Oh for Crap’s Sake

It’s that time of year: we’re t-minus one month away from Valentine’s Day, and it’s time once again for media outlets to start pestering the romance writers because certainly romance writers, they are More Romantic and Sexy than the rest of us mere mortals. Pass the feather boa, because I need one to finish this entry.

A brilliant author forwarded me the following request from the Washington Post, and it is so over the top, well, judge for yourself:

Dear Romance Writers,

For a Valentine’s Day story for the Washington Post Home Section, I’m
hoping to feature the bedrooms of a couple of local romance writers (who
better to create a romantic ambience [sic] than you creative ladies? And if
there is a man among you with a romantic bedroom, that would be totally

I’d appreciate it if you could send my query to your Washington area
members to explain what I’m seeking:

*A couple of digital pictures of your romantic boudoir, preferably in
daylight (even if it was designed to look fab in candlelight).

* You should be in at least one of the photos, since if you’re chosen, you
will probably be in the picture. (Feel free to wrap yourself in a feather
boa or come-hither pegnoir).

*Your bedroom certainly does not have to be “done” by a professional
designer or decorator, but it should look good (if you want to declutter a
bit before photographing the space, by all means, have at it).

*The rooms do not have to be frilly/girly/pink, Victorian or any other
stereoptyical romance-writer look. They can be Zen, minimialist, historic,
Art Deco, Scottish tartan, country, shabby chic, cowgirl funky, whatever.
The room just has to telegraph Romance and Love.

*Those of you who want to share your sanctum sanctorum should include a
couple of paragraphs about what is romantic about it (extra points given
for a heart shaped bed), and perhaps where some of your favorite things
came from (great granny, your first great love, Wal-Mart, Sotheby’s),

* I’ll need your real name and your nom de plume, as well as a daytime
phone number so I can get in touch with you. Practically speaking, the
rooms we choose will probably have to be no further than 50 -75 miles from
downtown Washington so we can get a Post photographer there to shoot it.

Ladies, this is your chance to spread a little Romance Writer Valentine
cheer to your readers and to ours. I do hope you’ll spread the word. I
need the images and little eassays [sic] in hand by Jan. 25 so we can shoot the
following week.

Thanks in advance for all your help. I remain,

Breathlessly yours,


Oh. Holy. Shit. I started to giggle at the pegnoir but by the time I got to “extra points for the heart shaped bed” I had tears running down my face. Oh holy crap in a crap-shaped bed. Scottish tartan! Cowgirl funky! Oh, sweet holy shit.

First, in case this reporter is looking for what a Smart Bitch bedroom looks like: picture a large room with a bed and the following items: 1.4 metric tons of cat (because somehow they become the size and weight of ponies when they snuggle into the foot of the bed and take up ALL THE ROOM WTF), 8 spit up rags for baby with reflux, tv, clicker, and laundry. Lots of laundry. Oh, how romantic. Especially the spit up rags.

Second, what the crapping crap is this? Right after assumption #1, that we romance readers are all dim and enjoy icing-frosted masturbatory fantasies so long as they’re sheikh-y or Lordly, here comes #2: the romance writers all live in a frilly, fantastically tartan-lace wonderland, and don’t buy beds that are comfortable. They buy beds that are heart shaped.

Question for the Sci-Fi writers: do people assume you have bathrooms outfitted to mimic a transporter platform, complete with silver toilet? And you Women’s Fiction writers, do you have boxes of tissues on every flat surface? And Fantasy writers wear tights and wings, right? Wait, as long as I’m riding the Magic Assumption Train into The Land of Overused Metaphor, let’s go for the subgenres! Paranormal romance writers – you get kinky with the vamp teeth and the furry suits, right? And you sleep in coffins or caves? Harlequin writers have bedrooms made up like harems or Roman temples or boardrooms (that cannot be comfortable) or obstetrics offices (there are a lot of babies after all) right? And historical writers, how’s that corset?

Hello? Bueller?

Either way, I absolutely cannot wait to see that article about the bedrooms of romance writers. Srsly.


Ranty McRant

Comments are Closed

  1. Bernita says:

    Hand me a spit-up rag, I have reflux too.

  2. dangrgirl says:

    I write SF(R) and, yanno, my boudoir has a giant Wookie (is that redundant?) in it.

    He has his own feather boa, thanks. 

    Oh wait, he is kinda furry. Does that mean it’s Fantasy?

  3. Kcfla says:

    Will anyone answer this one? Doubt it.

