6 Things We Didn’t Include In Diamonds Down Under

A more accurate title for this blog would be: 6 Things We, At Some Point, Considered Including in Diamonds Down Under But Which Didn’t Make The Final Cut. Considering how long we spent working on the continuity threads and thrashing out the storylines, there was much material to choose from and I have spent a delightful morning skimming hundreds of old emails and reems of notes to arrive at my final list of six.

1. Everyone Hates Howard!

That was one of our tongue-in-cheek ideas for a series title. It didn’t make the cut. *g* Those which we considered more seriously included:

  • DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
  • DIAMONDS, DECEPTION, DESIRE
  • HEART OF THE OUTBACK
  • DIAMOND DYNASTY
  • DIAMONDS DOWN UNDER

The titles we attached to our final book proposals were:

Book1: Perrini’s Boardroom Bride = VOWS & A VENGEFUL GROOM
Book 2: The Boss’s Mistress Secret = PRIDE & A PREGNANCY SECRET
Book 3: His Million Dollar Mistress = MISTRESS & A MILLION DOLLARS
Book 4: The Tycoon’s Unexpected Proposal = SATIN & A SCANDALOUS AFFAIR
Book 5: Return of the Bad Boy Billionaire = BOARDROOMS & A BILLIONAIRE HEIR
Book 6: The CEO’s Convenient Wife = JEALOUSY & A JEWELLED PROPOSITION

MJ came up with those final titles very late one night and we were thrilled with the creatively matched set.

2. Legend of the Lost Mine

Early in the planning stage we had Jeb Hammond, grandfather of the cousins who feature in our stories, missing for many years and presumed dead while searching for a lost diamond mine in the Australian outback. The name Jebediah was a nod to this original crusty-renegade-prospector character. Fiona Brand attached a folklore legend and a curse (which later became a blessing) and in her story Jeb was to be found. Alive! Ownership of the mine and diamond greed created another layer of dispute and conflict. But we had too many threads and layers, and when simplifying we had to–wait for it–*lose* the legend of the lost mine.

3. Tale of the Missing Heir

Once upon a time our outline featured a different version of Jake Blackstone and a very different Story 5. This Jake grew up alongside his siblings and assumed his mantel beside Howard at Blackstone Diamonds. However he didn’t agree with his father’s business tactics and left after a blazing dispute. Distancing himself from everything Blackstone, he struck out on his own and became a formidable success in West Australian mining. After Howard’s death, a lawyer was sent to bring the black sheep heir back into the fold. When we had a change of authors and Paula took over this book, she came up with a new story and backstory for the missing heir. We loved it! (The picture, BTW, has nothing to do with Jake or missing *cough* hair. It’s the inspiration on our group home page. I included it purely for the aesthetic.)

4. Diamonds Are Forever…unless they are stolen.

From the very start we knew that stolen/missing diamonds would be at the heart of the series. Hence, we used the name Heart of the Outback for Jeb’s amazing find of a ginormous pink diamond. Many versions of what happened to the stone ensued. One version saw only half the stone used in The Blackstone Rose necklace; the other half was either in Sonya’s possession or missing. Another idea involved an insurance scam instituted by Howard, complete with a paste “diamond” replacement for the stolen original.

5. Alexis and Ric (and other name changes)

Many of the characters went through name changes as the proposals came together and personalities and backstories developed. At one point Ryan was Bryce, at another Jack. Brianna was Leah. Jarrod was Nicholas. Blake was Connor. And Kimberley was Alexandra, Xandra, and finally Alexis. When MJ read the synopsis she pointed out that Ric and Alexis were a soap super-couple (General Hospital) and so perhaps I might reconsider.

6. Sonya Hammond: Heroine? Mistress? Villain?

Our very first submission featured 40-something Sonya Hammond as a heroine, finding love with a (yummy) younger man. That storyline didn’t get the editorial nod but debate continued for many weeks over Sonya’s role in the series. Had she loved Howard? Was she his mistress at any point in her life? Was she bitter at being overlooked, in love and/or at the will reading? Did this lead to vengeance and if so, as a misguided troublemaker or as an evil villain(ess)? We got quite carried away (plane tampering anyone?) before Jan reeled us in. The Sonya she created does play a significant role and, in true romance fashion, gets her happy ending.

