! lol Thank you for supporting a fellow author 😉

    2. LeeAllenHoward says:

      Yes, thank you!

  3. LeeAllenHoward says:

    Thanks, Joe. I appreciate the plug!

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      My pleasure, Lee!!! Much success to you and ‘Death Perception’

  4. zkullis says:

    Thanks Joe, and way to go Lee! I enjoyed the post and look forward to checking out your writing!

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Thanks for your support, Big Zack!!

  5. It was a pleasure reading the guest post, the book sounds like a great read, too!

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Thanks, Nina! 🙂 I got myself a copy, look forward to reading!! Sounds intriguing! 🙂

  6. Maggie Mae says:

    Yeah, this post definitely aroused my interest. Sounds like a good book. A pleasure getting to know a bit about you, Lee.

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Thanks for supporting Lee, Maggie! 🙂

  7. It is great to see the selfless act of promoting the work of others! Nicely done Mr. Pinto and I am looking forward to reading the works of Mr. Lee Allen Howard!

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Thank you Jon!! I don’t deserve any credit, however; we all should pull for one another in this manner 🙂

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