Posts tagged with: humor

Where’s the Beef? Finding Truth and Pain in Comedy

Go on–write comedy!

Maybe you can’t go full Nora Ephron, but even the most serious of novels can use a break. Even you (yes, you!) can add a few lines for laughs to break up all the kissing and fighting and sighing and scheming in your romance.

If it doesn’t come out naturally, it always seemed to me that it shouldn’t come out at all. But several years ago, a friend told me to expand my comedic skill set, so I decided to give it a shot. I borrowed “The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You’re Not” by John Vorhaus, and set about learning how to be more like Jennie Cruisie.

Ruby Release! The Memory of You — Laurie Kellogg

Once upon a time . . . 

Oh, wait.  This isn’t a fairy tale.  This is a true story.  Here’s how it goes: 

One day, the husband of a woman in limbo drags her to a sales promotion.  The young salesman is personable, and they get to talking.  Somehow, the talk turns to the fact the woman in limbo has just helped another author get published.  The topic sets the young man off on a rant about his mom, her Golden Heart®, and the fact she still can’t find a publisher. 

The woman in limbo (who has a son about the same age) is touched by the young man’s outrage on his mom’s behalf and offers her services.  And that’s how a critique partnership and abiding friendship came to be. 

I was the woman in limbo  Events had trashed my faith in myself; my writing moldered while I helped others grab the brass ring. 

Laurie Kellogg is that lovely young man’s mother. 

In the beginning, I doubt either of us had any idea the impact her son’s unassailable belief in her talent would have on our lives.  But serendipity is what it is, so it’s with a full heart I announce the release of the book that earned Laurie her second Golden Heart,  

The Memory of You  

She can’t forget him

He can’t remember her

Together, they must discover the

healing power of unforgettable love

Second Lieutenant Matthew Foster was captured in Vietnam and mistakenly declared dead. Six years later, he’s finally released with the other POWs during Operation Homecoming. Unfortunately, his memory has been erased by the torture and emotional trauma he endured. Due to prior facial injuries and the beard concealing his gauntness, he looks nothing like the boyish photo in his military file. 

 When the Army informs Matt he has a wife, he’s sure Abby must have made a new life for herself. And he doubts the bitter man he’s become can salvage enough of the boy she once cared for. To be fair to her, he decides to simply write a note to wish her well and leave. But before he does, he can’t resist going to Redemption, PA, to catch a glimpse of the woman he’d loved enough to marry.  

 The irony of the small town’s name is totally eclipsed by Matt’s dread that he’ll discover he’s lost something truly worth remembering. That fear becomes reality when he learns Abby is engaged, and he’s a daddy! Luckily, his wife doesn’t recognize him, so Matt could still walk away from the beautiful stranger who’s been starring in his X-rated dreams. However, he could never, ever abandon his sons.  

The clock is ticking. Any day, the military will inform Abby he’s alive, and her wedding is in only six weeks. It doesn’t give Matt much time to discover if he can reclaim the love the war stole from him. 

Ruby Release: Last Chance Beauty Queen by Hope Ramsay

It looks like another normal summer is on tap for Last Chance, South Carolina.  The days are hot and sultry, the Watermelon Festival is underway, and right alongside endless pitchers of sweet tea, Trouble is brewing.   Yes, that’s Trouble with a capital “T”.

As near as I could tell during the course of Miz Ruby’s frantic phone call, there’s a mill, a senator, her daughter, Rocky, and Golfing For God  involved. 

Oh, and a British nobleman.  Which is why she called me.  I’m the only person she knows who has a clue about the British peerage (even if only in a historical sense, but Miz Ruby doesn’t quibble over details), and this fellow has the town in an uproar. 

Why a British nobleman would be in Last Chance is beyond me, but I’m willing to melt these Yankee bones to find out.

RUBY RELEASE: Third Grave Dead Ahead — Darynda Jones

Today, I have the pleasure of announcing the release of Darynda Jones’s third Charley Davidson book,

Third Grave Dead Ahead


I admit, paranormal isn’t my usual read, but I have to say, I’ve loved the two previous books.  And once my husband discovered Charley Davidson and her sassy, irreverent humor, I had to hide Second Grave on the Left so I could read it first!

Now, he counts himself one of Darynda’s biggest fans and is as antsy as I am to read Third Grave.  Since he’s watching the mail, I’ll just have to be a bit more creative to outflank him yet again.  No way I’m waiting for him to finish reading it first.  When that book makes it into this house, it’s mine!

Okay, enough gushing.  Let’s get on to the good stuff.


Thanks so much for hosting me, Gwynlyn!

So, yes, today the third in the Charley Davidson series, THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD, drops. This has been an amazing journey, one that started with that Golden Heart final and led me to the phenomenal life of a Ruby Slippered Sister. A fact for which I am forever grateful.

And, as one reader pointed out, those same Rubies know my story through-and-through, God bless ‘em, But some don’t. For those who don’t know the story of how Charley Davidson was born, I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version.

