High Strung is Out, Now Onward and Upward

On Monday September 14th, 2015 my first book, High Strung, A Glass Bead Mystery was re-released by Booktrope. Here’s the link to Amazon, go check it out. I’ll wait.

High Strung, A Glass Bead Mystery

Here’s a little blurb about the book:

High Strung by Janice Peacock

High Strung by Janice Peacock

After inheriting a house in Seattle, Jax O’Connell is living the life of her dreams as a glass beadmaker and jewelry designer. When she gets an offer to display her work during a bead shop’s opening festivities, it’s an opportunity Jax can’t resist—even though Rosie Perez, the store’s owner, is the surliest person Jax has ever met.
The weekend’s events become a tangled mess when a young beadmaker is found dead nearby and several oddball bead enthusiasts are suspects. Jax must string together the clues to clear her friend Tessa’s name—and do it before the killer strikes again.

I self-published High Strung in 2014. At the time, I was deliriously happy with my accomplishment and the reception the book had received. I hoped that I’d eventually find a publisher, but figured that would take years.

Last spring the stars aligned just right and I found a publisher that wanted me.  I recounted that story a few months back on this blog. There’s an even better version of the story on the Book Country Blog, where I was honored to be featured on my book’s launch day.

http://blog.bookcountry.com/janice-peacock-serendipitous-path-publisher/

Do I get to rest on my laurels? (What a funny phrase—a laurel branch poking me in the bum—no thank you. But I digress.) There’ll be no rest for the weary as my Booktrope team and I shift into high gear to release the next book in the Glass Bead Mystery series before the end of the year.

Ohhh…you want to hear about that? Sorry, you’ll have to wait until next time.

 

Not in Wonderland Anymore

IMG_1515

The infamous Deb Crowley and yours truly.

My head continues to swirl with ideas even days after Glass Stock has ended.  This year’s theme at Glass Stock was Alice in (Glassy) Wonderland, and last weekend was indeed a world of glassy wonder. A huge thanks to Deb Crowley, the mastermind behind Glass Stock.  She has created something beautiful—a collaborative environment for teaching and learning.

On Sunday, there were just a few events before we left for home.  With a gung-ho attitude I jumped behind a torch to do an elimination round.  What the heck is that, you may ask?  Basically, everyone gets a bag of mystery glass and a theme and then all the contestants have 20 minutes to make a small sculpture. The artists with the best sculptures move on to the next round, everyone else gets the boot. We all opened our bags and dumped out the contents. A tube, a rod, and a couple bits of color. It was all borosilicate glass— not my speciality. Although I do have some secret boro skills, they have not been used for many years.  Oh, and we could only use three tools to sculpt our masterpiece.  Our theme was “what grown-ups should not wear.”

I created a weird looking head with a blue mohawk (adults should not have mohawks, unless they are named Gremlin.) On the face of this lumpy head, I added a patch over one eye (adults should not wear eye patches like pirates unless they are named Dale Chihuly). This strange figure had a long, bizarre nose, nearly a chicken’s beak.  And, no, adults should not wear them.

IMG_1516

Housemates: Donna, Leslie, (me!), Kris, Felicia, and Jennifer.

It’s probably no surprise that I did not make it to the next round in the elimination contest.  Those who moved on had such masterpieces as “The Mullet” and “Superman Underwear.” There were other entries that were, how shall I say…less suitable for my PG-13 blog posts, so we’ll just leave those to your imagination.

IMG_1513

A gathering of plastic animals, sad to see the fate of their friend the gecko who apparently is soaking in vodka.

I made some terrific new friends during Glass Stock.  I especially enjoyed getting to know my housemates, and wished I wasn’t such a wimp that I needed at least 7 hours of sleep in order to be a functioning member of society.  Otherwise, I’d have stayed up to the wee hours with them.  We did discover who the trickster was. She continued leaving small toys in our bedroom over the long weekend.

Jennifer and I blasted home on Sunday, doing the long 8-hour drive all the way through, trading off driving duties every couple of hours.  I was happy to be home, back in my own Wonderland, ready to try some new things in my studio. Ready to play.

Two Fun Bracelets, Too Much Fun

IMG_0020

Some of the fantastic bracelets made by students in my class.

