Thursday, December 24, 2009

INK BLOTS Writers' Club


INK BLOTS 12/20/09 (setting: DM’s sitting room, overstuffed chairs, fire crackling in the wood stove, 6 men, libation: Twisted Zin)

1. READER/WRITER: DM opened with on overview of his intriguing novel manuscript told from the point of view of an old man who finds his plane with engine troubles and a forced landing for repairs in a south pacific island-- one he had fought on in WWII. He is a missionary retiring and … A local missionary takes the old man in while the plane is being repaired. Over dinner the missionary draws out the story of the old man’s time in WWII on this island. Flashback to WWII.

DM put in at chapter 5 (10 minute reading rule), a flashback to when the old man was a young recruit, the ramp up to American involvement in WWII gaining steam. Marine recruits: The train in SD pulled into a station… Bakersfield CA. Ted grimaced… said, watching the sun reflect on the rounded corner, … shimmering in the central valley heat on the freeway…. Blah, blah… Cynical tone. Is this what you want, need? If so, for what purpose? Authenticity? Is this the way Marine recruits interacted? Maybe so. Avoid the gratuitous. Good use of actually historical material, quotes from what? Autobiographies, letters... Good reference to having to talk about God, but worth it to get war stories out of him (WWI, presumably). Your telling of getting off the bus, first encounter with drill instructor, learning to say “Sir,” Ted flat on his back—vivid story telling here.

COMMENT AND CRITIQUE: DB opens the comment and critique stage with a discussion of point of view. When do you choose to write in first person, third person, omniscient, second person? In this case, I urged DM to shift to first person, the old man’s intimate point of view as he tells the story of his fighting on this very island. Left in third person, DM loses the verisimilitude of the layers created by shifting into the old man’s head, his intimate recollections, his tortured memories, his unresolved moral dilemmas, the sudden awakenings in the night, his racing pulse, … in my opinion this is critical. Shift to the old man’s inner view, the perspective that readers will believe the most and you gain vast authenticity, integrity, and…

2. READER/WRITER: DK began rereading his futuristic tale of two brothers who grow up as to two rough and tumble young men striving with each other. One becomes president, a liberal, a socialist, Marxist, statist dictator, his brother opposes him. This is a sort of 1984-esque political satire, or is it an expose on contemporary liberal political theory and implementation. He shows the impersonalizing influence of resurgent Marxism in the United Socialist States.

Last time we critiqued his narrative as too dry, too something. I suggested that his narrative needed a point of view, a narrator who was a character, a point of view that legitimately could be telling the story, an authentic lens with a dog in the fight, someone to whom all this mattered deeply, and hence so to the reader.

There’s more fluidity to this draft this go around. But the shooting in North Carolina seems too abrupt. DM suggests shifting the narrative about the shooting to a newspaper article or seeing a news spot on the shooting while at a bar or whatever. I agree. The deal is, in my opinion, that the original narrative was disconnected from the effect that it needed to have on the protagonist.

I dominate the discussion (again) by trying to establish the writing, story telling principle in view here: Whatever happens in the story has to effect, impact, your protagonist, which is the important thing. If something, anything, happens in the story that does not impact the protagonist, it most likely does not need to be in this story. Save it for a tale where it does matter to the protagonist. That’s the principle, as I see it.

Again, some point of view problems, potentially. Is Alexis our main character, the one the reader will most identify with, the one that matters? There were name problems before, solved at least in part by having the brothers have different last names because of death of father and remarriage, making them half brothers. Avoid names that begin with the same letter (though I do it in Guns of Providence, but for reasons of authenticity)

RD asked why DK is writing the book. Good question. Idea came from present political currents. To DK, fiction was the best way to communicate the message he wanted to get across. Another civil war? It happened before. Could it happen again? The novel explores this. A what-if scenario. A way to “sprinkle in some history” and explore what we are about as a nation, what our constitution is really all about. Purpose for writing is critical. Just to entertain? To instruct?

DM referenced Provost’s Beyond Style. What percentage of the actual word count is message, what percentage is story, action, character development? Best writing the message will flow inevitably, necessarily, from the character and the conflict that must be resolved for that character.

DB referenced O’Conner create a complex character with real issues that generate real conflict in a real world, and that desperately need resolving. She then plunks the character down (plunk may not be the most accurate word here) in a real life situation that will force the character to act, that acting exposes the flaws in the character’s world view, is bludgeoned with inevitable violence and confronted with a moment of grace. Mystery and Manners is the O’Conner book I was referring to. Helpful writing perspective to be gained from it.

