The 2002
Purple Prose Parody Contest

July 15, 2002:

Congratulations to Cheryl Sneed and Sherry Thomas. Out of 15 entries in this year's PPP Contest, they tied to win. Both received AAR Bookbags signed by authors who attended RWA's national conference in Denver. You can read analysis of the contest, along with reader comments, in the July 15th At the Back Fence. For access to the entries themselves, click here.

Cheryl on her win:

"My goodness! What a hoot. Well, though I've always enjoyed the Purple Prose contest, I've never entered. But as I read Stephanie Laurens' On a Wild Night, I was struck by how her writing quirks and idiosyncrasies were more pronounced than usual (the Laurens buzz words, the sentence fragments!), and I thought to myself, "I could write a Purple Prose Parody in her style." When the contest was announced, I remembered my stray thought and decided to give it a shot. I am a great fan of the Cynsters' series and so know the stories and the style so well that the parody practically wrote itself. It was great fun. My thanks to all the other entrants for the pleasure of reading their parodies, and to AAR."

Sherry on her win:

"This is so cool! Ah, it's so nice. My piece was in part inspired by Mrs. Giggles' rants against stupid heroines and their Daddy complexes. And partly because I've never understood the romancedom thing about innocents reforming rakes."

Entries for this year's contest were limited to 1,500 words - a word limit slightly longer than last year's limit of 1,200 words. When this contest first began in 1997, all the parodies were of love scenes. We've expanded that concept over the years to keep things fresh and encourage the parody of other romance novel scenes, including: epilogues; Regency Romance ball scenes; the first meeting in a "love at first sight" romance; the Big Mis; the Big Secret; the "morning after" scene; the prologue of a romantic suspense novel; a skanky sex scene between villains; or a draft proposal of a category romance publisher featuring things such as secret babies, cowboys, virgins, amnesiacs, virginal sex therapists, etc. We also encourage homages to favorite romance authors as well as the "merge-matic" concept we some years ago. We still haven't received a parody entitled Whitney, My Savage Love, but we can always hope!

Issue #142 of At the Back Fence - details of the contest's outcome and reader response
The following entries can be found on this page
To Refuse a Reprobate by Cheryl S
Epilogue by Blythe Barnhill
Intervention with the Vampire by Rachel Potter
The following entries can be found on the next page
Rude Awakening by Ann Davie
The SEAL Mercenary by Alicia Myers
Review of Formulania Wryter's She Ran Calling Wildfire by Rachel Lowder
How to Snag a Gazillionaire by Carol Irvin
The following entries can be found on third page
Sheik's Seduction by Ivanna Scribble
The Virgin Supermodel and the Lonely Rancher by Candice Small
The Duke by Sherry Thomas
Dora's Ladies by Leigh Davis
The following entries can be found on the fourth page
The Eyes Have It by Leslie Lawrence
Breasts in the Wind by Carrie Hines
Dark Putz by Christina Zeeman
The Happily Married Hero by Janet Mitchell

Purple Prose as written by Cheryl S as an homage to Stephanie Laurens:

To Refuse a Reprobate

Aloysius Fitz-Cynster, known far and wide as “Imp” (Damn his third cousin four times removed Devil and his first cousins for taking all the good demonic names anyway!) prowled around the fringes of the ballroom like an ocelot.

He knew she was here. Knew he could smell her. Knew he would find her. Knew he would have her.

Knew he was getting hard. Knew he’d better find her quickly before he embarrassed himself.

There she was. Hectate Higston-Houghton. Spinster. Bluestocking. Itch under his skin. Burr under his saddle.

Their eyes met. Hers wide. Startled. His predatory. Focused.

He quickly closed the gap between them as she turned to avoid him. Too late. He grabbed her wrist in his implacable grip and purred, “We have unfinished business.”

She tossed her head. “Humph! We have no business. Release me.”

Hiding their entwined hands in the folds of her gown, he brought them to his crotch. Her eyes widened even as they took on a lambent hue as she outlined his erection with her fingers.

