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

Lost ManCandy: How Copyright Protects Us All

Lost ManCandy: How Copyright Protects Us All

© 2012 – by Kat Bastion

(DISCLAIMER: None of the following is legal advice. The following is merely food for thought from your new favorite shoe.)

Where did all the tasty blog ManCandy go?

Sadness had filled my Twitter timeline. Sobs and moans were heard as bloggers deleted photo after photo of their favorite celebrity’s abs and pecs. Many changed their hard-body avatars. People pulled down a black veil over their face in mourning.

It came to light, that a court case had been settled regarding copyright infringement. A photographer took an author and fellow blogger to task when she, like so many others have, unknowingly violated copyright law by using photos others had posted on the internet.

Ripples of panic and sorrow were felt throughout the Twittersphere…and still are.

Everyone who’s heard the news has been deleting or replacing photos on their blog sites. Many closed down their Pinterest and Tumblr accounts. The one who went to court? She paid money she didn’t have for her unknowing infringement on the artist’s copyright. A difficult lesson learned by one of us should be heeded by all.

I jumped on Google to see what kinds of photos you can use without permission. The muck I had to wade through was astonishing. Just in the last decade, organizations have attempted to clarify what is and isn’t fair use with regard to an artist’s work. I found guidelines posted from entities (for their users) ranging from Wikipedia to Stanford (for their reporters.)

Why all the gray area? Fair use has some ambiguity. It’s left up to a judge to decide.

Today, on my Twitter feed, someone posted a super hot photo of Channing Tatum on Pinterest. {fans self}

Hmmmmm… Could she have found a loophole in the rules? Did her post fall under “fair use”? Or maybe she hadn’t heard. The photo had a GQ watermark on it. Maybe that’s okay, then. Right?

Wrong.

My brief research revealed that if the use of a photo falls under the “fair use” portion of copyright law, it may be okay to use a celebrity’s photo without the celebrity’s permission, however it is not okay to use without the photographer’s permission. In this particular case, it would be GQ’s permission. Go to GQ’s website and read their disclaimer at the bottom. You cannot use any material without written permission.

There are other issues at stake besides just copyright that I came across. Anyone in a photograph, celebrity, or otherwise, could sue for privacy violation if they didn’t give you written permission to post a photo publicly. If you took a photograph with your favorite celebrity, and there were twenty fans in the picture, technically the celebrity and the twenty fans would have to give you written permission to have their face plastered onto the internet.

What a bummer. Photos are such a beautiful compliment to our writing. In an 800 word blog, your picture gets to also say a thousand.

So what do we do?

  • We take and post our own beautiful photos. If there are other people in that photo, make sure you have their written permission to make the photo public. Watch out for minors! Make sure you have their parents’ or guardians’ permission.
  • We get permission from photographers and periodicals when they have a photo we absolutely have to use. And we prepare ourselves to pay for that use.
  • We use photos that give us express permission to do so, with the type of licensing granted (like creative commons on Flickr), and make sure we follow their licensing guidelines.

Seem like too much work?

I’ve heard violators have paid $4,000.00 for a copyright infringement and can pay upwards to $25,000.00. So, we have to ask ourselves, how much is posting that photo properly worth.

Copyright Protects Us All

There is a silver lining in all this rapid education. I hope that with all the blogging and re-educating, we realize that as writers and authors, we want our work to be protected just as much as the photographer. The moment our words are inked, they belong to us.

Copyright empowers the artist to say how their work is used and who has the right to do so. The law enables us to stop the piracy of our carefully crafted work of art. After months and years we spend to get that one story out there, perhaps we can appreciate how the photographer feels.

Every time I think of the ManCandy we’ve all lost, I’m going to take heart in the protections we’ve gained. And…watch the DVD I will have purchased of Magic Mike any time I need a good dose of my paid for ManCandy. {laughs}

Happy safe blogging!

Kat

© 2012 – by Kat Bastion