12 Reasons to Buy Utterly Loved ~ Plus Giveaway

Utterly Loved Book Cover

 

In the season of giving, where abundance trumps the daily grind, Utterly Loved has been released on Amazon to brighten your life and change the world.

 

Are you fond of lists for checking them twice?
Twelve reasons Utterly Loved is so nice…

1.   Charity funding. All Proceeds, less costs and taxes, go to World Vision and Covenant House.  The mission for Utterly Loved is to help those lost in the world, those who’ve never had a chance to know love, feel… Utterly Loved.

2.   New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Sylvain Reynard wrote the brilliant foreword on humanitarianism.

3.   The books make excellent gifts for your loved ones.

4.   There are 21 love poems… 14 have never been published before.

5.   23 inspirational quotes are sprinkled between the poems.

6.   Utterly Loved fits into a stocking… a big stocking…

7.   You’ll have the perfect holiday party exchange gift for under $10.

8.   It’s an Amazon #1 Best Seller. (All the cool elves are buying it.)

9.   The poems touch on all aspects of love.

10. Nature is threaded through many of the poems.

11.  The cover art rocks.

12. Charity awareness.  Every book you buy, every gift you give, every person you share the news of Utterly loved with, sends ripples of love globally.  Your small act will make a world of difference.

Utterly Loved went on sale on Amazon on November 29, 2012.  Due to the overwhelming support for the project, it skyrocketed to #1 New Releases Best Selling Love Poems, hit #4 New Releases Best Selling Poetry and hit #1 Best Selling Love Poems.

No dollar will ever line my pocket. All proceeds, less costs and taxes, will be donated to selected charities. So far, I’ve chosen World Vision and Covenant House.

I hope you find plenty of reasons to buy Utterly Loved.  Please tell all your social worlds and everyone you know about Utterly Loved.

Buy two copies. Buy twenty.

Standing together around the world we each do a small part to have a big impact. United we can help those who desperately need it to feel… Utterly Loved.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

Purchase Utterly Loved on Amazon

And now… For the signed copy giveaway…

There are several ways to enter. The more you participate, the more entries you will earn to win a signed copy of Utterly Loved.  There are 8 possible ways to enter.  Multiple entries are encouraged.

~ Comment below to share about your purchase of Utterly Loved.

~ Copy the below phrase and post onto Twitter or post any comment sharing about your purchase of Utterly Loved (you must include the hashtag #BuyUtterlyLoved)

     I bought Utterly Loved with Foreword by Sylvain Reynard. Romantic poetry with proceeds to charity. #BuyUtterlyLoved http://amzn.to/SsmarW

~  Tweet again at least 4 hours later with the same #BuyUtterlyLoved hashtag and you will earn one separate entry per every 4 hour Tweet.

~ Post on FB so the hashtag #BuyUtterlyLoved hashtag appears onto Twitter and earn another entry.

That’s 8 possible entries.

Disclaimers:  The contest runs for 24 hours on December 3rd, 2012 from 07:01am EST to December 4rd, 2012 at 07:01am EST.  Winner will need to email proof of purchase to receive the signed copy.  Giveaway is international where allowed.  Winner will be chosen by Random.org. 

The bottom line? 

You help with every purchase.  You help by spreading the news of Utterly Loved so others purchaseSmall acts of kindness make a world of difference.  Thank you for being a part of the difference.

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Utterly Loved Release Day!

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

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

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

Please share, like, and comment on the page.

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

Thank you for all your help and support.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Utterly Loved Foreword Author… Sylvain Reynard

Utterly Loved Book Cover

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Your humble shoe,

Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Poetic Warrior ~ Power As One ~ Book Title Reveal

Poetic Warrior

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

 

A poetic warrior is what I have become. I awoke on another early morning with fire flowing from my heart, scorching my veins, and commanding my thumbs as they rapidly typed on my iPhone. In my dark bedroom under warm covers, the compelling story ricocheting through my mind and haunting my thoughts had to be released.

I blinked unbelieving at the latest poetry creation. It had become my second riotous tribute in a row waging war to save the fallen that, in ignorant bliss, I never knew existed.

After twenty-one poems of love and countless uplifting quotes, my sword rang out as I withdrew it from a scabbard that, unbeknownst to me, had always been strapped to my back.

A deep lungful of fresh air filled a newly risen warrior with purpose, ready to do battle for the greater good.

{smiles slowly}

In three weeks, a book of poetry will be released that has the ability to change the world.

Do you believe you can make a difference?

Do you have faith that a single book, through love, can reach those in desperate need of it?

I do.

In the perfect marriage of the haves and have-nots, the purchase of a book about love shares our love with the world. In a truly serendipitous chain of events, I’ve been given the inspiration and ability to write poetry and an internal need to share my unexpected gift to help others.

No dollar from the sales of the book will ever line my pockets. All proceeds, less costs and taxes, will go directly to help selected charities. So far, the charities I have chosen are World Vision and Covenant House.

The book title?

It is how one feels when they’ve willingly lost themselves to another.

It is the words you express to the one who captured your heart.

It is how every soul in this world should feel.

Utterly Loved.

How great of an impact can one person have?

Infinite… when you stand strongly together among millions.

Next week, I plan to share more exciting information about the book, as well as the book cover. Meanwhile, please enjoy the first poem I’ve written post Utterly Loved that expresses how I feel in my heart.

 

Power As One

Echoes ripple
Resonate through the heart
Cries from fallen
Helpless souls torn apart

Lightning pierces
Urgent fire fueled from need
Warrior rises
Beckoned to act in deed

Hero searches
Charting land of the lost
Soldier battles
Pays exorbitant cost

Mountain towers
Danger etched in granite
Climber conquers
Needing to tame a planet

Leaders follow
Shoulders forming a wall
Weapons unsheathe
Saviors answer the call

Together we have an amazing power to make a worldwide difference. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements regarding Utterly Loved, and please share news about it with your social worlds.

 

Your favorite shoe,

Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Adventures Of An Optimist

Adventures of an Optimist

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

 

Half full. That would be a description of my beverage vessel.

Those who read my blog posts or watch my Twitter timeline know this indelible truth about me.

What does it mean to be an optimist?

The label means I’m fortunate enough to wake most every morning excited about the day. Present me a problem? I focus on solutions. If storm clouds threaten, I see sunshine after the storm.

I do have occasional defeated moments, bluesy afternoons and down days. There are times when I desperately need a hug, a smile, or a cheerleader. Most of the time… I’m the one giving them.

Optimists are hardwired to see and seek the goodness in a dark, harsh world. The blessing is multi-faceted. We share positivity with others, because our cups are more than merely half full.
They runneth over…

With enough joy in one’s heart, sharing with others is easy. The rewards for everyone? Immeasurable.

Many of those closest to me are not optimists. I dare say some are pessimists. It’s good, actually. We balance each other. They worry about the worst possible scenario. I anticipate the best outcome. Reality plays out somewhere in between.

One day a snarly stranger, upset by life’s circumstances, threw her anger at me. I smiled, deflecting it. My surprising reaction disarmed her. We focused together on the root of her problem, and she relaxed. I’ve never worn a cape, but I know I saved her day, or at least a moment in time for her. I gave her some of my optimism. I gave her hope. At no cost to me. The act lifted both our spirits.

It’s almost like a super-power. With not enough of it out there in the world, it shines like a beacon, attracting others to the vibrant feel-good. They want a hit of the drug you’re dealing.

Can someone learn to be an optimist?

Anyone can adopt optimist traits. No matter our natural tendencies—two loved ones in my life are textbook pessimists—we all have the ability to give selfless love. Smiles and laughter are contagious. Those same beloved pessimists often go rogue, making others smile and laugh.

Now you all know why I vibrate so much! {laughs}… It’s impossible to hold it all in.

We’re all on the same spectrum. I’m nowhere near the most optimistic. Every day I strive to find the bright side. Everyone has the capacity to find and share more happiness.

How can you increase your own optimism?

Here is what I find helpful…

  • Find a happy place. Look outside the window at the wind rustling through the trees. Imagine floating on a raft. … In Bora Bora. {smiles on a sigh}
  • Stop worrying. Every minute spent worrying is a wasted present moment.
  • Make someone else laugh. I dare you not to laugh yourself.
  • Remember the blessings. Wrapped up in troubles, we easily forget how good life is.
  • Give selflessly. The last dollar on you may be the first someone has ever received. Offer an unexpected hand, a random gift, or surprise hello. Make someone’s day.
  • Stop stressing. Imagine the worst outcome, but for no more than the briefest moments. Remind yourself there are so many scenarios better than the worst. Make those happen.
  • Seek positivity. Surround yourself with positive people. Read positive quotes. {whispers} … Like me, and my Twitter timeline…

Would you like to read more?

Two wonderful books on the topic are The Ultimate Happiness Prescription by Deepak Chopra and Always Looking Up – The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox.

An optimistic quote…

In the darkest hour, the smallest act of kindness bestowed becomes the foundation of many miracles. ~ Kat Bastion

I know I cannot save the world. But, I can brighten someone’s day.

Want to know what it’s like to have the adventures of an optimist?
{smiles slowly}… Join me and find out.

What are your favorite ways to find optimism? Who inspires you the most?

Go forth. Share your smile. Ignite hope in another.

 

Your Favorite Shoe,

Kat

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Why Writing Contests Matter

Why Writing Contests Matter

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

For those of you following me here on my blog or on Twitter, you likely heard the news on Saturday as I vibrated in excitement.  I’d become a finalist in the Lone Star Writing Contest. {vibrates}

Or perhaps, you’d heard the additional exciting news yesterday.  I’d become a finalist in The Catherine Writing Contest. {vibrates more}

So what’s all the hoopla about contests anyway?

Well, I can tell you one thing for certain.  I would not be here writing this blog were it not for the contests that I entered when I finally had a piece I thought was worthy.

It turns out I did… and didn’t.

My entry didn’t final in that contest.  Nor in the several that came after that.  What I did get was invaluable.  It was the first qualified feedback I’d ever received on my writing.  One of those very first judges took such great time and care in pointing out every flaw in great detail.  She also commended me on my strengths.  I am forever thankful for both.

What did I do?

I rolled up my sleeves and got busy.  Made changes.  Listened.  Learned.  Improved.

The First and Best Reason To Enter Writing Contests:  Feedback

Since that first contest back in the fall of 2010, I’ve been working on a new manuscript that has my creativity flowing.  With my new gem, I entered about eight more contests in the fall of 2011, and I’ve entered seven so far this fall… and counting. 

Last year, those first few contests helped me see what was completely unnecessary in the story (several judges told me to ditch the first page altogether), what the story didn’t have that it very much needed, and where I shined naturally as a writer.

I analyzed every single comment.  Of course, I disregarded the ones I felt had been generated by a lack of caffeine, but I took to heart the feedback that had very good points I either hadn’t considered or lacked the skills and experience to know.

   Some Rules on Contest Feedback:

  • There are no rules for you on feedback. 
  • Everything is subjective.
  • Judges volunteer their time.  Take the time to listen.
  • Comments are suggestions to use if you want.  It’s your story.
  • If multiple judges make the same comment, they may have a point.
  • Judge qualifications vary from trained and unpublished to authors.
  • Read the contest score areas.  Is your entry well-suited for them?
  • Scores are a quantitive way to rank something difficult to judge.

Don’t let negative comments get you down.  Use them to your advantage.  Almost every comment I’ve received has been constructive.  To me, that feedback is worth every penny I paid to enter.

Keep in mind that why you did not score well, may have absolutely nothing to do with your writing talent.  Your judge may not like your writing style, may not connect to your voice, or may have given a valiant effort to judge your piece, but really aren’t familiar with your subgenre.

My area, paranormal romance, is particularly challenging with judges.  In paranormal romance there are vampires, shape-shifters, witches, magick, ghosts, mediums, time-travel, and fantasy.  That is a very broad spectrum.  Mine is a time-travel that has Highlanders and magick.  I may get a judge used to reading vampires.  Even with my recent finalist feedback, one judge commented she doesn’t normally read time-travel.  Another indicated she stumbled a bit on the Scottish brogue.

Bottom line?  Comments and feedback are so valuable to us as fledgling writers.  Use them in the best way possible; to learn and grow as a writer.

Contests As Mini-Reviews

It occurred to me this week, that contests are excellent training for the reviews we will receive as published authors.

Not everyone will relay comments in a constructive fashion.  Many may not relate to our work.  Some will think what you wrote has been done before.  {whispers} Even if you are certain it has not…

What do I focus on?

The rave reviews.  The praise.  The gushing.  Words like, stunning, spectacular, fabulous, and powerful.

Do I ignore all of the not so stellar comments?  No way.  I simply look at them, decide if they have merit or not, and apply them or discard them and move on.

It’s the positive that keeps me energized.  I use every single bit of praise to fuel the motivational fire that keeps me writing. 

Those supportive comments?  They will come from my supportive fans someday.

The Big Payoff

If you’ve honed your craft well enough, if your entry is well suited to the contest you’ve entered, and if the planets have actually aligned for you, a phone call (or occassionally an email) will come with the phrase, “Congratulations!  You’re a finalist.”

Now we’re at the endgame.  We have hit the main reason contests are so beneficial for us as a writer.

Your entry will now be read by acquiring agents or editors.  If you’re lucky…both.

The interesting thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to win a contest to get a request for a submission.  Some final judges have such quality entries to judge, they may grant a win to one entry, but request a submission from both.  Last year I won two contests and was a finalist in a third.  Of the three, I received one request for my full manuscript from an editor at one of the big six publishing houses. 

What do I tell myself?  It takes only one.

Many contests post the results in the RWR (Romance Writers Report), list the results on their websites, and announce the contest news on their email loops.

Fame, baby!

What To Look For When Entering Contests

One of the first things I look for when entering contests is the final judges.  Are they an agent or editor that I would be interested in submitting to if they request my final manuscript?

I also look at the rules of the contest.  My entry is seen in its best light if it’s the first three chapters, but not all contests are designed the same. 

Some contests judge the first 7,000 words, which takes me through half of my third chapter.  Some ask for the first 25 pages or 30 pages.  Some are 50 pages.

Most contests ask for the first part of the story, beginning at page one.  One I’ve seen asks for only page one. 

Other interesting contests, like Reveal Your Inner Vixen, ask for up to twenty pages of the part of your manuscript that best outlines sexual tension.  {smirks} … Now we’re talking…

   Absolute Musts Before Entering A Contest

  • Read the contest’s entry rules.
  • Read the contest’s formatting rules.
  • Follow above said rules exactly if you don’t want to waste your time by being disqualified.
  • Print off all the rules and check them off as you go to make sure you don’t miss one.
  • Mark your calendar to be sure you make the entry deadline.

My suggestion?  Enter the contest early if you can.  I usually enter them a week or more before their entry deadline.  Why?  Sometimes I’ve had questions, and it takes a day or two to get an answer.  Most entrants enter at the last minute, myself included, and technical difficulties can, and do, occur.

What Happens After You Hear The Results?

If you hear that coveted “Congratulations! You’re a finalist!” you often have a week to revise your entry based on the feedback you’ve received.  Then, you re-submit.  You wait.  You hope your entry is the one that judge has been waiting their entire career to find.

If you hear back you didn’t final, print off those score sheets and comments.  See what areas you need to work on.  Make that entry shine for the next time.

Either way.  One very important thing to do as soon as you can? 

Write Thank You Notes!

Write thank you notes to both the judges and the contest coordinator.  Again, they’ve volunteered their time in their very busy lives and writing careers to help you with yours.  Show them your appreciation for doing so, even if they didn’t rave about your entry.  They may be buying your book off the shelf later and smiling in remembrance.

If you final, be sure to triple-check what you do next.  As I mentioned, some allow you to revise the entry.  Others require you to add a synopsis to the entry that may have been optional in the first round. 

Ask when you’re allowed to share the news on social media.  Last Friday, I was asked to wait until the following day.  On Monday, I was asked to wait two days, until Wednesday.

When you can share the news?  Shout it from the rooftops!  You’ve worked hard to make it this far.  To be a  finalist in a writing contest means you’ve risen to the top of a very competitive area and it’s an accomplishment to be proud of and share.  Those who have been supporting you and cheering for you along the way will want to share in your success.

Am I still entering contests?

Absolutely.  I am always learning and growing.  The feedback is unmatchable.  When you final or win, the accomplishment feels amazing.  {vibrates just thinking about it}

I truly hope you enter your writing in contests that suit your work.  Let me know how it goes! 

Meanwhile, I have to go.  I’ve an entry to revise for re-submission and thank you notes to write… 😉

I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors and good luck in your contest submissions!

Your Favorite Shoe,

Kat

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

The Writer and The Industry – David and Goliath

The Writer and The Industry – David and Goliath

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

This week another deal was struck, causing major ripples with readers, writers, and reviewers. Oh. My.

Penguin’s imprint, Berkley, purchased Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel’s Inferno series, including a first printing of 500,000 copies of each book, and the purchase of world and audio rights. The deal inked went into seven-figure territory.

Reynard’s writing began as fan fiction. Thousands of readers loved his books enough to rave about them. And they told two friends, and so on. Sound familiar? Fifty Shades ring a bell?

{stands up and applauds the authors} Good for them. I whole-heartedly support the successes of writers in this difficult to break into industry.

What does this amazing deal mean for us writers?

Nothing.

…and everything.

The publishing industry suffered upheaval in the last few years with self-publishing and e-books shaking the brick-and-mortars. Those that rely on the success of the authors don’t take chances. They want dead-ringers. The beast is an animal we wish we could tame. Alas, we cannot.

The formula hasn’t changed for a writer. Write the best story possible. Get the story out to agents and publishers. Catch someone’s eye… and away we go.

Ahhhh… but therein lies the secret of success. We must catch someone’s eye.

What did Sylvain Reynard and E L James do differently than so many others? The Marketing Fanatic in me is fascinated by their stories.

They started small. They used networking, websites, and social media to gain exposure for their work. When support for their writing flooded in from fans, they were encouraged to reach a broader base through publishing.

Isn’t that what we’re all doing?

Are there critics upset about the wild successes of an author’s quick rise to fame? Of course. There will always be naysayers. Debates and discussion are fueled by opposite points of view.

What does all the excitement mean to me?

{smiles wide}

A grass-roots writer rising up into the big time means that the world is filled with possibilities. Starry-eyed writers, working diligently as they spin stories flowing from their hearts, can have their books published and share their dreams with everyone who wants to escape in them.

There is plenty of room in the industry for the big successes. Some are literary masterpieces and some are wildly popular due to their raw cult appeal. Some are game changers.

Reynard and James are not pioneers in breaking out due to their preliminary accomplishments. Amanda Hocking and John Locke are recent indie-author icons. Don’t forget James Redfield who self-published The Celestine Prophecy, selling 100,000 copies from the trunk of his car—and then the publishing world took notice.

It matters not to me the reasons why someone garnered all the successes that came their way. I’m thrilled and motivated by their rags-to-riches fairy tales. My role as a writer, beyond writing the best novel possible, is to support other authors. I celebrate their successes and support their dreams.

They are my successes. They are my dreams.

I am David. The barrier into the industry is my Goliath. All it takes is one small effective stone to bring that giant to its knees.

{looks at the stone sitting on my desk}

…the ripples of casting that stone … go on infinitely.

I look forward to the day when our time comes, my friends.
Keep believing. Keep writing. Keep supporting.

Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion