Friday, October 21, 2011

Today's Special -- Joanna Bourne

We are delighted to have 2009 RITA award winning author, Joanna Bourne join us once again. Her newest release, The Black Hawk, (Check out my review here), is the latest in the series that started with the RITA-nominated, The Spymaster's Lady, and RITA-winning, My Lord and Spymaster. Joanna writes historicals that are so vivid and rich, they capture the imagination and stay with the reader long after they reach the end. As I said in my review, "Reading a Joanna Bourne novel is a feast for the senses: the decadence of a rich chocolate torte, the crisp, bubbly effervescence of a glass of champagne. Light and dark, sweet and spicy. Everything you could ever want and more." Please welcome the incredibly talented, and equally wonderful, Joanna Bourne to The Romance Dish.

The Girl Has Stones

I've been thinking about female characters and gems.
You thought I meant something else, didn't you?

What it is . . . gems and precious stones have stories woven about them. Topaz and turquoise and tourmaline aren't just pretty. They're the stuff of myth. As far back as we know, rare stones were thought to heal, protect, awaken magic.

Now I'm going to presume these fabled talents and proclivities of rocks are not, y'know, actually valid. But they're the center of universal and ancient beliefs. Without setting my characters to reading fortunes in crystals or dueling with magical sapphires, I can still call on The Power of Stones.

When we write, we reveal our characters by every means possible. We hand visual clues to the reader, telling her what kind of people we're writing about. And we like to be efficient about it, since we're busy and want to settle down to telling story. So we write some of our description in symbols and shortcuts and, if we're not careful, cliches. When our gal picks up a candle and heads down the mysterious staircase, if she's wearing a virginal white gown, we can be pretty sure something scary is going to jump at her out of the darkness. If she's sashaying down in a slinky black silk number, we expect somebody quite different to be waiting. We might assign our heroine long flowing locks, or sassy, bouncy curls or straight hair, hacked off ragged and short. Shortcuts and symbols.

So I'm thinking about gemstones and what they say about a character and how we might use them in telegraphing information to the reader.

Right this moment I'm working on Pax's story. In Chapter One, our heroine opens a letter and a child's ring falls out, a ring with 'a single, rather fine pearl'. Having written that, and thinking about it, I see that pearl saying, 'innocent, vulnerable, and pure'. There's really no other stone I could pick that would convey the same association. I lay down a picture of that ring and brush the reader's mind with two thousand years of legend and art about the pearl. Handy work for a single sentence in Chapter One.

Now, I generally can't load my heroines down with actual sapphires and opals. They're busy and often in hazardous circumstances and can't go running about decked out in gemstones. They are, you might say, always up to the elbows in the dishwater of danger and if they have rings they've put them carefully up on the window sill before they plunge in.
But, in the back of my mind, I assign my folks precious stones that characterize them.

Jessamyn, in My Lord and Spymaster, owns lots of jewelry, being amazingly and unnecessarily rich. For instance, she owns one of the great pearl necklaces of the world.

In a black velvet nest, dozens of pale moons glowed, not white, but the most fragile golden pink. Here were pearls the color of dawn. Mushajjar pearls, from the Gulf of Persia. The largest was the size of his thumbnail. He cupped them in the palm of his hand and they weighed no more than dreams and sea foam. You had to know a lot about pearls to realize just how astonishing this necklace was. It should have been locked in a vault.

Can I compare this string of remarkable pearls to the huge diamond Eve Dallas wears under her cop clothes? The pearls, like that diamond, are a gift and prized because of the giver. The pearls and that diamond are wealth that never succeeds in owning the wearer.

If I were picking a gem that characterizes Jess herself, it's amber. Amber is the gem of outpouring love, warm and golden. Its element is fire, but not uncontrolled fire -- the fire of home and hearth. Legend says amber comes from the tears of the daughters of Phoebus, the sun god. It's suited to her looks. Sebastian calls her a 'passionate Viking'.

