‘Bell Mountain’ in Japanese

Vintage Novels: The Bell Mountain Series 1-4 by Lee Duigon

Our friend Joshua and his mother have finished their work of translating my book, Bell Mountain, into Japanese.

It’s also been translated into Portuguese.

This was a lot of work and it took quite a while. Now the trick is to get it published. Joshua has some ideas about that.

I guess because I’ve watched too many Toshiro Mifune movies I expected the Japanese title of my book to sound like something in a movie–Suzo-no-Yama (“Yama” means mountain, one of the few Japanese words I know). But it only turned out to be Belu Maontehn (and I think the U is silent). Oh, well. We can’t all be in a Zatoichi (“The Blind Swordsman”) story.

I’m humbled that Joshua thought so highly of my book that he wished to do all that work on it, all of which he volunteered. But that also tells me I’ve created something worthwhile, by the grace of God.

Mifune would’ve made a great Helki the Rod.

‘How to Write a Fantasy Novel’ (2010)

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This piece appeared in Chalcedon’s print magazine in 2010, shortly after Bell Mountain was published. I’ve had a lot of practice writing fantasy novels, since then.

https://chalcedon.edu/magazine/how-to-write-a-fantasy-novel

There’s still a great unmet need for Christian fantasy, especially for Young Adult readers.

My books would appreciate some company!

 

By Request, ‘Bell Mountain’: How Jack Met Ellayne

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Joshua requested this excerpt from Bell Mountain. This is how my two protagonists, Jack and Ellayne, first met. We join Jack as he’s contemplating an expedition to Bell Mountain. The two of them are about ten years old. Here goes!

“When are you going?”

Jack jumped, startled by the voice behind him… He came down with his hair standing on end at the back of his neck, fists balled–and was even madder when he saw who it was.

“What are you doing here?” he snapped. “Who do you think you are, sneaking up on me like that?”

It was the girl from the chamber house, the stuck-up one, the councilor’s daughter. She had her golden hair in braids. She wore a dress that was cleaner than anything Jack had ever owned and shiny new shoes.

“What are you doing here!” he said.

“I followed you from the chamber house yesterday. I was in the hallway, right outside the classroom, and you charged right past and never saw me.”

“Is that so?”

“You needn’t be so snotty,” she said. “I came for my lesson, and I heard you and Ashrof talking, and you said you were going to climb Bell Mountain. Are you?”

“What business is it of yours? I don’t even know your name.” He did know, but he was too angry to remember it.

“It’s Ellayne. My father is Roshay Bault, the chief councilor. I know your name. It’s Jack Bucket. Silly name!”

For two spits he would have knocked her down, but he knew boys didn’t hit girls–especially girls whose fathers were councilors. Van [his stepfather] would sell him to the Heathen for a human sacrifice if he hit this girl. ***

And there you have it. Jack wound up stuck with Ellayne as his companion, and together they planned their journey to Bell Mountain. If you want to know how it turned out–well, read the book! Just click “Books” on my home page, to find out more about it (and the others in the series) and to order it, if you like, from the publisher or through amazon.com. You can do it without leaving this blog.

P.S.–If you’d like an excerpt from any of my books, just leave a comment to tell me.

‘A Brilliant Stroke of the Pen–by Accident’ (2017)

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Good can defeat evil. In the end, it does so totally, by the power of God.

But when good is in short supply, or busy somewhere else, there are times when incompetence and sheer mutton-headedness will have to do.

A Brilliant Stroke of the Pen–by Accident

Just by personal experience, we could have had a terrible problem with identity theft, had the thief not made a really stupid mistake that not only saved us, but also made his crime completely useless to him. No, I mustn’t say what that mistake was: whoever is the criminal moron out there, we want him to continue making it.

 

All About Those Weird Knuckle-Bears

Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about those strange animals called “knuckle-bears” (because they walk on their knuckles)–plus some stuff that you can just ignore, about evolution and jillions of years, etc.

These were once found all over the world, but now they’re supposed to be extinct. If you read Bell Mountain, you know they’ve reappeared in Lintum Forest, venturing out at night and silently returning in the stillness of the dawn. Not even Helki knows where they sleep and bear their young.

It seems the Lord Our God was particularly creative when He made these. What are they? They seem to be a jumble of all these other animals–horses, bears, gorillas, tapirs, rhinos, and sloths… Don’t believe anyone who says Science has nailed down the chalicotheres’ place in the animal kingdom.

If you’re one of the few who’ve been to Lintum Forest and actually seen the knuckle-bears, you won’t even try to pin them down.

‘I’ve Won Another Award!’ (2014)

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There it is–the silver medal.

It’s nice to get some recognition, now and then. In 2014 The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, Book No. 2 of my Bell Mountain series, won a silver medal in the Global E-Book Awards.

I’ve Won Another Award!

The year before, Bell Mountain itself won a bronze.

See? Official and bona fide proof that my books are worth your time! I’m sure these awards aren’t like the Oscars, where they sometimes give Best Picture to the worst picture. If you haven’t read ’em yet… well, c’mon!

