Tag Archives: lord chutt

Yow! Eight Pages!

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A beautiful day, cool and sunny, after it rained all day yesterday–and I just couldn’t wait to get outside and resume work on Bell Mountain No. 13, The Wind From Heaven.

That wind was blowing for me–eight pages, whoosh! I usually average around three, or four on a good day. So this day was special.

All right, I knew what this chapter was going to be about: just as often, I don’t. Man, when Lord Chutt finds out what happened in this chapter, he’ll hit the ceiling. The poor guy’s had a lot of unsettling surprises lately: sometimes it’s tough to be the villain.

May my work be fruitful in your service, Lord.

Sneak Preview: ‘The Temptation’ Cover

[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?

While Nobody’s Looking…

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Hi, Lord Chutt here–thought I’d sneak in while no one’s looking.

For those who don’t know, I’m one of the villains in Lee’s Bell Mountain books. It rather ticked me off the other day, when Lord Reesh got a say and I didn’t. He thinks he’s the primo villain in the series. Ha! Even that creep Ysbott is better than Reesh.

I may not be as flashy as some of the others, but I have a very special gift. People who are involved with me, for any length of time, go bad. Real bad. Left to their own devices, they’d be harmless. But I turn ’em into villains.

I admit I don’t know how I do it. It just happens. I understand you have some public figures in your world who contaminate everything they touch. It’s probably the same thing.

While I don’t appreciate speaking to a mostly empty house that I had to sneak into, it’s better than not speaking at all. As long as I’m here, let me urge you to get hold of these Bell Mountain books: there’s a new one, The Silver Trumpet, coming out next month, I hear. Read ’em and decide for yourselves who’s the baddest villain!

[The management now promises there will be no more commercials this year.]

Do I See It as I Write It?

That was what my wife asked me yesterday: “Do you see it as you write it? And do you hear the dialogue?”

The answer to both is yes. As the story unfolds, it’s like a movie playing in my head. I’d like to get some background music playing with it, too, but I haven’t yet mastered that facet of the art.

If I don’t see it, I reckon the reader won’t see it, either. I had some help with the lake monster from The Temple, pictured above: it’s really just the Liopleurodon from Tim Haines’ Walking with Dinosaurs, and I emailed artist Kirk DouPonce with the applicable clip from the movie. But I had to add the lake, the cliffs of Kara Karram, and King Ryons’ army reacting to the unexpected intrusion. Nothing to go on there but my imagination.

Kirk uses live models to pose as story characters on my covers. Because he takes the trouble to read the books before he goes to work on them, he sometimes paints a character exactly as I imagine him or her to be. I don’t know how he does that.

I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books because it helps me to harness my imagination. In my mind, the characters that populate the stories are as real as Kirk’s models. Sometimes I find myself casting movie and TV actors to portray them; and when that works, it works really well indeed. Wes Studi as Ysbott the Snake. John Nettles as Lord Chutt. And so on–it really works. And it gets me cranked up to imagine and describe things and people that I haven’t seen in any movie. I can even see and hear Helki the Rod–and I don’t know of any actor that can play him.

Patty’s last question, though, isn’t quite so easy to answer: “When you’re seeing and hearing all these things, how do you come back?”

But we don’t have to worry about that until I start having trouble coming back.

Progress on ‘The Temptation’

Image result for images of ruined city

Books don’t write themselves. You have to be there, writing them. This has been difficult for me, these past two weeks: doctor appointments, car inspection, really horrible weather, and so on.

Nevertheless, I plug away at it, trusting in the Lord to give me the story that He wants me to tell. Ten chapters of Book No. 11, The Temptation, are written. Fnaa, King Ryons’ double, has just gone down in history, although he doesn’t know it yet. Lord Orth is preparing for a long missionary trip into the Wallekki country. And if you haven’t read any of my Bell Mountain books so far, those last two sentences won’t make a lick of sense.

