OF GRAVE CONCERN, the first book in my Opehlia Wylde paranormal mystery series, is on sale as a Kindle ebook for a limited time. It’s $1.99 as part of a promotion by the publisher, Kensington Books. Ophelia is a former con woman-turned-psychic detective who solves crimes in the Old West by talking to the only witnesses who don’t lie — the dead.
The next Ophelia Wylde novel, HIGH SPIRITS, will be released in July.
OF GRAVE CONCERN has been listed as the best mystery in True West magazine’s “The Best of Western Books for 2014.”
J. Stuart Rosebrook, the magazine’s book review editor, says that “2013 was a great year in Western publishing,” and he gives his top five choices in categories ranging from biography to fiction to photography. Beneath the fiction category, Rosebrook lists OF GRAVE CONCERN: AN OPHELIA WYLDE PARANORMAL MYSTERY as the top Western mystery. Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire novel, A Serpent’s Tooth, is named as the best crime novel.
Rosebrook ranks Phillip Meyer as the best overall fiction writer, and describes Meyer’s novel, The Son, as a “broad expanse of an epic family history, whose trials and tribulations are as complex as William Faulkner’s Compson family history in The Sound and the Fury and as permanently stained by the seven deadly sins as Shakespeare’s Lord and Lady MacBeth.”
Check out Rosebrook’s picks. There’s enough reading there to get you well into 2014.
HERE’S THE bathub at a buffalo wallow at the Tallgrass Prairie I mentioned in the previous post. This spot is about four miles into the reserve, and you can only get to it by hiking. What’s it for? I’d like to think it was put there by the park rangers as a sort of Easter egg for hikers, but it probably has a more mundane use. Hay for the bison when the preserve is socked in by snow, is my guess (can’t be water, because there’s a hole in the bottom of the tub). The horizon is curved because I shot this with my GoPro Hero 3 camera, a palm-sized still/video camera that has a near-fisheye lens.
WENT HIKING at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve on Sunday, and a couple of a miles down the trail I came to this buffalo wallow. I’d been to the wallow before (and another, miles further on, where’s there’s an enigmatic bathtub), but those previous hikes were on beautiful fall days when the temp was 65 degrees F. On Sunday, it was 28 or 30 degrees, and although there was little wind, it was still cold, at least when you weren’t walking. The landscape was surreal, and the light was good, so I made this photo. Wasn’t really out on a photo expedition (the goal was to fully break in a new pair of hiking boots), but the images truly matched the mood of the hike, sudden winter in the flint hills. Can snow be far behind? Already I’m longing for spring.
FOUND MYSELF in the Ozarks over the recent holiday and discovered OF GRAVE CONCERN on the shelf at Lebanon Books, 727 S. Jefferson St., in Lebanon, Mo. Naturally I signed it for them — and did a quick cartoon on the title page. I attempt to do some kind of cartoon with every Ophelia Wylde book I sign; each cartoon is a little different, but most will feature Boot Hill, a skull, or Ophelia’s raven, Eddy. Some are more elaborate than others, depending on the situation. The ones I signed at the Boot Hill Museum Complex at Dodge City during the book launch back in July were quite detailed, as the occasion demanded. I’m a terrible artist, but fans seem to enjoy the cartoons anyway.
Later, I found copies of the Ophelia book in the small book display at the Price Cutter grocery, 550 N. Jefferson. I refrained from defacing these with a cartoon, as I was afraid the store manager wouldn’t be as understanding as the bookstore down the street. But, I wanted to.
Last month, just before Halloween, I spoke about the Old West and the paranormal at the FUEL coffee house at Llano, Texas, before heading to New Orleans for a conference. I was invited to Llano by my good and brilliant friend W.C. Jameson, and we had a fine discussion in front of a nearly packed house about everything from the UFO wave of the 1890s to Spiritualism to Thunderbirds. I sold a few books, and drew a few cartoons, and enjoyed chatting with the people who came out to hear me speak. I’ve often wanted to leave something special for people who take the time to attend my events, and the cartoons are indeed special; each cartoon takes a few minutes, enough time for a real chat with the people who are buying my books. I’ll only do this for the Ophelia books, and not the others. I couldn’t imagine attempting to do an Indiana Jones book (that would be stepping into the ring with cover Drew Struzan) or one of the Jacob Gamble books, because it would just be too grim. But with Ophelia, it just works.
OF GRAVE CONCERN is reviewed in the October issue of True West magazine, on newstands now. Sherry Monahan calls the novel a “masterful tale” and declares Ophelia Wylde as one of her “new favorite western characters.” Monahan is an expert on the Victorian west, and her books include The Wicked West: Bruisers, Cruisers, Gamblers, and More. In her review, Monahan says: “(McCoy) creates a gripping story as he blends the rugged West with the Victorian’s paranormal fascination.”
OF GRAVE CONCERN is featured in the “New in Paperback” tower displays at Barnes & Noble book stores across the country. This shot was taken yesterday at one of my favorite B&N stores, on Wanamaker in Topeka. The college bookstore at Emporia State University, where I teach, is also a B&N store, so that one is among my favorites as well. Ophelia is in the middle of the tower, on the third row down.
OF GRAVE CONCERN is currently #38 on Kindle’s “Metaphysical and Visionary” bestselling fiction list. The top three spots are “American Gods,” by Neil Gaiman; “The Night Circus,” by Erin Morgenstern; and “Cloud Atlas,” by David Mitchell. This surprised me at first–after all, OGC is a paranormal mystery with a somewhat off-tone cozy cover–but on reflection, it makes sense. Ophelia Wylde would be pleased. At right, I’m standing next to the locomotive at the Boot Hill Museum Complex at Dodge City.
The launch of my new paranormal mystery series set in the Old West will be from 2 to 5 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, July 2, at Boot Hill in Dodge City. That’s fitting, because the setting for OF GRAVE CONCERN is 1877 Dodge City. I’ll give a talk and another signing at 7 p.m. at the Dodge City Public Library. Here’s a link to the story in the Dodge City Globe. Go here for the Amazon page.
IT’S LESS THAN two weeks now until the release of the first book in my new series, Of Grave Concern: An Ophelia Wylde Paranormal Mystery. This is an anxious time for an author, and the anxiety is increased, ironically enough, because this book is getting some attention. It was give 4.5 out of 5 stars by Romantic Times (RT is a big deal, and reviews many other genres besides mysteries; David Morrell is featured there often). My publisher, Kensington, pulled this quote for their Press Room page:
“Even if you’re put off by first-person narratives or paranormal elements in mysteries, McCoy will change your mind with an entrancing, fascinating book with riveting characters. He draws you into his world, and you’ll want to explore all his books after delving into this one.” – RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars, TOP PICK.
I’ve also been asked by several mystery blogs to contribute interviews or guest content, and have been questioned at length by at least one newspaper reviewer about Ophelia Wylde’s debut. Friends are telling me that Amazon is notifying them of the upcoming release, probably because they’ve bought mysteries or my books in the past. The official book launch and signing will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 2, at the Boot Hill Museum Complex at Dodge City, Kansas, followed by a talk and another signing at 7 p.m. at the Dodge City Public Library. This is fitting, because the novel takes place in Dodge City in 1877, and Dodge City will be central to the series as it develops.