Lightening the Tone – humor and sex

September 22, 2010

Hi A.B. Gayle here again!

As said in an earlier blog, although the subject matter underlying “Caught” is serious, I’ve tried to inject some humor or at least lightness into the story.

It’s not as easy as it may seem.

What makes us laugh? For some, it’s slapstick humor, the “Funniest Home Videos” where a person or animal comes a cropper. For some it’s witty word play. Some people hate one and love the other. Some don’t like any, but that’s another story.

My first short story “Reversal” appeared in a Science Fiction anthology “Echoes of the Future” which is available from the publisher, Noble Romance and Amazon.

Reviewers reacted with comments like:

Reversal by A.B.Gayle was absolutely hilarious. Watch how everything can go wrong when wealthy and hardworking computer programmer who is bored while working on the space station gets a Christmas present from his caring mother and watch how a lot of things can go right too.

Reversal (Gayle): My favorite of the bunch. A sci fi story involving a bored young man doing solo duty on the family station. His mother sends him a discounted model of a cyborg maid and hilarity ensues. This is an enjoyable romp as Sebastian tries to figure out how to train and improve his cyborg, and finds himself being trained and improved in the process. One is left without a clear picture of who is the master and who is the servant in this arrangement. Lots of funny moments. I read it twice. 5 stars

On the other hand, one of the reviewers at Three Dollar Bill Reviews said:

The last story, “Reversal” by A.B. Gayle, concerns a bored young man and a robot. Um. It’s…it’s not very good. I kept rolling my eyes at both boy and robot and really hoped that at some point one of them would develop some interesting quirk or facet that would draw me in and distract from the stilted mechanics and bog-standard space setting.

You win some, you lose some.

My follow-up short story, “Initiation”, was actually a female/male romance with the same cyborg. In that, the heroine was anything but feminine, being genetically engineered to do the fighting in a tribe that had managed to eliminate males. I thought she had some funny scenes. No-one’s complained yet.

“Caught” can’t by any means be seen as a comedy, but it does contain lighter moments. I’d love to include the scene I’m referring to, but that would spoil the surprise.

If any of you do read it. I’d love to get feedback on what you thought.

There aren’t many humorous m/m romances out there.

“Fluffers, Inc” by Hank Edwards and its follow up “A Carnal Cruise” are two that come to mind as his hero, Charlie Heggensford, keeps being too successful as he preps porn stars prior to their takes.

There are also some amusing moments in Laney Cairo’s “Bad Case of Loving You”. These mostly occur because of the sardonic personality of the characters.

Then there are the light hearted tales like “Goldilocks” by A.M. Riley and its follow up “A Man, a Jersey and a Tight End”.

While they’re not really romances, some of Ken Shakin’s stories in “Love Sucks” and “Real Men like Cowboys” make you laugh and say “Oh, dear” at the same time. They’re more like slapstick, where you find yourself laughing at other people’s misfortunes even though you know you shouldn’t be.

Some of William Maltese’s stories have their humorous bits.

I really enjoyed the humor in Josh Lanyon’s “Someone Killed His Editor”. This was more from the bitchy inner voice his main character had.

What other m/m romances have you read where either the “voice” of the character or the situation makes you laugh or at least walk away with a smile after reading it?

14 Responses to “Lightening the Tone – humor and sex”

  1. andy says:

    I try to inject humor into all my stories, and really I think it’s a necessity. I have a tendency to write dark stories, and I think it relieves the pressure a bit to have a funny comment or thought (or scene). Besides, if I write a character without a sense of humor, no matter how bad their circumstances, they must be villains, as I can’t stand those kind of people. :D

  2. A.B. Gayle says:

    When I was searching for examples, I didn’t find a lot, but many books have characters whose attitude or sense of irony allows that touch of humor in. Flynn Archer makes me laugh anyway. (Andy’s character on the online blog we write for those not in the know.)
    One problem is that sense of humor seems to be a national thing. Or it was before the internet levelled the playing field. They had an exhibition of cartoons from around the world at an art gallery once. Definitely different!

  3. andy says:

    It’s not limited to borders, either. Humor is subjective, so what you find funny other people might not, while what you find dull someone might find hilarious. All you can hope is you appeal to someone, or at the very least don’t make them throw your book across the room.

  4. Kei Chan says:

    J L Langley’s With Love has a lot of funny moments in it. The omega is incredibly clumsy and this leads to all kinds of problems and hysterical situations.

  5. A.B. Gayle says:

    Thanks Kei. Another one to add to my list. When will I get my wine book finished? Oh wait. I don’t have to read them right away? I could leave them in my folder and read them later? Yeah, right!

  6. kate says:

    Just dropping in check up on you and say a quick hi! I really liked the black humor in Immortality is the Suck. I laughed through the whole book.

  7. A.B. Gayle says:

    Hi Kate. Hugs. I should mention here that Kate is the beta-reader thanked at the front of “Caught” who steered me from the cliff-edge at times when the story was veering over into total unreality.
    But, yes, you’re right I forgot that one. Also by A.M. Riley. I even wrote a review for it on Goodreads!
    I hate paranormal books…..(but) Adam, is a snarky, twisted, card-carrying anti-hero. He’ll be the first person to tell you (as he does at times) that he’s not the nicest person around. But he “Saves the Cat” on enough occasions to make the late, great Blake Snyder proud. Enough humor, usually dour, is present to lift the book above the rest of the paranormal pack, with some sly digs at vampire establishment figures such as Anne Rice.
    I enjoyed “Immortality is the Suck” so much, I might even read the sequel.

  8. Well, at the risk of blowing my own horn there is (I hope) quite a bit of humor in my novel. The protagonist has a tendency to make outrageously inappropriate – and funny comments when he’s nervous or scared. I like humour and am constantly looking for interesting and unexpected ways of working it into whatever I write.

  9. Kei Chan says:

    That reminds me… Lynn Lorenz’s Unconditionally Edward is another story with a lot of humor in it. If you can make it through the first chapter without cracking up, you are more stoic than I am.

  10. A.B. Gayle says:

    Ah, does he “smorg” though? I’ll have to buy it and find out…. I assume it’s with dreamspinner?

  11. A.B. Gayle says:

    OK Thanks, Kei, another one to add to my list. I’ve seen it mentioned a few times, so will definitely check it out.

  12. Hank says:

    Hi A.B.,
    Thanks for the call out for my books, “Fluffers, Inc.” and “A Carnal Cruise,” I really, really appreciate it. I love humor in the stories I read (Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series is a personal favorite), and am really enjoying Ethan Day’s latest book “At Piper’s Point.” He does a great job of combining humor and erotica.
    Thanks again for the mention. The third book in the Charlie Heggensford series is due out later this year, titled “Vancouver Nights,” and I’m adding another layer of polish on a new m/m romantic comedy titled “Plus Ones” which I will be submitting to my editor by the end of the month.
    Take care, and keep up the good work!

  13. A.B. Gayle says:

    Thanks, Hank. I must check out “At Piper’s Point”. And I’ll be looking forward to seeing how you go with Rock and Charlie. It’s hard enough writing one funny book, but keeping the humor flowing while the relationship develops in a series can’t be easy. Take care, mate!

  14. Jules Jones tends to inject humour into m/m stories, and has also co-written some stories that are basically humour with m/m mixed in. Personally I’d especially recommend the ‘Lord and Master’ series for dealing with serious subjects while also including some very British touches of humour.

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