‘So Where Do I Get the Funny Names?’ (2014)

Bell Mountain (Bell Mountain, 1) by [Lee Duigon]

My mother wasn’t the only one who was put off fantasy by the names of the characters. My wife felt that way, too–and a pretty odd way to feel, I thought, for someone who likes Russian novels.

Where do my Bell Mountain characters’ names come from?

So Where Do I Get the Funny Names?

Admit it–if you were reading a novel set in Japan, you’d expect the characters to have Japanese names. You wouldn’t expect them to be called Frank McGlothlin, Suzanne Jones, Reggie Smythe, etc., etc.

I need those funny names when I’m writing about the world of Bell Mountain. But I have tried to keep from going overboard with it.

I Self-Identify as… Hercules?

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I’m wondering if this is the picture I should have posted as me. After all, this is the great age of “identifying” as something you’re not. I mean, people looking at the real photo that I posted yesterday, and saying I sort of look like Obst–well, gee whiz, Obst would look at me and call me “sonny”!

Of course, if I’m trying to get people to think of me as a Steve Reeves look-alike, I’ll have to avoid TV appearances and celebrity dinners. I’ve successfully done that, so far.

Steve Reeves, by the way, was a great guy. Years ago, Patty mailed him her copy of his book on power-walking, asking for an autograph. He not only signed it for her, but threw in a casual photo out of his own collection–not a publicity shot, but a personal photo. He didn’t have to do that, and it was much appreciated.

Once for her birthday I sent a photo of Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith, one of her favorite players, to Ozzie, care of the St. Louis Cardinals, asking him to autograph it. I allowed several months for that, but he signed the picture and sent it back in just a few days. Ozzie, you, too, are a good guy!

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.

 

I Love My Characters

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Ellayne at work

I have to admit an embarrassing thing. I have fallen in love with my characters.

They’re fictional. I made them up. But by now I’ve spent so much time with them, they don’t feel like made-up people anymore. They feel like real people.

Yesterday–sometimes it’s like I just watch this stuff come out of my pen–Ellayne had a set-to with Lord Orth. I love Ellayne because she has so much go to her: you just can’t keep her down. And I love Lord Orth for the totality of his conversion, which took away the gourmandizing theological show-off and left a humble servant of God… who is now more himself than he ever was before.

I love Wytt for his resourcefulness, his complete lack of fear, and his very small size that never stops him from doing big things.

I love Gurun for her courage: here’s a girl who’s deathly afraid of riding a horse, dreading that she might fall off in front of all these men who insist she be a queen; but that doesn’t keep her out of the saddle.

I love King Ryons for his earnestness, Fnaa for his irrepressible sense of fun, Uduqu for his cheerful bluntness, Obst for his devotion, and Helki for his wildness–and for the fact that there’s no one else remotely like him.

I even get kind of fond of the villains. Lord Reesh. Ysbott the Snake. Lord Chutt. Just don’t let them know I said that.

And I love Nanny Witkom standing up in the cart in the middle of the world’s worst downpour, hair flying every which way, crying “Behold the salvation of the Lord!” No wonder Chief Zekelesh, who couldn’t understand a word she said, was so attached to her.

Of course, if you haven’t read any of these books, you won’t have met any of these characters. But that’s a problem easily remedied.

But if you have, tell me–are there any characters you’ve fallen in love with?

Yeesh! At one point, when they thought I’d killed off Chief Uduqu, both my wife and my editor were ready to tan my hide… I guess I’m not the only one who gets kind of involved with these books.