About

R. Lee Smith lives in Kansas with family.

157 responses to “About

  1. I would love to read Pool as well – have been waiting to buy it actually – do you have any other projects in mind right now – I do enjoy rereading everything you have written already – there are so many layers and there is so much there that they are always fresh and I always catch something I had missed before.

  2. I was wondering if the rest of your books will be made available in paperback (like The Beautiful Dead)?

    Oh, forgot to say I LOVE your books. Beautiful Dead and The Last Hour of Gann were awesome.
    I’m currently reading Heat and can’t get enough!

    • Someday, maybe, but since I’m self-published, I would have to go through a site like createspace, which not only means learning a whole new system of submission formatting, but also means a pretty expensive product. My books are long (the shortest would still be over 300 pages once formatted to paperbook size) and even if I price them at no profit to me, they would be two or even three times what they cost now. So it’s on my list of things to do, because I prefer paperbacks myself, but it just isn’t a priority.

      As for audible books, I don’t see that happening at all.

      • I hope you’ll get to it. With a price that will profit yourself as well. While The Beautiful Dead was a bit expensive I found the price very reasonable and worth it

  3. I love rereading all your books every few months – audible would be wonderful but I know it would take too many narrators with a lot of talent to do them justice – it would be heaven though!

    • Plus, I’d have to figure out how to pronounce some of those words/names before I could tell anyone else how to do it. I designed the bug language in Cottonwood to be unpronounceable by the human mouth, so…yeah.

  4. I concur! And honestly I wouldn’t mind paying a bit more as well (especially for Gann 🙏)! I love your books so much!

  5. Wasn’t sure where the best place to reach you was, but I just wanted to say I really enjoyed Heat, The Last Hour of Gann, and I just finished Scholomance, which surprised me. I actually stumbled onto a sample of Heat years ago and it stuck with me (because like a dummy I forgot to save the sample so I could go back and buy it later). Once I found it, I devoured that book and then Gann rocked my world. Made me wish there was some sort of illustrated guide to go with your work just so I had something else to pour over when I was done.

    Your world building and characterizations are wonderful, and your thoughts on the process are so cool to read. Thanks for writing gritty, full course meals for your readers to savor.

    • *looks at shelf full of sketchbooks and notebooks* Uh…sorry, no illustrated guide to any of my books.

      But thank you! As I’ve said somewhere on this blog before, world-building is usually the primary driving force behind my books. I create the world and the characters and the plot just sort of happens as a side effect.

      • Lol!! I’d totally pour over your sketchbooks. Speaking of, how do you come up with the design for your characters??? I know you’re big on research, but do you find that in terms of character design sketching it out is your go to, or research and drawing from what you find is? I found myself looking into biblical demons wondering if If I’d stumble onto Horuseps (who I loved a little too much, lol), and looking up lizards to see which ones looked the most like the dumaqi (I’ve probably read Gann 4 times at this point just pouring over the details).

        Um… I mean, in a totally non-obsessive way, of course. lol *winces*

      • A number of the demons in the Scholomance were heavily inspired by various myths and legends told of demonic or monstrous entities around the world. I have always had a great interest in that sort of thing…I was a macabre child…but none of them resemble their inspirations so closely that you’d be able to find pictures of them on the internet (at least, not that I’m aware). Horuseps, for example, is one of the tribe of horuspex, which were oracles in ancient Rome who divined the future from the entrails of sacrificed animals. He calls his children the Hori, (“Men believe them to be female…”) which sharp-eyed readers may note bears a resemblance to the Houri, the “dark-eyed virgins” allotted to matyrs in Paradise, as seen through a decidedly dark glass. However, I try really hard not to draw directly from others’ artistic interpretations.

      • Think my comment got lost, but just wanted to say thanks for answering my questions! Your brain is a wonder. It’s actually kind of infuriating because it’s hard to find work that compares when it comes to world building lol. Just as well, I have deadlines and probably can’t afford another Gann-level obsession. Looking forward to what what comes next. Whatever your next book is, I’m sure it’s unique and absorbing. 🙂

      • Sorry if your comment got overlooked. I try to answer all my mail/comments/etc, but I admit I don’t check my blog/email/messages every day (or even every week; bad R Lee) and sometimes it happens. It doesn’t help that I’ve been so wrapped up in the third part of the FNAFic that I barely leave my head. but in any case, thank you so much for your support and encouragement! I’m glad you enjoyed my books and hope you enjoy the next one, whenever and whatever it may be! (Probably The Bone Tree. The Bone Tree or the Bull of Minos.)

