Grab a Novel, Don’t Cost Nothing

It's out there. (Monte Dutton photo)
It’s out there. (Monte Dutton photo)

It’s not raining now. Well, maybe a mist. It’s been raining. Last night it was heavy when I was driving home from Spartanburg. It’s going to rain some more. A lot more.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

On The Weather Channel, it looks like a wall of fire is coming through South Carolina on Saturday. Any old rain is light green. Serious rain is darker. The serious water looks like serious fire. Yellow, orange, red, pink.

So, hell, I might as well be a shameless opportunist. The Weather Channel is.

My guess is you’re going to be like me. You’re going to hole up. You’re going to watch TV if the weather doesn’t knock out the electricity. You’re putting flashlights where you can find them in the dark. I’ve got a guitar. Maybe you don’t play guitar. Maybe you collect stamps or something.

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

You need a book to read. Several, in fact. Guess what? One of mine, Crazy of Natural Causes, is on sale. It’s a mere $1.99. You say, well, I’m not that interested in reading one of those e-books. It’s $1.99. What’s the risk? Maybe you’ll like it. Until I had one published (through Amazon’s KindleScout program), I had read one book (Elmore Leonard’s The Moonshine War) on my phone. Now I usually read books in that into which I am presently typing (thanks to a keyboard into which I stick it). But, if I have a few minutes to spare when I’m out and about, I read it in my phone, and my phone is so smart it picks up the very page I last read in the tablet.

As the Beatles sang, “All you need is apps.” (Maybe that’s not exactly right.)

You don’t even have to have a Kindle in order to read a Kindle. You can even read it on a Nook, which is the Barnes & Noble book reader. A quick Google will show you how. In most instances, all you have to do is download a free app and then enter your Amazon account information. Your tablet. Your laptop. Your music player. Your phone. Your iEverything. Your Samsung something.

As Neil Diamond sang, “Samsung blue, weeping like a willow.” (Maybe that’s not exactly right.)

Who doesn’t have an Amazon account? Well, my mother, but I’ve taken care of that, and now, defying all previously expressed opinions, she reads e-books, maybe not like they’re going out of style, but certainly rapidly enough that I’m having trouble keeping the Kindle I bought her loaded with enough of them.

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

Right now Crazy of Natural Causes is $1.99 (regularly $3.49), and my first two novels, The Audacity of Dope ($2.99) and The Intangibles ($4.99), are also just a few clicks away. You can read three books for the price of a two-slaw-dog plate at Whiteford’s, plus a Gigantic soft drink, which I always have to remember because the small soft drink is called Large.

Touch the screen to turn the page. You can move around in the text the same way you do it with fingers turning pages, and you never have to lick your thumb. In the unlikely event that you don’t know a word I do, touch it and the definition pops up. It’s dictionary on demand. Reading e-books makes State Farm commercials seem almost believable.

Since I began reading e-books, I never have long, thoughtful conversations with Siri anymore.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Don’t worry about the weather. Be happy. Curl up in your favorite chair and read all about my dysfunctional characters: the pot-smoking songwriter who accidentally and reluctantly becomes a national hero (The Audacity of Dope); or the ensemble small-town cast trying to wrestle with the 1960s in the South (The Intangibles); or the football coach who loses everything and learns to cope with the utter absurdity of his life in ways that are, at the very least, imaginative (Crazy of Natural Causes).

My novels may shock you. A distinguished gentleman in this very town said to me, “With the education you got, you don’t need to write that stuff.” I just can’t create characters without being able to talk the way I imagine. Once I get to know them, I don’t censor them. I can’t. Writing is too hard to mince half the words you write.

As Tom T. Hall, whom I quote more than Mark Twain, once wrote (and sang), Trying everything from Jesus to Jack Daniels, it’s the all-new American diet, trying everything from Jesus to Jack Daniels, you get on it and you’re on it for the rest of your life.

(This graphic was designed by Meredith Pritchard)
(This graphic was designed by Meredith Pritchard)

              All these novels are Southern. All of them have at least a touch of football, religion, drugs, music, and sex. All of them have a body count. All of them have characters who cuss. All of them are mine:



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