The 2004 Purple Prose Parody Contest

July 15, 2004:

June 1st marked the opening of AAR's eighth annual Purple Prose Parody Contest. Today we announce the winner from the 17 entries submitted...Amanda Grange for her brilliant Miss Bridget Jane's Diary. Amanda had this to say when informed of her win (for the second year in a row!):

"This is brilliant! I'd just like to thank my wonderful husband for supporting me (gulp), the fabulous All About Romance site for hosting the competition (sob), the sensational Laurie Gold for inventing the competition (whimper), the marvellous people who voted for me (blubber), the flowers and trees for inspiring me (wail), the little birds for singing outside my window (howl), the sun and the moon and the stars (floods of tears)..."

Ms Grange was finally dragged from the podium in a hysterical state. After a nice cup of tea she was able to thank Ms Gold sensibly and say how much she had enjoyed entering the competition, also how much she had enjoyed reading the other entries which, as always, made her LOL. And to add that she will be ordering a new carriage asap.

Read more about the contest results in the July 15th ATBF column.

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Entries for this year's contest were limited to 1,500 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 Lord St. Claire's Undercover Angel (anyone game to write a parody featuring a rake who decides to dally with a virginal arthritic spinster who shocks him with her skill beneath the sheets?) or Whitney, My Savage Love, but I remained hopeful that this would be the year!

Our suggested additions for this year included the use of some of the "romance-only" myths discussed in the June 1st ATBF column, most specifically the contemporary heroine giving up her high-powered career in the big city to live in the middle of nowhere and birth those babies. And, given the extraordinary success of Chick Lit, we also encouraged Chick Lit parodies. Remember that parodies work best when they come from love rather than hate; a Chick Lit parody by those who enjoy the novels will mostly likely come across better than a Chick Lit parody written by someone who doesn't like the genre.
This year's prize is a very "girlie" one - the Bare Escentuals 4-piece color kit in Evening Bag, an $86 value that includes: "cupcake" glimpse (for the eyes); "celebrate" lip gloss; "flowers" blush; a tapered blush brush (BE brushes are wonderful!); and a kicky little pink silk evening bag, all delivered to you in a pink hat box. (I'm a BE fanatic and bought an extra kit to award for this contest.)

The following entries can be found on this page

The Rake's Reward by Cheryl Sneed
The Horniest Danger by Jenny Evans
The First Husbands Club by T.W. Lewis
Better the Devil You Know by Kimberly Borris

The following entries can be found on the second page

The Elusively Flammable Flame: The Villain Explains All by Varina Martindale
Miss Bridget Jane's Diary by Amanda Grange
Forever in High School with DweebDawg by Carol Knowlton Irvin
Lord St. Lucifer and the Librarian by K.T. Shaw

The following entries can be found on the third page

Character Assassination by Phoebe Belsley
A Motive for Marriage by Helen Derbyshire
When A Pirate Bought Me Lunch by Emilie Conroy
Candy, the Vampire Slayer by Cassandra Dean

The following entries can be found on the fourth page

Embers of Surrender by Camilla Rayne
Universe Enough and Time by Astrid Chronopolis writing as Jane Doe
Tempted by Sweet Savage Love by Laura Cain
Overheated by Theresa Luke
Zachary-Zach's Babies by Twinkie Brite

Purple Prose as written by Cheryl Sneed, co-winner in 2002's contest:

The Rake's Reward

"I have been looking forward to this all day," Lady Diana whispered as she straddled the naked man propped against the pillows. Giving him a sultry look, she reached over to the nightstand for the velvet cord. She dusted the tassel around his manhood, which jerked in response. Smiling, she ran it up his flat stomach, over his nipples. Sliding her palms up his arms and pulling them over his head, she finally grasped his hands and efficiently tied his wrists to the bedpost.

In his helpless state, she massaged herself on him, caressed his body, licked the heated skin stretched over rock-hard muscles.

Lady Diana's caresses became rougher, her nails coming into play as her excitement rose. Unfortunately, that was the only thing that was rising.

Suddenly she stopped, sat back on her heels, her perfect bottom resting on his steely thighs, and looked at his manhood.

