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

Giving Thanks and Sharing the Bounty

Hello, my friends.

During a week of giving thanks for blessings, two writing milestones are occurring. In celebration of the occasion, I’ve decided to share with others first.

What milestones?

Due to the wonderful support and enthusiasm for Forged in Dreams and Magick, not only has the title remained on the Amazon Best Seller lists since October 1st, but this week, the dollars slid from red into the black. Forged in Dreams and Magick broke even this weekend.

This week also marks the one year anniversary of the release of Utterly Loved, a book of poetry shared with the world for charity. More about Utterly Loved can be found here.

When we come together for Thanksgiving, it’s to share our bounty with others. As my Charity Support and Awareness page explains, I’m sharing portions of my proceeds with charities.

But this week?

Charities get the first slice of the pie. And then some.

They will get ALL of the net proceeds. From now through this Sunday, net proceeds of all three books, Forged in Dreams and Magick, Bound by Wish and Mistletoe, and Utterly Loved, in every format, will go to charity.

Please join in on the celebration by sharing the news with your friends, family, and social media. If you haven’t yet purchased digital or paperback copies for yourself or others, please consider doing so this week. All three of the Amazon Best Sellers are well priced and make wonderful gifts.

Below are the book descriptions and several easy links for your convenience. Digital versions are available at most online locations.

 

Forged in Dreams and Magick

The award-winning #1 Amazon Best Seller…

Chosen by Fresh Fiction as their Fresh Pick for October 22, 2013:

Isobel MacInnes wakes up in present-day California, lunches in medieval Scotland, and by ten days’ end, falls in love with a man and his country, only to lose them in a heart-wrenching twist of fate . . .

Found in the arms of her second soul mate . . .

Forced to balance the delicate strands of time between two millennia . . .

Shocked by revelations rewriting the very foundations of history . . . of everything.

Isobel, a rising-star archaeology student, is dropped into two ancient worlds without warning . . . or her permission. Her fiery spirit resists the dependency thrust upon her. Amid frustration at her lack of control, she helplessly falls in love. Twice.

She struggles to adjust to the unimaginable demands of two leaders of men—a laird in the thirteenth-century Highlands and a Pict chieftain in a more ancient Scotland. Isobel transforms from an academic, hell-bent on obtaining archaeological recognition, to a woman striving to care for those she loves, and ultimately . . . into a fearless warrior risking everything to protect them.

Easy Links: Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

Amazon Kindle
Nook
Kobo
All Romance eBooks

Amazon paperback

Add to Goodreads Button

 

 

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe

The 4.5 Star, Top Ten Amazon Best Seller:

Desperate to honor a life-long promise, Susanna MacEalan escapes her abusive clan with the fierce determination of never falling under the power of a man. Ever.

Aggravated by shallow-hearted pursuing lasses, Robert Brodie, commander of his clan’s elite guard, has foresworn scheming women. Forever.

When magick transforms Brodie Castle into a Christmas wonderland, the two despondent souls find solace in a most unexpected place . . . each other’s arms.

Amid a whirlwind of escalating events, Susanna’s traumatic past threatens Robert’s ability to protect the one woman meant for him. In a harrowing moment, as her fears and demons coalesce, will hope, faith, and love be enough to save them?

Easy Links: Bound by Wish and Mistletoe Cover

Amazon Kindle
Nook
Kobo
All Romance eBooks

Amazon paperback

Add to Goodreads Button

 

 

Utterly Loved

The 4.5 Star, #1 Amazon Best Seller in Love Poetry

Foreword by New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author Sylvain Reynard.

Utterly Loved Book Cover

Amazon Kindle
Nook
Kobo

Amazon paperback

Add to Goodreads Button

 

 

 

Thank you for all of your continued support. Together we can make a difference in this world, one small act at a time.

Your humble and grateful shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

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

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 Date with da Vinci

Vitruvian Man

Hello, my friends!

Want to go on a Renaissance adventure? We did on Saturday, when we went to the Arizona Science Center to experience “Da Vinci – The Genius” for an afternoon.

{piles you all into the car with us}

First, a pit stop to Starbucks, as a proper odyssey requires the beverage of the masses.

Next, we crank the music up for a bit of audio caffeine. Mr. Bastion was in charge of the tunage, and it was 80’s rock in full force and effect. Granted we did start with a love ballad, Journey’s “Send Her My Love”, but then it was AC/DC and “Back in Black”. Before long, we hit a trilogy of Def Leppard songs, “Rock of Ages”, “Photograph”, and “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, in that order. Hope you aren’t shy with your singing. Every word to the songs was belted out at the top of our lungs.

At some point, mass laughter erupted in the car, as I commented about how our trip to see a Master of Renaissance art had turned into Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. And…when you go on a Bastion outing, truly, we’d have it no other way.

