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:

FFN:  https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13183278/1/The-Innocence-Project

AO3:  https://archiveofourown.org/works/17478380/chapters/41163341

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! 🙂

~Cass

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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!

~Gretchen

 

 

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: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElaineB/ . 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! 🙂

~Gretchen

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!

 

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? 🙂 )

Diana!

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:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/RavenCafe/videos/?ref=page_internal

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:

https://ravencafeph.com/

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!

~Gretchen

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

 

 

 

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: http://www.penandkinkpub.com/home/books/triskaidekaphilia/4-haunted-female-ghosts/ )

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: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38262542-transformed ) 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:

https://www.amazon.com/Transformed-Triskaidekaphilia-Book-Nancy-Canu-ebook/dp/B07C67DTGV

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:

https://www.librarything.com/er/giveaway/list

I hope you love the book! I did! 🙂

Keep writing and submitting, everybody!

Best wishes,

Gretchen

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

 

LEGO Man

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

He looks them over
Eyes sharp and mind-wheels turning
Possibilities

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!

~Gretchen