News from the Bastion Writing Desks

Hello, everyone!

We wanted to give you an update on the No Weddings Series.

So many tasks are happening with our team members all at once…

As my husband Stone Tweeted earlier today, we sent No Weddings off to the copy editor this morning for a final editing pass before we shine it up for the two proofreaders.

This week, we also spoke with a web designer who will be revamping the Kat Bastion website to correspond with all of our genres and for both of  us as authors.

And I just got another email from Sarah Hansen at Okay creations. The plans she has for these covers are really exciting. We look forward to being able to share them with you!

Over the next two weeks, Stone and I will be working on One Funeral and Two Bar Mitzvahs in their different editing stages, and Three Christmases is undergoing its first developmental editing.

{blinks}

See what I mean? A flurry of activity is happening all over the place. We’re relying heavily on a wall calendar and to-do lists to get us through the whirlwind of plans.

In the meantime, would you like to be a part of our team? Anything you can do to help promote the books would be greatly appreciated.

We’ll keep you in the loop as things progress with events like cover reveals, release launches, tours, and interviews, so stay tuned.

Do you enjoy reading male 1st person POV romance?

We’d love for you to add No Weddings to your Goodreads shelf:

{whispers} From there, add the other books in the series too! :)

Thank you all for your ongoing support!

Your humble shoe and boot,

~ Kat & Stone

© 2014 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion

No Weddings ~ Updates and Official Description!

Hello everyone!

Here are some brief updates on the No Weddings Series:

Male First Person POV

In case you hadn’t noticed on Twitter, No Weddings is told in male first person point of view. Cade actually gets a little more point-of-view time throughout the No Weddings Series than Hannah, however, you’ll see hers in the second book and portions of the fourth.

We’re very blessed to have not only Stone Bastion heavily guiding those male POV portions, but we also have a male editor as a part of our three-person editing team.

Editing in Progress

Many of you who follow us on Twitter may have noticed we are up to our elbows in edits with the four books in our No Weddings Series. So if we’re mostly MIA, know we’re hard at work polishing these stories for you. And rest assured, although we’ve been pulling editing marathons, we’re having a blast.

Book Covers

We’ve corresponded this week with Sarah Hansen at Okay Creations and look forward to seeing her vision for the covers.

Exclusive Outtake

Please join us this Sunday, June 8th, for a glimpse of Cade Michaelson in an exclusive outtake on one of our favorite book blogs, Bookish Temptations.

No Weddings ~ Official Description

And now…

For the official description of No Weddings…

{drumroll}

* * *

Award-winning author Kat Bastion teams with her husband, Stone Bastion, in this first book in the No Weddings Series about Cade Michaelson, a successful man with his sights set on a new venture in business, and Hannah Martin, the woman who makes it personal.

I think I have my act together as a successful bar owner, my master’s degree within reach, and a list of no-strings-attached women warming my bed. Turns out, I don’t.

Hannah believes she has safeguarded her wounded heart by shunning men and focusing on her new baking business. The thing is, she hasn’t.

When my three sisters and I form an event-planning business with Hannah as our baker, I have no idea how my life is about to change. As Hannah and I work closely together, the attraction between us becomes irresistible. And complicated. I’ve promised my sisters I wouldn’t mix business with pleasure. But I’ve never been one to follow the rules.

* * *

What do you think?

We’d love for you to add it to your Goodreads shelf:

Add to Goodreads Button

No Weddings ~ 09.08.14

Thank you for joining in the exciting  journey as this series takes shape.

We look forward to sharing No Weddings with you!

Your humble shoe and boot,

~ Kat & Stone Bastion

© 2014 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion

 

 

Writing While Spelunking…

shutterstock_93664576 SpelunkngThe time of year has arrived.

When this girl, who abhors tight spaces and is deathly afraid of heights, goes cave diving.

Okay. Not exactly cave diving, as in underwater tanks and fish, but certainly rappelling into the great depths of my mind to find what mysteries lie undiscovered…

In other words: I’ve entered my writing cave.

Never fear.

Every writer braves the solitary element, countless times. One must pass through the gauntlet to arrive safely on the other side.

Our motivation? The promise of the prize. The journey. The destination. While the entire exercise is no easy feat, it is an honored rite of passage.

Harrowing at times, the key to a successful expedition is preparedness. The rest? We trust by faith.

Spelunking is cave exploration (in my phobic mind, to the depths of the earth.) Dangerous. Exciting. Traveling to places no man has gone before. The reward is the ability to share an incredible story.

Entering one’s writing cave has some parallels to spelunking, and I shall heed their common life-saving advice:

  • Research to the point of total preparedness
  • Bring essential equipment: flashlight, chocolate, Twitter access…
  • If you encounter what seems like an impassable block, don’t panic. Take deep breaths until you find your path.
  • Embrace the darkness, bravely traversing until you find the light.
  • Understand you have to get a little dirty for a big payoff ;)

Writing while spelunking is the epitome of multi-tasking and a challenge I welcome. I shall endeavor to reach out to Twitter daily and Facebook and my blog on an intermittent basis, although it is possible that signal strength during various parts of my journey could be patchy at best.

Pray that I make it out safely in the end.

Notes of well wishes will be greatly welcomed.

