Thursday, December 3, 2015

High Strung by Janice Peacock - #review #interview #giveaway


***High Strung, A Glass Bead Mystery ebook will be 99 cents from Dec 5 to Dec 9. A Bead in the Hand, book two in the Glass Bead Mystery Series, is now available.  Both can be found in paperback and ebook editions on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.

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.




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MY REVIEW

Who knew crafts could be such a dangerous undertaking?  With beads in general, there are pins and needles (literally) which can stick your finger.  With glass beadmaking, there's the whole fire and heat element added into the mix.  And the competition can be murder!

Rosie Perez, owner of the store where the bead workshops are taking place makes a great murder suspect.  She has repeated complained about the victim and her partner setting their beadwares on the sidewalk outside the shop.  And she's not very nice besides that.  I cringed for Tracy (Rosie's daughter) every time Rosie opened her mouth.  Tracy was a main target of her mother's belittling wrath to all those around her.  So I reiterate, Rosie would make a superb suspect - if she hadn't gone and gotten herself almost strangled just hours previously be her own one-of-a-kind bead necklace and gone to the hospital.

Well, I'm not the only one jumping to conclusions.  The police jump to conclusions about motives and suspects in this crime.  Jax jumps to conclusions several times about her erstwhile gentleman friend and his possible connection to the dastardly deeds taking place in the Seattle bead world.

The bead artists in High Strung are almost as colorful as the glass beads they create.  Having done some beadwork myself, though mostly with seed beads or polymer clay, I appreciated that aspect of this book.  A local bead store even had a baby shower for my first child, because I was teaching a class there at the time!

And apparently Seattle is a hotbed (ok, small pun intended) of glass bead artists.  I found representative characters for all types of beaders which I had come across:  the divas, the teachers, the beading as a ministry folks, the givers and a number of others.  Using my very subjective definitions, I see Rosie as the self-appointed bead goddess, Misty and Nick as itinerant disciples, and Tessa as beneficent sponsor.  (My goodness, I did not mean to have everything take on a religious aspect! *lol*)

High Strung is a wonderful debut novel.  I, personally, was thrilled to have two of my favored past-times (cozies and beadwork) in a book!  It was fun watching Jax's budding romance stop and start, thus proving 'the course of love never did run smooth'.  I am really looking forward to book 2 (A Bead in the Hand) and any future installments!

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MEET THE AUTHOR



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, three cats, and seven chickens. She has a studio full of beads…lots and lots of beads.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW!

1.  How long have you been interested in writing?

I knew I wanted to write a novel about ten years ago, but I didn’t sit down and do it until I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2012. That’s when I wrote High Strung, A Glass Bead Mystery, the first book in the Glass Bead Mystery Series. Before becoming a novelist, I wrote technical training materials in the high-tech field.  I can say without a doubt that writing novels is much more fun but the same amount of hard work.

2.  How long have you been interested in beads and jewelry?

I’ve loved beads since I was a girl. In the 1970s a friend and I would go to a funky old bead shop in Laguna Beach, California whenever we could.  We’d buy all sorts of wooden and ceramic beads and make bracelets for hours on end. My love of all things beadie continued into adulthood. A sure sign of my bead obsession was when I learned to make my own glass beads in 1992. As soon as I lit a torch and started melting bits of glass, I knew I was hooked.  I try to get out to my studio to make beads as often as possible, but that can be difficult when there are writing deadlines or when I need to be a responsible member of society.

3.  Do you know how many installments will be in the "Glass Bead Mystery Series" or is it open-ended?

The series is open ended. When I run out of bead-related puns, I’ll have to stop.  But for now, I’ve got a long list of titles and book ideas to go with them:  To Bead or Not to Bead, Bruised and Beadin’, Born to Bead Wild…and so many more. I can’t wait to start writing them!

4.  How do you keep your cats away from your chickens?

Fortunately, we all don’t live under one roof.  The chickens have a lovely pen and hutch outside in our large yard, which backs up to the hills. The cats were intrigued when we raised chicks in the house until they were big enough to be outside. The cats would stare into the top of the giant Rubbermaid tub we kept the chicks in. I’m sure the cats were thinking, “Yum!”  The main concerns we have around here are coyotes and the foxes—both will eat chickens and cats!  We lock up our chickens in their hutch at night, and the cats snuggle inside with us.

