Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Men of Jungle Red: Part 2

LUCY BURDETTE: As promised on Monday, today we bring you part 2 of the Men of Jungle Red. Ross Hugo-Vidal is Julia's main squeeze--he cooks, he tweets, he facebooks, he fathers--we can't even list all the ways he contributes to Julia's team (and ours too, here at JRW!) I'll let him tell it how it is to be married to a famous crime writer! Take it away Ross--and then pile on with your comments...

ROSS HUGO-VIDAL: Come and get it! Get your Tell-all Expose right here! OK, sure my lovely and talented wife (TM) is a hot-shot New York Times bestseller NOW, after a mere 10 years of hard labor, but let me tell you it hasn't always been Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous around our house. Actually its not now either, but hey, that's utterly beside the point. Lets call it Lifestyles of the Cyclically Impoverished Rural Mainers.....There, THAT'll bring #Geraldo running!

So, was my lovely and talented (TM) wife born with a silver pen in her mouth? Nope, turns out that 10 years AFTER we married she took a poll of her closest friends and UNANIMOUSLY they told her she should take up writing. She was the last one to know. Actually, I was the last one to know and let's just say it took me awhile to jump aboard the bandwagon. Actually, being a clueless husband, it took me awhile to FIND the bandwagon.

When my lovely and talented (TM) wife's unpublished debut, IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER won the Malice Domestic Contest and the legendary editor Ruth Cavin left a message for her (remember those antediluvian cassette answering machines?) to call back, I (somewhat less than thoughtfully) blurted out "are they a real publisher? For God's sake DON'T send them any money!" Yup, am STILL living that down -- and she has made sure all our children are well aware of it as well...Sorry, honey, that WAS a remarkably dumb thing to say...even for me...and I understand I will have to live with it FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE! I began learning the publishing business shortly thereafter.

I WAS a reasonably well-adjusted man of middling years when the bandwagon left the station. Then my lovely and talented (TM) wife HAD TO go and name her character RUSS (Russ/Ross get it?) I just know she did this deliberately. She does almost nothing deliberately but THAT's beside the point..I was sailing through mid-life with nary a (major) crisis in sight. Then she creates a heroic, macho, well-loved character. Totally accurate depiction of course. Trust me. But do you realize the psychic burden of living up to this ideal? DO YOU? It took me awhile to figure out the payback. But I have. I've cleverly morphed into a child-rearing, home-cooking, kiddy-taxi-driving, birthday-partying house-hubby New Man of the 21st Century who loves TWILIGHT (Zone)! Take THAT, woman! Captain America's got nothing on me!

Raising kids with a crime writer? My lovely and talented (TM) wife INVENTED the reality show. WE LIVE IN ONE. She just neglected the part about cameras and income stream. So I walk in the door with our (fortunately well-grounded; mostly; well, maybe not so much...) children to see Julia wiping up a pool of red, viscous fluid from the middle of the wooden floor. Arms stained red. Me: Ummmm, honey, what exactly are you doing? Julia: beat, two beat, cue maniacal laugh. We fled in disarray to the grocery store. I began learning to cook shortly thereafter.

But I know I'm safe, because I have a duplicate copy of her VERY first book, a sci-fi novel that she has sworn shall never see the light of day. And if anything were to happen to me...Actually if something mysterious DOES happen to me, somebody please call my brother and tell him I left the you-know-what in a suitcase under the bed. With pictures of us literally gluing together Julia's first postcards to libraries and bookstores on the living room table in 2002 (that's when I discovered gluesticks. Lots of gluesticks). Gosh, I love social media! I don't even have to call a reporter to take out an insurance policy..

You know what my Lovely and Talented (TM) wife REALLY wants to write? Romance. And erotica. Not necessarily in that order. Maybe both if you could actually combine them. And if you think she's a terrific MYSTERY writer...Ummm, Hey Honey, was I supposed to run this piece by you BEFORE I hit the button? Ummm, OK, yep, I'm just finishing up. What, uh oh. Errr, Folks" about everything you just read? Umm, never mind...and remember, if you don't hear from my...urkk.


  1. Well, it's pretty clear there are TWO talented writers in the Spencer-Fleming cyclically-impoverished-no-longer household. Ross, Bravo!

  2. What Ross doesn't mention is that he makes dinner, bakes pies and cakes, keeps the kids quiet when I'm taking a Sunday afternoon nap and brings me tea just the way I like it. Plus, of course, he has a big red beard.

    Am I lucky, or am I lucky?

  3. I think you're BOTH lucky, and once a day, climb out on my roof to shout out LONG LIVE TEAM PEPPERONI! Which alarms my wife and most of the neighborhood, but helped me find that loose shingle after our most recent wind storm.

  4. Jeff, you're too funny:). We'll be happy to feature you and your antics here one day!

  5. Ross she's never going to bump you off (even if you did wear a Rhys Rocks button to the Edgars when we were both nominated!) because who else would cook for her?

  6. Ahh..Tears are streaming down my face...Ross, you are too much!

    And Jeff--Jonathan is with ya on the pizza!

  7. We are all lucky to have Ross on our Jungle Red team!

    And I think Julia better watch out. Do you know how many women out there would KILL for a man who makes dinner, bakes pies and cakes, and brings cups of tea????

    Just don't tell me he vacuums, too! Sigh....

  8. Ross you are so funny! I hope to hear more from you. By the way I had my daughter do the fake blood on a wood floor to make a cover for one of my e books.

  9. Awesome. Just awesome. I love the team that is the two of you. And I'm going to give this to my husband to read for inspiration....

  10. I'm with you Hallie!

    @Julia, your household is clearly marked with not one but two brilliant writers. And, maybe more?! I'm curious as to what your children might say in interviews. Hmmmm...

    @Ross, you brought a smile to my face. Actually, its more of a good 5 minutes straight of laughter. You're simply too charming for words. Through Russ and that bit we just read, I'm sure we've all fallen a little bit in love with you.

    @Julia, no worries, we know who holds ownership of that particular heart. You're one lucky woman!

  11. Deb,

    He just finished vacuuming to spiff up for our dinner guests tonight. In fact, when our youngest was still very small, she referred to the vacuum cleaner as "Daddy's machine" -- which goes to show you how much I ever use it.

    And yes, I've told Ross before that if I pass on before him, my corpse will be trampled underfoot by the many, many women eager to bring him casseroles and comfort.

  12. Ross, Julia, bless you both! The love and the laughter comes through, so grateful you shared that. But, Julia, romance/erotica — really? Not that you wouldn't do it beautifully. But I'm not ready to say goodbye to Clare and Russ just yet.

  13. Julia, how did the two of you meet? I'm hoping for a funny story, BTW.

  14. Gigi Sherrell NorwoodJanuary 7, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    You think the Ross/Russ thing is awkward? My maiden name is Sherrell, and my beloved created a character named Sh'rill, who was an alien with three breasts. Drew some odd looks and comments when we went to SF conventions together.

  15. Gigi! Ahhh...howling!

    And Lucy--Jeff will be here this space!

  16. I can only imagine the word tossing that goes on around your house. Absolutely charming, and a lively marriage, I'll bet.

  17. Julia, You ARE lucky! Obviously a match made in... well, somewhere up north and very, very cold.

    Ross, I love the "cyclically impoverished household." Sounds like my own. LOL

    And Julia wants to write romance and erotica? That speaks well for you, Ross. ;-)

  18. I met Ross when he came with Julia to Bouchercon in Ancorage in 2007. He was looking for a copy of a book that he thought Julia would like! We sat and talked for quite a while as though he had known me for years. He is as warm and outgoing in person as he is on paper (on electronic media?)

  19. Hi Ross,

    I nearly dialed 9-1-1 for you...but you're already infamous around here for your baking and cooking prowess, if nothing else!;)

    Y'all are a very entertaining couple. Enjoyed this post! Thanks for the laughs.

  20. Ross-
    Very funny! Amazing you lived to tell the tale after the award phone call! Must be those pies, cakes and cups of tea!

    Great post!

  21. This is such a fun blog today.
    I just downloaded In The Bleak Midwinter and I am loving it.