‘Ozias, Prince in Peril’–Nearing the Finish Line

1,449 Child Armor Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images

Will King Ozias finally claim his throne? How hard will Maressa fight him for it?

I don’t know if I can do it in a week, but I’m this close to finding out. Traitors have been betrayed, civil war looms, and I know how the story ends but of course I dare not tell you. I’m working hard to get there.

I offer a tip of the hat to Thomas B. Costain, whose histories of the rise and fall of the Plantagenet dynasty have guided me along the way; and to Jack Pullman and his brilliant screenplay for I, Claudius. Edgar Rice Burroughs taught me how to keep the chapters flowing.

The lesson for aspiring writers is easily stated: read. The more you read, the more you can write. I’d be here all day if I saluted all the writers whose work has inspired my own.

Gotta Get This Book Finished!

Medieval Knight on His Horse Galloping Editorial Photo - Image of people,  forces: 21641741

It’s raining again, it always rains, and I have got to finish Ozias, Prince in Peril. 

I’ve got the ending. What I don’t have is the logistics. It’s a matter of getting the characters into the places where they have to be to end this story and in position to start the next–Ozias, Prince Enthroned.

It’s not easy. I’ve got to get this character out of Lintum Forest, this one into the city, these others out of the city, etc., etc. I’ve got a civil war to stop before it gets going, villains to thwart, heroes to uphold, a queen to rescue–and I’ve got to get it all done in no more than three or four more chapters. Then I can collapse.

I hope Prince Ozias appreciates it!


‘A Defense of Fantasy’ (2015, 2018)

Fantasy castle Images | Free Vectors, Stock Photos & PSD

You’ll enjoy the conversation that follows this post (my readers are the best!), and the original is embedded in the sequel, so you won’t miss anything.

‘A Defense of Fantasy’ (2015)

We all know there’s a lot of drivel out there that gets marketed as “fantasy.” All it takes is one Elf turning to a Dwarf and saying, “We must learn to celebrate one another’s lifestyles,” and the reader is lost to fantasy forever. I wish I could say I invented that example… but alas, I haven’t.


‘My Fantasy Tool Kit (7): Dreams’ (2015)

Robert Horton, Handsome 'Wagon Train' Star Who Wanted More, Dies at 91 -  The New York Times

Robert Horton and Ward Bond in the original classic show

People like to ask writers–especially fantasy writers–“Where do your ideas come from?” Well, a lot of my ideas come from dreams. Like this one:

My Fantasy Tool Kit (7): Dreams

Heck, the whole Bell Mountain series started off as a dream. I still haven’t gotten around to using that Wagon Train dream, but I’ll know the right time when I see it.

And now stay tuned for a special treat in the next post…

Writing Tips: Minor Characters Are Not So Minor

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

If you’re writing a novel, you might want to have the whole thing planned out in advance before you start to write it. But I don’t do it that way.

Ask yourself this: Are you a “minor character”? Your book will be full of them. Maybe it’s someone who comes onstage for just a moment to say “Here are the gum boots that you ordered, madam,” and then exits, never to be heard from again. It’s a minor character, and you don’t even need to provide him with a name.

But he has one. He has a life. In his own way, which may never show up in your novel, he has importance.

And if it turns out that you’ll need him again–well, there he is.

This happens a lot for me, in my books. A character has a walk-on, but it turns out to be much more than that: he may even develop into a major character. Orth started out as just a henchman of Lord Reesh; but now he’s Lord Orth, the First Prester. Duke Esdras, confined to a wheelchair, will produce the climax of my current book, Ozias, Prince in Peril. I needed someone to do that, and there he was. Most of your minor characters will remain minor–but you never know. Don’t be too quick to dismiss them!

[And yes, I still have no access to my stats page, no idea of how many views I’ve got today, and heaping piles of frustration.]

‘Loving a Fictional Character’ (2016)

Thursday Movie Blogging: Theoden King May Be My Favorite Character in Peter  Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings"

Here he is in the movie.

I don’t know if I’ve ever achieved this as a story-teller: moved readers to love a character whom I made up. But J.R.R. Tolkien achieved it.

