USA 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.
In 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.
But 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.