If you don’t hear from me for several days in a row, send food. It’s possible we got trapped in a landslide. But don’t worry. I’m not alone. I’ve brought the biggest, baddest, alpha male to keep me company.

{smiles slowly}

Oh, yes. My journey is being guided by Skorpius. I have faith he’ll keep me safe and see this epic odyssey through. He insists on finally sharing his story with the world, after all. The title of the novel I’m working on is Born of Mist and Legend (100% Skorpius approved.)

While I’m negotiating corridors tighter than I’d like to think about until absolutely necessary, please continue to watch over my affairs. The incredible support you’ve shown thus far has been amazing, and has carried both Highland Legends Series titles on the Amazon Best Seller lists since their releases. I trust you all implicitly to guide others in promoting and protecting my books at their tender young age.
(Contact information is listed in the back, in case of emergency.)

Whether you seek to join me in exploring hidden secrets buried deep in caves history, are taking a lunch break from work, or looking for a relaxing scorching nightcap to an evening, both Forged in Dreams and Magick and Bound by Wish and Mistletoe will keep us connected in our hearts, even if we’re thousands of miles apart.

Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe Cover

And should you want to join me in helping those most lost in this world, while enjoying or gifting romantic poetry as we approach Valentine’s Day, please consider a purchase of Utterly Loved.

Utterly Loved Book Cover

Happy reading, everyone! And wish me a safe and happy spelunking! :)

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2014 by Kat Bastion

‘Twas the Night Before Release Day…

‘Twas the night before release day,
when all through the Twittersphere
Not a creature was stirring,
not even Highland reindeer;

The eBooks were hung
at online retailers with care,
In hopes that romance readers
soon would be there.

{grins}

{sings} It’s beginning to look a lot like Highland Christmaaas…

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe Cover

Add to Goodreads Button

We are down to mere hours, my friends!

The publish buttons have all been pushed.

Tomorrow, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and All Romance eBooks will have Bound by Wish and Mistletoe for sale!

At only $2.99, the 176 page holiday novella is a great introduction to the Highland Legend Series and a great addition to the world many of you have come to love.

The gorgeous stocking-stuffer-sized paperback is priced at $8.99!

{whispers} We’re also in the final hours of the Amazon Top 10 Best Seller Forged in Dreams and Magick at the reduced price $1.99.

I look forward to sharing the Bound by Wish and Mistletoe holiday adventure with all of you tomorrow!

Be sure to stay tuned all week on your social channels as AToMR Tours and fabulous bloggers share excerpts, guest posts, and ARC reviews of Bound by Wish and Mistletoe!

Also, if on Twitter, please share news about Bound by Wish and Mistletoe with buy links. Throughout November 5th, eBook copies and signed paperbacks will be randomly given away among those who help spread the word!

Thank you so much for the ongoing support. Every post, reblog, share, Tweet, buy, review, and words of praise are greatly appreciated.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Are You Out of Order? The Importance of Standing Alone in a Series.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Annnd . . . Happy Eve of Release Day for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe!

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe Cover

Add to Goodreads Button

Which brings me to an interesting topic: series reading order and the importance of making each book stand alone.

Have you ever read books in a series out of order?

I must say, I rarely do so. I’m an “in-order” kinda gal.
{whispers} See “OCD” in Merriam-Websters.

My personal preference aside, for many, an initial exposure to an author is not the first book written in a series.

That an adventurous reader might delve into books outside of linear order brings an interesting challenge to an author. How do we provide enough “catch-up” information, without overburdening with a back-story dump? Which secrets can we reveal from the previous story line, without stealing away the thrill of discovery?

A wise author sees the benefit of capturing a reader’s attention in the middle of a series. If the story is crafted well, teasing just enough to entice curiosity, the reader will go back and collect your previous books, starting from the beginning.

When writing Bound by Wish and Mistletoe, I had multifaceted goals. I wanted to bring those who loved Forged in Dreams and Magick more of the world and characters before publishing Born of Mist and Legend in 2014. I also happen to love Christmas, and couldn’t wait to celebrate it with the Brodie Clan. But a powerful reason Bound by Wish and Mistletoe exists: to introduce new readers to the series, who haven’t yet discovered Forged in Dreams and Magick.

I wrote the holiday novella with all of those thoughts in mind, applying some acquired skill and much intuition. Woven subtly throughout the story, I hinted at previous secrets, without giving everything away. In key locations, I teased out delicious morsels, but left others partially hidden—giving the readers a glimpse that there was more to the story.

When it came time for editing, something wonderful happened. Both my beta readers and developmental editor gave the story an enthusiastic approval, making no mention of the back story to the series. Ahhh . . . but they’d all read Forged in Dreams and Magick. A much-needed perspective came from the copy editor, who was brand new to the series. His insightful comments about where he got lost, and the suggestions he made about providing hints and clues without giving too much away, were invaluable.

Shortly thereafter, Bound by Wish and Mistletoe was released in ARC (advanced reader copy) form to reviewers and posted on NetGalley. It was NetGalley, however, that first provided feedback of how well the novella could stand on its own story.

In fact, I was quite surprised at how many reviewers chose to read Bound by Wish and Mistletoe first, even though they’d requested both titles simultaneously. To every one of those reviewers who jumped into the Highland Legends Series out of order, thank you. I’m immensely grateful for the honest reviews you provided.

