Feb 9, 2016

Review - Poughkeepsie Begins by Debra Anastasia




 Summary
  
It ends with the beginning. This legendary, indie, cult-favorite series ends its tale with the story of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood before the tattoo. Before the train station, before the church, before a criminal empire there was a foster home and three teen boys who chose each other as family, because the ones they were born into didn’t exist

Still in high school, Beckett is already laying the groundwork for a grander life ahead, one where his brothers want for nothing and get some respect for once. But even as he plans, Beckett must decide if he’s ready to make that choice—diving in to a life that trades his chance at a future, his chance at something as simple as first love with a girl named Candy Cox, for their chance to find happiness.

Blake, Beckett, and Cole’s devotion to each other is forged by fists and the driving need to belong somewhere, to do more than just survive this life. Readers of the series know they each get there in the end, but before we count smiles, we must first shed tears. These early days of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood will play on your heartstrings before serrating them with a knife; they’ll lift your soul with music, only to leave you with nothing but a desperate prayer for hope.

And when you reach the end of the beginning, you’ll be ready to start the series all over again.


Review 
 
It ends where it begins is so true. This is a book that delivers a hat-trick in less than two hundred pages. It is a stand alone book, an ending, and a beginning all in one. For those who haven't spent the last several years engrossed in the tales of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood as I have done, PB is an excellent way to dip your toe in the water. It's complete in itself, a stand alone novel with no cliff ending and no need to be familiar with any of the characters.

But, who are we kidding? If you haven't already, you are going to want to read the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood series after this. In which case, it's a fantastic place to begin, right back in high-school.

If, like me, you have been following Beckett, Cole, and Blake through their adventures and heartache as adults, this is a bittersweet goodbye, a gift from the author. It will break your heart and give you hope all over again.

Although it is a book about young adults, this is an Adult book, or at the very least New Adult. It deals with some difficult themes, there is course language, violence, raw emotion, sex, and abuse of all sorts. However, don't let that put you off. It is a gripping story that is not long or drawn out so although it's emotionally intense, it's short enough that it didn't leave me drained as some books have in the past. 

A book definitely worth a spot on your To Read list.
Buy Links
Find the whole Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series here: http://amzn.to/1OfpAtk



Dec 20, 2015

Review - Aced (Blocked #2) by Jennifer Lane

Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez found her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in Jennifer Lane’s Blocked series, it could be her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love.

Medical student Alejandro’s hot Latin looks get him plenty of attention, but his deep faith and admiration for his father keep him on a righteous path, with no time for something as frivolous as love. He strives to do the right thing—study diligently, take care of his siblings, represent the family well—so why does he feel so unfulfilled?

Enter Lucia’s friend and teammate Maddie Brooks, who shines at blocking the ball and acing the serve. Too bad this graduating senior isn’t so confident about her life off the court. Her longtime boyfriend has just bailed on her, and med school applications loom large. Oh, and a nerve-wracking tryout for Team USA also approaches.

Maddie meets Alejandro when he visits Lucia at school, and she’s soon drawn to his sharp mind. Alejandro is similarly intrigued by Maddie’s talent and strength. But will personal biases and family politics smother the slow burn of their attraction? Unless Maddie can learn to believe in herself, and Alejandro can become his own man, their kindling romance hardly stands a chance.

Will either of them be bold enough to try something new? Find out in this emotion- rich story that refuses to shy away from life’s hardest questions. Because love is worth the risk.


Review

Overall I loved this book as much as the first book. It's a sweet romance the delves deeply into what it means to be an athlete as well as what happens when it's taken away. It also deals with darker issues of family dynamics, illness, and race. I couldn't put it down once I started. Based on the first book, I knew I would struggle with Alejandro as a leading man. I knew his principles would irk me, and they did. Jennifer Lane doesn't do cutout characters. She has a way of capturing them with all sorts of views that never come across preachy, even when they are ridiculously fixed in a somewhat narrow world view. Just like real people can be. This book is no exception.

