With January being National Book Month, the editors of Writing Magazine decided to show its readers the dark underbelly of the literary world. To do this, we invaded the trash cans, outboxes, and File 13's to try and find the best of the worst novels ever submitted to be published. What we found not only horrified us, but made our noses twitch in agony and caused our spleens to ache…

            Well, the spleen thing isn't 100% true, but he did find some lovely little tidbits eager to tickle any reader's fancy. So, without further ado, we present to you:

From the Manuscript Editor's Trash Box

This month: Rejected Romance Novels

The Schoolmarm and the Playboy, by Anonymous. The story begins in the little town of Arcadia, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, California. Gynger Smith is a struggling single mother of two, left alone after cannibals in the South Pacific killed (and ate) her first husband. Gynger is a simple schoolteacher, trying to make it on her own, with no romantic hopes whatsoever. This changes, however, when the beautiful Gynger meets nubile Hugh Hefner, head of Playboy Cooperation. Sparks immediately fly, and soon the two of them are too busy fighting about morality to notice their mutual attraction for one another. Can they realize their love before Hugh marries the evil Heather Desmond? Or, will they be forever cursed to keep their love a secret?

An excerpt

"Oh, Hugh," Gynger breathed, looking at the painting. She felt him come up behind her and placed his hand on her shoulder. "I don't know what to say…it's beautiful."

Hugh smiled sheepishly, a memory of the innocent boy he used to be flashing briefly among his features. It made him seem almost childlike; the seventy-eight year old lithe body in front of her seemed to revert back to yesteryear, back to the days of the unsullied. The very thought made Gynger want to stretch out her hand and tousle his hair. Instead, she brought her full lips to his, entertaining him with a chaste kiss on the lips.

As he picked up her hand, and tugged it toward the direction of the now-abandoned grotto, Gynger couldn't help to ask herself if this was what she really wanted. It was true; she loved Hef more than anything, and would love nothing more than to spend the rest of her life with him, alone within this grand, famous mansion. But…was this what she really wanted? She dropped his hand, her back turning to his face as she turned instead to the direction of the door. No. There was no way their love would withstand if Hugh continued this teenage amorism.

"What's wrong?" Hugh asked, his eyes filled with worry. She reached up to touch that wrinkled face, longing to do nothing else but cover it with kisses, but..

"I have to go," she whispered. "I-I can't do this anymore. Goodbye."

I'm a sick cookie, I know. I just couldn't help myself.

Katie