Holiday Reading Treats and Blog Stocking-Stuffer Giveaways!

Do you feel the crisp bite in the air?

Are fragrant pine boughs scenting your living rooms and ginger-spiced lattes warming your mugs?

When you close your eyes, do visions of quiet corners with captivating books dance in your head?

{sings} It’s the mooost wonderful time…of the year…

What books will you be stuffing into stockings and your e-reader this holiday season?

Recent 5 Star Favorites of Mine…

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire ~ On sale for $1.99!

The Thrill of It by Lauren Blakely

The Weight of Words by Georgina Guthrie ~ Seriously, people. I can’t believe this wonderful book is only $2.99.

Also, Frontline by Alexandra Richland is a great action-adventure romance (a favorite genre) ~ And it’s going on blog tour from December 2nd through the 16th hosted by AToMR Tours!

One I’ve Been Waiting All Year For?

Gabriel’s Redemption by Sylvain Reynard. It releases tomorrow! You can pre-order through most online retailers.

Other Exciting Happenings:

MistletoeMadness

The exciting Mistletoe Madness holiday-themed tour jointly hosted by That’s What I’m Talking About and The Book Nympho starts today! Fun author guest posts and outtakes will help promote their recent holiday releases. 

My Mistletoe Madness post will be on That’s What I’m Talking About on December 10th, a fun outtake from Skorpius. I’m giving away a signed set of my two Highland Legends Series books, Forged in Dreams and Magick and Bound by Wish and Mistletoe for the event.

Also, Biblio Belles launched their newly merged website, and they’re having a fabulous Kick-Off Giveaway, including a signed set of  Forged in Dreams and Magick and Bound by Wish and Mistletoe. Be sure to follow their blog and enter for a chance to win one of over 100 prizes.

Martini Times Romance celebrates their one-year blogiversary December 16th-31st by hosting the “Giveaway That Gives Back” to benefit the Star of Hope Mission. I’ve donated a signed set of books (and perhaps a reader email interview) to the wonderful charitable cause.

Sabina’s Adventures in Reading is hosting a December Giveaway, including eBook copies of Forged in Dreams and Magick and Bound by Wish and Mistletoe

UPDATE (as of 12/9/13): Another new giveaway is MsRomanticReads Christmas Giveaway. 60 books are being given away, including a signed set of Forged in Dreams and Magick and Bound by Wish and Mistletoe.

Great Stocking & E-Reader Stuffers

Of course, if you haven’t yet discovered one (or all) of my books yet, I hope you take the time to do so this holiday season.

A portion of net proceeds of all of my books go to the charities outlined on my Charity Support and Awareness page.

All three titles are Amazon Best Sellers with 4.5-5 star ratings, making excellent gifts for yourself or loved ones.

Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe Cover

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Utterly Loved Book Cover

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Giving Thanks and Sharing the Bounty

A huge thank you to everyone who shared the news and purchased versions of my books last week in support of the charities. The books sold in all formats during the week totaled 171, resulting in just over $400 in net proceeds going toward the charities. Your enthusiasm and support for me and the incredibly worthy causes is greatly appreciated.

Have a safe and wonderful time this holiday season. Bring an unexpected smile to someone. Give when and where you can.

Escape the craziness of reality with a good book! Or a few!

And help us all find other fabulous books!

What books will you be gifting to yourself and others?

:)

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Self Discovery: A Theme in Forged in Dreams and Magick

Hello, my friends!

On October 1st, Forged in Dreams and Magick skyrocketed up the Amazon Best Seller’s list, reaching as high as #4 Scottish. It remained in the top ten for five consecutive days and has remained in the top twenty ever since. Yesterday and today it climbed yet again, hanging out in the top ten as high as #8 with the likes of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books.

October 1st also happened to be the day when a guest post I wrote, “Self-Discovery: A Theme in Forged in Dreams and Magick” appeared on Nikki’s blog, Ramblings of a Chaotic Mind.

Why is Forged in Dreams and Magick‘s ranking important to Self-discovery?

As I briefly alluded in my Goodreads profile, the last year and half has been a time of soul searching for me. Transitioning from a creature of selfish to one of selfless. Giving before receiving. Abandoning my ego, which had a firm hold of me, and looking outward to find meaning in life. Those who have read the quotes on my Twitter timeline and in Utterly Loved can see the mantras that have come from my odyssey. They are still my guiding thoughts.

I am… Always the student, seeking to master.

Well, it’s my personal self-discovery that led me to allocate a percentage of the net profits of all my books to select charities that fight against the tragedy of human trafficking. The more successful Forged in Dreams and Magick is, the greater my ability to help those who are lost in this world find their way home again.

