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The Last Breath

by Kimberly Belle

The Last Breath cover









Humanitarian aid worker Gia Andrews chases disasters around the globe for a living. It’s the perfect lifestyle to keep her far away from her own personal ground zero. Sixteen years ago, Gia’s father was imprisoned for brutally killing her stepmother. Now he’s come home to die of cancer, and she’s responsible for his care—and coming to terms with his guilt.

Gia reluctantly resumes the role of daughter to the town’s most infamous murderer, a part complete with protesters on the lawn and death threats that are turning tragedy into front-page news. Returning to life in small-town Tennessee involves rebuilding relationships that distance and turmoil have strained, though finding an emotional anchor in the attractive hometown bartender is certainly helping Gia cope.

As the past unravels before her, Gia will find herself torn between the stories that her family, their friends and neighbors, and even her long-departed stepmother have believed to be real all these years. But in the end, the truth—and all the lies that came before—may have deadlier consequences than she could have ever anticipated.

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Lessons from a publishing newbie

My first novel, The Last Breath, debuted in September. All those years spent in a

quiet room with my laptop, writing and revising and revising again, wrangling the

words and tweaking them just so, querying and pitching and waiting, waiting,

waiting. And then finally and all of a sudden, the big day is here. A book is born. Your

baby is sent out into the world for others to read and discuss and critique. It’s

terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time.

Now, a short four months later, I’ve learned a lot—about readers, about other

writers, about the publishing industry in general. Some of the lessons have been a

piece of cake, others have come on like a toothache, sudden and painful. Here are

five of the biggest.

1. Other writers will be your biggest fans, your loudest cheerleaders, and your

most outspoken advocates. They will organize giveaways and open up their

blogs, their Facebook and Twitter pages, to plug your book. What comes

around goes around. Return the favor, always. If you don’t, next time around

they won’t, either.

2. Speaking of social media, be on it, and be vocal. Even on days when it feels

easier to write an entire chapter about imaginary people than it is to come up

with 140 characters of Twitterlicious text. Readers are on social media, and

they love to talk books.

3. Female writers, especially female writers of romance or women’s fiction,

don’t get taken as seriously as male writers. I know. Shocking, right? Even

though the majority of book buyers, especially in those categories, are

female. It’s not fair and it’s not pretty, but unfortunately, it’s a fact.

4. Writing a novel is the hardest thing ever. To get all ninety thousand words in

just the right order, to come up with twists and turns the reader won’t see

coming, to craft a story that builds in suspense and momentum often feels

impossible. You’ll pull your hair and wear your delete key to a tiny little nub.

You’ll stomp and cry and want to quit a million times. But…

5. …that moment when a reader tells you they loved your story, that they get

your characters, that they went into a book-hangover funk when they

reached The End… That moment makes everything worth it.

About the author

K.Belle headshot

Kimberly Belle grew up in Eastern Tennessee, in a small town nestled in the foothills

of the Appalachians. A graduate of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, Kimberly

lived for over a decade in the Netherlands and has worked in marketing and

fundraising for various nonprofits. She’s the author of two novels, THE LAST

BREATH and THE ONES WE TRUST (August 2015). She divides her time between

Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Keep up with Kimberly on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, Goodreadsor via her Website.