Thursday, March 11, 2010

The glamorous life of a romance author

So it’s official. I faxed off my paperwork to Romance Writers of America, making me an RWA member and an official romance author.

There are a lot of stereotypes about romance authors. I think the general idea is that we prance around the house wearing high-heeled slippers and a feather boa, smoking skinny cigarettes with a long, ivory holder as our French-manicured nails dance across the keyboard. Once we’ve dashed off a few sultry chapters, we summon our greased-up boy toy for a frisky romp we playfully term “research.”

That’s pretty much how it works around here.

I remember the first love scene I ever wrote. I was sitting at my desk looking devastatingly beautiful in holey sweatpants with my unwashed hair anchored atop my head by a chewed up pencil. The scene was getting steamy as the hero hoisted the heroine onto the bathroom counter in preparation for the main event.

I stopped typing and frowned at the screen, considering the logistics. Would all the important body parts line up right? I looked back at my notes, assessing the height of the hero and heroine and pondering the average height of a bathroom counter.

I got up and walked down the hall to survey my own bathroom. The counter I described in my love scene did not contain a leaky tube of toothpaste and a pair of damp socks abandoned there by the hero, but other than that, it was pretty much the same.

I hopped up on the counter, picturing the scene in my mind. If the heroine sat with her feet propped against the door, and the hero stood between her legs and –

“Pythagoras!” I yelled.

No answer. Right, he was outside changing the oil in his truck.

Hopping off the counter, I marched out to the garage. “Hey, honey?”

“Yeah?” he mumbled from under the truck.

“If you did me on the bathroom counter, would you have to stand on something?”

There was a long silence, the sound of my husband either contemplating the question or contemplating whether his wife had been hitting the bottle at 8 a.m. on a Sunday.

When he still didn’t respond, I pressed my luck. “Maybe you could come inside for a second so I can see how all the parts would line up.”




I nudged his boot with the toe of my wool sock. “Pretty please?”

With a sigh, Pythagoras eased himself out from under the truck, looking dirty and disheveled and a little confused about the whole thing. Tucking a wrench in his back pocket, he followed me down the hall toward the bathroom, wiping his greasy hands on the front of his jeans.

In the doorway of the bathroom, I turned and smiled. “Can you throw me up on the counter?”

“Throw you?”

“You know, like you’re crazed with lust.”

Pythagoras frowned. “Won’t you hit your head on the shelf?”

“Try throwing me the other direction.”

Swiping the grease off his hands once more, Pythagoras grabbed me around the waist and heaved me onto the counter with a bit more force than necessary.


Pythagoras held me tighter. “Are you OK?”

“Your toothbrush just stabbed me in the butt cheek.”

Pythagoras looked pained. I surveyed my surroundings, still plotting out the love scene in my mind.

“OK,” I said. “Stand right here and pretend you’re naked.”

“Are you naked, too?”


This seemed to cheer him somewhat, at least until I dragged out the ruler I’d set aside earlier.

“What are you doing?” he asked, stepping back a few feet.

“Measuring. I want to make sure everything lines up right.”

“We’ve been together a long time,” he said, putting a little more distance between us. “I’m pretty sure everything lines up right.”

After making a few quick notes, I agreed that he was right. Satisfied my hero and heroine would be able to consummate their union on the bathroom counter, I smiled at my husband. “Thank you.”

“No problem. Can I finish changing the oil now, or do we need to—“

“No, you can finish the oil,” I reassured him. “I’ll let you know if I need to do more research.”

Pythagoras gave me a look that suggested he was considering whether life with a romance writer was something he wished to continue, or if he’d have a more peaceful existence if he ran away and joined the circus. Eventually, he retreated back to the garage and I retreated back to my computer to hammer out the rest of the love scene.

I was pretty pleased with that scene, just like I’ve been pleased with nearly every love scene I’ve written since that day. And Pythagoras continues to be a damn good sport about the whole thing.

So there you have it. The glamorous, amorous life of a romance author. Just like you pictured it, right?