I found Alejandro overbearing and self-righteous, especially at the beginning. But then, I found myself thinking he was a bit wishy washy when he couldn't stick to those same principles later in the book because they didn't suit him. Seriously, the poor guy couldn't catch a break with me. He did have his good points such as being kind and brave, and did eventually win me over. Although, we'd never be able to talk politics.

Maddie I could empathize with a lot more. She is struggling with depression and trying to hold her world together while it is being turned upside down. She had much more moderate world views, however, getting on with her own life seems to be enough for her during the course of the book. It's not that she doesn't care about the wider world, because she does. It's just that she seems to take it as it comes to her without preconceived notions about anyone.

There is almost instant sizzle between these two, although getting to the relationship part was a sort of slow, gentle burn that reminded me of old black and white movies. As if Alejandro was a gentleman courting her. Maddie deserved that, she deserved some love and care. I respected his character more for taking his time.

Since these books are set against the background of politics(Alejandro is the president's son) some of things discussed by the characters are very much a part of American current affairs. However, nothing that I wasn't already aware of or couldn't keep up with and the book is very much about the romance and relationships rather than the backdrops.

Like I said, all in all, I loved it. I'm very much looking forward to book three that will focus on another Ramirez sibling. 


Easy 5 star read, for those who love sweet romance with a side of reality in all it's wonderful and broken glory.


About the Author

 Get psyched for romance with psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane! By day she’s a therapist, and by night she’s a writer. She can’t decide which is more fun.

Jen adores creating sporty heroines and hot heroes in her college sport romances. Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez found her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in the Blocked series, it’s her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love. Aced launches in December 2015.

A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen writes swimming-based romances as well: Streamline, a military mystery, and the free New Adult novella Swim Recruit.

Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic-suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior.

Ultimately, whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and visiting her sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head.




Dec 16, 2015

Review - Broken Bonds by Trisha Wolfe

Let me start by saying, I am way behind on my reviews and hope to catch up over the holidays. This year has really kicked my butt. I'm reading almost as much as ever and although I tend to only spend time reviewing books I've enjoyed, I haven't even found much time to do that!

Adult Read

So, here we go. Broken Bonds is actually the series name for With Visions of Red books #1,#2, and #3. It's available in single books or as a handy dandy box set.

 
 I've read a number of Trisha Wolfe's books in the past and she never fails to impress me, but let me just say that these books blew my socks off. I had book one on my To Read from release but never quite got around to it and by the time the box set came out, I totally forgotten what the series was even about. So, I dived in blind. Although it is three relatively fast reads, they are not books for reading in isolation. They need to be read together and in order.

Sadie Bonds was introduced to the world of blood and violence in a brutal and very personal way. Now working as a criminal profiler, catching the bad guys seems to verge almost on obsession for her. By night she explores her dark fantasies at an exclusive BDSM club. It's there she meets Colton, a rope rigger at the club with a dark past of his own. Meanwhile, there is a sadistic serial killer on the loose and he is trying hard to get Sadie's attention. So begins a twisted game of cat and mouse.

Despite the gore, brutality, and sometimes disturbing scenes depicted, there is a sophistication about these books. I can only put it down to the skill of the author. Think Dexter/Hannibal. With varied points of view, the reader gets to explore the world of police investigation from different angles. The killer's POV was particularly chilling with almost poetic prose I found genuinely scary.

Contrasting that is the developing romance between Sadie and Colton. The sex scenes are sensual and detailed rather than graphic and each scene serves a purpose in propelling the story forward. And these books do zoom along with fast paced action that will keep any reader completely engrossed.

One for those who enjoy an excellent crime read with a dark hit of romance and erotica.

Five Stars


About the Author

From an early age, Trisha Wolfe dreamed up fantasy worlds and characters and was accused of talking to herself. Today, she lives in South Carolina with her family and writes full time, using her fantasy worlds as an excuse to continue talking to herself. 

Find out more at 
TrishaWolfe.com


Dec 2, 2015

Aced by Jennifer Lane Release Day!





