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.