Haunted Flint

Haunted Flint

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

In Defense of Smut Guest Blog and Giveaway with Tonya Macalino


I still remember the first time I announced to my cousin that I had decided to write romance after decades as an author of high fantasy.

He laughed until the tears danced in his eyes.

Of course, I’d set him up to. That’s what you are supposed to do, right? I mean, if you know you are about to do something socially awkward or unacceptable—like getting breast implants or belching or, heaven forbid, writing sex scenes—best to get in the first shot, cut the hecklers off at the pass.

Then again, I also succeeded in perpetuating a social stigma and the cultural oppression of sexuality in America. Whoops. Hey, at least I survived the announcement…

I will openly confess to being something of a literary snob. I still believe that much of early work in the romance genre was patently awful—cardboard characters, contrived conflict, prolific passive voice, scanty research, and a complete ignorance of pacing. Bad writing is bad writing. But a lot of dime novels were goofy that way. 

So why has romance clung to its bad wrap? Why are the brilliant works of Suzanne Brockmann, Julie James, Shana AbĂ©, Stephanie Meyer, and, yes, Nora Roberts constant sources of social amusement?  No, their works aren’t perfect. There are even some total duds among their repertoire, but it is not different in any other genre and no other genre is subjected to quite so much ridicule.

I think Smart Bitches, Trashy Books summed it up pretty well in their examination of the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon: women aren’t supposed to have sex lives. Men can talk about their dicks and their balls in casual conversation. If a woman mentioned her vagina or her clitoris, the whole room would turn red. And if she didn’t blush at least a little, well, there are professions for those kinds of women.

In American culture, sex isn’t a natural, healthy part of the development of a relationship, a conversation with our bodies—earnest or silly, angry or filled with imagination. It’s a power swap—women “give it up” and men “take it.” Whether that’s true or not between the couple themselves, that is the perception on the larger social landscape. As children of the women’s liberation movement generation, we all already know what that kind of damage this kind of oppression does to both genders. Old story.

And being a bit of prude myself, I get the discomfort, I get the constant battle between decorum and a healthy attitude toward our bodies. But I don’t believe you have to be crude or crass to be comfortable with your sexuality any more than you have to be crude or crass to be comfortable with your past. In fact, I believe that attitude denotes the very opposite of comfort—very much like the wisecrack I made about writing romances before my cousin had a chance to formulate a response of his own—a response that may have turned out to be much more respectful than the hysterical laughter I set him up for. 

In FACES IN THE WATER, Alyse Kate Bryant is very comfortable with her body. She wouldn’t survive in her occupation if she wasn’t. But she battles the stigma that comfort saddles her with. Alyse, Matteo, and Bryce each fight a daily battle, as well, with suppressed libidos that strain to undermine their best intentions. We all watch the news often enough to know that never goes well. And it doesn’t for them, either.

So yes, I wrote sex scenes into FACES IN THE WATER, sex scenes that emerge as the natural development of the characters’ relationships, ways for them to care for each other, to celebrate their bodies, to release their rage.

And these days, I let my cousin laugh if HE chooses to.

NOTE:  Later this year, my sister, who holds degrees in psychology and the arts, will release a nonfiction examination of the unwarranted stigma placed on the romance genre. If you, too, have a passion for the subject, watch my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TonyaMacalino) for further details!



Faces in the Water


By Tonya Macalino

Who created that slide of silk across your skin as you reached for your cinematic lover? Who recorded the crushing weight of the grizzly as you fought for your life in the fictional wilderness? It is Lone Pine Pictures’ Alyse Kate Bryant who wraps your body in the story only your mind was privy to before.

A brilliant sensory immersion artist and a wild daredevil, Alyse will do almost anything for the perfect sensory file, but the violent death of her father has her teetering on the very edge of reckless sanity.

For just one night, Alyse seeks refuge in the arms of a beautiful stranger.

And her recklessness finally has consequences.

Now Alyse finds herself trapped in the flooded ruins of Venice, a quarantine camp for the carriers of Sleepers’ Syndrome. But it can never be that simple. Because the Sleepers’ Syndrome carriers who populate the camp are no longer as human as they seem.

The city of legend is bringing its legends back to life.

They come now, Alyse.

Run.


About the Author


Tonya Macalino lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with her husband and two children. She is an avid collector of folklore and folk history, far too many to fit comfortably within the pages of any given book. When not working on her latest novel, she enjoys coaching other writers through the How to Build a Book workshops at Jacobsen’s Books & More. To read more of the little folklore gems she unearthed during her research, please visit her blog at www.tonyamacalino.com


For news and events, drop by her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TonyaMacalino.com

The Story of Place Blog: www.tonyamacalino.com/page10.php

Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/Tonya-Macalino/e/B0058U4TJA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Shelfari: www.shelfari.com/tonyamacalino

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/tonyamacalino

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/TonyaMacalino

Pintrest: http://pinterest.com/tonyamacalino/ a Rafflecopter giveaway

3 comments:

Robin said...

This looks like a good book!

robindpdx(at)yahoo(dot)com

Debby said...

I have never read one of your books but they are something I would love to read. I am adding them to my list.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Tonya Macalino said...

Thanks so much, ladies! You are too sweet! And thanks, Roxanne, for having me over.