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A Very Unusual Romance (The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection Book 1) by [Clark Hays, Kathleen McFall]

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A Very Unusual Romance (The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 63 ratings
Book 1 of 4: The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection

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Length: 424 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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  • Book 1 of 4 in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection
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Editorial Reviews


A sizzling dark tale, and surprisingly funny ... an enigmatic journey from Wyoming to New York to New Mexico where vampires snap at your heels and what stands between you and your enemy is your cowboy and his sheer will to survive. Oh, and his cow dog too. -- For the Love of Reading Book Blog

Hays and McFall have taken a grave situation and made it more than the standard vampire-worship tale. There is grief, loss, and pain on a human and inhuman scale, but there is so much more. The humor ... is far from the slapstick of previous creations; the wit, sly and adult. And, perhaps best of all, the characters are complex and unpredictable. -- SF Site Featured Review, Lisa DuMond

I enjoyed The Cowboy and the Vampire; the quirky characters, the new mythology of vampires, and the focus upon the uncertainty between evil and good. Especially appealing to me were the personalities brought out through behavior of Tucker's dog, Rex, and horse, Snort. No wonder Tucker's dad turned to the vet for help. With family support like that, how can a Cowboy in love go wrong? -- Luxury Reading

Tucker is my kind of hero. Despite his no-nonsense approach to life, he takes each new shocking revelation in stride, never wavering in his devotion to Lizzie. The contrast between the garish world of the Undead and the simple life of the cowboy is mined for every bit of irony and sly humor. The Cowboy and the Vampire never takes itself too seriously, but it still manages to be extremely romantic and sweet, despite several graphically violent scenes. -- The Romance Reader, Susan Scribner

This deliciously dark, witty novel will be a hit with fans of Anne Rice and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. -- Booklist

Rawhide romance with bloody fangs. While mashing up all the stereotypical plot elements of Paranormal Vampire and Contemporary Western Romance, The Cowboy and the Vampire delivers unremitting fun, and a damn good read. --

The authors mix humor, the Wild West, vampires, metaphysics, religion, and geology into a story that will keep the most finicky vampire fan wanting more. --

A different read with a bite. An enthralling plot that captured me from the start and left me disappointed when it finally ended. Tucker, an old school cowboy falls in love with big city gal, reporter Lizzie Vaughan. The thing is...Lizzie turns out to be the Queen of the Vampires. This take on this rather cliched sub-genre manages to be different even when adhering to some of the classic vampire standbys. A lot of it is very funny. Some of it ticked me off. Parts of the plot put lives in danger that I felt had no business being threatened. But I darn near laughed my pants off and even managed to be both horrified and disgusted. If you are a vamp fiction fan, then you have to read this one. -- Midwest Book Review

From the Author

An interview with authors Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall (excerpted from multiple articles/blog posts)

1. You write in a relatively unknown genre you call Western Gothic. What is it?
Western Gothic is a style of fiction that transplants the moody, death-obsessed themes of classic gothic fiction (think Castle of Otranto or, of course, Dracula) to the wide open, inspiring vistas of the modern west (Riders of the Purple Sage or All the Pretty Horses).

Western Gothic exists in the negative space between dark and light. Gothic fiction uses the darkness--the creepy atmosphere, curious, obsessive behavior and morbid thoughts--to focus on the light, providing the perfect backdrop to illuminate the best in people: the desire to overcome death, to hope and to love. Westerns, ironically, use the light to set off the dark, weaving stories of good men pushed to the limits by the cruelty and avarice of others (usually tyrannical land owners) or the blind apathy of nature. Western Gothic lives in the borderlands between the two worlds, a forever twilight of gray nights and last sunsets. To put it in contemporary terms, it's Longmire meets Preacher.

We suspect we may have unintentionally invented the genre with The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection, a series of four books set in the modern rural west and featuring sexy, brooding vampires bent on world domination. Since the first book's publication in 1999, we're happy to see a few others trying out the genre.

2. Why did you choose Western Gothic and when did you first start writing in the genre?
We love writing in the Western Gothic genre because we get to explore huge, archetypal themes about human consciousness, love and death, AND we get to move our characters across stunning natural landscapes with deconstructed shootouts and heart-pounding action. Add in the quirky humor natural to small towns and a long-suffering cowdog with the soul of a poet--and some pretty steamy undead erotica--and we hope it makes for an unforgettable reading experience.

We wrote the first book--A Very Unusual Romance--in 1999. Our fourth and final book in the series, The Last Sunset, hit the shelves on June 9, 2016. (Yes, we know, we are slow writers.) All the books in this series explore the tension and connection between opposites: life and death; mortality and immortality; love and lust; urban and rural; thought and action; strength and decay; good and evil; and country music and whiskey.

