Friday, January 14, 2011

Ring, Ring

By Heather

Lately I've noticed that I have a common theme in most of my books--my characters usually have funny or meaningful ringtones. Nina Quinn, my first mystery protagonist, started the trend. She has all kinds of interesting ringtones, usually set by her stepson or her cousin Ana. "Like a Virgin," for instance. Ana set that one for Nina after Nina swore off men (very appropriate!).

Lucy Valentine also uses funky ringtones. Mostly Christmas music, since she's a sucker for Christmas.

I started wondering why I use this particular theme, and I finally realized that it not only can be used for humor, but it also usually reveals a layer of the character. And I'm all about layered characters.

Personally, I've had the same cell phone ringtone for years now (the same phone, too). It's the first few strains of  "Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder. I love it, but as I listened to the Grease soundtrack today, I started thinking the first strains of "Grease" might be in my cell phone's future.

I'm sure I'll continue using unusual  ringtones in my books, but for now I want to know what ringtone you use. Is it a song? Or a traditional ring?

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I use Reverend Horton Heat's 'Texas Rockabilly Rebel' (no, I'm Australian) I always recognise when it's my ringtone, it starts loud & fast & it's unique.

flash29 said...

With my first couple of cellphones, I didn't change the ringtone because I didn't want to pay for them. My last phone, when I turned it on and off, the music sounded like the "X-Files" theme so there was no reason to change that. Just got a Smartphone (which, so far, is smarter than me) and, thanks to a friend, found a site where I could get free Star Trek wallpaper and ringtones. My ringtone is Spock saying "Captain...incoming message".

Aimee said...

The theme to Torchwood is my generic ring.

My specialized ring for BHE is Sweet Home Alabama because his family is from Alabama.

My specialized ringtone for The Doll's school and aftercare facility is My Favorite Things.

Sheila Connolly said...

Shoot, my protagonists have trouble finding their phones at all, much less worrying about the ringtones. Of course, that may reflect the attitude of their creator (i.e., me!) who still hasn't programmed a ringtone for my new phone and doesn't even recognize the one it has.

Kristine said...

Mine def reflect my family or me at the moment. I've had anything from the Indiana Jones themesong to Alicia Keys to Star Wars to the Florida Gator fight song to my most recent one... "Only Exception" by Paramore. Right now I am obviously going through a more romantic and appreciative stage with my hubby ;) I like being reminded of his comfort and presence in my life when it rings.

jbstanley said...

I have the theme to the Peanuts. Very peppy but not annoying.

Linda Leszczuk said...

I use the theme from Chariots of Fire, mostly because that quiet "shush, shush, shush" sound at the very beginning gives me a chance to answer it before the music starts. It also doesn't startled the life out of me when it goes off in me pocket.

alwzdreamn said...

My ringtone is the ever cool "Theme from The Pink Panther". Such a smooth character!

LisaKD said...

My ringtone right now is Yoda saying "Your phone, ringing it is, answer your destiny". I have my husband's ringtone set to the music from Rocky. When my Dad calls, my phone plays the song from Sponge Bob Square Pants. He is 78 and loves the song from Sponge Bob but not so much the cartoon. :-)

Happy Friday...

Dru said...

My theme is the Overture of 1812. Love that piece.

Maggie Sefton said...

Kelly Flynn, my sleuth in the Knitting mysteries, is a corporate CPA & her phone rings a lot, so it's obviously subdued. However, Molly Malone, the heroine in my new series set in Washington, DC, alternates between the Stones & Clapton & other old faves.

As for me---Rock 'n Roll or Jazz.

Heather Webber said...

You all are so clever! These are great songs/tunes. LOL, Aimee at "Favorite Things." Hope Doll isn't offended by that. And there are some in my family who'd love to have Yoda talking to them!

ev said...

Daughter set my phone to Stewie yelling "mom, mom, mommy..." and I carry it over.

Hubby's ring tone is "American Solider". His has the Star Trek ringtones I have set for him.

My generic one is currently Meat Loaf's "I would do anything for love".

I love to change my ring tones around.

Rural View said...