Sonya was a wonderful secondary character with a role as mother and mentor to several characters. Do you like a glimpse of strong/quirky/wise/maternal/fun secondary characters in short books such as Desire? Or are you all about the hero and heroine, skimming scenes and narrative that aren’t them alone together? Let’s talk about secondary characters and their role. Have you read a particularly memorable supporting character recently? 

The prize this week is your choice from Bronwyn Jameson’s backlist (NB: one or two titles not available) and a mini Aussie notebook.  (Prize drawn May 31.)

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51 Responses to “6 Things We Didn’t Include In Diamonds Down Under”

  1. yea first again (lol)

  2. Hi cool post. you all really racked your brains in formating this series. The finall product was so good I never would have thought that so many changes went into it 😀

  3. Hi cool post. you all really racked your brains in formating this series. The final product was so good I never would have thought that so many changes went into it 😀 great job ladies.

  4. limecello Says:

    LOL Avi, you got posts #1-3! Way to go ;). This is a really fun post – I just finished reading Boardrooms & A Billionaire Heir a few days ago, and plan on starting Jealousy & A Jeweled proposition :D. I finally have the complete set – yay! I really liked Sonya – normally I’m indifferent to secondary characters (though I have read some great ones – there even are a few books where I was more interested in the secondary romance than the main one :X).
    Such neat things, and sad they had to be cut, but it makes sense.
    😀 I can’t wait to read book 6!

  5. Great post. The original names of the books being changed really was intresting. You ladies have a talented editor.

  6. Patricia Cochran Says:

    My brain is reeling from all the changes, especially the character names!

    I love having strong secondary characters, they help to build and support
    the main storyline. Their own story helps to embroider necessary points
    into the primary plot. I liken writing to painting: your painting is almost
    never just one color. It takes the addition of touches of a variety of
    other colors to tell the whole story.

    Pat Cochran

  7. Christa Says:

    Interesting news on all the changes that went on in the series. So did all you ladies use that picture as part of your inspiration? I like when secondary characters get their own story, my TBR pile doesn’t like it but I do 🙂 You don’t need to enter me because I have a full Bron backlist collection

  8. Avi, you are the undisputed queen of the first post. 🙂 As for all the changes: let’s just say we spent a looonnnggggg time coming up with the final books, so we’re more than chuffed whenever anyone says we did a great job. Thank you.

    Limecello, yay on completing your set! This also means you will have all the clues to enter the Treasure Hunt contest. 😉 Happy to hear that you liked Sonya. I’m a fan of secondary romances in single titles, where there is room to do both justice and where the characters are interesting. Tis a problem when they’re MORE interesting than the hero/heroine though!

    LJ, she is indeed a talented and wonderful editor.

    Pat, sorry for making your brain reel. I prescribe a nice comfortable seat, an intense romance novel that captures your attention, and you will be all better in a few hours. 🙂

    Bron

  9. Pat said: I liken writing to painting: your painting is almost
    never just one color. It takes the addition of touches of a variety of
    other colors to tell the whole story.

    I LOVE this analogy, Pat. As a reader I want that whole picture, all the colours and the elements, some blended with subtlety, others bold and look-at-me, some doing background duty, some the major foreground subjects. This is how I envisage scenes when I’m writing and why every day is a struggle to capture those elements in perfect combination…or to find the words to portray the image in my mind’s eye.

    Bron

  10. Christa said: So did all you ladies use that picture as part of your inspiration?

    Speaking for myself, Christa, I just used to for the beauty. 🙂

    I like when secondary characters get their own story, my TBR pile doesn’t like it but I do

    A question for everyone: does it annoy when an intriguing secondary character’s story doesn’t come to fruition or when you have to wait too long for its publication?

    An aside: I had a bit-part character in an early book, a nice but no-chemistry date my heroine went on. One reader wrote me and asked if Dan the Dentist was getting his own story. She wanted him to have a happy ending, too. 😦

    You don’t need to enter me because I have a full Bron backlist collection

    Words to put a smile on my face. Thanks, Christa.

