Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Love Letters

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, love is in the air here at The Lemonade Stand. So we asked a group of authors to choose an author they love – someone who moves them, be it through their words or uplifting presence in our fandom – and write them a love letter. Due to the overwhelming positive response, we will be posting these daily, from now until Valentine's Day! 

Dear Jandco,

Years ago, I found myself searching my computer on the sly (hoping no one saw) for something I’d heard about called Fanfiction, eager to find a honeymoon scene that didn’t fade to black. I was successful and started dipping my toes in, finding that people actually wrote A LOT about these two characters I’d come to love. I’d be lying if I said I remember the exact moment I crossed paths with one of your stories, but I do remember what I thought at the time: what do you mean you can write these guys doing something other than vampire-y things??? Isn’t that illegal? So there it was in front of me, a story about Edward… being super-hot and really baaad and sharing Alice and Rose and WHAT?

Needless to say, I ate that one up, and immediately put you on alert and read everything else you posted. You turned my brain inside out, showing me that we can make these teenagers do really fun stuff! Really bad stuff! Really cool stuff! It was like a whole new world opened up to me, and I never looked back.

That was all you. Through your words I found something that I can’t imagine my life without. You make me envious and joyous all at the same time; your words have the ability to cripple me with their natural emotion and beauty, sticking with me for years and causing me multiple re-reads.

But the best part about you? You talked to me. You were a real person that answered messages from me, responded to reviews I left, and joined in on posts on your website.

Through the years you’ve come to be someone that I can email a quick thought to, beg repeatedly for a continuation of Strange Days without you getting sick of me (hint hint they need to go to Woodstock), and someone that remains so absolutely cool and approachable when so many in this fandom forgot where we all started out - as a group of crazy girls that love Twilight. And to take this to another level, to find out you were reading ME is just the coolest thing and a huge compliment. I might’ve squealed; still unbelieving to this day that you enjoy my words as much as I do yours.

I am thrilled to call you a friend; your kindness never ceases to impress me, your beauty radiates inside and out, and I hope to know you for a long time, beyond the fandom.

But if you ever stop writing I will come find you and hold you hostage in that cracked vinyl booth at the nearest watering hole, slow feeding you Cherry Kool-Aid with Mohawk vodka until you get words on a page.

Yours forever (not in a creepy way),


I have always believed that when you read an author’s work, you are given a glimpse into their soul. If that’s the case, good god, woman, your soul is gorgeous.

Your writing is a visceral experience, like listening to a prolonged version of the most perfect song I’ve ever heard. Like music, your words slip beneath your skin. The entirety of Tropic of Virgo was foreplay--hot and sweet and sultry. The darts scene was better sex than any lemon I’ve read in my life (I agree with Jasper. I need a cigarette). The actual lemons?

Well, who’s going to look at King’s of Leon’s Closer the same again, huh?

But more than just sex, You capture the spectrum of life’s emotions. You do this so seamlessly, giving us not only what the character is feeling but the mood of the whole room. There’s a moment in Tropic of Gemini (Where. WHERE did that fic go?!) that chills me and twists my heart every time I remember it. It’s a mere glimpse, not even a secondary character but a tertiary character. There’s a moment when, after they all find out Alice has the gene that leaves her susceptible to the same cancer that killed her mother, Carlisle simply, drunkenly, stares at his daughter until his sons put him to bed.

What an intensely powerful, poignant moment--just a few words that packed the emotional punch of a freight train.

I can’t tell you how much I adore that there are no character cliches in your writing. Each character, whether in the spotlight or off to the side, is well crafted and nuanced. More than that, each character is what we all are--merely human. We understand your“evil” characters, even if we don’t forgive them. We understand that no one is one thing--Edward may be the cocky, arrogant ass we all know so well, but he’ll also fall to pieces at the idea women--girls--he’d been with would hurt the woman--girl--he loved. Your characters are complex, and they are beautiful.

There aren’t many authors I’m jealous of, but my dear, you are hands down one of them. Your words are smooth, never awkward. The way you tell a tale is flawless--like watching a weaver spin line after line of colorful thread into a rug with an intricate design. Craft, character, and a clever way with words? Jesus god, honey, how is it fair that you have it all?

Thank you for putting this bit of your soul out there to be consumed. You’re a gift, and I adore you.


Dear IReen,

I’m going to start by saying I’ve started this letter several times. It exists in a bunch of forms, buried deep in the ‘trash’ on my computer. Everything I’ve written doesn’t seem enough, and I so very much want to put something together that captures what I mean to say. So, here’s me, taking a deep breath and going with it. Here we go.

When Nic approached me and asked if I’d like to write a letter to somebody who inspired me, there was one name that instantly came to mind. The degree of talent that exists in this fandom astounds me, and I’m always reading things that make me go, “wow, wow, WOW.” But this letter had to be to one person, and that, sweet talented lady, is you. And that’s because you were the one—the one who gave me the courage to put my own little story out there into this big, wide fandom of ours.

I’ve read more fanfic stories than I can count, and every now and then, something comes along that won’t let me go. There are scenes, stories, and snippets that I’ve tucked away in my memories, but what I love most are the characters. They’re people who I want know (and a couple who I never, ever want to know!) But it’s the ones who are different who really stay with me. What I’m trying to (rather uneloquently) say is one of my most favourite favourites is a character you wrote. Basically, I was nothing short of blown away by the courage, bravery, and absolute kick-assedness one who is, and will be forever and always be, my favourite FanFic Bella: HiFi Bella.

You wrote her raw. You wrote her human. You wrote her broken, and rebuilt, and so much stronger than even she ever knew. And then you put her up against an Edward who was, quite frankly on first impressions, an asshole. But it isn’t just that. You layered them both so that they were so more than their strength, their assholery, and their bravery. People aren’t two dimensional, and it’s really hard to get a reader to see that, but you do it so well. I suppose this is just one of the many things about you that are a special kind of special.

I’ve told you on twitter and elsewhere how much I loved High Fidelity. It was the kind of story where, even now if I hear a particular song play, I remember it playing in the background when I read it. It’s a story that has stayed with me, and just the thought of many of the scenes in it brings a smile to my face, or tears to my eyes, or a thumper-thump pounding to my heart.

I needed to write this letter to say thank you. And that’s for both being a really lovely person, and for the gift you’ve given us with your words. Thank you for being somebody who inspired me to think that if this is what you could do with your first attempt at a multi-chapter fanfic, that maybe this little Aussie smallfish could have a go at posting something, too. And thank you for the people that were, in turn, brought into my life, because without posting stuff of my own, there’s a chance that I may have departed this fandom a long time ago. You were the catalyst, and you’ve made more of a difference to me and my life than you could ever know.

There’s one more thing I want to say (and this is one bit that didn’t need deleting and re-writing). High Fidelity transcends fanfic. It is an amazingly solid story, and it deserves so much more than to be known and loved by the small percentage of the world that makes up this fandom. It needs to be loved by everybody, and so do you. And know this: as soon as that their story is printed on paper and is wrapped up neatly between pretty covers...I’m hunting you down for a signed copy.


Dear Laura Cullen (now Kaye);

In order to write about the influence you’ve had on me, I have to back up just a bit and talk about the influence Twilight had on me.

After caring for my mother for nearly a year, cancer claimed her in the fall of 2008.  It was fast and brutal, and I was a mess.  The week she died, I found out I was pregnant for the sixth time in five years.  It wouldn't last, and for the fourth time in that same time span, I lost another baby. 

I was a mess ‒ a giant fucking mess. I wasn't sleeping. I was barely hanging on. 

And then, while Christmas shopping, a friend told me about Twilight.  I bought it.  I devoured it.  By the end of the week, I’d finished the last book.  (That not sleeping part came in handy.)

I remember putting it down and feeling this sinking feeling, like 'That's it?  That can't be it.’

I swear I'd never heard of fan fiction before.  But I knew enough about the internet, and I was pretty confident I wasn't the only one who felt this way.  I don't remember what that 4am Google search was exactly, but somehow, I ended up at a black screen with white letters and the following opening:

"Argh!"  I vented my frustration into my pillow, hoping Edward was far enough away not to hear.  Emmett and Jasper had just come to claim him for an overnight hunting trip, but not before we had spent the previous hour on my bed, kissing me into a frenzied state of arousal.  I had no idea how I would possibly make it through the next four weeks until the wedding without literally exploding.

Something needed to give."

Oh.  Hello.  You are exactly what my broken-hearted self needed.

And girl, did you deliver.  And I'm sure you were a big part in the delivery I made a year later.  I'm pretty sure your  hot freaking story was a big part in contributing to my happy discovery that I'd be expecting again. 

Sometimes, when you're trying to conceive, sex can become a chore.  This was never a problem once I discovered The List.

And it wasn't just The List.  It turns out you were my gateway drug.  I needed a specific brand of heroin, and you pointed me to it.  Fan fiction was exactly what I needed when I was at my lowest.  It was entertaining, and I needed something to get me through the grief-induced insomnia.  Through the stories, the familiar characters twisted and formed into something new every time. I found my way through my own heartbreak. I'm sure this is why I have a soft spot for New Moon fiction. I'll never close the hole in my heart left in my mum's absence, but I can read about Bella healing hers.

Over the years, I’ve quietly devoured a great deal of fic. I even started a few stories of my own, only to leave them abandoned, sure that I had nothing to contribute to the fandom.  I squeed with delight when you found me on Facebook and Twitter. I watched, with pride, you make the move from beloved fanfic author to “New York Times Best-Selling Author.”  I watched you champion other authors, and I started to think about sharing my words, about finding my little place in this fandom that gave me so much.