Loving a Fictional Character

Old King Theoden! Some of the things he says and does move me practically to tears. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to covering nooze dominated by characters who would definitely be on the Mordor team if they were in The Lord of the Rings. Where else would you put Chuck Schumer?

We need more models of goodness. Maybe if we had more, it’d start spilling over into our public business.

Worth a try, at least.

Coincidence… Or Providence?

Medieval Knight On Horseback Images – Browse 5,307 Stock Photos, Vectors,  and Video | Adobe Stock

When I sit down to work on a novel, it’s usually with no preconceptions for that day. I start with a prayer asking the Lord to give me the story and to help me tell it. There’s much to be said for mapping out everything in advance; but I don’t do it that way.

I reckoned I needed, oh, five more chapters to finish Ozias, Prince in Peril; but I didn’t know how to end the book. I had only the faintest wisps of an idea for that. And I needed someone to perform the climactic act.

That would be Chapter Set No. 7. Bowing to the cold weather, I stepped back from No. 7 and thought I’d better type up, edit, and polish sets 5 and 6.

So there I am, typing up the first chapter of the 5th set–and bam! I run smack-dab into the very man I need to shape the climax and carry it out. There he was, written up two months ago, just waiting for me to call on him.

What was he doing in the book, in the first place? Well, he was a very minor character and I was using him as an observer, so that the reader could see things that he sees. An old duke whose battling days are far behind him. He’s in a kind of wheelchair.

And he’s just perfect for the part that it turns out I need him to play!

I mean, how cool is that? How does that even happen? I create these minor characters and the next thing I know, I’m giving them big jobs. They’re not so minor, after all.

It’s one of those things that makes my books fun to write. I hope they’re just as much fun to read.

Writing in the Cold

Is This Serious? Why Are My Hands & Feet Always Cold?

I’ve just come in from writing outside, finishing another set of chapters for Ozias, Prince in Peril. It’s December 1 and my hands are cold, cold, cold! The book is going well, but at a price.

So now I’m under wifely orders not to do this anymore: write indoors, we don’t want you getting sick! I guess I’d better listen, eh?

One more chapter set ought to do it, although I don’t yet have any idea of a climax. Ozias, Prince Enthroned is next up, but that will have to wait till spring. If I can somehow finish this one before Christmas, I’ll rejoice. But I haven’t written any fiction indoors for years now, so this’ll be a challenge.

I can only pray my work will be fruitful in His service, Amen.


Stopped By The Weather

Womans Face Covered Ice Face Closeup Stock Photo 1234609858 | Shutterstock

Well, it’s really cold today! Not expected to climb out of the 40s, and the sky just about completely overcast. The weather just has not played ball with me this year.

I don’t know how I’m going to write out there. Probably I can’t. Even if I tough it out, it’s now cold enough to stop the ink from coming out of the pen.

I hear crows, though. Something’s got them worked up. If I were Helki, I’d understand what they were saying. Just being me, I suspect it’s something like “C’mon out here, you sucker!”

All right, I’ll try. Let’s see how long I last.

[Well, I managed to write three pages before my hands got numb, and that’s three more than I thought I could.  Queen Parella is having more excitement than she bargained for.]

The Frozen Writer (That’s Me)

Write "frost" on the frozen car window with your finger - a Royalty Free  Stock Photo from Photocase

We had frost last night, but the sun came out today so I was out there again, plugging away at writing Ozias, Prince in Peril. Let no one tell you writing novels is an easy job: my father used to call it “the life of Riley.” I got pretty sick of Mr. Riley after a time.

Maybe it was as high as 50 degrees, although I doubt it. In my novel, winter’s just about over and spring is coming. If only! Meanwhile the villains are trying to hunt down Prince Ozias–now king by right, but the Bad Guys hold the palace and the city–and haul Queen Parella out of Lintum Forest, spy-mistress Gwenlann is trying to stop them… and after writing three pages, I was ready to go back to bed with all the covers over me. But this is my calling and I have to do my best.

Some of my friends wonder why I continue to write outdoors when I could just stay inside and do it. My reasons are these: trees, wildflowers, sky, clouds, birds, bees, squirrels, and being able to smoke my cigar without stinking up our dining area. Plus no phone calls.