We are under another heat advisory today, and I doubt I’ll have the opportunity to lie down in a nest of ice cubes. I could try, I suppose.
But the business at hand is to proceed with writing Behold! The Lord hasn’t yet shown me where this story’s headed–just a few tantalizing hints. What’s going to happen with those strange ships off the coast of Durmurot? Ebed the spy, who’s maybe eleven years old, is the only one who can find out…
Am I writing this so I don’t have to go outside?
Grab the pen, legal pad, and cigar–and go to work!
I’ve been chewing over this idea for years now, and a few readers have encouraged me in it. Why not write a Bell Mountain book about things that happened before the events so far related in the series?
The story that pulls me the hardest is that of King Ozias, who lived 2,000 years before Jack and Ellayne et al. Ozias had a thousand enemies, and a thousand narrow escapes. But he trusted in God, he obeyed the directions of the Spirit, and God delivered him out of all his dangers–and promised that his line of descent would continue down the centuries, and never fail. Yes, I think I’d like to write that.
But there’s also the story–well, there must be one–behind Ellayne’s favorite book, The Adventures of Abombalbap. Was there ever such a person as Abombalbap, who was raised and trained in warrior arts by the Seven Hags of Ballamadda? Were his adventures inspired by real events? What was life in Obann like, centuries after the Day of Fire and centuries before King Ryons?
And here’s me, wondering if I should try to write these books. It would mean departing from the story arc that has so far held together 13 books in a series. It strikes me as a rather large risk to take.
The Lord of the Rings ends with all the bad guys destroyed and only good guys left. Why can’t my Bell Mountain series end that way? At least one reader has called for me to stop the series and cap it with some kind of “final victory.”
Sorry, but I just can’t do it. My world-view won’t let me.
In the Bible, how many times did God have to give victory to Israel and Judah over their enemies? Mesopotamians, Moabites, Philistines, Ammonites, Midianites… Lost count, didn’t you? There was no final victory. No sooner had they vanquished one enemy than they faced another.
In recent world history: We beat the Kaiser, and Hitler came along; we beat Hitler, and there was Stalin; the Soviet Union fell, and now we’ve got Red China and the Democrats. One enemy falls, another one rises.
Final victory can only be achieved, and will be achieved, by Jesus Christ. The hard part of Revelation even tells us the enemy is going to win for a while, or at least appear to be winning–until Christ Himself puts him down, once and for all, forever.
But in the meantime, God does intervene in history to guide it toward the end which He has ordained for it. So the Nazis win big for a time, but in 1943 it all goes south and by 1945 it’s over. Someday we’ll look for Red China and not be able to find it. Assyria, Babylon: nothing but ruins and memories.
Bell Mountain is a make-believe history, created to provide a new vantage point from which to view real history. I admit I haven’t gotten much traction for the newest book in the series, His Mercy Endureth Forever. But I can’t let a couple of bad reviews put me out of business. The Wind from Heaven will be published next, and I’m writing Behold!
And I’m wondering if I ought to try writing a prequel or two: to go backward into Obann’s history, instead of forward into its future. I think it would be fun to meet King Ozias and share in his narrow escapes. If I never try it, I’ll bet I wind up kicking myself.
I want to spend the rest of this afternoon working on my new Bell Mountain book, Behold! And I wonder when I’m going to get some amazon customer reviews of No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever.
Meanwhile, I’m several thousand views down from my total for July of 2019, which is Verizon’s fault, internet outage and all. I wonder when the views will come back to where they were. Nothing I can do about it but to keep on working.
I have no idea where Behold! is going. God hasn’t shown it to me yet. I think (but I don’t know!) that the distant past and the distant future are going to clash somewhere.
Oh, for a glass of golden wine from Durmurot! Or a nip of stout Ninneburky ale.
We’ve borrowed a little footage from Tim Haines’ Walking with Beasts so you can see the kind of killer birds that stalk the plains of Obann. These are big! It’s no exaggeration to say one of them could kill and eat a grown man.
Once upon a time these birds were all over South America, dozens of different species, some of which eventually wandered into North America. We don’t know why they went extinct. Maybe SUVs killed ’em. Or Income Inequality. Or Donald Trump’s kids shot ’em.
