May 17, 2011

Teaser Tuesday! Featuring Lois Winston

 A normal day for magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack involves juggling two teenage sons, a communist mother-in-law, a mother descended from Russian royalty, a Shakespeare quoting parrot, AND her dead husband’s loan shark.  As if that weren't enough, she's now the prime suspect in the murder of a coworker.  Anastasia must use both her wits and her craft skills to clear her name and find the killer before he finds her.

Copyright 2011 Lois Winston

I hate whiners. Always have. So I was doing my damnedest not to become one in spite of the lollapalooza of a quadruple whammy that had broadsided me last week. Not an easy task, given that one of those lollapalooza whammies had barged into my bedroom and was presently hammering her cane against my bathroom door.

“Damn it, Anastasia! Hot water doesn’t grow on trees, you know!”

Some people can’t start the day without a cigarette. Lucille Pollack, Monster-in-Law from the Stygian Swamp, can’t start hers without a sludge load of complaints. As much as I detest cigarettes, I’d much prefer a nicotine-puffing mother- in-law, as long as she came with an occasional kind word and a semi-pleasant disposition. Unfortunately, marriage is a package deal. Husbands come with family. And mine came with a doozie to end all doozies.

My mother-in-law is a card-carrying, circa nineteen-thirties communist. When she met me, it was hate at first sight. I bear the name of a dead Russian princess, thanks to my mother’s unsubstantiated Romanov link -- a great- grandmother with the maiden name of Romanoff. With Mama, the connection is more like sixty, not six, degrees of separation, and the links are coated with a thick layer of rust. But that’s never stopped Mama from bragging about our royal ancestry, and it set the tone for my relationship -- or lack of it -- with my mother-in-law from Day One.

I suppose I didn’t help the situation by naming one of my sons Nicholas and the other Alexander, even if they were named after my grandfathers -- Alexander Periwinkle and Nicholas Sudberry.

“My kingdom for a bedroom door lock,” I muttered. Not that I had much of a kingdom left. So it would have to be a really cheap lock.

“About time,” said Lucille as I exited the bathroom amidst a cloud of warm steam. “Some people have no consideration of others.” Raising one of her Sequoia-like arms, she waved her cane in my face. “Those boys of yours have been camped out in the other bathroom for half an hour doing what, I can’t imagine.”

Lucille always referred to Nick and Alex as those boys, refusing to use their given names. Like it might corrupt her political sensibilities or something.

“Three minutes,” she continued ranting. “That’s all it takes me to shower and all it should take any of you. I’m the only person in this house who gives one iota of concern for the earth’s depleting resources.”

She landed an elbow to my ribs to push me aside. Manifesto, her runt-of-the-litter French bulldog -- or Mephisto, the Devil Dog, as the rest of the family had dubbed the Satan-incarnate canine -- followed close on her heels. As he squeezed past me, he raised his wrinkled head and growled.

As soon as they’d both muscled their way into the bathroom, my mother-in-law slammed the door in my face and locked it. God only knows why she needs her dog in the bathroom with her. And if he does know, I hope he continues to spare the rest of us the knowledge.

Lois Winston
Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun,
an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery
Publishers Weekly & Booklist starred reviews


Jenn Nixon said...

Thanks for posting today, Lois!

Lois Winston said...

Thanks for having me, Jenn!

susan said...

this was a great article and the book sounds great. susan Leech