I won Global E-Book Awards for the first two books in the series. The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, pictured here, shows the skill of artist Kirk DouPonce at its uncanniest: if that girl on the cover isn’t really Ellayne from the book, then something very spooky’s going on here.
There’s somebody walking around out there who’s supposed to live in my book.
In spite of multitudinous distractions, I’ve finished writing the first three chapters of my new book, Behold! I don’t know where I’m going, but that’s nothing new. I may need a better title by and by, but none has yet presented itself to me.
Meanwhile, Jack and Ellayne have seen glyptodons (see illustration) on their way to Durmurot, Ebed is aboard a ship from the Lost Continent, the new government of Obann City is trying to clean up the mess left by Lord Chutt’s usurpation, Ysbott the Snake is on his way to further mischief, and the old rat who lives under the baroness’ kitchen is having premonitions of bad times to come.
This will be Bell Mountain No. 14–who would’ve thought it?–and we’re no editing No. 13, The Wind from Heaven. No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever, is available from the Chalcedon Foundation (www.chalcedon.edu/store/ ) and, in Kindle format, from amazon.com.
It makes a welcome break from nooze. Which is a good reason for you to buy it.
Has it really been ten years since Bell Mountain was first published? (“I’m afraid it has, kid…”) Winner of a bronze medal in the Global E-Book competition; but of course it’s in hardcover, too. I wish I knew how many people have read it.
What to say? It started with a dream I had, of a boy standing on a grassy riverbank and looking up at the mountains; and one of the mountains was singing to him. Ten sequels in print so far, with another due to be published any day now: I would’ve been surprised, ten years ago, had anyone told me I’d still be writing sequels ten years later.
I wanted to write a fantasy/adventure novel grounded on a Biblical worldview. There aren’t many books like that. It turned out to be the beginning of a history, which is why it had to keep going. I hope to start writing another one as soon as the weather warms up. But I rely on the Lord to give me the story, and I can’t start work until He does.
I decided early on that my fantasy would not include hocus-pocus: spells, flying broomsticks, great and terrible wizards, super-powers (I hate super-powers)–it had to be more imaginative than that. So I would allow nothing that couldn’t be found in the Bible. This still left me with a lot of scope. Good and evil. Miracles. Wars, treasons, heroism, villainy, prophesy, exotic animals, exotic peoples, hair-raising adventures.
If I started listing my favorite characters in the series, I’d be doing it all day. Suffice it to say that the main characters in Bell Mountain are still around, twelve books later (No. 13, The Wind from Heaven, is not yet in production): Jack and Ellayne, the children who must climb the mountain and ring the bell placed there in ancient times by King Ozias; their protector, Wytt, a squirrel-sized, manlike creature; the assassin, Martis; the hermit, Obst; and Helki, the wild man of Lintum Forest.
Now, if you’d like to read these books, they’re very easy to obtain. Just click “Books.” You can order them right here from amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or directly from the publisher, Storehouse Press.
It’s moving in good company–two reprints of theological works by R.J. Rushdoony: Salvation and Godly Rule (1983) and his monumental Institutes of Biblical Law, Vol. 1. I know how long and hard Susan worked, editing and indexing the latter. It’s quite an amazing book, consistently applicable to current events today.
“His Mercy Endureth Forever” is the anthem sung by King Ryons’ formerly Heathen army, now servants of God, sung in a dozen languages at once wherever the army’s on the march.
Can Ellayne and Jack safely escort First Prester Orth all the way back to Obann City, in time for him to call its people to repentance? Can they avoid the barbarian horde invading from the south? To say nothing of oversized hyenas! All this, and so much more–the adventure continues.
Shout-out to “Watchman”–I’ll mail your autographed copy of the book as soon as I receive my author’s copies. You won it in our last comment contest; and someone else (probably) will win it in our current comment contest.
As long as we’re all under quarantine, we might as well read. If you’re looking for three worthwhile books–well, you’ve found them!
I’ll let you all know when they’re released for sale.
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.
It was only a few days ago that Kirk DouPonce was asking me for whatever details I’d like to go into the cover art for Bell Mountain No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever. And then he emailed me this, just yesterday evening.
Wow! I don’t know how he did it so fast! He asked me how I liked it, and I told him, “It’s perfect–don’t even thing about changing anything!” That’s Ellayne, a little older than she is on the cover of The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, and Martis’ reliable Wallekki horse, Dulayl, who’s been in all the books so far, and this is his first appearance on a cover.
Well, now I have to write a cover blurb. It’s only 150 words or so, but I always find these among the most difficult things I have to write. Just naturally long-winded, I guess–needing to write a whole book to tell the story that the cover tells in just 150 words.
Requested by Heidi, this is from The Fugitive Prince (Bell Mountain No. 5), pages 190-191. Jack and Ellayne have acquired an ancient artifact which has some unexpected properties. ***
“This thing [said Jack]. There’s someone in it!”
“What?” Ellayne shook her head. What in the world would make him say a thing like that? She couldn’t have heard him right. “What are you talking about?”
“I saw her!” Jack said. “A woman. She’s inside this thing. She looked at me!” [Note: the thing is no bigger than the palm of Jack’s hand.]
Ellayne took his arms in her hands and squeezed. “Talk sense, Jack–if you can,” she said. “Don’t talk nonsense! Are you all right?”
“Oh, sure, I’m all right–except for being scared out of my skin.” He took a deep breath. “I saw a woman’s face. She was inside the cuss’t thing. She was smiling. She had red lips. Great big eyes: too big. And then she blinked. I know what I saw!”
“But jack–it’s just a little tiny thing that fits in your hand. There can’t be anybody inside it. They wouldn’t fit! It must have been a picture that you saw. Some kind of picture.”
“A picture doesn’t blank at you,” Jack said.
He felt sick. For two spits he’d crush the filthy thing with a rock, if he dared lay hands on it again. He wished it weren’t in his pocket. All he had to do was close his eyes and he could see that face again. The woman had eyes twice as big as any normal person’s and lips as red as blood.
Ellayne saw by the lack of color in his face that he really was scared and wasn’t joking. A dread crept over her, starting at her scalp and prickling its way down. “This is what comes of messing around with magic!” she thought. ***
I’ll print Bell Mountain excerpts by request. But please, folks, it does make it much easier for me if you can give me the book title and the page number. After the first ten books or so, it gets a little hard to keep track of things. You’ll see what I mean when you try it!
See the little monkey on Tarzan’s shoulder? His name is Nkima, and he’s the biggest braggart in the jungle–which is kind of funny, because he’s mortally afraid of… everything.
He is also the inspiration for my character, Wytt–who is afraid of… nothing.
People often ask me where my characters come from, and how they end up in my Bell Mountain novels. And if I had to guess, I’d guess that Wytt is probably my most popular character. A lot of readers have told me so. But where did Wytt come from?
If you know me, you know I’m a Tarzan fan. And Nkima is my favorite character in all the Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I mean, he’s so full of it! And it’s all hot air. This amuses me: a trait that would be unbearable in a real human being is a lot of fun in Tarzan’s monkey sidekick.
As the Omah creatures began to take shape in my mind, I asked myself, “What would Nkima be like, if all his bluster and bravado were perfectly genuine?” What if he really were as brave and bold as he makes himself out to be? What would that look like, in a little character no bigger than a monkey or a squirrel?
And then I had him–Wytt, Jack and Ellayne’s self-appointed protector and guide, who takes on enemies many times his own size, and lets them have the rough side of his tongue while doing it–and gets away with it. This little tiny hero armed with a tiny stick chewed to a point, who’s always up for any challenge that confronts him. No job is too big for him.
Yeah, he’s kind of easy to like. If Wytt’s your guardian–baby, you are guarded, but good. And given the numerous perils in which Ellayne and Jack have found themselves, he’s been kept rather busy. He’s even had to save Martis once or twice: and Martis is a professional assassin who ought to be able to take care of himself. But some of the adventures are a bit dangerous even for him.
I’m sure Wytt will be up for the next book, whatever the adventure turns out to be.
If you’re up to speed with the story, you’ve probably wondered about what’s going to happen with all that gold they brought down from the mountain, all the political intrigue going on in Obann City, and what Jack and Ellayne and Wytt are getting up to now. Actually, it’s been so long since I wrote this book, and I’ve written No. 12 in the interim, that I can’t remember what’s in it! I’ll have to read it, too.
I hope, this time, I run out of fingers to count on before I run out of sales to count.
Anyhow, it ought to be up there on amazon.com before the day is done, allowing for time differences and all that. So keep your eyes peeled for it!