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!" -

Friday, April 9, 2010

LEAD PIPE CINCH sneak peek!

Haven't got your copy of LEAD PIPE CINCH yet?  It's out there, and I've been hearing from readers who love it!  But just in case you need some tempting, here's the first chapter of Georgie's latest adventure:

Chapter 1

“Let’s get a move on, Neverall,” Sean Jacobs, the crew foreman, said as he gestured toward the muddy bottom of the trench. “The inspector’s due in an hour.”

Mud sucked at my boots as I slipped down the steep side of the troublesome McComb moat project, a shovel banging clumsily against my leg.

With permit hearings, never-ending inspections, and construction snafus, this job was fast becoming a plumber’s nightmare.

The drainpipe we buried last week had to be uncovered this week. As the apprentice, I got all the bottom-of-the-barrel jobs. Or in this case, bottom of the moat.

We were supposed to be done before the rain started, but this year summer limited itself to a few weeks of clear skies and temperatures in the high nineties. Now it was only October, and the Great North-wet was already living up to its nickname.

I bit back a curse as the mud squished beneath my weathered steel-toed boots. No swearing on the job. It was one of the rules my boss, Barry Hickey, insisted upon. Barry had a lot of rules.

I reached the muck at the bottom of the six-foot-deep trench and checked the marker stakes. Buried beneath fourteen inches of dirt—now mud—was the pipe in question. It had to be uncovered and inspected—again—before the concrete lining could be poured.

This close to the recently erected bridge piers, the power equipment was useless. With the piers in place there was no room for a power shovel to maneuver. All this job required was a strong back and a lot of stubborn.

Sean and I had reached a truce of sorts. Although he still didn’t believe a girl belonged on any kind of construction crew, after working together all summer I felt as though I was slowly earning his respect.

It was a familiar scenario. Several years in the boy’s club of Silicon Valley high tech had taught me how to adapt. When I left behind the Union Square wardrobe and the hundred-hour workweeks, I had come away with some hard-earned lessons.

Not to mention a flattened bank account, a bruised ego, and a broken heart—all courtesy of some of the slimier boys in the club.

By comparison, the thick mud at the bottom of the moat felt clean.

I shifted another shovelful of ooze, depositing it behind me. Water, dark with the rich soil, ran back down into the hole I’d created, obscuring the bottom.

I moved along the width of the moat, carefully uncovering a narrow trench. We would have to pump it dry for the inspector, but at least the rain had stopped. With luck, we could get the approval we needed and re-bury the pipe before the skies opened up again. The concrete, fortunately, would be someone else’s problem.

Building a moat sounds simple. It’s nothing more than a ditch, dug in a circle instead of a straight line. It was the stuff that went inside that circle that was the problem.

Power lines, cables, water lines, drainpipes—all the modern conveniences had to be fed to the McComb’s castle—and had to run under the moat. It was one of the requirements of the permit. A local ordinance said underground utilities. That meant at least a foot of dirt over every pipe and cable, and we were sticking to the letter of the agreement.

It was a complex puzzle, feeding the latest technology to a state-of-the-art castle at the farthest reach of the grid. Three years ago, I would have been on the design team. As owner of Samurai Security, it was precisely the type of challenge I had looked for.

Instead I was up to my ankles in mud, dressed in stained coveralls and work boots. I was shoveling the muck, my hands protected by heavy leather gloves. I wore no jewelry, except a battered plastic wristwatch.

I was happier than I’d been in years.

Above me I heard a vehicle crunch to a stop on the gravel apron next to the bridge supports. I glanced at my watch with a sinking feeling. The inspector was half an hour early, and we were nowhere near ready.

“Hello, Mr. McComb,” I heard Sean say, and I breathed a silent sigh of relief.

Chad McComb, the eccentric millionaire who wanted a castle and was willing to pay for it, was a welcome visitor at the job site. A retired Microsoft engineer who’d been hired so early in Microsoft’s history that his employee number was rumored to be only two digits long, McComb treated the contractors and their crews well.

“Chad please, Sean.” I could hear the smile in McComb’s voice. “How’s the work going?”

Sean sighed. “Another blasted inspection. We’re getting ready to pump out the rainwater. Inspector should be here in a few minutes.”

“Won’t keep you, then. Let me know if you need anything.”

“Thanks, Mr.—Chad. I’ll do that.”

Footsteps rattled the boards over my head as McComb and a second person crossed the temporary bridge to the building site.

“Watch your step there, Blake,” McComb said.

My heart did a little flip at the mention of his name, and I shook my head, disgusted with myself. There must be thousands of Blakes in the world, and Blake Weston was ancient history. So why, after three years, did I still react to the mention of his name? Just because I was thinking of the boy’s club didn’t mean a member of it was going to magically appear, like some evil sorcerer conjured out of my thoughts.

But before I could lift another shovelful of mud, I heard a voice that took my breath away as though I had been punched in the solar plexus.

Blake Weston’s smooth voice, a rich baritone that used to give me goose bumps, answered McComb. “Certainly.”

My veins were suddenly full of ice water. How could I be so sure, with only a single word? Maybe I just thought it sounded like my Blake. It had been three years, after all—just a coincidence.

Blake and McComb were looking at the building site in front of them, not at the muddy moat below, when I stepped away from the supports to look up.

I just had to look.

And I wished I hadn’t.

The profile, the slick dark hair, the confident bearing, were all instantly familiar. It wasn’t the power of suggestion, or a sound-alike, or some evil magic. It was Blake Weston.

I ducked back under the temporary bridge, forcing my attention back to the job at hand. With luck, I could stay in the moat, hidden from sight, until Blake and McComb left.