You are all in this with me. I thank you for your kindness and generosity. I’m thrilled Forged in Dreams and Magick is doing so well, and I hope it continues so together we can make a huge difference in this world.

Here is the link to the guest post:

Self-Discovery: A Theme in Forged in Dreams and Magick

 

Should you want to buy a copy of Forged in Dreams and Magick, below are some easy links:

 

Easy Links: Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

Amazon Kindle
Nook
Kobo
All Romance eBooks

Amazon paperback

Add to Goodreads Button

 

Thank you for your support, my friends! Every Twitter RT, shoutout, share, post, buy, review, and each time you tell a friend about Forged in Dreams and Magick helps tremendously. I’m grateful beyond words.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

A Glimpse of Heroes

In a week of events that rocked our lives and caused great suffering, heroes emerged to help those in need during the tragedies of the Boston Marathon 2013 and the Texas plant explosion. 

My continued thoughts, prayers, and support go out to everyone affected and all the heroes who helped the victims…and risked and gave their lives.

I have a story I’d like to share for the first time.  Also, I’m providing information again for you to help in the fundraiser for the American Red Cross and The One Fund Boston.  Please help in any way you can.

A Glimpse of Heroes in Action

One fateful night many years ago, I caught a glimpse of heroes in action that had such an enormous impact on me; I still remember every vivid detail.

I’d signed up to go on a police ride-along. 

Of course, I’d chosen a night shift, as I wanted to see the brave officers chase down a suspect and handcuff him.  Or at least…be in a speeding car with sirens blaring and lights twirling as we neared one hundred miles an hour to catch the bad guy.

I was given a basic safety rundown by my assigned officer and made to understand my role during the course of my ride-along.  I was strictly an observer.  Should anything bad go down, especially bullets flying, I was to follow the officer’s instruction without hesitation, remain in the safety of the police car if possible, and stay out of their way.

The first hour went by.  Not even one single call came out over the radio.  My images of excitement drifted to officers congregating at the corner doughnut shop, and I began to empathize with them.  My hope, you see, wasn’t for criminal acts to happen during my ride-along…only that the crimes statistically being committed as we drove around in the midnight hour would be noticed, and we would be the ones to apprehend them.

Then it happened.  An event beyond any of my imaginings for that night unfolded and my life was forever impacted.  Many lives were forever impacted, far greater than mine, that night.

A fire had broken out in a multi-building apartment complex.  When we arrived, a raging fire had engulfed an upper corner of a thirty-unit two-story building.  Adjoining units had black smoke pouring out of every vent and opening.  The police officers were the first to arrive on the scene.

My assigned officer pointed out various places I could stay safe amid the mayhem, but allowed me to wander freely, as he ran off with two other officers.

An observer.  It’s what I was, and it was surreal watching each participant execute their roles as if born to them.

So many things happened simultaneously, I stood there for a while in shock as I witnessed the events unfold.

The three officers systematically raced from unit to unit, both upstairs and down.  They pounded on doors and escorted residents to safety as they cleared the building.  Within minutes, several laddered fire trucks arrived, the sounds of their sirens blaring into the night.

The sound of a fire destroying a building is unlike any other as it roars, things inside creaking and moaning, snapping and exploding.  The smell is noxious and choking and fills your nostrils no matter how far away you stand.  The heat is overwhelming and you find yourself backing up to a tolerable and survivable distance.  Glowing cinders fly up in the direction of the wind…or sometimes wherever they’re shot to…and soot rains down from the sky.

Although I’m sure everyone in the surrounding buildings watched the rising orange flames and felt the intense heat as the fire devoured everything it touched, I didn’t notice them.  I noticed the ones who’d lost their homes.

I remember one college-aged man who stood there staring in shock.  I walked up next to him, and he glanced at me with a forlorn look on his face. 

“I lost everything,” he said. 

“Did you have renter’s insurance?” I asked, hoping to help, if only to talk to him. 

“No,” he replied.  “It wouldn’t have done any good anyway.  I lost thousands of dollars in photography equipment, but ten times that value was in the photos I’d taken over many years.”

“I’m so sorry,” I said. 

Condolences for his loss were all I could give, but I gave them anyway.  It didn’t matter that I’d been relegated to an observer in the situation; my heart went out to that man.

Our attention diverted to a firefighter who burst out from a doorway.  Thick black smoke poured out, as if chasing after him.  He stumbled forward in the heavy tan protective gear they wore and pulled the helmet off his head, tossing it onto the grass.  His captain, dressed in a navy t-shirt and cargo pants, jogged over as his firefighter doubled over, bracing his hands on his knees, sweat pouring from his face while he sucked in the cool night air.  The captain pointed at another firefighter, and the man put on his helmet and ran into the same opening, taking the place of the one who’d tagged himself out of the ring.

