Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why Halloween is Sacred (and a Little Scary) Guest Blog with Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays

The authors of The Cowboy and the Vampire explain why All Saints’ Eve is their favorite holiday.

Along with all the expected macabre associations with Halloween, we share a special love of Oct. 31 … and a dark secret. It’s the day one of us died. More accurately, a part of each of us died: the single part. Halloween is the day we became engaged. And how appropriate; is there anything scarier than the thought of life-long commitment (except for clowns, kissing, in a midnight circus cemetery)?

Here’s how it all came down.

The year was 1998 and we were hard at work on the final draft of The Cowboy and the Vampire and living together in delicious sin. Working on the book had been a smashing success, publication was imminent and we knew that after the intensity and collaboration of writing together, we could make it as a couple, perhaps for all eternity. Our minds were filled with Vampires and thoughts of undeath, so Halloween seemed especially meaningful.

Clark had a special surprise planned though. He built a fire in the fireplace, lit candles, uncorked some decent red wine and we did a traditional tarot spread. Then he said he had a poem to share about a mythical figure we created, Baron von Grendelsheim. We had been using the Baron to while away the hours before sleep, telling each other outrageous stories of his exploits, whispering the tales as we drifted off.

The epic, rhyming poem chronicled the Baron’s search for some missing part of his soul leading up to a question: “Kathleen will you marry me.” As Clark read the last line, he whipped out a bouquet of blood red roses and an antique ring. Kathleen said yes and the rest is history.

Costume foolery

It’s even better when we share the “rest of the story.” We were both in costumes at proposal time. Clark was “The Devil on Vacation” with horns, red face paint, a Hawaiian flowery shirt and a tri-fold map of the earth with all the places Satan would want to visit circled (sorry Vegas, you didn’t make the list). Kathleen was a “demented fairy” with fangs, wings, a wand and Stevie Nicks clothes from the local thrift store.

Hold on to your jack-o-lanterns

For this and many reasons, Halloween remains our favorite holiday, and it’s a good thing because we still spend a lot of time thinking about Vampires — we’re working on the sequel to The Cowboy and the Vampire, titled Blood and Whiskey.

A bite-sized treat just in time for Halloween

On our website, we have an occasional Vampire blogger who shares chilling insights into the world of the undead. She’s sounds suspiciously like Elita from The Cowboy and the Vampire, but we’ve been too scared to ask. She recently shared why Halloween is her favorite holiday and we’re reposting it here with her full permission.


Halloween! It’s one of my favorite nights of the year. All of those decadent, delicious, individually-wrapped treats waiting at the front door … so sad that their parents watch them like hawks.

There’s also the candy, of course, which brings me in a roundabout way to one of the scariest things imaginable for my kind: tooth decay.

As you can imagine, our teeth are very important to us. So useful for the ripping of the skin and the shredding of the flesh to get at our treats: your blood. Fingers will do, knives for the lazy, but either way it’s infinitely less satisfying. Like eating a hamburger with a knife and fork. (Sorry, Brits.) We like to get messy around the teeth when we eat, but thanks to the “advances” of your modern world, that simple pleasure is threatened.

No, it’s not the sugar or the high fructose corn syrup in everything from soup to candy. We could eat practically anything — from ground glass to bird nests — and it wouldn’t bother us. The sugar that’s turning our prey into delightfully obese, sedentary snacks isn’t the problem. It’s a different kind of addiction. All the brushing and flossing in the world can’t protect our glorious enamel from the ravages of methamphetamine.

We call it meth fang even though we don’t really have fangs. Not like in the movies anyway. Our incisors are sharp enough, but that comes from decades, often centuries, of honing them against the abrasive bones of the human neck.

Feeding on junkies, and there are so many of them these days (note to legislators: consider redirecting your war on drugs to a war on boredom and ennui, a far better use of your resources), damages our teeth. A run of bad luck feeding on meth addicts can soften the roots of our teeth for weeks, leaving them wobbly and unreliable. Let me assure you, you’ve never experienced hypoglycemic crankiness until you’ve met a hungry Vampire with soft teeth. A toothless Vampire? Absurd. Tragic. And finding an all-night dentist is no small task.

So kids, stay away from the drugs.

Speaking of children, I think I hear little footsteps outside now. I can’t wait to see their adorable little costumes. With their bright, trusting eyes and pure, untainted blood … I only hope their parents aren’t nearby.

Happy Halloween, everyone.

Clark and Kathleen

The Cowboy and the Vampire
By Clark Hayes and Kathleen McFall
Paperback: 408 pages
Release Date: October 8, 2010

ISBN-10: 0738721611
ISBN-13: 978-0738721613

Reporter Lizzie Vaughan doesn’t realize it, but she has 2,000 years of royal Vampiric blood coursing through her veins. Neither she nor Tucker, her cowboy lover, has any idea that Julius, the leader of the undead, has a diabolical plan to reign over darkness for all eternity—with Lizzie at his side.

Lizzie battles for her life—and her soul—as she and Tucker find themselves caught up in a vampire war, pursued by hordes of Julius’ maniacal, bloodthirsty followers.

Who will be left standing when the sun rises?

“Deliciously dark.”—BOOKLIST

Learn more at

A little bit about the authors:

Kathleen was born and raised in Washington, DC, and her experiences there, from protests and riots to hanging out in the corridors of the Supreme Court and wandering around the Capitol, filled her sense of place with history and granite. A geologist by training, she excelled in scientific writing, translating complex scientific papers into engaging articles.

Those skills are now focused on paranormal fiction. An avid reader, she spends every spare moment working with Clark Hays on their next book … for which she casually kills off – mentally – the people around her, but not before letting them enjoy a little dark and mind-bending passion.

Clark was born in Texas and grew up mostly in Scotland and then Montana on a working ranch doing all the expected cowboy things — riding, roping, hunting, branding cattle and writing tortured poetry. The openness of the landscape and the solitude (the nearest neighbor was five miles away, the nearest town – 2,500 people – was 30 miles away) provided a constant source of inspiration, very little distractions and a chance to really be alone with his thoughts. In this solitude, he found his calling — writing — early. When he’s not writing, he’s reading or finding new victims for their next book.

About our latest project

We’re hard at work on the sequel to The Cowboy and the Vampire called Blood and Whiskey (it will be out in early 2012). In the meantime, check out the novella Red Winter, by Clark, edited by Kathleen, released exclusively as an e-book and you can find it here:

· Amazon
· Smashwords

1 comment:

The Cowboy and Vampire said...

Thanks for letting us drop by and share our love of Halloween. And thanks for allowing our Vampire blogger to explain the perils of drug use. She kills us! (or at least she certainly tries often enough ...)