Imp sucked in a quick breath. “Oh yes, we have unfinished business, and you’re going to help me finish.”


He resumed his ocelot-like stride, pulling her in his wake. She heard him mutter, “Where’s the conservatory? There’s always a conservatory. Ah!”

He pulled her into the darkened, humid room, latching the door behind him.

Hectate sputtered. “What is the meaning of this? I told you I would not marry you and I meant it. What part of ‘No’ do you not understand?”

“I am a Fitz-Cynster. We never take no for an answer. Especially when that bitch Fate decrees we marry. Especially when I’ve already had you. Had your tongue in my mouth. Had your breasts in my hands. Had your hands on my flesh. Had your innocence for my own.”

As he spoke, Hectate felt her body react. Felt her flesh quiver. Felt her nipples ruche. Felt her most secret place become moist with wanting.

“No!” she hissed. “I will never marry you!”

Imp growled as he picked her up in his arms and resumed his ocelot prowl through the conservatory, eyes examining his surroundings.

Fountain? Been done. Swing? No. Bench? Too easy. Cactus-filled planter? Ah yes! Now there’s a challenge worthy of a Fitz-Cynster!

As he made his way to the planter Hectate tried to twist out of his arms. Imp stilled her with a kiss.

A kiss that overpowered her. A kiss that silenced her protests. A kiss that gentled as he explored his mouth with his tongue. Ran it over her teeth. Nipped at her lips. Delved back in to stroke the roof of her mouth. Coaxed a response from her as she gasped and began to suck on his tongue.

Arriving at the planter, Imp gingerly sat on the rim, still devouring her with his mouth. A cactus spine invaded his breeches. He inhaled sharply. Moved a bit to the left. Never broke the kiss.

He held her in his lap. Her arms wrapped around his neck. He moved his mouth down the white column of her throat, sucked at the hollow at the base while his hands undid the buttons at her back. He pulled down the shoulders of her gown, exposing her divine breasts, nipples already ruched and waiting for his mouth.

He kissed a path from her neck to her breast, murmuring against her skin “Marry me.”

“No!” The word ended on a groan as his mouth closed over her nipple. Tongue laving. Teeth nipping. Fingers stealing under dress. Moving up her leg. Stroking the inside of her thigh. Teasing the curly hairs at the apex. Dipping inside to stroke.

“Marry me!”

“Humph!” she said on a gasp.

Suddenly he shifted her. Moved her so her delectable derriere was nestled against his pulsating rod. He quickly flipped the back of her gown up, adjusted her legs to straddle his as he released his throbbing desire. It reared up between her legs. Nestled against her wetness.

She tightened her thighs around his staff. She nearly swooned from the pleasure. From her need for him. From the scent of their arousal in the air. She gave a half-hearted “Humph!” as she guided the tip of him into her portal.

Imp caressed the twin globes of her derriere, gripped her hips and thrust up as he pulled her down, impaling her with his erection.

“Marry me!” he ground out.

“No!” she whimpered as he set an excruciatingly slow tempo. His hands moved up to capture her breasts and he kneaded them in time to his thrusts.

“Marry me and we can do this all the time,” he coaxed as his lips nuzzled her nape.

“But, we do this all the time now,” she got out on a ragged breath. “Why get married?”

“Do not argue with Fate. I will have you for my wife!” His voice was raw. His breath labored.

He moved one hand down under her skirt to where they were joined. He caressed the center of her pleasure. Circled it. Stroked it. Pinched it. Soothed it. Pulled it. Pressed it.

She burst into flames. Her keening cries filling the room. He gave one more savage thrust and joined her in oblivious bliss.

“Marry me,” he rasped.

“No,” she sighed.

He quickly put their clothing to rights, extracted the cactus spine from his buttock and led her to the door.

“The Featherstonaugh ball tomorrow night?” he asked.

“I don’t think they have a conservatory,” she mused. “But I do believe there is a gazebo.”