    And think about it- most mid-list or starting authors will not have bedrooms of note ( I mean maybe a nice bed, but who has the $$ for a designer or anything?)

    And any of the “big-name” authors wouldn’t do this to maintain their privacy- right?

    Besides, in my mind’s eye- your bedroom is your sanctuary- and nobody’s darn business.

    ( certain23- pretty certain, Yup!)

  4. Jenns says:

    Oh. Dear. God.
    Notice the “rooms do not have to be …stereoptyical (sic)” is quickly followed up by “extra points given for a heartshaped bed”)?
    Really, I have to ask: did an actual Washington Post employee send this out, and is this on the level? Because I can’t help picturing a laughing/turned-on teen boy hacking into their system to do this. *shudder*

  5. Poison Ivy says:

    I think it is very kind of SBTB to hide the reporter’s name, but anybody who wants it in order to send scornful e-mails, I have it.

    And before you think I am being vicious, this is my hometown newspaper and I expect better of it. When I was in J-school, we all would have bled and died for the chance to work at the Post. It and the NY Times were the Holy Grails of journalism. And it was understood that you had to be the best to get hired by them. This ain’t the best.

  6. papertiger says:

    This is a joke, right? Because if it ain’t the writer’s missing a golden opportunity to make a fortune in comedy. Holy crap, that had me laughing like a fiend!

    … Also, Sarah, thanks for answering the mystery of how two small cats can have me practically falling off the end of my bed by morning. Maybe I become smaller as as they get bigger, because it defies the imagination how I can fit in the tiny sliver of space I wind up in. Maybe you’ve discovered a new kind of physics!!

  7. Katie W. says:

    Hahahaha. Highlarious. That was great (if idiotic and a little “This guy is getting PAID for this?”).

    If Nora Roberts does not sleep in a heart shaped bed then I will be shocked! I’m positive that it is also draped in feather boas and her pegnoir is very come-hither. She IS La Nora, after all.


  8. MaryKate says:

    Oh please, oh please, oh please let Nora have gotten it and be preparing a pithy, refined bitch slap to this reporter.

    Now, I’m just a reader, not an author, but I would think one of the greatest allure of being an author would be the whole working in my jammies thing.

    What’s more sexy than flannel pajama bottoms, sweatsocks and a ratty t-shirt with holes in it?? Screw the feather boa.

  9. Nora Roberts says:

    ~(Feel free to wrap yourself in a feather boa or come-hither pegnoir).~

    Oh, for the love of black-footed ferrets!

    And some are gonna go it, oh yeah, they are.

    I get these requests every freaking year, and say forget it, every freaking year.

    I want them to start asking crime and true-crime writers to dress up with fedoras and Tommy guns every Valentine’s Day, too, in honor of the St. Valentine’s Day massacre.


  10. Chrissy says:

    The “breathlessly” alone is cause for physical harm.

    Gag me with a Godiva chocolate truffle… which actually might be kind of nice.

    Plus everyone knows romance writers swallow.

  11. Laura says:

    Your bedroom certainly does not have to be “done” by a professional designer or decorator, but it should look good…

    Dude. I’m lucky if the bed is made and my underwear is off the floor.

  12. Nora Roberts says:

    ~What’s more sexy than flannel pajama bottoms, sweatsocks and a ratty t-shirt with holes in it??~

    Damn straight. That’s my uniform.

  13. snarkhunter says:

    Oh my holy God.

    I suggest we have a Smart Bitch bedroom feature. Because despite my pink curtains, pink flowered victorian-style quilt, faaaaaabulous fuzzy cream-colored blanket (the best xmas gift I got this year), and piles upon piles upon piles of books, what really needs to be featured about my room is the fact that every horizontal surface, and several that aren’t horizontal, is covered in clothing. And cat hair. And cat-hair covered clothing.

    Yeah, my boudoir is sexy.

  14. Katie W. says:

    Poison Ivy: Would you mind emailing it to me at: evagation @ gmail.com

    I just cannot resist dropping this guy an email (I promise to not be offensive and/or rude… just a bit snarky).

  15. I think it is very kind of SBTB to hide the reporter’s name, but anybody who wants it in order to send scornful e-mails, I have it.

    Me too.

    (hand54. Snort)

  16. Scotsie says:


    spamblocker: “inside94”  yup, just totally threw up inside my mouth.

  17. dangrgirl says:

    Here’s how Cat Physics works.

