The Next Book… ?

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Spring is in the air, and once it’s here for good, I’ll want to get busy with the next Bell Mountain book.

I don’t think I’ll be using the lake monster from The Temple, but really, you never know.

The way it works, I have to wait for the Lord to give me the seed of a story. It might be a dream, or a new character that pops into my head, or a compelling incident, or something as simple as a title. Then I can get going. I can’t actually generate one of these books on purpose. It doesn’t work that way.

Of course, I did leave some loose ends to tie up, as I concluded His Mercy Endureth Forever–with, I might add, a climax that was completely unexpected but also wholly logical. Who’s in charge, in Obann City? Whose ships are those, out there on the sea?

I wish I knew!

Forrest Schultz Reviews My Books

Ah, what the heck, I can always use reviews. Here’s a new one by Forrest Schultz, covering The Temple and The Throne, Books No. 8 and 9 in my Bell Mountain series. I don’t think my character, Ysbott the Snake, made a hit with him, but then Ysbott rubs a lot of people the wrong way. He’s a villain and an idiot, so he’s supposed to do that.

Thank you, Forrest.

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!

Sanity Medicine: Kitten and Owl

So I’m taking my blood pressure, and the stupid box falls over and topples my glass of iced tea all over the table… Grrrr!

But here we have the calming influence of a kitten making friends with a little fluffy owl. Ah, that’s nice! Much nicer than–oh, stop thinking about it!

I am currently reading Bell Mountain No. 9, The Throne, trying to come up with suggested for our cover artist, Kirk DuoPonce. He’ll be mighty hard press to outdo the covers he created for The Glass Bridge and The Temple.

I wonder how my cats would get along with an owl.

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, 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.

The First Little Glimmerings of a New Book

Come Spring, come green buds and sunny mornings, come robins and the first bumble bees, that’s usually time for me to start writing a new book. But this year’s buds are already on the trees, and yesterday came to me the first little blink of an idea.

It needs a couple of months to incubate, but there is something new and fresh waiting to express itself. Of course, because Bell Mountain is a continuing story, there are threads that must be picked up from The Temple and the last book, The Throne, which will be published sometime this year. There are some issues that must be addressed in the next installment of the story.

But I try to write these books in a spirit of receptivity, asking my Lord to give me the story He wants me to tell–and usually I’m surprised by the turn the new story takes. Sometimes I have to write fast, write hard, just to keep up and find out what happens. Last time I started up the stairs to the bedroom not knowing how my current book would reach its climax–for  that matter not knowing the climax, either–and yet by the time I reached the top of the stairs, I knew it all!

It can be quite an overwhelming experience.

For the time being I have to wait and let it come to me. If I go chasing it I’ll never catch it. I don’t think any of the how-to-do-it writing courses tell you to do it this way; but after nine books, who am I to seek a change?

‘Watches of the Night’–a Song for King Ryons?

My editor, Susan, wanted me to see this: first a poem, Watches of the Night, and then a song, Jesus, Draw Me Nearer, performed by Keith and Kristin Getty.

It’s beautiful, and full of echoes of the Book of Psalms. But to Susan it also brought to mind a character in my Bell Mountain books–Ryons, the slave boy who is rescued from human sacrifice to become, by God’s grace, the King of Obann.

Ryons doesn’t want to be a king. What does he know about such things? He has hardly had a proper childhood. He hates sending men who love him into battle, and they might not return. He’s terrified of some of the things he has to do, some of the places he has to go. But what he learns is faith and obedience, and going on when you’re too scared to go, and following God’s angel when you don’t know where he’s taking you.

I am very humbly glad that anything I could write might be linked to such beautiful and prayerful music as this.

But I tell you right up front, it wasn’t any literary genius of mine, but only writing what God gave me. To Him be the glory!

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…