The Long Road Home: Person vs Self

For those of you who don’t know, I am currently writing a novel called The Long Road Home (Spring 2016), about a young girl sent to a mental institution after trying to attempt suicide. The realization hit me the other day that this is the first Person vs Self book I’ve written since Before I Break, and that book wasn’t even entirely Person vs Self.

So what is a Person vs Self novel? Well, it’s exactly as it sounds. If you don’t remember, there are different conflict types of conflict in literature. Some examples are Person vs Society, Person vs Nature, Person vs Man. All of these are different types of stories that help figure out what the conflict is in the story. The big situation that needs to be resolved (or, most of the time, should be) by the end of the book or story.

Person vs Self deals with a character whose main conflict is dealing with some internal conflict. I’ve seen a trend that often young adult novels that deal with mental illness are of Person vs Self conflict, something that’s never really occurred to me before.

I may be a bit biased, but it seems as though Person vs Self novels are often character-driven novels. This is not to say that a P vs S novel can’t be plot-driven, but it just seems as though with Person vs Self, your characters are running the story, especially your protagonist, as opposed to the plot. Character-driven stories mostly deal with your main character moving the story forward in some way by their actions.

Now, my paranormal young adult series, The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles is not only plot-driven, but falls under either Person vs Person (or Persons) or even Person vs World (if that’s even a thing, because I doubt it is).

I am no literary expert, and I’m learning just as much as you. But you may be wondering why you just read all of this and what the point of this blog post actually is. In fact, I’m not even entirely sure where I was going with this post, other than to say that Person vs Self plots tend to be more character-central.

One thing that’s hard for me is writing a story where the main character is her own conflict. Questions constantly run through my head, such as Will people like her? Will people feel extremely depressed after reading this? Am I possibly making a mistake?

But I always have to remind myself that those things are not true. Yes, the book is sad, similar to the way that Before I Break ripped many peoples’ hearts out. One thing I know for sure is that this book, The Long Road Home, is going to change lives. It’s going to show people that they’re not alone, and that they’re not the only ones dealing with internal conflict. We all do at some point, although some are worse off than others.

Brooke is a character that is changing my life, and I hope she changes yours. When the book is finally out for the world to read, I hope that you have a better understanding of her struggles if you have not gone through them yourself. I hope that you read her story and that it changes your heart as much as she’s constantly changing mine.

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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. 🙂

New Super Secret Writing Project

Okay, so obviously BEFORE I BREAK (my contemporary YA) and FORBIDDEN DARKNESS (the first in an 8 book paranormal YA series) are my top priority right now.  Let’s be real.

Unfortunately, because of the fact that both of the books are being republished and will be in editing for TWO MONTHS, it’s kinda hard to write sequels when I don’t even know entirely how much will be changed in the edits. This means that I’ll have a couple months where I won’t be writing anything.  And, well, I’m a writer.

You see the dilemma?

So today I am beginning a new project, and no, this is not an April Fool’s joke. Because I have no idea whether I’ll go through with publishing this or not, I’m keeping it to myself for now.  Who knows, maybe it’ll suck.

What I can say is that it’s another contemporary YA novel, similar to BEFORE I BREAK, but darker.  I’m really excited to get into it.

It’s also a standalone, so if I do decide to do something with this, it’ll be one simple little book.

Time to get plotting.

Before I Break: New Cover Information

Hey everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve talked to you all.  With school, writing my two serial dramas on Wattpad, and trying to work on the reprints of Before I Break and Forbidden Darkness, it’s been a crazy couple weeks.  But today I have some news in regards to the cover of Before I Break.  

As I said in one of my previous blog posts, the covers for both of my books have to be changed due to being reprinted under Booktrope, and while I love both covers dearly, I had to make the right decision for me as an author, the writer and creator of these worlds, to make sure my books get read.  While I am sad to see those old covers go, and I don’t have much news on the Forbidden Darkness cover, I do have this to say:

I am working really hard with my cover designer to keep a very similar look.  As you know, I adore the cover for Before I Break because of all the symbolism behind it, so changing it is very hard.  I do believe some of the same stock photos will be used for the new cover, which will give it a similar feeling.  In other words, it’ll be a new cover, but you should be able to tell it’s a reprint.

As of right now, I have not seen the new cover but I know it’s going to be great.  I am so excited to share it with you guys when I finally get the chance.  I hope that all of you enjoy it as much as I know I’m going to.

Unfortunately this is the most news I can give you right now.  Hopefully I’ll have more in the weeks to come.  Take care and let me know what you guys think of the new cover having a similar look to the original!

Change is Coming

Change is coming, in case that wasn’t obvious by the title of this post. Why is change coming?, you may ask.  Well, both of my books just recently got accepted for publication by Booktrope.

I know, it’s not one of the Big 6, but it sure is a huge step toward it.  Booktrope allows me to choose my team (editors, book managers, cover designers, etc.) and we work together to reprint the books.  Now, what does this mean?  It means several things.

1.  Editing

One of the big differences you’ll notice is editing.  My first two books were not able to be professionally edited, but now they will, and this is a huge benefit to me.  I want what’s best for my books, and editing is, but I’ve never really had the money for it.  This is going to open the window for me to be able make my books the best they can be.

2.  Different Covers

This is something I can iffy about, but change is sometimes necessary.  I cannot guarantee that I will be able to keep the covers I have, and if I can’t, this means more change will be underway.  Honestly, though, change is sometimes good and for the better.  I’m going to trust that whatever comes from this will be better than I thought.  If you like the old covers and want the versions with those covers, I recommend buying the books while you can.

3.  Minor plot differences

The thing is, with editing comes minor plot changing.  I can 100% there will be at least one thing probably changed in the plots for both books by the time they are reprinted.  This is part of the author world and I am willing to accept whatever advice my editor gives me.  The main, overall plots will remain the same.

4.  Different prices

Booktrope has the right to set the book prices, I believe.  This means that the prices of the books may be different than what they are now, possibly a dollar or two more.  As of right now I don’t have much info but I am pretty sure they are going to change.

5.  Better books

The truth is, I can admit that my books aren’t perfect, which is why I am so willing to do this. I want my books to be the best that they can be, and I believe with Booktrope, I’ll be able to make that happen.  This isn’t about getting rich, because I know I won’t.  This is about doing what’s best for me, my books, and my readers.

I hope that you all stick around for the ride and see what’s to come. In the meantime, it’s time to celebrate that change that is coming. It’s going to be hard because I’ve done both of these books all by myself.  Yes, things will change, but it’s one I’m sure will benefit me in the long run.

Forbidden Darkness Cover1.3

What to Expect When Reading The Next Three Forbidden Darkness Chronicles Books

A lot of you have finished reading Forbidden Darkness and have felt a little betrayed.  I haven’t gotten many complaints, but I do know the book ended on a huge cliffhanger and left lots of things unanswered.  And I really do mean a lot.

The funny part is, that was entirely unintentional.  When I planned the first four books, I knew the first book was going to raise a lot of questions, and because it’s a series, I couldn’t possibly answer everything in one book.  It would have dragged the book out if I did that, which is why the book was as short as it was (which is less than 44,000 words).

Here’s what I can tell you.  Each book, especially the first four, have a designated goal.  Take a look at this.

1.  Forbidden Darkness

This book, I like to call, The Book of Questions.  As I said above, this book raised a lot of questions as to where the series is headed and took a twist at the end.  Even with that, there were a lot of things unresolved.  That was the goal of the first book.

2.  Shadow’s Wings

I like to call this The Book of Answers.  In this book, you’ll get answers very early on, and I mean within the first few chapters.  Some of the things you’ll find out are:

  • What is Kadin?
  • What is Hayden?
  • What was the Shadow that visited Hayden?
  • Where is Kristen’s father?
  • Why was Heather kidnapped as a kid, and what does her birth mom have to do with the story?

All of those things will, in fact, get answered in the second book.  Right away you start getting the truth, and so far it’s playing out in a very real and authentic way.

3.  Fiery Passion

This book is what I liked to call The Book of Romance.  Just in the title alone, you can suspect that this book focuses more on the romantic elements of the series than the first two books did, and this book also has a major twist ending you probably won’t be coming.

4.  Frostbite’s Fury

This is The Book of Climax.  Right from the beginning, this will be the turning point of the series that changes the course of the books, which is why the series will continue for four more books after this point.

