In a recent podcast interview with author Lisa Renee Jones, Jane from DearAuthor asked Lisa what she thought the next big trend in romance might be. Lisa's answer: romantic comedies. In the movie world, they're called rom-coms, but in the romance genre, I tend to think of them as "contemporary comedy romances."
(You can listen to the complete podcast or read a transcript of it on SBTB, if you're interested. We also talk about self publishing, trends, and marketing for indie and traditionally published authors.)
But back to the contemporary comedies: Oh, I hope she's right. Not just because it'd be neat but because I love contemporary comedy romances. As I said during the interview, "contemporary romance" is rapidly approaching uselessness as a genre name. We could both love contemporary romance, but you could be talking about Debbie Macomber or Susan Wiggs, and I could be talking about Lisa Renee Jones or Julie James, and those aren't quite the same thing. There's a lot of room in the "contemporary" label for divergent styles of writing, from angst and ugly cry to slapstick or memoir-style first-person comedy.
I agree with Jones' prediction also since, as she said, it would be a logical cycle for reader interest to move away from the dark and gritty paranormals and urban fantasy series, and away from the emotional spin cycle of new adult into lighter comedy, with emotion and humor mixed together. I fully support this plan!
These are the books I recommend when someone asks me for a book that will make them laugh, and possibly scare the dogs. Some I've mentioned before, but if you're looking for a chortling good time, these authors and/or books will give you plenty to laugh about.
Ripped by Sarah Morgan
Yes, I've mentioned this book before but it still makes me laugh, even when I'm just thinking about it. Read it for the scene with the turkey. Trust me on this.
In the Clear by Tamara Morgan
Tamara Morgan, 2013
No relation to Sarah, but this novella about a very shy but determined hero and a heroine who can't help getting into goofy trouble is completely charming.
While It Was Snowing by Elyssa Patrick
Elyssa Patrick, 2013
This is a friends-to-lovers novella, but the opening scene wherein the heroine covers herself with a whipped cream bikini and then has second thoughts at the last moment is hysterical. I didn't know you could write slapstick comedy into narrative form, but Patrick totally pulls it off.
Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins
Harlequin HQN, 2014
Just One of the Guys is one of my favorite Higgins novels, especially the scenes with Chastity and her Scorpion Bowl. But that book came out in 2008, so if you've already read it, I heard from a very lucky person who has an advanced copy that Higgins' next book, Waiting on You, is equally funny if not more so.
Something About You by Julie James
Julie James writes smart and funny romances about people who work with the FBI and U.S. Attorneys offices in Chicago. Something About You begins with U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde overhearing a murder in the hotel room next door. The best part of James' books—all of them—is that the humor is crackling and smart.
Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey
Carina Press, 2010
Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey
Carina Press, 2011
Stacey's series about the Kowalski family takes place in rural New Hampshire and Maine, and is completely hilarious. Yours to Keep involves creative blackmail, RVing, and bug spray, and Yours to Keep will guarantee you never look at post-it notes or wooden spoons the same way again.
These are some of the books that I know have made me chortle out loud, regardless of who might overhear. Which authors or books have made you laugh out loud? Which are your favorites?
Sarah Wendell is the co-creator, editor and mastermind of the popular romance blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. She loves talking with romance readers, and hopes you'll share your new favorite romance reading recommendations. You can find her on Twitter @smartbitches, on Facebook, or on her couch, most likely with her eyeglasses turned toward a book.