Before I even started, I knew I wanted to write paranormal. I knew I wanted to write a female lead who could deliver a series of one-liners while applying mascara without missing a beat. Or getting a smudge. And I knew I wanted her to be very down to earth despite any paranormal powers she might have. So I was lying in bed one morning, waiting for my turn in the shower, when Charley hit me. Not literally, but you understand. I wanted a little bit of Buffy, a smidgeon of Stephanie Plum, and a LOT of Lorelei Gilmore from the Gilmore Girls. Actually what I wanted was that back-and-forth banter, the lightning-fast dialogue that I love so much. And Charley Davidson was born.

Here is a quick excerpt of Third Grave.

Breaking News!

This just in. USA Today announced that for the first time ever, 20 authors have tied for the number one spot on the Best Seller list. In no particular order, Darynda Jones, Hope Ramsay, Elizabeth Essex, Diane Kelly, Autumn Jordan, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Vivi Andrews, Addison Fox, Heather McCollum, Cynthia Justlin, Cate Rowan, Tamara Hogan, Laura Navarre, Cara Lynn James, Liz Talley, Jeannie Lin, Yvonne Harris, Joan Swan, Shea Berkley and Kelly Ann Riley all have books that are the biggest sellers in the US.

Ruby Slippered Sisterhood spokesperson Elisa Beatty said in response to questions about this phenomena, “Readers of one Ruby book love it so much they have to buy and read them all. This has led to a frenzy of book reading unprecendented in our nation’s history.”

In cities from Maine to California, traffic has been so light that accidents have become almost unheard-of. Amanda Brice reports from Washington DC that Congress has called a recess and work has come to a halt in most offices while everyone is staying home reading Ruby sisters’ books.

In unrelated news, Rita Henuber has been named Secretary of State to replace Hillary Clinton. Four rogue nations immediately surrendered and seven others requested peace talks. State Department spokesperson Jamie Michele credited the outbreak of peace to Henuber’s hot tub diplomacy.  In a related development, Gwynlyn MacKenzie has been named Chief of Protocol “because she always has a kind word for everyone,” and Tina Joyce will be the new Ambassador to Brazil. Canadian Prime Minister Bev Pettersen and Australian PM Vanessa Barneveld were among the first to send their congratulations.

On the business front, Liz Bemis has taken over the helm at Microsoft. Ms. Bemis was called in when Bill Gates admitted he couldn’t do as tremendous a job as his good friend Liz.

In Hollywood, George Lucas is reportedly in production of what he says will be his best work yet, a Regency trilogy based on the works of Anne Barton, Sara Ramsey, and Louisa Cornell. Direction and casting will be split between Laurie Kellogg, Lindsey Brookes, Laurie DeSalvo, and CJ Chase, because after all, who knows romance better than the Rubies?

APRIL FOOL! Or is it? While I don’t think Bev or Vanessa have any designs on the job of Prime Minister, I expect to see Ruby sister names at the top of the USA Today best seller list. And maybe someday George Lucas will produce a Regency romance, or a movie in another genre, written by a Ruby sister.

Because nobody writes it better than the Rubies!

Truth and Pain of Comedy

My beta reader, Margie, has been encouraging me to add more humor to my writing. You’re funny, she insisted. Just try.

Just try? How does one “try” to be funny? If it doesn’t come out naturally, it seemed to me that it shouldn’t come out at all. But she’s a smart woman, so I decided to give it a shot. I borrowed “The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You’re Not” by John Vorhaus, and set about learning how to be more like Jennie Cruisie.

Milking Misunderstanding Conflict

Misunderstandings are practically de rigeur in romance novels.  We, as the readers, know the hero and heroine are perfect for one another.  So what’s keeping them apart?  If only she hadn’t mistaken him for a pauper when really he’s a prince!  If only he knew that she wasn’t really engaged to his arch enemy!  If only they would get over their issues, talk out their problems and live happily ever after.

There can be a real power in the misunderstanding conflict.  The reader really wants the hero and heroine to get together and the misunderstanding conflict dangles that possibility tantalizingly close.  If only she knew!  If only he realized!

But the misunderstanding conflict can backfire on you.  Stretch it too long or botch the set-up and your reader will stop wanting your heroic couple to get together and start shouting at them to get their collective heads out of their collective

The Latest Comments

  • Elizabeth Langston: You’re right–and it is a powerful lingering impression as the last phrase....
  • Darynda Jones: I like what you did here, Beth. I also like the first one. I like the line “determined to...
  • Elizabeth Langston: So I said to lead with city-keeper, and I didn’t do that. Let me take another stab....
  • Darynda Jones: Great pitch, Jenn! I love what you did with it, Beth. This stuff is so hard. LOL
  • Elizabeth Langston: I think this pitch is in good shape. But if I could try anything, I’d want to lead with the...