That’s all I can say for now, but I can promise you, answers are coming and you won’t regret reading once you do.  Right now I’m working on the first draft of book two, and will definitely have it out some time this year.  Thanks for being such awesome readers, and I hope you stick around for the long run.

Animal by Nikki Rae, Blog Tour

Today’s the day that I get to unveil the cover of Nikki Rae’s new book, Animal, which releases February 28th!

Synopsis

Ava has spent her life running from the monsters that lurk in the shadows, always the prey. She finally thinks she can settle down, have a normal life, and work on not being so scared of the world around her. That is until she runs into her worst fear.

He has finally found the potential family he has always wanted. All he has to do is make his little bird sing. Will Ava escape with her humanity intact?

My Review

Ava is afraid of vampires.

That much was obvious within the first few pages of the book. I was a huge fan of Nikki Rae’s novella, The Donor, so when she was giving out copies to beta readers, I had to snag on up. I will admit, I have not read the Sunshine Series yet, though I’ve really wanted to.

This book is apparently a spin-off of Sunshine, but you wouldn’t know if you haven’t read Sunshine. This book can stand entirely by itself, and for that, I have to give Nikki props. Writing a spin-off can be difficult, especially if you’re trying to make it so that it can be read before or after reading the series that started it.

The story revolves around Ava, who has spent most of her list recently running from vampires. At first, you don’t really know why, but with Nikki Rae’s unique writing style, chapter layout, and story flow, you get to see bits of the past and of the present. Along with getting chapters told from the past and the present, you also get inside the head of a lot of the other characters in the novel, including Myles, Evan, and Toni (who I believe are also in the Sunshine series).

Besides the creative writing, the story itself was phenomenal. Nikki really knows how to capture your heart and pull you right into the story. Ava clearly suffers from an anxiety disorder, and has panic attacks multiple times throughout the book. For me, this just added a whole new realistic layer that I wasn’t expecting, although I should have after reading The Donor. As a sufferer of an anxiety disorder, I totally understood how Ava felt a majority of the book.

In this twisted and haunting tale, you really get to know each of these characters, their motives, why they are the way they are, and you come to love them. Even the main antagonist gave me some good feelings a few times, because this novel just goes to show you how some “evil” people may really be feeling.

All in all, this book was perfect and I couldn’t have asked for it to go any other way. I really look forward to reading more of Nikki’s work soon, and am silently praying that she writes another book that follows this.

***

Cover Reveal

Animal Cover

What can I say?  I absolutely LOVE this cover!

And below you can check out the trailer for the book, as well as a teaser photo!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz6ub1Op734

Animal Teaser

Be sure to check out this book when it releases, because it is amazing!  I have no doubt that fans of vampires will enjoy this book.

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

The Second Coming!

Don’t let this title fool you.  I am not speaking of the second coming of Jesus.  I am talking about the second book in The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles.

I finished the first book in the series all the way back in September, and I have yet to start the second book because school has literally been kicking my butt.  I got so far behind and now trying to catch up means I’ve hardly even had time to think about starting the second book.

My goal here is to let you know that, yes, it is coming!  And it may come sooner than you think, although there is no 100% set date yet.  The second book, or as I like to call, “The Book of Answers”, is titled Shadow’s Wings.  

Yes, you will find out what Kadin is.  Yes, you will learn more about the Perfect World.  Yes, you will find out what Hayden is.  And yes, there will be scenes with The Council.

You may be wondering where the holy heck I am taking this series, and to be honest, I know about 90% of it.  I don’t really think where I’m going with the romance plot yet, but the actual paranormal plot I have all figured out.  The series is going to take a turn pretty soon that you won’t see coming.  It’s going to be shocking, devastating, and you just might cry.  Yeah, it’s going to be pretty big and relevant to the plot.  As of right now I am not telling you when that plot is coming, but it definitely is, and I have to say, lots of readers may throw the book across the room.  The only thing I’ll say is that the plot I am referring to is not in the second book.

I will definitely be keeping you all more updated after I begin writing Shadow’s Wings.  If you haven’t read the first book, Forbidden Darkness, it is available on Amazon.