Fangtastic Friday Welcomes Tonya Macalino

I know you’re a lover of folk history,
Tonya.  What about this subject intrigues

What a wonderful question, Ladies! I
attempted to put that into words in the author’s note of my upcoming novel, FACES
IN THE WATER, and I’ll paste that below, but I’ll give you a more
straightforward answer first:

I’ve been fascinated by the past since I
was little. I always felt the thrill of connection in hearing old family
stories, in hearing the stories of people who once lived and dreamed in a
particular place. For me it holds a kind of magic, a glimpse into the mythic
past—because we all know that more often than not these stories aren’t entirely
true. But then again, they are given truth by their tellers when the spell of
imagination twists them just enough to serve the purpose of the new audience.
It’s the closest I’ll ever get to truly transcending time—and a lovely
sensation it is.

Now for the literary version:

it has happened once to you. Perhaps you sat once amongst the stones in
solitude and felt something, a wavering sense of the ancient, a feeling that
something significant had happened right here where you were sitting. What if,
as you were lost in that feeling, a spry old woman invited herself to sit down
beside you? What if she leaned in and whispered, “Once upon a time, right where
you are sitting, a youth lifted up his bow and his quiver and set off to become
a man….”


suddenly you no longer sat in a tumble of stones, but in a vibrant, living
place where the soil and the forgotten foundations remembered their stories to
you in resonant voices. Just sitting, absorbing those stories, brought your
soul to life in ways you hadn’t felt in years, in ways that would stay in your
memory for always.

When you’re not writing, you run a cosmetics/bath company.  Tell us about your products.

Ah, my other baby! Well, Rustling Sage ( has three product

The first, Rustling Sage, is the original line of lotions, lip balms, and
soaps—all formulated to be extra gentle for people like me who tend to be
sensitive to commercial products.

The second, Twilight Dance, contains my gourmet bath and vanity products in
lovely little packages for those girly moments. This line contains things like
lip dew, shimmer bars, liquid body powder, massage products, bath bombs, bath
salts, bath teas, and shower leaves (bath bombs for the shower!).

The third, Toe Ticklers, is my fun product line. Toe Ticklers features bath
bombs with sponge toys inside, fruit flavored lip balm, and tub mud—fruited
cream soap good for washing, shaving, or bath time body painting!

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?  Least favorite?

I love the majority of the writing process:
the researching, the analytical plotting, the intricate weaving involved in
laying the words down on the page. Not so fond of the critiquing/editing
process. All that second guessing: did I drop a thread, did I leave a character
flat, have I read this so many times that I’m just not seeing it anymore, is my
critique group full of horse manure or are they right and my ego is just
getting in the way of recognizing it? Argh!

Do you focus on one story at a time, or does your muse constantly nudge you with new ideas?

Well, I repeatedly tell those other stories
they are just going to have to wait their turn, but they continue to jabber on
anyway. I used to worry that I was going to lose those ideas, the emotional
crispness, the vividness of the moment. I now have enough experience to
understand that is not the case. That initial idea for the story rarely makes
it into the book in its original form anymore. Because it formed unconnected to
the whole, it is rarely possessed of the emotion realism and continuity
necessary to be seamless portion of the final narrative. But they sure are fun
to play with!

And just for fun, if you could have dinner with five people (living or dead), who would they be…and why?

Hmm. I think the first would be
my Great Aunt Elsie. I saw a picture of her the other day and it just reminded
me of was an incredible storyteller she was. She saw so many amazing things
during her lifetime and she was a crackup to top it off! My old philosophy
professor, Dr David Boersma—again, hysterical and loved to play with a good
idea. The grandmother of science fiction, Ursula K. LeGuin. I’ve seen her speak
about life and writing and she was both funny and fascinating, a wise, bold
woman. Physicist Michio Kaku: he’s sort of the Carl Sagan of our generation—he
is able to take the complexities of science and make them accessible—even
interesting!—to laypersons. Ah, ha! And the guys from NPR’s Radio Lab, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, (can they count as one person?) cause
somebody’s got to be there to guide all that wit and wisdom into a synthesized
conversation! I’m thinkin’ me and Great Aunt Elsie would be sitting in the
corner a little overwhelmed by all that brain power!

Thanks, Tonya!

Thanks for a great interview,
Ladies! Thanks for having me by! And best of luck to you in your own writings!

Buy links for Spectre of Intention:


Barnes & Noble:

Tonya has a great contest going.  See following for details and a link to participate.

2 prize packs are being
given away to 2 lucky winners Open to US and Canada Shipping Only
The Space Elevator Gift Pak

Liftport Retro

Clarke City Retro Print

anthology of science fiction short stories and technical articles on space
elevator technology

Liftport products Courtesy of Liftport

The Spa Gift Pak


Chamomile Soap

Rose Lip Dew Wand

Cornflower Petals in Honeyed Oats Bath

Rouge of Last Light Shimmer

Grapefruit Sea Breeze Bath

Spa products
courtesy of Rustling Sage

Link to

5 Responses to “Fangtastic Friday Welcomes Tonya Macalino”
  1. Susan Blexrud says:

    Great having you here today at Embrace the Shadows, Tonya. Loved your answers!

  2. Thanks so much for having me over, Susan! What can I say, you had great questions! Best of luck to you and the other gals in all you endeavors!

  3. Jenny Schwartzberg says:

    Sounds interesting! I love the concept of Folk history. I’ll have to check out Tonya’s books.

  4. Thanks, gals! I actually maintain a blog on the topic on my website ( called The Story of Place. I’m not super regular, but I make a heroic attempt to post twice a month! I also try to include images of the sites in question.

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