And just like that – I became a romance writer. Seriously. I’m a card-carrying member of the Romance Writers of America. I think it’s hysterical.

When I picture romance writers, I envision women with long, blonde, feathered hair, pearls and fuzzy sweaters. Basically, I picture Donna Mills in every episode of “Knots Landing.”

Everyone under 30 just went, “Who? What?”

Side note: She was the evil Abby Ewing, the sexy villainess from the sudsy “Dallas” spinoff. She wore pink and violet eyeshadow and a lot of jackets with shoulder pads.

But I digress, like I do. I’m just saying I am an unlikely character to be considered a romance novelist. I am the most unusual suspect. If you were in a crowded room and you had to guess, you would pick me last.

Just like in dodgeball.

I am a thick Italian dude with fuzzy arms, not fuzzy sweaters. No pearls. Not even pearls of wisdom.

If Debbie Macomber is the queen of Christmas romance books, I’m the new court jester.

Naturally, my book, “All I Want for Christmas,” is a romcom (or romantic comedy). It’s also more comedy than romance, but, at the heart of it, it’s a love story. There are young people who are brought together by fate, and, by fate, I mean my keyboard. I made them up and I brought them together.

Most of the chapters in the book are just fictionalized versions of the truth: astute readers of this column will pick up all of the nuances. There’s a missing tooth, an angry incident in a parking lot and a diatribe about Christmas music. I just reorganized my true stories and put them into a fictionalized version.

I write a lot of true stories. Most people don’t believe them, but they’re true nonetheless. Rearranging them into a love story was pretty fun. Plus, I also got to write myself a happy ending.

The funny gal and the Italian guy fall in love. Since I’m both of the characters in the story, they had to end up together. They are different sides of my personality. The only real difference is I made the dude really strong and muscly.

I could be muscly. I’m sure there are muscles in here somewhere.

That’s the best thing about writing. You can be anyone. It’s sort of like Halloween. I’m just playing dress-up in my head (I realize how strange that sounds out loud).

When you tell people you’re a humor writer, they think you spend all day making up fart jokes. That’s only partially true. There’s a bit more gravitas when you tell people you write fiction.

I look like a construction worker but I am writing contemporary romance. I enjoy the look on people’s faces when they try to put together that Rubik’s cube. But I became a romance writer for the same reason I became a humor writer. I want to make people smile, and I can think of no loftier ambition than that.

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 6:30 p.m., I’ll be reading and signing copies of my new book, “All I Want for Christmas” at Citizens Library, 55 S. College St., Washington, PA. Come out and support the Friends of Citizens Library of Washington.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!

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