    The weight of a feline on a bed is directly proportional to the rotation of the Earth on its axis. The further turned away from the sun your location on the Big Blue Marble is, the greater the gravity distortion in the feline’s direct vicinity, which mimics weight gain. As the sun rises, the gravity distortion rights itself.

    Those String Cat Physics people, they still think it has something to do with yarn.

  18. Angelina says:

    ugghh I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

    I do have one question though. Since (according to this columnist):
    **romance writers have romantical bedrooms,
    **and we all know that stereotypes are across the board,
    **does that mean their follow-up story will be all about the dungeons all Horror writers have instead of basements?

    That shit just don’t jive, not even in Romancelandia. This deserves an OMGWTFBBQ.

  19. Flo says:

    *runs out and buys a heart shaped bed*

    YEEEEHAW!  Maybe I can hang cowhide curtains and have tartan rugs…

    Would that be too much?  I think it would scream romance!  Or maybe just scream…

  20. snarkhunter says:

    I thought cat physics had to do with their ability to increase in size as well as weight. Because for all that the Snarkcat is on the big side to begin with (14 lbs…), she manages to expand exponentially to fill whatever space is available to her, without actually increasing in weight.

    Also, every cat has an uncanny ability to find the exact geographic center of the bed before s/he expands to fill that space.

    Ha! Verfication word: lay71. Not on my bed, if the cat’s in there.

  21. azteclady says:

    Oh for the love of!!!

    I would pull my hair out but… well, I’ve been doing that for nigh on two weeks, there’s not that much left.

  22. Katie W. says:

    Ohh… snarkhunter that would be so much fun! A Bitchery Valentine featuring our romantic and sexy boudoirs. Complete with laundry (maybe some of it dirty), cat hair, and dust all over the place. Sexy!

    I wonder if Meg Cabot gets solicited for pictures of her princessy boudoir. Since it must be all about the princesses in her bedroom.

  23. dangrgirl says:

    I thought cat physics had to do with their ability to increase in size as well as weight.

    Gawd, I hope not. If that’s true than my 20 lb. DangerCat will indeed turn into a Wookie.

  24. snarkhunter says:

    Meg works in her bedroom, according to her blog…somehow, I doubt her husband would go for the princess theme.

    Then again, she does have a pink Christmas tree.

    (I’m not really an author stalker. Much. I swear.)

  25. Flo says:

    On a serious note this does not surprise me.  The Post has been going down hill for a loooooong time.  Their idea of journalism is slapping their skewed views all over the paper and calling it fact.  When really 98% of that paper should be in the Op-Ed section.  The other 2% is the obituaries.

  26. Karla says:

    I’m also a reader, not a writer, but wow, was that email insulting. I sleep in a converted attic with a loose rabbit running around. I’ve got 3 other rabbits in the adjoining room.

    Tres sex-ay.

    (There are bunny pooties artfully scattered about at any given moment, however. My crew is litterbox trained, for the most part!)

  27. EEEK!  I’m horrified that this was the Post.  Now the Washington Times I might understand.

    My bedroom is also my living room and I have a ton of stuffed animals on my bed.  Someone might think I was a furry.

  28. snarkhunter says:

    I have a ton of stuffed animals on my bed.  Someone might think I was a furry.

    Only one stuffed animal gets to be on the bed (my teddy bear, Amanda, who I have had since birth, and so what if I still sleep with a teddy bear?)…but I have stuffed animals all over the room…and dolls on top of one of the bookshelves. Just the porcelain ones and the fabric ones that were made especially for me, but…yeah. It might look a teensy bit like a kid’s room.

  29. Katie W. says:

    Will you be my BFF snarkhunter? (Or maybe I should ask you to be my valentine, considering the discussion at hand.) You are just awesome.

    I also imagine that Serious Writers Of Serious Fiction (like my beloved Michael Chabon) have very Serious Bedrooms. Rather like a men’s study, complete with a wet bar stocked with scotch and whiskey, an ancient typewriter (if it’s good enough for Hemingway), leather chairs and a very uncomfortable bed because Serious Writers sacrifice for their art.

  30. MamaNice says:

    I truly hope this request is tongue-in-cheek…but based on La Nora’s reply – I’m going to say no. (BTW, what’s the wackiest request you’ve had Nora & other published authors, if you don’t mind sharing?)

    Honestly though, I’d love to see what Swan Hat’s bedroom looks like.

