Guest Blogger – Lois Winston

Jim Phelps, Bill Cosby, and Atticus Finch

I’ve been thinking a lot about heroes lately, both real and fictional. I need heroes. The world needs heroes. Heroes help us make sense of the senseless and give us hope because they’re willing to take a stand to do what’s right in order to make the world a better place for all of us.

However, lately some of my heroes have been letting me down. It started with the reboot of Mission Impossible back in 1996. Anyone who remembers the television show from 1966-1973 knows that Jim Phelps was one of the good guys, a man who risked his life for the greater good of mankind. Then the first movie comes along and turns Jim into a bad guy. After that I never watched another movie in the franchise. No way could I accept Jim Phelps as a villain.

In 1984 The Cosby Show debuted, and Bill Cosby became America’s dad. My kids grew up watching that show. Bill Cosby lived part-time a few blocks from us. We admired the man not only for the character he portrayed on TV but for the real person and the good he did. I want to believe he’s innocent of the charges made against him, but the overwhelming evidence and his own words given in a deposition seem to prove otherwise. America’s dad has been shown to have a dark side. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement; I’m outraged.

And now it turns out that Atticus Finch is a racist. I won’t be reading Go Set a Watchman because I don’t want my image of that just and honorable man from To Kill a Mockingbird tainted by this older, hateful version of the character. I’m not the only one. Social media is aghast and atwitter over this unexpected and unwelcome reinvention of one of America’s fictional heroes.

So I began to wonder, do authors make a solemn pact with their readers, and what happens when they break that agreement? In many instances, they disappoint their fans. Readers expect a certain experience when they pick up a book from an author they’ve come to enjoy, especially when the book is part of a series. Authors who have killed off beloved characters or in some other way disappointed their readership have experienced unwelcome vocal backlash.

The fifth novel in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series is now available. I haven’t turned Anastasia into a villain, nor have I bumped off any beloved characters in the book. However, I have introduced a plot twist that I hope readers will enjoy. I want to live up to my readers’ expectations. I never want to disappoint them, and I hope I haven’t with this new installment.

A Stita_stitch_to_die_for_x664ch to Die For

An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 5

The adventures of reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack continue in A Stitch to Die For, the 5th book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series by USA Today bestselling author Lois Winston.

Ever since her husband died and left her in debt equal to the gross national product of Uzbekistan, magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack has stumbled across one dead body after another—but always in work-related settings. When a killer targets the elderly nasty neighbor who lives across the street from her, murder strikes too close to home. Couple that with a series of unsettling events days before Halloween, and Anastasia begins to wonder if someone is sending her a deadly message.

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(Other books in the series include Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, Death by Killer Mop Doll, Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, and three mini-mysteries: Crewel Intentions, Mosaic Mayhem, and Patchwork Peril.)

lois-winston-med-res-file Bio: 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, 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 and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, Follow everyone on Tsu at, on Pinterest at, and onTwitter @anasleuth. Sign up for her newsletter at