Clark Hays grew up in Montana in the shadow of the Tobacco Root Mountains, moving to cowboy country from Scotland. In addition to his fiction work, he is an ex-cowboy, a published poet and occasional food critic. Recently, he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for short fiction and not so recently for a Rhysling award for poetry. Clark brings a deep knowledge about the modern west, weaponry, country music and existentialism to his writing.
Kathleen McFall grew up in the heart of Washington, D.C. She worked as a petroleum geologist and, later, as a journalist, and has published hundreds of articles about scientific research, energy and natural resources. An interest in the overlap of science and mysticism are an essential aspect of her fiction writing. She received an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship for fiction writing.
Welcome to LonePine, Wyoming, population 438
It’s like any other small, slowly dying town in the modern American west, only with vampires.
Cut off from the rest of the world by miles of open range and rugged snow-capped mountains, LonePine is the quintessential American western town: the county fair and rodeo is still the biggest social event of the year, crusty old ranchers drive to town at sun-up for breakfast — waving at every pickup truck they pass because there are no strangers — and it’s not unusual to see a horse or two tethered outside the Watering Hole, the town’s favorite saloon. Not much has changed there in a hundred years … until then the undead ride into town.
The first vampire to visit LonePine is Lizzie Vaughn, a beautiful, ambitious reporter from New York who falls hard for Tucker, a down-on-his-luck cowboy born and raised in LonePine. From opposite worlds to begin with, their relationship takes a turn for the paranormal when they learn Lizzie is a latent vampire. Worse, a special power courses through her veins and the entire undead world wants to either control it, or eliminate her entirely. The ensuing clash of urban and rural cultures — between star-crossed lovers and between good and evil forces — is at the heart of The Cowboy and Vampire Thriller Series.
Fittingly, we came up with the concept for The Cowboy and the Vampire, the first book in the series, in 1999 at a rural western truckstop in the high desert town of Madras, Oregon. We were trying to rekindle our own relationship and the worlds-collide storyline (Kathleen is from Washington, D.C., and Clark was raised in Montana), along with the macabre and gothic elements, fit the moment and our personalities. And the decision to anchor the series in the modern American west tapped into our shared love of the region and the myths that sustain it.
People are fundamentally shaped by their environment, and that is especially evident for those hailing from the western U.S. Cowboy country covers thousands of square miles, from northern Montana down through southern Arizona, from eastern Oregon to western Nebraska, and everything in between. People who live in the west tend to value silence and space because their nearest neighbor may be ten miles away, their daytime view is uninterrupted by buildings all the way out to the craggy mountain peaks along the horizon and at night, most westerners can hear coyotes or wolves (if they are lucky) beneath clear, starry skies.
The west we love is a place where people can be alone with nature and their thoughts, which is why our books feature a distinctive element — a wide open spirituality that’s as big as the west and linked to vampires: the Meta. Along with the expected characteristics of the undead — insatiable blood lust, solar mortality — our vampires die every dawn, completely. That means they have a never-ending series of near death experiences as their souls, their consciousnesses, go racing of into the Meta. The Meta is an external shared consciousness, like a giant energy field, where humans and vampires alike exist before and after death. Experiencing the Meta, just like humans who “come back” after death, gives one a profound sense of calmness, certainty and belonging.
That uncluttered confidence is common in the west, which gets to the heart of the region as an ideal, tangling up history with the golden myths of movie screen cowboys and pulp fiction heroes. Those who settled the frontier were tough, resilient and independent, characteristics which earned them a permanent place in the national, and even international, psyche. Hollywood added a sheen that mostly canceled out any of the negatives associated with life in a hard time — the brutality and cruelty and greed; they were human, after all — until the historic cowboy became an icon and a symbol of all that’s good and right in the world. And the perfect foil for the time-tested symbols of evil, corruption and decadence — vampires.
Of course, nothing is ever exactly what it seems in LonePine — cowboys are not always heroes and vampires are not always villains. The only thing that’s certain is that romance is always hard. We hope you’ll take the time to visit LonePine and meet some of the cowboys, cowgirls, survivalists, ranchers, barmaids, vampires and overly sensitive cowdogs that make it a funny, sexy and scary destination.
Wanted: Lizzie Vaughan, Dead or Alive. Relationships are always hard, but for a broke cowboy and a newly turned Vampire, true love may be lethal. After barely surviving an undead apocalypse in The Cowboy and the Vampire, Tucker and Lizzie hightail it back to quirky LonePine, Wyoming (population 438), to start a family. But she’s got a growing thirst for blood and he’s realizing that mortality ain’t all it’s cracked up to be when your girlfriend may live forever. With a scheming Vampire nation hot on their boot heels and a price on her head, how far will Lizzie and Tucker go to protect their unlikely love? Blending evolution, religion and an overly sensitive cow dog named Rex, Blood and Whiskey drags the Vampire myth into the modern west, delivering double-barreled action, heart-pounding passion and wicked humor. (Goodreads)
Clark and Kathleen are kindly giving away TWO (2) copies of BLOOD & WHISKEY. For entry into the giveaway please answer the following question then fill out the form below: What’s your favorite western or vampire movie?
This giveaway is open to all and ends 26th December 2012
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