Monday, May 11, 2009

Readers Series: mommyofboth, Yenafer, and ECyesplease

As soon as I discovered Twilight, I devoured the three books twice in one week, then searched the internet for more.  I just wasn’t “done.”  I needed more Edward and Bella, more Cullens, more… everything.  I came across a website where other addicted moms were congregating and was quickly introduced to fan fiction in the form of the infamous Boycotts & Barflies by vjgm.  I found the story around eight pm after my kids went to bed, and the next thing I knew, it was six am and my baby was awake.  Ooops.  This reading pattern became routine for me, as I stayed up each night reading a new story.  My laptop became my new best friend as I discovered Stranger Than Fiction, First Light, Escaping Sol, News to Me, Parenting Skills 101, and I Hate Myself for Loving You.

I quickly found that I couldn’t read without letting the author know exactly what I was thinking and feeling as I experienced it.  As I worked through the stories that were already complete, I felt the need to review each and every chapter.   When I would receive a reply for the reviews it was like Christmas morning.  It was as if they actually cared what I thought about their stories and genuinely wanted to hear my theories. While I understand that there is no way most authors have the time to respond to all the reviews, it still makes my day when a reply shows up in my inbox.  One author that I always receive a response from is Bittenev… and we’re not talking little “I’m glad you enjoyed it” replies.  I’m talking full on paragraphs about how much I mean to her as a reader.  And I can tell you, there is nothing better and I appreciate it so much, especially as I know it must take her so much time and energy.  Replies like that make me try so much harder to be a good reader and reviewer.

I found the Twilighted website a little over a year ago when the forums on the site  I frequented closed and I needed a place to express my thoughts and theories.  What I love most about the forums are the connections you make with the authors and the other readers.  They bring together people with similar interests, while reassuring us that we are not the most obsessed fan out there.  It normalized my addiction for me while creating a network of ladies I consider my friends.  And honestly, rubbing elbows with the giants of fan fiction is just… amazing.  What other opportunity affords us the ability to discuss our favorite stories with the actual authors? I realized that these amazing authors are just people… just like me, with insecurities and fears about posting, who are trying to find a balance between their love of writing and their responsibilities to real life. Oh, and, of course, the teasers and added insight to the characters and plot are always a plus. 

The more and more I immersed myself in the different personalities of Edward and Bella, the more I began to dream about the stories in the few hours I slept.  My dreams consisted of Lawyer Edward kissing a blindfolded Bella with a bag of frozen peas while stitching up her arm and eating a peach.  I find even now that my obsession has lessoned (and I routinely sleep more than 2 hours per night), that I still think about these stories, analyzing all the possible outcomes and characters, throughout my day.  I recently found Creature of Habit after it was recommended to me by two different people and could literally not get it out of my head.  I thought about it night and day for almost a week.  I thought I was losing my mind, though my husband pointed out that I’ve already lost it. 

While I actually enjoy many genres of fan fiction, I tend to read the AU Human the most.  It just makes me smile to imagine and watch as all of these wonderful Edwards get to experience the amazing plots these authors dream up.  I just can’t get enough.  The best day in the entire world was last summer when my husband bought me my shiny silver blackberry.  Suddenly I could read anywhere and everywhere.  I was able to enjoy geekward (Resident Geek), stealthward (Dangerous Affections), extremeward (Porcupine Embrace), swimward (Going For the Gold), soldierward (Guns & Roses), rockward (Volterra Rocks), spankward (Piano Lessons), zorroward (Must Have Been Love), nobleward (The Highwayman), actorward (When Fiction Becomes Reality), doctorward (Paging Doctor Love), bikeward (Cascade & Cyanide), skittleward (Frenemies), flyward (Second Chances), wankward (Midnight Desire), priestward (Sanctuary), teacherward (Lessons in Forbidden Love), brainward (What Happens Tomorrow), virginward (Earthquake), and bedward (Restoration) on the run.

 I’ve read updates for Coming to Terms at soccer games, I Love LA at Sea World, No Regrets at Disneyland, Restoration in the carpool line, Stitches in Scas on the side of the road, Scotch, Gin, and the New Girl at Target, Irritable Grizzly Adams at the pool, Legacy on the sky ride at the zoo, Warmth at stop lights, Blame it on the Cuervo at a family reunion, Sanctuary at the dentist, and She’s Royal hiding under the covers in bed.   

With this freedom to read out and about, though, I also have the burden of being unable to immediately review a story at times.  I find that I read so much on my phone that I get incredibly behind on my reviews.  I keep the update alert emails in my inbox, however, until I’ve reviewed so that I never miss one, even if it’s late. And sometimes… it’s really, REALLY late. 

 I just feel that I can’t let these authors down by not reviewing.  I know it probably isn’t the case, but I picture bittenev waiting patiently to read what I thought about a chapter, or Jfly sipping her coffee in her hillside café wondering if I’ll get what she’s trying to say.  I can just imagine bethaboo logging on to her email to see if I’ve had a chance to read her update yet, or jandco reading to see if we all have the physical response she was hoping for.  Knowing these stories are written by real people, just like me, who live for a good review, is all the motivation I need. 

Sometimes my reviews are practically novels where I’ve opened the review window at the beginning of the chapter and give the author a play-by-play of my experience with the chapter, sometimes my reviews are a long list of every little detail I loved, sometimes my reviews are questions I don’t really want or expect answers to, sometimes my reviews are incoherent words when I’ve been rendered speechless, and sometimes my reviews are nothing more than a short line about how much I’ve enjoyed the chapter and look forward to more. 

I appreciate this opportunity to express my love and thanks for this group of authors, for the beautiful stories they create, and for the time and energy they expend to share their talent with us. I’m sure I’ve missed some of my favorites, which is one reason I almost didn’t give examples, but I just had to. If I forgot you on here, know that I haven’t really forgotten you.  I’ve just suffered some serious brain cell deterioration from all the sleep deprivation.  But… I wouldn’t change it for the world.  In the words of one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicals,  “I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn, and we are led to those who help us most to grow, if we let them, and we help them in return.”

I’ve definitely been changed for the better (although my husband might not agree) because of the friendships I’ve made through Twilight fan fiction and the forums on Twilighted.  Thank you to the author who suggested me for this article… I hope you really DO look forward to my reviews.  

Wow, sitting here with a blank screen is kind of intimidating.  Knowing you need to fill it with words and sound a bit intelligent, be riveting or at least just coherent in my case.  It makes it that much harder for me to fathom how all of the stories I have grown to love come about.  It's truly awe inspiring.  

Are you tired of hearing the stories of how a person got hooked on Twilight?  This is just a brief insight to how crazed I was (am).   

I'd heard of the Twilight series after the first book or two, said meh, doesn't really seem to interesting, not my thing, etc.  Then I was told by a good friend "You MUST read this book".  So I did. I was instantly hooked.  It may have involved a call or two to my friend/dealer, Ambushed, telling her that I hated her for sending me on vacation with just the one book, to a place where book stores are practically non-existent! Also, knowing full well, you get the first chapter of New Moon in it.   

After crazy, marathon reading sessions previously reserved only for Harry Potter books, I finished the first three. Then I started the process all over again, and again, and again, walking around the house with the books in my face, riding in the car across town, really any and ALL down time or time I should have been sleeping.  I'd read them, over and over, each time it was like the first. They drew me in, I couldn't put them down.  I even purchased the audio books, listening while catching up on the PILES of laundry, or lying down with my son to force him to nap.  HOW? HOW was I going to wait 6 months for the final book???  

Welcome to the world of forums.  Wow, what a whole new idea! Well, for me at least.  Then the filming of the movie began.  I followed the 'on-location' threads at Twilight Mom's and that certainly helped fill the need for all things Twilight for awhile.  Once that wound down, I desperately needed that fix again and I started branching out.   

My dealer started talking about a few fanfiction (fan what? huh?) stories she was reading.  She emailed me the link for  Attention, WalMart Shoppers by sillybella.  A funny, simple, easy introduction to fanfiction.  The whole thing was so foreign to me.  I didn't even know how to get to the next chapter.  She had to send me each chapter link.  DUH!  Sheesh, what a moron I was!  I didn't even leave a review.  (GASP! I KNOW!!)   

I then read a few short little stories written about E/B's wedding or peoples visions for Breaking Dawn.  Eventually I moved away from "Breaking Dawn" versions to AU stories such as Sacrifices by Enthralled and LOST by edwardsoul.  Most of the fanfic stories I read in the beginning all came from Ambushed.  She just wouldn't stop talking about them.  Eventually, I got used to and Twilight Mom's fanfic threads.  Constantly checking for updates, teasers, theories on the upcoming chapters, etc. Then, that's all I did until TM's locked the threads and reformatted them.  AUGH!   

I went frantically searching for anything to fill the void.  I started checking the favorites of the authors whose stories I'd read and the heavens opened and the sun shown down on the world of AU-Human.  All I really have to say is B&B, y'all know what I'm talking about.  If not, go... Boycotts and Barflies by vjgm NOW! What are you waiting for?  I have found that anything by vjgm is GOLD.  I am currently in the excruciating process of waiting for chapters on her new story Trust in Advertising.  It is strictly on and she gives wickedly evil teasers that really make you think or totally confound you on the story thread.  

Once I hit the AU-Human, it was full speed ahead.  I have not opened up my Twilight books since I finished Breaking Dawn.  Surprising how intensely I read an re-read those and have only read BD once.  I keep telling myself I need to read it again, it won't hold as much shock value.  I can't seem to get myself to do it though.  Maybe it's because I have 97 authors on alert and my inbox is regularly updated.  Maybe it's my ability to procrastinate any and everything.  It certainly didn't make me fall out of love with the books since it seems I can't get enough of the fanfic, but maybe that's it.  There are so many new and wonderful stories being written and added to daily that I have plenty to read?  

I am constantly reading stories and having these "holy shit" moments.  Especially with In the Blink of an Eye by that_writr which is AU.  A lot of the plot lines in this story just make so much sense.  I think most of the time I am too unaware or caught up in the story to catch on to a particular line of thinking or even give it another thought after I finished the paragraph or page.   Not always seeing or wondering the why's.  

I have been continually amazed at the class of writing that is in fanfic land.  An eloquent writer or reviewer I am not.  Somedays, I wonder if I'll ever be a deep thinker.   Mostly I'm just a goof who thinks crude things and never comes across in words as funny as she thinks she is...  

Due to the introduction to fanfiction I have substituted walking around my house with my nose in a book to my eyes zeroed in on my BlackBerry.  I'm sure that can't be good for my eyes.  I am constantly checking for updates like the obsessed fangirl that I am.  I am extremely thankful for email updates and mobil internet.   I get that I am not smart enough and will never understand Dungeons and Dragons from the brilliant explanations from cdunbar in Resident Geek.    I have functioned on amounts of sleep that should be illegal, the dark circles under my eyes rival the ones I had when I had a two year old and a newborn.  I ignore my laundry, live in a dirty house and feed my family chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese more times than should be allowed. Yet, I keep coming back for more.  

On May 25, 2009, I celebrate one year on where I have found some great friends from all over the world.  I have laughed outloud at their funny, random, and outlandish comments.  Seen inside their lives and minds, looked at pictures of their families.  I have read brilliant stories written by a large majority of them.  I have met and posted on forum pages with, working to be published, authors.   Crying and laughing or feeling the angst right along side a great bunch of ladies.  I've laughed at brilliantly written poems by a fun and witty french teacher.  I have been given recipes for some yummy cookies and dinner ideas to use when I don't get caught up in a story and read all day (thanks wtvoc ).  I 'speak' forum now, words like TOTES, FAIL, WIN, IMMA.  I feel I've been schooled and can hang out with the cool young kids now. :)      
It truly is an amazing fandom and I am extremely grateful for everyone I've had the chance to meet and get to know.  This really is an amazing place. 

The fact that I was recommended to participate in this blog astounds me.  I hardly suspect anything I mention will be surprising. I’m trying not to look at this as a way to recommend reading material.It’s more of a way for me to thank the amazing writers that so fearlessly share their talent.  Someone must have appreciated a rambling review of mine and thought it was a good idea to let me ramble to a bigger audience. So here we go.

My journey to Twific has been a whirlwind. I never imagined myself getting so caught up in something. It started as a crutch and a cure for my aching need for more Edward after I finished reading New Moon. Before this, I had never been part of a “fandom”. I wasn’t even aware of all the online riff raff for different genres. I was of course glued to SM’s website for a while and read everything Twilight related, which wasn’t much at the time. I quickly found the Twilight Lexicon, but never really participated on the forum. I was just a lurker for a long time. I stumbled upon Alphie’s fic “The Lion and the Lamb” and was immediately intrigued and confused. I did not understand the concept of fan fiction. I know…call me clueless. At first I thought it was silly (people write their own stories about other stories, what?).  Since I heard SM had read it and liked it, I continued to read Alphie’s version of MS and recognized my desire for more.  It was the first time I received the “your' e crazy” look from my husband for using half a ream of paper to print out a story. I was weak and said, you’re right this is silly. At the time I was waiting for Eclipse, so I repressed my urge for more fanfic and waited patiently, or not, for Eclipse. After all the hype slowed down and I was now waiting for BD, I found TwilightMoms. I decided to go to a TM’s lunch here in my area. Reluctantly, I went alone when my friend backed out on accompanying me.  I was ready to take one look at these crazy cyber people and leave. I went, I stayed and met the person who ultimately convinced me to try reading fan fiction again, Barbarito. She is the most enthusiastic reader you can imagine and we have become great friends with out love for Twific. I am sure some of you authors know her. She is very dedicated. I tinkered around on trying to find good stories. I remember the days of scrolling through summaries, so boring and tedious.  Until I found Twilighted. That changed everything.

