Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Writing Humor and Book Giveaway!!!! For Real!!!

This just in! Yes, the long-awaited author's copies of Ruthy's debut novel, "Winter's End" have arrived via sled dog at her upstate New York home. Now she can not only honor those with certificates for her book, The Ruthinator can really, truly offer a book giveaway today and MEAN IT!!!! YAY!!!

And now back to our regularly scheduled program, an article Ruthy wrote for a writing newsletter that is being recycled in timely fashion so that Ruthy can overnight her revisions to that pretty little Melissa Endlich in the Big Apple.

If you can make them smile, you’ve won their hearts. The following was copied from an inspirational quotes website, author unknown. At first glance I realized that many of them could easily become the opening line of a book.

1. There is no such thing as childproofing your house.
2. If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.
3. A 3year-old’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing batman underwear and a superman cape.
5. However, it is strong enough to spread paint on all four walls of a 20 x 20 foot room.
6. Baseballs leave marks on ceilings.
7. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on.
8. When using the ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit.

You get the picture. Life isn’t funny, it’s hysterical. It’s all in the perspective.

Injecting humor into your writing through actions, words or scenes lightens the work and gives your protagonists a new level of depth and character. Without inspiring laughter or knowing smiles, our writing can become two-dimensional. Dry. Dusty.


Check your favorite authors. Whether it’s Mary, Nora, Clare, Jo, Linda, Dee or Stephen, humor is an intrinsic part of most successful authors’ work. But how do I do it, you ask? I have no sense of humor; the funniest thing that ever happened to me was a root canal.

I’m so sorry! Next, please.

Okay, kidding. If you find that your writing is not the warm, spontaneous story telling you strive for, it could very well be the lack of humor. Study authors who use it both liberally and sparingly. You can utilize their timing, their methods by incorporating it into your voice with a natural flair.

Nora Roberts uses lots of humor. She puts her protagonists into situations that require quick repartee to fix, then provides the give and take involved. Here’s an example taken from The MacGregor Grooms:
“You live like a pig.” Layna sat in the kitchen, sipping merlot and sampling pasta.
D.C. merely grunted, broke a hunk of garlic bread in two and passed her half. “I keep thinking about getting a housekeeper, but I don’t like people around when I work.”
“You don’t need a housekeeper. You need heavy equipment.”

Smart and sassy heroines are a classic. Women who appear accustomed to dealing with the foibles of men and meet them toe-to-toe on common ground. Women who don’t give an inch unless they choose to. You can make it a character trait or simply weave it in as a natural offshoot of normal conversational flow.

Here’s another example: Her nose twitching, Audra followed her olfactory sense to the kitchen, where a growing haze of smoke was accompanied by the scent of melting plastic. Throwing open the oven door, she discovered that Cliff had put their take-out food into the oven to warm while still in its Styrofoam container. Aaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhh!

Okay, it’s a play by play. You can picture it, but it misses the mark by a country mile. Let’s make it funny.

Audra’s nose twitched. Turning the page of her microbiology book, she scratched her nose absently, caught up in the ongoing excitement of protozoal micro-organisms and their charted development.

It twitched again, in reproach. Then her nostrils flared as she brought her head up. Sniffing, she glanced around.


But her nose had always been fairly reliable. Not like her heart, an organ that had landed her in trouble more than once. As a sensory organ, her nose was trustworthy.


No answer.

“Clive, where are you?” Following her nose, she padded across the thickly carpeted balcony, and looked down at the living area below.

No Clive, but the smell was stronger.

Much stronger.

Hurrying down the stairs, she rounded the corner of the kitchen and stopped dead. Smoke billowed from the oven. Nasty smoke. Toxic smoke. Really, bad, nasty, toxic smoke.

Covering her face with a towel, Audra hit the off button on the back panel of the early-seventies, harvest gold appliance, and jerked open the door.

Clouds erupted, inciting several different smoke alarms to issue forth warnings of imminent danger. Sure. Now they tell her. A blast of frigid air swept in as Audra threw open the back door, pushed up the windows and turned on every ceiling fan she could find. What on earth?

Hustling back to the kitchen, she met Clive as he stepped through the open door carrying an armload of firewood.

“What happened?” His eyes swept the room, taking in the now-diminishing waves of smoke, the curtains waving in the wake of a twenty-degree, thirty-mile-an-hour northwest wind, and the look on Audra’s face. At the last he faltered.

“You tell me.”

“Would if I could,” he answered, his voice amiable but cautious, stepping around her to set the wood near the Franklin stove. “You burn something?”

“I had nothing to burn,” she retorted, with unusually strong emphasis on the pronoun. “I was upstairs studying, minding my own business, when the house caught fire.”

He glanced around, still in the dark. She knew the moment he realized what he’d done. His eyes flew to the oven, where remnants of Styrofoam still dripped, forming stalactites of plastic foam.

“Your supper.”

