Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mum's The Word...

Before I begin, I have to explain the above photo. You see, my mother has decided that all my blogging about the outdoors have made me appear too boyish. We were at a wedding in Chicago and she took this picture with the explicit demand that I post it so people would know I didn't spend all my time rolling in the mud, flinging knives and swinging from ropes (she's exaggerating - I don't spend ALL my time doing those things...sometimes I sleep). I posted this photo because I'm afraid of my mother. If you read my books, you'd know that she is Carolina Bombay.

Now that I think of it, I guess my mom really plays a prominent role in my books (and apparently, my blog). Book Three - STAND BY YOUR HITMAN - has my mother as both Carolina Bombay and as her sister, Missi's mother - California (Cali) Bombay. Why did I feel the need to put her in two characters? Well, one reason is because I CAN (yes, I'm sticking my tongue out) and the other reason is because both women, at various times in my life, are my mother.

For example, before I met my husband, my mother was constantly trying to fix me up (if you are 1) a woman and 2) have a mother - you know exactly what I mean). I included a little nod to that wonderful (and in no way, frustrating) time in my life in Book Three as Missi is sent to participate in a cheap, Canadian knock-off of Survivor called Survival in order to stalk a Vic. Cali believes Missi (widowed and 45) should use this as an opportunity to find a man. Here's an excerpt:

“Sorry, babe,” Mom said in a sing-songy voice. “A job’s a job. Oh! I knitted you a knapsack to take. Send the boys over for it, will you?” And then, she hung up on me. Yes, my own mother.

To say that panic had set in would be unfair. I was on the edge of full-blown mass hysteria. I started to pace back and forth while my children calmly watched me rant like a lunatic.

“I can’t do this! There’s no way I’ll be ready in time! And why do I have to fly to Canada just to come back down here to Costa Rica? That would at least buy me a day or two! Who are these people? If I kill the producer would they drop the show?”

“It says here that you are a homemaker from Texas,” Jack said quietly. In spite of his mischievous nature he knew when to avoid a joke at my expense.

“What?” I spun on my heel.

He sighed as if having to deal with me was some sort of chore. “You’re a homemaker from Texas. Widowed. You went to college on a bowling scholarship and in your free time like to cook, decorate and long to find another man to take care of.”

“Bowling scholarship?” Monty asked, missing the point entirely.

“Give me that!” I ripped the page from my son. Yup. That’s what it said, alright. Where in the hell did they get that? I can’t cook, and decorating the condo damn near killed me. Mom! She must have written this. I’ll kill her!

“You can’t bowl!” Monty informed me.

I pointed at the door. “Go upstairs and tell Grandma I’m NOT going!”

A few minutes later, my son returned with the bag and a note from Mom that read, Hope you like the bag, honey. Be sure to get waxed before you go. Can’t get a man if you’re hairy like a monkey. The tote bag she knitted for me said Hot to Trot. Get Me While I’m Hot.

If she weren’t my mother, I’d kill her.

My sister, Jenny, is also featured rather prominently in the same book. The character of Sami, a sweet, but foul-mouthed electrician is based entirely on her. You might think that sounds weird but I consider it a loving tribute. Jenny is, in fact, an electrician and let's just say that her usual pet names for us run from the affectionate "Dumbass" (usually reserved for holidays and special occaisions) to the creative "Buttdart" (more commonly used in text messages, when shopping, or introducing her to important people).

Here's an introduction to Sami, based on her introduction to the other contestants on Survival;

“Hell. My name’s Sami. And don’t any of you assholes even think of calling me Samantha.”

I realized that from here on out, virtually everything Sami said would be bleeped.

I'm curious - does anyone else do this...or is it just me? Let me know if you use your family for characters in your writing. After all, I may need a new family after my mom and sister read this.

The Assassin


Terri Osburn said...

Your family gatherings must be hysterical. I want to be adopted just so I can be a part of it.

My family is incredibly dull. Spinster sister, gay brother, playboy younger brother. My parents are always cranky and miserable but would never think to do anything different to change that. I'm sure it's obvious why I live 500 miles away.

I have a gypsy aunt I might use someday. She'd be kind of interesting. And I have four female cousins who are all train wrecks. All former strippers or biker gang members or alcoholic junkies. Their real life stories are probably more interesting than any fiction I could make up.

Angie Fox said...

I have to admit my biker witches might be loosely based on my mom's sisters (20 years from now, since the witches are older and my aunts will kick my butt if they ever read this). I have a bunch of crazy aunts who are a kick to hang out with. You never know what they're going to say...or do. I borrowed that attitude, added some Harleys and demons and there you go!

Anonymous said...

First of all, the new book sounds great!!!

It occurs to me that I don't much use my family as templates. At least not consciously. But then, by and large, they're kind of boring. *g*

Hellie Sinclair said...

I use friends...and annoying co-workers, and...wait, I did have a version of my sister: wild, always has to have a man, always--ALWAYS picks the biggest loser (and I don't mean the one on that show on NBC.) So yes, I use my family and friends. But they're aware this will happen. Sometimes they even say something funny, look at me and say, "Put that in your book."

As for your family, DENY, DENY, DENY. If they accuse you of using them in your books, tell them you're using archetypes. I suggest having the Writer's Digest to Heroes and Heroines or Character Archetypes on hand, to at least SHOW them you own it. (Your mother would be a CRUSADER archetype if she asks; your sister would be a BOSS archetype...or possibly a FREE SPIRIT. A very disgruntled FREE SPIRIT. *LOL*)

Anonymous said...

You do realize you've blown the disclaimer in the front of your books. The one that goes something like this: "This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either
a matter of historical record or a product of the author’s imagination or are
used fictiously."
Please let us know once you hear from your family's lawyers.

Kim Castillo said...

Oh man, I'm right there with Terri. I'd love to see one of your reunions. LOL.

And wowza on the pic! You are smokin' babe;)

Just a reminder, there's only 7 days left to send in your suggestions for the first Langtry's Larcenist Lines. Get em in!

Terri Osburn said...

Crazy day here but I realized I didn't comment on the picture. You look gorgeous. Not that you didn't look great covered in mud, but clean up pretty darn good. LOL!

Leslie Langtry said...

I WISH I had boring relatives! Hellion, I think you and I have the same sister. Ironically enough, my family seems to like seeing themselves in my books...which is weird. Thanks for the compliments - I do clean up good. I don't think I've worn a dress in months - and if you click on the picture you can still see bruises and cuts on my legs. I LOATHE pantyhose.

I love you guys!


Hellie Sinclair said...

What are you talking about, Leslie, I am like totally your sister! Your stalking, uber-fan sister...though if Sami is based off your sister, and I'm your sister...and your sister can't pick the right man if her life depen....HEY!

Come to think of it, Survivor would have to BLEEP pretty much everything I said too.

Terri Osburn said...

You could never be on Survivor because you would bludgeon all the other contestants on the first day. Then you'd beat the tar out of Probst to relax.

Keri Ford said...

well don't you just clean up into one foxy lady!

I don't pull from my family. i don't really know where they come from!

Leslie Langtry said...

The only problem with drawing characters from your family, is that they don't get mad if you use them...they get mad if you don't.

The Assassin

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Me? Never! (sssh!!)

Great photo. I looked closely too and saw no bruises :)