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)!





Werelions and Weretigers and Werebears, Oh My!

Cover design by Amanda C. Davis


Those of you who know me know that I’m into werewolves. Like REALLY into werewolves. Like, when someone comes over to visit, my standard greeting is, “Do you want to watch a movie? I have The Wolfman!” (In case you were wondering, yes I get weird looks in response to this.)

I’m not exactly sure how I turned out this way (it might have something to do with how many times I watched The Shaggy Dog and Ladyhawke when I was a kid), but at some point in my life I blossomed into a full-fledged lover of all things shapeshifter and never looked back.

Which is why I could not be more excited to have one of my stories included in Pen and Kink’s upcoming anthology, Transformed. This book, which is the third in their Triskaidekaphilia series, features romantic relationships involving (you guessed it) shapeshifters. (The first two books focused on romances related to urban legends and vampires. The next one, called Haunted, will feature female ghosts – go check out the submission guidelines here: )

For me, the most exciting thing about being included in a collection like this is getting to read everyone else’s stories. (I mean, I already read mine – that’s old news.) So, as soon as I got my advance review copy (and did a quick check to make sure I hadn’t done anything cringe-worthy, like spell my own name wrong in the byline (don’t laugh, it’s possible)), I joyfully dove into my fellow authors’ works.

And I just have to say: Holy crap! These writers are so talented! I am so not worthy to be in their midst! I loved every single story in the book. Like seriously, I keep trying to pick a favorite, and I just CAN’T. I think what impressed me the most, aside from just the quality of the writing, was the variety. This book features many different cultures, different interpretations of what it means to be a shapeshifter (whether it’s a blessing or a curse, whether it’s something to be carefully controlled or something that should be encouraged to run rampant), and different types of romantic relationships.

And that’s not even mentioning all the different kinds of creatures! I mean, there are werewolves, yes – but they’re actually in the minority here. Beneath the beautiful cover designed by Amanda C. Davis, I discovered weresnakes, werefoxes, werehawks, werecats, werejackals, wereseals (yes, seals!). Heck, there’s even a weredragon in there!

In addition to the menagerie of shapeshifters, there are characters of all colors and backgrounds. There are straight characters, gay characters, bisexual characters. There is sex, and sometimes it’s described in great detail – however, it’s never the sole point of the story, but rather just one element that only adds to the richness of the overall plot.

Speaking of plots, there are some really complex ones involving spy games, intrigue, stolen goods and kidnapping, as well as simple plots focusing on a single moment of significance in a character’s life. There are cursed lovers. There are characters who meet for the first time, and characters who’ve known each other across the ages.

All I can say is, hats off to my fellow authors for their skills and creativity, as well as to the editor, Charlie Watson, for putting together such a diverse book.

As one reviewer already mentioned, there really is something for everyone in Transformed. (You can find more early reviews here: ) If this sounds like something you’d be into, the books comes out on July 13th. (Yes, that’s Friday the 13th – it ties in with Triskaidekaphilia, which means love of the number thirteen). Check out the pre-order link here:

Oh, and if you’re a reviewer who’d like an ARC of the book, I believe they are still giving a few copies away on LibraryThing. You just have to scroll down until you see the pretty cover with the lady and the tiger and the title Transformed by Charlie Watson:

I hope you love the book! I did! 🙂

Keep writing and submitting, everybody!

Best wishes,


Happy Birthday, LEGO Man!

Several years ago, I wrote a poem as a gift for my LEGO-loving friend. In response, he delighted me by creating a picture that captured every detail of the poem. I am posting both today in honor of my friend’s birthday.

Photo by R. Churchill



Bright plastic pieces
A rainbow on the table
Spilled, formless jumble

He looks them over
Eyes sharp and mind-wheels turning

Hands move, click and snap
Creation in the making
No instructions, here

Walls climb, towers grow
Grey on black on green on brown
A castle is born

King, queen, knights and court
All happy yellow faces
No race, just people

The builder smiles down
At his masterpiece, his world
LEGO man, at heart


Happy birthday, LEGO Man! It may not seem like it now, but I truly believe this will be the year that everything is awesome!

Love you!


#AMMConnect Bio for Spring 2018

Hey, all! In my previous post I mentioned Author Mentor Match, a mentorship program for aspiring YA and MG authors. Writers hoping to apply for the program are encouraged to create blog posts about themselves and their books, so here’s mine!

I’m so excited to read everyone else’s posts (I’ve already read some, and everybody’s books sound awesome!). Also, a HUGE thank you to all of the Round Three mentees who volunteered their time to give away query critiques to this round’s hopefuls. I was lucky enough to win one from Lucy Hallowell, who gave me lots of wonderful feedback and encouragement. Thank you so much, Lucy!



ME! (I am the one with slightly fewer gray hairs.)

I am thirty-seven years old, I have Asperger’s, and I work as a home health aide. I’ve been doing that for over fifteen years and I love it. I’m also passionate about feral cats and I spend a lot of time caring for the strays in my neighborhood. Some of my best friends walk on four legs! (Okay, now my human friends are giving me the skunk eye. I said “some,” not “all”!).

This is Jericho, one of the feral cats I take care of. When he first arrived, he had almost no fur on his body whatsoever–a severe allergy had caused him to pull it all out. Now, thanks to periodic allergy shots, his fur has grown back and he is no longer itchy!

I’ve been writing for about fifteen years, give or take. I write pretty much everything–horror, humor, romance, fantasy, scifi, novels, novellas, novelettes, short stories, scripts, flash fic, fanfic, nonfic, poetry, kidlit. You name it, I’ve probably at least dabbled. I think I write so many different things because I like to read so many different things. To me, a good story is a good story, no matter what the format/setting/genre/age category.

In addition to writing, I also help run my local critique group. The writers I’ve met through this group are a-maz-ing and super-talented! I am so lucky to have them in my life. I smile every time I think about how much we’ve all gained from the honest opinions of our fellow authors. (Yes, even when it hurts. Especially then.)



Working Title: EVEN HEROES

I would best describe it as a real-world superhero story. You know how Batman and Green Arrow and Hawkeye don’t have any superpowers but they go out and do awesome stuff anyway? It’s like that!

When the book starts, my main character, Vincent, is in a pretty dark place. He’s thirteen years old, has acute asthma, and he’s dealing with a severe bullying problem at school. The same kids have been targeting him for years, and he’s too ashamed-and afraid of retaliation-to tell anyone what’s going on.

He definitely can’t tell his mom–she’s already a nervous wreck. She’s so afraid of him having an asthma attack that basically the only physical activity he’s allowed to do at school is walk to class…slowly.

So, Vincent escapes reality the only way he knows how: by diving into his favorite comic books. He loves everything about them–the artwork, the stories, and most of all the way the heroes stand up for people being victimized…people like him.

In the back of his mind, Vincent has always known that if he could do absolutely anything, if he had no restrictions, physical or otherwise, he’d want to be a superhero. Of course, this is the real world, and there aren’t really superheroes flying around. But a person can fantasize, right? No harm in that.

Except lately, Vincent’s fantasies aren’t so harmless. Lately, he’s been having dark, bloody thoughts of taking revenge on the classmates who’ve been hurting him. Lately he’s been feeling like the walls are slowly closing in all around him, inch by inch, and it’s getting harder and harder to escape into the bright-colored superhero adventures of his comic books.

Vincent finally reaches his breaking point after a disastrous visit to the school guidance counselor (note: it’s a bad idea to write on a career survey that you want to be a superhero), followed by the most vicious prank the bullies have ever pulled.

Vincent doesn’t know what to do, but he has to do something or else he’s going to go full-on crazy. So, he decides to reclaim his life by doing the one thing he’s always dreamed of: becoming a superhero. No matter how insane/stupid/impossible it sounds, no matter how dangerous it is, no matter how much strain it puts on his already weak lungs, he is going to do this thing. (Or die trying.)

Basically, this is a story about a kid who’s been caged for thirteen years finally setting himself free, testing his wings, and finding out what he’s really capable of.



