Monday, February 20, 2023

Born to Bead Wild by Janice Peacock | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Character Interview, & Giveaway


Born to Bead Wild: A Glass Bead Mystery by Janice Peacock

About Born to Bead Wild


Born to Bead Wild: A Glass Bead Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting - Olympic Peninsula, Washington
Vetrai Press (January 18, 2023)
Number of Pages: 252
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BDW3FV78


Something is strange at Full Moon Farms — and it isn’t just Val’s Eggplant Surprise for dinner.

Jax, Tessa, and the rest of the arts and crafts retreat attendees are shocked when they find charred bones in a glass kiln. Are the remains human or animal?

The camp owners insist the bones in the coffin-sized kiln are from a deer, but Jax finds a clue that leads her to believe the owners are lying. After Tessa’s least favorite person turns up dead, there is no doubt that a killer lurks somewhere in the deep forest of the Olympic Peninsula. As clues lead Jax and Tessa down mysterious paths, they hope they live long enough to find the culprit and make it out alive.


About the Excerpt

Since breakfast was my favorite meal of the day, I looked forward to a hearty spread of  bacon, eggs, and pancakes as we headed to the lodge in the morning. As we reached the top of the hill, we again spotted Val banging on the gong while wearing earmuffs. She looked even less enthusiastic wielding the mallet than at last night’s dinner.  

We walked along the lake’s edge and looked across the water. I spotted something  floating just off the edge of the dock in the middle of the lake.  

“Do you see that thing floating in the water?” I asked.  

“Looks like a log,” Tessa replied as she race-walked away. 

“But doesn’t it kind of look like something round at one end — like a head?”  

“Will you let that wild imagination of yours settle down for once? You’re making  me crazy,” Tessa said, not slowing down. 

“I’m going to go look.” I headed for the dock and marched right out to the edge. Whatever it was sank below the surface of the water. “It disappeared!” 

“Maybe it was all a figment of your imagination,” Tessa said. 

“You saw it, too,” I replied. 

“Right, but I didn’t think it was a head.” 

“There! Look right there,” I said, pointing at the dark water. “Some fizzy bubbles below the surface.” 

“Some bubbles. Who knows? Maybe it’s the Loch Ness Monster!” 

“The Loch Ness Monster only lives in Loch Ness,” I said. “No, seriously, I saw  something.” 

Wendy, who was welcoming students and staff at the door to the lodge, came  running toward us. 

“What happened? Did you two see our resident jumbo trout?” she asked. 

“This wasn’t a trout,” I said. 

“I’m sure it’s just a log. Or … I don’t know. I’ve lived in these parts for a long while,  and I’ve never seen anything to be worried about in this lake — or any other lake, for that matter!” Wendy locked arms with us and guided us toward the lodge.

The gong rang again, this time faster and more insistent than the last.

“There’s always a first time,” I said, looking over my shoulder. 

We filed into the dining room to find bubbling pots of oatmeal and dishes with  raisins, honey, and milk waiting for us on a buffet table. While the oatmeal was okay, what helped every morning was coffee. Tessa and I poured ourselves mugs and settled at a long table with our bowls of oatmeal. 

Val came out of the kitchen and slammed two jugs of orange juice on the counter.  Her grumpy countenance told me I shouldn’t ask where the bacon was because I might get a cold glass of OJ straight to the face.  

More disheveled and bleary-eyed than usual, Vance came in and sat down across  from us. 

“What happened to you?” I asked while Tessa went in search of coffee for Vance. 

“Ugh. I stayed up all night with Duke filling the furnace with glass. When we got  here, the glass level was low, and he had a fit that he wouldn’t be able to teach the class with so little to work with,” Vance said, running his hands through his messy hair. 

“Here, drink this,” Tessa said, handing him a cup of coffee. 

“Thanks, Tessa. I’ll need about ten more before I am among the living,” Vance said  with a sleepy smile. 

It was typical of Duke to cause a fuss about his studio, but not having enough glass when you’re trying to teach would be nearly impossible. I wondered why Wendy hadn’t  ensured the glass levels were high enough. Kudos to Vance for helping Duke charge the  furnace so it would be ready for the first day of class. 

Those of us who finished breakfast went with Wendy to her studio, which was  housed in the other half of the building where our classroom was. She wanted to unveil  some of the fused glass pieces she created. Wendy had traced her roots to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and the project she had been working on was a tribute to the people who  have lived in this area for millennia. The artwork she was creating consisted of two glass  panels: One with forest imagery and one with re-creations of artifacts she made. Tessa  told me that this was an exciting project for Wendy, who would be installing her large  glass panels at the Carnegie Museum in Port Angeles, which featured cultural and  historical artifacts from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. She was proud to have been selected as the artist whose work would be displayed at the museum and was concerned about making something worthy of being installed in such an important place. 

“Okay, everyone. Gather ’round. I want to show you what’s been cookin’ in this kiln  for a week.” To open the coffin-size kiln’s lid, Wendy grabbed a handle attached to a cable,  which was part of a counterweight system, and pulled. 

The large kiln lid rose smoothly and quickly, revealing a thick colorful glass panel about the size and shape of a king pillow. There was a collective gasp. The piece was  breathtaking. Blue, orange, and green glass glimmered in the early morning light as it  rested on a background of pure white kiln bricks. 

“Success! It looks like the panel made it through its fusing phase. It’s still warm in the kiln, so I’ll put this lid back down.” Using the pulley system, Wendy gently closed the  lid on the kiln and pressed the OFF button on the kiln’s controller. “Now, in this other kiln are the artifacts I’ve been working on. It’s been a challenge getting the non-glass  pieces to work together with the fused glass slab.” 

Wendy approached the second kiln and grabbed its pulley, raising the large lid to  reveal its contents. 

There was another collective gasp. This one was much louder than the last. 

Inside, lying in a puddle of cracked and melted glass, was a pile of bone shards,  chalky white and crumbling. Wendy let go of the pulley handle, and the lid slammed shut  with a bang that echoed through the room. 

A rumble of concern passed through the crowd. Tessa and I looked at each other  in a panic. Were those really bones? We couldn’t be sure if they were human or animal,  but one thing I knew for sure — they made my skin crawl.


About the Character Interview

Please join me in welcoming Jax O'Connell to Jane Reads today. Thank you so much for visiting, Jax!

What is your full name? Do you have a nickname? My full name is Jacqueline Renee O’Connell. Everyone calls me Jax because I never liked that long and fancy name. Jax just suits me better.

What is your occupation? I have an unusual job. I’m a glass beadmaker. You may not have heard of that before, so let me explain. I use a 2,000-degree torch mounted to a table to melt strands of glass. I wrap those strands of melted glass around a clay-coated metal wire. Then I shape the molten blob into a bead, and when I’m finished, I put it in a kiln to cool overnight. The following day when the bead is cool, I slip it off the metal wire. There is now a hole where the wire once was, and my bead is ready to string! 

When you’re not working, what fills your time? I’m so glad I left my old job at Clorox and moved into a world of vibrant colors working with one of the best mediums — glass! It feels like I’m always working — making beads, selling beads, stringing beads. But is it really work when you love what you do?

When I’m not working with beads, I hang out with my best friend, Tessa, and my next-door neighbor Val. We like to drink wine on my back patio. I also like spending time with my boyfriend, Zachary. He’s a stern homicide detective, but I’m helping him relax and enjoy life a little more.

What is your favorite childhood memory? My favorite memory is of playing hide and seek with my sister Connie. She was always better at hiding than I was, but I slipped into our hurricane shelter one day. My mother had talked about using it for a category-five storm when I was a baby, but I didn’t remember that. I waited, and waited, and waited. And my sister never found me. I felt so clever that I’d found the perfect hiding spot. Of course, when my mother found me later that day, I got in trouble, having forgotten one important rule: Don’t go in the hurricane shelter!

What advice would you give to your younger self? It took me until my mid-forties to realize I didn’t need to settle for “just okay.” I could do better. I could lead a life in living color. I spent several years with my old boyfriend Jerry, trying to make things work, but it was a lost cause. Once I received the phone call from my Great-Aunt Rita’s attorney, who told me I’d inherited her house, I knew I was free to live the life I dreamed of — the life of an artist.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you? The most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me was when my cat Gumdrop jumped into a catnip-infused mojito, spilling it all over a well-known reporter from the local newspaper. It made matters worse when I tried to remove the man’s pants so I could clean them.

What is your greatest achievement? That has to be when I found out who killed Marvin Caputo! He drowned last week at Full Moon Farm. At first, we thought it was an accident, but when I realized it was murder, I knew I needed to find the killer. 

What makes you laugh? My cat Gumdrop is hilarious when he is trying to avoid his new little sister, a kitten named Ginger. He tries everything to avoid her — getting on the dresser, where she can’t reach him, is one of his favorite spots. He’s an indoor cat, so he can’t run away for good. He’s getting better at finding new hiding places, and it is always a little startling when I discover him in a new spot, like behind my computer screen.

What is your greatest extravagance? Gosh, I don’t think I have one. Maybe it’s that I have too many beads? But as Tessa and I both say, “She who dies with the most beads wins!”

What are your pet peeves? My biggest pet peeve is when police officers don’t listen to me. I understand that I’m not in law enforcement, but sometimes I have insights they might not have. I can sometimes see patterns in things that others can’t. I think it comes from stringing beads — I need to make a pattern and pull the parts together one-by-one. It’s how I complete a necklace; strangely, it can help solve crimes too.

Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows. My father wanted to name me Jackson, after Andrew Jackson. He’s a history buff. When I turned out to be a girl instead of a boy, he convinced my mother to call me Jacqueline. They should have just named me Jax from the start.

What is always in your fridge? I always have catnip ice cubes in my fridge — actually in my freezer — for my cat Gumdrop. He gets his catnip treat each day, but only one. Otherwise, he gets a little too limp! He is a little drug addict, and it’s all my fault.

What is your most treasured possession? My most treasured possession is my lovely red convertible VW Beetle, the Ladybug. I named her that on my way from Miami to Seattle. I stopped by the side of the road and christened her with a bottle of Coke.

If your life is made into a movie, is it a comedy or drama? Who plays you? Oh, it’s most definitely a comedy! Life as an artist isn’t always fun and games, but you’ve got to have a sense of humor when trying to make a living using your creativity and skill. As for who would play me…hmmmm…maybe Melissa McCarthy?

What is your favorite song, and why? How can I name just one song? I love anything from the 1980s. Give me some Go-Gos, A Flock of Seagulls, Duran Duran, and Devo, and I’ll dance up a storm! I was in high school in the mid-80s, and wow, those are some of my feel-good tunes.

What did you eat for breakfast? Did you make it yourself? I ate a chocolate chip muffin from Muffin Madness. Tessa brought it to me but wouldn’t let me eat it until I got out of bed. I’m a bit lazy in the morning, but when Tessa dangles a bag of muffins over my head, you can bet I’ll get up and get dressed — pronto. I will also drink several cups of strong coffee for breakfast.

Describe your perfect day. My best days are when I can work in my studio all day. I work at a torch melting glass to make beads in the morning. At lunchtime, my neighbor Val stops by to bring me something yummy and decadent, like a grilled cheese sandwich, homemade chili, and gooey brownies. Then, in the afternoon, I like to design and create jewelry. My boyfriend Zachary comes for dinner and takes me to our favorite Thai restaurant. It couldn’t get any more perfect than that!


About Janice Peacock

Janice Peacock is a cozy mystery author who specializes in craft and hobby mysteries. She loves to write about artists who find new ways to live their lives and perhaps catch a criminal or two in the process. While working in a glass studio with several colorful and quirky artists, she was inspired to write the Glass Bead Mystery Series. The Ruby Shaw Mysteries, which are set in a small hillside mining town, were inspired by her trips to Jerome, Arizona, and Jacksonville, Oregon.

When Janice isn’t writing about amateur detectives, she wields a 2,500-degree torch to melt glass and create one-of-a-kind beads and jewelry. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, an enormous white dog, and an undisclosed number of cats.

Author Links Purchase Link - Amazon 

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