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.

Again.

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! 🙂

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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!

http://eroticaforall.co.uk/interviews/an-interview-with-gretchen-bassier-astheheroflies/

 

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:

Transformed
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):

https://ravencafeph.com/

 

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!)

 

Lucifer

“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)!

~Gretchen

 

 

 

A-Maze-ing Lucifer Reviews

For me, being a fan of a TV show, or a book series, or even a movie franchise, has never been just about the source material. That’s where it starts, of course. But when I’m really obsessed with something, I always want more. Not spoilers, mind you. I’m allergic to those. (Seriously, I just got up and left the room to avoid a scene from an episode of Stranger Things that I haven’t watched yet).

By “more,” I mean that I want to know the characters better. I want to dive deeper into the storylines than the original material allows. I want to imagine what happened right before the episode started, or after the book ended, or analyze what a character was really thinking when he said a particular line.

For many years, this was a solitary pursuit on my part. Me, making up my own little stories about the characters. Filling in history where there wasn’t any yet, coming up with explanations when there seemed to be plot holes.

I was in college when I first discovered fan fiction, and what a revelation it was. Other people wanted more, too! They wanted to write missing scenes and dissect dialogue every bit as much as I did.

Another thing that quenches my thirst for “more” is reading rich, in-depth reviews written by someone who obviously knows and loves the source material just as much as I do. For me, finding reviews like these is actually rarer than finding excellent fan fiction.

I had two favorite reviewers for Supernatural: GaelicSpirit (https://gaelicspirit.livejournal.com/) and Kroki_Refur, both over on LiveJournal. Sadly, I don’t think either of them still writes regular reviews, but even their old ones (or sporadic new ones) are worth reading if you’re a fan of the show. Gaelic is a more of a Dean fan and Refur is definitely a Sam enthusiast, so it’s always fun to read both perspectives and get a fully rounded view of each episode. (Bonus: Both authors also write fanfic for the show, and it’s reeeeally good.)

There was a great reviewer on the official message boards for The Mentalist, but I could never find her again after CBS abandoned the traditional fan boards for a Facebook system. 😦

When it came to Forever, the place to be was AfterBuzz TV on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCcVQKtF8zHVQoTJt8NNMJA). They always had a great discussion of the current episode, and sometimes interviewed the cast and showrunners. They even helped create a subplot that later appeared on the show!

And now we come to Lucifer, one of my newest obsessions. I’ve been reading fanfic for this one for a while now (I even recommended some on here), but only recently did I come across some cool episode reviews via a link on Twitter. The author, LaToya Ferguson, really delves into the characters and plotlines, sometimes pointing out small elements I didn’t notice, or bringing up possibilities I never considered. Which is exactly what I’m looking for in a review.

So, if you’re hungry for more Lucifer, and you just can’t handle the three-week wait for the next new episode, why not check out these a-Maze-ing bits of post-ep analysis:

https://www.avclub.com/c/tv-review/lucifer

You may not always agree with the author, but that’s part of the fun, too. Intelligent debates between true fans are always worth reading.

Happy New Year, my fellow LuciFans! 🙂

 

Season Premiere Dates!

Hey, all! After three months of reality TV, our favorite scripted shows are FINALLY coming back and I absolutely can’t wait! So, here are the premiere dates (*** = the time or day has changed from last season):

 

Gotham***: Already Started! Now airs on Thursday at 8pm on FOX. I don’t watch this one anymore, but it looks like Bruce is wearing a mask this year, getting closer and closer to becoming you-know-who!

The Orville (NEW): Already Started! Airs on Thursday at 9pm on FOX. This is a brand new show and so far I love it! If you enjoyed the movie GalaxyQuest, then you’ll definitely dig this very funny, Star Trek-esque space adventure. As an added bonus, one of the stars is Adrianne Palicki, who played the first (and better) Kara on Smallville, as well as Jess on Supernatural. Highly recommended!

The Good Doctor (NEW): Starts Monday, September 25th, 10pm on ABC. New show about a surgeon with autism. Could be interesting. I’m planning on giving it a shot.

This Is Us: Starts Tuesday, September 26th, 9pm on NBC. Fantastic show! So fantastic, I’ll forgive last year’s bad finale. Are we ever going to find out how Jack died?

Chicago PD: Starts Wednesday, September 27th, 10pm on NBC. I’m wracking my brains and honestly can’t remember where this one left off. Can someone please remind me?

Chicago Fire***: Starts Thursday, September 28th, 10pm on NBC. I actually do remember where this one left off. A bunch of them were trapped in a burning building. Not sure who’ll make it. The commercials are making it seem as if Matt’s going to die. They could be misleading us, or preparing us for true heartbreak. Are the other two Chicago shows coming back? Anyone know?

