Pages: 22 pages
Publisher: Pumpjack Press
Published: August, 2011
Form: E-book (copy received through a Tour for an honest review)
Genre: Horror / Western
Smashwords: Buy / $2.99
Music: Brad Paisley’s “Eastwood”
1890. LonePine is a small town closing in for the winter… Sheriff Hardiman is taken to see the body of miner, the savage death with no clue of who could have done it. It doesn’t take long before a whore is found dead in her bed and Hardiman focuses his attention to the new man in town, Mr. Whisper, a man who doesn’t fit in. But there is more to Whisper than death, something no one ever saw coming.
This story was the first horror I’ve read in a long time and I now recall why I use to like reading a lot of them. Red Winter starts eerily and continues all the way to end with the reader engaged and wondering what will happen and fearing what creeps out of the shadows.
Hardiman is a great character, he’s rough and rugged, has a sweet spot for his wife and good head on his shoulders, which makes seeing the world through his eyes a pleasure.
Red Winter is written in a way that makes you feel like you know the town already, which lets you slip into the story so easily, which makes the eeriness of the story really sink in good!
You’ll love this if you like thrills, chills, and the “oh don’t do that!” I skipped off my normal romance genre trail, but this novella was well worth it! After all my second love is westerns, so I’m pleased. ;)
[Giveaway Closed]Clark Hays with me here today, he's stopping by on the Virtual Tour of his book Red Winter! There is also a Tour Wide 25$ Amazon Gift Card Giveaway you can participate HERE, it's international!
So, let's begin!
Niina : Welcome to For The Love of Reading, Clark. Glad to have you come by!
Clark Hays : Thanks Niina, it’s a pleasure to be here along with so many great paranormal author interviews and reviews.
Niina : Can you tell us why you decided to write Red Winter and what is its connection to “The Cowboy and the Vampire?”
Clark : Writing about cowboys and Vampires, two enduring archetypes, creates a natural and immediate tension between good and evil and is a fun way to explore some big issues like what it means to be human and how (or if … ) true love is enough to overcome even truly horrific challenges. When I co-wrote The Cowboy and the Vampire with my lovely writing partner (and spouse) Kathleen McFall, we took full advantage of that tension, and then used humor, action and an “opposites attract” romance to turn the Vampire myth on its’ pointy ear and offer some insights into what life is like in the modern West (Hint: it’s not very glamorous).
In Red Winter, my novella, I moved the Vampire world we created back to the Old West for a more serious look at love, life and survival at a time when life was particularly hard. I think that’s why the world remains fascinated with cowboys — there was a brief period when just surviving was a challenge, people made choices to risk it all and carve out a new life on the frontier and self-sufficiency was a virtue. Even though it didn’t last that long, it really shaped what it means to be American.
I grew up on a cattle ranch in Montana and I’ve always loved the myths, legends and stories about the American West — and experienced them firsthand. It’s pretty easy to channel the cattle drives, lonesome campfires and gunfights when you grow up on 2,000 acres of sagebrush grasslands dotted with abandoned buildings and gold mines from a hundred years earlier and you could find arrowheads under prickly pear cactus around deserted sod houses. Red Winter gave me free rein to dig deep into those experiences.
Sheriff Early Hardman, the hero of Red Winter, is a tough, laconic gunfighter that would stack up well against any of the familiar names from that era like Wyatt Earp or Wild Bill Hickock. Only Early has a (relatively) soft side. He’s deeply in love with his new wife Miss Grace, the former madam of the infamous and now defunct Pearl — a destination brothel. They are looking forward to a quiet life in the little town of LonePine (it’s still little 100 years later in The Cowboy and the Vampire) as the West changes around them and the modern age creeps along. Then a Vampire shows up. With winter closing in like a noose, they could all be dead by spring if Sheriff Hardiman can’t figure out how to kill someone who won’t die.
Niina : What part did you most enjoyed writing and why?
Clark : I grew up doing a lot of shooting and even though I don’t get a chance to do that much anymore, I’m still kind of a gun geek. I enjoyed writing about the period guns used by the main characters. Sheriff Hardiman favors a pair of matched Schofield revolvers, a somewhat unique .45 caliber pistol that “broke open” on top like a shotgun for ease of loading; it was favored by the cavalry and by some famous outlaws like Frank and Jesse James. He also gets to use a massive old 10 gauge shotgun. Joe the wolfer, who helps track the Vampire, uses a huge Sharps buffalo gun. Of course, the bullets — even a lot of bullets — don’t have much of lasting effect on Jericho Whistler, the Vampire terrorizing LonePine.
Niina : Can you tell us three things about Sheriff Hardiman that we didn't learn from the novella?
Clark : 1) His eye sight is getting bad as he gets older and that can be fatal for a gunfighter, or a sheriff. Luckily, the West is changing quickly and there aren’t as many young guns interested in making a reputation by besting him ... even if they could (he’s still really fast). 2) He’s only scared of one thing: being out of his element. Not that long ago he had to leave LonePine and travel to the east coast to try and win back the love of Miss Grace. The time he spent in New York was excruciating, but it worked out well. 3) There’s a 50 /50 chance he once hung an innocent man and that sometimes wakes him up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.
