Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Beyond Time Writing Contest: June 22-July 27

Inkitt's latest Science Fiction writing contest "Beyond Time" is now open for submissions!

Inkitt is a free writing platform that aims to help writers achieve their fullest potential. On June 22nd the site launched a new Science Fiction writing contest:

Beyond Time

Submit your most imaginative and fantastic Science Fiction stories! Take your readers on a journey; ride a spaceship, explore an extraterrestrial universe, travel through time - the possibilities are endless and the universe is yours. Be spellbinding, be world altering, and let your imagination run free.

Contest guidelines

Authors will retain all rights to any and all works submitted in the contest.
Original stories of any length are accepted.
Entries must be posted on the Inkitt contest page to be considered eligible.
The contest opens on June 22th and closes on July 27th.
The contest is completely free to enter.
The top 10% based on reader votes get the chance to be picked by the Inkitt staff for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize.

All entrants will have the chance to show their work to a rapidly growing community of authors and readers hungry for high-quality fiction.

Submit your stories here: http://www.inkitt.com/beyondtime

Use the hashtag #BeyondTime to tweet about this contest!

Note to Writing Belle readers: If you love writing, check out this cool contest. I decided to help spread the word about this event because 1) it's really cool and 2) when I was at the beginning of my own writing career, contests like this were so much fun. You should really check out Inkitt and their stories. Enter the contest with a creation of your own and see what happens. Good luck, and happy writing! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

State of Vengeance RELEASE and Signed Artwork Giveaway!

Title: State of Vengeance
Series: Collapse Series #6 
Author: Summer Lane 
Release Date: TODAY

Vengeance is coming. 
Monterey Bay, California, has barely survived a brutal attack from the evil invasion forces of Omega, and Cassidy Hart is exhausted. She has lost a friend and gained a new enemy. The militias seem to be weakening, and Omega seems to be getting stronger. 

In an effort to recruit more troops, Cassidy travels to the desolation of the high mountains to find the mysterious troops of Sky City, and to eliminate a threat that has long been growing just out of the militia's reach. 
Cassidy is not alone. Old enemies greet her, and the most dangerous person of all just might be the one she trusts the most. 
The fate of the free world is at stake. The end is coming. 
The militias - or Omega - will have its revenge.  

~ Book #6 of The International Bestselling Collapse Series ~

Get it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! 

Add it to your shelf on GoodReads

You guys: I am so excited to release the sixth installment of the Collapse Series! This novel follows the further adventures of Cassidy Hart. It really takes her to places where she's never been before - both geographically speaking and emotionally. 

My favorite part of this book was writing the finale, as it required Cassidy to do something she never though she'd have to do. I can't wait until you read it! Thank you for your endless support, and I hope you enjoy this part of Cassidy's story! 

To celebrate this release, I'm giving away an Amazon Gift Card and an exclusive, special-edition signed poster of Chris Young. His poster will look like this: 

I know, right? 

Enter using the rafflecopter form below. Be sure to share this with your friends! :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 22, 2015

Catch-Up Sale! (Collapse Series for 99 Cents)

At the end of this week (June 26th), I'll release State of Vengeance, the sixth installment in the bestselling Collapse Series. To celebrate, I am dropping all of the books in the series to 99 cents on Kindle for just FOUR DAYS. Starting today, you'll be able to pick up State of Emergency, State of Chaos, State of Rebellion, State of Pursuit and State of Alliance for just ninety-nine pennies! Chump change! Laundry money! Discount price! (Get my drift?) 

Remember, this only lasts until Thursday, June 25th. Then it's back up to regular pricing again on June 26th when book six releases! Don't miss out! 

Get all of the books right HERE!

See you on the 26th! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Sisterhood: Q & A with Alison Clarke, Author of New YA Series

Title: The Sisterhood 
Series: Book #1 of The Sisterhood Series 
Author: Alison Clarke 
Release Date: Available Now 

When Oppie and Aurie are faced with a terrible battle between good and evil, they discover that friendship and sisterhood are the most precious things in the world. 

In a realm where magic and legend still exist, it's easy to think that when you're just an ordinary girl, you'll never get the chance to be written into the history books. But when Oppie, and her dragon friend Aurie, find themselves on a mission to defeat the evil, oppressive forces of darkness, in the form of the dragon, Royzendeus, they discover that history is never made alone. As they travel, their army of light grows, and Aurie discovers that as a girl, she is blessed with an entire sisterhood she never realised existed.

Get it on Kindle NOW

Question and Answer with Alison Clarke 

Welcome to Writing Belle! Tell us about yourself. 
I enjoy writing, drawing, and painting. I love to read--I have my own library at home. Biographies, art books, poetry books, fantasy, are all part of my collection. 

What is The Sisterhood about? 
The Sisterhood is about the daughter of a sorceress, her best friend who is a dragon, and the journey they go on to save the universe. 

What inspired the story? How long did it take you to write it?
It was inspired by Celtic, Greek, and Ghanaian mythology. It took me four or five years to finish the book, as I teach for a day job, and I also go to grad school. Stories with strong female protagonists interest me and that's what I write the most. 

Who inspires you? 
Visual artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet inspire me, as well as musicians like Bob Marley, Sarah McLachlan, Madonna, and Loreena McKennitt. Authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker also inspire me. These authors I admire for infusing profound themes as well as imagery in their writing. 

What is the hardest thing about writing? What is the easiest? 
Finding time to write is the hardest thing about writing. The easiest is writing itself. 

How can readers connect with you online?
Readers can connect with me on Goodreads and my Facebook author page--Alison Clarke.

