Saturday, February 11, 2012

TLS 2011 Fic of the Year Winner is ANNOUNCED!!

Today we celebrate one year of fantastic fan fiction. Each and every week, members of The Lemonade Stand share the fics that we've read and loved that week, the stories that left us slack jawed at our monitors or holding our sides with laughter. We gather the fics that make us cry and cause us to spend hours theorizing. You can see the product of all that fic loving each week here for 2011.

From that list of fantastic fics, a fic of the month is chosen through another poll. These twelve fics truly reflect some of the best work read this year. They are all amazing and we highly recommend you read all of them if you haven’t so far. Our Fics of the Month for 2011 were:

December 2011 - My Beautiful Storm by Troublefollows1017

November 2011 - Bonne Foi by Amethyst Jackson

October 2011 - Cracks in the Pavement by VampiresHaveLaws

September 2011 - Firefly in Summer by Primarycolors

August 2011 - The Breakers by Les16

July 2011 - Trash and Darlin's by Cara No

June 2011 - There is a Light by BelladonnaCullen

May 2011 - Our Yellow House by Cara No

April 2011 - A May to December Romance by PositivelyFourthStreet

March 2011 - Fridays at Noon by TroubleFollows1017

February 2011 - Vines by FictionFreak95

January 2011 - A Pound of Flesh by jaxon22

We then gave you a difficult task.  Choose just one out of these amazing fics to become Fic of the Year.  458 of you answered our challenge and voted for your favorite.  On behalf of all of the Men and Women of TLS, I give to you:


Summary: This was 1987; before the Internet, before Twitter, before Facebook – this was back when it was still possible for people not to know about things: big things - like bands, and little things - like G-spots. AH, ExB, with some other parings along the way.

Do you know The Masens?
*plays a favorite memory from the story*

"They say we shouldn't play," he said into the mic.
The crowd booed.
"They say it's supposed to rain for hours."
He looked up at the dark clouds and arched his back and let the rain splatter across his face and splash onto his chest.
"I say fuck them!" he shouted to the sky.
"Fuck them!" the audience yelled back in a chorus. I lost myself in the screaming.
"They brought me a roof," Edward Cullen said into his mic, swiveling around and shaking his head pitifully at his sheltered band members behind him. He turned back to the audience and kicked his combat boot through a particularly large puddle, spraying the front row of kids. "I say, roofs are for pussies!" he yelled, tearing at his shirt so the neckline hung ragged and wet against his soaking chest.
The crowd erupted. Jasper tapped out a beat, and The Masens exploded into a wall of sound.
Do you know belladonnacullen and her expertly written, lyrical sounding story about them?    About how a flawed man fell in love with a young, na├»ve girl with a high school crush on the romanticized ideal of a rock star she adored, lost the girl, and then, defying all the odds, made his best attempt to win her back?
Do you?
If you don’t, you need to.
Because have you ever read a story that makes your heart just want to burst right out of your chest?  Made you cry for characters and you weren’t even wholly sure why you were crying?  Held your full attention through heart soaring scenes where love was blooming and lines were being crossed, but you wanted them crossed?  SO BADLY… Made you root for a man you probably shouldn’t be rooting for, but did anyway because you just knew these two belonged together?
I had never had this experience until I read “There is a Light”.
Never felt like I just ached “watching” the raw, unabashed love Bella felt for Edward and then watching him destroy it.
Watching each of them hit rock bottom in their own, tormented way, then climb back up with hopes of finding what they once had again.
I’m so grateful I got to be a part of it.  To watch it bloom and flourish and grow and weave.
I’m especially glad I was honored to get to know the person behind this story.
When Marie posted the very first chapter, I had just read Rubbish; a fun, crackalicious thing she had just thrown down on a whim one day. I was already blown away by her talent; if not by that story, then by The Practice of Love, where she had me head over heels in love with Edward the patient slash lawyer and Bella the doctor slash client.
But from that very first day she posted TIAL, I thought holy shit, this is amazing.  It gave me goose bumps, no lie, within the first 100 words.

