Are You Out of Order? The Importance of Standing Alone in a Series.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Annnd . . . Happy Eve of Release Day for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe!

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe Cover

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Which brings me to an interesting topic: series reading order and the importance of making each book stand alone.

Have you ever read books in a series out of order?

I must say, I rarely do so. I’m an “in-order” kinda gal.
{whispers} See “OCD” in Merriam-Websters.

My personal preference aside, for many, an initial exposure to an author is not the first book written in a series.

That an adventurous reader might delve into books outside of linear order brings an interesting challenge to an author. How do we provide enough “catch-up” information, without overburdening with a back-story dump? Which secrets can we reveal from the previous story line, without stealing away the thrill of discovery?

A wise author sees the benefit of capturing a reader’s attention in the middle of a series. If the story is crafted well, teasing just enough to entice curiosity, the reader will go back and collect your previous books, starting from the beginning.

When writing Bound by Wish and Mistletoe, I had multifaceted goals. I wanted to bring those who loved Forged in Dreams and Magick more of the world and characters before publishing Born of Mist and Legend in 2014. I also happen to love Christmas, and couldn’t wait to celebrate it with the Brodie Clan. But a powerful reason Bound by Wish and Mistletoe exists: to introduce new readers to the series, who haven’t yet discovered Forged in Dreams and Magick.

I wrote the holiday novella with all of those thoughts in mind, applying some acquired skill and much intuition. Woven subtly throughout the story, I hinted at previous secrets, without giving everything away. In key locations, I teased out delicious morsels, but left others partially hidden—giving the readers a glimpse that there was more to the story.

When it came time for editing, something wonderful happened. Both my beta readers and developmental editor gave the story an enthusiastic approval, making no mention of the back story to the series. Ahhh . . . but they’d all read Forged in Dreams and Magick. A much-needed perspective came from the copy editor, who was brand new to the series. His insightful comments about where he got lost, and the suggestions he made about providing hints and clues without giving too much away, were invaluable.

Shortly thereafter, Bound by Wish and Mistletoe was released in ARC (advanced reader copy) form to reviewers and posted on NetGalley. It was NetGalley, however, that first provided feedback of how well the novella could stand on its own story.

In fact, I was quite surprised at how many reviewers chose to read Bound by Wish and Mistletoe first, even though they’d requested both titles simultaneously. To every one of those reviewers who jumped into the Highland Legends Series out of order, thank you. I’m immensely grateful for the honest reviews you provided.

So how did Bound by Wish and Mistetoe do as a stand-alone story? Spectacularly. Many reviewers new to my writing gave it 5 stars!

One reviewer commented that she would rate it either 4 or 5 stars, but had to read Forged in Dreams and Magick first before she decided. I was thrilled when she rated Forged in Dreams and Magick with 4 stars and then gave Bound by Wish and Mistletoe 5 stars!

“This is the 1st book I’ve read by Kat Bastion and it won’t be the last. The story had me hooked from the 1st few sentences and held my attention until I finished it….I originally read this book without previously reading the 1st book in this series…While I really enjoyed Bound by Wish and Mistletoe as a standalone, it became totally awesome after I read Forged in Dreams and Magick.” ~ Linda on Goodreads/NetGalley

In or out of order, authors have much to gain by a writing a story that holds its own within the greater series. When you enthrall readers with your latest edition, but tease with glimpses of secrets, they’ll devour your series, ravenous for more of your writing and the story world.

As a side note, I did something interesting with my holiday novella, Bound by Wish and Mistletoe. Although the Book 1.5 novella is written after Book 1 and before Book 2, the story timeline is not exactly in that order. The events occurring within Bound by Wish and Mistletoe actually happen at about the 70% timeline mark of Born of Mist and Legend. {smirks}

Well, I think that’s enough teasing for one day. :)

Oh, and a reminder! Today’s the last day the Amazon Top 10 Best Seller Forged in Dreams and Magick is reduced to $1.99 on eBook!

Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

Reduced! $1.99 til November 5th!

Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

I look forward to sharing Bound by Wish and Mistletoe with all of you tomorrow on release day!

If on Twitter, please share news about Bound by Wish and Mistletoe with buy links. Throughout November 5th, eBook copies and signed paperbacks will be randomly given away among those who help me spread the word!

Thank you so much for the ongoing support. Every post, reblog, share, Tweet, buy, review, and words of praise are greatly appreciated.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Electrifying a Scene: Tension in Forged in Dreams and Magick

Happy Monday, everyone!

Ever wonder what makes a book a page-turner? What are the elusive components that an author can weave into the story to keep the reader on the edge of their seat, take their breath away?

Read the popular guest post I wrote last week on the wonderful Supernatural Snark’s blog and find out more:

Electrifying A Scene: Tension in Forged in Dreams and Magick

Oh, and there are two more days left on Supernatural Snark to win a signed copy of Forged in Dreams and Magick!

If you want to buy a copy of  the Amazon best-selling page-turner
Forged in Dreams and Magick, below are some easy links:

Easy Links: Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

Amazon Kindle
Nook
Kobo
All Romance eBooks

Amazon paperback

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Forged in Dreams and Magick can also be found on worldwide Amazon online outlets, and soon in iTunes!

Also…only two more weeks until Bound by Wish and Mistletoe releases on November 5th!

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe Cover

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe is up on Goodreads! There is also a giveaway. Enter to win 1 of 5 signed copies!

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Thank you for your support, my friends! Every Twitter RT, shoutout, share, post, buy, review, and each time you tell a friend about Forged in Dreams and Magick helps tremendously. I’m grateful beyond words.

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

Morgan Locklear Wordslinger…Shutting Up Now…

talktotheshoe:

Excellent post, Morgan. As always, I love your writing advice. Thank you for sharing it with us.
~ Kat Bastion

Originally posted on Bookish Temptations:

October has long been my favorite month of the year.  I like how quickly the world around us changes in just a few weeks.  Mother nature knows when to say when, and she makes a good show of sending our summers into the history books.

This Wordslinger will take a cue from the Fall leaves and focus on endings.  I shall call it…

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