Today we celebrate another year of fantastic fan fiction. Week after week, members of The Lemonade Stand share the fics that we've read and loved, the stories that moved us to tears whether it was laughter or sadness and become a part of our heart. We gather the fics that made us think and left us wanting for more.
You can see the product of all that fic loving each week on our 2013 Award Winning Fics page. We're sure you'll agree these 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.
After compiling a list of the 2013 Fic of the Week winners a panel of some of the fandom's finest voted on the story that moved us the most and a winner was crowned. The fandom fell in love with her through The GiveAway Girl and it's companion story, and that love grew during Down Home. TLS is proud to present our 2013 FIC OF THE YEAR, Down Home by MrsSpaceCowboy!
A note from Mariahjile~
When I first signed on to beta MrsSpaceCowboy’s o/s for The Heart of Country Contest, Down Home, I was scared. I had just spent months drowning myself in The Give Away Girl, which turned me into her groupie and eventual friend. I wanted to do my best, but by the time I finished the first round of edits, I spent more time yelling at her than I did being scared. “Woman, I need this story in its entirety in my Inbox in the next 30 seconds, or I will hunt you down.”
We went through several rounds of edits and chatted about plot points and characterizations, adjectives and pacing. MrsSpaceCowboy was nervous about entering the contest. She doubted her writing, the content of the o/s, and the continuation of the story. She’s very modest to the point of making me want to shake her, to make her realize just how talented she is. So it came as no surprise when Down Home took first place in several categories in the contest.
When she continued the story, every completed chapter found in my Inbox was met with a resounding squee of utter joy and excitement. I couldn’t wait to dive into the doc, to read the words that had created this world I couldn’t get enough of. She gave us a glimpse into the South; its food, traditions, dialect, and culture. She gave us a strong Bella, rooted in family but still independent. She was smart, determined, and funny. Then she gave us Mississippiward, and God said it was good. This Edward is a gorgeous man, inside and out, with a good heart and strong work ethic. He worked hard and loved harder. (He is, to be frank, my version of the perfect man.)
Most importantly, though, was the writing. MrsSpaceCowboy has the gift of making readers feel as though they’re in the middle of the action. She doesn’t just tell you a story; she envelops you in it. With Down Home, you could hear the accents, feel the sweltering heat, and smell Renee’s fried chicken. The Southern setting was the perfect backdrop for Edward and Bella’s love story, which was full of romance, deliciously naked times, and humor.It is, without a doubt, one of my favorite fics of all time. I’m honored to be even a small part of it. And I love you, goober face. Congratulations!
A note from freakEgirl~
It is rare for me to find a story that keeps me hanging on its every word and anticipating the next chapter, but no surprise MrsSpaceCowboy did it to me again. She has a talent of drawing the reader in and making a connection with all the characters, not just the main ones.
I remember the first glimpse I got of this story was getting the middle of the first chapter to read and thinking " Wow! This is sweet. I love this Edward." I think I even sent her a text threatening to hurt her if she hurt him. I meant it, too. But more than that, I remember wanting to know what happened to Tanya and Jake, Tyler and Lauren. I was able to picture the surroundings she so vividly painted and it felt like I was a witness to these people's lives. I wanted to know them and I felt for them. I hurt for them and celebrated with them. I was fearful for them and I rejoiced with them. It takes a truly talented writer to elicit such a strong reaction.
When I heard that Down Home won Fic of the Year, I cannot say I was surprised. MrsSpaceCowboy wrote one of the sweetest, honest and most realistic stories. I think everyone can relate to this. It is a tale of young love, second chances, and crazy family. It's a tale of two young people who makes mistakes but end up where they were always meant to be. Together.
MrsSpaceCowboy, I want to tell you how proud I am of you. Growing up, you were always someone I looked up to and this is definitely deserved. I told you are a wonderful writer and yes I am biased but now I have proof that others feel that way as well. I will never kill you for thinking of new adventures to take me on. I love your creativity and will always be there to talk, plot, or listen. Thanks for always taking me along on the journey.
