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).

 

 

I’ve Still Got My Guitar and the Red Sox Going for Me

My favorite guitar, under construction. (Vince Pawless photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 8:54 a.m.

By Monte Dutton

Middle of the week.

Last night traded one kind of music for another. A trip to Charlotte to see my favorite band, Reckless Kelly, fell through, but I visited my nephew’s lovely children – held them, made faces, sound effects, tossed the older lightly in the air, anything to make him giggle – and then, on a lark, stopped by David Bagwell’s rustic horse barn, where folks are prone to sit around and play songs on Tuesday nights.

(Monte Dutton photo)

It filled the need of getting my mind off politics. I wish I’d thought to sing “Moaning the Blues.”

Where else could I sing harmony? Not here in the living room with Boston Red Sox Baseball on NESN on.

Now I’m writing a blog with All in the Family on. But soon I shall be working on a novel, once this – yes, this – gets me in the proper mood.

I got back in time to see the Red Sox break up a tie game in Saint Louis.

Here’s what’s changed this baseball season. During commercials, I used to switch to other games. Now I switch to see what’s the latest on our president. After Red Sox games ended, I used to switch to games on the West Coast. Now I check on Trump. Vin Scully’s retirement may have had a little to do with it.

Watching the news gets me down, so I watch the late-night talk shows to hear the hosts and guests joke … about the news. The upshot of all this is I seldom forget to say my prayers, even as I tumble to sleep with my eyes closed, listening to Seth Meyers.

Perhaps there is cleansing in this. It’s been a while since the country has been this passionate about politics and government. Perhaps some sense of reason will emerge from the unreasonable. Perhaps the middle ground will grow. At the moment, both sides say mainly to the other, “I’m smart. You’re not.”

On the other hand, I got to sing and strum.

And the Red Sox won.

(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).

 

 

Another Stupid Blog about Me

The view from here. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, May 15, 2017, 9:36 a.m.

In the slug above, originally the time was 7:48. Then 8:39. Then 9:07.

I used to write blogs as a means of working my way into a mood conducive to writing fiction. Now I go straight to fiction (as opposed to video) because I can’t come up with a decent blog.

By Monte Dutton

This is not at all bad. It’s just different.

I haven’t written as many blogs lately because my life has grown boring even to me.

I’m sure you will be crestfallen at not hearing of a delicious brunch with my mother and sister. Surely no more than 100 million people did anything like that on Mother’s Day. I didn’t even think to take pictures.

The Red Sox lost. I wrote a chapter. I finished reading a book. I started another.

My whole life seems the same: run by Donald J. Trump.

I’ve got a doctor’s appointment today. I expect to be taken to task. I have no idea how much I weigh. My pants haven’t tightened, but I bet I don’t weigh less than I did three months ago. I lack motivation. I’m not clinically depressed. I’m depressed for a damned good reason.

I’m slogging ahead, damn the torpedos, not to mention the likely loss of health insurance.

I’ve got a novel that is about 85 percent finished, but I set it aside to finish the new stock car racing novel, Lightning in a Bottle, and I haven’t been up to diving back into it. Instead, I’ve written 10 chapters on another novel. The former project is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the latter Life Gets Complicated. When the titles are published, they’ll get italics.

So what has this blog achieved? How is it an example of anything save self-absorption? What sets it apart from social-media promotions of babies, pets, casseroles … and me. Not just me. All the other me’s.

I made light of Mother’s Day. Then spent a paragraph commiserating health. This was not something you need to know. Besides, I feel all right.

What I’m feeling is a little sorry for myself, and this encourages the ridiculous notion that anyone else cares about my problems.

Besides, everyone knows the solution to all problems, mine and yours, is for you to buy my books.

(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).

 

 

 

The Mystery Immerses

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, May 12, 2017, 9:43 a.m.

Many readers – okay, at least one – have comfortable refuges and guilty pleasures. Read something heavy – a bulky bio, a literary classic, an historical tome – and then scurry back to relaxing, reliable delight. It might be a comedy – a Carl Hiaasen or a Dan Jenkins – or hard-bitten crime – Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler – or one of John Steinbeck’s short novels of whimsy, or a Larry McMurtry western …

By Monte Dutton

… Or a mystery. A Dick Francis mystery. Francis died a few years back. Fortunately, he was so prolific that I’m nowhere near reading all his reliable tales of horse-racing intrigue.

(I’m running out of Leonard. That’s a problem.)

In Farleigh Field, by Rhys Bowen, fills my void. It quenches the thirst left in the aftermath of Francis’s illustrious career, and it echoes a favorite television show of mine, Foyle’s War. Mystery, coupled with World War II intrigue. What a smooth combination.

It all starts with a thud. On the estate of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, a parachute fails to open. Though the body found on the estate, Farleigh Place, is clothed in a British Army uniform, the remains are those of an impostor. From the field where the body lies does the plot spread and thicken.

Ben Cresswell, confined to desk duty after surviving a plane crash, is sent by M15 to investigate why an apparent German spy has crashed into Farleigh Field. It all gets mixed up in love, family, loyalty, and, well, geography.

The reader winds up playing chess with the author, and it’s a lovely match. Disloyal members of the English aristocracy, the Gestapo, the French Resistance, and all five of Lord Westerham’s daughters take part with gusto. A dashing hero arrives home from a prisoner’s camp. Personal loyalties wither against the tide of war.

It’s a rousing yarn Ms. Bowen has woven into form.

(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).

 

 

A Nice Race Story and a Nice Review of a Racing Novel

(Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, May 8, 2017, 10:15 a.m.

By Monte Dutton

Lots of times, when I’m watching a NASCAR race on television, I think of the early scenes of Days of Thunder, when Harry Hogge is back in North Carolina, on his tractor, while the Daytona 500 is taking place.

I’m not sure what occupied Harry with his tractor in mid-February, but that’s Hollywood, I reckon.

A friend visited on Sunday, and the main difference was that I didn’t tweet as much as usual about the race. We wasted most of our witticisms one on one.

(Getty Images for NASCAR)

I was pleased Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s upset victory. For all the stages and bonus points and Chase (oops, playoff) bonus points and encumbered finishes, the season has fallen predictably. Until Sunday, no one won who wasn’t expected to win at least sometime if not in the race in which he did so.

No one expected Stenhouse to win, this in spite of his starting on the pole. No one will expect Stenhouse to win next week. They will treat a plate victory as an anomaly until Stenhouse and Jack Roush provide more evidence to the contrary.

Now that Stenhouse has won, he has stepped out of his girlfriend Danica Patrick’s shadow. The world will notice at last what I already knew. Stenhouse is friendly, quotable, humble, a good guy.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Meanwhile, what made my day was a customer review of Lightning in a Bottle, my novel about stock car racing. So far, the readers seem to like it. The reader who checked in on the Amazon page Sunday saw the novel just as I wrote it. He got what I was trying to say. Here’s the review.

So get ‘em while they’re hot. In a Kindle, or your phone, or your other electronic device, the words will be safely encased and safe to touch. In print, too, the words will only sizzle in your mind.

Or that’s the plan.

(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.

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).

 

 

Little Things Mean … a Little

I chose this sketch because it reminds me that I haven’t played my song “Scuppernongs and Muscadines” lately. (Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, May 4, 2017, 9:49 a.m.

The world has changed in significant ways across the span of my lifetime.

Today I’ve decided to write about the insignificant ways. Significance is too intimidating for this day.

By Monte Dutton

No one whose cell has service needs “whatever happened to …?” stories anymore. Just yesterday I looked up Claude Osteen. He is, among other things, 77 years old. Among others I looked up were Marion Davies, Norma Shearer, and the 2001 movie The Cat’s Meow. Davies and Shearer are quite a bit less alive than the oft-overlooked southpaw.

The word “myriad” has changed from mostly a noun to mostly a verb. Once it was “a myriad of options.” Now it is “myriad options,” which is an improvement in the name of brevity on first look, as a preposition can be tossed aside, but “myriad” as a noun makes “options,” uh, optional.

Pets are worshiped where once they were merely beloved.

Many are so busy writing that they have no time to read. Once this might have been deemed counterproductive. The craft of writing slowly deteriorates because it has no underpinnings.

The seeming ignorance of history is more correlated to lack of interest than absence of teaching. A widespread belief is that nothing counts if the individual hasn’t experienced it. No one played basketball before LeBron James. No one played Longfellow Deeds before Adam Sandler.

I like sports. I like politics. I don’t like people who treat politics as if it were sports. It’s not.

Jesus did not get mean. Nor did His teachings. It only seems that way based on the way They are selectively disseminated.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

I exist in the way of history. I write more and more for people who read less and less. The latest novel is about stock car racing. I find myself bidding for larger pieces of smaller pies.

The more I think about it, the more things are stupid.

A liberal arts education made me adaptable and conversant in many topics. Ultimately, though, it provided no greater options. It feels strange, at this age, to realize I’m down to one way in the whole world to make a living.

Write. Just write. Don’t worry. Just write. Do what you can do. Write. Surely, at some point, it’s going to take off. Write.

(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.

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).

 

 

As The Salesman Says, You Can’t Afford Not To …

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, April 28, 2017, 11:15 a.m.

I spend a lot of time writing, and I spend another considerable chunk writing about how you need to read … my writing.

Tell my whyyyyyy, whyyyy, why, why, why! Whyyyyyy, why should you read my boooooks?

By Monte Dutton

Among the reasons is I have expenses. I have bills to pay. This is how I make my living. Sort of.

I always use the analogy of the baseball scorebook. You know that one, right? There is only way to score a baseball game. That’s the way that works for you. Many more options are available than skinning a cat, though I’ve never done it, so I can’t say. There is allegedly one way. Google it, and I’m satisfied there’s more than one.

Wait a minute. The actual saying is, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Never mind. Thank goodness for Google.

Lightning in a Bottle is lightning in a wraparound cover. It’s in paperback (and Kindle, of course), so it has no book jacket. It’s built in. It’s still lightning, though.

The lightning is Barrie Jarman. He left home to make his fortune in stock car racing. He also chases women, drinks moonshine, and plays guitar. His daddy is an alcoholic. His uncle has been working on race cars for thirty years. He’s another reason Barrie leaves home. He gives him a cabin to live in. He spreads the word that his nephew wields a magic wand disguised as a steering wheel.

From the start, after Barrie signs a contract with Ford Racing and lands a ride in FASCAR’s Enervation Series, he and the ruling body are at odds. He speaks his mind and believes it’s necessary to do so in order to bring kids like him back to the sport, if not in the cockpits, then in the grandstands. FASCAR doesn’t want him to do anything his own way. The whippersnapper is supremely confident that he knows what he’s doing.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Barrie’s got to be good. He won’t last long, popping off at the mouth, if he isn’t. Winning races isn’t the problem. He starts doing that right off.

He’s lucky, though. He’s a brash kid and a throwback at the same time. His owner, Jerry McCarley, is a throwback, too. His manager, Frank Maglie, knows every FASCAR act of duplicity like the back of his hand. He knows how they think. He keeps Barrie aware of it.

Barrie is at his best when his back is to the wall. He thrives on controversy. His greatest knack is being lucky in the aftermath of being unlucky. Like all great racers, he’s most impressive when there are obstacles in his path.

If you’re a race fan, this novel is going to wow you. You’ve never read anything like it. It’s as fast as the cars.

If you’re not a race fan, it’s going to interest you because its lessons can be applied to many other pastimes. It’s about racing and race, love and deception, the temptations of youth and money, and learning how to adapt from being on the wrong side of the tracks to the wrong side of the (racing) law.

You’re going to love it. Some of it may offend you, but some of it is definitely going to make you laugh.

(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.

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).