A paramedic ran over with his kit seconds later, but the firefighter waved him off, shaking his head.  I stood another thirty feet beyond them and felt the heat from my distance.  I could only imagine what that firefighter was going through, overcome by the heat of being inside that building.

My officer waved an arm at me, approaching.  I followed him behind the building, walking with a respectful wide berth around the smoking side of the building as he explained they’d been making sure the scene was secure and intended to remain there unless called away.

The parking lot behind the building had changed.  A couple dozen families stood back there, clinging to each other.  All of them looked lost.  Many were crying, including grown men.  My heart lurched for them.

One little girl’s cries rose above the roar of the fire. 

From the driveway side of the parking lot, a lone woman walked up to the group.  The woman was a volunteer from the American Red Cross. 

Did she wear a red vest?  I don’t recall.  All I remember was the teddy bear she held up as she walked.  The crying from the toddler stopped instantly, and she walked up to the stuffed animal being offered to her and embraced it.  Tears filled my eyes as I watched.  (They’re in my eyes again now as I type, a cramp at the base of my throat.)

Every adult standing there slowly gravitated toward the little girl and the woman, drawn to a shining beacon of hope in their disastrous night. 

I stayed to the fringes and out of the way, but I heard what that American Red Cross volunteer said to them.  She’d arranged for a place to stay for the rest of the night, where they would have somewhere to sleep, something to eat, and fresh clothes to change into; she asked if any needed medications and if any had any special health considerations; and she mentioned that she had resources for them to begin rebuilding their lives one step at a time once they made it through the night.

That American Red Cross worker pulled two dozen families from their shock and devastation and offered to help them in their time of crisis.

While the police secured the scene, and as the firefighters put out the blaze, the American Red Cross led the victims to a place of safety and recovery.  All of those heroes worked together in a scene that happens every day and night all across our country and around the world.

I’m forever grateful to have gotten a glimpse of true heroes in action and be able to share the story with you.  It’s led to my support of the American Red Cross throughout the years and I hope it inspires you to support them as well.  Whether the disaster is natural or man-made the American Red Cross is there to help. 

I hope none of us ever suffer a disaster, but should we find ourselves in need, look for that American Red Cross worker.  They are there for you.

Support The American Red Cross

There’s a special fundraiser still ongoing through the end of the month to help those impacted by the tragedies of the Boston Marathon 2013 and the Texas plant explosion.  I encourage you to participate by donating and entering the contest.  I’ve done both, and should I win the giveaway, I intend to give away the rare set of books signed by Sylvain Reynard to a very special person who would be over the moon to receive them and was personally affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy.

Here are ways you can help and information about the fundraiser and giveaway:

1. Please donate to the American Red Cross, who responds to those in need of support when disaster strikes.

2. According to a recent Tweet from the American Red Cross, “To help people most affected by the tragic events in Boston on 4.15.13 visit theonefundboston.org #BostonMarathon”

Click on The One Fund Boston link to donate and learn more.

Also, I’d like to share with you the following message from my friend Jenn at Argyle Empire…

In response to the tragedy in Boston, Argyle Empire is hosting a fundraiser to aid the American Red Cross.

Given that part of the Gabriel series is set in Boston, we felt it was an appropriate thing to do.

If people donate at least $5.00 to the American Red Cross and/or The One Fund Boston and email a copy of their receipt to me at jenn@argyleempire.com, they can enter a giveaway by visiting argyleempire.com. SR has agreed to sign UK edition copies of both Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture for the winner.

The fundraiser will run between now and April 30. The winner will be selected on May 1 and notified by May 3.

If you could help us promote this, that would be great. If you would like to donate and enter the giveaway, please feel free to do so. This is really about helping out the charity, after all.

Thank you all for all the donations you’ve made so far.  Keep them coming and please spread the word through your social channels.  They’ve already raised over $1,500 in five days.  Their goal is $2,500 by May 1st.  Shall we knock everyone’s socks off and make it a cool $5,000? 

It’s by stepping out and embracing others with love that we shine a bright light of hope in our world.

Thank you for being heroes, my friends.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

The Boston Marathon ~ Support the American Red Cross and The One Fund Boston

Times of tragedy pull together community. 

In the wake of the Boston Marathon, the impact of a heinous attack on innocent people—sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandparents, friends—ripples across the world to affect us all.  Boston, in every way, is our town.  Our city.  Those are our friends and family that have been hurt and killed.