I then referenced CS Lewis and the three motives for writing: Write what the reader wants to read; write what you as an author think the reader needs; write what you, the author, need. Lewis argues that the last is the motive that compels him forward as a writer. In a naturalist world, seeing into the metaphysical world is what Lewis, is what all of us need. But it comes much more authentically to the reader when Lewis is exploring what he needs. And he doesn’t mix his genre and begin preaching. You choose a genre because it is the best genre to communicate what you need. Hence, children’s literature to communicate something children are strong at, seeing the unseen, imagining another world, playing.

Read Milton and classic poetry. Why? Adler and How to Read a Book. Poetry is the push-ups of prose. It gives you structural skill (cadence, rhythm, vast scrutiny of words), and vantage point and scope of feeling and …

GENERAL DISCUSSION AND PRODINGS TO WRITE: NSJ thinking about writing about his growing up years as missionary kid in Africa; a page written! AS not writing right now but thinking about writing children’s fiction and hymn poetry. RDM has written an Arthurian children’s retelling that is allegory for Christian young men to be noble knights (I’ve read and critiqued this privately). I close with reading a hymn based on Ephesians 2:11-22, strategically leaving little or no time for critique!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Betrayal now available in Dutch


Een boeiende biografische roman over Johannes Calvijn. Verteld vanuit het perspectief van een leeftijdgenoot en rivaal van Calvijn, Jean-Louis, volgen we het leven van de grote reformator op de voet. De jaloezie van Jean-Louis escaleert in gewelddadige intrige en schaamteloos verraad. Maar uiteindelijk is Calvijn het middel in Gods hand om de vicieuze cirkel van verbittering te doorbreken.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Audio preview of Guns of Providence--now available

GUNS OF PROVIDENCE the third and last book in the FAITH & FREEDOM TRILOGY, is in the publication process, scheduled to release, June, 2010. Listen to a new audio excerpt at www.douglasbond.webs.com. Entangled in War for Independence Colonial America, the protagonist Sandy M'Kethe, great-grandson of Duncan and Angus's father of the same name in the CROWN & COVENANT TRILOGY, must sort through the labyrinth of loyalties assaulting his faith and arrayed against his very life.

"Like G.A. Henty in an earlier era, Douglas Bond offers a ringside seat on the War for Independence. Bond is a historian with unusual insight, tracing a Scottish Covenanter immigrant family and revealing the truly British origins of the American Revolution."

Russ Pulliam, Indianapolis Star

New Hymn based on Ephesians 2:11-22

We hail the Christ, the Cornerstone;

We’re reconciled by him alone!

Not Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free,

A commonwealth of unity;

Our Lord has from the two made one,

And with his blood our peace has won.


Brought near in Christ, the Prince of Peace,

Our envy, strife, and warfare cease;

For tribes and tongues, and strangers all,

Our Peace has broken down the wall;

New covenant mercy he extends

To us his fellow heirs and friends.


One faith, one hope of heav’n above,

A unity of common love;

One body made of many parts,

A unity of loving hearts;

One temple built of cast-off stone,

Made holy by the Holy One.


To Jesus Christ we lift one voice—

The household of our Father’s choice—

Whose love makes ours for others grow

And makes the watching world to know

That our abiding Cornerstone

Has made us one in Christ alone!


Douglas Bond, Copyright, December 2, 2009

Visit www.douglasbond.webs.com to see more new reformation hymns and to listen to new tunes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Reformation Thanksgiving Hymn

We rise and worship you, our Lord,
With grateful hearts for grace outpoured,
For you are good—O taste and see—
Great God of mercy rich and free.

A chosen son of God on high,
I trembling bow and wonder why
This Sovereign Lord—O taste and see—
In love stooped down and rescued me.

Your Son obeyed the Law for me,
Then died my death upon the tree.
O Jesus Christ, I taste and see
And marvel that you purchased me.

In might, your Spirit drew me in,
My quickened heart from death to win.
O Holy Spirit—taste and see—
My comfort, hope, and surety.

With thankful praise our hearts we give;
By grace alone we serve and live.
O Trinity, we taste and see
Your sovereign goodness full and free.

Douglas Bond, Copright, 2007. For more new hymns visit www.douglasbond.webs.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Reformation Day!


REFORMATION DAY, October 31, 2009
John Calvin @500

The following is a hymn text that I wrote with Paul Jones on the 5 solas of the Reformation. Note the allusions to the 5 solas in each stanza and corresponding refrain, Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria. Further note the allusion to John Calvin's inscription on his personal seal: "My heart I offer Thee, O Lord, promptly and sincerely," rendered in his original Latin in the title of Paul's tune, Cor meum tibi offero, Domine, prompte et sincere.

