It seems so long ago, 2013. Then again, in only eight years, twelve more of my Bell Mountain books have been published. But it all started with Bell Mountain itself; and imagine my surprise and delight when I learned I’d just won a major international book award!
The next year I won a silver medal for Book No. 2, The Cellar Beneath the Cellar. There were no more entries after that, so no more awards. Gotta be in it to win it. But I was in it twice and I won twice. How cool is that?
Now I’m struggling with the new book, The Witch Box–too much talkin’, not enough action. I have to solve this, somehow. Maybe if I throw in a lot of left-wing anti-American crap I can be nominated for a Pulitzer.
Jill at Chalcedon HQ today informed me that the first three books of my series (Bell Mountain, The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, and The Thunder King) are now available as Apple iBooks, which can be accessed via the app on your phone or ipad. I have no idea what I just said.
Anyhow, you can click the Apple icon on any of those three books, and you’re in business. Eventually all the books will be available as Apple iBooks. They’re going for $1.99.
One of Kirk’s models posing as Ellayne for the cover of “The Cellar Beneath the Cellar”
When I was writing horror novels in the 1980s, New York publishing houses had one rule for cover art: You’ll take what we give you, writer, like it or not!
I’ve had the good fortune to have artist Kirk DouPonce illustrate the covers for all the books in my Bell Mountain series. Unlike the way they do it in New York, Kirk reads the books he illustrates and confers with the writers. So he and I usually bat ideas back and forth until we find one that we both like.
Yesterday we agreed on a cover for No. 13, The Wind from Heaven. I really mustn’t tell you what it is; but I think it’s going to be great. He didn’t say how long it would take him to come up with a preliminary sketch: I don’t think it’s wise to pressure an artist to hurry.
And meanwhile I’m waiting for it to stop raining (three days in a row now!) so I can finish writing No. 14, Behold!
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.
If your characters don’t connect with your readers, your book won’t work, your story will fall flat.
I introduced the fierce old Abnak sub-chief, Uduqu, in Book No. 2, The Cellar Beneath the Cellar. I liked him and kept him around. And in Book No. 7, The Glass Bridge, he took part in a desperate battle.
I won’t forget how my wife and my editor reacted when they thought I’d killed off this character. They were about ready to scalp me. Sheesh, what was I thinking! But they only had to read a few more paragraphs before they learned Uduqu was all right, after all.
There are characters who walk into the story just to do some little thing and then wind up staying to do a lot of things, and growing, and getting you attached to them. With 12 Bell Mountain novels published so far, there are of necessity an awful lot of characters.
Why am I talking about this when I have to crank out a Newswithviews column? Oh, I don’t know. Do I feel a need to justify populating my books with all those characters?
Well, heck, it’s a history–like Livy’s history of Rome. Count up all the characters in Livy sometime. True, the history of Obann, in my books, is fictional. Some uncharitable souls have said the same of Livy. Not to mention Geoffrey of Monmouth, and Herodotus. I guess if you don’t like their histories, you won’t like mine, either. But there’s something to be said for a book that’s stayed in print since 400 B.C.
[Confidential to “Unknowable”: I hear you, brother!]
I don’t suppose I’ll ever be happy with the way I do an interview, but I try, I try. I’d much rather hear somebody fantastically famous and universally loved coming on the air in prime time to extol my books–but I’m afraid I’ll have to settle for… me.
Sorry, didn’t know what I ought to re-run today. For 15 minutes this morning, maybe a little more, our neighborhood was immersed in a noise such as would be made by the galaxy’s most powerful car horn with a dead body leaning on it. Couldn’t hear yourself think! It has only just stopped.
I love Kirk DouPonce’s cover for Cellar. You can’t tell me Ellayne isn’t real! How else could Kirk have painted her exact likeness?
The year before, Bell Mountain itself won a bronze.
See? Official and bona fide proof that my books are worth your time! I’m sure these awards aren’t like the Oscars, where they sometimes give Best Picture to the worst picture. If you haven’t read ’em yet… well, c’mon!
It looks like the wind from heaven is about to blow some heavy rain our way, so I’d better get out there and write what I can before it rains.
When Ellayne shinnied down the vine into “the cellar beneath the cellar,” she had no idea what they were going to find down there. I know how she felt: the book I’m writing now, The Wind From Heaven, is very much like that. Follow where the spirit leads you and see what you can find.
Monday I was totally at an impasse, had to stop writing for the day because I had no idea, no idea at all, what Lord Chutt was going to do in response to the position in which he found himself (all his own fault, I might add). Tuesday I came out, said a prayer for guidance, lit my cigar–and botta-bing, botta-boom! It just came out of my pen, that chunk of the story, as if it had been there all the time.
I ask the Lord to give me the story He wants me to tell, and so far He has–through twelve books, going on thirteen.