In the midst of getting This Merry Summertime published and searchable on Amazon (more stores to follow soon!) I'm participating in a great giveaway for free clean fiction in all genres. As we're heading towards the end of summer, this promotion is called Before Going Back to School All-Genre Clean Giveaway and all of the books have been approved as family-friendly, although not all are children's books. My book is Victoria: A Tale of Spain and you should check this promotion out if you're looking for clean books.
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If any of you have ever walked into a grocery store, a bookstore, or a sells-everything store like Walmart, you’ve seen Disney Princess merchandise. Little coloring books of Cinderella’s adventures, board books about Elsa for just a dollar, backpacks for little girls sporting a smiling image of red-haired Ariel or serene Belle. Rapunzel dolls, Snow White costume dresses, Tiana purses, and hairbrushes featuring all the princesses.
I didn’t actually grow up with these princesses, like so many women who are now my age, and I never knew much about the characters that inspired these toys. I was taken to see The Little Mermaid when it came out and I landed on brief moments of the other movies from time to time, but Disney stuff was really rare in my family because my mom disliked the whole princess thing--with a few exceptions like The Lion King and Fantasia (and a touch of Mary Poppins) because they weren’t princess movies. It was only as an adult that I saw many of the “Princess” movies in full for the first time.
I came to these movies so late that for a long time they all looked very similar. I could barely tell them apart except by the princess’s hair colors. But gradually I noticed two things: they are a broad cultural frame of reference that most people are familiar with; and they don’t necessarily have the same audience they did 10-15 years ago. As time goes on, people come and go from these movies and while the princesses always look the same, those interested in them do not. That could make them quite useful for using the Princesses and their evolution over time to place my books in the bigger picture by comparing them to something that is familiar to many of you.
So here’s a list of the movies that remind me of each book’s personality. You might not find this helpful (it depends on how much you like princesses!), but if not you can just laugh. 😊
And there will be more updates.
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.
I did a post on Sekana, the heroine of "Jurant" in Facets of Fantasy, a year ago. But after a while it didn't quite reflect her, so I'm doing another one. In a year an audience's feelings about something (or someone) can change pretty noticeably and you've always got to keep up with the flow of that. For one thing, there are a lot of characters in Facets of Fantasy. She's just one and possibly isn't even a front-runner. She's a bit deeper down towards the heart of the book, which makes sense because she only appears after two introductory stories.
I found this awesome fantasy art image for her! In the story she morphs from a shy, vulnerable-looking girl with knock-knees, who seems forced to attend a military academy, into a purple-haired warrior from a hidden group called the Kinari. Investigating her is the main drive of the story, which stands in the middle of Facets, as its center. Sekana isn't exactly hard to spot, although in her less-powerful form she probably thinks she is. (Don knew she was up to something and he wasn't trying, so it must have been easy.) But she is pretty sneaky too, a link she shares with his grandfather who's trying to use her powers. In other ways, she and Lord Andre aren't friends, but they have a shared perambulation around the obvious, a desire to blend in while they follow their own plans.
The story is just one angle of Facets, so it didn't go on to follow Sekana's journey once she was visibly-all-purple-warrior and went back to Rindon. Once again, she's not as subtle as she thinks she is and it's clear there's something that's being hidden about what the Kinari are like. Don feels loyal because she used great power to help him out, but he must wonder where that power comes from. After all, the only person caught reading a history of Rindon was Sekana herself. Maybe something in their past might hold a clue to Sekana's future.
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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Bellevere House has been featured on Ezvid Wiki video "10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories in a New Way." Click to see the video.