Category Archives: bell mountain series

I’ve Got It, I’ve Got It!

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I’m running late today, but you’ll soon see there’s an excellent reason for it.

I’ve been asking the Lord to give me the seed of the next Bell Mountain book. I don’t want to wind up trying to write it as the weather turns cold.

So after our grocery-shopping, I was sitting outside with my cigar, taking in the spring day, mentally compiling a list of characters in my books (it helps me remember who’s who); and I asked one more time for something, anything, that would get the next book started, ask and ye shall receive–

And I got it. Wham, bam–the opening scene of the book, and a symbol to tie the whole story together, however it shapes up. Completely out of the blue: nothing to do with any of the loose ends I left, purposely, dangling from the closing chapters of His Mercy Endureth Forever. Them I’ll get to, in good time.

Man, I’ll never get used to this, even though it’s happened so many times–like every time I wrote one of these books. God always surprises me.

I even got a working title: The Wind From Heaven.

Rejoice with me. I’ve got a big, big job ahead of me, it’ll stretch me pretty good; but it’s the work I love best, and I have no idea what I’ll encounter on this journey–surprises all the way. But with the Lord guiding me, wherever the story ought to go, I’ll tell it.

Oh–and you can bet I broke out my legal pad and wrote that scene. I’m on my way!


This Blog’s on Fire!

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I wish this heavy rain would let up, so I can walk to the post office and get a mailer for Phoebe’s book (I need the exercise). But meanwhile–

Yesterday, for the first time ever, we had over 400 views on this blog for the third day in a row–never happened before. And it’s off to a good start this morning, too. Thank you, readers! And thank you, Christian bloggers, who don’t mind me reblogging some of your posts. You’re welcome to reblog any of mine.

All this, mind you, with my Facebook referrals stripped away. In January, for instance, I had over 700 of them. Now there aren’t any. That I’m doing very well without any help from Facebook is a source of great satisfaction to me.

I look forward today to spending some hours editing the copy for Bell Mountain No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever. I was going to go to Keyport in my newly-repaired car to pick up some of the best seafood in America at the Keyport Fishery, but I’d rather not drive on the Parkway when it’s raining.

Ooh-ooh! Is that the sun out there?


And the Winner Is…!

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Yes, we have a comment contest winner! Byron the Quokka kept tugging on my pants-leg to tell me: “And the winner, posting Comment No. 44,000, is Phoebe!” (That’s his cousin, Eliza Williams, in the background. She is the only quokka with a surname.)

Phoebe, you have won an autographed copy of The Temptation (Bell Mountain No. 11), so please email me your mailing address so I can send it out. Byron wants to hand-deliver it, but I had to tell him no, that’s not on–first I’d have to fly him to New Jersey from Australia. We will just have to rely on the U.S. Postal Service.

Shoot! The contest is over. I was enjoying it. Well, we’ll just have to start a new one. Does 47,000 comments sound unreasonable? That’ll give me time to think of a really gaudy prize for No. 50,000.

To all of you who’ve played, thank you, it was fun, and we’ll do it again.

P.S.–Going down the stretch, this contest was very, very close! So if you were one of those readers who just missed, you’ll get a chance to try again.


The Wit and Wisdom of Wytt (‘The Palace’)

https://www.bing.com/th?id=OIP.5HdKsbdTDpaS9Ah57CMBxAAAAA&w=162&h=244&c=7&o=5&dpr=1.25&pid=1.7

(That’s Wytt in the upper right-hand corner, encouraging Jack to climb the wall.)

Our friend “Weavingword” has requested an excerpt demonstrating Wytt’s courage. No bigger than a squirrel himself, he backs down for no one–not even for this gigantic killer bird that wants to make a meal of Martis, who lies unconscious and defenseless. We take up the scene on Page 60 of The Palace:

“The great bird was annoyed.

“A ridiculously tiny red-haired creature was harassing her so that she couldn’t dine in peace. Indeed, she had yet to begin her meal. There lay the man, half-dead, just waiting to be devoured–and this little nuisance screeched and jabbered at her, dancing all around and trying to threaten her with a tiny twig.