"The story began a long time ago," I explain, pushing my daughter's long brown hair out of her face and behind her ear.
"How long ago, Mommy?"
I quickly do the math. Then I gasp. "Twenty-four years ago."
"That's close to a hundred, right?"
"Closer to that than I'd like, Little One," I chuckle.
Who “Little One” is, is only one of the wonderfully mastered mysteries of this story.
We know they are not together at some point because, from the very start, she’s not with him. We get glimpses of their life together through flashbacks and memories that flitter through the story like an old scrapbook you might have found in some abandoned home.
Belladonna takes you on a journey from beginning to end.  One that a girl takes right along with you, from her older teen years directly into womanhood and you feel everything she feels.  You cry with her… laugh with her… hurt with her and then celebrate with her.  You figure life out as you go, much like Bella did.
It’s all from Bella’s POV, but you also get so much of Edward and his struggles through Bella’s eyes, yet not enough to make your heart whole.  He breaks it and then makes subtle promises to heal you again, sweeping you off of your feet all the while.
All of these things that add to the experience of it all, though, still aren’t the best thing about this story.
It’s about so much more than just Edward and Bella falling in love.
It makes you think.
I lost count of how many group thread debates there were over things that Marie would slip in to tease us throughout the 152,131 words she wrote for us.
Edward’s scars.
Bella’s fate.
What forced them apart?
What would happen with Seth and Jake?
Would they ever be together again?
Or would we just watch Bella’s life take on a new path without Edward?
Not that he makes it easy on her…

Just one word: my name, and I froze.
I hadn't had a chance to glance at the next person in the line, but after hearing those two syllables, I didn't have to look. His voice always had the power to make my heart try to leap through my throat.
"Tell me this isn't about me," he continued quietly, pushing a copy of my novel in front of my face.
I dare not give you any answers in this review – it would only ruin the journey for you.
But believe me when I say, this story doesn’t just grasp on to things most of us take for granted on a day to day basis, in my opinion.  It stirs up our passion and heats our longing for love, for hope and friendship… for throwing caution to the wind and remembering that when your heart breaks, you simply have to pick up the pieces and tell yourself it will all be okay.
It reminds you of first loves and how uninhibited we want to be.
It reminds you of that pit in the bottom of your stomach where butterflies live and dreams are created.
And in the end, it makes us want to fly with happiness, even if it’s found twenty-four years later.

I honestly didn’t want this review to simply be my opinion about a story written by a woman I’ve not only had the pleasure of meeting, but find to be the sweetest, most purest soul out there… so I’ve included a few words from some people who were there for the long haul… through the ups and the downs and the opinions about everything from Edward and Bella’s age difference… to the timeline… to the Gay Best Friend.
I couldn’t ask everyone, this review would have been never-ending… but I do invite everyone to share their thoughts and feelings for belladonna’s words after the break.
For now, let the following thoughts and memories sink in a little, Marie.  And then remember it all, forever.  Because I know your story is gonna be with me for at least that long.
I love your face.

Thoughts from your pre-reader (kiki)~

Okay so first of all Fic of the year??? Yeaaaaaaaa nine kinds of Rad! Alright WHEW!  
When Marie asked me to pre read for "There is A Light" I jumped around like a kid I just knew this story was going to be special and I was thrilled to be a part of the whole thing even if she gave me ulcers from all the angst. The story was unlike anything I had ever read before, the other part of the 80's that seems to be forgotten the less bubble gum and more gritty,dirty boot stompin' 80's that a select few remember yeaaaa gimme a broken beer bottle smell in a dirty run down club ANY day. This story still lives with me, I'll walk past a building where I used to go see punk shows and I swear I should be seeing some ripped up poster bearing the name "The Masens." no story ever affected me that way even now that it's all written and seems to be over, I still get a twinge somewhere that BDC has written one more paragraph for me to read.

Observations from your beta (Serena)~

I met BDC one day on Facebook when she was looking for someone to beta a lil O/S she had written for a contest with the deadline that day. I jumped at the chance to beta my first story, and since then, I've considered myself lucky for being in the right place at the right time that day.

When she asked me if I wanted to beta for her again on this new story she was writing, of course, I said yes. She sent me the first chapter of There is a Light, and I was instantly hooked!

Every week when I'd get the new chapter to beta, I'd pour a glass of wine and get lost in the world that BDC had created. It is so beautifully written, and the way BDC tells Edward and Bella's story is so different than anything else out there. There is A Light has it all, romance, angst, humor, mystery, and some hot lemons, and is so deserving of the title of Fic of the Year!!

