High Strung Gets a New Cover

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This is the old High Strung cover…Are you ready for the new one? I am!

I’m retiring the old “High Strung, A Glass Bead Mystery” book cover this week. And while I’m sad to see it go, I’m excited to take the next step on my journey as a writer. Two years ago when I embarked on the adventure of publishing my first book, I had very few resources. A cover designer? I didn’t have one, so I hired a recent art school grad to create a cover. It was an oil painting, and it was perfect. The book is a murder mystery, and the cover conveyed exactly what I was looking for—a noose made of handmade glass beads. I have a image of that painting above my desk that I look at every day. It’s a terrific cover, but it’s time to let it go.

My book will soon be re-published by Booktrope, and my life as a self-published author will come to an end, at least for now. One thing that had to go when I signed on with this publisher was the old book cover. The new cover—oh, this new cover—I’m thrilled with it. And I’ve accepted that it’s time to move on. Out with the old, in with the new! That is my mantra these days.

On Sunday August 2nd I’ll be revealing the new cover of “High Strung,” and saying good-bye to the old cover of the painted noose on the blue background, but I expect I’ll keep the poster of my very first book above my desk for a long time to come.

Join me online at facebook.com/JanicePeacockAuthor on Sunday August 2nd from 3Pm to 6Pm Pacific time. I’ll be revealing the new cover, playing games, and giving away lots of prizes.

We’d love to know that you’ll be attending. Visit this link and simply click the GOING button. https://www.facebook.com/events/106037053072269/

Let’s party!

Forging Connections and Celebrating Community

mini apronsI returned from a week in Albuquerque a few days ago. Exhausted. Happy. And with a pocket full of new glass beads. I was there for a weekend conference, and this year I stretched it into a whole week of activities, dinners with friends, shopping, and classes. I was in New Mexico for an event called The Gathering and this year’s theme was Forging Connections :: Celebrating Community. Indeed, I certainly forged new connections – between myself and others – and I celebrated the community of beadmakers.

The Gathering is an opportunity for glass bead makers from all over the world to come together for a weekend of education, and yes, a lot of fun. We usually have around 300 people at the conference. That represents a small fraction of the glass beadmakers in the world. At The Gathering members of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) learn from each other constantly; not just in the large ballroom where bead and jewelry artists speak about their work and give demonstrations.

One terrific thing about the ISGB, its members, and The Gatherings is that people share their knowledge. In the past, and still today in many artistic circles, communication about techniques and teaching, even informally, is limited. But, at the beadmakers’ conference, knowledge is shared gladly. I learned, for instance, about a cool new kind of jewelry that allows the wearer to snap glass cabochons on and off of a leather bracelet in a nearly-endless array of decorative combinations. I’m excited to make some of these glass cabochons now that I’m home, and to get a new bracelet to play with. Who knows where this idea will lead?

Over the years, the people I have met at the Gatherings have become my friends. Although I may see them only once a year, these friendships are precious to me. Seeing someone you care about on Facebook is fine, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing, better than a warm hug in person from a friend. A mojito with a friend is pretty good, too.

I’ve been a member of the ISGB for 22 years. In just a few years, that will be more than half my life—such a crazy thought, that this organization has been an ongoing part my life for so long. While I’ve been involved in other organizations over the years, this had been the one organization that I have been involved in continuously, and the members of the ISGB – they are my peeps. (Ah, Peeps, that is a story for another day).

And the photo? We’re modeling our new mini-aprons, which are a fantastic way to keep things handy when you are selling your work at a bead bazaar. A talented glass bead maker named Stephanie Sersich (sssbeads.com) created them and brought them to The Gathering for us. I love my apron…oh, and that’s me second from the right.

Am I grateful to the ISGB? Yes. Grateful for the friends I’ve made at the annual Gatherings. YES.

I hear next year we’ll all meet again in New Orleans. I can’t wait.

Lessons from a Broody Hen

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Buffy the broody hen.

This is Buffy. We didn’t name her after a vampire slayer, but instead, she’s named for her breed— a Buff Orpington. Buffy is broody. That means she insists on sitting on her nest for weeks at a time, never leaving for a minute, unless we shove her, rather unceremoniously, off the assortment of eggs beneath her. She’s trying to hatch some eggs, and she is absolutely set on achieving that goal.

I’ve learned a few things from Buffy. The first is that when you have a job to do, you need to have stubborn determination and patience. I’ve been trying to follow Buffy’s lead. I’ve got to sit here on my nest—actually at my desk—and do what I’m supposed to do, with unwavering focus. Buffy does not wander off and do other things that might be more fun. For Buffy, that might be scratching around in the yard looking for tender morsels, for me, that might be shopping for shoes at Zappos.com or sitting on the back deck soaking up the sun.

I’m sure Buffy suffers by not eating or drinking while brooding. For me, though, I find that I spend too much time eating and drinking (not alcohol, I swear) to keep myself amused when the job of writing gets tedious—also known as editing. Sitting at my desk with a single task is hard work. It’s easy to be lured away by social media, by on-line Scrabble, by just about anything. Doing a job well requires patience and termination. Buffy has it. I’m getting better at it.

Broody, of course, means more than sitting on eggs for endless days. Buffy does not look happy; she looks grumpy, if that is possible for a chicken. We’ve all seen brooding artists and authors, sitting pensively, no matter where they are, thinking deeply and determinedly about their creative work. It’s not really my style, but I do get grumpy from all that sitting staring at words on the screen. And I’m not good at being isolated. But Buffy has the right idea: sit there and do your job, and do it until its done. And suffer, if you must.

Buffy sits on those eggs, but sadly, they will never hatch. You see, we don’t have a rooster, so those non-fertile eggs will just sit there beneath her forever, never hatching into chicks. She holds on too long hoping that if she just sticks to it, her eggs will hatch. And I’ve fallen victim to that mentality as well. I’ve sat on my manuscript (figuratively, of course I’m not Buffy in that way) not wanting anyone to see it. I’ve waited and waited until it was perfect before I’d give it to my review team. I found that by waiting to show it to people is not a good plan.  At some point I must realize that its time to let this manuscript go, to let it out into the world so that it can live and breath. The only way that I can hatch a novel is to let other people read it.

I’m learning that the only way to move forward is to get off the nest and let my baby fly. For Buffy, she’ll eventually get off her nest, tired and hungry, having realized, finally, that her eggs are duds. She’ll go back to scratching around in the pen. And me? I’ll pick up my pen and start writing. Again.