Stuck in a Rut, but with a Plan Now

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

Some of my songs have gotten longer.

I’ve got some big news. A volume of short stories, Longer Songs, will soon be available. In fact, apparently it’s available now, through the CreateSpace store, as a Kindle book. The print version will be available on Amazon and, perhaps in a bookstore here and there, soon.

Writing short stories has been a hobby of mine until now. I’ve had a couple published in literary journals, and most of them were posted on my literary site when I wrote them.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton (Artwork by Crystal Lynn)

I have many more. These were grouped together because they all began with songs I wrote, hence the title.

For instance, late one afternoon, I was having dinner at a local sports bar. Hot wings and Diet Pepsi, as I recall. Most of the time, when I eat alone — and I mostly eat alone — I take a book along. Nowadays, it’s easy. I can read a book on my mobile phone, and resume at the same place in another device when I get back home.

Anyway, on this particular day, I wasn’t reading. I was observing. A college girl at the bar drew my attention, most likely because she was gorgeous. Her companion had a tawdry, frat-boy look. I neither knew them nor have seen them since.

As Tom T. Hall wrote in one of his songs, “Lord, if I judge ’em, let me give ’em lots of room.”

I didn’t judge them. I just wrote a song, “Stuck in a Rut,” about them, or at least about my imaginary depiction of them. Then I turned it into this winding yarn about a girl who takes a walk (actually a trip) on the wild side with her worthless boyfriend.

By the way, here’s the song:

The eleven stories in Longer Songs were all written this way. Most of the stories have lyrics inserted in the narrative.

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

Short-story collections are hard to sell, but I think mine is a unique idea, and self-publishing Longer Songs through CreateSpace and Amazon won’t cost me anything.

I have lots of followers who, unfortunately, don’t read many novels. The lifting of short stories is lighter. A reader can pick up the collection and pick out a story. It won’t take long to read. He or she can pick out another when the mood strikes.

This all started when I finally got around to producing a print copy of my third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes. When it was released last year in Kindle version, I naively thought some publisher would jump in to scoop up the print rights, which I retain. I also didn’t know I could produce it through CreateSpace on demand, and it seems extraordinarily negligent in hindsight that I assumed it would cost me money.

I have this philosophy. If a publisher has no investment in a book, it has no incentive to sell it. This put blinders on me, I guess.

I started laying out Crazy first, but I’m still wrangling with it.

Once I have all the nagging issues with Crazy of Natural Causes out of the way, I’m going to produce a print version of the new novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses. With a little luck, that might even have some timing involved in its release.

This isn’t fun, by the way. It’s tedious, and between trying to make two book projects work and finishing my income taxes, I may be tempting my harried nerves to break down.

I’m kidding. I’m perfectly sane. Like all writers.

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

              My new novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, is available now:

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

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is a crime novel about corruption and patronage in a small town. The tale unfolds across two generations at the same time.

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. If you haven’t read it, I’d appreciate you considering it. It’s a freewheeling fable on the absurdity of life.

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

Crazy and Trespasses are my third and fourth novels. The Audacity of Dope, which is about a pot-smoking folksinger who becomes a national hero, was published in 2011. The Intangibles, published in 2013, is an historical novel about desegregation in the South, circa 1968. I’m working on a fifth, Cowboys Come Home. Most of my books can be examined and purchased here:

My nonfiction, much of which involves sports, is on display here:

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+.


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