I Haven’t Forgotten that I Have a Book to Write

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I haven’t worked on The Witch Box since just before New Year’s. I hope no one thinks I’ve abandoned the project.

But you can’t write a novel (especially a fantasy novel!) when your head’s not in the game, so there it sits. Sort of like the way I’m sitting here, trying to find words. Good thing I already have a complete manuscript, albeit in longhand on a set of legal pads.

Yeahbut! You’re writing blog posts, ain’t you? But it’s a totally different kind of writing, and it takes me about three times as long as it should, just to generate a little blog piece.

Well, I haven’t forgotten, and I pray it won’t be too much longer before I can go back to work on the novel. Patty and I are sick and we need to get better: we need the Lord to heal us, and we need your prayers. Please keep them coming.

Should I… Well, Stop?

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I’m currently working to finish Book No. 15 of my Bell Mountain series, The Witch Box. If my execution lives up to my vision, it’ll be my best book yet.

Edgar Rice Burroughs kept writing Tarzan because the Lord of the Jungle put most of the food on the table; but he complained a lot about having to do it. Agatha Christie came to a point where she was really and truly sick of Hercule Poirot; but she kept on writing him because the readers still wanted him.

I am not tired of writing Bell Mountain. In fact, next time out, I’m thinking I’d like to go back in time 2,000 years to tell the story of King Ozias. But there are some folks out there who think it’s time it was “Lights Out” for Bell Mountain, adios, don’t let the door hit you in the tuchas on your way out…

Of course my books are microscopic, compared to Tarzan or Poirot. I don’t have to worry about angry mobs besieging my publisher because they want Bell Mountain back (which is what happened, literally, when Arthur Conan Doyle tried to kill off his creation, Sherlock Holmes). I have no advertising. Just this wee blog.

My question to readers is, Should I put a cork in it? (One reader says even Wytt bores him, anymore. Good grief.) Have you had your fill of Bell Mountain? Or should I keep on going for as long as the Lord gives me something to write and Chalcedon’s willing to publish it?

Just askin’.

Ta-Dah! It’s Finished

[Pardon my use of Jerry Goldsmith’s theme music for Patton (1970). It’s my way of enjoying a victory lap.]

It’s a beautiful gorgeous day today, with honeybees busy with the white wildflowers that have grown up around my writing chair. Tomorrow we’re supposed to get cold rain, but I don’t mind–

For I have finished writing The Witch Box! And if my execution is worthy of my vision, well, wow–I’ll have done something well worth doing. There’s life in the Bell Mountain series yet, and plenty of it.

Now I have to go back and fill the hole I left when I stopped writing Chapter Set 4 and decided to jump ahead to the double climax; but that shouldn’t be too hard to do. I also have to type it all up and send it off to Susan to be edited. That’ll be a big job but again, not too hard to do. I never expected to fill up another 165 pages of legal pad; but at least I don’t have to worry about the book being too short.

But give God the glory, for guiding me through this work from beginning to end: and may it be fruitful in His service. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

P.S.–I’ll bet I’ve once again finished a book on the last day I could have finished it, taking into account the advent of cold weather. That’s what happened with Behold!, too. It does make me wonder…

Five More Pages–and Time to Shift Gears

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Well, I’m as cold as a mackeral now, but I got five more pages done and the next two days are supposed to be warmer, so maybe I’ll be able to finish writing my second climax for The Witch Box: I’ve got a good start on it.

But now I’ve got to shift gears and write my Newswithviews piece for the week. If you think this is easy–! Well, think again.

I’m going to write about Scottsdale and the scandal ignited by their district board of education–board president and his father (!) stalking parents who don’t like the board’s mask mandate and unlawfully collecting private information on them, etc. That any member of any school board should ever do a thing like this is astounding. Who do they think they are?

We are not subjects, we are not serfs, and they are not our masters–unless we allow them to be.

Let’s see if we can defend our freedom. We’ll wind up like Australia if we don’t.

Losing a Day

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Okay, it wasn’t quite that cold yesterday. But it was cold enough.

Last year I finished writing Behold! on literally the last day I could have finished it–no more good weather until the spring.

Looks like I’m in the same boat this year.

Yesterday it threatened rain all day and was just too cold. Under 50 degrees, the ink just won’t come out of the pen. Today it’s under 50, but maybe I can find a sunny spot.

Some of you wonder why I have to write outdoors. Well, there are too many distractions indoors. The worst are those nuisance phone calls: “Hello! [in thick Indian accent you could cut with a knife] This is Brian O’Shaughnessy from Acme Spindulators…” Those just wipe out my concentration. Conversely, I find the trees and the sky and the birds good for my concentration. They help me see the scenes I’m writing about.

But I am definitely running short of days, so one more blog post and then maybe the sun will be high enough to create a warm spot for me somewhere. I’m dealing with a ship that’s been at sea for 40 years and I have to do something about it.

Well, saddle up, we’ve got a ways to go…

Just Missed the Storm (I Think)

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Dark clouds have just swept in to veil the sun, the wind is coming on strong, and it’s getting cold: but I did get four more pages written. One more week of decent weather, and I should be able to finish The Witch Box.

I hated to stop today, but couldn’t help it. I’m really loving this climax (I warn myself again to drop no spoilers).

For my soul’s sake I have avoided the nooze so far today–I hope you don’t mind. It’ll find us soon enough.

P.S.: A certain quokka has reminded me to cheer you on to making comments–we only need a few dozen more to make 80,000.

Message delivered; and now it’s time to relax with a movie.

And here comes the rain. Missed me by just ten minutes.

Almost Done!

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The rain stopped this afternoon, the sun came out, so I set up my chair and plunged into writing the other climax of my book, The Witch Box. I have to say “the other climax” because this book has two of them.

Now I’m excited. I think this book is my most ambitious writing project yet and I can hardly wait to see how readers respond to it. That’s something an author never knows until it’s too late to do anything about it. You either fly or flop.

Uh, what’s with the picture of the bonfire? Well, I needed one to set the scene, but that’s all I’m at liberty to tell you just now. Such a temptation to drop hints! But it’s just not wise to give in to it.

And after this (if it doesn’t flop), I’m definitely leaning toward going back in time to King Ozias…

One Climax Down, One to Go

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The eye doctor dilated me six ways from Sunday this morning and I can’t see well, and a cold wind is blowing–but I’ve just come in from hammering out one of the twin climaxes of The Witch Box.

With the other one still to be written. The sun is not quite ready to set on this book.

I dare not let drop any spoilers here. Suffice it to say that this is a challenge to me as a writer–the most ambitious thing I’ve tried in any of my Bell Mountain books. I have no way of knowing whether I’ve succeeded. That’ll be up to the readers.

I hope I can finish the other climax next week, weather permitting. Then I’ll have to go back and fill in the hole that I left in the story when I decided to jump ahead to the pre-climaxes. It’s been a long time since I had to work this hard on a book.

In the meantime, I hope some of you get hold of Book No. 13, The Wind from Heaven, and let me know what you think of it. And next year, No. 14, Behold!, will be published.

After that, I’m seriously thinking of going back two thousand years to tell the tale of King Ozias, Obann’s last anointed king. He’s the one who set up the bell on Bell Mountain and thus may be held responsible for the 15 books that followed.

Sorry I’m Late!

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Sorry I’m running so late today, but it was unavoidable: four errands to run this morning, including grocery shopping–and then I had to take advantage of the sunny weather to work on my book, The Witch Box.

As I work my way into the book’s double climax, the people settled around the ruined castle of Carbonek are about to yield to a temptation: not to trust entirely in God’s promise, but to try to beef it up with something more. Something of this world. They can’t help it. We’re always looking for some kind of insurance policy.

I have to do as much as I can this week, before cold weather really settles in. At the same time, I have to be careful not to force the story. I have to trust in God’s guidance–and that’s not always easy to do. Carbonek, I know how you feel.

I’m being drawn into the story. I don’t know how to say it any other way.

Hiking Toward the Climax

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I’m sorry that this blog isn’t quite so noozy today as it usually is, but I’ve just spent two hours outside filling up a legal pad with another five pages of The Witch Box.

Since I decided to jump ahead to that point in the story leading to its tricky double climax, I’ve written another 125 pages and now I’m ready to rock. If I can pull this off, I think it’ll be something I can be proud of.

So far I’m the only one who knows what will happen with the conqueror from across the western ocean. As for what is intended to be a final experiment with the witch box, only Wytt has any idea of just how exquisitely dangerous that will prove to be.

Well, I have to take care not to drop any spoilers. And I have to keep racing the calendar, trying to finish the book before it’s just too cold to write outside. Maybe I have two weeks. I pray that’ll be enough.

Now it’s 3 o’clock–just enough time to check in with Joe Collidge.