Tag Archives: bell mountain series by lee duigon

BTW, I Finished the Book

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Yeah, The Temptation, she’s-a done–in spite of all the computer problems, doctor visits, bad weather, and constant interruptions, Book No. 11 of my Bell Mountain series is all typed up, polished, and sent off to my editor.

I have no idea to what extent, if any, I have succeeded in communicating the vision I had for this book. My wife read the last six chapters this morning, but she was very tired and I don’t know quite what to make of her reaction.

What I tried to do, in the climax of this story, was difficult. It had to be written so that a reasonably with-it 12-year-old would have no trouble understanding it, but at the same time in such a way so as not to alienate adult readers. Sorta like when the pitching coach comes out and tells you, “Don’t give him anything to hit, but don’t walk him, either.”

Oh, well. A writer who’s sure of himself is probably headed for a bad book. I had to work very intently on the climax and I’m kinda wrung out. It’ll be a week or two before I start to miss having no book to be working on. In the meantime, Chalcedon has plenty for me to do.


What’s So Hard About Writing Fantasy?

When I first read J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in high school–and I’m currently re-reading it, I don’t know how many times–it blew me away. I didn’t know it was possible to write such stories; but a couple of chapters into it, I knew I wanted to write fantasy. It took me over 40 years to come up with Bell Mountain.

A lot of people write fantasy, but according to any number of readers, few write it well. After Tim Wildmon interviewed me on his internet TV show, he turned to his assistant and shook his head. And said, “He made the whole thing up! Whew! I don’t know how you do that.”

Practice, man, practice…

People ask me why I have to sit outside to write it. Well, the phone doesn’t ring outside. I’ve got trees and sky, birds and squirrels, to keep me company. And I have to get myself into a world that doesn’t exist except in my imagination. I have to be able, in my mind, to see it and hear it and touch it. This takes a great deal of concentration, easily broken.

I have to relate to characters that I invented as if they were real. Although I’m inventing what they say and do, think and feel, I can’t just have them do anything I want. They have to behave as if they really live. Again, lots and lots of concentration. A character like Helki the Rod doesn’t just grow on trees. He has to say and do whatever he would say and do if he were real.

I have to see these landscapes, it has to be a movie in my mind. And I have to resist the temptation to load my story with elves and dwarves and wizards and all the other stock characters that burden so many other fantasies. No invincible female warriors, no crusty but benign old sages. Impossibly beautiful, know-it-all elves, uh-uh. Otherwise, next thing you know, all you’ve got is a pile of cliches.

It’s all very difficult, a constant challenge–but it’s the kind of work that I love best. The finished product has to be very different from everybody else’s finished product. I reach back into vanished worlds of the long-gone past and pluck out animals that most of my readers never heard of before. Creatures known to us only imperfectly, from bones and scientific speculations that may or may not be accurate.

Nor can I do any of this without prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.

Which leaves me, when a book is finally done, figuratively gasping for breath and wondering, “Well, now what do I do???” But the Bell Mountain stories are a kind of history, and in history there’s always yet another chapter.


Finished for Real

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Okay, now I really have finished writing The Temptation and can go on to type up the last bunch of chapters, polishing them as I go, and send them in to my editor. And that, Lord willing, will be Bell Mountain No. 11.

As various computer woes swept over me this weekend, I realized there was something important that I had to add to the climax. I won’t tell you what it was, except to say it caught Gallgoid the Chief Spy flat-footed, and you have to get up pretty early in the morning to do that.

Why a picture of a baby alligator hatching?

Well, an alligator starts out small and can grow very, very big; and I pray my books will do the same, in the Lord’s service.


‘The Temptation’: Finished!

There may not be many more nice days where these past two came from, so I really buckled down to try to finish Bell Mountain No. 11, The Temptation, before the cold weather set in. Scribble, scribble, hour by hour–and now it’s finished. I think.

The climax of the story, this time, wasn’t a big surprise for me: events pretty much dictated it. But for artistic effect, I think it’s all I could have hoped for. I say “I think” because I won’t really know until I get it all typed up and my wife and my editor can read it. They’ll tell me if I’ve hit the target which God gave me.

