A Bead in the Hand by Janice Peacock
A bead bazaar turns bizarre when jewelry designer and glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell discovers a dead body beneath her sales table. Suspected of murder, Jax and her friend Tessa scramble to find the killer among the fanatic shoppers and eccentric vendors. They have their hands full dealing with a scumbag show promoter, hipsters in love, and a security guard who wants to do more than protect Jax from harm. Adding to the chaos, Jax’s quirky neighbor Val arrives unexpectedly with trouble in tow. Can Jax untangle the clues before she’s arrested for murder?
We have a chicken named Buffy. We didn’t name her after the vampire slayer, but instead, she’s named for her breed of chicken—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.
While having chickens makes it seem like I’m a farmer, I assure you, I am not. I’m an author of cozy mysteries. (You can learn more about the Glass Bead Mystery series at www.janicepeacock.com.) I know it’s hard to believe, but I’ve learned a few things about writing from Buffy. The first is that when you have a job to do, you must 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 so 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 and 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 it’s 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. I’ve fallen victim to that mentality as well. I’ve sat on a new book’s manuscript (figuratively, of course I’m not Buffy in that way) not wanting anyone to see it. Waiting and waiting until it was perfect before I’d give it to my review team. At some point I realize that it’s time to let the 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.
About 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.
High Strung, the first book in the Glass Bead Mystery Series, will be 99 cents from Feb 7th through 11th and $1.99 from Feb 12th through 15th. Be Still My Beading Heart, A Glass Bead Mini-Mystery short story is free on Amazon and iTunes. A Bead in the Hand is available for the discounted price of $2.99 through February 15th.
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