Posted in Cozy Series, Guest Post

Character Guest Post by Anastasia Pollack from The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries by Lois Winston

On Being a Reluctant Amateur Sleuth

By Anastasia Pollack

It isn’t easy when an author hijacks your life for her own literary purposes. One day you’re minding your own business. The next thing you know, your husband drops dead in Las Vegas, leaving you up the wazoo in debt with a loan shark breathing down your neck, your communist mother-in-law as a permanent houseguest, and a dead body glued to your office chair. That’s what happened to me nine books and three novellas ago when author Lois Winston decided to forsake writing romance and began killing people for a living. My name is Anastasia Pollack, and thanks to Lois, I’m the very reluctant amateur sleuth of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.

Since turnabout is fair play, I decided to hijack this guest post she was supposed to write and give you my side of the story for a change. Believe me, I would have been perfectly happy to maintain my predictable suburban life. I had two great teenage sons and a job I loved as the crafts editor of a women’s magazine. Granted, it’s not easy raising teenagers, and editors at third-rate women’s magazines don’t make the big bucks, but life was comfortable.

Or so I thought. Lois had other ideas. You see, we characters don’t come with self-determination. We’re putty in our authors’ hands. Now, along with being a widow with debt that rivals the GNP of many Third World nations, I’m juggling a malevolent communist mother-in-law and Manifesto, her French bulldog (I ask you, who names a dog after a political treatise?)

You’d think that would be enough, right? Heck, no! Now, every time I turn around, Lois has me tripping over dead bodies! Does she think I’m New Jersey’s version of Jessica Fletcher? Apparently so.

At least Lois decided to write humorous cozy mysteries. In her prior writing life, she wrote some really gritty romantic suspense that would keep her readers sleeping with one eye open at night, thanks to the extremely evil villains she created. She wrote me into a genre of mystery where readers would protest if she penned plots similar to those of her romantic suspense books. I have it bad, but what she did to poor Emma Wadsworth in Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception…All I can say is thank goodness cozy readers would revolt if she tried to pull that stuff on me!

And I’ll admit, she even has me laughing at times—when she doesn’t have me staring down a killer. You wouldn’t believe the cast of supporting characters Lois has given me. Along with my nasty communist mother-in-law and her dog, there’s my much-married mother, who claims descent from Russian nobility, and her haughty Persian cat, Catherine the Great. And lest I forget (not that he’d allow me to), there’s Ralph, the Shakespeare-quoting parrot. I inherited him from my great-aunt Penelope Periwinkle. We’re all crammed into my tiny mid-century suburban rancher. At least I don’t have to share my bedroom with either my mother or mother-in-law!

Over the course of the series, Lois has also introduced some new characters, one of whom has been driving me bonkers from the moment he entered my life. Ira Pollack, my husband’s previously unknown half-brother, showed up with his three spoiled kids in Revenge of the Crafty Corpse. That was bad enough, but in Drop Dead Ornaments, Lois has him moving from across the state to across town!

When I saw what Lois had planned for me at the start of the series, I staged a revolt, demanding that if she was going to give me so much grief, she had to give me a little light within all the gloom and doom. After all, she’s got me two steps away from living in a cardboard box on a street corner. And believe me, no matter how big a carton, that would be one crowded box! She finally gave in and created Zachary Barnes, the photojournalist who rents the apartment above my garage, and allowed us to develop a relationship.

But we’re talking Lois here. She couldn’t leave well enough alone, and right from the start she has me wondering if Zack is really just a photojournalist or if that profession is cover for a more covert one. Which brings us to A Sew Deadly Cruise, the latest Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery. Lois has finally gotten around to revealing some of Zack’s backstory in this book. And believe me, it’s not what I ever expected!

A Sew Deadly Cruise

An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 9

Life is looking up for magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack. Newly engaged, she and photojournalist fiancé Zack Barnes are on a winter cruise with her family, compliments of a Christmas gift from her half-brother-in-law. Son Alex’s girlfriend and her father have also joined them. Shortly after boarding the ship, Anastasia is approached by a man with an unusual interest in her engagement ring. When she tells Zack of her encounter, he suggests the man might be a jewel thief scouting for his next mark. But before Anastasia can point the man out to Zack, the would-be thief approaches him, revealing his true motivation. Long-buried secrets now threaten the well-being of everyone Anastasia holds dear. And that’s before the first dead body turns up.

Craft projects included.

Buy Links

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3fwHR7X

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-sew-deadly-cruise

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-sew-deadly-cruise-lois-winston/1137427499?ean=2940162697930

Apple iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-sew-deadly-cruise/id1526052822

Bio:

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Website: www.loiswinston.com

Newsletter sign-up: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z1z1u5

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/anasleuth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anasleuth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/722763.Lois_Winston

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lois-winston

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post, holidays

Guest Post for Handmade Ho Ho Homicide: An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 8 by Lois Winston

A Communist Dog, a Russian Empress Cat, and a Shakespeare-quoting Parrot Walked into a Cozy Mystery

By Lois Winston

I write the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, a cozy series featuring a cast of rather unique characters, including Lucille Pollack, my sleuth’s communist mother-in-law and leader of the thirteen octogenarian Daughters of the October Revolution. However, along with the humans that populate the series, there are three non-humans, each with their own unique personalities.

Manifesto is the commie’s French bulldog, named for The Communist Manifesto, a political treatise written in 1848 by German philosophers Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels. Given Lucille’s political leanings, you’d expect her to own a Russian Wolfhound, wouldn’t you? Anastasia really doesn’t know why her mother-in-law chose a French bulldog. The two women converse only when absolutely necessary. However, Anastasia suspects size was the main factor. Russian Wolfhounds are quite large, and prior to moving in with Anastasia and her family, Lucille lived in an extremely small apartment.

You know how pets often take on the personalities of their owners? This is definitely the case with Manifesto. As such, Anastasia and her sons have given the dog a few nicknames, alternating between Mephisto and Devil Dog. Recently, though, Manifesto has begun to mellow and prefer the company of Anastasia’s sons to his mistress. Whether this is due to age or objecting to Lucille’s smothering is uncertain, but Anastasia and the boys see it as a welcome change in disposition. Too bad his mistress doesn’t take her cues from her dog.

Manifesto continues to have one nemesis, though. Catherine the Great is an overweight, pampered white Persian owned by Anastasia’s much-married mother Flora Sudberry Periwinkle Ramirez Scoffield Goldberg O’Keefe Tuttnauer.

Flora is the former social secretary of the Daughters of the American Revolution and claims to trace her lineage back to Russian nobility on her mother’s side. When she’s between husbands, she moves in with Anastasia. Due to the size of Anastasia’s home, Flora and Lucille are then forced to share a bedroom. The two women get along as well as their pets—which is to say they fight like cats and dogs.

African grey parrot, Psittacus erithacus erithacus, from the Congo region isolated on red.

The Casa Pollack menagerie is rounded out by Ralph, an African Grey Parrot with a penchant for quoting Shakespeare. Anastasia inherited Ralph from her great-aunt Penelope Periwinkle, a college professor and Shakespearean scholar who brought Ralph to all her lectures. Ralph doesn’t just quote the standard famous lines from the Bard of Avon, though. No “alas poor Yorick” or “friends, Romans, countrymen” for this bird. He has an uncanny knack for squawking situation-appropriate lines from any play or sonnet.

Because he’s potty-trained, Ralph has free rein of the house, much to the annoyance of both Lucille and Flora. Manifesto and Catherine the Great don’t think very highly of him, either, but Ralph could care less. He looks down his beak at any species that can’t converse in English. And much to Anastasia’s amusement, Ralph has developed a “bromance” with her boyfriend, photojournalist (and possible spy) Zachary Barnes.

Can you tell I write humorous cozy mysteries?

Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide

An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 8

Two and a half weeks ago magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack arrived home to find Ira Pollack, her half-brother-in-law, had blinged out her home with enough Christmas lights to rival Rockefeller Center. Now he’s crammed her small yard with enormous cavorting inflatable characters. She and photojournalist boyfriend and possible spy Zack Barnes pack up the unwanted lawn decorations to return to Ira. They arrive to find his yard the scene of an over-the-top Christmas extravaganza. His neighbors are not happy with the animatronics, laser light show, and blaring music creating traffic jams on their normally quiet street. One of them expresses his displeasure with his fists before running off.

In the excitement, the deflated lawn ornaments are never returned to Ira. The next morning Anastasia once again heads to his house before work to drop them off. When she arrives, she discovers Ira’s attacker dead in Santa’s sleigh. Ira becomes the prime suspect in the man’s murder and begs Anastasia to help clear his name. But Anastasia has promised her sons she’ll keep her nose out of police business. What’s a reluctant amateur sleuth to do?

Buy Links

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VG2QZXV/

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/handmade-ho-ho-homicide

Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/handmade-ho-ho-homicide-lois-winston/1132607263?ean=2940163093748

iTunes https://books.apple.com/us/book/handmade-ho-ho-homicide/id1473711082

Bio:

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Website: www.loiswinston.com

Newsletter sign-up: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z1z1u5

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/anasleuth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anasleuth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/722763.Lois_Winston

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lois-winston

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for Drop Dead Ornaments, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery by Lois Winston

Drop Dead Ornaments (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
by Lois Winston

About the Book


Drop Dead Ornaments (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Self Published
Print Length: 209 pages
ASIN: B07GMZ2H4B

Anastasia Pollack’s son Alex is dating Sophie Lambert, the new kid in town. For their community service project, the high school seniors have chosen to raise money for the county food bank. Anastasia taps her craft industry contacts to donate materials for the students to make Christmas ornaments they’ll sell at the town’s annual Holiday Crafts Fair.

At the fair Anastasia meets Sophie’s father, Shane Lambert, who strikes her as a man with secrets. She also notices a woman eavesdropping on their conversation. Later that evening when the woman turns up dead, Sophie’s father is arrested for her murder.

Alex and Sophie beg Anastasia to find the real killer, but Anastasia has had her fill of dead bodies. She’s also not convinced of Shane’s innocence. Besides, she’s promised younger son Nick she’ll stop risking her life. But how can she say no to Alex?

About the Author


About the Author

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Author Links

Website: www.loiswinston.com

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/anasleuth

Twitter at https://twitter.com/Anasleuth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/722763.Lois_Winston

Newsletter sign-up: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z1z1u5

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo iTunes

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DROP DEAD ORNAMENTS TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 22 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

October 22 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 22 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

October 23 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

October 23 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 23 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT

October 24 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

October 24 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 25 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

October 25 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

October 26 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

October 26 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 27 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 27 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 28 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 28 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

October 29 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

October 29 – Cozy Up With Kathy AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 30 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST

October 30 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – CRAFT POST

November 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 1 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

November 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

November 2 – The Montana Bookaholic – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 2 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

November 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 3 – The Self-Rescue Princess – REVIEW

November 3 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

November 4 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 4 – Melina’s Book BlogREVIEW

November 4 – Curling Up by the Fire – REVIEW

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