Moving along to my Annique from The Spymaster's Lady. Her jewel is the ruby, blood red, intense, and focused. Ruby is the fire gem, the stone of the wounded sun. Rubies were supposed to warn of danger by turning dark, which I supposed Annique would have found useful if she'd been wearing one.

At the end of Spymaster's Lady we have the passage --

Deep, unconditional love swept across her. Thus Grey paid for her freedom with that great secret from his store of secrets. He was like a rajah laying down the legendary ruby of his kingdom to ransom his woman.

For Marguerite in Forbidden Rose, the gem is a pearl. This is even there in her name. Marguerite means daisy, yes. But the deeper origin of the name is pearl. I see Maggie as a baroque pearl combining the sense of vulnerability with lush beauty. The baroque pearl is the most complex and mysterious of jewels. Shift it ever so slightly and you see new images in the dark and light.

And that brings me to Justine in Black Hawk. I see Justine as diamond. The root of the word is Latin, adamas, which means unconquerable or invincible. Clear, bright, hard enough to scratch any other stone, enduring, with an inner integrity that resists coercion, this is the gem you'd choose as a weapon. The center shines with its own light. We say the diamond is clear. But it holds a hundred colors.

Hawker says,
"Owl, at work, was bright as the edge of a diamond, hot as fire sparks."

**I'll be giving away a copy of Black Hawk to some lucky commenter (U.S. and International)**

*Please stop by and check out my blog here. Lots of interesting things over there you won't want to miss.*

So tell me, when you look at your favorite heroines -- what gemstone do you see for them?


  1. I see blue topaz for my favorite heroine - Kate in Eloisa James' A Kiss at Midnight. I love the beautiful color and it looks so beautiful surrounded by diamonds.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  2. I have never associated characters with a specific gem. What a cool way to think of heroines.

    ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

  3. I have never associated heroines with a particular stone. Usually we see their heroes buying them jewellery to match their eyes etc.

    So I like the idea of choosing stones that reflect their personalities instead. Great idea Joanna!

  4. I had to think about this. I would associate a rich, dark amethyst for Caitrin in HEART'S BLOOD by Juliet Marillier.

  5. Such a great concept, I have so many favorites my mind boggles.
    What about a bright Topaz for Lizzie in Pride and Predjudice?

  6. I've seen historical romance covers were a cameo or a jewel is prominent with a dress... Provocative in Pearls Madeline Hunter

    I know that Lauren Royal has created her own jewelry for her heroines and featured it on the covers of their books. She even has a "jewel" series.

    The Emerald Swan by Jane Feather also featured this piece of jewelry.

    Emeralds are associated with good luck and enhanced well being. I can see Beatrice wearing an emerald as she deals with beastly Reynaud in Elizabeth Hoyt's book To Desire the Devil.

  7. Hi, Jo! We're so happy you're here today. And what a fun topic. I'm going to give it some thought, when it comes to matching some of my favorite heroines with gems.

  8. What a fun topic! I have never thought of heroines in association with gems. I need to look at the books on my keeper shelf and give this some thought. Hmmmm....

  9. I think Diamond of Scandalous Lady like as gayle callen's book =D

  10. Amber is my favorite!! soft and loving!

  11. Barbara, blue topaz is a great choice for Kate. I can completely picture that.

  12. Sheree, I never thought of it either, but now I'll think of it every time I read a book. :-)

  13. So I like the idea of choosing stones that reflect their personalities instead. Great idea Joanna!

    It is a fantastic idea, isn't it, Beebs?

  14. Marybelle, I haven't read that book, but I love amethyst.

  15. What about a bright Topaz for Lizzie in Pride and Predjudice?

    Good choice, Dianna!

