29 December 2017

Resurrection Road
Book One in a New Trilogy
   Genre:  Alternative Historical Fiction / Thriller
Date of Publication: April 22, 2017
Pages: 308
Publisher: Pumpjack Press on Facebook

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In an alternate timeline, legendary lovers Bonnie and Clyde are given one last shot at redemption.
The story begins in 1984 when a reporter gets a tip to meet an old woman at a Texas cemetery. Cradling an antique rifle and standing over a freshly dug grave, the old woman claims to be Bonnie Parker. Turns out, she says, it wasn’t Bonnie and Clyde who were ambushed fifty years earlier. Instead, the outlaws were kidnapped, forced into a covert life and given a deadly mission—save President Roosevelt from an assassination plot financed by industrialists determined to sink the New Deal.

Thrust into a fight against greed they didn’t ask for, but now must win in order to save themselves and their families, will the notorious duo overcome their criminal pasts and put their “skills” to use fighting for justice for the working class?

Cutting back and forth between the modern era where the shocked reporter investigates the potential scoop-of-the-century, and the desperate undercover exploits of Bonnie and Clyde in 1934, Resurrection Road is a page-turning sleep-wrecker.

Bonnie and Clyde. Saving democracy, one bank robbery at a time. 


“Sex, danger and intrigue, coupled with just the right dose of cheeky humor,” -- East Oregonian 

“A Depression-era tale timely with reflections on fat cats and a rigged economic system that still ring true. More than that, the story is an exciting ride, with tight corners, narrow escapes, and real romantic heat between Bonnie and Clyde. Outlaws become patriots in this imaginative, suspenseful what-if story,” -- Kirkus Reviews 
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After hair cuts, dye jobs, new clothes and new identities, in this scene in 1934, Bonnie and Clyde learn about their first undercover assignment.

The room was dark save for a single light bulb hanging down over the table by a cord. Sal dropped a thick folder on the table for dramatic effect. “It’s showtime,” she said. She flipped it open and pulled out a black and white photo. It was a shot of Bonnie—a cigar between her teeth—leaning against the car with a pistol in her hand.

Clyde whistled. “I always loved that photo.”

“I hate it,” Bonnie said. “I look ridiculous, and it made half of America think I’m some sort of cigar-smoking, gun-toting she-devil.”

Sal dropped more photos onto the table: Clyde sitting on the front bumper of a car holding a rifle; Clyde picking Bonnie up with one arm, a white fedora in his free hand; Bonnie aiming a gun at Clyde.

They exchanged a quick glance, remembering that day and a rare moment of peace and happiness when they had some kicks goofing with the camera. All of that ended abruptly when the law caught up, and they bolted in a hail of gunfire, leaving the camera behind, loaded up with the exposed film. Within days, the photos were wired to newspapers around the nation, and the couple became instant celebrities.

“Call it what you want, but folks around this country sure thought they were seeing something special in those photos,” Clyde said.

“What they thought they were seeing was two not horribly unattractive youngsters having illicit sex, robbing banks, and breaking all the rules,” Sal said. “Every man wished he was Clyde, and every woman wanted to be Bonnie.”

Sal tossed a copy of a newspaper clipping on top of the pictures. “And then it all went to dirt because you started shooting cops and innocent people.”

More clippings about the exploits of the outlaw couple followed—car chases, shootouts, murders. The stories chronicling their descent from folk heroes to cold-blooded killers soon blotted out all traces of the smiling photographs from happier days.

“That’s the problem with public opinion,” Sal said. “It’s fickle. By the end, they were clamoring for your heads.”

Clyde shifted uncomfortably in his seat, the unforgiving metal hard against his thighs. “I ain’t lost a minute of sleep over what we done,” he said. “You starve and kick a dog long enough, someday that dog’s going to rise up and bite you.”

“Or at least give you fleas,” Sal said. She pulled up a chair to face them, a pistol on her lap.
“This moment is when you get one last chance to rise above your past, rise above the killing, rise above your roots and your mistakes,” she said. “Because when I look at all this murdering and thieving and daring escapes by the skin of your teeth, I see two people with the unique talents to do a job we need done.”

“You want us to rob and kill for you?” Bonnie asked.

“We want you to save President Roosevelt from an assassin.”

“What are you on about?” Clyde said.

Bonnie held her tongue, waiting for what was coming next.

Before Sal could continue, there was a knock from outside. She opened the door and took a paper bag and drink carrier from Carl, and then he closed the door and locked the bolt back into place. They watched as Sal unpacked two turkey sandwiches wrapped in wax paper and three cups of coffee. She put a sandwich and coffee on the table in front of Bonnie and Clyde and then took a coffee for herself.

“Eat. You’ll need your strength, and we have a lot to go over.”

Clyde tore into his sandwich with his free hand and started wolfing it down, but Bonnie—even though she was ravenous—ignored the food and watched Sal coolly.
“May I have a smoke?” Bonnie asked.

Sal pulled a pack from the bag and tossed it on the table, waiting until Bonnie shook a cigarette free and then struck a match. Bonnie contemplated catching her by the wrist and holding her while Clyde took her pistol, and she felt Clyde tense in mid-bite, anticipating her play.

