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:

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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

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

Beloved Beta Readers

Hello, everyone.

As you all know, or will now be finding out, I’m a paranormal romance writer that stumbled into poetry accidentally with Utterly Loved.

I’m back in the saddle (my office chair), my fingers flying on the keyboard with a new paranormal romance story.  My new work-in-progress (WIP in writer lingo) is a holiday novella woven into the story lines of the series.  After that, it will be on to writing the second in the series.  I can’t wait to write the amazing stories unfolding in my head.

You’re probably all wondering:  What happened to the first story?

It’s currently a polished manuscript.  I’ve scheduled a freelance editor to edit the piece in the beginning of February.  If all goes well, the book will be published early to mid-summer.

In the meantime?  It’s with four beta readers.

Who are these beta readers?

They are dear trusted friends who love to read.

Collectively, they…
Held my hair in college when I hurled at the bar
Were the first to tell me, “That’s the story you need to write”
Consoled me when I was frustrated
Wiped away the tears
Cheered the successes
Sometimes know me better than I know myself

These are my people.  The ones I rely on.  My closest confidants.

I only decided last week to take each of them up on their offer to read my story.  This  project has been a part of my life for two years.  They are the ones who’ve shared my ups and downs along the way.  

I finally got the courage to let go and give my heart and soul to them.

Why now?

I had an enlightening hour-long conversation with a best-selling author who shared with me the value of her beta readers and why they’re so important to her.  She said they’re the only ones who truly know her.  Her most important goal was for them to be honest with her and, where warranted, tell her, “This sucks.”

We both laughed.  But the impact of what she said sank in.  She further explained how they will see things we can’t.  We writers are too close to our work to see certain things we need to know.  If we want to publish a page-turning story, one the reader can’t put down and thinks about long after they have, we have to know if there are slow sections, missing parts, or extraneous, excellently written fluff.

I decided she was right.  My friends wanted to be a part of the process.  Each of them had voiced that sentiment to me.  I also realized no one else would do.

They will all laugh when they read this blog post.  I impressed upon each of them to please relax, read, and enjoy the story.  But they had better tell me if they hit a slow part.  I demanded they tell me if any part of it sucked.  I have every confidence they will.  If it’s ever really bad, I hope they please break it to me gently over a drink. {laughs}

The really amazing thing for me?  They’re all from different backgrounds.  I’ve got swamp and city.  All are highly educated and intelligent, but some are analytical and some are creative.  Only one of them reads books in my paranormal romance genre.  One tells me they will give me their opinion when they are finished reading.  (I’m dying of suspense.)  Another is telling me chapter-by-chapter her thoughts.

So far? My chapter-by-chapter (non-paranormal-romance) girl is giving me such incredibly exciting feedback, I’m having to repeatedly ask her, “Are there any slow parts? Anything missing or extra?”  She’s replied with a resounding “NO!”

Her texts have said…
“I am speechless…”
“Never saw that coming!”
“You have this supernatural ability to take the reader to the edge of a heightened emotion and then drop them immediately into another.”
“I’m having to force myself to stop reading.  The flow…epic! Just when one scene is finishing up, another one, just as vital, comes into play.”
“It’s the perfect flow of detail and plot movement.”

She’s even dubbed the hero, a Highlander, “Scotty McHotty” … I just… {dies laughing}

I’m very interested to hear my other beta reader opinions.  I value them all. 

Thank you, my beloved beta readers.  I’m so very grateful for your friendship and support.  Don’t go easy on me.  Find me something that sucks…please!

It’s important to mention, that I have a fifth beta reader, my husband.  He read my manuscript months ago.  As my best friend, he told me where it sucked.  He also pulled me up out of my office chair the moment he finished, grabbed me by the shoulders, and stared at me hard as he said, “Anyone who ever tells you that you don’t have what it takes has no idea what they’re talking about.” 

Damn, I love that man, for both telling me where it sucked and convincing me I have talent.  That is why I love my friends.  They excel by having my back in every way needed… The love and the tough love.

