Tag Archives: Lois Winston

My Musing ~ Scrapbook of Murder by Lois Winston

Scrapbook of Murder by Lois Winston is the sixth book in the “Anastasia Pollack Crafting” mystery series. Published: October 2017

Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but “normal” deserted crafts 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.

This is a great book that I devoured in one sitting. I love the antics of Anastasia as she sets out to find who put her friend in the hospital and in another case, a frivolous lawsuit is filed against her friend. Putting two and two together and you just know that Anastasia will solve both cases and it’s the visually descriptive narrative that keeps me engaged in all that is happening from the discovery of the letter, to Cloris’ lawsuit concerns to Lucille up to her old tricks and to Zack who know exactly what Anastasia needs. All the gang is here and it was a joy to visit with them once again.  This is one of the best books in this delightfully entertaining whodunit and I hope there are more stories in the future. Bonus, of course, are scrapbooking tips.

My Musing ~ Literally Dead by Lois Winston

Literally Dead by Lois Winston is the second book in the “Empty Nest” mystery series, published October 2016

literally-deadAfter her last disastrous episode as an amateur sleuth, Gracie Elliott is back. The budding romance writer has spent the past year crafting her first novel. Her hard work and determination pay off when her manuscript wins the Cream of the Crop award, a contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by the Society of American Romance Authors. First place entitles her to attend the organization’s annual conference, normally open only to published authors.

With husband Blake in tow, a starry-eyed Gracie experiences the ultimate fan-girl moment upon entering the hotel. Her favorite authors are everywhere. However, within minutes she learns Lovinia Darling, the Queen of Romance, is hardly the embodiment of the sweet heroines she creates. Gracie realizes she’s stepped into a romance vipers’ den of backstabbing, deceit, and plagiarism, but she finds a friend and mentor in bestselling author Paisley Prentiss.

Hours later, when Gracie discovers Lovinia’s body in the hotel stairwell, a victim of an apparent fall, Gracie is not convinced her death was an accident. Too many other authors had reason to want Lovinia dead. Ignoring Blake’s advice to “let the police handle it,” Gracie, aided by Paisley, begins her own investigation into the death. Romance has never been so deadly.

This was an enjoyable little whodunit that saw Gracie Elliott winning a writing award and having a body land near her. What looks like an accident turns out to be more once Gracie sets her mind that a murder has occurred. The author gives us an inside look at the publishing industry as well as telling a story of deceit and betrayal. With a multitude of suspects and a few surprising twists, this was nicely done and I like how the characters were portrayed in their perspective roles. I love the relationship between Gracie and her husband with their witty repartee which adds to the telling of this tale.

Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries edited by Lois Winston

sleuthing women

Being a mystery author, I know quite a few other mystery authors. However, there are many I don’t know and haven’t read. I began to wonder how many wonderful mysteries I’m missing out on because I just don’t know about them. And then I wondered, how many readers don’t know about my books? Or the books I’ve enjoyed by some of my fellow authors? What if there was an easy way to introduce mystery readers to some of my favorite authors and their series? That’s when inspiration hit, and I began contacting some of my mystery author friends. They loved my idea and joined me in producing Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries.

Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries is a collection of full-length mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novel in the set is the first book in an established multi-book series—a total of over 3,000 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, and cozy mysteries, with a combined total of over 1700 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4 stars. Titles include:

Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery by Lois Winston—Working mom Anastasia is clueless about her husband’s gambling addiction until he permanently cashes in his chips and her comfortable middle-class life craps out. He leaves her with staggering debt, his communist mother, and a loan shark demanding $50,000. Then she’s accused of murder. . .

Murder Among Neighbors, a Kate Austen Suburban Mystery by Jonnie Jacobs — When Kate Austen’s socialite neighbor, Pepper Livingston, is murdered, Kate becomes involved in a sea of steamy secrets that bring her face to face with shocking truths—and handsome detective Michael Stone.

Skeleton in a Dead Space, a Kelly O’Connell Mystery by Judy Alter—Real estate isn’t a dangerous profession until Kelly O’Connell stumbles over a skeleton and runs into serial killers and cold-blooded murderers in a home being renovated in Fort Worth. Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman boyfriend Mike and protect her two young daughters.

In for a Penny, a Cleopatra Jones Mystery by Maggie Toussaint—Accountant Cleo faces an unwanted hazard when her golf ball lands on a dead banker. The cops think her BFF shot him, so Cleo sets out to prove them wrong. She ventures into the dating world, wrangles her teens, adopts the victim’s dog, and tries to rein in her mom. . .until the killer puts a target on Cleo’s back.

The Hydrogen Murder, a Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—A retired physicist returns to her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts and moves into an apartment above her friends’ funeral home. When she signs on to help the Police Department with a science-related homicide, she doesn’t realize she may have hundreds of cases ahead of her.

