by Ellen Byron
Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a Long Island Iced Tina by Maria DiRico aka Ellen Byron, and a link to order it from Amazon and an indie bookstore.
I’m a relatively simple gal. Most of my wardrobe comes from Target and a local shop where nothing seems to cost over forty dollars. I’ve never coveted fancy stuff. Then one day I walked into a local jewelry store to ask if they’d donate to my kid’s elementary school silent auction and I saw… it. A slim bracelet made of sapphires in a variety of colors arranged by shade like a rainbow. I. Fell. In. Love.
The shop owner explained that the stunning piece of jewelry was called a rainbow tennis bracelet. On the high end, like the piece I was admiring, they feature sapphires because it’s a stone that comes in many colors. The bracelet’s price tag of four thousand dollars put it waaaaaay out of my price range. But it launched me on a search for a version I might be able to afford.
I discovered that less expensive versions of the bracelet are made from topaz, another stone that can be found in a variety of hues. Those bracelets were also too rich for my blood, so I continued the hunt. I came across versions made of crystal, some lovely, some cheap-looking. Even the best of them lacked the sparkle and shading of the original bracelet that inspired me, so eventually I gave up the search. Then I began writing Long Island Iced Tina, my new Catering Hall Mystery. I needed something that would help create the image of a flashy, competitive second wife with a mysterious source of income. And I recalled the gorgeous rainbow bracelet that had won my heart years earlier. To really sell the woman’s extravagant nature, I gave her not one but an armful of the bracelets. I also imbued Mia, my protagonist, with my own lust for one.
About a year ago, while waiting for a dance class to start at my gym, I told this story to a friend I’d made in class. Hope, a talented performer and writer, is a jewelry savant. But the term “rainbow bracelet” was new to her. I described it in a general sense, and she said, “I think I have one.” When we met for class the following week, she handed me a small gauze bag. Inside was a lovely, very unique rainbow bracelet. “It’s for you,” she said. “I never wear it.” I was so touched by Hope’s generosity, I almost burst into tears.
I wanted to wear Hope’s bracelet to every convention and conference I attended this year but Covid derailed my plan. Instead, I take it out sometimes just to admire its beauty. I may not have bought the bracelet I coveted ten years ago in the jewelry store, but that lovely rainbow of sapphires inspired both a story beat and a gift I’ll always treasure.
Readers, have you ever fallen in love with something you know you’ll never own? Comment to be entered to win a copy of Long Island Iced Tina, or simply enter by emailing KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “tea,”. A winner will be chosen March 6, 2021. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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