But you can still find them in Obann, in my Bell Mountain books–along with a lot of other cool critters. Some of the people are a lot more dangerous than the big birds; read the books and see for yourself.
Click “Books” on the home page for lots more information.
So I finally got an amazon customer review for Bell Mountain No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever–and the guy panned it. Two stars.
It’s a waste of time trying to tell anybody why he should have liked something or other, but gee whiz. This book is unsuitable for young readers because some of the characters who are supposed to be the good guys… tell lies. Gallgoid, the chief spy, tells porkies to the bad guys. You mean he shouldn’t do that? This is supposed to be “un-Christian.” But in the Bible, Rahab is praised for hiding the Israelite spies and lying to deceive the men who are hunting for them; and Jehosheba is praised for hiding the baby prince when the wicked queen, Athalia, tried to kill off the royal family. Like, Rahab should’ve said, “I cannot tell a lie. The Israelites are hiding on my roof.” Really? Like, instead of hiding the Jews, you should’ve told the Nazis where they were?
The reader also expressed a feeling that Bell Mountain has just gone on too long, on and on without getting anywhere. Do any of you think so? I’ve heard from people who don’t want the series ever to end. Well, there’s no pleasing everybody.
Even so, I’d love to know what some of you think of this book, His Mercy. And then there’s The Wind from Heaven next, and I’m working on Behold! So we can’t stop the series just yet.
Anyway, writers live on feedback, it’s food and drink to us. Just sayin’….
While I’m waiting (and waiting and waiting) for something better than totally sporadic internet access, at least I can go outside and work on my new book, Behold!
Yesterday a new character just strolled into the story and did things. I love it when that happens! She came out of nowhere–never saw her until she was onstage. Well, I do pray every day for the Lord to give me the story that He wants me to tell, to make it fruitful in His service and worthy of its readers. So far, that’s just what He’s done.
Now I guess I’ll try to cover some nooze. I’m not making any promises: this thing can conk out on me at any moment.
Well, the storm has kicked in, I can’t go out and write, I’m lucky if the computer works for ten minute sat a stretch… and I don’t feel like writing up any nooze.
So let’s have some fun instead!
What’s your favorite scene or incident in the Bell Mountain books? With twelve of them in print, you’ve got a lot to choose from. And now that I’ve brought up the question, I’m very curious about what the answer will be.
Well, yeah, you have to have read the books to play this game. If you haven’t, well, they’re easy enough to get. Hopefully a lot of you have read some or all of the books in the series. [Offstage: tuneless whistling]
Yes, I’m looking for a clamorous reader response! I really want to know what your favorite scenes are. It’s a wise writer who listens to his readers.
For me, my favorite scene will always be the climax of Book No. 1, Bell Mountain, when the bell finally rings and what happens when it does. I hope that’s not a spoiler.
Anyway, there, I’ve started the ball rolling and I can’t wait to see what all of you have to say.
I had to run off to the eye doctor this morning to try to get a sample bottle of my eye drops, which would otherwise cost me several hundred dollars at Walmart. I mean, they give them out when they have them, so it’s not so unusual for patients to enjoy this benefit. Happily, they had some to spare today.
So I’m off to a late start blogging, and as has been the rule for all July so far, the views and comments are down [note to Byron: Weren’t you going to fix this?], and the nooze is just so awful, I shrink from covering it. I’m already wondering if I’ve written too much about the nooze and chased people away because enough already.
It looks like rain, but until that’s a fait accompli (or a fait worse than death), I want to sit outside and work on my new book. I’m still using Behold! as a working title, although I’m not wild about it. If there are any really deep Bell Mountain fans out there and you want to suggest a title–well, I’m writing the book, but I know only a little more about it than you do. Titles was always my weak suit as a horror novelist, all those many years ago. I’ve done much better with my Bell Mountain series, but this time I think I need more inspiration. Or at least some helpful hints from the fans in the stands.
And look at that–another 15 minutes spent.
I have to work just as hard to have a bad day with the blog as a good. Shouldn’t the government, like, help me with that? Shouldn’t they redistribute blog views so everybody gets the same?