So how did Bound by Wish and Mistetoe do as a stand-alone story? Spectacularly. Many reviewers new to my writing gave it 5 stars!

One reviewer commented that she would rate it either 4 or 5 stars, but had to read Forged in Dreams and Magick first before she decided. I was thrilled when she rated Forged in Dreams and Magick with 4 stars and then gave Bound by Wish and Mistletoe 5 stars!

“This is the 1st book I’ve read by Kat Bastion and it won’t be the last. The story had me hooked from the 1st few sentences and held my attention until I finished it….I originally read this book without previously reading the 1st book in this series…While I really enjoyed Bound by Wish and Mistletoe as a standalone, it became totally awesome after I read Forged in Dreams and Magick.” ~ Linda on Goodreads/NetGalley

In or out of order, authors have much to gain by a writing a story that holds its own within the greater series. When you enthrall readers with your latest edition, but tease with glimpses of secrets, they’ll devour your series, ravenous for more of your writing and the story world.

As a side note, I did something interesting with my holiday novella, Bound by Wish and Mistletoe. Although the Book 1.5 novella is written after Book 1 and before Book 2, the story timeline is not exactly in that order. The events occurring within Bound by Wish and Mistletoe actually happen at about the 70% timeline mark of Born of Mist and Legend. {smirks}

Well, I think that’s enough teasing for one day. :)

Oh, and a reminder! Today’s the last day the Amazon Top 10 Best Seller Forged in Dreams and Magick is reduced to $1.99 on eBook!

Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

Reduced! $1.99 til November 5th!

Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

I look forward to sharing Bound by Wish and Mistletoe with all of you tomorrow on release day!

If on Twitter, please share news about Bound by Wish and Mistletoe with buy links. Throughout November 5th, eBook copies and signed paperbacks will be randomly given away among those who help me spread the word!

Thank you so much for the ongoing support. Every post, reblog, share, Tweet, buy, review, and words of praise are greatly appreciated.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Pre-release Promotion and Other News!

Hello, my friends.

Just 7 more days until the release of Bound by Wish and Mistletoe!

In celebration of the upcoming Highland Legends Series holiday novella release, we have a special promotion to share with you!

***PRE-RELEASE PROMOTION***

The Amazon Top 10 Time Travel Best Seller
Forged in Dreams and Magick is ONLY $1.99
until next week’s release of the holiday novella
Bound by Wish and Mistletoe on 11/5!

Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Also, in case you missed last week’s exciting news, Fresh Fiction chose Forged in Dreams and Magick as the Fresh Pick for October 22, 2013.

Reduced from $3.99 to $1.99, now is the best time to purchase your eBook copy of the unique romance reviewers are raving about.

Keep Calm.

Grab a Highlander.

And mark your calendars! In just 7 days…
BOUND BY WISH AND MISTLETOE ~ November 5th!

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe CoverAdd to Goodreads Button

Highlanders for your holidays!

Next week on Monday begins the ARC Tour and Release Event for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe on AToMR Tours. I look forward to connecting with all of you along the way!

Thank you so much for your support, and for sharing the news with your social circles. I can’t wait to share the stories with you. I hope you enjoy the adventure!

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

Exciting Highland Legends News!

Hello, everyone!

So many exciting things have been happening at the Kat Bastion Writing Desk, I’m not sure where to begin.

Heartfelt Appreciation

Most important on my mind is an expression of thanks to you all. I’m deeply grateful for all of your RTs on Twitter, your blog posts, your reviews, your buying Forged in Dreams and Magick in digital and/or the GORGEOUS paperback, your reading the story, your reviews on social sites and where the book is sold, and your sharing your excitement about it with your social media and your friends and family. I cannot express in words the heartfelt appreciation for all you do to support me, including the wonderful comments. I’m deeply grateful.

Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

Add to Goodreads Button

Amazon Best Sellers Lists

Due to a sudden explosion of purchases today, through all of the collective support you’ve shown, Forged in Dreams and Magick has skyrocketed up the Amazon Best Sellers lists. As of the writing of this post, Forged in Dreams and Magick sits at #6 Scottish, #7 Medieval, and #8 Time Travel. Just…wow. Thank you.

Forged in Dreams and Magick Finally on Nook!

Eight days after Forged in Dreams and Magick’s release, the title is finally available on Nook!

Forged in Dreams and Magick Release Week Giveaway Extended

Now that the Nook version of Forged in Dreams and Magick is available, the thank you giveaway has been extended through midnight EST on Thursday October 3rd, 2013.

If you’ve purchased Forged in Dreams and Magick, during release week event, from 9/23 through 10/3, email your receipt to giveaways(at)katbastion(dot)com by 10/3/2013 for a chance to win one $50 or one of three $25 Amazon/BN/Kobo gift cards.

Review Thank You Gifts

I’d like to send a thank you gift to you for reading Forged in Dreams and Magick and posting your review to the online retailers. If you post a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and/or All Romance eBooks, please email info(at)katbastion(dot)com your review link and mailing address.

You will receive the first of two beautiful bookmarks in the Highland Legends series. The second will be available at the release of Bound by Wish and Mistletoe. Collect them both to receive an exclusive outtake, the letter Isobel wrote to her professor, on parchment paper, signed by Isobel.

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe Cover

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe on Goodreads

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe is up on Goodreads! There is also a giveaway. Enter to win 1 of 5 signed copies!

