Third Time’s the Charm

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have USA best-selling and award-winning author Lois Winston sharing her three-act life and her latest release, Scrapbook of Murder.

Here’s Lois!

My Second Act is actually a Third Act. I have a degree in graphic design and illustration. After graduating college I spent a short period of time working at two different advertising agencies run by misogynistic male chauvinists before landing a position as a layout artist for John Wanamaker, the premier department store in Philadelphia.

Then I got pregnant.

Childcare back then wasn’t what it is today. I quickly learned that if I wanted to continue working, I’d have to hand over most of my weekly paycheck to KinderCare, the only available option at the time. I had a very sweet, albeit chauvinistic boss who believed mothers should stay home with their babies, but he did realize I needed to continue working, both for the salary and my own sanity. We worked out a freelancing arrangement that enabled me to work from home. The situation was ideal until the family-run department store was sold to a conglomerate and eventually went the way of the dodo.

Luckily for me, I enjoyed crafts and needlework. While in a needlework shop one day, I overheard a conversation between the shop owner and another customer and learned that a needlework kit manufacturer located not too far from my home bought freelance designs. As someone with an art degree, I designed my own pieces rather than stitching others’ designs. I went home and placed a call to the company. A few days later I walked out of the interview with six assignments.

Working for that company led to a new design career for me, one that lasted for decades. I freelanced for various companies and publishers and spent time as an editor for McCall’s craft book division, head designer and editor for a kit manufacturer, and one of DMC’s go-to designers (a position I still hold.) For those of you unfamiliar with DMC, it’s the world’s leading manufacturer of embroidery floss and has been in business about twice as long as the United States has been a country.

Life was good, even during those times the economy wasn’t. When people are counting their pennies, they don’t spend money on entertainment. They stay home—and spend their leisure time doing crafts. Or at least they did until the advent of the home computer. Suddenly, instead of crafting, people were spending their free time online. Craft companies went out of business; magazines folded. I had less and less work at a time when I needed more and more income, thanks to my kids’ tuition bills.

One day the idea for a story popped into my head. I hadn’t written any fiction since Freshman Comp in college, but I started writing, and before I knew it, I had completed a novel. Thus began a decade-long journey toward publication. My first book debuted ten years, almost to the day, that I first began writing.

I still design, but I now earn in a year what I used to bill out in a good month because there’s so little design work available. Most of my time is spent writing. My first books were romances, but I eventually took my experiences in the craft industry and used them to create my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series. Many of Anastasia’s experiences are my own—minus the dead bodies.

Scrapbook of Murder is the sixth full-length mystery in the series. The others are Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, Death By Killer Mop Doll, Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, Decoupage Can Be Deadly, and A Stitch To Die For. There are also three novellas connected to the series—Crewel Intentions, Mosaic Mayhem, and Patchwork Peril.

Blurb

Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but normal deserted craft editor Anastasia Pollack’s world nearly a year ago. Now, tripping over dead bodies seems to be the “new normal” for this reluctant amateur sleuth.

When the daughter of a murdered neighbor asks Anastasia to create a family scrapbook from old photographs and memorabilia discovered in a battered suitcase, she agrees—not only out of friendship but also from a sense of guilt over the older woman’s death. However, as Anastasia begins sorting through the contents of the suitcase, she discovers a letter revealing a fifty-year-old secret, one that unearths a long-buried scandal and unleashes a killer. Suddenly Anastasia is back in sleuthing mode as she races to prevent a suitcase full of trouble from leading to more deaths.

Buy Links

Kindle | Kobo | iTunes | Nook | Paperback

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 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.

Where to find Lois…

Website | Blog | Pinterest | Twitter | Newsletter Sign-Up

Joanne here!

Lois, you are a crafty and clever lady! Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey. Best of luck with Scrapbook of Murder.


Looking back…

challenge1Twenty-two months ago, I faced a frustrating and unexpected health challenge that forced me to curtail my usual activities.

Find out more on the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killer blog.


We’d Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips

I’m excited to be part of this extraordinary venture organized by USA Today Bestselling Author Lois Winston.

You can pre-order the eBook for 99 cents and receive your copy on October 30. A portion of proceeds will be donated to No Kid Hungry.

recipesloiswinston

Description

Have you ever wished you could find more time to do the things you want to do, rather than just doing the things you have to do? Most authors juggle day jobs and family responsibilities along with their writing. Because they need to find time to write, they look for ways to save time in other aspects of their lives.

Cooking often takes up a huge chunk of time. In We’d Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips you’ll find easy, nutritious recipes for meat, poultry, pasta, soup, stew, chili, and vegetarian meals. All of the recipes require a minimum of prep time, freeing you up to read, exercise, garden, craft, write, spend more time with family, or whatever.

Within the pages of We’d Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips you’ll be introduced to authors who write a wide range of fiction—everything from mystery to romance to speculative fiction to books for children, young adults, and new adults—and some who write nonfiction. Some of the authors write sweet; others write steamy. Some write cozy; others write tense thrillers.

Some are debut authors with only one published book; others are multi-published and have had long publishing careers. Some are New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors who may or may not be familiar to you, but being a bestselling author doesn’t mean they still don’t have to juggle their day job along with their writing.

The authors who contributed to this book are a rather creative and resourceful bunch when it comes to carving out time from their busy lives. So in addition to timesaving recipes, within the pages of this book you’ll find timesaving and organizational tips for other aspects of your life. And if you happen to be a writer, you’ll also find a plethora of great ideas to help you organize your writing life.

Authors who contributed to this book include: Lisa Alber, Reggi Allder, Judy Alter, Krista Ames, Rose Anderson, Cori Lynn Arnold, Judy Baker, Beverley Bateman, Donnell Ann Bell, Paula Gail Benson, Kris Bock, Maureen Bonatch, Ava Bradley, Susan Breen, Lida Bushloper, Michelle Markey Butler, Ashlyn Chase, Judy Copek, Maya Corrigan, Mariposa Cruz, Melinda Curtis, Lesley A. Diehl, Conda V. Douglas, Nancy Eady, Helena Fairfax, Jennifer Faye, Flo Fitzpatrick, Kit Frazier, Shelley Freydont, Mariana Gabrielle, Rosie Genova, Marni Graff, Joanne Guidoccio, Margaret S. Hamilton, L.C. Hayden, Linda Gordon Hengerer, Heather Hiestand, R.Franklin James, Kathryn Jane, M.M. Jaye, Elizabeth John, Stacy Juba, Gemma Juliana, Carol Goodman Kaufman, Melissa Keir, Kay Kendall, A.R. Kennedy, Lynn Kinnaman, Marie Laval, B.V. Lawson, Claudia Lefeve, Alice Loweecey, Cynthia Luhrs, Sandra Masters, Lisa Q. Mathews, J.M. Maurer, Sandra McGregor, Kathy McIntosh, Claire A. Murray, Ann Myers, Tara Neale, Stacey Joy Netzel, Jayne Ormerod, Alice Orr, Laurel Peterson, Irene Peterson, Pepper Phillips, Caridad Pineiro, Kathryn Quick, Renée Reynolds, Josie Riviera, Elizabeth Rose, C.A. Rowland, Cindy Sample, Sharleen Scott, Terry Shames, Susan C. Shea, Judy Penz Sheluk, Joanna Campbell Slan, Karen Rose Smith, Lynette Sofras, Kaye Spencer, Skye Taylor, Lourdes Venard, Lea Wait, Regan Walker, Lois Winston, and Aubrey Wynne.

Buy Links

Amazon Canada | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia

10 Reasons Why I’m Not Anastasia

I’m thrilled to welcome USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston to the Power of 10 series.

Here’s Lois!

loiswinstonPeople have often asked me how much of Anastasia Pollack, the protagonist of my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, is really Lois Winston. Although I have drawn on my own experiences in writing Anastasia, there are fundamental differences between the two of us. In no particular order they are as follows:

1. Unlike my protagonist, I am not a sleuth, reluctant or otherwise. I’ve never stumbled across a dead body and hope I never do. I prefer virtual dead bodies to real ones and solving crimes on my computer in the safety and comfort of my own home. I’ll leave the real crime-solving to the professionals.

2. Anastasia has two teenage sons. Although I once had two teenage sons, my own sons are no longer teenagers. However, everything I know about teenage boys I learned from my own kids.

3. Anastasia shares her home with a corpulent Persian cat, an ill-tempered French bulldog, and a Shakespeare-quoting parrot. If I had her menagerie living with me, I’d be long dead from an allergic reaction. I don’t even have goldfish.

4. Anastasia is a widow. My husband, thankfully, is very much alive, and I hope he stays that way for decades to come.

5. Anastasia’s husband gambled away all their savings and left her in extreme debt when he died. My husband doesn’t even buy lottery tickets—which is why we haven’t won the lottery and probably never will because I don’t buy lottery tickets, either.

6. Anastasia has an apartment above her garage that she’s able to rent out for extra income. All I have above my garage are air rights, but although air rights go for millions in Manhattan, no one seems interested in purchasing my suburban air rights.

7. Anastasia is stuck with her nasty communist mother-in-law as a permanent resident. After six years of living with my nasty communist mother-in-law, I gave my husband an ultimatum—either she goes or I go. Anastasia is far more saintly than I am.

8. Anastasia has a forty-minute commute to and from work in bumper-to-bumper traffic every day. My commute is much shorter—a flight of stairs from my bedroom down to my office.

9. Anastasia has a boyfriend who looks like his genes swam around in the same pool as those of Pierce Brosnan, George Clooney, and Antonio Banderas. My husband…not exactly cover model material. But I think he’s cute.

10. Anastasia doesn’t age in real time. Since first appearing in Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun in January 2011, she’s aged less than a year. I, unfortunately, am now four-and-a-half years older, and we won’t discuss how many pounds heavier.

astitchtodiefor

Blurb

The adventures of reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack continue in A Stitch to Die For, the 5th book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series by USA Today bestselling author Lois Winston.

Ever since her husband died and left her in debt equal to the gross national product of Uzbekistan, magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack has stumbled across one dead body after another—but always in work-related settings. When a killer targets the elderly nasty neighbor who lives across the street from her, murder strikes too close to home. Couple that with a series of unsettling events days before Halloween, and Anastasia begins to wonder if someone is sending her a deadly message.

Buy Links

Paperback | Kindle | Kobo | Barnes and Noble | Google Play | iTunes

(Other books in the series include Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, Death by Killer Mop Doll, Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, and three mini-mysteries: Crewel Intentions, Mosaic Mayhem, and Patchwork Peril.)

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 non-fiction 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. Visit Lois/Emma at http://www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Tsu at http://www.tsu.co/loiswinston, on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/anasleuth, and onTwitter @anasleuth. Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.MyAuthorBiz.com/ENewsletter.php?acct=LW2467152513