By Request: from ‘The Theologian and the Assassin’ (Bell Mountain Chapter 13)

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Requested by Joshua, an excerpt from my award-winning novel, Bell Mountain.

“[I]n a very nicely appointed private study with thick rugs and rich hangings on the walls, the First Prester, Lord Reesh, angrily rattled a sheet of paper in his hand.

“Do you know what this is?” he said. “It’s a letter from the burned fool who’s the prester at the new chamber house in a place called Ninneburky. It’s almost all the way up the river.”

“I know the town, my lord,” said the other man in the room–an unremarkable-looking fellow with a sad face and a little pointed beard.

“Good. Because you’re going there,” Lord Reesh said. “As soon as I explain this.

“Two children from Ninneburky have run away to climb Bell Mountain. You are to find them. If they are still on their way to the mountain when you overtake them, don’t interfere. Follow them. See to it that they get there. I want to know every single thing that happens to them, Martis. If they climb the mountain, climb after them. If they get to the top and find a bell, you are to prevent them from touching it, and no one is ever to see or hear from them again.”

The people of Ninneburky, even the prester himself, would have been appalled to learn that the First Prester had a confidential servant whose duties included killing people. For that is what Martis did, in addition to ferreting out secrets, spying, stealing, and arranging for certain persons to be accused of and punished for crimes they hadn’t committed. Not even the other oligarchs knew about Martis. To everyone in the city, he was only a clerk in the Temple. He even looked like a clerk.

But to Lord Reesh–who considered himself the first oligarch as well as the First Prester–he was a very necessary tool. And because he had served Lord Reesh for years, and never failed him, Martis enjoyed a certain liberty in speaking to his master.

“Do you think a pair of children might actually climb the mountain, my lord?” he said…

To find out how Martis the assassin fared in his mission, read Bell Mountain, the first book in the series, with 11 titles in print–so far. No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever, is currently being prepared for publication.

To order any of them, visit the blog’s home page and click “Books,” or visit http://www.chalcedon.edu and The Chalcedon Store.

 

Japan’s Giant Salamander

Special to Joshua, in case he hasn’t looked for it yet on his own–this is the Japanese giant salamander.

I love this. It looks like a visitor from the Paleozoic Era. In Bell Mountain some fishermen caught something like this and didn’t quite know what to make of it.

These babies get to be four feet long and can weigh up to 80 pounds. That’s a lot of salamander! The one in this video looks to be about half-grown.

Totally harmless to human beings, totally inoffensive, Japan’s giant salamander is a fascinating example of God’s handiwork and deserving of protection.

‘Here’s the Webinar! “Thoughts on Being a Writer”‘ (2016)

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I did this webinar with Andrea Schwartz for Chalcedon, so if you can stand the sound of my voice for 50 minutes, well, here you are!

Here’s the Webinar! ‘Thoughts on Being a Writer’

I’ve done a lot of interviews about my books, but this was the first time I’d ever talked with anyone who’d actually read them. That made it more fun.

Anyway, here I am. Enjoy the conversation.

I Got My Start with a Vampire Story

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This was my first published novel, Lifeblood, vintage 1988. Heidi asked how I made the jump from horror to Christian novels.

Well, first off, it took 20 years. There was a horror boom in the 1980s, and I was part of it. When it turned into a horror bust in the 1990s, I was part of that, too. I wrote a lot of books after that, but none ever got published. It really wasn’t looking like I would ever be published again.

I had four horror novels published. I wrote them in hopes of becoming rich and famous, for my own aggrandizement. Serving God never crossed my mind.

In a radio interview a few years ago, Kevin Swanson asked me, “So what woke you up?” And I answered, “Believe it or not, Bill Clinton! Suddenly we had a president doing sex with an intern in the Oval Office, going all Charlie High school smart guy on us by saying ‘It depends on what is is,’ and getting away with it–and all these people saying ‘Oh, it’s only sex, and lying about sex, and everybody does it, no big deal.'”  It became obvious that our culture had slipped a few big notches downward while I wasn’t looking. Did I want to live in a country where it really was okay for the president to be doing interns in the Oval Office? I could hardly recognize it as the America that was supposed to be my home.

Fear sent me running back to the Bible, back to prayer. I started writing quasi-journalistic pieces for several Christian, pro-family organizations and eventually caught on with the Chalcedon Foundation (and I’m happy to say I’m still there!).

Chalcedon publishes books on theology; but a few years ago, someone wondered if it might not be a good idea if we published a novel or two. And my editor, Susan, said, “But we already have a novelist!” Meaning me.

And it just so happened that I had only recently had a dream featuring a high mountain with the sound of a bell somewhere in the air. It was a very haunting image, and it became the seed of Bell Mountain.

God keeps giving me these novels to write in His service–twelve of them, so far. As long as He keeps giving them, I’ll keep writing them. This is the work I love best, and may it be fruitful to Christ’s Kingdom.