Let’s Talk with Lois Winston

Happy Birthday, America!
By Lois Winston

This time of year many of you are probably vacationing at a lake, in the mountains, or down the shore (I’m from New Jersey; we go “down the shore” rather than “to the beach”). Hopefully, you’re enjoying warm weather and sunshine and if you’re lucky, not too much humidity. You’ll spend today with family and friends at picnics or barbecues, watching fireworks displays later tonight.

I’m guessing the last thing on your mind is Christmas, right?

As I mentioned in my debut post here at Booklover’s Bench, my background is as a designer in the consumer crafts industry. For decades I created craft and needlework projects for craft books, magazines, and kits. Although nowadays I spend most of my time writing, I still continue to do a bit of freelance designing. Right now I’m working on several projects for a Christmas 2020 book and companion calendar. Yes, you read that right—2020. We work a year and a half in advance.

At the same time, I’m finishing up my latest Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery. Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide will be the eighth book in the series, and as the title implies, the story takes place during Christmas. So it’s Christmas 24/7 in my life right now. Instead of red, white, and blue; sparklers and bottle rockets; and parades down Main Street, I’m deep into red and green, snowflakes, and Santa Claus.

You probably think I live in an upside-down world, but since I’ve spent most of my adult life designing Christmas in July, for me this is the norm. For that reason, writing a Christmas mystery this time of year didn’t seem odd to me. Besides, there’s a certain psychological advantage to immersing your mind in thoughts of snow when the thermometer is hovering near three digits—especially if you stay in your air-conditioned house!

And I do stay indoors as much as possible in the summer. I really don’t care for heat and humidity. For me, the ideal outdoor temperature is 68-72 degrees with low humidity. Rather than frying on a beach, I much prefer winter vacations, when I can escape the cold. You see, I really only like snow when I create it in one of my books or designs.

How about you? Are you a winter vacation person, a summer vacation person, or an anytime vacation person? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy of the cross stitch book featuring the designs in the photo. (If you’re not a cross stitcher, you probably know someone who is, and if you ask really nicely, maybe she’ll stitch these up for your Christmas tree.)

P.S. Don’t forget to enter this month’s Booklover’s Bench giveaway. An e-copy of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series, is one of the books available in our July Book Vault. To enter the July 1-18, 2019, Booklover’s Bench contest, click here.

Comments

  1. Sue Blanford says

    I’m with you I prefer the temperature to be around 70. I love vacations spending time with family and enjoying each others company. I love to cross stitch.

  2. Fiona Bower says

    I love spring and fall. The sun is comfortable and nature is a riot of colour.
    I don’t have much money so I staycation. But I live in a beautiful part of the UK so we have loads of dog walks. Stately homes and castles to visit.
    I’m on holiday this week. It’s a bit too hot for me 21°C is my limit but Dunster Castle was cool inside and had an amazing room full of old historic hats you could try on and selfie. That and the amazing gardens was my idea of the perfect day out.

    • authorlois says

      Sounds perfect, Fiona! I’ve been to Europe but never to England. It’s definitely on my bucket list.

      • Fiona Bower says

        I’m not good at knitting but the ladies in the village do an excellent Yarnbomb trail for Somerset day. So if your in the UK near the 20th May try to pop into Bishop Lydeard in Somerset.

        • authorlois says

          I will definitely keep that in mind, Fiona. Whenever I come across yarn-bombing, I take a photo and post it to my blog.

  3. Gladys Paradowski says

    I love to vacation in the summer, but to go somewhere the temperature is not in the 100’s. I tried to to water my front flower beds today and had to give it up for fear I would fall out from the heat. I love to do cross stitch and so does my daughter and I love the Christmas patterns you show here. Just reading about snow and winter here was refreshing after my experience today with the heat.

    • authorlois says

      Gladys, I know what you mean about taking care of the garden in the heat. Which reminds me, I’d better go check my zucchini to see if any are ready to pick. It’s the only veggie I can grow that that the rabbits and squirrels leave alone.

  4. Jamie Gillespie says

    I am a winter vacation person. My husband and I were actually married in June (we have been married for 30 years!), but we always take our “anniversary trip” to the mountains in February. We love the colder weather!

    • authorlois says

      Jamie, my husband tried his hardest to get me interested in skiing. My feet felt like they were turning into ice cubes. So no mountains in February for this girl!

  5. Dana McNeely says

    Lois, I’m from Glendale, AZ so I like to escape the hrat a couple weekends during August. Our winters are beautiful and so I usually staycation then.

