Mr. Nature: Lacewings for Your Garden

In Bell Mountain No. 5, The Fugitive Prince, Wytt entertains himself by catching and eating lacewings, which people in Obann call “fairy flies.”

But he really shouldn’t, because lacewings are about the most beneficial insects you’ll ever meet. Their larvae eat all kinds of plant pests and parasites, and the adults pollinate your garden. Plus they’re exquisitely, delicately beautiful. You can buy lacewings to release in your garden; their services are always in demand.

You’ll see in the video how the female lacewing lays her eggs on silken stalks to protect them from getting eaten by predators.

And the adults have lovely golden eyes.

This is Mr. Nature, and this is more of God’s stuff.

By Request: How an Ancient Artifact Scared the Daylights out of Jack

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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!

Kirk DouPonce: The Creative Mind Behind the Bell Mountain Book Covers

BTS-Kirk DouPonceI’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.

‘An Interview with One of My Characters’ (2015)

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Ryons or Fnaa? Only the royal hairdresser knows for sure–and they don’t have one.

I don’t often get a chance to interview a fictional character, so I had to jump on this–an interview with Fnaa, who features in my Bell Mountain series as King Ryons’ double and an all-around scamp. He made his debut in The Fugitive Prince and is still with us six books later.

An Interview With One of My Characters

If the interview seems short, don’t blame me. Fnaa is not used to sitting around talking. On the whole, he has more fun than most of us do. But that’s adulthood for you.

It’s Not So Easy to Write a Book

Image result for images of the last banquet by lee duigon

We didn’t make it to the doctor today, but please keep praying for us.

Meanwhile, I’m racing the calendar to get His Mercy Endureth Forever written before it gets too cold outside to write.

I have this weird sense of being powerfully pulled toward the story’s climax without knowing what that climax is. I rely on the Lord to give me the story, and sometimes He doesn’t let me know what I’m going to write until I write it. Without giving anything away, suffice it to say that hellzapoppin in Obann and I have no idea at all, how it’s going to turn out. That makes it somewhat stressful.

I didn’t know how The Fugitive Prince would end until one evening, while walking just a few blocks to get our Chinese food for supper, He gave me the whole thing, all at once–wham! Writing The Thunder King, I had the climax first, before the beginning of the story. And I received the climax of The Last Banquet, all at once, as I walked upstairs to the bedroom. So I never know what to expect or when to expect it.

And so, today, a little more blog, a bite to eat, and back to work. Please, Lord–help me bring the story to my readers; for I write these in your service. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

All Aboard for Obann

Weather permitting, tomorrow I hope to start writing the next book of my Bell Mountain series. That would be Book No. 11, with No. 10, The Silver Trumpet, still being edited and waiting for cover art, a blurb, and everything else.

How does one of these books get started? I have to wait for the Lord to give me something–a scene, a new character, a title, any kind of hint. I never know what it’s going to be. The Fugitive Prince (No. 5) blossomed out of a brief observation of lacewings fluttering around the porch light on a summer night. The Silver Trumpet was just the title, nothing more. The Temple (No. 8) was a continuation of the story from No. 7, The Glass Bridge, plus an urge to see a prehistoric marine reptile like the one Kirk DouPonce depicted on the cover.

The Silver Trumpet left me with several story lines that have to be continued. The new book, so far, is nothing but a tentative title–The Temptation–and a single scene involving a horrific experience for Lord Chutt.

What will happen in this novel? Beats me! I really don’t know, and I’ll just have to wait and see it unfold. I used to prepare my novels in fine detail, going so far as to make up color-coded index cards for each subplot and trying various arrangements until I found what seemed to be the best one.

But now I just wing it, trusting in the Lord to show me the way; and so far, He has. Much better than I could have done myself.

Sneak Preview: ‘The Throne’

No. 8, The Temple

Okay, I have permission; so here’s the cover blurb for The Throne, Book No. 9 of my Bell Mountain series. Most of the editing is finished, we’re waiting for the cover art by Kirk DouPonce, and I hope we can get it published in time for Christmas. But first, the blurb:

The Thunder King has been destroyed–or has he actually reappeared in Obann’s greatest city, to claim it as his prey?

In city and in forest, the boy king’s loyal servants struggle to preserve his throne. But it will be a long journey home for King Ryons and his army, while ambitious and unfaithful men scheme to take away his kingdom.

Nothing in the city of Obann is what it seems to be. Evil masquerades as good, while good must hide behind a semblance of evil. The king’s chief spy poses as the usurper’s trusted adviser–but will he be able to find the help he needs to mount a successful resistance?

For God has chosen Ryons to be king, and Ryons’ people must find friends in unexpected places.

Join the heroes of Bell Mountain as they fight for Ryons’ kingdom!

So there you have it, and I hope it makes you want to read the book when it comes out. And if you’re interested, but haven’t read any of these books yet, start with No. 1, Bell Mountain.

 

5,000 Hits in a Month?

The famous “surgeon’s photograph” of the Loch Ness monster: posted here solely for your enjoyment.

No, not this month. Ran out of gas today, and won’t quite reach 4,800–although that does set a new monthly high for this blog.

Six months ago I would’ve thought 4,000 hits a month just about impossible. So the next plateau is 5,000, and I’ve come close.

This blog is just about the only advertising I’ve got for my books.

Please, if you haven’t heard about my books, take a moment to click “Books” at the top of the page and have a look. No harm in looking!

Another Contest for My Readers

book cover of  Bell Mountain Series

Let’s face it–this little blog, and you, my readers, are all the advertising that I’ve got.

When it comes to Customer Reviews on amazon.com, the lowest rating I’ve ever received for any of my books is three stars; but mostly it’s five stars, with a few fours thrown in. My sales figures, though–well, the less said about them, the better.

So how about this? Another contest.

The first reader to persuade five other readers to buy one of my books will earn my undying gratitude, plus an autographed copy of one of my books, your choice. I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a much harder job than I expected. Gotta try it, though–word-of-mouth advertising can sometimes do a lot.

We’ll have another comment contest coming up soon, too, as we close in on 5,000 comments. But for the time being, hey, I need more readers.

Will this work? Search me. Only one way to find out, and that’s to try it. Tally-ho!

P.S., How to Enter–Why, that’s easy. Just leave a comment to let me know when you’ve recruited five new readers.

P.P.S.–My wife says, “Five? Isn’t that a bit much?” So all right, I’ll change it to three. The first to find three new readers wins the contest.

Your Absolute Last Chance!

Today is your absolute last chance to buy one of my books in 2015. Sorry, I’d change it if I could, but them’s the rules. After midnight today, it just can’t be done.

So… if you want fantasy and adventure based on a Biblical worldview, suitable reading for the whole family, especially for ages 12 and up, with eight books in the series, so that it’ll be a nice long time before you run out of stuff to read–

Well, if that’s what you want, folks, I’ve got it. And I’ve got it right here. Just click “Books” at the top of the page.

And now, I think, I’ll rest–punctuated by compulsive peeks at my Stats Board to see if I can get those 4,000 hits this month.

Just 50 more to go…