Coming Home Took a While for the Author, Too

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

Today was fun. I didn’t go anywhere but L&L Office Supply for a couple reams of paper. Okay, I stopped by the Old Mill for an early supper, before the crowds hit. The crowds had already hit Dempsey’s. It’s tough to beat that crowd on a Monday.

The writing was fun. I had the docket of free-lance writing fleetingly cleared, easier to write than say, and I’d arrived at a fun chapter in my upcoming western, Cowboys Come Home. A cowhand and his girlfriend were running around on each other on the same day, about fifty miles apart, and neither liaison had been planned in advance. One had a killer lurking nearby. The other came back to the ranch with a load of lumber.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Being the seasoned veteran of westerns that you are, you’ve probably already figured out which was the male.

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western, its title derived from a couple of Texans returning home as heroes of World War II, only to find trouble on the homefront.

The way it evolved is a story that rivals its own plot, only I don’t deem it commercially viable or else I’d be writing it.

I hadn’t even thought about writing a western until an associate gave me a hot tip of sorts by putting me in touch with a publisher that was looking for westerns. I dismissed the idea at first, but it just so happened that I was making a long drive a few days later, and while on that drive, whiling away the hours by listening to music, I started thinking about the notion of writing a western.

The plot unfolded across a long, long time on Interstate Forty.

My favorite western is modern, Larry McMurtry’s Leaving Cheyenne. Cowboys Come Home has almost nothing in common with Leaving Cheyenne other than it being set in almost the same area. That’s a coincidence, too, because I happen to be familiar with that area from visiting friends there a number of times.

The novel begins in the South Pacific, where Ennis Middlebrooks and Harry Byerly are cheating death and slipping past the Japanese during the Battle of Peleliu. Ennis grew up on a modest cattle ranch. Harry came from nothing and drifted into the life of a cowhand. They become partners when they arrive back home to a different kind of conflict.

What’s wrong with me? I’ve got another novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, which is contemporary, being published soon, and, yet, here I am, giving away the details of the one after that.

I didn’t do anything with Trespasses today, though. I’ll be obsessed with it soon enough.

Several years ago now, the publisher tip soured. I sent a synopsis and got an email back that was thanks but no thanks. I think perhaps it was lacking sufficient sagebrush. I set aside what I had started and forged ahead with Forgive Us Our Trespasses, and it turned out, predictably, to be my best effort yet because, naturally, I think I’m getting better at this gig all the time.

Now, lo and behold, I’m really excited about this western, and part of it may be that I’m writing it because I want to, not because it might fit the customized needs of a publisher. The down side of that is that I will have to find one.

I like the fear of historical drama. My second novel, The Intangibles, also took a trip back in time. I often pause for research, but I’m still confident that something in the plot is going to be something someone will inform me could not have happened for a reason I did not envision.

I’m trying to avoid it, though.

Elmore Leonard said one trip to Arizona was enough for him to write a dozen westerns or so. On the other hand, I’m no Elmore Leonard.

He died, though.

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

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.

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

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

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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