  16. Laurie G, emeralds are stunning stones.

  17. I absolutely love your books, Joanna!
    These gems are perfect for your heroines, but I never thought about them in such way. Come to think of it, the latest book I've enjoyed Silk is For Seduction by Loretta Chase, and the main heroine must have been an emerald - stunning, unique and bold.
    impy80 at hotmail dot com
    (international reader)

  18. I've never thought of characters and gem stones but it does make sense and I have to say I loved the way the stones matched up with the character descriptions. I could see it once it was pointed out and I think it would definitely add something to the story to think along those lines. Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. Hi Jo! Thanks so much for blogging with us today. Like Gannon, I adored THE BLACK HAWK! As you know (since I've been begging shamelessly for the past three years), I've been anxiously awaiting Adrian's story and you far exceeded my expectations. It's a wonderful story!

    What a fascinating blog! I never would have thought to match heroines with gems but, after reading your descriptions, it makes perfect sense. Now, when I read a new book, I'll be wondering about gems along with all the other characteristics of the heroines I meet. :)

  20. I love the idea of knowing things about the character that only get woven in in the abstract. I think readers sense these things even when they don't know what they're sensing. Must go sprinkle a few such tidbits...

  21. I just bought Annique's book yesterday to delve into your world, Joanna - enjoying it. I once read that gem stones also have a correlation with body parts and a pearl definitely is the most interesting :)

  22. Congratulations on the new release. It's such a good series with an interesting backdrop. I've always been fascinated by the French Revolution and England's role in helping French émigrés. In fact, one of my favorite books is The Scarlet Pimpernel and there are aspects of the plot in your series.

    As for gems, I think many heroines are unpolished diamonds in the beginning of a story. The heroine is raw and not quite formed yet, but through adversity she begins to find strength and really shine.


  23. I think the idea of matching gemstones to a heroine is great. Most gemstones are associated with certain characteristics of personalities. I guess that goes along with all of us having a particular birthstone. Especially love the description of amber. Sounded like a yummy piece of candy. Thanks for sharing.

    Connie Fischer

  24. I'm reading The Black Hawk today, so don't enter me in the contest. I've been a huge Jo Bourne fan since I first read The Spymaster's Lady. I only wish she wrote faster. :)

    I'm fascinated by the gem info and how subtly Jo wove the references into her books. I'd love to use amethyst since "amethyst remembrance," a phrase from an Emily Dickinson poem, is a bit that sings in my head often. The gem is associated with healing, protection, and friendship, so it has wonderful possibilities.

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. I have never associated heroines with gem stones although some of them may be a diamond in the rough. Just haven't thought about it before. I love a strong heroine now winny tails for me.

  27. Forgot to say I have heard a lot of good things about your book and I can't wait to read it.


  28. I love a variety of types of heroines, so they need to have their own persoanl gem. I love Sapphires and Tanzanite since shades of blues are my favorites.

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  29. Hi Barbara -- I had to go look this gem up. I'd never seen a blue topaz. It's very clear, isn't it? A color like a tropical ocean.

  30. Hi Sheree and Beebs --

    Maybe this is like authors who have musical 'themes' for their characters.

    I see this in movies. 'Lara's Theme' from Dr. Zhivago. 'Karen's Theme' from Exodus.

  31. Hi Marybelle --

    I've seen very dark amethysts that are almost midnight black with their intensity.

    Interesting gem for a character. The title Heart's Blood sounds like it belongs to an intense book.

  32. Hi Dianna --

    Lizzie, huh. I was a bit hmmmm about this till I went to the wiki and say a 'red topaz'. Now that is a pretty stone. Full of fire, but sophisticated. Yes.

  33. It's funny, I'm an amateur jeweller & a rabid reader, but I wouldn't have ever thought of associating a character with gemstones. I guess it's not an automatic connection for me, so I'd have to give it some thought. nashkimberleyATgmailDOTcom

  34. Hi Laurie --

    Emerald is exactly the stone for Beatrice.

    I went digging for emeralds once in Georgia, but didn't find any. *g*

  35. Hi Cheryl --

    I find I'm drawn to the translucent or opaque jewels more than the sparkly ones. Pearl, amber, opal, coral, turquoise . . .

    Maybe that means characters with more to them than meets the eye?
    I dunnoh.

