My 3 Day Experience With Grindr and Hornet

Over the last three days, something has been eating away at me. Something that I need to get off my chest.

As many of you probably already know, Grindr and Hornet are two gay dating apps, which help locate people around you. While they are similar, both have slightly different features. For example, with Grindr, you can only have one picture. Half the time messages you receive are from people that have no picture at all. This can be challenging when trying to decide who is real and who isn’t. Hornet, on the other hand, allows you to post up to 4 pictures, and then 4 private pictures (which probably consist of exactly what you’re thinking). This makes Hornet seem more like a hookup site than a dating site, considering most guys will offer up their private pictures without even talking to you first.

I started using Grindr and Hornet both a few days ago. I knew it was going to have some ugliness to it, but I figured some people might actually be there for the same thing I am. Dating. Unfortunately, that turned out not the be the case.

Over the last three days, I’ve seen that there are several types of guys on these apps.

  1. The guy that messages me, seeming normal at first, then quickly turns it into a sexual conversation to try and get in my pants.
  2. The guy that messages me asking for sex right away without even introducing himself.
  3. The guy that plays it cool, pretends like he wants to be friends, acts semi-normal, and then out of the blue blocks me.
  4. The guy that pretends he wants a relationship and then suddenly stops talking.
  5. The guy that will play it cool for a little while, tells me how amazing I seem, and then blocks me.
  6. And finally, the guy that genuinely seems interested but I never hear from again.

I know for a fact that I can’t be the only one who has this issue. But my question is then, where are the others like me?

I stand by the gay community in a lot of ways. I always will. We’re a struggling group, trying to find acceptance in a lot of places. But riddle me this: How come we expect acceptance from straight people when we act like this to each other? We’re feeding into exactly what straight people think about us by doing the things we do on these sites to one another.

I understand that many gay men have given up, and use these sites as a last resort for sex. And in no way am I insinuating the entire community is like this (*cough* Me *cough*). I know for a fact they are not. But in situations like this, it makes it harder for me to believe in this concept of love. If I can’t find someone in the real world and certainly can’t find someone online (which is where many gay men have sadly turned to), where am I supposed to find it?

I believe as a community, we need to make it stop. It hurts me to see the way we hurt each other, pretending that none of us have feelings. We’re humans, not sex toys. We’re not things that we can just throw away. If we don’t want society to treat us badly and toss us away, we should probably work out the issues going on in our own community first.

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Why I Never Had Boy Friends Growing Up

Ever since I was a little kid, I rarely had boy friends. In fact, the only guy friend I’ve ever really had was my best friend, which in itself is pretty ironic.

I would say the main reason for my lack of boys as friends was because I was gay, but I’m afraid it’s not that simple. Obviously that was a huge part of it, and most guys never wanted to play with me as a child, and still to this day don’t want to hang out with me. Even so, I wish I could say that it was entirely their fault, but it’s not that simple either.

When I was in elementary school, boys never wanted to have anything to do with me (with the exception above). I was gay, awkward, and quite frankly, afraid of them. I was bullied a lot and it made it really difficult for me to even pursue the nice boys as friends. In middle school, things slowly began to shift, except a few bullies and the one time I got jumped by a group of guys. Because of these things, I was terrified of being friends, even though I was attracted to them.

When I started high school, I started to befriend a few, but those went out the window within a few months. Now, as a senior getting ready to graduate in three months, I have almost no boy friends and I really don’t have a definitive answer.

One of the reasons is likely the lack of commonality. A lot of guys enjoy things like sports and working out (not saying all, just in general), and then here I am with my books. Another reason, I hate to say it, is probably because I’m gay. Many guys I’ve met in high school are still really immature. They do say females mature faster than males, which is possibly another reason as well. I want true friendships and often guys I come across don’t want that, and instead, just want things I can’t really offer.

There’s one big difference between elementary/middle school me and high school me: Lately, I’ve wanted guy friends. I want guy friends that won’t treat me differently because I’m gay. I want guy friends that I can talk to and connect with. I want to feel like I am accepted by people of my own gender. Maybe it’ll happen someday, but I’m way more willing now. Sure, I’m turned down, and sure, it’s not easy. Maybe adulthood will come with wider territory for me to travel and I can finally make some guy friends that will accept me for who I truly am and won’t ask me to change. Not in the slightest.

Before I Break Sequel Cancelled

In light of some recent discussions, I made the decision that the sequel to Before I Break, which was titled Once I Fall, will no longer be written.

