Friday, January 4, 2013

Liz's Lair: Welcome Award Winning Mystery Author, Lois Winston

National Lose Weight/Feel Great Week

According to a website that lists “Bizarre, Crazy, Silly, Unknown Holidays & Observances,” the week of January 6th-13 is National Lose Weight/Feel Great Week. A quick Google search of the Internet found little information about this observance other than a lapel pin manufacturer and some fitness groups and spas using it as a marketing ploy. It seems there are many such holidays and observances throughout the year that are dreamed up around a conference table in marketing departments. Still, National Lose Weight/Feel Great Week is not such a bad idea, given we’ve all just come through our annual period of over-indulging, beginning with the Thanksgiving turkey and carrying through to the New Year’s Day open-house buffet.

(How many margaritas did you down in those six weeks? I know I’m guilty of more than a few. By the way, I like mine on the rocks with salt.)

Anastasia Pollack, the magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth star of my eponymous Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, has been fighting her own personal Battle of the Bulge for years. In Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, the newest book in the series, she runs into Kara Kennedy, her old college roommate, after more than two decades. Kara recognizes Anastasia immediately, mentioning that she hasn’t changed a bit. Anastasia attributes this to the Freshman Fifteen, which she still hasn’t lost and probably never will. She figures those added pounds enjoy hanging out too much with the additional ten she’s gained after the birth of each of her two sons.

Anastasia describes herself as a “pear-shaped, cellulite-riddled, slightly overweight, more than slightly in debt, middle-aged widow.” She’s prone to skipping meals, thanks to her crazy schedule, dysfunctional family life, and the dead bodies that keep turning up around her. Because of this, she often winds up binging on what she calls “Cloris Calories,” the various muffins, cakes, and brownies baked by food editor Cloris McWerther in the test kitchen at American Woman, the magazine where they both work.
Needless to say, Anastasia has no time to exercise away the added weight she totes around. I’m thinking if I mentioned National Lose Weight/Feel Great Week to her, I’d saddle her with a guilt trip she doesn’t need at the moment.

Then again, when do any of us need guilt trips? So I’ve decided not to tell her about this particular holiday. As much as her diet would benefit from more carrot sticks and less carrot cake, she certainly doesn’t have time to observe the week. Revenge of the Crafty Corpse finds her moonlighting as the weekend arts and crafts instructor at the Sunnyside of Westfield Assisted Living and Rehabilitation Center. 

Sunnyside is where Lucille, her communist mother-in-law and royal pain in the patootie, is convalescing after surgery for a brain tumor. Of course, Lucille being Lucille, the transition is far from smooth, and within twenty-four hours of settling in, her roommate is murdered. Lucille becomes the prime suspect, given that’s she’s been overheard threatening to strangle the talkative woman who is found with a crocheted scarf tied around her neck.

Anastasia knows Lucille is many things – annoying, mean, strident, and a pain in everyone’s tush – but she’s not a killer. As much as she’d like to be rid of her mother-in-law, she can’t stand by and watch Lucille convicted of a crime she didn’t commit. So Anastasia reluctantly begins snooping around. What she discovers is that the victim’s scandalous craft projects—and her scandalous behavior—made her plenty of enemies. Can Anastasia find the real killer before her mother-in-law ends up behind bars?

Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. Assault With a DeadlyGlue Gun, the first book in the series, received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Kirkus Reviews dubbed it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” The series also includes DeathBy Killer Mop Doll and Crewel Intentions, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mystery. Revenge of the Crafty Corpse is a January 2013 release.

Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. In addition, she’s an award-winning crafts and needlework designer and an agent with the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. She’s also the author of the recently released Top Ten Reasons Your Novel is Rejected.Visit Lois here,
visit Emma, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers character blog.


Cassy Pickard said...

Welcome, Lois and Anastasia! I confess as someone whose maiden name is Pollack, I've always had a soft spot for Anastasia- not to mention her trials and tribulations. Lois, you create such fun reads! Please keep them coming.

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Cassy! Glad to be here although it's a week earlier than I expected. There was a bit of a posting mix-up, so this really isn't National Lose Weight/Feel Great Week. It's next week. But never too early to start, right? ;-)

Morgan Mandel said...

I make half-hearted attempts, but for the most part have given up on the Battle of the Bulge! I'll never be as thin as I was when I got married and will never fit into my wedding dress again, but I still keep it as a memento!

Morgan Mandel

Lois Winston said...

That makes two of us, Morgan! I just wish I could get back to the weight pre-menopause!

Terry Shames said...

Love this post! I especially appreciate the temptations Anastasia succumbs to. I figure I'd better keep fighting the battle of the bulge--otherwise another ten pounds will sneak on. At least if I fight, I stay within shouting distance of reasonable!

Lois Winston said...

Glad to see that works for someone, Terry. Sometimes it seems both Anastasia and I can pack on an extra 10 pounds from being in the same room as a cookie!

Edie Ramer said...

Lois, this sounds like a fun book. I'm changing my way of eating and of thinking about foods. I'm eating a lot more vegetables and fruits, and less of everything else. I haven't even felt the desire to touch the ice cream my husband thinks is hidden in the freezer. Now, if it were chocolate... I really miss chocolate.

Lois Winston said...

Edie, I eat a lot of fruit and veggies. Unfortunately, I'm also a carb junkie. The holidays have really done me in. So many Christmas cookies, so little time!