“Yup.” She knew her tone was mutinous. She didn’t care. “My waited all week fo, Friday night supper from Abernathy’s. The best golden battered haddock fish fry in town. Crispy fries. Tangy cole slaw.”

A look of triumph claimed his face. “But, I put the cole slaw in the fridge. See?” Throwing open the door of the gold refrigerator, he pointed to a four-ounce take out container. “There it is.” He turned hopeful, expectant eyes her way. “ It looks real good.”

“I don’t want the stupid cole slaw without the fish. They go together. It’s tradition.”

Clive started for the door, then glanced at his watch. He stopped. Guilt-ridden eyes came up to hers. “Abernathy’s just closed.”

“Uh huh.”

“And they’re the only place on the island that does fish fries.”


His hangdog expression had Oscar potential. “Until next Friday.”

“Got it in one.”

He stood silent, thinking, then raised his shoulders in a little shrug. “You did mention you wanted to lose a few pounds.”

At the moment she was contemplating ways of losing more than a few. The figure one hundred and eighty seven came to mind.

Exactly what Clive weighed.

How incredibly convenient.

Any woman who’s had to deal with a man understands that laughter is the best medicine. Letting the humor of a normal situation flow through our work is essential to creating unforgettable characters and scenes. Adversaries with a sense of humor draw the reader in. Like Tracy and Hepburn, Hanks and Ryan, Wayne and O’Hara, there’s something delightfully normal in a good give and take between the players on the board. Whether you write historical, contemporaries, inspirationals, or FF&P, a good sense of humor softens the sharp edges, eases the reader through the black moments, and leaves them with the very real sense that they know the characters.

And like them! Study the bestsellers in and out of your genre. Open your mind to the warmth and cadence of humor.

When I was very young I remember reading an Erma Bombeck column that was written about a young mother doing time for infanticide. In a desperate moment, when life had taken every wrong turn it could, she had killed her children. While in prison she came across Bombeck’s funny, inspirational essays on life and motherhood. “If only I’d known then that you could laugh at such things,” the young mother lamented.

Laughter is intrinsic to the human soul. It buoys us. Strengthens us. Lets us examine an issue from all sides.

You never know when something you write will strike a chord with a reader. Press a button, give them pause. Don’t ever be afraid to make them laugh. They’ll love you for it, recognizing themselves in the scripted passage.

It just might make them realize that laughter is a great defuser. A home-made therapy with no co-pay involved. Allen Arnold mentioned this when he visited us the other day, that a great many of the romances they're contracting are light-hearted. Funny.

People can only handle so much angst, and angst actually works better when balanced with humor. Seriously. I know these things. I laugh at angst-riddled people all the time and it helps them. I think.

Hey, make sure you leave me your e-mail addy in your comment so we can draw a name out of the hat later on.

Um... Anybody bring a hat???



mariska said...

LOL ! hahahha..Very Funny Ruthy. Can i get the the whole book instead of that part of something *winks*

Thanks for reminding me to laugh as much as i could on a day ! :)

uniquas at ymail dot com

Tina Dee Books said...

Loved it, Ruthie. Just what I'm trying to do on my historical romantic comedy blog book (LOVE'S GAMBLE) for my blog readers.

I hope they're laughing. Thanks for the tips, I'll enjoy using then as I write and post the next chapter.

Tina[at]TinaDeeBooks[dot]com (if anyone wants to read Love's Gamble--it's free)

Buukluvr81 said...

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Very good laugh! Thanks for sharing!

Please enter me!
Blessings and Hugs,
mollydawn1981 at aol dot com

Debra E Marvin said...

Just last night I watched The Awful Truth with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. I laughed out loud so many times! What a treat!

Good stuff today! Thanks Ruthy.
Congratulations again on the book and having it in your hot little hand right now!

Did you get up out of bed before falling asleep to go look one more time?

Michelle V said...

Love it! Very funny! Please enter me for the drawing.

Michelle V

Cindy W. said...

Thank you for the laugh.

Please enter me in your book giveaway.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Good Morning Ruthy,

Wow, you have your book! How exciting is that? I bet you're thrilled. I can hardly wait to see it myself. CONGRATULATIONS.

And you are one to do humor well. I always have a chuckle when reading your stuff, probably because you make it so real that we can relate.

I read in a book on "How to Write Humor" that stated humor is making light of something painful. Since life often throws us curves, it helps us to make light of it. So it stands to reason to give that quality to our characters.

Hey, what's for breakfast?

I have coffee on and there's a kettle of hot water for tea and hot chocolate lovers.

I think I'll run over and get us some Krispy Cremes. I'm already tired of January remorse dieting. LOL

Gina Welborn said...

Loved the list, Ruthmeister! Sadly, I've lived most of the items on the list.

Now about comedy...

I must be a tad cynical (just a tad)...or at least pig-headed because far too many times I've read a book labeled "romantic comedy" or "___with a touch of humor" and didn't laugh. Had I determined not to laugh specifically because the publisher said "this book will make you laugh"? Hmm. I don't know.

I do know one immediate exception to the rule is stuff by Mary. Her books make me laugh everytime.

Now the just a tad cynical part of me would say, "But you think Mary is funny because you've chatted with Mary outside of a book."

Hmm. I'm not sure when we've chatted "inside a book" but I think I know what just a tad cynical part of me is saying.

I expect to laugh (in a good way) when I read Mary's books because she makes me laugh in real life.

Over Christmas break (don't tell Melanie or Russo that I said this) but I read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES. Loved it! I laughed then thought "I shouldn't be laughing at Elizabeth giving Darcy his balls back." Umm, should I explain that they were shotgun balls because he'd been shooting zombies while Elizabeth graciously let him go all alpha-man instead of killing the zombies by her Laura Croft self?

Sometimes I wonder is labeling a book a comedy like including a laugh track during a sitcom.

Anyhoo, I'm looking forward to reading your book(s) because, like Mary, your sense of humor knows how to relate to my just a tad cynical self.

Rose said...


How exciting to have your book in your hands!

I like reading humor in books you can relate too. That you chuckle and say, I can see myself or my husband doing that!


Lisa Jordan said...

Ruthie, Ruthie, were the first writing mentor to tell me to lighten up! Because of you, I've learned (I hope) how to make my characters laugh. And working with children gives me plenty of fodder.

Usually when there's a book giveaway, I leave a nice post and include my email if I remember.

However, I really really really really want to read your, NOW!!! So please throw this whiney baby's email into your hat.

Love you bunches, gal! You turned my writing around.


lisajordanbooks at yahoo dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Ruthy, I am sooooo CHOMPING at the bit to read a Ruthy book because over the years, you've made me laugh so many times at snarky things you've said that I just KNOW I'm gonna love it in chapter form!

I totally agree that humor is "an intrinsic part of most successful authors’ work." Which is one of the reasons (among a host of others) why Mary is so successful, and, I think, why you will be too!

Congratulations on having your debut book in your hot, little hands. Can't wait till it's in mine!


Shelby said...

hilarious!!! ohhhh please put my name in that hat.. I don't publish my email.. but if I happen to win, just leave me a comment at my blog.. I'll email you my email.


Jeanette Levellie said...

Congratulations on your book and your sterling sense of humor. Love the one about the three year old's voice! This is also true of old-style Southern Gospel music played in the next room over when I am trying to work on my WIP. Arrgggghhh...


Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Ruth, very exciting news! 2010 is on FIRE over here!!

Oh yes, oh yes please enter me!!


Janet Dean said...

Love the excerpt, Ruthy! Can't wait to read Winter's End!!! Getting your hands on your debut had to be a thrill. Give us the details.

Thanks for the reminder of the importance of interjecting humor in our stories. Characters that face troubles with the courageous perspective of humor are characters we admire. Depending on the story, we can add wacky people in their lives to up the humor too.

What's for breakfast? I've been anticipating your spread all morning.


Kathleen L. said...

Twice fried fish fry--mmm-mmm, boy. Gotta love a man that can cook!
Laughed my heiney off. Yeah, I only wish. . . writing is not good for the heiney.

I would love to learn how to infuse more humor into my work, and that is why I must win your book so I can study a master.


Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Ruthy, you are so funny! This reminds me of a friend telling me about one day when she had to work late, when she was newly married. She unlocked the door and went in and immediately smelled smoke. Her husband was lying on the couch, fast asleep. She followed the smoke into the kitchen and found that he had put a can--A CAN--of pork and beans in the oven--IN THE CAN--and it had exploded all over the oven.


There is no such thing as an only child--unless you're married and have no children.


Okay, Mary's book FINALLY got to me yesterday--PRAISE GOD! Now I don't have to annoy my husband by going to the book store. Anyway, The Husband Tree is the funniest thing. I only made it to page 19, but it is seriously the funniest thing I have ever read!!! This is from page 9, quoting:

It had been early in the day when she'd found Anthony dead beside the house. Planting him had interrupted chores, but there was no help for it. She couldn't leave him lying there. He was blocking the front door.


Melanie Dickerson said...

I'll forgive you, Gina, for reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as long as you love all my books.

:-) I'm loyal to Jane, but not THAT loyal.

Missy Tippens said...

I love your scene, Ruthy! Great post today. I love to read well-done humor. (not well-done like your styrofoam containers!) :)

Okay, spill your guts here. Did you cry when you opened your box of books??? :)

Edna said...

Please enter me, sounds great


Kim said...

Ruthy - you are so gifted!! Thank you for the gift of laughter! Thank you for keeping levity in our lives when we take our journey too seriously!

Many blessings!!! and Congratulations!!


kimfurd at hotmail dot com

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Ruthy, this was so great! Love it. I love all those openers too. What a novel idea!


Jenny said...

Really a great post. Thank you for this.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Great post! I'm putting a lot more humor into my second manuscript than my first, and wouldn't ya know...It's just as fun to write it as it is to read it!

forgravebooks at gmail dot com

Casey said...

