Sunday, October 20, 2019

Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Lois Winston back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Lois writes the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series. Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide is the eighth book in the series and was released earlier this month.

Kathy: In Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide Ira Pollack has blinged out Anastasia's home with enough Christmas lights to rival Rockefeller Center. Do you go all out decorating your home for the holidays or are you more subdued?

LW: I’ve always lived by the design motto that “less is more.” Outside we string lights around our porch and hang a wreath on the front door. Inside, in addition to the tree, we string lights and garland on the mantle, where we also place our collection of nutcrackers. I also display various other Christmas décor that I’ve either been gifted, collected, or crafted over the years.

Kathy: Inflatable characters play a big part in the story. I admit I have never used any. Do you?

LW: No, they’re extremely expensive and noisy. But even if they weren’t, when they’re turned off during the day, all those “dead” characters lying around in the snow really creep me out.

Kathy: I turn on my outside lights the day after Thanksgiving and have my timers set from dawn to dusk. What about you?

LW: We also usually decorate a day or so after Thanksgiving and use timers for the lights, but my husband insists on the lights turning off at 11pm.

Kathy: You include some Christmas craft projects with the mystery. Do you create Christmas crafts yourself?

LW: I’d say that at least 75% of the ornaments on our tree are handmade—either by me or some of my craftier friends. I also have a cross stitched Nativity I set up on our sofa table and swap out the toss pillows for cross stitched ones.

Kathy: I love sending and receiving Christmas cards. Do you mail out real cards? Are they homemade or store bought?

LW: I still mail out Christmas cards and love receiving them, especially from friends and relatives we rarely get a chance to see. I don’t craft my own cards; however, the crafts I include in Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide are made by repurposing Christmas cards that are too pretty to stick in the recycling bin come January.

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

LW: Most of my plot ideas are inspired by actual events. Last year I saw numerous news stories about neighbors angry over their quiet streets being turned into a carnival atmosphere when a neighbor transformed his home into an extravagant display for the holidays. Ira was exactly the type of person who would go overboard in this way to impress his kids. As for the murder, it was inspired by an actual murder that took place in New Jersey last year. I can’t say more about that without giving away spoilers, though.

Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Anastasia?

LW: Anastasia’s next adventure will take place on a cruise ship. As I write this, I’m currently on a cruise doing research.

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

LW: Right now I’m concentrating on my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, but eventually I hope to write another book in my Empty Nest Mystery series. I think I first need to find a way to clone myself or do without sleep. Anyone have any suggestions?


Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery) by Lois Winston

About Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide

Cozy Mystery 8th in Series  
Independently Published  
Print Length: 212 pages 
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?
Christmas craft projects included.

About Lois Winston

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick-lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction 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, Lois is a former literary agent and 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

Author Links:  
Newsletter sign-up:
Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog:  

Purchase Links - Amazon - Kobo - iTunes - Nook

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Since I'm a crafty person, this looks really good to me. Thanks for this opportunity.

  2. Kathy, thanks so much for hosting me again. I've been on the road all day, sitting in one traffic nightmare after another. Finally reached my destination and had a chance to hop on my computer.

    Nancy, as one crafty person to another, I hope you'll give the series a try. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.