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!" -

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Witches and Murder and Ghosts, Oh My! (A book review, and a giveaway)

Putting on the Witch, the latest entry from the writing team of Jim and Joyce Lavene, is a potent potion of witchcraft and mystery, seasoned with secrets and murder, and topped with a dollop of romance.
Like all the best stories, this is at heart a story of family.  The family we are born into and the family we create through the simple act of loving another human - or inhuman - being.
With a cast of engaging characters, an intriguing world, and complications galore, the Lavenes have put a unique twist on the locked room mystery- or, in this case, a locked castle mystery. 
Retired witches Molly and Elsie are back, along with Dorothy and Brian from earlier volumes in the series (Spell Booked, and Looking for Mister Good Witch) and the ghost of Dorothy's mother, Olivia.  New additions include Dorothy's father, the renegade Draco, all the members of the Grand Council of Witches, and a centuries-old Inquisitor, direct from the Spanish Inquisition.
Putting on the Witch is a worthy addition to the rich trove of mystery goodness the Lavenes have provided us.

Unfortunately this is the last book from this talented couple.  Their passing has left a huge hole in the cozy mystery community, and saddened those of us who counted ourselves among their friends and fans.  I felt very lucky to have known them, and am grateful for the opportunity to share in one last tribute to them for all they contributions to the cozy world.
They will be missed.

If you'd like to win a copy of this book, here's a link to a giveaway.  Good luck!!

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Lesson From Sports (No, Really!)

Image result for This American LifeI confess, I'm no longer much of a sports person.  I was a big football fan in high school and college, and I loved baseball as a young adult.  But those were a lifetime ago, and I never really got into basketball (except for the John Wooden years at UCLA).
So imagine my surprise when a few days ago I was listening to This American Life on Pandora, and found myself listening intently to a segment on basketball.  (Dangerous discovery, you can stream complete episodes.)  The overall topic was about making bad choices, and several of the segments were fascinating, and held lessons that could be applied to writing, and to life.  I highly recommend the entire episode,  "Choosing Wrong.", but there was one segment that had me running over to stop and start over so I could make notes ("Swish Miss."  featuring Malcolm Gladwell.  It's only 28 minutes, if you don't have time to listen to the entire episode).

The segment was about (in part) crowd behavior and a theory Gladwell references called the "threshold model of collective behavior."  The basic premise is that there is a threshold - different for each person - of the number of people who have to participate in a given behavior before an individual will join in.  Early adapters obviously have a very low threshold.  Same for individuals with a high anger level when the behavior is destructive.

Image result for basketball free throwGladwell went on to talk about basketball, and free throw style.  And this was where my writer brain tuned in.  The subject was Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry.  Chamberlain wasn't great at free throws (he was great at everything else, just not free throws).  Barry had an excellent record.  He set several NBA records, and retired with a 90% free throw average.  (For comparison, a quick search shows Chamberlain's percentage hovering around the 50% mark every year, and current superstar LeBron James hits in the 70% range.) 

But Barry threw underhand; he looked like "a granny."  There's a You Tube video of Barry demonstrating his shot here. Chamberlain took Barry's advice and tried underhand throws. His scores improved.  A lot.  And then he went back to overhand throws and missing.  A lot.  In his autobiography Chamberlain admits point-blank, "I know I was wrong."  But he couldn't bring himself to continue using the underhand shot because it made him feel like "a sissy."

That was the underlying message.  Gladwell describes Rick Barry this way:  "His drive to be a better shooter is stronger than his worry about what others think of him," and draws these two conclusions: 

1.  He put mastery and perfection ahead of ALL social considerations.

2.  It takes courage to be good.  Social courage.

This is really just another way of saying what my writing mentors (Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch) say about not letting other people in your writing office.  As soon as you start to worry about what someone else will think or say about what you are doing, you risk putting social considerations ahead of your drive to be your best; you give up that successful underhand free throw for a more socially-acceptable form, EVEN IF IT MEANS BEING LESS SUCCESSFUL. 
Image result for Courage 
And, man, is that a lesson I have to keep re-learning.

It doesn't just apply to writing, of course.  In all aspects of our lives we need to remember to be socially courageous.  Speak up for what you believe in.  Dare to write, or paint, or sing, or dance, or dress, or live, in a way that makes you successful - by whatever definition of success matters to you. 

Courage.  I wish courage for all of you, my friends.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The More Things Change

I have been missing in action from this blog (and most everything else) for several months, though not exactly by choice.

Image result for ambulanceA few days after my last post I got shoved into an ambulance—again!—and taken back to Oregon Health & Science University.  Again.  All the way there I kept telling myself this was just a research trip, a way to write more knowledgeably about ambulances.  It didn't change the fact that I was admitted to the hospital and stayed for another surgery.

 I didn't stay as long this time, and my recovery was textbook-perfect, but I have been focusing on my own health and well-being since.  I found the walking and yoga I'd been doing made a tremendous difference in how quickly and thoroughly I bounced back, physical therapy can do amazing things, and attitude is everything.  I may not be 25 any more, but I definitely feel better than I have in a long time.

There were other changes, too.  The one most significant for the readers of this blog is the future of the Christy Fifield books.  Unfortunately, Berkley Prime Crime has decided (after many months of wavering) that they will not publish another book in the Haunted Gift Shop series.  I am disappointed, but it appears that many series are ending as Penguin/Berkley adjusts to the merger with Random House.  Fortunately, in the modern publishing world it doesn't mean the series has to end, as writers can move to indie publishing and readers can follow them.  Now that I have an answer from Berkley, and am back on my feet, I am working on book #5.  The adventures of Glory, Karen, Jake, Riley, Felipe, Ernie, Sly, Bluebeard, and all the rest will continue!

In addition to the Haunted Gift Shop, I hope to launch a new series, The Spy Girls.  I have always been fascinated by the women of the Second World War.  They were the first generation to move into the workforce—in what were then non-traditional jobs—in large numbers, and they showed following generations that women didn't have to be relegated to "nurturing" roles (mothers, teachers, nurses).  They were, in my mind, the proto-feminists that laid the groundwork for all women to come.  I already have five short stories about my fictional spy girls, and they will be coming out over the next few weeks, and I plan to follow the release of the stories—singly and as a collection of all five with the possible addition of bonus material—with the first novel in what I hope will be a series.

The short stories explore the backstories of the two main characters, culminating with their meeting in the final short story, "Swamp of the Prehistoric Clan."  This story originally appeared in the anthology Fiction River:Recycled Pulp from WMG Publishing last September. Being me, I wrote a cozy mystery about two women who meet in a retirement community in the 1970s.  They both have their secrets, but eventually they will discover they have one in common: they both served in clandestine services during World War II.  Imagine Peggy Carter in retirement, trying to content herself with bridge tournaments and Tupperware™ parties.  Yeah, like that's gonna work!

There are more changes to come over the next few months, and I'll be talking about them here as time goes on.  Until then, thanks for your patience while I recovered!