About the Author 

I love to read, write, draw, and paint. When I do any of these things, I enter different worlds, as art is a portal to the imagination. Libraries are also magical places for me, and I am happy to be surrounded by books. Books are my friends. I have a library at home, and it’s comforting. Ever since I was a child, books transported me to different worlds. Teaching is another calling for me, and I like passing my knowledge onto others. I teach creative writing, but I also teach about various masters, literary and visual artists, and that excites my students. Giving back by teaching is rewarding for me.

   I also enjoy writing stories with strong female protagonists. Ghanaian, Greek, and Celtic mythology also fascinate me, and they are part of The Sisterhood, book one of The Sisterhood series. The Word for me is powerful, and can change the world. Through the gift of empathy, you can place yourself in someone else’s shoes, and see things through their eyes. Stories also tell us who we are, explain our origins, describe, articulate our dreams. Dreaming is a part of writing. Dreaming is a part of reading. To step into my world, enter the portals created by my words. You will have an unforgettable, fantastical experience. Oppie and Aurie await. Without imagination, there is no love.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Authors: The Victims of Bullying?

I have to admit, the internet can be a scary place. Anybody who has ever dared had an opinion on anything - whether it's regarding the color of Angelina Jolie's dress or the competence of the latest presidential candidates - has probably experienced some sort of cyber bullying. You know what I'm talking about. Somebody leaves a hateful comment on your post, or someone says something mean to you on Twitter. Sound like a surface-level problem? In many cases, it is. But for public figures? Not so much. 

Any public figure, from author to athlete, has become a target for online harassment. I've been lucky because I haven't experienced too much negativity online (I have a big base of loyal and loving fans), but I have been the victim of some pretty cruel comments by people who probably live in their parents' basement, gleaning a meager sustenance from animal crackers and mountain dew.

Hmmm, did that sound a little harsh? It should. I often find myself irritated that anybody, anywhere in the world, can log into any site and start talking about anyone. They can start horrible rumors (twitter, anyone?), post fake pictures (hello, Photoshop), and send you cruel letters (thank your email inbox for that one). But perhaps the question is this: here in America, we have freedom of speech, so if people want to post something stupid online, it’s their right, correct? Unfortunately, I fear that we’ve cultivated a culture of narcissists who sit at home and pound out their opinions on a keyboard, post it online, and then go back to real life.

I’ve had people tell me that they couldn’t stand me. I’ve had people call me stupid. I’ve had people say that I really had no business writing survivalist fiction because I’m a young female (please tell me how that even makes sense?). Another insisted that I was a horrible writer who had no grasp of the English language – and how dare I call myself a writer! One fellow even went so far as to insinuate that I was no more intelligent than a monkey. I’ve been ripped up and beat up in the digital world by those few, morally unattractive souls known as the internet “trolls.”

Hmm. Does my old author photo make me look "too girly"
to write survivalist fiction? Don't think so!
The funny thing about negativity is that it usually comes down to just a few mean people. I have about ninety-nine percent positive feedback from my reading community and fan base – but then there are the mean people. And somehow the thousands of lovely comments from fans are drowned out because five unkind comments from random people with usernames like “Jaws of Death” or “EmoGirl999,” are still ringing in my head.

Authors, when they get to a certain point of notoriety, become targets for hateful comments. I have found that there is never any rhyme or reason for the meanness. Some people are just that: mean. They don’t have a reason. That’s just the way they are, and the internet just makes that part of human nature more personal – more public. People enjoy shock value. If they hurt someone along the way, they don’t care. They feel powerful. Unfortunately for them, they’re just hiding behind a keyboard. People like that aren’t brave…they’re just bullies.

So are authors the victims of bullying? To a degree, I’d say yes. But let’s remember that everybody, at some point in his or her life, has been a victim of bullying. Can you think of a time anyone has ever said something hurtful or manipulative to you? Of course you can! The problem has gotten incredibly out of hand because of the internet. People log in, spit out vitriolic behavior, and log out again. It has robbed our society of accountability. You wouldn’t stand in the middle of a bookstore and shout out a horrible, degrading commentary about a well-known author at the top of your lungs. But people do it all the time online. What makes it different? Like I said, there are no consequences, so it’s free game, and the trolls come out from under the bridge and stir up trouble.

I think it’s important for authors to remember that for every mean comment, there are five thousand pleasant ones. The negativity is always the minority. With my Collapse Series and Zero Trilogy, I’ve got a massive reader and fan base whom I adore. I’m very blessed. I’m just saying that it is a problem.

Just recently, well-known author Cassandra Clare left her twitter account because of hateful comments that were being tweeted to her when fans weren’t happy about the casting of the Mortal Instruments television show. It was so intense, she couldn’t take it anymore, and had to log out for good. I think that’s so sad! People don’t need to be mean. There is no reason for it. Opinions used to be something that you discussed with your family or friends over dinner – not an incendiary public announcement that circulates to millions of people.

So what is my point? First, people can be mean. That’s just a fact. (Insert Taylor Swift’s Mean here). Second, for authors like myself, the best way to deal with that is to ignore it. We have to stay the course. With the internet comes both good and bad, and learning to deal with the bad is the best way to enjoy the good. I encourage authors to turn their backs on negativity, to ignore it completely. Engaging with a troll is bad news. It just hurts your feelings and gives them attention. Keep it to yourself. Vent to your husband or wife or friends. But don’t respond online, because that brings you down to that level.

Most of all: KEEP WRITING.

It’s easy to get lost in the frenetic blur of online excitement, but it’s important to remember that staking your self-worth in the approval of others isn’t wise. It’s not wise in the real world, and it’s certainly not wise online. Value yourself. Believe in yourself. Keep your chin up, and never stop what you’re doing. Mean people are angry people, so don’t be that way. Be happy, and stay the course.