Friday, March 9, 2012

Winner Review: Sunflower Award

Winner Review by shelikesthesound

It’s not often I come across canon vampire stories anymore, and it’s even rarer to find one that’s well-written. AllTheOtherNamesAreUsed manages to do both in one story, showing us her idea of what happened when Edward was turned.

It opens with Edward in the hospital, clinging to life as the Spanish Flu ravages his body. As he drifts in and out of consciousness, we see some of his human memories in fever-induced dreams, while he’s still human, painting a picture of who that seventeen year old boy was before he became the vampire we all know and love. The end of Edward’s human existence plays out in snippets as he drifts between the land of dreams and reality, and we catch a glimpse of Elizabeth Masen’s plea for Dr. Cullen to save her only son.

The room slowly darkened again, and the bulbs scattered across the ceiling were lit like beacons. I closed my eyes and I could still see them. Like fireflies. I saw my mother's face, surrounded by fireflies in the backyard. A dinner party. She looked lovely, radiant, joyful…Chopin's Nocturne wafted through the French doors of the parlor…Father was at the piano. Mother danced in the grass as she cleared the glasses from the tables. I tried to hum along, but my throat was so dry, my body so heavy. I concentrated on the melody, and my mother dancing.

The bed shook and my eyes fluttered open for a moment; the angel-doctor was holding my mother.

"Mrs. Masen! What are you trying to do? You aren't strong enough…let me help you lie down."

"What are you?" She asked as she grasped his arms. My eyes fell closed.

"I'm your doctor, and I'm here to help you." He lifted her into her bed, but his voice was discomposed. The man next to me moaned, drowning out their hushed conversation. Then I heard her clearly.

"You must save my Edward!" she coughed, and then took several labored breaths. Her voice sounded frenzied, as though she were using every last bit of her energy. "Only you can help him."

I heard the angel-doctor freeze. I felt the questions in his pause: What is she asking? What does she know?

"You can save him; only you can," she said, and then lay back in her bed, gasping. He whispered something to her, and then called loudly.


Switching to Carlisle’s point of view, the author takes us through his thought process, showing us how he justified fulfilling Mrs. Masen’s last request and pulling off taking Edward from the hospital. Carlisle’s desperation is palpable as he races against the breaking dawn, and Edward’s slowing heart, to get him to Dr. Cullen’s home.

In the books, it was never told what that first taste of human blood did to Carlisle as he bit Edward’s neck to inject the venom, but AllTheOtherNamesAreUsed gives us a beautiful and terrifying look at what went through Carlisle’s mind in those moments.

I held my hand over my mouth and backed away from the table, until I could grasp something, anything, to keep me from approaching Edward again. I had barely been able to stop drinking his blood, despite my precautions. I'd fixed Elizabeth Masen's face in my mind before biting him, remembering her words, her pleading eyes. Hoping that the memory of her—her last wish, and her faith in me—would counteract the first taste of human blood. It had only just worked. I'd tried to merely bite, and not drink, but I was so startled by the flavor that I'd drawn in a mouthful, and that had almost been my undoing. I'd drained more of him than was necessary, taking several gulps as I fought to control myself, willing myself to let go. My eyes had seen only crimson, once his soft throat lay open beneath my lips, the pulsing blood so much more fragrant and delectable than anything I'd tasted or even dreamed of before. I'd shuddered in near ecstasy. I'd finally understood something of Aro's perspective. If I'd started with this ambrosia, and didn't see humans as true people, it would be hard to imagine feeding on anything else. It had finally been the vision of Aro's crimson eyes, superimposed with Elizabeth Masen's green ones, that had allowed me to pull away from Edward's open throat: the fear of what I might become, juxtaposed with all I hoped I was worthy of.

I clung to the doorframe behind me as my breathing slowed and my vision returned to a normal spectrum. I'd done it. The bloodlust was passing and I hadn't killed him. His heart still beat…I swallowed down another surge of venom at the thought. Edward was not my prey. He was a person, and I hoped, one day, perhaps a friend. I let out a haggard breath.