Gazebo, he thought. Hmmm….

“I’ll see you there, and this time you will say yes!”

“Humph!” she said, tossing her head and she strode past him and back into the ballroom.

Purple Prose as written by Blythe Barnhill as an homage to Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, and Stephanie Laurens:

by Mary-Beverly Lauren

"Darling," Samantha purred, "I am just so blissfully happy. I never dreamed that a poor governess like myself would marry a handsome, brooding earl and provide him with twin boys, all within a year." She nestled further into the covers and stroked her beloved husband, Rex, on his hindquarters.

"Ah, I'm not brooding anymore, love. I've finally realized that my evil first wife didn't typify all women, and I've even managed to forget all those men who died under my command during the Peninsular War. And to think all I needed was great sex. Who knew?"

"Now darling, don't forget our long conversations and our stimulating chess games. It's not all sex. And we can look forward to a lifetime of blissful happiness in each other's arms. There's only one problem - the readers. I just feel so sorry for them."

"What do you mean?"

"Well," Samantha explained, "Here we sit in spectacular connubial bliss, and after they heard our long and exciting love story they don't really get to enjoy it, or even see us again. How will they know that we still love each other when we're fifty and have ten strapping boys?"

Rex chuckled. "Samantha, I thought you knew! They'll see us again and again. And again and again. Always blissfully happy, always expecting another child. Haven't you noticed my six friends? The author still has six more books to write, and we'll appear in all of them. Your job is to give future heroines advice about how to get a confirmed rake to commit, and my job is to listen while my friends get drunk off their butts at Whites because they can't face the fact they're falling in love. We also get to show up at the nick of time when they couple du jour is in danger. It'll be fun!"

"But Rex! Isn't that dangerous?"

"Only if the author is Marsha Canham. Our authors just trot us out for show. No one seriously believes anyone good will get hurt."

"Oh, I think I get it. You and your friends will come in and save the day while the evil villain is taking the time to explain his plot and reasons for wanting to kill the couple! That's what happened with us. I have to admit I was wondering why seven muscular men were needed to stop one effeminate villain."

Rex gave Samantha's rear end a little pat. "Well, that's how the reader gets to know all the Hounds and get excited about hearing all of their stories."


"Oh, didn't I tell you, love? My friends and I all met at Harrow. We were all rich noblemen who felt sorry for ourselves for some reason, so we formed a tight-knit group and bonded for life. We called ourselves the Harrowing Hounds of Hell. I would die for any of them, but I'm sure it won't come to that."


Rex barked playfully. "That's because our names all sound like dogs, sweeting. There's me, Rex, of course, and Benjamin "Benji," Earl of Arfington, Wolf St. Bernard, Skip (Sir Fido), and Phillip "Spot" Dalmashon."

"But what about your other friend Michael? The one who is so urbane and conniving? I can't wait to meet the woman who can teach him some new tricks."

"Oh, Michael is the Duke of Ruffgar. Everyone is waiting for Ruffgar."

Samantha rose from bed and put on her wrapper. "Well, I guess this explains why all of you have little black ears sewn onto the back of your capes. But don't you think it's a little silly for grown men to have a club with a name like that?"

Rex glanced at Samantha, his confusion evident in his eyes. "Well honey, you have to join a club like that when you go to school. If you aren't a Rogue or a Fallen Angel or part of the Bar Cynster, then you'd better be a Harrowing Hound, Flying Baboon, or Cock of the Walk. Otherwise you'll get your butt kicked by the T-Birds, Panthers, or Slithering Serpents of Perdition. I'm surprised you didn't have clubs like this at Miss Sally's School for Attractive Governesses."

Smiling fondly, Samantha stroked Rex's head. "It must be a guy thing, darling. I guess I can live with it. I do have one suggestion, though." Samantha blushed prettily, whispered into Rex's ear, and climbed back into their imposing bed.