  36. Great blog, and all the best for your release!

    I never imagined gemstones to match a heroine. But I will think about it now as I read some romances!

    Red rubies are an interesting statement, In Anna Campbell's 'Tempt the Devil' the hero gave the heroine a choker of them~

  37. Hi Eli --

    That was a red diamond, wasn't it. Too cool.

    Then there's amber for Amber in Forever Amber . . .

  38. Hi Betty --

    I'm a great fan of amber. I like the Baltic amber with all that light and clarity to it.

    I also like the opaque amber you find in beads all over the Near East.

  39. Hi Kara-Karina --

    I have to admit I haven't read the newest Chase yet. It's on my TBR list.

    When I read it, I'll be thinking about emeralds. *g*

  40. Hi Maria --

    You know how we pick the clothing and color of the cloth and the hair style and so on to create the character.

    I like the idea that putting jewels is especially significant.

    In Black Hawk, there's a scene:


    He said, “It’s been a while since we sat and drank coffee.”

    The Piazza San Marco of Venice. Carnevale. He had worn the
    costume of a corsair, his shirt open at the neck, a red sash at his
    waist, a small gold ring in his ear. The saber was quite genuine.

    She was avoiding the corrupt and brutal police of the Austrians
    that night. England was the ally of the Austrians. But Hawker had taken her to the pensione on Via Ottaviano, saying, “The town’s overrun with French spies. You’re my spy. Let them find their own.”

    For all of Carnevale they had strolled the city together,
    masked, and pretended they were not enemies. She’d kissed the
    pirate ring in his ear, tasting gold and the hint of blood. He’d
    pierced himself to wear it. He was always a man of precision in
    his disguises. The taste of Hawker was . . .

    She swallowed and remembered. The nights had been a rough insanity and the tenderness that follows madness.

  41. Hi P.J. --

    Thank you, (and others,) for asking for Adrian's story. I was reluctant to start this one. It's so intense and large-scale.

    Once I got into it, though, I loved writing it.

  42. Hi Deniz --

    It's the old 'seven-eighths of the iceberg' idea. Most of what's in the book doesn't show.

    I think most of what's in a book but not showing, is stuff the author doesn't see either. We expose ourselves so greatly when we write, y'know.

  43. Hi Robbedof --

    Oh ultimate giggle I never thought of that particular meaning of 'pearl'.

  44. Hi Penfield --

    Interesting how we think of jewels as cut and polished and set. Not so much in their raw form.

    If we're going to think about gemstones and the heroine, it certainly makes sense to consider the process that makes a jewel, or a woman, what she is.

    Oh. And I love cabochon gems. *g*

  45. Hi Connie --

    I'm a great fan of amber myself. I know having bugs in it makes it more valuable, but . . . no thank you

    I wonder if part of the joy of writing about really rich people is that we get to dress them in lavish jewelry.

  46. Hi Janga --

    I have a silver bowl I keep next to the phone -- we still have a landline so we don't miss out on those spam telephone calls -- with semiprecious stones in it. Rough stones.

    Some pretty. Some just interesting. Some I got in weird and wonderful ways.

    Anyhow. I have some amethyst. I see why the ancient Greeks associated this with clear perception. I could see Lady Eunice in My Lord and Spymaster associated with amethyst.

    My word verification is soless which makes me think of Gail Carriger.

  47. Jo, from the first time Adrian appeared in The Spymaster's Lady, I knew he needed his own book. Thank you for writing such a wonderful story with the perfect heroine for him.

  48. Hi Virginia --

    If you love a strong heroine -- I do, myself -- maybe one of your favorite characters might be a hematite kinda gal.

    But diamond --I like the strength of a diamond and the precision of it.Lots of strength there.

  49. Hi Di --

    The most intense of the blues in Lapis Lazuli, I think. I like it that the great artworks of the Middle Ages often included ground Lapis Lazuli to make the brilliant blues.

    One of the perfect and clear blues I've seen is the Hope Diamond. So very blue, one can hardly believe it's a diamond.

