The Conscience of a Queen

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Queen Maressa… What’s she plotting now?

Sometimes writing a novel takes an unexpected turn and it’s all the writer can do not to fall off and get left behind. That’s when the real fun starts!

I’ve just finished typing up another set of chapters of Ozias, Prince Enthroned. There’s no way I’ll be able to finish writing it this year, it’s too cold outside. But there’s already an indication that it’s going to be good.

When your characters whom you’ve made up start saying, thinking, and doing things that you, the writer, never expected–well, you’ve either lost control, but good, or you’re on to something good.

My wicked queen, Maressa, has an unexpected problem: her conscience is acting up. Crikey, I didn’t know she had one. It was buried pretty deeply, but now it’s gnawing at her.

This is so cool. It’s like the book’s on auto-pilot and I’m just a passenger. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

‘So What’s “Bell Mountain” All About?’ (2012)

Amazon.com: Bell Mountain (Bell Mountain, 1) eBook : Duigon, Lee: קינדל חנות

That “e” in the upper right-hand corner is a Global E-Book Award, Bronze Medal.

Here I go again, trying to get people to give my books as Christmas presents. Maybe someday I’ll succeed in doing it.

So What’s ‘Bell Mountain’ All About?

One of the hardest things about being an author, unless you’re Joe Bestseller and people flatter you in hopes of getting something for it, is that you have no idea of who’s reading your work, or if anybody’s reading it, or what they think of it. It seems a long time since anyone visited this blog to comment on my books. Has anybody read them lately?

Just askin’.

‘Well, Then, Should I Just Change My Value System?’ (2014)

Bell Mountain (Bell Mountain, 1) - Kindle edition by Duigon, Lee. Religion  & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Actually I’m kind of glad my books don’t match up with certain people’s “values.”

I post this every now and then because I’m still shaking my head over it: the man told me he’d never let his children read my books because that would expose them to my no-good evil value system.

Christianity.

Well, Then, Should I Just Change My Value System?

At the time I chose not to inquire into this character’s value system. I thought I could make a good guess at its nature.

Work till Jesus comes–what else can we do?

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

Bell Mountain Series

This was the first time I was interviewed by persons who had actually read my books, and I enjoyed it. Andrea Schwartz was the host.

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

All my life, I wanted to be a storyteller. Getting together with Bobby and Ellen across the street, the three of us making up ghost and monster stories in their appropriately atmospheric cellar… I was ten years old.

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.”

‘An Open Letter to My Critics’ (2013)

I used to get a fair amount of heat from readers who objected to “all the religious stuff” in my Bell Mountain fantasy novels. As in, “Leave us alone to be our own gods!”

See that raspberry up there? That’s for you.

An Open Letter to My Critics

Sorry, but I just never got the hang of “winsome.” I don’t like their books any better than they like mine. I don’t like what they’re doing to my country, and I don’t like what they’re doing to the world. As for their fantasy novels, they can take their Invincible Female Warriors, All-Knowing (crusty but benign) Wizards, and Insatiably Oversexed Barbarian Big Guys and conduct them in a long walk off a short pier.

 

‘Writing a Novel Is Like…’ (2014)

The Glass Bridge (Bell Mountain, 7) by Lee Duigon | eBook | Barnes & Noble®

Book No. 7–that’s Queen Gurun in the bows.

Let me tell you what it’s like, writing a novel.

Writing a Novel is Like…

Probably almost everybody can learn how to put a novel together. And almost everybody thinKs he or she can write a novel. “If only I had the time!”

Lately a question has arisen in my mind: how many publishing execs, editors, marketing consultants, or reviewers could write a decent novel if their lives depended on it?

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

Amazon.com: 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.

 

 

‘How to Write a Fantasy Novel’ (2010)

Paperback Bell Mountain Book

This was one of the very first posts to appear on this blog. Originally published in Chalcedon’s print magazine, Faith for All of Life, “How to Write a Fantasy Novel” is meant to shed some light on what we call–without devoting much thought to what we call it–“Christian fiction.”

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

After I read Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in high school, the only thing I ever wanted to do, as my work in life, was to write fantasy novels. It took me some fifty years to accomplish that.

Anyway, I’ve picked up knowledge along the way, and if you’re interested in trying your hand at writing fantasy, what I’ve learned through experience is encapsulated for you here. (I don’t believe I’ve had the opportunity to use the world “encapsulated” in any of my books. But you may want to.)