Lois Winston – My Author Journey

Today, we have award-winning author Lois Winston joining us and sharing her journey,

Love_Lies_eBook_Cover_v04_x1000What did you want to be when you grew up? I think at one point I may have wanted to be Annie Oakley. I don’t really remember, but I’ve seen pictures of my four-year-old self dressed in a red skirt and vest with white fringe, cowgirl hat perched on my head and a six-shooter strapped to my waist. Did I ask for the outfit, or was it someone else’s idea? I have no idea, and there’s no one left to ask.

The first time I remember consciously thinking about my adult life was during NASA’s Mercury Project. I remember standing outside, searching the skies for a glimpse of Alan Shepherd and John Glenn. I decided I wanted to be the first female astronaut—until my parents burst my balloon by reminding me of my propensity for motion sickness. NASA wasn’t interested in astronauts who couldn’t keep from tossing their cookies, they told me.

I’ve always loved musical theater and in sixth grade decided I wanted a Broadway career. My elementary school was planning a talent show. I tried out. Major embarrassment! I was laughed off the stage for not being able to carry a tune. Goodbye, Broadway.

What I never thought about doing was becoming an author. I wasn’t one of those kids who sat around penning stories. I spent my free time drawing and painting. So eighteen years ago when a story popped into my head, and I decided to sit down to write it out, no one was more surprised than I. The next thing I knew, I’d written a 50,000 word romance.

So what do you do after you write a book? You try to get it published. I set about submitting my novel to literary agents and very soon learned I had not written the Great American Novel. One after the other, the rejection letters rolled in. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, I didn’t know the first thing about writing a book.

What I had discovered, though, was that I enjoyed the process. So I set about learning how to write.


Ten years, almost to the day that I first sat down to write that story, I sold my first novel, Talk Gertie to Me, a humorous book about a mother and daughter dealing with life-altering experiences. One year and countless rewrites later, I sold that first 50,000 word romance after turning it into Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception, a 74,000 word emotional romantic suspense novel.



I was on my way. Or so I thought. I didn’t expect that my New York publisher would begin having financial problems. The publisher stopped sending out royalty statements and checks. Eventually, the publishing house folded, owing hundreds of authors hundreds of thousands of dollars.year and countless rewrites later, I sold that first 50,000 word romance after turning it into Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception, a 74,000 word emotional romantic suspense novel.Gertie to Me, a humorous book about a mother and daughter dealing with life-altering experiences. One


I kept writing. In 2009 I was offered a 3-book contract for a humorous amateur sleuth series I’d created. Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series debuted to critical acclaim in 2011. Death by Killer Mop Doll followed in 2012, and Revenge of the Crafty Corpse in 2013. I was a very happy camper.

Until I wasn’t.

As much as I wanted to continue to write the series for the publisher, we couldn’t resolve certain issues with the new contract. I made the difficult decision to walk away. I’m currently looking for a new home for the series, but in the meantime, other opportunities have arisen.

Indie publishing has offered authors a chance to take more control over their writing and their careers. If I don’t find another publisher to pick up my mystery series, I can publish it myself. The stigma of self-publishing no longer exists. Many well-respected authors are publishing their backlists and also new work. Fabulous books that were turned down by established publishers are finding a home and an audience.

While I make a decision regarding the future of my series, I’ve indie published two mini-mysteries, Crewel Intentions and Mosaic Mayhem. These are novelettes that take my amateur sleuth on side adventures. I’ve also published my backlist and five novels under my Emma Carlyle pen name.

It’s good to have choices.

About Lois:

lois-winston-low-res-fileAward-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack which Kirkus Reviews dubbed, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Visit Lois at www.loiswinston.com, visit Emma at www.emmacarlyle.com, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Twitter @anasleuth.



12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vampwriterblog
    Aug 26, 2013 @ 08:58:18

    I wonder if your statement, “I didn’t know the first thing about writing a book” is the full story or if it needs something like, “in a way that would please publishers” to correctly complete the sentence? How many great stories have been thrown in the trash or burned by authors after having them rejected, simply because they didn’t fit publishers’ pre-conceived notions of what would sell? I’ll bet there were dozens and maybe hundreds that would now be considered “classics” and similarly dozens of them that could have become “essential” movies. I believe far too many “publishing houses” are afraid to step outside the box…they have a formula they think works and aren’t going to publish “new and unique.” This will eventually be their downfall as more and more authors find the freedom of Indie Publishing. Yes, our first works may not be perfect, but many readers want good storylines and can overlook a few word usage, punctuation or even misspellings so long as they love the story. As I progress in my “Immortal Relations” series, I can look back and see where I could improve the first book (and probably will go back through it soon). But I’m still more than pleased by the storyline and those who have read it agree. So, to my fellow ‘budding authors’ I say, “Keep writing and learn as you go. If you wait for perfection, your great story may never get published and the world will be a lesser place for it’s loss.”


    • Lois Winston (writing as Emma Carlyle)
      Aug 27, 2013 @ 20:12:37

      Trust me, Vampirewriter, I really, really didn’t know what I was doing. And it had nothing to do with grammar or punctuation. I always aced those subjects in school. What I needed to learn was story structure, plot arc, and GMC. I didn’t even understand POV when I first sat down to write. So my statement stands.


  2. Barbara Barrett
    Aug 26, 2013 @ 11:07:47

    Lois, I wish you well in your search for a new publisher for Anastasia. You have a great comedic voice.

    Barbara Barrett


  3. monarisk
    Aug 26, 2013 @ 16:17:53

    Hi Lois, I think we plodded the same difficult path to publication. The important thing is that we did it. YOU DID IT. Be proud of yourself.


  4. Linda McLaughlin
    Aug 26, 2013 @ 16:59:01

    Oh, Lois, I had one of those Annie Oakley outfits, only mine was brown with fringe on the skirt and vest. LOL, I lived in it during the week and couldn’t understand why my mother wouldn’t let me wear it to Sunday School. I did want to write when I was a kid, though I had the occasional fantasy of being a concert pianist or spy. Glad you decided to write as an adult. Good luck finding a home for your mystery series.


  5. Alan Jankowski
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 11:34:21

    Yeah, publishing can be a long and winding road, but you got there…and that’s what counts…and I had no thought of being a writer until I started four years ago, so I could certainly relate to that…best of luck on your continued journey btw…



  6. Nancy J. Cohen
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 13:59:01

    How come you are seeking another publisher for your mystery series rather than self-publishing? And have you tried small press which has a lot of viable mystery publishers?


    • Lois Winston (writing as Emma Carlyle)
      Aug 30, 2013 @ 10:28:30

      Nancy, I made the decision to leave my publisher because we couldn’t come to terms on a new contract, among other things. I haven’t discounted self-publishing to continue the series. I’m keeping my options open, but I’d like to keep a foot in each world if possible.


  7. Lois Winston (writing as Emma Carlyle)
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 20:19:14

    Another Annie Oakley, and now we’re both authors. How coincidental is that, Linda?


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