  50. I completely associate Eve Dallas with a diamond, and not just because she wears a huge one given to her by her sexy husband, Roarke. Hard, bright and multi-faceted.

  51. Hi Cayenne --

    I'd be very interested in what associations you might find between your favorite gemstones and your favorite characters.

    Because a worker in gems doesn't just 'see' the gem. There's the whole other aspect of how the gem cuts and how it feels in the hand.

  52. Hey Jo! Hi Sweet Gannon!

    AWESOME post, Jo!

    I'm intrigued... I can see the Owl as a Diamond, but I was sure that Annique would have been a pearl, and Maggie a Ruby, while Jess is totally an Amber :)

    I would associate Maddy-girl from FLOWERS FROM the STORM by Laura Kinsale with an Emerald which is the symbol of hope.

    Amethyst would be a stone for Clare from Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER. She would need it to protect her in her travels back and forth and as a healer it might have been worn by her, as it has the power to focus energy.

    Now that was so much fun. From now on I'll be assigning the gemstones to my heroines...Wait! What about our heroes?!

    Adrian would be Tiger's Eye (or Hawk's Eye, it really is called that too) and it's also known to bring clear thinking and insight.

    And Doyle would no doubt be Petrified Wood because it's powerful in removing obstacles :)

    Okay, now you name one for Bastien and Gray :)

    BTW: Gannon, you took my line when I wanted to review TBH, and I'm so glad that I changed my mind about it BEFORE I read your review :) 'Reading a Joanna Bourne novel is a feast for the senses...' It sure is and you said it better then I did :)


  53. Melanie, you're too sweet. You could have used that line because it is so very true. :-)

    I was just thinking of Claire from Outlander---oh, how I love that series!---and I never thought of amethyst, but it makes sense from a protection viewpoint. I always see her as orange topaz or maybe smoky quartz.

    Love Adrian being tiger's eye and Doyle being petrified wood. *g*

  54. My favorite heroine is Alaina MacGaren from Ashes in the Wind. I have never considered a gemstone for her but I do believe an emerald suits her nicely. She is a bit of a tomboy and the gem is a subtle, yet strong reflection of the love and strength she has.

  55. Hi Karyn --

    They're a passionate gem, aren't they? Rubies. I can see why Anna Campbell chose them.

    A choker of rubies is definitely making a statement.

    I have a suspicion some of those rubies would have been spinels, in that era. But since nobody could tell them apart . . .

  56. Hi Gannon --

    Definitely a diamond for Eve Dallas.

    And maybe amethyst for the bright hardworking humanity of Peabody.

    I'm having such a good time being here, thinking about these things. Thank you so much for asking me.

    (And I'm glad you liked the Black Hawk book.) *g*

  57. Cheryl C., I'm still trying to think of gems and how they relate to some of my favorite heroines as well.

    Eli, I haven't read that one.

    Betty, I have several pieces of amber jewelry. It's a lovely gemstone.

  58. Karina-karina, you can never go wrong with emerald---such fire!

    Maria, this blog will definitely have me looking at characters in a different way. :-)

    PJ, I think Adrian's story was more than worth the wait. *g*

  59. I have to say Ruby for most of my favorite heroines... Fiesty, fiery, intense...

  60. Oh, amethyst is excellent for Peabody. :-) Maybe a pink topaz for Mavis. Fun and flirty.

    You've written such an interesting blog---impossible not to have fun with it. :-)

    How could I not love The Black Hawk?! :-)

  61. I think readers sense these things even when they don't know what they're sensing.

    That's a good point, Deniz.

  62. robbedofmygoodsense, you are going to love The Spymaster's Lady. Hands down, one of the best books I've ever read.

  63. Penfield, I like the thought of heroines beginning as unpolished diamonds. :-)

    Connie, I like Jo's description of amber, too.

    Amethyst has so many wonderful properties, Janga, besides being lovely to look at.