“She darted her head and snapped at it, but her jaws came together with only a loud ‘clack!’ to show for it. She was more than annoyed; now she was positively furious

“‘Parasite! Carrion eater! Big clumsy lizard! I empty my glands in your direction!'”

“Wytt’s insults meant nothing to the bird, although they were among the most offensive known to the Omah. But his shrill cries went right to the bone, and now nothing would satisfy the bird but to crush this little hairy pest in her beak. She forgot the meal in front of her. Hissing like a serpent, she chased Wytt, striking at him again and again but always missing. The more often she missed, the greater burned her rage…”

(At this point thirteen armed men ride up on horseback, and the bird is compelled to retreat.)

Wytt’s armament consists of a little stick sharpened by his teeth, and bushels of self-confidence. You just can’t keep him down.

Anyone can request an excerpt from any of my books. Just remember to give me the title, the page number, and a clear idea of what it is that you want me to excerpt.

 


Comment Contest: Only 50 Left to Go!

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Byron the Quokka has found another bicycle which he wants to offer as the prize to whoever wins our current comment contest. Sorry, Byron, it’s not our bike to give away. The best we can do for a prize is an autographed copy of my new book, The Temptation.

At the moment we have 43,950 comments–just 50 shy of 44,000, just 50 shy of a winner.

The contest is open to everyone, and all comments are eligible except for the following: any comments abusive to anyone else on this site; comments containing profanity or blasphemy; commercials thinly disguised as comments (shame on you!); and comments that are just too inane to be published. Other than that, anything goes.

I’ve got to hand it to Byron: he’s done a good job of running this contest. Who knew quokkas could be such capable administrators? But I don’t think he understands how expensive it would be for me to be giving away bicycles. Money does not loom large in any quokka’s way of life.


By Request, Helki and the Killer Bird (‘Bell Mountain’)

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This is what he saw–taller than a man, and able to kill a horse with one bite.

Heidi has asked for another excerpt from Bell Mountain, this one featuring one of her favorite characters, Helki the Rod, and one of those giant birds that has lately wandered into Obann. We pick up the scene on Page 197.

“Helki, too, spent the night on the plain; and Helki, too, saw a giant bird.

“It stalked right past him, and looked right at him, and opened its massive beak halfway, as if to warn him not to move. Helki stood his ground, returning the bird’s look. He thought that if he had to, he could break the bird’s leg with his staff. But he very much hoped he wouldn’t have to.

“The bird made no move in his direction. Whatever it was hunting, it wasn’t him. He watched until it strode out of sight.

“Only then did he become aware that he was trembling from head to toe. He threw his staff in the air and caught it, and yowled at the top of his lungs.

“‘Whee-aaaah!’ The whole night rang with it. ‘Lord God, you have outdone yourself!'”

“It wasn’t much of a prayer, but that was how Obst had taught him to pray and that was how he did it….”

Anyone can ask for an excerpt from any book in the Bell Mountain series. There are now 11 titles in print, and Book No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever, is being edited. Just make sure you give me the right page number and a brief description of what you’d like me to post as an excerpt.

 


In Case You Don’t Win…

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If by some statistical misfortune you don’t win the comment contest, there’s always this.

For less money than you’d pay for an order of steamed pork dumplings at the Pink Lotus–and they’re very nice dumplings, I hasten to add–you can get a Kindle copy of my new Bell Mountain novel, The Temptation. And if you’re really feeling like a sport, you can get it in paperback.

What would happen if all thousand of this blog’s subscribers bought the book, all at once?

Well, I would run outside and do a cartwheel, at risk of splitting my pants, my publishers would jump for joy, and leftids would feel downhearted. And a thousand people would have a nice book to read.

So much for the commercial.


By Request: Showdown at the Palace (from ‘The Palace’)

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“Teddy Kiara” asked for this excerpt, from The Palace (Bell Mountain No. 6). I can’t give her exactly what she asked for, because I fear it’d spoil the climax. But I think the following comes close.

Gurun is the girl from a faraway island who, against her will, is taken up as queen of Obann. Goryk Gillow is a traitor who means to crown a false king. We pick up the scene on page 312.

“Gurun came out next. And at the sight of her, Goryk Gillow’s heart seemed suddenly inadequate to keep him on his feet.

“He couldn’t breathe. He’d seen her once before, on the walls above the East Gate. That time he’d been afraid of her, not knowing why. But this time he was frozen.

“She was no natural creature. Her white garments and her long hair blazed, whiter than any white he’d ever seen. The rain seemed not to touch her. Goryk ground his eyes shut, lest her eyes should meet them, but still her white light thrust against the darkness. Deep, deep, deep inside his soul there was a scream.

“The God he had betrayed, defied, and mocked: that God had sent her here to take His vengeance on him. She was His messenger. Goryk trembled from head to toe. Mardar Zo looked up and stared at him, alarmed…

“Goryk didn’t hear them. His only impulse was to escape the terrible white lady: to escape from God. With a strangled scream that finally worked its way out, he freed his feet from the stone and fled, moaning, into the palace…”

Ah! And what happens next?

Read the book and find out.


By Request: The Bell (on ‘Bell Mountain’)

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Joshua asked for this excerpt: from page 1 and page 2 of Bell Mountain. Remember that Jack’s dream, described here, was originally one of mine.

“In Jack’s dream, he would be somewhere in the valley, maybe trying to throw a stone across the river… So he would be throwing stones, or looking for blackberries, when suddenly the mountain would begin to sing.

“It was always the biggest mountain, Bell Mountain, with its peak hidden in a cloak of clouds so that no one ever saw it. Jack had never in his life heard the sound of a really big bell, or he might have said the mountain rang, not sang.

“But it was a terrible song that made the other mountains tremble and filled the whole valley as if God had flooded it to the foothills with ice water. Jack couldn’t hear the noise of the river anymore, nor the wind, the birds, nor his own heart beating. Indeed, it seemed the river stopped flowing and his heart stopped beating. And he was too terrified to pick up his feet and run away–too terrified even to breathe.

“And then he would wake up.

“As his breath came back to him, he would always find that he was still frightened: scared enough to shiver. But on top of being frightened, and running deeper than the fear, was something else…”

Anyone can request an excerpt from any of my books. Just be sure to give the title, page number, and a brief description of what you want me to excerpt. And remember–we don’t want to spoil any of the climaxes.

And if you haven’t read any of these books yet–well, they’re waiting for you.


Where Wytt Came From

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See the little monkey on Tarzan’s shoulder? His name is Nkima, and he’s the biggest braggart in the jungle–which is kind of funny, because he’s mortally afraid of… everything.

He is also the inspiration for my character, Wytt–who is afraid of… nothing.

What?

People often ask me where my characters come from, and how they end up in my Bell Mountain novels. And if I had to guess, I’d guess that Wytt is probably my most popular character. A lot of readers have told me so. But where did Wytt come from?

If you know me, you know I’m a Tarzan fan. And Nkima is my favorite character in all the Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I mean, he’s so full of it! And it’s all hot air. This amuses me: a trait that would be unbearable in a real human being is a lot of fun in Tarzan’s monkey sidekick.

As the Omah creatures began to take shape in my mind, I asked myself, “What would Nkima be like, if all his bluster and bravado were perfectly genuine?” What if he really were as brave and bold as he makes himself out to be? What would that look like, in a little character no bigger than a monkey or a squirrel?

And then I had him–Wytt, Jack and Ellayne’s self-appointed protector and guide, who takes on enemies many times his own size, and lets them have the rough side of his tongue while doing it–and gets away with it. This little tiny hero armed with a tiny stick chewed to a point, who’s always up for any challenge that confronts him. No job is too big for him.

Yeah, he’s kind of easy to like. If Wytt’s your guardian–baby, you are guarded, but good. And given the numerous perils in which Ellayne and Jack have found themselves, he’s been kept rather busy. He’s even had to save Martis once or twice: and Martis is a professional assassin who ought to be able to take care of himself. But some of the adventures are a bit dangerous even for him.

I’m sure Wytt will be up for the next book, whatever the adventure turns out to be.


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