Sal waited until the cigarette caught and then leaned back. “Don’t bother. He has orders to kill us all if need be,” she said.

Bonnie inhaled deeply and then puffed out a thin cloud of smoke.

“You think of almost everything, don’t you, honey,” Bonnie said, slowing down her words, stretching them out in a sugary drawl. “Except the right kind of cigarettes. I don’t care much for menthols.”

A native of Texas, Clark Hays spent his early childhood there and then moved for a decade with his family around the world following the job of his father, a legendary wildcat petroleum drilling engineer, before finally landing on a Montana ranch. Kathleen McFall was born and raised in Washington, D.C.

Between the two of them, the authors have worked in writing jobs ranging from cowboy-poet to energy journalist to restaurant reviewer to university press officer. After they met in the early 1990s, their writing career took center stage when they wrote the first book in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection as a test for marriage. They passed. Their debut novel was picked up by Llewellyn (St. Paul, MN) with a first edition published in 1999, making it among the earliest stories in the resurgence and reimagining of the undead myth for modern audiences.

Since then, Clark and Kathleen have published five novels together—the latest reimagines the life of the legendary outlaws Bonnie and Clyde.

Clark and Kathleen have won several writing awards, including a Pushcart Prize nomination (Clark) and a fiction fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts (Kathleen). Their books have been honored with a Best Books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, Best Books of 2016 by IndieReader, and a 2017 Silver IPPY Medalist. 

Three Winners Each Win a Signed Copy + $10 Amazon Gift Card
December 18-December 30, 2017
(U.S. Only)

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21 December 2017

*Enter to Win!* BLUSTER'S LAST STAND by Preston Lewis

The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax, #4
  Genre:  Historical Western Fiction / Humor
Date of Publication: November 15, 2017 Publisher: Wild Horse Press

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Events on the Little Bighorn might have turned out better for George Armstrong Custer had he listened to H.H. Lomax rather than trying to kill him.  To save his own skin—and scalp!—Lomax must outwit Custer and his troopers as well as face hundreds of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors swarming Last Stand Hill. 

At least that is how Lomax in his inimitable style tells the story in this humorous romp across Old West history.  Lomax’s latest misadventures take him from the Battle of Adobe Walls to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.  In between, he’s a bouncer in a Waco whorehouse, a prospector in the Black Hills, a bartender in a Dakota Territory saloon and a combatant in the worst defeat in the history of the frontier Army. 

Along the way, Lomax crosses paths with Bat Masterson, Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, General Custer, his brother Tom Custer and the troopers of the Seventh Cavalry as well as hordes of Comanche, Kiowa, Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, not to mention the most dangerous adversary of all—a newspaper reporter with ambition.

Told with Lomax’s characteristic wit, Bluster’s Last Stand puts a new spin on the Little Bighorn and its aftermath.  Whether you believe him or not, you’ve got to admire Lomax’s luck and pluck in both surviving one of the darkest days in Old West history and writing about the disaster in the latest volume of The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax.


“A new series by Preston Lewis features a protagonist, H.H. Lomax, who isn’t much of a gunfighter, horseman or gambler.  Instead, he is a likeable loser who runs into old western celebrities like Billy the Kid and the Jesse James gang, and barely escapes.”  
Wall Street Journal

“It takes a special talent to write first-person novels based on the premise of ‘lost papers,’ but Preston Lewis is an especially fresh and innovative writer and he knows how to do it.”
Rocky Mountain News

Fans of the Western as a genre will delight in Lewis’ ongoing spoof of many traditions which fiction writers from Owen Wister to Elmer Kelton captured well enough to turn into key parts of our myths and folklore….Lewis’s wit is at times Puckishly wry, at other times bawdy in the manner of Chaucer.  It is always engaging.  
Texas Books in Review

Several Old West historians have blessed the Lomax books as expertly crafted fiction. 
Dallas Morning News


What do you think most characterizes your writing? 
An editor once told me I wrote funny. Now that’s not necessarily something a writer wants to hear because you don’t know if it’s funny “ha ha” or funny “odd.” His point was, as he explained it, that I often have an off-center perspective that lends itself to humor. So, it was an editor that first helped me see the possibility of writing humor. And in fact, Bantam originally approached me about writing a humorous series that became The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax of which Bluster’s Last Stand is the latest volume.