For my founding authors, so to speak…I read “First Light” by Blondie aka Robin and was hooked. I’m not really a Breaking Dawn hater, but I would have been fine if SM just published Blondie’s story. Barbarito quickly started telling me about the all-human stories, and again I was dumbfounded (why would anyone want to read about a human Edward? Where is the fun in that? No vampires?). Silly me. I was like a naïve little child in the Twific world. She convinced me to try it out and while I still love the stories with the vamps I am mostly drawn to the AH category. My first human stories, of course, “Passion Fish” by qjmom,“Boycotts and Barflies” by vjgm and “I Hate Myself for Loving You” by halojones. So many authors come to mind and I would be here all day if I tried to list them all. There are a few I must mention and I hate to leave anyone out because I have made some great friends. They may not know it, but their stories have helped me reclaim myself. Being a mom, sometimes you lose yourself. The escape that I find while reading enables me to appreciate and enjoy my life with my family,then have this little something that is just for me. Does that make sense? I thought the best way to go about this would be to mention a few of my “firsts” as I remember them.

Okay, back to Twilighted. I lurked. I was a little shy to join the forums at first. I remember telling Barbarito about Twilighted when it first started and how all these girls discuss the stories on the forum, but saying, “No, I don’t comment or post! No way.” But then probably two days later I buckled and posted a comment on the “A Matter of Convenience” by Spotzle (I miss this one!) thread and I was welcomed by the lovely wtvoc. I really don’t think I would have continued posting had she not made me feel welcome, being so new to forums, etc.  I soon found her first story “Must Have Been Love”, which recently updated and all I can say is FINALLY! I love her writing style, her ability to write real. Quick, witty, funny, emotional…I don’t need to say much. I’m pretty sure most of her fans read this blog and you all know what I‘m talking about.

Then came “Cullens Island”, by wtvoc’s wifey, Jandco. Seriously, sexy funny always wins me over and CI Edward will always be one of my favorites. All of Jandco’s stories get to me. The first time I cried while reading a fic was while I was reading her story “Retrograde”. She can attest to the multiple PM’s with songs that I remind me of her stories, as can a lot of other authors. I can’t help myself when it comes to music and I am always imposing my musical thoughts on different authors. Jandco and wtvoc’s ability to collaborate is amazing and I always have fun reading their words. Even when I am anxiously waiting for an update, there is something special about reading a story as the author is writing it, as opposed to reading a completed story. I find it harder to review completed stories chapter by chapter since I know most of my questions are already answered in the coming chapters.

Obviously I am a huge ExB fan.  I like a lot of Edwards, but there are a couple that will always stick out. I fell head over heals for Bittenev’s “Stitches and Scars” Edward…sweet, super hot knight in shining armor with a love for produce. In fact, I think I may love any Edward that she writes because “When Fiction Becomes Reality” makes me all happy inside. Thank you to Bella-of-the-Ball for allowing her stories to be adopted by other amazing writers. “Piano Lessons” and “Volterra Rocks” are must-reads. Bittenev, edwardsothalova, wtvoc, halojones and bethaboo have done incredible work with continuing these story lines.

Many people read and love “Resident Geek” by cdunbar as I have seen her mentioned here before. You just can’t resist a geeky Edward with a Bella willing to appreciate him.  I am drawn to her writing. I first found her when she started “I’ve Been Looking For You”. That Edward can stalk me any day.

Realize” by Goo82 had me frantic while following that story. I remember I was away on vacation with my family and that was the first time I had to sneak my husband’s iphone so I wouldn’t miss out on an update. The hurt and healing in that story was so heart wrenching! 

I have made some great friends over the last year or more of reading fanfic and the credit goes to Twilighted. It’s so big now and I hardly find the time to hang out on the threads anymore, but I will forever be grateful to psymom for starting the website responsible for this joy in my life. I don’t think we would have this amazing blog, TLYDF if it weren’t for Twilighted either. The stories I have found from recommendations here have been amazing. In the recent weeks I have started “The Lost Boys” by hwimsey, “Twice as Long as Yesterday” by hopeful wager, “Tropic of Virgo" by to name a few…the list goes on and on - for real. Look at my FF profile and you will see how many stories I have favorited.  It’s impossible for me to mention them all, but I truly adore each one. Mucho thanks to all those I have mentioned as well as dollegirl, Gustariana, stacy.bumblebee, limona, tnuccio, angel, feathers_mmm, smellyia and everyone in my chat boxfor making me feel appreciated as a reader as well as a friend. I really do take my role as a reader seriously and do my best to review thoughtfully. Thank you for thinking of me. ;)


anniej13 ~ ECyesplease

CDUNBAR: It’s no secret that I have a lot of favorite people. And a lot of those favorite people are reviewers. But these three ladies hold a special place in my heart for multiple reasons; however, I’m just going to highlight the main one because I know Amelia’s worried about the length of this post. (EEP)

From the mind-numbingly difficult start of posting that first chapter of ‘I’ve Been Looking For You’ (my first venture into fanfiction) almost a year ago to just the other day on the ‘Resident Geek’ forum thread, Anniej13/ECyesplease, Yenafer/Who Knows?, and dlhk/Mommyofboth support me, keep me entertained, and help me out in small and large ways, possibly without even knowing it.

I look forward to their reviews, I love chatting with them through threads, gchat and PMs, and I know if I need a pick me up, they always have an extra exclamation mark waiting just for me.

They are my trifecta and I do what I do because of them. I think of them like the Planeteers from ‘Captain Planet’. With their powers combined, I am cdunbar.

Let me start with Who Knows? (as she’s known on Twilighted). She is my forum thread encourager, i.e. ‘Earth’. Pretty much every time I post something on one of my story threads about how there’s a new chapter coming soon or I’m working on something new, she’s there with a YAY! and ‘I can’t wait!’ Without fail it makes me smile. Scratch that, SHE makes me smile.

Mommyofboth, usually written as MoB, is my multi-reviewer or ‘Wind’. She somehow finds the time to read most of my chapters not just once, not twice, but up to three (that’s right, THREE) times. Then she’ll review on both FFn and Twilighted, and I’m pretty sure if I posted anywhere else she’d review there as well. I love her for it. Love, love, love. Because I know how much she reads and for her to commit that much time to one of my chapters, I’m going to make it a good one. Just for her.

Finally, there’s Anniej13 (as she’s known on FFn). She’s my rock, my ‘Heart’. I know she’ll always have an insight into one of the characters or the current situation, or call me on leaving out something that should have been addressed, which is why I recruited her as my second beta. She puts up with my insane, insecure questions for each new chapter I send her and hasn’t complained yet or told me to quit my whining. (I’m sure I’ll push her over the edge one day…) She’s THE sweetest person you will ever have the privilege of meeting and I wish I lived next door to her because I would come over every day, babysit her adorable kids, and bake her brownies to pay her back for everything she’s done for me.

I love you ladies and I hope you know how much you mean to not only me, but every author for whom you review. Don’t ever change.

And your magical rings, which when used together will summon me, are in the mail.


  1. I could not agree more with dunbar! you three are awesome!

  2. Oh, Annie is one of my reviewers too! thanks so much guys for being an awesome part of this community and supporting the authors!

  3. You would make this about Captain Planet...

  4. Wonderful articles, readers! Thanks for sharing your perspective with us, as well as some of your favorite stories. I'll have to add some of those to my reading list!

  5. A big, sloppy, wet MWAH to ECyesplease - love you dear!

    And one for MoB, too - not only is she a great reviewer - she's a great technical source (I haven't forgotten about your help with a certain character's medical career plans... 8-)

    It's so wonderful to see such enthusiasm from readers. This is the icing on the writing cake - thanks so much!

  6. I immediately recognized Annie as a reviewer from a fic under an old nme. She always left such NICE reviews, but because I sent extras to every single reviewer I didn't always get to say thank you as much as I would have liked. Still, I didn't ever forget!

  7. I was so thrilled to do this although it made me a nervous wreck! I've already thought of authors and stories I wish I would have mentioned. Oh well! Thanks for the kind words Christine!! xxoo

  8. Caitlin, I was going to tell you... you're 'Water.'

    And Jen is 'Fire.'


  9. I agree with Annie whole heartedly. Talk about nervous!

    I have read so many amazing fics I could've filled the whole thing with links! They are all so inspiring!

    I am grateful for all the authors taking the time to share their talent with us. On top of that replying to our reviews and befriending us on the forums.

    Thanks for always making me feel good Christine!

    Love you all
    Who knows?/yenafer

  10. Well, I agree with my other trifecta members, this was scary and I forgot to mention a ton of authors/ stories I meant to mention (I know! How is that even possible? haha,) but it was so much fun and I'm glad I got the opportunity.

    Thank you so much Christine for your kind words. You totally rock and I'm thrilled that you really DO care what I have to think. Like I said above... It makes me that much more motivated to be a great reviewer. Thanks, bb. I can't wait till you give me the opportunity to review again. *wink* MWAH


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