Add to Goodreads Button

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe on NetGalley

Bloggers and Reviewers! Bound by Wish and Mistletoe has now joined Forged in Dreams and Magick on NetGalley!

Request your review copy of
Bound by Wish and Mistletoe on NetGalley!

Tour Sign-Ups for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe

Bloggers! The AToMR Tour sign-ups for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe ARC Tour and Release Event are up! The tour is during release week, November 4th through 9th.

Sign up for the Bound by Wish and Mistletoe AToMR Event here!

Easy Purchase Links: 

Amazon Kindle
Nook
Kobo
All Romance eBooks

Amazon paperback

Thank you again for all of your support! I hope you all enjoy the epic action-adventure romance in both Forged in Dreams and Magick and Bound by Wish and Mistletoe!

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

You’re Invited…

talktotheshoe:

Thank you, Bookish Temptations! <3

~ Kat

Originally posted on Bookish Temptations:

Hey peeps!

We’re having a book launch party and you’re all invited…

View original 44 more words

Interview: The Forged in Dreams and Magick Beta Readers

Hello, everyone!

Today, I have a special treat for you.

The driving reason for my Transparency in Self-Publishing Series over the past four weeks was to share a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the self-publishing process. Much of the information contained in those posts came from my curiosity along my journey and an absence of detailed information elsewhere.

Have you ever had a peek into the minds of beta readers?

No?

Me either.

I’m not sure anyone has ever interviewed their beta readers before, let alone posted the fodder for public consumption. So here is the first ever beta interview! {grins} I hope you enjoy!

First, let me introduce you to my beta readers, beloved friends of mine who love me, and luckily for me, also love to read:

City Beta (Heather) is an avid reader, and she’s also my critique partner. A huge paranormal fan, her favorite books involve those with a bite. ;) We met through a common love of books at a Romance Writers of America function. When I shared the rough story idea of Forged in Dreams and Magick with her at a conference in 2010, she’s the one who said, “That’s the story you need to write.”

Swamp Beta (Misty) is an occasional reader, loving wife, and mother, who is a huge Twilight fan and talented photographer. We “met” online in 2011, and although we’ve never met in person, she’s become one of my closest friends and a fervent supporter of my writing. She beams with pride of being born, raised, and living in the boondocks of the South.

Alpha Beta (Stone) is my real-life alpha. Before reading my stories, he’d never read a romance novel. As you’ll find out below, he’s an action-adventure fan, Clive Cussler being his poison of choice. Since his trial by fire with me, he’s read and enjoyed Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard, Tangled by Emma Chase, and Wallbanger by Alice Clayton. {grins}

What is your favorite genre of Books?

City Beta: My favorite genre of books is paranormal, but I’m an avid reader of all genres. As long as there’s romance, I’ll read it.
Swamp Beta: ~laughs~ Normally I read Christian books like The Shack! But any book that makes me feel better is definitely worth my time!
Alpha Beta: Action-adventure with a bit of romance intertwined…

What was your favorite book as a child?

City Beta: My favorite book as a child was Where the Wild Things Are.
Swamp Beta: Hands down…Return of the Black Stallion. I rented it so much from the library as a child that the librarian finally gave it to me. It was a very old, green colored, hard bound edition!
Alpha Beta: Anything with “Marmaduke” or “Family Circus”…HeHeHe…

Before Forged in Dreams and Magick, had you ever read a Highlander romance? A time-travel romance? What are your thoughts about Forged in Dreams and Magick?

City Beta: Yes, I’ve read many Highlander romances.
Time travel is one of my favorite possibilities in a story, though it is hard to find one written so well.
I loved Forged in Dreams and Magick from the very moment Kat brought up the idea to me.
Swamp Beta: Nope. Guys in skirts never did anything for me. But that was before Forged in Dreams and Magick.
Nope. Time travel normally confuses me so I stay away from them typically.
Well that’s a loaded question. I think I now love guys in kilts, plaid, Highlanders, time travel, and…Cupcakes!
Alpha Beta: Highlander? Um, Nope…
Time-travel romance? Nope. Though I never read the book connected with a time-travel movie I saw decades ago, “Somewhere in Time”, it really moved me then and I remember the depth of the romance today…
What are my thoughts about Forged in Dreams and Magick? Love the story, the way it flows and the depth of characters and how they deeply care for the others within their sphere…

What were your thoughts when Kat asked you to Beta for her?

City Beta: Um, yes. I couldn’t say no to Kat. And besides, fair is fair. I read hers, she reads mine. *grin*
Swamp Beta: Honored doesn’t even begin to cover it. I know how long she has worked on this book. I know how protective she is of this story and how much she wants everyone to enjoy it. I know it was hard for Kat to entrust people to read her raw emotions in this book and be open to feedback. Isn’t that hard for every writer? To bare your soul and pray people love it? So yeah…honored will never cover it but it’s the best the English language can do.
Alpha Beta: Honored!…

What was your favorite scene? Chapter? Sentence?