As we take a deep breath to count our blessings and embrace our loved ones, please join me in helping those who need our support.

We can help in two ways:

1. Please donate to the American Red Cross, who responds to those in need of support when disaster strikes.

2. According to a recent Tweet from the American Red Cross, “To help people most affected by the tragic events in Boston on 4.15.13 visit theonefundboston.org #BostonMarathon”
Click on The One Fund Boston link to donate and learn more.

Also, I’d like to share with you the following message from my friend Jenn at Argle Empire…

In response to the tragedy in Boston, Argyle Empire is hosting a fundraiser to aid the American Red Cross.

Given that part of the Gabriel series is set in Boston, we felt it was an appropriate thing to do.

If people donate to the American Red Cross and/or The One Fund Boston and email a copy of their receipt to me at jenn@argyleempire.com, they can enter a giveaway by visiting http://www.argyleempire.com/. SR has agreed to sign UK edition copies of both Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture for the winner.

The fundraiser will run between now and April 30. The winner will be selected on May 1 and notified by May 3.

If you could help us promote this, that would be great. If you would like to donate and enter the giveaway, please feel free to do so. This is really about helping out the charity, after all.

Thank you so much for helping, my friends.  Please spread the word through your social channels.  Please donate and help in any way you can.

It’s by stepping out and embracing others with love that we shine a bright light of hope in our world.

I’m off to send in my donation!

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Code of Honor

In today’s modern age, when a chivalrous knight appears to protect us from harm, we’re reminded of the value of honor.

Just yesterday such a thing happened to me.  Out of nowhere, a hero stepped up to protect me and had been protecting others in the same manner.

There is no benefit or gain to be had on the hero’s part—only a deep and underlying need to do the honorable thing.  The right thing.

Our society is in dire need of those who adhere to a code of honor.  Honor goes beyond the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. 

Honor is recognizing a wrong and doing what you can to make it right. 

Honor is seeing someone in distress…and offering aid. 

Honor is treating others as human beings.

Honor is protecting and supporting the emotional welfare of another.

Honor is respecting the rights of others.

Honor is thinking of another’s needs above our own.

In the harsh world in which we live, where there are villains and natural disasters we cannot always avoid, it’s a bright shining ray of hope when heroes adhere to a code of honor.  But they are not rare…they are everywhere.  We need but only open our eyes.

We become the hero when we step outside ourselves to be aware of and protect others in all ways.  Our loved ones and friends are there for us, looking out for us…even when we do not see the imminent danger.  Warriors, in the form of our military, firefighters, and law enforcement, go out and do battle to protect us and our way of life without ever having met us.

Romance celebrates the code of honor.  We cannot love if we do not step outside of ourselves and extend our hearts to another.  One of my favorite aspects of writing and reading romance is the honor that the characters display…because honor stems from a place of love.

When the hero swoops in to prevent disaster…

When the girl bares her heart to save the wounded man…

When the friend takes a risk to save another…

The road is paved for everyone to seize their happily ever after.

Thank you to all the heroes out there and everyone who celebrates them.  May we all continue to celebrate the code of honor within our hearts, in our friends and loved ones, and in every warrior we’ve never met who protects us in ways we cannot fathom.

We teach honor through actions…may its treasure spread like wildfire.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

World Poetry Day ~ On Highland Time

In celebration of World Poetry Day (Thursday, March 21st, 2013), I created a poem that’s a teaser of my upcoming series.

It also happens to coincide with how I wake up every morning…

 

On Highland Time

A clock can’t hold the sands of time
The world hides vast dimensions
When mist burns off the heathered hills
Revealed are Highland Legends

 

Tricky how I worked the name of my upcoming series in there, don’t you think? {grins}

Actually, it’s a bit of a poetic synopsis.  Has anyone ever done a synopsis by poem?  I’m not sure, so there you have it, my friends.  Perhaps we just made history together.  And all for World Poetry Day.

Which brings me to my next thought…

Have you bought your copy of Utterly Loved yet?  Have you bought copies for friends and family? Celebrate poetry and share your gift with the world through the charities Utterly Loved supports, World Vision and Covenant House.  Be inspired by the brilliant foreword written by the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Sylvain Reynard.

Below are a few links where you can purchase copies of Utterly Loved.

Utterly Loved for Nook
Utterly Loved for Kindle
Utterly Loved in paperback on Amazon

Thank you for your continued support with Utterly Loved and the charities that each purchase supports.

As far as the Highland Legends series goes, stay tuned for an announcement of the names of all four book titles in the series…

Thank you for sharing in the love of poetry and romance, my friends.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion