Let’s Get to Know Lois Winston

My guest this week is an award-winning craft and needlework designer and author from the world of traditional publishing who’s now an “indie” author. Lois writes women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name as well as under her pen name, Emma Carlyle.

Lois Winston, Author
Lois Winston, Author

Her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series is a clever combination of humor, mystery, and crafts, with material for characters and plots drawn from her personal experience in the crafts industry. (Who knew crafts could be deadly?) The series features a magazine crafts editor who’s also a reluctant amateur sleuth.

The first in the series, Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist (quite an achievement!). Kirkus Reviews called the series “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.”

Here’s Lois, talking about her series:

 Although I’m not Anastasia, we share many of the same experiences. I’ve spent much of my adult life working in the crafts industry as both a designer and an editor. My work experience, coupled with setting my books in Manhattan and actual New Jersey towns, make it possible for me to infuse my books with rich, factual details.

Like Anastasia, I’m the mother of two sons. However, my husband is not a closet gambler (really, he’s not!), and thankfully, he’s still very much alive. I also don’t make a habit of stumbling over dead bodies, but I did have a very mean-spirited communist mother-in-law who lived with me for six (although it felt like sixty) years. My revenge has been to turn her into the character readers love to hate.

Unfortunately, due to allergies, I don’t have a single pet, let alone Anastasia’s unlikely menagerie, living under my roof. Ralph, the Shakespeare-quoting parrot, the white Persian cat known as Catherine the Great, and Manifesto, the communist French bulldog, are all figments of my very fertile (and often warped) imagination.

True to the tradition of cozy mysteries, there’s no sex and no explicit violence. A few characters use foul language on occasion. (Hey, Mafia loan sharks aren’t going to say “gosh darn it!”  Teenagers in the series will probably slip now and then, although they’re quick to apologize when reprimanded by Mom.) My books are most likely to appeal to adult readers of humorous amateur sleuth mysteries.

The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries

When Anastasia’s husband permanently cashes in his chips at a roulette table in Las Vegas, her comfortable middle-class life craps out. She’s left with two teenage sons, a mountain of debt, and her hateful Communist mother-in-law as a permanent houseguest—not to mention stunned disbelief over her late husband’s secret gambling addiction and the loan shark demanding fifty thousand dollars. And that’s before she becomes the prime suspect in the murder of the magazine’s fashion editor.

Each book in the series finds Anastasia moonlighting at various jobs to pay down her debt. Unfortunately, she keeps stumbling over dead bodies and coming up against killers.

“Winston…plays for plenty of laughs…while letting Anastasia shine as a risk-taking investigator who doesn’t always know when to quit.”

Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Decoupage Can Be Deadly

In the most recent full-length mystery in the series, Anastasia and her fellow American Woman editors are steaming mad when minutes before the opening of a consumer show, they discover half their booth usurped by Bling!, their publisher’s newest magazine. CEO Alfred Gruenwald is sporting new arm candy—rapper-turned-entrepreneur and Bling! executive editor, the first-name-only Philomena.

During the consumer show, Gruenwald’s wife serves Philomena with an alienation of affection lawsuit, but Philomena doesn’t live long enough to make an appearance in court. She’s found dead days later, stuffed in the shipping case that held Anastasia’s decoupage crafts. When Gruenwald makes cash-strapped Anastasia an offer she can’t refuse, she wonders, does he really want to find Philomena’s killer or is he harboring a hidden agenda?


“Beware the Bling!”

Read an excerpt here:  http://www.loiswinston.com/excerptdecoupage.pdf

Available now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple iBookstore!

Enjoy the whole series in trade paperback or e-book editions:

Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun

Death by Killer Mop Doll

Revenge of the Crafty Corpse

Decoupage Can Be Deadly

Mini-mysteries (ebook)

Crewel Intentions

Mosaic Mayhem

Patchwork Peril

NEW! Get all three mini-mysteries together in Crafty Crimes

Follow this author:

Visit Lois at her website and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog. You can follow everyone on Twitter too!

12 thoughts on “Let’s Get to Know Lois Winston

  1. E. Ayers

    I didn’t know that you are pet-less. I guess that allergy means you can’t come visit me when in Virginia. I’ve never been without a pet for very long, and hubby used to say we could charge admission when our girls were young. If it wasn’t ours, I was babysitting it.

    I’m down to two pets, a cat and a dog. But there’s a pregnant cat in the neighborhood and well, I’m thinking about those kittens that will need a home.

    I love your mysteries!

    1. authorlois

      Thanks, E.! Yes, unfortunately, I don’t do well around furry or feathered friends for extended periods of time. 🙁

    1. authorlois

      Thanks, Susan! If you do read any of the books in the series, let me know what you think of them.

  2. authorlois

    LOL! Lots of people think that, Angela. I guess it’s because of all those virtual pets I have in my books. They don’t make me sneeze. 😀

  3. I love this series, and the crazy mother in law — having had one myself who wasn’t quite so apparent! — plus all the animals. My sister managed to tend a menagerie of animals much better than I. My former husband and I only manage a dog or two and a bird at one time. Just picked up the deal for the crafty novellas and looking forward to diving into that on this rainy Memorial Day.

  4. authorlois

    Thanks, Diane! Hope you enjoy them. Our Memorial weekend got off to a rainy start, but it’s beautiful today. Hope yours isn’t a complete washout.

  5. authorlois

    Thanks, Reggi! I love books that make me laugh. So those are the books I want to write. Humor is very subjective, though. Not everyone is always going to get it.

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