Anastasia Gets Swatted by Lois Winston

Anastasia Gets Swatted

When you live in New Jersey, you’re never at a loss for plot ideas. We’re a tiny state, but we’re also the most densely populated state in the nation, and many of our residents are up to no good. In A Stitch to Die For, the fifth book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, I incorporated several recent news stories into the plot. One of them is the rash of swatting incidents that have taken place throughout the state over the past few months.

If you’re not familiar with swatting, it’s when someone phones in an anonymous tip to the police that a hostage situation or some other violent crime is in progress at a certain address. The caller identifies himself as either someone hiding in the house or a concerned neighbor who witnessed the break-in.

Swatting began with online gamers who would swat other gamers who were beating them. Search “swatting” on Youtube and you’ll find 34,000 videos. Often the victim of a swatting is online at the time. When the SWAT team burst in with guns drawn, the incident is captured on the victim’s computer camera.

Swatting soon spread to celebrity homes in California. More recently, the perpetrators have targeted schools and the homes of ordinary citizens. Here in New Jersey after a state assemblyman introduced legislation to toughen penalties for swatting, he became the victim of a swatting.

Because the police have no way of knowing if the calls they receive are hoaxes are real situations, they have to take each call seriously. Not only is that a drain on municipality budgets, it’s dangerous. It’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or even killed.

Unfortunately, most culprits are never caught because they use computers to hack into phone lines. The police can’t trace the calls. The perpetrator could be the teenager next door but just as easily be someone hundreds or thousands of miles away. And it doesn’t take a computer genius to learn how to do it. Directions are only a click away on the Internet.

As awful as these incidents are, I knew I just had to have Anastasia and her family fall victim to a swatting.

A Stitch to Die For
Ever since her husband died and left her in debt equal to the gross national product of Uzbekistan, magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack has stumbled across one dead body after another—but always in work-related settings. 

When a killer targets the elderly nasty neighbor who lives across the street from her, murder strikes too close to home. 

Couple that with a series of unsettling events days before Halloween, and Anastasia begins to wonder if someone is sending her a deadly message.

Lois Winston's Bio:

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

Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.”

In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Visit Lois/Emma at and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog,

Follow everyone on Tsu at, on Pinterest at, and onTwitter @anasleuth. 

( I absolutely love this great cover--and take my word for it, these books are terrific.


Marian Allen said…
Another super post, super cover, and super book! Love your characters! I learned something new today -- I had never heard of swatting. What a rotten thing to do, not just to the people targeted, but to the taxpayers and to the first responders.

Marilyn, thanks for hosting Lois!

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes
Rose Anderson said…
That's fascinating. I've never heard of swatting before. Best wishes for your newest, Lois. Happy release day.
Lois Winston said…
Marian, thanks for your lovely words about my books! And Rose, thanks for your best wishes! Swatting has been around for a few years but lately it's growing into a dangerous epidemic. This past spring several schools in NJ were swatted. It reminds me of the bomb threats that used to be phoned into schools back when I was a student. However, swatting could have far deadlier consequences. We never had police with semi-automatic weapons storming the building during those bomb threats.
Judy Alter said…
I never heard of swatting. Now I must read about Anastasia's latest adventure. Thanks for the education.
Lois Winston said…
Thanks for stopping by, Judy. I hope you enjoy the new addition to my series.
Judy Baker said…
First I've ever heard of swatting, thanks for the info, Lois. Best of luck on your new release, sounds great.
Lesley Diehl said…
A clever combination of fiction and real life issues. I never heard of swatting either, so I was interested to read about it.
Marja said…
As others have commented, I've never heard of swatting. What a terrible thing to do! However, you did promote interest on my part in your books. Going on my TBR list. Thank you!
Marja McGraw
This is a great story idea, Lois. I'd never heard of "swatting" in this context. Very interesting.
Lois Winston said…
Thanks so much, Marja! I hope you enjoy Anastasia.

Patricia, I'm kind of shocked that so many people have said they've never heard of swatting. It's been all over the news here for months, but maybe if you don't live in a part of the country where it's happening, it's not deemed newsworthy.
Red L. Jameson said…
I'd heard of swatting before. And I'm fascinated that you would use it! Ha! Can't wait to read about it!
Lois Winston said…
Hi Red! So glad someone has heard of swatting. I was beginning to wonder...
Hope you like the new book.

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