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Stone and Silt
by Harvey Chute

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Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

Author Topic: Surprise Kiss: Yay or Nay?  (Read 6689 times)  

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Surprise Kiss: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #200 on: August 16, 2017, 01:33:09 PM »
If he listens to a woman, he's not an alpha?

Oh-kay. Like I said--lots of flavors out there. To me, that's an abusive man who views a woman as an object and a possession (and an abusive man is by definition not a strong man), but I guess some people find that sexy? (Hasten to add--IN FICTION.)

In the context of this conversation--if you (general-you) think a man who listens to what a woman wants is not a (fictional) alpha, then obviously you would completely NOT feel that consent, verbal or otherwise, is important in a romance novel. Which anybody can think, obviously. Plenty of readers for that, as we know.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 04:27:57 PM by Usedtoposthere »

Online Lorri Moulton

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Re: Surprise Kiss: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #201 on: August 16, 2017, 01:38:10 PM »
A man, who listens to what a woman wants, but also expects her to listen to what he wants...can be an alpha in my book.  Confident, secure in himself and his abilities, without having to prove it to anyone else.  That's attractive. :)

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Offline Going Incognito

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Re: Surprise Kiss: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #202 on: August 16, 2017, 04:14:29 PM »
Agreed. I can't say I've enjoyed this thread, even though I've had difficulty staying away as a reader of it. I will say this: I'm going to have to take a break from this site, because the last two days, I've found way too many people getting into my head as a writer and reader. Now I feel like people are telling me what a terrible person I am because I happen to really enjoy the old style bodice ripper books. I mean, I love them as a reader and I do have college age kids and I've had a great many talks with both about real life responsibility when it comes to sex and romance. But, my god, I read romance for fun, and no matter how many times it gets said in this thread to write what you want or read what you want, it also gets that "but you will be judged" comment too, and it really upsets me to think I can't even have private, personal, secret fantasies that I explore in *fiction* as a reader and writer that if I ever tell anyone about they're going to say I'm a horrible, terrible person who thinks rape is okay.

It's just... upsetting and ridiculous.

But I guess that's what peer pressure is for. Conform or be judged.

In fact, let me be even clearer, I'm crying as I write this. I just find it so upsetting.

I've been meaning to come back to this for three pages now, but kept getting distracted from doing so. Then I finally do and I find myself sitting here, your words quoted, but with no idea what to say or why I keep being pulled to you. I'm guessing it's because I skipped over your crying while chasing the debate, even tho I mentally marked you as a post to return to as I did so.

I agree that sometimes you've got to step away from the noise of others to find yourself. There's lots of gaps in my posting history, for sure, so know that I'm not here to try to talk you out of it, you may even already be gone. I don't know. Maybe I just wanted to acknowledge that your post was seen. I'm sorry you were upset.

I have a tendency to compartmentalize my emotions and pack them away when debating and discussing on forums such as this, so it's easy to forget that others feel deeply when topics get heated even though I didnt personally think this one got all that heated, there wasnt a cattle prod to be found even, minus one reminder to keep the focus focused.

I think for me what was most freeing was something like what you said- conform or be judged, only it's that I realized that you don't escape judgement by conforming, either. It's really more like- conform, don't conform, you're going to be judged either way.

Plus, I also realized that the stronger someone's opinion is the more their judgement has to do with them, not you/me.

Not to make light of abuse at all, but have you noticed that it's the people who've had abuse touch them personally who want consent represented the most? It's the ones who havent been touched by it as pointedly or as personally that feel more free to play in the fantasy of not having express consent. Real world experiences change how you see the real world, and how you see not so real ones as well. So their opinions (on both sides) have to do with their own personal experiences being the lense they view through. It's generally people who've been in a car wreck that are the most skittish at getting back in a car. They know, first hand, that safety is an illusion. Security is an illusion. What happens to us is very often out of our control even as we like to think we have control.

I guess I just wanted to give you a hug. Or maybe it's more like that I wanted to take this time, and use your post, as a place to give all of us a hug. (At least a virtual one, no touching required.) Life is hard, man! Everyone comes at it from a different POV and often those different POV's conflict, but you can't let other people's experiences change you, at least not more than you want to allow it.

Life is messy. Emotions are messy. Experiences are messy. Fiction is often where we get to explore things without having to experience them ourselves, so don't let others stop your personal explorations. Whether you want to explore the dark or the fluffy, the consensual or the non consensual, the logical or the illogical, continue to explore your own path. Wanting to fictionally explore things that you wouldn't want to experience personally, or want your kids to have to experience personally, does not make you a terrible person. In the same vein, wanting to stick to a safer fictional path because you have experienced the darker parts of real life and arent all that interested in exploring those paths any further is not only vaild but also completely understandable. Thats what's so great about each of us having our own free will. No one has to explore the path of another in fiction if we dont want to. Life is hard enough without being forced down another's path.

That's probably why I defend personal choice as often as I can. Either that or I'm the one still stuck in childhood as 'don't tell me what to do, you're not the boss of me!' is a refrain I repeat pretty often, lol. I'm very 'you do you' but Im also very curious as to the why's behind what makes each 'you' so very unique, so I like to ask other 'you's' questions when they'll let me. But I'm under no such delusions that any of it isnt being judged by someone, somewhere. And that's ok! We can't figure out where we stand until we prod and poke at the reasons behind where other's choose to stand.

