This is a picture of me and Barbara Vey, the blogger par excellence from Publishers Weekly with the Mr. Romance Contestants. If you've never tried Barbara's blog, BEYOND HER BOOK, I urge you to pop by.
Barb is a treasure trove of Everything Romance! Her site features recommended reads, industry news, and she practically lives out of a suitcase year round, traveling to conference after conference. Plus she's one of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet.
Every year at RT, Dorchester sponsors the Mr. Romance Contest. This year, we had fewer entrants and there was even one draftee. That's him in the suit. His name is Andrew and he was one of the Aspiring Writers in the classes I taught on Monday and Tuesday, pre-conference. Bless his heart, he learned the dance moves for the Mr. Romance Show on Saturday and spent the week posing for pics with conference attendees to benefit the SaveOurSoldiers charity for Wounded Warriors. If there isn't a book in his experience as a cover model hopeful, I wash my hands of him!
This is Charles Paz, last year's Mr. Romance, with the 2010 Mr. Romance Jamie Ungaro. They are both genuinely good guys.
I was drafted at the last minute for the Mr. Romance Show. After the guys did their dance, walked the catwalk and flexed their muscles, they each escorted an author out on stage and had to answer our questions.
My contestant, Franco D'Angelo, was so well prepared. He presented me with a rose, chocolate truffles, a little bottle of champagne and had a very touching answer to my question. (Don't worry. My DH is in no danger of being dethroned as the True King of Romance!) But when I asked Franco what ignited a passion in him, he said, "My kids." Awwwww. Good answer.
You'll probably recognize Charles Paz from the cover of Connie Mason's LORD OF DEVIL ISLE. Since Connie wasn't at RT, Charles signed copies of her book at the massive book fair and he sold out! He makes a wonderful Captain Nicholas Scott, the swashbuckling Lord of Devil Isle himself. (If you haven't read this sexy, adventurous tale, I highly recommend it! Buy Here!)
As part of his prize for winnng the title, Jamie Ungaro, the new Mr. Romance, will be featured on a Dorchester cover soon. Hmmm . . . my next Leisure Book will be HAPPILY EVER HIGHLANDER (under my new Mia Marlowe pen name).
Side Note to my editor Leah Hultenschmidt: In case you happen to be lurking, Leah, what do you think? Wouldn't Jamie Ungaro look amazing in a kilt?
Since we're on the subject of covers, here's your chance to voice an opinion. What sort of cover moves you to pick up a book? A good looking guy? A clinch? A headless heroine in a gorgeous gown? A garden blooming in wild profusion like my STROKE OF GENIUS cover? (Sorry. Just had to get that one in!)