Category Archives: Book Updates

Waiting for the Next Book

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It’s still cold, windy, and muddy outside, not at all the kind of weather for sitting out there and writing a book. But more suitable weather will be coming soon, and I pray I’ll be ready to write when it does.

I’m a little surprised that I haven’t yet made use of that huge critter in the picture, known to prehistoric animal buffs as Arsinoitherium. Imagine a rather large rhino with a pair of stupefyingly big horns–not one behind the other, but branching out together from the top of its face. Big, thick horns, almost like traffic safety cones. I’ve long been fascinated by this beast. It must be lurking somewhere in the background, waiting for its cue to enter the story.

Thing is, I never know what’s going to be the inspiration for the next Bell Mountain book. I depend on the Lord to give me inspiration: I can’t call it up on purpose. Sometimes waiting for it can be hard: raring to go, but the race just hasn’t started yet.

God only knows–I mean that literally: He knows, but I don’t–what shape, what twists and turns, the next book will take. I’ve left a few loose ends in His Mercy Endureth Forever that will have to be gathered up. I’m sure there are new characters waiting to come onstage. Or older characters, so far playing minor roles, that will unexpectedly turn up in the spotlight.

What will it be? What will it look like? How will it surprise me?

Here I am, Lord! Waiting for whatever you mean to give me.

May it be fruitful in your service. In Jesus’ name, Amen.



The Next Book… ?

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Spring is in the air, and once it’s here for good, I’ll want to get busy with the next Bell Mountain book.

I don’t think I’ll be using the lake monster from The Temple, but really, you never know.

The way it works, I have to wait for the Lord to give me the seed of a story. It might be a dream, or a new character that pops into my head, or a compelling incident, or something as simple as a title. Then I can get going. I can’t actually generate one of these books on purpose. It doesn’t work that way.

Of course, I did leave some loose ends to tie up, as I concluded His Mercy Endureth Forever–with, I might add, a climax that was completely unexpected but also wholly logical. Who’s in charge, in Obann City? Whose ships are those, out there on the sea?

I wish I knew!

Kirk DouPonce: The Creative Mind Behind the Bell Mountain Book Covers

BTS-Kirk DouPonceI’ve had the privilege of working on Lee’s series from the beginning. Hard to believe this’ll be the eleventh cover! There’s never a lack of creative possibilities in the world he’s created. From water dinosaurs, saber-toothed panthers, gigantic bird creatures, to sea adventures, the creative possibilities are both endless and challenging! The process for creating each cover usually begins with an email conversation with Lee to figure out which scene from the book would best encapsulate the mood and general storyline. Once that’s decided I photograph models and use 3D software to create the creatures that couldn’t be photographed and also for many of the props and backgrounds. I’ve always been interested in 3D and had just started dabbling in it when the series started. These books have definitely stretched my abilities in that arena!

The local kids I’ve used as models are always thrilled to be on the book covers. The photography sessions can be as simple as shooting the models in costume in my living room but sometimes they’re much more complex. A couple of times I’ve had to shoot the models at a local climbing gym. Each cover presents its own challenge. As long as Lee keeps writing this series I hope to continue working on the covers.

Thanks and a hat tip to Jill at Chalcedon headquarters, for posting this interview with Kirk DouPonce. He’s the speaker here, not me.

‘When You Hear the Bell, Come Out Writing’

If only for what is probably the best headline I’ve ever written in my life, I hope you’ll click the link and read this: requested by my editors at Chalcedon, here’s me telling you all about what goes into the writing of my Bell Mountain books.

Somewhere we also have a brief interview with cover artist Kirk DouPonce, complete with photos of the models he used to create the covers of my books–mostly local kids from around his neighborhood. Must be a kick for them!

Anyway, the article above is a must–if you like my books and this blog.

Globalist Gasbags

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I’ve been reading a book co-authored by Alex Newman and the late Sam Blumenfeld–one of the pioneers of homeschooling in America. The title, Crimes of the Educators, pretty much tells you what it’s about.

No one but a fool would deny that America’s public education system is past hope of saving. Well, okay, maybe you deny it because you desperately want it not to be true. But it is. It is.

Newman and Blumenfeld say the shambles that is American public education was created on purpose by the educators themselves as part of a world-wide project to use the schools to turn nations of human beings into docile, manageable herds of Eloi. Again, it’s a fact that many movers and shakers in the world today have this vision, freely discuss it in public, and do whatever they can to make it come to pass.

Although I make it a general rule to believe bad people when they say they’re going to do bad things (they will at least try to do them), I don’t know how seriously to take these global education gasbags. I mean, how seriously do you want to take people who start sentences with the words, “When we rule the world…”? Or “World Citizenship should be the goal of the enlightened, with a world federation and a world brain” (quote by Alice Bailey, UN education mucky-muck).

“The enlightened”? You gotta be kidding me. And I think I’d rather not know what “a world brain” is supposed to be.

These people are profoundly stupid, obviously not all there, and they clearly think that this time, by cracky, they’ll build that tower up to Heaven and God won’t be able to stop ’em! Not this time!

How old is that Tower of Babel story in the Bible? And yet here it is again, today.

They may be stupid, they may be more than a little bit crazy–but there are so many of them, they never take a day off, you can’t turn them aside with truth or logic or reason, they’ve got financial backing out the wazoo… and they already own the public education systems of the Western world.

They’re too stupid, too deranged, ever to accomplish their dream. But oh! can they do harm, trying to accomplish it.

Our best defense is a massive withdrawal of children from the public schools. Kill public education, and Far Left Crazy dies.

Movie Contest Picks Up Steam

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As soon as we get $200 million, we can start production of the Bell Mountain movie. In the meantime, the contest to cast the movie is providing a lot of fun around here–especially for some of our younger readers.

