One thing that stands out on the cover of Scotch Broom is a charm bracelet. This, of course, is an integral part of the plot of Scotch Broom. I hinted that the bracelet would be a nice addition to the cover several months ago when I filled out the cover art form where we writers attempt to describe our vision of the cover, essential elements of the plot, and make outrageous demands of our long-suffering cover artists.
Charm bracelets aren’t just jewelry. The wearing of charms may have begun as a form of amulet to ward off evil spirits or bad luck. During the pre-historic period, jewelry charms would be made from shells, animal-bones and clay. Later charms were made out of gems, rocks, and wood.
For instance, there is evidence from Africa that shells were used for adornments around 75,000 years ago. In Germany intricately carved mammoth tusk charms have been found from around 30,000 years ago. In ancient Egypt charms were used for identification and as symbols of faith and luck. Charms also served to identify an individual to the gods in the afterlife.
During the Roman Empire, Christians would use tiny fish charms hidden in their clothing to identify themselves to other Christians. Jewish scholars of the same period would write tiny passages of Jewish law and put them in amulets round their necks to keep the law close to their heart at all times. Medieval knights wore charms for protection in battle. Charms also were worn in the Dark Ages to denote family origin and religious and political convictions. (Thanks to Wikipedia for the information on the history of charms http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charm_bracelet).
And, of course, we should not forget Lucky Charms (General Mills) which provide us with food just like Kat’s little pig charm does in the story.
So, here is it. Scotch Broom complete with the most charming bracelet. If you can't quite make out the figures, here's what they are and what they represent as related to Kat by the gifter, Mordita.
Excerpt from Scotch Broom:
“Hold out your hand,” Mordita ordered. Kat laid the gift packets on a side table and held out her right arm. Mordita grabbed her wrist and Kat felt something slide around it followed by the faint snick of a latch. Mordita let go. “Look closely, and you’ll see the charms on the chain.” Kat examined the bracelet. Five tiny charms hung from it, evenly spaced around the bracelet’s length.
I can’t quite...oh, now I see them. Thanks, Mordita. It’s very, umm, pretty.”
“Fiddlesticks. These are useful charms. They’re not meant to be just decorative.” Mordita held up Kat’s wrist and poked one of the charms. It squealed. Kat jumped. “Shush, you silly thing,” Mordita said.
“This little piggie provides food where none is to be found. Nutritious food, that is, so don’t be hoping for candy.”
“Oh. That’s handy.” Kat peered closer at the pig charm. It looked back at her and winked. She grinned. What a great charm, she thought, and charming, too.
Mordita poked at another charm, and Kat heard a muffled purring sound. “This little kitty finds a warm place for you to stay. Nothing fancy, just basic shelter.”
Mordita stroked the next charm, and a muted honk came from the tiny goose. “Early warning system. Activate it when you want protection from unpleasant surprises.”
Kat laughed. “I might need that the second I put foot in Great Britain. It’s all new to me.”
Poke. Whinny. “This pony will bring transportation, for example, a cab in London. The drivers would as soon run you over as pick you up.”
“Cab? I don’t know— Is that a vehicle you can hire to take you places?”
“Indeed. Now, use this last one only in case of dire emergency.” Mordita pointed at the charm but didn’t touch it. “Best let sleeping ogres lie. You’d better have a desperate need for an eight-foot tall, five-hundred pound, angry ogre.”
Kat gave the charm a dubious look. “Will it attack me?”
“Of course not. I imprinted your personality on all the charms. They will serve you and only you. Of course, you must have the bracelet on for the charms to work.”
“This is a great gift, Mordita. I can’t thank you enough.”