Grand prize: `"Ace, watch you head!" hissed Wanda urgently, yet somehow provocatively, through red, full, sensuous lips, but he couldn't, you know, since nobody can actually watch more than part of his nose or a little cheek or lips if he really tries, but he appreciated her warning.' - From Janice Estey, Aspen, Colo.
Historical: `Ulysses Simpson Grant, having just finished a meal of Virginia ham, stretched out in his underwear of Mississippi-grown cotton, puffed heavily on a Georgia cigar, swilled straight bourbon whiskey, and thought how good it was to be in the Union Army.' - From Albert Klar Ogden, Stansbury Park, Utah.
Urban realism: `The city at night has a million stories, like the woman who, even now, was weeping over the bloody corpse of her lover lying where she had slashed him from neck to kneecap, or the 12-year-old kid prostrate on the sidewalk after a drug deal gone wrong, or the babe, desperate to find the stuff that stopped your dress from sticking to your legs after you ironed it and couldn't find a convenience store at this black hour in a city without a name.' - From Michael Davies, Mississauga, Ontario.
Romance: `The flash of lightning startled her - making her breasts heave, and in that instant of white light she thought of how M-, her young lover from the estate's cheese works, had so marveled at the creamy globes so delicately laced with blue veins that he had called the one Bleu and the other Stilton, and she reflected that she would never hear those sweet words again - at least not in the context, for come tomorrow she would be Lady Vile-Conundrum.' - From D.J. Pass, Prospect, Nova Scotia.
Purple Prose: `Nigel lifted his Mont Blanc pen and held it in brief repose as he gazed past the conflagrative crackling of the fire in the hearth, through the triple-plate bay window, watching the incandescence of the twinkling stars like the detonation of a million flashbulbs, and the preponderance of frothy snowflakes blanketing the earth as creamily as marshmallow fluff, then, refreshed and inspired, he began to compose his annual Christmas form letter.' - From Linda Gauer, Norton, Ohio.
Western: `Following the unfortunate bucking of his horse when it was startled by the posse's shots, Tex - who now lay in a disheveled heap in the sagebrush - pushed back his sweat-stained Stetson from one deep-set eye, spat a stream of tobacco juice at the nearest cactus, and reflected momentarily that the men approaching him with ropes probably weren't just out for a skip, and - if they were - his freshly broken ankle would have to cause him to decline any entreaties to join them.' - From Becky Mushko, Roanoke, Va.
Dishonorable Mention, Pun: `Baron Frankenstein looked up from his sewing, smiled benignly across the laboratory at his similarly engaged creation and protege and called, "Yes, yes! Put on a happy face; tonight will be your first date with the rest of your wife!"' - From Anthony Buckland, of North Vancouver, Canada.
Detective: `It was as hot as a jalpeno outside, the smog hung in the air like bits of pepper on three-day-old cottage cheese, and the Condiment Police, after extricating themselves from one pickle after another, were running late in their effort to ketchup with a bad egg named Sal Sodium who was armed to the teeth and who was stalking a gorgeous tomato for the twenty-four carrots on her finger, so they slipped into their flack jackets with relish before moving in on a salt with a deadly weapon.'