Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack who Kirkus Reviews dubbed, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” 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 a literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer. She often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Visit Lois at www.loiswinston.com, visit Emma at www.emmacarlyle.com, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anasleuth.
2) tell us what you would do if you were queen of the universe
Hmm…how many hours do you have? There are so many injustices I’d change if I were queen of the universe. First, I’d do away with war and poverty and all heads of state and politicians who were only concerned with advancing their own agendas, destroying their adversaries, causing gridlock, or waging war. They’d have to do the job they were elected or appointed to do, or they wouldn’t have a job. I’d also impose term limits on congress. I’d most likely pass a law where anyone with a Y chromosome wasn’t allowed to rule or govern, but perhaps there might be a few exceptions to that. They’d have to do a good job to convince me of their worthiness first. Men have ruled the world for too long, and they haven’t done a very good job of it, IMHO.
I’d also round up all the corrupt business people, lawyers, Wall Street executives, bankers, and various crooks and lowlifes around the world who are more interested in lining their own pockets or causing chaos, death, and destruction. I’d strip them of their wealth and power and force them to spend the rest of their lives doing community service pro bono.
Then I’d turn my attention to the planet and make all the polluters clean up the mess they’ve made of it.
But this is a blog about books, and I’m an author, so once I straightened out the world in general, I’d pay particular attention to the publishing industry, making certain that authors were given the respect they deserve and paid fairly for their work. We wouldn’t have to hold down two and three jobs in order to support ourselves. After all, without those of us writing books, what do publishers have to publish? They need to recognize that and treat authors accordingly.
When I was finished with all of the above, I’d make chocolate, ice cream, crème brûlée, and margaritas diet foods with zero calories. Then I’d sit back and pig out.
3) an excerpt
Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception (blurb):
Life has delivered one sucker punch after another to Emma Wadsworth. As a matter of fact, you could say the poor little rich girl is the ultimate poster child for Money Can’t Buy Happiness — even if she is no longer a child.
Billionaire real estate stud Logan Crawford is as famous for his less-than-platinum reputation as he is his business empire. In thirty-eight years he’s never fallen in love, and that’s just fine with him — until he meets Emma.
But Emma’s not buying into Logan’s seductive ways. Well, maybe just a little, but she’s definitely going into the affair with her eyes wide open. She’s no fool. At least not any more. Her deceased husband saw to that. Besides, she knows Logan will catch the first jet out of Philadelphia once he learns her secrets.
Except things don’t go exactly as Emma has predicted, and when Philadelphia’s most beloved citizen become the city’s most notorious criminal, she needs to do a lot more than clear her name if she wants to save her budding romance with the billionaire hunk someone is willing to kill for.
Winter wonderland, my ass.
The stinging wind whipped at Emma’s exposed cheeks and brought tears to her eyes. Lowering her head, she trudged around the enormous mounds of black snow piled along the curb, searching for a semi-safe path onto the sidewalk. Finding none, she grabbed a parking meter and hauled herself over the smallest of the soot-encrusted icebergs. Some people would go to any lengths for their morning cup of java, and she was one of them.
As she yanked open the door to Chapters and Verse, the “Spring Movement” of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons greeted her. Someone had a really warped sense of humor. Or hoped the power of positive thinking could affect weather patterns. Still, the music held a reminder that the harsh realities of early February in Philadelphia would eventually give way to sunshine and flowers come late March. Maybe. Last year they’d suffered through one of their worst blizzards ever the first week in April.
Emma shivered, thoughts of daffodils and crocuses quickly replaced by the chill rippling through her damp body. Shaking the moisture from her hair, she deposited her coat on a chair in the café, then headed for the coffee bar.
“Morning,” said the barista. “The usual?”
With her morning shot of caffeine and sugar in hand, Emma trolled the stacks of books, occasionally pulling a volume from the shelves and sliding it under her arm. She needed the predictability of this daily routine. It helped her get through the rest of the day. Every day.
Why the hell do I stay?
If she had any courage, she’d leave. Sell the house. Move away. Start over. But she couldn’t leave, and her reasons had little to do with a lack of courage. Life in Emmaville was just too damn complex. One part guilt, one part masochism. But how could she leave the only tangible reminder she had of life before everything had turned to shit?
So she stayed, losing herself in work that at least gave her the satisfaction of knowing her efforts helped others. She pushed herself each day until exhaustion overcame her and she fell into nightmare-riddled sleep. Tomorrow morning the cycle would repeat itself. I’m a twenty-first century Sisyphus, eternally damned to live out an unending punishment for my sins. Not that she had a clue as to whatever sin first condemned her years before, but she’d certainly committed a whopper since then. Whether a sin of omission or commission, it hardly mattered. The result was the same.
Still, what would be the harm in a short escape? She deserved that much, didn’t she? Emma closed her eyes and conjured up a distant memory of a sun-kissed Adriatic coastline. Hell, why not? She opened her eyes and headed for the travel section.
Logan Crawford’s mind kept drifting back to the events of last night, an evening definitely not worth remembering. Even her name escaped him. Normally not a problem, but this time he was saddled with Candi-Randi-Bambi-whatever-the-hell-her-name-was for the length of his stay in Philadelphia. As head of the city’s redevelopment office, she was his official escort-slash-liaison, the person assigned to make certain he chose the City of Brotherly Love as the East coast site for his corporate headquarters. And last night Candi-Randi-Bambi, a woman who wore her ambition emblazoned across her surgically augmented chest, made it abundantly clear just how far she’d go to get him to sign on the dotted line. And it was far from brotherly. Or sisterly.
Logan doubted he was the first billionaire businessman she’d bedded in her quest up the corporate ladder, but he’d wager a good portion of his sizeable fortune that he was the biggest—the wunderkind West Coast urban developer who was giving The Donald a run for his money. Only Logan had better hair—as the media was quick to point out.
With a snap of his fingers, he could provide Candi-Randi-Bambi with an express elevator straight through the glass ceiling, and she knew it.
No f-ing way in hell.
Last night when he stared down into Candi-Randi-Bambi’s come-hither eyes, he saw the reflection of a disillusioned, unhappy man. And damn, up to that moment he hadn’t even realized he’d been disillusioned or unhappy. He had wealth; he had power. So what was up with the sudden emptiness and dissatisfaction?
Beryl would say it was because he led a shallow life devoid of emotional commitment. As much as he protested to the contrary, he knew she was right. Maybe it was time to leave the bimbos to Trump.
Struck by the epiphany, he’d bolted from Candi-Randi-Bambi’s bed. They’d used each other. She spread her legs hoping to advance her career; he’d taken advantage of the offer. Sex without emotional entanglements, the pattern of his adult life. He got the release he needed, and the woman got a notch on her bedpost. Only this time it hadn’t worked. After thirty-eight years Logan Crawford realized it was time to grow up. Only damn it, he didn’t have a clue how.
Still reeling from the self-revelation, he’d canceled his morning appointments and headed his rental car north, needing some time alone to think. After driving for half an hour he found himself in a quiet, upscale section of Philadelphia. A bookstore on top of a hill beckoned like a siren.
For the rest of his stay in Philadelphia he vowed to spend his nights curled up with a good thriller rather than a cheap thrill. Now all he had to do was find one. At the moment he couldn’t even find the damn fiction section in the boundless maze of shelves that wound around the first level of the two story megastore. Lost in the travel section, he spun on his heels and—