Hiding Easter Eggs in Your Books

When I was growing up, I loved Easter…Not the Easter bunny (as my parents didn’t do the Easter bunny) but the hiding and searching for Easter eggs. We (my sister and my cousins) would find them, someone would re-hide them, and we’ll all go look for them again. Those were some nasty eggs at the end of the day. And yes, there were eggs that were hidden and not found until weeks later when they would begin to stink!

But today I want to ask you about Easter Eggs in books…do you include Easter eggs in your books? Easter Eggs are like inside jokes…not everyone will get them. Sometimes you might plant an Easter egg that only your long time blog followers might get. For example, Nancy Martin blogs on The Lipstick Chronicles. Her lawyer is Kathy Sweeney. Kathy posted for years in the comments section (although now she is a regular contributor.) When Mick Abbruzzo had an affair (in Nancy’s Blackbird sisters mysteries), he slept with his therapist…Dr. Kathy Sweeney. It was a hoot for us long time followers.

But Nancy isn’t the only one who plants Easter Eggs. In The DaVini Code, on the back cover near the fourth comment there are some coordinates. These coordinates are for a sculpture located on the CIA headquarters grounds in Langley, VA.  That is only ONE of many of them he built into his books.

There is a website dedicated to figuring these out and posting them. http://www.egg.com  Here are the top 25 book Easter Eggs.

It made me take a look at my own book, Texas Two Step. I have a few there very few people will get other than my close high school friends. Names, addresses, drinks.

It’s not just books. Last night we were watching Leverage, which stars Timothy Hutton. The characters were supposed to be dressed up as famous detectives. He declared he was dressed as the greatest detective of all times, Ellery Queen. I laughed. Timothy Hutton’s father was Jim Hutton, who played Ellery Queen on television.

I love find these. Is this something you look for in books and movies, or am I just odd?

Do you hide Easter Eggs in your writing? Do you do it on purpose or do they just appear?

If you’ve got a book out, give us a page number in your book(s) where you’ve hidden a fun fact.

EDITED 9 am CST  I will be away from the computer until later this afternoon. But I will be back this evening. 

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32 Responses

  1. I blogged about this recently myself, but there are Easter eggs in a lot of my books. In Eternal Nights, all the throwaway characters who needed names are named after baseball players whose teams were in the playoffs while I was writing the book.

    In Through a Crimson Veil, the jokes are a little more inside. The bar, the Crimson Jim, is named after one of my coworkers at the time. He asked me to put in a reference to the Evil Twin Brewery and I did that as well.

    There are more, but I think the jokes are a fun to do. I haven’t been doing it as much recently, but after blogging about it, I thought, yeah, I have to get back to this.

    • All mine started out as “place holders”…i.e. I’ll change this name later and then I didn’t and decided to leave them for my friends.

      One of mine is “Teresa Miller”, a combination of names…one friend named Teresa and one friend whose maiden name is Miller.

      Another is the bride in my story..Emily. While I was writing this, my friend’s daughter, Emily, was getting married so “Emily” was a placeholder that ended up staying.

      Thanks for coming by Patti! See you on Twitter. 🙂

  2. Most of the Easter eggs I have are inside jokes, too, or too obscure for anyone else to figure out. In Fight or Flight, my last book, the heroine’s daughter’s dorm is laid out like my first (and third) dorm room.

    Supernatural does tons of Easter eggs, and even turns whole episodes into them. They were in a chilly LA in one ep, and they said the weather was positively Canadian (they film in Vancouver). In an early season, they were in jail, and talking about whether the criminals were worth saving from the vengeful ghost, and one character said to the other, “What, are you from Texas?” Both actors are.

    My November 1 release, Under the Moon, has two characters inspired by Sam and Dean from Supernatural, and that book is chock full of Easter eggs related to the show.

    Can’t wait to see what everyone says about their books! Might make me reread some of them to find them! LOL

    • I started out watching Supernatural and then lost my place in the series and didn’t go back. I might need to find the series on disk and catch up. But your examples are what I’m talking about. Somehow when I “get” the inside joke, it makes the show feel more personal. Know what I mean?

      Same with books. I remember that Christine Dodd used her dog Ritter in one book. I loved “getting” that joke.

      • Yes! I think that’s part of why Supernatural’s fandom is so rabid. When a guest star talks about how bad the script for Boogeyman was, we laugh because Supernatural’s creator, Eric Kripke, wrote that script.

        Megan Hart’s Spice books aren’t connected, but they’re mostly located around Harrisburg, PA, so she slips characters from the previous books in, as cameos. If you read Broken, you recognize Joe-the-neighbor in Collide.

  3. The only one I can consciously remember putting in one of my books is in my novella Star Power. The hero is an action-movie star, and the action movies he was in? My romantic adventure books Hot Shot and Beneath the Surface 🙂 VERY few people got that, sadly 🙂

    Cool about Ellery Queen on Leverage. I’m so behind on that show. I look forward to seeing that episode!

    • MJ – I immediately got the Ellery Queen reference. My husband didn’t until I explained it to him. Then he remembered. Back when Ellery Queen was on, I used to watch it so this Easter egg was a breeze for find for me.

      In my book, there is an Easter egg using my high school boyfriend. I’m waiting to see if any of my HS buds find it!

    • MJ, how could we have gotten it? Star Power doesn’t come out until October! LOL Thanks for spoiling it, sheesh. *grumble grumble*

      • Er, LAST October. But that may be why no one got it, if they didn’t know!

        • Well, that was annoying. I clicked “reply” in the e-mail that had your reply and it sent me to the main reply box instead of here. So I’m reposting so it makes more sense. LOL

          I think you really need to update your website, lady! LOL

          I read your comment, thought, “How did I miss that one? I have to get it!” I went to your website, clicked on your home page, and the first line says “On October 6, Star Power will be released from The Wild Rose Press.” I stopped right there. LOL

        • I see the confusion–it was on my blog, not my website. Will change that!

  4. I’m absolutely fascinated by this, Cyndi! Being part of the oblivious reading public, I’d never thought about Easter eggs. Well, except in the traditional sense. Having five grandchildren and living in Michigan, where Easter egg hunts have to be indoors, we very carefully count the eggs beforehand and hunt until we know that number has been found. The first year or two we had not, and there is nothing like the smell of a rotten egg that you can’t quite locate.

    But Easter eggs in books! What fun. I shall go hunt for the ones you’ve mentioned . . .

    • Hi Beppie. How are feeling today?

      My parents would never let us hide eggs in the house unless it was raining. Even if the eggs were counted, there was always ONE that could not be found…until much later! LOL

    • Hi Beppie. How are feeling today?

      My parents would never let us hide eggs in the house unless it was raining. Even if the eggs were counted, there was always ONE that could not be found…until much later! LOL

      AND (Beppie knows this)…My heroine in book 3 of my Texas Montgomery series will be named Beppie! Anyone guess who that is named after?

      My mother’s name is Willodene. Kind of unique. One of my friends in Oklahoma named her antagonist Willodene (after my mother.) She has the book and shows everyone her name! My sister was sure mom had lost her mind until I told her that nope…mom wasn’t crazy (at least about her name in the book!) The woman in book was named after mom!

  5. what a cool post Cyndi. I’ve never really thought about it either. I imagine a lot of shows and books alike have hidden easter eggs. I will try and be more perceptive to them as I read/watch.

    We used to have easter egg hunts growing up but unlike you we used plastic eggs with MONEY in them. We would hunt them several times too. There was always a couple of eggs each time that had a least a $1 in them. We now do them for the nieces, nephews and grandkids. we still lose an egg or too and have to hunt until it’s located – but at least if it’s not, it’s plastic.

    • Honestly Heather, you’ll probably never find my Easter Eggs. Most of them are there for friends who have known me a long time. Or at least that’s true in Texas Two Step.

      I suspect most the EE in books go over my head!