First in Carlisle’s viewpoint, and then Edwards, the author takes us through Edward’s change. It’s not hard to think back to that moment in Breaking Dawn when Bella lay on the table and chronicled what it was like as the venom transformed her and compare that well-known experience with Edward’s. And, it’s obvious, the more you read, the more you realize how different it really was for him.

Another part that gives you a better understanding of the Edward portrayed in the Twilight books is his first reactions to waking up. In canon, Edward and Carlisle have an amazing bond that transcends the father/son, confidant/friend relationship throughout the story. But in AllTheOtherNamesAreUsed’s world, those beginning days are much different, illustrating the complexity of a teenage boy being thrust into the realm of monsters and legends.

And, mentally, Edward is every bit the seventeen year old his physical from is changed to, frozen for all time. He doesn’t understand what has happened to him and lashes out when Carlisle explains. He becomes the embodiment of everything we were told newborns are: angry, confused, and rash.

"Look," I said, frustrated beyond control, "I'm no doctor, but I know if your heart is still, you're dead. And my heart is still. And yet I speak. And breathe. It makes no sense!" Rage was starting to overwhelm me.

We're vampi…

"Vampires don't exist!" I yelled, looking up as I cut him off.

He froze, stunned. And then calmly continued. "They do, actually. I've been one a very long time." He took a deep breath, steadying himself. "And now you are one too."

I stared at him. "No," I insisted.

"Your mother could tell you were dying. She asked me, begged me to save you."

"You don't think she might have been talking about medicine?" I asked sarcastically.

"She knew you were beyond that, she knew there was no other way, she wanted you to survive…like me."

And then I saw it. I saw his kind, worried face, and superimposed on it I saw my mother's haggard wan face pleading for me to be saved. You are more than that. Save him as only you can. Promise me! Only you can save him! The cello voice answered I promise!

"STOP THAT!" I cried. "What are you doing? Why are you doing that?"

His face was confused. "I'm not doing anything Edward, I'm just trying to explain…"

"I don't want to see her like that! Don't make me see her!"

The author never takes the easy route, not making the characters instantly have the relationships we know they find. Instead, their time together moves and grows in a natural and realistic way. Carlisle is not perfect, does not magically have all the answers, but stumbles and makes mistakes like any person who has no clue how to interact with others. Edward, we realize quickly, never woke up as the vampire who is perfect.

I approached, watching him warily, my instincts telling me it was a bad idea for two vampires to be near one open throat, but he backed away. I crouched and drank greedily. It did not taste good, but it felt amazing. After several minutes, no more blood came. "What's wrong with it?" I asked.

"It's drained," he said. "I assume you're still thirsty?"

I nodded. The burn in my throat had barely dulled.

"Your turn," he said, smiling.

I closed my eyes and reached out with my senses to find new prey. "What's that scent to the east? It's not deer."

Carlisle raised his face into the breeze. "It's a cat of some kind, and it's big, from the sound of its heart."

"Will I be able to kill it?" I asked.

"You are stronger and faster than anything out here. You needn't fear your prey," he reassured.

I nodded and started following the scent. My eyes glazed red again, and I realized that when this happened, my senses were even more attuned, more focused. I reached a large rock, where the cat was lying. It had just fed, the carcass of a rabbit lying near it. I realized that I needed to get above it. Feeling power surge through my legs, I copied Carlisle's move and propelled myself off several trunks, gaining height each time, until I was on one of the lower branches. I crouched, moving along the branch until I had a clear jump to the cat, and then pounced. I landed on it and sunk my teeth into its neck effortlessly, an amazing heated elixir flowing into my mouth, but my jump carried both the cat and I along the boulder to its edge, and we started to slip to the ground below. The seal of my lips broke, and blood flowed onto its fur, making it slippery. The cat was growling and struggling, and broke free momentarily, but I pounced again, and this time, I pinned it solidly. I was stronger than it. I sunk my teeth back into its neck, mourning the blood that had spilled. It tasted wonderful, and seemed to penetrate the back of my throat like a heated rain infiltrating desert sands. I shuddered with pleasure as I drank, and felt real relief, which I'd started to fear would always elude me. I drained the cat, sucking hard to get every last drop. When I stood, my mind was clear, and my throat felt warm and raw, but not painful.

