The Writing Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today

This is why I don’t design my own covers. I drew this up trying to sum up the characters. (Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, June 24, 2017, 1:39 p.m.

This has been a troubling week. It’s better than, oh, a disastrous week.

It’s had its good points.

By Monte Dutton

My latest novel, Lightning in a Bottle, is getting rave reviews and middling sales. So far, 10 readers have reviewed it on Amazon, and it’s gotten nine “five stars” and one four. They absurdly seem to think it’s as good as I do. It may seem vain, but, of course, an author loves his own work. As I’ve said, regarding journalism, nobody writes shit on purpose. What’s gratifying is seeing that others like it.

No one likes to seem delusional.

It’s been a good week for writing, which is a shelter from figurative thunderstorms. I just had one bad day. I think it was Tuesday. On Tuesday, I wasted lots of time staring at the screen.

It happens. Sometimes thoughts have to gather and coalesce before it’s possible to advance and progress. I have developed some intuition about reaching a level of comfort in a subject before deeming it time to write it. It’s been, oh, seventeen years since I stumbled upon what I call “mulling time.”

I was writing a NASCAR book, and I had been compiling information all season long, as I hopped, skipped, and jumped (via my vehicle, rental vehicles and airplanes) across the country for parts of ten months. At season’s end, after Thanksgiving, I had my notes assembled and was ready to write. In order to get the book out quickly, I had to abide by a tight deadline schedule, one that involved writing an average of a chapter and a half a day. As a daily-newspaper journalist, I thought that would be a snap. What I discovered was that the book required as much “mulling time” as writing time. I had to think about how I was going to go about each chapter, and get that method settled in my mind.

It was the closest I ever came to a nervous breakdown and the beginning of my intuition regarding the role of “mulling time” in the process.

All in all, the week was satisfactory. I’ve been editing one manuscript and writing another.

But:

My knee is bothering me. The arthritis has been acting up. I’m getting around, but it hurts.

I haven’t been reading as much as I should. I haven’t been playing guitar as much as I should. I haven’t completed any sketches in months. I haven’t been “getting out,” partly because it’s a barren time for free-lance writing, though I had an enjoyable return to NASCAR in May.

Jerry Jeff Walker (Monte Dutton photo)

Jerry Jeff Walker wrote:

Getting by on getting by’s my stock in trade / Livin’ it day to day / Pickin’ up the pieces wherever they fall / Just lettin’ it roll / Lettin’ the high times carry the low / Just living my life / Easy come, easy go.

That’s pretty much it.

What hangs over me is the prospect of life without health care. I’ve been paying close attention at what the Republicans are doing, and for me to have more of a target on my back, I’d have to get some stencils and red paint.

Lots of people criticize Obamacare, but it’s been a godsend for me. If anything close to what is currently proposed goes through, and is signed by President Trump, then, (a.) my rates are going to at least double; (b.) I will be eligible for tax credits that I will not be able to use because I cannot pay the premiums; (c.) allowing my coverage to lapse will make it even harder to regain it because missing as little as a month will allow companies to charge me even higher rates.

Republicans speak as if the phrase “higher deductibles” belongs in The Ten Commandments. That’s because there are actually some of them who can afford to pay higher deductibles.

Mixed messages. (Monte Dutton photo)

An extensive body of work suggests that no one is going to hire me. Since the Gaston Gazette eliminated my job, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to claim that I have applied for a hundred jobs. For exactly two have I been interviewed. None of these applications was for executive editor of Sports Illustrated. I’ve applied for jobs I was so overqualified for that it embarrassed those doing the hiring. One of the interviews was, as it turned out, for a part-time job I took that didn’t last but a few months of the year that had been, well, not quite promised, but assured.

Ah, those fellows in the business office. They’re forcing us to cut back. I hate it.

In spite of my liberal arts education, I have reached the point of age and health where all I can really do is what I do best.

Write. Every day. Every way.

AMAZON CUSTOMER RATINGS

FICTION BY MONTE DUTTON

SCALE OF 1-5

Lightning in a Bottle        4.9

Cowboys Come Home	   4.7

The Intangibles                 4.7

The Audacity of Dope		    4.7

Crazy of Natural Causes	 4.2

Forgive Us Our Trespasses*	        3.7

*Biggest seller to date

Now I need you folks to read. Give my books a try. There’s a heap of them. Take one or two or five to the beach. Download them to your phone. The novels range in price from $2.99 to $4.99. The latest, the aforementioned Lightning in a Bottle, is $3.99 for your Kindle app and $16.95 for your coffee table.

I wrote the book. Now I need the lightning.

With that shameful plea hanging, the best way I know to make more money on books is to write more of them.

