Authors Talk: Second Series Syndrome by Lois Winston

I was first introduced to USA Today bestselling author Lois Winston when she put out a call for authors interested in being part of her first cookbook, Bake, Love, Write. I’m not much of a baker, but I did manage to submit a recipe! The following year, she invited me back for We’d Rather Be Writing. Today, Lois guests on my blog to talk about “Second Series Syndrome.” Since I have two series (with a third one percolating in my head), I had to hear what she had to say. Without further ado, here’s Lois!

In the early 1960s after years of trailing behind frontrunner Hertz, the Avis car rental car company launched their “We Try Harder” campaign. It was an instant success. As any second child knows, you have to try harder to get noticed. The first-born claims the spotlight by virtue of being first born. It’s called second child syndrome.

The same seems true for mystery series. My first series, the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, debuted in 2011 and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Kirkus Reviews called it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” There are now five full-length novels, with another on the way, and three mini-mysteries. I have no plans to stop writing about Anastasia.

However, a few years ago, I got the idea for the Empty Nest Mysteries, a modern day twist of the 1930’s Thin Man movies, with the wife as the sleuth. In 2014 I published Definitely Dead, followed by Literally Dead last year.

Even though I’ve promoted my Empty Nest series through my newsletter and on guest blogs and social media, few readers (including many of my diehard Anastasia fans) know it exists. Gracie Elliott, my sleuth, is definitely overshadowed by her “older sister” Anastasia.

So in order to shine a light on Gracie—a woman who is one part Goldie Hawn, one part Jessica Fletcher—I’ve embarked on an ad campaign that hopefully will be as successful as that old Avis campaign. For the month of June Definitely Dead, the first book in the series, is available on Amazon for .99 cents and will be featured in several discount book sites and daily newsletters.

A parent should never show favoritism to one child over another. Like my real-life sons, my “girls” are unique individuals but equally loved by me. However, Gracie needs a chance to show readers who she is. My fingers are crossed.

Definitely Dead

When her career is outsourced to Asia, fledgling romance author and empty-nester Gracie Elliott wants a job that will allow her time to write. So she opens Relatively Speaking, becoming a wing woman to the senior set. Since her clients need several hours each morning to find their teeth, lube their creaky joints, and deal with lower GI necessities, and they always turn in after the early bird specials, she has plenty of time to pen her future bestsellers.

Gracie deliberately avoids mentioning her new business venture to husband Blake until after she signs her first client. Blake joins the company as a not-so-silent partner, tagging along to make sure Gracie doesn’t cause a septuagenarian uprising. When Client #13 is found murdered in the parking lot behind the Moose Lodge, Gracie knows, no matter how much Blake protests otherwise, she can’t wait around for the police to find the killer if she wants to save her livelihood.

Find the book



Literally Dead

After her last disastrous episode as an amateur sleuth, Gracie Elliott is back. The budding romance writer has spent the past year crafting her first novel. Her hard work and determination pay off when her manuscript wins the Cream of the Crop award, a contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by the Society of American Romance Authors. First place entitles her to attend the organization’s annual conference, normally open only to published authors.

With husband Blake in tow, a starry-eyed Gracie experiences the ultimate fan-girl moment upon entering the hotel. Her favorite authors are everywhere. However, within minutes she learns Lovinia Darling, the Queen of Romance, is hardly the embodiment of the sweet heroines she creates. Gracie realizes she’s stepped into a romance vipers’ den of backstabbing, deceit, and plagiarism, but she finds a friend and mentor in bestselling author Paisley Prentiss.

Hours later, when Gracie discovers Lovinia’s body in the hotel stairwell, a victim of an apparent fall, Gracie is not convinced her death was an accident. Too many other authors had reason to want Lovinia dead. Ignoring Blake’s advice to “let the police handle it,” Gracie, aided by Paisley, begins her own investigation into the death. Romance has never been so deadly.

Find the Book



About the Author: USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name.

Find Lois at and

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog:





39 responses to “Authors Talk: Second Series Syndrome by Lois Winston

  1. authorlois

    Oops! That last comment should have been to thank Carol. Definitely need that second cup of coffee this morning!

  2. authorlois

    Thank you, Shari! Hope you enjoy the book.

    Judy, in this series there is the romance of a husband and wife team, but I don’t have any sex scenes because it’s a cozy mystery. Cozy readers prefer the bedroom door firmly shut.

  3. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks for stopping by Carol. Glad you’ve now discovered Lois!

  4. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks for stopping by Shari.

  5. Wonderful post! I so enjoy, Judy, discovering new authors (for me). And Lois, your writing amused me! 🙂 Thanks for the .99 special.

  6. Mystery is always good, but I lean towards romance with my mystery. #getsocial

  7. authorlois

    Thanks, Vivienne! I hope you enjoy it!

  8. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Vivienne, that is wonderful news! I’m sure Lois will be thrilled, and thank you for stopping by.

  9. Wonderful article with Lois Winston i want to pick up the book soon to read!

  10. authorlois

    Thanks, blodeuedd! I hope you’ll give it a try.

  11. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Sounds like a good series 🙂

  13. authorlois

    Thanks, Angela!

  14. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you for stopping by Angela!

  15. Stopping by for the #getsocial17 event.

  16. authorlois

    Thanks for stopping by, RO!

  17. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  18. I love a little romance tied into my suspense and mystery novels. Hugs…RO #getsocial17

  19. authorlois

    ReadingFrenzy and Ratmom, thanks for stopping by!

  20. authorlois

    Thanks for stopping by, Jackie!

  21. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks for stopping by!

  22. thebookwormmomblog

    Stopping by from the #getsocial17 blog hop. Hello!


  23. Cute looking series thanks

  24. I love finding new authors to read.

  25. authorlois

    Thanks so much, Charmaine!

  26. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Charmaine, so good of you to stop by and comment!

  27. As always, absolutely delightful. No one writes humor and murder better, Lois. I’m a fan.

  28. authorlois

    Hi Kristina! Thanks for the blogging offer. I will definitely take you up on it.

    I didn’t start out writing recipes. I started out writing romance, then moved on to mystery. The recipe books were done as a combination of author promo and fundraiser. A percentage of the profit is donated to NoKidHungry.

  29. authorlois

    Thank you, Jacqueline and Vinnie!

  30. Kristina Stanley

    I guess I read that wrong. Still is a good story.

  31. Kristina Stanley

    Thank you, Judy!

  32. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Other mystery authors reading this: check out Kristina’s blog. And readers: check out Kristina’s blog! It’s terrific.

  33. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Kristina, I don’t think that Lois started with a recipe. I just mentioned that we me when she put together a cookbook with authors’ recipes 🙂

  34. Kristina Stanley

    Lois, I forgot to mention, if you’d like a spot on Mystery Mondays, I’d love to have you. I just put a call out for authors.

  35. Kristina Stanley

    Wow, I think this is unique. It’s very interesting that you started writing with a recipe! Then ended up with Definitely and Literally Dead. Not sure I want to have dinner at your house…

  36. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Vinnie, for stopping by! It’s a clever concept, isn’t it?

  37. I love the idea of a murder at a writing conference–adding this to my Goodreads To-Be-Read List.

  38. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Jacqueline. I found Lois’ post very interesting as well!

  39. Hi Judy and Lois,

    This mystery series sounds very interesting! Wishing you every success.

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