featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Thursday, May 4, 2017


According to author Lois Winston, who writes about all of us here at American Woman in her Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, one of the most common questions authors are asked is, “Where do you get the ideas for your books?” She says her ideas for characters, scenes, and plots often bloom from actual people and events. Often something will happen in her own life, or an event will occur that she reads about in the newspaper or see on the news, and she stores it away for future reference, knowing it’s too good not to use in a book.

Case in point: March 6, 2011. Lois and her husband were watching “Sunday Morning” on CBS. Bill Geist was interviewing a woman by the name of Laura Bell who creates paintings out of dryer lint. Her masterpiece is a 14-foot x 4-foot replica of Leonardo daVinci’s “The Last Supper,” which took her 7 months of lint collecting and 200 hours to create. “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” bought the piece for $12,000. Really. I’m not making this up. You can see a video of the interview here

Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, had debuted two months prior to this interview appearing on television. Lois had already turned in Death by Killer Mop Doll, the second book in the series and had begun work on Revengeof the Crafty Corpse.

In Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, Lyndella Wegner, a 98-year-old resident of an assisted living facility is a consummate crafter with a penchant for anything X-rated. The moment Lois saw Bill Geist’s interview of Laura Bell, she knew Lyndella had to create lint paintings. Her piece de resistance is a three-foot tall, two-dimensional reproduction of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, “David,” down to every anatomical detail, minus any censoring of a certain body part.

Now, some might read Revenge of the Crafty Corpse and scoff at the idea of anyone painting with lint. Some readers might think Lyndella is a totally unrealistic character. Painting with dryer lint does sound kind of absurd, doesn’t it? But truth is often stranger than fiction. Laura Bell and her $12,000 check from Ripley’s certainly proved that.

Fast forward to the present. Paris Fashion Week wrapped up a few weeks ago. Designers often like to push the envelope with their runway shows, featuring fashions that will never take up residence in the average woman’s closet. Some push the envelope more so than others. This year no one pushed that envelope more than the designers of Comme des Garçons. When Lois saw photos of the fashions they presented in Paris, she had to wonder if they had read about Anastasia’s adventures in Revenge of the Crafty Corpse and taken the idea of lint paintings to another level, moving the dryer lint from the canvas to couture.

What do you think?

Revenge of the Crafty Corpse
Book 3 of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries

Anastasia Pollack’s dead louse of a spouse has left her with more bills than you can shake a crochet hook at. Teaching craft classes at her mother-in-law’s assisted living center seems like an easy way to supplement her meager income. But when Lyndella Wegner—a 98-year-old know-it-all with a penchant for ruffles and lace—turns up dead, Anastasia’s cantankerous mother-in-law becomes the prime suspect in her murder. Upon discovering that Lyndella’s scandalous craft projects—and her scandalous behavior—made her plenty of enemies, Anastasia sets out to find the real killer before her mother-in-law ends up behind bars.

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