Vernon Howard, 74, author of "do-it-yourself psychology" books and founder of the New Life Foundation. Howard taught himself to write, starting with magazine fillers and one-line gags and moving on to pen more than 100 self-help books expressing his philosophy. He also founded the New Life Foundation, which Desi Arnaz Jr., the group's spokesman, has credited with helping him overcome drugs and alcohol addiction. Suggestions that the group represented a cult were denied by Howard as "wrong thinking." His best-selling book was his first, "The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power," published in 1960. On Aug. 23 in Boulder City, Nev.