    Bron

  11. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a short and sweet story that has less than 200 pages and at other times I like to settle in with a novel that over 300 pages long. One of my favorite secondary characters is Lady Osbaldestone, who makes frequent appearances in Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster series.

  12. My brain just begins to ache when I remember those million emails, Bron LOL.

    Hey Limecello – thanks for reading Jake’s story! Adding onto Bron’s post, my original outline for Jake and Holly was a lovers-reunited, secret miscarriage, hero returning home to his small-town story. Looking back now, it’s not exactly the glitzy glamorous premise for DDU 🙂 Am filing that story away for its time in the sun…

    I particularly enjoyed writing Sonya and Jake’s meeting (I actually cried when I wrote that, so I think it’s a good indicator that I’m happy with a scene LOL).

  13. Christa Says:

    Bron- I guess he made an impact.
    So how do you ladies display you inspirations while writing? Do you make a collage? keep a folder? display them on a bullin booard?
    Just so the backlist comment doesn’t go to Bron’s head 😉 I also have backlists of Tessa, Maxine, Jan, Paula, Yvonne (at least Desire backlists)

  14. azteclady Says:

    As a reader, it really depends on whether the secondary character is well realized (realistic) even if s/he doesn’t have a lot of ‘screen time’, or if s/he has an interesting backstory tied to the main plot line…

    In those cases, I definitely prefer having the instant gratification of releases that are close in time.

  15. azteclady Says:

    Ooopppssss hit submit too soon!

    I wanted to say that I really like the idea of a secondary plot/character that appears in a continuity and reaches her/his ‘happy ending’ along with the other couples at the end of the continuity. It’s just cool to have that thread there, and see it growing and changing.

  16. oops malfunctioning mobile net. when i sent the post it said error so i sent it again 😀 Hi Bron thanks for the title. Limecello i envy that you already read Paula”s book (lol). My bookstore always get th desire line late in the month so still waiting to read it. Paula, like Jan in the other post i always wanted to know how to put the happy face in my post, thanks for the heads up 😀

  17. Bron, thanks for the memories. 🙂 Like Paula, I’m getting a headache just thinking back over all we had brainstormed. On the other hand, I’m so proud of what we achieved to pull this series together, and your post is a great reminder of how much we put into it.

    As for secondary characters, I love Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s secondary characters. They usually have their love stories going on in the background and it’s a nice wrap-up for each book to know everyone has their happy-ever-after.

  18. Gosh, its like taking a trip down memory lane reading Bron’s blog post today. We certainly had a huge amount of discussion on various threads, and that was AFTER we’d gone with the diamond themed books. Prior to that we had discussions about different themes as well. Phew! I have to say I felt sorry for you Paula, when you joined us, having to go back through all the emails that had been discussed in the months beforehand. That must have been one heck of a mission (mission of love, of course!) 🙂

    Yep, loved the meeting between Sonya and Jake. Made my eyes leak a little too.

    Christa, I tend to collage each of my books. I do my synopsis (usually around 10-15 pages) and then a collage. I find the visual input that a collage gives me really valuable as far as keeping on track and keeping the theme of the book firmly in my mind. I use pictures and words in my collages. It’s amazing how sometimes a heading in a magazine article will suddenly leap out at you and be just perfect for a thread in your book.

    Jane, I too love Lady Osbaldstone! She’s a very strong secondary character. And have you read Anne Gracie’s “Perfect” series. She also does secondary characters brilliantly (not to mention her primary characters! )

  19. It’s all about hero and heroine unless secondary characters are well built and the story can’t do without them.
    Not exactly lately but I liked the secondary characters in Nicola Cornick’s Deceived. It’s a historical, the hero’s friend and the heroine’s sister played special role in the main story as well as a little love story on the side. The novel altogether was great.
    Also Stacey Kayne’s Bride of Shadow Canyon. Secondary characters were irreplaceable 🙂

  20. Jane, great example of a secondary character. I love when a memorable one such as Lady O makes multiple reappearances from book to book, esp when their role is rich and valuable. Seconding Yvonne’s recommendation of Anne Gracie for characterisation. Marion Lennox also has the wonderful Ruby, foster mother to many of her characters.