So thank you.

Thanks for helping me through the worst days of my life by letting me escape from them.

Thanks for writing the words that brought me a daughter of my own. 

Thanks for encouraging me, without you even realizing it, to post my own words.  Through them, I've found not just a little place in this beautiful fandom, but a community of women who supports each other.  I've grown so much over this year.

And it was all I found your story one night at 4am.

Bled Dry (Viki)

Dear writingbabe,

            When Nic asked me to write a love letter to a favorite author, I put a lot of thought into it. There are many wonderful authors and amazing fics out there, so the possibilities were huge. But of course, I kept coming back to you – not just because of your writing talent, which is substantial, but because of our friendship, which has become such an important part of my life.

            It’s been…what? Four years since we met on a forum for “The University of Edward Masen”? I’m so glad you joined in the discussion. I loved reading your sharp insights and informed opinions and interpretations.  I knew right away we were kindred spirits when I saw your sharp  sense of humor.  When you asked me to beta a fic you’d started, I didn’t have to think twice about THAT. I jumped at the chance.

            And because I’m no fool, I asked you to look over some Twific I was working on, too.  I had a few one-shots, one of which evolved into a 20-chapter story. You were the one who helped me with every chapter, as my beta, my cheerleader, and my moral support. It was my most popular, best reviewed fic.   Coincidence? I think not.  If it hadn’t been for your extraordinary skill as an editor, “Boxing Out” would have been far less than what it was. 

            But I don’t want to talk about my story, I want to talk about yours. “Release” is among the top tier of well-written fics, and anyone who hasn’t read it yet is missing out on a great reading experience.  Your skills as a writer, storyteller, and developer of characters absolutely shine. You took the part of “Twilight” that everyone hated – when Edward left – and crafted a compelling, gutsy, mature and beautiful story of redemption.  With every word, you draw your readers in and don’t release* them until they’ve become immersed: saturated with great writing that is amazingly executed.

            (*see what I did there???)

            So I’m giving you this Valentine of thanks for the great gift of your friendship, the generous sharing of your abundant writing and editing talents, and the wonderful openness and warmth with which you drew me in as your friend.  I can’t thank you enough for the help you continue to give me with my own writing. I hope my own meager skills might also help you as you continue branching out with your own writing (as you should; more of the world deserves to read you!).  No matter what, you have my friendship, my support, my gratitude; my ears when you need to talk, and my heart when you need companionship.

            Now, when are we going to make some progress on relocating to neighboring states???

With much love,

Dear Deb, (Drotuno)

I’m really going to suck at this, but I need you to know how fantastic I think you are.  So, here goes nothing…

Roses are red.  Violets are blue.  Your stories are awesome and so are you.

OK, that was horrible.

Let me try a different approach.  Perhaps, at the beginning?

Let’s see.  I think the first real interaction I had with you was when I finally read Coming Home, your collaboration with JenRar, and I was smitten.  I knew I needed to read more...had to read more.  That’s when I started Masen Manor.  Let me tell you, I fell even more in love.  That Edward was so tortured, yet beautiful...hard, yet compassionate.  The spin you put on the traditional vamp plot was sensational.  Not to mention, it had the best Leah I’ve ever read.  I was never fond of her in the saga, but you made me love her.  In general, my favorite stories are ones that bring the whole crew together, and you always manage to do that, even when it’s unconventional. 

There are so many things I adore about your writing, but one of my very favorite things is the way you write your Edwards:  they’re masculine, strong, and sexy as hell!  Can I get an amen?  If anyone has ever read any of your stories, I know they’ll join me in praising you on this topic.  You always bring it when it comes to your characterizations, especially of the male variety. 

I also love how you manage to keep every story fresh and unique, even when it’s a continuation or sequel.  Every time you start a new story, you bring something new to the table, and I think that’s impressive, seeing that you’ve posted twenty stories, with a new one in the works!  Can’t wait for that!  *wink, wink* *nudge, nudge* 

Right now, I’m in the middle of the Gravity Series and I’m so in love with Mercward.  He’s my “book boyfriend” of the hour/day/week/month/year.  These action-packed stories have been keeping me up all hours of the night and on the edge of my seat! 

And, as if your wonderful stories weren’t enough, your kind spirit and friendly manner is probably what shines the brightest.  You’re funny, talented, and caring.  You are a shining star in our fic universe.  Thank you for being you and for bringing us hours and hours of free entertainment and escape!

I hope all of your days are filled with good coffee, unlimited supplies of Pepsi, and all the happily ever afters you can stand.

Much Love,
Jenny Kate

1 comment:

  1. Dear Lyrical Kris-
    Sigh. You are amazing. Your support and praise makes me all goofy inside.
    (My soul is likely the color of that fuzzy blue mold on old hamburger buns, and smells like shoes.)
    (Yours is the silver of radio speaker screen and disco lights and plays sultry lounge blues.)
    Much love,