Category Archives: bell mountain series

The Pull of ‘Bell Mountain’

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It’s only been a month or so since I finished writing The Wind from Heaven, Book No. 13 in my Bell Mountain series, and already I’m champing at the bit to write another. This is going nowhere, yet: I’ve got the rest of the fall and all the winter before I can start again.

I have to wait for the Lord to give me the germ of the next book. Maybe He’ll give me a dream about it. Or a new character, demanding to be born.

I’m hungry to find out what happens next. What about those ships from far across the sea? Ebed, the boy spy trained by Gallgoid, has been taken aboard one of those ships. What are they doing here? What’s their mission? And will the new regime in Obann City prove to be any better than the old one? And will Lord Chutt, the usurper,  live long enough to stand trial for his various misdeeds? How will that turn out?

I just don’t know. Not yet.

Well, one thing I can do is re-read the whole series, all 13 books–not an onerous task. The other thing I have to do is wait. That’s the hard part. It always is.


What’s Your Favorite ‘Bell Mountain’ Book?

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I can’t help being curious about this–what’s your favorite Bell Mountain book? There are 11 of them in print so far, with Nos. 12 (His Mercy Endureth Forever) and 13 (The Wind from Heaven) on the way: eleven of them from which to choose.

And if you haven’t read any of them yet–well, Christmas is coming sooner than you think, and these books make great gifts, if I do say so myself.

But if you have read some or all of them, or even just one, which one do you like the most? I can’t even guess what you’re going to say. And don’t ask me which one is my favorite, because I’m the author and they’re all my babies.

Oh, fap! Now I’ve gone and tantalized myself. Now I really can’t wait to read your replies.

 


‘My Answer to a Critic’ (2013)

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Writers are naturally a little thin-skinned about their work. Your book isn’t going to amount to anything if you don’t pour your heart into it.

But to criticize my books for passing on secret Calvinist messages–that’s a bit too much.

https://leeduigon.com/2013/12/22/my-answer-to-a-critic/

“I’m not going to review this book because it contains an opinion other than mine!” All right, fair enough: there are lots of books I won’t review because their messages are obnoxious to me. But secret messages–no. That’s just silly.

The fantasy world of Bell Mountain is inhabited by people who never heard of Protestants or Catholics and have troubles of their own to think about.


Surprise! My New Book Cover

HisMercy

It was only a few days ago that Kirk DouPonce was asking me for whatever details I’d like to go into the cover art for Bell Mountain No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever. And then he emailed me this, just yesterday evening.

Wow! I don’t know how he did it so fast! He asked me how I liked it, and I told him, “It’s perfect–don’t even thing about changing anything!” That’s Ellayne, a little older than she is on the cover of The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, and Martis’ reliable Wallekki horse, Dulayl, who’s been in all the books so far, and this is his first appearance on a cover.

Well, now I have to write a cover blurb. It’s only 150 words or so, but I always find these among the most difficult things I have to write. Just naturally long-winded, I guess–needing to write a whole book  to tell the story that the cover tells in just 150 words.


What’s a Quokka to Do?

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I’m getting confused!

Byron here, with an update on the Bell Mountain trivia contest–and didn’t I tell Lee, time and time again, that the prize for the winner ought to be a bicycle? And did he listen to me? Nooooo…

Heidi won by answering all 20 questions correctly, but she already had a prize from an earlier contest, so she ceded her prize to Joshua–who came in second, fair and square, but he also had a prize from an earlier contest, and wants to pass this one on to whoever came next.

It’s a good thing Aunt Feezy saved the totals sheet, which she was going to use as a tablecloth. Going back over the results, after Joshua comes “The White Rabbit,” so he has now won the autographed book–bit of a hot potato, ain’t it?

I’ll remind him now that it’s OK to wait for the new Bell Mountain book, His Mercy Endureth Forever, and claim that for his prize. When it gets published sometime next spring, just remind us that we’ve promised to reserve a copy for you.

And now I’ll have to think up some other contest, the prize for which will be the bright red Quokka T-shirt, Extra Large, which I can’t find a picture of. Suggestions, anyone?


Finished! (I Think)

BTS-Cellar

Wa-haah! The final chapter of Bell Mountain No. 13, The Wind from Heaven, has been written, polished, typed, and sent on to my editor. And Kirk DouPonce has begun work on the cover art for No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever.