Ummmmm… Have you ever been to a science museum?

No?

Neither had we.

Culture shock ensued, with rapid eye-blinking and deep breaths. Before we’d even gained entrance, I felt like our Bill & Ted’s phone-booth time machine had transported us directly into Sky Harbor International Airport. At Thanksgiving. Lines to ticket counters snaked around poles in a maze format, and children and families were everywhere.

Did da Vinci approve this? {whispers} I’m quite certain he would’ve approved of every minute in the caffeinated car ride. #JustSayin ;)

After we acquired tickets, we went up to the 3rd floor and down several corridors to the exhibit entrance where an elderly female volunteer, and gatekeeper to the exhibit, spoke at her leisure to two other older female guests. The moment their conversation ended, she closed the stretchy rope barrier, and looked down her nose at us, saying “This is a ticketed event.”

I glanced at Mr. Bastion, wondering if somehow she’d heard word of our rock party on the way over, because my khaki linen shorts and v-neck black t-shirt seemed nondescript enough. Mr. Bastion pulled the tickets from his pocket and she opened the gate, making a final comment in a firm tone, “No pictures.”

Do you get riled on a primal level when someone tells you not to do something? Mmmmhmmmm…

You’ll all be so proud of me. My inner-rebel wanted to take pictures so badly, but my inner-angel won out. Partly, because I have a respect for rules, even though I do sometimes break them, but mostly because I was there as a guest to enjoy myself, and did not want to disturb the enjoyment of others.

We stepped into the exhibit. Clearly, I’d been star-struck by the name Leonardo da Vinci, and had forgotten where we were: a science center. “Da Vinci – The Genius” was billed as the most comprehensive exhibit to tour the world on Leonardo da Vinci, and upon seeing the massive room with an equally impressive number of people rivalling an amusement park, I’d be inclined to agree.

Mr. Bastion and I waited patiently in a long line for all of forty-five seconds, before our inner-unruliness had us break rank. We meandered from exhibit to exhibit that talked about his various codices and who currently held them. Many of his inventions were brought to life in replicas from tiny journals, to massive flying contraptions. He developed a diving suit and had a fascination with clocks. An emergency bridge, a tank, and many other wartime inventions were created by him.

I was drawn to the paintings. Beautiful works of art captivated me, and I found myself staring at them, lost in every stroke, the use of light, the way transparent fabric looked so real, I felt as if I could touch the gossamer fabric.

Of course, the geek in me was amazed that the world, just a few years ago, stumbled across an unknown painting by da Vinci. La Bella Principessa, was sold at auction in New York in 2009 for around $20,000 as a purported German work from the early 19th century. An analysis of the da Vinci-esque painting revealed a finger print on the work that matched a finger print found on one of da Vinci’s unfinished paintings, St. Jerome in the Wilderness. The lost da Vinci, La Bella Principessa’s value? An estimated $160 million.

The discovery of a lost da Vinci painting wasn’t what left me speechless, though. I stood before one of the many giant placards on the wall that described two mural paintings that were commissioned to two different artists…and never finished. Da Vinci…and Michelangelo. Fabulous sketches of horses and soldiers were hung beside the story, but I got stuck on the name-dropping as my mind transported back to their time, imagining da Vinci painting on one wall of the Council Hall in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence and Michelangelo painting on the other. {makes a note to bring them coffee and cake pops from Starbucks on the next phone-booth time machine trip}

That’s right, my friends. I have a date with da Vinci. It matters not to me that the paintings were never completed (da Vinci’s never dried properly and Michelangelo’s never made it past sketch stage and onto the wall.), and eventually da Vinci’s partial mural was painted over. {takes a hit on my oxygen tank and passes it to you} I can still be there in my imagination, cheering da Vinci on. Granted, I’m an impartial supporter—and a fan of Michelangelo—so sorry Leo, you’re going to have to put up with me cheering on the prodigy, too.

Oh, and by the way, Mr. Bastion has been telling me all about a book that he’s been reading, Da Vinci’s Ghost by Toby Lester. It talks about not only the life of da Vinci, but also the great inspiration of many of his works, the ancient Roman engineer Vitruvius and his writings. Mr. Bastion highly recommends this book to anyone interested in Leonardo da Vinci.

And…I also have a date with Mr. Bastion at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. Our interest in the Uffizi was sparked by Sylvain Reynard in his wonderful fictional novels Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture.

My date calendar is filling up!

It’s been a blast traveling with you, my friends.

In September, the first novel in the Highland Legends series, Forged in Dreams and Magick, will be released. I can’t wait to take you on an incredible adventure into the Highlands of Scotland during a time when…on another content in Italy…Dante Alighieri was about to pen his imaginary journey to the netherworld, arguably starting the Renaissance period.