You may see me on a street corner, playing my guitar, passing a cowboy hat, and leaning a sign against a lamp pole that reads:

WILL WRITE FOR HEALTH CARE

 

(Steven Novak design)

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)

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

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.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

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.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

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.

(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.

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.

(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).

Oh, I’m Looking at the World from a Press Box … Again

(Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 12:05 p.m.

I’m not at Charlotte Motor Speedway. I’m not on a four-lane highway. Hell, Memorial Day is even over. If you’re tired, is it a mild coma? Are there degrees of comatosity? Is comatosity a word?

It is momentarily.

By Monte Dutton

Charlotte for the NASCAR races was only four days (May 20, 25, 27, 28, spill-over into 29), about six quarts of road coffee and 1,000 miles on my odometer. The Accord is 17 years old and gets better mileage than the day I bought it. Right now it’s caked in dust, and there’s junk mail in the passenger floorboard and a pile of paper from the speedway’s copiers in the seat.

By the time I pulled into the garage, safely before the sun rose, with plenty of time for memorializing, I was tired of Hardee’s biscuits, and coffee that was too hot to drink even though I was too tired to wait, and even the marathon of sarcasm that is the essence of a sportswriter’s existence.

Where once I was a journalist who dabbled in novels, now I am a novelist who dabbles in journalism. With credit to my friend Jim McLaurin, “Other’n’at, ain’t much hap’nin’.”

I don’t mean to be complaining. It was fun. It was probably more fun than the old days, but the old days were like this every week.

Jeff Gluck hired me to write three columns – I wrote for Competition Plus at the Monster Energy All-Star race, and basically just did so because I wanted to get the greetings and salutations out of the way – so that he could explore the Indianapolis 500. He told me to write whatever I wanted. See jeffgluck.com.

(Getty Images for NASCAR)

I did. I had a ball. I fiddled around all day making observations and then strung them together and blended them in – desk persons used to love the verb “massage the copy” – to make a nice, creative pudding, butterscotch, I think, and whether or not whipped cream was on top is for readers to judge.

The question I needed to answer for myself was: Will I want to go back?

Yes. I do. I don’t want to get carried away by the band of gypsies again. I don’t want to wake up, open the curtains and look out the window to remember which town I’m in.

Stock car racing has changed. Everything else has, too. Me, for instance.

It’s still interesting, though. I haven’t rediscovered its essence, but I’ve made some progress.

(Steven Novak design)

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)

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

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.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

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.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

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.

(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.

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.

(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).

 

 

Around the Track in Eighty Days

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, April 3, 2017, 9:26 a.m.

What a weekend.

A new novel, Lightning in a Bottle, is out. Brad Keselowski won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (just remember, MENCS) race in Martinsville, Virginia. The University of South Carolina won the women’s basketball national championship.

By Monte Dutton

The Boston Red Sox open today at Fenway against the Pittsburgh Pirates. I’ll be glued to the set. For now, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

This novel is crucial to my career. I need a hit. It doesn’t have to go platinum. A gold record would be super.

On the one hand, no recent racing novels have been notably successful. On the other, there haven’t been many. I’m betting on a modest market arising out of the void. On the one hand, racing fans are not generally correlated positively with readers of fiction. On the other, a high percentage of those who follow my writing are racing fans. Do they love racing enough to read fiction about it? Some do. I need many.

I am a racing fan and have been for almost my entire life. I spent a mere twenty years traveling around the country writing about it. It is generally acknowledged as my field of expertise. Writings about it have generated most of my awards. Undoubtedly, someone will read my novel and exclaim that I don’t know what I’m talking about. I doubt I’ve ever written anything about racing where no one said that.

I am sick and tired of reading racing stories by people who don’t know anything about it.

I’ve written on site about more than 500 races, sir.

Oh.

 

DoverPocono 035
(Monte Dutton photo)

After four years watching on TV and writing about stock car racing from a distance, I started missing it during the past offseason. For the first time, I had a desire to go back. I offered my services. A few people wrote me that they “had something in mind.” Apparently, it’s still there.

 

I spent a lot of time in the winter thinking about racing. This isn’t unusual. Race fans pine for the roar of engines like a hunter for his best bird dog.

Racing changed a lot from 1993, when I first started writing about it full-time, and the beginning of 2013, when my job of 16-1/2 years’ duration was eliminated by corporate management. I thought about what was great about back then and what is awful about now and started thinking about a reasonable conciliation of the generations.

Racing needs a brash, bright, brilliant kid who came up the hard way. The racing fan base is growing older. The sport needs someone to bring back the young fans. Jimmy Buffett sang about “a hot Roman candle from the Texas panhandle,” but he meant a country singer. My racer is a rare bird from Spartanburg. Sorry. If I’d been worried about rhymes, I’d have put him in Calabash.

(Monte Dutton sketch)

Barrie Jarman showed up. I don’t know where I got the name. He just introduced himself to me while I was trying to get some sleep. I got out of bed that January morning bolt upright. I cleared the few cobwebs with the rudimentary chores of preparing the coffeemaker to make coffee, then sat down at this laptop and wrote the Prologue of what was not then but became Lightning in a Bottle.

Then I headed off on a weekend road trip and got back to work on it when I returned. The Prologue was a product of January 15. Publication, hastened by doing it myself, was a product of March 28. I wrote a draft, worked my way back through it, decided miraculously that it was ready, sent it to a friend to edit a little and proofread, worked with an artist on a cover design, laid out the interior, and, as amazing as this seems, completed it. What’s amazing is that it’s possible, not that I managed to do it.

It’s 240 pages. A quick read. Written conversationally through the eyes of Uncle Charlie.

By the way, I sat aside nearly 90,000 words on a novel that could not be more different. Now I shall return there, once I get some boring requirements of contemporary life completed. I’m not ready, anyway. I’ve got to wrap my mind back around the serpentine tale I left unfinished.

And sell the hell out of the one I’ve got out now.

 

(Steven Novak design)

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)

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

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.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

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.

(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).

 

 

The Rush to Fiction

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, March 18, 2017, 10:25 a.m.

It’s been a lovely cruise, this week. Other than a couple cold nights at athletic fields, it was mainly noteworthy for what I am doing now, which is typing in various directions.

This wasn’t nose-to-the-grindstone typing, in part because I own no grindstones, but also because the writing was interspersed by reading, watching, and playing (guitar). I must catch up on my thinking before I rashly advance. Lord knows, as my grandmother used to say, you can’t rush it.

By Monte Dutton

This one — this manuscript of fiction I just shipped electronically to my trusty proofreader, editor, font of wisdom, and onetime running mate – was a rush. It gave me a rush. I awakened one morning with the story in my head, and it had to get out!

I was a little panicky that 6 a.m., because there are times when nighttime dreams and visions do not linger much longer than my need to use the facilities. Allowing only for this bodily need, I pressed the power button on the electronic collector, and wrote 1,118 words – then the “Introduction,” now the “Prologue,” on account of I called the one at the end the “Epilogue” – because I feared losing them if they were not promptly recorded.

That was this year. I couldn’t sleep because I was down in a half-dozen different ways. Trump was about to become president. Okay. A dozen different ways.

I wrote a novel in two months. This is the first time I did it in two, not three, drafts. I think it’s ready. I felt it was progressing nicely all along the way. Maybe it’s because it’s shorter. Maybe that makes it simpler. Maybe it was that I had that sleepless night tucked away.

Writing fiction requires a certain force of will. Write what you mean. Don’t worry what people think. Have your characters talk like people talk. Be brave enough to depict the truth as you see it. Damn the torpedos! Full steam ahead! It’s coming off the coffee.

By the way, I set nearly 90,000 words aside to feed this Lightning in a Bottle (its title). Once this leapfrog has been tucked away in its shoebox – in the literal form of a finished manuscript, a cover, and publication – I’ll return to those nearly 90,000 words and revisit the concoction of an ending.

Writing becomes increasingly exciting as I age. I can experience untold adventures as I sit on my ass with an old movie on.

cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

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 montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(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.

(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).

 

 

 

 

That First Draft Goes Down So Easy

(Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, March 14, 2017, 11:25 a.m.

Hmm. How can I describe this? I probably don’t have to. Many who read it will be authors, too. They’ll know what it’s like to get a first draft finished. The mountain is climbed. The story is done. He (or she) has to get back down now. He’s got some tidying up to do on the return.

Yesterday I finished the 25th and final chapter of what will soon be my sixth novel, Lightning in a Bottle. The title isn’t just appropriate to the story. I was working on another, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In fact, the first draft was close to being done. It still is. In the past two months, I’ve written exactly one more chapter.

By Monte Dutton (John Clark photo)

I turned swiftly to another work because of a sleepless night, one in which I concocted the plot of another novel. There wasn’t much awakening to do, though I’m sure part of my brainstorm was in the un- or subconscious. It had been enough of a dream that I thought it wise to jot something down. I wrote the Introduction at seven in the morning. I’ve been writing at a rapid pace, by my standards, ever since.

I even tacked on an Epilogue. Perhaps I should turn the Introduction into a Prologue.

It didn’t hurt that I didn’t have much else to do.

Over the span of writing five novels and many short stories, I have found a pattern for myself. The first draft, I suspect, is not much different from the way most writers do it. I start with a very simple outline. Then, at the end of each chapter, I make the outline detailed and use it as a reference tool going forward.

