Thursday, October 20, 2011

Some gems and some heroines

Jess, Maggie, Annique and Justine. 
Four heroines.
Four gems.

Which gem goes with which heroine?

Can you match 'em up?

Find out over at The Romance Dish, and get a chance at a copy of The Black Hawk.

Diamond and pearl are Smithsonian.  Ruby attrib JOBAfunky. Amber attrib ericskiff. 


  1. Jo, I'm posting this comment here, as it's off topic. This is one of those questions that’s a little like asking a magician how she made the rabbit disappear, so feel free to say that authors take a sacred oath not to reveal such secrets.

    Hearing you talk about gemstones got me thinking about when you decide to use a particular motif in each novel in a series, as opposed to employing a pattern of imagery in just one novel, as with the Theseus/Ariadne/Minotaur myth that is invoked throughout TFR. That is, does it occur in the first novel and then you say to yourself, “what a great device for telling the reader something important in just one sentence or in a small scene. I’ll use this in all the novels in the series.” Or when you’re plotting, do you say, “I want a way of subtly connecting all the novels in a series – not a gimmick but something that can be used to tell us something important about each hero or heroine -- without interfering with my goal of making each one a standalone book.”

    A motif that occurs in all 4 published novels is chess. Of course, that’s perfect for a series of spy novels, and it seems to me that it must have been intentional from the get-go, but was it? My instinct tells me yes, as I recall a post in which you said that you knew something about the origins of Galba’s chess set when you wrote TSL.

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because when I first started writing, I didn’t begin to know my hero and heroine until a particular theme/legend occurred to me in association with them. Now I know that will run throughout the story. This feels like putting the cart-before-the-horse and is not at all how I thought about the process when I was in the lit. twit biz.

  2. just stopped by from The Romance Dish.

  3. Hi Annie --

    Sometimes I have plans for a particular object. I know I'll use it again.

    That chess set is an example. When I wrote about it, I knew it had come from inside a French prison during the Terror. I knew it had a history. When I set Annique to juggling those pieces, I did that so they'd be remembered another time when I needed them.

    And, from the beginning I laid out that Service guys tend to play chess. I figger the agents at Meeks Street teach apprentices. Agents spend a lot of their time waiting, doing nothing, for hours or days. Playing chess helps pass the time.

    I can't remember right now whether I knew it would be Doyle carrying that set chess out of the prison. But I knew somebody would.

    To a certain extent, I just lace interesting bits into the visual scene. I don't always know where this is going. Sometimes it ends up tying books together. But it also gives a sense of richness and history. It ties the scene to the huge stories going on outside that book. I'm not going to write those stories, but I remind the reader they're there.

    I agree with you so much about the use of fable/legend/fairy tale/theme. It's not just a shortcut to convey mood and motive. It's narrative drive. Just by being in place it pulls everything along with it.

  4. Hi Di ---

    Good to see you. (jo waves wildly)