Here’s the girl who modeled for Ellayne on the cover of The Cellar Beneath the Cellar. Ellayne will be featured on this cover, too. The great thing about her was that she looked exactly like Ellayne! The not-so-great thing is that the Cellar cover was painted some years ago and children grow and change. Well, Ellayne has grown, too. Maybe the model still looks like her, plus a couple of years. Maybe Kirk can use her again. We won’t need the brush or the climbing wall, though.

Martis’ faithful horse, Dulayl, will also be on the cover. And a great big nasty Ice Age hyena.

I can hardly wait to see the picture.


Byron: the Final Bell Mountain Trivia Question

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G’day–Byron the Quokka here. And I can’t help feeling wistful because the big 50,000-Comment Contest is over and this will be the last question, No. 20, in the Bell Mountain trivia contest. After this, I don’t know what to do with myself. Suddenly playing Clue solitaire seems kind of unexciting.

Anyhow, here it is, Question No. 20:

What legendary creature led Ryons to the banquet hall of the ancient kings of Obann?

The winner will be the reader with the most right answers out of 20, and that wise and learned individual will get an autographed book. If you have all 11 published titles so far, you can hold out for No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever–which I think will be published in March or April of next year.

I do wish there were another contest coming up…


‘Bell Mountain’… and Mars

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Remarking that for some reason my character, Tughrul Lomak (one of King Ryons’ chieftains), reminds her of Tars Tarkas in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Martian novels, Heidi has asked to what extent, if any, those books by ERB have influenced my Bell Mountain books.

Tars Tarkas is a green Martian, a member of a race that has brutalized itself by practicing communalism–especially the communal raising of children: these guys take “It takes a village” to its logical extreme. But he has broken the law by loving his own daughter, which has made him capable of sympathy, friendship, and self-sacrifice. But he’s one of my favorite characters in the series, so thanks, Heidi, for mentioning him. Good old Tars Tarkas!

As to your question: Edgar Rice Burroughs has been one of my favorite authors since I first opened a paperback copy of Pellucidar back in high school. Over time, the Mars novels have become my favorite Burroughs stories. It’d be very unusual if I weren’t influenced by them.

But I’m old enough now to have learned not to try to imitate other writers, except in very general ways.

From Edgar Rice Burroughs I’ve learned everything I know about juggling sub-plots without dropping any, pacing, and moving the story continually forward, not letting it bog down anywhere along the way. No one ever did those things better than ERB.

Another thing I’ve learned from his example is that when the imagination wants to rip, let her rip! This is especially evident in one of my all-time favorites stories, The Chessmen of Mars, in which he created a place that’s weird and eerie even by Martian standards–and made it totally believable.

And I think it’s obvious to Tarzan fans that Wytt owes some of his inspiration to Tarzan’s easily-frightened little monkey, Nkima.

As a storyteller, I’m always on the lookout to learn from other storytellers. Self-education never stops. Something of all my favorite authors has gone into all of my Bell Mountain books. Sir Thomas Malory, Homer, The Mabinogion; Burroughs, Agatha Christie, Walter R. Brooks, H.R.F. Keating–and everyone else whose work I’ve enjoyed. Not forgetting Ross McDonald, who taught me how to write sentences that make themselves easy to read.

I could go on like this all day. But to sum it up–

If you want to be a writer… read!


Byron Presents: the Next-to-Last Bell Mountain Trivia Question

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Oh, boy! Byron the Quokka here, with the next-to-last question in our Bell Mountain trivia contest! Question No. 19! And that’s Mum and Dad whispering answers to each other so that you blighters out there can’t overhear. Or else they’re pretending to be a pair of bookends. Of course they both know the answer.

But do you? Well, here’s the question:

Who was the Temple librarian who became First Prester?

(If you don’t know what a First Prester is, you haven’t read the books and you’re just out of luck, I’m afraid.)

The winner gets an autographed book. And if you want to hold out for His Mercy Endureth Forever, I asked Lee and he says it’s okay.

 


Holy Moly! Finished!

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I’m a little behind in my posts today, but never mind–The Wind From Heaven has been written! Finito! Bell Mountain No. 13 is ready to have its final chapter set typed up and sent to Susan for editing.

Just in time, too: the weather’s getting too cold for me to sit outside and write.

Will this go down in history as “the Tanystropheus book?” I mean, because there’s a Tanystropheus in it? But that’s only one of its attractions, and the only one I’ll mention by name–don’t want to spoil any surprises. Susan has read the first five chapter sets and says you’re gonna need a seat belt to read this book.

But first we’ve got to get His Mercy Endureth Forever into print, and to make that turn out right, we need Kirk DouPonce’s cover art. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with this time.

And I just remembered I’ve got to do something about Joe Collidge today–so see you in a bit.


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