Category Archives: Book Updates


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Two cold hands and two cigars later, I have finished writing His Mercy Endureth Forever. Now all I have to do is type up three whole legal pads’ worth of manuscript and send them to Susan, my editor. But I don’t need nice weather for that.

Now that I’ve actually written it, I can look back on the climax of this story and say, “Whoa!” It’ll knock your socks off. Usually the Lord gives me these in a single dazzling flash; but this time He had me grind it out, line by line. So it sort of snuck up on me.  But the end result will prove well worth the trouble–and may it be fruitful in His service.

Today is also Patty’s birthday, she feels much better than she felt yesterday, and please, everybody, keep those prayers coming.

Oh–and I phoned Linda’s daughter, Lyn, to tell her about the book. I know Linda would have been pleased by its completion. Maybe they’ll have it up in Heaven.

Sneak Preview: ‘The Temptation’ Cover

[Editor’s Note: I have had to delete the picture because there were problems with it. I’ve asked Kirk to send it to me again. Maybe then it’ll work.]

This is Kirk DouPonce’s rough sketch for the cover of Bell Mountain No. 11, The Temptation. That’s Lord Chutt up there. I envisioned him as British actor John Nettles, who used to star in “Midsomer Murders”–but of course I couldn’t say a thing like that in the text, and I think Kirk came pretty close to the real Lord Chutt.

So here it is, something with which to rinse the nooze from our minds. Obann has its share of problems, but at least they’re not our problems.

SHOUTOUT; Can anybody see this picture?

Climax! Hooray!

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It hasn’t started raining yet, so I went outside and cranked out eight more pages of manuscript–and wrote the climax of His Mercy Endureth Forever. And anybody who saw this climax coming, my hat is off to you, big-time, because I didn’t see it until yesterday.

One more chapter, and that’s that. And then I have three whole legal pads’ worth of manuscript to type up and send to Susan, my editor.

Due to an awful lot of nasty weather, it was a real struggle for me to get this work done. But Lord Orth was right: God gave me what I needed to finish the job. To God be the glory, and may my work be fruitful in His service.

Still waiting for Kirk DouPonce’s cover art for Bell Mountain No. 11, The Temptation.

P.S.–Another hat-tip to the Ice Age cave hyena, pictured above, which plays a notable part in this story.

I See My Way Clear!,204,203,200_.jpg

Well, Lord Orth was right. As of today, I see my way clear to the last page of His Mercy Endureth Forever. All I need is a few more decent, sunny days in which to write it. But of course rain is forecast for the weekend.

Usually the Lord gives me the climax of a book in a dazzling flash; but if you’ve been following these updates, you know He didn’t do that, this time. I had to keep chipping away at the big block of marble until, almost without my perceiving it, the statue emerged.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for artist Kirk DouPonce’s sketch for the cover of Bell Mountain No. 11, The Temptation. When I get it, I’ll try to post it here as a kind of sneak preview–if I can manage the technology.

Well, heck, I just successfully installed the new toilet flapper, didn’t I?


Patty’s Blood Work

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Patty consulted with our doctor today about her blood work, and it’s so far, so good: nothing untoward in the blood. Tomorrow I have to take her to his other office for some tests: that’s where he has the equipment. Please pray there’s nothing wrong but the COPD, which we already know she has. And thank you for your prayers for this day’s hurdle: by God’s grace, she has cleared it.

I’ve been kind of worried about losing time for finishing my book, but today something extraordinary happened, when I went out to write this afternoon. It seemed to me that I could hear one of my characters, Lord Orth, saying, “Stop with the fretting, already. If the Lord our God wants you to finish this book, you’ll finish it. Trust him!” Well, I have a lot of respect for Lord Orth, and I’m inclined to listen to him. So now I feel much better about that. Just a few more warm, sunny days should be all I need.

Meanwhile, please pray those tests tomorrow lead to a successful treatment. I know that blessing is in His hands to give.

Comment Contest Update: 138 to Go

Quick update: only 138 comments to go, to No. 35,000 and a comment contest winner.

My deal with the Uffizi Gallery fell through, so now I’m thinking a nice prize would be a super-professional pogo stick, with a handy, easy-to-read booklet to teach you how to do all the really eye-popping, dangerous stunts to wow your neighbors. Or else you can opt for an autographed copy of one of my books.

Confidential to Joshua: Thank you for your patience! I’ve really got to get my book finished this week, and I haven’t been able to make it to the post office.

“The Temptation” update: Cover artist Kirk DouPonce says he’ll have a sketch for us this week. I can hardly wait to see it!

Well, I’ve Got the Last Page, at Least!

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Well, I now know the last page of His Mercy Endureth Forever, the last stop on the journey. Usually the Lord gives it to me in a burst, but this time He slowly pulled me into it. Like, I had the idea before I realized it was the idea I’d been looking for. I can’t honestly say when that realization came to me. It came quietly. I think it must have been yesterday sometime–that, or during my last night’s sleep.

Now I’ve got to get there, to that last stop on the journey. There are still a few points in the story that demand to be settled. I think I need to do it in about 20-25 more pages. I hope to accomplish it next week.

And yes, I will leave plot threads that will permit me to connect to a new book next spring. God willing.

Another Shameless Commercial Message

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As we try not to stew over what the doctor will say to us tomorrow, Patty’s recording my quarterly book sales statement. I haven’t the heart to look at it.

But say-hey, as Willie Mays would say! My books make great Christmas presents! For family members, friends, and casual acquaintances. For anybody. Give ’em Bell Mountain and get ’em hooked on the whole series. The books can’t do their job unless a lot of people read them. Unless maybe there’s one person out there who reads them and gets inspired to do something great.

Meanwhile, in sweater, coat, and hood, I’m out there every day it doesn’t rain, trying to finish writing His Mercy Endureth Forever: six hand-written pages today, and my hands are like ice. At the rate I’m going, I hope to finish sometime next week. Give God the glory for that!

And please don’t tell me you never heard of Willie Mays.

With My Last Ounce of Oomph…

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Actually, I think I lost that ounce this afternoon.

But it’s come down to this: I’m pretty sure I’d better finish writing His Mercy Endureth Forever by the end of next week, or it’ll just be too cold outside to write anything. And indoors it’s nuisance phone calls all day and other distractions.

I’ve pushed myself hard this week: and again the weird sensation of being pulled along by the story. Like when you hook into a really big fish at night and it starts towing your rowboat away like the anchor wasn’t there at all. The last time we had that experience, the fish’s head finally came up out of the water and it proved to be a large shark.

I still don’t know what I’m going to see when this book’s climax comes up out of the dark water. I just pray it happens sometime in the next twenty or thirty pages of manuscript.

Writing in the Cold

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I’m happy to report that Patty feels much better today, thanks to lot of sleep and to your prayers–please keep ’em coming. Maybe we’ll make it to the doctor’s tomorrow. It depends on how she’s feeling.

Meanwhile, I heated myself up with a bike ride up the hill and have been out there in the cold, scribbling away.

Now the problem is that a few of my characters have asserted themselves in ways I hadn’t been expecting and pulled some fast ones on me, and I’m just writing to keep up. I suppose I ought to thank them for that: it should make the story rather livelier–as long as I don’t drop the ball. I hope I can live up to their confidence in me.

(Uh-oh, he’s losin’ it–talking about his fictional characters as if they were real…)

I do appreciate your prayers for my writing. If, in spite of all the obstacles I’ve had to deal with, this book gets finished and turns out well, to God be the glory: I certainly haven’t had that much to do with it.

I’m almost warmed up enough to go back out and resume my labors.

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