I don't own a cellphone and therefore my characters don't either. I wouldn't even know how to answer one. I know, I know, I'm a hopeless Luddite.

Gayle Carline said...

My ringtone for most people is "Ricky Don't Lose That Number" by Steely Dan, altho the ringtone for my hubby's phone is Barry White's "My First, My Last, My Everything." My horse trainer's phone generates "Horse With No Name" when she calls. And, of course, my ringtone for texting is the Police's "Message in a Bottle."

Min said...

My default ring tone changes occasionally. Right now, it's "Breaking News" by Michael Jackson. I'm a HUGE MJ fan, and that was the first single released from his most recent album, "Michael."

But certain people have distinct ringtones, so I know it's them without having to look at the Caller ID. For instance, my mom and I are both big NASCAR fans. Her ringtone is of one of the drivers doing a qualifying lap when we were at the track one day.

My friend and I always watch "Degrassi" together (although I'm certain we're both out of their target demographic), so her ringtone is the theme song.

And I've been told that a few friends independently chose "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" as their ringtone for me. I'm not sure what that's supposed to say about me!

signlady217 said...

I don't have a cell phone, but I told my husband to go ahead and get me one when he upgrades his the next time, whenever that is. I've already decided on a couple of ringtones, though. Hubby's will probably be "Wild Thing" and mom's "Brown-Eyed Girl". Can't decide on one for my brother yet; tough one!

Miki Willa said...

I use on of the free tones that came with my dinosaur of a cell phone. One of these days, I am going to upgrade my phone so I can get cool ringtones.

Mo said...

I rotate through TV themes songs for my ringtones. Right now it is the theme from Bones by Crystal Method. In the past I have used themes from Chuck, Miami Vice, NCIS, NCIS:LA, Jeopardy, Farscape and Hawaii Five-0. My hubby's phone rings with the tones from the communicator in the old In Like Flint movies with James Coburn.

Rochelle Staab said...

I use a loud, old-fashioned telephone ring because it's the only tone that will get my attention. Funny thing is, half of my friends use the same ringtone so there are at least four people diving for their phones when the old phone rings in a crowd.

Although my iPhone is one of my favorite gadgets, I'm not big on talking on the phone. I rarely get calls and need something that shouts at me. I have a customized ringtone for my agent - a loud car horn - so I always know it's her.

And my characters are just as bad as I am. Liz shuts off her phone when she's treating patients and always forgets to turn it back on.

Shel said...

Like a lot of people, I have some customized ringtones for different people. My husband's is "Gimme that Girl" by Joe Nichols, because he says the song describes me. My daughter's is Bohemian Rhapsody, because it's an "in joke" between us. Everyone else is one of the ones that came with the phone, as loud and obnoxious as I can get it, because otherwise I won't hear it.

Andrea C. said...

Mine is a mix of Walking on Sunshine and Halo from the show Glee! :)

Heather Webber said...

I need to figure out how to program my phone for different people. That could be really fun (mwa-ha-ha!).

Did you know you can record on your phone? And then make ring tones from those recordings? You could actually get your kids saying, "Mom, pick up the phone!"

Mandy said...

Because I'm a little off (so says my husband), my ring tone is still on I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas. I'm going to change it, but it's one of my favorite Christmas tunes and I was thrilled to be able to download it to my phone!

My oldest programed the most awful robot sounding noise for her personal ring on my last phone and it drove me nuts everytime she'd call!

Vickie said...

I think if I could figure out how to set a new ringtone, I would...for now it is the sound of applause...nothing like a nice bit of affirmation from time to time.

Aurian said...

I have a really old cellphone, ringtones is not something I can add to it. So it is a normal ring. But I would probably choose one of my favourite songs if possible.

Jaymie said...

I use the Jonas Brothers' song "Hey You" because it starts with "Hey, you. Hey, you." which just seemed like a good phone-related song. I'm entirely too old for the JoBros, but I love my ring tone.

Linda McDonald said...

Mine is just a traditional ring tone. I don't even know if my phone has other types of rings. My husband has his set to a "gong" sound. It's actually very nice...not obnoxious at all.

Shiloh said...

I tend to change mine, but right now it's Chicago's "You are the Inspiration."