City Beta: My favorite scene would have to be where Isobel is first transported to Iain.
My favorite chapter is fourteen. Where Isobel meets Velloc, her second soul mate.
My favorite sentence is: “But in the pulse of a heartbeat, the rogue wave of a new paradigm crashed upon the rocky outcropping of my life, scattering accepted principles into a million effervescent bubbles, each one bursting with every thought I’d known to be true.”
Swamp Beta: There is a blanket picnic scene to die for. Alpha Male…letting his alpha-ness (If that’s a word. If not…we just damn well made it one) down and showing the soft and thoughtful side that no one gets to see but the lucky lady! I’m a SUCKER for Alpha Males being brought to their knees!
Alpha Beta:
Favorite Scene = Several!…
Favorite Chapter = Many!…
Favorite Sentence = Lots!…

In one word and one word only, describe Forged in Dreams and Magick. Explain your word, if you’d like.

City Beta: Transcendental.
This book takes you on a journey of faith, love and self-discovery. You cannot ask for anything more in a story.
Swamp Beta: ~mumbles about how impossible this actually is~ Life-Changing (and yes I can use life and changing as one word because I put a “-” in there connecting the two! It’s like duct tape to a Southerner!!!)
Explain? Oh hell yes! Take a seat! You know those love stories that shape our culture and our views of what love -should- or -shouldn’t- look like? Stories like Romeo and Juliet, Pretty Woman, Sleepless in Seattle, and even Sleeping with the Enemy (showed us what it shouldn’t look like) all those come to mind. Not to mention The Notebook ~swoons~ All those movies and books leave us wanting for a love like that in our lives. They challenge us to stretch beyond our stereotypes and grow as individuals. Well…that’s what Forged in Dreams and Magick is going to do for those who “allow” it! It is going to challenge the old thinking of having only one soul mate. It’s gonna make you proud to be a woman and pull for a woman who is thrown into a heartbreaking life being torn from those she loves. You’re gonna root for Isobel. Be mad at Isobel at times, but even when you’re mad at her…you’re still proud she didn’t lie down and just give up! In the end…she’s gonna challenge you to be open and love who you are and who you’re with! See? Life…changing!
Alpha Beta: “A-Must-Read!”… Um, is that a word?…

What three words describe your favorite character?

City Beta: Alpha, sensual and leader.
Swamp Beta: Dominant. Feisty (as fuck…and no those don’t count towards my three word limit cause they are in parenthesis… LMAO.) CAPTIVATING. (as in will leave you BEGGING for more of him…UGH!)
Alpha Beta: Don’t have one favorite…

Do you have a clear, favorite character?

City Beta: Yes, but like most books I fall in love with each character will always have a special place in my heart.
Swamp Beta: ~laughs and points to my answer above~ Uh…yeahhhhh
Alpha Beta: Um, Nope…Connected to various characters for their depth…

Who is your favorite character and why?

City Beta: Velloc is my favorite character. I think he meant so much to me because he was the underdog. I always root for the least likely to win the race.
Swamp Beta: I will say this…I have a new found yearning for Cupcakes! Damn! ~fans myself~
Alpha Beta: Um, a favorite in various categories would be easier for me to answer:
Perseverance = Isa
Leadership = Iain
Sacrifice = Velloc
Friendship = Brigid
Calmness = Orion
Primal = Skorpius

What themes run through the story that resonated with you?

City Beta: That love transcends both place and time.
Swamp Beta: Well alpha males ooze out of every scene…almost every page. But the thing I am most “proud” of is the strong, independent females that are a refreshing sight! It’s not your typical “damsel in distress” book. While the damsel is certainly distressed….she can handle herself quite well and it’s in -that- where we watch the Alphas cringe and learn to ~clears my throat~ UP…their…uh…game! ~winks~
Alpha Beta: Love, Fortitude, Destiny, Redemption…

What was the most memorable comment about the book that you made to Kat?

City Beta: “This book is the one. This book is the one you need to write.”
Swamp Beta: Oh Fuck. I have no clue. I imagine it’s something about Cupcakes! But if I know Kat like I do, she remembers and can tell you her favorite! Maybe she should tell you all her favorite quotes we all said! ~laughs~
***Interjection from Kat*** From my texts? Which one? {dies laughing}
“OMFGGGGGGGG! BEST. BOOK. EVER.” OR
“She had Sunshine at her beck and call LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!” OR
“OMFGGGGG I had tears in my eyes!” OR
“Your book…is the ULTIMATE ULTIMATE TEST…to let the woman you love go and be with another? No one has ever portrayed that more beautifully (if they’ve ever attempted at all.)
Alpha Beta: I am amazed I know somebody who can write with this skill, and I reminded her to never let anyone tell her she cannot write…

When, where, and how did you read the book? Like…how quick did we read and what were we doing at the time?

City Beta: This one I really can’t answer. I have read this book by email, by chapter from beginning to end and then back again. Each time the story came to life a little bit more. The characters became more compelling and every word gave the book its breath of life.
Swamp Beta: I was in my vehicle taking a 19 hour…ONE WAY…trip to pick up a Great Dane puppy! Let’s just say it was the best escape POSSIBLE for that trip!
Alpha Beta: Like….how quick did we read and what were we doing at the time? Late in the evenings while lying in bed with my Kindle glowing under the folded edge of the coverings…

What suggestions did you give Kat to improve the story?

City Beta: Show don’t tell! *laughs*
Swamp Beta: Honestly? As far as improving the story itself…I don’t think anything I suggested helped improve the story. Most of mine were mistypes or small places where I might have been confused. But being from the Swamp….that’s a constant state! Kat is accustomed to this! She has this story played out in her mind so beautifully that all my suggestions were mere grammatical.
Alpha Beta: Barely any comments other than a few word addition or changes…

Would you recommend it to others?