A note from Nicffwhisperer~
Once upon a time, one of my favorite writers asked me to read a draft of her new story and give her some feedback. She was trying something completely different and while the genre isn't one I normally favor, I know what kind of talent this lady has and readily agreed. Looking back now, she changed my mind about the genre altogether and made me wonder what I've been missing!
Her Edwards are always amazing, but this cocky, self-assured, reformed lover boy haunted my thoughts. I needed more. I begged for more. I may have even bargained with Mrs. SpaceCowboy for MORE. Anyway, the rest is history because she consented and wrote us a full length, amazingly entertaining story that I've read and re-read about a dozen times. I love it more with each re-read and look forward to the epilogue that will be posting soon!!
N, Congratulations on your win for TLS Fic of the Year!!! I genuinely hope this tribute to your talent & to DOWN HOME is as special as the beautiful love story you wrote for us. Thank you for sharing your writing with the fandom and for letting me have the privilege of pre-reading your stories. Most of all, thank you for being a friend. Love ya lady!
A note from PrettyKittyArtist~
I first fell in love with Down Home when I read the one-shot that was entered in The Heart of Country Contest. I’d been in a rut. Not just a fic rut, but a life rut, and I was looking for some hunky, swoony county boy fics and was having a hard time finding just what I wanted. So I decided to do a contest. It was a lot of fun, and it fed my need for county boys. Down Home was immediately my favorite.
It had every element I was looking for in a story. A sassy, strong heroine and a sexy sweet man, with just enough naughty to make me fan myself. Down Home Edward went up to the top of my ‘Ward list in a split second. That boy and his thoughtfulness, persistence, and his dirty, dirty little mouth and I was in love. I am such a sucker for those stories where they find love right in their backyards. The sense of family and pride this couple has for the place they call home is remarkable. It added so much to the overall warmth of the story and you just couldn’t wait for it to all work out of them.
What I loved most of all was that it was so relatable. So real and genuine. These two weren’t perfect by any means, but together they were formidable. A true team and their hearts were so pure and the buildup was so beautiful to read. This was my introduction to MrsSpaceCowboy and her writing, and I was an instant fan. Now, if I could convince her to give me Mississippiward, well, that’s a true happily ever after.
A note from VampiresHaveLaws~
I’d be late to my own funeral, so of course I was late to reading Down Home. (There may or may not have been some serious ass kicking involved afterwards. From me, not Nin. Just thought I should make that clear. Because then I would have cried. And I didn’t. So I’ll shut up about that now.)
I’m usually one for a good crier fic, but this story destroyed my heart in a totally different way. The delivery, the characterizations, the food (no, seriously, I was left hungry after each chapter, so, tip: have some snacks on standby) the romance, the setting, basically everything. It made me want to pack up and move to Mississippi and find my own cowboy.
I can’t go any further without talking a little about Bella and Edward. Hands down, they’re two of my favourites. It’s incredibly rare to find a completely likeable Bella, and this Edward… I love him so much, I don’t know if I can talk about him without sounding creepy. So I’ll just go with creepy, and say that if he wanted to marry me, and love me forever, that would be okay with me.
Congratulations on your win, Nin! I’m so excited for you. You have an incredibly special story here, and it deserves all the love and attention it’s received. Thank you for writing, for always being lovely, and for giving us stories we can fall in love with. ♥
A note from evilnat~
If there ever was a story that had all the elements that made it deserving to win Fic of the Year it would be Down Home. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me cringe and want to hit the screen. It has moments where you just want to strangle Bella, and it has moments that are so damn hot you just melt into a puddle in front of your computer (well I did anyway). Down Home Edward is loveable, sexy, a little bit dirty, and the kind of guy every girl wishes they had. The chemistry between Edward and Bella is so well written, that when they get together it is sizzling.
It is a story that you fall in love with and when it ends you are sad because you just want...more.
I had the opportunity to make the banners for The Heart of Country one shot contest. Down Home was one of my favourites and I was eager for it to win something just so that I could make its banner. When it did, I even researched the lake that MrsSpaceCowboy mentioned and added it into the banner. It was one of those banners that I was really proud to make, and when I found out who had written the story, I was so excited for her to see it. Not only is MrsSpaceCowboy amazingly talented, but she's the nicest person you could ever meet. Congratulations Nin, for Down Home winning Fic of the Year! Xx
A note from CarrieZM~
I remember the first time I read MrsSpaceCowboy’s Down Home, her sugar sweet words had me swooning and longing for a Southern style romance of my own. She created such endearing characters and picturesque scenes; I was smitten by the end of the first chapter.
“Can I see you again tomorrow night?” he asks.
“The night after?”
“Come to Momma’s fish fry Wednesday?”
“Yes,” I tell him. “Yes.”
“Be my girl.”“
Down Home took me on a romantic adventure through Mississippi and made me wish for watermelon wine and late night swims with Edward (not to mention, Bella’s momma’s fried chicken). I loved the sense of tradition and the importance of family each chapter showed, but most of all, I simply adored the amazing line up of characters with their quirks and beautiful personalities.
Nin, thank you for sharing this heartfelt story. Your incredible talent has brought so many smiles to me and this fandom. Down Home is one of my very favorite fics, and I’m so excited for you. Congratulations on winning Fic of the Year. xoxo
A note from Heatherl8367~
For me, reading Down Home was like coming home. Sounds cheesy, but it was like wrapping my hands around a steaming mug of coffee, stepping into a bath, sitting in front of a fire.....those kind of feels. Though there were ups and downs in the story, it always gave me a cozy feeling. The characters felt like my circle of friends/family. I could easily slot myself into that world, and snuggle up.
I loved the sense of belonging and fellowship in this story. The country life and the family ties. Respecting your elders and going to church, yet still sowing your oats. Being young and free. Losing yourself, and then finding a better version of yourself. A clearer version. Then embracing that new, clear version with open arms. Finding your home in another person. One that has always been waiting for you. Down Home.
Thank you, MrsSpaceCowboy, for sharing this story with us. For giving us these characters and letting us cherish them. It was such a pleasure to read, and I'll never ever forget it.
Love, Heather Litz ( Heatherl8367)
A note from MonicaNP~
I loved DOWN HOME by MrsSpaceCowboy. Like everything she writes, her descriptions are so good that with every word you read, you really feel like you are actually standing right there, experiencing everything that the characters are feeling, seeing. The emotions are true, she describes them in such a way that you cannot help but feel a strong connection with each of her characters.
“The days are long in Mississippi in July. The sun glows heavy orange in the sky, causing a sticky heat that seeps into the pores – the kind that makes clothes clingy and stray hairs curl up around my face”
“Edward Cullen”.. The name alone doesn’t sound like much, but the boy behind it, is something else. At least, he was. His momma raised him with manners, even though he’s cocky like his daddy. Being a doctor’s kid, having a nice GPA, a mischievous side, and knowing how to party made him a God at Quitman High. His good looks only sped his ascent to the top of the High School food chain.
He’s that boy ; the one (I never really had) , that got away, the boy I turned down. And he has never let me forget it.
Edward and Bella meet again, three years after graduating from High School, and you can feel the chemistry between them at once. You enjoy all the banter back and forth, at the same time loving the descriptions of the life in the country. How they go “mudding”, country fairs, they eat deer and lots of family traditions.
I promised myself a taste of the world, and he’s part of it. Nothing is off limits. He won’t be my first bad boy, but he’s definitely the most dangerous. This one has a sweet side I know and remember well. This one can break my heart.
Before I can chicken out, I reach up and begin to unbutton my dress.
“What are you doing?” he asks.
“I’ve got mud all over me. I’m goin’ for a swim”. I pull my boots off, stand, and turn my back to him before I let the dress drop and pool at my feet.
“You’ve seen me in a bikini before”
“I’m going to jail” he mutters behind me.
This is it. Sink or swim. I jump. Head first. Whatever happens, happens. This is my chance to scratch this itch, and make it go away once and for all.
And of course, we know, that itch only gets stronger… ;)
Loved every word of DOWN HOME. It is a treat from beginning to end, as everything else Mrs. SpaceCowboy writes!
All of us here at TLS Congratulate you, Mrs. Space Cowboy for your wonderful work of art. Thank you. And Congratulations to Down Home for Fic of the YEAR!