Mystery and mayhem, murder and the mob – all scraps of the New Jersey experience, woven into the state’s literary fabric. It’s an author hotbed of horror and crime, of romance and intrigue.
Enter Lois Winston, New Jersey’s new mistress of mystery, seamlessly stitching the threads of different genres together into the “Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery” series.
This award-winning writer engages the funny into a cozy – and crazy – world of crafts and unusual killers. As a matter of fact, the star of the series, Anastasia Pollack (and Winston, as her creator) has drawn high praise and the ultimate comparison to a familiar female figure in New Jersey’s wise gal world – a certain crime-cracking bounty hunter.
Said Kirkus Reviews about Winston’s protagonist Anastasia Pollack,
“North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum. Funny, gutsy and determined, Anastasia has a bright future in the planned series.”
Winston is no stranger to hard work, praise or reward. The first runner-up in the Dorchester American Title competition, her humorous women’s fiction “Talk Gertie To Me,” went on to be published by the house in 2006.
Followed up in 2007 with her romantic suspense, “Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception,” also released by Dorchester, Winston won or finaled in numerous contests from Malice Domestic to RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart.
With the oh-so-special blend of suburban insanity only found in the Manhattan metro area, Winston has found her calling in crime and cozy mystery.
Enter Anastasia, the cheated-upon, widow-done-wrong. With a tower of debt incurred by her gambling deadbeat (and dead) husband Karl, Anastasia is left to pick up the pieces and pull herself up by her bootstraps in an effort to keep her freeloading family together: her two teenage sons; her mother, who moved in with Anastasia after a series of unfortunate mishaps (among which, the death of her most recent husband); her cane-wielding Communist mother-in-law; a devil dog; a finicky feline; a Shakespeare-quoting parrot; and last – and for Anastasia certainly not least – the hunky (and fortunately sane) tenant, photographer Zack Barnes.
Released in 2011, the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “Assault With A Deadly Glue Gun,” was met with high praise from some heavy hitters in the publishing world. But the rubber has met the road – or the glue has met the gun, as “Assault With A Deadly Glue Gun” has been nominated for a slew of awards this year! Nominated for ForeWords Book of the Year in the mystery category, the winners will be announced June 23 at the American Library Association conference in Anaheim, California. It is also a finalist for a Daphne du Maurier Award (winners announced in July), a finalist in the Salt Lake City Library System Readers’ Choice Awards and a finalist in the Canyonland Press Readers’ Choice Awards.
It’s not surprising. Winston is deft as a weaver of words, a queen at crafting the world of Anastasia. Along with her hilarious yet dysfunctional family, Winston’s amateur sleuth Anastasia is the captain of crime-solving. With a crew of quirky colleagues at the women’s magazine, “American Woman,” killers don’t stand a chance when Anastasia is on the case.
Winston’s funny heroine has a clever knack of seeing beneath the veneer of normal, unearthing a montage of motives and a patchwork of suspects. The latest adventure, “Death By Killer Mop Doll,” was released this year by publisher Midnight Ink, once again placing Anastasia front and center as suspect, television star and crime-solver.
There is a lot planned for this murder magnet of a mom. Oh yes, there are many creative ways to be killed, but Lois Winston’s Anastasia Pollack is far more crafty than any killer.
So stay tuned and come back over the course of the next several days, as Lois Winston joins us to discuss writing, publishing, crafts and all things Anastasia – with a special guest appearance by Anastasia herself.
For more information, visit Lois Winston at: http://www.loiswinston.com/
For more information on Anastasia – and to see what she’s up to – visit Anastasia’s very own crafty, informative and funny blog at: http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com/