Toss the Bouquet Charity Event and Giveaway

Happy June, my friends!

June is the most popular month for weddings, and a celebrated wedding tradition is the tossing of the bouquet. The bride, overflowing with love and happiness, tosses her bouquet in a symbolic gesture of sharing her good fortune with others.

How blessed are we with our good fortune? Warm Bed. Hot meals. A safe home. Those who love us. … Freedom.

We are all the bride. (Men, if you can be the groom…if you insist.) ;) This amazing life we live with loved ones and choices is our wedding celebration. {whispers} Yes I know, Uncle Ned is making a spectacle of himself on the dance floor, but oh…what great stories we’ll have to tell later. {nods} The budget nearly popped a seam, but we’ve been showered with gifts and we’re about to pay it forward…

Let’s all Toss the Bouquet this June. Join me in making a beautiful bouquet of the abundant blessings we have and toss it out to the world.

Our flowers will burst into millions of petals, raining love onto those who need it the most. Thoughts, prayers, dreams, and donations all transform into something wonderful for another…all because we tossed a bouquet filled with love.

Bouquet Toss

Toss the Bouquet Charity Event

The Toss the Bouquet Charity Event is to raise awareness and help support charities who fight against human trafficking, a pervasive worldwide tragedy that must be stopped. The problem is enormous. And it’s not “over there” … It’s everywhere.

How can you participate in Toss the Bouquet?

Donate any amount to any of the charities listed on the Charity Support and Awareness page from May 31st through June 15th, 2013. Some of the charities, like Not For Sale and International Princess Project, have stores where you can purchase products to support them. You can do that too!

During the event, I’ve also reduced the price of Kindle and paperback versions Utterly Loved. The romantic book of poetry is shared with the world for charity, its proceeds supporting Covenant House and World Vision. Sylvain Reynard, a humanitarian who inspired me to use my author platform in conjunction with charitable causes, wrote the brilliant and inspiring foreword to Utterly Loved. Be sure to pick up a copy…and perhaps a few to share with others.

Toss the Bouquet Giveaway

The Toss the Bouquet Charity Event is all about helping the charities to help those in need. Mr. Bastion and I also wanted to give everyone participating in the Toss the Bouquet Charity Event a chance to win something special.

We are giving away three items to three lucky winners. One e-book copy of Utterly Loved, one signed paperback copy of Utterly Loved…

Utterly Loved Book Cover

And…one special gift of jewelry from Pandora as a keepsake from the Toss the Bouquet event: Pandora’s sterling silver with 14k gold Love Bouquet charm on Pandora’s sterling silver bracelet.

Pandora Bouquet Charm

To enter the giveaway, email me at giveaways@katbastion.com with your donation receipt of any amount (or a purchase receipt from one of their stores) for any of the charities listed on the Charity Support and Awareness page by midnight June 15th, 2013 and click on the below link to enter the below Rafflecopter giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Authors Supporting The Charities

I would like to mention two authors I met through Twitter who also support charities fighting against human trafficking:

  • Heather Huffman weaves the issue of human trafficking into her stories, is an activist in the cause, and a portion of book proceeds goes toward charities fighting against human trafficking. Read more about her books and human trafficking on Heather’s website.
  • Sylvain Reynard utilizes his author platform to bring awareness and support to many amazing charities, including those fighting against human trafficking. SR wrote a wonderful post a few days ago on his website… “Why Charity?”

Your purchase of their incredible books supports the authors, who in turn support the charities.

Please share this blog post and/or news of the Toss the Bouquet Charity Event and Giveaway with your social media. Encourage your friends and followers to join us in supporting those charities that fight against human trafficking. Let’s set every one of those lost souls free and show them they are utterly loved.

Thank you for your generous hearts, my friends.

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

On the Road to Published…

Hello, everyone!

In recent weeks I’ve been posting weather reports on Twitter from the Highlands.  Every morning before dawn, I race into the woods after my favorite alpha male characters and their feisty heroines, inking their adventures into stories to share with all of you.

If you hadn’t already noticed on either my website or my spirited Twitter posts, I write time-travel paranormal romances set mostly in the medieval Highlands of Scotland.