Carlisle was standing nearby. "That was very good," he said encouragingly. " Do you feel better, or do you need to drink more?"

"Better," I acknowledged. I looked down and realized my shirt was covered in blood. "Ugh," I scowled. "I'm a mess! How disgusting!" Carlisle fought back a smile.

"You did very well, Edward."

I looked at his shirt; it was perfectly clean. "You're not wearing your meal," I complained.

Prelude in C is one of those stories you just cannot put down. From the first paragraph, it sucks you in and refuses to let go of you. With only twenty-three chapters posted, the journey Edward and Carlisle embark on as they try to figure out how to live with each other is far from finished. It will be interesting to see where the author takes this story as it progresses.

This is one of those stories that could easily pass as the missing canon moments of the start of the Cullen family. I recommend this to anyone who ever wondered what Edward left out in his explanation to Bella about his beginnings. It might just surprise you.

Winner Review: Sunflower Storyteller Award

Winner Review by shelikesthesound

I have to admit, the moment I clicked on KellanCougar’s profile, I was kind of overwhelmed. She states she’s a slash writer, for the most part, but it was obvious there is more going on than just boy love. Within that impressive list of stories are non canon pairings that would make any lover of fics not starring Bella and Edward squeal with joy. This reader who is trying to branch out from the mainstream Bella and Edward fics? I had no idea where to start.

After pouring through the summaries, I decided on three stories to feature in this review. One is a Bella and Emmett vamp story, another is a heartbreaking tale involving Emmett and Alice, and the last I decided should showcase exactly what the author loves, a slash fic featuring Edward and Carlisle.

Windy Afternoon

Anyone who knows me is aware I love a good angst fic. One shot or multichatper—it doesn’t matter. Anything to feed my addiction for rip-your-heart-out, make-you-fall-to-your-knees-and-sob angst makes me happy. And this one shot did not disappoint.

KellanCougar opens with a description of the beach where Emmett and Alice meet that makes you feel like you’re right there, watching as the first encounter unfolds. She’s taking pictures of the winter sky and surf, and his first thoughts show how much she captivates him.

Screaming seagulls wheeled overhead, and I stood enthralled at the spectacle until my attention was diverted by a flash of reflected light in the distance. I shaded my eyes and squinted a little: binoculars, perhaps? I set off in the direction of the flicker and, as I drew closer, I noticed that, firstly, it came from a camera lens, and, secondly, the camera was in the hands of a girl.

She was completely oblivious to my approach, as she snapped picture after picture, crouched down with her elbows on her knees. I took a moment to observe her, eyeing her worn, brown leather jacket with the open lapels, the dark jeans that clung to her slim legs and curvy butt and flared out over a pair of scuffed brown cowboy boots.

I grinned to myself.

There's just something about cowboy boots on a girl that makes me melt. She's cute as a button.

Her hair was shoulder length and dark, whipping about her face in the wind. She looked at one with nature, as she trained her camera on the cliffs in the distance, the clouds of birds swooping and circling looking for purchase on the wet rocks.

She was breathtaking.

Switching to Alice’s point of view, we see she’s just as enthralled, but she’s also scared. Scared of losing herself in a man after dealing with a horrible past and opening herself up to more heartache. She ends up trusting her instincts and goes with him to a diner. After they talk and get to know each other better, Alice realizes she needs to leave before the storm raging outside gets any worse. Emmett, though, suggests Alice stay with him so she doesn’t have to drive in the bad weather. An internal war begins within Alice, again, questioning his motives. In the end, she relents.

That night, after Emmett offers to give her his bed, she wakes up. What happens next is a powerful connection between these characters, showing just how much Emmett is different from the type of men Alice knows.