    • Heather, that’s how my inlaws do the egg hunts, too. We’ve been really careful with real eggs inside, and luckily never had the missing-egg issue, but some of the outdoor money/candy egg hunts turn into marathons. No one gets bored because they want more money! LOL

  6. I love Easter egg hunts too. I use plastic eggs and let the kids hide them over and over (usually sans the candy) Even then, I usually find an egg with melted goo in it around June.

    You know, I thought I didn’t have any Easter eggs in my books. And I don’t, at least not like coordinates or something like that. But there are plenty of details woven into the story that only someone who knows me would pick up on. In one of my books, I based an important road on the name of a friend who was being treated for breast cancer. Many characters spout my grandmother’s favorite sayings. As I thought about it, I realized my books are full of personal tidbits.

    This is a really cool subject. Thank you!

  7. I’m a fan of Easter Eggs. Makes it fun for me when people say, “Hey, I recognized that little event.”

    I used names in A Little Texas. In the front of my book, I dedicate that issue to four friends – There is a minor (some which grew to be majors in other books) character with the maiden name of each dedicatee – Tamara Beach (after Sandy Beach Hearron), Trudy Cox (After my CP Connie Cox) Brent Hamilton (after my HS Bff Dianna Hamilton Horning) and Kate Newman (after my New Olreans’ bud Rachel Newman Winter). I also take the last names of my high school friends and use them for very minor characters which I think is fun.

    I also used my grandmother’s names in The Way to Texas.

    And my Target scene in A Litle Texas has the H/H running into a woman and two little girls – those are my nieces Audrey Jane and Ava Jaymes…along with my SIL Tafta.

    See? I do it ALL the time. Makes it fun for me as a writer.

    Great topic, Cyndi.

    And we need to do a fun post on our books – Vegas Two Step and Texas Two Ste before yours comes out. We should totally have a dance. Yeah…that would be fun!

  8. Cyndi, no I don’t and I’d never heard that term! How wonderful. You know I try to be clear as mud most times because the moment my cps say I don’t get it, I think neither will the reader. Very interesting. How are Eggs different than subtext? Great about Leverage, I was a huge Jim Hutton fan.

    • Subtext is not the same at all. Subtext is like a story within the story. Or a subtle message underlying the words.

      Easter Eggs are things (items or references) found in stories, movies, tv shows that have meaning but maybe only to some people. The Leverage example is one. For most people, that would have no meaning. For people within the industry, it something use to evoke a smile at a nice memory. Movies have TONS of EE’s.

      Since none of my high school buds come by here, I give you one in my book that I bet ALL of them get.

      My heroine’s address is 1974 George Avenue. Means nothing to you, but to them? 1974 was HS graduation. HS boyfriend was George. They will get this. I put it there for them to find. I hid an Easter Egg for them!

    • How come I’m anonymous and have a mean face? Thanks for replying, Cyndi!

      • 🙂 the faces are randomly selected by wordpress. no worries, it’s not you! if you have a gravatar.com account, it’ll post that image on all wordpress blogs for you.

  9. This was really interesting, Cyndi! I didn’t know there was an actual name for it. LOL I have lots of little things in my books, but I doubt anyone will pick up on them. My critique group has talked about using the name of one of our members daughter’s somewhere in our books. We were all there from the beginning of the pregnancy and this sweet little girl has been coming to our get togethers with her momma ever since she was born. Best baby I’ve ever seen! And she’s growing up right before our eyes. 🙂

    • I think anyone who knows a author well will be able to find things that relate to that author, like names. The EEs I love are the ones that can be found in books like the DiVinci Code where Brown built them in deliberately.

      On Eloisa James’ page, she has a link for all the Easter Eggs in her books. Very fun to look for.

  10. Ah, okay, I have an Easter Egg in mine. Thanks for the explanation…

  11. I used to do a lot more EEs, but I haven’t in a while. I sort of have some eggs planted in the later books of the Apple Trail series that only readers of the series would get. Just little updates and such of earlier characters.

  12. I think you really need to update your website, lady! LOL

    I read your comment, thought, “How did I miss that one? I have to get it!” I went to your website, clicked on your home page, and the first line says “On October 6, Star Power will be released from The Wild Rose Press.” I stopped right there. LOL

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