City Beta: I would and I have.
Swamp Beta: Yes! But I feel the need to add this small, tiny, itsy bitty, teenie, weenie disclaimer! Any and everything to do with cupcakes…I call DIBS! There…now that -that- is settled! Let’s continue! ~dies laughing~
Alpha Beta: Abso-freakin’-lutely!… Um, Abso-bloody-lutely!… Um, er, Yes!…

Who do you think would best enjoy Forged in Dreams and Magick?

City Beta: Anyone who believes love can conquer all.
Swamp Beta: Anyone who has had sex, who hasn’t had sex, who wants to have sex, who doesn’t wanna have sex (cause after this they will), Oh and…those who love Alpha males, who hate Alpha Males, who have Alpha Males, who wanna have Alpha Males. So basically, any woman who has a pulse. Read it then do all your female friends a favor…and give them Oozing Alpha Males for Christmas presents! ~whispers~ You can even probably find some ribbon in the “Brodie clan colors” and wrap it all nice and neat!!!!
Alpha Beta: Anybody with a heartbeat resonating in their chest who enjoys love, being in love, time-travel, adventure and the power of intertwined hearts accomplishing near-impossible tasks related to survival…

Who is your dream cast for the movie?

City Beta: Can I say Channing Tatum here…please. No, seriously I would love to see Chris Hemsworth as Iain. Jessica Alba for Isobel. As for Velloc…Orlando Bloom or Taylor Lautner.
Swamp Beta: Well Hollywood doesn’t have males like the ones in my mind. But I will volunteer to play the role of Brigid! And I will play that role for free. Just give me my Alpha! #ThatIsAll #LipsAreZipped ~grumbles and crosses my legs squirming~
Alpha Beta: Will have to actually look-up some names versus me saying “that guy/girl in that movie where that thing happened, remember?”…

Okay, my beloved betas, you’e been grilled enough for one interview. Do you have any questions for me?

City Beta: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
The moment I finished my first 100,000 paranormal romance draft in June of 2010, with the unique exhilaration of having created a story flowing hot through my veins, I knew.

City Beta: What is it that draws you to having a Scottish Highlander for a hero?
Due to the rugged Scottish Highland terrain, clan disputes, and invasions over the course of their history, the warriors of their time are the quintessential romantic hero.

City Beta: How did you come up with the title of your book?
Upon several days of reflection, I settled on a rhythmic sounding title that captured the essence of the story. The longer name also enabled it to be unique among book titles, which is advantageous to an author.

City Beta: If you could offer one piece of advice to beginning writers, what would it be?
Relax and have fun with every part of the process. Creativity flows from most easily when we’re in our best frame of mind.

Swamp Beta: Who is your favorite character?
Oh, wow. Each of the characters holds a special place in my heart for different reasons. I love them all!

Swamp Beta: Is there anything you had to omit due to length restrictions that you wish you would have included?
My goal was to fit the enormous story into 100,000 words, while choosing the best words and scenes to reflect emotional depth of the characters and the key parts of the story. The pacing is intentionally kept fast and tight to be an edge-of-your-seat page turner. At the end of the novel, there are a few secrets remaining about our story world and Isobel’s exact role in the bigger scheme of things, but those will be revealed at the appropriate time in the other Highland Legends novels.

Swamp Beta: What was the hardest part of the journey for you? The best part?
The hardest part of the journey was receiving rejection letters from agents and publishers in the industry. I eventually took their passes in stride, because I understand the shift in the industry has compelled them to avoid risk. My novel is not your typical cookie-cutter home run, but instead has a unique edge with a story line never before written. Those rejections led to the best part: my decision to self publish, making the manuscript into The Best Book Possible, and having total control over the timing, marketing, and pricing decisions.

Swamp Beta: What’s the best piece of advice you got from each of your betas?
All three of you gave a similar piece of advice in specific different areas of the novel. You each highlighted sections of confusion, which was key in enabling me to tighten up those scenes. Oh, and City Beta’s mantra to show and not tell! And there was something about a car snorting… {dies laughing}

Alpha Beta: You keep your stories a secret from the betas while you draft and edit. Explain your rational behind the zipped lips.
I want you to enjoy the story as readers. If you don’t know any of the details, the twists and turns are a surprise to you, enabling your spontaneous reactions. Those uninformed responses are vital to me as an author to gauge how a reader would receive the story.

Alpha Beta: What’s next for us as betas and the readers? When will we get more Highland Legends to read?
After the promotion period for Forged in Dreams and Magick (releasing September 23, 2013) and the promotion for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe (releasing November 4, 2013), I’ll begin drafting Born of Mist and Legend. I will start writing in earnest in January, so expect to have a story to beta read around April-May of 2014. I intend to release that novel in the fall of 2014. The final novel will follow a similar schedule in 2015.

