Two Free Writing Contests

Hey all 🙂

I came across these nifty “Your Story” writing contests on and thought some of my fellow authors might be interested! The competitions are free to enter and seem to pop up every couple of months.

The ones linked here both have photo prompts, and the images are VERY interesting (to say the least, LOL!). The picture for #97 is especially striking and inspired me to start writing immediately.

One of the things I love about contests with prompts is seeing the amazing variety of ideas people come up with. A hundred authors can look at the exact same picture and each person will imagine a completely different story. Also, prompts are pretty awesome for anyone who’s currently in a writing slump. So, if you haven’t written for a while and need something to get the juices flowing, or even just need a break from your current project, these contests may be the thing to help.

Anyhow, go check them out! Who knows? Maybe you’ll get inspired like I did :).

Your Story #97

Directions: Write a short story of 650 words or fewer based on the photo prompt.

Deadline: April 8

Your Story #98

Directions: Write the opening line to a story based on the photo prompt.

Deadline: May 27

Best of luck, and have fun! 🙂




My First Lucific – Plus Some Recs!

So, by now anyone who reads this blog probably knows that my heart currently belongs to the TV show Lucifer. And when my heart belongs to a show, I get inspired. And when I get REALLY inspired…dun, dun, dun…I write fanfic! 🙂

I am super-excited to be in the process of posting my very first Lucifer fanfic (Chapter Five went up on Wednesday). I’d forgotten just how daunting it is to put my words out there in the open for anyone and everyone to judge. I’d also forgotten how wonderful it is to interact with readers as the chapters unfold! It’s like we get to go on a journey together, and so far – thanks to the support and encouragement of some fantastic reviewers – the ride has been a complete joy. I am incredibly grateful to all of the people who’ve taken the time to read and review my work – you guys make it worth the effort of staying up extra late to post a new chapter.

I wrote this story as a “Thank You” to all of the fans who fought to save the show (#luciferonnetflix, baby!), and as a way to hopefully give back to the authors and artists whose works have brought me so much joy over the past year (see the recs below for some examples).

Here’s the summary of my first-ever Lucific, entitled The Innocence Project:

Trapped in a warehouse and cut off from celestial help, Chloe must care for a seriously ill Lucifer while the two of them fight to exonerate a death row inmate before the inmate’s time – and Lucifer’s – runs out. Post Season Three. Established Deckerstar.

If you love Lucifer fanfic, please go check it out:



While you’re at it, don’t forget to read these incredible stories, too:

Summary: “That star just died.” When Lucifer tells her this, Chloe feels like they’re talking about something way more important than a mere astronomical event. Everything is the same except for the way that Lucifer looks at Trixie, just like he looked the night he talked about stars. Things happen, Lucifer visits Linda, nothing changes, but then again, everything’s different now.

Cass says: Utterly gorgeous and 100% gut-wrenching.

Summary: Once upon a time, there was a fallen angel who hated his wings and loved a human detective. After that, things got complicated. Fairy tales never get it right. (For the “Who the hell is Cupid?” Valentine’s Fic Exchange)

Cass says: One of the most wonderfully-written, romantic, and creative Lucifer fics I’ve ever read!

Summary: Recently resurrected, Lucifer stumbles back to Chloe’s hospital room with the antidote formula. Amenadiel stands his ground. Trixie somehow sees matters more clearly than the grown-ups-even the celestial ones. A missing moment from the winter finale, “A Good Day to Die.”

Cass says: Best tag/missing scene for this episode I have read to date!

Summary: Maybe Lucifer had always planned to tell her, but she doubted it was like this. Part of the “They’re Back; Aren’t They” fic exchange. I still manage to beat up Lucifer. Post 3×24.

Cass says: Awesome follow-up to the finale by one of my favorite authors. 🙂

  • And watch this excellent video, “Unsteady” by knightvision1228:

Summary: An emotional music video featuring some of the most powerful moments in the series with heavy emphasis on the people most important in Lucifer’s life.

Cass says: The Lucifer fanvid I’ve watched more than any other (read: a LOT). Great match-up between the music and the images, and it really tugs on the heartstrings, too!

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to leave some comments for the creators if you enjoy their work! Can’t wait for Season Four! 🙂


Perfectionism, Writing, and You

It’s almost New Year’s Eve, but you’re not waiting for the ball to drop. You’ve already made your resolution: 2019 is the year you’re finally going to write that novel. Yay!

Of course, in all honesty, you’ve made this resolution before, haven’t you? (Come on, just admit it already.) But this time, it’s going to be different, right? No more excuses. No doubt about it. That bad boy is getting written!

Well, good for you! That’s a great goal and I wish you much success in your endeavor. However, before you go prancing into 2019 with big plans and high hopes, perhaps you should take a minute to consider why you haven’t written that future bestseller yet.

Maybe your idea for your novel is so blindingly spectacular that you’re afraid whatever you actually put down on the page will never measure up. Maybe you did start writing, but after three migraine-inducing hours of staring at a blank screen, you only managed to produce two sentences. And they both sucked. Maybe you even sweated and cried and bled your way through an entire chapter…only to chuck the whole thing out later because it wasn’t “good enough.”

If this sounds like you, then you may be a perfectionist…and it just might be crippling your writing.

First things first: if this is you, don’t despair! You can overcome the obstacles perfectionism presents and even learn to use it to your advantage.

The hardest – and most important – thing any perfectionist must do when writing the first draft is to let go. Your first draft will not be perfect. It can’t be. It shouldn’t be. Rage at the heavens, sob uncontrollably, binge-eat chocolate-covered pretzels – do whatever you have to do to help you come to terms with this painful truth.

Give yourself permission to be messy, to color outside the lines, to melt six different crayons together and make a new color. Letting go is terrifying, but it can also be incredibly freeing. Just ask the blond lady on this water bottle:

In case you can’t see it in the picture, the water inside this bottle actually IS frozen. Cute, huh? 🙂

The first draft is the time to lock perfectionism in a cage. I mean, definitely give him some food, a bowl of water, a chew toy, a blankie, etc. – you don’t want to kill him. You just want him to take a nap for a while. He’ll probably whine a bit, but don’t worry – he’ll settle down eventually.

Here are a few practical tips for combating perfectionism in the first draft:

1.) Throw it all out there.

In the photo at the top, the author is having difficulty deciding which verb to use. She’s trying to choose the “perfect” word for the way Miguel moved down the hallway, and she’s stuck on that sentence because she can’t make up her mind.

Wanna know something cool? She doesn’t have to make up her mind! The author can simply write out several options, leave them all in the sentence, and move on to the next one. Then, during a later phase (usually the first round of editing), she can choose which word feels the best…or maybe come up with something else even better!

I do this all the time when I write. Indecision is a progress-killer, so if I can’t decide, I just throw it all out there. You can do it with single words, or with whole sentences and paragraphs. It looks like this:

Miguel walked/strolled/moseyed down the hall, unconcerned about the envious stares following him.

When I go back through to edit, the perfect word will usually jump out from the pack.

2.) Just skip it.

Remember back in high school, when you were taking a math test and didn’t know the answer to problem number five? What did you do? You didn’t spend your entire hour agonizing over that pesky fifth question, leaving the other thirty-five unanswered (at least, I hope you didn’t). No, because if you did that, you’d fail the test. So, you just skipped it, moved on to number six, and then came back to five later, if you had time.

That same strategy can work for writing. If you’ve been working on the same passage for days or even weeks, and just can’t get happy with it, my best advice would be to skip that passage and move on, knowing you can come back and fill it in later (thankfully, writing a book is not a timed test).

I did this with one scene in Scars – the part where Jack tells Lily about the werewolf attack. I just could not get through that scene. Everything I wrote seemed like crap. It was holding up the whole rest of the story. Finally, I just skipped over it and came back at the end. And guess what? It was totally fine. 🙂

The skipped scene DID get written and the story got published in this lovely book. It all worked out! 🙂

Of course, in order to do this, you must have a general idea of what’s going to happen in the scene, because it impacts the rest of the story. E.g. if you’re skipping the chapter where Rosario tells Kevin she has heat vision, then don’t write him as completely shocked/flabbergasted in the next chapter when she melts the tires on the bad guys’ getaway car.

3.) Free Writing

Think about this like a mini NaNoWriMo. Set a timer for five, ten, twenty minutes – whatever fits your schedule – and just write the whole time. Don’t go back and make corrections. Don’t stare at the page thinking about the perfect phrase. Your keyboard should be clacking the entire time. Or, if you’re old school, your pen should be scratching the page continuously. If it’s totally quiet in the room, then you’re not writing.

It may not be pretty, but for extreme cases of perfectionism, this will at least get words on the page. Words that can be rearranged and molded into something beautiful later. If the blank page is your worst enemy, this exercise can help.

Once that brutal first draft is done, you can finally let perfectionism out of his cage for a little while. Let him run amok all over your book, gobbling up those nasty typos, poor word choices, pointless paragraphs that don’t move the story forward, etc. He’ll be thrilled! Just don’t leave him out too long. If he can keep you from writing your book in the first place, he can just as surely keep you from ever submitting or publishing it.

Learn to know the difference between editing something and editing it to death. (If you’re re-reading for the fiftieth time and obsessing over the tiniest phrases which sounded good ten readings ago, you’re probably in “death editing” mode.) Remember how hard it was, in the beginning, to accept that the first draft wouldn’t be flawless?

This part is even harder, because now you have to face the fact that your novel will never, no matter how many times you and your editors go over it, be 100% perfect. Because you’re not perfect. And those tiny little imperfections you’ll never completely erase? They might just be what your readers relate to and fall in love with.

So, when the book is finally the best you (and your crit partners and betas) can make it, it’s time to do that scary-wonderful thing again: let it go.

The year 2019 is coming. You’ve already made the resolution. Now, you have to decide: Do you want to be the person who had a fantastic idea for a novel in 2019? Or do you want to be the person who actually wrote one?

Best wishes in the New Year!




Book Review: Knight’s Duty by Elaine Bassier

As promised, here’s a review of my cousin’s book, Knight’s Duty! Hopefully, this will be the first of many book reviews here on ATHF:

Knight’s Duty is a fast-paced adventure about a young woman named Arianna whose greatest dream is to become a Unicorn Knight. The Knights are an order of elite soldiers pledged to defend and serve the realm of Failyn. On her way to the capital city to test her mettle as a Knight, Arianna discovers that she seems to have magical powers – something no human is supposed to possess – and meets a lone unicorn who has just survived the death of her Knight – something no unicorn should be able to do.

As the pair teams up to unravel these mysteries, they begin to understand that something much bigger – and darker – is at play. A threat that endangers the lives of everyone in their realm.

This book has lots of action, highly polished writing, cool magic, some twists I definitely didn’t see coming (one small one near the beginning and one HUGE one near the end), and characters I could relate to and respect (it’s not every day you read about teenagers aspiring to serve their country as both humanitarians and warriors). The author also does a nice job of exploring emotional topics such as guilt, forbidden crushes, jealousy, and grief.

I knew this book had me hooked when I started reading in the early afternoon and before I even realized it, the house was pitch black aside from the glow of my Kindle screen. At that point I got up to turn some lights on…then went right back to reading! 😀

Knight’s Duty is a complete story but it also sets the reader up perfectly for the next installment. I am SO looking forward to Book 2. Good thing there’s a little teaser – and a really cool cover reveal – on the author’s Facebook page to help make the wait more bearable. Go check it out here: . And don’t forget to check out the book, too! The Kindle version only costs $0.99 and it’s also available in print form (for those who haven’t yet been bitten by the eBook bug).

I’m so proud of my cousin for writing this book, and so very happy she decided to share it with the world. The world is lucky to have it. 🙂

So go forth, enjoy, and support an indie author in the process!

Oh, and don’t forget to review! 🙂


P.S. The unicorns in this book are intelligent, fiercely loyal, incredible fighters, and have personalities as unique and memorable as any human character. Unicorns rock!


Lucifer on Netflix and Other Fangirl Musings

Blog Angel-Devil Pumpkin

I was feeling pretty proud of my Lucifer-inspired, angel-devil jack-o-lantern…until my dad said he thought it was Batman! LOL!

So, it happened. My favorite TV show got cancelled. Again. We tweeted and wrote letters to save it. Again. We hoped like crazy that someone somewhere would pick it up, but secretly we were afraid we had lost a beloved series for good.


After the devastating loss of Forever and the confusing cancellation of Limitless just a year later, I was getting resigned to network television stomping on my fangirl heart.

What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was the unexpected euphoria of hearing about Lucifer‘s eleventh-hour un-cancellation, courtesy of Netflix.

The campaign to #SaveLucifer was different from other “Save Our Show” movements I’ve participated in. Stars who weren’t even involved with the show, such as William Shatner and Richard Speight, Jr., commented on Lucifer‘s cancellation. Fans from other shows, such as Supernatural, reached out to get involved in the struggle, even though it wasn’t their fandom.

But the biggest difference, to me, was how passionately and determinedly Tom Ellis himself fought for the show and its fans. He was always there to rally us on Twitter. He even flew to LA to attend meetings with networks and producers. Having a star who dug in every bit as hard as the fans made me feel good. Too often, it seems like stars of cancelled shows give up and move on instead of fighting. I’m sure they have their reasons, but still, if you had something great, something that people really loved, that they’re willing to fight for, why not fight with them?

Who knows, you might just win. 🙂

So, now Netflix will be getting some new customers…yours truly included :). It’s really a multi-level win for me, because I already loved Daredevil and Stranger Things. I’ve been very interested in sampling Jessica Jones, and waiting for The Defenders to come out on DVD (is it ever going to?) has been slowly killing me. Now I’ll get Lucifer Season Four, PLUS a bunch of other things I really, really wanted to see. Cue fangirl joy :).

So, to sum up, Lucifans win. Netflix wins. And Fox…well…loses. Because there were other shows on Fox I watched BECAUSE I watched Lucifer. The Gifted and The Resident come to mind. They’re both good shows, but if they hadn’t been on after Lucifer, I never would’ve known about them, much less watched them.

And without Lucifer as a lead-in, I haven’t seen a single episode of either one this season. The truth is, it’s easy to stay tuned for another good show that’s on right after my favorite one. But why make the effort to watch shows that used Lucifer to gain my viewership, and then got rewarded with renewal while the main attraction got cancelled?

Anyhoo, I’m eagerly awaiting Season Four on Netflix, and couldn’t be happier that of all the shows I’ve written letters and emails and tweets for over the years (Jake 2.0, The Unusuals, Forever, Limitless, Lucifer), ONE of them finally got saved.

I guess happy endings for heartbroken fangirls are possible after all! 🙂

A Storytelling Adventure

Blog - Raven Sign

Apologies for the loooong absence! I’ve been busy dealing with life’s little curve balls (see picture below) but I am alive and well and gearing up for my favorite time of year: FALL! (New TV shows, chilly weather perfect for sipping hot soup, pretty neon leaves on the trees, HALLOWEEN, NaNoWriMo–what’s not to love? 🙂 )


This lovely little princess is Diana, an extremely shy feral kitten who showed up on our property several weeks ago. Taming her has basically taken over my life, but it is paying off–she will now let me pet her and even pick her up…sometimes!

Now that I’m finally back, I wanted to say a HUGE, economy-sized THANK YOU to everyone who came out to the storytelling event at The Raven on August 1st. Thank you for listening to our words, supporting us, and being a wonderful audience!

Blog - Me Reading

Me, reading a short story (and trying not to faint from stage fright). Many thanks to R. Churchill for snapping this photo!

I am especially grateful to my folks (who ALWAYS have my back), my AMAZING writing partner (and her awesome family!), my buddy Churchill (who drove an hour to get there!), S.K. Mabry (who first suggested the idea and shared the opportunity with our writing group), Jody (who organized this great event to showcase local authors and their work), Katrina (who did a lot of the publicity) and the rest of The Raven’s super-cool staff–they treated us like royalty and wouldn’t even accept payment for our drinks.

And of course, thank you to my fellow authors for sharing your incredible stories with us!

Blog - Lust

I didn’t realize until the end of the night that I was sitting directly underneath this creepy fellow! In case you can’t read the script, it says “LUST.” The rest of the seven deadly sins were scattered about the establishment. The Raven = coolest venue EVER.

I do believe it was my first time reading one of my stories out loud for an audience. Outside of my writing group, at least. Totally nerve-wracking (my heart was RACING) but also SOOO much fun.

There may actually be a video of it somewhere around here:

Also, a little birdie told me (actually it was Jody) that The Raven plans to host this event again, maybe around twice a year, so if you missed it the first time, keep checking The Raven Cafe’s blog for updates about when the next one might be taking place:

If you’re a local writer, think about participating next time! If you’re not local, consider approaching a business in your area to see if they’d be interested in hosting something like this.

Even if you’re not a writer, it is SO great to sit in an awesome venue like this and just let someone’s voice and words flow around you. I have attended numerous poetry readings over the years, and there is always something magical about being in an environment where you’re surrounded by people who love words and want to celebrate that love with others.

So go forth! Find a poetry reading or book signing in your area! Team up with other authors and local businesses to create an event like this. Share your words, and rediscover why you love writing and reading so much!

Thanks for listening!


Two New Books, One New Interview, and We All Lived Happily Ever After


Okay, lots of exciting news to share:


New Books!

First off, I have just learned, like less than TWO days ago, that my cousin Elaine Bassier has a novel available on Amazon! How freakin’ cool is that? I think it just came out last month. Knight’s Duty is a YA fantasy and it’s the first book of the Unicorn Knight Trilogy. I’m only a few chapters in, and I can already tell you three things:

1.) My cousin is super talented.

2.) Female knight riding a unicorn = AWESOME

3.) I can’t wait to read what happens next!

I’ll be back with a full report after I finish, but you don’t have to wait for me (seriously, I’m a painfully slow reader – ask anyone in my writing group). Go check the book out for yourself right now:

Man, is it cool to see my last name on the cover of a novel! Okay, yeah, it’s not MY novel, but still. It’s cool.

Next bit of news: Transformed is officially available! The book of shapeshifter romance stories came out this past Friday. I already have my contributor copies, and they are all kinds of gorgeous.

If you haven’t already, please go check out the book:


New Interview!

In celebration of Transformed‘s release, I got to do an author interview to help promote the book! Topics include writing advice and habits, favorite authors and stories, and some fun facts about me, my new story, and the book. Please note: while my interview is family friendly, the rest of the site contains adult content, so be wary of exploring if that type of thing offends you. Happy reading, and a big thanks to Erotica For All for letting me invade their website!


A Book Signing!

I am super excited to be participating in a multi-author book signing at the Raven Café in Port Huron next month. The event will take place Wednesday, August 1st, from 7-9pm. If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you and I’m sure the other authors would too!

Books I Will DEFINITELY Have On Hand:

Alternate Hilarities 3: Hysterical Realms
Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?
Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?
Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Really Did That?
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to My Mom
Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Kind (of) America

Magazines I HOPE to Have On Hand (assuming they arrive in time!):

Trysts of Fate (August 2014)
Bloodbond (May 2017)

More info about The Raven (aka possibly the COOLEST venue EVER):


And finally…

A Happily Ever After Ending!

Okay, so, if you read the story description after my interview, you might be thinking that my new story, “Scars,” sounds an awful lot like an older piece called “Burn.” So, what gives?

To quote Dr. Henry Morgan, “It’s a long story!” 🙂

I originally submitted “Burn” to Transformed as a reprint. However, during the editing process, the editor and publisher asked me to change the original (read: tragic and gruesome) ending to a HEA (happily ever after) that would be better suited for their target audience.

I must admit, I was initially a bit traumatized at having to make such a drastic change to my story. As is the case with most of my short pieces, the original ending of “Burn” was the whole reason I wrote the story. It was all leading up to that moment. I wondered if the story could even work without it.

The editor, Charlie Watson, told me she’d already written a version of the ending where things work out better for the characters, but I didn’t look at that version right away. Instead, I spent a few fretful days brainstorming hard about how these two characters, who are in a terrible place at the end of “Burn,” could actually wind up living happily ever after.

After coming up with something halfway decent, I looked at Charlie’s version. It was fantastic. Just chock full of emotional gems, and truly in keeping with the characters I’d written. In addition to being a first-rate editor, she’s also a crazy talented author. My first thought was, “Well, dang, maybe we should just leave it like this!”

But the new version did leave a few plot threads hanging, so I decided to go for broke and write the version I’d come up with, incorporating as many of the elements from Charlie’s ending as I possibly could (because they were awesome). After writing 4,000 words in two days and then revising like a madwoman, I sent the new text to Charlie and spent the whole night biting my nails down to stubs, wondering if she would like it or hate it.

In the morning, I checked my email and got my own Happily Ever After moment: the alternate ending I’d slaved over was approved for the book. Yay!

Although it was a HUGE challenge at the time, I couldn’t be happier with the results. “Burn” was more horror story than romance, and while I still love the original ending, I love the new version even more. “Scars” is a story of pain and loss, but also of love and healing. Several of the people who read “Burn” enjoyed it…right up until they got to the last few sentences. Then they said, “Oh, no! That’s not how I wanted it to end!”

I promise you, “Scars” will fix that feeling. 🙂

Many thanks to my awesome editor, Charlie Watson, and everyone at Pen and Kink Publishing, for giving me the freedom and inspiration I needed to deliver my very first alternate ending – and, in the process, create a whole new, even better story!


Before I Go…

In celebration of alternate endings, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite fanfics that also had two different endings for audiences to enjoy:


Lois and Clark

“The Enemy Within” by Tank Wilson and Wendy Richards

(One happy ending vs. one very grim ending – I like the happy one!)



“There’s No Music in Hell” by Solo’s Falcon

(Both happy endings and both awesome! Hard to choose a favorite! If you’re reading it for the first time, one of the chapters – the Lucifer/Chloe love scene – is posted as a separate fic entitled “No Music in Hell: A Slice of Heaven” and it’s not to be missed!)


That’s it for tonight, folks! Now I’m off to read more of Knight’s Duty!

Keep Writing (and Reading)!