My Fiction and Welcome to It

 (Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

Let’s see. What’s the most boring, clichéd way I can begin a blog? Oh, I got it.

Good news and bad news.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

First, the bad. Sales of Crazy of Natural Causes have been sagging recently. Rather than ranging from 15,000 to 50,000 in the ever-changing rankings, the range has shifted to 50,000 to 200,000 over the past few days. This, of course, creates a certain urgency on my part to get it jumping again.

The good news is that Crazy of Natural Causes has awakened the sales of my first two novels, The Audacity of Dope and The Intangibles, both of which have jumped slightly ahead of Crazy at times. I hope this is a result of readers who enjoyed Crazy going back and buying the other two. This is both encouraging and flattering.

It’s also mild.

It’s the same old quandary. People who read my novels seem to enjoy them. I just need more of them.

Let me take a break from working on a fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, and pondering what to do with the fourth, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, to deliver a modest pep talk for the three novels you can read now.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

The Audacity of Dope (2011) is a political thriller about a pot-smoking songwriter who, quite by accident, becomes a national hero during a presidential campaign. Riley Mansfield has no interest in being a hero. He just wants to write songs and perform them, preferably with a little buzz on the side. Both major political parties have other plans, and the incumbent president’s henchmen (and henchwomen) get rather insistent about them. It doesn’t take long for Riley and his girlfriend, Melissa Franklin, to start fighting back. They lead the president’s men on a merry chase from their home in South Carolina to Florida, North Carolina, Kentucky, Oregon, Virginia, and the famous final scenes take place at a patriotic rally on the National Mall. They find some unlikely friends and ruthless enemies along the way.

(This cover was designed by Melanie Ryon.)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

High school football in a small town is at the center of The Intangibles (2013), set in South Carolina during the late 1960s amid a backdrop of civil rights and public-school integration. On one side are athletes, black and white, and a hardnosed coach. On the other? A jealous former coach, an unstable kid, the Ku Klux Klan, police, and state officials standing between the Fairmont Cyclones and success. Of my three novels, this is the one most drawn from my own experiences. It also has the largest cast of characters. Some readers have said The Intangibles made them understand the South better. This was one of my intentions.

Crazy of Natural Causes, which was released as an ebook only on July 21, is a fable on the absurdity of modern life, set in the hills of Kentucky. Chance Benford is an unscrupulous football coach who loses everything — his job, career, health, wife — and recovers with help from his friends, among them two former players, the mother of another, and Jesus, whose wisdom he discovers while laid up in rehab. An ambitious and beautiful TV reporter helps make him and then tries to break him. Chance is no saint, either, but he’s less a sinner than the coke-snorting televangelist who aims to ruin him.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

All three involve athletes or ex-athletes. All involve murder, sex, drugs, and politics. Two have a strain of religion running through them. The main characters are flawed but likable. All three novels come to a fast-paced conclusion.

The next one is a crime novel about a bad prosecutor and a good cop. The only other person who’s read it says it’s my best yet. The fifth is going to be a modern western, set in Texas after World War II.

If you like one, you’re going to like them all, even though they’re not part of a series — other than My Novels — and don’t have any common characters. I may write another about Riley Mansfield, or Chance Benford, but, so far, I’ve wanted to move on to a new story. As much as I like Riley, I’m not quite ready to put him in another jam.

Not yet, anyway. He needs some time to chill.


              By the way, The Audacity of Dope and The Intangibles are available in both soft-cover and Kindle format. If you’d like a signed copy of either (or both), send $20 to Monte Dutton, 11185 Hwy 56 N, Clinton, SC 29325, and I’ll mail you one. I’ll send you both for $35.

              If you haven’t read all three of my novels yet, you can read samples, and then, undoubtedly, you’ll want to buy them here:




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