Fun articale, thanks for posting it. I bet your new book is hysterical. Would love to win it! Thanks for the chance. :)


Renee said...

I'm not sure I was born with a sense of humor, but I married into a family that is naturally full of it, so I've had to learn to laugh.

I do love humor in my books though, especially when I'm not expecting it.

Great article, congratulations on your upcoming release.

reneelynnscott at gmail dot com

Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

Humor is also sexy. In a major survey of what traits women find sexy in a man, number 4 was having a sense of humor.

To address Gina‘s point, I think humor has the most impact when it comes unexpectedly. The kiss of death of a joke happens when a person begins the joke by saying: “Here’s a hilarious joke I heard yesterday”. That challenges people not to laugh.

I’ve written a lot of comedy over the years and here is a rule I’ve come up with that is very helpful: “The real joke begins after it’s told and people are laughing.”

Think about this.

You’ve told a joke, hopefully the audience didn’t expect it to be a joke, (how many times does a comedian say something like: ‘let’s be serious here for a moment folks…') the audience laughs thinking the joke is over and then, BANG!, the comedian adds a second part to the joke. This makes it even funnier. Then BANG! The comedian adds a third part of the joke. At this point the routine enters the hilarious zone. Woody Allen is a master of doing this. In his movies he will sometimes let a few minutes pass before the second part of the joke is unveiled. (In between are ‘filler’ jokes.) Allen’s ‘delayed’ joke thus becomes even more unexpected and often more emotionally powerful.

Also when writing comedy: think situations not words.

Ruth, I can’t wait to read your book but I must confess: Every time I’ve seen the words, “Winter’s End” in print. I’ve read it as “Writer’s End”, which always makes me think of “Howards End,” Henry James and a red haired Vanessa Redgrave. What I’d like to know is what does all this have to do with a guy named Jeter and a strange woman wearing a Monique Lhuillier wedding dress?


Cher'ley said...

I'm so happy I found this blog site. Second day I've read from it. I do love to laugh and I do it a lot. I just need to put it in my writing.

My email addy is

Melanie Dickerson said...

Ruthy, I was at the gym and it hit me how tacky it was of me to say what I said here about Mary's writing! Tacky and put-my-foot-in-my-mouth embarrassing. You are absolutely funny! As all these comments have attested to. Please, please say you forgive me and will put me in the drawing (as I'm dying to read your debut book) or else, me being the ridiculously guilt-ridden person I am, I will feel bad about this for DAYS!!! And days. Please say you still love me, because I love you. You're my favorite New York Yankee lovin' Irish red head in this whole wide world.

Joanne Sher said...

SUPER advice - LOVE it. I have found that weaving humor into even tragic situations makes it feel a bit more real - more engaging.

itsjoanne[at]chartermi[dot]net :)

Walt M said...

I like the kid-related comments at the opening. Hilarious.


Ruthy, if I win, you will save me that freezing night where I sleep outside the store, waiting for it to open so I can be the first to purchase your new book.

Erica Vetsch said...

I love this. I love to laugh!

I can't wait to read your book, Ruthy!

Mary Connealy said...

I think of comedy in two different ways.

One is the running sassy dialogue that can go throughout the book. the other is a comic scene.

Those comic scene are a lot of work. They need tons of revision, upping the comedy, building on the current scene, adding physical movements, set-up, punchline, back and forth, some slapstick if you need it.
I usually rewrite a comedy scene a dozen times.

the running back and forth comes pretty naturally to me.

Pepper Basham said...

I love you, but...
I never read humor.
It's bad for my indigestion and causes some weird creases in my face.
laughter while drinking anything can be very messy
having children is NEVER funny - no matter how much playdough she sticks up her nose (LYDIA)
And men? Funny? Are you kidding? Don't they REALLY know everything? (no offense Walt or Vince - you guys probably really do)
No humor for me.

Tina Pinson said...

I'm so with it I managed to add my comment to Kaki's. Any way just wanted to say I smiled but with my migraine it hurt too much to laugh. Please put me into the drawing.

Renee said...

I love it!! Thank you for the giggle break to get me through my day. : ) Please enter me in the drawing!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh my stars, what a fun group you all are today, and I'm sorry I had to jump away this morning.

I had Dave take over the munchkins today because I had to write a 14 page synopsis (can anyone say "LONG-WINDED, CUPCAKE!") to accompany the final revisions of Made To Order Family to my sweet NYC fab-gal, Melissa Endlich of Steeple Hill...

Please note I put Melissa's whole name in here so Google Alerts her and she sees that I'm working hard and sing her praises all the time.

Either that or I'm a total suck up. Or both. And I'm okay with both!

Let me just say: I think I just sent her a sweet, funny manuscript about two recovering alcoholics. And a dog. The dog is NOT in AA. But almost everyone else is. And I had a great deal of fun with them.

Oh my stars, have I no conscience??

Nope. None. Readers Digest said it first. Or second. Maybe third: Laughter is the best medicine. I concur!

