Friday, February 13, 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! 


Tropic of Virgo was one of the earliest loves I found in the world of Twilight fanfiction. I discovered it as a work-in-progress, counted the minutes and days between updates, and knew that it would always hold a special place in my heart. Throughout the years, my love for your story has lived on and even grown. This tale is a perfect reminder of how vexing and daunting those teenage years can be. Put simply, high school is hell. What I love most about ToV is the way the characters are sometimes their own worst enemies. That’s how it is. Mean girls and cliques are awful, yes. But self-doubt and the struggle to really find one’s self are universal rites of passage during the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Edward is, by all accounts, king of the school, but we’re given an inside peek at his insecurity when it comes to the new girl, Bella. She has his heart long before either of them realizes it, and watching him come to terms with that is one of my favorite pieces of the story. Once he figures it out, he’s lost, and that’s putting it mildly. He’s as awkward, unsure, and human as the other teenage boys in the world.

Bella. Wow. This Bella is one of my all-time favorites. She’s shy and unsure of herself, as well, but she never lets Edward or anyone else treat her like a doormat. She’s gracious under fire when the mean girls attack but still manages to bite back in her own way. Watching her come into her own is like travelling back in time to my own teenage struggles. Pride, love, boys… It’s all such a mess when we’re young, and this story captures it perfectly.

Aside from the romance, there’s the added twist of their online personalities leaning on each other and forging a friendship with words Edward and Bella can’t quite manage to each other in person. Anonymity is freedom.

Waiting for them to discover that added layer of their relationship is a bonus of the journey. It’s a genius twist that leaves no room for doubt once the truth is out there.

On top of the budding romance and the joy of watching Edward and Bella navigate their feelings, there is a touch of mystery, a real struggle with the band, bad guys and girls, and yes, a touch of heartache. When that brown ribbon hits the ground, my heart does, too. This is one story that makes me hurt for both of them. Instead of anger, there’s frustration and a desperate need for them to get it together.

When they do, it’s beautiful. I could go on and on – about the music, the story, the way it makes me feel every time I reread it (which is often)… Instead, I’ll just say thank you. Thank you for sharing them with us. I’m eternally grateful.


Dear Plummy,

May I call you Twanza? I’ve known and loved you even when you were merely Twanza. I remember it well, toeing cautiously into my first non-canon pairing fic. It was Neverending Math Equation and I won’t lie… I was scared. But you set it in Brooklyn so I was intrigued and decided to trust you. What a good choice that was. And what an amazing story… gritty and real, nuanced and atmospheric. It was one of the first fics I read that wasn’t just entertaining, hot, or swoony. It was good. Like, books I paid money for in bookstores weren’t as good as this Twilight fan fic I was reading for free. It was a revelation.

And then came Pressed For Time, your brilliant, complicated co-authored story. Once again, you didn’t shy from the issues. You told a thorny story about multi-dimensional characters that made me think and feel.

You followed that up with the glorious, dreamy, smart Love in Idleness. When I read the first chapter, I saw pictures in my head. I wanted to step inside, look around and paint it, which is the highest compliment I can pay a writer. And oh, did it make me swoon.  There were so many lovely, small moments, so exquisite, so perfectly and succinctly described that I remember them to this day, and will probably always remember them. And I will always wish I had a Mote app on my phone.

And how much did I love The Shipyard? Such a perfect blend of storytelling and history, and it was a worthy tribute to Moby Dick, which I know you love. Just like in your contemporary stories, you effortlessly evoked a time and a place so well I felt like I lived there.

Even The Babysitter, a seemingly-simple story about feelings developing where they shouldn’t, became something more in your capable hands. You even did the unthinkable—you BROKE THEM UP in the last chapter. But I wasn’t scared. Because you brought them back together just the way they were meant to be. It was the best kind of grown-up, satisfying ending I could have hoped for.

Let me conclude my valentine’s to you by saying “thank you”. Thank you for the time you’ve spent crafting these amazing stories to share with us. I know firsthand how busy your life is and how you labor over your writing. And with nothing to gain from it, you wrote perfect stories just for us. Really, you’ve been giving us valentine’s for years. Now I’m just giving one back!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Plummy!


Dear Staceleo,

How I love thee! Let me count the ways...

I know, it's super cheesy, but it's Valentine's Day! And I do love you, so I figured it was appropriate. Now, look, I'm going to be fair and honest, because I think it's the best policy: I'm not good at these little nuggets. Love isn't, perhaps, my forte. I find it terribly difficult to express myself without sounding like a overdone cliché or Hallmark card, but I'm going to try... even if there is a woman looking over my shoulder in this public space, trying her hardest to witness history in the making.

Mind your own business, lady! I'm writing letters over here to profess my love.


So, when I was asked to participate in this, I knew exactly who I wanted to write about. I don't know if it's because I haven't told you how much I appreciate you, or if this is my chance to ask for your number and not be super weird about it?? (refer to Mad TV's: Can I Get Your Number? Skit) But, seriously, I wanted to write about you because I think you're a wonderful person and you deserve to be told so. I wish I could give you my eyes or my heart (or whichever body that wouldn't gross you out, maybe?) so you can understand how special and how cherished you are in this fandom, how it wouldn't be the same without you. I wish I could give you all the love you deserve, but it's too big a job for one person. You deserve a million times one-hundred souls to make yours. I really appreciate how you're always so supportive of others. You're always there offering your tidbits of laughter or advice, and I wish I could give that back to you when you need it most.

Actually, let me tell you this... I was watching inspirational videos on YouTube the other day (because I don't know, why not?) and one of them had the quote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we're inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we're powerful beyond measure.”

It's the beginning of a paragraph from Marianne Williamson's A Return To Love. And while the initial statement is powerful all it's own, a couple of sentences further there's this:

“We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

I feel this is so much like you, and how I feel about your written words. How it seems so effortless for you to take on such stories. You've written forty-seven on! Forty-seven! You beast!!! It takes incredibly courage and talent to write so many and post them for the world to see. I remember reading Curve Ball and laughing my ass off because your humor doesn't have to be obvious. It doesn't have to wave a hand or be in the reader's face. It's subtle and smart, character driven, just how I like 'em. Bella was sassy and witty. Edward was a love struck “kid” following her around because he couldn't get enough of what she was dishing out. She reminded me of you, actually. And I feel, to some degree, like Edward following you around in wonder. Wow. This is turning out to be a creep fest where I'm concerned. I'm just trying to make it sweet, and it's just coming out like Dahmer. Simultaneously, I'm dredging my hands in lotion like Buffalo Bill's victims because of this dry winter air.

See. Man. I'm going to stop. I've just... gah. I fucking love you, okay? Everybody fucking loves you because you have red hair, you're beautiful, and write super funny fic. You give us support when we need it the most, even when we think we don't. You're awesome, Staceleo!


Your creepy friend who hearts you,

Dear Kim/VampiresHaveLaws,

So in preparation for this letter, I found our very first messages, and I got all mushy and sentimental. It really wasn’t that long ago, but a lot has changed in that time. During these past few months, you’ve been the best cheerleader and teacher, and most exciting of all, you let me read a story you’d written. And it was fabulous.

I’m so excited about this letter because you’re always saying the sweetest, most uplifting things to me and now, I can (hopefully) do the same for you!

I admit, when you first became my beta, I hadn’t read any of your work, and that was only because I had this stupid rule that I wouldn’t read anything while I was writing. But since I write most of the time, I was never reading and slowly, that rule fell away. Then you just casually mention this story you’re writing, and I was too curious to pass it up. Thankfully, you let me read it, and OH.MY.GOSH it was amazing.

After reading only the first chapter, I realized you aren’t just a precious person and freaking awesome beta, you’re also a fantastic writer. I’m super snobby/picky about what I think is good, too, but when I read this story, I was seriously blown away. Your writing is gorgeous and poetic and heartbreaking and absolutely everything I love. It seriously needs to be published for the rest of the world to flail over, too!

So, by now, you hopefully realize how much I adore this story of yours (and how crazy-talented you are), but most importantly, you’re just a great person. I so wish there wasn’t an ocean separating us because I’d love to meet you! You’re just hilarious and so very positive. I can’t tell you how many times you’ve made me laugh out loud, either with the gifs you leave as comments or the hysterical things you say.

You’ve walked me through so much and have helped me grow as a writer, and you do so in such a kind way. You really have a great way with people, and you have a gift as a writer and as an editor. You’re amazing, crazy-talented, and I’m so very glad we “met.”



The idea of writing a love letter or Valentine to someone other than a significant other feels strange.  But then I recall those years of my childhood where we exchanged candied hearts and little cut-out cards with our fellow classmates.  But then I remember how a few people got more Valentines than others, or maybe some got none at all.  So I want to begin this letter by saying that if I could write this letter to all of the authors to whom I truly adore, I'd never sleep.  The list is endless, but because I could only choose one, I chose Rochelle Allison.  The following is why.

Firstly, let's talk about how crazy talented she is, okay?  Every one of her stories is fantabulous.  Just magical. She draws you in and brings you back to a time where you used to live or wish you once had.  Her Edwards are usually exquisite, but not perfect.  And her Bellas are "us" -- the women who read her stories.  Varied from beautiful, insecure, smart, naive, confident, and clueless...sometimes all within the span of one story.  That's the beauty of Rochelle.  How she can weave a story, get us to relate to her characters, fall in love with them, and watch them grow and learn before our eyes.  And, often, VERY OFTEN, we learn many things about ourselves in the process. I could give a very long-winded post about my favorite stories of hers, so I'll try to name just a few and why. "With of Without You": -- Interestingly relevant to me right now, but E&B of the past come together in the future and are forced to deal with issues that were once thought dealt with. Probably not her most popular, but definitely my face. "Curtains" -- Again, strangely relevant to me...right now.  Just read it and fall in love. "Air" -- This Edward...GAH.  I'm pretty sure he exists in real life based on Rochelle's convos.  But goodness girl....HAWT! "Volition" -- Just a very well-written story, and surprisingly not as political people might think. Like I said, I could go on and on. You'd think that for as talented and as beautiful as she is (inside and out), people would naturally hate her.  Out of jealousy, spite, or whatever.  But it's impossible to get to know this woman and not love her.  She exudes an energy of genuineness and peace.  She truly cares.  I've met her multiple times now, and each time, she has been the most gracious with me (and others), even when my spirit isn't that welcoming. (Rare for me.)  Rochelle is a calming and accepting one.  A true gift to the this world and this fandom.  I'm honored to be a fellow writer in this fandom with her, but more importantly, I'm honored to be her friend.

I love you, Rochelle.  Truly.

Perry Maxwell xoxo

My dearest Amanda (Raggdolly),

I discovered fanfiction some time in 2010. I don’t remember the date. I couldn’t tell you the first fic I read. I remember general things, like how I wouldn’t read all human stories in the beginning and how out of character stories confused the heck out of me. I had a hard time wrapping my head around a goth Alice, or a bad boy Edward. The more I read, however, the more adventurous I became. A while later I joined a site called A Different Forest, and that’s when the dam broke. I read the summary for a little story called Lions Eat Lambs and I was so very intrigued. I clicked on the link and fell in love with you and your writing.

I love horror. While most my friends were reading Sweet Valley High, I was reading books by John Saul, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. I thought there were rules about fanfiction. I thought certain lines were never to be crossed. Edward was never the bad guy. Bella was always a pushover. And happily ever afters were a guarantee. You showed me that none of those things were true. You opened up a whole new world for me. I was consumed by Lions Eat Lambs. The video you made with the story is STILL in my youtube video favorites.

Then you started Kingdom of Rust. I felt tortured. I felt like you had a personal mission to drive me insane. Mind you at this point we’d never said a word to one another, but in my head, you were out to get me with your suspense. I dreamed about that story. I talked about it to anyone who would listen. I begged the apocalyptic writing gods for updates. And when it completed it was everything I could have hoped for.

Fast forward to House of The Horde. You laid the foundation. You planted a million seeds of how the story could go. You ruined me. Then you stopped updating. I tried to be patient. I really did. But as we both know, I failed at patience. You didn’t know me. I was terrible at reviewing. I was a little more than crazy. I started sending you random private messages. Some were begging, some were encouraging, some were bargaining. I think I went through some sort of twelve step withdrawal program from the loss of your words. I offered to help you. I felt ridiculous because I admired and looked up to you so much, but I was desperate for the rest of that story so I left my dignity at the door.

Then one day you replied to my crazy PM’s and accepted my help. I thought I was being punked to be honest. When I realized you were serious, I wondered if I was really the crazy one. But then something amazing happened; I got to know you as a person. And I loved you even more. You are one of the most incredible women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. You supported, encouraged, and stood by me when I took the terrifying step of following in your steps and venturing to the dark side. You are an amazing, beautiful person inside and out and I am honored to call you my friend. I wish the very best for you. The world is so deprived that they don’t have the privilege of knowing your beautiful mind. My wish is that you break through your walls and share your words with the world. It would be a brighter place to travel to the dark side with you. I love you to the moon and back. To the gates of hell and beyond. I can’t wait for all the great things you’re going to do. I can’t wait to say, I remember her when.

All my love,
Liv (Livie79)

Dear MrsSpaceCowboy (Nin),

I don’t remember exactly when you came into my life, but I do remember how. I’d heard rumblings of this story I just had to read. I was constantly seeing the “SO good” and “OMG. I can’t take the pain!” posts all over Facebook and Twitter. At first, my cynical self wondered if this story was one of the many stories people flailed over that wasn’t worth the fuss. But one a night, a couple of weeks later, I sprawled across my couch and finally sat down to find out what the big deal was.

Chapter one.

The Give Away Girl.

I surfaced I-don’t-know-how-many hours and close to thirty chapters later with my heart in a million pieces and a need to stalk you, to beg you to post the next chapter before my head exploded, because I needed to know whether Edward and Bella were going to be okay. I needed to know how you could drag my emotions from one end of the spectrum to other so easily. I needed to know how you’re able to house such an enormous talent without falling over all the time.

