Category Archives: Romantic Comedy

Romantic…Comedy?

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)How many times have you read a book or seen a movie billed as romantic comedy that simply wasn’t funny? I feel like I’ve read lots of those kinds of books and seen lots of those kinds of movies where the humor fell flat. It should have been funny but it wasn’t.

Do we even know what romantic comedy is? What it’s supposed to encompass?

Too often, I think romantic comedy is built around a situation instead of the characters. And if the humor doesn’t come from the characters, there’s no way it can be funny. You can force them into a comical situation, (think Sandra Bullock and  Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal) but if THEY aren’t funny, you won’t laugh. You probably won’t even be entertained. Sometimes it all seems just kind of dumb. Even a little bit sad. Sometimes writers try to force comedy to get laughs and when they try too hard no one is amused. And maybe, when they aren’t trying to force laughs, but a movie leaves you smiling and with that warm fuzzy feeling, they’ve succeeded (why did While You Were Sleeping work so well?).

My first book from Samhain Publishing (A Month From Miami) image001_editedwas billed as romantic comedy by my editor. I’d never considered it would fall into that genre. But when I read it now, I smile. It’s cute. Light-hearted. Warm. And the characters work well in the babysitting-for-car-repair trade scenario. Nobody’s Fool, a ten-year high school reunion story also got tagged as romantic comedy. It’s cute, but is it funny?

NobodysFool72smMaybe romantic comedy doesn’t have to make you laugh until you cry. Maybe you won’t laugh out loud at all. Maybe humor is so subjective no two people will find the same thing tickling their funny bone. But a successful romantic comedy? I think we all know it when we see it or read it.

With the soon to be released Cleo’s Web, I’m categorizing it as romantic comedy that’s actually funny. Not only is the situation comical (a 30-something disguising herself as a senior citizen) the characters play well off that (when the hero tries to keep her rule breaking secret in return for a favor. Or two.)

I’m still working on the cover. And the blurb. And the formatting. And all the other fun stuff that goes with publishing. But here’s a sneak peek excerpt from Cleo’s Web just for you:

“What do you want?” she asked so softly she wasn’t sure he could even hear her. She’d directed the question at the window instead of him.

“A home-cooked meal is what I was thinking.”

She turned to stare at him. “You want me to cook for you?”

She must have sounded horrified because he said, “Now who would have thought you’d find that more abhorrent than sleeping with me?”

“I didn’t. I don’t. I can’t.”

“Why don’t you pick one of those and go with it?”

“I, uh. I’m not much of a cook.”

“Oh, come on. You must have learned something from Gertie.”

“No. I’m a lousy cook.”

“Oh. Did you want to reconsider the sleeping with me option? I promise not to hog the covers.”

She stared at him not entirely sure he wasn’t serious. “I’ll cook,” she finally managed.

“See? That wasn’t so hard. One other thing. Don’t ever answer the door wearing what you did this morning. That disguise you had on? Wear something like that whenever you go out. I’m willing to look the other way, but the residents won’t, I can guarantee it. If they figure out you’re breaking the rules and I’m allowing it, I’ll lose my job and you’ll lose a place to stay. Got it?”

“Yes.”

“And try to look less, er, that is, try not to be so, um…”

“So?” Cleo raised an eyebrow.

“Hot.”

Cleo couldn’t help it. She started to laugh. And once she got going, she couldn’t stop. The tops of Daniel’s ears turned pink. But he grinned at her. Again.

And here’s my latest attempt at a label after the blurb:

Warning: Contains 30-somethings behaving like senior citizens, failed attempts to impersonate elderly individuals and numerous retirement community violations.

#Cleo’s Web #romantic #comedy

 

 

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Old Blue

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)My dad worked in fertilizer manufacturing plants his whole life. Do you know where fertilizer plants are located? In tiny towns no one ever head of with names like Marseilles. Depue. Soda Springs.

Have you ever visited a fertilizer plant? They are desolate, barren places where gypsum dust is inhaled with every breath and the scent of sulphur hangs in the air.

The dust and the smell permeates everything, including the car you drive to work. So it must have been a very big deal when my father could finally afford a second second-hand car to drive to work.

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I don’t have a picture of Old Blue but she probably looked something like this. Except she was baby blue.

It was a 1961 Ford Falcon purchased in 1968. I don’t recall how Old Blue got her name, but even today my brothers and I remember that car.

My dad always bought Fords. We had a Galaxy 500 at the time Old Blue joined the family. My mother didn’t drive, so that car was reserved for weekend errand running and the Sunday morning drive to church.

One Saturday night when my parents went out, my oldest brother Steve paid me and my youngest brother fifty cents apiece to wash Old Blue. We innocently agreed not realizing Steve and our other brother Kevin would be driving into town. Steve, of course, did not have a driver’s license and we were sworn to secrecy.

One time my dad was late getting home and I had to be at school for a bus trip to a basketball game. My dad drove me there in Old Blue and because we were late, everyone saw that ancient beat-up car. I was so embarrassed. It never occurred to my dad that I would be. He also never realized, until we told him years later, that Steve and Kevin went joyriding in Old Blue.

The longer my dad drove Old Blue, the more faded and decrepit she became. There was a fine coating of whitish dust on her that never went away. She creaked and groaned like an old woman. The back doors would no long stay shut so my dad tied them together from the inside. I don’t recall now whatever happened to Old Blue. I suspect, when her odometer flipped over for the third time, she had to be put down.

But you will see when you read about Kaylee’s car problems in A MONTH FROM MIAMI that I resurrected a reincarnated version of Old Blue. I refer to this car as “an American make and model that hadn’t been popular when it first came out in the early nineties. Sales had been so poor, and the vehicles proved so unreliable, the design had been abandoned almost immediately. Rick couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen one on the road. Running.”

image001_editedOld Blue breaks down just as nearly broke Kaylee’s on her way to start her new life in Miami. Rick’s a single dad and a mechanic who needs a babysitter. Just for a month.

Beach read anyone? Enjoy the eBook which is on sale at Amazon and everywhere else right now for $1.99.

Webster and Whitley

2015-01-31 00.47.52Webster and Whitley

My granddogs.

Several years ago I made the mistake of adopting an unspayed female dog named Maggie. Maggie seemed very sweet and docile when I found her at the local shelter. I knew I’d have to bring her back to be spayed but I’m a little fuzzy on the sequence of events after that. Either she was already pregnant when I adopted her or…she escaped the confines of our fenced yard as she was wont to do and went clubbing when I wasn’t looking. All I know is we left on a five-day cruise and upon our return I remarked to my husband that Maggie was looking rather fat. Oh, dear. I think Maggie’s pregnant.

Indeed. Maggie gave birth to 13 puppies a few weeks later. The smallest two didn’t survive. Webster was the runt of the surviving litter. Before he even knew which pup it would be my son had already decided to take the smallest one. He and his girlfriend Erin adopted that little pup and chose his name. Webster is very smart and very sensitive. If Fleuree is my daughter’s shadow, Webster is my son’s.2015-01-31 00.53.03

Although you wouldn’t know it from this photo, there is nothing Webster likes to do more than play ball. When he was younger he would chase a ball to the point of exhaustion. Matt trained him to drop the ball at his feet. If the ball rolled away or Web’s aim was off, he’d nudge it back, thus insuring it would be thrown again. The only way to make him stop playing was to put the ball on a high shelf.

Webster’s teeth eventually ground down almost to the gum line due to a combination of chomping on tennis balls and poor alignment, but it never phased him. He takes his food with water to soften it up.

Although Erin was out of his life for a time, Webster never seemed to suffer from abandonment issues or to hold a grudge. When she and Matt got back together Webster welcomed her with open arms, er legs…um paws.

And then it was time for Webster to have a sister and along came Whitley. Like a lot of Goldens Whitley likes to put her mouth and nose on everything. She gets excited if someone new arrives and even more excited if she thinks they might pet her. Under the chin, if you please.2015-01-31 00.52.37

It is easy to see who the disciplinarian is in this household. All Matt has to do is make a sort of hissing sound to get Whitley’s attention. Once she’s focused on him, she’ll follow his verbal commands and hand gestures. If you give Whitley ice cubes to munch on you’ll be her best friend. When Mom cooks, Whit likes to lay next to the counter to keep an eye on dinner and offer her assistance should it be required.

Put a leash on Whitley and take her for a walk. You’ve never seen a dog wiggle her butt like this one.

They say pets are good training for having children. If that’s true I now have visions of Matt hissing at his daughter to get her attention and Erin handing out ice cubes as a reward.2015-01-31 00.50.51

There are no granddogs or grandchildren in my romantic comedy, Nobody’s Fool, but the story was inspired by Matt and Erin who were best friends in high school. They are now engaged.NobodysFool72sm

 

NOBODY’S FOOL – Sneek Peak + Contest

NobodysFool72sm

The following is excerpted from NOBODY’S FOOL, a romantic comedy published by Samhain Publishing.  Release date 1/6/15.  Comment on this blog and you are entered to win a Barbara Meyers book of your choice.  http://www.barbarameyers.com

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She couldn’t stand it any longer. She wanted more. Right now. Her knee slid off the sofa cushion and she felt herself falling, sliding to the floor. Court came with her. Her elbow connected with the coffee table. “Ow!” Her hushed exclamation echoed through the house. It might as well have been a gunshot.

Court’s bigger body did even more damage, edging the table aside, knocking over one of her mother’s precious figurines. It landed on its side with a clatter.

Court and Jolie froze, looking at each other with horrified expressions neither could clearly see before trying to scramble up.

Their limbs had become as hopelessly tangled as their clothing.

A door opened and a light came on in the hall at the top of the stairs.

“Jolie?”

“Yes, Mom.” With the light spilling down from the stairway she could now see Court. His hair was wildly mussed and there was an amused yet apprehensive expression on his face.

“What’s going on down there?”

“N-nothing,” she said, her eyes still on Court. “Court and I were just, um, talking.”

“In the dark?” Her mother sounded suspicious. The unmistakable creak of a stair followed.

Jolie frantically gestured to Court. He yanked his sweater back into place. With fumbling fingers she began to button her blouse.

“You don’t need to come down, Mom,” Jolie said, trying not to sound as frantic as she felt. “Court was just leaving.”

“Sorry to have disturbed you, Mrs. Kramer. I’ll be going now.”

The creak of the stairs stopped. “All right then, you two. Good night.”

“Good night, Mrs. Kramer.”

“Good night, Mom.”

As soon as they heard the door close upstairs they both burst into quiet laughter.

“My mother catching me making out with a boy on the living room sofa. That hasn’t happened since high school.”

“It’s never happened to me,” Court said. That killed the laughter, reminding them both of things they’d rather forget. “I should go.”

He started for the door and Jolie followed. Again she had that deflated balloon feeling. Flying high one minute, crashing to the ground the next.

“Court?” she said before he stepped through the door. He turned back to her. “I had a nice time.” It seemed so inadequate, but she didn’t know what else to say.

He reached out and brushed a wayward strand of hair back over her shoulder. “Me too.” Her mother had left the light on upstairs. Jolie thought she saw something in Court’s eyes that hadn’t been there before. Longing? Regret? Sadness?

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said.

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