Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hunks in the House

Some of the hunkiest hunks live in my house (and in yours, too). I’m starting to think that’s why people say oh and get that glazed look when I tell them I write romantic fantasy. I’ve tried the evasive tack, saying I’m just a writer, but they get excited and ask what I write. Romantic fantasy. Oh. Do you get that?

I’ve decided to stand proud, say what I do right off the bat, and get straight to the glazing. People look at me like I’ve asked if I may send their chihuahua into orbit. “I passed differential equations, so he’ll be fine. See, I reinforced the cracker tin with duct tape.”

Part of it might be my sub-genre. People either get or don’t get fantasy. I’ll never convert anyone who complains about characters whose names aren’t Jack and Jill. Psst. I’ll let you in on a super secret. All fantasy writers pilfer their character names from a hush-hush list of Kyrgyz surnames. We vow to use as few vowels as possible.

Seriously, I think people glaze because finding out someone writes romance is almost a “too much information” revelation. They can understand a passion for history leading to a book about John Adams. Or that getting buff by vacuuming qualifies one to write a self-help called Vac-U-Fit. What passions and qualifications lead a writer to romance? To a mind inhabited by heartfelt hunks and heroines? Hum.

So, if friends and acquaintances aren’t sure what to make of your romance writing, what about those nearest and dearest? A recent Georgia Romance Writers meeting got me thinking about that question. One author said her husband never reads her work. Another said her man is her biggest cheerleader.

I asked my nearest and dearest why he thinks I write. We were alone in my car. He hem-hawed, but I was insistent.

“It’s probably because you think your life sucks so much that you use it as an escape.”

If I wasn’t a kind, perceptive person who understood where that answer came from, I would have used my bare hands to send him to Jesus to account for the cruelty of those words. A part of him worries that he isn’t everything for me; I have to conjure romance to fill the void. In defense mode, I ranted about how I write romance because I believe in how love redeems us.

That sort of helped. He dusted himself off and took consolation in the fact that my hunks could be construed to look like him. He often gets asked if he’s a musician/actor/model, so it isn’t really a stretch. Well, fine. If you feel better thinking that it’s all about you….

The next morning he brought me a cup of coffee and a handwritten letter. He’s sorry he made the remark. My calling to write is genuine and good. “I feel good that you write about the most important subject we can discuss--love, love between each other, and love of God.”

Would you share your story?

Footnote 1: I write a weird blend of fantasy and non-traditional inspirational romance and yes, he’s read it.

Footnote 2: Good thing I didn’t kill him with my bare hands the day before.

Footnote 3: I wanted to use a picture of Fabio, but I freaked about copyright laws. I hope the gentleman in the photo doesn’t sue me for unauthorized use.


Sandy Elzie said...


Great Post! My hunky man reads romance...well, mine anyway. He's my first and last edit. The first edit is for "Honey I hate to tell you this, but men don't think like that" or "Honey, a man wouldn't react like that." (Gee, and I thought I knew men inside and out after over 4 decades of marriage and raising a son). The last edit is for spelling, paragraph, or punctuation errors.

My hubby hero understands that he's number one...always has been, so he's okay with what I write...he's just glad I don't write erotica since we have shown up in conversations before.

Yes, I agree that writing is a "calling". I don't think I chose to write...the stories were always running around in my head, screaming to get out.

Good job, girl!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Gosh, not only is it a calling, but it's way more work than non-writers can imagine.

Anna, are you sure you don't write comedy? Cause this post is pretty funny. You completely cracked me up! I almost snorted my tea when I read the chihuahua comment. And Vac-u-Fit? Hilarious.

Maxine Davis said...


Funny! Interstng! and Cool! Loved your article!

I am so glad you write - what a waste if you didn't!

Brenda Maxine Davis

Cyrano said...

You are hilarious. I actually visualized the chihuahua rocketing into space! And I loved that your husband brought you a cup of coffee and a note the next morning. He's a romantic and doesn't even know it.
I truly enjoyed every word of your post!
Have a brilliant day.

Cyrano said...

You are hilarious. I actually visualized the chihuahua rocketing into space! And I loved that your husband brought you a cup of coffee and a note the next morning. He's a romantic and doesn't even know it.
I truly enjoyed every word of your post!
Have a brilliant day.

Anna Steffl said...

Hey Sandy, Debbie, Maxine, and Tamara! Thanks for the encouraging words. Y'all are such inspiring, enlightening, and entertaining people.

If I've almost made someone suck tea up her nose, its a great day.

Susan May said...

Nice job. My husband doesn't read my stuff if I can help it. He does believe I'm writing about him and offer to help out with the love scenes. His friends do give him a hard time about me writing romance.

J Perry Stone said...

You know, I'm guest blogging on another site about eccentrics and I just realized ... I shoulda used you as one of my examples.

You are so deliciously weird, Anna. And snarky. God bless you! This is why I love your guts.

And no, my husband does NOT read my work. He thinks he helps in the writing though.

