Posted in Cozy, Craft, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on March 16, 2017

Off the Beadin’ Path (Glass Bead Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Vetrai Press (March 11, 2017)
230 Pages

Synopsis

Jax O’Connell and her friend Tessa have no idea what challenges await them when they head to the small town of Carthage to take a glass blowing class with Marco De Luca, a famous Italian glass artist. While Jax loves melting glass to make beads, she discovers that standing in front of the glass furnace’s inferno frightens her.

After the first night of class, Tessa sees a dead body through the water-streaked window of the studio. The next morning there’s no sign of Marco—dead or alive—and one of the studio owners is also missing. The local sheriff doesn’t take the disappearance seriously, so Jax and Tessa take matters into their own hands.

Jax must face her fears to find the body, track down the clues, and uncover the killer—and do it all before another life is shattered.

Off the Beadin’ Path is the third book in the Glass Bead Mystery series.

Guest Post

A Day in the Life of Jax O’Connell

The Main Character in Off the Beadin’ Path,
Book Three in the Glass Bead Mystery Series
by Janice Peacock

Hi there! My name is Jax O’Connell, and I live in Seattle, the Emerald City—not because of how lush the landscape is, but because of all the green Starbucks signs everywhere you look. I love it here, not just for the coffee, but because Seattle is a mecca for glass art. I make glass beads for a living by melting slender rods of colorful glass that I sculpt using a 2,000 degree torch. I use the beads I make to create handmade jewelry that I sell at local shops.

When I inherited a bungalow from my Great-Aunt Rita in this glass-loving city, I left Miami behind. I can say without a doubt that I don’t miss the hurricanes or the jumbo-sized bugs. Several years ago, my great-aunt split her house down the middle to create a duplex. I live in one side of the house and Val lives in the other. I’ve lived next door to her for nearly three years now, and they have been some of the best in my life. Val is enormous in every way—big red hair, big bones (I say with the utmost tact), and big jewelry—the glitzier, the better. Oh, and she’s a science-fiction fan girl, but that’s too complicated to explain right now.

On most usual days, I’d get up and pull the beads I’d made the day before from the kiln. It’s always fun to see how everything turns out and decide what I want to work on next. Then I’d head down the hall to the kitchen, where my cat Gumdrop would be impatiently pacing back and forth. I’d pull out a green ice cube from the cute pink plastic tray in the freezer and pop it into the cat’s empty food bowl. As soon as Gumdrop saw the frozen cube of catnip, he’d go wild, jumping on the bowl, and skidding across the hardwood floor into the hallway. While Gumdrop enjoyed his treat, I’d usually make a big pot of coffee, and enjoy the first of many cups of the day.

But today is not a usual day. My best friend, Tessa, spent the night, and what a night it was! She and I are taking a glassblowing class at Old Firehouse Studio in the little town of Carthage about a forty-five minute drive from here. I was excited at the prospect of taking a glassblowing class, but once I stood in front of the furnace’s inferno, I knew I would never be able to blow glass with any confidence, if I had the guts to do it at all.

Marco de Luca, our teacher, was hitting on one of the pretty young women in class and he’d had just a little too much to drink by the end of the evening. So, once we finished our lesson, Tessa and I both wanted to get out of town, and fast. While we were driving home, Tessa realized she’d left her cell phone at the studio. Since Tessa can’t live without her phone, I turned back, during a downpour, no less. I waited in the car while Tessa ran to the studio. She tried the door, but it was locked. She peered in the studio window, then turned and ran faster than I’ve ever seen her move.

She jumped in my car and told me the shocking news: She had seen a dead body in the studio through the rain-streaked window! Tessa was certain it was our instructor, and was sure he was dead. Not knowing what else to do, I sped away while Tessa called 911. I parked at the other end of town, and we waited until a sheriff arrived. And, I’ve got to say, the sheriff did not inspire confidence. He sent us home, promising he’d check out what Tessa saw at the studio, though I think it was equally likely he’d do nothing of the sort.

After our long drive home, we ate far too many oatmeal cookies, provided to us by my neighbor Val, who is becoming a better cook day by day.

This morning Tessa and I both felt like we had hangovers, but not from drinking—from those darn oatmeal cookies. I thought oatmeal and raisins were supposed to be healthy. I guess all the sugar that holds them together is what makes my stomach feel so awful. I poured myself a giant cup of coffee and one for Tessa. Once she was up we were going to need to call the studio and find out what happened last night.

Had Tessa really seen a dead body? And who was it?

 

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, launching a new cozy mystery series featuring glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell.

When Janice isn’t writing about glass artists-turned-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 the Corning Museum of Glass, the Glass Museum of Tacoma, WA, and in private collections worldwide.

Janice lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two cats, and twelve chickens. She has a studio full of beads…lots and lots of beads.

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2 Giveaways!

The first giveaway is open internationally since it is an eBook set!

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

March 15 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 15 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

March 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

March 16 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – Books,Dreams,Life – INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – Sleuth Cafe – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

March 18 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

March 19 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 21 – Varietats – REVIEW

March 21 – Queen of All She Reads – GUEST POST

March 22 – Book Babble – REVIEW

March 22 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

March 23 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

March 23 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

March 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

Posted in 5 paws, Craft, Review on December 21, 2016


Synopsis

Keep your children’s hands busy during church services with Bible Origami. Instead of folding the service programs into paper airplanes, they can fold Noah’s ark, an oil lamp, or Joseph’s coat! As you develop the unique skill of creating these simple-to-intermediate origami designs, you will find opportunities to use them with all ages for lessons, activities, crafting, and everyday fun!

Q & A with Todd

Where did you get the inspiration to write a book on origami?

I have an amazing wife, Jill, who when I told her my idea told me to, “Go for it.”  She is amazing creative in her own right and she has always been supportive.  Whenever I would get stuck, she was there to encourage me.  She inspired me and inspires me.  I also have four great kids, Kylie, Jolie, Sophie and Dean who have been my guinea pigs when it came to practicing my different models.  They would tell me if it was too hard, or didn’t look like what I was trying to portray.  They were also part of my amazing team.

Who is this book written for?

First, I think origami is a wonderful teaching tool for kids as it combines following instructions with a hands on approach that kids enjoy.  Plus, the end result is always an accomplishment that the folder can look at as something they have created.  I can see origami being used in church schools and home school programs, as well as with family for fun activities on Sundays.  It requires very little in preparation, just paper.  I’ve also heard of it being used with older youth in missionary activities where they leave notes for people on some of the designs.  Rather than a post it note with a reading assignment, the person being taught is left with the assignment written on a dove or oil lamp.

What is the connection between origami and your career as a counselor?

I really do not use origami when I am counseling other although I have heard of some people doing that.  The only real connection is that origami provides a nice break for me from my work.  After a few hours of intense counseling sometimes it feels good to sit at my desk, take my mind out of counseling mode, and fold a couple of fun models to change things up a bit.

Review

What a fantastic idea to keep younger children occupied during church but to do something with a message.  This book shares many stories from the bible and each page has a “Did You Know” at the top of each page with a fact that you may or may not have known about the bible.

I’m only a semi crafty person, but my stepson has done Origami before so I asked him for his assistance in trying some of these pieces.  I could handle most of the level 1 and level 2 took some time.  He was able to do various level 3 pieces with ease.  The drawings are explicit and show you step by step how to recreate the different pieces.  While mine looked ok, I’m sharing some pictures from the author of the different origami in the book.

 

Dove

Fishes & Loaves

Manger & Child

We think this is a great book and give it 5 paws up!

About the Author

Todd Huisken is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Irvine, California.  He had a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University, a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego and has been in practice for 21 years.   Todd has served as the Assistant Director of Disaster Mental Health Services for the Orange County Chapter of the American Red Cross.  He has worked with victims from the San Diego Fires, Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, and spent two weeks in Haiti following the earthquake in 2010.  He’s a writer, a runner and a paper folder.  Todd has been married to his beautiful wife for 26 years and they have three daughters and a son.  In their free time, the Huiskens try to make Disneyland their second home.

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Posted in Children, Craft, Spotlight on August 12, 2016

family fun banner

$5 Family Fun e-Book Cover jpg version

 

Synopsis

Doing fun activities with the family gets expensive, but now with Meggan’s $5 Family Fun, you can make, bake, and do incredibly fun things with your young family for under $5. Using dollar store finds, free local services, generic bands, and common household items, you can make every day an adventure. Gather your whole family together for inexpensive family fun activities and memories that last forever.

 

I am so excited to share UFO day from Meggan’s book.  Sure UFO day is in July, but how fun is this for your little space adventurers?!  If you visit her blog, Instagram or Pinterest page you will find more crafts and ideas.  Or scroll down and purchase her e-Book.

UFO Day – $5

Keep your eyes to the skies on July 2nd because it’s World UFO Day.  Believers and skeptics alike will have fun with these out-of-this-world fun balloon and food craft projects.

Glowing Alien Balloons – $2

Supplies:

  • White Balloons from the dollar store – $1
  • Green Glow Sticks (bracelet size) from the dollar store – $1
  • Black Permanent Marker from starter kit – $0

Directions:

  1. Break glow sticks to activate.
  2. Begin to blow up balloons to medium size.
  3. Insert a glow stick in each as quickly as possible to avoid much air loss.
  4. Continue to blow up the balloon to its fullest capacity and tie off.
  5. Draw large alien-like eyes onto your balloons with the black permanent marker.

Cookie UFOs – $3

UFO - Cookie

Supplies:

  • Large Cookies (whatever your taste preference) from the dollar store – $1
  • Gumdrops from the dollar store – $1
  • White Icing from the dollar store – $1

Directions:

  1. Use the icing as your “glue” to attach the gumdrops to the cookies. You don’t need to use a kitchen baggie as a makeshift piping bag.  Just using a kitchen butter knife, spread a little icing to the flat side of each gumdrop and use to affix to the underside of the cookies.  Allow a few minutes to dry & set.  This will create the legs to your UFO so it can stand on your plate.
  2. Using icing and more gumdrops, affix one or more gumdrops (use your imagination) to the top of the edible UFO.

Note:  If you have any leftover glow sticks, create your own ceiling fan flying saucer.  Break glow sticks to activate and using the masking tape from the starter kit, (while the fan is turned off) overlap the glow stick ends with the top side of the fan blades and secure into place with masking tape.  Turn off the lights and turn the fan on high.  Sit on watch your glowing flying saucer spin above your head.

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About the Author

meggan spicerOnce she had a family of her own, Meggan Spicer discovered just how easy it was to spend $50 on family activities or outings without even batting an eye. As a result, the concept of $5 Family Fun was born. Meggan is a recruiter by profession, a wife, and a mother, and resides in the Little Rock, Arkansas, metro area. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas, and she enjoys cooking, watching movies and crafting.

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