How do you approach humor in your novels?
 I describe humor as a con game on your expectations or your intellect. So, I’ve developed my six “cons” of humor for novels: convention, contemplation, construction, contrivance (like this list), confluence and, worst of all, constipation. Convention is the parameters, stereotypes or clich├ęs of your genre. Variances on those conventions provide opportunities for humor. Contemplation is a fancy name for research, where I am always looking for odd facts or information that can lend itself to humorous situations. Construction is the setup. Nearly all humor requires a sound setup for effectiveness. Contrivance is the use of plot twists or literary gimmicks to further the action and humor. Confluence is tying it all together into a coherent story rather than just a series of running gags. Then there’s constipation! Like life, sometimes in humor things just don’t come out right for everyone, particularly in these hypersensitive times. What is funny or amusing to one person may be offensive to another. I was once attacked by a reader who was offended by my flippant use of the word “Yankee” because it was demeaning. Seems as a child she moved to the south from the north and was called Yankee by her schoolmates, evidently scarring her emotionally for life. Weird! I happen to know a little bit about Yankees because I married a young lady from Pennsylvania. She is proud to be a Yankee, and we are proud to be parents of two half-Yankees.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Stopping the research and beginning the writing is always the hardest part. Research is the fun part. So, I have three writing milestones. First is completing page one. The start is always the hardest part, whether a book or a chapter. Second, when I get to page 10 it’s a milestone because now I am in double digits. The third milestone is when I get to 100 pages because now I am in three digits and I know I won’t have to go four digits, though I’ve written 450 pages on some manuscripts.
How do you go about your research? I had an aunt who was an expert quilter. She would cut out pieces of fabric, then arrange them and stitch them together in beautiful patterns and blocks. That’s what I do with research. Keep in mind in my historical novels I am writing about events that have been written about dozens of times. So, I first look for odd or unusual facts that haven’t to my knowledge been utilized in previous novels on this topic. Then I look for facts that intrigue me and facts that I think have some comical potential. Then I try to stitch them together in a narrative that I hope is as enjoyable to read as it was to look at my aunt’s quilts.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing? 
I now write full-time, but before I retired I wrote part-time. I’ve come to understand that writers face two problems—time and money. Some writers can handle money problems and some can handle time pressures but few can handle both. For instance, I could not handle the pressure of having to make my living for me and my family fully from writing. I might have done it, but I didn’t know and I could not leave my family at risk for my potential failure as a writer. On the other hand, I can handle time pressures and can manage my time well enough to work a job full time and then carve out enough time to write fiction on the side. Now that I am retired, I have all the time I need to write.

What are some day jobs that you have held? Have any of them impacted your writing? 
I started out in newspapers so I learned early how to write on deadline and how to force myself to write, even when things might not be coming easily. Then in higher education communication and marketing I got a variety of writing experience from scripts to brochure copy to magazine features. I created and edited a university magazine, which is a good experience in working and editing with other writers.

How has your formal education influenced or impacted your writing?
I was blessed to attend Baylor during a golden period of journalism education at the university. I was fortunate to have studied under legendary Texas journalism professor David McHam, who I remain in touch with to this day. He was not only an exceptional teacher but also an inspirational man. He was responsible for my first two newspaper jobs and a guide for my subsequent graduate education. In addition to my bachelor’s degree from Baylor, I got a master’s degree in journalism at Ohio State, where I was a Kiplinger Fellow in reporting, and a second master’s degree in history from Angelo State University. At ASU I was again blessed to study history under legendary Texas historian Arnoldo DeLeon, who chaired my thesis committee.

What do your plans for future projects include? 
I would like to do a historical novel on the last six months of the Civil War in the Western Theater as well as some additional comic westerns using some of the characters from my The Fleecing of Fort Griffin.

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like? 
My perfect writing spot is expansive and uncluttered, a contrast from my writing room. Ernie Pyle once wrote that Americans leave a messy battlefield, and I leave an untidy writing space.
Who would you cast to play your characters in a movie version of your book? I’m so out of touch with contemporary actors I can’t give a legitimate answer. The ones that come to mind were classic stars from my youth.

Do you have a mantra for writing and/or for life? 
Be always sure you're right — then go ahead!—Davy Crockett; and “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” John 8:32 (King James Version)

What do you want your tombstone to say? 

Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of 30 western, juvenile and historical novels, including Bluster’s Last Stand published by Wild Horse Press.   

Bluster’s Last Stand, a novel about Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn, is the latest volume in Lewis’s well-received Memoirs of H.H. Lomax series of comic westerns that began with The Demise of Billy the Kid.  Subsequent books in the series—The Redemption of Jesse James and Mix-Up at the O.K. Corral—were both Spur Finalists from Western Writers of America (WWA). 

Lewis’s historical novel Blood of Texas on the Texas Revolution received WWA’s Spur Award for Best Western Novel.  His western caper The Fleecing of Fort Griffin in 2017 earned him his third Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association (WTHA) for best creative work on West Texas. 

 His True West article on the Battle of Yellowhouse Canyon won a Spur Award for Best Nonfiction Article.  In addition to True West, his short works have appeared in publications as varied as Louis L’Amour Western Magazine, Persimmon Hill, Dallas Morning News, The Roundup, Journal of the Wild West History Association and San Angelo Standard-Times
A native West Texan and current San Angelo resident, Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baylor University and master’s degrees from Ohio State in journalism and Angelo State in history.  He is a past president of WWA and WTHA.  Lewis is a longstanding member of the Authors Guild and an associate member of the Dramatists Guild of America.  
1st Prize: Full 4 Book Set in the Lomax Series
2nd Prize: Bluster's Last Stand + The Fleecing of Fort Griffin
3rd Prize: Bluster's Last Stand
*all copies signed*
December 13-December 22, 2017
(U.S. Only)

Excerpt 1
Author Interview
Review                            Missus Gonzo
Character Spotlight
Scrapbook Page
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