I didn't want my image on the Internet. Didn't want it my book(s) either, and definitely not in any newspaper. For an author these days achieving this, I realized, would demand a bit of dodging, running and conniving.
When the editor of Café Au Lait sent me the list of items I needed to submit, a photo was among them. Was this optional? I asked hopefully. Yes, she replied. Bingo! One down - but how many more to go?
The blog came next and I saw that I had lots of company in the incognito-blogger department. Then I realized that although this was true of writer blogs in general, it was certainly not the norm for the sites of published authors. Norm be damned, I resolved. My avatar would be a beachscape, and that was that.
The press releases were a bit trickier to negotiate since an author photo was de rigeur there but no one made it an issue - except for the features editor at one local newspaper. She called and told me she'd run an article, but insisted on a photo.
"I don't have a recent, decent one," I replied. That was the truth. All my decent pictures were taken years ago when I was young. And thin.
"No problem!" she chirped. "Are you in Trinidad at the moment?"
My alarm-o-meter redlined. "Uh, well, yes..." Damn. A lie would have solved the looming problem but where was one when you needed it?
"Okay, then. I'll send a photographer around."
"No!" I thought fast. "You can't do that."
"Really, it's no problem. We do this all the time."
"You don't understand," I squeaked. "I have the cold, I've been in bed for two days and I'm an absolute wreck right now. I cannot, CANNOT face a photographer." This was the truth, but it sounded like a whopper even to my ears. I produced a wracking, hacking cough for effect and the editor lady capitulated.
"Okay," she decided. "I'll run it as is this time but I'm just letting you know I'll be coming back at you for that photo."
Ha, I thought. Catch me. But I could feel my time running out...