Excerpts from the latest reviews from our rockin’ readers

“I am beginning to see a Tarantino movie with this series. The strength of this series is in the characters and witty dialogue…”

A Very Unusual Romance (Book 1): Five stars

There is a very unusual twist on the origins of vampires and humans. It is a unique story. The characters are complex and unpredictable. The authors did an excellent job of writing this novel. Even though this is a dark tale, it is funny. It is much more than the standard vampire story.

Blood and Whiskey (Book 2): Four stars

The best part of this series is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. In between sharing their day’s activities, characters may need to save the world, but, the attitude is hey, ‘you’ve got your problems, I’ve got mine.’ Love conquers all, or at least is the best hope at solving intractable species’ differences. Book 2 is as delightful as the first in this series as The Cowboy and the Vampire continue their romance and plan for world harmony.

Rough Trails and Shallow Graves (Book 3): Five stars

This third installment in The Cowboy and the Vampire series is the best yet by far. Deviating from the usual chaos that tends to surround Lizzie, Tucker, and their cast of characters, we’re given a deeper story with a bit more tooth to it. You’re smacked in the face with tough decisions and heartache throughout the entire novel, but it only makes you pull for the characters more. Despite the darker and more serious tone of Rough Trails and Shallow Graves, you are treated to lots of laughter along the way. Elita’s usual brand of dry humor is laced throughout as well as the more in-your-face version brought along on Lenny’s heels. As nutty and over-the-top as Lenny can be, he’s long been one of my favorite characters in this series. In addition, you learn more about where the vampires go when they die during the day and I found that to be absolutely fascinating.

Read more reviews here.

The geology detective: Lava love

Photo for LavaClark and I are just back from a 1,600 mile, 7-day road trip in central and coastal Oregon. The route was somewhat random – what hotels still had spots open only a few weeks out – and unexpectedly, it ended up following an ancient volcanic trail.

You read that right. We got to play geology detective, finding, observing and debating basalt as we tried to place it in its chronological and geochemical permutations — pumice ash, silky obsidian, craggy lava clumps and dense andesite dikes. We also conducted an up-close and personal investigation of volcanic plumbing from inside a collapsed crater (now a very deep, punishingly-cold and inappropriately blue lake ­— Crater Lake: go there). Ah, lava love.

Yea, no doubt, Oregon is an amazing state, and deducing the distant geologic past based on contemporary weathered lava-clues is unexpectedly sexy (cowboys look especially good against glittering basalt backdrops) and the trip definitely exercised some of our less-used neural pathways. Read the rest of this entry »

Soapbox: Cutting to the chase – human consciousness in three books

Bucke_imageMy mind perked up recently from its baseline state of chronic near-slumber, induced by academic culture, when I read a blog post about “cosmic consciousness,” a state-of-being named by Richard Bucke in 1901. I read Bucke’s book Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind more than a decade ago after I stumbled upon it in a footnote of some other equally dusty and neglected book. I’ve seen little mention of it since, and then this post came out of the blue, turning up in my daily Google search set for the keywords human and consciousness.

Bucke’s cosmic consciousness is a next-gen adaptation, a collective form of shared brain space, which posits eventually we’ll be able to perceive and understand the world through the ties that bind all living things together, be they atomic or energetic or magical. It’s an evolutionary leap in human consciousness, handily explaining the mystical basis of most religions — some humans, like Jesus and Buddha, Blake and, apparently, Bucke, already attained it, and the rest of us, inevitably (if past is prologue) will one day get there too. Just as we shed our scales, pumped out lungs and wobbled up onto land a gazillion years ago, so too will we cast off our embodied singularity and expand our horizons into the planes of cosmic consciousness. Read the rest of the Soapbox>>

Ask a Cowboy

Dear Cowboy, how do you ask a really cute cowboy out?

Signed, nervous and waiting

Dear NaW, thanks for writing. The hardest part about asking someone out is the possibility (or in my case, the near certainty) of rejection. Nobody likes rejection and, just like how we get queasy when we smell food that’s spoiled or jump when we see a spider, even if it’s just an old daddy longlegs, our brains try to limit the possibility of us blundering into something that hurts.

I’m reminded of the first time I tried steer wrestling in the local jackpot rodeo. My brain was telling me that throwing myself off a galloping horse to grab the horns of a pissed off steer that outweighed me by a good 400 pounds just to grabble him to a full stop was a stupid idea. But once I got past the initial fear, I realized it was a lot of fun. And by fun, I mean having a tooth knocked out and tearing my triceps. Read more of the Cowboy’s answer>>

Lenny: A character (yea, a survivalist, conspiracy theorist, Vampire-killing) interview

Of all the characters in The Cowboy and the Vampire, few elicit as much reaction as Lenny (other than loyal Rex, of course). Readers either love him – and know someone like him – or find him completely unbelievable. The truth is that Lenny is indeed based on a real person, an old friend of Clark’s from high school who helped us tremendously during our research on vampire-dispatcthing weapons (in particular, the thermite grenades). Here’s an “interview” Lenny did a year or so ago now temporarily back from the dead for your late summer entertainment.

Hello Lenny, welcome. What did you bring with you today? This? It’s a reverse surveillance tracker I made out of an old cassette recorder, a GPS unit and an electric toothbrush. I want to be able to monitor whoever it is monitoring this conversation to find out where they are broadcasting from.

Lenny, is fair to say you are a conspiracy theorist? Not really, no. “Theorist” implies that it’s hypothetical. There’s nothing in doubt here. I prefer to think of myself as a conspiracy realist.  Read more of Lenny’s world view>>