I was attending the RT Booklovers’ Convention in Columbus, Ohio hoping to report on one of the many e-book seminars for the PopMatters Re:Print blog. Somewhere along the way I ended up competing in a male modeling competition.
The Mr. Romance model contest, put on every year by RT Book Reviews magazine and Dorchester Publishing, is a fan favorite at the annual RT Booklovers’ Convention (one of the largest romance novel conventions in the United States). Every year, up to twelve hunks compete for the chance to be on the cover of a Dorchester romance novel.
Through a bizarre turn of events, I ended up trading in my “author” badge for a “Mr. Romance contestant” badge. It’s a long story that will be told another day, but suffice to say that my doughy writer’s body and pale complexion were definitely out-of-place amongst the musclebound and tanned male models who I was “competing” against for the title of Mr. Romance 2010.
The most surreal moment occurred on the final day of the convention when I found myself sitting at a table next to paranormal author Richelle Mead. We Mr. Romance competitors were signing beefcake pictures of ourselves; Richelle was signing books. She was on the shortlist of authors who I had wanted to meet at the convention. Now that I was seated three feet away from her, I couldn’t bring myself to ask her to sign a book for me — I was too embarrassed by the stack of topless photos that I was signing.
As a soon-to-be-published author (my first non-fiction book, Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love, will be released by Harper Perennial next year), I never expected that my first signing would be of half-nude photos of myself!
Richelle Mead signing at the 2010 RT Booklovers’ Convention in Columbus, OH