Letting Go by A.L. Awtrey #GuestPost

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lettinggobooktourletting_go_2000x3000Despite his wealth, Alex Thompson has been living in fear since his wife died in childbirth. A frivolous wrongful death lawsuit, harassing phone calls, and anonymous threats drive him and his five-year-old twins away from their home in Houston and into the crosshairs of a sniper.

Molly McDill is a struggling single mom who lives next door to Alex and his twins. When she helps them adjust to their new life in the country, she exposes herself and her son to the same threat that followed Alex.

An attempt on his life throws their lives into chaos, inviting more threats, public scrutiny, and Molly’s ex-husband back into her life. The tension tests the attraction they feel toward each other as they struggle to keep life normal for their kids.

Alex still doesn’t know who wants him dead but suspects his former in-laws. As the threats become a visceral danger, Alex and Molly race to uncover the secret that died with his wife before it costs them everything.

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Breaking the rules for the right reasons

My next book is coming out on December 1st, but it isn’t a romance. I’ve told my kids stories for years, and they especially enjoy the ones I make up for them. On career day last year, I went into my kids’ classrooms to read a story I’d written about a family of dragons. This month I went back with Ragel’s Brood printed and ready for release.

I’ve always loved fantasy stories, but one thing that always bothered me about the genre was why an intelligent apex predator like a dragon would be willing to carry its prey around on its back. It never made sense to me, so I wrote my story from the dragon’s point of view. Humans were prey until one young dragon takes one for a pet.

The book is classified as middle-grade, which means the target audience is between eight and thirteen years old. My son is nine and functioned as my editor, circling words he didn’t know and helping me craft the plot of the story. As a result, this is not a typical middle-grade chapter book.

The story alternates the point-of-view between Ragel, the father dragon, and King Thorn, the greedy human king who wants the gold underneath the dragon’s cave. The theme of the story is that both Ragel and King Thorn are presented with evidence that the other species are more than mere animals. King Thorn ignores the evidence and suffers the consequences, while Ragel comes to term with his daughter’s pet two-leg (human) speaking the dragon language.

When I was researching this book, I found many resources on writing middle-grade fiction. Some suggested a focus on action as opposed to introspection, others had a laundry list of common sense things to avoid doing. But all of the advice assumed that the story would focus on the point of view of human children.

So I broke the rules. The human king is the bad guy and the dragons are the good guys. My dragons eat four-legged prey and fight a war with humans. I spend part of the book with the young dragonlings asking endless questions about their world while Ragel patiently explains what he had been taught. And in the end, Ragel comes to term with his dragonlings affection for the odd pet, leaving the door open for more to come.

Right now the book is being analyzed for inclusion in elementary reading curriculum. The kids I gave the book to in my kids’ school have read it and given me rave reviews when I’m there. My son and I have two more stories planned, Naahla’s Pet and Dragon’s Fall, for release early next year.

About A.L. Awtrey

After working more than twenty years as a technologist and scientist, Anthony started writing fiction again for the a_l_awtrey_authorfirst time since college. Developing white paper studies and proposals for years provided a foundation in technical writing, but telling a compelling story was much harder than it appeared.

Four years of practice where he wrote eight novels and dozens of short stories improved his dialog, description, tension, and pacing. With his latest novel, Letting Go, Anthony is ready to release it under his own name. He’s a member of the Central Florida Chapter of the Romance Writers of America and Florida Writers Association.

When he’s not writing, Anthony is the CTO of a technology consultancy and a professional singer.

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