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.
Alyce is one of the heroines that people probably remember the best, because she appeared in two of my stories at one time. One of those stories, called (guess what?) “Alyce,” eventually blended with a historical story called Victoria and—as an individual entity—disappeared. But the other Alyce story is still very much around. I just haven’t posted on this heroine before.
"Millhaven Castle" is similar to the now-vanished “Alyce” story in showing a period-historical type of fantasy world called Milland. Milland is divided into the majority, who belong to the mainstream culture under the rule of the Falknor house, and a small minority, mostly rural, called Sherbans. These people are dwindling and remember the old days before the Falknors came to power. When Alyce and other Sherbans are invited to a dance by the Falknor king, she finds he’s extremely rude to her and his castle and guests are absurd. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t very important to them.
Alyce tends to get into a lot of ridiculous situations and is given a lot of lemons, so to speak, so she’s very good at making lemonade. She has a calmness in the face of whatever’s thrown at her that isn’t passivity—it’s dismissing these situations as not going to have any effect on her. Although quiet, Alyce has a firm personality and you can’t change her. That actually bothers a lot of people she knows, such as Mistress Dickson, her mother’s friend. If Alyce has her own plans for the future, she’s never let on about them. Instead, she drifts with the people that she’s stuck among, seemingly without minding it. But in reality she is always on her own path. And Lord Timson finds this to be quite true when he tries—very ineffectively—to set her up.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
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When I set about defining my books, I wanted them to be positive places where a gentleness emanated from the pages. A hopeful safety lies in gentleness and there's also an honesty to it. A whirlwind of pushy book blurbs and hot characters (or whatever type character the author wants you to admire) can conceal a reality underneath. A quiet--possibly even lurking--reality that's more visible if you dial down the volume. That lurking reality isn't necessarily bad, but like anything quiet, it gets drowned out by conflict and angst. Peaceful fiction can help explore the truth that noisy books ignore.
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.