We had another fabulous day at Glass Stock.  I started the day teaching a class I called  (not very creatively,) “Two Fun Bracelets,” in which we made, uh, two fun bracelets. One of the bracelets, called Ephemera, is a black stretchy cuff made of a series of small frames. You add pictures to each tiny frame before placing lenses on top of each image. I was impressed with the bracelets that my students made and am inspired to make more of my own jewelry in this style. That’s one of the best things about teaching—I am inspired by the work of my students, and learn at least as much from them as they learn from me.

IMG_1449

Two Fun Bracelets class

The other bracelet I showed my students was called the Sprout. It looks a little like a furry beaded caterpillar. The students and I had fun choosing the perfect whimsical color combinations of seed beads that complemented the colors in their handmade glass beads which are part of the clasp for their pieces.

Today was the last day of classes. It’s been an exhausting experience here at Glass Stock.  I admit that I took a short nap in the car this afternoon, after I realized that I couldn’t focus anymore and found myself falling asleep during one of the classes I was really looking forward to taking.  Forutnately, after my brief snooze, I was able to come back to class and finish my project.

In yesterday’s post IIMG_0021 mentioned that I’d hit one of my glass beads with a hammer and shattered it while trying to complete a ring.  I finally had a chance to finish that piece and I love it! Here’s an image of my silver ring in aqua and transparent green, and Jennifer’s in orange and lime green.

One of the final events of the day included a drawing for each other’s beads.  I won a fantastic sea horse sculpture made by Donna Prunkard.  It was my lucky night!  I alsIMG_0022o won a beautiful paperweight, but we’re not sure who made it. I’m hoping we’ll be able to solve that mystery before we leave tomorrow.  Wait a second—tomorrow! So soon? Glass Stock—it’s been too much fun, but it’s time to return to reality

Riveted Rings, Felted Flowers, and Wacky Hats

IMG_0015

Felicia is teaching us how to make a ring by riveting a handmade glass bead to a silver ring blank.

My second day at Glass Stock started with a class on creating silver rings with glass beads riveted on them, taught by the talented Felicia Warnik. I made some great progress on my rings, but sadly broke one of the beads while hammering on it to set a rivet. Glass beads and hammers do not mix. After crushing that bead, I didn’t have much time to regroup, and will have to work to finish my rings at another time this weekend. I promise to post pics just as soon as I have something to show for all my hard work, other than a pile of rubble.

IMG_0014

In the afternoon it was my turn to lead a class about making felted flowers.  We abandoned the windy outdoor area at Cornerstone Glass, where Glass Stock is taking place, and headed to our gorgeous rental house, for a few hours of creativity with wool and beads, while sitting at a stylish dining room table, instead of in a tent in the parking lot. My students and I had fun turning long fluffy pieces of wool into flat coaster-size disks of felt. We rubbed the wool vigorously inside plastic water-filled baggies, then sculpted and embellished the felt into flower shapes. We added pin backs to create perfect little boutonnieres, and had lots of time to play and experiment.

No trip to Eugene is complete with some good local beer and food truck grub.  We headed over to Oakshire Brewery for a pretty damn good pilsner and a pizza from the food truck parked outside the pub, before wandering back for the evening’s Glass Stock events.

IMG_0016

Jodie McDougall and David Houpt sporting their cool Alice in Wonderland hats…and David went all-out with the full Alice costume.

It was time for the hat contest. I created a hat, a crown, actually, covered in large red heart-shaped glass beads that I had made. It wasn’t bad, but being a newbie, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. It turns out, I should have had a whole costume to go along with the hat. I have tons of costumes and could have had fun pulling something together…perhaps a feather boa, a tiara, and a big pink satin dress…

Like they say, “What happens at Glass Stock, stays at Glass Stock.” Or something like that.  I’ll leave it to you to imagine what else happened tonight, because I’m not telling.

 

Glass Stock: Stump Suckers and Straight Lines

IMG_0011

Jodie McDougall and I tag-teaming a mini-paperweight. I’m pre-heating the flower components while Jodie melts the clear glass.

