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.

Note: This site uses Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Monday, December 14, 2020


Is there anyone out there who isn’t totally {{{stressed}}} right now? 2020 has been one planet-wide bummer of a year. Luckily, I’m a fictional character, and although I’m rarely happy with the way my author, Lois Winston, has turned my world upside-down and inside-out, I have to admit, right now I’m totally thankful she hasn’t also dumped a pandemic into my world. Murder and mayhem are bad enough.

Shortly after the pandemic hit, Lois decided she wouldn’t be addressing Covid-19 in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series, the one named for me. For one thing, the books she writes about me don’t take place in real time. My series began years ago. Lois sold the first three books in 2009. Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, debuted in 2011. A Sew Deadly Cruise, the ninth book and my latest adventure, came out this past October. However, in my world only a little more than a year has passed between the first and latest book. So Lois has a perfectly good excuse for not including a pandemic in my life.


I’d like to think it’s because she feels guilty about all the turmoil she’s already created in my world, but I know it has more to do with her than me. Lois lives eighteen miles from Ground Zero. Nineteen years later, she still has nightmares about that day. She’s never watched a show or read a book about 9/11 and never will.


And that’s how she feels about the pandemic. 


As I write this, I’m certain there are countless suspense, thriller, and Dystopian writers already hard at work on Covid-themed novels. However, Lois writes humorous cozy mysteries. Yes, they include murder and mayhem, but not in a way that keeps readers up at night or gives them nightmares. Even though the situations she writes me into are often inspired by actual events, the series is an escape from the real world, not a reminder of it. In other words, come for the mystery; stay for the laughs.


So whether you’re stressed by the pandemic, politics, the upcoming holidays, or all three, take a break, grab a cup of hot cocoa, put your feet up, and visit with me for a spell. I promise you a bit of Christmas cheer, plenty of laughs, and of course, a murder or two…or three or four…or…Hey, they are murder mysteries!


Drop Dead Ornaments

An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 7


Anastasia Pollack’s son Alex is dating Sophie Lambert, the new kid in town. For their community service project, the high school seniors have chosen to raise money for the county food bank. Anastasia taps her craft industry contacts to donate materials for the students to make Christmas ornaments they’ll sell at the town’s annual Holiday Crafts Fair.


At the fair Anastasia meets Sophie’s father, Shane Lambert, who strikes her as a man with secrets. She also notices a woman eavesdropping on their conversation. Later that evening when the woman turns up dead, Sophie’s father is arrested for her murder.


Alex and Sophie beg Anastasia to find the real killer, but Anastasia has had her fill of dead bodies. She’s also not convinced of Shane’s innocence. Besides, she’s promised younger son Nick she’ll stop risking her life. But how can she say no to Alex?


Buy Links Currently on sale for .99 cents!


Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide

An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 8


Two and a half weeks ago magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack arrived home to find Ira Pollack, her half-brother-in-law, had blinged out her home with enough Christmas lights to rival Rockefeller Center. Now he’s crammed her small yard with enormous cavorting inflatable characters. She and photojournalist boyfriend and possible spy Zack Barnes pack up the unwanted lawn decorations to return to Ira. They arrive to find his yard the scene of an over-the-top Christmas extravaganza. His neighbors are not happy with the animatronics, laser light show, and blaring music creating traffic jams on their normally quiet street. One of them expresses his displeasure with his fists before running off.


In the excitement, the deflated lawn ornaments are never returned to Ira. The next morning Anastasia once again heads to his house before work to drop them off. When she arrives, she discovers Ira’s attacker dead in Santa’s sleigh. Ira becomes the prime suspect in the man’s murder and begs Anastasia to help clear his name. But Anastasia has promised her sons she’ll keep her nose out of police business. What’s a reluctant amateur sleuth to do?


Buy Links

Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, Books 7-8

Buy Links


Donnell Ann Bell said...

As one of those suspense author, I can guarantee, I'm not touching 2020 or COVID with a mask-covered ten-foot pole. Good blog, Lois


Don't blame you, Donnell! Thanks for stopping by.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Because my Rocky Bluff PD series is in real time, I didn't see how I could avoid the Covid. However, my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series is another story, it could happen at most anytime so not writing about it in the latest. For the RBPD mystery my cop grandson gave me some ideas.
However, I'm not against reading about what's going on in fiction, it's taken up most of our lives for a year, and nothing much has changed yet.


Thanks for stopping by, Marilyn. We're all handling this in different ways.

Anonymous said...

No Covid for me in Lethal Flip, or anything else I might write. Reading fiction is an escape. Good riddance to 2020. Good blog, Lois.

M. E. Bakos


I'm in total agreement, Mary. We've had enough doom and gloom this year. Can't wait until 2020 is behind us.

Susan Oleksiw said...

When I started a new novel this fall I asked the Hive Mind on my FB page what they though about including references to the pandemic. A few said they were doing so in their work but most said no, and a few said an emphatic no. I've omitted any reference to the coronavirus and our current situation, but there are features of it that could find their way into a story later. As it turns out, at least for me, the pandemic info would not have added to the story so I'm glad I left it out. I'm also sick of 2020.


Susan, I was reading about the Spanish flu pandemic and found it interesting that there was little reference to it in the books written during the time and afterward. As a matter of fact, once the pandemic was over, people never spoke of it. As a matter of fact, many people first became aware of it from watching Downton Abbey a few years ago.