Tag Archives: silly romance novels

Violet’s Fan Mail (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Rather than move on to the next chapter of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney–because she hasn’t gotten around to writing it–Violet Crepuscular has decided this week to share some of her fan mail. “I have decided, dear readers, to share some of the fan mail I’ve gotten from all over the world,” she explains. I thought I’d already said that.

From Brazzaville, Congo Republic: “You are as great a writer as Shakespeare, my dear Miss Crepuscular! I have therefor chosen you to help administer my $5 million inheritance! Please send me your credit card and social security numbers.”

From Bad Axe, Michigan: “I was going to drown myself in the bathtub, but I got so hooked on reading your epic romance that I forget to put my head under the water. I did get terribly wrinkly, but it was worth it!”

From Ongs Hat, New Jersey: “Where can I buy one of those wading pools like the vicar has? I have several neighbors that need to disappear.”

From Fimbo University: “Deer Mis Crapuckaller, Wee ‘are’ reeding yore boock in Nothing Studies and it is reely grate, axxept ‘thare’ is a lott of speling and grammer airers in it!!'”

From death row, Mount Doom State Prison: “Please keep writing! The governor says they won’t fix me up with Old Sparky until after I’ve finished reading Oy, Rodney.

From Arkham, Massachusetts: “They think they’ve got troubles in Scurveyshire? Hah! At least they haven’t got shoggoths crawling up and down the streets all night.”

From Reykjavik, Iceland: “Help! My husband has fallen madly in love with Lady Margo Cargo. I have half a mind to get an upholstered wooden leg myself, just to keep up with the competition. Meanwhile, do you have a recipe for salt cod with toothpaste?”

“Those are only a few of the fan letters I’ve received from readers all over the world,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “And no, I don’t have a recipe for salt cod with toothpaste–but I will soon!”

The First Horseless Carriage (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCCXL of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, the mad genius of Scurveyshire, Lord Devius Scrumble, Baronet, has been released from custody to demonstrate his “Horseless Carriage,” which he has secretly constructed out of uneaten scraps of food and bits of wood and iron smuggled into his cell by the vicar, over whom he wields some inexplicable power. The project took all of six years to complete.

“Just let me out of here for one day,” he declares to Lord Jeremy Coldsore, “and I’ll sign over to you half the profits from my Horseless Carriage!” Desperate for money, Lord Jeremy agrees: as justice of the peace, he has the authority to furlough the not-quite-with-it baronet.

Unveiling his carriage on the village common, right next to the statue of a gigantic mouse, erected to commemorate some event in Scurveyshire’s history that nobody remembers, Lord Devius creates a sensation. What kind of sensation, we are not told.

“Well, it’s a carriage, I guess,” remarks the American adventurer Willis Twombley, “and there ain’t no horse to pull it; but I’ll be darned if I can see how it goes.” It has wheels, a frame, and a steering rudder, but not much more.

“Behold! The Twentieth Century has come to Scurveyshire!” exults the baronet. The year being 1869, no one is quite sure what he means.

He climbs into the carriage and, wonder of wonders, it takes off at high speed. The crowd oohs and aahs, but Twombley is unimpressed. “It’s only goin’ anywhere because he’s runnin’ with it,” Twombley observes. “He’s doin’ the horse’s job! What kinda stupid invention is that?” Culturally aware readers will immediately recall The Flintstones: it is, for all practical purposes, a Flintstone car.

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Powered by the driver’s own legs and feet–might as well walk! But Lord Devius Scrumble is a very fast and powerful runner, and before anyone can stop him, he makes his escape. Lord Jeremy comes in for some criticism for that.

“Imagine the whole shire’s consternation,” concludes Ms. Crepuscular, “when the Horseless Carriage attempts to pass the vicar’s backyard wading pool and is quickly pulled under by enormous tentacles, never to be seen again.”

How she can expect to win a Pulitzer Prize for this defies the imagination.


The Mad Genius of Scurveyshire (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Striving mightily to get her story back on track, Violet Crepuscular plunges into Chapter CCCXXXIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

At his wit’s end, with his marriage to Lady Margo Cargo still hanging fire (“I am not sure exactly what that means,” Ms. Crepuscular admits), Lord Jeremy Coldsore is desperate for good advice. His boon companion, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, gives him some.

“What about that guy who they locked up for bein’ flat-out crazy, Germy?” Twombley says. “Betcha he can help.”

The man in question is Lord Devius Scrumble, Baronet, who has been locked up for his insane prediction that there will one day be horseless carriages that run on internal combustion engines. As a peer of the realm, he has been locked up at home and is allowed to receive visitors. Jeremy and Twombley go to see him.

Before they can present their problem to him, Lord Devius insists on telling them all about his new invention.

“Once every man in England has his own horseless carriage,” says the mad baronet, “they will all need parking space and there will never be quite enough space to go around. I have therefore invented The Parking Meter. Installed at regular intervals along the streets of all our towns and cities, these devices will ensure that no one just parks his horseless carriage in front of a shop and leaves it there. The Parking Meter, upon the deposition of a penny into this slot, will measure the time; and each horseless carriage that is parked in that space will not be allowed to exceed the time paid for. Thus there will always be spaces that are about to become available, and the towns will acquire a steady source of revenue.”

Lord Jeremy wonders, “What’s so daft about that? It sounds like a good idea.” But Twombley asks, “How much time does your penny buy you, ol’ hoss?”

Lord Devius draws himself up to his full height of three feet, seventeen inches, and proudly replies, “Four seconds, man! Four seconds! If you need another four seconds, you have to put another penny in. This will revolutionize England’s urban life!” He then breaks into uncontrollable laughter.

“The moral of the story,” adds Ms. Crepuscular, “is, ‘Shop fast!'”

Constable Chumley’s Pets (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCCXXXVIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Constable Chumley is seen walking two baboons, on leashes, up and down on Scurveyshire’s High Street.

The baboons’ names are Fritzy and Bitzy and are a gift from the constable’s long-lost millionaire cousin, Sir Henry Blithering. Sir Henry has gotten rid of them because they tend to attack people, dogs, horses, and shade trees. Constable Chumley explains, “Thim’s fair throckin’ ye timbrith.”

In no time at all Lord Jeremy Coldsore, as justice of the peace, is snowed under with frantic demands to get rid of the baboons. He is sympathetic to those demands, having been severely bitten in the leg by Fritzy and pushed into a water-trough by Bitzy.

“Really, old boy, this won’t do!” he exclaims to the now-crestfallen constable. “I don’t often get the opportunity to describe anyone as ‘crestfallen,'” Ms. Crepuscular confides to the reader. “It’s quite exhilarating! And there’s another wonderful word that’s seldom published nowadays.”

Chumley has grown quite fond of the baboons, although they have bitten him innumerable times (“You should see all the bandages!”) and he has to lock them in the pantry overnight, or they will finish him off in his sleep. “Us medderin’ gree frath,” he answers Lord Jeremy. A tear trickles from his eye.

“Can’t you donate them to the circus?” Jeremy pleads. The suggestion reduces the constable to a sobbing fit, during which the baboons tear their leashes out of his hands and race off into the sunset. For the next four years they terrorize anyone foolhardy enough to try to pass through Plaguesby Wood.

“None of this is gettin’ us hitched to Lady Margo, Germy ol’ hoss,” remarks the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. Lady Margo thinks he and Lord Jeremy are the same person.

“I will end the chapter here,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “to heighten the suspense. But now it’s time for a cherry Coke with Frothee!”

‘Oy, Rodney’ Gets Serious and Sane

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Gotcha with that headline, didn’t I? But let’s see what’s really going on.

Introducing Chapter CCCXXXIV of her epic (and interminable) romance, Oy, Rodney, author Violet Crepuscular reveals a startling piece of news.

“I am delighted to report,” she writes, “that my ground-breaking epic romance, Oy, Rodney, has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize! My neighbor, Mr. Pitfall, nominated it, after I treated him to some of my home-made whiskey.” We are not told what is in the whiskey.

Meanwhile, the mysterious stranger who looks just like Broderick Crawford is assiduously courting Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire. To the acute distress of Lord Jeremy Coldsore, who is engaged to Lady Margo, the stranger has totally charmed her with a magic trick which creates the illusion that he is able to pull off the top half of his left pointer finger and re-attach it at will. Even I can do that trick, but Lady Margo has never seen it before and can’t get enough of it.

There is also bad news from nearby Plaguesby. Lord Jeremy remarks: “I knew a new pneumonia was out there.” I take this as just another unworthy attempt by the author to display a new crepuscularity.

Nothing can be done because the stranger is a dead ringer for Sir Osmund Footeball, who also looks just like Broderick Crawford. There is no sure way to tell the two of them apart, and arresting the wrong man would be politically disastrous.

“This is only one of many problems a writer encounters when transforming a romance into a serious mainstream novel,” Ms. Crepuscular confesses. “But I can’t let Mr. Pitfall down! He has his heart set on my Pulitzer.”

