I’m so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for author Janice Peacock and her new release To Bead Or Not To Bead. This is the fourth book in her Glass Bead Mystery Series.
To Bead or Not to Bead (Glass Bead Mystery Series)
4th in Series
Vetrai Press (June 29, 2018)
Print Length: 187 pages
Digital ASIN: B07CZ4B5Q7
When a wealthy theater owner is killed by a falling art glass chandelier, glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell’s boyfriend, Detective Zachary Grant, quickly determines it was no accident. Jax and her friend Tessa try to carry on with a charity fashion gala at the theater, but with only a few days before the big event, they have to scramble to keep things from falling apart. The emcee quits, and to make matters worse, Tessa’s daughters are suspects in the murder. As the chaos unfolds, Jax discovers new suspects at every turn, including an edgy glass blower, an agoraphobic socialite, and a hunky former-cop-turned-actor. Can Jax piece together the clues to find the killer and uncover the dark secrets behind the victim’s family or will it be curtains for her?
Books In The Series:
Janice Peacock decided to write her first mystery novel after working in a glass studio full of colorful artists who didn’t always get along. They reminded her of the odd, and often humorous, characters in the murder mystery books she loved to read. Inspired by that experience, she combined her two passions and wrote High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery, the first book in a new cozy mystery series featuring glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell.
When Janice Peacock isn’t writing about glass artists who are amateur detectives, she makes glass beads using a torch, designs one-of-a-kind jewelry and makes sculptures using hot glass. An award-winning artist, her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of several museums. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two cats, and seven chickens. She has a studio full of beads…lots and lots of beads.
Webpage – www.janicepeacock.com,
Facebook – www.facebook.com/JanPeac,
GoodReads – www.goodreads.com/JanicePeacock,
When did you know that you wanted to be an author? What things, if any, influenced that decision?
I was never sure I wanted to be an author until I finished writing my first book. I know that sounds strange, but I wrote my first book as an experiment and an intellectual challenge. What would it be like to write a book? My sister-in-law had written a few books during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and so when November rolled around I decided to give it a try. Once I started writing, I was hooked. I find writing very therapeutic—it keeps me out of trouble. Not that I’d get into any actual trouble, but it does help my brain by giving it a puzzle to work on every day.
With so many cozies being written today, what makes your books stand out from the crowd?
I think my books are a lot of fun. There is a lot more humor in my Glass Bead Mystery Series than in most cozies. Sometimes that doesn’t always come across in the books’ blurbs and that’s something I’m looking into addressing. I think the other way that my books stand out is that the protagonist has a very unusual career as a glass beadmaker—what the heck is that? Jax, the main character in the series, makes glass beads by melting glass in a high-powered torch and then sculpting the glass into shapes. I’m a glass beadmaker, too, so readers can be assured that they are learning about glass beadmaking from some who really knows what they are talking about.
Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?
I’m what they call a “pantser,” which means I work by the seat of my pants, without an outline. This has been a good way for me to write, though I find it is not very efficient. I think my “pantsing” process has served me well in terms of coming up with multi-layered plots. However, since I only release a book a year using this ad hoc method, I’ve decided for my new series that I’ll work from a detailed outline. I’m hoping I can make this technique work and that it will increase my productivity and perhaps even the quality of my writing.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you do anything special to get those reviews?
I try not to read my reviews, but I do, sort of peaking through my fingers like I might if I were watching a horror movie. I love getting great reviews—who wouldn’t? When I get a great review it really helps reinforce why I write: to make a world that people want to visit and create characters that readers consider their friends. And, yes, there are people who have left 1-star reviews. Fortunately, there have only been a couple. Some of the people who write reviews like that are simply trolls who enjoy writing horrible things in hopes of getting a reaction. The one thing I’ve learned is to never, ever feed the trolls by responding. I just carry on. Now, if there is a review that points out something valid, then I do think it is important to learn from that feedback.