Imagine, if you will, this goofy Borat/Latka person who regularly screws up idioms. "Play it BY ear" has become "play with our ears." And because I write historicals, he has become aware of historically accurate romance speak for private parts. He once asked me to check out his "loin." No "s." And while he thinks to direct my attention to his man stuff, all I can think about is "tender loin."

So no, there is no sharing of my writing as the experience would soon dissolve into a comedy of errors.

Anna Steffl said...

That's funny, Susan -- not letting him read it if you can help it. And, aren't we all just blessed to have our muses -- even if they're hairy and leave their underwear on the floor. Well, I shouldn't complain about the underwear on the floor. I have a whole trail of them going.

Oh, Julianne, I'm torn which idiom to use about the eccentric comment. Pot calling the kettle black? Or, takes one to know one? Which one would loin-man choose?

EC Spurlock said...

Anna, not only was your original post wonderfully funny, but all the comments have been great as well. Thanks for brightening up my day, ladies! (It didn't hurt the hilarity any that when I went to add this comment, the verification word was "arthorse" which I sort of am... I'm an artist as well as a writer, and I was thinking of it as "clothes:clothes horse" "art:arthorse"...


I usually describe my genre as "fantasy with romantic elements" as this makes it more accessible to most people, especially guys, and "paranormal romance" conjures up vampires and werewolves for me, which is so not what I do. I'm not that dark.

My husband won't read my writing mainly because it's not the sort of thing he likes to read. He's always been a hard sf fan and I lean toward light fantasy. (I think he's also a little leery of those sex scenes -- a little afraid they'll be too, um, personal...) However he does help me out with the technical aspect of things (he's an expert on time travel theory) and has often made great suggestions when I'm having problems with motivation, reaction, chronology or getting from point A to point B. On the other hand, my college-age son loves to read my stuff and helps a lot with input on guy-think.

Anna Steffl said...

Thanks, EC. Reading your comment reminds me about something I heard on NPR eons ago. The commentator was trying to imagine what it was like being Shakespeare--and having an illiterate wife. Um, someone doesn't have to be illiterate to not read your stuff. At least she had an excuse. LOL

But, you do have someone who believes in your work enough to offer technical advice! Now, if I have any engineering related problems...

Your fellow arthorse,

Nicki Salcedo said...

Anna, I did not take differential equations and opted instead for physics based astronomy class because I thought it would be easier... I am complete qualified to send felines into space, but not chihuahuas. But I digress.

What's-his-name sometimes reads what I write. He is supportive. The rest of my nearest and dearests wonder why my writing yields no results yet. They are impatient, but still supportive.

I write because I believe in happy endings. I believe in good things and people. No one wants to hear real life stories of good, so we have to hide it under the guise of fiction.

Anonymous said...

I guess I left my comment on Facebook. Loved the blog, wished I could too, but am happy to enjoy others genius.

Marilyn Baron said...

Your husband's comment cracked me up.

My husband won't read anything I've written. He says he'll read it when it's published. I don't know what to make of that.

He doesn't read romance. He prefers spy novels or novels set in World War II so I did ask him questions when I was working on my World War II romantic suspense novel because that was up his alley.

But luckily I have a critique group and GRW.

And that hunky hero is cute, whoever he is!

Marilyn Baron

Anna Steffl said...

Gee Nicki, if we found someone to handle the rodents, we'd have a one-stop shop! Don't tell anyone, but I didn't really take diffEQ. Writing is half BS and half truth.The diffEQ thing was the only BS in the piece.

I hear you about wanting to write about the good things and good people. It seems like romance and some scifi/fantasy are the last bastions for it, and the world needs it. Ever read the comments people post online after most news stories? The level of hatred (and ignorance) is astounding. Our embrace of love is what keeps the balance in check.

Marilyn, I'm not going to pass on your hunky hero comment. The house would stink of swagger. :)

Tami Brothers said...

Too funny, Anna. I'm with everyone when I say, who knew??? You think you know someone from the monthly meetings, then you read what comes out of their warped little minds....grin...

I agree about the happy endings and wanting to write them. I guess that's why I read so many romances. Because sometimes it's nice to escape every once in a while...grin...

Thanks for the bright spot in my day!!!


Carol Burnside said...

Interesting, but definitely slanted to the funny side. Thanks for the laugh.

My husband also takes full credit for me writing stories of love, though he doesn't read what I write. Ignorance is bliss and I don't have to live with the swelled head on the adjoining pillow. ;)

talia pente said...

DH doesn't read my fanstasy romance. He's a manly man and prefers thrillers. Funny though, cause he would recognize the hero in my first MS as him with perks.

I think he equates my writing with his playing golf. He definitely thinks it's only a hobby. Sigh. My kids, though...they are my biggest fans. So that makes ups for things.

Pamela-reader said...

Hilarious! I'm just imagining Elle Woods (from Legally Blond) doing the glazed look while holding tight to her little Brewster!

Ana Aragón said...


Great post. I'm just getting to the ones I missed earlier in the week.

My husband reads everything I write. And he takes A LOT of ribbing from friends and co-workers. He tells them they're just jealous...

You're too funny...