Talk to the Shoe One-Year Blogiversary ~ Celebration and Giveaway

Hello, my friends.

{tosses confetti and streamers}

Shutterstock Celebration with Champagne and Confetti

Happy Blogiversary
Talk to the Shoe!

Has it been an entire year already? So many incredible events happened over the course of these first 52 weeks, it feels like my first blog post went up only yesterday.

To commemorate a bustling year for a blog meant to chronicle my adventures in writing and publishing, I’ve decided to highlight memorable and favorite moments.

{sips champagne with you all and starts the slide show}

My First Blog Post

I was recently asked an interview question by Debra on her blog Words from Across Oceania:
“What do you think about social media as an avenue for getting independent writers out there?”
My answer: ” I think it’s unparalleled.”

On July 20, 2012, I penned my very first blog post:
The Twitter Trap – Social Media: Blessing and Curse.

It’s wonderful to look back at the thoughts and suggestions I gave after being on Twitter for a short six weeks. I’m forever grateful for learning the ropes while trusting my instincts.

Twitter is an unrivaled virtual coffee shop filled with friends just waiting to meet us and chat over a coffee and zero-calorie online danish about the latest web happenings and favorite book boyfriends
. . . or Highlanders . . . or shoes.

And let’s not forget the #StilettoSports discussions!

I’ve made wonderful friends on Twitter in the past year, lasting connections with kindhearted, generous, and supportive people who are there to interact, laugh, and share love.

The Most Popular Blog Post

On August 29, 2012,  something seismic happened . . .
I posted The Lure of the Great Alpha Male.

Wow.

That would be the post that had over 170 hits on my fledgling blog in one day. It also had 46 comments and a fun debate that spilled into Twitter over which of our alpha males was the hottest, resulting in a dead heat between Jericho Z. Barrons and one Gabriel O. Emerson, The Professor. And I still had yet to meet The Professor . . . {laughs}

It was my first post to be reblogged on a fabulous new-to-me back then blog Bookish Temptations. The Lure of the Great Alpha Male is still the most popular daily and weekly post on my blog. It has multiple daily views, and is often the first or second in views for the week. It seems the Lure of the Great Alpha Male is quite undeniable indeed.

Aftershocks from those great alpha males still occurring daily . . . ;)

My First Poem and Utterly Loved

September 12, 2012 brought to the blog and the world a most unexpected development. I created and shared my first poem Heaven… Found. Surprised to have poetry flow from my heart onto the page, I was thrilled when it was reblogged, liked, and shared on Twitter with everyone raving about the sensual poetry.

A burst of poetic creativity followed, which led to the publication of Utterly Loved, a book of romantic poetry for charity which includes a brilliant foreword written by the inspiring humanitarian and New York Times Bestselling Author Sylvain Reynard. Several other poems not included in Utterly Loved can be found in the poetry category on my blog.

A Most Uplifting Post 

On October 17, 2012, I gave a glimpse into who I am and how I live my life along with suggestions on how to increase your optimism in the post Adventures of an Optimist.

Throughout that day and the next, people contacted me on the blog and social media to let me know how my post brightened their day. To know that I helped others by sharing how I strive to be and stay positive made my day . . . and then some.

My First Guest Blog Post

By October of 2012, I’d posted just over dozen blog posts when I received my first invitation to write a guest post on another blog. The guest post, Embracing Sensuality, appeared Tamie’s blog Bookish Temptations for her one-year blogiversary celebration. I was and still am deeply honored to have been included.

A Glimpse of Heroes

In April 2013, in the wake of the devasting bombing at the Boston Marathon, I was invited by Jenn at Argyle Empire to participate in their fundraising efforts for the Red Cross in support of the bombing victims. As a part of those efforts, I shared an experience from my past with the American Red Cross. I revisited that heart-wrenching night and made a plea for donations to the American Red Cross and the Boston One Fund to support those charties in A Glimpse of Heroes. Jenn and Argyle Empire, thank you for wanting me to be a part of such a worthwhile cause.

Charity Support and Awareness Pages

In June of 2013, I became more involved in using my author platform to benefit charities, especially those that fight against human trafficking, by launching the Charity Support and Awareness pages on my blog and website. The page shares my thoughts and feelings, ways we can all help, and links to their various pages.

Highland Legends: Forged in Dreams and Magick

Throughout the entire year, hints and teasers have been posted about my upcoming release, from the series and book names, to the book description, and ultimately to the Cover Reveal on July 9th through AToMR Tours.

Take a peek at the cover described as “lush” and “stunning” and the description one said “hooked me immediately” for my debut Highlander, time-travel, paranormal romance novel Forged in Dreams and Magick.

~ ~ ~

And . . . there’s one more post I’d like to share as we step off memory lane into the future . . .

Teaser for Forged in Dreams and Magick

I’m thrilled to announce that an exclusive teaser for Forged in Dreams and Magick will be posted on Bookish Temptations on Monday, July 22, 2013. In just two days, that teaser post will mark the two month countdown to the release of Forged in Dreams and Magick on September 23, 2013.

Blogiversary Giveaway

I’m giving away a few party favors to commemorate my Blogiversary. Four winners will be chosen by Random.org. Each of the four winners will win a $25 Amazon gift card AND a signed copy of Utterly Loved!

It’s easy to enter. All you have to do is leave a comment on this Blogiversary post OR leave a comment on the Bookish Temptations’ Forged in Dreams and Magick teaser post. That’s it!
And if you leave a comment on each post? You’ll be entered twice! (Only two entries allowed per person.)

Comments until midnight EST on Thursday July 25, 2013 will qualify for entry to win the giveaway.

~ ~ ~

So leave those comments! I’d love to hear about your favorite moments from my blog over the year.

An enormous thank you to all my friends and followers. Your excitement, support, and love along my adventures on the road to published are deeply heartfelt and tremendously appreciated.

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

Love Unfurled

In the wake and current onslaught of Superstorm Sandy, I’m moved to share a poem that inspires giving.  I encourage anyone who is able, please give what you can to those in need and encourage others to do so.

 

Love Unfurled

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Heart is found where connected
Love blooms forth least expected

Round eyes stare in hopefulness
Grace shines warmth in soft caress

Hero grants a selfless gift
Lost no longer left adrift

Saved beam bright adoring smiles
Warriors fight across the miles

Kindness spreads with love unfurled
Peace ignites around the world

© 2012 by Kat Bastion