-Finding a complete deer skeleton at the bottom of a lake when my brothers and I were kids

-Talking to one of my brothers about how much comic books meant to him growing up

-The very real tunnel system under a school I visited

-A person I once met who thought about doing something very bad–but decided not to

-A psychology class where we learned how to determine whether a child’s asthma was primarily stress-induced or allergy-induced

-My own crazy fangirl obsession with superheroes

-My own experiences being bullied in junior high



-Superhero Fun! Awesome costumes, wardrobe malfunctions, secret identities (and trying to keep them secret), fame and publicity, watching the character juggle his regular, everyday problems with his superhero problems. The most fun parts are of course when those two sides of his life collide unexpectedly. 🙂

-Superhero Drama! Aside from the fun, adventure-y parts of the story, you also get to see the character wrestle with the more heartbreaking aspects of heroism–that he can’t save everyone, that when he screws up people can die, and that some people are past the point of even wanting to be saved. (And in a different life, he might’ve been one of those.)

-He’s NOT the chosen one. Don’t get me wrong–I love, love, love “chosen one” stories. I am totally into Harry Potter, Sword of Truth/Legend of the Seeker, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, etc, etc. I love destiny and prophecy and special powers and people born half-angel or half-demon or with psychic mermaid blood which makes them the only one who can ignite the sacred torch of immortality. But for this story, I just thought it was cool that there really wasn’t anything special about this kid. Nobody showed up to rescue him from his crappy life and whisked him off to some amazing, magical world. He just had a dream to do something awesome and he did it. No help. No powers. No destiny. Just him.

-Platonic Boy/Girl Friendship That Doesn’t Turn Into Romance (Because Not Everything Has To Go That Way). Think Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, or Severide and Shay on Chicago Fire, or even Mulder and Scully before it got romance-y. Opposite-gender friends who can hold hands without it being awkward. Friends who can tell each other when there’s something on the other person’s face. Friends who would fight in a war zone side by side, ready to lie down and die for each other, but they’re not going to start making out in a moment of passion. Just real, true best friends in every sense of the word.

-The Magic Age of Thirteen. One of the things I love about my character is that he’s right on the borderline between being a little kid who still believes in dreams and an angry teenager who’s about to become destructive. And even though he chooses to embrace the joy of childish dreams, that angry teen is still inside of him, ready to bare its fangs throughout the book.



Terrified. Excited. Receptive. Grateful.

All of my first drafts tend to be reeeeally long, so I’m pretty merciless about making cuts and changes to my babies. I have graveyards full of dead darlings…

RIP, Darlings!

…And sometimes, I have nightmares about them coming back to life and eating my brains…


I think of cutting words like power-spraying all the mud off a vehicle that’s just been off-roading. It’s a ton of work, but by the end you have this gorgeous, gleaming, cherry red Jeep Wrangler sitting in your driveway. 🙂

As a mentee I would be good at making large-scale changes even with a very small amount of feedback. I’m like a bloodhound–just put me on the scent of what needs to be done, and pretty soon I’ll be baying and charging through the woods in pursuit of making my story better.

So far, I’ve had three people help me with this particular manuscript–a trusted beta reader I’ve had for years, a wonderful CP I only found about a year ago, and the CP’s then ten-and-a-half-year-old son, who read the book along with his mom.


With their help, I’ve been able to:

-cut over 205K words from the manuscript (nope, that’s not a typo–see graveyard pic above)

-improve pacing

-strengthen character arcs

-make the MS accessible to a slightly younger audience


With a mentor’s help, I hope to be able to:

-identify any remaining spots where the pacing is too slow

-identify any remaining elements that aren’t working

-reduce the word count a little more, if possible (right now it’s just under 93K)

-make sure my submission package accurately and effectively represents my book

-correctly identify where my book fits into the market (Due to the length and some darker themes present in the book, I am submitting this one as a YA. However, the YA books I read as potential comps felt just a smidge too old, and the MGs I read were all just a shade too young and simplistic. I feel like mine might fall into a middle category, such as UMG.)


Over the years, I’ve given feedback and encouragement to many of my fellow authors. It’s always a special moment for me when one of those people achieves success, because even just knowing that I was some tiny part of that journey is pure magic. So, if someone reading this sees a spark of something in me or my story that makes them want to be part of my journey, I will consider myself so lucky.

I can’t wait to see where we go together!