CKHB said...

You had me at "unwashed hair."

K.A. Krantz said...


Bwwahaha. Loves it. Loves it. Loves it.

Anonymous said...

You. Complete. Me.

I often call for my husband, Dartanian to help me out with the logistics of a scene too.

Linda G. said...

*laughing until tears run down my cheeks* Oh, my. Glamorous indeed.

My poor hubby. He'd be thrilled if I dragged him into a little research like this, instead of the usual "Can you stand over me while I lie here on the floor, so I can check out the logistics of kicking someone your height in the nuts from this position?" or somesuch.

Emma Petersen said...

"There was a long silence, the sound of my husband either contemplating the question or contemplating whether his wife had been hitting the bottle at 8 a.m. on a Sunday."


Candyland said...

OMG Tawna! Hilarious! What a good sport your dude is.


CKHB, pretty sure my husband was impressed by the unwashed hair, too!

KAK, I'm probably lucky he didn't automatically assume "car parts" and conclude that I wished to rebuild the carburetor.

bonifacioblabs, husbands can be useful sometimes, can't they? I mean for things besides changing the oil.

Linda G, oh don't worry, Pythagoras has been forced to work through nut-kicking scenes with me as well. I'm honestly not sure which terrify him more.

Emma, I think my husband spends a lot of time contemplating this.

Candyland, he is a good sport. Either that, or I've just beaten him into submission after 12+ years.

Thanks for reading, everyone!


Patrick Alan said...

Husbands are generally useless. This is why I chose a wife instead.

I'm a member of RWA, too!

Tara said...

*snort* O.M.G. *snort*

Cynthia Reese said...

TOO funny! But, Tawna, what IS it about you and bathrooms and sex scenes? Do I detect a pattern here???


Patrick, I may have to get myself one of those wives. They sound much more useful.

Tara, so happy to make you snort. Don't hurt your nose, OK?

Cynthia, I believe you were the first to notice a trend in the number of sex scenes I write about that take place in bathrooms. I should probably schedule some therapy appointments for that.


Rhonda said...

This is too funny!! I'm sure my hubs would love it if I asked him to help me with research like that. Instead I'm usually holding some sort of weapon asking "do you think this is long enough to stab straight through your heart?"

Claire Dawn said...

I love your "research" :D

PS, I've given you the sunshine award over at my blog.

-Claire Dawn

Anonymous said...

lol! Who knew research could be so much fun? ;)


Rhonda, try mixing in a little romantic research with the threats of death. Your husband might not like it, but at least it'll keep him on his toes!

Claire Dawn, hey, thanks for the award. I've never thought I was very sunshiney and have no idea what a Sunshine Award is, but I'm honored to receive it and will head over to your blog right now to see if I should expect a million-dollar check with this prize.

Xuxana, I'm not sure my husband always has fun, but I do enjoy it!


Harley May said...

Oh my gosh. My children are startled by my hysterics. Can we make out? My husband would be cool with it. I love you. Bye.


Harley May, wow, true love from random strangers? My life is complete! Stop by anytime for that makeout session. I'm sure Pythagoras won't mind.


Anonymous said...

OMG! I don't think I've ever laughed so hard at a blog post before! I can just picture the whole thing in my mind, and, I type this, that really sounds more disturbing than I intended...


christinerice, it's my goal to make you laugh, but if I can also disturb you, I consider that a pleasant added bonus. Thanks for reading! :)


Jeffe Kennedy said...

I make David help me with logistics, too. He's become very inventive at the "lining up of the parts."

Kelly said...


Anonymous said...

Maybe I should read more Romance. If it's as fun(ny) as most of the Romance writers I know, I may have to give up spec fic entirely. Great post. Don't let the prejudice get you down.

Jennifer X said...

This is definitely not something I should have read at work in a mini break. I had to hold my breath to keep myself from cracking up. I can't wait to read more of your work. Hilarious! Pythagoras is a great sport. Is that his real name?