    Paula, I also loved writing Kimberley’s reunion with Sonya…although not nearly as heartwringing as Jake and Sonya.

    Christa, an impact, indeed. I’m also a collager because I like the visual stimulus but also because it is a fine excuse for trawling through glossy mags :). My collage for VOWS is on my website. I have the current book’s sitting right beside my monitor and I also have other pictures that I’ve found on the internet in a doc I can bring up side by side with my manuscript document while I’m writing.

    Re backlists: of course you do. Would not have expected anything less. 😉

    Azteclady said: As a reader, it really depends on whether the secondary character is well realized (realistic) even if s/he doesn’t have a lot of ’screen time’

    Tis a wonderful skill, to be able to paint a character in full living detail with only a few brush strokes. I really admire writers who can do that, damn them! 🙂

    Maxine, SEP’s characters = much wonderful.

    Avi, you’re welcome. Are you enjoying the cricket?

    Mona, there are definitely some books where I am so invested in the hero and heroine’s love story, where they are such vivid characters and interact so well, that I resent any scenes that aren’t just them! Even when, as a writer, I know the other scenes are necessary to build the book.

    Bron

  21. Hi Bron, the cricket is nerve wrecking with Austrailia and West Indies 1st test match. Did you by chance see the match on the third day when a bouncer Brett Lee bowled Chanderpaul, knocked him unconcious for a few minutes. Austrailia is in the lead after a strong first innings when WI fell short. Final day play tomorrow crossing my fingers 😀 Bron guess your happy the Aussies are in the lead (lol)

  22. Hi AviJ, I saw that on the news the other night – ouch! I heard this morning that Aussie wasn’t going too well?? NZ collapsed after a very good first innings against England – as usual…but the buzz here in NZ is Scot Dixon winning the Indy 500, awesome! Natch that pales into insignificance when compared with MY awesome team winning a place in the final of the Super 14 Go! The Crusaders!!!

    Now, onto sport between the sheets…lol… I’ve loved lots of Nora Roberts sec characters in her old books – the MacGregor clan and the Russian family too, can’t recall the surname and all books are packed for my move on Friday.

    “It’s all about hero and heroine unless secondary characters are well built and the story can’t do without them.” Mona, you sound like my editor
    grumble sigh (also, scarily what I was called through high school well built!)

    I did a collage for my last couple of books but really they just consist of pics of the H&h, nothing as grand as Bron’s.

    Okay back to the packing. Have a great week, everyone.

  23. azteclady Says:

    Jan, good luck with the move!

    Bron, yeah, it doesn’t always work well, but when it does…

    Sometimes I only want the main characters–I keep thinking of LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory–and then there are times when the secondary characters just come alive with a few sparse brushstrokes, and you are so glad they are part of the story.

    Lady O is one of them for sure!

  24. Hi Jan, congrats on the new house, WI lost by 95 runs oh well there is the next test match. 😀 It was a good game overall Bron.

  25. I’m going to go check out Anne Gracie’s books. Thanks for the recommendation.

  26. Avi, I didn’t watch the game but caught the highlights on the news. The bouncer that knocked out Chanderpaul was very worrying. Can’t believe he kept on playing after that. I think you guys had the Aussies very worried.

    For Jan: GO THE ‘TAHS!!!

    Jane, they’re worth checking out.

    Bron

  27. ahhh, my favorite form of torture – watching sport 😀 Just a step below having a tooth pulled…
    Jane – I actually have a few of Anne’s books, although I’ve only read one so far: her Duets “How the Sheriff was Won” was an absolute delight.
    Jan – Stanislovskis!

  28. Virginia H. Says:

    To me most of it is all about the hero and heroine, but sometimes a secondary character will fall right into the story line. Sometime they are needed in the story.

  29. Hey Bron it was scary I thought he had to go to the hospital, but he jumped back in to score a century, that was a close one. Paula, it should not be so bad to watch cricket with some handsome sports men on the screen as consolation (lol). Honestly, the NZ cricket team has all the lookers especially Vettori 😀

  30. i do like it but any way is ok with me

  31. Crystal B. Says:

    Great post. I enjoy reading how a series came to be.
    I find that secondary characters add depth to the story. I have really enjoyed Sonya Hammond in this series.

