Thursday, 22 December 2011

Laugh with Me

My apologies for dropping the ball here this week, but with it being the last week before Christmas and a looming deadline, I've been hard pressed to find an extra minute here and there.
Today I want to discuss and sort of rant a li'l bit about humor in books.
I’m all for reality—as long as it’s not reality TV because I lived that insanity in high school—but sometimes it can be taken too far. Reality
must be a part of all fiction regardless of the genre. I write several
different genres from paranormal romance to science fiction to mainstream and I always include one special aspect of reality in my work: humor.

Not long ago I found a thread where readers were discussing their
dislike of humor in romantic fiction. Their point? They couldn’t take the plot or the characters seriously if humor was involved.

Huh? Laughter is a part of real life

Isn’t life and romantic relationships difficult enough as it is? Ever meet someone who lacked a sense of humor? You spout off something that
has others around you cracking up, but there’s that one person who stares at you like he just found something gooey and stinky on the bottom of his shoe. Then you hear someone mutter, “Sheesh, dude, you’re a major stick in the mud.” (I bet it wasn’t mud he found on his shoe!)

I’m not talking about slapstick humor but legitimate, spontaneous laughter created by circumstances or someone’s unique viewpoint or retort. Comic relief eases tension in a scene. Whether it’s a movie, a TV program, a play, or a book, humor lightens the mood.

In my latest book release, Ruby, the White King and Marilyn Monroe, Ruby Nutter has a high-stress life. Her father blames her for the death of her mother, she’s cursed with unusual powers that surface whenever she’s upset, making her dangerous to those around her (just ask the neighborhood bully who landed upside down in a chimney), men dump her the moment they notice she’s different, and everyone fears her too much to befriend her.

How does Ruby handle everything? Through her rapier wit and sarcasm, and oh how she wields them like deadly weapons.

The novel runs on high octane, propelling the reader from Ruby setting her boss’ bra on fire to running from beautiful yet malevolent bikers who ride demonic motorcycles. She uses her humor and cynicism as a
protection device, too. Even when she’s battling evil incarnate, she can’t seem to control her mouth.

So, the reader is on the proverbial edge of the seat fearful the biker leader will finally catch Ruby, wondering how she’ll get out of yet
another sticky situation (no, not the stuff on the guy’s shoe! Forget that
already!) only to come across an unexpected line that generates laughter. Even ditzy Maureen, the Marilyn Monroe look-alike, can surprise her with a bit of humor.

Does this comedic tool take away from the plot and characters? Absolutely not! It only makes the characters richer and more lifelike.

How many times have you been in church or some sort of formal ceremony when it’s so quiet you can hear a pin drop then someone’s kid
rips off a massive fart that rattles the windows? Mmm, hmm. Don’t tell me you have no idea what I’m talking about because I’ve raised enough children to know how it plays out. You try not to laugh when all you want to do is fall into the aisle clutching your midsection. Others start chuckling, and then you hear a few whispered “Gah! I told you not to eat those burritos last night!” Everyone is ready to explode into hysterical laughter.

How about harmless pranks you see on TV or YouTube? People
crack up at the reactions of those being scared or fooled. How many times have you laughed at someone who trips on thin air? Maybe you’ve been in class and the professor was so tired he said something backward, causing everyone to crack up. That’s life. It’s real, it happens, and regardless if it’s paranormal romance, mainstream fiction or horror, true-to-life humor is in my books.

Join Ruby on her journey, laugh with her, and then maybe share her gift of laughter with a friend, too.

Reincarnated over the centuries. Stuck with a ditzy Marilyn Monroe lookalike. Falling for a rich albino guy. It’s just Ruby’s luck for Hell’s “real” angels to ride into this life and screw it all up.

Amazon link for print and Kindle: http://amzn.to/rTuIPl

Here's an excerpt for your enjoyment.

“Is he gone?” I asked.

Solomon peeped through the curtains. “I don’t see anyone. After all that noise, it probably won’t be long before the motel manager tells us to leave too.” He let the curtain fall and looked over at me. “You know more about this strange stuff than you’ve been letting on.”

“I didn’t want to scare anyone unnecessarily, and I didn’t want you to think...to think...” I gritted my teeth and ordered the tears not to fall.

“To think you’re a freak?” he supplied. “To treat you like shit because you’re different, or that you’re not what people consider normal?”

“No,” I lied, “it’s just that—” The sob ripped free of me before I could squelch it.

Solomon crossed the room and folded me in his arms, holding me so close I heard his heartbeat. Now was the time he was supposed to go crazy with fear, yell obscenities, call me names, and then leave so fast his shoes caught on fire.

“Why?” he said.

Sobs still spilled from my mouth, but I managed to squeak, “Why what?”

He leaned back and peered deeply into my eyes. “Don’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“That.”

I pushed against his chest, but he held me still.

“Why do you clam up or run away whenever someone asks you something personal?”

I sniffed and tried to avoid his penetrating gaze. “Maybe because it’s none of your business?”

“Look, I’m not asking you to tell me all the deep dark secrets you might have.” He let me go and crossed his arms over his chest. “The fact that something unnatural is going on aside, I’d like to know a little more about the women I’m traveling with, that’s all.”

He had me there. Hadn’t I gone through the same thing with Maureen last night?

“For starters,” he said, “I’d like to know more about the incredible things you do.”

“I honestly don’t know how I do them.” I risked looking at him and wished I hadn’t. The expression on that man’s face said he was determined to find out more. “Can we discuss this another time?” I turned away, needing some space. Most of all I needed time to process the fact he wasn’t already packing his bags. “I promise I’ll answer a couple of your questions if we can do it some other time.”

