Eyes bugging, she asked, "Why is there a half naked hunk on your screen?"
Her-Have I mentioned your job rocks?
Me-There are also cover models. Cover models are awesome.
Her-So, what do I have to take in college to do what YOU do?
And it started a conversation about how much our job rocks. Our job, as romance authors, does kind of kick ass. I mean, I wouldn't want to do anything else, ever. I get to look at beautiful men all day and call it research. I get to google things like tobacco enemas and death erections and whatever else triggers my imagination or can be used in a plot and learn all about it. I get to create worlds...I get to talk to readers about books and books are probably one of my favorite things (right up there with sex, chocolate, coffee and cake.)
But there ARE downfalls.
And, yes, dearies...I am going to do one of my infamous lists. I love you, too.
Five Things That Suck About Being A Romance Author
|How glamorous I sometimes feel...|
It happens at Christmas parties. It happens at the grocery store. It happens at your class reunion. That one question: What do you do for a living? I kind of cringe, now, and mumble it because no one gets the coolness. "I write books." The question asker usually perks up a bit, their hearing super good all of the sudden, "You mean like Twilight?" (or whatever their kind of favorite book is...but it is never the person who READS romance who is asking) And I clear my throat and answer because now, well, it is inevitable. "Uh, no, I write romance novels."
Here is where they are supposed to grab their chest and have their mouth fly open in awe. I mean, I have the COOLEST JOB EVER. You know Romancing The Stone? Yeah, I am Joan Wilder...minus the cool trip to the tropics with a hunky hero. I get to be friends with cover models and lemme tell ya, they POST PICTURES. I sit around in my pajamas and get paid to facebook (well, not actually but I have convinced myself that it is super important so...shuddupayouface.)
Instead, invariably, they say, "Oh."
And it isn't a good, "Oh." It is an oh with a slight sneer attached as if I said that what I do is handle decomposing rodents and sometimes I eat them...just for shits and giggles.
This expression is multiplied by at least ten if you are talking to most anyone academic or someone who writes another genre. I don't know why...but it is. Responding with oblivious cheer is usually my tact from there...but it still sucks.
4. People who think you are a very famous person and therefore are really rich.
|How glamorous I LOOK...|
I don't know if that is the actual mental picture that some people have of authors (especially romance because what we do is 'easy') or what but for some reason, they think my laundry does itself and that I butter my bread with something different than they butter their bread with...when in all actuality, I am generally such a cheap person that I buy most of my stuff at yard sales. Although I love yardsales (or treasure hunting, call it what you will), I go to them because I have bills to pay and there are generally more of them than money in the bank and the day I buy a yacht...well, I am laughing just typing the word yacht, to be honest. And if you could hear me, in my head, I pronounce it YAH-CHET...because I can.
3. Eye Strain
I'm not sure why I am not making this number one but it is my least favorite thing. Why do all the screens GLOW? Just sayin.
I love being a writer. I love that I can make a living at it. I kind of have a deep and overwhelming hatred of deadlines. I mean, I know I have to hit them and I do (I have seven contracts for this year alone...I get the deadline thing. Really.) but that doesn't mean I have to LIKE deadlines. Sometimes I miss the days of loving characters so much that once the story was over...I would write a whole other story about them...in which nothing exciting happened that anyone would want to read but they just lived out their happily ever after...because I liked them so much that I wanted to hang out with them some more. Deadlines also lead to more eyestrain. See #3.
1. Word Vomit
This one could also be called social ineptitude spurts...
What am I talking about? Well, since I have gone back to school, this one isn't so bad. Mostly. But sometimes I still do it. Sometimes at school.
But I did it before that.
So you are in your writing cave for a few days solid, perhaps with a cat or a kid or whatever you live with...living in your world with your characters for a FEW DAYS SOLID. No human contact, really, or adult conversation (this one happens to stay at home moms, too, so you guys can share my loathing of #1) and then you need a gallon of milk.
So you trot out to the grocery store, grab the milk, and the clerk says, "So, how was your week?" with a smile.
Opening your mouth, out it comes...Word Vomit. You tell her. At length. You tell her the heart wrenching story of two people, in love, torn apart by destiny and a peanut allergy...and the research you did and how you realized that in chapter three...one of them were going to have to die.
Shell shocked, the clerk stares at you. She was not trained to handle this. She was hoping you were going to say, "Fine."
Once it starts, you kinda can't stop. You just vomit till the words run out and then grab your bag, ashamed somehow for the flow of words that came out like a Mount Vesuvius of social interaction, bottled up inside you...just waiting for her friendly smile to explode.
So...yeah. I could do a top things I love about being a romance author...but this list was probably funnier.