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Stitch, Bake, Die! (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery) by Lois Winston #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tours


Stitch, Bake, Die! (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
by Lois Winston

 

I am excited to welcome Lois Winston back to Escape with Dollycas today!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

After graduating art school, I worked as a layout artist for John Wanamaker, the first U.S. department store (sadly no longer in existence). After my first son was born, I began freelancing, designing for craft and needlework magazines, craft book publishers, and craft kit manufacturers. Eventually, the writing bug bit me. My first published novel, Talk Gertie to Me, debuted in 2006, followed by Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception.

One day my agent spoke with an editor who was looking for a crafting-themed cozy mystery series. Knowing my background, my agent decided I’d be the perfect person to write such a series. That was the beginning of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. The first book, Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, came out in 2011. Stitch, Bake, Die!, is the tenth book in the series. There are also three companion novellas.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

This really depends on the theme of the book. Having worked in the consumer crafts industry for decades, I relied on many of my own experiences to creating Anastasia. As a women’s magazine crafts editor, she and I have had similar work experiences—minus the dead bodies, of course!

I also didn’t have to go far when creating Anastasia’s communist mother-in-law as I, too, had a communist mother-in-law. Her personality inspired Anastasia’s mother-in-law Lucille.

When my plots involve legal, medical, or law enforcement issues, I have a network of contacts I consult to make sure my ideas are feasible and my facts are correct. However, stories I heard growing up provide fodder for the Mafia characters in my books. My grandfather was captain of the largest county police force in New Jersey and responsible for putting away quite a few well-known gangsters back in his day. I also went to school with the sons and daughters of various “families.”

Beyond all that, I’m a news junkie and many real-life crimes have inspired quite a few plots and subplots in my books.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

I have in the past, especially when life has hit me with a whammy. I’ve found that sometimes it’s okay to give yourself permission not to write. We all need a break at times. Forcing yourself to write at these times isn’t always the best approach, but every writer is different. You need to learn what works best for you in these situations.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Write! Too many people talk about “someday” writing a book, but “someday” always seems off in the future. I’ve also known writers who spent years polishing the first three chapters of a book to submit to agents and editors but either never finished the book or didn’t devote the same care to the remainder of the manuscript. If you really want to get published, you need to work toward that goal.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

Up until a few months ago, when my husband and I relocated to Tennessee, I’d go to a Broadway show or NYC museum. The theater and museums were my happy places. But it’s a long commute from Nashville to Manhattan. Once this pandemic is finally gone from our lives, I’m going to have to find something to take their place.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing.

The pandemic has curtailed most of my activities. Although vaccinated, I’m still leery of being around large groups of people. We moved to Tennessee to be closer to family. I have grandchildren here who are too young to be vaccinated, and I don’t want to inadvertently expose them to the virus because I’ve somehow been infected and am asymptomatic. So I stay in my writing cave as much as possible.

One thing I’ve decided to do, though, is not address the pandemic in my books. People read cozies to escape the real world. I’ll leave pandemic fiction to the dystopian, thriller, suspense, and literary authors.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

At this point I’d just like to be able to travel safely anywhere. First up would be a trip to California to visit my older son and his family. We haven’t been out to see them in nearly three years.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I’m already percolating the next Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery. I’ve dropped a few breadcrumbs in Stitch, Bake, Die! Readers should look for the eleventh book in the series a year from now.

Thank you Lois for visiting today!

~*~

About Stitch, Bake, Die

Stitch, Bake, Die! (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Independently Published (October 4, 2021)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 218 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09D5VZFRX

With massive debt, a communist mother-in-law, a Shakespeare-quoting parrot, and a photojournalist boyfriend who may or may not be a spy, crafts editor Anastasia Pollack already juggles too much in her life. So she’s not thrilled when her magazine volunteers her to present workshops and judge a needlework contest at the inaugural conference of the NJ chapter of the Stitch and Bake Society, a national organization of retired professional women. At least her best friend and cooking editor Cloris McWerther has also been roped into similar duties for the culinary side of the 3-day event taking place on the grounds of the exclusive Beckwith Chateau Country Club.

 

Marlene Beckwith, wife of the multi-millionaire pharmaceutical magnate and country club owner, is both the chapter president and conference chairperson. The only thing greater than her ego is her sense of entitlement. She hates to lose at anything and fully expects to win both the needlework and baking competitions.

