Christmas with All My Imaginary Friends

Only my first two novels, The Audacity of Dope and The Intangibles are available in honest-to-gosh print. (Monte Dutton photo)
Only my first two novels, The Audacity of Dope and The Intangibles are available in honest-to-gosh print. (Monte Dutton photo)

This Christmas I’m thankful for my characters.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Not the characters, mind you. As a lad, Christmas was full of “characters”: the uncle who always showed up sloshed on Christmas morning and stayed all day long, and my father, who would drink with anybody but him, fleeing to parts unknown; the Christmas Eve parties with the preacher drunk and the bootlegger sober; and first having my Santa illusions dashed by the need to help lay out the toys in lieu of sobriety among the grown-ups.

I’m proud that, because of my personal intervention, the pony wasn’t actually in the living room on Christmas morning. I still had to scrape up the mess in the car port.

Do they still have car ports? How about breezeways?

Anyway, the real characters of my life have contributed to the fictional ones, and it’s comforting to have them tucked safely away in my brain when I otherwise feel lonely.

I like my protagonists and heroines.

Melissa Franklin, maybe.(Monte Dutton sketch)
Melissa Franklin, maybe.(Monte Dutton sketch)

My favorite character may be Melissa Franklin, who surely must be married to Riley Mansfield by now. If there had been a real Melissa, I’d be married by now. Melissa is perfect for Riley. She shares his adventurous spirit, not to mention his weed. They are the chief buddies in the buddy novel The Audacity of Dope.

I don’t like Frankie Hoskins in The Intangibles as much. He’s too similar to me. I’m glad I created him, though. He was good for my mental health. He helped me confront the lingering trauma of youth, so much so that I remembered some of it existed. The Intangibles is my ensemble novel. Lots of characters. Lots of varied events going on at the same time. Lots of growing up to do. Lots of rites of passage. Lots of hard lessons.

Then there’s Chance Benford, the inscrutable mix of function and dysfunction, football coach and motivational speaker, saint and sinner, at the center of Crazy of Natural Causes. Crazy is crazy. It’s a commentary on life’s absurdity in the current age.

Hayden Kinley, maybe. (Monte Dutton sketch)
Hayden Kinley, maybe. (Monte Dutton sketch)

Soon — which is seldom as soon as first seems possible — Forgive Us Our Trespasses will be electronically out. There you will encounter my most well-developed bad guy, the ambitious prosecutor Denny Frawley, who will sink to any depth in order to rise to the governor’s office, and his devious, drug-trafficking twins, who are influenced excessively by dear old Dad. Opposite Frawley is the good cop, Hal Kinley, who is dedicated to stopping his old friend, Frawley, both in the name of decency and saving his son, Hayden, who is headed down the Frawley twins’ path of primrose.

Trespasses has plenty of murder, mayhem, sex, scandal, drugs, booze, politics, corruption, love, hate, bigotry, exploitation, deception … In other words, to paraphrase the great Tom T. Hall, “this is just another Peyton Place, and you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites.”

Latimohr hypocrites. Latimohr is the town from which the story spreads.

 

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

              I love writing about my novels almost as much as I enjoyed writing them, but I do have an ulterior motive. All three of the ones already published are available in Kindle versions, which doesn’t mean you must own a Kindle. You must merely download a free app in your electronic device. This also means you can give it as a gift instantly. A phone, or a tablet, or a laptop, will remove the wrapping e-paper. You can read it on your tablet at home, and then pick it up on your phone while you’re waiting for your dinner to arrive at a local restaurant. Six months ago, I never thought I’d read ebooks. Now I prefer them. You’ll get the hang of it. My mother has, and she’s 75.

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

              Take a look at The Audacity of Dope here. It’s your average, everyday yarn about a pot-smoking songwriter who becomes a national hero. http://www.amazon.com/Audacity-Dope-Monte-Dutton/dp/0982697112/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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

              The Intangibles was a bit therapeutic for me. It’s no true story, but it was conjured up through the lens of my boyhood, when, believe it or not, times were changing approximately as much as they are now. http://www.amazon.com/The-Intangibles-Monte-Dutton/dp/0988829088/ref=pd_sim_sbs_14_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=510%2BRERX-CL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR104%2C160_&refRID=1PRJTMJEGMWSVMAGRXXZ

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

              Crazy of Natural Causes is a freewheeling story of a football coach who loses everything and must, by necessity, reinvent himself. http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Natural-Causes-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B00YI8SWUU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436215069&sr=1-1&keywords=Crazy+of+Natural+Causes

              Forgive Us Our Trespasses? Well, it’s a coming attraction. I’m guessing sometime in February, but at this stage, one never knows.

              Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Be good to your loved ones and thankful for what you’ve got.

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