Today, I’m joined by my friend Lois Winston, who talks about life as a writer and her newest book, just released!
No One Ever Promised Life Would Be Fair
By Lois Winston
I graduated college with a degree in graphic design and illustration back when, according to my kids, dinosaurs roamed the earth. My first two jobs were as an art director at small suburban ad agencies. Impressive titles. Teensy tiny paychecks. At both jobs, I was the one and only artist on staff. The only person I directed was me, myself, and I.
One day I was complaining about something to the office manager, and she said, “Lois, no one ever promised life would be fair.”
That conversation took place so long ago that I don’t even remember her name, but her words have stuck with me. Over the years I’ve had some major disappointments while others around me had great success. I’ve often been reminded of her words, especially when I look down the long and winding road of my writing life.
The outside world (those millions and millions of people who know nothing about publishing) are under the impression that every published author is pulling in big bucks. Friends and relatives expect free books because you’re a published author and can afford it. (I’m sure the published authors reading this are ROTFL.)
Reality is quite different. I sold my first manuscript in 2005. I made a whopping .24 cents in royalty on each copy sold. My second book increased to .28 cents only because the publisher increased the retail prices of their paperback line.
Most published authors, including many who have hit the NY Times bestseller list, can’t afford to quit their day jobs. Factoring in the hours most of us devote to crafting each novel, then promoting it, we’d make more money per hour asking, “Do you want fries with that?”
Anyone sitting down to write a novel, thinking it’s a quick road to riches, is in for a huge reality check.
So why do we do it?
We write because we can’t not write. (Apologies to my junior high school English teacher for the double-negative.) Writing is hard work, often filled with setbacks. You can’t sell what you consider your break-out book. Your last royalty check was in the low two figures. Your publisher drops you. Your foray into indie publishing has resulted in sales that might sustain your Starbucks habit—if you’re lucky.
And still, we continue to write.
No one ever said life would be fair—or easy, but the struggle makes us stronger. And more tenacious. And better. We keep writing. Keep honing our craft. Maybe someday luck will be on our side, and we’ll reap the rewards of all that hard work. Maybe not. The reality is that most of us won’t. One thing is for certain, though, if we give up, we’ll never know what might have happened if we kept at it.
So, we keep writing.
But that’s not the only reason I write. I write because for me, it’s cathartic. And it’s fun. I love losing myself in the world of my characters. They’ve become a second family, even if an imaginary one. I don’t want to let them go. That’s why the recently released A Crafty Collage of Crime is the twelfth book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series, and I’m already thinking about a plot for Book 13.
A Crafty Collage of Crime
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 12
Wherever crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack goes, murder and mayhem follow. Her honeymoon is no exception. She and new husband, photojournalist (and possible spy) Zachary Barnes, are enjoying a walk in the Tennessee woods when they stumble upon a body on the side of a creek. The dead man is the husband of one of the three sisters who own the winery and guest cottages where Anastasia and Zack are vacationing.
When the local sheriff sets his sights on the widow as the prime suspect, her sisters close ranks around her. The three siblings are true-crime junkies, and thanks to a podcaster who has produced an unauthorized series about her, Anastasia’s reputation for solving murders has preceded her to the bucolic hamlet. The sisters plead for her help in finding the real killer. As Anastasia learns more about the women and their business, a host of suspects emerge, including several relatives, a relentless land developer, and even the sisters themselves.
Meanwhile, Anastasia becomes obsessed with discovering the podcaster’s identity. Along with knowing about Anastasia’s life as a reluctant amateur sleuth, the podcaster has divulged details of Anastasia’s personal life. Someone has betrayed Anastasia’s trust, and she’s out to discover the identity of the culprit.
Craft project included.
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-crafty-collage-of-crime-lois-winston/1143442079?ean=2940161008225
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-crafty-collage-of-crime/id6448801378
Bio: USA Today and Amazon bestselling author Lois Winston began her award-winning writing career in 2006 with Talk Gertie to Me, a humorous novel about a small-town girl in Manhattan and the mother bent on bringing her home. That was followed by the romantic suspense Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception. Lois wrote her first mystery thanks to a conversation between her agent and an editor looking for a crafting-themed cozy series. Thus, was born the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, which Kirkus Reviews dubbed, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” The series now includes twelve novels and three novellas. To date Lois has published twenty-one novels, five novellas, several short stories, one children’s chapter book, and one nonfiction book on writing, inspired by the twelve years she worked as an associate at a literary agency.
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Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com