Creator God, our Sovereign Lord,
The heavens tell, the stars have shown,
Your splendor, might, and Deity,
But Truth lies in your Word alone.

My heart to you, O God, I give,
And by your Word I live.

In Truth your Word reveals my guilt,
My lost, unworthy self makes known,
But now made new I’m justified
And live and move by Faith alone.

My heart to you, O God, I give,
And now by Faith I live.

Before you made the world you chose,
In love, to send your only Son
To ransom me and make me one
With Christ, my Lord, by Grace alone.

My heart to you, O God, I give,
And now by Grace I live.

O Christ, Redeemer, Savior, King,
Subdued by grace, I am your own;
Enthrall my soul and make me free,
Reformed, redeemed by Christ alone.

My heart to you, O God, I give,
And now in Christ I live.

O glorious God, who reigns on high,
With heart in hand, before your throne,
We hymn your glory ‘round the world
With psalms adoring you alone.

My heart to you, O God, I give
And for your glory live.

Copyright, Douglas Bond, October 31, 2007
COR MEUM TIBI OFFERO Paul S. Jones, 2008





You can follow hymn developments at http://www.bondbooks.net/NEW%20HYMNS.htm and at http://douglasbondbooks.blogspot.com/. I'm working on writing another article to submit to Modern Reformation—this one on hymnody for the Modern Reformation. I have audio lectures on poetry and hymnody at http://www.douglasbond.webs.com/ as well as audio examples of some of the new reformation hymns. A lecture that might be of interest is available for listening or download here: http://www.box.net/shared/lru1ruvxqf

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Guns of Providence: Artist working on book cover art

Here are some more pictures of the replica of 12-gun sloop Providence, John Paul Jones's first command in the US Navy in 1775. The artist will be studying these to create the cover art for the last Faith & Freedom Trilogy book, Guns of Providence. Watch for cover art progress to be posted soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reformation Month Speaking Schedule

October is a busy month! I will be speaking several times on themes related to the life and theological legacy of John Calvin who turned 500 this summer, July 10, 2009. If you are in the Tacoma, Peoria, Illinois, or Gig Harbor, WA neighborhoods on the following dates, join us.

October 16-17, I'll be speaking at The Music Symposium (FPC) on Psalmody and hymnody, including a tutorial on poetry and hymn writing. fpcmusicsymposium09@earthlink.net


October 23-25, I'll be speaking at The Reformation Faire, sponsored by James McDonald and Providence Presbyterian Church, Peoria, Illinois. Psalms and Hymns for the New Reformation, Readying our Sons for the New Reformation, and Calvin's Heroic Offspring. For more information and to see the program for the event go to http://www.providencepeoria.org/Documents/Reformation_Day_Program.pdf

October 30, 2009, Reformation Day eve, sponsored by the Gig Harbor Reformed Bible Study and the URC. I'll be delivering an address open to the public at the Peninsula Room of the Gig Harbor Library. The talk will include a multi-media presentation of images from Noyon, Paris, Geneva, and Strasbourg taken on the John Calvin @ 500 Tour, July, 2009. The first five guest families will receive a complimentary signed copy of my novel on John Calvin, The Betrayal. There will be opportunity for questions, activities for children, and Reformation cookies. www.gigharborreformed.wordpress.com and gigharborreformed@gmail.com for more information.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why Guns of Providence?

USS PROVIDENCE, 12-gun sloop featured in my new book (to release June, 2010). Below is an excerpt from the timeline in the appendix:

1775 June 15, George Washington named commander-in-chief of Continental Army
1775 June 17, Bunker Hill
1775 August 23, George III refuses to read the Olive Branch Petition and declared the colonies to be in rebellion
1775 October 13, Continental Congress establishes Continental Navy, with Esek Hopkins as first commodore
1776 January 15, Common Sense, by Thomas Paine
1776 May 10, John Paul Jones given command of 12-gun sloop, Providence
1776 July 4, Declaration of Independence
1776 William Howe, commander-in-chief of British Navy, takes New York and Rhode Island
1776 September 22, Nathan Hale executed as a spy. “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,” he said, quoting Joseph Addison
1776 Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith
1776 Edward Bancroft, inventor of invisible ink, spies on Benjamin Franklin in Paris
1776 December 25, Washington’s victory at Trenton, New Jersey
1777 January 3, Washington’s victory at Princeton, New Jersey
1777 June 14, Continental Congress adopts Stars and Stripes as American flag...

PROVIDENCE, Why Guns of Providence?

“What are God’s works of providence? God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.”
Westminster Shorter Catechism, # 11

“I shall most religiously believe that the finger of Providence is in it, to blind the eyes of our enemies.”
General George Washington

“Beware of murmuring and fretting under any dispensations of Providence that you meet with; remembering that nothing falls out without a wise and holy providence, which knows best what is fit and proper for you. And in all cases, even in the middle of the most afflicting incidents that happen to you, learn submission to the will of God.”
Thomas Boston

“…thanks to God, since Providence has so determined, America must raise an empire of permanent duration, supported upon the grand pillars of Truth, Freedom, and Religion, encouraged by the smiles of Justice and defended by her patriotic sons…”
General Nathanael Greene

GUNS OF PROVIDENCE, Faith & Freedom III

Book III in the Faith & Freedom Trilogy is complete and at the publisher! It was a flurry of a summer with the Calvin Tour cutting in on my writing time, but things came together well, and I am very happy with the outcome. Not only is this book the last of the F&F Trilogy, it is the last of six books, beginning with the M'Kethe family in Duncan's War and the Crown & Covenant Trilogy, and ending here with Guns of Providence. So this is a happy and sad sort of moment for me as a writer.

Guns of Providence is set in the turbulent days of the American War for Independence. The book is in the form of a war memoir penned by my protagonist who bears the same name as his great-great grandfather Sandy M'Kethe. This Sandy is the son of Ian M'Kethe featured in Guns of Thunder. Some may be wondering about Gavin and Fiona from Guns of the Lion. I'm afraid I simply cannot (or is it will not?) divulge how the Scotland side of the M'Kethe family comes into play in the tale. But it does. Readers will have to wait until June, 2010 to get the whole deal.

I thought readers might be interested in a sample chapter or two. Watch forthcoming posts for those samples--coming soon. I promise!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October, Reformation month, Speaking schedule

October is a busy month! I will be speaking several times on themes related to the life and theological legacy of John Calvin who turned 500 this summer, July 10, 2009. If you are in the Tacoma, Peoria, Illinois, or Gig Harbor, WA neighborhoods on the following dates, join us.

October 16-17, I'll be speaking at The Music Symposium (FPC) on Psalmody and hymnody, including a tutorial on poetry and hymn writing. fpcmusicsymposium09@earthlink.net


October 23-25, I'll be speaking at The Reformation Faire, sponsored by James McDonald and Providence Presbyterian Church, Peoria, Illinois. Psalms and Hymns for the New Reformation, Readying our Sons for the New Reformation, and Calvin's Heroic Offspring. For more information and to see the program for the event go to http://www.providencepeoria.org/Documents/Reformation_Day_Program.pdf

October 30, 2009, Reformation Day eve, I'll be delivering an address open to the public at the Peninsula Room of the Gig Harbor Library. The talk will include a multi-media presentation of images from Noyon, Paris, Geneva, and Strasbourg taken on the John Calvin @ 500 Tour, July, 2009. The first five guest families will receive a complimentary signed copy of my novel on John Calvin, The Betrayal. There will be opportunity for questions, activities for children, and Reformation cookies. www.gigharborreformed.wordpress.com and gigharborreformed@gmail.com for more information.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Calvin growing up at Noyon Cathedral

I feel like I haven't given Notre Dame, Noyon, the cathedral that is a stone toss from Calvin's birthplace (and across from our hotel), where his father worked for the bishop, Charles Hangest, and where it is inconcievable to imagine that Calvin did not know every nook and cranny as a boy, fair representation. It is a marvelous 12th century gothic masterpiece as you can see from these images, and Calvin would have known this place intimately as a boy. I've pasted in some descriptions of it from The Betrayal, chapter 4 below. Picture Calvin at 12-years old receiving his first benefice in this place.

An event transpired of great significance on May 21, 1521. I was there. The smoky sweetness of incense drifted like wisps of lingering spirits from the chancel of our cathedral church in Noyon-le-Sainte. In my youth, as is the way of youth, I appreciated little about that great edifice. To me, then it was merely a stout old building made of shabby old stones, wherein candles flickered and lecherous old men and tender boy choristers paraded about, chanting the gloomy Miserere.