  32. I really enjoyed the glimpse into how hard it is to write a series with several different authors. I like secondary characters in books who bring depth to the story. And I always like it when those characters later have their own story.

  33. The secondary characters in a book I think adds intrest and a certain dimension to a story. Sonya was placed nicely into the stories so far. Some memorable secondary characters for me was in Susan Mallery, Marcelli series, the two grandmothers,Tessa and Grammy M stood out in all the stories.

  34. Hi Jan 🙂 reading what I said again, it does sound too firm and a little bit final. You know sometime it’s just like what Bron said when you’re into the hero and heroine’s story it’s like you’re forcing yourself to read the pages they’re not in.
    Unfortunately I haven’t read any of your books (yet), but I’ve been just at your site and your books sound like great read to me;-)

  35. Ha, Avi, that Daniel knows how to make glasses look very sexy. Hmm, just googled him and none of the images were *that* great. Must be old ones. Hey, and how about his name–Daniel Luca Vettori. Very hero-sounding, don’t you think?

    I could stand it, though, if they didn’t look as good but played a bit better 😉

  36. Virginia, that’s the key isn’t it? Their role in the story. Really not a fan of walk-on appearances that introduce a character for a future book unless there is a role to play in the current story.

    Avi, it was an heroic performance for sure.

    Crystal, glad you enjoyed Sonya’s character and her part in DDU.

    Ellen, depth, absolutely. I must admit here that I love scenes between friends/siblings which can show so much about character…another side, a deeper viewpoint due to their closeness…plus they’re just fun to write.

    LJ, I haven’t read that series but I do love a great grandparent complete with quirks and wisdom and unconditional love.

    Yvonne, perhaps he’s just one of those men who don’t photograph well. 🙂

    Bron

  37. Hey Yvonne, very hero sounding 😀 Bron, I think thats it, I just googled the name too, yvonne definatly not so good photos of him. On TV he looks better, well minus the beard (lol).

  38. Bron forgot to mention I read the Marcelli series LJ listed, those grandmothers definatly were quirky, as well as always trying to feed someone.

  39. waitingforthecall Says:

    Wow, what a fabulous insight into the whole editor/writer partnership. We see the polished and sparking finished product, and don’t realise how many rocks got broken getting there! Some of the ideas that didn’t make the final cut sound fab, too.

    There often doesn’t seem to be a lot of room for secondary characters in series romance, does there, with so much for the hero and heroine to pack in to so few words. Secondary characters have to play some role in either furthering or hindering that central relationship to earn their keep, I reckon. The great thing about a continuity is we can get to follow through and see the hero and heroine of one story as secondadry characters in another- I like that.

  40. LOL Avi at grandmas always trying to feed someone. I didn’t have a grandma, but that’s my son’s grandmothers to a tee, so that particular characterisation would really ring true to me.

    Bron

  41. “Waitingforthecall”, hi there. We were bouncing ideas off each other like crazy — that was one of the huge benefits of developing a series together. The downside, of course, was having too many ideas that complicated things and we needed to pare back to come up with a manageable series.

    Good points about 2ndary’s earning their keep. If they can do double duty, then all the better.

    Bron

  42. azteclady Says:

    What happens to all those ideas that you guys had to weed out? I mean, can you guys use them for another continuity proposal or something like that?

    Seems awful to just toss them aside, you know 😀

  43. Oh, that was really interesting.

  44. Azteclady, in writing, nothing is ever wasted…who knows what the future holds?

  45. azteclady Says:

    Excellent to know, Yvonne! 😀

  46. And I really hope that Fiona will write her story one day. I would love to read it.

    Bron

  47. I have drawn this week’s winner. Congratulations Ellen! Email me with the book you would like (and a 2nd choice in case the 1st isn’t available) and your address to claim the prize. Check my website for a list of my books.

    Thanks to everyone who chatted this week about secondary characters and our left-overs. 🙂

    Bron

  48. congrats ellen 😀

  49. azteclady Says:

    Congrats, Ellen!

    Thank you, Bronwyn and DDU ladies–another week of cool conversation and interesting tidbits.

  50. limecello Says:

    Congratulations, Ellen!

  51. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Suburbia!!!

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