Heartfelt words from Trouble ~

When my favorite FicWhisperer begged me to join her in reading the new BDC fic, she didn't really have to ask more than once. I had read Rubbish and loved BDC's humor and wit. I was warned this new one was a little angsty, there was a possibility B and E didn't end up together. But he was a Rockerward and I was all in. I fell in love immediately. Deeply in love. Here's the thing about TiaL, this is not fanfic. This story to me is not about Twilight or Bella and Edward. This is an honest to goodness real novel. Original and completely amazing. A perfectly complicated jigsaw puzzle - each chapter giving us a little bit of the new and the old but never giving it all away until it's time. Then it comes together in the in the end like a beautiful patchwork quilt. Edward isn't perfect, he's good, he's bad, he's broken, and he's healed. This might also be my favorite Bella ever. I am lucky enough to call BDC my friend. I love her and I love this story. I will not rest until I own this book for real because some of us write great fanfic, but Belladonna Cullen wrote something so much more. There is no story more worthy of Fic of the Year. Congrats, my dear, wonderful friend. xoxoxo

Poetry from The Zen (Kim) ~

Some start with mixing colors.
Some start with tentative notes that become paramount confessions.
Some start with words and makes them speak in a language that is only known by hearts.
And when one starts with coloring words and making them sing, we call her BellaDonna Cullen and she calls her masterpiece “There is a Light”.
This story is a coy woman. She lets you come close enough to feel her breath against your lips but the moment you move to grab her around the waist, she vanishes. A suggestive giggle fades away following her invisible footprints. She is never there but always around.
This story is an ageless melody. It goes up and up and up. You listen knowing that somebody’s fingers are bleeding. Your soul follows. Up and up and up. And the moment the last puff of air leaves your lungs, it stops. Then…Starts again. Slow and merciless. A promise that was never made aches. Violins cry. Till tears clean red stains of a bleeding heart.


Love, from your NutBunny (mama) ~

“There is a Light” spoke to my heart and left an impression on me of what a beautiful story can be. I'm so thankful that I read it and will forever carry it with me. Thank you Marie for sharing it and being so damn talented.

From the FicWhisperer (Nic) ~
I'm def no writer, but when I read TiaL, I could NOT get it out of my head. I was thinking of it and obsessing about theories ALL THE TIME. I begged everyone I knew to read it and discuss it with me to the point I was most likely a nuisance lol. I wanted people to have places to theorize and hoped she wouldn't be mad at me, but made her a group to discuss all the EPICness of the story one weekend. She told me she cried when she saw it. I love BDC to death. She always makes me laugh and has the best sense of humour. She's one of the most prolific writers I've read in the fandom and I only see great things ahead for her writing. I'm blessed to know her and can't wait til I can say "I knew her when...." :)

Memories from your “Vault” (SueBee)~

Being constantly in awe; it's as pure and simple as that. Awe at her writing, awe at her bravery in writing their story with all of the good, bad, and ugly parts, and awe that she trusted me to keep the vault sealed.
And not only am I in awe of the story, I am in awe of the woman herself.  Way back at the beginning of TiaL, I peppered her with questions because I knew my heart couldn’t take too much angst at that point.  She knew I was struggling with it and shared things with me about the story so that I could make a fully informed decision about what to do.  That was the beginning of what would eventually become The Vault.  When I told her I just couldn’t read it at that time in my life, she had the most graceful, lovely response.  “Guard your heart. We only get one.” Even if you’re a total wuss perv like me, go read TiaL.  It is worth every heart clench and every tear shed to read her beautiful words.

And so… if you have, for some un-godly reason, not read this story yet, do it now.  Then check out the EPOV outtakes because if he didn’t break your heart in the Bella POV story, he most certainly will through these snippets of Edward’s thought process and struggles to deal with his own demons.
When you’re done, you may thank me in the form of Rob porn.  Or, just Rob. He’ll do.