I have since learned that our cathedral of Notre Dame, as I then knew it, was rebuilt after the great fire of 1131, coming to its completion, I’m told, nearly one hundred years later. Pilgrims from time to time would pass through out town to venerate the alleged relics of St. Eloi, 7th century goldsmith turned bishop of Noyon, patron saint of workers in precious metals. I thought goldsmithing a fitting avocation for a bishop. Inexplicably, St. Eloi was taken up as the patron of blacksmiths, and adding another layer of mystification, local horse breeders in Picardy still swear...


... For I knew that the chaplain of La Gesine had only just resigned his post and that the bishop was sure to confer the vacant chaplaincy upon the young scholar.

Yet did I despise him still more for what it all meant. He was being marked out for priesthood, and more to the point, for a handsome income, one that would now fill the purse of the favored young man—further setting him above me and my station, and further embittering my heart against him.

I had seen enough. Soundlessly I turned my back and left the cathedral, the chanting of the bishop fading as I went. From the eminence of the cathedral’s situation, I surveyed the tile roofs of Noyon, fanning out, like my life, in a disordered and seemingly random jumble.


Surrounding the tile roofs of the half-timbered, clustered houses lay wooded hills of beech and oak. For all its un-remarkableness then to me, Noyon is an appealing town with a long history. Since the Romans subjugated the Gauls, the fertile plain on which it rests, watered by the Verses and Oise Rivers, has been home to untold generations of craftsmen, farmers, bakers, butchers, tanners—like my family—horse breeders, nobles, and of course the clergy.

I mused on the infinite variety of human existence represented by that tumbling array of individual houses connected by the narrow cobbled streets that we called our village. It had been called that by many before my generation, and was like to by called so by many more, so I then thought.
As I stood considering the array of life that stretched downhill before me, the boy choristers must have ascended to the heights of polyphonic grandeur with the Ave Maria, ora pro nobis, for they succeeded, aided by the deep-toned organ, in pulling my attention back up the hill to the cathedral.

It was the only cathedral I knew, but since then I have seen many. Ours was of the sturdier sort. Heavy, boxy towers that cast their wide shadow across the red-brown roofs on sunny afternoons, stood square and unyielding, as if guarding the west entrance with twin might against heretics and infidels.

I now believe the east-end of Notre Dame Cathedral Noyon to be one of the most grand of all. Its magnificent flying buttresses flange out in three broad terraces holding the bishop’s seat immovably in its place. I wondered at such grand old churches, built, it would seem, so to impress the viewer as to make them unshakably committed to the lesser visible dimensions of religion...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Christians in Chartres France, 12 July 2009

Resting in Chartres with Cheryl. Great view of the cathedral from our hotel window. Total slow down and rest mode. Sunday 12 July, we worshiped at the nearby l’Eglise Protestente Evangelique, at least half African and a few East Indians represented as well. It was a thoughtful contemporary service with guitars, drums and keyboard never taking over the words, such as Jesus, Roi des rois and Gloire de Dieu, set at times to some upbeat French folk tunes. Still, I wish so much more for this congregation in its worship, but no elitism here; that is so important. It was good to see the men lead in prayer and in reading Scripture, administering the Lord’s Supper, and in the singing. About 55 people present, including some children (few of these articles in France, but one family with three boys).

Then the moment came for introducing newcomers. I began frantically preparing my comments in French. Closer and closer the moment came; I was sweating, conjugating verbs in my head, racking my brain for when it’s pronounced “Christ” with the “t” and when without. Cheryl’s fingers were digging into the flesh of my arm, “Don’t say anything. Just nod and smile,” she suggested. At last they looked at us and asked who we were. I rose, smiled, and launched in. “Bonjour a tout, dans le nom de Jesus Christ (I dropped the “t”--safe in French), et je m’appelle Douglas Bond, et ca c’est ma femme, Cheryl Bond. Nous sommes Americaine. Je suis desole, mon Francais est tres mal.” They all nodded a bit too vigorously in agreement—so it seemed--at my last comment about my French being abysmal. I’ve got to get this language down; a million miles away from it at present. What a relief, though. No questions about Obama, Bush, the war…

Then a venerable gentleman in a suit opened his Bible and delivered a thoughtful sermon (as much of it as I could understand; I did get 5 chapters of Romans read in English during his address). He used an illustration from the Tour de France underway and climbing the heights of the Pyrenees today (see picture at right); he spoke of the hard work of the Christian route and used another illustration from William Cowper, though I did not recognize the actual poetry he recited. No passive holiness here. The chimes of the great cathedral are ringing throughout the narrow streets of the old town as I write. This place is very restful, and we are very grateful for it.