3. How is this genre different from "Weird West?"
Weird Westerns transplant occult elements to the Old West--the genre has existed for decades, and is most often associated with the golden age of pulp paperbacks. Weird Westerns reached their apogee (in our opinion) with the cool and spooky Jonah Hex comics of the 70s. Western Steampunk is a more recent energetic offspring and heir to the crown.

4. Why specifically did you choose to write about cowboys and vampires?
The draw for us, as writers, was the many angles offered in these two archetypes, allowing us to dig down into the bedrock of an "opposites attract" romantic storyline. Tucker is a hard-luck cowboy from tiny LonePine, Wyoming, just trying to scrape together enough cash to keep himself in whiskey and keep his overly sensitive dog Rex in kibble. Lizzie is a reporter from New York with a short fuse, a growing reputation as a rising star in the world of feature journalism and a shocking and ancient undead secret in her blood. The series follows their relationship as they try to navigate an unlikely romance while fending off threats--both physical and existential--from the vampire and human world. At heart, the series excavates the question: How much is too much to sacrifice for love?

Of course, that sounds like the set up, maybe with different clothes, for any "cultures clash" romance, but we super-charged it with paranormal and occult elements that claw past the expected to an even deeper level: the unconscious. By crashing together two tried and true archetypes, cowboys and vampires, we explored the tension pre-loaded into these cultural heavyweights. Cowboys are stoic and laconic and hard working, forever standing up for the little guy and what's right. Vampires are the epitome of decadence and decay, cunning and prone to hyperbole and forever eating the little guy and perverting what's right. It's a rich, juicy vein to sink our literary teeth into.  

5. How do your characters develop over the series?
Over the course of our four books, our two main characters reflect the evolving nature of their relationship, culminating in the ominously titled The Last Sunset. Still, they--and their love for each other--don't change much outside of learning what they are willing to sacrifice for each other, and trying to overcome loss and grief, together and alone.

But one character that does change significantly in the four books is the bloodthirsty and delightfully amoral Elita. Introduced early in book one (she has the first line in the prologue), she quickly became a fan favorite due to her wit, fashion sense and hedonistic proclivities--think Dorothy Parker meets undead Betty Page. She tried to murder Tucker, twice, almost ate his dog Rex, and left Lizzie to waste away in the streets of New York. But by the end of the series in book four, she's become a champion for equal undead rights (there's a vampire civil war throughout) and Lizzie's best (only?) friend, experiencing a level of empathy--out of love and grief--disproportionate to her long existence. Of course, her compassion is expressed in true vampire manner: sex and violence.  

6. You are a married couple writing together. Tell us about your writing process. Is it smooth?
We fight a lot. About big important things, like plotting and characters, and less weighty issues, like one of us using too many commas (we won't say who). But we love how writing together keeps our relationship vibrant and we encourage people to consider this as a means of becoming closer with your partner. It doesn't have to be for publication purposes, it can just be a sweet exercise in sharing. (Try writing haiku together; that's how we got started.)

And of course, the opposites attract story line appeals because it mimics our own relationship: a lapsed cowboy (Clark) and a very urban writer (Kathleen). Tucker and Lizzie became proxies to explore the powerful currents, shadows and joyful corners of our hopelessly stormy relationship.

7. How does geography influence your books?
Our books are set in fictional LonePine, Wyoming, population 438. It's based on an amalgam of our favorite small towns:

First and foremost--Whitehall, Montana, where Clark grew up. It was about 20 miles from his family ranch, and seemed like a bustling place from that childish perspective. It wasn't. Favorite memory: eating corndogs at the A&W and visiting the feed store (memorialized in The Last Sunset).

Next--Big Piney, Wyoming, an even smaller town where Clark's dad worked for many years. Favorite memory: the Radio Shack mall, memorialized in Blood and Whiskey, and also donuts.

Another small town we love is Plush, Oregon. It might be the smallest of all, but we had a wonderful time there mining for sunstones, Oregon's state gemstone. The sunstones play a pivotal part in our books.

Last but not least are the countless small towns we've visited on road trips through the west: Fossil, Frenchglen, Shaniko, Cougar and Madras. That last town is deathly important to The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection, because it was at a truckstop there where we tried to overcome a two-year separation and bring our hearts and minds together for a lifelong creative writing partnership. We sat in a booth chain smoking (which is very bad for you; we've since stopped) and drinking truckstop coffee (which also may be bad for you) while sketching out the plot for A Very Unusual Romance on a paper placemat, in crayon. We used a lot of black and red.

Product details

  • Publication date : February 22, 2014
  • File size : 2777 KB
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 424 pages
  • Publisher : Pumpjack Press; Third edition (February 22, 2014)
  • Language: : English
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • Lending : Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 63 ratings

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