This fall, I’ll be bringing you the first story in the series.
{vibrates excitedly}

The 2013 Calendar

First Manuscript

The first award-winning manuscript in the series is nearly ready to publish.  Starting next week, I’ll be glued to my keyboard as I incorporate the insightful suggestions made by my beta readers.

In mid-April, the manuscript is going to a wonderful freelance editor.
{cringes, imagining a chainsaw ripping into my work of art} 

A creative summer will be filled with final edits, final proofing, cover art, and arranging a promotional tour.  

The first book is tentatively set for a September 2013 release date.

Holiday Novella

My early morning Twitter weather reports from Inverness, Scotland?

They’ve prepared me for the daily plunge into the snowy forests of the Highlands in a holiday novella I’m also penning for the series. 

Incorporating characters from all three of the longer novels, the novella will release in November of 2013.

Second Manuscript

Furious drafting of the second manuscript has begun.  While chasing after my characters to document their wild adventures, I’ve been typing two to three thousand words a day.

I anticipate an early 2014 release for the second book.

About the Stories

I’ve had such a blast combining my favorite genres–paranormal, romance, and the medieval Highlands–into my writing.  All the stories feature strong characters who go on a journey of self-discovery, finding unexpected love amid their turbulent adventures.

Many themes center on the difficulties in overcoming issues of trust and the rewards of learning acceptance.  Redemption will play a large role in the second and third novels of the series. 

Some of the stories will also highlight the great tragedy of human trafficking set within the timeframe of the stories.  The characters struggle with the grave injustice brought into their lives and learn to survive and thrive in spite of the darkness of their world.

The completed series will tell the stories of three siblings whose lives and clan are affected by a very unique kind of magick.
{refuses to give away spoilers} ;)

ARC Reviews and Blog Tours

Are you a book reviewer? 
Do you love paranormal romance, time-travel, or Highlander romances?

I’ve begun a list for ARC copies.  If you’re a book reviewer interested in reviewing the book for its release, and we’ve not yet spoken, please contact me via Twitter or by email.  I’d love to add you to the list.

If you participate on a blog or with a magazine and wish to be a part of any of the promotional tours, please email me your information and ideas.  I’d love to start building that list and calendar as well.

As I mentioned, I’m anticipating a release of the first book sometime in September 2013 and the novella sometime in November 2013, but will know firmer dates as the months progress.

Donations to Charities

In recent months, traveling along my own road of self-discovery, I’ve become a more selfless creature and strive to continue toward that end every day.

Both World Vision and Covenant House support efforts to fight human trafficking.  In November of 2012, the romantic poetry collection of Utterly Loved, with inspiring foreword by the incredible author and humanitarian Sylvain Reynard, was published to support those worthy charities.

With every other book I publish, a portion of the proceeds will go to an ever-growing list of charities in the hopes of raising awareness and increasing support for those that are lost in this world and in need of our love.

Final Thoughts

Now that I’m chronicling a rowdy clan of Highlanders, my weekly blog posts will transform into spontaneous musings.  I’ll occasionally wander out of the forest for a signal on my electronic devices.

My goals for the year are to get that first book into your hands by early fall and release that novella by the holidays.

Meanwhile, be sure to follow me on Twitter, where I try to say hello at least once or twice daily; “like” me on Facebook; and “friend” me on Goodreads.

Thank you for every bit of enthusiasm and support that you’ve given for my writing and for the charities I support.

Until the next blog post…
{disappears into the Highland mist, notepad and pen at the ready}

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Resolutions… For a Lifetime

Happy New Year!

 

I’ve never made a New Year’s resolution.

Am I an exception to the masses? I’m not sure. Perhaps you could share your thoughts.

 

The idea had always seemed impermanent to me. Anyone I’d ever known who’d made a resolution made an attempt to curb excess of one sinful nature or another, only to abandon said restriction before the next legal holiday.

I’ve never exempted myself from those who have behaviors to modify.  I’m certainly sinful, just as any other person, being human after all, but I’ve never been moved to change with a “resolution.”

Until I had.

Reflecting back on the last few months of my life, I realize the major changes I had ever wanted to make in my life, the person I had always strived to be, had happened.  Events beyond my control flicked on a dusty switch that apparently had always been destined to shine a brilliant light.  I’d blinked in amazement as the darkened world around me suddenly glowed brightly.