While I waited for the next chapter to go up, I found (read: stalked) you on Twitter, and after what I’m sure was an embarrassing introduction on my part, we became friends. It’s become a friendship that’s also been a salvation. But we’ll come back to that. First up is the talent, because Lord Jesus, do you have a lot of it.

The first true test of my fangirl self-control in our friendship happened not too long after marathoning The Give Away Girl, when you asked me to beta a little something you’d written for The Heart of the Country Contest. That little something was Down Home, and to this day, it remains my favorite of the fics you’ve written. It contains all of the essential elements for the perfect fic: angst, comedy, caliente schmexy times, and a beautiful love story. What makes it different from every other fic, though, is your ability to make it so real, to make it seem as if we’re actually there to witness everything we’re reading. Also, it has a kickass Bella and the dreamiest Edward I’ve ever read. Seriously. I was in danger of drowning in my own drool most of the time.

You followed up that masterpiece with another one, Rest My Soul. This one was a kick in the ass to my feels and to the feels of all who read it. You gave us these beautifully damaged characters and allowed us to watch them heal before our very eyes. We learned about Fintan and Kevin, pondered over delicious descriptions of tattoos and piercings, and ached for Carlisle. Mack was the curveball we didn’t know we’d always wanted, and the heart attack you gave us with chapter 20’s cliffie was almost too much to bear. But it was all worth it to be able to take in this amazing story of loss and love and moving forward.

What’s next? Well, let’s just say that the original fiction world needs to invest in diapers, because it’s going to shit itself when it gets a hold of what you have to offer.

It’s been two years since we first “met,” and being able to call you my best friend is one of my greatest fandom achievements. In you, I’ve found a mellow soul, a fangirl, a radio, a shoulder to cry on, a compassionate heart, a no bullshit-taking queen, a devoted and loving mother and wife, a breath of fresh air, and a wonderful friend. You’re such an asset to this fandom, sweet Maurice, and the fact that you don’t even know it makes me love you more. You’re special beyond words. Always remember that.


Dear Lila (allihavetodoisdream),

You are, without a doubt, one of the sweetest, most talented writers I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know in this fandom. It’s rare I have an emotional response to a story like I did with Hollywood. I was instantly smitten with your style, your characterisations—this unique twist you’d brought to an otherwise overlooked character. Bella, even when telling a story, usually takes the back-burner to that green-eyed, messy-haired boy. And I get it, because who doesn’t love Edward? And while your Edwards ruin my life constantly, it’s your ability to write the most unique and complex Bellas that makes you stand out from the crowd. When people talk about that mysterious *it*—you have it in spades, L. It’s one of the many reasons I pounced on you like an animal to ask if you had or would like a beta. I’d never ever messaged someone I didn’t know like that before. I was so nervous, but I couldn’t silence the voice in my head that was shouting at me, “You have to work with this girl!” I was so lucky when you said yes. (Oh my God, this totally sounds as though I proposed. Hahahaha.)

You finished up Hollywood, and I went off and mourned. And then Dark Paradise came along… and I was speechless. In that short amount of time, you’d kicked your writing up another gear. I remember you being all, “Kim, it’s such a mess, but I started this new story and I don’t know if I should continue it…” which then led to me calling you crazy because it was anything but a mess. I was blown away all over again, and was like, “Is this girl real?” I know age should never be a factor, but the fact you are so young, and writing like this? It excites me beyond belief, because that means you’re only going to continue growing.

Then a few weeks ago, you introduced me to Kiss the Sky, and God, this story—it’s your best to date. It could easily be sitting in my bookcase in my office. It should be sitting in my bookcase in my office. Your writing has improved again, which leads me to say, quite confidently: You’re going to the biggest deal one day, Lila. If you don’t end up with a book out there in the world, with your name stamped all over it, there’s a problem. I know you won’t believe any of this because you have such a low opinion of your talent, but it’s the truth. I want you to believe in yourself like I believe in you. I’m going to be the biggest bug and keep repeating it to you until you gain more confidence. And I know there isn’t a huge difference between our ages, but I feel like the proudest mum. You are kind and funny and an inspirational individual. I have never once heard you say one negative word about anyone. That’s the kind of honest-to-good person you are. You are a perfect role model for all ages and an amazing friend and I couldn't love you more. 

Go conquer the world, L, because it’s there for you to take.

Kim (VampiresHaveLaws) xx

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mrs. Space Cowboy-
    Thank you for your kind words. I had such a fun time writing ToV, and I learned so much about writing, and about fandoms and community.
    I think writing about teens is so special because everything is so new and raw and crazy; the intensity, the angst, the overwhelming lust and intimacy. I'm so happy you enjoyed it too.