If you had a chance to go back in time to spend the day with anyone and do anything, what would it be? What would you bring as refreshments?

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

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

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

The Unspeakable Tragedy of Human Trafficking

Ready to get real on today’s blog?

Human Trafficking

A horrific topic that no amount of sugar coating ever makes easier to digest.

Last night, Mr. Bastion highlighted an hour-long show that was painful and heart-wrenching to watch.  I can’t imagine an hour better spent of my time.

In my opinion, everyone needs to see the 3AM Girls on Our America by Lisa Ling.

To see those who advocates are trying to help by rescuing children who’ve been victimized with no foreseeable escape is beyond moving.  You will learn who is taken, how they are taken, and why they can’t leave without significant help.  Then you will learn where it is happening.

Is it happening worldwide?  Yes.  Is it happening in your city?  Absolutely.

Did you see the article in the Huffington Post naming the single largest human trafficking event in the US?  The Super Bowl. 

I didn’t. 

Now whenever I see a major event, I will always remember those who are there against their will…wishing they were somewhere else.

Because of the harsh world we live in, we escape into movies.  We get lost in romance novels.  Writing and reading of heroes and heroines with happily ever afters helps bring happiness to our otherwise dreary lives.

Many of us have a lot to learn about the definition of despair.
{raises my hand}

What struck me most, of the many shocking things I learned last night in the program, was the level emotional abuse these children suffer under once they’ve fallen victim to human trafficking.  Oftentimes, they suffered emotional abuse from their homes long before they became lost on the streets.

The reason the emotional abuse impacted me so greatly? I’m a survivor of emotional abuse.  Not many people know that fact about me.  I suffered all my life at the hands of the ones children trust most in this world.  I’ve also suffered from the emotional cruelty of bullies.  I know how difficult it is to break free of the fear.  I understand how it seems like there may never be a sun to rise on the horizon of a new day.

I feel I was one of the lucky ones.  I didn’t run away from home.  No matter how bad it got for me, I endured my homelife with a silent vow to myself on a particularly bad night that I would get out the moment I could afford to support myself.  Through the emotional abuse, I somehow repaired all the chipping away of my self-esteem with something stronger.  Mr. Bastion met me at the critical moment in my life right as I took the leap away from my abuser and went out into the world.  His love and support was instrumental to my survival on my own.  He is forever my amazing foundation, as he can attest to the scar tissue and trust issues that I still deal with and recover from.  Our talks are great therapy for me and strengthen my resolve to help those who need that same foundation.

Those in human trafficking are kept there by similar emotional abuse, only they have fallen into the darkest, most dangerous realm of our world.  The odds are against them for getting out alone.  Fear, guilt, and manipulation make those children feel they owe it to their captors to remain.  They feel they have no other choice. 

No human on this planet should be trapped in a situation where freedom is not an option.  These children need an enormous amount of love and support to escape their circumstances into a better life.

I’m very new to the charity awareness scene.  While I’ve been raising awareness for charities that support helping human trafficking victims, including World Vision and Covenant House through the promotion of Utterly Loved, I’m learning how great the need is and how much help is required.  Click on both of these World Vision and Covenant House links to see the difference donations made in 2012 to help victims of human trafficking and how vast the problem is worldwide and in the United States.

A wonderful humanitarian, Sylvain Reynard, opened my eyes to the importance of raising awareness to help those in need through an author platform.  He is a huge supporter of both World Vision and Covenant House. 

Another author who’s just recently come to my attention through Sylvain Reynard is Heather Huffman.  She not only donates a portion of the proceeds of her books to help fight human trafficking, she also weaves the important issues into her stories.  Check out Heather Huffman’s website here and her What is Trafficking page, which has links to several groups that are involved in helping to save those lost children.

Utterly Loved, a book of romantic poetry with inspiring foreword by Sylvain Reynard that highlights the need for ongoing support for these charities, exists because of those lost children.  Every purchase of Utterly Loved not only raises awareness of those charities, but all the proceeds every sale (less costs and taxes) supports them.  Find Utterly Loved on Amazon, on Barnes and Noble and on Smashwords.

Our generosity will help save those young victims.  Spreading awareness of the issue is only the first step.  Getting involved is critical to making real change and saving lives.  Everyone deserves a safe home, a warm bed, a hot meal, and loving hugs.  Let’s make it happen for every one of them we can.

Why am I an eternal optimist?  Why do most of the posts you see on Twitter or on Facebook and in Utterly Loved reflect the love in this world?

Because I know that optimism is the only thing that saved me.  Believing there is a brighter tomorrow got me through every dark day.  Join me in the fight for brighter tomorrows for every lost child out there.  Let’s give those children the happily ever after they deserve.

Thank you for your enormous hearts and endless support.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion