Giant Ice Age hyenas–yeah, we’ve got them, too.
I hope you don’t mind me using this opportunity to talk up my book. Until I get invited to do it as a guest on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, this is about the most I can do in terms of publicity.
My New Book Is Out
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know there are times when writing up the nooze just grinds me down. I mean, really–the names of politicians’ lawyers? I believe in being well-informed, but that’s ridiculous.
If this is the first you’ve heard of any books of mine, or my Bell Mountain series of fantasy/adventure novels, and you want to know more–well, you’re already in the right place. Just click “Books” and find out everything you want to know.
There’s something I would love to be able to do, which no writer can do–and that would be to get inside the reader’s head, as it were–and “see” the people and places and scenes I write about as the reader sees them. Ever since I announced the Bell Mountain Movie Contest, I’ve been thinking about that.
On two occasions–and even just one is extremely rare–my cover artist, Kirk DouPonce, working from live models who are just kids in his neighborhood, painted one of my characters exactly as I imagined her: Ellayne, on the cover of The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, and Gurun, on the cover of The Glass Bridge. It is as if these two fictional characters that I created were real people, after all: so much so, that somehow the words “I created” seem rather silly. I can’t create real people!
It would be eerie, to meld my own imagination with the reader’s and look with his or her mind’s eye on some place in Lintum Forest, or on the great Temple of Obann, or the cloud on the summit of Bell Mountain. What if they looked to the reader exactly as they “look” to me?
I hardly know what to make of that!
If you like my Bell Mountain books, you probably like the cover art by Kirk DouPonce. So don’t miss the interview with Kirk posted just a little while ago by Jill at Chalcedon headquarters. It comes with pictures! It should be the post immediately before this one.
Kirk uses kids from his neighborhood to model for the Bell Mountain covers, and now you can see the photos that he used for creating three of the covers: Ellayne, Jack, and Ryons. What a thrill for those kids! “Hey, my picture’s on a book cover!” Imagine yourself, at 11 or 12 years old, winding up with your picture on the cover of a fantasy novel. Way cool!
If you click on the pictures at the bottom of the post, they’ll be blown up bigger for you.
That kid who posed for Ellayne–she’s exactly how I imagined Ellayne would look. Exactly! Really, I don’t know how he does it.
I’ve had the privilege of working on Lee’s series from the beginning. Hard to believe this’ll be the eleventh cover! There’s never a lack of creative possibilities in the world he’s created. From water dinosaurs, saber-toothed panthers, gigantic bird creatures, to sea adventures, the creative possibilities are both endless and challenging! The process for creating each cover usually begins with an email conversation with Lee to figure out which scene from the book would best encapsulate the mood and general storyline. Once that’s decided I photograph models and use 3D software to create the creatures that couldn’t be photographed and also for many of the props and backgrounds. I’ve always been interested in 3D and had just started dabbling in it when the series started. These books have definitely stretched my abilities in that arena!
The local kids I’ve used as models are always thrilled to be on the book covers. The photography sessions can be as simple as shooting the models in costume in my living room but sometimes they’re much more complex. A couple of times I’ve had to shoot the models at a local climbing gym. Each cover presents its own challenge. As long as Lee keeps writing this series I hope to continue working on the covers.
Thanks and a hat tip to Jill at Chalcedon headquarters, for posting this interview with Kirk DouPonce. He’s the speaker here, not me.
If only for what is probably the best headline I’ve ever written in my life, I hope you’ll click the link and read this: requested by my editors at Chalcedon, here’s me telling you all about what goes into the writing of my Bell Mountain books.
Somewhere we also have a brief interview with cover artist Kirk DouPonce, complete with photos of the models he used to create the covers of my books–mostly local kids from around his neighborhood. Must be a kick for them!
Anyway, the article above is a must–if you like my books and this blog.
My wife says reading one of my books is like watching a movie. She wants to know, “Do you see it as you write it?”
My books are fantasies about people and places that never existed, so in a literal sense I can’t “see” any of it–I have to imagine it. That might be the toughest thing about writing fantasy in particular and fiction in general: first you try to see what isn’t there, and then you try to make the reader see it. If that sounds easy, well, it ain’t.
The artist, Kirk DouPonce, uses live models for the characters on my books’ covers. I can’t do that. The most I can do is try, in my mind, to cast known actors and actresses as characters in my story. When that works, it works very well.
Try it sometime.
[Editor’s Note: I have had to delete the picture because there were problems with it. I’ve asked Kirk to send it to me again. Maybe then it’ll work.]
This is Kirk DouPonce’s rough sketch for the cover of Bell Mountain No. 11, The Temptation. That’s Lord Chutt up there. I envisioned him as British actor John Nettles, who used to star in “Midsomer Murders”–but of course I couldn’t say a thing like that in the text, and I think Kirk came pretty close to the real Lord Chutt.
So here it is, something with which to rinse the nooze from our minds. Obann has its share of problems, but at least they’re not our problems.
SHOUTOUT; Can anybody see this picture?
Well, Lord Orth was right. As of today, I see my way clear to the last page of His Mercy Endureth Forever. All I need is a few more decent, sunny days in which to write it. But of course rain is forecast for the weekend.
Usually the Lord gives me the climax of a book in a dazzling flash; but if you’ve been following these updates, you know He didn’t do that, this time. I had to keep chipping away at the big block of marble until, almost without my perceiving it, the statue emerged.
Meanwhile, I’m waiting for artist Kirk DouPonce’s sketch for the cover of Bell Mountain No. 11, The Temptation. When I get it, I’ll try to post it here as a kind of sneak preview–if I can manage the technology.
Well, heck, I just successfully installed the new toilet flapper, didn’t I?
I’ve lost an awful lot of time due to bad weather, but the sun is finally out again, I can’t ride my bike because of a flat tire (I told the guy not to over-inflate it!), so I’m out there trying to play catch-up on my current book, His Mercy Endureth Forever (Bell Mountain No. 12). As for The Temptation, we’re waiting on Kirk DouPonce’s cover art.
Meanwhile, the story is hurtling toward a climax–and I don’t know what it’s going to be. The Lord will tell me when I’m not expecting it. But poor Obann, what a mess! A savage horde of Hyena Men has invaded the country, and Jack and Ellayne somehow have to smuggle Lord Orth into the city so he can call Obann to repentance before it’s too late. I have no idea whether he’ll succeed.
A brief thought on fantasy-writing in general:
Overcome the temptation to give your characters names that are just too far out for the reader to stomach. If your fantasy novel starts sounding like a Russian novel translated by someone from Venus, you’re doing it wrong. I once read a Lawrence Sanders book in which the hero was named Jack Smack and the heroine, a femme fatale, Clementine Cadiddlehopper or something like that. I found those names detracting from the conviction of the story. So don’t do that.