Rex growled as he arose from the bed. His splendidly naked form was already in a state of rampant arousal. His black-eared cloak was right where he had left it, and he grinned with a canine leer as he put the hood over his head. He let out a "Rrrruff!" - and pounced on the bed.

Purple Prose as written by Rachel Potter as an homage to Laurell K Hamilton:

Intervention with the Vampire

The phone rang. I raised my battered head off the pillow and squinted at the clock. 8 PM. Damn. I was late. The ringing continued. I picked up my cell phone. "Annika Black here," I said, my voice still rough from all the screaming I'd done the night before. I cleared my throat.

"Annika, where are you? We were supposed to meet at sundown." It was Jean-Fraude, my sometime vampire lover and one-third of our triumverate of power. He sounded annoyed, and that was strange. Usually his voice was slow and husky, as if he were perpetually on the verge of orgasm.

"Still at home," I said. "I'm leaving now, though. Give me a half hour."

"Good," he said. "We have a problem, and we need to talk about it."

"I'll be there," I said and hung up.

I staggered to the bathroom. I'd been beaten to a pulp last night in a confrontation with a group of local poltergeists. They were damn hard to fight, refusing to take a form as they did. But once I told them I had a gun and was serious about using it, they backed right down. Well, that and also because I'd forced their leader into submission with a bit of supernatural foreplay. Men: they were all the same. It didn't matter what species they were: human, vampire, werewolf, weregiraffe, selkie, fruit fly. Give them a little sex, and they forgot to complain about anything else.

In the shower I glanced down at myself and winced. The whole lower part of my body was black and blue, three toes were half-severed, my abdomen had been eviscerated, and part of my small intestine was sticking out. I pushed that back in with my thumb and washed my hair. Sure, it all hurt, but it wouldn't last long. These days I was a fast healer.

Driving over to Jean-Fraude's newest business, the health spa for the undead, Sexual Healing, I wondered what he wanted. He'd been harping on me to meet with him for months, but I'd resisted. I knew we couldn't be in the same room without him trying to jump me, and so I'd avoided him to give us both some space. But there had been something urgent in his call yesterday that made my resolve weaken. Something was up. It was probably the werebunnies again. They always had their cottontails in a knot about something, and they were fractious; there was always infighting in the warrens when they weren't busy humping each other to the point of exhaustion.

As soon as Jean-Fraude opened the door, I knew something was wrong. He'd answered the door himself, and he wasn't wearing his customary sexy, peek-a-boo clothing. Instead he had on a pair of newish 501's and a lime green oxford button-down shirt. He was wearing Birkenstocks, and, as he led the way to his study, they clop-clopped against the soles of his feet. An ominous sound. He opened the study door and gestured for me to sit down in one of the wing chairs by the fireplace. As I settled into one, I froze. Seated across from me was Dick, my sometime lover and the final third of our triumverate. I hadn't seen him for months either. He wanted me, wanted me to the point of madness, but we were over, and there was no point in torturing him with that knowledge, so for that reason I'd avoided him. That and the fact that he was kind of whiny sometimes.

Jean-Fraude sat down and faced me with a very serious look on his face. "Annika," he said. "We need to talk."

"If it's about the werebunnies," I said, "I think I can handle them-"

"It's not about the werebunnies," Dick said.

I raised my eyebrow at him. It was obvious that he wasn't over me yet. Our breakup had been ugly. He'd shapeshifted on top of me during sex-which was freaky enough in itself-but added to that, the resulting differences in his chemical makeup had given me a nasty yeast infection. I'd decided I really didn't need any more of that, thank you very much. There were plenty of werefish in the sea.

"It's about you," Jean-Fraude said.


"Yes, you. Both Dick and I feel, and, ah, this is hard to say...We feel that it's time you got yourself some help."

I had no idea what he was getting at. "Help? I don't need help. Now that the marks are married, I'm invincible. I mean, we're invincible. Why would I need help?"

