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!

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Forbidden Darkness E-book Free

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to give you all the heads up that Forbidden Darkness is FREE one last time for a while.  If you don’t already know, The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles is about a girl named Heather Hawkins who finds out that she is a Monster Hunter.  If you’re interested, please go check it out and write a review!

Love you lots!

Amazon Link:  http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Darkness-The-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00O99L782/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_1

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

Forbidden Darkness: #21 in Paranormal and Urban

The last couple of days since the release of the first book in my new series, Forbidden Darkness, so much has happened. Starting on the 11th, I made the e-book free for five days, and it’s still up and running.  The first day I sold nearly 50 free e-books, which is pretty good for an unknown indie author like me.

I’m happy to say that my book made it at #21 in Paranormal and Urban for Young Adult’s.  It’s closer to #1 than my first book ever got, and I have a really good feeling about this new series.  So far #21 is the closest it’s gotten and, while I don’t think it’ll get any closer than that, I am still extremely proud of myself.  Thank you to everyone who purchased the free e-book.  If you are interested in reading it, you can check out the link below.

Free e-book:  http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Darkness-The-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00O99L782/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_1

Forbidden Darkness Free E-book

Fans are an essential part of the writing industry.  Without fans, it’s hard to make money to produce more books, even if you’re a traditionally published author.  If your books don’t sell, what’s the point in making more books?

For me, being a self-published author makes this even harder.  It’s hard to reach my audience, mostly because a majority of them have no idea my books exist.  With Forbidden Darkness’s release, I was looking for some way to promote my series, and the best way I can do it is with Kindle Select.  There are a few pros and cons to using Kindle Select.

Pros

  • I can reach a certain audience easier.
  • I get 70% of my royalties.
  • I can choose either a Kindle Countdown Deal or Free E-book Deal for up to 5 days.

Cons

  • I have to stay enrolled in Kindle Select for at least three months.
  • I can’t have my book on any other distribution channels.
  • I can only do one Deal per three months (which I think is ridiculous, by the way).

I think the pros outweigh the cons even though they’re the same amount.  I had my books on other distribution channels including Smashwords, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Scribd, and Page Foundry, but the sales weren’t coming in.  Why?  Because no one knows I exist.  Most of these sites don’t advertise your book for you and the readers have to manually go in and search for you.  They don’t just stumble across it.  Which means I need to have an audience, so how do I do that?

Make the e-book free, of course.  I remember when I did the free e-book sale on Kindle for Before I Break, and BOY did that book sell.  Of course, I got no reviews which kind of sucked 5 mouthfuls of monkey balls, but at least it sold.  So even though I told myself, I wouldn’t enroll in Kindle Select permanently, I am definitely doing it for the first three months as promotion.

So starting 1/11/15-1/15/15, Forbidden Darkness will be free.  It will only be free during this time and probably not ever again for a long time.  I want to reach my audience and help them discover me.

One thing I do ask if that you write reviews if you purchase this book.  Reviews are very important to the author, whether they’re on your blog, Goodreads, or Amazon.  They help me figure out what I did right and what I did wrong, and it also helps readers decide whether to read my books are not.  The other thing I ask is that if you don’t like the book, please be polite about it.  Constructive criticism is way better than tearing someone down who worked hard to get their book out there.

So there you have it, guys!  The first book in my new paranormal YA series will be free for 5 days, so be sure to get it while you can!  The link to the book is below!

Forbidden Darkness Cover
Forbidden Darkness Cover

Amazon Link:  http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Darkness-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00O99L782/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=