I started my first day at Glass Stock with a class led by Jodie McDougall who was teaching how to create a mini glass paperweight. We started by making some small flower petals out of glass, and assembling them into a flower. Then we placed the little flower in a vacuum chamber, called a Stump Sucker.  (If you know the inventor, Loren Stump, this makes sense.)  Now things get tricky.  While you are heating the clear glass in a torch that will encapsulate your flower, someone else takes a torch and pre-heats your little flower.  Then you drop the molten glass onto your flower setup while sucking the air out of the vacuum chamber with a rubber hose (yes, you do suck).  It’s tag-team glass working at its finest.

IMG_0010

JC Herrell with glass guru Bob Snodgrass. He’s helping her by gripping her arms tightly and jokingly as he tries to guide her.

In the afternoon, I took a class with JC Herrell, who has magic in her hands.  She can make a perfectly straight line in molten glass on a bead.  Heck, I can’t even make a straight line of ink on a piece of paper.  But, I was a trooper—we all were—and by the end of class all of us had made some beads with lines on them.  My lines were a little wonky, but I certainly made progress in using this technique.

I ended the evening by giving a demo on how to make an ancient mask bead and watched a demo on how to make a go
rgeous drinking glass with a geometric flower design in the base.

IMG_0013It’s getting late, and tomorrow is another day full of fun and learning.  I promise another missive from the wild world of glass in Eugene very soon.

On Our Way to Glass Stock

IMG_0009_2

The first night of Glass Stock in Eugene

My beadmaking buddy Jennifer and I spent the last two days wending our way to Eugene, Oregon for an event called “Glass Stock”—several days of classes about melting glass, making beads, using turbo-charged torches, and yes, a little partying.

We spent last night in Ashland and saw a show called “Head Over Heels,” a Shakespearean-style play set to the music of the Go-Go’s.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Watch this space for a review of that show.  I promise to write one.  It will not be pretty.

We find ourselves now in Eugene, tired after a long schlepp and a little shoe shopping in downtown Ashland earlier in the day. We arrived just as the sky opened up and dumped rain on our heads—big, fat drops coming down hard.  I’d forgotten what it’s like to have so much rain fall. We don’t have that happen very often in California.  At all. Ever.

Tonight was the start of Glass Stock, with a kickoff meeting and the first of several days and nights of flame working fun. I hugged many of my beadmaking friends who I don’t get to see often enough, and met some new folks too.  We’re staying in a lovely rental house for this long weekend, and it’s bound to be fun, as it appears there is a trickster among us who left a rubber lizard under my pillow.

I’ll be back soon, as soon as I can turn off the torch and squeeze in some time on my laptop.

My Beads on the Cover of HIGH STRUNG

High Strung Final Cover Booktrope

High Strung’s New Cover

The release of the second edition of High Strung, A Glass Bead Mystery is just around the corner. In case you missed it, here’s the new cover. I’m elated with the book’s bright and shiny new look. When I was working with my cover designer, Booktrope’s Greg Simanson, I sent him a picture of glass beads I had made so he could understand what I was talking about when I said I wanted lampworked beads on the cover of the book.

Here’s the image that I sent him. These are beads that I made back in the 1990s. They look quite different from what I make today, that’s for sure. When I saw the cover Greg had created, I was blown away—there they were, perfect renderings of my beads, on the cover of the book!

bead strand 2What’s up next in the world of the Glass Bead Mystery series? The new edition of High Strung will be out on September 14, at all major online retailers in both ebook and paperback formats. I don’t have a link for the book yet, but when I do, I’ll be sure to post it. Meanwhile, I’m working hard on the next book in the series. It’s called A Bead in the Hand. We are shooting for a launch date of sometime in November, just in time for holiday gift giving. Stay tuned for details!

One last thing: I’m having another Facebook Party! If you didn’t make it to the last one (which was smashing success, by the way), then you’ll need to stop in for this one. I’ll have a ton of swag to give away, you don’t want to miss it. The High Strung Launch Party is on Sunday Sept 13 from 10AM to 6PM Pacific time. Here’s the link…let us know that you’re coming.

https://www.facebook.com/events/146924245642494/

High Strung Gets a New Cover

CoverReveal2

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

IMG_0945

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.