My Writing Mentors

Livy (3) - Livius

Titus Livius–a great historian

[Let’s see how much I can get done before taking Robbie to the vet.]

It might be asked of me, “Hey, you’ve got a book to write! What the dickens are you doing, sitting there and reading Livy?”

For those who don’t know, Livy, aka Titus Livius, was an historian who lived in Augustus’ Caesar’s time and wrote a history of Rome going all the way back to the beginning. I read the edition published in several volumes by Penguin Books. Livy was suspected of having republican sentiments at a time when maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to have them; but as Augustus himself often said, “I’m a republican at heart,” he was hardly likely to persecute Livy for sharing them.

When I’m working on a book, it helps me a lot to select another writer as my mentor. For my previous book, Ozias, Prince in Peril, my mentor was Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose History of the Kings of Britain (including King Arthur), was a runaway best-seller… in the 12th century!

Now I’m writing Ozias, Prince Enthroned, and Livy has stepped forward as my mentor. Not that I’m imitating him; rather, I see in his work an inspiration for my own. Livy wrote real history, while I have to invent a history for a fantasy world. His vivid descriptions and keen analysis of early Rome’s one-after-another social, political, and military crises suggest to me the kinds of things that King Ozias would have to deal with. How should he respond to crisis? Livy knows! In fact, he knows about not only successful responses, but also failures.

Prince Enthroned is going forward rather slowly, from my end; but my editor, having read my most recent set of chapters, says “You’ve got your foot on the gas pedal, haven’t you?” I take that as encouragement.

I now suspect that maybe the Lord wants me to slow down a little. Okay. I’ll try that. A good book is worth taking risks for. Not to mention the abundant distractions we’ve had this year: Patty’s hernia, new computer, refrigerator dies and we lose a raft of frozen food, and my accident that badly damaged Patty’s car, and now Robbie’s sick. Oh–and tons and tons of really bad weather, lots of workdays lost.

So I hope it’s sunny and clear tomorrow, and that Robbie will get better, and that I can start another set of chapters. For “hope” read “pray.”

Another Bunch of Chapters Written

2,000+ Sun Breaking Through Clouds Stock Photos, Pictures ...

There was the sun… behind those clouds!

As if all this rainy weather weren’t enough of an obstacle–I really do need to be outside while I compose fiction–I was wrestling with a detail of the plot that looked like it could turn out to be a serious error.

During a lull in the rain today, I sat under my umbrella and wrestled with my problem–thinking is a big part of writing a novel; don’t let anyone tell you different. Was I going to have to rewrite some of these chapters, top to bottom? And then what? I didn’t have the story firmly in hand, didn’t know what would happen next.

I always ask the Lord to guide my work–and I think today He answered me.

It wasn’t an unresolvable conflict in the plot! It wasn’t really a conflict at all. Instead, it was an opportunity. A door in my mind, a door I didn’t know was there, unexpectedly swung open. I don’t know if I’m saying this right; but now I’m very happy with a plot development that daunted me for several days.

If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s a simple one: when you’re stuck, stop, be patient, and thinkAnd pray.

You might be surprised by the answer that comes your way.

I Think I Be Becalmed

Treasure Island (1934) -- (Movie Clip) Billy Bones - Turner Classic Movies

“I’m becalmed, Jim! I need a noggin o’ rum!”

I think I know how Cap’n Billy felt. Progress on my current book, Ozias, Prince Enthroned, is so slow as to approach the undetectable. I seem to have no clear idea of what I’m doing. It’s been a very long time since I had that much trouble with a book.

As for the blog: well, I used to average 400 views a day, not so long ago. Now I’m lucky if I get 200. I don’t know what to do about it. Other Christian bloggers have told me they’ve run into the same thing. I think Big Tech’s algorithms are suppressing Christian and conservative voices on the Internet.

Old Billy Bones always thought another noggin of run would set him right… which it always did, until it killed him.

Let’s see if Byron the Quokka can perk us up this morning.

Hurry Up! It’s Gonna Rain

27,700+ Building Pyramids Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images -  iStock | Building pyramids egypt

Not quite so time-consuming as the construction of the Great Pyramid! And cheaper, too.

My work on Ozias, Prince Enthroned, is going very, very slowly. Not that there’s really any rush to complete it–but I like to feel I’m making progress.

Yesterday a prophet came to Obann City, dressed in such rich costume that no one can remember his face. Can the royal council find him? Who sent him?

You’ve got to stay on top of stuff like that.

Well, let’s see if we can move the story forward… before the skies open. No way I can finish it this year.

And I still have some blog posts to write–well, let’s go out and work, and see how long it lasts.

Hell Day

How does a tow truck work? - Mach 1 Services

Actually, we should be happy: this is the start of getting Patty’s car back. But it’s so much this and so much that, and somehow all our regular work has to get done–no, we can’t do our grocery shopping today.

So far today, a lot of phone calls have had to be made to a lot of people who didn’t seem to understand what we were trying to tell them. Eventually that got straightened out. Now it’s time to play Wait For The Tow Truck.

I am not comforted by having no one to blame for this but myself.

No, I have not given up on writing my new novel, Ozias, Prince Enthroned. Weather forced a late start on this one, and given all the interruptions, and the infamous Great Heat Wave That Was Caused By Not Giving Enough Power And Money To The Government (catchy title, that), it will be a miracle if I finish the book anytime this year.

But maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. Maybe the book will be the better for all these interruptions and delays. It gives me extra time to think (when I can think at all).

‘The Kingdom of God Will Both Endure and Grow’

Mark Rushdoony on Charity & Welfare - YouTube

We have a brief message this morning from Chalcedon’s president, Mark Rushdoony.

Mark continues to prepare his father’s manuscripts for publication (hard to keep up with R.J. Rushdoony as he wrote them!), including a possible trilogy on “the irrationality and suicidal course of man in his rebellion against God.”

Rushdoony’s observations and insights, which he wrote down 50 years ago, are startlingly applicable to today’s religious and cultural scene.

All Rushdoony’s books are available via the Chalcedon Store at .

Please Stay Tuned

404,916 Sun Rain Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

I know you’re all on tenterhooks, waiting for Byron’s TV Listings. But today I’m going to try something different. I’m going to try to get some book-writing in before it rains.

Ozias, Prince Enthroned–I’ve got him crowned all right, but I’d be very surprised if I finished the book this year, I got off to such a late start. Today I really must do something with the prophetic visions of Duke Esdras on his death-bed.

Anyway, I’ll see what I can do with this, and then come in to post Byron the Quokka’s TV listings. He would probably bite me if I left them out.

All right, then–out we go!

King Ozias’ To-Do List

King arthur hi-res stock photography and images - Alamy

A medieval wing-ding

I toiled stoically in the sun all day yesterday, getting King Ozias crowned. (Note to aspiring young writers: it’s times like this when you have to make a very tricky decision as to how much detail you should include in the picture.) I finally managed it, setting the table for the coronation feast, today’s assignment.

Looking to Geoffrey of Monmouth, who at least lived in the Middle Ages and wrote about King Arthur, I do have some idea of what these rituals are supposed to look like, and what they mean. But I also know, and you don’t need Geoffrey of Monmouth to tell you about it, something always goes wrong. 

Ozias’ feast is at its height, now he’s granting boons… and nobody knows there are serious party-poopers waiting in the wings. Seven of them, all bearing bad news. The captain of the guard should never have let them in.

(Don’t forget to write your Newswithviews column!)

Meanwhile, I have an interesting piece for you from Mark Rushdoony…


I’ve Started My Next Book King Arthur Ntop Prince Arthur Drawing The Sword Out Of The  Stone Bottom Arther Presenting The Sword On The Altar As On Offering During  His Coronation French Manuscript Illumination C1290 Poster

Today I’ve started writing my next book, Ozias, Prince Enthroned. Patty asked, “How do you do it?”

Tain’t easy! Today, for instance, we’re bombarded with nuisance phone calls, we have a crew washing and painting our building, and the air is full of smoke from Canada’s wildfires. One obstacle after another. I was lucky to get three pages written.

Anyway, I know from where I left off Prince in Peril that certain things have to happen to keep the story moving. Duke Esdras has a death-bed prophecy to deliver. Ozias, now twelve years old, must go through a Re-coronation ceremony and feast. And would-be Queen Maressa has escaped to brew up new mischief–at least start another civil war.

I have found my muse in Geoffrey of Monmouth (d. 1155), whose History of the Kings of Britain, completed in 1136 or thereabouts, became an international best cellar centuries before the printing press was invented. Geoffrey’s work inspired a still-continuing boom in Arthurian literature. The critics have not been kind to him, saying he made it all up; but a book doesn’t stay popular for 900 years unless there’s something special about it. Herodotus could tell you that.

I missed all of May, simply because I wasn’t ready yet, and now it’s June and it’ll be a miracle if I finish before it gets too cold to write outside. Legal pad, ballpoint pen, and cigar. Such are the tools of my trade.

I ask the Lord to give me the story He wants me to tell, to bless my work, and make it fruitful in His service.



The Next ‘Ozias’ Book

6 Facts About King Arthur – Was He Real? What Happened To Lancelot And  Guinevere? | HistoryExtra

All I know about this book is its title–Ozias, Prince Enthroned–and that it’s the second book of a trilogy. That’s all I’ve got so far, plus bits and pieces left undone in the first book, Ozias, Prince in Peril.

It’s been my custom, in writing the novels in my Bell Mountain series, to wait for the Lord to give me the story He wants me to tell. I can’t make it happen, can’t force it. And it hasn’t happened yet.

Ozias lived some 2,000 years before his descendant, King Ryons, and some 1,000 before the destruction of Obann’s Empire in the Day of Fire. He was the last king of Obann, for two thousand years, chosen by the grace of God; and his throne was ultimately taken from him by his enemies. Obann had to wait for two millenia before another king was anointed.

I’d very much like to get going on this, the days are flashing by; but I have to wait. Sometimes it’s a dream that gets me started. Or an idea or an image breaks into something else I’m doing at the time. A whole unwritten novel stands between now and the third book of the trilogy: Ozias, King Betrayed. I do have a better idea of what that one is about.

The Ocean of Time is waiting to be published–early next year, I hope.

So I wait. I have yet to wait in vain… but I’m still not used to it.