Tybee is a popular place these days.

What a weird weekend. Apart from my 5th wedding anniversary (which wasn’t the weird part I must stress), I ended up an on an all night bender reading Fifty¬†Shades of Grey. If you haven’t been on the interweb in the last month and don’t know what I’m talking about, you may want to go here.

For the rest of you too lazy to click a link, I’ll try to give you the short Shawnee-is-a-smart-ass synposis:

Bella Swan, oops, I mean Anastasia Steele is a twenty-something virgin (yeah, right) who’s about to graduate from college and who ends up interviewing an unbelievably successful M&A billionaire guy named Christian Grey (Why do I think Nip Tuck when I hear Christian?) Anyhow, she asks him a bunch of questions and gets under his skin, the next thing you know he’s effectively stalking her. After some very awkward and clunky prose, he makes her a proposition – in the spirit of 9 1/2 Weeks, he asks her to be his sex slave for 3 months, contract and all. What transpires is some very formidable sex that involves riding crops, ben wa balls, bondage and an S&M dungeon room called the Playpen of Pain or some such thing.

I concede that the sex is hot. I mean seriously hot and you wonder how two people can have so much earth-shattering sex and still walk. It’s like reading Penthouse Forum with a bit more class. And the bondage is novel for those who’ve never experienced that sort of thing. I’m not saying alot here, but trust me, I was a Goth for like 15+ years. I have seen lots of freaky stuff and have done some things in my 20s that my 40 year-old self would blush at. It didn’t shock me.

So why am I still reading it? I don’t know, but that’s not the point of this blog post anyhow. I may wax poetical about it later, but right now, I’m freaked out about one thing.

Tybee is in this book.

How the fuck is that possible? When and how does a West Londoner TV executive come across my little piece of mecca?

Not that I have exclusive rights to Tybee, of course. I know that my 80 year-old neighbor who lived right next door to me on Tybee would give me some old Southern story (and possibly Irish) about how the island owned nobody and nobody owned the island. I would say, “Yeah, I know, but a half-rate erotica novel? I mean Paddy’s is no Spagos, but still . . .” I would probably whine just like that.

It breaks my heart a little, I can’t deny. While the exposure is brief, Bella’s, oops, I mean Ana’s, mother lives three blocks from the ocean and she’s there only a short time, it still makes my skin crawl. There’s hardly any mention of anything actually on Tybee, which is good, and frankly, the only place I can pinpoint is The Mansion down off of Forsyth Park in Savannah. It the place where Christian, who has more money than scruples, stays as he pursues Anastasia to her mother’s. (ed. – Seriously? She can’t have like 5 days away from him? How insecure can he be?)

So why am I bitching? I feel like Tybee is a bit tainted even by it’s brief interlude in the book. It doesn’t mean all of a sudden I’m going to change the setting of my series in “some sort of wacky time shift thing” because I’m not. It’s just that I *love* Tybee Island. I love the people, the food, the scene, the atmosphere of that place. I had two beautiful years amongst its wonderfully eccentric inhabitants and they have left their mark on my heart. It pains me to see them relegated to the sordid pages of an S&M fantasy instead of being lauded out loud.

But then again, if EL James had celebrated one of my favorite places then what would that leave for me to do? How would that have effected Watcher or the whole Shining Ones series in fact?

I don’t wanna know.

What I do know is that I will stay the course cause I’m loyal like that. And Tybee will continue to take its special place in my books, whips and chains excluded.

 

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