His quiescent manhood. One might even say flaccid.

Lady Diana glared at him through narrowed eyes. "What is wrong with you tonight?"

The viscount avoided her eyes and shrugged. Difficult to do with his hands tied above his head, but he managed to convey his ambivalence.

"Darling, we've just spent the last hour plotting the downfall of that horrid Miss Merriweather, and the delicious Earl Penhurst. Once our plan is put into motion, it is only a matter of time before they are separated forever. Then I can have the wealthy, rakish earl for my own and you can console the wealthy, insipid bluestocking. It is foolproof. And now," she purred, cradling his organ in her hands, "we get to have Skanky Villain Sex. Don't you," bending down to flick her tongue over the tip, "want to have Skanky Villain Sex?" Her mouth completely engulfed him as she sucked.

"Well, I've been thinking," he began, hoarsely, as his body began to respond to Lady Diana's expert ministrations. He cleared his throat and tried to speak in an offhand manner. "I've been kind of hoping that I might be redeemed and then become the hero of the sequel. But, if we have Skanky Villain Sex, my chances are shot."

She bit down. Hard.

"OW!! What was that for?!"

"A hero?! You want to be a hero? You?" Lady Diana laughed derisively.

"I could be a hero," he said defensively. "I've got the body. I've got the name. I could be a contender."

"Drake Ravensby? You think Drake Ravensby is a hero's name?"

"Yes, I do! It's dangerous, but manly, don't you think?"

"It's a duck. Your name is a duck. There is nothing manly about that."

Ravensby winced.

Lady Diana sighed. "My love, you are not a hero. But there is much to be said for being villainous. There are … compensations." And giving him a heated look, she reached beneath the bed and pulled out an ornate, bejeweled casket, which she placed beside them. Ravensby eyed it with trepidation.

"No, Diana. Not the Casket of Carnal Consolation! I really want to give this hero thing a try. I can do it. I -"

His voice trailed off as he watched Lady Diana rummage inside the casket. He caught glimpses of leather straps, kitchen utensils, and glass jars filled with various condiments before Lady Diana brought out a feather duster.

"Do you remember the night you used this on me? I certainly do." She brushed the feathers over her breasts, stimulating her nipples with it, dragging it down her body. She gasped as the feathers tickled her curls and moaned when she turned the duster, drawing the thick handle against her entrance.

Ravensby's body twitched. Oh yes, he remembered.

"Or this?" Lady Diana pulled out a long string of pearls, ran it down his chest and wrapped it around his member, which began to show definite signs of interest. "Yessss…" she hissed.

No! he thought. No. I want to be a hero. Think of something else. He broke out into a sweat as Lady Diana tightened the looped pearls around his manhood, rolling them up and down. I've got it. Lady Townsend, my acerbic dragon of a godmother. See? I can be a hero. I have a Dragon Dowager in the family! Think of Lady Townsend. There we go!

"Oh!" Lady Diana sounded decidedly vexed as the pearls dropped limply to the bed. Tossing them aside she growled, "I am going to have my Skanky Villain Sex. I deserve my Skanky Villain Sex, and you are not going to thwart me!"

She grabbed a plate of oysters, conveniently placed on the bedside table, and quickly force-fed him three. "Now then!"

Lady Diana delved back into the Casket of Carnal Consolation, and rifled amongst its tantalizing objects. Uttering a triumphant cry, she held before his eyes two silver balls attached by a silken cord. She held the cord in the middle and let the balls tap against each other, giving off soft "pings."

"The last time we had this out, you used it on me, but I wonder if I can adapt it for you." She gave a wicked chuckle as Ravensby licked the last of the oyster juice off his lips and his eyes widened. She warmed the silver balls in her mouth, then tied the cord around the base of his manhood, allowing the wet balls to rest upon his own. Then her hands and mouth went to work on him, from the tip to the bottom where she alternated rolling and then sucking balls into her mouth. And once, extraordinarily, one of each kind simultaneously.

"Oh my god, " Ravensby panted. "Think of something. Lady Townsend… Little Jack Horner sat in the corner... A ring around the rosy... Ahhhh!"