It has become necessary to re-visit Old Obann, the massive ruins across the river from the living city. It was the capital of Obann’s empire, destroyed by God’s wrath in the Day of Fire. It is not a nice place. I wouldn’t recommend messing about with it, but Lord Chutt, the usurper-in-chief, never listens to me. He has plans.

I won’t find out what happens next until I write it.

Where Do My Characters Come From?

The simplest and most honest answer to that question would be, “I don’t really know. They just come.” But let me try to do better than that.

Years ago, I learned an important lesson by reading Dick Francis’ mystery novels: Every character in your book, no matter how minor, you must view and write of as a real person. Even if the character is in the story so briefly that you don’t even have to give his name.

A common feature in a lot of books that stink is failure to observe this rule, because the author is interested only in himself. You wind up with some improbable hero or superwoman showing off at the expense of all the other characters, who are only there as stage props. Books like this should never be published, but some always make it through the net, and too bad for you if you’ve bought one.

I don’t sit down and write up a thorough biography of every character in the book. If the plot demands that someone come along to be the new captain of Lord Chutt’s Wallekki bodyguard, then I introduce a character to do just that. I give him a name. And then some funny things begin to happen.

Often, once he or she has appeared in a few scenes, I take an interest in this character. So it was with a man named Bassas in The Throne, Lord Chutt’s new captain. To my surprise, it turned out that Bassas doesn’t like Lord Chutt and has but little respect for him. As the circumstances around him changed, and he came to see more things that he hadn’t seen before, Bassas grew discontented with his lot: in fact, he didn’t much care for working for the bad guys. He hasn’t been able to shed the old tribal sense of honor that was drilled into him as a boy.

See what I mean? Bassas went on to do some things I never thought of when I first introduced him. He’s very different from his predecessor, who was a thorough-going rogue. I wonder what he’ll do next.

This all sounds very easy to do. All it takes is thousands of hours of reading quality fiction and thousands of hours of trying to write it. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, man, practice!

But it all starts with a determination to see your characters as real people. Just because they’re fictional doesn’t mean they can’t be real. They have to be, or your story won’t work.

Progress Report: ‘The Temple’

I just don’t feel like writing about current events today. Backed up by half a billion dollars of American taxpayers’ money, Planned Parenthood has been caught on videotape bragging about all the money they make by selling parts of babies slaughtered in the womb. And those moral imbeciles on Capitol Hill are beating their breasts and wondering what has gone haywire with our culture.

You, you numbskulls! You are what has gone wrong with our culture.

“Oh! But couldn’t we just have the gay marriage and the trans-women and the drugs and the rap music, and leave out the sale of baby parts?”

Uh-uh, sugar-plums–it’s a package deal, like cable TV: and you’ve bought the whole damned package.

But enough of this. Supposedly, this blog exists to drum up interest in my books and hopefully sell a few of them. So let’s try to do that.

Bell Mountain #8, The Temple, is getting its final edit before typesetting. We’re also waiting for another glorious cover by Kirk DuoPonce, and I need to draw a map and dash off some cover copy, and hopefully the book will be ready for release in time for Christmas.

What’s it about?

Well, King Ryons’ puny little army has invaded the vast dominions of the Thunder King, Lord Orth is converting the barbaric Abnaks to belief in God, and, in the city of Obann, under cover of law, Lord Chutt is trying to steal the boy king’s kingdom out from under him. And I don’t dare even hint what Ysbott the Snake is up to.

In other words, I’m continuing the story from the first seven books, and meanwhile I’ve written some 25 chapters of #9, The Throne. By God’s grace I’ll have it done by winter-time and it’ll be just as good as all the others.

As for #7, The Glass Bridge, a Customer Review on amazon.com the other day considerably raised my spirits. “The best series since Chronicles of Narnia,” the reader said.

Well, I don’t know about that. But it’s nice to know that somebody out there thinks so highly of it.

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