Let’s Talk with Lois Winston

Holiday Upheaval
By Lois Winston

Undoubtedly, 2020 is a year we’d all like to forget. The upcoming holidays, or more likely the lack of them, will be yet another reminder of just how completely un-normal this year has been for everyone. Say good-bye to so many of those wonderful traditions we look forward to each year—like taking the kids to visit Santa. Jolly Old St. Nick isn’t very jolly this year. He’s quarantining up at the North Pole, along with Mrs. Claus, the elves, Rudolph, and the other reindeer.

Christmas parties? Secret Santa at the office? Lunch with friends? Visits with relatives? Holiday music festivals? Caroling? Shopping? Not this year. None of it. Not in person, anyway.

At least we have Zoom, but who isn’t totally sick of Zoom at this point? Forget Krampus. We’re all being held hostage by a diabolical one-celled villain named Covid-19.

There are a few holiday traditions I’m still looking forward to, though. Every year I watch my two favorite holiday movies: Miracle on 34th Street (the original black and white version) and White Christmas. I’ll write Christmas cards. I’ll listen to Christmas music. Maybe I’ll bake some Christmas cookies, but I’ve found Covid weight is many times worse than the Freshman Fifteen. So the jury is still out on cookie baking. I don’t need the added sugar and butter calories, and neither does my husband. Not on top of that Covid weight. And that’s about it for the holidays.

At least I don’t have to deal with murder, unlike my reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. She’s up to her eyeballs in dead bodies in Drop Dead Ornaments and Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide, the two Christmas mysteries I’ve written that feature her. So if you’re feeling sorry for yourself with all the holiday festivities you’re missing out on this year, you might want to escape your problems and read about hers. I promise you a few good laughs along the way. And who doesn’t need more of those this year?

And as I keep telling myself, with vaccines on the horizon, by this time next year, life might be back to normal. That’s my Christmas wish for 2020. What’s yours? Post a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of either Drop Dead Ornaments or Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide.

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?

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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?

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While you’re here, check out our December contest, wherein one winner will get to select their treat from 6 book choices! Print book winners must have US mailing addresses. ENTER THE CONTEST.

Comments

  1. Donna Caldwell says

    I wish my daughter gets a liver transplant she needs so she can be healthy and enjoy life. Stay safe everyone.

  2. We’ll be celebrating a belated Hanukkah with the kids right after we move. Masks on and eating apart, it’ll be low key at the in-laws house but a joy to finally be there.

  3. Terrific! But I thought I would learn what Krampas is. Not yet.Sounds like might be something bad.. Asked a couple of friends here (in Arkansas) and they didn’t know either. Guess we don’t have one (or it) here. Maybe I should have asked a kid?

    Covid 19. One bright thing–I haven’t used any lipstick or makeup since last March (eye make up would work but I’m allergic to it.) Actually, I enjoy not having to put on makeup. I learned the first time I put on a mask what a mess lipstick could make there. 🙂

    • Radine, Krampas is the opposite of Santa Claus. He’s from Central European folklore and is half-goat and half-demon. During the holidays he punishes children who misbehavior, which is far worse than finding coal in your stocking Christmas morning!

      • OOOO, glad I never heard of Krampas. Thanks for the explanation, however, and I think many cultures have had a Father Christmas opposite somewhat like that.

        Sounds awful. And, these days, we maybe have quite enough real awful for children to deal with without a goat/demon, assuming a child is young enough to believe in Krampas.. .

        • Radine, I doubt there are many children in the US who know about Krampas, which is probably a good thing!

  4. violet2233 says

    My Christmas wish is that the vaccines will work and things will get back to normal as soon as possible.

  5. My Christmas wish is that this pandemic goes away by end of 2020 so people can get back to work, kids can get back in the schools and nobody else dies. That is my Christmas wish.
    Would love to read books in print format. Love books like this.
    Merry Christmas

    • authorlois says

      Crystal, unfortunately I don’t think Covid will be done with us by the end of the year. I think it will be the end of 2021 before we return to some sense of normalcy.

  6. We’re in a new neighborhood and I don’t know if it is that people are working at home or had time over Thanks. giving weekend, but more houses are decked out far earlier than usual. One literally took down her Halloween decorations and put up her Christmas lights the next day. Me, I’m going to light my menorah for Chanukah and enjoy everyone else’s Christmas lights (my longstanding tradition).

    • authorlois says

      Debra, I noticed that, too, this year, but I attributed it to temps in the 60’s and 70’s in early Nov. It made sense to string the lights before the cold set in.

  7. maggietoussaint says

    For our Community’s outdoor holiday festival on Sunday afternoon, Santa will be in a snow globe bubble! Who’d a thought? Even though it is strange, it is an adaptation of behavior so that we can continue to honor our traditions. Usually we all walk down the lumenaria-lit sidewalks at dusk on this particular Sunday, but this time, they are encouraging everyone to stay in their car and ease down the streets of luminaries – another fine case of ingenuity. The Pandemic may have us self-isolating, but we can still find socially distant ways to connect and share our light and hope for the future.

  8. cherylhollon says

    Hi Lois, I’m wishing for a calm and peaceful end to a chaotic year. We usually take a trip right after New Year’s Day, but will be taking more walks locally instead. I’m wishing everyone and happy and healthy holiday.

  9. dianestuckart says

    Echoing your wishes for a better 2020. The temps have dropped here in Florida so I might just be in the mood to do a little outdoor Christmas decorating this weekend. We live on a dead end street so I don’t usually go all out with lights and such. But with new owners and cleanup of the properties behind us, they are now cleared out enough so you can actually see the street beyond from my back door. Given that, I might throw up some lights on the back of the house this year.

    • authorlois says

      Diane, for me, outdoor lights are a must. They not only light up the neighborhood, they light us up and help with the winter doldrums. We especially need that this year.