Tuesday, January 24, 2012

5 Jobs Along the Way to Publishing Erotic Romance

I started working early, barely past 16, primarily in order to buy my own clothes at Contempo Casuals. Thinking back upon all those positions that let me earn money while developing my craft makes me realize that it all led to writing erotic romance.

Here are a few highlights:

1) Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory
My first job in high school was working fast food. A cheesesteak shop may seem hip and glamorous if I had lived in, say, Philadelphia. In cow-town California, it was an odd choice. But, we made some awesome waffle fries and I discovered that wearing contacts shielded my eyes from the cry-fest caused by cutting onions.

Oh, and making out in a backseat of a car can be a lot of fun.

2) Selling T-Shirts in a Tourist Trap
Sure, Laguna Beach looks all glamorous in reality TV shows, but how about handling a busload of tourists, with a broken cash register, a half-hour before closing? Oh, and would you mind walking $3,000 in cash down Main Street to the night-deposit dropbox? Side benefit: Helping hunky stars such as Ray Liotta and having him comment on how hot your dress was (yes, that was me).

Oh, and making out in stockrooms can be quite cushy.

3) Secret Lingerie Holiday Rush
There’s nothing like desperation to make men spend money. The closer it got to Christmas, they more they were willing to shell out for the perfect gift. I sold three $300 robes, and was not asked back to stay after the season finished. Top complaints: I looked for extra stock in the stockroom too much. Yes, they do have it in back. The managers just don’t want to open to room to get it. And, although I was told that there wasn’t a length requirement for the mandatory skirts, I was sent home for wearing a too-short mini. Trust Issues: Management spot-checked employee purses every time an employee left the store. As if I’m going to steal a pair of panties.

First Glimmer of BDSM: Overhearing a male customer and his teenage son commiserate that, “Let’s ask the girl (referring to me). If she doesn’t know, we’ll whip her.”

4) College Newspaper Staff
So this is where the “real” experience comes in. You gain firsthand knowledge in multiple subjects. Wild parties, drinking and experimentation – plenty of extracurricular activities in college.

Making out in darkrooms late at night = totally awesome.

5) Entry-Level Editor at Automotive Magazines
With a ratio of five women for about 100 men, the odds of hooking up continued to shine. Free bathing suits, along with a salary … and all-expenses paid trips to watch hot racecar drivers. Wait. Why did I ever leave that job? Oh, yeah: Never a female editor in the 25+ years of the company.

Mmmm – Greater appreciation for men. All types of men.

Bonus: Reporter Covering Rock & Roll
Oh, baby – that’s a whole ’nother blog. If only I had the confidence that I do now. Hanging backstage introduced me more to the beauty of bi-dom.

What have you learned on job along the way?


  1. Wow --- a huge variety of jobs, Louisa.
    Well as for me:
    I've cleaned floors (& windows) in a small dept. store, hauled feed & candled eggs in a feed & seed store, worked as a reporter for a small town daily, then as an asst. editor for a small town weekly.
    U.S. military active duty (Air Force)
    Worked most of one summer on a construction job, mostly digging and pushing a wheelbarrow.
    Spent close to 30 years in the library profession.

  2. And the first job on that list was? Candling eggs? Does that mean looking to see if they were fertile? We've got a science project coming up ...

  3. I worked so many jobs, mostly in delis. I learned that bitches be crazy and meat is gross. Oh, and men will hit on you even if you are wearing a tomato red smock and smell like ham.

  4. Hilarious on when men will hit on you! Mmmm, ham. I tried walking to work before -- just for the exercise. One trip had three separate incidents of guys pulling over in front of me to see if I wanted a ride. Didn't walk again after that!

  5. D.C. If you carry the aroma of bacon (not sure about ham) with you, men will follow in droves.

  6. Although my work history isn't extensive (so far), I've learned a lot from jobs in the food-service industry:
    My job at the Dairy Queen while I was in H.S. opened me up to the world of making out in cars, relationship intrigue, who the "bad" boys and girls were and the things they did.
    In college, at a brunch place in the Castro (gay district) I learned about the world of BDSM from the participants at the munches that were held there.
    At grad school, my current job at a dating/music bar is an experience in adult relationships under the influence of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.

    1. Dave -- From reading your blog, too, yesterday, definitely sounds like you have some diverse experience. What's the subject of the grad degree?

  7. We should commiserate someday on the rock'n'roll stuff - I was in the music business (singer/songwriter, indy label owner, promoter, P.R., song plugger, rock writer & more!) for about 15 years. Gotta love the music biz. Oh - and yes - making out in a van/bar/VIP room/backstage etc.,etc. = all awesome!

    1. You've got some major diversified experience in music there. What's funny is that often doing it for a while, it does become a "job." I got tired of driving to Downtown LA to go to clubs a few times a week!

  8. LOVE IT!! and I'm so sad to say my jobs never had such glamor and excitement *sigh* good thing I was pretty much a 'ho in my younger dating days or I would have missed out on whole lot ;-)

  9. Hah. You sound like me now. The US Navy has about a 10 guys to each girl ratio, which adds up to some fun times. Keep having fun!

  10. Thanks Angie -- you, too, and stay safe out there!