Good Tuesday morning, I found a woman wandering by our door and thought she would be a good guest. She seemed confused, because she introduced herself as Emma Carlyle, then she called herself Lois Winston. Either she's confused or she's a writer. Please help us solve the mystery.

Hey, Lois,uh, Emma, tell us something about yourself. 

I began my writing life as a romance writer. For ten years I toiled away at love stories. Most of these manuscripts never sold, although many collected numerous awards in contests for unpublished authors, including finaling three times in RWA’s Golden Heart contest. Some almost sold, but at the last minute the deal would fall through due to changing markets, lines folding, or editors leaving.

Eventually, I did sell two of those books. One was more chick lit than romance, and the other was a romantic suspense. While I was waiting for additional romance sales, a certain glue gun wielding amateur sleuth hijacked my writing career, and I found myself writing what became my critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.

Years passed, and those old romances lolled around collecting cobwebs in my Dead Manuscripts File. However, the publishing world has gone through a dramatic change in the last few years. All around me I started seeing friends indie publishing not only their backlists but manuscripts that had never sold to New York. Some were even writing new books specifically to indie publish. After hearing success story after success story, I began to think about those old manuscripts. I liked those stories, and other people had liked them, too.

So after much mulling, I decided to create Emma Carlyle, my alter ego romance self, and begin indie publishing all those romances under her name. Once upon a time, I never would have considered self-publishing, but times have changed. The stigma once associated with bypassing the middleman to get stories into the hands of readers has lifted.

My first indie book launched on Kindle three and a half weeks ago. Hooking Mr. Right was my most successful, never published manuscript, winning a slew of awards. I followed that a week later with Finding Hope. Both had finaled in Golden Heart. Now I’m offering them to the world for less than the price of a Starbucks cappuccino. More books will follow in the coming weeks.

Here’s a blurb of Hooking Mr. Right:
After writing a doctoral thesis that exposed fraud in the pop-psychology genre, thirty-two year old professor Althea Chandler has to sacrifice her professional integrity to save her family from financial disaster. She secretly becomes bestselling romance guru Dr. Trulee Lovejoy, a self-proclaimed expert on how to catch a man, even though Thea’s a miserable failure when it comes to relationships -- especially those with the opposite sex.

Burned by a failed marriage, Luke Bennett finds himself pursued by Dr. Lovejoy toting women after a gossip columnist dubs him New York’s most eligible bachelor. When he at first mistakes Thea for one of the women out to snare him, sparks fly, but the two soon find themselves battling sparks of a less hostile nature, thanks in part to an alley cat named Cupid.

Luke believes he’s finally found an honest woman. Unfortunately, Thea is anything but honest. She’s got more secrets than the CIA and a desperate gossip columnist out to expose her.

Cupid definitely has his work cut out for him.

And here’s an excerpt from Hooking Mr. Right:

Hooking Mr. Right
by Emma Carlyle
© 2012 Lois Winston
“The trouble lies in the Y chromosome.” Thea took a sip of her coffee and glared across the black Formica-topped desk at her editor, waiting to pounce on Grace if she challenged her statement.

“How so?” Grace leaned back in her chair and sipped her own coffee. Over the rim of the cup an amused expression played across her face.

“Simple genetics, really. Women have two X chromosomes. Men have an X and a Y. Do you know what the definition of Y is?”

Grace set her coffee cup on her desk and raised her eyebrows. “No, but I suppose you’re about to tell me.”

“Y is an X with a broken leg.”

Grace stared at her as if Thea had lost more than a suitcase in her recent, abrupt move from San Francisco to New York. “And your point?”

“Broken! Don’t you get it? Defective!” Thea slammed her hand onto a pile of unread manuscripts teetering on the corner of her editor’s desk, nearly toppling the unwieldy stack onto the floor.

Grace grabbed for her cup, barely averting a brown tidal wave.

“Ergo,” continued Thea, waving her hand in the air to punctuate her explanation, “there is no doubt that women are superior to men. No defective genes. Obviously, man was a rough prototype. God looked at Adam and said, ‘I can do better than that.’ Then he created Eve.” She placed her cup on the edge of the desk, leaned back in her chair, crossed her arms over her chest, and offered her editor a triumphant smile.

“So this explains why you cancelled your wedding and high-tailed it out of San Francisco? Defective male genes?” Grace shuddered. “Do me a favor, will you, Dr. Love? Keep these newly developed, radical theories to yourself. Unless, of course, you want to go from the New York Times Bestseller List back to an auditorium-size classroom packed with bored freshmen.”

Doctor Love. Thea winced at the nickname the press had dubbed her secret alter ego, Dr. Trulee Lovejoy. In truth, she did wish she could return to the classroom and the comforting monotony of teaching Sociology 101 to less-than-eager first year students. Not that she possessed an all-consuming passion for her chosen career in academia, but with everything she had lost over the past few years, at least she’d still have her integrity. However, she could no more turn back the clock and regain her compromised professional ethics than she could restore her family’s lost fortune. At least her popular how-to guides for finding the perfect mate had kept the collection agencies at bay.
“Some love expert! I couldn’t even keep my own fiancé from sleeping with my sister.” Thea raised her head and challenged Grace. “Now aren’t you glad I chose to publish under a pseudonym? Think of the public relations disaster I’ve averted. News flash: Doctor Love Causes Coitus Interuptus after Catching Sister and Fiancé in Flagrante Delicto on Eve of Wedding. Update at eleven.

“Too erudite and wordy.” Grace brushed away the imaginary headline with a wave of her hand. “Who’d understand all that Latin?”

Thea grimaced. “I can think of at least two people.” Her brainy, Stanford-educated younger sister came to mind. As did her sister’s equally brainy, MIT-educated research partner who also happened to be Thea’s ex-fiancé. Too late Thea had discovered Steve and Madeline were engaged in far more than metaphysical debates while researching distant solar systems and spatial anomalies.  

“Yes, well...” Grace fidgeted in her chair, her gaze dropping to her lap.

“It’s okay, Grace. I’m dealing with it. Putting three thousand miles between myself and them helps.”

“Out of sight, out of mind?” Grace raised her chin and met Thea’s eyes. “Come on, I know you better than that. You’re hurting.”

Thea exhaled a deep sigh and shrugged. “Guilty as charged.” She glanced over at the large scheduling calendar covering half of one wall in Grace’s office and laughed. The sound hung in the room, echoing with pain and resonating with irony.

“Just think, three weeks ago today my biggest concern was that the rehearsal dinner was getting cold because Steve was off in some corner deconstructing the theory of relativity. I used to dream we’d someday travel to Stockholm to pick up his Nobel Prize.” She leaned forward, propped her elbows on the desk and scowled at her nearly empty mug. “It just never occurred to me that the award would be for causing my world to stop spinning on its axis.”

Grace reached across her desk and patted Thea’s hand. “Trust me. You’re better off finding out the truth before the wedding rather than afterwards.”

“Speaking from experience?”

“More than I like to admit. Maybe I should take some of Trulee’s advice.”

“Get real! If you have any sense, Grace, you’ll let me out of my contract and forget about that third book. Finding Mr. Right? Hooking Mr. Right? I’m a fraud. I don’t know the first thing about how to get a man and keep him. I’m a thirty-two year old sociologist with a lousy track record when it comes to the male species. How can you trust me to write credible books on the subject when I can’t even trust my own judgment where men are concerned?”

Grace shrugged. “Maybe we both need to follow your advice. Others do and swear by your books. Besides, I’m not letting you out of your contract. Trulee Lovejoy is the best thing to happen to this company in years.”

“Trulee Lovejoy.” Thea shook her head. “What was I thinking? How did I ever let you talk me into that awful pseudonym?”

“If I remember correctly, I had a little help from a lady named Margarita. Several ladies named Margarita, actually. Besides, I’m hurt. You insisted on an alias, and I came up with the perfect nom de plume for you. After all, who would you believe when it came to matters of the heart, Dr. Trulee Lovejoy or Dr. Althea Chandler?”

Thea scowled. “Right now I’d suggest you might have better luck with Lassie.”

Perhaps you’ll give Hooking Mr. Right a try and let me know what you think. You can find it at:
  Want to read more about Emma and her other books? Check out her website at


  1. Scarlet Pumpernickel // July 9, 2012 at 11:16 PM  

    Wow, you never know who you'll encounter at the Pink Fuzzies. Welcome to the fuzzies, we glad you stopped by to visit. Great interview and quite an excerpt! Can't wait to read this one.

  2. Lois Winston // July 10, 2012 at 7:36 AM  

    Thanks for the welcome, Scarlet! I hope you'll enjoy HOOKING MR. RIGHT.

  3. Patrice // July 10, 2012 at 9:24 AM  

    Hello Lois! So good to see you here. I, too, have joined the number of indie publishers, and very happy to do so. Your award winning books sound great, and I'm sure that you will find success on Amazon, etc. I found that Kindle Select, putting a book up for free for a few days, brought in huge sales, so you might want to give that a try. It has certainly be profitable for me, and I'm sure that it will be doubly for you.
    Best of luck!

  4. Lois Winston // July 10, 2012 at 9:49 AM  

    Thanks, Patrice! HOOKING MR. RIGHT is a Kindle Select book. Once I get the next book up, I'll take advantage of the free days.

  5. Judy // July 10, 2012 at 10:08 AM  

    Hi, Lois-Emma! Loved reading the excerpt of your book! It's wonderful! Glad you finally have published it. Good luck with it and the others!

  6. Barbara Monajem // July 10, 2012 at 10:12 AM  

    Hi, Lois! What a great blurb and excerpt -- LOL. And the cover's perfect -- so simple and yet it says a lot. :~))

  7. Autumn Jordon // July 10, 2012 at 10:36 AM  

    Welcome to the PFS, Lois.I remember those days when you called yourself the contest queen (or was it slut LOL WINK) and was awed by your success. Kudos to you for going the indie route. I'm sure many contest judges are shouting, "Finally. I get to read the whole thing." Me included!

  8. Lois Winston // July 10, 2012 at 12:52 PM  

    Thank you, Judy, Barbara, and Autumn! I love the cover, too! My son did the graphics from my concept. I love the way it says so much about the book yet is so simple and really pops.

    Autumn, I wore that Contest Slut title with pride! ;-)
    For years I had contest judges and coordinators asking me if the book had sold yet. For years I had to tell them no. Now I no longer have to.

  9. Beth Trissel // July 10, 2012 at 1:20 PM  

    Hello Lois and welcome to the Fuzzies, all of your selves. What an interesting journey you are having. Most inspiring to read about. I'm wowed!

  10. Mary Marvella // July 10, 2012 at 3:26 PM  

    Good afternoon, Lois. I see my ladies have welcomed you. I knew inviting you to visit was a good idea.

  11. Lois Winston // July 10, 2012 at 3:48 PM  

    Thanks, Beth!

    And thanks for the invite, Mary!

  12. Donnell // July 10, 2012 at 4:11 PM  

    Love this excerpt. I remember it from way back then. Off to buy! Oh, wait... Hello Fuzzy Slippers, hello Lois. If you'll excuse me :))))))

  13. Mary Ricksen // July 10, 2012 at 6:04 PM  

    Welcome Lois! Loved the excerpt and the blurb, they got my interest! Looking forward to a great read! Thanks!

  14. Lois Winston // July 10, 2012 at 7:36 PM  

    Thank you, thank you, Donnell and Mary! Hope you both enjoy the book.

  15. Linsey Lanier // July 10, 2012 at 8:23 PM  

    Hi Lois. I joined the Indie ranks two years ago and I'm loving it. I know you will, too. Your books sound sooo good I know a lot of readers will love them. Can't wait to check them out. :)

  16. Lois Winston // July 10, 2012 at 8:49 PM  

    Thanks so much, Linsey! And thanks for saying such nice things about me on KOD. :-)

  17. Mona Risk // July 12, 2012 at 7:16 PM  

    Hi Lois, welcome to the PFS authors. I too joined the indie ranks ten months ago and now have four ebooks in Kindle KDP select and one to come in August. Good luck. I'm sure you will do great.

  18. Nightingale // July 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM  

    Hello Lois/Emma. Sorry I'm late for the party. Enjoyed your excerpt. Wishing you many sales in your new adventure!

  19. Josie // July 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM  

    Hi Lois,
    I'm late arriving because I've been out of town, but a sincere welcome to the Pink Fuzzies and a thank you to MM for inviting you. Best wishes with HOOKING MR. RIGHT, and thanks for the excerpt.

  20. Lois Winston // July 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM  

    Thank you, Mona, Nightingale, and Josie!

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