Critical praise for Christy!

For "Murder Hooks a Mermaid:"
"Author Christy Fifield creates the kind of characters that stay with you for a long time. Fifield’s new Haunted Souvenir Shop mystery, Murder Hooks a Mermaid has it all: a sunny, relaxed setting, captivating locals, delicious food, and—of course—murder! Delightful amateur sleuth Glory Martine is back with her wisecracking parrot and charming group of friends in this thoroughly entertaining adventure. Don’t miss it."—Julie Hyzy, National Bestselling author of the Manor House Mysteries and the White House Chef Mystery series
"A whodunit with a dose of the supernatural, "Murder Hooks a Mermaid" is a worthy successor to the series opener and showcases Fifield's talents for plotting, characterization and humor." - Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Quirky and unique, a heroine for whom you can't help but root. The story sucks you in." - The Maine Suspect
"With a lovable cast of characters, good conversations and a great setting, this well-written book is a terrific read." -- Dru's Book Musings

For "Murder Buys a T-Shirt:"
A refreshing new sleuth! - Lynne Maxwell, Mystery Scene Magazine
"A fun book that will make the dreariest of days a little brighter! Socrates' great Book Alert" - Socrates' Cozy Cafe
"An entertaining and clever Florida whodunit" - Harriet Klausner
"Hilarious! A great murder mystery with well-written characters" - Paranormal & Romantic Suspense Reviews
For the Georgiana Neverall Series:
"Christy Evans will find legions of fans with this new series" - Sheldon McArthur, Lincoln City News Guard
"Funny and entertaining -- a solid mystery filled with likable characters." - RT Book Reviews"
Cute cozy mystery debute -- wry humor -- adorable dogs" -Publisher's Weekly
"Will have you giggling out loud! Four Stars." - Kathy Fisher, The Romance Readers Connection"The Book is good! Keep them coming, Ms. Evans!" - Mystery Scene
"Evans delivers a fast-paced mystery with admirable finesse!" - Sharon Galligar Chance,
"Christy Evans has a hit on her hands" - Harriet Klausner,
"Christy Evans is aces. I'll be very suprised if Sink Trap isn't an instant hit with cozy readers!" -

Monday, January 4, 2010

Which genre are you?

Last year at this time, Steve and I were preparing to attend the Space Coast Writers Conference. Besides the fact it was in Cocoa Beach, Florida – which meant a short drive to Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral – it was a great conference, and I’d highly recommend it.

We did two presentations while we were there. One was our “Sketch a Novel In An Hour” workshop (available at, and the other was an overview of genres.

What do I mean by “genre”? A genre is not what you write, it is what you sell. A genre is just the marketing category that tells the bookstore where to shelve the book, and the reader where to look for a book that will meet their expectations. That’s really what it’s all about: reader expectations. What do you, as a reader, want? How can you find it? Who can you trust to meet your expectations?

Of course not all books fit neatly into categories, and my friend Phyllis Irene Radford will be guest blogging on Thursday to talk about crossing the lines between genres. But before we start mixing and matching willy-nilly, let me try to condense that hour-long talk into a few paragraphs. It can’t be done, of course, but that won’t stop me from trying. I hope it will at least give some background for her Thursday post. Oh , and after Phyl’s visit on Thursday keep checking back – I have some great guests lined up over the next three months, one every Thursday, with a Monday post to set up each guest.

Now, on to a whirlwind tour of the genres!

For our presentation, we focused on the primary commercial genres: science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, women’s fiction, literary, young adult/juvenile/children’s, western, thriller, and horror. We didn’t have time for in-depth examinations, this is just an introduction. Each genre has some specific characteristics, and each one has certain reader expectations, and we tried to touch on both.

Science Fiction – Some extraordinary subject (time travel, sentient computers, faster-than-light drives) is treated as scientifically plausible. Alternate history is also considered science fiction. There is no “set” ending in a science fiction story.

Fantasy – Some form of magic is present. The resolution is positive; fantasy readers expect some kind of positive ending.

Mystery – There is a crime, the story focuses on the crime, and the crime is resolved. The story always addresses issues of right and wrong. There’s a wide range of mystery sub-genres, but in all of them the reader expects the crime to be resolved.

Romance – The story focuses of the relationship between two characters, and the hero and heroine live happily ever after. There are a lot of sub-genres of romance as well, but the defining element is “Happily ever after.”

Women’s Fiction – Female protagonists, in stories that address the issues in women’s lives. Women’s fiction may have romance stories, but the reader does not automatically expect “Happily ever after.” In women’s fiction, “Happily until next Saturday” is an acceptable substitute.

Literary – Defined by style and voice. Beautifully written. There are no other absolutes – literary fiction is primarily about the writing.

Young Adult/Juvenile/Children’s – An umbrella genre that contains all others. The protagonist is young – only a few years older than the target audience – and the audience looks for character and voice. The actual level is determined by the age of the reader, but kids read all up and down the spectrum once they get started.

Western – Defined by the setting in time and place: the American West prior to about 1900. The western reader expects a positive resolution. After all, Marshall Dillon always got his man, didn’t he?

Thriller – Big in scope, with multiple viewpoints and high stakes. Thriller readers expect action and suspense ratcheting up with every chapter.

Horror – Is horrific. Like pornography, you’ll know it when you see it.

Okay, a one-hour talk based on years of reading and writing, condensed into a few hundred words. It doesn’t begin to cover the subject, but at least it’s a place to start.

But don’t try to write a genre. Write the book you want to write, then find a genre in which to market it. Don’t try to follow a trend. As someone said recently “By the time you can see the bandwagon, it’s too late to get on.” And look outside your comfort zone, keeping an open mind. Maybe that book you thought was a romance is really women’s fiction, or mystery, or maybe even fantasy.

Or maybe, like Phyl, you’re crossing genres. Stick around, she’ll be here Thursday to offer some advice to those of us who can’t seem to color within the lines.

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