I strained to listen to their conversation, but they had moved away from the bridge.

“Ready for the pump?” Sean called down.

I froze, waiting for him to call me “Neverall,” and reveal my presence to the last person on earth I wanted to see. But for once he didn’t.

“Yep,” I called back, pitching my voice low, and hoping it wouldn’t carry.

On the other hand, would Blake even recognize my voice? If he didn’t, I wasn’t sure whether I would be relieved or insulted. But the two men gave no indication they had heard our exchange.

A few minutes later, their footsteps muffled by the rhythmic thumping of the pump, Blake and McComb passed back across the temporary bridge and walked through the gravel.

Unable to resist, I clambered a few feet up the side of the moat, peeking over the rim of the trench. I had to confirm what I already knew.

One glance was all it took.

The first thing I saw from that vantage point was a pair of hand-stitched Italian loafers, now speckled with mud from their owner’s trek through the construction site.

How appropriate. Blake Weston would never wear sneakers or work boots, even on a muddy construction site.

I hoped it was the last I would see of those despised loafers.

No such luck.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Local Love for SINK TRAP!

This week I had my first experience with a book club. I've never belonged to a book club, never attended a meeting. To tell the truth, I was a little intimidated by the whole idea of a book club - especially one that had read my book!

Let me give you a little background: I got a call a few months back from a local lady named Marcy Taylor. Marcy, I have found, is a huge fan of books and writers, and something of a force of nautre. She told me she likes to support local writers, and buys books by every local writer, even if it isn't something she will read.

Marcy has a system for what she reads. "If you're under 50," she explained, "you have to give a book 50 pages. Over 50, you subtract your age from 100, and that's how many pages you have to give it. I'm 85," she said with a little chuckle, "so I only have to give a book 15 pages."

Apparently, she gave SINK TRAP 15 pages and then more, until she had finished the book. She liked it well enough to give several copies as gifts, and to suggest it to her book club as a monthly pick.

Then she invited me to join them for their monthly meeting.

I have to tell you, it was a strange feeling to walk into a group of strangers, and have every one of them carrying a copy of my book!

Some of the women I recognized. After all, in a town of 7,000 you see everybody at the grocery store or the coffee shop, or somewhere. But none of them were people I would say I knew, yet they all knew me, through my words and my characters and my stories.

Colleen, the esteemed first reader, went long as wingwoman (hey, if a guy has a wingman, can't a gal have a wingwoman?) and support system - for which I will be eternally grateful. (I really own you lunch for this one, C!) It made facing that room of strangers easier with a friend there to help me out.

Not that they weren't friendly. They were. They came armed with questions about how the books got written, how they got sold, why did I write mystery, what was my writing schedule like -- and they listened to the answers, laughed at my lame jokes, and generally made me feel like a real celebrity.

But that wasn't all. There was a SINK TRAP theme for the entire event, and our hostesses - Marcy, Pattee and Patty (I think, there were a lot of new people to sort out) - went above and beyond in the creative department. Everything, including our lunch, was an inside joke for fans of Georgie and her friends.

The morning started with cookies and coffee, but not just cookies - broach cookies! Cut in fanciful shapes, some with "windows" of melted hard candy, the cookies were decorated wtih miniature jelly beans to resemble tiny jewels. There were name tags, carefully printed with a little piece of art from the book cover (mine had the picture of Buddha - has to Buddha, Daisy wouldn't sit still long enough for a picture), and a font made up of pieces of pipe.

We settled down a bit after ten, and the morning flew by as a lively discussion ranged over many topics, mostly related to books and reading and writing. Then lunch arrived, in the form of the "unpaid help."

The "unpaid help" is actually Patty T., Marcy's daughter-in-law, and a very creative hostess! She showed up in a flannel shirt and overalls, wearing a tool belt and hard hat - perfect for a lady plumber!

But that wasn't all. Lunch came in tidy Tupperware-like boxes, which had been neatly stacked in the refrigerator, though they swear Sandra hadn't been anywhere near the kitchen. Inside each box was a lovely combination of chips, fruit, vegetables, sandwiches - including egg salad! - and cookies. The napkin had been carefully rolled and slipped inside a napkin ring made of a short piece of PVC pipe.

The best part, though, was the toolbox.

Patty, hostess extrodinaire, had cast chocolate toolboxes for each of us, and filled them with tiny chocolate tools. I cannot begin to tell you how touched I was by the thought and effort that went into that toolbox. It was just incredible!

We talked through lunch, and an hour past the normal end of the meeting - and I think some of us could have gone on all day. Eventually, though, I did have to leave. My boss had generously allowed me to take a half-day off on a Monday morning (very generously), and I had to leave the glamour and accolades of my fans and head back to the office.

I left with a bag of lovely gifts, courtesy of the delightful hostesses. When I got home I discovered a small package in the bottom of the bag. Someone (I suspect Patty T.) had made wrapping paper by creating a photocopy collage of the SINK TRAP cover. Inside was a group of blank notecards - perfect for thank-you notes. The front of the cards had been carefully printed with a reproduction of the SINK TRAP cover, in full color. And if you look very carefully, that pencil is imprinted "SINK TRAP BY CHRISTY EVANS."  I'm telling you, these women were amazing!

I have no idea if this is what a book club gathering is like for other writers, but for me this was an entirely postive, incredibly enjoyable day. My hostesses and all the members of the group were delightful, charming and oh, so warm and welcoming. I really didn't feel like a stranger for long.

And, bless their hearts, they all said they would read the next book.

A writer can't ask for better than that!!