Lady Diana impaled herself on his fully erect member and rode him hard. Each downward stroke brought the silver balls into contact with his own, a pleasure bordering on the painful.

"I want to be a hero! Ahhhh… Baby kittens! Lady Townsend in a corset!"

Lady Diana stopped his voice by bringing his head to her breast, thrusting her nipple into his mouth. He bit down on it and, ceding to the inevitable, drove upward into her, once, twice as they came in an explosion of lust and Carnal Consolation.

Falling limply back onto the pillows and breathing rapidly, Ravensby closed his eyes and gave a wistful sigh. "I could have… been a… contender…"

Purple Prose as written by Jenny Evans, who participated in last year's contest:

The Horniest Danger

Kat Stone stealthily marched toward the old, abandoned warehouse. It was time. Time to catch the serial killer who'd been terrorizing all of Cheese Falls these past two years. The killer had first targeted her identical twin sister. Kat knew she was next. Knew because of the string of threatening notes she'd received lately. She pulled the latest out of her pocket and read it:

PLEASE MEET ME AT THE WAREHOUSE SO I CAN KILL YOU.
XOXO,
THE CHEESE FALLS KILLER. P.S. MY REAL NAME IS--

Kat narrowed her eyes, crumpling the paper in one angry fist. She'd never bothered to read the note all the way through, but its meaning was clear enough. Someone wanted to kill.

To kill.

Her.

"I wonder if I should have shown this to the cops?" she mused aloud. "Nah," she said after a minute, flinging the note over her head and walking on. The cops were terrible at solving murders. Especially when they didn't have clues. Besides, they'd only try to make her stay away from the warehouse. There was no way she was going to sit at home, safe, when a vengeful maniac who wanted her dead was on the loose, just waiting to be confronted.

She came to a halt outside the warehouse door.

"Damn," she muttered fiercely, "I meant to bring a weapon."

She dug through her extremely expensive, trendy, and cool Marc Jacobs calfskin handbag, the one that was featured on page 186 of the January 2004 issue of Vogue, searching for something to arm herself with. At last her fingers met the cold, hard steel of the perfect killing machine.

It was a staple remover.

Stolen.

From the supply cabinet.

At her office.

She tested the weight of it in her hand, smiling slightly. What mere criminal mastermind could possibly best the likes of her? After all, she was thin as a plastic straw, had no fighting skills--not even a Tae Bo class to fall back on--and wore four-inch Jimmy Choo stilettos that forced her to take tiny, painful steps.

"Prepare to meet your doom," she shouted as she flung open the door. There, that would show the pesky serial killer! She didn't need to rely on lies and stealth. She would announce her every move, giving him plenty of time to react. It was only fair.

Squinting, she made out a dim figure standing at the far end of the room. He was in the process of removing the plastic cover from a TV dinner.

"Hungry, eh?" she growled huskily. "Hungry for your own death!"

She ran toward him--well, made quick, mincing steps toward him--with the staple remover brandished in front of her. In the poorly lit room, it almost looked like a real weapon. Slightly winded, she stopped a few inches away from the masked mass murderer and clicked it together like a pair of castanets.

A pair of deadly.

Castanets.

The serial killer sighed and pulled a gun out of his pocket with one hand, still holding his TV dinner in the other. For the first time, Kat started to feel scared, but she hid her fear behind her unique brand of spunky, not-funny-at-all humor.

"This is like a game of paper, rock, scissors," she quipped wittily. "Only it's staple remover, gun, and Lean Cuisine. Well, staple remover beats Lean Cuisine, but gun beats staple remover."

"What the hell?" a deep, manly voice said.

Kat whirled around. "Adam!"

Special Agent Adam O'Mulligan stood a few feet away, fatigue and hurt written on his every craggy feature.

"I thought I'd find you here," he said, gently running a finger along the side of her face. She tingled at his touch. "Especially after I read the E-mail you sent me."

"The one with the hilarious blonde jokes?"

"No, the one that said you were coming to the warehouse to confront the killer."

"Oh, Adam, you're so smart." Kat stepped closer, into the safe enclosure of his arms.

They met in a wild clashing of tongues, mating the way scientists wish captive pandas would. Kat ran her hands over Adam's iron-hard male pecs, then his male nipples, ignoring the faint coughing she heard over to her left. Her hands slid lower, running over the bulge in his perfectly worn Diesel jeans, the ones that sagged low on his male hips and clung lightly to his amazingly cute male heinie.

He groaned appreciatively, drowning out the growl she made in the back of her throat as they kissed. She unzipped his pants, touching the silky, yet hard length of his male maleness.

"Good lord, put that away!"

Kat and Adam broke their embrace and looked around, confused. It was their usual expression.

The killer stood with his arms crossed over his chest, impatiently tapping one foot.

"I have a gun, and I'm about to kill you," he said peevishly. "Doesn't that ruin the mood?"

Kat shrugged.

"I don't see why it would," Adam said. "This is just like that time you told us to meet you at the old abandoned movie theater--"

"--But we had such hot sex in the projection booth that we forgot to try to catch him," Kat finished. "I remember that!"

"Yeah, it's happened a few times. I think I should have had you two arrested for indecent exposure. The worst was the time I told you to meet me in Danger Forest, and you somehow managed to squeeze yourselves into a rabbit burrow and do the nasty. I was going to kill you anyway, but I got so icked out that I just left."

"Being in close proximity really ups the sexual tension," Kat said.

"And the poison oak was totally worth it," Adam said.

"We got to sexily rub calamine lotion all over our--"

"Zip it, Kadam."

"You know our name," Adam said craftily. "But what's yours?"

"For God's sake, like it's hard to figure out," the killer said. He dropped his TV dinner and held his gun in both hands, taking careful aim. "There were only four main characters in the book to start with, and one of them died in chapter twelve."

"Oh yeah," Kat said. "I remember we hid our grief by having sex in as many positions as we could think of. Remember that, baby?"

"Definitely," Adam growled with a sexy leer.

The killer tore off his mask. "I'm Ed Barnes, you horny idiots. Your boss, Kat. The last person you'd expect, since I'm always so friendly and nice. I thought you'd at least recognize my voice. Or the picture ID hanging from my lanyard." He held up the Barnes Industries ID card he always wore around his neck.

"Why did you do it?" Kat asked boldly.

"You know, I don't remember," Ed said. "There was a good reason when I started. It's just that I've been waiting so long to get caught. It's been two frigging years. Maybe if you spent less time screwing around--literally--and more time following the increasingly obvious clues I left you--"

"Adam is a great investigator," Kat said hotly. "And his quirky family is full of goodlooking Irishmen, all of them ripe for books of their own."

"Great investigator? I've killed everyone in town, some of them twice. You goons are the only two left."

"You know what that means," Adam said, cupping Kat's breasts in his warm, callused hands. "It's up to us to repopulate Cheese Falls."

Kat moaned, and they kissed.

Their kiss was hot. Deep. Wet. With tongues, etc. Ed aimed his gun again, then shook his head in disgust.

"They'd probably find a way to do it even if I killed them," he said, and he left Cheese Falls forever.

Purple Prose as written by T.W. Lewis:

The First Husbands Club

Gustav tossed his head to get his floor-length, jet-black-with-touches-of-midnight-blue locks out of his eyes. "I really should have it cut," he thought, "What if I trip when I walk down the aisle?"

Yes, incredible as it seemed to him, after a three-day whirlwind romance international playboy Gustav had lost his heart and soul to the fiery and intriguing reporter Jessica Tarte. Who could have guessed, after his years of torrid love affairs and one-night stands with supermodels on the Riviera, that he would fall for the shy, insecure country reporter trying to make it in the big city? But somehow spending three days fleeing international terrorists in a bizarre mistaken identity crisis had formed a bond between Jessica and Gustav beyond any he had ever known. And in less than an hour, she would walk down the aisle and be his forever.

His ruminations were cut short by the entrance of a bizarre and motley group. "Good god," he thought, "The Village People are in town!"