  31. snarkhunter says:

    Hee! You can be my valentine, Katie W. Especially for this: very uncomfortable bed because Serious Writers sacrifice for their art

    Is it Dan Brown who does push-ups after every hour that he writes? Some Very Serious Male Writer said he does this, and all I could think was that it was some manifestation of Hemingway’s need to prove how Very Manly he was in order offset the fact that he was a writer.

    Of course, Serious Writers with their Uncomfortable Beds also have a steady stream of sexy, scantily-clad women drifting in and out, because you can’t be a Serious Writer unless you have Sexy Groupies.

    (Do you think Joyce Carol Oates has sexy groupies?)

  32. JaimeK says:

    Holy Crap..Nora doesn’t sleep in a heart shaped bed?  I am horrified and crushed, I thought all romance writers had rooms like they described.  Just like a sci-fi writer has a bedroom that looks like the inside of a space ship?  Good gravy where do they pull this stuff from?  By the by, you say “crap” as much as I do and that is a ton!

    Holy crap!

  33. Diane Wylie says:

    One giant leap backward for women’s rights everywhere! Good grief, can she get any more sterotypical? That is pretty sad to see something like this from the Washington Post.

    Just when you thought it was safe…

  34. Ishie says:

    It does make one shudder to think what James Joyce’s romancepad must have looked like though…

  35. Poison Ivy says:

    And by the way, the letter was signed by a woman.

  36. Deb says:

    Am I the only one pondering exactly how you’d actually sleep in a heart-shaped bed?  Where would your feet go, as the damn thing narrows down to the point?  More to the point, where the hell would the cats then sleep?  I can also foresee several problems in “getting busy” on a heart-shaped bed, too.  Hearts.  Just not a good shape for sleeping or other activities.  Unless maybe it’s shaped like a *real* heart and is kind of blobby…

  37. Katie W. says:

    But on a serious note (although I’m having a bit of fun trying to figure out how else to snark on this insulting letter).

    Sadly, this sort of thing does not surprise me. I’m an avid reader of Slate and a long-time Newsweek subscriber (both owned by The Washington Post Company) and they often don’t take journalism seriously enough for my tastes. Even Newsweek is slipping a bit (ferret article notwithstanding) and it breaks my heart.

    For me, the problem are the new, young journalists who are coming out of the MySpace generation because most of them come across as insufferable know-it-alls. Just like the journalist who wrote that email.

    There’s also a problem with editors/experienced journalists being suckered in by the pap smear that is television media “news”. The insipid morning shows and talk shows (and I admit to watching them but they ARE usually very vapid) that give the editors/journalists the idea that THEY know what we want to read because of what we watch on television.

    Basically, I think journalism is being “dumbed down” because The Powers That Be think that’s what we want. We don’t want in-depth news coverage, we want pictures of romance novelists bedrooms!

    Of course, there is still good, in-depth news and feature coverage in Newsweek and newspapers across the nation. But those stories are overshadowed (for me) by the populist media idea that we are unable to consume our media unless it’s been watered down and filled with generalizations. There’s a vast disconnect between the readers of Newsweek and newspapers, and the editors/journalists of those news organizations. They are no longer in tune with what we actually WANT to read, and are instead giving us what they THINK we want to read. It’s gotten to the point where I’m almost ready to cancel my Newsweek subscription because I’m tired of being treated as if I lack a brain and basic logic and reasoning skills.

  38. Nora Roberts says:

    ~(BTW, what’s the wackiest request you’ve had Nora & other published authors, if you don’t mind sharing?)~

    God there’s been so many—this one would make the top of the list if it heads my way.

    I was asked if I’d do a series of advice columns for people with romantical questions and problems. I write Romance, I must be an expert!

    I am constantly asked (esp around VD) to describe the perfect date. For WHO??? I don’t date! I’ve been married 22 years.

    Some time ago, I made it policy to do no VD interviews or features. Period. Just cuts this silliness off at the pass.

  39. Charlene says:

    I have a twenty-inch high plaster bust of Michelangelo’s David in my bedroom. The squirrels who play in the tree outside my bedroom window find him fascinating. They’ll sit there and stare at him, and if I move the bust back and forth they’ll follow it with their eyes.

    I’m not sure if that means that squirrels are easily entertained or that I am easily entertained.

  40. Lorelie says:

    My bedroom?  Fairly normal, I think.  Except the pistol case and ammo on the dresser.  Oh, and the rifle in the corner.  >:) 
    On the other hand, some women might think the uniform that’s usually draped over the foot of the bed was sexy.  If they couldn’t smell it.  And it wasn’t on their clean sheets.

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