I would like to see more of us old folks pitch in. Why not? It’s a party! And everyone’s invited. Just suggest some actors to play some characters in the books, or a director–can’t make a movie without a director. The only way for this to work is if a lot of readers play the game. The more, the merrier.

So far, there have been a few suggestions that struck me as right on the money, why didn’t I think of that, just the ticket, etc. I may have to modify the contest to provide for more than one winner.

The winner (or winners) will receive an autographed copy of The Temptation, Book No. 11 in the series, as soon as it’s published. It shouldn’t be a long wait, everything’s just about done.

And if you haven’t read any of the books yet, now’s as good a time as any to get started. Just click “Books,” and in addition to blurbs, covers, and sample chapters, you’ll find a couple of ways to order a book right away. All of them are available in both paperback and kindle format.


Insensitive Things to Say to Authors

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What with self-publishing so common nowadays–it used to cost a fortune–there aren’t a lot of people who remember how blisteringly, punishingly hard it used to be to get a book published by someone who would actually pay you for it. In fact, it was just this side of impossible.

Not that many people understood that, at the time.

When I finally got a novel published, it was only after enough fruitless work to sink the Bismarck and enough frustration to discourage Hercules. Understandably, I couldn’t fight the urge to tell everybody that I’d finally accomplished this.

When I told my next-door neighbor, his eyes lit up and he blurted out, “Wow! When’s it gonna be a TV movie?” Not, “Where can I buy a copy?” Not even, “I hope it gets made into a movie.” No–he wanted a TV movie so he wouldn’t have to pay anything, perish the thought that he should buy the book.

Then there’s my hometown library. When the library director was my friend, she used to make sure the library purchased each of my books as they came out and displayed them in the Young Adults section, where people could see them. But then came a new director who knew not Joseph, and next thing I knew, my books weren’t there anymore. I searched, and finally found them exiled to the Local Authors ghetto, one step up from being hidden in a crypt under the floorboards.

I asked the new director if my books could be moved back to Young Adults where I thought they belonged. She gave me the kind of look one generally keeps in store for cranks and twaddlers and answered, “You’re self-published?”

I’m afraid that hit me on a raw spot. “No, I am not self-published. I am a real author. I am paid for my books.” Like, I only wanted some respect. Didn’t get it, though.

Sorry–didn’t mean to diss any of you who have opted for self-publication. But I come from another time when self-publication was not an option unless you were rich, or prepared to shoot off your life savings to publish a volume of your poetry. Really, when I started writing, it was virtually unknown. To me, it just isn’t real, the job just isn’t finished, until I’ve been paid for it.

I don’t go to the freakin’ library anymore.

I Had a Dream

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I often work my dreams into my books; and I had one the other night that ought to fit in somehow.

I dreamt I discovered a neighborhood in my home town that I never knew existed–lovely old houses, street shaded by overarching trees, beautifully paved streets; long, sweeping hills; and nobody else around. I rode my bike up and down the neighborhood, exploring it, wondering how I’d missed it when I’ve lived here my whole life.

One street led to the beach, and I got off my bike and enjoyed that for a while. People playing in the surf. Kids playing tag.

Exploring another street, I found it gave way to a vast green meadow, sparkling green. I parked my bike and walked out onto the field. There a lioness was waiting for me; she rose up from the grass. I don’t know why I wasn’t terrified, but dreams are like that sometimes. Instead of being afraid of the lioness, I shared a romp with her–chasing each other back and forth. The lioness leaped and capered like a kitten.

Then I woke up.

I think that encounter with the lioness is something that must have happened, or soon will happen, in Obann.

‘Revisiting “The Palace”‘ (2016)

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I hope you don’t mind me indulging in a small commercial for my books. The Palace is No. 6 in my Bell Mountain series, and few people know it exists. Everyone who’s read it, and reviewed it on, has given it 5 Stars.

It does seem unlikely, with today’s temperature flirting with the single digits and our mudscape frozen solid (it hasn’t snowed here yet, just that one little snowstorm before ‘Thanksgiving); but before you know it, it’ll be spring again. For me, that’ll be time to start another book–always provided the Lord gives me a story to tell.

I like the thought of being able to sit down, instead of pacing up and down the sidewalk to keep warm, enjoy my cigar without gale winds trying to use it up in just five minutes, opening my legal pad and getting down to business–finding out what’s been happening in Obann. I left a few rather big and touchy things up for grabs in the last chapter of No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever. I wonder how they turned out!

Anyway, for the time being, if you haven’t read The Palace yet, give it a whirl. It’s cheaper than a movie, you get to keep it when you’re done reading, and you don’t have to worry about helping any Far Left Crazy Hollywood types get any richer. Follow Ryons and Cavall as they hunt the White Doe, and Helki as he launches the Battle of the Brickbats.

My Sales Figures (groan)

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Well, I got my latest quarterly book sales figures yesterday. The good news is The Throne (No. 9 in the Bell Mountain series) sold in double figures. The bad news is, the other nine titles sold very little.

Not that I’m trying or expecting to get rich; but books that aren’t sold, aren’t read; and books that don’t get read, can’t bear fruit.

The problem, of course, is that few people know my books exist. The publisher can’t afford a proper advertising campaign. Neither can I. So we can’t get the word out. I need a captive celebrity. Any volunteers? Anybody know David Limbaugh well enough to send him a copy of Bell Mountain? (Yeah, I know he’s not a big celebrity; but he is a Christian one, and I esteem his work.) Anybody got $200 million to make a Bell Mountain movie? Anybody out there with a sky-writing plane?

Oh, well, keep trying…

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