Getting Dark

My next book, which I will start plotting this month, stars a female Security Analyst – a female Sherlock Holmes type – who is gifted with Synesthesia. Her partner is a burly, ex-Army Ranger with what he calls a “Crazy Magnet.” Together, they stumble across a plot that threatens to unravel the uneasy thread of peace among major Superpowers. It will not be a typical crime/espionage thriller. I’m not the typical type. However, I do intend for it to appeal to readers of that genre.

My lead’s name is Jeanne D’Arc, professionally known as Dark. Her partner is Foster Cain, Foss for short (Mr. Cain if he doesn’t like you.)

The photo at top is the 1st mockup I developed for Dark. I need to decide on how she looks before I start. I’m very visual, and need to be able to “see” my characters as the story unfolds. It isn’t so much a picture of their appearance as it is an image of their attitude. I capture their “vibe” or essence, as I write. In a way, it’s much like remembering a dream. Even when I find a photo that looks like my character, it isn’t really them; instead, the photo is an actor playing the role I write. Sometimes, the image comes first. Other times, a photo resonates, and gives me the character.

Dark is the most illusive of all my leads. I can feel her, visualize her clearly – all but her face. I see her attitude – the quiet surety, her comfort with being a very square peg in a round societal hole, her gifts. But I cannot see her face; maybe it is because she does not see others’ faces the way we do. They are colored with other things. Likewise, Jeanne Dark is colored by her synesthesia and the Dark glasses.

Perhaps her appearance changes. We shall see. There are other possibilities for Dark. She will come, and even if others try to steal her from me, they cannot. What I have revealed is 1% of her. There is more to come … much, much more. And. there is Foss. he has already starred in a short story, and has agreed to narrate Dark’s. So much more to come.

Which image do you find the most intriguing as a lead?

  1. The quiet, detached, confident, dirty blonde? She shows a cool exterior; she is logical, precise, but follows no one’s lead but hers. Paths are not the way forward, but merely departure points for finding her own way.
  2. Perhaps the brunette beauty of unknown ethnicity. She knows you want to know more, is confident of her ability to intrigue you. She often looks into your eyes, and reads you from stem to stern, but you will not know she notices, unless she chooses that you know. She is smart, strong, and sexy. They are weapons, she knows, but none of those things are what she values. She only values the truth.
  3. Or maybe she is the third woman. She is ice blonde – not like you. Her world is different than yours, what she sees is a blanket that covers her, and the only way she can survive is to shield herself from it. Her eyes are her weapons. On some days, she feels like Cyclops of the X-Men – she fears if she unleashes their full power, you will be destroyed by her. Still, she is compelled to find the truth – it is an obsession, and she is locked onto you like radar. You will not know her, for she is not like you. But she will know you – better than you know yourself.

One can get a lot from a photo, no?


  1. ceciliag says:

    Wow, i think you are gunning for the number 3 character, i do look forward to reading little teasers of this book.. i think it will be awesome.. c

    1. Thanks, C. I was actually leaning toward the first one, but number 3 intrigues me. I wrote these descriptors just now. I guess they do capture what it was about the photos that grabbed me. I like the 2nd one, but she’s feeling like a different character than the lead.

  2. ceciliag says:

    when I say gunning I mean, chasing, un masking, but never quite unmasked, the most attracted to as a lead. i love a woman who watches . silently.. c

    1. Hmm, I guess I could write her. I married a woman like that once. You never knew what was going on in her head until she solved her puzzle.

      1. ceciliag says:

        I am going to have to go back and look at them more closely, perfect timing for a new book as it is cooling down now.. c

  3. Heidi C. Vlach says:

    2 and 3 both sound interesting to me.

    And the synesthesia should be fun to write! I love seeing that concept show up, literally or just in a descriptive sense. Hope you don’t get too many readers who miss the point and insist that smells can’t have a colour (or whatever).

    1. Thanks for the feedback. To date, having “too many readers” do anything hasn’t been a problem, so I’ll risk it. 🙂

  4. This really sounds like something I would read. No matter which chick you choose. Looking forward to it. As a matter of fact, don’t respond to this comment. Just keep writing. 😉

  5. Jana Denardo says:

    This sounds really interesting.

  6. Jana, Ms. East, thank you very much.

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