When Creative Minds Merge – Deanna Chase

Today I’m busy over at WG2E with a post entitled Don’t Be A Dinosaur. The Future Is Digital.

In the unlikely event anyone visiting MWi is still on the fence about why indie is the best route for the new writer, check this out.

Meanwhile, here at MWi we’re having a relaxing West African Sunday, so I’m letting my guest do all the work today.

Okay, so every day is Sunday here in West Africa. It’s the two week holiday in paradise that never ends. The long weekend where Monday through Friday are banned, and blue skies and wall to wall sunshine are compulsory. Yep, the rainy season is all but over. The gates of heaven are open once again, and I’ve got a one-way ticket.

I’ve got the next book to write, so I’m gonna pack up the laptop and head for the beach with the children. Golden sands, palm trees and a cold Sprite. And I might do it again tomorrow, too. Monday? I don’t know the meaning of the word. 🙂

Meanwhile, for those of you still stuck in the real world, here’s a colourful post from Deanna Chase, who has combined her paid profession and her writing ambitions in a most delightful way.

Here’s Deanne:

When Creative Minds Merge

Hello everyone! Thanks, Mark for hosting me today. I’m Deanna Chase, glass bead artist and debut author of Haunted on Bourbon Street. About four years ago, my husband, Greg and I settled in a small town not too far from New Orleans. Prior to that, we’d actually spent almost five years traveling full-time in an RV sight-seeing and building up our glass business.

We’d never set a time limit on how long we would live, work, and travel in the RV, but through it all we knew we would one day settle again. We just didn’t’ know where. There were two places we kept coming back to. One was the northern California coast and the other was New Orleans.

Northern California holds the allure of dramatic coastlines and giant redwood forests that feed both of our free-spirit nature-loving selves. Of course, it also comes along with dreary gray winters and an astronomical price tag.

New Orleans is almost like another country here in the US. It’s rich with history, gorgeous architecture, and an artist community like no other we’ve encountered. It definitely feeds our creative sides. The food, friendly culture, sunny weather, and the artist community won us over. We haven’t looked back since.

Greg and I are self-employed glass artists, and New Orleans has been finding its way into our artwork ever since our first visit here. I make glass beads that I sell mostly to jewelry designers. Greg is a glass marble artist. He sells his work to collectors. In addition he makes what’s called murrine. Murrine is an Italian term for images that are built up in glass cane (rods of glass), that are then sliced to reveal the images. We sell slices of murrine to other glass artists to use in beads, marbles, and fusing projects.

Since our first visit to New Orleans, Greg has been working on New Orleans themed marbles. Most of them are intricate scenes of the French Quarter or the Garden District. He makes murrine of houses, horse drawn carriages, musicians, tombs, skulls, stripers (hey it’s Bourbon Street), etc. Many of his New Orleans marbles have around one-hundred different murrine slices. That’s a lot of work. Murrine is pretty complex and each different house he builds can be a week’s worth of effort all by itself. They are very cool and probably my personal favorites of all the different kinds of marbles he makes.

I’ve tried a number of different things to incorporate New Orleans into my bead work. Some of them had potential. I made some beads with houses sculpted on them. Other beads had jazz musicians. But none of the pieces really captured my muse. It wasn’t until I started writing my novel, Haunted on Bourbon Street, that I finally felt that connection I have to the city come alive.

Haunted is the story of Jade Calhoun, an empath who moves into a haunted apartment above a strip club. She’s a pretty guarded person about her ability due to a rough childhood and broken relationships. But the people she meets sort of adopt her into their makeshift family, and she finds herself forming bonds she thought weren’t open to her. It’s really a love story between her and Kane as well as a story of friendship and acceptance that just happens to involve a ghost mystery.

I got the inspiration to write the book one night while out to dinner with Greg when a ghost tour walked by. We were laughing and joking about living with ghosts since it seems every place has a ghost story attached to it in the Quarter. Then we were wandering Bourbon Street looking for a place to listen to live music. I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of people actually lived on a street that is a twenty-four-hour party every day of the year. It was then the story started to unfold. Here Greg thought he was out on a date with his wife, and I was busy mentally writing a story.

It’s all right though. He understands. He even made the coolest marble ever to commemorate the publishing of my book.  He aptly titled it Haunted on Bourbon Street.  It features a woman’s silhouette in a moon just like the image on my novel as well as creepy houses, skulls at the bottom, the word Bourbon on the top, and shadows of ghost people. This particular marble sold to one of our long-time marble collectors within thirty minutes of me listing it for sale. She later told me she bought it because I’d offered a signed copy of my book. You have no idea how insanely happy that made me.

It’s pretty cool when two creative minds can come together. I don’t know if my next book will get a Greg Chase marble to go along with it, but you can bet I’ll be pushing for it. Witches of Bourbon Street is scheduled for release in late December 2011.

If you want to see video of how we make beads and marbles we have some hosted here at Livestream.

A note on Greg’s marbles and murrine:  Greg does take custom orders, but murrine cane is labor intensive to make and custom orders for just the cane is usually around one-hundred-dollar mark (US). Marbles range up to two-hundred-dollars. It all depends on the design but if anyone is interested in a marble of their own they can contact me Deanna @ chase-designs DOT com.

About Haunted on Bourbon Street:

Jade loves her new apartment—until a ghost joins her in the shower.

When empath Jade Calhoun moves into an apartment above a strip bar on Bourbon Street, she expects life to get interesting. What she doesn’t count on is making friends with an exotic dancer, attracting a powerful spirit, and having feelings for Kane, her sexy landlord.

Being an empath has never been easy on Jade’s relationships. It’s no wonder she keeps her gift a secret. But when the ghost moves from spooking Jade to terrorizing Pyper, the dancer, it’s up to Jade to use her unique ability to save her. Except she’ll need Kane’s help—and he’s betrayed her with a secret of his own—to do it. Can she find a way to trust him and herself before Pyper is lost?


Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes and Noble Print



All Romance

Artists’ website:


Author Blog:


Fantastic or what?! As soon as I saw the marbles  linked to the book cover I just knew I had to have Deanna here on MWi to tell us more.

As a gift for a loved one a marble of your (or their) book cover would be a unique present that would last forever.

And as a promotional tool, offering a marble of your book design, beautifully boxed with a personal note from the author, would make a wonderful competition prize, and perhaps even an investment for the future. Imagine if JK Rowling had had a marble made for her early Harry Potter books. A unique product, with a personally signed authentication. What would that be worth now?!

As we move to a fully digital world where our actual product has no physical presence, we need to think more and more about what extra value we can offer our readers. Deanna, I think you’re on to a winner here.

How about the rest of you guys? Any thoughts on promotional ideas?

Finally, here’s the cover of Deanna’s next book, due out December.

  1. Wow, what an awesome-sounding book! I am totally buying that when I get some more Kindle credit! I love stories about ghosts and misfits.

    Those marbles are jaw-droppingly amazing – I envy yours and your husband’s artistic skill!

    • Jaw-droppingly amazing is the perfect description Ms Charley!

      As for Bourbon Street. I think the setting alone is just irresistable. Can’t imagine I’ll ever go back to the USA again, but as a big John Grisham fan I do find the southern states appealing. if I ever did return I think a creative centre like New Orleans would be perfect for me.

      Looking forward to reading Haunted on Bourbon Street, Deanna.

    • Thank you, Charley. Greg actually surprised me with the marble. Marbles have to anneal overnight in the kiln, and he didn’t tell me he’d made it. It must have been torture waiting twenty-four hours to tell me. 🙂

  2. I think I may have found the one other partnership in the world to mirror my own creative partnership. Deanna, you have no idea how the bells started ringing as I read. Long story short: partnership with a miniature book-artist who uses inspiration from my fantasy novels to create a range of work (called the World of Eirie) which she sells to collectors around the world, along with her own magnificent pieces. (www.bopressminiaturebooks.com)
    The mutual creativity helps us both. What you said resonates. Thank you and the very best of luck to you and to Greg.

    • I just knew this would resonate with you, Prue. I thought of you and your miniatures the moment I first saw Deanna’s Bourbon marble.

    • HI Prue,
      That’s pretty darn cool! I just took a look at The Masked Ball.The books are lovely.


  3. I love the sound of those novels. RIGHT up my street.

    What struck me was the tale of you and your husband roaming around the country in an RV, knowing you’d settle somewhere some day, but waiting for the right place. That sounds like some crazy, awesome fun. (Though I’m trying to imagine how on earth you made glass beads in an RV.)

    I suddenly have the urge to move back to the US and buy and RV …

    • You’re right, Shea. It sounds a wonderful lifestyle to lead to a dream settling place, and New Orleans sounds wonderful as a centre of artistic excellence.

    • Hi Shea,
      It was crazy, awesome fun. My parents thought I’d lost mind mind, but eventually came around when they realized we weren’t living as homeless people.

      As for making beads in the RV, we had a class A, the kind with big Barcalounger chairs in the front and a giant dashboard. When we were set up at a campground, Greg would put a 2 by 3 foot piece of plywood on the dash and set up the studio right there on the passenger’s side.

      It was quite humorous the attention we would draw sometimes. At one campground one of the guests there was so enthusiastic he brought other campers over for a week straight acting as tour guide, telling them all about what we were doing. After a while I started to feel like a monkey at a zoo. But he was having so much fun we didn’t have the heart to ask him to stop.

  4. This is wonderful. I love glasswork. I once featured a wonderful glassworker (Verre Design) on my blog.

    At eight cuts, we always do special editions of our books – with Cody, as well as a signed copy with extra material, we offered free entry for life to all our live shows (given how many we’re doing at the moment, that’s turning out to be worth a fair bit for the 30 people who snapped them up). With Stuart, because he’s a musician (he was in a band those of my age will remember called The Fall), he pressed a one-off vinyl LP of the soundtrack he wrote to go with Verruca Music, and we sold it for £50. And with Penny (http://eightcuts.com/2011/05/13/the-zoomiest-zoom/) we produced a handmade edition on hand-dyed paper, hand-stitched by the stationer we work with, which we sold for £100.

    The master at this remains Trent Reznor

    • Thanks, Dan! Some innovative ideas there.

      I had hoped to attend a live show while I was in the UK and meet up with you in person, but the cold summer had me fleeing early. 🙂

      Dan is due to guest here at MWi to tell us a lot more, but thanks to a disruptive rainy season I’m still playing catch-up with everyone.

    • I just looked up Verre Design. Looks like she does primarily stained glass. Greg started in stained glass and moved to hot glass eleven years ago. It’s incredibly hard to make a go of it with stained glass. I’m impressed.

      Special editions, live shows, and music. I can’t wait to read more about that!

  5. Sounds cool, living the dream! I think there are two ways to add value–the “collectible,” or artifact for those who like to hold and hoard, and the experiential, for those who way to do more (Amazon is heading this way with the @author feature). It’s only the beginning!

    • Living the dream indeed, Scott. If I were stil locked into the old UK lifestyle I’d be insanely jealous of Deanna.

      You’re absolutely right, this is only the beginning. As indie artists we can explore avenues previously inconceivable, and which, as per my post over at WG2E, the trad publishers cannot begin to compete with.

    • Totally living the dream. It’s amazing. Especially in this crazy economy. We often look at each other and shake our heads when we realize we, the artists, are the ones with the stable jobs. No one to fire us and if things get hard, we just work harder. Or change the way we do things.

      I wasn’t familiar with the @author feature, so I just looked it up. Wow! I like it.

    • Miriam
    • September 11th, 2011

    That is pretty cool, I’m liking those marbles. My friends have been begging me for old, printed-off manuscripts of my books (“for when you’re famous!”) and I haven’t the heart not to give them to them.

    If they ever go up for auction, I want a commission. I paid for the printer ink.


  6. How blessed you two are. Living the artistic life through your arts. Best of everything!

  7. You’re living a life most people dream about. And creating such gorgeous art–and fantastic sounding books. Love those covers. Congrats on living such a full and fearless life!

  1. September 11th, 2011
    Trackback from : Happy Sunday! | Deanna Chase

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