Speeding, and Fiction, and … Speeding Through Fiction

 (Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

I can’t drive 55. I can drive 62. They never stop you when you’re 10 miles an our or less over the speed limit. About four months ago, I got my first speeding ticket in at least five years. I got it in the worst state possible to be stopped for speeding, North Carolina, which is why my ticket was $30 and the “court costs” $188. Later I saw a news story about the most price-gouging states, and North Carolina was number one. The next day I was home, the mailbox had five different letters from lawyers in the area of my offense, which isn’t densely populated, and, for all I know, those letters were from every lawyer in town.

I can pick ’em, can’t I? I think I can investigate this case better than the authorities.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Two paragraphs, one long and one short, ago, my intention was to write about, well, writing, not everything else. It’s still my intention. I’m on my way. The sidetracks are enticing. I just came to a stopping point in the western novel I’m attempting to write. My mind is still alive with imagery of north Texas and a couple cowboys misbehaving while, fifty miles north, another cowboy is misbehaving with the gal on whom his buddy is cheating.

Not exactly the Code of the West, but, like most of the protagonists in my fiction, these four are flawed, but they’ve got more good in them than bad. In terms of purity, I’m more inclined toward sinners than saints. My bad guys tend to be really bad, though I try to conjure up some explanation for it. My good guys are mainly likable rogues, and I like likable rogues, like the pot-smoking songwriter who’s tired of being pushed around, the white kid on the football team who’s caught in the binds and snarls of the sixties, and the disgraced football coach who finds religion, kinda, and reinvents himself on the fly. I’m about to unveil an amoral, drug-addled, corrupt solicitor who wants to be governor, and a good cop who’s just as determined to stop him.

 (Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

Respectively, these yarns are called The Audacity of Dope, The Intangibles, Crazy of Natural Causes, and Forgive Us Our Trespasses. The upcoming western, set at the end of World War II, is called Cowboys Come Home.

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

The women in my novels? They vary widely. I’m in love with Melissa Franklin, Riley Mansfield’s love interest and girl Friday in Audacity, and it’s okay, because I’m unmarried, and, for that matter, so is the made-up Riley. My women have desires as rampaging as the men’s, but society pressures them into hiding those desires, and some of them do, and some of them don’t, but, as a general rule, it’s in ’em and it’s got to come out.

Right now, it’s good, and it’s bad, which, I suppose, is appropriate.

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

I’m rolling on Cowboys Come Home. I’m having fun. I’m trying to write in the context of the time, which requires some research because its time is the one when my mother was making the transition from six years old to seven. The things I look up. Street names in Denton. The dashboard of a 1939 Chevy Coupe. Whether it was popular to drink Falstaff beer in post-war Texas. What became of an army post that shut down after the war. The military units and ships in place for the Battle of Peleliu. Basic information about the Oklahoma towns of Duncan and Atoka, circa 1947.

I’m not reading as much. I’m not writing as many short stories. I’m preoccupied. I’m obsessed. I escape by moonlight to make a transition to floodlight, and write about adolescents running up and down wooden floors, bouncing balls and hoisting them in the direction of hoops, nets, and, occasionally, even friendly others.

Occasionally, I even watch a basketball game. The previous paragraph was about a race. The Republican race for president.

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

Yesterday, while I was writing, Audie Murphy movies were on TCM. Three of them were on. One was called 40 Guns to Apache Pass. Another was The Quick Gun. Both were about as bad as their titles suggested, but I was writing a western, albeit a modern one, and so it worked as a writing backdrop, or that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I hope the movies had no subliminal effect on my dialogue.

I’m stretching my wings by flying off to different times and places. I’m conjuring up characters vivid enough for me to understand, and inhabit, and write the way they talk, because I know them. Either that, or I’m deluded enough to believe it.

You will enjoy my novels. I’m not objective, of course. A pot-smoking songwriter may not be your cup of herbal tea. It may depress you when I match a scheming politician with his scheming children. You may not want to understand the civil rights movement in the South from opposing perspectives. The body count in my novels may concern you. You may be put off by the foul language that I have them use because, in my mind, they cannot possibly speak in any other way.

It’s cool. I respect your tastes as much as I present mine. My hope is that there are enough people left out there who still read about the world in the manner I present it.

A friend once remarked that my problem is that I write for people who, by and large, don’t read.

Damn, I hope not.

(Graphic by Meredith Pritchard; cover by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Graphic by Meredith Pritchard; cover by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

As you may have noticed, I use these blogs as a promotional tool for my novels. One, Crazy of Natural Causes, has been out since late July of 2015.

Another, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, will be out soon. I’m expecting to be given a release date soon. It’s a crime novel about corruption and patronage in a small town. The tale unfolds across two generations at the same time.

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

Crazy and Trespasses are my third and fourth novels. The Audacity of Dope was published in 2011, The Intangibles in 2013. I’m working on a fifth, Cowboys Come Home. Most of my books can be examined and purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

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

My nonfiction, much of which involves sports, is on display here: http://montedutton.com/

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing) and @wastedpilgrim (more humor and opinion). I’m on Facebook at Monte.Dutton and Instagram at Tug50. Look for me by name at Google+. Whew. It’s too much.

 

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