By Lois Winston
My agent called me one day back in 2004. She’d had a conversation with an editor looking for a cozy mystery series with a crafting theme and told the editor she had the perfect author to write such a series. Of course, she meant me with my background as a designer of craft projects for manufacturers, craft book publishers, and magazines.
However, at the time I’d only written romance, romantic suspense, and chick lit. I had never even heard of cozy mysteries that featured crafters. My idea of a cozy mystery was Miss Marple or Jessica Fletcher. However, always up for any challenge, I agreed. Then I rushed over to the library and filled my arms with every crafting cozy they had on the shelves. Who knew there were so many?
Thus, was born my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series. Unfortunately, the sale to that editor never went through. In the middle of contract negotiations, the publishing house was sold, and the new publisher immediately canceled the cozy mystery line. However, shortly after that setback, my agent sold my chick lit book and a romantic suspense. I really couldn’t complain, except that I’d fallen in love with writing that crafting cozy. I’d found my true author voice and really didn’t want to continue writing romance and romantic suspense.
Publishing is all about the right book landing on the right editor’s desk on the right day. It took nearly five years from the time I’d finished Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, for the series to sell to another publisher. Now, seventeen years after first carrying all those crafting cozies to the library check-out desk, Stitch, Bake, Die!, the tenth book in the series is up for pre-order.
Stitch, Bake, Die!
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 10
With massive debt, a communist mother-in-law, a Shakespeare-quoting parrot, and a photojournalist boyfriend who may or may not be a spy, crafts editor Anastasia Pollack already juggles too much in her life. So she’s not thrilled when her magazine volunteers her to present workshops and judge a needlework contest at the inaugural conference of the NJ chapter of the Stitch and Bake Society, a national organization of retired professional women. At least her best friend and cooking editor Cloris McWerther has also been roped into similar duties for the culinary side of the 3-day event taking place on the grounds of the exclusive Beckwith Chateau Country Club.
Marlene Beckwith, wife of the multi-millionaire pharmaceutical magnate and country club owner, is both the chapter president and conference chairperson. The only thing greater than her ego is her sense of entitlement. She hates to lose at anything and fully expects to win both the needlework and baking competitions.
When Anastasia and Cloris arrive at the conference, they discover cash bribes in their registration packets. The Society members, few of whom are fans of Marlene, stick up for the accused and instead suggest that Marlene orchestrated the bribes to eliminate her stiffest competition.
The next morning when Marlene is found dead, Anastasia questions whether she really died peacefully in her sleep. After Marlene’s husband immediately has her cremated, Anastasia once again finds herself back in reluctant amateur sleuth mode.
With the help of Cloris, Marlene’s personal assistant Rhetta, and a laptop someone will stop at nothing to find, Anastasia soon unravels evidence of insurance scams, medical fraud, an opioid ring, long-buried family secrets, and too many possible suspects. And that’s before she stumbles over the body of yet another member of the Stitch and Bake Society.
Can Anastasia piece together the various clues before she becomes the killer’s next target?
Crafting tips included.
Pre-order (available 10/4)
USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.