Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Chest Collection

Obviously, we're not talking about the wooden square boxes used for storage. No, we're talking about men and their fabulous bodies gracing the covers of many romance novels. The pictures above and below are courtesy of two of my writing friends: Rosie Murphy w/a Gabriella Edwards and Becke Martin. Rosie started the collection and Becke began posting them on her site. I couldn't resist getting involved. They've been generous in letting me use a few of their favorites for the purpose of this post.

We all have different tastes in the type of stories we like to read. The same holds true in our taste for the looks of our hero. We have preferrences we instinctively gravitate toward whether its blondes, baby faces, or tall, dark and handsome. When it comes to the look and feel of our leading man's chest, well, the differences continue. We go to extremes, liking the smooth and hairless to the furry bear like types. Personally, I like a light sprinkle of hair running across the chest, down the center, playing around the belly button and leading south. I'll pick tall, dark and ruggedly handsome every time.

Jenny Crusie said in a workshop at this years RWA Conference that we don't need to describe our characters in great detail because the reader sees in her/his mind their own version of the character. This is so true, I do this more with the hero, inserting my preferrences. The author can tell me he's blonde and slender, but you better believe in my mind I'm beefing him up and putting dark hair on his head and chest.

So, tell me your preferences. When reading a good romance novel what image is in your head of the hero you and the heroine are falling in love with? Take time to enjoy the pictures and then tell me about your hero, whether he's your real life hero or the leading man in your favorite novel.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Experiencing it for the first time.

My travel partner, Rosie, put it perfectly when she cheerfully sang to her roommate (not me thankfully) early one morning “I've had the time of my life” from the movie Dirty Dancing. She was describing her experience to date at the 2009 Romance Writers of America National Conference in Washington, D.C. Obviously, her roommate was disappointed when Patrick Swayze wasn’t in the room when she opened her eyes after only the typical 3 to 4 hours of sleep – who could blame her.

As a first timer to the conference it was an experience and opportunity beyond anything I could have imagined. I am grateful to the RWA staff and the many volunteers who orchestrated such a fabulous event. It was nothing short of the Oscars for writers. I also want to give special shout out to those experienced members of the Ohio Valley RWA chapter for preparing me so well to take this journey.

When it comes my time to attend this annual celebration as a published author, I will remember the way I was treated by so many of the published authors I met. Their willingness to share their experiences, their struggles and successes, was priceless. I came away with the hope and belief that I too will succeed. I will pay this generosity forward.

As we made our way home Sunday, exhausted and motivated, my travel partner and I tried to pinpoint our favorite part or moment of the trip. We couldn't. There were things that stood out of course – meeting an agent in the lounge and getting to give an impromptu pitch, the PRO workshop, and meeting fabulous people, both published and unpublished, ranked right up there as top favorites, but there was so much gained by everything we encountered. The speeches given by keynote speakers and those accepting Rita and Golden Heart awards made us laugh and brought us to tears.

There are stories we will tell for years to come, as well as memories and friends that will remain with us for a life time. I know that no matter how many RWA conferences I attend in the future none will ever be as special as this first time. We, the first timers from OVRWA, are no longer virgins. We have learned on our journey that we are or have become promiscuous readers.

So, what was your first time like?

Um, I mean to an RWA conference. If you haven't been to an RWA conference, is there an event, a person or anything that made a major impression on you or influenced your writing career?