Title: ACED
Series: Blocked #2
Author: Jennifer Lane
Release Date: December 2, 2015
Genre: New Adult Sports Romance 
Length: 80,000 words
Cover Artist: Coreen Montagna 

Synopsis:

Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez found her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in Jennifer Lane’s Blocked series, it could be her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love.

Medical student Alejandro’s hot Latin looks get him plenty of attention, but his deep faith and admiration for his father keep him on a righteous path, with no time for something as frivolous as love. He strives to do the right thing—study diligently, take care of his siblings, represent the family well—so why does he feel so unfulfilled?

Enter Lucia’s friend and teammate Maddie Brooks, who shines at blocking the ball and acing the serve. Too bad this graduating senior isn’t so confident about her life off the court. Her longtime boyfriend has just bailed on her, and med school applications loom large. Oh, and a nerve-wracking tryout for Team USA also approaches.

Maddie meets Alejandro when he visits Lucia at school, and she’s soon drawn to his sharp mind. Alejandro is similarly intrigued by Maddie’s talent and strength. But will personal biases and family politics smother the slow burn of their attraction? Unless Maddie can learn to believe in herself, and Alejandro can become his own man, their kindling romance hardly stands a chance.

Will either of them be bold enough to try something new? Find out in this emotion- rich story that refuses to shy away from life’s hardest questions. Because love is worth the risk.

  Add to Goodreads  

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Get ACED!

Reviews for Aced
“Jennifer's characters always interact with each other in a very comfortable pattern of easy and witty banter. She is exceedingly good at dialogue. Aced is a very brave book. Like Blocked, it is not simply a fluffy, sweet and cozy romance."
~Teresa from Goodreads

"Lord forgive me for I have sinned and lusted over the hottie known as ALEJANDRO. Yup, dibs he's all mine, chicas."
~Nelly from Romance Bytes

"The plot is so well paced, I was reading until the wee hours of the morning."
~Karie Deegan from My Reading Reality

"Blocked captivated my attention from start to finish and Aced does not disappoint. Hotheaded Alejandro meets his match in stubborn and confident Maddie."
~Aaliyah from Goodreads

Giveaways

1) Join us for the Facebook party 12-2-15 HERE. Over 25 Authors with prizes!

2) Leave a review on Amazon on 12-2-15 for a chance to win $25 gift card.


3) And enter the Rafflecopter Release Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author


Get psyched for romance with psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane! By day she’s a therapist, and by night she’s a writer. She can’t decide which is more fun.

Jen adores creating sporty heroines and hot heroes in her college sport romances. Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez found her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in the Blocked series, it’s her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love. Aced launches in December 2015.

A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen writes swimming-based romances as well: Streamline, a military mystery, and the free New Adult novella Swim Recruit.

Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic-suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior.

Ultimately, whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and visiting her sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head.


Nov 23, 2015

Poughekeepsie Begins Blog Tour - Interview with Debra Anastasia



Over the years I've made no secret of my love for the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood series. Now, it's time to go all the way back to the beginning and meet the boys where it all started. And look at that cover! This is a prequel and can be read as a stand alone, but let's face it, no one is going to want to stop at the beginning. Read on for a look at the summary, an excerpt, some quickfire questions for Debra, and an extra special surprise gift for readers!



-->
Summary:

It ends with the beginning. This legendary, indie, cult-favorite series ends its tale with the story of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood before the tattoo. Before the train station, before the church, before a criminal empire there was a foster home and three teen boys who chose each other as family, because the ones they were born into didn’t exist

Still in high school, Beckett is already laying the groundwork for a grander life ahead, one where his brothers want for nothing and get some respect for once. But even as he plans, Beckett must decide if he’s ready to make that choice—diving in to a life that trades his chance at a future, his chance at something as simple as first love with a girl named Candy Cox, for their chance to find happiness.

Blake, Beckett, and Cole’s devotion to each other is forged by fists and the driving need to belong somewhere, to do more than just survive this life. Readers of the series know they each get there in the end, but before we count smiles, we must first shed tears. These early days of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood will play on your heartstrings before serrating them with a knife; they’ll lift your soul with music, only to leave you with nothing but a desperate prayer for hope.

And when you reach the end of the beginning, you’ll be ready to start the series all over again.


Interview

Of all the books, what has been the most emotionally draining scene to write?

Losing Mouse was the worst for me. I knew the series was real then. I cried so hard.

In the last book you wrote an experimental scene focusing on the senses of the characters and it worked perfectly. Can we expect anything like that from the new book? 
 
No. Ha. I love that scene, and thanks for remembering it. This book came super quickly. I think the part that is the most dangerous for me is Cole's scenes. He has the worst history, so I felt horrible opening that up on him.

Music you've selected has been a big part of the Poughkeepsie experience for me. If you had to pick one track to represent the entire series, what would it be?  
It would have to be Drop in the Ocean by Ron Pope. It just sends me back and I love that song. So very Blake.

I love these characters so much. It's hard letting go as a reader. Are the boys really done now? Is there any possibility you might revisit them at some time in the future or are you moving on?
 
They are done. And I'm having trouble letting them go. There's a thread in Saving Poughkeepsie that I could continue, but for the most part it is 99.9% done forever.

Buy Links




Find the whole Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series here: http://amzn.to/1OfpAtk

Free App as a present from the boys

Here's the log in info:

web: http://omnificpublishing.com/PT0111513/chapter-one.html


Mobile app http://poughkeepsieapp.com/Poukeeidebrannnxiv_/

Navigation is on the upper right side.

Any questions? Find me here: http://on.fb.me/1MVcrSB

Excerpt


When she ducked under the bleachers, he was a dick, right off the bat. His buzz was wearing off, but he was still high and broken at the closeness of her. “You’re missing your boyfriend during his lawn ballet.” He assumed a stance—douche mixed with confrontational—that he knew stopped people. It set up his walls real nice. With everyone.
Everyone but her. She walked right up to him. She pushed him hard once, twice, until his back hit one of the supports. And then she slapped him.
He took the slap and rolled his eyes. “That all you got for me, pink princess?”
And then she was kissing him. Oh, God. Kissing him and palming him with the same ferociousness he felt. He grabbed the metal behind him to keep from attacking her and nailing her right on the concrete floor littered with cigarettes and chip bags.
She pulled away and slapped him again, growling, “Fuck you, Beckett Taylor. Don’t you ever do that to me again. I’m worth more than that, and you know it.” She stepped back, leaving cold space and his heated erection between them.
He swallowed, his pounding heart trying to beat some common sense into his brain again. It wasn’t working. He let go of the bleachers and advanced. “You have some fucking nerve. You’re the one up there prom-queening it with goddamn Ryler.”
She stood her ground as he came at her. And he knew he was intimidating. Shit, full-grown men stepped aside when he was coming. But Candy raised her chin. He was amazed at the fight in her, right there. He pulled her into a dip, just like fucking Pyler had, except he did it like a man who wanted a woman and knew what to do with her body. Candy needed to push him away; she needed to turn her head.
Instead she groaned and bit his bottom lip hard enough to draw blood. He put his hand between her legs and dragged it up to her breast, squeezing hard so she would feel it through her coat. She sunk her nails into the skin at his neck. She was a buried treasure. He was sure as fuck no one knew about this side of her. Only he could get her panting like she was. He spanked her bottom once.
“Ow.” She was shocked.
He stopped kissing and looked her in the face as he spanked her again, more forcefully this time.
Her “Ow” was quieter, and the hunger in her eyes far deeper than her years.
Again he spanked her. And this time she purred. Fucking purred. He began slow, circular caresses over the denim that covered her ass. He was desperate to see the red imprints from his hand.
“Fuck it.” Beckett picked her up and set her back against the metal support he’d tried to cling to before.
They weren’t alone. Red tips of cigarettes glowed, gentle murmurs of illicit behavior could be heard if you knew how to listen for trouble. Still, he held her against the pole and mimicked the motions he was desperate to do with her. He dropped his mouth to the zipper on her coat, which kept her safe from all his intentions. He used his teeth to pull it down to her cleavage. He buried his face, licking and nuzzling her sweet-smelling neck. He used his chin to move material so he could access more of her chest. She smelled like goddamn candy. His dick could pack gunpowder in a cannon it was so fucking hard.
After a moment, the murmurs added up. Too many. He glanced around and noticed the cigarettes being stubbed out. He let his prize slide down the metal gently. He leaned down to kiss her lips, then her forehead, right under the edge of her fuzzy hat before whispering, “Go. Cops are here. Go.”
And then Candy, sweet-smelling, homework-doing Candy, stuck her hand in his jacket’s hidden pocket and took the gun out. He pulled her hands and his gun close to make sure the safety was on before letting her tuck it into her bra.
“Anything else?” she asked.
And then he slipped the rest of the merchandise in his left pocket into her right one. She turned and left.
“And don’t you ever talk to me again, Taylor. I have a boyfriend!” She stormed away as the resource officer stepped up next to him.
“You have a way with the ladies, son.”
“I’m not your son.”
“That’s the truth right there. ’Cause if you were, you’d be on that field kicking footballs instead of selling at my school.”
When Beckett was let off with a warning due to lack of evidence, his one thought was of her. Candy was so perfect for him it hurt. 

Oct 21, 2015

Cover Reveal - Aced(Blocked #2) by Jennifer Lane


Today I 'm so excited to be a part of the cover reveal for the second book in the Blocked series by Jennifer Lane. Jennifer is an amazing author with an excellent insight into what makes people tick. This helps her character to pop off the page and root themselves in the readers mind. You'll find yourself thinking about her stories long after you put the book down.


Title:  Aced
Series:  Blocked #2
Author:  Jennifer Lane
Genre:  New Adult Sports Romance
Cover Design:  Coreen Montagna (coreenm@gmail.com)
Release Date:  December 2, 2015


Blurb

Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez found her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in Jennifer Lane’s Blocked series, it could be her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love.

Medical student Alejandro’s hot Latin looks get him plenty of attention, but his deep faith and admiration for his father keep him on a righteous path, with no time for something as frivolous as love. He strives to do the right thing—study diligently, take care of his siblings, represent the family well—so why does he feel so unfulfilled?

Enter Lucia’s friend and teammate Maddie Brooks, who shines at blocking the ball and acing the serve. Too bad this graduating senior isn’t so confident about her life off the court. Her longtime boyfriend has just bailed on her, and med school applications loom large. Oh, and a nerve-wracking tryout for Team USA also approaches.

Maddie meets Alejandro when he visits Lucia at school, and she’s soon drawn to his sharp mind. Alejandro is similarly intrigued by Maddie’s talent and strength. But will personal biases and family politics smother the slow burn of their attraction? Unless Maddie can learn to believe in herself, and Alejandro can become his own man, their kindling romance hardly stands a chance.

Will either of them be bold enough to try something new? Find out in this emotion-rich story that refuses to shy away from life’s hardest questions. Because love is worth the risk.



Book one BLOCKED on SALE for a limited time!




Excerpt from Aced

I’d only seen Alejandro on TV, but his presence seemed magnified in real life. He was Jaylon’s height but probably weighed thirty pounds less. He moved like a panther, sleek and long in a black suit “dressed down” with no tie. His short black hair shone in the arena lights, and he appeared freshly shaven. Hot damn! He sure looked more suave than any college boy I’d encountered. Was that the typical dress for medical school at Johns Hopkins? Probably not. Something told me Alex did things his own way.

As Alejandro approached, Lucia stood to hug him, shaking her head. “Hey, what’re you doing here? You didn’t tell me you were coming.”

He smiled. “Could we go somewhere to talk?”

She glanced at me. “I don’t want to leave Maddie. I dragged her here, so it’d be rude to abandon her.”

“So this is the famous Maddie.” When Alejandro reached across to shake my hand, his dark eyes burned into me. “I’ve seen you play, but it’s good to finally meet. I’ve heard great things about you.” His handshake was firm, but his hand was soft and warm, zinging a surprising thrill right through me. I realized that for at least a few moments, I hadn’t thought about Jaylon. Alejandro let go all too quickly.

His expression sobered as he looked back at Lucia. “I want to talk to you about something in private.”

She folded her arms across her chest as they both sat. “I already said no, thank you. I can’t right now.”

He frowned and squared his shoulders. Then he leaned in to Lucia’s ear and spoke to her in Spanish. She bristled next to me.

“How dare you?” she hissed.

I leaned back. What had just changed my sweet Rez into a pissy hellcat?


Sign up for ACED Review Tour HERE.

Author Bio

Get psyched for romance with psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane! By day she’s a therapist, and by night she’s a writer. She can’t decide which is more fun.

Jen adores creating sporty heroines and hot heroes in her college sport romances. Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez found her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in the Blocked series, it’s her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love. Aced launches in December 2015.

A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen writes swimming-based romances as well: Streamline, a military mystery, and the free New Adult novella Swim Recruit.

Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic-suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior.

Ultimately, whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and visiting her sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head.

Author Links



Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oct 8, 2015

The Vampire and I–A Decade of Twilight

 

So, I'm a fangirl(Note: there is no upper limit on the use of girl in this context), I make no excuses for it. I've been a fangirl most of my life. Dracula, Star Trek, Supernatural, Twilight, Marvel and DC, and beyond. Experiencing a book or movie, or television show is made a million times better by sharing the experience.

Many moons ago my American sis-in-law passed along a book her mum had passed to her. That book was Twilight. It was trickling into Ireland and no one I knew had heard of it yet, although Twilight had already well and truly taken off in the US. People who hadn’t picked up a book in years were reading again. And when they finished with Twilight, they wanted to keep reading other books. Twilight got people reading

“But it’s just a book, right?” Okay, for a moment let’s forget the debate about the writing, the sexism, the unhealthy relationships, the baby name, the anti-climax in Breaking Dawn, and the plot holes. Oh yeah, and the seemingly mass disappointment of the new book.

To this day I couldn’t tell you about Twilight that kept me so hooked, but back then I wanted more. Fanfiction came to the rescue.

That was early days before the Twi fandom grew huge, before the movie, before Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were on every magazine cover, before the drama kicked in about Breaking Dawn and Midnight Sun. However, there was already an astonishing number of Twilight fanfictions doing the rounds and already a strong indication that non-canon and alternate universe fanfictions would dominate.

Non-Canon: An idea, storyline, pairing, concept not from the original.

Alternative Universe Fanfiction: Taking the entire story and turning it on it’s head by creating a new universe or changing the characters so dramatically, they are no longer the original character.

An earlier post about why I consider these types of fanfiction as original writing in their own right. 

I came across Wide Awake. An all human story about an emotional scared Bella and Edward, straining under the weight of their traumatic past. The story was posted chapter by chapter and it was in the comments section, while discussing the story, that I met readers who would become my fandom friends and later, real life friends.

We got together on a closed website/social group. We chatted about the hottest fanfictions(a number of which have gone on to become published novels), we made recommendations, shared fan art, laughed, cried, laughed some more, and raised money for fandom sponsored charities. Over time, the profile pictures and fandom names became real names with real faces and real life stories. Twilight brought friends together.

Others in the group were writing fanfictions of their own. Some hadn’t written anything in years and some were new to creative writing. Twilight got us writing.

As for me, I was going through a significant dry spell. For a number of reasons, I’d lost my confidence, I’d lost my passion for writing. Shades of Atlantis was trunked(put away) and I’d given up on the idea of ever publishing. After a while, I began to feel the bug to write. Fanfiction seemed a safe way to dip my toe back in the water and stretch my writing muscles again. I posted anonymously at first and didn’t even tell my fandom friends. After some initial positive feedback, I told the group what I was up to. One of the ladies graciously stepped forward at great time expense and I’m sure a trial on her patience to edit my chapters before I posted them. Some of the other group members helped with later writing. In fact, all of my work since then has benefitted from the eyes and notes of people I met through the Twilight fandom.