My goal is to give you, the reader, the very best story possible.  I hope to transport you into an amazing story filled with medieval Highlanders, ancient Picts, magick, and a few other surprises I’m not yet ready to spoil for you.

Stay tuned for more updates on the upcoming release and my adventures in writing, editing, and publishing along the way.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Book Recommendations From a Finicky Reader

I LOVE reading.  That said, I choose not to read while writing.  My reading abstinence helps me maintain my voice and stay motivated. {whispers} I’m easily distracted.

By the time I’m finally able to read, I’m starving for really great books. I search for the phenomenal reads.  If I find a paranormal romance? I’m in heaven.

After months of editing my paranormal romance manuscript last year, I took my first reading break in late September and read many spectacular books over the holidays. Most were outside my preferred genres.  The experience of stepping outside my comfortable reading box was highly rewarding.  I encourage everyone to do the same.

Books that blew me away among a field of a dozen very good books:

Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard (Romance)
Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard (Romance)
Iced by Karen Marie Moning (Fantasy)
Wallbanger by Alice Clayton (Comedy/Romance)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Young Adult/Fantasy)

My first read in late September? Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard. I chose well. In the beginning few pages, compelling writing drew me into the world of Gabriel’s Inferno while I sat in the middle of a chaotic airport. Over the course of a week, I fell in love with the characters, the story, and the author.  Gabriel’s Inferno  instantly became my favorite book and Sylvain Reynard my favorite author. Why? The complexities are great as to the reasons. It’s written differently, which I enjoyed.  The references to art and culture are so plentiful and detailed, I became a student in the professor’s class. Gabriel’s Inferno is a captivating sensual and poignant journey of love, hope and redemption written in a delightfully artistic manner.  A must read.

My second read? Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard, of course. I needed more of Gabriel and Julia.  Sylvain Reynard’s second book did not disappoint. Complex storylines emerged and wove together taking the reader on the ultimate journey of self-sacrifice, hope and love. The main character’s continuing transformation in this book, from a man past all hope of redemption to one who has been saved through love of many kinds, is an amazing must read.

The book I’d been waiting almost two years for? Iced by Karen Marie Moning.  I’ll admit I began reading with equal parts excitement and apprehension, as this is the first book in a spin-off series after her phenomenal Fever Series.  Could Moning match the stellar writing and intriguing story from the Fever Series?  Suffice it to say, she eclipsed it.  I couldn’t put the book down.  Her imagination is incredible and her writing and vivid imagery are flawless; you are there in her world. I highly recommend this book if you love fantasy, but to get the full effect, you may want to read her five-book Fever Series first.

A surprise love? Wallbanger by Alice Clayton. I didn’t think I was a fan of romantic comedy. Apparently, I am a huge fan of Alice Clayton’s brand of laughter and love.  What began as Caroline’s midnight irritation, turned into her neighbor’s well-earned nickname, and evolved into a wonderfully fun love story.  I fell in love with the characters and story through Clayton’s well-written humor. Even Clive, the heroine’s cat, had me in stitches.  What captured me the most in Wallbanger is the way the comedy endeared you to the characters.  I share the same sense of humor with the characters and found the exchanges very relatable. I wanted to be at their dinner parties.  In fact, I now find I want to go to Spain.  And bake… :)

An even bigger surprise? Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, my first Young Adult genre read. I’d never ventured into Young Adult, but was not disappointed.  It quickly became clear to me that Laini Taylor is a very special author.  She writes fantasy, a genre that I love, flawlessly.  The story was unique and fresh.  The way she unfolded events had me page-turning until the very end.  If you like fantasy, or even paranormal, I highly recommend this book.

All five of those incredible books are now cherished stories on my Kindle that I’ll be reading again when the time is right.  I hope you enjoy their well-written heartfelt stories as well.  Thank you to all the authors for sharing your imaginative worlds with us.

