Book Review: Eating Animals

To vegan or not to vegan, that is the question

“Farming by proxy,” a concept and phrase attributed to novelist and activist Wendell Berry, provides a philosophical anchor for Jonathan Safran Foer’s excellent book Eating Animals. Said another way, our choices matter. This sentiment girds the author’s quest to understand the implications – ethical, economic, environmental, cultural and personal – of one’s individual choice to eat, or not eat, meat. As readers, we follow along on his quest for knowledge and insight, and uncover information as he does.

An on-again-off-again vegetarian throughout much of his adult life, Foer is determined to commit one way or the other, motivated by the need to make a decision about how to nourish the body (and the development of an ethical framework) of his newborn son. Babies have a way of catalyzing reflection in their parents. Read the rest of this entry »

Book Reviews: The Last Sunset

“A rollicking ride, passionate, powerfully compelling.”

“The stakes are higher than ever in the latest chapter of this outstandingly entertaining series.”

“A finale that will leave you covered in blood and begging for more.”

“In a refreshing twist on the standard vampire lore, vampires experience death every dawn and are separated from their bodies until nightfall brings their spiritual form back to the corporeal. A fantastic series!”

“A terrific, original piece of vampire lore. It’s never a dull moment in Lone Pine, sometimes it’s scary, and sometimes it’s downright heart-wrenching. This final volume is no exception.”

“This is a fantastic and slightly off-beat series and I’m sad this is the last one and we’re saying goodbye to these guys.”

“Longmire meets Preacher!”

“These two authors nail every detail about ranch life, horses, and probably Vampires, perfectly.”

Click here to buy The Last Sunset

Book Review: The Last Sunset

“With a unique take on vampires, The Last Sunset is a stellar conclusion to a fantastic series with choice elements from romance, paranormal, horror, and westerns. Perfect for a pool-side, long flight, or even just a lazy Sunday read.”

The Last Sunset is the fourth book in the Cowboy and the Vampire series. This time around, everything Tucker holds dear is once again threatened. A sinister cult obsessed with death ruthlessly hound vampires while recruiting lost humans in the hopes of taking over the world. Tucker’s lost love Lizzie serves a vampire queen attempting to civilize her tribe into honoring the rules and hunting only when necessary. The cult, Lizzie and her kind, and Tucker all collide in LonePine with the fate of the world in the balance. In a refreshing twist on the standard vampire lore, vampires experience death every dawn and are separated from their bodies until nightfall brings their spiritual form back to the corporeal. >> Read the full five-star review at INDIE REVIEW  #lastsunset

Book Review: The Girls

cover80098-mediumThe Girls by Emma Cline is a lightly fictionalized account of aspects of the Manson murders from the late 1960s. This is not a subject that would typically interest me; information and interpretations of that event, along with the cultural context of the Summer of Love era, abound. But this book offered a unique angle: the lens of a single girl — Evie Boyd — who is psychologically seduced by the cult’s leader (in the book, his name is Russell), and joins the “family” of, mostly, girl followers.

This book is thus part of the exploding category of revisionist history — the narrative approach in which a minor or overlooked character (usually a woman, often a wife or lover) retells a familiar story giving voice to the unheard. The fashion got its start (or at least a lot of momentum) with the success years ago of The Red Tent by Anita Diamant which brought to light the story of biblical Dinah. This story-telling approach allows the reader to consider a familiar story from a new vantage point. It’s an increasingly crowded field, making it tough to stand out. This book does.  Read the rest of this entry »

The author interview: Fighting, writing and weird westerns




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.

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.

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. Read the rest of this entry »