  64. Virginia, you really must read Jo's books! They are true gems. ;-)

  65. Di, I love all shades of blue as well. Tanzanite is really stunning.

    Cayenne, I think as an amateur jeweler you could really add some wonderful insight to all of this. :-)

    Karyn, rubies are so regal and passionate. Hard to say no to that.

  66. Jo, I loved that scene that you posted from The Black Hawk. *sigh*

  67. Na, it's been so many years since I've read Ashes in the Wind. Might be time to revisit it.

  68. Hi Melanie --

    I am just completely at sea as to what gem, if any, to associate with Adrian. There's an opacity to him, as well as that complexity

    Tiger's eye seems good. Chatoyancy is so cool.

    Interesting thought on Doyle, btw. I really like that.

  69. Hi Gannon --

    Pink topaz for Mavis. Oh yes. Though it ought to be something that changes hue at the blink of an eye. *g*

  70. Hi Na --

    I'm a big fan of emeralds. I have to admit I like it when the heroine is described as having 'emerald eyes'. Though I don't see many folks with eyes of that striking color in real life.

  71. Pink topaz for Mavis. Oh yes. Though it ought to be something that changes hue at the blink of an eye. *g*

    That's our Mavis. *g* Maybe she needs multiple gemstones. Or she could be an opal, as it hidden fire and different colors depending on how you look at it.

  72. Hi Gannon --

    Or watermelon tourmaline. Don't laugh. I've seen some of that made into necklaces and it's beautiful.

  73. Hello and welcome, Jo! We are so happy you're with us today. I can't wait to read Adrian's book! I'm one of those who have (im)patiently waiting for his HEA. :)

    I love this blog! I've never realy thought about associating gems with characters, but I like it! *g*

    My favorite heroine is Kate from Julia Quinn's THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME and I can see either a blue topaz or a black onyx (for her choosing the "mallet of death" in the Pall Mall scene) for her.

  74. Hi Andrea --

    That is so intriguing.

    I had to go look up a picture of black onyx. It has bands of white in it. Subtle and interesting stone. And . . . yes . . . maybe just a tad emphatic.

  75. Amazing information, Joanna! And I cannot WAIT to read Adrian's story!

    I just finished Eileen Dreyer's Always a Temptress and the heroine, Kate is an amazing multifaceted woman. I would definitely say she is a diamond - hard, can be cold and brittle, but there is a brilliance in her heart. And every way you turn her you see something different and fascinating.

    Eloise Bridgerton in To Sir Philip with Love is a ray sunlight in her hero's gray, dull long night of a life. I would say she is a yellow topaz - big, bold, sunny and clear. She doesn't hold back. You always know where you stand with her.

    Verity in Anna Campbell's Claiming the Courtesan is flashy and self-assured and tough on the outside. Royalty in the world of courtesans. She would have to be amethyst. Haughty and regal and passionate. But at her heart warm and full of love and strength.

  76. My two favorite stones are probably lapis and malachite. Then, about two years ago, I discovered a stone that appears to be both together. It's called "azurite." It is distinctly blue and green--not aqua or turquoise.

    In fact, I loved it so much that I bought one large and two small to be made into a sterling pendant and earrings. They are so unusual that they would be very appropriate for a uniquely strong heroine.

  77. Interesting :) I know nothing about gems, so hadn't thought about it before.

  78. Hi Louisa --

    I agree on all three. And especially so much yes to Eloise Bridgerton being a yellow topaz. That is just a shining gem.

    They call that explosive yellow color Imperial Topaz.

  79. Jo, I don't know how much insight I can provide. My design process is focused on the stone, and I tend to prefer them the weirder or more obscure, the better (my specialty is setting geodes & specimen minerals with other calibrated cut & polished stones). The end result comes from the contents, not from an imposed theme.

