Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, August 1, 2017, 12:36 p.m.
Hey, there. Hi, there. Ho, there. I wrote a western last fall. It’s not just any western. It’s a modern western, set at the end of World War II, when a couple Marines return home to Texas, looking for peace, love, and understanding even though they’d be willing to settle for two out of three.
As it turned out, Ennis Middlebrooks and Harry Byerly really just got understanding. When they got back to Janus, things were only marginally less wild than they had been on the island of Peleliu. They didn’t expect war to prepare them for home. They expected war to prepare them for peace.
Cowboys Come Home’s writing had about as many twists as its plot. It goes way back, or at least as far back as me writing fiction, which began, in terms of publication, in 2011, when my first novel, The Audacity of Dope, reached shelves real and virtual courtesy of Neverland Publishing LLC. At about the time the second novel, The Intangibles, was also published by Neverland, in 2013, a publisher interested in westerns contacted me, through a third party, about writing one.
Kindle Sale, August 2-4
$0.99 Wednesday, August 2, 8 a.m. EDT — Thursday, August 3, 5 a.m.
$1.99 Thursday, August 3, 5 a.m. — Friday, August 4, 2 a.m.
$2.99 Friday, August 4, 2 a.m.-11 p.m.
My first response was that writing novels is much too difficult if one isn’t in love with the story. By sheer coincidence, I took a long driving trip, and while I was driving through the Smoky Mountains, I dreamed up a modern western about two cowboys coming home from war. I’m fond of modern westerns, both in print and on the silver screen. I started thinking about Larry McMurtry’s Leaving Cheyenne and The Last Picture Show, and Clark Gable’s final movie, The Misfits, and Giant, the movie made from an Edna Ferber novel of the same name.
When I got back home, I started writing, and I sent a sample to the publisher, and the publisher … wrote back that it wasn’t what he had in mind.
I suspect it didn’t enough campfires, sagebrush, tumbleweeds, branding arms, spurs and chaps, saloons, cattle drives, and gunfights at high noon.
I left it there.
Amazon’s KindleScout program picked up Crazy of Natural Causes, the tale of a Kentucky football coach who loses everything, finds Jesus, wobbles between sin and salvation, and inexplicably finds a comfortable space there. KindleScout also chose Forgive Us Our Trespasses, a wild, outlandish, bloody tale of the political family from hell, conveniently situated right here in the Palmetto State.
Then I went back to Cowboys Come Home, which was not chosen by KindleScout, so I self-published it through CreateSpace (for print) and Kindle Direct Publishing. It has law and disorder, cattle and oil, political corruption, horses and cars, a wild baby sister, and a killer on the loose. The skills Ennis and Harry hoped never to need again are what save them when they return home to Janus, a town just south of the border between Texas and Oklahoma.
It sold all right. Folks who read it liked it. I stole its thunder, though, this spring by releasing Lightning in a Bottle, my stock car racing novel.
Cowboys Come Home is not a classic western. It is brutal, profane, lustful, and violent.
In order to jumpstart recent sales that are almost nonexistent, I have concocted a brief, three-day blowout of the Kindle version. The full retail is only $3.99, but over the next few days, it will be offered first at $0.99, then $1.99, then $2.99, before returning to $3.99 by the weekend. The sale begins at 8 a.m. EDT on Wednesday morning.
Grab a western. Don’t cost much.
If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)
I’ve written six 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.
The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.
Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.
Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. 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.
I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.
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.
Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.
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).