I love that Melanie is feeling HUGE GUILT for complimenting Mary on her work. Oh mylanta, you can compliment MC on my dime any time, darlin', I hope you know that. Good work is good work and I'm the first in line to love up to Mary. She rocks. But I refuse to let MARY compliment herself on my time. Please. As if.

But Mel, I love seeing you guilt-ridden, LOL! PERFECT!!!

If you send me M&M's, all is forgiven.

Now I have to go through these. Hey, Sandra, thanks for food!!! Love it, love it, love it and my little buddy Nathan and I just made some delish brownies. I love it when brownies cook correctly.

Just enough chewiness to make 'em last with a nice, cold cup of milk.


Mia said...

Loved this post, Ruthy! :) All of the quotes and excerpts you added made me smile. I love humor... it's what makes life so fun and full of surprises, I think.

One of the themes in the book I'm currently working on is about handling grief, so as you can imagine, it can get pretty sad at times. So I try to balance that out with a lot of humor :)

Congratulations on your debut novel!!! :)

Ruth Ann Dell said...

Hi Ruthy

Thanks for giving me a good laugh! I love reading your blogs.

Congrats on the arrival of your books.

Please enter me in the drawing

God bless

Ruth Ann

Melanie Dickerson said...

Just knowing you're enjoying this is making me feel a little less guilty. But send me your address. A big bag of M&M's is worth it if it keeps the guilt at bay.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Blogger ate me.

I wrote a great, zesty, fun-filled and almost un-snarky response to Mariska, Tina Dee (gorgeous web site, so cozy!!!), Molly and Deb, and...

It got eaten, Pacman style.

Wassup with that????

Doesn't the blogmeister know I'm busily working to make a name for myself in this industry?

AND Nathan and I made chocolate brownies for you all, some with pecans, some without, so dive in, help yourselves, they're still a touch warm.

And so yum!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Michelle, Cindy, you're entered, ladies and thanks to you both for stopping by. Grab a brownie and there's fresh coffee there, girls. And sweet tea. The sun came out today, just for a bit, and it made me need tea.


PatriciaW said...

Congrats on the dogs not freezing in the recent colder than usual temps and making it to your door. :)

In the best of books, I get a feel for the author's sense of humor through the characters (or at least I think it's the author). If they make me laugh, in a good way, it's usually a keeper.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ah, Sandra, my friend, my buddy, my confidant.

Krispy Kremes.


You've been watching me eat cole slaw and cheese, haven't you????

Ah. Atkins. It's enough to turn a girl off meat forever.

Gimme. I'll take a white cream filled Krispy Kreme and a dozen (yes, I said a dozen, don't quibble, I know what I'm about) of their glazed because the glazed are mostly air.

Emphasis on "mostly".

And I think I really could eat a dozen, no questions asked and maybe requiring one short break for a sip of tea.



Ruth Logan Herne said...

Gina, honey, your tadical cynicism or cynical tadisism is what endears you to us, sweet cheeks.


We like snark. Just enough to toss a dose of reality into the mix, not enough to break hearts.

It's a fine line.

And I love how Mary does humor, she's not afraid to go all Gracie Allen on us, have fun with it, hedge a bit over the top and it works.

Life brings enough tears, although to quote Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias: "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!"

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Rose, I'm with you. I like books and characters I can relate to.

But have you ever noticed, honey girl, that what's funny on Bill Cosby isn't quite so humorous IN YOUR VERY OWN KITCHEN????????




Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lisa Jordan, you sweet thang!

I soooooo remember that, I think I gave you a two-handed total Ruthy smackdown and you survived. Not only survived but prospered, girlfriend!

"That which doesn't kill you will only serve to make you stronger."

One of my mantras, right up there with Ben Franklin's "Plenty of time for rest in the grave."

Such a smart dude. Love him.

Thanks, sweetie.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Aw, Jules, you rock, woman. Thank you so much for always believing. You probably have no idea how much that's meant to me all these years.

Kudos right back at ya', kid.


Gina Welborn said...

Ruthy, one of my NY resolutions is to remove all snark from my speech.

I'm seriously thinking I should have typed "smart" instead of "snark" 'cause that would have been a whole lotta easier.

Chitlin 3 came home from school only to complain about his little sister running around "wearing only her panties."

I told him to cheer up 'cuase it could be worse. She could be running around wearing only his panties.

His eyes slanted. "Boys wear underwear, girls wear panties."

I decided not to tell him about Frederick's of Hollywood.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Shelby, good to see you here!

I'll find you, honey, don't you worry.

Or maybe you SHOULD worry.


And JEANETTE... someone in your house needs an IPod. Or headphones. Or a hearing aid.

I'm with you, I use music to inspire me before I write, but when I'm working it distracts me.

So I eat some more chocolate to make it better.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kerri, yup, it's time to man the fire extinguishers because we're SMOKIN' IN SEEKERVILLE!

Thanks for droppin' in, sweetness!

And JD, details about opening a box.



First I slit the tape.

Then I opened it.