A note from PAWsPeaches
I will never forget reading the very first chapter of There is a Light. I read it in the nail salon, on my phone and the nail lady would look at me wierd each time I giggled, squeed or squirmed in my seat with excitement. And I was excited when I was introduced to Seth. Oh, man I was excited. From that very first chapter, through each consecutive chapter after that day, I would get this beautiful feeling while reading. A feeling that made me want to hoard each chapter for that special time, when no one else would be around, no threat of interruption so that I could get the most out of each and every word that Belladonna wrote.
I will never forget that feeling that There is a Light gave me and I will hold this story in my heart and on my list of all-time favorite fics for eternity. Belladonna, YOU are our light. Thank you for shining so bright and giving us all the lovely stories that you give. Just thank you.

Notes from the BetaNazi - LaMomo
When you are used to reading amazing stories from an amazing person, and you are given the equally amazing opportunity be a part, however small, of her creative process (btw, it was thanks to the FicWhisperer that I got this otherworldly gift), you are bound to approach the whole thing with an unprecedented amount of awe-inspiring reverential fear. I had the extraordinary luck to be a very small part to the creative effort behind the birth of a bunch of chapters of this story, and that is exactly what I felt at first. Thunderstruck.
You open a file, expect a chapter of fanfiction, and then, just like that, you fall off your chair.
Because you think you're opening a pure and simple word document, but it's actually a window into someone's soul. Into her creative universe, her thought processes. And Belladonna's methodic, well-thought out, articulate, amazingly intricate, off-the-charts heart-warming, gut-wrenching and compassionate story caught me like a rogue wave. It's one of the rare times you say "What the heck does she have a beta for? To trim the margins of the page?"
Because she had it all figured out, and it was as clear as the light of day. Every piece of the puzzle, every tile of this mosaic falls into place perfectly, because there is an incredible brains behind it - that figured out plots, characters, details, songs, quotations - to the point that I can't listen to the Smiths anymore without thinking of the Masens. But there is an equally incredible heart - because this story is, above all else, a story of love. A story of hope. A story that tells you that you CAN and MUST hit rock bottom before you can stand up again. Because...."there is a light that never goes out".
She shone a light that never goes out on all of us.
And I was so amazingly blessed to be a part of that, and see the amazing person that she is.

PS: Boo to Jo for claiming Rob as a "thank you" give-away first. Now I can't do that.
PPS: BDC, you should think about contacting Morrissey for royalties. He and his mates might have noticed a marked increase in the sales of their records. It's only fair that you get a share, after all.

Love from Jaime
What do I say that hasn't already been said about both Marie and There is a Light. I think it was obsmama who told me I HAD to read this and to drop everything I was doing and go... and because I always listen to her I did. I can't thank her enough. I was hooked from the very first chapter and told every single person I knew that they HAD to read this story. As a reader it pulls you into this other world, where these characters live, but it also makes you, as a reader, remember what life was like back then... you know "before the Internet, before Twitter, before Facebook – this was back when it was still possible for people not to know about things." (sorry I stole that from you BDC!!) I honestly don't know how she wrote this story the story itself weaves effortlessly from present to past but I know it had to be anything but effortless. The characters and the storyline were so incredibly complex and as a reader I was sitting in front of my computer on update day waiting for that notification for just a little bit more of the story... Thank you Marie for sharing your talent with us via these stories, I feel blessed and oh so lucky to know you and have you in my corner!!

Ry -The Frenchie formally known as Dirtay
There is a Light is an outstanding story. If ever there was a story that I thought the world needed to read, this is it. BDC kept us on the edge of our seats trying to figure out this mystery she created for us. She put so much into this story and took us for a ride that none of us will ever forget. Not only is BDC one of the most talented women I have had the pleasure of getting to know, but she is also one of the sweetest. Thank you, Marie for sharing your talent with us and giving us the opportunity to experience this story. It's one that I am sure will stay with each of us always.

Love from the Timeline Queen - Kitty
I remember when Nicole sent me a message stating "DROP WHAT YOU"RE DOING AND READ THIS STORY"...I feel like it was yesterday. I am so happy to have gotten to experience There is a Light not only with you but with everyone else. What an emotional and truly amazing journey you took us on BDC. Your hard work and dedication to not only the story line but everything down to minor details is so apparent in each and every chapter, I will forever be in awe of you. Every Friday I would wake up earlier then normal so I could read the chapter before heading to work. Sometimes I would take notes, as there were so many twists, turns and speculations, that I had to start keeping track. I was so excited to get the opportunity to help create a timeline for your story and it allowed me to see just how much hard work you put into TiaL. I know I will forever remember your story. Congratulations on such a wonderful accomplishment!

A note from Nat - evilnat that is
Its hard for me to put into words what There Is A Light means to me. It was a phenomenon. Never had I known a fanfiction story to be written with such detailed planning and outlining. Where every single reader was sucked in and had so many theories. And then on top of all that it was so beautifully written and executed that no one could deny how amazing it is.
To me, the nostalgia and thoughtfulness of such a simple yet complicated idea brought so much from the very first read. It took me back to my teen years when I dreamed of having my favourite rock star fall for me. And then when things weren't quite so simple and happy it made me thoughtful and melancholy.
There Is A Light should be published. I would buy it and I'm sure there are thousands of us out there who fell in love with it that would too.
Congratulations on Fic of the Year, BDC, you deserve it and more!

Love from Edmazing
I’ve read and admired belladonnacullen for a very long time. I swooned over Edwoord in The Practice of Love and giggled and panted over Adorable from Rubbish. But I had no idea what a gift she was giving us with There Is a Light. Really, no idea.
I remember starting it and thinking I was a fly on a wall, a neighbor over hearing through an open window about a time I remembered. Only with way cooler kids and rock gods. With scars. And a Bella I sighed for and wanted to be, all at the same time.
With every new chapter that understanding grew, only to lead to more questions. About love, friendship, presence, and so much more. I know it’s already been said, but this truly is a story I will carry around in my heart because of the love and life lessons it is filled with.
But equally, almost more importantly, because of her grace and wit. She is a class act and I am luck to know and read her. Congratulations you you, BDC. And if you haven’t read There is a Light, well you really owe it to yourself to fix that. ASAP.

Love from VampsHaveLaws:
‘There is a light’ was by far my fic of 2011. I’d never read anything by belladonnacullen before, so I had no preconceived ideas about what I was going into. In simple terms: I adored it. It’s very rare to become obsessed from the very first chapter, but that’s what happened here. Everything from the plot line to the writing was perfect. Every Friday I would wake up, read the update, get butterflies in my tummy, and then wait for my beta (who is eight hours behind me) to wake up and read so we could discuss. Fridays became my favourite day of the week for so long. It’s a great story; utterly consuming and full of heart. I know it will be a story I’ll re-read time and time again. Ultimate fic crush.

From all of us at The Lemonade Stand, CONGRATULATIONS BelladonnaCullen!!! 


  1. I've read many fics from the 12, but this one was my favorite by far. I'm really glad I favorited you as an author when I read your Cannon stuff all those years ago and didn't know what in the hell I was doing.

    When I got an author alert for The Practice of Love I was hooked on the first chapter and each of your AH stories since then have gotten increasingly better and better (which is hard for me to say since I so love TPoL).

    We love you BDC! You really are EPIC!!!


  2. As hard as it was to pick my favorite fic of the year from among the absolutely phenomenal choices, I believe There is a Light really does fit the bill.

    The story left such a deep impression on me that I still think about certain scenes, even after months since finishing it. The writing is impeccable, the emotion is as raw as raw can be, full of pain, sorrow, forgiveness, redemption. This story floored me, and has easily taken its place among my top 5 fics of all time.

    Bravo BDC! We love you and hope you continue writing for this fandom.

  3. Well deserved! This fic had me totally captivated!

  4. OMG, I have goose bumps all over! There Is A Light is one of the greatest fics I ever read!!!! It had me crying, laughing and melting. I was deeply impressed by this story. It blew me away! I could totally relate to all the characters and I had never the impression there was anything constructed or rushed. I have made similiar experiences in my life with Edward's issues, so I can only say: you captured everything right, BDC! The emotions, the actions...! Fan-fucking-tastic! Unfortunately I'm not talented in writing, so I hardly find the right words to describe There Is A Light properly. This story will have a place in my heart and I still think about it after finishing. It caused big emotions in me. Thank you BDC!!

  5. so in love with this fic; it stole my heart and i could not get it out of my head for weeks! just don't know what i can read next that will even come close...humph...