    • authorlois says

      Dana, years ago we went to visit my husband’s aunt and uncle in Phoenix in Oct. It was beastly hot, as far as I was concerned. They thought it was mild! I guess everything is relative (and how’s that for a pun?)

  6. Weather in Saskatchewan…you’ll all find interesting…Example. Summer her we had +30 *Celsius yesterday…too hot..great for indoor stitching. Winter can have days of -40*Celsius good days for stitching & crocheting. For holiday time I enjoy moderate temperatures no matter which country we visit..:)

    • authorlois says

      Beaj, you lost me with “Celsius”. I’ll have to hop over to Google to find a Fahrenheit conversion!

  7. joyce hancock says

    I think you and I are very similar in temperature likes. I like summer vacationing, but would choose to go somewhere cooler or do things indoors. We have cold winters here, but I don’t get away from it in the winter.

  8. SARAH TAYLOR says

    I Love vacationing in the Spring when it isn’t so hot my favorite spot is The Great Smoky Mountains I love Tennessee!

    • authorlois says

      Sarah, we have family that recently moved to Tennessee and will be traveling there quite a bit. The Great Smoky Mountains are on my must-see list.

  9. Cathy Stratman says

    Living in Northern Illinois, I like to vacation in Florida the beginning of December. We go before the crowds, and before the rates go up! Love to sit at the beach and read.

    • authorlois says

      Cathy, my favorite time to go to the shore is off-season. I enjoy the solitude.

  10. Susanna Klein says

    I love the summer but prefer to go on vacation in either the spring or the fall. I’ve never been a fan of winter and like to spend my summers at the pool. I find it more enjoyable to travel when it’s neither too hot nor too cold and I don’t have to deal with snow and ice. I learned embroidery when I was six and taught myself counted cross stitch when I was about 12. Fifty years later I still love doing it. I would love this book! Thanks for the chance.

    • authorlois says

      Susanna, I agree. I don’t like it when it’s either too hot or too cold. I guess that makes me Goldilocks! 😉

  11. Amary Chapman says

    My perfect vacay anytime is to read and craft unbothered…like this happens…well maybe once in a blue moon

  12. I enjoy summer vacations. I love the sunshine, soothing warmth and spending precious time at the beach.

    • authorlois says

      Thanks for stopping by, Anne! Hope you have a wonderful vacation planned for this summer.

  13. Mary Jane Hopper says

    I’m a summer traveler because winter in the States is not a good time to travel, too much chance of icy roads.

    • authorlois says

      That’s so true, Mary. It’s why I always buy flight insurance when I travel by air in the winter.

  14. peggy clayton says

    i am a winter person as i have a nerve disease called rsd so traveling out in the summer is horrible for me. I do crochet, cross stitch and knit although my fingers are crippled but i must keep them moving as one is stiff. We also have a huge garden that my husband grows and we donate to families that we know thru church and other ways. We don’t let them know it’s us that has left the bag as my hubby delivers them on his way to work about 5 am.

    • authorlois says

      Peggy, that is so generous of you! You and your husband sound like very special people. Be well!

  15. Mary Duffer says

    We vacation in late summer (end of August/beginning of September usually) due to my work schedule. Seems like it’s less crowded with the kids back in school. Going to Hawaii at the end of August this year to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.

  16. Lisa Sabatini says

    I prefer to vacation in the Spring (to escape the messy, muddy Spring Pennsylvania snow!). Whenever I vacation, I take along my current cross stitch project!

    • authorlois says

      Ah, cross stitch and vacations–perfect together! I keep trying to figure out a way to stitch and read at the same time…have to switch to audiobooks for that.

  17. I vacation in the spring. Left Coast Crime and/or spring training. Since I live in the San Francisco Bay area, my temps are pretty even, so weather is not usually a factor.
    P.S. I have not cross-stitched in over 40 years. Hope I can still thread a needle!

  18. Anywhere…anytime…vacay here I come! (Well, if I’m not working! Hehee!) I’m a teacher, so I get holiday breaks throughout the school year. It’s nice to get away from it all every now and then! 😀

  19. Gloria Browning says

    I prefer everything in cool to cold temps, so winter for me.

    • authorlois says

      In winter you can always add a layer to keep warm. In summer you can only strip down so far without getting arrested for indecent exposure. So I’m with you, Gloria–as long as the power doesn’t go out. There are few things worse than no heat for days during and after a NJ blizzard.

