Pumpjack Press presents
Rough Trails and Shallow Graves
The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection (Book Three)
Publication details for Book 3
Contact: email@example.com (503) 740-8531 May 5, 2014
Rough Trails and Shallow Graves Stakes Out New Western Gothic Territory on the Oregon Coast
"Stick two creative, opinionated and chronically insecure writers on the same project for an extended period, and there’s bound to be fireworks," said McFall. "Add a romantic relationship to the mix and sometimes it borders on the thermonuclear. But all of that angst and passion is channeled right into our books, and adds depth and grit to the challenges our two lovers — Tucker and Lizzie — face."
"Writing together is ridiculous and insane, and we wouldn’t have it any other way," Hays said. "But we really pushed the boundaries of common sense this time. Writing the third book just wasn’t enough for us, so we decided to re-release both book one — after a significant edit to trim it down to the author’s cut — and book two with new covers designed by an Oregon artist. It made for some long days, and longer nights … and not in the good way."
On at least some of those nights, the pillow talk involved not only the plot twists of cowboys and vampires, but also astral projection and near death experiences. In Rough Trails and Shallow Graves, the authors doubled down on the metaphysical elements called out by national reviewers as a unique aspect of their genre fiction.
"In a way, it’s a shame more time isn’t spent exploring the existence of this meta world where consciousnesses wait out the daylight hours and immortality has all sorts of ramifications for human spirituality," noted Kirkus Reviews about book two of the series.
"The third book contains a quest to the Meta as a subplot," said Hays. The literary creation of the Meta is a culminating aspect of the seamless interplay of religion, mythology and science – along with action and humor – that anchor all the books. "The Meta explains how their vampires maintain personal identities after their daily resurrection from death."
"Vampires are like tofu," said McFall. "They soak up the flavors of whatever you are thinking about when you write. We use vampires to explore new theories about consciousness and near death experiences, wondering how a person could exist outside of their own physical body. It’s our way of pushing at the current scientific boundaries about what it means to be self-aware." Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (503) 740-8531 May 5, 2014
Along with the undead afterlife, they also moved part of the action from the heart of cowboy country to one of their favorite towns on the Oregon coast — Astoria.
"Astoria has so much history and natural beauty, not to mention giant supertankers gliding by, sea lions barking on the docks and the Columbia River pouring out into the Pacific Ocean. With that peaceful exterior, it was the perfect setting for the horrible, terrible things being done in the name of science, and greed, in an abandoned seafood cannery," said Hays.
But die-hard western fans don’t have to worry; much of the book takes place in now-familiar, quirky LonePine, Wyoming, including a truckstop wedding, a shoot out in a grain silo, an ad hoc rodeo and plenty of drinking at the local saloon — all with sexy vampires skulking about.
"By book three, we’ve lived in LonePine long enough to serve as tour guides," said Hays. "We know the best places to drink, like the Watering Hole, and what to avoid, like the Pioneer Cemetery and the old granary. LonePine is not the kind of town where anyone would want to retire."
Though it doesn’t sound like retirement will happen anytime soon for Hays and McFall.
"We’ve already started the creative process for book four," said McFall. "Right now, that mostly involves heated discussions on long walks in Portland’s Forest Park. The other hikers must hate to see us coming."
Breaking: Early praise for the newest book is starting to roll in. "With pulse-pounding action, ongoing intrigue over the fate of vampire-kind, and the tumultuous struggles of Tucker and Lizzie’s love story, Hays and McFall once again deliver a thoroughly entertaining novel for readers to sink their teeth into. Another worthy entry in this love-and-fangs series," wrote Kirkus Reviews about the newest book.
About the books
The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection follows the exploits of Tucker, a perpetually broke cowboy in the modern west, and Lizzie, his undead lover who is coming to terms with her ancient legacy. The books feature a cast of quirky characters including long-suffering Rex, Tucker’s overly sensitive cow dog. Reviewers and readers have called the books everything from riveting to hilarious to a love story for the ages, and have noted their sly mix of genre entertainment with serious topics, like the tragedy of mismatched love, the slow decline of the American west and the nature of good and evil.
www.cowboyandvampire.com l www.facebook.com/cowboyandvampire l Twitter @cowboyvamp I Instagram @cowboyvampire
The Cowboy and the Vampire: Rough Trails and Shallow Graves by Clark Hays
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Cowboy and the Vampire: Rough Trails and Shallow Graves by Hays & McFall is a 2014 Pumpjack publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
So, this is the latest installment in the series and although it leaves us on a bit of down note it is maybe the strongest one so far.
It looks like Lizzie and Tucker just might catch a break. So, they take the opportunity to make the relationship legal by getting married. But, before the I do's can be said, Lizzie is kidnapped. Tucker thinks she is dead but he is assured that she is still alive and so he heads out with the most unlikely of allies- “The Russian”, to find Lizzie.
The one thing, at least for me, that would make being a vampire appealing is the obvious gift of immortality. When word gets to the wrong people that vampires are real, the plot evolves into a scientific experiment to stop human aging and Lizzie is the guinea pig.
Once more Elita kind of steals the show with her dead pan comments that will have you laughing out loud. In this case, you will need the comic relief. There are some pretty heavy things to deal with here and I was really upset by some the occurrences. While still maintaining the now trademark “camp” the series is known for, this maybe the darkest of the three books. Most likely it feels that way because if you have read the first two books you will by now have established your “book relationship” with these characters and having them live through harrowing situations for the sake of greed is painful. Also, there are some really huge emotional wallops to contend with.
I didn't think I would say this after I finished the first book in the series and found myself wondering if this was really something I wanted to invest my time in, but I need Hay and McFall to get to work and publish the next book... like yesterday!!
It's rare that I have this type of experience with a series. Usually, for me it's the other way around. A series will start off strong and I will be really stoked about it and then it just fizzles out. In this case I gave the second book a try even though I was skeptical and I am so glad I didn't throw in the towel. I promise you there are no vampire novels on the market today that this book comes close to resembling. In fact, reading the blurb the book is placed in the new category of Western Gothic, apparently named for this series and it is a fitting label. So, if you think you've read all the vampire tropes, think again. This one breaks the mold and so far, each book as been better than the last. 4.5 stars rounded to 5.
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