This week’s writing challenge:
Your protagonist blows a tire on a deserted road. When she checks for the spare, she finds the body of a young girl (mid-teens.) What does she do?
Oy vey! Doesn’t my poor protagonist have enough problems? Anastasia Pollack, the reluctant amateur sleuth in ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN is already up to her eyeballs in trouble. Her husband permanently cashed in his chips at a roulette table in Vegas (she thought he was at a sales meeting in Harrisburg, PA), leaving her with a mountain of debt, his communist mother-in-law, and his Mafioso loan shark. The bill collectors are calling night and day, her mother-in-law is a royal pain in the ass, and the loan shark is demanding fifty grand or else. Oh, and did I mention Anastasia is the prime suspect in the murder of a coworker?
And now you want me to dump another dead body on her? Jeez!
Anastasia used to drive a late model silver Camry with all the bells and whistles. Her newly acquired financial quagmire has forced her to shave expenses wherever possible, so she traded the Camry in for a used, stripped-down, bottom-of-the-line, eight year old mud brown Hyundai.
The body may have come with the car. Anastasia never bothered to check the trunk prior to the flat. Her first thought after pounding the steering wheel and uttering every four-letter word she knows is hoping the car has an inflated spare and a jack. She took the dealer’s word for it when she bought the car. Not a bright move in hindsight.
So there she is, standing on that dark deserted road, freezing her buns off (did I mention it’s February?), praying for a workable spare and a jack, as she opens the trunk. And wouldn’t you know it? The trunk light doesn’t work! So she doesn’t see the body. She treks back to the front passenger door and opens the glove compartment in search of a flashlight.
That’s when a police car pulls up on the opposite side of the road and asks if she needs assistance. Anastasia is thrilled. What a stroke of good fortune! Of course she isn’t aware of that dead body yet. Flashlight in hand, the cop gets out of his car and walks around to her trunk.
The next thing Anastasia knows, she’s slammed up against the hood of her car. The cop slaps cuffs on her. And she has no clue what the hell is going on.
Welcome to Anastasia’s world.
Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun is the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series and received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. PW said, “Crafty cozies don't get any better than this hilarious confection,” and Booklist stated, “Winston has hit a home run with this hilarious, laugh-until-your-sides-hurt tale. Oddball characters, uproariously funny situations, and a heroine with a strong sense of irony will delight fans of Janet Evanovich….” Kirkus Reviews called it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum. Funny, gutsy and determined, Anastasia has a bright future in the planned series.” Read more about Lois and Anastasia at http://www.loiswinston.com and http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com.
Monday, January 31, 2011
This week’s writing challenge: