After three years of communing with the blank page, J. Stephen Howard is ready to publish the 435-page book, Fear in Appleton.

Howard said, “It was a monstrous labor, consuming many days and nights, but it was worth it. I think people will enjoy reading the book because I wrote something I’d like to read. In doing this, I wrote without training wheels or safety equipment, so be prepared to go down a steep hill with no brakes.”

While the author may have written with spirited abandon, he did have professional editor Michael Garrett to put the polish on his fourth book (the others were learning experiences that might one day walk among the living). Garrett was Stephen King’s first editor, as credited by the master of horror’s non-fiction book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

“I’ve learned that during the first draft, you have to dive off the cliff,” Howard said. “Thank goodness there’s a safety net for writers. Therefore, you have no excuse but to write a second, third, or fourth draft. But first, you have to take that header.”

Besides having a safety net and editor to thank, Howard should also express gratitude to the one who gave Fear in Appleton its ghoulish face. Graphic artist Neil Malgapo designed and drew the eerie-looking cover.

When asked who the audience for the book might be, Howard said, “If you enjoy Stephen King books, True Blood, or The Twilight Zone, I think you’ll like Fear in Appleton. Yet while these are influences, I’m proud of what I see as a unique book. In my original vision, I wanted the story to be edgy and challenging. So, I trust my readers to go over that cliff with me as the ghost pushes people to do things as a result of facing their fears.”

Description: Imagine a ghost who can find your deepest, darkest fears and make you face them.

Once you’re dead, you have nothing to fear other than the truth of your mortal life. At the end of his, creative writing professor Terrence Crawford falls for his student Angela Lacey and can’t accept that she doesn’t love him in return. This results in a haunting chain of events that will keep the people of Appleton, Kentucky awake for years to come.

Fear in Appleton will be available for $2.99 via Amazon/Kindle starting today.

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