    So I'm used to going to a mineral show, handling a cut or uncut stone, and immediately seeing the design around that stone and the entire technical process of creating it, but I also might buy a stone that appeals on its own and play with it for months before I come up with something - or multiple somethings - to use it in. This is why my purse is always so heavy - I'm currently toting around a large emerald-cut prasiolite, a navette-shaped malachite with amazingly flame-like banding, a polished malachite/chrysocolla with druzy cavities (I'm into green stones at the moment - this frequently happens to me in autumn), a blue/yellow bi-coloured tourmaline, and some copper I patterned with japanese paper.

  80. Hi Heartoftexas --

    I had to go look that one up. (Wikipedia has good pictures of all these gems.)

    How pretty azurite is.

    The wiki has a photo of a geode filled with azurite. Perfectly lovely.

  81. Hi Phyllis --

    I think authors' minds wind into some pretty strange byways.


  82. Hi Cayenne --

    There have been a fair number of Romances about jewelery designers. Elizabeth Lowell did two, I know. Barbara Michaels did one.

    Sounds like just fascinating and wonderful work. I can sit and look at Art Nouveau jewelry for hours.

  83. I am soo looking forward to reading this book Joanna I love your stories and yes I can see the heroines are matched up excellent with the gemstones.

    I have so many favourite heroines and I love strong ones so I would choose diamonds most of them.

    Have Fun

  84. Hi Helen --

    I have the line, "Diamonds are a girl's best friend," running through my head.

  85. Or watermelon tourmaline. Don't laugh. I've seen some of that made into necklaces and it's beautiful.

    I've seen it too, and it's lovely. Not laughing at all. That just may fit Mavis perfectly. :-)

  86. My favorite heroine is Kate from Julia Quinn's THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME and I can see either a blue topaz or a black onyx (for her choosing the "mallet of death" in the Pall Mall scene) for her.

    Andrea, the mallet of death always makes me laugh. :-D

  87. Louisa, you are spot on with all of your choices.

  88. I discovered a stone that appears to be both together. It's called "azurite." It is distinctly blue and green--not aqua or turquoise.

    heartoftexasbooks, I have an azurite that someone gave me recently. It's still unset for now. I really love the color---very soothing.

  89. Phyllis, there's always something new to consider---makes reading even more fun now.

  90. Cayenne, all of those stones are gorgeous. What a fun job---I admire and envy your creativity.

  91. Helen, I think diamonds are hard to beat. ;-)

  92. One of my favorite heroines is Roxanne from Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand and maybe she would be a diamond since she has an inner strength.

  93. One of my favorite characters is Claire in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. I see her as a blue sapphire, cool and strong. I don't usually thing of gems in connection with characters but it is an interesting thing to think about.

  94. Maureen, I'll have to read that one, but like I said before, diamonds are always good. :-)

  95. One of my favorite characters is Claire in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander.

    Gigi, Claire is one of my favorites, too, as is Jamie. *sigh*

  96. Jo, thank you so much for "dishing" with us today. It's been great fun, and I for one will now look at the characters in the books I read in a whole new way.

  97. What an interesting post this was! Unfortunately I don't seem to associate characters with certain gems but I do love diamonds and rubies! :)

  98. Hi Maureen --

    That's a book I've heard only good things about. I promis myself I will read it one of these days. I will keep that gem in mind when I do.

  99. Genevieve Eversea, from Julie Anne Long’s What I Did for a Duke, reminds me of sapphires. She’s vibrant and beautiful and “true blue” to her family and friends. (My choice may have something to do with the gorgeous blue on the book cover, as well!)

    Thanks for an interesting column.

  100. Hi May --

    When I was looking at jewels and trying to find just the right images of thems, (the hardest to find was the baroque pearl,) I looked at a bunch of settings.

    As you see, I chose one with a very plain, very bold, very modern gold presentation. This is one way to see the ruby.

    I found it remarkable how much the setting matters. Some of the Art Nouveau necklaces and rings just blew my mind away. The bold color of the ruby. The grace and humor of the entire piece.

  101. Hi LSU Reader --

    We speak, sometimes, about how the cover models influence our perception of the characters. How they match or don't match.

