Category Archives: The Patterer

Putrid Prose @ 20

Twenty years ago this month I penned the following sentence for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. The goal is to intentionally write the worst opening sentence to imaginary novel. And, twenty years ago, I won the contest with this:

As the fading light of a dying day filtered through the window blinds, Roger stood over his victim with a smoking .45, surprised at the serenity that filled him after pumping six slugs into that bloodless tyrant that had mocked him day after day, and then he shuffled from the office with one last look back at that shattered computer terminal lying there like a silicon armadillo left to rot on the information highway.

D&Stormy3The contest was inspired by the work of Victorian author Sir George Bulwer-Lytton who wrote the line that Snoopy made famous: “It was a dark and stormy night….”

Along with winning the contest in 1994, my sentence was published in one of the anthologies covering the contest’s thirty-something years. So if you don’t count the thousands of TV news reports I did over the years, that was my only publishing credit until my novel Live At Five made it to the bookstore shelves last year.

And now, on the anniversary of that infamous assault on literature, the local newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, did a very funny column on it by humor writer John Kelso. And the paper sent a video producer/cameraman out to create a video news story about my quest to reach the bestseller list and be the first writer to officially go from worst to first. It’s only been a handful of times, but it’s always a weird feeling to be the interviewee rather than the interviewer. And I can’t help thinking “I would have phrased that question like….” or some other such distraction to staying focused on the answer I’m giving. Now I’m waiting to see what the producer does with the twenty minute interview to cut it down to two minutes or less.

Been there. Done that.

As for the 2014 Bulwer-Lytton contest, we’re waiting to hear about this year’s winners. As we used to say in the TV business, “Stay Tuned”.


Interview With A Historical Fiction Smart-Aleck

Dateline: October 13, 2013

The good folks at Unusual Historicals blog posted an interview with me today. That was an interesting experience. More in a moment. But first I want to start today’s blog, instead of ending it, with your chuckle for the latest example of how entertaining a bad sentence can be. Yes, it’s another winner from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest. This one was from the crime category in 2012, courtesy of Sue Fondrie from Appleton, WI:

She slinked through my door wearing a dress that looked like it had been painted on

Virtual Tour: The Patterer (historical fiction)

Dateline: October 11, 2013

It’s day eleven of the Great Patterer Virtual Book Tour. This has been a fun experience and a bit eye-opening. I’ve been looking at the book from an entirely different perspective. As someone who makes his living by creating marketing videos for others, it was a strange experience to turn the camera on myself to create the video trailer for The Patterer.

Now we’re halfway through the virtual book tour. We posted some pretty good blogs on great sites so far, and there are some interesting sites to come. Here’s the full list:


patterer coverBlue

10/1 – 10/14 GoodReads
Make a comment, enter to win a copy of The Patterer

10/2 English Epochs 101
A synopsis

10/3 – 10/17 So Many Books, So Little Time
A book giveaway

10/4 Page 99 Test
Read page 99 only of a novel and vote to read more

10/7 Fresh Fiction Blog
A guest post and book giveaway

10/8 – 10/14 English History Authors Blog
A book giveaway

10/8 English History Authors Blog
Really cool blog article about the real patterers of the 18th century

10/8 Historical Fiction Daily
Blogging about the life of a patterer

10/9 Examiner US
A review, events and link to the book video

10/10 Unusual Historicals
An excerpt
10/13 Unusual Historicals
An interview

10/14 Straight from Hel
An article on writers fight procrastination and a giveaway

10/15- 10/28 The Celebrity Caf