Originally, Before I Break was going to be a standalone novel, but late last year I announced it would not only have one sequel, but two. I was putting off the sequel for a very long time due to the subject matter, which was going to focus more on the T in LGBT. Because of the transgender attention in the media and literature, I was excited, albeit nervous, to write the sequel.

Unfortunately, after some consideration, I do not feel as though I am the right one to write this story. I have cancelled the project for Once I Fall because of many reasons, a lot of them personal. With lots of debates such as locker rooms, pronouns, sex changes, and more, I realized the transgender route is not right for me, and I want to leave room for other authors to write theirs.

With that being said, you may be wondering if Until It’s Done, the third book, will still be written. At this moment, I am unsure, as some key events were going to make Until It’s Done what it was. The cancellation of this book really is not something I want to do, but I think by default, it may just end up happening and I do not want to lead fans on thinking it may happen.

So for now, both sequels are cancelled and will not be pursued. This does not mean I’m done writing contemporary young adult, as I have many more plans for the future. I hope that you all stick with me on my journey into 2016, where I’ll be releasing my next contemporary, The Long Road Home.

Before I Break Holiday/Christmas Sale

Because I’m unable to truly give back to my readers in any way, I decided that this year I would put my debut novel, Before I Break, on sale for free on Amazon once again.

Unfortunately, this only qualifies for e-readers, but for those that have Kindle’s, now’s your chance! I hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I look forward to seeing what 2016 holds for my writing and I hope you’ll be there to join me

Here is the link to Before I Break.

Before I Break Release Today: The Story Behind The Touching Novel

Today is the day that my LGBT Contemporary YA novel, Before I Break, re-releases through Booktrope. Many of you know the story behind the creation of this book, and many of you do not.

For starters, let’s take a look at the book.

Before I Break Final Cover

“Alec John Belle’s bold debut novel, Before I Break, introduces a courageous new author with a voice unafraid to tackle tough social issues.” -Alex Sanchez, author of Rainbow Boys and The God Box.

When religiously raised Cyril Hayes begins his junior year at East Hill High School, every choice he makes suffers a greater consequence. While facing challenges of friends, family, and love, he learns that hate and intolerance are also a very large part of our world today.

Cyril Hayes is seemingly just like any other male his age. He has the perfect girlfriend, Melissa Summers, his best friend, Jake Rivers, and a lawyer father who brings home enough money to support his family and then some. When Cyril begins his junior year, he doesn’t expect his life to spiral out of control when he meets Avery Branson, the new kid in school who has a big secret: he’s gay. At first, Cyril doesn’t handle this truth well, due to the way he was raised, but as the story progresses, he ventures deep into the reality of homosexuality and begins to accept Avery for who he is.

Not everyone is happy with Cyril’s new friend, including Jake, who believes that homosexuality is a sin and is refusing to budge his beliefs. But Avery isn’t the only one at East Hill with secrets. Soon a tragedy will strike, knocking Cyril’s world completely off balance and leaving a scar on his heart that will change his view of humanity all together.

AMAZON

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY

The idea for Before I Break came very organically. In fact, I never planned on writing a contemporary YA novel of this nature. Because of my own struggles with sexuality, and my distrust toward many straight males my age and older, I never would have thought this would come about. In fact, this book broke my rule I set for myself when I decided I wanted to be a writer.

I would never write a book from a straight male’s POV.

There were quite a few reasons for this, and one of which was that straight males always treated me badly when I was younger. All my friends were females (minus, shockingly, my best friend). This was because homosexuality isn’t well accepted by younger guys. I didn’t know why some straight guys think being friends with a gay man is the worst thing that could ever happen to them.

One day I was sitting in Spanish during my sophomore year, and a thought suddenly crept into my mind. What would happen is a homophobic straight male become friends with a gay male unknowingly? What if the gay friend was not what the straight friend thought gay people would be like?

It was as if I see a movie right before my very eyes. Seriously. It flashed in my mind so fast, I could hardly believe I what I was thinking. The title, story, and characters just fell into my head. How does that happen? Of course, because of my rule, I said, “This idea is SO not going to happen, brain. Goodbye.”

I tried to ignore the idea as long as possible.

As you can imagine, it didn’t work.

The story continued to grow in my head. The thing that made it worse was that I hated Cyril. I hated my idea for an ending. Avery was like an exact replica of me, which felt so extremely personal I wanted to puke. But something kept sticking out to me. The ending. I couldn’t get the ending out of my mind. I couldn’t get Cyril and Avery out of my mind, either, so finally, I had to tell someone. Someone who I thought would hate the idea.