Like all things new, however, there will forever be vast room for improvement. Infinite lessons await us as we seek to master… becoming our better self.

Coming off a landmark year for me as far as changes go, I’m embracing the next stage with the strong foundation of the last.  Truly, the first affirmation was admitting to myself that I haven’t changed.

… I’ve transformed.

As I dangle from the safety of my familiar cocoon, the moment has come to fly.  Time to stretch my wings.

I will endeavor to be who I was meant to be… the butterfly.

With beauty and grace, I accept who I am.  I will remind myself daily of what I was meant to do with my fragile life in this harsh and unforgiving world…

To live each precious moment to its fullest
To multi-task less and focus more
To think of others and act so they feel it
To love with all the fire and passion in my heart
To cherish those whose lives I touch
To stand strong amid the darkness and brighten it daily
To believe the smallest kindness matters
To give charitably in thought, word and deed at every opportunity
To honor the vessel in which my heart and soul reside
To write for the love of writing
To spread awareness of those in need of love
To save the world one book at a time…

The last resolution came about from publishing the romantic poems in Utterly Loved, and yet, from that one project, all the other tiny miracles within me strengthened and took hold.  One book pivotally changed me.  The belief in a singular collection of heartfelt poems delivered with a message powerful enough to change our world… transformed me.

Of course, there where many catalysts along the way, for which I am forever grateful… My readiness to accept change toward growth.  The humanitarian efforts of the author who wrote the inspiring foreword for Utterly Loved, Sylvain Reynard. The support of loved ones and new friends made along the way.

I look forward to the path unfolding before me. My journey is not for the year ahead.  The adventure I’m taking will be for a lifetime.

Please join me in embracing a lifetime of resolutions.  Our world will be a better place if everyone commits to spreading love in a place very much in need of the kindness of our hearts.

Begin by purchasing Utterly Loved.  For yourself.  For your friends.  Your library.  Your church.  Share the beautiful poetry with a serious message of saving those in need of everything we have to give.  Daily.

Purchase Utterly Loved in paperback
Purchase Utterly Loved in Kindle edition

So? I’m truly dying to know… 
Have you done New Year’s resolutions in years past?
What are your resolutions this year?
Are you ready to commit to Resolutions… For a Lifetime?
What are your ideas for lifetime resolutions?

Thank you, my friends.  Your support in spreading awareness of charity, in giving all you can to those in need, in purchasing and sharing the news of Utterly Loved, is deeply appreciated.  Have a happy, loving, and prosperous year to come… that you may share your abundance with others.  May love and hope spread like wildfire in our world.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

Oh… {slides back in before you leave}
P. S. ~ I have one more very important resolution to add…
         To keep my desk uncluttered for maximum creative writing flow! :)

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Utterly Loved Release Day!

In true Utterly Loved whirlwind fashion, Utterly Loved with Foreword by Sylvain Reynard surprised us all with a release day less than ten hours after submission instead of 5-7 business days.

Please see the new page on this blog dedicated to Utterly Loved, which can also be accessed under Menu on the left sidebar.

On the page you will find the latest information about Utterly Loved, links to purchase the book, and links to the charities Utterly Loved will be helping.

Please share, like, and comment on the page.

Please share the news of Utterly Loved with all your social worlds.  Together we can make those in desperate need feel… Utterly Loved.

Thank you for all your help and support.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Utterly Loved Foreword Author… Sylvain Reynard

Utterly Loved Book Cover

 

Finally, the Utterly Loved news you’ve been patiently waiting for, and I’ve been keeping secret, can now be shared.

 

I’m humbly thrilled to announce that the foreword author for Utterly Loved is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author and true humanitarian who inspired so many aspects of Utterly Loved… Sylvain Reynard.

In the brilliant foreword of Utterly Loved, Sylvain Reynard eloquently captures the enormous need in the world and inspires abundant generosity like no one else can.

Please read the incredible story of what transpired in Utterly Loved Foreword Author Reveal at Bookish Temptations.

Stay tuned for a schedule of blog tour events and signed copy giveaways for Utterly Loved beginning December 1st as we head into an exciting release week!

Utterly Loved
Where not one dollar will ever line my pocket…
Where your involvement can change the world.

Your humble shoe,

Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion