Monday, January 9, 2012

Liz's Lair: Welcome Mystery Author Lois Winston


National Clean Off Your Desk Day
by Lois Winston

I want to thank Liz Lipperman for inviting me back to Mysteries & Margaritas today as part of my month-long blog tour in celebration of the release of Death By Killer Mop Doll, the second book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.

Did you know that today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day? Really! Would I kid about something as serious as that?

When I learned this, I looked around at my own desk, and began to wonder if maybe my husband wasn’t responsible for creating National Clean Off Your Desk Day. You see, when I’m writing, I become a clutterbug. Piles of loose papers, notepads of varying sizes and shapes, and stacks of books cover every square inch of my desk. Multiple sticky notes are adhered to each sheet of paper and dozens of pages in each book. More sticky notes line the perimeter of my computer monitor and the sides of my keyboard. My notes have notes!

I spread out on all available surfaces, creating more surface space when needed. I’ve even used the open top drawer of my file cabinet as an extension of my desktop. One time, I couldn’t find a specific note I’d written. I searched through every piece of paper in every pile to no avail. I even dumped the recycling bag onto the floor and scoured through all the scraps of junk mail, thinking I might have inadvertently tossed the note. I spent hours searching for that piece of paper before finally giving up.

Two years later, I pulled a file from the filing cabinet, and there was the note I’d been looking for. It had slipped down into the file cabinet. I still use the open file drawer as an additional work surface, but I’ve learned my lesson. I now first cover the top with a large piece of cardboard.

Did I mention my husband is an engineer? They don’t do clutter. At least mine doesn’t. He’s a minimalist. He also has the maddening habit of cleaning up after himself at the end of the day, whether he’s finished his project or not. That’s why I think he might be responsible for National Clean Off Your Desk Day.

Me? I just continue to accumulate all the miscellany involved in writing a manuscript for however long it takes to finish the manuscript. You can imagine what my desk looks like, given that it takes me about eight months to write a book! And even after I’ve finished a manuscript, I hold onto all those notes. I toss them into a folder and file them. Just in case.

Are you a clutterbug like me? Or are you a minimalist like my husband? Let’s hear from you. Post a comment, and you could win one of 5 signed copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll I’m giving away as part of my blog tour this month.

The full tour schedule can be found at my website, and the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, In addition, I’m giving away 3 copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll on Goodreads.

Also, for anyone attending The American Library Association’s Mid-Winter conference January 20-24 in Dallas, Midnight Ink will be raffling off the hand-crafted mop doll shown in the photo during the opening reception Friday evening. Register for the drawing at the Midnight Ink booth #1459.

Bio:
Lois Winston is the author of the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries published by Midnight Ink. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The new year brings with it the release of Death By Killer Mop Doll, the second book in the series. Read an excerpt here. Visit Lois at her website and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog. You can also follow Lois and Anastasia on Twitter @anasleuth.

Death By Killer Mop Doll blurb: 
Overdue bills and constant mother vs. mother-in-law battles at home are bad enough. But crafts editor Anastasia Pollack's stress level is maxed out when she and her fellow American Woman editors get roped into unpaid gigs for a revamped morning TV show. Before the glue is dry on Anastasia's mop dolls, morning TV turns crime drama when the studio is trashed and the producer is murdered. Former co-hosts Vince and Monica—sleazy D-list celebrities—stand out among a lengthy lineup of suspects, all furious over the show's new format. And Anastasia has no clue her snooping has landed her directly in the killer's unforgiving spotlight.

42 comments:

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Oooh, this sounds like another great book, Lois! Can't wait to read it.

Donnell said...

Lois, first of all, how tall is your husband and what does he look like? And does he travel a lot? Because we just may have a problem.

We're either married to the same man, or my husband and your husband were separated at birth. My husband's an engineer, a minimalist engineer.

Oh, the pain of it all.... Off to call my children and tell them they have half-brothers out there LOL LOL LOL.

Wonderful post as usual! Waving hi to Liz! How goes thy deadline?

Jane R said...

Oh my.... I we have the same problem.... and the same desk! My husband's an organized creature as well and I'm sure my work space drives him crazy. But, he's such a sweetheart, he never says a thing about it. Meanwhile, I can't wait to get my hands on your new book. It sounds like a winner!!

Lois Winston said...

Donnell, my husband is short, much to the dismay of my sons who blame their own lack of stature on their short parents. He used to travel a lot but doesn't in his current position. But you never know these days. He could be pulling a Karl Pollack on me!

Jane and Kari, thanks so much. Hope you both enjoy the new book.

Liz said...

Maybe it's a characteristic of engineers as surely we're not all married to the same man--although my husband is short.

Best wishes, Lois.

Lois Winston said...

Hmm...the plot thickens, Liz.

Lindsay said...

I see nothing wrong with having a messy desk. Mine is full of note, some I can't even remember what for. I've also got scraps of paper tape on the wall behind the computer and two dry white boards filled with scribblings about one or more of the books I I'm working on

Anita Clenney said...

National Clean Off Your Deck Day!!!! Egads! I don't know where to start. I need a National Clean Out House Clutter Day. :)

Thanks for visiting with us at M&M. I loved the post and the book sounds like a wonderful read. Good luck with the rest of your blog tour.

Lois Winston said...

Lindsay, my problem with notes is that not only don't I remember what they're for, sometimes I can't read my own handwriting!

Thanks, Anita!

Rachel said...

I'm a total clutterbug! I thankfully have a Nook so I lose books less often. I don't even have a desk, but I love that this is a holiday.

Rachel
rachelkb at gmail.com

Cindy Sample said...

HI Lois. Thanks for making me feel better about my own clutter. I actually stand and type at my wet bar due to a cha cha injury (old hips aren't meant to swivel). I finally cleaned off my clutter because of Christmas guests, and discovered the previous year's Christmas cards! You can tell I'm not an engineer.

PS - Your blog posts are the best!

Anonymous said...

Im one of the worst clutterbugs probably in the whole world! And, I like it that way --and, my husband is an Engineer and he's almost as bad as me! lynn/MI

Patricia said...

It's so bizarre that you wrote about this today because two days ago I decided to DO something about what I call "my area". You know, the area you use for everything "writing my book" related. I found things on my rather small table that I hadn't seen in months! And now my mind is free of clutter as well, and I can write without that bogged-down-with-too-much-crap- around-me feeling. Thank you for the post. I don't feel so alone now.
Patti

Lynn M said...

I need a national clean out your house month -- with handsome scantily clad assistants! Oh well, I would also need about a month of paid vacation so that I could do it. So I will live in my clutter and dream!

Morgan Mandel said...

I do periodic cleanups of my desk. Then I can't find stuff. I pull everything out again, and it seems to start all over again.

Right now I'm also on tour for Forever Young: Blessing or Curse. I had papers everywhere about what each host wanted. Fortunately, I got over to Staples and bought a folder nice 10 pocket organizer with an insertable cover. I've put all my emails about the tour inside and am putting copies of all the posts after they're up also. I feel kind of organized now, except for all the other stuff on my desk. At least I can find what's important for now.

Morgan Mandel
morgan@morganmandel.com
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

PamelaTurner said...

I have good intentions about cleaning off my desk. And that's about as far as I get. LOL I think my worst habit is scribbling passwords on post-it notes. I have to make sure I don't throw them out but send them through the shredder. But oh yeah, I can relate to the piles of notes, post-it notes, and various paperwork scattered across my desk. Now would someone help me find my keyboard? :-)

Lois Winston said...

Rachel, just don't misplace that Nook!

Cindy, we were away for Christmas this year, so I don't have to deal with the after-Christmas clutter. What a great feeling that is!

Lynn, your husband must be an anomaly! I've never met a clutterbug engineer.

Patti, I think there are many of us clutterbugs lurking out there. You're not alone.

Lynn M, scantily clad assistants? Of the hunk persuasion? I'd be too busy ogling to clean up and organize!

Morgan, you're more organized than I am! But that's a good suggestion. I'll have to remember it for the next book tour.

Pamela, all those passwords drive me crazy. Every time I think I've saved them all, I can't find one I need. And there's no way I can keep them all sorted in my head.

Melanie Atkins said...

I love that blurb. Your book sounds fabulous. I'll have to check it out.

And National Clean Off Your Desk Day? Really? That's so not happening here. I've got a book to finish! Maybe after I turn it in...

Liz Lipperman said...

Sounds like everyone is married to engineers!! I am, too, although he never worked as one and doesn't act like one.

As for me, I am only a clutter bug in my office. Everywhere else, clutter drives me crazy. but I am a pack rat, having stuff that will never fit me again, pictures of unknown people, etc. The good news is that we are downsizing in the spring, so I will be forced to get rid of some stuff.

And I agree. The excerpt is really good, Lois. One more book to my TBR file!!

Lois Winston said...

Thank you, Melanie and Liz! I hope you enjoy the book.

I go through cleaning frenzies once every blue moon or so and toss stuff I don't think I'll ever use or need again. Of course, 6 months later, I find that I need whatever I tossed!

Marsha said...

Interesting how many cluttery people we have here. I cleaned off one side of the desk area a couple of days ago, but didn't get to the right side--the worst part and now the right is catching stuff again. It's a never ending struggle. My lawyer husband also has an aversion to filing. Periodically, I think we should just implode the room and start over. LOL When I taught I had a student who every couple of weeks came up to me, "It's time." and she'd pick up each piece of paper and force me to make a decision about it. Where is she when I need her now? Teaching her own class. I feel so much better knowing I'm like so many talented folks. Book sounds delightful, Lois. Can't wait to read it.

Ruth said...

I have two desks- one for my day job and it goes through various stages of disaster, but the one at home used for writing is either the lapdesk- can't clutter there or the rolling stand/desk, also not really able to clutter it much. As for notes, I have a sticky note program on the computer that I tag notes on, but really wish I had two monitors or three and could work on split screens. However, if you ever saw me writing in my room you would notice a slight bit of chaos on the bed or chairs surrounding me.
Ruth

Lois Winston said...

Marsha, I think we creative types all should have personal assistants. It's on my to-do list -- after I win the lottery or get offered a 6 figure book deal. ;-)

Ruth, maybe we all need to get rid of our desks. No desk, no cluttered desk. But then, I'd probably just use the floor!

Tina LaVon McCright said...

I wish I had known it was National Clean Your Desk Day. I would have at least thought about cleaning my desk at school. I only use it for a dumping ground in the corner of the classroom.

lil Gluckstern said...

I really liked "Deadly Glue Gun." the trouble with me is my desk is the only place I have. Everything else is covered with books, yarns, and cat fur. So my desk is a depository for everything else-hence the mess. My ex used to be a computer prima donna so his desk was a mess because, cleaning was for peons.

Susan said...

The clutter fairy is going to need a bigger wand to handle the mess on my desk. Looking forward to the publication of Mop Doll.

NoraA said...

You have GOT to be kidding? Clean off my desk? Once a month I stack everything up, go through every scrap of paper, shred what I don't need, stack others, and toss the rest. If I actually kept it clean I'd never find anything. LOL

Lois Winston said...

Tina, I wish we could just "think" the clutter away!

Lil, no comment on the ex. It wouldn't be pretty, but I'm so glad you enjoyed Glue Gun. Death By Killer Mop Doll is available now.

Susan, there's a clutter fairy? Send her my way, please! Hope you enjoy Mop Doll!

NoraA, your comment gave me an idea. What if we suspended wire baskets from the ceiling, all around the room? We could toss all the clutter up into the baskets.

Marian Pearson Stevens said...

My desk is like a magnet-collecting all the post its, the lists, the notes . . . I saw your post--National Clean Your Desk Off--and thought--MUST do this today! I always want to . . .

This book sounds awesome, Lois! And please, if you see the desk cleaning fairies send them my way.

Karen Bostrom said...

Thanks for making me feel better, Lois. The fact that you're so organized & productive and still have a messy desk is inspiring. I was almost inspired to leave my laptop on this little desk and go clean the one covered with correspondence, receipts, etc., but I'll never finish this chapter if I do that!
Have a great day! Karen

Lois Winston said...

Marian, I'll send those fairies your way as soon as they clean up my mess!

Karen, it's all about priorities. Writing first. Cleaning last. :-)

Anonymous said...

Clean off your desk day? Do I hafta? (Not sure one day is enough)

boots9k at wowway dot com

Lois Winston said...

I'm not going to make you clean, Anonymous! ;-)

LD Masterson said...

Should I admit I just shoe-horned a second desk into my writing space because I made too much mess for just one?

jeff7salter said...

Lois, you must have peeked at my study. I'm a terrible pack-rat or clutter-bug. It's aggravated now by the fact that, since retirement, I have to cope with a study which is about 9 X 12 with no closet. I have stuff EVERYWHERE. Plus, most of my writing files are still in storage from our move 5.5 years ago. Nowhere to put them even if I had the energy to go retrieve them and sort thru everything.
When I still worked full-time, I was noted for having a messy desk and cluttered office. But whenever anybody wanted something they always came to me. And 9 times out of 10, I could find it.

Lois Winston said...

L.D., you can admit to anything. I won't tell!

Jeff, I think I have to make you my official blog tour groupie once again.

Patricia A. Guthrie said...

I have wires everywhere. After a final bout with the Geek Squad Hospital, my laptop was junked, (by them, not me) and I received credit for a new 'puter. Yeah. I decided to get a desk top. I'd forgotten all about the WIRES. EVERYWHERE. Some of them I use as paperweights.
Most of my papers are stuffed into my file drawers, not necessarily in their proper places--uh, there are not proper places. I've been meaning to do that. Honest, I have.
I have drafts, pieces of drafts. Originals of the copies I've stuffed into the bowels of my computer. (yes, I did save files and folders and folders in the folders with the files eeking out of yet more files.

I'm finding files full of "old files" of old books that should have been deleted--but, can I delete anything? NOoooooooo.

Dying to read your book. (now does that sound like a title, or what?)

Patricia A. Guthrie

jeff7salter said...

If I'm an official tour blog groupie ... I'm gonna need a backstage pass. And I want to ride in the limo at least once.

Lois Winston said...

Patricia, I have nightmares about all those wires turning into snakes. Snakes! Why'd it have to be snakes? And good title! Hope you enjoy the book.

Jeff, you're on. As soon as I get the limo, you get the first ride. Backstage passes are on the house.

Msmstry said...

Sounds like most of the folks who take the time to read and post to blogs have other similarities! Let me recommend a wonderful book to all of you—A PERFECT MESS: THE HIDDEN BENEFITS OF DISORDER by Eric Abrahamson & David H. Freedman. It's not just a sop, but offers well-reasoned (with incredible examples) arguments for fostering creativity.

Lois Winston said...

Thanks for the book recommendation, Msmstry.

leslie S said...

Theres nothing wrong with a messy desk!!! hahah if anything you should enter this contest for your husband! its a good laugh too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjfb-ipHrTk
take a look at it and also put it on your blog so we can see it too! and we can vote for u!