I decided to ask for help in the 2 facebook bead groups I belong to - Bead Soup Cafe (https://www.facebook.com/groups/BeadSoupCafe/) and Creative Bead Chat (https://www.facebook.com/groups/323057074410586/). I received much advice - mostly consisting of thinning the bead release, cleaning the mandrels very well before dipping in bead release, and ultimately - buying a different brand of bead release. I tried the first 2 suggestions. THEY WORKED!!!!
Now - here are photos of my newest beads - all 5 came off the mandrels with very little effort. I annealed them, reamed, and filed them.
I made them with transparent blue glass and opaque orange spots.
The middle bead is opaque orange with transparent blue spots.
My next feat will be to become more consistent in size and shape!
However - I am very proud of these beads!!!