By Alexa Day
Just recently, I sold my first book, ILLICIT IMPULSE, to Ellora’s Cave. My friends took me out to celebrate last weekend, and over drinks and dinner (in that order), I came to realize that they apparently think I lead some sort of glamorous life. Not like a celebrity – my friends have all seen what I drive – but I see the way their eyes light up when I mention research, and I hate to disappoint them by saying that I was reading about neurochemistry. There’s no little gaggle of men following me around. I keep a hangover remedy in my refrigerator. I clean the litterboxes every morning. My life’s pretty average, I thought.
Having said that, though, I did have this argument with myself between sips of champagne. That actually is kind of glamorous.
But we can all be glamorous like that. We just have to ask ourselves one question. We have to start doing it right now, while we are surrounded by people who are dedicating themselves to living more monastic lives this year.
We have to ask ourselves, “Why not?”
Let’s take the champagne, for instance. I’m lucky to have such awesome friends to take me places where the champagne flows freely. Champagne is out there every day, though. It’s not just for New Year’s Eve or Sunday morning mimosas. Couldn’t we be exchanging toasts on Thursday night?
And what about dessert? I savor every bite of every dessert as if it’s the last thing I’m ever going to taste. I’ve also been known to take myself out to restaurants just for dessert. That’s not an everyday thing, but I do love taking up position at the bar for a cup of coffee and a warm slice of apple pie. It keeps my senses sharp, which is important for an erotica writer, but for the most part, it’s just an indulgence.
I should mention the research.
I almost hate to demystify what erotica research is for me, especially so soon after Santa Claus. But the ugly truth is that my research almost never requires physical contact with another human being. I mentioned the neuroscience earlier; I had to learn about oxytocin and pharmaceutical development to write ILLICIT IMPULSE. I thought it was fascinating, but it’s not terribly glamorous. For the next book, research was reading the Safety Rules and Regulations sign at the batting cage to see whether it specifically prohibits having two people in there at once. Not fancy stuff.
Then there was the Discovery Flight.
I’m planning another story in which the hero and heroine were on a single-engine plane. At the time, I had never been on a single-engine plane, and it was important enough to the story that I needed to know what the experience was like. So I reached out to a flight school and explained my situation, hoping to see how big the plane was, how close my hero and heroine would be to each other, what they would be able to take with them. The flight instructor offered me a Discovery Flight. For a very reasonable fee, he said, I could go up in the plane with him. Then I’d really know what it was like.
(I could write for hours about what the Discovery Flight is like, but you don’t have that sort of time, so I’ll leave you with a quote from the flight instructor. “Go ahead and take off. Try to keep it in the middle of the runway.”)
Maybe this is glamorous. Champagne toasts, indulgent desserts, exciting research – it is a good life. But it’s not reserved for erotica writers. Celebrate something (like a Wednesday) with champagne. Take yourself out for a luxuriant restaurant dessert because you like the way it tastes. Learn something outside your comfort zone. Now’s the time – most people are going to be waiting in line for the machines at the gym.
Go for it. Why not?
**Alexa Day is hard at work on her second book, the follow-up to ILLICIT IMPULSE, but she’s got space in her schedule for the occasional random dessert. You can catch her right here on the first Wednesday of the month (or the year!) for ways to make every day a little sexier. She also blogs every Thursday on her website, www.alexaday.net.