“Fair enough.” He sighed. “So you really think that guy is tied to the hunters who murdered Gabriella?”

“Yes.”

“Come to think of it, the men who attacked my sister and me were really big too. I can’t remember many details about them now other than their yellow eyes and the smell of booze.”

“Solomon, you’re in danger if you travel with me. You should go home.”

“No. I refuse to leave you, Ruby. You might be able to ignore the chemistry and feelings between us, but I can’t.”

That was the last thing I’d expected out of him. For a moment I said nothing. I couldn’t let Solomon know how much I cared for him, how much I wanted him. If I did, there was no doubt it would all come crashing down. At least for now he was still with me.

21 comments:

Anthology Authors said...

People who complain about humor in romance need to lighten up. Most people are attracted to those who make them laugh. Without laughter, you might as well stop breathing. It keeps us healthy and sane. (g) okay, so it keeps me healthy and sane. (g)

Personally, I've read this book and loved it. :) I highly recommend it. (g)

Faith said...

I laugh at the strangest things. My sense of humor is warped and often dark--not the creepy kind, tho, lol.

I'm so glad you enjoyed reading "RUBY". I had a blast writing it and let my muse and sense of humor have free rein.

Anonymous said...

Well, as someone I heard say once, "F**k 'em if they can't take a joke." And I agree with that sentiment. Laughter is good for the soul. And it's good in romance, too.

Jennifer

Valerie Mann said...

I totally agree with you, Faith. Humor is what adds life to many books that would otherwise just be "stories". It shows more personality than simple dialogue or action. But take my opinion with a grain of salt since I tend to be snarky and find humor in the strangest things.

Faith said...

Jennifer, I totally agree on both counts, and Valerie, you and I share the same humor, so all's good, lolol.

Starfox Howl said...

Without laughter, well, hell, where would be be? At the bottom of a pill or booze bottle? Someplace worse?

If you can't laugh at yourself, the world around you or the strange things that happen from time to time, then something is way wrong.

Romance and laughter go together. Laughing in be IS allowed, laughing and pointing isn't.

Faith said...

Great comment, John! There is a reason for the expression 'laughter is the best medicine.'

Suzanne Lilly said...

Personally, I prefer books with humor in them. Even Harlan Coben, who writes high tension thrillers, can make me laugh with things his characters say and do. After learning more about Ruby and her sense of humor,I think you've hit on a good thing. Keep the laughs coming!

M. S. Spencer said...

Since thank God we live in a free country, we can choose our own reading material.If someone is pathetic enough not to enjoy humor, that's their prerogative :). The rest of us just have more fun. Meredith

Faith said...

Suzanne and M.S., I was shocked to actually find such a discussion thread. I discovered it on amazon.com too.

Linda Rettstatt said...

Great discussion. I love humor in books, and especially in romance. Let's face it--life is funny at times and people are funny a lot of the time. Some of us use humor to cope with stress. Humor in books make characters more realistic.

Janice Seagraves said...

I love humor in books and end up being a fan of the author that makes me laugh.
*grin*

Janice~

Faith said...

Yes, humor is a great stress reliever. I guess it's why I use it a lot to diffuse bad situations. And I must admit that Ruby's sense of humor in the novel is all me. I let it rip, lol.

Hey, Janice! I'm the same way when I read an author's work and I get good laughs.

Angel said...

Personally, one of the short stories that I had up that did sell, it sold because of the humor in it. But, I did have a reviewer get offended just because I used the word, "puppy" instead of using the normal dirtier vocabulary for the male part. Alot of people thought it to be cute.

So humor is the best part of a book in my opinion

Karenna Colcroft said...

Humor absolutely belongs in romance, in my opinion. If you can't laugh with someone, how can you expect to get through a life with them?

Life can be funny. Heck, sex can be funny. I've had to rewrite sex scenes at editors' requests because I wrote them humorously--and realistically--and according to the editors readers didn't want that.

Faith said...

Plus what people consider funny is often mixed. My guess with that reviewer is that she didn't have much of a sense of humor.

Faith said...

Same here, Karenna. A fart during the deed will crack me up so badly I have tears leaking from my eyes, but apparently such things aren't allowed in romantic fiction.

And you make an excellent point about getting through life with someone. Laughter is an absolute necessity.

Paul McDermott said...

If we all go along with Uncle Albert ("Mary Poppins") when he sang "I love to Laugh ..." what's so different about the idea of "I laugh to Love"?

The Inuits have the right attitude, and I'm a bit surprised nobody's mentioned it yet on this thread.

The (literal) translation of their word for "making love" is "Laughing Together"

'Nuff said?

E. Ayers said...

Humor is part of life. People say the "wrong" things and it's funny. Stuff happens. Children say things they shouldn't at the wrong times.

I write contemporary romance and there is humor in most of my stories. But I wouldn't say I write humorous romance. I'm far from that. But stuff happens and it's funny. It's a dry humor not a slapstick. Don't know if everyone even sees it.

But when you are young and in love, playing can be a big part of the relationship. They are going to laugh and giggle, tickle and tease. Laughter is healthy and quite normal.

Ruby looks like a fun read. You just had to add it to my TBR pile, didn't you?

Faith said...

Paul, did not know that but I have to say that meaning is lovely!

LOL @ E. and your TBR pile!

Celtic Chick said...

Humor is a part of life so there should be humor in romance. I even like some humor in the bedroom. Having sex is rarely perfect so some laughter makes it more realistic.