    • Ah, you must have missed that announcement. Yeah…as of this time, Pool won’t be published. I have grudgingly accepted that my fandom is mainly comprised of romance readers. Pool is not a romance. Not even a little bit. And since putting out a straight-up horror novel to be read and reviewed by romance readers is tantamount to painting a target on the book and my career both, I have decided not to do that. I hope you understand, but I get enough flak about my “non-traditional formula approach”, ie gore and inhuman pairings, as it is.

  6. Too Bad. I could tell that Pool was not a romance when I read the snippet of it you provided but I was looking forward to it. I love your “non-traditional” formula approach – your inhuman romantic leads don’t have any human counterparts that could do them justice – the typical human romantic lead just doesn’t hold beans to your nonhuman romantic leads. Its funny because the gore and horror in your stories provide the perfect juxtaposition for some pretty incredible love stories – I love the contrast – it makes them stand out and feel that much more powerful. I love powerful contrasts in all areas of life. When I travel I like to take photographs of the old next to the new, ancient next to modern, etc. One of my favorite photos is of a sheep herder in Amman, Jordan – dressed in traditional Bedouin garb, herding his sheep in front of a brand new and modern stand alone Starbucks! Its also funny at our tribal ceremonials in Northern Oklahoma where I am from when our dancers, dressed completely in traditional clothing are holding a handheld fan to keep cool or are drinking a bottle of chilled water – our drum keeper tries to keep these little things out of our ceremonials but it is a losing battle! lol!

    • Yeah, last time I visited a Pow-wow, I was struck by all those dancers in their amazing ceremonial attire, sitting around tapping at their smart phones. I don’t even have a smart phone (or a stupid phone), so the dancers simultaneously represented the old AND the new while I stood outside the wheel of Time entirely.

      When it comes to my books, well, horror is what I read (and the movies I watch and the games I play), so it’s naturally what I write. Or thought I wrote. Apparently, it’s only horror if the monster eats the love-interest by the end of the book. If they both survive, it’s romance. So whatever, right? I’ll write what I write and the right readers will find me. And for the most part, it’s worked out fine. The only problem is, what’s acceptable to the horror genre doesn’t always overlap with what’s acceptable to the romance genre. Maybe someday, I’ll be confident enough to put Pool out there, but right now, it’s just not a smart move. Anyway, there’s plenty of other books in me.

  7. Oh no, you didn’t do anything. I tried to post a response and the internet ate it, so I came back and posted again. It was probably something weird on my end. Really appreciate you taking time out to respond! And if you heard a piercing squeal in the distance don’t be alarmed, that was just me getting too excited about your next projects (Greek mythology! *squeal*).

  8. Can’t wait for your other books. glad you got to attend a pow-wow although what I was talking about was not a pow-wow which is basically a big party and a modern development. I was referring to our tribal ceremonials which are private, restricted and very controlled and which is also why the drum keeper tries to keep the modern out by forbidding even things like hand held fans and bottled water – instead we have water boys who go around with buckets and ladles and use eagle feather fans! lol! No pictures are allowed and no one can dance without a ceremony and permission, etc. etc. Again, can’t wait for your next book.

  9. I hope you will bear with me as I fangirl out for a minute, because in my old age I have realized that people don’t know how much you appreciate what they do unless you tell them. I stumbled upon your work and found myself reading “The Last Hour of Gann” the week after the election, and it completely saved my sanity. I think I read it pretty much every minute I wasn’t at work or driving. Boy howdy, there are some themes in that book that are very relevant to the cultural moment we’re living in! I’ll resist the urge to write a whole essay in this comment, although I definitely held forth about it at length to my workplace book club (I think I said something like, “it’s like if Diana Gabaldon and Kim Stanley Robinson got together, got really into both horror and zoology, and finally got a decent editor who would rein them in a little…”). Anyway, your book made me feel so much less scared and alone at a time when I really needed it, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  10. I just wanted to pop in and tell you that I got my gorgeous paperback copy of The Land of the Beautiful Dead via The Book Depository!
    I was wondering if you had plans to release The Last Hour of Gaan in paperback?
    It’s my absolute favourite book of yours and I know quite a few people who would love to have it on their shelves.
    You’re an extremely talented author!

    -Melody 🙂

    • Yes, plans are in the works, but the person who is doing it for me is dealing with some personal stuff right now and my books are not (and should not be) at the top of her priority list. Hopefully, all my books will be available in paperback by the end of this year. That’s the goal, anyway.

  11. You are a seriously fascinating, unique, talented author. I love your brain. I know you’ve said you are an introvert and also that we are grown-ups and not in the 2nd grade so it’s a little weird and creepy but I’ll still ask – can I be your friend? I’m almost out of your books (I re-read them and ration the few still-new-to-me ones carefully) so I’m trying to get a handle on what “Five Nights At Freddy’s” is about so that I can read your fanfiction series as well. I like horror and never considered myself a “romance” fan at all – though the way you develop and flesh out relationships in your books sings to me. On my 4th read through Gann (should I admit that? and them admit that I will probably read it 4+ more times…) I discovered the “Pool” sample at the end. I’m sad that one won’t be published. But whatever you publish, or write, that you’re willing to share with the world: I will read it. And enjoy it very much. Thank you!

    • Awwww, of course we can be friends! As long as that means I don’t have to leave the house, make phone calls or, you know, keep in touch at all. And don’t be offended, because honestly, that’s how I am around all my friends. Seriously, there are members of my own family that I consider myself very close to who I haven’t seen or spoken to directly in 10 years. I follow them on facebook; that’s friendship. If you want to follow me on FB, I’m there as RLee Smith. Very, very rarely, I will even post something. However, I enjoy reading about my friends’ posts and comment often. Again, I’m a terrible friend when it comes to actual social interaction. I’m the friend you just hang out with in the same room for hours, watching movies or playing games or typing while listening to music.

      • Also, if you do want me to friend you on FB, be sure to message me also so I know who you are. I get lots of random friend requests–everyone does, I’m sure–but if I don’t know who someone is, I don’t accept them. I’d hate to invite you to friend me and then ignore your request. I’m an introvert; not an asshole.

  12. I am flattered and totally happy just to receive such a kind reply because I’m sure you get a lot of fans seeking contact – actually that seems like a pretty awesome, honest way to interact. I sent a fb message but it will probably show up in the message request folder instead of the regular message folder. And thanks again!

      • You are totally not 🙂 – I have a much younger sister (millennial) who keeps me up to speed on all this stuff :). There are so many aspect of social media now to keep up with, and the fb “message request” folder is so easy to miss…

  13. We’d rather you write than spend time on Facebook. It’s a real timesuck, but you should keep up with your friend requests. We’re your fans, and it’s the quickest way to let us know a new book is available. I’ve read them all now and re-read most of them. Eagerly awaiting the next book.

  14. I’ll just keep rereading what you have written and wait with baited breath for your next book! But I must be honest, I can’t wait for more! Reading other books not written by you is like having water for chocolate!

  15. Ms. Lee, I can not thank you enough for writing Last Hour of Gann. I believe you are the first, (and only), writer to make an AD/HD Aspie (i.e. Asperger’s Syndrome of the Autism Spectrum), female the protagonist of a Dystopian story – or possibly any story written ever. The character of Amber perfectly described me (although I am not as gifted verbally), my daughter, and my sister. Your story gave me hope that whatever the future brings, my daughter can handle it. I just have to have faith. Unfortunately, faith is one thing that does not come easy to those of us on the Autism Spectrum. Nor does friendship, social norms, conformity to group social norms or laws (especially ones that we deem irrational and illogical), or blind faith come easy to us either.

    Unlike my sister and daughter, words do not come easy to me. I can not express fully to you how much the character of Amber, and the positive (but realistic) way you portrayed her, meant to me. I am crying as I am writing this. That is how deeply I am touched.

    Thank you for giving me hope in my daughter’s future, and faith in her abilities.

    On a slightly different note, thank you for writing Cottonwood. I used to be a lot like the protagonist, Sarah. I was a County Social Worker exploiting any legal loophole I could find to help out the abused kids on my caseload. Whether it was finding money for more psychotherapy, shoes for gym class, or a sleeping bag and toilet paper (because after high school, they emancipate and are homeless), I fought like crazy to get the kids’ needs met. Suffice it to say, I was quite unliked by my superiors. We fought not just because of how I found ways to provide necessities to the kids on my caseload, but I fought with my superiors constantly about their own discriminatory views, as well as the discriminatory practices of the Agency. Replace “alien bug people” with words like Latinos, Asians, Pacific Islanders, or African-Americans, and you would have described the Agency pretty perfectly. And, kinda like Sarah, I was constantly reprimanded for having a positive attitude and working hard.

    Going back to Last Hour of Gann, I want to personally thank you for normalizing feelings of helplessness, uselessness, being a burden to others, and depression that people feel when they are dealing with a chronic illness, or healing from a serious accident. And, thank you for including situations when a person constantly re-injures themselves, too. Amber always got hurt by pushing herself too hard to help others and/ or trying to save others from harm. She never was hurt on purpose to gain sympathy from others. I really appreciate your candor on this blog about your own chronic health issues. As someone whose right limbs are more metal than human, and who easily re-injures myself constantly, I want to say thank you. Thank you for letting all of us see that our health issues don’t define who we are, and that we are not alone.

    Sorry for writing so much. Believe it or not I have spent months trying to cut this down and rewrite things more succinctly. Unfortunately, this is the best I could do.

    Thank you again for all of your wonderful stories. Thank you for being you

    • I rarely know how to respond to compliments of any sort, but wow, your message has truly left me at a loss for words. Still, I have to try, so let me start by saying I’m both proud and humbled (a surprisingly easy contradiction to achieve) that you could be so moved by one of my books. As a writer, the highest praise I can receive is to hear that a reader saw herself/himself reflected in one of my characters. So thank you for reaching out to me. Having grown up noodling around with words for fun, I think I’ve come to take many of the pleasures of writing for granted, whereas the pleasures of publishing reveal themselves constantly. One of the most unexpected of these has been the singular privilege of getting to know my readers and hearing about the impact, great and small, that my books have made in their lives. Thank you again (and again and again) for taking the time to write to me. It has been an honor to share my worlds with you and I hope to do so again in the future.

  16. Thank you for your response. I think everyone wants to read a story about a protagonist like them. Thank you for being brave enough to fill that niche!

    Talking about being brave, it is nice to meet another “girl gamer.” But, I am not brave enough to play FNAF. I enjoy reading your fanfiction about it, though. Any time you want to play a Valve game on Steam, I’ll happily join you. But FNAF is where I draw the line. Chuck E Cheese in the 1980’s was just too traumatizing!

    Please know that you touch your readers hearts, even if we don’t all tell you.

    Take care and I look forward to reading where ever your muse takes you!

  17. I’m not sure if this has been answered, does anyone know if there will be a sequel to The Last Hour of Gann? I’m tired of reading it over and over! I LOVE that book!

    • Glad to hear you liked it, but no, there are no plans at present to write any sequels (with the possible exception of a set of Lords of Arcadia novellas. Maybe. Still weighing the possibilities on that one). Just as a general rule, when the story is part of series, I release it as Part One/Book One/Volume One of a series and when story is done, it’s done. And that one’s done. Believe me, I ‘m a little sad too.

  18. Greetings and salutations!
    Wanted to drop by and tell you how much I’m enjoying your FNAF fiction. And to thank your family for convincing you to post it.
    I could go on and on about how much I’m enjoying it, buuuut I kinda already did that on the other site. *blush*
    Seriously, I really love it and I’m looking forward to further installments. It’s wonderful and awful and dark and beautifully written.
    Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Hey, and thanks for stopping off here to leave this comment, so I can actually reply to it! Fanfiction.net just barely posted your comment yesterday, although I got the notification several days ago. Love the site and all that, but they have lost dozens of comments into the Abyss of Lost Data. It is so discouraging to see only 60-70 comments on that story when I have over 200 notifications of comments in my inbox. I know I’m not the only person with this problem…but I’m the only one I care about, so…

      Anyway, enough about my and my ego. Thanks, sincerely, for your remarks. I’m really glad so many of my readers have been giving that book a shot, especially since it’s the sort of thing that I would never try to publish otherwise. I get enough grief over how dark my books get without throwing in a straight-up child predator. Not to mention Ana’s drug use. Double-not to mention the fact that it’s a million pages long. Seriously, I do not know when to shut up. I think I have a problem.

