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U.S. Army veteran publishes debut children's book

Characters are inspired by author's two sons

Graham resident Lewis A. Howard says he gives thanks to family and friends in helping him complete The Adventures of Alex. Photo credit: Andrew Fickes

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When children's book author Lewis A. Howard, a U.S. Army veteran, puts his headphones on to listen to Mary J. Blige, P. Diddy, and The Black Eyed Peas, it ignites a fire within him and gets his creative juices flowing.

"I start listening to music and it tells me, ‘Let's do it!'" Howard said.

Close to four years ago, Howard asked himself one day, "What can I do to not put stress on the family, but earn a little extra income?"

When Howard told his youngest son, Kory, that he was going to write a children's book, his son smiled. It was that smile that pushed him to keep writing. What Howard came up with was a 34-page short-story picture book called The Adventures of Alex: Creepy Tree. Howard celebrated a nationwide release of his book May 10, supported by Tate Publishing.

"Creating the characters and watching them come to life is the fun part," Howard said.

The story is about Alex, a young boy, whose imagination gets the best of him. When Alex disobeys his mother, he inadvertently conjures up a monstrous tree. He tells his best friends, Eric and Sally, about the scary tree. They embark on an adventure that takes them to their favorite ice cream shop. And finally, when Alex decides to obey his mother, the tree disappears.

Howard came up with the name Alex based off of his middle name Alexander. He also shares his middle name with his father and with Kory. For Sally, he attached his oldest son Marcos' passion for football to her personality. Sally wears a blue dress and football shoulder pads every day.

"She's a tough little girl who just wants to have fun," Howard said. "She has a spunky personality, and she loves Alex to death."

Eric, the third character, is a daredevil. Howard said Eric loves to ride skateboards, bikes and scooters.

"He always impresses his friends with his new tricks," Howard said.

Alex, Howard said, is spunky, brave and likes to sing while he's spelling out words.

Howard said he kept the story short so parents could sit down with their child, help them to read the story, and still carry on with what they had to do throughout the day. He hopes that reading the book helps to create a bond between parent and child and a good memory for them to share.

Howard said when he writes he strives to keep it visual.

"I kind of write as if I'm watching a movie on TV," he said.

He said having all the support from his friends and family has really helped.

"It pushed me to where I am now," he said. "To come full circle to where I am now is really unbelievable."

It was Kory's feedback and smiles that kept him going.

"I knew I was on the right track when Kory had a smile on his face," Howard said.

Howard's book is available at Barnes & Noble, on Amazon, and at tatepublishing.com/bookstore.

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