My mother.

So one night we were sitting on my grandma’s porch and I said, “Hey, Mom. I wanted to tell you about this idea for a book I have. It’s called Before I Break and is about a straight guy named Cyril who becomes friends with a gay guy named Avery. Cyril is religious, homophobic, and doesn’t like gay people. Except Avery, because Avery isn’t what he expects. Oh, and by the way, the ending is __________.”

I expected her to tell me that she hated the idea. I really did. You want to know what she said to me?

“You need to write this book.”

And I asked, “You really want me to write this?”

She shook her head. “I don’t want you to write this book. You need to write it.”

So it was settled. I was going to write this book. Well, it took me about a year before I actually decided to write it, because I was still cautious. I’d never seen a book like this before. Was it because it was a bad idea? Was it because it’d be breaking so many stigmas? Was it because of the fact religious affiliations would go absolutely berserk over an idea like this? I kept trying to tell myself it was a bad idea, but there was this nudge.

Many of you know I’m a Christian, so this was also hard for me. Would God really want me to write this book? I think so.

Finally, I sat down to write the book. Wrote it in two months. I sent out queries to agents, got rejected a gazillion times, but knew in my heart this was a good idea. It was a good story. It would touch so many lives, and I knew that.

I self-published it in September of last year. It got such good reviews. Everyone was extremely supportive. GLAAD event did an interview with me. I felt like I’d accomplished something huge.

Finally, Booktrope accepted my submission to them. This re-release is so important to me. This book tackles tough issues like being gay, suicide, self-harm, hate crimes, depression, and the challenges of friendships with different beliefs. Two different lives collide in this book, and the ending is something you don’t want to miss.

This is not a “gay” novel. Straight men can read it. Gay men can read it. Woman can read it. Teens can read it. These are things some teens face every day, and it’s important to raise awareness. It’s a story that needs to be told. I put so much blood and sweat into this story and these characters. I’ve laughed and cried while writing this book.

And you know what? It touched me. It changed me. Someone who was so scared for so long finally broke free from his shell. I hope it touches and changes lives just as much as it’s changed mine.

Words are powerful. And so are yours. Be the voice that needs to be heard.

-Alec John Belle

Before I Break Cover Reveal!

Before I break

Here it is! The moment you’ve all been waiting for! My upcoming LGBT realistic fiction novel, Before I Break, is re-releasing through Booktrope August 7th, 2015!

Before I Break cover

This is the beautiful cover wrap for the book!  If you are unable to read what it says on the back, here’s the information:

“Alec John Belle’s bold debut novel, Before I Break, introduces a courageous new author with a voice unafraid to tackle tough social issues.”  -Alex Sanchez, author of Rainbow Boys and The God Box.

***

When religiously raised Cyril Hayes begins his junior year at East Hill High School, every choice he makes suffers a greater consequence. While facing challenges of friends, family, and love, he learns that hate and intolerance are also a very large part of our world today.

Cyril Hayes is seemingly just like any other male his age. He has the perfect girlfriend, Melissa Summers, his best friend, Jake Rivers, and a lawyer father who brings home enough money to support his family and then some. When Cyril begins his junior year, he doesn’t expect his life to spiral out of control when he meets Avery Branson, the new kid in school who has a big secret: he’s gay. At first, Cyril doesn’t handle this truth well, due to the way he was raised, but as the story progresses, he ventures deep into the reality of homosexuality and begins to accept Avery for who he is.

Not everyone is happy with Cyril’s new friend, including Jake, who believes that homosexuality is a sin and is refusing to budge his beliefs. But Avery isn’t the only one at East Hill with secrets. Soon a tragedy will strike, knocking Cyril’s world completely off balance and leaving a scar on his heart that will change his view of humanity all together.

***

What do you think?  Will you be getting your copy?

I have some good news for you e-book readers.  We are offering ARCs in exchange for honest reviews.  If you click this link and sign up, you will be able to read it early!  The catch is that if you read, an honest review is required (particularly Amazon).

For the rest of you, mark you calendars!  August 7th will be here soon enough!  In the meantime, let’s stare at this beautiful cover some more.

Before I Break Final Cover

Before I Break Short Stories

Many of you know that Before I Break was originally self published.  During the time after the book’s first release, I started focusing on other characters that had important roles in the plot.  I then came up with two short stories.

