• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

Octopus/Octothorpe….there’re eight legs, what else do you want?

Newton abbreviation for poundEW.com (ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’s electronic edition) reveals the official cover for MOBY (aka WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD), shown above. Here’s the link to their piece, which has a few questions and answers (such as they are [cough]).

Image at left: From the 1600s, Sir Isaac Newton’s stylized version of the abbreviation “lb,” which was short for the word “libra” in the Roman weight libra pondo, the origin of the octothorpe (#).

While I originally wanted an octopus on the cover—both because I really like octopuses and because of the symbolism (there are eight major characters whose stories I’m telling through this book—and it is the eighth book, after all), there were certain technical issues that made that difficult. My husband—never a big fan of the octopus concept—asked whether I could think laterally; surely there were other ways to get an “8” onto the cover.

So I thought. And almost at once, the word “octothorpe” sprang to mind. I’ve always liked the word, and it certainly was appropriate (you may or may not recognize it in its Very Artistic form—but it’s the lowly hashtag, or pound sign, #), as it not only has eight points (and eight “fields” of empty space surrounding it; one explanation of its origin is that it was a symbol on old English land documents for a farm surrounded by eight fields), but is a printing character—and the content of the book does indeed have a certain amount about the printer’s trade in colonial America during the Revolution.

altmann-octothorpeSo I went at once to Google and typed in “octothorpe”—and pretty much the first thing I saw was this (the symbol at right). I was so ravished by Conrad Altmann’s beautiful octothorpe that I emailed it at once to my editor, with the suggestion that we use this for the central icon of the new cover design.

Now, frankly, the Art Department was so relieved not to have to deal with any more octopuses that I’m sure they would have fallen on any alternate suggestion with cries of gladness. However, they were as pleased with this lovely octothorpe as I was, and came up with this elegant and striking concept, which I Really Like. Hope you will, too!

Further note: Sir Isaac Newton PRS (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author (described in his time as a “natural philosopher”) who is widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time and was a key figure in the scientific revolution. Image of the symbol written by him above is from the Roy G. Neville Historical Chemical Library, CHF; and Wikipedia.

February 23, 2021: Thank you to Kate Mullin, who pointed out that a web link in a previous version of this blog by Diana was no longer valid, and indeed was erroneously pointing instead to an Asian porn site!

This blog page was last updated on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at 10:25 a.m. by Diana or Diana’s Webmistress.

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141 Responses »

  1. It’s very original. Cannot wait to get my hands on it. Am currently re-reading the books. Can’t wait.

  2. It is absolutely lovely! Congratulations Diana on another fantastic cover!

  3. Diana,
    Your books are some of the best I’ve ever read, and I’ve been a bibliophile for 50 years. I just ordered your graphic novel out of a semi-frantic need for a new Jamie/Clair story. Eagerly awaiting our (your fans) early Christmas present.
    God bless you and keep you

  4. I really LOVE the octothorpe and the symbolism of it. I love your explanation of it as well. Just the thought you put into it explains your popularity. You write for the thinking individual. Thanks!!

  5. Awesome job achieved by all those involved!!!


  7. Husbands can be SO helpful sometimes, can’t they? I have to say I agree with your husband in not ever being too excited by the octopus concept. You have come up with a beautiful, not to mention genius, alternative. Even knowing what an octothorpe is, I had trouble at first picking up the stylized pound sign. When I finally saw it, I smiled a huge smile, as I so often do when I read a genius turn of phrase or description in your books. It’s so cool that my favorite author is one smart cookie, too!

  8. Neat and formal. Timeless! Can’t wait to read it! Thank you :-)

  9. Great cover! Your use of a octothorpe is a great selection!

  10. I can’t stop wondering why there are so few comments from guys on these blog and Facebook pages. I just finished reading the entire Outlander corpus, including all the SLINs and Bulges, and can’t wait for MOBY. This is great storytelling, engaging characters, and a fascinating mix of sci-fi, history, war, politics, science, medicine, etc., etc. These books have everything. Surely they don’t just appeal to the ladies. C’mon guys. Let’s hear more of us admit that we love a good story, too.

  11. In one of the books, Jamie voices the opinion that he believes Claire is one of the “Auld Ones”. Does he mean one of the “Fae”….Karen Marie Moning (along with several other authors) have written books about the Fae in Scotland….Is this the same myth?

    I appreciate all of your work….thanks

    • Dear Tammy–

      To the best of my knowledge, the “Fae” are largely made up by people who write urban fantasy; I’ve never encountered that term in researching Scottish folklore.


  12. Love it, it’s perfect!

  13. You are a remarkable person…lucky to have support of family and awesome staff. The cover is lovely and powerful. Your books have brought me and will always bring me joy…solace..laughter…anticipation

  14. Beautiful cover! Love the wax seal design and the symbolism.

  15. Hello Diana ! Thankyou so much for your explanations. Since yesterday I have been looking…looking and looking at the cover ! So beautiful, elegant, love it (much much more than the octopus..) and love the symbolism too. Best greetings from France, Christiane

  16. Wonderful use of my design! I’m glad you like it, and the cover looks great. Thanks for the spot, and I look forward to reading the series.

    Check out my friend’s blog at http://www.shadycharacters.co.uk, it’s a great resource for type fanatics and historians.

    • Conrad!

      How lovely to see you here! [g] And I’m just delighted that you like the cover design. The minute I saw your wonderful octothorpe, I was smitten.


  17. Diana, I think it is a perfect combination of all the elements you wanted for this new book into one neat package. I love the blood red wax blob of the octothorpe signifiying one’s own blood sealing the letter.

    Well done!

  18. As always Diana, very symbolically clever and thought provoking. You never disappoint.

  19. Very nice, Diana! Love the octothorpe and the symbolism, can’t wait for the book to be out.

  20. Oh I can’t wait for this to be finished. I have so very much enjoyed your books.

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