The four men could not have looked more dissimilar. A marine in full dress whites, a cowboy in chaps and spurs, a tortured poet in a ruffled silk shirt and leather pants, and a Duke in velvet jodhpurs. They were surrounded by a gaggle of children of various ages, and they were heading straight for him as though they knew him.

"God, another hairy one," said the Marine, "He looks like Cousin It." Gustav bristled at this, but the Marine continued. "Good to meet you, I'm Stryker. Meet Lance, Beau, and Julius, the Duke of Poshville."

"Gustav," he offered, shaking hands with the men. "Who are you people?" "We're Jessica's ex-husbands," said Lance. "Welcome to the club."

"Ex-husbands? But we haven't even gotten married yet!"

Beau snorted. "Did you miss the part where she explained all of her intimacy issues stemming from her father's abandonment and the death of her gerbil? The woman's got the emotional staying power of wet cardboard."

"Let's just get right down to business, shall we?" said Stryker. "Now since there'll be five of us, we can split up the carpooling much easier. Monday through Friday in order of precedence. Poker night is Wednesday."

Gustav stared at Stryker, bewildered. "Carpool? What the heck are you talking about?"

"She's pregnant," Lance explained.

"Twins," Beau added, "A boy and a girl. It's traditional."

Gustav took a second look at the crowd of children plucking at the coat-tails of their fathers. Indeed, the five boys and five girls made perfectly matched pairs, almost identical aside from the difference in sex. Each pair combined Jessica's violet eyes and darling chin with the features of their fathers. A sense of rising panic gripped him. "But we used condoms!" he shrieked.

Julius chuckled. "Bad luck, old sport. Did you really think those flimsy excuses for AIDS awareness could withstand the mighty force of your turgid manhood? She's pregnant. With twins."

"Well I wish someone had told me!" Gustav snapped. "I would have had a heck of a lot more fun if I'd known I didn't have to bother with a rubber."

The other men chuckled in sympathy. "If you think that's bad," said Stryker, "wait until you find out you can never have sex again."

"What?!" Gustav screamed.

Beau shrugged. "If you ever have sex with anyone else, you become the evil ex-husband who threw her over for another model, she takes your kids and you have a horrible car accident a few weeks later so she can play the grieving widow and snare some other poor sap."

"Poor Rufus," said Beau. Two of the children turned maudlin at the name of their missing father.

"I've got to get out of here," said Gustav, "Now, while there's still time!"

The four men panicked and grabbed his arms to shake some sense into him. "Don't even say that!" said Lance. "If you leave her pregnant at the altar, you'll still never have sex, but you'll have to spend the next ten years redeeming your hollow life while she struggles to raise the children alone, and when you reunite with them, they'll be all resentful and you'll have to pay for their therapy. Believe me, you don't need that hassle."

"Don't fight it," Stryker soothed. "It'll all be over soon. Starr, Simon, Kayla, Kevin, Lily, Lucius, Michaela, Matheson, Desiree and Dominic, why don't you go find us some good seats?" And with that, they disappeared into the chapel, leaving Gustav to greet his bride.

Purple Prose as written by Kimberly Borris:

Better the Devil You Know

"What were you thinking, Mister Valentine?", asked one of the many Mexican Military soldiers aiming the giant 1500-rounds a minute gut buster at his chest. "You must have been awfully mistaken if you thought that we were just going to let you escape us and pass into the United States." The rough looking captain shouted something and one of the other soldiers reached for his cuffs.

"Just give me a second with the lady, huh guys?" The captain nodded and Hitch took Mesa's hand and led her aside. "Mey, we have to let them take me. I can't have you running with me anymore, it's not fair."

Mesa was silent for a few seconds, taking all this in. This man who had spent the past three weeks dragging her through sprays of gunfire, swamps of poisonous reptiles, bushes of prickly thorns and endless deserts was now giving her first impression wish. The one she wanted dead for such length of time of this adventure was exactly going to be that. Dead.

"What are you telling me Hitch?" Raw hurt glittered into her smoky blue eyes.

