Howard Releases ‘The Covenant Sacrifice’
You can hear the passion in voice when Lee Allen Howard says he “writes a lot.”
Howard has a penchant for writing dark fiction, and writing is, you could say, in his DNA. Howard fell in love with the craft in elementary school.
“It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. I started in second grade — as soon as I could print,” he said.
Howard said he wrote a story in second grade that his teacher turned into the elementary school principal — and he was the president of the local Lions Club. He fined his father, who was a pastor, a dime because the preacher’s son had written such a horrible story filled with skeletons.
“And I’ve been at it (writing) ever since,” Howard said.
Howard first started writing horror, but realized after a time, that what he was writing didn’t fit into the horror genre.
“Now I say that I write dark fiction. And that could include horror, LGBTQ horror, supernatural thrillers, dark crime, dark mystery, and psychological thrillers,” Allen added.
Howard has released his new book “The Covenant Sacrifice,” published by First Three Names.
Howard said he got the idea for “The Covenant Sacrifice” in 2008. At that time, he was temporarily living with his parents in Potter County, Pennsylvania between Port Allegheny and Coudersport. Howard used to run or bike through the area, and would frequently pass a church, where his dad was pastor, and noticed across the road a cemetery.
“I just got the idea of what if that cemetery were a dead cemetery? What every plot was full, and no one else could be buried there? And, and then I thought about, you know, well, what if the dead started coming back,” he said.
It took bout five years to get to a point where he could write an outline and start to develop a story.
“It turned out to be kind of half horror and half gay romance. And it’s about a young man who’s coming to term with his orientation, and he returns to this rural valley, where he was raised. And then a terrible storm breaks out blocking everyone there,” Howard said.
And there is not any cell phone reception.
In the book, Howard noted, there’s a defrocked Pentecostal pastor of an abandoned church, and there’s a curse on the community. The defrocked pastor thinks he can satisfy the curse by sacrificing a sinner. “Which of course, turns out to be somebody that my protagonist Jared cares about,” Howard said.
Howard added the book can be categorized as LGBTQ horror, cult horror, religious horror, rural horror, and gay romance.
Howard who has bachelor’s in English Literature from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa. In 2022 he returned to get a Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA), and recently graduated.
Howard’s method for writing may seem out of the ordinary, but he jots down ideas on index cards — both 3 by 5 and 4 by 6.
“I have them (index cards) with me at all times. And when I’m reading something, I usually have an index card in my book. So if I get any kind of ideas for what I’m working on or for something new, I write it down. I watch a lot of horror movies for genre, and I always keep one of these nearby,” Howard noted as he pointed to an index card. Even when taking a long trip by car, he keeps index cards with him, and he has trained himself to be conscious of using index cards because an idea “is here, this moment and gone the next.”
When he is working on new a book, Howard said he starts with a theme, and then will make an outline. His outline is detailed and can be anywhere from 20 to 60 pages. He’ll use his outline to figure out plot points, and to get a scene-by-scene structure.
“And then after I’ve got the whole thing done, and it makes sense in outline form that then I will start drafting. And that’s usually why I write short is because I cover what’s in the scene, but I don’t put in all the nuances,” Howard said.
The author added that at times it may take him longer to write an outline than to write a first draft. The outline is used as a roadmap of sorts to connect major plot points.
“If I had to try to figure out what I’m going to say and where I’m going at the same time, and I’m writing a draft, I would never get anything written. It’s too much to think about,” he added.
His early morning routine consists of craft reading about how to write fiction. Later in the morning, after he is done reading, he will try to get in one to two hours of writing where his goal is between 1,000 to 5,000 words.
Howard said beginning and intermediate writers should study the craft of writing by reading the genre of which they want to write.
“Also read other genres, to get ideas from them, but also read craft books — on whatever it is. It could be point of view. It could be plotting or story structure, things like that, so that you’re constantly learning and, and then apply those techniques that you learn,” he said.
For more about Howard visit leeallenhoward.com.