5.  Have you always lived in the Bay Area?

I’m originally from Southern California.  It was a terrific place to grow up, with its orange groves and sunny beaches. I worked at Disneyland during the summer. I attended the University of California at Santa Barbara, where I got my undergraduate and graduate degrees, before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband in 1987.  While I haven’t lived here my whole life, it has been home for so long, I definitely feel like a Northern Californian—and believe me, there is a difference between the two ends of the state.

6.  What is one (or more) location(s) on your travel bucket list?

I’ve wanted to go to Africa for a long time, but I’m still researching where specifically to go and what to do.  My glass bead designs are inspired by the masks and art of several African tribal groups. It would be terrific to see a wide variety of masks in person and learn how they are used in traditional ceremonies. Going on a photo safari is high on my list of things to do, as well as visiting the mountain gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda.  

7.  If you could invite any writer from history over for supper and conversation, whom would you invite and what would the topic of discussion be?

I’m tempted to invite over the usual suspects: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie or even Shakespeare. But, I’d say the best person for me to choose would be Scott O’Dell, author of Island of the Blue Dolphins. As a child, reading was difficult for me.  Island of the Blue Dolphins was the first book I remember reading when I was completely involved in the story, I could identify with the main character, and it didn’t feel like a chore.  That book helped me fall in love with reading, and the story still tugs at my heartstrings.  So, I’d like to have Mr. O’Dell over for dinner and thank him for bringing a love of reading into my life.

8.  Can you tell us a little about the most complicated glass bead or jewelry design you have made?

One of the most complicated pieces I’ve ever made is a necklace I call Anne Bonny’s Treasure. Anne Bonny was a female pirate who lived in the Caribbean during the 1700s. My idea for the necklace was that Anne Bonny would have collected shells, sea glass, trinkets, and many other treasures during her adventures and would have created a wonderful adornment with them.  Having a piece of jewelry like this “treasure necklace” would be a good a way for her to keep many of her most important possessions safe–like stolen gems and keys to treasure chests. I created many of the components in that necklace by working with glass in a torch—for instance, the sea glass is something I created myself, rather than found on the beach.  The same is true for the shells and coral in the necklace, they are all made of glass that I sculpted. This piece was part of an exhibition that traveled to several museums internationally. You can see this necklace and many others at http://www.janicepeacockglass.com/gallery.html

9.  Who are your writing idols?
I really like Janet Evanovich.  Her books have such great energy and humor.  Since she’s written a couple of dozen books in the Stephanie Plum series, it’s been wonderful to see how she’s kept the series fresh throughout all of the books. I would stand in line for her autograph, for sure.  I’m also a huge fan of JK Rowling. I think her books helped instill a love of books in a generation of young people, including my own daughter.  There are many authors I’d love to meet, if only to shake their hands and thank them for writing a book that has bought me joy, and inspired me to be a better writer:  Glen David Gold, Colin Cotterill, Alan Bradley…and the list goes on.

Thank you!
 Thanks!  It’s been great chatting with you!

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GIVEAWAY!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Click the banner to go to the tour page where you will find more reviews and interviews!  You can also find out how to become a virtual book tour host yourself!

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)

12 comments:

  1. Janice Peacock is a wonderful author. I love reading her books!!

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    1. This was a first for me, Peggy, but it won't be the last! :O)

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  2. Hi all! Glad to be here today. Thanks, LuAnn for the (as Val would say) FABOO review. It's fun to hear you are a beader. The next book, A Bead in the Hand, is a more seed-bead oriented. :) If anyone has any questions for me, please post here and I'll check back in. Or you can post questions at Facebook/JanicePeacockAuthors. --Janice

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    1. HUZZAH! I used to have a duffle bag full of vials of seed beads. :O)

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  3. This is a new author for me! I'm addicted to cozies and this looks like a fun series. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You n me, both, Laura. Cozies are my favorite! (And I did not know the genre existed until a couple of years ago!)

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  4. A bead shop is a great choice for a setting.

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    1. Definitely. Can't wait to see what they get up to next!

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  5. New author to me, would love to read this

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    1. I think her new title will come out some time this year, Kaye!

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  6. Jumping to conclusions when it comes to murder is never a good thing, and I can imagine that they need to get someone in there who isn't going to assume so much and try to really investigate and find valid evidence!

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