Alpha Beta: Who’s your book boyfriend? You can’t name your characters.
Hmmm . . . I don’t have book boyfriends. They all pale in comparison to my alpha. :)  However, primal characters with hidden depth are the most intriguing to me, such as Barrons and Ryoden from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series. I’ve also developed a fondness for the more refined, but oftentimes surly master-of-art-and-seduction, Professor Emerson.

~~~

That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the minds of my closest friends and beta readers.

12 more days until Forged in Dreams and Magick releases! Mark your calendars for September 23, 2013!

Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

You can add Forged in Dreams and Magick to your Goodreads to-read shelf here:

Add to Goodreads Button

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, like me on Facebook, and friend me on Goodreads to catch all of the exciting events coming up with Forged in Dreams and Magick and Bound by Wish and Mistletoe!

Thank you for all your support, my friends. I cannot wait to share my exciting world of Highlanders and magick with you.

Until next time . . .

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Transparency in Self-Publishing: The Perfect Book

Good morning, everyone!

Only 2 weeks until the release of Forged in Dreams and Magick!

Which leads into the fourth installment in my weekly series, Transparency in Self-Publishing: The Perfect Book.

The perfect book?

No such thing.

In fact, my supportive husband keeps highlighting typos from bestselling authors to help calm the anal-retentive perfectionist in me. Because at some point, we have to let the book go to get it published.

But . . . we have a variety of tools available to make our book The Perfect Book, or what should be more accurately described as The Best Book Possible.

After all is said and done, and the publishing button is irrevocably clicked, don’t you want your masterpiece to be well written and grammatically correct?

As I mentioned in earlier posts, our published books are out there forever. They are our immortality. Commit early to your level of quality, and hopefully readers will devour your books for decades and beyond.

Below are various resources that helped me write The Perfect Book The Best Book Possible.

Craft and Conferences

If you’ve been following my posts, you know I first began writing in the spring of 2010. As an escape from my Type-A side. The last thing I wanted to do was learn how to write. Nope. The whole writing thing began as a hobby and outlet for my creativity. And so I simply wrote.

After the draft was finished and an inexperienced edit was done (by me, who knew nothing about editing), I thankfully attended a national RWA conference. And promptly buried myself in every craft and editing workshop I could squeeze into my wrinkled, well-perused schedule. From 8am until 5pm for three days straight, I absorbed myself into all things writing, took copious notes, and realized I still had a lot of writing and editing development to do.

I highly recommend attending workshops at conferences. The caliber of talent at the national RWA conference was unparalleled, sage advice being doled out by bestselling authors and other professional experts in the industry.

Still, my aversion to doing anything too formal and outlined governed my learning tendencies. In keeping with my ruling creative, I only retained one or two nuggets of wisdom from each workshop to help improve my fledgling writing.

Writing Contests

Luckily, one of those workshops happened to be about the benefits of writing contests. I have a post from last year dedicated to the topic in Why Writing Contests Matter, which talks about the benefits, drawbacks, and process. But suffice it to say, writing contests were integral for my moving forward with my writing. Knowing key points that needed improvement, such as eliminating repetitive words, avoiding passive voice, and increasing the emotional depth, helped me hone my early craft.

Was it nice to have them praise me for my strong points? Absolutely. But setting aside my ego in favor of learning valuable lessons to improve my writing was the true benefit.

I strongly recommend them, if for no other reason than to get early opinions about your strengths and weaknesses. Later contests were entered with new material, what’s now known as Forged in Dreams and Magick, and I began to final in several, winning two of them. Although I’m immensely grateful for the awards and the validation they provide, the greatest benefit to me was in knowing how much I’d improved as a writer.

Books and Posts on Writing

As someone who did not want to “learn” about writing in a school-type atmosphere (nuts and bolts are too anal-retentive for me), I did shockingly pick up one or two books. Now, truth be told, I only thumbed through and scanned, seeking the get-it-now golden nuggets of wisdom.

Actually, the very first book I ever read about writing was J. R. Ward’s The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide. {laughs} Yes. I am a fan, and it’s mainly about the BDB. But you know what? When I was in the middle of drafting my very first book in the spring of 2010, I read a golden chapter in there entitled “For Writers: Writing Tips, Advice, and the Original Proposal for the Brotherhood.” And then I reread it. As a fledgling writer, it was fascinating to understand the entire process and terminology from draft to published from an author I admired. And one phrase sticks with me as a mantra to this day. “Finish the book.”

Another book whose advice went from thumbed-through pages and into my hungry mind? The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. The absolute two best things I pulled from that book, but there were many others, are the importance of tension and the merits of scene rewriting.

Tension should be everywhere in a good book. If there’s a slow part? If readers (or you) are skimming over something instead of hanging on every word? You are missing tension. In order to create that page-turning, can’t-put-it-down novel, you need emotion and tension woven into each sentence, paragraph, scene, and chapter. Okay. Maybe not every single one. We do want the reader to take a deep breath now and again. But you get the point.

And on the second point, he makes assignments to the readers that involve rewriting scenes. After the internal groaning ended over how long it took me to create the coveted scene in the first place, I realized the exercise creates a talented skill. Soon after, I read a post by Karen Marie Moning (another amazing author I admire) about how she often writes a scene from several different perspectives until one feels so right, she knows she nailed it. Well, hell. If Moning sees value in such massive scene rewrites, so do I. Embrace your inner editor!

Beta Readers

Beta readers are invaluable in the writing process. Usually trusted friends, they are willing to read your manuscript for free and give you their opinion. Done prior to editing, their main role is to find slow areas, missing elements that should be there, or unnecessary inclusions. Ask them to tell you if it sucks. And where. And why. If you insist upon this brazen honesty and can take the brutal truth, your writing and story will be all the better for their invaluable feedback.

You can read more about the topic in my post from January of this year, Beloved Beta Readers.

In my humble opinion, beta readers are a key element in the writing process and an integral part of any writers team.

And keep an eye out this Wednesday! I’m sharing a behind-the-scenes look into my team in The Beta Reader Interview. :)

Online Workshops

This spring, about a month before I sent Forged in Dreams and Magick to my editor, I took an editing workshop. Yes. You read that correctly. Unfortunately, I’m unable to leash my anal-retentive side everywhere. Hey, perfectionism is a valuable asset! So I allowed the overkill to occur.

And you know what? I’m SO glad I took that editing workshop.

The professional-editor instructor reinforced things I already knew and introduced techniques I hadn’t considered on my own. I swept through the manuscript and employed all the new nuggets of wisdom I’d gleaned before I sent it off to my editor.

The result? She said mine was the most polished manuscript she’d ever received. Did I take that as an ego boost? Nope. My extra diligence helped to make the product the readers will hold in their hands The Best Book Possible, which is all that matters to me.

The Price and Value of Editors

A strong reason for doing the Transparency in Self-Publishing series is to help writers understand more of the self-publishing process than I did when embarking upon it. Editing is no exception.

Editing is EXPENSIVE.

There. I hope that saves you from the heart-stuttering sticker shock I had. My editor sensed my unpreparedness and blessedly broke the news to me gently, but I gasped for air nonetheless. And researcher me should have known, as pricing is easy to find online. You will also find that pricing and experience varies significantly. After the sticker shock wore off, I vetted my choices carefully, asking for references and speaking to said references before shelling out the wad of cash for the much-needed service.

How expensive? Well, I was initially thinking $500-1000 for my 100,000 word novel. Perhaps, I’d read an article or two on book lengths of 50,000-70,000 words and hadn’t paid close attention. I truly hadn’t paid much attention at all and just had a lower-than-reality ballpark figure in my head. The cost for the developmental and copy edits was $1,750 for my 100,000 words. That didn’t include proofreading or formatting.

Lucky for me, we had a savings account to dip into. From there, proofreading and formatting seemed a bargain at around $400.

The value of the edits? PRICELESS.

I can’t underscore enough the incredible benefit gained from good editing and proofreading. Sure, they caught every typo and proper hyphen usage I’d missed. And I’m apparently the queen of dangling modifier, emdashes, and ellipses. But even greater than all of those corrections? The continuity issues, plot holes, historical inaccuracies, and conflict issues that were captured and corrected.

Every item corrected through the editing process keeps the reader out of grammar-groaning mode. Instead, they get lost in your engaging story, exactly where you want them to be.

How Much Editing is Enough?

Edits need to happen until you have The Best Story Possible.

I imagine the need varies from writer to writer. Anal-retentive me believes the story should be in the best condition possible prior to every stage.

My beta readers deserved to read a sufficiently edited version. Prior to sending to the professional editor, I swept through the story once on my PC with beta-reader suggestions and a second time on my Kindle. Prior to the proofreader? Yours truly proofread my copy edit changes again on my Kindle, reading every single word of the manuscript from the first page to the last.

A side note here: I find reading the manuscript on my Kindle to be invaluable. I catch many typographical errors and reading-flow issues on my Kindle, and believe reading the manuscript on an e-reader helps our eye catch more flaws.

Why go through all the time and effort of reading through before each professional stage? Isn’t that what they’re paid to do?

Well, that baby is MY manuscript. Anything I can do to polish it to shine, I’m willing to do. No matter the time or effort necessary. If each team member has the manuscript in the best condition possible, then they can make it even better.

As a well-qualified and hard-working team, we publish The Best Book Possible.

