Thank you for inviting me here today, Caridad, as part of my blog tour to celebrate the release of Death By Killer Mop Doll, the second book in my critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.
In this installment, crafts editor Anastasia Pollack’s stress level maxes out when her well-intentioned mother meets and seduces TV producer Lou Beaumont. Suddenly, Anastasia and her fellow American Woman editors find themselves roped into unpaid gigs for a revamped morning TV show. However, not everyone involved enjoys the idea of the overhaul, and a disgruntled staffer takes action by trashing the studio set. When that doesn’t halt production, vandalism escalates to murder, and a member of the production team is found with one of Anastasia’s knitting needles plunged through his heart.
The network decides the show must go on, but morning TV turns crime drama as a blackmail plot is uncovered, and another body is found. Because Anastasia fears the killer might go after her and Mama next, she has no recourse but to launch her own investigation. Unfortunately, her snooping lands her directly in the killer’s unforgiving spotlight.
I began my writing career firmly entrenched in the romance genre because I love the happily-ever-after ending. However life doesn’t always lead us on a straight path, and I found myself segueing into writing mystery a few years ago. I’m still a romantic at heart, though, so for me, my mysteries have to come with a bit of romance. That wasn’t possible with Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, because Anastasia was very recently widowed.
Death By Killer Mop Doll opens six months later. For those of you who enjoy some romance with your mysteries, you’ll be happy to learn that things finally start heating up between Anastasia and Zack. After all, just how long can a girl be expected to mourn a dead louse of a spouse who left her and her kids one step removed from living out of an eight year old rust bucket of a car?
Intrigued yet? Here’s an excerpt I hope will tempt you further:
Upstairs, the front door slammed with enough force to register a five on the Richter scale. Dust dislodged from the exposed basement rafters and drifted down like polluted snow, settling over the basket of clean laundry I’d been folding. The ensuing shouting, barking, and yowling drowned out my muttered curse of choice and yanked my attention away from the now Dalmatian-spotted white wash.
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends,” squawked Ralph, the Shakespeare-spouting African Grey parrot I’d inherited when Great-aunt Penelope Periwinkle died two years ago. “Henry the Fifth. Act Three, Scene One.” He spread his wings and took flight up the basement stairs to check out the action. I raced after him, eager to prevent World War Three from erupting in my living room.
“Muzzle that abominable creature, or I’ll have the pound haul him away,” shrieked Mama. “He’s traumatizing Catherine the Great.”
“So shove some Prozac down her throat,” said my mother-in-law Lucille. “What the hell are you doing back here? And don’t you ever bother to knock? Just barge right in like you own the place.”
“I have more right to be here than you. This is my daughter’s house, you…you pinko squatter.”
As I hurried through the kitchen, I glanced at the calendar tacked next to the telephone. Mama wasn’t due back from her Caribbean cruise for another three days. Damn it. I needed those three days to steel myself for the inevitable explosive reaction that occurred whenever Flora Sudberry Periwinkle Ramirez Scoffield Goldberg O’Keefe, my mother and the former social secretary of the Daughters of the American Revolution, locked horns with Lucille Pollack, my mother-in-law and current president of the Daughters of the October Revolution. I’d been swindled out of seventy-two hours.
By the time I entered the living room, Mama’s and Lucille’s voices had reached glass-shattering decibel range.
“Crazy communist!” yelled Mama. She stood in the middle of the room, cradling Catherine the Great, her corpulent white Persian with an attitude befitting her namesake.
Manifesto, my mother-in-law’s runt of a French bulldog, stood inches from Mama’s Ferrigamos, his bark having switched to growl mode as he glared up at his nemesis. With a hiss and a yowl, Catherine the Great leaped from Mama’s arms. Showing his true cowardly colors, Mephisto, as we always called him behind his back and often to his snout, scampered to safety behind my mother-in-law’s ample girth.
Lucille barreled across the room, waving her cane at Mama. “Reactionary fascist!”
“How dare you threaten me!” Mama defended herself with a French manicured backhand that would have done Chris Everett proud. The cane flew from Lucille’s grasp and landed inches from Mephisto’s nose. Demon dog yelped and dove between Lucille’s orange polyester clad legs.
Death By Killer Mop Doll officially goes on sale January 8th. For those of you who will be attending the American Library Association’s Mid-Winter conference in Dallas, stop by the Midnight Ink booth (#1459) on January 20th to register for the drawing to win signed copies of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun and Death By Killer Mop Doll, as well as the mop doll shown in the photo. The drawing will take place at 7pm during the opening reception.
In addition, as part of my tour throughout January, I’m giving away 5 signed copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll. To enter, post a comment to any of the blogs on the tour. The full tour schedule can be found at my website, http://www.loiswinston.com, and the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. I’m also giving away 3 copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll on Goodreads, http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/15173-death-by-killer-mop-doll.
Lois Winston is the author of the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries published by Midnight Ink. Visit Lois at her website: http://www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. You can also follow Lois and Anastasia on Twitter @anasleuth.