By Leslie Langtry (Guest Blogger)
First of all, thanks for having me, Lisabet! I’m thrilled to make the acquaintance of your followers! In honor of the occasion, I’d love to give away a signed paperback copy of the book I’m talking about below – to two lucky readers!
Most people are familiar with my Bombay Family of Assassins series, starting with ‘Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy. All the books I’ve written so far are in that series – a dark comedy/romance/mystery kind of thing. So it surprised my fans when I published The Adulterer’s Unofficial Guide to Family Vacations, because, well, it was completely different.
First off, it’s a naughty book. Sex scenes in my other books are, well, tame. Really tame. Like ‘your fourteen year old daughter could read it’ tame. But this book was totally different. There’s sex, adultery, and more sex. Graphic sex. Sex that at least made me blush when I wrote it. My mom’s best friend emailed me after she read it, saying, “Your book really got my juices flowing.” My mom emailed shortly with, “Your book really got Judy’s juices flowing.” I could’ve lived without that.
Some of my fans do NOT like this book. And I understand it. It’s not what they are used to. So why did I publish it?
I wrote it just before I wrote the book that sold to New York. It was kind of a ‘what if’ scenario. About a year after 9/11, I read an article that said Americans were flocking to find their first loves online. Single people were scared and for comfort, they thought they’d look for love in a place that existed before terrorists attacked. They wanted something they knew and felt safe with.
Why adultery? At the time, I had two close friends, who within a matter of weeks, told me they were divorcing their husbands. I twisted that and tried to look at it from a ‘no-fault’ adultery frame of mind. My main characters – Laura and Alan – are in crumbling marriages that probably died long before the family vacations they were abandoned on.
AND – I’m not much of a ‘follow-the-rules-type-of-writer.’ I get in trouble for that occasionally. When I want to do something different, I just do it.
Since the book has come out, I’ve had some interesting reactions to it. Some readers tell me they didn’t like it because they were the victim of a cheating spouse. Others who’ve also been through that had no problem with the book. It’s like some weird chimera of a thing that I can’t identify.
The Adulterer’s Unofficial Guide to Family Vacations is something I published because…I wanted to. I loved writing it. It’s the only one of my books I’ve re-read.
Someday I will have to write another one. I think I might enjoy writing that one even more.
Here’s an excerpt – enjoy!
Luggage to the right of me. Luggage to the left of me. Luggage behind me. Packed and Bursting.
Too much luggage, in fact. Way more than we needed. I sighed – something I did far too often these days. So, I opened all four bags up and started over. This was my ritual. The thing that kept me sane while I got ready for the family trip. I couldn’t wait. This vacation would be an antidote to my robotic life.
And it kept my mind off, well, the other thing. Mike had missed dinner yet again. In fact, it was more normal than not for him to spend less than ten minutes with us a day.
I packed the first bag, then stopped to listen. Jenny and Ben were either asleep, or plotting a military junta. But silence is a rare commodity and should never be questioned. So I kept working.
After two hours, I had it done. Down to three bags full of enough clothes for a family of four to have a wonderful vacation at the greatest theme park in the world. Unfortunately, I still had to put away laundry, grade more essays, unload the dishwasher, and so on. My list rarely changed from night to night.
Not that it mattered, but I was a pro by this time. And it was worth it. My twin kindergartners were wonderful. I had my big dream house, a good, part-time teaching gig, and a . . . well, a marriage to a . . . man.
You noticed a few adjectives missing, didn’t you? After checking the driveway from my bedroom window for the twentieth time, I ran a hot bubble bath and slipped into it.
I suppose most women would consider me lucky. After all, I have the American dream, right? Hmmm. I don’t feel so lucky. I soaked until my skin wrinkled, then got out, checked the driveway again and climbed into bed with a novel. Somewhere along the line, I fell asleep. And I might note that it was the most exciting part of my day.
The alarm went off and I found Mike, my husband, snoring beside me, reaffirming that I was actually married to a living, breathing human and not an imaginary friend. I sighed again and got up, dressed and roused the kids.
Mike made a grand appearance at breakfast and the kids fell upon him like he was a conquering hero. I had to give him credit, he looked great. It only took him half an hour to go from sleeping hulk to well-dressed czar of advertising and all-around bastard.
He tickled the kids, grabbed a banana and winked good-bye to me. It was the only evidence of my existence. For one brief, shining moment, my husband remembered me.
I shouldn’t complain. The kids need him more. And I’m grateful they don’t feel sorry for the fact that they didn’t see him much. That’s the great thing about children – their total and complete self-absorption. In a few minutes, I’d drop them off at school and they too would forget I existed.
I was a ghost with my own mini-van.
Work was a little better. The students only singled me out if they had trouble with an assignment, and either I was such an amazing instructor that they didn’t need help or such a boring one they didn’t really care. I was only teaching one class this semester. Technically, I was on sabbatical to finish my doctoral thesis, but the administration asked me to teach one class, so like the doormat I’d become, I agreed to keep working.
Jenny and Ben’s mom-nesia ended every day at 3pm, when they came squealing out of Rutherford B. Hayes Elementary. The drive home consisted of mostly filling each other in on their day. I just got to listen in. Once again, I thought how smart I was to insist they be put in separate classes. Of course, I was the only one who congratulated me on this.
By four o’clock, I’d gone through their backpacks, emptied their lunchboxes, signed any permission slips, etc. The kids were outside on the swing set, laughing about our upcoming trip to Florida. They probably didn’t realize how much it meant to me too.
I wasn’t always like this. In fact, I’m kind of surprised I ended up this way. I used to think of myself as a live wire. My old friends used to say I was funny. Mike used to molest me every minute he was in my presence. I was into the arts and haute couture (well, at least as far as handbags and shoes are concerned). Isn’t it weird how things change? Right now, I can relate to those valium wives from the 1950’s.
Leave me a comment with your email address if you want to win your very own copy of the book!
And if you don't win, you can always buy yourself a copy:
Barnes and Noble
Leslie loves puppies and cake (but she will not share her cake with puppies) and thinks praying mantids make everything better. She lives with her family and assorted animals in the Midwest, where she is currently working on her next book and trying to learn to play the ukulele.
Leslie Langtry was named 2011 Blogger of the Year by The Book Boost. Seriously...she has a trophy and everything.
Leslie's favorite color is orange and her favorite flavor is sugar.
Leslie also blogs regularly on the following sites:
www.killerfictionwriters.blogspot.com (every other Wednesday)
www.romancewritersrevenge.blogspot.com (last Friday of each month)
www.bookendbabes.com (reviews funny books you should read on first Thursday of each month)
www.girlfriendbooks.blogspot.com (every other month - totally randomly)