We kissed for millennia, and when we broke apart for air, I felt brave enough to ask for what I truly wanted.

"Make love to me, Emmett. Show me how it should feel."

"You really want to?" He looked surprised.

I nodded. "I really do."

His fingers hooked into my panties and drew them down, as he kissed his way down my stomach. As he reached my core I held my breath, not knowing the feel of a man's lips on me there; his tongue ran lightly up and down my wet folds making me gasp and burn, and for a second I was lost in pleasure. However, as his tongue slipped lower I tensed, automatically expecting pain, and he withdrew, circling my clit again and making me sigh. The next time, he changed the sensation by rubbing a wet fingertip through my soft flesh, diverting my attention by drawing one of my nipples into his mouth and suckling it lovingly. When I realised there was a finger inside me, and no pain, I started to move, meeting his hand as a second finger slowly joined the first, as they gently moved in and out.

"Please..." I breathed.

Sliding off his underwear, he lowered himself over me. Gazing into my eyes, he whispered,

"You say stop, we stop. Okay?"

Alice takes off the next day because of reasons beyond her control, leaving Emmett behind. She promises to come back, once things are finished. I won’t reveal the end, but I can say with conviction the author was able to deliver the heartbreak in spades. This is a wonderful and painful romantic tale I urge you to read.

No Turning Back

I’d never read a Bella and Emmett story before, but I ended up falling in love with this completed multi-chapter fic.

KellanCougar takes canon Twilight vampires and turns the story on its head. Instead of Edward noticing her, it’s Emmett. That seems similar to the original story, right? Yeah, not even close. Rosalie is still Emmett’s wife, and he and Bella start out as friends.

An ultimatum forces Rosalie and Emmett apart, giving Emmett the chance to explore the reasons why he wants Bella around, why he let her in on their secret, and why he can’t let her go.

I looked at her steadily. Her brown eyes widened as her pupils darkened. I found this automatic response very erotic, but made no further move toward her. "What else do you like about me?" I repeated.

"Emmett ... what do ... what are you... saying?" She was staring deep into my golden eyes, transfixed, and I noticed that her lips had parted slightly as her breathing accelerated.

"Bella, I ... like you. I find myself waiting for your visits and I'm disappointed if I don't see you every day. Truth is I miss you when I'm here alone. And before you ask ..." I touched my thumb to her mouth gently to deter speech, "I have felt alone for quite some time."

After his declaration, Emmett does the one thing it takes Edward four books to do in Twilight and makes Bella his. That first lemon shows just how much passion and longing the pair having been holding on to, and ignoring, while Rosalie was still in the picture.

Through Emmett, Bella, and Edward’s eyes, we see the couple grow and form a strong bond as the story progresses. Each touch, laugh, and intimate moment show the reader exactly how meant to be these two are, making you question what Emmett saw in Rosalie in the first place. However, Rose does not go quietly into the night like we hope. We see inside her head when she comes back to mend things with her estranged husband, not knowing things have changed.

I was shocked when he stepped away from the door, ostensibly to allow me in but looking for all the world as if he wanted to avoid actual physical contact with me. This from the man who usually phoned or texted me every hour we were apart just to tell me that he missed me.

Still mad, sweetheart?

I stepped into the house, removing my coat and hanging it up. The house was eerily silent and I guessed the others still hadn't returned from their travels. No sign of Edward, or ...her. My lip curled at the thought of the human. Her scent still tainted the air, so I guessed she had not stopped coming over. I'll soon change that. I stepped through into the living room and sat down on the couch, patting the seat next to me in a bid to entice him closer. He stood in the doorway, resolute, arms folded. This was going to be harder than I thought.

Any minute now he'll crack, and I'll be rewarded with that dimpled smile that I love; he'll wrap me in his arms, swearing never to let me go again.


How the complicated love triangle is resolved will surprise you. The author takes this complex, very human problem and shows how giving into what you really want can affect not only the ones involved but everyone around them, as well. The story is a must read for anyone who loves non canon pairings or is just thinking about reading them.