  20. I’ve got it backward. I just arrived in Florida for the summer and I live by Boston the rest of the year. My goal kIs to flip that around and become a snowbird.

    • authorlois says

      Florida in the summer and Boston in the winter? Yikes, Kathy! That’s the worst of both worlds. You definitely need to switch that around.

  21. Lois, I’m here with the A/C going and avoiding the heat. I so agree with you. Best wishes for continued success with all your projects.

  22. I like to go on vacation in the winter to go to warmer places. Cruises are fun.

  23. Linda Herold says

    I love cruising! I prefer to go in the winter when most places are cooler!

  24. Sonya Steele says

    I’m an anytime vacation person. I love to travel and see new places, revisit favorite places, and make memories.

  25. Lois, interesting to read about your Christmas crafting work. Re: vacations, I’m a “wish I could take a vacay” kind of person. With 4 cats (2 with special needs) and 4 dogs, it is very hard to get away. Plus the hubster is self-employed, so vacay = no income. Fortunately I get to go places related to the writing biz, so that’s how I get in my (very brief) vacations. I’ll go anywhere as long as there’s no snow!

    • authorlois says

      Diane, for years I travelled throughout the country to just about every major city and saw little beyond the insides of airports, hotels, and convention centers, thanks to working trade shows. We did try to squeeze in a few hours of sightseeing each trip once we set up the booth the day before the show started. That’s how I got to Hoover Dam when I worked a show in Las Vegas and Niagara Falls when I worked one in Buffalo. Vacations were few and far between until the kids were out of college. Now, most of the time they’re limited to visits to the grandkids, but there were a few years in-between where we could plan trips for ourselves. These days we try to sneak in a cruise or something else every few years.

  26. Maggie Toussaint says

    I live in the Deep South where heat and humidity run amuck. I don’t mind a little of each, but truly, on the hottest days, I am an air conditioning junkie and a bit of a hermit. Fortunately, I have a firm deadline I’m working toward, so I don’t have a lot of free time this summer. Someone mentioned the Hallmark Christmas-themed movies airing in July. I watched their brides series some in June, so I know I’ll enjoy this month’s offerings too. Happy Independence Day, everyone!

    • authorlois says

      Maggie, my 4th of July is working on the next Anastasia book. May or may not go to the fireworks tonight, depending on the heat and humidity. Right now we’ve got a lot of both.

  27. Autumn Trapani says

    My husband and I like to vacation in the fall – late September or early October. We live in Oregon and the weather is the most ideal in those months – usually sunny but not too warm or too cold. the Oregon coast is gorgeous that time of year as well. Thank you for the giveaway. Those patterns look delightful!

    • authorlois says

      Thanks, Autumn! They were fun to create. The problem with vacationing in the autumn here on the east coast is that it’s hurricane season until Nov. A few years ago we had booked a cruise to Bermuda that was supposed to leave the day Hurricane Sandy hit. The cruise ship actually set sail–without us. They had to sail through the storm to reach calm waters. Luckily we paid for cruise insurance because there was no way I was cruising through a hurricane!

  28. amy guillaume linderman says

    we travel all year round. we like to go to buffalo in the fall, before it snows, and we go to florida in the spring

  29. I love it hot, which is why I live in Florida. As for Christmas in July, the Hallmark Channel is showing these movies all month.

    • authorlois says

      I think I’ll pass on the Christmas movies, Nancy. I’ve already got enough Christmas going on.

  30. I refuse to live where there is snow. I also hate being too hot. My ideal vacation is where I can see water – strolling the beach if it isn’t too hot or looking out a window from the comfort of air conditioning.

    • authorlois says

      Debra, I prefer going down the shore before and after the height of the season. I love walking on an empty beach with a mild breeze at my back.

  31. I love to cruise and vacation anytime!!

    • authorlois says

      Every so often I hear about people who retired, sold their homes and cars, and moved onto a cruise ship permanently. Interesting concept, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by!

  32. We are farmers – so can only vacation in the winter. Most years, we go some place warm. My favorite are cruises because no one can reach us. It is a real vacation.

    • authorlois says

      I love cruises, Margo. My big complaint, though, is that sometimes we dock at a port where there’s too much to see in only a day. On the other hand, it gives me enough of a taste that I can decide whether or not I want to go back at some point for an extended stay.

  33. Cathi Turnbull says

    I’m a winter vacation person. I love winter. The crisp air and snow is just perfect.