Niina : What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Clark : I’m not sure any of my quirks can be classified as “interesting,” but I still prefer writing by hand. I like using a pen on paper, preferably an oversized sketch pad with enough recycled content to make the surface a little rougher than regular paper. The problem with that quirk is that I’m a slow writer, but I’m a very fast typer. It would be much more effective to just use a computer and avoid the whole middle step of transcribing what I’ve written in long hand. I’m stubborn though, so maybe that’s the interesting quirk?
Niina : What is the biggest “no-no” when it comes to writing for you?
Clark : The thing I always guard against is capitulating to or embracing the concept of writer’s block. Deadline writing (I work in communications) has quickly dispelled the notion that the mood has to be right or the Muse has to be present or anything like that. I’ve found there are no good excuses for not writing, other than being so tired I’m incoherent — and even then there might be some nuggets. Maybe it’s more about learning to trust myself and never getting my own way. It doesn’t have to be magic every time — no matter what you write, you can improve on it or discard it later, but waiting for the perfect moment always means hundreds of almost perfect moments go unused. It also helps to write with a partner, because Kathleen is always able to help support and encourage quality writing time.
Niina : What book, if any, do you read over and over again?
Clark : Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is one of my favorites and easy to read again. I also love reading Cyrano De Bergerac, by Rostand. Yes, it’s a play, but that last scene always gets me right in the heart. I also always keep a copy of The Unquiet Grave by Cyril Connolly nearby.
Niina : If you could only read 5 horror books for the rest of your life what would they be?
Clark : The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, for sure; in fact, I’d like all of his books in one. An H.P. Lovecraft compendium, but that might be too scary. The Collected Works of Edgar Allen Poe. Blindness, by Jose Saramago (though considered “literary fiction,” this was a truly terrifying novel), Cruelty: Human Evil and the Human Brain by Kathleen Taylor (nonfiction, which makes this even more horrifying). Can I have six? I’d like to add the collected works of Ambrose Bierce. The Difficulty of Crossing a Field still freaks me out a little.
Niina : Would you rather meet real vampires or werewolves?
Clark : I’d say probably werewolves, but only because I like to play the odds. There’s very little chance of surviving a meeting with the Vampire in Red Winter, Jericho Whistler, or the Vampires in The Cowboy and the Vampire, unless you are very tough, resourceful and handy with a gun like Sheriff Early Hardiman. With a werewolf, I might at least have a fighting chance; plus I’ve always been pretty good with dogs.
Niina : Now before were done here are some Quick fire questions:
Cats or dogs? Normally, I’d say dogs, but my thinking changed after a chance to get to know Silver, the most awesome cat in the world.
Coffee or tea? Coffee as the glue that holds my molecules together, tea as way to enhance the quality of the day.
Rocks or flowers? Interesting. Rocks. Especially obsidian and sunstones, the state gemstone of Oregon.
Night or day? Night.
Horror or Thriller? Horror. No, thriller. Wait. Both?
Brunettes or Blonds? Somewhere in between; exactly the same color as Kathleen’s hair is my favorite.
Vampires or werewolves? Vampires, for sure.
Cowboys or Bull riders? Cowboys; because it’s a state of mind. A bullrider can certainly be a cowboy, but some cowboys aren’t bullriders.
Pick-up or Mini-van? Pickups. Even better: a horse.
Women: Talkative or wallflowers? A wallflower who has interesting things to say!
Beer or Wine? Beer; or better yet, whiskey.
Pizza or Restaurant? Pizza.
Cake or Donuts? Donuts; the breakfast of cowboys … or at least long-haul truckers, cowboys of the road.
TV or DVD? Books.
Movies: Romantic comedies or Action/Adventure? Action/Adventure with a little romance.
Halloween or Midsummer? Halloween, for so many reasons.
Times New Roman or Courier? Helvetica; I read somewhere that it’s the “perfume of the city” and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Pens or pencils? Pens; specifically, the Pentel EnerGel; it will change your life.
Niina : Thank you for coming by, Clark. This was fun!
Clark : My pleasure. Thanks for letting me talk about Red Winter. Kathleen and I are set to release Blood and Whiskey, the next installment in The Cowboy and the Vampire thriller series so hopefully we can spend some time talking with you about that project in the near future.
About Red Winter
Sheriff Early Hardiman has seen a lot of bad things in his life, but nothing could have prepared him for the first Vampire to visit the Old West. It’s 1890 and winter is closing like a noose around tiny LonePine, Wyoming. Fans of The Cowboy and the Vampire know LonePine will see its share of Vampires 120 years later, but in 1890 the appearance of the fearsome Jericho Whistler — with an unquenchable thirst for blood and unwilling to die — created a new kind of terror.
About The Cowboy and the Vampire
It’s the clash of two iconic characters — cowboys and vampires — in a novel story about true love, culture clash and evil plans to take over the world. There’s also a healthy dose of laugh-out-loud humor, a rich portrayal of life in the modern West, a fresh new take on the Vampire myth and plenty of morbid ruminations on death.