Learning to Fly

Out of all of the stories I read, this Edward/Carlisle slash WIP was my favorite. It had everything: angst, drama, my preference for Edward in any pairing, and lots and lots of twists.

The story starts with Edward. He’s a bartender who lusts after a certain customer who only comes in on Wednesday nights, and that confuses him. He has a girlfriend, but he can’t help the overwhelming attraction he feels toward the man who stops by once a week.

In Carlisle’s point of view, we find out the feeling is mutual. He takes a chance and invites the gorgeous bartender he can’t stay away from back to his place. They talk, they kiss, and Edward decides he wants Carlisle. KellanCougar takes what could have been just another meaningless sex scene in a slash story and turns it into a merging of souls.

"Ever since I first saw you in the bar. Seeing you there made me... want something I'd never even considered before."

"And now?" I felt concern that he might be regretting this little adventure, that I might have overstepped a boundary.

His glittering eyes met mine as his hand brushed my straining cock through the fabric.

"And now I want more, Carlisle - much more."

With a groan of willing surrender I fell back, pulling him to me as I felt him assume control. His kiss was searing as he plundered my mouth, sucking my lip into his mouth and running his tongue along it. As his lips found my throat my head fell back, loving the feel of his hot kisses along my jaw as they moved upward. When he reached my ear, I felt his tongue on the outer shell before it slipped inside, my whole body shuddering at the intensity of sensation. When he plunged in deeper, crudely tongue fucking my ear, I cried out his name raggedly as my chest heaved with the strain. His breath on my damp skin was driving me to the point of insanity.

And then he whispered something that almost tipped me over.

What transpires after their first encounter is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. The author throws enough twists and turns into the story to keep the reader engaged and unsettled. I wanted to cry, scream, and beat a few characters to a pulp as I read each word. What I never did, though, was question the love these characters have for each other.

Slowing to a stop at the lights, I looked over at him sitting next to me, flushed with embarrassment.

"Well, if it helps, I can tell you that purple suits you very, very well."

The lights went green and seeing the little restaurant up ahead I slowed and pulled in, easing the car into an empty space. As I switched off the engine and unfastened my seatbelt, I looked over at him.

"In fact, right now you look like Christmas morning to me. The best gift I could ever ask for."

I stroked his freshly shaven jaw with the backs of my fingers and he leaned into me. We kissed, breaking away before it could become heated once more.

At the core of this story is a love that defies all logic. Forget that the main characters are men. Forget that the story is slash. Love despite everything life throws at you is something we can all relate to, and I think this story will appeal to any of you who love not knowing what is going to happen next.

KellanCougar has proven over and over she’s a writer who has mastered diversity. She is able to take different pairings, different subjects, and different plots and mold them into something amazing. I am honored to have had the chance to read these stories, and I advise you to check them out. Your new favorite may be waiting for the chance to be read.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Message From Our Administrators

As the second edition of the Sunflower Awards comes to an end, we'd like to thank everyone who nominated and voted. We also owe a big thank you to our validators and judges, who helped us make things run smoothly.We hope you continue to read though the list of nominated stories, both from this year and last year, to help us celebrate some of the hard-working authors in this fandom.

The reviews for the Sunflower Award and Sunflower Storyteller Award will be posted within the next couple of weeks. And the winners can be found here, along with the winning banners.

Thank you.

sherriola, d_inspiration, and shelikethesound

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sunflower Awards Urges You To Act

We've censored ourselves to show the harmful effects of what will happen if the Stop Piracy Online Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) pass. The Twilight Fanfiction community fosters talented authors, banner makers, and other forms of media that are dependent on copyrighted material. Under these acts, all of our favorite websites would be shut down if a copyright holder ( mostly consisting of corporations) alleges the use of such material to be pirated.

So, we urge you to contact your Senators and Representatives and tell them you do not want either of these bills to pass. We are an amazing, passionate community that has raised thousands of dollars in the sake of charity. Think what we can do if we band together to stop this horrible form of censorship.