And then.... Um.... Er.... I looked at what was inside.


Ruthy books.

Sweet, delectable Ruthy books.

And then my husband wondered where his name was.

Ummm. Sorry, Dave. This one was for Mom, remember?

Nope. He didn't remember that at all.

Then Beth wondered where HER name was.

So I said "Right there where I thanked my family..."

Yeah. About that. Everyone has scanned for their names and I did an inclusive thank you. Not quite good enough. Oh my stars.

Note to everyone: Make sure you list their names in LARGE font.

Oy vey.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kathleen called me a master.

Oh mylanta, I'm printing THAT off, darling girl, and posting it where everyone can see it.

Only I'm going to enlarge it first, make it REAL BIG.

Oh yeah. I'm totally doing that!

Project Journal said...

Ruthy, you are a girl after my own heart! Laughing!!! I do it constantly it seems! LOL! See there I go again ; ) My friend and I have all our classes together and we get in trouble for laughing too much sometimes : / Not a lot, but they're like pay attention! You know teachers...

You know who makes me 1st graders that I get to work with every week! I actually talked about that in my newest blog post that I posted yesterday. A couple funny stories in'd enjoy 'em.

Anyway, have a BIG formal presentation tonight. Gotta go do some stuff to finish gettin ready. Talk to you later!!
P.S. Sometime could you shoot me a quick email? I have a very quick question pour vous! Merci beaucoup, Ruthy!! : )

Pepper Basham said...

LOVED your story. Kids can give some of the best humor I liked humor.

Did I mention that strange, quiet unpleasant noises, can come from people's noses when they laugh?

Unfortunately, it's something my boys like to experiment with.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting....please enter me. Thanks!!

Cara Lynn James said...

Ruthy, you make me smile!

Myra Johnson said...

Late again as usual, but what a ride! Ruthy, I have a feeling you could type out the phone book listings and make them funny!!!

And wow--you're already holding your book in your hands!!! Is that a crazy feeling or what? Yippeeeeeee!!!!

Tina Dee Books said...

Hi Ruthy, (sorry I spelled your name wrong earlier, but I hadn't caught my 1st cuppa yet)

Thanks for stopping by my site.

Blogger once at all my 'followers', but spit them back out. I took personal offense to that, my readers are the yummiest. ;)

Thanks for all you've shared. Great stuff and so timely for me, and I'm enjoying everyone's responses and learning from those too.

Ruth Logan Herne said...


Nope, no tears. No time. There were two babies and two preschoolers wanting to hear "Bear Snores On" for the tenth time that day.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Edna! Thanks so much for stopping by today.

You're in, my dear.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kim, hey, waving to you from the snowy plains of upstate New York!

And Cheryl, can't you just totally see one of those lines, or something similar as an opening line....

How much fun could we have with that? I could take one of those babies and just have a barrel of laughs.

At someone else's expense!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jenny, thanks, kiddo.

And Sarah, you're right, it's so stinkin' fun to plug some humor into your work. It lightens it and provides a buffer zone.

I love angst. Passion. Pathos. I like writing what I hope are real people in real situations, but that can be a BIG downer if it's ALL SOMBER....

I mean, seriously, what fun is there in that. Give me laughter through tears any day. Twice a day.

And chocolate. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Casey, hey there!

I have to be honest, I tone down the snark humor a bit in my inspirationals because I don't want to be too 'in your face'. Sometimes less is more.

But I also like to have fun with the characters, and what's more fun than making fun of them, right???

And nothing is funnier than getting men and women together and trying to make it work. Oh my stars, we're our own conundrum!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Renee, thank you!

And that humor in families thing???


That's something I totally understand. The differences between what one family finds funny and what another family finds funny are usually discovered in divorce court.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, you're so darned ethereal.

Jeter ties in naturally because he's adorable, he loves his parents, and the hero in Winter's End is losing his father.

I consider it the law of natural progression, wherein the forces exerted upon two diverse objects traveling at the speed of light in opposite directions must eventually stop and have a frappuccino to maintain intergalactic gravitational pull.

Simple, really.

Love you, Vince!!!!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

But Vince, you're so right, humor can be sexy. Or sensual. And evocative.

And a little bit goes a long way, especially when used as internal thought or introspect.

Too funny. How a guy thinks about what a girl thinks and vice versa.

Isn't the wonder how we ever make it work without God's grace????

Otherwise we'd all be on Murderer's Row.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cher'ley, welcome aboard.

Girlfriend, totally great smile. I smile a lot because my teeth are big and don't quite fit in my mouth, so it's either look like a big ol' rabbit or smile.

So I smile. ;)

Thanks for coming back. Umm.. Julie didn't SCARE you yesterday????

Cause she scares the heck out of me.

tee hee.....

Ruth Logan Herne said...

JoAnn, I'm with you, humor broadens the pathos, makes it more identifiable, more real to me.

And WALT!!!!

Honey-lamb, how can I deny you the long-awaited overnight camp-out as you await the arrival of Winter's End at your nearby bookstore or Super Walmart????