The second draft cuts the manuscript down, and the third polishes it up. Less fortunately, I supposed I could cut it up and polish (or grind) it down.

This one may take only two drafts, followed by a friend’s edit. I feel good (just like I knew that I would right nowwww …) about the relative coherence of what I have written. It could be that I’m getting better at this fiction business. It could be that I’m in one big, frenetic hurry.

No one really taught me how to write a novel other than the authors of the ones I’ve written. The system that has evolved reflects my neuroses, mainly. When I’m writing the first draft, I am ebullient. I don’t embark on a chapter without first being excited about the task ahead. On second reading, I get as depressive as I was manic. Oh, this sucks. This can go. Why is this guy even mentioned? Well, that doesn’t make any sense.

(Monte Dutton photo)

The third draft is a coat of polish. I overestimated my work. Then I underestimated it. The final draft is an exercise of finding a balance in my view of my own work. Or trying to find a balance. Getting as close as a man can get to balance regarding his pride and joy.

Really, there is no shortcut. There is only experience that makes the designated route less rough.

Getting the first draft done means realizing that this book is going to be completed. It is the point of no return. It will not be discarded. The investments have been made. It is a time of satisfaction exceeded only by the moment that box of books arrives on the doorstep. In some ways, it’s better, though, because the arrival of those books leads one to the horror that is reading one’s own books and finding the occasional typo or slip-up that inexplicably slipped through the cracks. I am still affected by memories of the day I discovered corrections I had made in The Intangibles had not been incorporated in the print version of the novel.

Today I am content. Today I have already worked on the first five chapters of Lightning in a Bottle. Before too much longer, I’ll be italicizing that title.

cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

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 montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(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.

(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).

 

 

Poverty Helps

The view from here. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 10:45 a.m.

I haven’t really had much to do. Local sports, or at least my market value for writing about it, has subsided for a while. Bills are outstanding at both ends, which means I am both owed and owing a decent amount. I go to the mailbox each day with a sense of excitement.

By Monte Dutton

Most of my creditors are not excited. They are automated.

The good news is that the least expensive means for me to live is to stay home and write. This I have been doing diligently. Lightning in a Bottle is now within range of completion, though it’s only a first draft. I think I can work my way back through it. I don’t think there’s much to fix, only much to polish.

NASCAR is headed west for three weeks. It was west last week but only a few hours. I had sort of hoped Atlanta would be my long-awaited return to the track, but those who long for it in my fantastic imagination will have to wait a while because I doubt anyone unwilling to pay my way to Hampton, Georgia, is going to be willing to send me somewhere like Phoenix, Arizona.

I’ll watch it on TV. That’s the norm. I went to Homestead, Florida, 147 races ago.

Sunday I wrote about the end of a long journey. Monday I wrote about a man getting in deeper and deeper trouble with his boss. Today he’s going to get in trouble with his girlfriend. Tomorrow I start stirring all the ingredients together to bake a fiction cake and apply the fiction icing.

Then the readers can feast!

I might be a bit giddy.

cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

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 montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(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.

(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).

 

 

 

I Don’t Know Why, but I Know When

There's a chapter in there. (Monte Dutton photo)
There’s a chapter in there. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 10:45 a.m.

Sometimes a football team knows full well the importance of a game, and it knows it had better play well, and all the players tell themselves they’d better be ready and … sometimes themselves just don’t buy it.

The fans simplify. They talk among themselves, and say the coach didn’t have them ready, or all the lads were on drugs, or the quarterback threw the game instead of the ball, or all those things.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

It’s just a lot more complicated, or a lot simpler, the latter being “they just didn’t play well.” No one knows why, least of all those responsible for the disappointing performance.

This isn’t a whodunit. You undoubtedly see this coming. I have telegraphed my pass.

Writing is like that.

Sometimes I tell myself I must write. Myself ain’t buying it.

I don’t consider this a block. It’s much better to rationalize. I have an inner sense of timing. My subconscious knows when it is time to proceed. I think about the coming chapter. I’ve written about this “mulling time” before. Something tells me:

Okay … go.

Something slept in this morning. So far, but it’s early. Not early in the morning, but early in the day. I wrote a chapter yesterday. The next novel is racing along. I know the course. I’m sixteen turns in now.

Why am I writing this? To get me going! I’ve already sipped coffee. I’ve already gone through emails. Nothing to see there. I’ve perused the social media. I’ve clicked on a few links. I’ve failed to cook breakfast because I don’t have anything left to go with eggs. I’ve made a quick trip to a drive-through. I’ve played guitar. I’ve checked the weather. I’ve watched part of a crummy movie because I thought the actress was beautiful.

I haven’t read a chapter of a book.

I’ve blogged, though.

And it’s time.

Chapter 17 …

cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

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 montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(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.

(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).