Lucifer***: Starts Monday, October 2nd, 8pm on FOX. As you can probably tell from the image above, this is the one I’m most looking forward to!!!! He got kidnapped, he’s in the desert (???), he’s got wings…what the H3LL is going on? Can’t wait to find out. Also, I heard a rumor someone SUPER special is joining the cast. 🙂

The Mayor (NEW): Starts Tuesday, October 3rd, 9:30pm on ABC. New show about a young rapper who runs for mayor as a publicity stunt…and unexpectedly wins. And, since this guy actually cares about his community and wants to make a difference, he rises to the challenge. Sounds pretty good to me. I’ll give it a shot.

Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (NEW): Starts Tuesday, October 3rd, 10pm on ABC. Average guy has to save the world, with help from an angel? Or something like that? Don’t know much about this one, but I like the lead actors enough to give it a shot.

Supergirl: Starts Monday, October 9th, 8pm on The CW. I lost track of this one a bit last season, but will definitely try to catch up this year. Gotta love GIRL POWER!!!

Supernatural: Starts Thursday, October 12th, 8pm on The CW. Lucifer, Mary and alt-Bobby are in another dimension. Castiel, Crowley, Rowena and Kelly Klein are all dead. Oh yeah, and the spawn of Satan was just born. Maybe some good things will happen in the Season 13 opener? Here’s hoping!

Happy watching, everybody! 🙂

 

 

News, Reviews and More!

Hey, all – sorry I’ve been offline for so long! Lots of stuff going on right now – some good, some bad. I’ll try to catch you up! Okay, so the news first:

Publications

I read a werewolf novella by Joshua Werner and loved it so much I just had to write a review! My review of Rampant can be found in the May issue of Bloodbond, a werewolf-, shapeshifter- and vampire-themed magazine published by Alban Lake Publishing. The other content in the zine is all fiction, poetry and artwork pertaining to shapeshifters and vamps, so if you’re as crazy about creatures of the night as I am, be sure to check that out!

Up next: I have two stories coming out this August in Chicken Soup for the Soul books! Yay! The first story, “One Step at a Time,” is about my cat Sputnik’s miracle recovery from a severe health crisis. That can be found in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Really Did That?, which will be available on August 8. The second story, “Out of the Mouths of Strangers,” is a bit more humorous and includes MANY embarrassing moments from my junior high and high school years. That one will be published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Kind of America, which comes out on August 29.

 

Movie Reviews

In other happy news, I was fortunate enough to see THREE superhero movies in the last several months. Here’s what I thought of them:

Logan

A good movie, no doubt. High-quality and well-written. I do question the need to make this an R movie. I’m not sure that was the right way to send off the character (at least Hugh Jackman’s version of him). Wolverine has many younger fans who wouldn’t be able to see this film, and therefore wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to their favorite character. My other main issue with Logan is that it isn’t a well-balanced film. This is one of the most depressing movies I’ve seen in recent years. Virtually every character dies. And before they do, the majority of them suffer from physical and mental illness, as well as torture at the hands of their enemies. There is very little humor, and very little hope. The tone is dark and stays that way throughout, rather unrelentingly. Also, the f-word is overused. When I hear it that many times in a row, at a certain point the writer in me starts thinking, Couldn’t you have come up with a better, more creative expletive?

Despite everything, this still was a really good movie. Definitely worth seeing, but I’m not sure I’d want to own it. My suggestion: rent it when you’re in a good mood. If you’re already feeling low, this movie will only bring you down further.

Wonder Woman

To be honest, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to see this movie. Now, I can’t imagine NOT having seen it. Wonder Woman is pure magic. Unlike Logan, this movie is perfectly balanced, with just the right mix of hope, humor, action, romance and sorrow. This is the first female superhero movie to come along in…geez, I don’t even know how many years – and it delivers in a BIG way! Just seeing those powerful Amazon warriors training on their horses in the beginning of the film…I got chills. I didn’t even know how much I needed this movie until I saw it. No matter what your gender is, I promise you will leave the theatre grinning and hoping the next Wonder Woman movie is coming out sooner rather than later. Readers of this blog should be glad I don’t have a lot of time right now, otherwise you’d be getting a 5,000-word post raving about Wonder Woman.

My suggestion: See it!

Captain Underpants

I had the pleasure of seeing this movie with all three of my nephews, and I really enjoyed it. Though much of the humor is of the bathroom variety (as you can guess from the movie’s title), the core story of friendship between the two main characters is touching. As a writer (and a big superhero fan), I loved that the MCs are an author and an illustrator who created their own superhero and publish their own comic book. The fact that they get to see their creation come to life before their eyes – something any writer would give up their pinky toe to see happen – only adds to the joy of this film.

My suggestion: If you’ve got kids between 7-11 years old, take them to see it! They won’t be disappointed, and neither will you. 🙂

TV Reviews

No, no, I didn’t forget about the TV shows! That would never happen.

Last season, two shows tied for first place: Limitless, for being so friggin’ awesome in its first season, and Supernatural for being so friggin’ awesome in its ELEVENTH season! Both shows demonstrated amazing creativity and I had such a great time watching them that it was impossible to choose. I give them both a 9.5 score for the season. Runners-up included my old love, The X-Files, as well as the sparkly newcomer, Lucifer.

Some friends of mine were disgruntled about TXF, as it seemed the network might just be drawing us in with Mulder and Scully, only to reboot a new version of the show starring the recently introduced characters of Miller and Einstein. Personally, I’m withholding judgement until this actually happens. The last time I checked, Season Eleven was listed as a “sure thing” – with the original cast – so we’ll see. I do like the new characters, but Mulder and Scully need to be the stars. Always.

This season I had to make some sacrifices and only watched a few shows religiously. Among those were Lucifer and Supernatural (duh). I loved the mom-drama on both shows, but in the end, Lucifer won out for just being incredible from start to finish. Last year was a little hit-and-miss for me, but this year was DYNAMITE. There was much more focus on the supernatural elements of the show, and the emotions were running a lot higher this year, too.

I’m glad they at least established the beginning of a romance between Chloe and Lucifer. When shows wait too long to introduce romantic interest between the leads, the characters can get stuck in the friend zone. Then, if the writers do decide to put them together down the line, it’s very awkward. (Castle was one show that got this right, while The Mentalist waited too long). The characters don’t have to be together all the time – we just have to know there’s some attraction between them.

Oh, and the Lucifer finale? I just have one word: WINGZZZZZ!!!!! Also, Lucifer gets mega-points for not killing off any beloved characters in the finale. Unlike Supernatural :(. Um, some of those people can come back…right? Please???

Elsewhere on TV: Chicago Fire: We needed more time to get to know Anna before they killed her off. Grimm: Why the heck did they cancel this amazing show??? Emerald City: Too caught up in the glitz of its concept to deliver on an emotional level. This is Us: If you’re not watching it yet, start now! Great show, with many alums from other shows we love, including Smallville and Supernatural. Plus, it’s not getting cancelled anytime soon, so you can watch without fear.

Novel Update

Some of you may recall that I was in the process of editing one of my novels. Last time I posted about it, the book was at 150K words. Now, thanks to an awesome writing partner (and her equally awesome son), the manuscript is at about 106K and still shrinking. That’s down from 300K, people! Cutting your book IS doable.

For more help on cutting words from your manuscript, check out this post:

http://www.rachellegardner.com/how-to-cut-thousands-of-words/ 

Loads of great advice in the comments, too, along with a wonderful quote that sums up the cutting process:

“Every word you cut gives its power to the words that remain.” ~ Cathy’s brother

Wish me luck in getting my book down under 100K, and I hope to be back soon with more news, reviews and other goodies!

~Gretchen

 

Five Lucifer Fanfics (and One Fanart) to Get You Through the Hiatus

So, Lucifer‘s been on hiatus for a hellishly long time. And we’ve still got two-and-a-half weeks to go before the Prince of Darkness returns on May 1st. Feeling antsy? Missing your favorite fallen angel? These five devilishly good fics (and one gorgeous fanart!) will get you through the rest of the hiatus:

There’s No Music in Hell by Solo’s Falcon
Summary: The murder of a priest leads detective Chloe Decker to a secluded abbey to investigate. Having Lucifer as her partner proves to be both an asset and a liability. But keeping him on a leash is not her biggest problem. Dealing with her growing attraction towards him is. While they struggle with their feelings, a threat lurks in the shadows determined to bring the Devil to his knees.

Damnatio Memoriae by Ice Queen1
Summary: Chloe tries to solve the riddle that is Lucifer Morningstar. Dan even manages to help. When mysterious ritualized killings start showing up, Chloe suspects Lucifer may know more than he lets on. Problem is, she doesn’t know what she thinks she does. Lucifer Whump. Chapter 21 is rated M for violence at readers’ suggestion, but remainder of story is T.

Cecidit Angelus by Ice Queen1
Summary: When Lucifer is picked up wandering the highway alone at night with no memory of who he is or how he got there, he’s brought to a mental hospital. The poor staff has no idea what to make of him, and unfortunately, neither does he. Another patient by the name of Constantine may be able to help – or maybe he’s just as crazy as he is.

A Conversation – Long Overdue by Skaoi
Summary: A guy walks into a bar…stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

Anything Brighter by Black Hawk
Summary: All the coy smiles and misdirections that Lucifer has come to rely upon don’t distract Chloe from the handful of moments she has happened to catch him unawares. The eerie tightness in his dark eyes when he thinks no one is looking twists something inside of her in response.

Lucifer Morningstar (fanart) by TricksterKat209

Enjoy!

See you on May 1st, my fellow Lucifans!

Shower Them With Books

Bookshelves 1

Photo by S. Benning

Once you’ve been to a few baby showers, you get to know the drill–pick out a gift from the registry, buy a cute (and unnecessarily expensive) card to go with it, then show up at the appointed time ready to watch the mom-to-be open oodles of packages containing bottle sterilizers, diapers and impossibly small socks.

So, when the invitation for my cousin Sarah’s baby shower arrived in the mail, I for the most part ignored the adorable jungle animals smiling up at me and focused solely on gleaning the pertinent info: time, date, location, and stores where the parents had registered. I was almost finished skimming when something near the bottom of the invite caught my eye:

“In lieu of a card, the parents ask that you bring a book inscribed to the new baby.”

A little thrill of excitement shot up my spine.

Being a writer, this idea naturally held way more appeal for me than simply picking out a bib from a list of three pre-chosen patterns. This was a book. Any book we wanted. This was freedom.

As the shower date approached, my mom and I eagerly tossed titles back and forth–books we’d loved as young children, stories that had captured our attention and held it hostage in the best possible way.

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

There were so many wonderful choices: funny books, sweet books, educational books. Books with bold colors. Books with flaps to lift and fabrics for chubby little fingers to touch. Even books where the pictures pop up right at you!

Though it seemed impossible to narrow the field, I eventually selected Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. Mom chose Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. Then we got to work planning the perfect wording for our inscribed messages to the baby. As is typical of authors, we both wrote several drafts before finally etching our words in permanent ink inside the book covers.

The whole ride to the shower, I was half excitement, half nerves. I couldn’t wait to see what books the other guests had chosen, but at the same time, I was a little worried, too. What if the baby got not one but five copies of Guess How Much I Love You? After all, an inscribed book is a nonreturnable one. Mom pointed out that with young children, having extra copies of a favorite story is a good thing–pages get ripped, flaps get torn off, corners get chewed on. I knew she was right…but still, I fretted. Giving a duplicate book seemed like showing up to prom and noticing someone else wearing the same exact black spaghetti strap dress as mine.

As soon as the gift portion of the shower got underway, however, I quickly saw that my concern was for naught. With every new gift my cousin opened, there came a different book title. There was indeed a hungry caterpillar, and a bunny in need of patting. But there were also books about tractors, bears, princesses, giraffes, elephants and every other thing you could imagine.

I actually got a little teary, realizing that we’d all chosen different books based on the different things that had touched us and shaped us throughout our lives. We’d all been moved by reading–not in the same way, but in a hundred different ways, and that just made it all the more beautiful.

In my case, I grew up surrounded by books. With two teachers for parents, it couldn’t have been any other way. As a child, I sat curled in the silence of our basement for hours, aching at the bittersweet ending of Princess by Carolyn Lane, a tale about two cats–one tame, one feral. My bathwater went from toasty to frigid without me even noticing as I lost myself in the adventures of Alec Ramsay and his magnificent Black Stallion. My breath steamed the windows of our Jeep as I devoured Dick King-Smith’s Babe: The Gallant Pig start-to-finish on a rainy afternoon. During a late-night power outage, I sat huddled in the bathroom, candlelight and a book called The Great Green Apple War by Barbara Klimowicz the only two things keeping my gnawing fear of the dark at bay. For months when I was a young teen, I actually slept with a dog-eared copy of Geary Gravel’s novelization of Hook under my pillow, so in love with the story of a grown up Peter Pan that I felt certain I’d never go a day of my life without rereading at least a few of its pages.

And that’s just a small sampling of my childhood. My journey as a budding young reader.

Gazing down at all of the baby’s new acquisitions, I knew I was looking at the start of a brand new adventure. A new life to be molded and inspired, a new imagination to be kindled–maybe by one of the books given this very day.

Didn’t matter if it was my book, or one about a kitten, or one about a train. Something would start that fire, ignite that passion for reading. And, once lit, this little girl’s life would never be the same.

Good luck getting all that from an overpriced greeting card.