(Um, Walt, you know Walmart is open 24 hours in a lot of areas, right? So you could actually wait INSIDE and hence stay warm. I'm just sayin'.)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Erica, right back at ya. Your book is on my to-read list and I can't wait to grab a snatch of time and enjoy it!

Mary, I've had the privilege of watching you develop scenes.

It isn't pretty and usually involves gunfire or unusual weaponry stuffed up shirt sleeves or in boots.

And there's often blood involved.

And usually bruised male egos.

THAT I'm A-Okay with, LOL!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pepper, we women of a certain age (past 25, actually) need to preserve our facial planes in any way possible, therefore swearing off laughter is totally understandable.

Or you buy LOTS of anti-wrinkle cream.


Because life is funny and men are...


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tina P and Renee, you're both in!

And Tina, I'm sure Kaki LOVED the extra post.

It makes her feel immensely popular!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mia, thanks for the perfect opening, girlfriend!!! (The check's in the mail...)

Winter's End is centered around a hospice situation, the death of the hero's father, leaving the hero to raise his 14 year old sister, run the farm, run the feed store, and kind of just slowly go crazy.

The old farmer understands that humor is a defuser.

The son????

Not so much. So dealing with his issues gave me lots of ammunition for the hospice nurse, Kayla. And she's one tough, sassy cookie, and not too much intimidates her, including brooding guys.

I loved taking a heartfelt situation that I had personal experience with and melding humor to it to give it a more dimensional (I hope) feel.

Pepper Basham said...

Gee whiz, I was focused so much on NOT laughing, I forgot to leave my email. Typical...
I'll blame it on my kids.
Or my husband...
or the dog

someone ELSE.

I'll blame it on Mary, since everyone else does. ;-)

Walt M said...

Ruthy, yes, I know WalMart is open 24 hours (and I thought about making that joke), but it sounds too much like that raisin bran commercial.

However, I'm getting a little scared, given how often you keep mentioning the word "men" with such vehemence.

Walt M said...

If you don' want to deny me, does this mean I'm not in?

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ruth Ann, welcome to my hemisphere, darling!!!

So nice to see you over here!

And great name, btw. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melanie, not merely enjoying it, dahlink!!!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Patricia, I agree ten-fold. A lot of the writer goes into how they build the character, regardless of ethnicity, gender, creed, etc.

And then the trick is to recognize that and not have them all sound like mini-me's.

Cause that would be BAD!!!!

Good to see you, girlfriend.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Gina, wise choice.

Frederick's is for the 8 and over set.


And isn't it fun how easily we can skeeve out our kids????

I love that.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hannah, good luck and hugs on your presentation.

And, um... just wondering....

You've got my e-mail, sweet cheeks.

Why am I e-mailing you????

Couldn't you just e-mail me and ask? I fed the dragon at the door just this morning, so you should be safe, honey-lamb.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jackie, you're in! Glad you stopped by.

And Myra-kins, late is often better because I have fresh brownies here, a carafe of sweet tea, a NY Yankee snuggee that was a gift for Christmas, and I have to...

Yes, I'm admitting this online...

Take my Christmas tree down.

Yup. Now. Tonight. I promised myself that I wouldn't do anything until I had that manuscript done and winging its way to NYC, so spare time was spent at the laptop (thanks, Zach!!!) not in the living room.

But tonight's the night.

I just pretend I'm a very festive person and people buy it.

In front of my face, that is.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pep, our current premise is that when something goes wrong, we blame Julie.

There are a few reasons for this, most of them sensual.

Ergo, if something is wrong, it's Julie's fault, she being the most sensual among us.

Well. Except that Mary HAS had several unexplained pregnancies in her books, and we're all pretty sure something sensual MUST have occurred since they're historicals and in vitro wasn't conceived (pun firmly intended) yet.

But then again, she's got some pretty resourceful cow folk out there in them thar hills.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh Walt, darling, you're in. Totally and irrevocably.

Did I spell that right????

And Walt, now I'M going to lose sleep wondering if you'll love it.

What if you don't????

Ee gads, the moment of truth sneaketh upeth.


I keep waiting for the phone to ring and it's Melissa or Joan Golan and they say, "Oh, Ruthy, so sorry, there's been a dreadful mistake..."

But since it hasn't rung YET, I keep writing.

And sending things to Wendy Lawton to keep her busy. As if she needs extra help doing THAT...

God love her.

Jessica said...

This is a fantastic post Ruth! I've got a lot of angst in my current wip. Looks like I better try to put some humor in. :-)

Pepper Basham said...

In honor of you And your book, you know
I'm bringing my very first chocolate cheesecake. I'd never made one from scratch before and, oh boy, did it turn out DElicious!!!
Creamy, smooth, oreo crust....sigh
And the perfect dessert to celebrate Winter's End, Summer's Beginning, Spring's Rain, October sKy....whatever

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

You know only a few of you get away with calling me Russo. Gina and Ruthy are the two exceptions. I don't know why I don't slap them with with some rigatoni, and be done with it...but they are amusing.