I’m adding those reviews to my Goodreads Page, which I’m still learning to navigate.  {laughs}  Stop by there and say hello! :)

Please share your thoughts.  What other stellar books have you read?  I need to start a list for my next writing break later this year!

Have a wonderful time reading, my friends!

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Hold Onto Your Panties! A Pantster Is On The Loose!

Hold Onto Your Panties, People! A Pantster Is On The Loose!

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Yes. You heard right. I… am a pantster.

An elusive breed of writer who lays track without really knowing where they’re going?

Well… not exactly.

My blog and website’s About Kat page, gives you clues about why I write the way I do.
{thinks you should read my About Kat page…highly stimulating…laughs}

But, the nuts and bolts of it?

I’m a recovering Type A personality. Anal retentiveness, OCD, and perfectionism… Oh. My. You think I want anything to do with plotting, planning, and outlining like plotters do? Hell. No.

In mid 2010, lighting struck in the middle of the night, as my creativity tends to do, and I started writing. By hand. In a notebook. With a pen. I had no idea until I’d finished that manuscript that I wrote as a pantster. Although, when I found out, I smirked. What a perfect description for unruly and slightly naughty me. {laughs}

What’s it like to write like a pantster?

Well, for me, it’s like a movie reel begins to roll. Action. Dialogue. Tension. It’s all there. The scenes unfold for me, and I’m writing by the seat of my pants trying to download everything as it flies by in my mind. At the beginning, and for a good part during the story, I have no idea what’s going to happen next. To me? The unfolding of the mystery makes the process of writing an adventure ride like no other.

Of course, when I begin, I do have a basic idea of where I’m going. I have a hero and heroine and a setting. I’ve already decided in my head their personalities and the challenges they’ll face coming together. And, I do write romance, so I know they’ll end up together in the end. It’s the exact path they take, which turns they’ll make along the way, and who or what will hijack them in the process that I have to discover as I travel the path along with them.

The advantages to being a pantster:

  • My need for a creative outlet is satisfied. The moment a story idea sprouts, I sit down and let my fingers fly. There are no writing “structures” slowing me down.
  • My drafting speed is super-hero fast. I’ve typed drafts of over 100,000 words, only a few hours a day, in two to three months.
  • I can’t wait to write. Every. Single. Time. Because I don’t know what’s going to happen in any given writing block, I’m like a kid on Christmas morning, vibrating in excitement to be able to write.

The dis-advantages to being a pantster:

  • An outline and basic character/prop guide is a must on the re-write. One to three summary lines per chapter is helpful on when I go back in to polish the piece. The outline serves as a reference to be able to insert scenes or add character depth where needed. It also ensures I’m going from beginning to end in the best way possible.
  • Re-write of the draft takes MUCH longer than a plotter (or so I’ve heard.) Sometimes, I’m re-writing whole scenes because the chapter opened wrong. Occasionally, that results in having to tweak the whole chapter to make it flow right.
  • No shower is sacred anymore. {sighs} Showering has become a group event for me. I don’t know if it’s all the hot water and lathering, or the acoustics of the tile surround, but my mind seems to become a receiver for ideas I’ve been knocking about in my head. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve dashed out of the shower, soaking wet, towel barely draped around me, as I fly across the house to my computer to get the New-York-Times-Best-Seller-List-Worthy scene out of my head.

Even though there are a few disadvantages to being a pantster, I wouldn’t do it any other way. I thoroughly enjoy the longer time it takes to re-write. I even edit on a micro-level like a pantster, only on the second time around, I let a good dose of my perfectionism seep into the manuscript. The feeling of pride about what I create makes that slow-and-steady combination worthwhile.

The bottom line for me? Every single time I write, I’m having a blast. And, I whole-heartedly believe…

If you aren’t having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Be sure to follow my blog to see what adventures this pantster is up to next. And, if I were you, I’d hold onto those panties tight. Any time I’m around, they are at serious risk.
Or…like I sometimes do… go commando. {winks}

Happy writings and readings, everyone!

Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion