Wednesday, December 5, 2012


by Lois Winston

Talk Gertie To Me was my first published novel. It combined chick lit, hen lit, and romance. The novel featured Connie Stedworth, a menopausal Martha Stewart clone; her rebellious daughter Nori; and Nori’s imaginary friend Gertie. The book received critical acclaim and was the recipient of a few awards. And then it went out of print. However, it’s now available for the first time as an ebook.

Two years ago Nori fled the conservative mentality of both her parents and Ten Commandments, Iowa, for Manhattan. She loves her new life -- until one devastating afternoon that culminates with the arrival of her mother. Mom is suffering from middle-age meltdown. Her only identity is as a wife and mother, but her husband is a workaholic, and her daughter is halfway across the country. Grandchildren would give her life new purpose. If only Nori would come to her senses and marry town mortician and most eligible bachelor Eugene Draymore.

To that end, Mom sets off to bring Nori home. But when she meets Nori’s neighbor, her plans take an unexpected twist, and she’s thrust headfirst into a career as the next Martha Stewart. Suddenly, she’s a somebody in her own right and reconsiders returning to her old life.

As a coping mechanism, Nori resurrects Gertie, her adolescent imaginary friend. A laptop mix-up lands her musings in the hands of Mackenzie Randolph, a talk-radio station manager on deadline to boost sagging ratings or lose his job. He knows he’s found the answer to his prayers when he reads Nori’s make-believe correspondence.
And maybe he’s found much more.

Meanwhile Dad, with Eugene in tow, comes in search of his AWOL wife. Tempers flare when Mom refuses to return home. However, when she and Dad hear Nori on the radio, they unite to “save” her from the corruption of both Mac and Manhattan.

And that’s when things really get interesting.

I honed my humor chops with Talk Gertie To Me. The book definitely prepared me to write the humorous Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.

A few years ago I was approached by a publisher to contribute a novella to an anthology. This seemed like the perfect vehicle for a sequel to Talk Gertie To Me. Readers had been asking for one for quite some time. However, as I mulled over plot ideas, everything I came up with involved a mystery. I finally gave in to my inner muse and wrote Elementary, My Dear Gertie, which is one part chick lit, one part hen lit, one part romance and all parts mystery.

Unfortunately, circumstances were such that the anthology was never published.

Then about a year ago, I began to see how indie publishing was taking off. Whereas once the thought of self-publishing was something I’d never consider, I started seeing authors having great success self-publishing their out-of-print books and even some never before published works. I had received the rights back to Talk Gertie To Me and decided to publish it and Elementary, My Dear Gertie as ebooks.

In Elementary, My Dear Gertie I’ve sent Nori, Mac, and Gertie back to Ten Commandments, Iowa. However, I needed a compelling reason for their visit because the last thing Nori wants to do is return to Ten Commandments. What better reason than Christmas? The sequel takes place two years after the original book. Nori has agreed to head home for the holidays, but she does so with all sorts of trepidations. It turns out to be anything but an ordinary Christmas.

Connie’s Christmas gift to Nori is a needlepoint pillow with a none-too-subtle message about marriage and children. Mac is all for exchanging I do’s. He’s even bought the ring, but before he can pop the question, an explosion (the literal kind) hurls him and Nori right into the middle of a murder investigation. Of course, Gertie can’t help but lend her acerbic wit to the twists and turns as yet another scandal envelopes the not-so-pious residents of Ten Commandments.

Both Talk Gertie To Me and Elementary, My Dear Gertie are available for Kindle, Nook, and iPad. Buy links can be found on my website.

Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, a 2011 release, was the first book in the series and received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Kirkus Reviews dubbed it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum” Death By Killer Mop Doll was released in 2012. Revenge of the Crafty Corpse will be a January 2013 release. Lois also writes romance, romantic suspense, humorous women's fiction, and non-fiction under her own name and as Emma Carlyle. Visit Lois at, visit Emma at, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers character blog,


Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist said...

Sounds like a fun read, Lois. :)


Roxy Boroughs said...

Just love that Gertie title.

Lois Winston said...

Thanks Rose and Roxy!

Kathleen Ernst said...

I don't know where your time & energy come from, but it's impressive! Best wishes on all your many projects.

Lois Winston said...

Thank you, Kathleen! Being an insomniac can be a plus at times. ;-)

Beth Groundwater said...

Hi Lois,
Elementary, Me Dear Gertie sounds like a great holiday read suitable for anyone's virtual stocking. :)

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Beth! I never thought about virtual stockings, but now that we have virtual books, I suppose we need them. I draw the line at virtual Christmas cookies, though. I want the real thing!

jenny milchman said...

I am so happy indie publishing gives new life to titles that for whatever reason didn't get their days in the sun. The title's great, Lois.

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Jenny! It's a brave new world out there in indie land.