    I can't help but wonder whether the overall color of the book cover influences us subtly. A blue cover for 'true blue' and the clear blue of sapphire. Red -- as passionate as rubies . . .?

  102. Hi Sandra --

    (cough) Me too, when we're talking about what may be a nearly universal love of diamonds and rubies.

    I think of our pre-societal ancestors, coming upon these colored stones in the littoral wash of some stream. They'd be rough sapphires or rubies or diamonds. And some woman 50 thousand years ago held it up to the sunlight and thought . . . "I bet I can drill a hole in this and wear it."

  103. Hi Gigi --

    And even more because she uses the gems for time travel. Certainly yes. A diamond for her.

  104. Hi Gannon --

    What I like about the comment trail her is that it's almost a To Be Read list of interesting heroines in Romance genre.

    I just loved being here and doing this.

  105. Hey Joanna! It is such a wonderful delight having you spend the day with us. I am so looking forward to reading this book. I can't wait to see Adrian get his HEA.

    This is such a fun topic! I'll have to try this out while I'm reading.

  106. Hi Buffie --

    It's . . . you imagine a scene where the hero gives the heroine a gem. So. What gem? How does this show he understands her?

  107. I've never thought of a character with jewelry unless it was mentioned in the text. This post gives me something to think about!

  108. Hi, Joanna! I have never really thought of the significance of jewels before, but learned a lot from your post. I think I will be comparing heroines to jewelry now.

  109. Hi Chey and Cathy --

    I'm always looking for new ways to discover the characters.

    Trying to match the heroine with a theme or a fable, a matching gem . . . it's all just ways of seeing inside her.

  110. Thank you for a interesting post. I usually don't think about heroines in terms of gems. In many cases, authors will uses gems in their description of the character. Eyes the deep green of emeralds. Eyes or hair the rich color of amber. Her skin had the translucence of pink pearls. I am afraid I think of the appropriate gem to compliment her when the heroine is dressing formally, at that time having the piece match her personality.
    Now I won't be able to read a book without thinking what gem would fit this heroines character.

    I hope the release is going well. I know I'll be looking for it.

  111. I like the idea of a gemstone fitting by a particular type of heroine in a romance novel. Yet I wouldn't know how to pick one for "another" girl. I personally like Amethysts...

  112. What an interesting method of charactorization association of your heroines. I've not ever thought of that aspect.. as several others mentioned, most gems mentioned are being bought for the heroine... I've always wondered what ever happened to all of the jewels owned by various royal families... sold to finance wars? or just keeping up the kingdom?

  113. Hi librarypat --

    Thank ye kindly for the good wishes. Black Hawk will be officially out in . . . I think it's eight days. If the past is anything to go on, some books will be sold next week.

    I am so excited.

    I got a copy from the publisher and it looked very fine. (The stepback still has me giggling, but that's a historian thing.)

  114. Hi Jo's D --

    When it comes to wearing jewelry myself, I like opals. Great big gaudy iridescent peacocking opals.

    I have no subtlety.

  115. Hi girlygirl --

    The jewels of deposed royalty tend to end up in somebody's pocket, it seems to me.

    On September 11, 1792 six thieves broke into storage and helped themselves to a goodly portion of the French Crown jewels.

    Two great diamonds, the French Blue (blue)(duh) and the Sarcy (pale yellow) were not recovered.

    The Hope diamond was probably cut from the French Blue. The Sarcy has the most interesting history . . .

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  117. See, this is why I like you. This is why I read - to find out wonderful bits of information I never would have thought to look up myself. When I was trying to match the heroine to the stone, Now, I am trying to figure out which stone could possibly match me... I need something to occupy my mind until Black Hawk. The minute I read the first sentence about Hawker, I wanted to read his story. I am so happy to not have to wait much longer.

  118. Four more days! I'm hyperventilating just thinking about reading it. Pearls are my favourite, they are so regal and a good match for Maggie. Nice post.

  119. For some reason, I see Justine as a pearl, which I know isn't a real stone, but there it is.