Jenny Forsythe was for a long time one of my most neglected heroines. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I put the whole book in which she appears aside for years and pretty much gave up on it. But this year saw a resurgence for The Test of Devotion. I’d almost label 2019 as the Year of the Western for the sudden re-existence of this book in my little writosphere. (Yep, I just coined that word.) A rewrite sent attention for Jenny’s 1850s adventure story soaring and it’s now comparable to the top books in views each month.
So . . . I’d never bothered to do a spotlight on little Jenny Forsythe before (especially since in the past she was grownup Jenny Forsythe and now she’s a teenager.) But it’s a necessity now, so let me introduce you to Jenny. She’s the companion to another girl in the story, Arabella Monston, a 19-year-old from back East who’s run away to Texas with a cold-hearted and manipulative man who turns out to love political power far more than he loves her. Arabella lodges at a hotel in a remote town on the Mexican border. Jenny’s father owns this hotel, so Jenny spends a lot of time helping Arabella with this and that.
This and that turns into Saving Arabella’s Life. The more Jenny gets involved, the deeper it gets until she’s orchestrating an escape from that now deadly hotel and a personal consultation with the imposing Governor of Texas. And to do that, resourceful Jenny (who doesn’t put herself forward very much, look I spent most of HER spotlight post talking about Arabella) will need an outlaw. Jenny’s humility is what really shines through about her, as you can see by how much descriptions of her are dictated by the fact she helps others.
And there will be more updates.
Millhaven Castle has always been a unique story. It wasn’t actually much like the original story with these characters that I’d worked on for years before, but it sprang up on its own with a little village of idyllic-but-look-more-carefully people living on the edge of an old secret in the kingdom. These people are the Sherbans and over time their culture has declined. But they’re still very dedicated to it and believe it or not, they think there’s something in all this opposition to a royal dynasty so long after said dynasty has become established. Nobody cares for their opinion, clearly, and constantly making dissent to the government your brand name is obviously not a great idea.
But Sherbans are very stubborn people and not as friendly as they look. Oh, they have down-home-values, sensible style of dress, rural farming and gardening ways, and all of that. But they know where the real value is even if they don’t see all the details and even if the situation looks risky. Long before it becomes apparent a Sherban named Alyce holds the secret to the Falknor’s succession, all the Sherbans remain confident there is some value in their culture after all.
They also aren’t as easily oppressed as they look. The reason a messenger from the king is such news in Alyce’s little corner of the world is because Capsells RARELY—and I mean RARELY-visit them. When Capsells come, they get chased off with rocks thrown by Sherban boys (Who have really good accuracy, by the way.) So they get left alone in the lovely vales of Milland. Sherban lands are the sort of peaceful, sweet place where you’d like to go on honeymoon. Except for the Sherbans being there, of course. Like I said, they’re not always the most welcoming.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
I write peaceful stories with happy endings. When I started writing, I wanted to write the kind of books I like to read. I wanted them to be upbeat and friendly books that make you feel like you're being whisked off on an adventure with friends. And there's also a purposefulness in that because many stories already written miss out on a great deal of what people experience every day.
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