 

When Anastasia and Cloris arrive at the conference, they discover cash bribes in their registration packets. The Society members, few of whom are fans of Marlene, stick up for the accused and instead suggest that Marlene orchestrated the bribes to eliminate her stiffest competition.

 

The next morning when Marlene is found dead, Anastasia questions whether she really died peacefully in her sleep. After Marlene’s husband immediately has her cremated, Anastasia once again finds herself back in reluctant amateur sleuth mode.

 

With the help of Cloris, Marlene’s personal assistant Rhetta, and a laptop someone will stop at nothing to find, Anastasia soon unravels evidence of insurance scams, medical fraud, an opioid ring, long-buried family secrets, and too many possible suspects. And that’s before she not only stumbles over the body of yet another member of the Stitch and Bake Society but also finds Rhetta unconscious.

Can Anastasia piece together the various clues before she becomes the killer’s next target?

Crafting tips included.

More About Lois Winston

 

USA Today and Amazon 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.

Author Links

Website    Newsletter sign-up     Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog       Pinterest    Twitter   Goodreads   Bookbub

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October 13 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
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Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

#SpecialGuest – Lois Winston – Author of Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery) – Great Escapes Book Tour @Anasleuth

Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide
(An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
by Lois Winston

About Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide


Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Independently Published
Print Length: 212 pages
Digital ASIN: B07VG2QZXV

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?

Christmas craft projects included.

Author Interview

I am excited to have Lois visit today! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have a degree in graphic design and illustration from back in the pre-computer dinosaur era and worked for decades as a designer and editor in the consumer crafts industry. Now I’m a bestselling and award-winning author of 17 adult novels, 1 middle-grade novel, 5 novellas, one nonfiction book, and several short stories. I began my writing career penning romances and romantic suspense before switching over to cozy mysteries. I now write two cozy series—The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, featuring reluctant amateur sleuth and crafts editor Anastasia Pollack, and The Empty Nest Mysteries, which is my homage to the classic Thin Man movies but with a modern twist.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

  1. I can play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon in two degrees. Not that I’ve ever met Kevin Bacon, but his father and I attended the same church when I lived in Philadelphia.
  2. I wanted to be an astronaut, but NASA isn’t interested in vertically challenged astronauts who suffer from motion sickness.
  3. I’m one of a select few people in the world (or so it seems) who hate peanut butter. I can’t even stomach the smell of the stuff. I used to hold my breath when I made PB&J sandwiches for my kids.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Fun with Dick and Jane. Does that show my age?

What are you reading now?

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

What books have most inspired you?

This is one of those questions I find really hard to answer because there are so many ways to be inspired by books. I love books that make me laugh, and I love books that pull on my heartstrings. There are some books that have stayed with me even though I read them years ago because the plots and characters were so fabulous and the writing so gripping. Have they inspired my own writing? I’m sure everything I’ve ever read has inspired me in one way or another. It’s very hard for a writer not to be inspired by everything she reads, sees, and experiences.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

Long story short—one day an editor told my agent she was looking for a cozy series featuring crafts. Knowing my background in the crafts industry, my agent suggested I try writing one. It turned out to be love at first tap of the computer keys. I never went back to writing romance.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I have a dedicated office for my writing. There’s a large, L-shaped desk, lots of bookcases, and two large windows.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

I’m a news junkie. Just about all of my plots have been inspired by what I’ve read in the newspaper or seen on the local or national news. For instance, the plot of Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide was inspired by a murder that took place last year about twenty miles from where I live.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Some writers plot out every scene of every chapter before they ever begin writing the first sentence. If I did that, I’d find writing the actual book too much like drudge work because I’d already know everything that was going to happen. The most I’ll ever do in the way of plotting is write a couple of paragraphs of a general idea for the story. So sometimes I wind up writing myself into a corner, and it takes a few days of mulling things over in my head and brainstorming with my critique partner before I can figure out a way to move forward. It’s frustrating when it happens, but it always works out in the end.

What do you think makes a good story?

A book has to hook me from the very beginning with interesting characters and well-written prose. If it doesn’t, I toss it aside and move on to the next book. Life is too short to spend any time with mediocre writing and boring characters.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

I think I subconsciously instilled much of my personality into Anastasia. We’ve also had similar careers and communist mothers-in-law.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

When I was asked to write a crafting cozy, I did a lot of research into the sub-genre and found they all centered round a crafter who worked in one specific craft or who owned a specific type of craft shop. I wanted to do something different rather than compete with what was already out there. Writing about a protagonist who works as the crafts editor of a women’s magazine enables me to feature different crafts in each book.

In addition, most cozies take place in small towns. Mine takes place in a suburb of New York City.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

I’m already thinking about the next book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series and am mulling over a few different plot ideas.

Thank you Lois for dropping by today!

 

More 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 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.

Author Links – Website     Blog     Pinterest     Twitter     Goodreads     Newsletter sign-up

Purchase Links – Amazon  –  Kobo  –  iTunes    –   Nook


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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
October 15 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
October 15 – Babs Book Bistro – CRAFT POST – Reading Is My SuperPower
October 16 – Brooke Blogs – CRAFT POST
October 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
October 17 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
October 18 – Hearts & Scribbles – GUEST POST
October 18 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
October 19 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
October 20 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 21 – Here’s How It Happened – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 22 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
October 23 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
October 23 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
October 23 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
October 25 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
October 26 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
October 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Spotlights

Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery) by Lois Winston #Spotlight / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide
(An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
by Lois Winston

I am thrilled to shine the spotlight on Lois Winston’s new book today! 

 

About Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide


Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Independently Published
Print Length: 212 pages
Digital ASIN: B07VG2QZXV

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?

Christmas craft projects included.

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 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.

Author Links – Website     Blog     Pinterest     Twitter     Goodreads     Newsletter sign-up

Purchase Links – Amazon  –  Kobo  –  iTunes    –   Nook


a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
October 15 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
October 15 – Babs Book Bistro – CRAFT POST – Reading Is My SuperPower
October 16 – Brooke Blogs – CRAFT POST
October 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
October 17 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
October 18 – Hearts & Scribbles – GUEST POST
October 18 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
October 19 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
October 20 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 21 – Here’s How It Happened – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 22 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
October 23 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
October 23 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
October 23 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
October 25 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
October 26 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
October 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 27 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
October 28 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST

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#Spotlight / #Giveaway – Scrapbook of Murder by Lois Winston – Great Escapes Tour

Scrapbook of Murder
by Lois Winston

Scrapbook of Murder (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Self Published (October 2, 2017)
Print Length: 171 pages
E-Book ASIN: B075FCSCPL

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.


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     Blog     Pinterest     Twitter     Goodreads     Newsletter sign-up

Purchase Links 


Amazon  Kobo Paperback iTunes Nook

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November 1 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
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November 5 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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#Spotlight / #Giveaway – Literally Dead by Lois Winston – Great Escapes Book Tour

literally-dead-large-banner640

Literally Dead
by Lois Winston

 

lit_dead_ebookcover

Literally Dead (An Empty Nest Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Self Published (September 30, 2016)
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1940795386
E-Book ASIN: B01LWCW5C1
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Synopsis

After 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.

Praise for Literally Dead

The mystery was put together very well… I thoroughly enjoy the humor she adds to her cozy mysteries.
~A Date With A Book

The writing conference, with its range of characters, was the perfect backdrop for the story and it was nearly as fun to learn about the behind-the-scenes of the writing and publishing world as it was to read the book.
~I Read What You Write

I loved this book so much I really couldn’t put it down. The concept was brilliant and the characters were funny, quirky, mean and backstabbing.
~Texas Book-aholic

lois-winston-med-res-file

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     Blog     Pinterest     Twitter     Goodreads     Newsletter sign-up

Purchase Links




Kindle     Nook     iTunes    Kobo

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Book Blast – A Stitch to Die For by Lois Winston – #Giveaway

Happy Halloween!!

This is the last day to enter the 

6th Annual Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

BOOK BLAST

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A Stitch to Die For
by Lois Winston

A Stitch to Die For-ebookA Stitch to Die For (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery) (Volume 5)
5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
• Paperback: 240 pages
• Publisher: Lois Winston (July 7, 2015)
• ISBN-13: 978-1940795300
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 Synopsis:

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.

lois-winston-med-res-file

 

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.

Visit Lois/Emma at www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Tsu, on Pinterest, and on Twitter. Sign up for her newsletter here.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon      Nook      Kobo     iTunes      Google Play

 

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Queen of All She Reads

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