Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Guest blogger Lois Winston

 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, 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.” Death By Killer Mop Doll was released this past January. Revenge of the Crafty Corpse will be a January 2013 release.

 We Never Forget Our First Love

For authors, that first sale is like our first love. No matter how many sales or lovers we have afterwards, we never really forget our first one. My first sale occurred in 2005 with the book debuting in April 2006. Talk Gertie To Me was humorous women’s fiction about Connie Stedworth, a menopausal mom, attempting to convince her daughter Nori to return home, settle down with the town’s most eligible bachelor (the son of her best friend,) and begin producing those grandbabies that would bring meaning to Connie’s golden years. Nori had other ideas – and an acerbic imaginary friend named Gertie. The book received critical acclaim and several awards. And then it went out of print.

Along the way, I published a romantic suspense, then turned my attention to writing mysteries. My Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries have been published since 2011 by Midnight Ink with the third book in the series,
Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, due out in January.

But I started out this blog post talking about first loves and first books and how we never forget either. Well, apparently, there are also many readers who never forgot
Talk Gertie To Me. Over the years I’ve been asked countless times if there will ever be a sequel.

A sequel had never occurred to me. I’d moved on. I was firmly entrenched in writing mystery. Gertie had other ideas, though. Once readers asked about a sequel, she latched onto the idea and wouldn’t let go. She began nagging me the way she nagged Nori in the original book. And Gertie can be one really persistent nag until she gets her way.

But besides Gertie’s nagging, something else occurred: I had received my rights back to
Talk Gertie To Me and launched it as an ebook. Gertie says this meant the stars were now aligned, and I couldn’t possibly ignore such a powerful sign.

So one day I sat down to pen a sequel, but my brain kept spinning mystery plots.
Talk Gertie To Me was a combination of chick lit and hen lit, two genres that really aren’t selling right now. I guess my brain was telling me something. Finally, I listened to it. The result was Elementary, My Dear Gertie.

In this mystery novella sequel, Nori and Mac journey to Ten Commandments, Iowa for a Christmas they won’t soon forget. Connie’s Christmas gift to them is a cross-stitched pillow with a none-too-subtle message prodding for marriage and children. Mac is all for exchanging I do’s. He’s even bought the ring, but before he can pop the question, an explosion hurls him and Nori right into the middle of a murder investigation, and Gertie can’t help but lend her acerbic wit to the twists and turns as yet another scandal envelopes the not-so-pious residents of Ten Commandments.

Want to read more? An excerpt can be found here:

Of course, now that I’ve given in to Gertie’s demands for a sequel, she’s making noise about additional books. Seems she liked playing Sherlock Holmes. Then again, Gertie likes anything that places her in the spotlight. I have a feeling I’ll be giving in to her for years to come, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing, considering that (according to her) she’s always right.
Buy link for Talk Gertie To Me:

Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Visit Lois at, visit Emma at, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers character blog,


Roxy Boroughs said...

A wonderful title. Congrats on all your success.

Jenny Milchman said...

Lois, you have such a range, but your humor always shines through! Props to you for the many roads you've walked with Gertie.

Maegan Beaumont said...

Lois, This sounds like a wildly entertaining read--thanks for sharing! :)

Anonymous said...

Lois, this was a great post! I could almost hear your voice as I read it. I think it's wonderful that you put the characters from TALK GERTIE TO ME in a mystery novella. Love the cover too. Congrats and best wishes with it!

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Roxy, Jenny, Maegan, and Jill! Sorry I didn't respond sooner. I just got my Internet back this morning after 10 days. I've been spending quite a bit of time camped at my gym or in their parking lot when they're not open, to use their wi-fi. It's so great to be back in the 21st century! However being without electricity and heat for 8 days was a lot worse. I kept thinking about all those early settlers, especially the ones who trekked across the continent in covered wagons. How in the world did they stay warm?