When Your Muse Flies Off to Winter in Florida

Lois Winston 2USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition to working for a literary agency, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Visit Lois/Emma at http://www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Tsu at http://www.tsu.co/loiswinston, on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/anasleuth, and onTwitter @anasleuth.

Recently I’ve suffered from an acute case of procrastination. My fans are waiting for the fifth book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, along with the second book in my Empty Nest Mystery series. As I write this guest blog, I’ve only devoted about 10,000 words to Anastasia and none to Empty Nest. Life has gotten in the way—in a good way—but still gotten in the way. When I have time to park my butt in front of my computer, I spend a good deal of time staring at a blinking cursor. My muse must have decided New Jersey is too darn cold. I think she flew off to Florida, leaving me with a barebones plot and little more.

Am I worried? No. I’ve been through this before—with just about every book I’ve ever written. At some point my muse flies the coop, whether to Florida or elsewhere. I now consider it my process and have come to expect it. Eventually, she’ll tire of the Florida sun, return to the cold and snow of a New Jersey winter, and reignite my hibernating brain. By the time this guest blog runs, I hope the chapters will once more be flowing steadily from my fingers, through my keyboard, and onto my computer screen.

Bake, Love, WriteIn the meantime, I haven’t been a total slug. Actually, I’ve been very busy the last few months—just not busy writing fiction. The first project I tackled was editing Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Love and Writing.

I came up with the idea for Bake, Love, Write while washing my hair one morning. I get my best ideas in the shower and have since learned there’s scientific proof to support the correlation between showers and brainstorms. I even wrote a blog about it a few days ago.

Anyway, that particular morning, I was ruminating about book promotion—a topic every author I know dreads. I’m not convinced social media is the best marketing tool for authors, so I’ve been trying to come up with some new ways to get my name and my books in front of people.

This led me to think about what most authors have in common, no matter what genre we write: we love desserts. Sweets sustain us through pending deadlines and take the sting out of crushing rejection letters and nasty reviews. We also often celebrate our successes—selling a book, winning a writing award, making a bestseller list, or receiving a fabulous review—with decadent indulgences. And when authors get together, we often talk about our writing and our lives. Recipes. Writing. Relationships. Inspiration struck!

Thus was born Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Love and Writing. The authors participating in this cookbook not only share their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, they also share the best advice they’ve ever received on writing and relationships. It was my hope that people buying the book for the recipes and/or advice would also discover new favorite authors—both me and the other participants.

Top Ten Reasons Your Novel Is RejectedBut that’s not all I’ve been up to lately. In addition, I’ve rebranded my Emma Carlyle romances, giving them new covers, and making them available in print. I also produced print editions with new covers of Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception, a backlist romantic suspense originally published in 2007, and Top Ten Reasons Your Novel is Rejected, a book I wrote several years ago at the urging of many people who had taken my writing workshops over the years.

Along with being a published author, I also work for a literary agency. Over the years I’ve come to realize that most manuscripts are rejected by agents and editors for one or more of ten basic reasons. Writers have control over some of these reasons but not all of them. Top Ten Reasons Your Novel is Rejected teaches writers how they can control more of their destiny and improve their chances of being offered representation or a publishing contract.

So now it’s time to stop procrastinating and get back to writing mysteries. If you happen to see my muse sunning herself on a beach in Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, please kick her butt back up to New Jersey. She’s got work to do.


Book Blitz: Invaded by Melissa Landers

Invaded Blitz Banner


Title: Invaded
Series: An Alienated Novel #2
Author: Melissa Landers
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication date: February 3, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult


A Note from the Author

Hey, fiction lovers. I’m Melissa Landers, author of the Alienated series (YA sci-fi from Disney-Hyperion), and today I’m bouncing with excitement because THE SEQUEL IS FINALLY HERE!

It’s been a year since we left Aelyx and Cara onboard the intergalactic transport, and INVADED begins with an emotional goodbye as they part ways—Aelyx returning to Earth to salvage the alliance, and Cara continuing to L’eihr to serve out Invadedher part of the student exchange. While they’re apart, our star-crossed lovers will face assassination attempts, betrayal, crippling self-doubt, and a sadistic alien Phys Ed class. (Because there’s no escaping PE, even in another galaxy.) When Aelyx and Cara finally reunite…well, let’s just say it’s combustive. 😉

What do reviewers think? I’m glad you asked!

“Readers will love the seamless blend of suspense, humor, and romance set against an interstellar landscape. Dual narratives and a tightly plotted mystery keep the suspense running high, and the chemistry between Aelyx and Cara smolders.” –Booklist

“Excellent character development and integration between modern reality and science fiction. Teens will be rooting for the galactic couple while enjoying the action and suspense that runs through the two volumes.” –School Library Journal

“The protagonists’ forced separation gives greater depth to their romance. Each learns to turn a critical eye upon the flaws of their native societies while confronting genuine obstacles to a future together. These complications only underscore the growing sense of menace that propels the narrative to an action-packed climax.” –Kirkus

I hope you’ll make tracks to the nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of INVADED! If you’re snowed in, here are some easy links to bring the sequel right to you:


Purchase Links:

Barnes & Noble
Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)
Indie Bound


About the Author

Melissa LandersMelissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information, or just to say hello, visit www.melissa-landers.com.

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To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner
a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble and an autographed swag
pack, complete with mini posters of BOTH books! This giveaway is
open internationally, and due to sweepstakes laws, entrants
must be 18 years or older to participate.

Enter the Rafflecopter drawing here.

Best of luck, and happy reading!


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