I just got The Husband Tree, now I cannot wait to get Winter's End.

Audra Harders said...

This is what I get for being a diligent employee today -- I miss a great day of Ruthy!

Obviously you've been practicing your signature style on unsuspecting visitors. Good stuff. Even if I dare think I am the butt of the point you're making : )

Yes, Clive, Audra needs to lose weight, but don't EVER remind her of it...

Great stuff, as usual, Ruthykins. Humor. Where would we be without it? For all the angst that naturally get thrown in my scenes in the first draft, I try really hard to lighten the mood the second go-round.

You've received your box o' books? Yayayayay! Nothing better than holding your children in your hot little hands...or so I've heard : )

Thanks for the great post. Thanks for the great imagery. I especially thank you for the reference to the olfactory sense since I've finally getting mine repaired. LOL!!!

Walt M said...


How could I not love it?

Julie Lessman said...

Ergo, if something is wrong, it's Julie's fault, she being the most sensual among us.

Not real sure if that's true, but I certainly think about it more than the rest of you unless you're keeping secrets from me ... :)

Great day on the blog, Ruth!


Project Journal said...

Thanks....I'm tired!!

Because I'm forgetful...and a lazy bum! LOL! ; D

sherrinda said...

How in the world did you get the name "The Ruthinator"???? lol

I loved your post and I love your sense of humor! You are right in that we need laughter in our lives. I was lucky enough to snag a man who loves to make people laugh. He brings so much joy to the world...and ME!

I'd love a chance to win your brand new spankin' book!!!


Missy Tippens said...

Okay, I just snorted and choked on my own saliva at the big teeth comment. Ruthy, Ruthy. You've got to give spew alerts. And slobber-choking alerts.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jessica, darling girl, if I were Mary, I'd just advise you to shoot someone. Gunfire always elicits humor in a Connealy book.

And yes, I did advise her to have a toddler run in traffic when she was brain dead one day and stuck in a plot going nowhere. Nothing like a good trip to the hospital or morgue to get the heart tripping faster, you know???

We are a heartless bunch.

Ummm.... I think she named the toddler Ruthy.

Yeah, stick some humor in there. I remember all the weird jokes, asides and anecdotes we used as a family when Mom was sick. Family knows family and that familiarity breeds contempt and humor, sometimes one feeding into the other.

So yes, by all means, let their funny side show.

Ruth Logan Herne said...


FYI, I've been keeping score for the last six months or so.


You win, Cupcake!!! And it works because then people just nod knowingly as we heap blame upon your shoulders. And we can only do that because we KNOW your passion for romance is only bested by your passion for God, ergo big shoulders to carry the weight of our blame.

Thanks for that, btw.


Ruth Logan Herne said...



Chocolate cheesecake.

As a woman who's been existing on cabbage salad (cole slaw), meat and cheese for nearly two weeks, I'd eat the whole danged thing.

Thank you for sharing and for going all domestic on us!!! Good girl!

And Audra, you and Clive... :)

What a twosome! And I think half of us at least have used Audra's name in a book because it's a totally great name, that 'shade' different to set it apart, and transcends time.

Not trendy, just solid.

Love it, kid.

And you, of course! Hey, hand me a cheese stick, will you?


Ruth Logan Herne said...

TRR, rigatoni????


With red sauce???? Meatballs????

Or sausage.

Oh my. And from my new favorite author, no less, oh YAY!!!!!!!

And I'm such a last name girl that I tend to do that regardless, hence my affection for Jeter.


Those big green eyes and that easy grin have NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING, EVER, I SWEAR IT!!!!

Only I don't swear. Usually.

And I do use tongs to remove snakes from the house. Kitchen tongs. Hot dog tongs. Hey, they work.

Why is she bringing this up, you ask????

Buy the book. You'll find out.

Just general fyi.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sherrinda, names alternate depending on the day.

And The Ruthinator sounds weigh better than The Tyrant, doesn't it???

Some days it's The Ruthster.

You just never know what you're going to get around here.

Me and Arnold Schwarzenegger...

He terminates....

I Ruthinate.

It's all good. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Missy Tippens, my fellow diet conspirator....

How goes it, my sweet. Wanna kill anyone yet, because I've got a list of prospects up here in WNY.

You just tell me their names and we'll take out our lack of chocolate angst all over 'em, honey. I'll help!

It's hard to do spew alerts on blogs BECAUSE you can't label comments.

Someone call Mr. Google, tell him to fix that, please. Or his son, Blogger.

What a terrible name for a nice little boy.

Missy Tippens said...

Ruthy, I keep from becoming murderous by sneaking little bits of chocolate--in the form of bite-sized heath bars. You should try it.


Audra Harders said...

I'm with you girls on the chocolate. I smash up dark chocolate/mint bars and indulge in just a smackrel.

Gotta keep the habit going even when on the hate diet : )