Because my short story features in the Little Gems Topaz anthology to be launched at the RWA conference in August, I was asked to submit a photo of myself to the event organisers.
I suppose it will be displayed on a screen on the stage during the official launch, along with the pics of the 13 other contributors.
Because I'm really vain and shallow, I decided not to submit any old pic. As it is, there aren't many around after 2005, when I got my first digital camera and deleted every unflattering shot.
I asked my professional photographer friend, Mr Snappy, to take some suitably serious 'author' shots. If anyone could make me look good, it would have to be Mr Snappy.
On the morning of the shoot I went for a swim and afterwards washed my hair, applied some makeup (pretty slapdash as I don't often wear it) and put on a fitted, long-sleeved top. (My bottom half was clad in tracky dacks and Ugg boots).
When Mr Snappy arrived my hair still wasn't dry (I don't use a hair dryer) and the swimming goggles had left rings around my eyes. Great. Oh, and my makeup made me look like some old slapper - too much rouge, methinks.
Mr Snappy was highly complimentary, though I was initially taken aback when he asked if I had a scarf I could wear. He didn't say it, but I know it was to hide my wrinkly old neck.
Next, he found a spot where the light was soft and cajoled and coerced me to assume a range of writerly poses. We argued about whether I should smile or not. I refused (paranoia about yellow teeth).
It was fun, but stressful. "Look at moy, look at moy," demanded Mr Snappy as I ogled the camera, about as natural as Pamela Anderson's breasts.
After the shoot ended, I could appreciate why those in the media spotlight, like Dannii and Kylie Minogue, our Nicole and Elle Macpherson might become obsessed with their looks and how they present to the public. The pressure to look and stay young must be enormous.
When Mr Snappy emailed me my pics about an hour ago, I trawled through them tentatively. He told me he'd chosen the best four. Gawd, if these are the best, I'd hate to see the rest. I can't believe I look so old.
It's interesting how we perceive ourselves. I always thought I looked young for my age, not that I might actually look my age!
The truth hurts. And gravity sucks.
PS: No, that isn't a photo of me. It's 'our' (forever young) Kylie.