When my book got picked up by Booktrope, I asked my book manager about these short stories I’d written.  Originally the plan was to publish them through Booktrope to build the excitement for the book, but then we decided to do something a little more appreciative to the fans.

We decided to make BOTH short stories free!  And to make it even better, I decided to write a THIRD short story as well!

For those of you who do not know what Before I Break is, all I can say right now is that it’s an LGBT Contemporary YA novel that focuses on other social issues.  Some topics covered in the book and short stories are suicide, discrimination, mental illness, self harm, coming of age, discovering your sexuality, and more.

The three short stories descriptions are as follows.

1.  CAPRICIOUS (Before I Break, #0.5):  In this haunting prequel short story to Alec John Belle’s novel, Before I Break, Jake struggles with the idea of religion, discrimination, homosexuality, and life as he deals with an obvious mental illness.


2.  THE WINTER OF HARMS (Before I Break, #0.6): In this prequel short story to the upcoming novel,Before I Break, read Avery’s journal and see what pushed him to his breaking point, and the mistake he made that could have taken his own life.


3.  TURMOIL (Before I Break, #0.7):  Following the events of CAPRICIOUS, Melissa is happy in her relationship with Cyril, until she finds herself looking at other girls.  But she loves Cyril…right?


All of these short stories focus of the three supporting characters of Before I Break, which will focus on Cyril’s story.  In the novel, you’ll see all of the stories come together and how each of these characters lead to Cyril’s breaking point.

These short stories will be available my Wattpad account (http://www.wattpad.com/user/AlecBelle) and my blog (https://alecjohnbelle.wordpress.com/)

The release dates for these short stories are as follows:

CAPRICIOUS:  May 15th, 2015.
THE WINTER OF HARMS:  June 12th, 2015.
TURMOIL:  June 26th, 2015.

All leading up the the re-release of Before I Break!  These short stories will also be available for free as e-books for iTunes, Nook, Page Foundry, and quite a few other places, but those links are now live as of right now.

This book, along with these short stories, are very important to me.  This world I’ve created with these characters has grown on me, which is why I have some more announcements coming your way after the book re-releases.  I hope you all stick around to see how everything turns out. 🙂

Author Interview and ARC Giveaway

I know I haven’t been posting a lot lately.  Mostly that has to do with there not really being many things to talk about.

Fortunately, I did a recent author interview, along with that interview, she’s giving away and ARC of both BEFORE I BREAK and FORBIDDEN DARKNESS.  In case you aren’t aware, these are two books that I self-published and are now being re-published through Booktrope.  I’m really excited about this ARC copy.

If you want to check it out, be sure to click the link below!

Author Interview and Giveaway

Also, be sure to sign up for my newsletter here!

5 Things I Learned While Writing Before I Break

Before I Break Finalxcf

I wish I could lie and say that writing Before I Break was an easy journey.  When I came up with the idea for the story, I knew it was going to be a difficult book to write, because I was going to be writing it from the point of view of someone I wouldn’t necessarily like in real life.  Here is a list of things I learned while writing my very first (and very challenging) published novel.

1.  Writing from a perspective of someone opposite from you.

If anything was challenging about this book, that would be it.  Not only was it hard for me to actually get inside Cyril’s head, it was difficult for me to get my fingers to type some of the things he would say, like “fag” or anything else that was hurtful.  I’ve had many experiences with straight guys that were not very pleasant, so when I told myself I was going to do this, I was looking at myself like I was crazy.

Am I really going to go through with this?  Can I even go through with this?  What if I use too many stereotypes?  What if he’s unlikable?  These are the things I worried about for MONTHS before I actually sat down to write.   I had an idea of where I was taking the ending, but the stuff in the middle…I had no idea.  I just knew that everything had to lead up to that ending–the ending that I didn’t really want to write but knew I needed to.  It was a hard book.  It really was.  I cried multiple times throughout the book, as well.  Some people think that makes me a baby, but a majority of people don’t know what I’ve gone through, so writing the book was not an easy task.  Writing from the perspective of the type of person who has told me to kill myself because no one wants me, or beat me up in school, or picked on my for being who I was…it was the hardest thing I think I’ve ever done as a writer, and for it to be my first book, I am extremely proud.

2.  Not all straight guys are jerks.  

This sounds like an obvious statement, but like I said, I’ve had pretty bad experiences.  Most of the straight guys I met were assholes, there’s no doubt about that.  In school, almost all of my friends were girls because I just couldn’t deal with straight guys.  It was awful.  I had to hide any time I saw one.  There was always this fear that I had, and I think a lot of times, the friendships with straight guys that I had that did go wrong eventually…it was my fault.  Because there was always this internal fear that something would go wrong, so it did.  Always.

This book was an experience.  Sometimes, I learned, guys (and girls too) just do what they know.  A lot of them truly don’t know any better and haven’t had any room to think for themselves.  There is sometimes this conflict inside of them, and that’s what I tried to portray in Before I Break.  A lot of people said they thought Cyril was bipolar, but he isn’t.  He’s confused.  He’s really, really confused and can’t make up his mind.

But the point is, I learned that they’re not all the same, and I wanted to write a book for straight guys in need of some ideas.  I want to change perspectives.  To prevent the ending of Before I Break from happening to others, this book needs to be read.  And I’m not just saying that because I wrote it.

3.  Religion CAN be used for good.

This was something I kind of already knew, but didn’t know how it could be put into action.  In this book, you had two sides: Homosexuality as a sin and homosexuality as a norm.  So which is right?  You can already assume my answer, but I think it’s up to the reader to decide.

Cyril’s mom grows as a character, even if just a little, because she looks into what she believes.  Cyril looks into it.  Melissa already had her heart set right.  Avery was a gay Christian. Pastor Morrison and Jake were homophobes.  There were a lot of dynamics in the book, and life is a lot like that.  Who is right and who’s wrong?  Will we ever really have the answer to that?

4.  There are different types of love.

Obviously there’s a family love, a relationship love, and then a friend love.  But is there somewhere in the middle as well?  Cyril struggled in the book and wondered if there was a possibility he could be gay.  There’s no denying that Cyril loves Avery, but it’s not in the way that many people wanted it.  Heck, even I wanted he and Avery to get down and dirty a few times, but I knew that wasn’t Cyril.  Cyril is straight and always will be, but there was that connection he and Avery shared.  It was strong and I think a lot of friendships in real life can be like that.

5.  The writing industry is hard.

I wish I could say I’ve made millions off of this book, but I’m not.  Actually, most people aren’t even aware that this book exists, unfortunately, but I have gained some fans and amazing friends through the process.  More people are buying every day, but I’m still not making a lot of money. Actually, I’m hardly making a dime.

If you haven’t read it already, it is currently free for Kindle on Amazon.

But the process is worth it.  Writing it was worth it.  Seeing it come to life as a book in my hands with a beautiful cover was worth it.  I just hope the readers find it as worth it as I did.

Before I Break, Free e-book

I just wanted to let all of my followers on here know that my first novel, Before I Break, is available for free from 1/17/15-1/21/15.  The prequel short story that can be read either before or after the novel will be free from 1/18/15-1/22/15.

Capricious coverBefore I Break Finalxcf

They are both LGBT themed stories and I love them with everything I’ve got.  Please check them out whenever you get the chance, and if you like them, leave a review!  Before I Break was an Amazon Bestseller in LGBT Issues for teens just last month!  The description for each follows.

Capricious 

In this prequel to BEFORE I BREAK, Jake’s erratic behavior and mood swings are affecting him in ways he never thought possible, and soon the insanity starts that will drag him down forever.

Before I Break

When religiously raised Cyril Hayes begins his junior year at East Hill High School, every choice he makes suffers a greater consequence, and while facing challenges of friends, family, and love, learns that hate and intolerance are also a very large part of our world today.

Cyril Hayes is seemingly just like any other male his age. He has the perfect girlfriend, Melissa Summers, his best friend, Jake Rivers, and a lawyer father who brings home enough money to support his family and then some. When Cyril begins his junior year, he doesn’t expect his life to spiral out of control when he meets Avery Branson, the new kid in school who has a big secret: he’s gay.

At first, Cyril doesn’t handle this truth well, due to the way he was raised, but as the story progresses, he ventures deep into the reality of homosexuality and begins to accept Avery for who he is. Not everyone is happy with Cyril’s new friend, including Jake, who believes that homosexuality is a sin and is refusing to change his beliefs.

But Avery isn’t the only one at East Hill with secrets, and soon a tragedy will strike, knocking Cyril’s world completely off balance and leaving a scar on his heart that will change his view of humanity all together.

Here are the links to both books as well!

Capricious:  http://www.amazon.com/Capricious-Jakes-Story-Before-Prequel-ebook/dp/B00QQZ38CA/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1421545946&sr=1-2

Before I Break:  http://www.amazon.com/Before-Break-Alec-John-Belle-ebook/dp/B00O2HNN3S/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8