However, I have never let being ugly stand in my way of attempting anything I wanted to do. I solve the problem by not looking at myself and not thinking too much about how I look. I am vulnerable yet triumphant. I am a YA heroine.
Until I have to take an author photo.
I have been battling my own author photo for a long time, and you can click here to see what I had to say about this up until 2008. The upshot of it was that I did not want to pay to have a professional take my photo because that seemed hopelessly vain and wasteful for an ugly person, but the photo I loved that I took with my own camera was not a high enough resolution for my publisher, so I had my husband take a million pictures of me. And grumble.
Our story resumes in March 2010, when my novel Going Too Far was named a finalist in the RITA, a very prestigious award presented by the Romance Writers of America to our bloggers Rosemary Clement-Moore and Barbara Caridad Ferrer in the past. Trust me, it is a HUGE DEAL. There is a fancy ceremony at the national conference in July, and the finalists get their hair done and stuff. Your author photo is displayed on a screen as big as a Winnebago, and the resolution has to be 300 dpi at 5 x 7 inches.
That is HIGH RESOLUTION.
Higher than my author photo.
So I finally broke down and paid a local photographer $100 to take some shots of me for this purpose. I did not think to tell her how high a resolution they needed to be. When I got them back from her, they were STILL not high enough.
And so my husband and I went into the backyard again. And I had to look at two hundred pictures of myself. All of them were awful because, after all, they were OF ME. I picked the least offensive, it was blown up as big as a Winnebago in front of an auditorium full of fancy romance writers who had gotten their hair done, and I lost to Simone Elkeles.
I will never be pretty but this is definitely as good as I'm going to get. Thank you, Studio 16.
And then, this year, there was another Romance Writers of America conference. It was in New York this time, and while I was in town, Simon & Schuster asked me to come over and do the first worst thing I've ever had to do for my writing career. Because I also have a lisp.