Retirement Can Be Murder, A Baby Boomer Mystery by Susan Santangelo—Carol Andrews dreads her husband Jim’s upcoming retirement more than a root canal without Novocain. She can’t imagine anything worse than having an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it—until Jim is suspected of murdering his retirement coach.

Dead Air, A Talk Radio Mystery by Mary Kennedy—Psychologist Maggie Walsh moves from NY to Florida to become the host of WYME’s On the Couch with Maggie Walsh. When her guest, New Age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii, turns up dead, her new roommate Lark becomes the prime suspect. Maggie must prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy.

A Dead Red Cadillac, A Dead Red Mystery by RP Dahlke—When her vintage Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask aero-ag pilot Lalla Bains why an elderly widowed piano teacher is found strapped in the driver’s seat. Lalla confronts suspects, informants, cross-dressers, drug-running crop dusters, and a crazy Chihuahua on her quest to find the killer.

Murder is a Family Business, an Alvarez Family Murder Mystery by Heather Haven—Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez, has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve.

Murder, Honey, a Carol Sabala Mystery by Vinnie Hansen—When the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. Suspects abound at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives.

I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity with these short blurbs, and you’ll soon find some new favorite authors in Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries. The boxed set e-book is available through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, and iTunes.

About Lois Winston
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 lois-winston-med-res-fileCarlyle 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 www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog. Follow her on Pinterest, and on Twitter. Sign up for her newsletter here.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a Kindle version of Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries. The giveaway will end May 6, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

Patchwork Peril by Lois Winston

Patchwork PerilPatchwork Peril by Lois Winston is the third mini-mystery in the “Anastasia Pollack Crafting” series. Publisher: Lois Winston, April 2014

After rescuing her elderly neighbor Rosalie’s quilts from a rainstorm, craft editor Anastasia Pollack discovers Rosalie unconscious at the bottom of her basement stairs. Rosalie’s estranged niece Jane flies east to care for her during her recovery, but Rosalie suspects her motives are less than altruistic and even accuses Jane of trying to kill her. Is Rosalie’s paranoia a result of her head injury, or is there something more to her accusations? And can Anastasia uncover the truth before it’s too late?

I love these mini-mysteries from Lois that keeps me up-to-date with the goings on in the life that is Anastasia. Anastasia is at it again and hilarity ensues in this well-crafted whodunit. I hope we continue to see more of these mini-mysteries or full –length novels.

Decoupage Can Be Deadly by Lois Winston

Decoupage Can Be DeadlyDecoupage Can Be Deadly by Lois Winston is the fourth book in the “Anastasia Pollack Crafting” mystery series. Publisher: Lois Winston, November 2013

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?

This is one of these series that no matter what, I’m going to be laughing my way through a comedy of errors as our reluctant heroine sets a course of action to find a killer while contending with her eccentrically dysfunctional family. This adventure grabs you immediately delivering a fast-paced and action-filled drama that doesn’t let up from the first page to the surprising conclusion. This was a good read and I enjoyed every bump in the road in this hilarious and amusing whodunit. And the way this book ended, I’m looking forward to the next one in this entertaining series.

Mosaic Mayhem by Lois Winston

mosaic mayhemMosaic Mayhem by Lois Winston is the second mini-mystery in the “Anastasia Pollack Crafting” series. Publisher: Lois Winston, August 2013

So much for a romantic getaway…When cash-strapped mom and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack is offered an all-expense paid three-day trip to Barcelona, her only worries are whether her passport is still valid and arranging care for her semi-invalid mother-in-law during her absence. However, within hours of landing in Europe, she finds herself staring down the barrel of a gun and needing to convince a Spanish crime syndicate they’ve got the wrong person. Why do people on both sides of the Atlantic keep trying to kill this pear-shaped, middle-aged single mom, and magazine crafts editor?

Loved it! This fast-paced drama is enjoyably engaging as Anastasia finds herself in another dangerous situation that ends with a surprising twist of events. A great read!

Revenge of the Crafty Corpse by Lois Winston

Revenge Crafty CorpseRevenge of the Crafty Corpse by Lois Winston is the third book in the “Anastasia Pollack Crafting” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, January 2013

Welcome to the dysfunctional world of crafts editor Anastasia Pollack. After her gambling husband croaked and left her with more bills than you can shake a knitting needle at, Anastasia takes a part-time job leading a crafts class for a group of unruly seniors at Sunnyside Assisted Living Center. When one of the craftier residents, Lyndella Wegner, turns up dead, Anastasia’s cantankerous mother-in-law becomes a prime suspect. Anastasia discovers that Lyndella was more notorious than her fabric yo-yos and x-rated dryer-lint paintings—and her scandalous past may just help solve the murder.