~~~

Thank you for joining me for the Transparency in Self-Publishing Series! More on many of the topics can be found in my posts in the Writing Tidbits category, including Seducing Your Story ~ The Magic of Editing

I’ll likely add more posts to this series in the near future, perhaps one on budgeting and another on publishing decisions. Let me know if there is a fresh topic you’d like to see here or one you want expanded upon.

~~~

Also, please mark your calendars for the upcoming posts and events:

9/11 – The Beta Readers’ Interview
9/16 – Forged in Dreams and Magick promotion event begins (organized by AToMR Tours) *
9/21 – Forged in Dreams and Magick launch party hosted by Bookish Temptations (begins 7pm EST on blog and Twitter)
9/23 – Forged in Dreams and Magick RELEASE DAY!
9/23 – ARC Review Tour begins and promotion event continues (through 9/28)

* Any bloggers interested in signing up for the promotion event can still do so by clicking on Forged in Dreams and Magick AToMR Tour link here. Sign-ups for the promotion event will remain active until 9/25. Although the Review Tour portion of the promotion is now closed, reviewers can still obtain review copies either by contacting me through my Kat’s Connections page or by requesting a copy from NetGalley.

A huge thank you to everyone posting the wonderful early reviews of Forged in Dreams and Magick on Goodreads. I greatly appreciate each of you for taking the time to read and review the book. That so many of you love the story and are raving about the writing means the world to me, especially given the effort taken to write the best book possible. I’m incredibly grateful and truly honored.

I shall endeavor to write many more of the best books possible for you to read in the months and years to come.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion