UPDATE: Check out Lee’s how to write a book course on Substack. New sections added weekly. It’s free.
The short and sweet:
Award-winning author, Lee Pletzers is a displaced New Zealand writer of the weird, wonderful and grotesque.
Since 2001, he has impacted the genre world, under the pen name Richard Lee, and now thrives within its limitless boundaries. Over seventy short stories have slammed his name on anthologies and magazines across the globe. Five novels affected humanity and two novellas were the icing on the cake.
He is now making the move into crime thrillers. He reads a lot of them and figures he might know a thing or two. His entrance into this genre starts with Death World and it’s sequel Death World 2.
He still sends his books out to independent and legacy publishers, looking for that elusive million dollar contract.
Not So Short And Sweet
The not short and sweet:
I have had five novels published, all are with the small press. I started selling short stories in 2001 and entered self publishing in 2004 under the pen name, Richard Lee. I won The Horror World Flash Fiction contest for a gruesome Santa story and The Bloody Dagger* Horror Award for Re-Entry of Evil (now republished as The Last Church)At the same time, I ran one of the biggest writers groups on a Ning platform called Masters of Horror.
A small press publisher came across my second self published novel and offered me a contract. I used a pen name that I spent years building and it became known. This publisher convinced me to use my real name. It was difficult to rebuild and readers hadn’t followed or didn’t know about the name change. Two years ago I returned to my pen name Richard Lee and things started moving again and a few Facebook friends said: I wondered what happened to you.
I used to write only horror, but in the past few years, I’ve tried to move away from that. I tried my hand at Science Fiction (without the science, hence Science Fantasy) and I won SFReaders award** for Saving Kira.
Following this, I wrote a lot more pure SF short stories that found publication in Nebula Rift and other sites.
In 2013, DemiGod Games (AU) commissioned me to pen a short story based on a new board game. It is one of my most favorite of tales involving Ninjas, Samurai and Princess Hemiko riding a dragon. I think I called them warriors, not Samurai as the story is set before they rose to power (also no date is given). I don’t think the game has been completed yet.
Recently, I discovered I like crime/thriller writing and recently completed a PI thriller, based in Japan and New Zealand and Russia. It’s entered fifth edit stage and I’ll complete this edit, removing glue words and tweaking here and there. (UPDATE: Looking for a publisher or agent at the moment. All edits done.). I am about to start book 2 once the editing is complete and it’s ready for agents (UPDATE: Already started book 2).
I’m a discovery writer. This means that my first draft is usually a well developed outline LOL.
My first non-fiction book was an intermittent fasting diet book based on me. Real life examples.
* Not to be confused with: The Crime Writer’s Association Annual Dagger Awards. To be honest, I don’t remember which organization gave me the award. I did get it and it was added to the original book cover (which I no longer have). Suspicious, I know, but honest. (Might be from The International Order of Horror Professionals organization — a very short life group.)
** I have the email notifying me of the win but it isn’t on their site anymore since the reboot or new format. The short story is still there listed as ‘feature’.
Even More About Lee Pletzers
I am a New Zealander living in Japan who has been fortunate to land five small press novel publications and sold over seventy short stories in anthologies and magazines, for example; The Literary Hatchet, Calamities Press, Under the Bed and Nebula Rift (twice).
In 2004 I won the Horror World December contest for the story, Santa.
In 2013, DemiGod Games (AU) commissioned a short story based on a new board game.
In 2016 I won a science fiction contest for my story, Saving Kira, at SFReader.com.
Previously, I was a judge for the Australasian Shadow Awards for 6 consecutive years. I used to write under a pen name: Richard Lee. I spent 20 years as a horror writer with a touch of Science Fantasy. A few times, I stepped deep into SF and created a few gems. But it really wasn’t for me.
Way back in 2004, I wrote the first third of a thriller novel based in Japan. It really wasn’t going anywhere, so it sits on a back up DVD disk…somewhere. I’ve always wanted to revisit the genre but never got around to it. At the time, my horror writing career had grown wings and was taking off. Novels being accepted. One of the largest Ning writing groups (at that time). Short stories being accepted right, left and center. And also requests for stories.
In 2020, the world locked down. Japan was no different. I was sitting on my swing seat on the deck. Spring danced in the air. Birds sung praises to the heavens. My lawn needed mowing. Two dogs lying at my feet. The wife was on the other side of the swing seat, sipping coffee and reading a book. Me, I’m staring at a single spot on the fence, but not seeing it. In my head, I’m watching a person in a motorcycle jumpsuit, wearing a mirror visor full helmet, pull out a handgun and fire three shots into the victim.
I went upstairs, got my MacBook Air and returned to the swing seat. And started writing. Three months later I had a book. I let it sit for eight months as I finished the editing and release of Scorched Earth. Two rewrites later, a bad edit, and a third rewrite/edit and Death World is looking for a publisher or agent. At the same time, I’m writing book two. This is a duology.
Extra Stuff you don’t need to know:
1. I love rugby — All Blacks 4eva
2. I like AWE wrestling–but only with a live audience. Not a WWE fan anymore. It’s just become more stupid and always has the same performers.
3. Favorite books: Demogorgon by Brian Lumley, Amped by Daniel H. Wilson, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, The Travelling Vampire Show and Funland by Richard Laymon (all his books are brilliant but these two are the best. Oh, I forgot ‘Cuts’, that was awesome too), Wolfcreek: Origin by Greg McLean and Aaron Sterns, Khai of Khen by Brian Lumley (I have the original. No, it’s never for sale), almost everything by Jeremy Bates.
4. For the past six years I have been a Shadow Awards judge for the categories: Novel, long fiction, and graphic novels (run by the Australasian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) Incorporated).
5. I’ve been a publisher
6. Article writer
7. Horror magazine editor
8. I have sold 75 short stories
NOTE: Read Funland and Cuts by Richard Laymon and Wolfcreek: Origin by Greg McLean and Aaron Sterns.
You can thank me later.
The Fictioneers – Full member
SFFANZ — Member and Reviewer
SpecFicNZ member/core EST. 2009
AHWA Australian Horror Writers Association 2009 — present
New Zealand Rep International Order of Horror Professionals 2006
2004–2017 Creator of the web portal: Masters of Horror (Now defunct)
Editor / Articles / Reviewer of Sinistera Horror Magazine 2003, 2004
Shadows Awards — Short Story Awards Judge 2013 for AHWA.
Shadows Awards — Novel / Long Fiction Judge 2014 for AHWA
Shadows Awards — Novel, Long Fiction, Graphic Novels and Non-Fiction judge for 2015 for AHWA
Shadows Awards — Novel, long fiction, graphic novels judge for 2016 for AHWA
Shadow Awards — Long fiction. Graphic Novels, Non-Fiction 2017 for AHWA
The words of Teddy Roosevelt are worth remembering: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”