This was another fun time in the world of Anastasia. Her house is full with no room for anyone else but with Lucille temporarily living elsewhere, life should have been good. No, Lucille had to get herself labeled as a prime suspect in the death of her bed-mate and Anastasia has to find the real killer before Lucille is railroaded. Along the way Anastasia uncovers so many secrets it was hard to pin down the murderer hiding in plain sight. I enjoyed this story that had me laughing at the encounters that Anastasia had to deal with in regards to her family and her search for the killer. And there’s Zack. A great story and I look forward to more adventures with the crazy and quirky Pollack family.

A Chat with Flora O’Keefe by Lois Winston

Mama here, otherwise known as Flora Sudberry Periwinkle Ramirez Scoffield Goldberg O’Keefe. Dru invited me to her blog today to tell you all about my daughter’s latest adventure in Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, the third book in Lois Winston’s Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.

I swear, I don’t know what’s gotten into Anastasia. Ever since her husband Karl Pollack permanently cashed in his chips in Las Vegas, revealing himself to be a no-good, lying louse, she thinks she’s Sherlock Holmes. Although, I don’t think even Sherlock Holmes stumbled across dead bodies at the rate my daughter does. Nor did Sherlock have as many people trying to kill him. You’d think Anastasia works in law enforcement given all those dead bodies, but she’s the crafts editor at a women’s magazine, for heaven’s sake! Hardly your typical life-threatening occupation. And yet, my daughter’s life keeps getting threatened. I tell you, it’s enough to turn this mother’s strawberry blonde hair gray. Thank goodness for Miss Clairol!

Being permanently saddled with Lucille, Karl’s communist mother, should be enough bad Karma for my daughter. Not by a long shot. The louse also left her with drained bank accounts and more debt than your average third world nation.

I had hoped there’d be one less thorn in our sides after author Lois Winston had the good sense to dump a stroke and brain tumor on the commie pinko at the end of Death By Killer Mop Doll, the second book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. I was so looking forward to having the bedroom all to myself! But then, much to my dismay, Lois didn’t kill off Lucille. The commie recovered, and in Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, Lucille is installed in an assisted living and rehab center. At least I have the bedroom all to myself temporarily, which is convenient since I have a new beau. Too bad Medicare will only cover a month of rehab for Lucille. Then, unfortunately, we get her back.

Of course, being Lucille, she does nothing but complain from the moment she arrives at the center, going so far as to threaten to strangle her extremely talkative roommate. Guess what happens next.

Things are looking up for me when Lucille becomes the prime suspect in the murder of Lyndella Wegner, a ninety-eight year old crafting maven with a penchant for ruffles, lace, and hedonistic pursuits. Maybe I shouldn’t have gloated so much over the prospect of Lucille spending the rest of her days behind bars. My daughter, being the Goody Two Shoes that she is, doesn’t believe the Bolshevik is capable of murder. Of course, I tell her to leave the investigating to the professionals, but does she ever listen to me? No. She sets out to find the real killer, once again putting her own life in jeopardy. Not that Lucille appreciates Anastasia’s efforts on her behalf, but like I said, my daughter’s a Goody Two Shoes.

Meanwhile, if Anastasia does get Lucille off the hook, the commie curmudgeon is going to be in for the shock of her life when she comes home to discover the existence of a long-lost relative who showed up at our door. I can’t wait to see the expression on her face. Maybe she’ll drop dead from shock.

And just so you don’t get the wrong idea, I’m really not a bad person. Just ask anyone other than Lucille. That woman can drive a saint to cavort with the devil. The only reason author Lois Winston keeps her around is because she’s the character readers love to hate. Or so she tells me.

** Lois is giving away one (1) autographed copy of REVENGE OF THE CRAFTY CORPSE. Contest open to US residents only and ends January 12. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Meet the author
Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, a January 2011 release, was the first book in the series and received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Kirkus Reviews dubbed it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum” Death By Killer Mop Doll was released in 2012. Revenge of the Crafty Corpse is available now. Lois also writes romance, romantic suspense, humorous women’s fiction, and non-fiction under her own name and as Emma Carlyle.

Visit Lois at www.loiswinston.com, visit Emma at www.emmacarlyle.com, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers character blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com.

Revenge of the Crafty Corpse is available in trade paperback and as an ebook.

Crewel Intentions by Lois Winston

Crewel IntentionsCrewel Intentions by Lois Winston is the first mini-mystery in the “Anastasia Pollack Crafting” series. Publisher: Lois Winston, November 2012

In this short story addition to the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack receives a desperate phone call from former American Woman fashion editor Erica Milano. Erica is now in Witness Protection and living under a new identity in Western Pennsylvania. But someone is stalking her, and Erica has compelling reasons why she can’t go to the police or notify her Witsec handlers. Anastasia is the only person she can trust to help her, and she knows Anastasia won’t let her down. After all, Erica once saved Anastasia’s life. But will Anastasia be able to return the favor before the stalker strikes?

Anastasia is on the move when a friend calls needing her help and thus begins a mystery that was tension-filled as their search ended with a surprising outcome. This was a wonderful interlude and teaser to whet our appetite for the next adventures with Anastasia and her family.