Happy New Year!
Phew! We have made it to 2022!
But how are we all doing? A little (ahem… a lot) worse for wear? Tattered around the edges? Physically tired and mentally exhausted?
What about the base level of worry we feel for the loved ones still with us? And those twinges of sadness for those whom we’ve lost?
Not to mention the world we lost…
At the start of our new year in 2022, I’m experiencing all of those things.
And yet, overriding all of that, I am vibrating with an effervescent hope. Bright enough to drown out all the negative of the past two years. Strong enough to make me fight for the goodness and generosity in my spirit. Overflowing to such a degree, I radiate it out into the world.
Yep. I can’t help it. It’s part of my optimist nature. Finding that brilliant silver lining. Seeing the good in the world. Feeling gratitude—even through great challenges and struggles.
It’s also where my love for writing romance and determination to fight hard for our happily ever afters comes from.
And so, with all that in mind…
Below, I share my New Year’s Resolutions, News from the Bastion Writing Desk, and my opinion with The Death Knell of Social Media (from an optimist’s perspective, of course… 😉
New Year’s Resolutions
How far should we go to redefine ourselves? All the way, in my opinion.
You see, I’ve never been great on making or keeping New Year’s Resolutions.
But I’ve also never needed a transformation more than I need one right now, going into 2022.
Because I’m standing at a precipice of my health. Like… a do-or-die in a very literal sense precipice.
Which forces me to make a big life-altering choice. I can gift myself a real chance to survive and flourish. Or I can do nothing, and tumble further into the dark abyss of deteriorating health.
What do you think optimist me is going to do?
A little background-reveal on my health…
What I’ve never shared publicly before—what my optimistic nature railed at even voicing—is that I suffer from chronic illness. Looking back, I’ve suffered from the effects of this illness all my life. Originally induced when I was a young child, from the stress of emotional abuse delivered by a narcissistic parent.
As you might guess, to save myself, I’ve had to cut that parent completely out of my life.
Stone marvels that I’m an optimist coming from that kind of abusive environment.
I believe my optimism bursts forth from a romantic spirit that simply cannot be smothered. That I survived in spite of my toxic parent. And gained an inner strength because of the experience.
However, due to decades of abuse, and my internal struggle and systems of dealing with that kind of ongoing stress, I’ve developed severe health issues: hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, and mast cell activation syndrome. And with those underlying issues, I’ve suffered from a long list of strange and debilitating autoimmune symptoms, including brain fog, not being able to sit upright (heartbreaking for a writer), and an abnormal adrenal response to any kind of stress, even the mildest of things.
Circling back to the silver lining, my New Year’s Resolutions…
I choose saving myself. Gifting myself a real chance to survive and flourish.
Which entails two resolutions…
2022 New Year’s Resolution One:
A mindful calmness, transitioning into undisturbed tranquility
First and most important, I’m establishing a mindful focus on my health.
Mindful, in the sense that I’m going to work on increasing my awareness of how I’m feeling every moment of the day. In a downshifted way. Nice and slow. Easy and calm. Calm being the operative word. With undisturbed tranquility being my goal. I’m hoping to become so attuned to my mental and physical state of being that I become the embodiment of peace.
Sound a bit Dalai Lama-esque? Maybe.
But… it’s the exact opposite of stress.
Which, for my health, is what I am in desperate need of.
And there’s a bonus. A wonderful reward.
By achieving success with my health in Resolution One, I get to enjoy my other resolution…
2022 New Year’s Resolution Two:
Full-time writing with joy, including daily minimums, goals, and rewards
I’ve never instilled a daily writing minimum. With my health, I’ve been afraid to do so.
Deadlines never work well with someone who cannot handle stress on any level. The pressure alone, knowing I have to do something because of a commitment, even to myself, dooms the project before I even begin. I chafe at the self-imposed deadline.
And who wants to write under those conditions?
However… this one resolution, I’m treating like a gift to myself.
My reward for keeping Resolution One, a mindful calmness, is keeping Resolution Two, being able to write full-time with joy.
I’ve already charted out what’s possible. Then I had an honest conversation with myself about what’s more probable and realistic. (I may share details about my writing schedule and how I’m keeping it in a future post.)
My hybrid solution, a cozy medium between probable and possible with writing, is this…
First, a minimum of 1,000 polished, edited words per day, every single day of the week, no misses.
Second to that, I can keep writing, to hit a greater goal of 2,500 words a day. And I could do that 2,500 for the first six days in each week. And if I hit that six-day goal, then Sunday becomes a bonus/flex day to do as I please, write… or not.
For me, the 1000-word daily minimum sets the realistic floor. The second component gives me something greater to reach for.
Either is a great accomplishment for me. A steady and healthy pace. A streak to aspire toward. Two streaks, if I accomplish them both.
And look at what will happen at the end of it all. The 1,000-wor daily minimum produces six novels a year.
The greater goal? Produces twelve novels in one year.
Wow. Six to twelve published novels in one year.
Sound exciting? Sure does to me. Our best year so far produced four novels in one year.
And… therein lies the reward of keeping both of my resolutions: publishing more novels every year.
But totally doable, if I stay mindful of my health, plant my butt in the writing chair, and focus on writing with joy.
So… yeah. That’s my New Year’s Resolution Two:
A 1,000-polished-word daily minimum, with a reaching-goal of 2,500, six days a week.
For me, achieving even one of my resolutions would be a godsend. Accomplishing both? It’s a dream worth fighting for: a brand-new healthy full-time writing me in 2022.
Results of my resolutions (and possibly progress blogs along the way) to follow… So stay tuned.
News from the Bastion Writing Desk
As you can see above, this section’s header says Bastion Writing Desk, as in one desk, not two.
For any of you who didn’t catch the news this same time last year, Stone is focusing his efforts elsewhere at the moment. Which has enabled me to be able to write full time. A gift I’m incredibly grateful for.
Stone remains first reader/copywriter of everything I write. As well as being an invaluable developmental editor, whenever I need to further flesh out ideas and concepts.
In the coming years, Stone hopes to set up a small sound studio to create audio versions of all our books. Then everyone will get to hear his sexy bass voice…
But the news from the Bastion Writing Desk?
How about the amazing rewards from my achieving the above resolutions?
Six to twelve novels a year…
Plus short stories and novelettes in between. The perfect gifts for our Bastion Family Adventurers.
Novels In the Unbreakable Series:
The first two novels, which I’m diving into with joy starting tomorrow morning, are the last two novels in the Unbreakable series: Ball Breaker and Icebreaker. Wow, have those characters been knocking about in my head, bursting with attitude and passion, begging for their stories to be told.
Ball Breaker comes first, telling the story of Kendall and Jax. A delectable steamy enemies-to-lovers romance.
Then follows Icebreaker, when Chloe and Daniel finally give in to the sexual tension rising between them.
Novels In the Secretly Named Yet-to-be-revealed Series:
And… after those two final novels in the Unbreakable series?
I begin writing in an exciting small-town contemporary romance series. More teasers on that to come.
For the record, I have been listening to your wishes, my cherished readers. You loved the holiday short stories in Half-baked Holidays, but many of you wished the stories were longer, more developed.
When writing short stories or novelettes, the shortness of the format requires a compacting of events. In essence, the shorter romance highlights the coming together of the couple, their meet-cute.
But this year, I plan on at least one full Christmas novel. The first one, within our small-town romance series. After that, we shall see where the writing gods lead me…
I shall let you know. So… stay tuned.
Which is the perfect segue into the opinion piece in the blog post…
The Death Knell of Social Media
This is just my opinion (Stone’s too.) But it’s an opinion based on our personal experience and through the lens of our perspective as writers, (mostly former) social media users, and members of humanity.
Did any of you watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix?
Wow. If you have not yet watched it, it’s an eye-opening documentary of the sad state of affairs of social media, brought to you by the creators of many of the social media platforms. They are afraid for humanity. And we have been too. For many years.
Some of you remember, back when we first came on to the social-media scene in June of 2012, that we were active daily on Twitter. We formed this blog, which I posted on semi-regularly. And then we created my first personal Facebook profile and the Kat Bastion page (now the Kat & Stone Bastion page.)
I’m not sure exactly when we abandoned our daily activity there. But it coincided with the ditching of our smartphones. Not actually throwing our smartphones into a ditch. But close.
We left the social media scene, to save our mental health… and our marriage. That was sometime back around 2015, or so.
You see, we’d both become addicted. Craving that dopamine hit with each post, like, Retweet or Share.
What we didn’t know back then, and what The Social Dilemma reveals, is that the programmers within social media designed their platforms to be addictive. And they apparently have added in more and more features to make it even more addictive.
What does that have to do with writing? Or reading, for that matter?
We have a Facebook page. And we each have a Twitter account.
What some of you may not know, is that on Facebook pages, Facebook holds each page’s followers hostage. Each Facebook page has to pay to have its own followers see its posts. The more followers you want to see your post, the more you have to pay. The more posts and interactions you have, the more they “release” more followers to see your subsequent posts, but not ALL of them.
It’s a game. Designed to benefit Facebook by lining its pockets.
Who does it hurt? Every single Facebook user.
Because everything Facebook does is designed to get the user addicted to Facebook. So that they stay there longer, get exposed to more ads and paid posts, and add to Facebook’s coffers.
We’re sorry if you love Facebook. Maybe there’s a Facebook group you enjoy being a part of. And that’s cool. But there is a gatekeeping price to pay. The Silicon Valley folks are in on it, and many reveal their concerns in The Social Dilemma.
How are we going to help?
We do not want our readers addicted. Hell, we don’t want anyone addicted to social media.
As an act of defiance (as opposed to simply deleting our account, which we’re sorely tempted to do) we’re going to post a “The Last Facebook Post” over on Facebook, pin it to the top, and leave it up there for all to see. It’s essentially going to serve as our message of protest for holding our followers hostage. And for directing readers to the true places for staying connected with us, this blog and our Bastion Family Adventurers email group.
We’ll see if Facebook leaves our last post and account up.
Some Facebook page users (like who we’ve become), use their Facebook pages as a photo-announcement timeline of sorts. A place to learn about recent happenings of an author or a business. And that, to us, is the only worthy function of any Facebook page anymore.
A thought or two about Twitter…
Do any of you go to Twitter to regularly communicate anymore?
We aren’t sure of the value of the ever-scrolling Twitter timeline.
It’s there for a flash, and then it’s gone.
Meanwhile, we hope that no one we know is addictively scrolling the feed.
We do post an occasional Tweet. In the event someone is out there watching. And values what we have to say. And this very blog post auto-Tweets, to share that we have something new to say over here on TalkToTheShoe. We hope your seeing our Tweet is a coincidental finding, while you’re over there on a small break.
We hope all of our followers and readers have robust, healthy, and happy lives off social media.
It’s an awful catch-22 with any social media platform. While it seems like a great place to connect with other readers and fans, most (if not all) of those platforms exist to make money through planned addiction of its users.
Of course, since our exodus from Twitter and Facebook, popularity of other social media platforms has risen. Instagram and Tiktok (and further Booktok) have come to the forefront.
We took part in neither. Because we didn’t see the point of fueling yet another addictive fire, neither ours nor our readers’.
What I’d rather be doing is writing. And, once I’ve hit my writing goals? Reading.
We hope you’d rather be reading too.
And it’s our fervent wish for all of you be as healthy as possible.
With all the heat social media is taking, from documentaries like The Social Dilemma, to pressure from congress, to various users leaving to seek more balance in their lives, we wonder what the future holds for social media.
It all sounds a lot like the death knell of social media, to us.
Even with our limited perspective, we understand many social media users value their posts and connections with followers, in the book world, and other venues. Is there a way for social media users to “use” the platforms without the platforms “using” them? We certainly hope so. We figure there is already a small but mighty segment, many of whom are social influencers, who have done just that.
Do any of you have a safer or favorite place you like to connect with authors and other readers? If so, please share your positive experiences in the comments below.
Annnd… on that note…
On the heels of our social-media opinion sharing…
A huge shoutout goes to all of our social media and promotional posters, old and new. Most of whom we’ve connected with through Twitter and Facebook over the years. Some of whom we’ve made new connections with through Goodreads and NetGalley.
We plan to continue sharing ARCs through NetGalley into 2022. With NetGalley’s rapidly growing reach, and all the NetGalley influencers having their own favorite stomping grounds to share reviews, we hope to keep a network alive where all can share their love for books in the healthiest way for each individual.
Well, that’s it, for a first LONG post leading us into 2022.
I’ll be in my writing cave first thing in the morning, diving into Kendall and Jax’s romance in Ball Breaker.
If you’re curious, The Last Facebook Post will be up on our page by this weekend.
And Tuesday, we plan to give away another copy of Brand New Year, to our Bastion Family Adventurers. So if you’re not yet subscribed, now’s your chance. Sign-up below in the “How To Stay in Touch With Us” section.
We wish you all a safe, happy, and healthy 2022!
We are incredibly grateful for you and your loyal readership.
Your humble shoe and boot,
~ Kat & Stone
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