For those who wish to learn this fascinating bit of legerdemain, here’s how it’s done. I did it in a job interview once, but I didn’t get the job.

A Local Character (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCCXXXIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “I can’t believe I’ve written 350 chapters of this book–” Whoa! Did she just say 350? Her editor is going to plotz–“without introducing Sir Osmund Footeball, the local character of Scurveyshire Village. Oddly enough, he, too, looks very much like Broderick Crawford; but he is no relation to the mysterious stranger in town who also looks just like Broderick Crawford.”    Image result for images of broderick crawford in highway patrol

Sir Osmund’s father, Sir Ethelred “Slimy” Footeball, made a fortune blackmailing the royal family; but Sir Osmund has frittered most of it away. He became a local character by his habit of pressing his face to shop windows and making horrible faces at the customers inside. Constable Chumley, as a raw rookie, made the mistake of arresting him for this. Sir Osmund’s connections had the young constable locked up for a week. “‘Tis a whither frae nae folladew fairn,” Chumley recalls nostalgically.

Sir Osmund now supports himself by betting passersby that he will eat various insects. He is, as it were, a walking tourist trap. We are unable to detect any contribution he makes to the plot. He is, like the Matterhorn, “there.”

Meanwhile, Lady Margo Cargo is up and around again, having found her lost glass eye, but Lord Jeremy Coldsore has been unable to arrange the details of their elopement and wedding because the mysterious stranger who looks like Broderick Crawford won’t stop hanging around the front door of her opulent country house and Constable Chumley is afraid to arrest him, lest he once again mistakenly arrests Sir Osmund Footeball.

“I could just shoot him, Germy ol’ hoss,” offers Lord Jeremy’s close friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. But Jeremy fears Twombley might accidentally shoot Sir Osmund. Then the fat would really be in the fire.

Another Mysterious Stranger (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“Beyond Vegetables” proved to be a cultural disaster, her cooking show was canceled after the first episode, and Violet Crepuscular has finally written Chapter CCCXXXI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

A mysterious stranger who looks like Broderick Crawford has turned up in Scurveyshire, to seek Lady Margo Cargo’s hand in marriage (1). Meanwhile, Lady Margo is celebrating because she has found her missing glass eye. It was under her pillow all along.

“When I was young,” she confides to the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, whom she thinks is the same person as her current betrothed, Lord Jeremy Coldsore, “my mother told me that if I put my glass eye under my pillow at night, the Eye Fairy would come and leave me a shilling.”

“But then you’d be short an eye, l’il darlin’,” says Twombley.

“The fairy never took the eye,” explains Lady Margo. “Even so, half the time I forgot I’d put the eye under my pillow and I’d have to do without it for several days.” She sighs deeply. “I can never remember the things I forget,” she laments.

“You will notice a footnote pertaining to the mysterious stranger who uncannily resembles Broderick Crawford,” Ms. Crepuscular writes, in an aside to the reader. “This has been added for a scholarly purpose. Footnotes are meant to be read, dear reader, so don’t forget to read this one!”

There being nothing much more to this chapter, we shall advance to the bottom of the page and read the footnote.

“1) Among the stranger’s descendants are Fulgencio Batista, the Cuban dictator ousted by Fidel Castro. This explains President Batista’s fleeting resemblance to the America actor who used to star in Highway Patrol.

So we can stop wondering about it.

Chapter CCCXXXII has been postponed due to bad weather.


Lady Margo’s Hand (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCCXXIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “Dear reader, I wish to introduce Chapter CCCXXIX by reminding you that years ago, in her youth, Lady Margo Cargo had her hand chewed off by a goat. Which hand, I don’t rightly remember. But do keep it in mind, for it’s bound to be important later.”

Frantic to raise money to put a new roof on Coldsore Hall and stave off his legion of creditors, thus saving his centuries-old family heritage, Lord Jeremy Coldsore grows increasingly desperate to conclude his marriage with Lady Margo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire. His latest scheme is to have the marriage performed in secret. “We can elope,” he explains to her, “and get married in an abandoned warehouse in the quaint rural village of Mucklethorp. No one will interrupt us there.”

“Isn’t that the warehouse where they found all those skeletons, years ago?” she asks.

“I am sure they have removed the skeletons by now, my sweet!”

“I don’t know about this,” Lady Margo muses. “I have heard the place is haunted. Who would perform the ceremony?”

“Geoffrey the Unemployed Shepherd has been ordained a minister of a mail-order church somewhere in India. Treat him to a bottle of Col. Gamba’s Special Blend, and he’ll marry anyone.”

Lady Margo is shocked. “Why, it was one of Geoffrey’s goats that chewed my hand off!” she cries. “I find it very hard to trust him!”

The chapter breaks here with a telephone call: the local cable TV station has offered Ms. Crepuscular a position as host of a new cooking show. She is too excited to continue writing.

“Just in time for me to share with the world my Toothpaste Yule Log recipe!” she exults. “With leftover crab meat, no less! I must hasten to the studio and see to setting up a kitchen!”

There is no truth to the rumor that the show will be called The Suicidal Gourmet.


Constable Chumley Speaks English (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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We’ve been trying to discover why a policeman with an angry parent in tow knocked on Ms. Violet Crepuscular’s door last week–something to do with handing out toothpaste cookies for Trick or Treat, we suspect. But she has been uncharacteristically mum about it, saying only that “No sacrifice is too great, or too small, to make for good dental hygiene.”

In Chapter CCCXXVIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we learn that Constable Chumley has been busy rounding up everyone in Scurveyshire who looks like an emoji, in case one of them turns out to be Sir Dorphin Magma, the ace cricketeer who disappeared 20 years ago and may be descended from the evil medieval sorcerer, Black Rodney. Here are some of the suspects.  Image result for images of emojis The jail–er, gaol–is getting a bit crowded.

“Can’t you find a roomier gaol in which to put them?” demands Lord Jeremy Coldsore. “They have a nice one in Plaguesby, maybe they’ll let us use it.”

The constable looks him in the eye and replies, as clear as a bell, “To climb the tree is enough, though the bough makes me cough.”

Lord Jeremy is astonished. “You finally speak a sentence in some comprehensible form of English,” he cries, “and this is it?”

“Feraeth, m’lord, whae bonnith yar grith,” the constable replies, reverting to his quaint rural dialect. It appears his supply of plain English has been exhausted.

Lord Jeremy is growing more and more desperate to marry Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, to confound his creditors and save Coldsore Hall, which still needs a new roof. Lady Margo is currently in bed with a bad cold, contracted by wandering around in the rain all night clad only in her undies–a sight which, regrettably, has caused a relapse of the vicar’s conniptions. Worse, a violent sneeze has sent her glass eye flying off to some unexplored region of her bedroom. “I can’t marry anyone until I get my eye back,” she declares. Lord Jeremy has searched all around the room for it but hasn’t found it yet.

“And here,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “I will break off the chapter in order to heighten the suspense. Really, one can hardly expect Lady Margo to appear for her wedding with an eye missing and the vicar spouting panicked gibberish.”


Portrait of a Sorcerer (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In a digression leading, somehow, into Chapter CCCXXVI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular describes her Halloween. “Let me first digress on the subject of Halloween night in my neighborhood, dear readers,” she writes. “The children in this part of town all have bad teeth. This is why I hand out toothpaste sandwiches to all the trick-or-treaters. I think this is also why they festooned my trees and shrubbery with toilet paper. It seems no one here is devoted to good dental health.”

But to return to the story–

As slovenly Scurveyshire workmen haphazardly labor to replace the roof of Coldsore Hall, two of them tear away the wallpaper in the attic, revealing, to their terrified amazement, a portrait of Black Rodney, the medieval sorcerer whose curse haunts the hall today. “We are able to reproduce this picture, which was painted during the lifetime of its subject,” Ms Crepuscular writes, “and here it is.” See the source image

Summoned to the attic to see it, Lord Jeremy Coldsore is taken aback by the portrait’s astonishing resemblance to the legendary cricketeer, Sir Dorphin Magma, whose bat is enshrined in the Scurveyshire Museum of Cricket Bats. “It was always easy to pick him out of a crowd,” Jeremy confides in the workmen. “And to think he was my boyhood hero!” He turns to his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. “Send for the constable!” he says. “I want Sir Dorphin arrested immediately!” Only then does he discover that the immortal batsman emigrated to Central Asia some twenty years ago and hasn’t been heard from since.

Constable Chumley elucidates, if that’s the word for it: “Yen sorthy mannikin mote a sweeth back when, I’ll frithit.” Jeremy sighs. “That does leave us in a bind,” he admits.

“I think he must of come back, ol’ hoss, in secret-like, and is hidin’ out somewheres in this here vicinity,” says Twombley. “All we gotta do is find him and shoot him. How’s about I round up a posse?”

“With that sallow complexion of his, he shouldn’t be hard to find,” says Jeremy. “We’ll get to the bottom of this mystery yet!”

Here the chapter ends with a police officer knocking on Ms. Crepuscular’s door, accompanied by an angry parent.





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