I don’t do anything special to get reviews, other than ask anyone and everyone to please leave a review because in the world of Amazon more reviews typically means more exposure to potential readers.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I think I’d tell myself to say no to volunteering, also known as working for free. I believe in community service, but I found that at few points in my past I let a volunteer job take over my life. It can be awfully difficult to extract oneself from those situations and very stressful. I think the other advice I’d give myself is to allow for playtime. When I went to college in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, where the campus is literally on the cliffs above the glittering Pacific Ocean, I can count on one hand the number of times I went to the beach. Why? Because I was busy getting a double major in Linguistics and Communication Studies, volunteering at a radio station, and generally working too hard. I wish I could return to that time and remember to relax and hit the beach now and then.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in someone buying your book(s)? Who designs your book covers?
Yes! I do think covers are very important. Since I’m an artist, I’m a very visually-oriented person, so covers matter a great deal to me. When someone is shopping on Amazon, for instance, they are scrolling past dozens of covers as they shop. I think a really good cover is what makes a potential reader stop and learn more about a book. My first two covers (High Strung and A Bead in the Hand) were designed by a graphic artist at my former publishing company, Booktrope. The third cover (Off the Beadin’ Path) was designed by a freelance designer after Booktrope went out of business. The fourth cover (To Bead or Not to Bead) I created myself! I probably won’t do that again because it was pretty difficult, given my skills in Photoshop and InDesign are along the lines of “I’ve never done this before, but can figure it out.”
Please give us an insight into your main characters. What do you think makes them special?
I think Jax, the main character is my series, is an “every woman” in many ways. What makes her special is that she was brave enough to leave her mediocre life behind and do what she really wanted to do—to be her authentic self. For Jax, that meant moving to Seattle and becoming an artist. Things are not always perfect for Jax, but she has good, strong friendships that help her when she gets in trouble—as she often does. You can’t be an amateur sleuth and not get into trouble now and then.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming an author?
I’ve learned I can really, actually write a successful book, or four. This is all very surprising to me. When I finish and I’ve published a book and see it for the first time on Amazon, or when my box of books arrives from the printer, I’m a little startled. I actually did this. I’ve learned I’m much more tenacious than I give myself credit for. Writing is not easy, but somehow after many months, I make it to the finish line. I’m also getting better at having a thick skin—you have to. When I finally release a book, it lives out in the world for everyone to see—and criticize. And that can be tough. I’m getting much better at not letting the rejection and negative feedback bother me. Sure, it hurts a bit, but then I try and let it go. And no matter what, I keep writing.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write full time. I also make glass bead full time. So maybe that’s part-time for each? Or maybe I just work too hard.
What do your plans for future projects include?
The new project is sort of hush-hush right now but it has something to do with gardening…stay tuned.
What do you think the hardest part of writing is? What is the easiest?
The hardest part is putting my butt in my ergonomic chair in front of my computer each morning and writing. There are so many other things that are there to distract me. I sometimes have to turn Wi-Fi off so I’m not constantly interrupting myself to check email or various websites I frequent. So, keeping myself undistracted is the most difficult thing. The easiest? Writing. Undistracted writing. So, once I can clear away the distractions and focus, it is absolutely wonderful to simply write, explore, and create new characters and journeys. It is magical.
What type of books do you like to read? Who are some of your favorite authors?
I like to read mysteries, most of them are cozy. I think Alan Bradley’s Flavia DeLuce Mysteries are terrific, as are Colin Coterril’s Dr. Siri Mysteries. One of my all time favorite books, which is not a cozy mystery, but is mysterious nonetheless, is Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold. When I’m in heavy-duty writing mode, I find it difficult to read fiction, so I read non-fiction—mostly books about becoming a better writer and books about marketing.
What is the one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
I’ve been writing fiction for six years, though I wrote technical training documentation in the software industry for 30 years before that. I have a husband and a grown daughter and live a pretty normal life. I love working from home, tending my garden and chickens, and sitting on my back deck on the warm evenings and having a glass of wine. I have two cats: Sydney and Mr. Leo. Plus we have Flint, an extra cat right now, who belongs to my daughter. When I’m not writing, I’m in my glass studio playing with fire.
Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
I would like to thank my readers for making it possible for me to make a living writing books. Writing has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life. Becoming an author has been a life-changing experience for me, and for that, I thank you for your support. Keep reading!
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/janicepeacock
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