Meanwhile, folks, enjoy this Walking With Beasts trailer, featuring Tim Haines’ speculative re-creations of assorted prehistoric mammals. Some of these critters are featured in my books. I find God’s handiwork a constant source of inspiration.


Writing the Cover Blurb

Now that I’ve got a cover for The Silver Trumpet, I have to write the blurb for it, which I did this afternoon.

Somehow I always find it a difficult task–sum up the whole novel in 150 words, and do it in such a way as to make someone want to open it up and read it. This always leaves me wondering if I should’ve kept it to 150 words in the first place.

Which brings me back some 30 years to my days as a horror novelist for a major New York City publishing house. They wouldn’t have dreamed of letting the book’s author write the cover blurb.

See that one up there? The cover copy on the back was written by someone who hadn’t read the book, or at best only skimmed a part of it. What you read on the back cover only slightly resembles the content of the book. I would have liked to complain, but that would’ve only made them laugh.

So Storehouse Press has me writing the cover copy for my own books, and the cover artist actually reads the book before he creates the cover, and everybody’s happy.

Next time you feel a book as given you a bum steer, please try to remember it’s probably not the author’s fault.


Flash! A Cover for ‘The Silver Trumpet’

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Kirk DouPonce has just emailed me his cover for Bell Mountain No. 10, The Silver Trumpet, and it’s a doozy. He painted the scene just as I imagined it when I was writing it. I don’t know how he does it.

I’ll have it displayed here, hopefully, sometime tomorrow.

 

 


Comment Contest: Last Call

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There are just 50 comments to go for 20,000, which means we ought to have a winner very soon.

Some of the gaudier prizes aren’t going to make it, I’m afraid. Having a newly-discovered land mass named for you, though, that’s still in the running, provided one can be discovered sometime in the next few days. Otherwise the winner will receive an autographed copy of one of my Bell Mountain books.

Anyone can play, and all comments are eligible except for the following: comments abusive of anyone else on this site, blasphemy, remarks featuring the f-bomb and other profanity, thinly disguised commercials, and comments inane enough to count as white noise. Other than that, anything goes.

So that’s that, until we can announce the winner.


Comment Contest: Less than 200 to Go

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I’m giving you fair warning: the comments are moving along briskly toward No. 20,000, and whoever posts that milestone comment will win a prize.

I’m afraid some of the really snazzy prizes I was looking at have fallen through, although the lease on the Hoover Dam is still in the running. Otherwise, the winner will receive an autographed copy of one of my books.

Quite a few of you have already won one of these contests, and it’s open to all. Just about any kind of comment is eligible, except for those abusive of anyone else on this site, any containing profanity or blasphemy, thinly disguised ads for goods and services that somehow get past the spam filter, or remarks simply too inane to bother with. Other than that, you’re good to go.


I’m Back (and News about ‘The Silver Trumpet’)

Thank you, Lord, they’ve glued my crown back on and now I can get back to work. Of course, of course, they found another few things they’d like to work on. But not just yet.

Artist Kirk DouPonce, who’s done all my covers so far, says he’s soon be ready with a cover for The Silver Trumpet (No. 10 in the Bell Mountain series). I can’t wait to see it. And if I’m able to find out how to transfer it from email to this blog, I’ll post it for you.


Comment Contest Reminder

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Don’t anybody say I’m giving you short notice: there are only about 300 comments to go to reach lucky 20,000, and whoever posts that comment wins a prize.

A pyramid with your name on it–in neon hieroglyphics! A weekend on Solitude Island in the Siberian Arctic, with the celebrity of your choice! Rhinestone socks signed by Joe Collidge!

Or, if my plans for those prizes fall through, an autographed copy of one of my books.

Anyone can play, and all comments are eligible except: comments abusive to me or to another reader; blasphemy; any use of the f-bomb; ads thinly disguised as comments (it’s insulting); or comments simply to vapid to bother with.

Other than that, anything goes.


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