So, hugs to everyone who wants them. Time away to anyone who needs it. Sword sharpening via debate to anyone who's willing. We're all just doing the best we can with what we've got, really.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 04:16:31 PM by Going Incognito »

Offline C. Gold

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Re: Surprise Kiss: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #203 on: August 16, 2017, 06:51:00 PM »
Nice post there. I'm grateful to this thread for bringing up the question and forcing my own evaluation. Now, whatever choice I make, it will be a more informed one. So thanks to all who answered in this thread.

Offline PaulineMRoss

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Re: Surprise Kiss: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #204 on: August 16, 2017, 11:22:28 PM »
So, hugs to everyone who wants them. Time away to anyone who needs it. Sword sharpening via debate to anyone who's willing. We're all just doing the best we can with what we've got, really.

Snipped because I hate posters who quote a great long post just to say great job, but - great job! This said everything I thought and felt but couldn't articulate. Thank you so much.
   

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Online Doglover

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Re: Surprise Kiss: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #205 on: August 17, 2017, 12:17:45 AM »
Doglover was likely speaking of the childrens services in the UK, a wholly different beast to those of the US. They have removed children for the smallest reason before and they have also left children in abusive situations where a child ends up dying. One tends to follow the other as an overreaction and when all is said and done, they are only human and can overreact as well as anyone else.

I do work in a semi-adjacent role to the social services, I do have friends and colleagues in the social services and I do deal with families who are in contact with social services here in the UK. These things do happen based on suspicion (usually quickly rectified but shouldn't have happened in the first place.)
Yes, I was speaking of the UK. As we in the UK know, years ago there was a huge scandal where social services were swooping in and removing children on the basis of rumours of satanic rituals involving children and subsequent so-called recovered memory. Many innocent parents suffered and took months if not years to get their children back. They often remained under the scrutiny of this bunch of incompetents until the child was 18 as well.

As you say, there have been far too many cases of them failing to follow up on their 'at risk' cases and children suffering horribly. They don't seem to know where to draw the line; it is all or nothing.

When my son was at school, one evening he was playing tug of war with his dad and he let go, fell back and cracked his head on the stone fireplace. There was no skull injury, just a cut and, being the head, a lot of blood. He went to school next day and when asked what had happened to his head, he said his dad did it. Of course, all ears pricked up at that, especially as speech was his major problem and they couldn't get much more information out of him.

When I went to collect him that day, I was asked into the office and asked to explain. Luckily, because they knew him and me well, and he showed no signs of any sort of abuse, they listened, saw the funny side and that was that. However, had that happened when he had only just started at the school and they didn't know us, I am quite sure the SS would have been called in.


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Online Evenstar

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Re: Surprise Kiss: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #206 on: August 17, 2017, 12:23:35 AM »
That's a really excellent post by Going Incognito. The recognition that our own experiences will colour the strength of our feelings on certain subjects is definitely an important factor.

I've never experienced any kind of abuse, yet I live in constant paranoia about the safety of my children. I'm ridiculously over-protective and watch them like a hawk in public places. I, basically, don't trust society and I think it is full of predators.

But I totally separate fantasy from that reality. I'm a romantic and my books characters are pretty much always lovely. That's what I like to read and to write. It isn't very real and it isn't to everyone's taste. Lots of people prefer a more gritty true to life drama. I don't. I even prefer my murderers of the cozy mystery variety. But that doesn't mean I think real life murder isn't messy, violent and sickening.

I commented earlier that I had a book set in biblical times where a 15 year old girl has an arranged marriage to a 40 something man. The response was "It's fine because it's historically accurate - so long as you didn't romanticise it." But of course I romanticised it! I write romance. Would it be okay in real life now? No, I'd find it a bit gross tbh, but these were fictional characters and I was glad to help them find lasting love in my book.

I guess the real nub of the issue is whether our books promote certain behaviour as acceptable. Which is an intellectual debate and a very good one to discuss.

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Re: Surprise Kiss: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #207 on: August 17, 2017, 01:04:57 AM »
On the one hand, I very much don't care what other people think of me, but on the other, I do deal with the aftereffects of a religious upbringing that makes me question on a regular basis whether or not there's something wrong with me for liking what I like. So topics like these, where people take such a hard-line stance and start knocking bodice rippers and Harlequin novels and other things I happen to really like in romance, sometimes hit all the wrong buttons with me.

In the real world, most people would handle these kinds of conversations with a lot more finesse. I certainly don't have to meet up with people who are so bold as to flat out tell me I will be judged for my thoughts. Not even my ex-mother-in-law did that and my god that woman judges!

But you're right. I'm judging you, you're judging me, and there's no reason to pretend otherwise. Because I am judging people over this topic. Pretty harshly to be honest.

I don't really care about "furthering rape culture" in the context of fiction. I'm not even going to say maybe I should, because I don't think I should and that'd be a lie. I just don't care. I'd rather read what I want and write what I want and let you and others like you worry about what you want to worry about.

So, yes, I'll do me.

Explicit consent is ONE option in a romance. There are tons of others and they have lots of readers.
I think there is a great difference between what people fantasise and what they actually want from a real life relationship. Isn't this why Fifty Shades has been so popular? It certainly isn't for its great writing in the book nor the great acting in the film, which I thought very tame to be honest.


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Offline Nic

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Re: Surprise Kiss: Yay or Nay?
« Reply #208 on: August 17, 2017, 03:41:03 AM »
I guess the real nub of the issue is whether our books promote certain behaviour as acceptable. Which is an intellectual debate and a very good one to discuss.

Excellent point. Should be framed.