  19. Hello!
    I’ve been a fan of your writing ever since I read The Last Hour of Gann in January of last year (which I found through Smart Bitches Trashy Books). I’m sure you get this all the time, but your writing is truly phenomenal, and you’ve had such an impact on my life. It’s no small feat to write a book that can distract a person from something that otherwise consumes her life. And your writing has been more than a distraction–it’s brought me to another plane of existence entirely and given me no choice but to forget my own problems, at least while I’m reading. My boyfriend will never forget the day he came to my house and found me bawling on my bed as I read Cottonwood.

    I’m still reading through all of your work, and currently working on your FNAF Fanfic. The fact that you’ve made me ship the heroine with a robot bunny is beyond my understanding.

    Thank you so much for the service you’ve provided. You have inspired me to finally write my first novel, which I am now querying agents about. I can only hope that, someday, I might be able to provide a similar service to others that you have provided me!

    That being said, I have been dying to know–firstly, any plans for audiobook versions of your stuff? I’ve been desperate to make some people read your books, but many of them can only read in audiobook format.

    Secondly, can you please settle this debate between me and my friend? How on Earth do you pronounce Saoq?

    Thanks again, and I look forward to reading more of your work in the future. You’re amazing!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and support! I’m thrilled to be credited as one of your inspirations! If you’d like an author’s spotlight on this blog for my tens and tens of loyal followers to see, please let me know! Now, to your questions!

      Nope, no plans to release audiobooks. Not only do I have no idea how to even do something like that as a self-published author, I can only imagine it would be a nightmare for the voice actors to have to struggle through the names in works like Olivia or Gann.

      As for the proper pronunciation of saoq, remember that you first need a bifurcated trachea and a resonance chamber, and then that it’s a tonal language so how you say it changes its entire meaning. As a human, the closest you can come is to pronounce ‘sao’ to rhyme with cow, and ‘oq’ to rhyme with hawk, then blend them together into ONE syllable: saoq. Hope that helps!

  20. I adore your books, even more your world-weaving, building, and the ingenuity of its creation. I hit up Heat this past Summer, fell in-love with Kane (A serial killer/rapist) at that and was hooked. I went onto the Scholomance and was breathlessly taken away. Regardless of how horrible it was, I wanted to go there myself, and endure the horrors. I’m a horror lover more than I am a romance lover and I it has been a blast discovering your writing (There is only so many times I can rewatch The Ring before the creep disappears). It reminds me of the time I bought a long black wig and scared my mother half-to death while she did the dishes. Or as a horrible child, placed fake roaches around the house for my parents to find at night. Love and horror goes hand-in-hand for me and I’m glad I’m not the only one. I turned my sister onto your books and since then we have been buddy-reading them together. Although I have read, and know, that you won’t release Pool, I hope that someday you write another book like the Scholomance. It was brilliant, And I loved every minute of it. I can’t wait to read your Five Nights at Freddy’s fan fiction when it’s done (I refuse to get hooked until then. (I know better) I learned that lesson with George RR Martin and Rothfuss). Until then, I will wait patiently for your next release. As I will wait patiently for the DLC of Dark Souls III and for Alien Covenant. I hope you write for the rest of your life, because this world Needs you, at least us weirdos do. Happy Horrible, Spring’s Eve.

    • So sorry for the long silence. I try to answer all my messages, but some stuff slips by me.

      Ah, Dark Souls III. Loved it even more than Bloodborne and I friggin’ LOVED Bloodborne. The creature concept design in that series is beyond amazing. And then there was RE Biohazard, which came out of nowhere and actually made that franchise awesome again! RE was my childhood and what they’ve done to that series is almost Sonic-levels of fail, but Biohazard, you have redeemed it!

  21. I just wanted to say that I cannot even comprehend your thought process and how many worlds you are able to make. Huge fan. I started with land of the beautiful dead, and now I’m working my way through. That one though, that one just shocked, entertained and kept me reading way into wee hours. Your writing is so far out of my norm that I surprised myself how much I love your books. Thank you for keeping this brain thinking, guessing, smiling, cringing and all in all a big fan from a little ways away in Western Australia.

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