Barcelona As Muse

Lois Winston 2Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Kirkus Reviews dubbed it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” Other books in the series includes Death By Killer Mop Doll, Revenge of the Crafty Corpse and the ebook only mini-mysteries Crewel Intentions and Mosaic Mayhem.

Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. In addition, she’s a literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer.


Visit Lois at, visit Emma at, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, Follow everyone on Twitter @anasleuth.

Purchase Mosaic Mayhem at Barnes & Noble and at Amazon.

Back when I was in college {cough, cough} years ago, I spent several weeks backpacking through Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and France. Of all the cities I visited, I absolutely fell in love with Florence, Italy. I didn’t think any city in Europe could possibly compete with its beauty. Then in May I had the chance to visit Barcelona, Spain. OMG! Comparing the two cities is like comparing grapes and watermelon, but my heart is now divided, thanks to the genius of one man, architect Antoni Gaudi, whose mosaic-covered masterpieces define Barcelona.

I had never heard of Gaudi before buying a travel guide of Barcelona, and I’m married to an architect. We have dozens of books that feature the works of everyone from Louis Sullivan and Stanford White to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright to I.M. Pei and Rafael Vinoly. Nothing on Antoni Gaudi. Maybe his architecture was too far out to be included in my husband’s college courses. Or maybe it was all political. Spain was still ruled by Franco back then.

Parc Guell

Parc Guell

Gaudi, known as the father of Modernista architecture, didn’t design with angles and sharp planes. His buildings are made of undulating curves. La Sagrada Família, his masterpiece basilica begun over a hundred years ago and still under construction today, looks like Gaudi stood in the clouds dripping wet sand to create the towering spires. The gatehouses of Parc Güell are reminiscent of the witch’s cottage in Hansel and Gretel. There’s a fantastical imagery that permeates the city, thanks to this genius of a man.

I was so taken with Gaudi’s architecture, that the city became a muse for me. I knew I had to set my next book in Barcelona. This presented me with a huge problem because I’m writing the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, a series about a woman whose husband has left her deeply in debt. She barely has enough money to fill her gas tank most days, let alone fly off to Europe.

Mosaic MayhemI quickly realized that there was no way I could incorporate Barcelona into one of my novel-length mysteries. However, at the end of last year I began writing companion ebook novelettes, the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mystery series. In these books I take Anastasia on side adventures in-between the main books in the series. A mini-mystery, Mosaic Mayhem, was the ideal vehicle for sending Anastasia on an all-expense paid quick trip to Barcelona.

Anastasia’s boyfriend is a globe-hopping photo-journalist. When Zack receives an assignment to do a spread on Parc Güell for National Geographic, he invites Anastasia to accompany him on the three-day trip.

Anastasia thinks her only worries are whether her passport is still valid and arranging care for her semi-invalid mother-in-law during her absence. However, within hours of arriving in Barcelona, she finds herself staring down the barrel of a gun and needing to convince a Spanish crime syndicate they’ve kidnapped the wrong person.

So much for a romantic getaway…