Lampwork artist, Mary Ann Helmond's signature designs are her stunning peacock pieces.  In an delightful turn of events,  her peacock lampwork bead bracelet now graces the cover of a new novel!

It all started when Canadian writer, Stephanie Andrassy was designing the cover for her new ebook, Just Live, Juliette!  (Amazon link for Kindle owners)There was a scene in her story which included a gift of a bracelet. So she planned to have a bracelet on the cover and organize a celebratory giveaway as part of the book's launch.

Closeup of Mary Ann Helmond's bracelet design
Her free book, The White Peacock, is the first chapter of the longer Just Live, Juliette.  So naturally she wanted a peacock inspired "Juliette bracelet" and Stephanie eventually found Mary Ann's designs online.  It was a perfect fit and a wonderful way to support a local artisan.

Stephanie explained, "I also wanted to make the most of this opportunity and educate readers about the art of lampwork beads, a talent I find absolutely fascinating - and so wrote a very short piece entitled, In the Artist's Studio. It appears at the end of the book.

While the cover of the White Peacock is not a jewelry piece, it does remind me of the fabulous collaborative peacock project by Mary Ann Helmond and beader,  Roxann  Blazetich-Ozols. They both sent me a review copy of Stephanie's book knowing full well I would jump at the chance to write about it!

Stephanie's book is a paranormal/fantasy romance. I was so pleased to see jewelry on the cover.  Sure beats those awful Fabio covers!  She had a chuckle when I told her that and added, "There always seems to be this expectation that hot guys grace the covers of romance novels, and maybe it is just that I don't write "those kinds of romance novels", but I dislike how those covers seem to exclude men in the target audience.  I have male readers who thoroughly enjoy my books and I'd like to make it a bit easier for them to admit that they've read it, or share their thoughts on a story in a discussion, without being embarrassed by what is on the cover.  ;)  I do write from a woman's perspective, and there is romance, but there is always so much more than romance."

And she is right! There is indeed so much more than romance.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading her book.  It was not what I expected.  Good imaginative writing with a plot that kept me turning the pages (digitally). The principal characters were vividly portrayed and I can certainly see why readers have asked for sequels as one wonders how things turned out for the other characters.  It is a story with an underlying message that we should just live our lives to the fullest. 

I never thought I would be reviewing a romance novel on my blog but then, I said the same thing about Bollywood movies too.  There is always a first time for everything!


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