Spanning My Literary Globe

Things around here just ain't what they used to be. (Monte Dutton photo)
Things around here just ain’t what they used to be. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, January 23, 2017, 9:35 a.m.


I had another brainstorm overnight. I’m working on two literary projects. One I’ve been working on for several months. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is up to about 80,000 words in first draft. Two weeks ago, another sleepless night led me to a second project, tentatively titled Lightning in a Bottle, and I’ve written about 10,000 words. I’m about to add another plot twist in the latter, but I need the writing warm-up this blog provides.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses, my fourth novel, is on 99 cents sale (Kindle edition; it’s also available in paperback, as are all my novels) until the end of the month. I encourage you to give it a look. Maybe it’s not your cup of tea, or click of electronic device, but all you’re risking is a small burger or medium fries from a dollar menu. You can do like me and read it off your phone while you’re waiting for a waitress to bring your Caesar salad, or on a Kindle, or on a laptop, or on a tablet, or an iPod, or an iSomething. A free app is a wonderful and cost-effective means of enriching your knowledge.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

My fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, is a departure. One review, a complimentary one, says it isn’t really a western. It’s not a war novel, either, though it begins with the two main characters, Ennis Middlebrooks and Harry Byerly, fighting their way out of a mess on the island of Peleliu in the Pacific during World War II. The effect of the war is what drives the story as Ennis and Harry come home to Texas and run into trouble there. It’s not as controversial in language or subject matter as the first four – in order, The Audacity of Dope (2011), The Intangibles (2013), Crazy of Natural Causes (2015) and Forgive Us Our Trespasses (2016) – but I suppose its prose is a bit purple for fans of old-fashioned westerns. I was influenced by two of my favorite novels, Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show and Leaving Cheyenne, as well as The Misfits, the final movie of Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. I’m fond of cowboys fighting figuratively to keep their frontiers from being fenced in and the part of Texas, north of Dallas-Fort Worth near the Oklahoma border, where the fictional town of Janus is located.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a return to the style of the first four novels. It’s irreverent, violent, conspiratorial, political, and controversial. It has lots of characters, like The Intangibles, and moves all over the map, like The Audacity of Dope.

Lightning in a Bottle is funnier, which is why I’ve become obsessed with it. It’s my first novel that isn’t written in the third person. It has a narrator, which, much to my delight, has somehow made it easier for me to be funny. All of my novels are amusing, I think, but this one moves into a closer orbit around comedy.

Nice to get this off my chest. Now it’s back to work.


If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Cowboys Come Home, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at (

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

I’ve written five novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is on sale for 99 cents all January as a Kindle download at

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

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

My new novel is a western, Cowboys Come Home. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

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

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

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

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.


(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).




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