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Wednesday, February 14, 2024


Today being Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d invite my dear friend and fellow amateur sleuth Samantha Newman back to the blog. (There's also a surprise at the end of this post, so keep reading!)

Some of you may remember that Sam dropped by Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers back on November 15th. For those of you who haven’t yet met her, Sam woke up one morning to discover her author, Gay Yellen, had shanghaied her life and turned her into an amateur sleuth. Sound familiar? Lois Winston did the same to me. Just as I now spend my days dealing with murder and mayhem in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, Sam now spends her days dealing with murder and mayhem in the Samantha Newman Mysteries.

Also, like my author, Sam’s author gave her a carrot in the form of a romantic interest. I have Zachary Barnes, and Sam has Carter Chapman. However, just like Lois, Gay couldn’t leave well enough alone. Like Zack, Carter may possibly be involved in clandestine government operations. The truth is on a need-to-know basis, and neither Lois nor Gay feel Sam and I need to know. Which, of course, creates all sorts of tension between us and our authors, not to mention between us and the men in our lives.


But it’s Valentine’s Day. I really don’t want to think about covert ops and alphabet agencies. Sam has decided likewise. So, we thought we’d share our perfect Valentine’s Day with you. Hopefully, our guys are reading this and will take the hint.


I’m thinking a private island resort with individual bungalows, free of interruptions from teenagers or a communist mother-in-law and her minions, and where we wouldn’t stumble over a dead body between the main course and desert. 


Once we arrive, we’d partake in a couple’s massage before a candlelight champagne dinner prepared and served by a private chef on our secluded patio. A string quartet would serenade us, and we’d slow-dance in the moonlight between courses. Dinner would begin with a Crab Louie salad served over a bed of bib lettuce, followed by escargot stuffed mushrooms. For an entrée we’d dine on pan seared scallops in a lemon-caper beurre blanc with roasted asparagus and truffle mashed potatoes. The meal would end with raspberry crème brûlée and hand-dipped chocolate truffles.


After dinner, we’ll curl up in bed to watch Singing in the Rain (because unlike most of my other favorite movies—CasablancaShakespeare in LoveSame Time Next Year, and La La Land—it has a happy ending), before turning out the lights. You’ll have to imagine what happens next since we live within the pages of cozy mysteries.


So, Sam. What’s your idea of a perfect Valentine celebration?


Wow, Anastasia, a private island is the perfect romantic escape from your wacky family! I’ll keep it in mind for another time. After my last scrape with a killer, I feel the need to be cocooning with Carter at his ranch in the hill country. Whenever he’s around, he loves to pamper me, so he’d cook, of course. A creamy vichyssoise to start—it tastes like something they eat in heaven. Maybe a gorgeous steak to follow, with lobster tails and a bottle of wine from the neighboring vineyard. Afterward, we’d sit by the fire drinking port in the library and listening to Miles Davis or Samara Joy. At some point, he’d start to massage my shoulder, and then we’d...oops, almost forgot that we’re in cozy land... Let’s just say, we’d get cozy!


In the morning, he’d make coffee and pancakes with maple syrup and fresh blueberries. We’d go for a horseback ride in the rolling hills around the ranch. Just when I start feeling that life could always be like this, he gets a message, heads off to who-knows-where, and another perfect Valentine’s Day bites the dust. Good thing I’m used to it by now.


Well, that sounds lovely, Sam (except for Carter rushing off, of course!) But since Zack is the gourmet chef in our family, and I’m more the microwave or oven-baked casserole queen, having him whip up our Valentine dinner wouldn’t be much of a holiday for him. Besides, he might get some ideas from the private chef and surprise me once we’re home. ;-)


My biggest worry, though, is knowing my author as I do, we’ll wake up the next morning and find the body of the private chef or one of the string quartet dead on the patio—and not from natural causes! Lois has a way of throwing a monkey wrench into any romantic interlude she allows me. We both know Gay is the same way with you. 


On second thought, maybe we’d just better stay home and order a heart-shaped pizza.


Oh well, pizza’s good. But what if the delivery guy is a serial killer?

The Samantha Newman Mysteries

All Samantha Newman wants is a good job, a place to call her own, and a chance at love. But in her rollercoaster life, things don’t come easy. Just when success seems possible, a dead body show up and Samantha's in the hot seat. If she didn’t have a sense of humor, she’d really go crazy. In the Samantha Newman Mysteries—The Body BusinessThe Body Next Door, and The Body in the Newsyou’ll laugh and maybe shed a tear as she wades through minefields in search of the life she wants to live.

The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries

Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand. However, normal deserted magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack’s world the day her husband permanently cashed in his chips in Las Vegas. That’s when her comfortable middle-class life crapped out. Now she's dealing with debt greater than the GNP of Uzbekistan, her husband’s mob-connected loan shark is demanding fifty G’s—or else, and she's stuck with her communist mother-in-law as a permanent houseguest. Life then leaps from how-do-I-dig-myself-out-of-this-hole? to how-do-I-keep-from-getting-killed? when the first dead body shows up.

There are now twelve books and three novellas in this humorous, critically acclaimed, and bestselling mystery series.

And now for the surprise!

For those of you who haven't read Assault with A Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, it's currently on sale for a limited time for only .99 cents at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Apple.


Donnell Ann Bell said...

LOL! You two are proof positive that great minds think alike!

Okay, just have to ask as someone who is doomed to count calories for the rest of her life. I had King cake yesterday! I know Anastasia is pear shaped, and manages to consume a navy corpsman's size portion of delicious desserts on a regular basis. I'm currently reading about Samantha and her beloved in a luxury penthouse in Miami until of course she's called away.... So first question: why don't I know anyone with a luxury penthouse??? And how do your protagonists manage to keep their girlish figures. I hate to break it to you two: these people sound completely fictitious! xoxo

Lois Winston said...

It's the magic of FICTION, Donnell. ;-)

Gay Yellen said...

All the running from would-be murderers helps, too.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Hilarious, but interesting how much similarity exists between the two. Yet, being a reader of each series, I don't read them as similar - probably because I become intrigued with their individual stories and inter-related characters. Both are series that I look forward to reading the next book whenever it comes out.

Gay Yellen said...

Thanks, for your support, Debra. It's been fun to compare and contrast their stories!

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Debra! I love that we both write series that you look forward to reading.

Saralyn said...

Two great characters and two great authors. Happy Valentine's Day to the four of you and your valentines! May the romance and intrigue continue in all of your lives!

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Saralyn! And the same to you!

Gay Yellen said...

The four of us. What if we all met for dinner!

Pamela Ruth Meyer said...


Lois Winston said...

Thanks for stopping by, Pamela!