"I'm telling you what you wanna hear. They've got me now, I can't run anymore, baby. You've got the chance to go home now and you damn well better take it." The sharp cuffs were quickly wrapped around Hitch's grimy wrists as two men held Mesa back. "Go , baby!" Hitch shouted. "Forget about me!" The solider's wrestled with Hitch's wide-shouldered, rangy body and tossed him in the back of a military Jeep. Mesa watched them like poachers with an angry tiger. Inside of her, something began to heat up. Sudden emotions she couldn't control nor recognize where they were coming from.

"WAIT! Please wait! Just let me say goodbye to him!" The soldiers released him and tossed him out of the Jeep. He fell to the ground and grunted. Mesa rushed to his side and helped him to his feet. Tears began to pour from her eyes and she touched his filthy, sweaty face. The same face she hated for weeks, now she felt was amazingly beautiful and smiled warmly at her. "Remember when I said I hated you?"

"Which time? You told me that often." His mouth curved into a devestating, dimpled smile. "I gave you every reason to hate me, Mey."

"Yes, you certainly did, but you also saved my life, Hitch...and that gave me every reason to love you. I know when I took the bullet for you I was saving your life and I suppose that makes us even, but maybe I can save yours again."

"No baby, you can't." His voice become scratchy and shaky. "I got my time coming to me and I'm gonna do it! Baby, please go and forget about it."

"What about this?" She raised her left hand and showed him the tarnished gold band he had given her the day they got 'married' in the little iglesia. This can't mean nothing."

"The government can get you out of that easily honey."

"What if I want it to be Hitch? You are a lying, cheating, disgusting, male-macho pig, son-of-a-bitch, bastard, shithead, Richard Valentine, but God help me, I love you with all of my heart. You are my husband."

Without looking away from Mesa's watering eyes, Hitch yelled to the soldiers in a force of anger that Mesa had never experienced before.

"Undo my cuffs, Captain Melambros." The soldier stepped down off of the Jeep and crushed out his cigarette casually as if he didn't hear Hitch's demand at all. "Undo my cuffs you dirty sons a bitches so I can hold my wife!" The soldier grumbled and grunted and unlocked Hitch's hands, which wrapped around Mesa's body like a shield.

Her sorrow was shattered with the hunger of his kisses. It sent her stomach into a wild swirl, her arms wrapping around the soaked white shirt he wore, open at the chest and stained with Mexican soil . Her fingers found their way under and touched the warm muscles of his back as she continued to kiss him.

"I love you Richard, I love you so much. I'm gonna go everything in my power to help you get free."

"There's nothing you can do baby, it's my time and I have to serve it. Ten years, it's the way things are." He held her snugly in his arms, her cinnamon hair flowed like a wave around him.

"But ten years? It might as well be a thousand."

"You are my wife, Mey." He turned her to look into her gentle understanding eyes. "Ten or fifty years will never change that." He ran a thumb softly over her lips. "Everything that we've been through will be worth it, I promise. You'll see. I'm gonna make things right..I just wish..."

"Wish what?" She whispered.

"I wish I made love to you Mey. Just once, but I didn't." As they pulled away, there was a soft smile on her face.

"Me too."

"When I see you again Mesa I will! I swear I will! The very first thing I do will be to sweep you up in my arms and make love to you, I promise."

"Lock him back up," the captain's voice shattered the solemn sweet moment they shared and Hitch was soon back in the Jeep with his wrists in the icy steel. His eyes were reaching out to Mesa, to photograph a memory of her face he could keep with him.

"I'll wait for you Hitch!" She shouted over the engine.

"Wherever you are Mesa, I'll come for you!" The last words were all she heard as the Jeep convoy started to drive out of sight. The tears poured from her eyes and she collapsed in sorrow on the ground. In her sobbing, two hands raised her up from the ground and held her steady.

"Come, Senora, I have to take you to American Embassy." She looked and saw a calm faced soldier smiling softly at her.

"Yes sir."

They walked backed to a lone Jeep left in the dust by the other and got in.

"What's going to happen to him, Senor?" She asked.

"As he said, Senora, he has to do his time. He will be out in ten years."

"Well, not if I can help it." Mesa turned and smashed her elbow into the nose of the mexican many and hopped into the Jeep. She started it and sped off into the dust to fetch Richard.

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