RAcover6.jpg~original

This was common in the Twilight fanfiction community. Writers would often have anything up to three, four, or sometimes more beta readers or editors. Others set up websites offering grammar help and writing workshops. WC(word challenge) was common place, with writers from all corners of the world getting together on social media chat groups to write, critique, and encourage each other. The expectation of quality increased. Twilight made us better writers.

To say nothing of those who created cover art or artwork for the stories, created video trailers, ran competitions, blogged, promoted, and reviewed. Some of whom have gone on to work in publishing. It wasn’t all about the stories either. It was about the people, people from every walk of life, every income bracket, every age bracket and education level, and all over the world. There were swapshops, Christmas gift exchanges, women’s issues awareness, charity drives … Twilight inspired us to get creative.

Meanwhile, in the background a subtle shift was happening. Some were leaving the fandom, through a natural progression they were moving on to other thing or they just lost interest. Some got disillusioned with the cliques that naturally form in such huge groups and the self-styled mean girls.

Other Twilight fans wanted to share beyond the fandom. Publishers were getting a whiff of these online stories that were receiving tens of thousands of reviews. Scrubbing or rewriting fanfiction and publishing it was nothing new. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare is the subject of heavy fandom debate since it began life as Harry Potter fanfiction. The Twilight movie and franchise was huge, mostly because of the free advertisement and absolute mayhem that went along with the Twi fangirls. Publishers wanted a piece of that action. There was talk about some fanfiction writers being contacted by Trade publishers. And within the fandom, two small publishers were just about to burst onto the market. The people at Twilighted announced the opening of Omnific Publishing, a separate entity for publication of original writing. And The Writers Coffeeshop fanfiction site were opening a publishing arm.

There is no doubt this caused a huge rift in the fandom. An anonymous hate site came along where it seemed no one was beyond attack and users happily hid behind fake names. On one side were those who didn’t want to share. They didn’t like the idea of writing that was previously free being sold on the open market. There was the issue of copyright. Obviously anything canon in the Twilight universe was off limits. What made a story derivative and what made it original, and who owned what? Many in the fandom believed they held some sort of ownership over stories shared as fanfiction. That these stories did not belong to the writers, but the readers.

Others were thrilled at the prospect of owning their favorite stories in print. From their perspective(one I share), many of the biggest stories shared little in common with Twilight beyond names which were easily changed. They believed the prose and original ideas belonged to the writers, even if the inspiration to write came from Twilight. It wasn’t as if there would be any impact on the Twilight books. No one was about to go into a shop looking for a Young Adult book about a teenage girl falling in love with a vampire and accidently walk out with an Adult Contemporary about a panty-ripping CEO.

I respected what these publishers were trying to do. So many of the people writing in the fandom were as talented as anyone available in book shops, but they probably would never have considered publishing. These small publishers were giving them a voice and a step onto the publishing ladder. I personally didn’t feel it affected me that much. As a reader, if I finished reading a fanfiction, I didn’t see it was any of my beewax what the writer did with it after. As a writer, since my full-length story was a role swap of Twilight and focused heavily on the original cannon, it was never going to be a candidate for pulling it from fanfiction.net and publishing, or Pull to Publish as it came to be known. I was more interested in the prospect of digging up Shades of Atlantis and submitting it. I had seen what the team at Omnific Publishing had done with Twilighted and I trusted them enough to considering publishing again.

Twilight brought many of us into publishing.

It wasn’t only me. You may have heard of a title that originally came from The Writer’s Coffee Shop called Fifty Shades of Grey. Now, while not everyone has had the same success, there is a huge number of titles from authors who started out in the Twilight Fandom. Some of the books from these writers started life with Bella and Edward and many didn’t.

So, you see, Twilight is not just a book. For many it’s means much more. They say you never forget your first love. Well, you never forget your first fandom either. For many, Twilight was their first introduction to a fandom community. So while there was drama and bad feeling for some, and a good many have moved on from their Twilight days, most are still grateful for all the good times and the friends it brought to them.