By Jeanne Adams and Brad Parks.
I had the wonderful and amusing fortune to meet mystery suspense author Brad Parks through our Wednesday Guest, Hank Phillipi Ryan. Serendipity, I must say. A fabulous debut book, a wicked sense of humor and a friend of Hanks. Hmmmm. Pretty good start.
*note...this is slightly naughty!*
So Brad decided he'd like to talk with you today about being Mr. Romance. Hey, it's February. THAT month, you know...*whispers* Valentines! So without further ado, heeeerrreee's Brad!
Hello Romance Bandits!
They've told me it can't be done.
They've told me I'll just embarrass myself.
They've told me I'm dorky and balding and my workout program looks like it was designed by Ben & Jerry.
Yes, the critics are saying all these things and more about my darkhorse candidacy to win the title Mr. Romance at the RT Booklovers Convention in Columbus, Ohio this coming April.
Jeanne: He'll be up against the Golden Rooster...this should be interesting!
And perhaps it's too much for a middle-aged author - a mostly sedentary, keyboard-bound, washed-up jock who can't do more than seventy...okay fifty...okay, forty pushups - to dream of becoming the next Mr. Romance.
But I think I've got a shot.
Because maybe - just maybe - I have a secret weapon.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Mr. Romance Pageant you can check it out here: http://guest.event.com/EVENTS/Info/Custom.aspx?cid=36&e=39f9fb57-5ebc-49a4-b572-a2316b792e98 at RT Booklovers, it's an annual competition for romance novel cover models. The winner - usually some long-haired Fabio-wannabe who appears to have been carved from marble - gets a nice little check and an appearance on the cover of a book.
For those of you unfamiliar with me, I'm the author, as Jeanne said, of FACES OF THE GONE, a mystery thriller - with a side of romance.
Jeanne: I'm butting in again to say that you can check it out at http://www.bradparksbooks.com/, and that Library Journal calls it "the most hilariously funny and deadly serious mystery debut since Janet Evanovich's One for the Money!"
Ahem, yes. Well, I'm aiming to be Mr. Romance. Really, what do those guys have that I don't? You know, besides six-pack abs, a garter-snake-like vein running down my biceps and a heroic jaw. And good hair (unless by "good" you mean "wiry and thinning"). And good looks (yeah, my mom thinks I'm cute, but that's not going to get it done here). And smoldering eyes (I have nice blue eyes, but they've never once come close to combusting).
Still, I'm hoping what I lack in physical ability, I make up for elsewhere. I mean, I've got an Ivy League degree. I sing. I've got two children under the age of three, so I can change a diaper in less than 12 seconds while blindfolded.
Chicks dig that stuff too, right?
(Jeanne: Well, having just finished potty-training my youngest, I'm impressed with it!)
Besides, I'm not in terrible shape. I ran a marathon (once). I swim (when it's not too cold). I might even have six-pack abs (hiding under a layer of, ummm, thick skin.) I'm 6-foot-1, 185 pou..actually, hang on...scale, where's the scale?...okay, here we go...Oh, crap! 195? When in the name of holiday sugar cookies did THAT happen?
Okay, so after a few weeks of subsisting on Saltines and chicken soup, I'll be back at 185 pounds. And I've got three months to tone things up a bit.
I mean, sure, if it turns into a pull-up contest, I'm still toast. But if it comes down to vocabulary, grammar or singing arpeggios, I'm totally going to mash those meatheads.
Just to see what my competition might be like, I started doing some research - Research! Ha! There's another something those muscle hunks can't do! - on what my competition might look like.
Mr. Romance 2005 was Andrei Claude (http://www.andreiclaude.com/) In the "About" section of his website, it notes, "As you may observe Andrei might not possess such an overwhelming muscle mass, it is his overall shape, proportion and symmetry that make his physique and form so inspiring. It is the quality and not the quantity that separates the best from the rest."
Now, ignoring for the moment that the first sentence (which I quoted exactly) is an egregious run-on, I think this gives me some hope. Quality over quantity? I can do that.
Mr. Romance 2006 was Rodney Chatman, who looks like Taye Diggs only with a better body. Ladies, I'm as straight as the day is long, but even I can admit he's gorgeous. Check him out: www.romantictimes.com/resources_covermodels.php?id=362 He's got a 44-inch chest and a 33-inch waist, which basically makes the letter V look paunchy by comparison.
And...okay, stop drooling, ladies. Yes, I mean YOU Mariska! You'll short out your keyboard.
Jeanne: ZZZZzzzzt! Oops, yeah, he's right, Mariska. Watch out for drool on the keys....
Anyhow, where was I? Ah, yes, Mr Romance 2007, Jason Santiago. www.romantictimes.com/resources_covermodels.php?id=439 Jason was your basic 25-year-old pretty boy. But I'm here to say he came on a little too strong. He listed his hometown as "Akron, Ohio, aka the Rubber City."
The "rubber" city? Really, pal? Could you try to be a little more subtle? Or should I just list my hometown as "Ridgefield, aka the Cunnilingus Capital of Connecticut" and hope it carries me to the title?
My point in all this is, I think I have a legit shot against these tight-T-shirt-wearing, protein-shake-chugging knuckle-draggers.
But only with your help.
See, that's my secret weapon. It's all of you Banditas, (Jeanne: And Bandita Buddies!) I mean, the judges are going to be women, right? And I figure with the advice and wisdom you'll impart to me in the comments section here today at Romance Bandits, you'll tell me everything I need to know.
It's not like I have to worry about my competition, that they'll be lurking on here, cherry-picking the best stuff. From what I've seen, the Golden Rooster and I are the only uh...dare I say it...cocks in this roost?
Jeanne: Ooooh, I think P226 and a couple of others might be lurking 'round to gainsay you...we'll see!
Oh, c'mon, Jeanne! Seriously, when was the last time a dude guest-posted here? Not that I want any competition mind you. Hanging out with all you Banditas, I get to live the dream of being the only guy in a bar full of hot women!
Jeanne: *shaking head* Men. Sometimes...
So, please, let me have it. Do you think I have a chance to win Mr. Romance? What tips and pointers can you give me? What will it take to win your hearts?