Jean-Fraude just shook his head and looked at Dick, "See what I mean?" he asked. Dick nodded. "Annika," he said. "We don't mean help with werebunnies, or fairies or demented trolls. We mean personal help." He looked at me meaningfully.

"We think you should see a therapist," Jean-Fraude said.

"A therapist?" I shrieked, and all of my previous unease came back to me. What was going on here? What was wrong with Jean-Fraude? Why did he look and act so strange? I pulled out my gun and leapt from the chair. "What's gotten into you?" I stared at him hard. "The real Jean-Fraude would never talk to me that way. Has this got something to do with the poltergeists? Have they possessed you?"

Jean-Fraude put up both of his hands. "Calm down, Annika, and put away the gun. There's nothing wrong with me. Everything's fine. I've been doing a little self-examination, in fact."

"Self-examination? Jean-Fraude, you're a vampire."

"So what. Vampires can't be screwed up? Look, Annika, I loathed myself for hundreds of years, hating the beast that I was. You don't know even 1/257th of all the things that I've done in my lifetime of death. But now that's all over. I've been seeing a therapist, and Dr. Kevorkian has helped me to see that that kind of thinking can only lead to poor self-esteem. Furthermore, I've become aware that my sexual behavior patterns aren't simply the result of normal vampire hormones, or even the so-called ardeur I've always blamed it on. No, my screwing everything in sight was sexual addiction, pure and simple." He smiled ironically, "Or, rather, impure and very complicated." He stood and put a hand on my arm. "We think you might also benefit from a little psychological analysis."

"Recognition is the first step to recovery," Dick said, eyeing the gun.

I began backing away from the pair of them. "You think I don't understand myself? You think I don't understand what I've become? I know it's been fast, this change from fairly ordinary human being to supernatural omnipotent goddess-just 10 books-but I think I've handled it pretty well."

"That's just it, Annika, you're not omnipotent. It's all in your head," Jean-Fraude said softly.

"In my head? You mean to tell me that all of this...the vampires, the werewolves, the werechickens...all of it, I've made it up? That none of you are real?"

"Oh, we're real," Dick said. "I'm sure as hell a werewolf, and Jean-Fraude here's a blood sucker, all right, it's you who..."

"Who what?"

"Who've imagined it all," Dick finished lamely. "All this ranting and raving you've been doing about the marks and the merging of power and the "triumverate." I don't know where you're getting it from, but it's just not true."

"It's not true? What do you mean it's not true? I'm a necromancer extraordinaire!"

"Yeah, yeah," Dick said. "A necromancer. What is a necromancer anyway? Heck if we know. Annika, you've got to get a grip on yourself. You're delusional."

Jean-Fraude nodded urgently. "Please listen to us. This's very important. I want to make sure you get the help you need before I leave town."

My jaw dropped in astonishment despite my anger. "You're leaving? But, Jean-Fraude, you're the vampire master of the city!"

"I know it," he said. "I'm tired of it. One evening, after a particularly grueling therapy session, I woke up and thought, 'I've got plenty of money and plenty of time. I don't even need that much blood any more. Why am I still here dealing with all this petty infighting and monster politics? Fuck it. I don't need this kind of stress.' So I got this book from the library." He held up a paperback entitled Voluntary Simplicity: Is It for You?. "I've decided to scale way back. I'm going to hang where there aren't so many crazies for a while. Maybe Alaska."

I just stared at him. The room felt like it was closing in on me.

"Annika," Jean-Fraude said softly, "there are medications available that can help you. We think you should listen to us because we both care about you and no one else will tell you the truth. You need to face it: you're just an ordinary human being. Feisty, yes. Supernatural, no."

But I was no longer listening. All this time the two of them had been lying to me. They didn't believe in me. They were trying to undermine my powers! There were others who did believe in me, who did want me. Tom and Frank and Bob and the other werewolves and the wereleopards and...

I turned on my heel and left the room without saying another word.

Continue to next page

Issue #142 of At the Back Fence - details of the contest's outcome and reader response
If you liked this parody,

try this one!