Okay, trick question--people are still nice, which is what inspired the title. ;-)
In Jewel of Persia, there's a piece of jewelry that plays a pivotal role in the story. It's an open bracelet (called a torc) with lions' heads on the terminals. Much like this. My heroine receives it in the first chapter, and it maintains its importance through much of the book.
It's crucial enough that I want it to be on the cover, perhaps even worked into the chapter headings. So Roseanna went in search of images last week. After some fruitless exploring of Google images, I find the one above. Excited to see something so perfect (though originally the one in JoP was gold), I went to the site of the jeweler, Greek Jewelry Shop.
I've discovered that I love Greek jewelry, and these folks have been specializing in ancient designs since 1928. Based in Athens, they're in their 4th generation of jewelers now and still holding fast to the quality and excellence that has earned Vaphiadis Jewelery (the name of their physical store) an impressive reputation in Europe. (See, even this is historical, so totally fits my theme for the day!)
My thoughts went something like, "I'd really like to use the image of one of their bracelets . . . and can't without permission. I'll email them. Worth a shot, right?"
To my utter surprise, on Saturday afternoon I got an email in reply saying that, yes, my request was very unexpected, but they would be delighted if I used their design in my book cover and that he would be happy to work with the designer if the pictures online weren't of high enough quality. He also offered the gift of whichever bracelet I used, which left me blubbering in stupefaction. People are still that generous? Really?? I am so changing the description of the bracelet in the book to be silver like this one instead of gold!
Given that I was expecting my out-of-the-blue email to these folks to be overlooked and/or ignored, I was thrilled to strike up a conversation with this very talented--and very, very nice--jeweler. It just goes to show you that no matter the century, no matter the political or economic climate, people are still people at heart. And I'm just praising the Lord because while sometimes it feels like nothing works right, even the tiniest things, at other times He leads it all perfectly into place. Little things like permission to use an image--or like finding the right cover model for the book (which my friend Dina also accomplished for me this weekend--go, Dina!) can do wonders for showing you that, yes, you're in the Lord's will.
In Jewel of Persia, the torc pictured above is a symbol of the hero's love. When Kasia takes it off at one point, it's a rejection of him. When she puts it back on, it's a sign of forgiveness. The very act of giving it to her spurs the conflict that fuels half the story.
Although, there's a certain irony to using a Greek design from a jeweler in Athens when it's given by Xerxes, whose set goal in the first half of the book is burning Athens to the ground . . . hmmm. Ah, well. A Greek wrote the history, so we all know how that turned out. =)
Special thanks to Aris Vaphiadis for his generous spirit and inspired designs. I'm looking forward to working his artistry into all my promotions and pointing the appreciative back his way for that special gift of Greek jewelry. Check him out, y'all!