Clark Hays's Blog - Posts Tagged "sunstones"

"Where the hell is Plush, Oregon?"

It’s a question Tucker and his best friend Lenny ask in our new book Blood and Whiskey after they uncover a human trafficking ring in Portland, Oregon. Under extreme duress, one of the bad guys confesses the victims are shipped to Plush where terrible things await them.

We know exactly where Plush is; we went there in 2010 just before The Cowboy and The Vampire was released. I’d read about Plush the year before. It’s the only place in Oregon where you can mine for sunstones, the state gemstone. Sunstone is a type of feldspar that sparkles and catches the light and we wanted to learn more.

Did I mention Kathleen is a geologist?

It’s a long drive from Portland to Plush, about 360 hard miles, and an even larger culture shift. Portland is a small town by some standards, with a population of about half a million. Plush, on the other hand, has about 139 residents on a good day. And good days aren’t that common. It’s smack dab in the middle of nowhere in the best possible sense of the word.

Sagebrush, rocky bluffs, unexpected lakes and hundreds of curious, fleet-footed antelopes. We found deserted hot springs, a haunted sanitarium and plenty of sunstone mines — most operated by deeply-tanned hippies and other drop outs from society living on the edge of the world. It was fantastic.

I can still remember making a tofu and refried bean sandwich, with Roma tomatoes, on the hood of the car, baking in the summer sun, before we sorted through a conveyor belt of pulverized rocks looking for sunstones. And we found many. They are hard to miss because of the way they seem to trap sunlight.

More than gemstones, we found a place to anchor our latest book. Yes, Blood and Whiskey is still set in our favorite small town, fictional LonePine, Wyoming, but we loved Plush so much, we had figure out a way to get our heroes there. Lenny and Tucker track down a band of particularly vicious Vampires who operate a “feedlot” in Plush. But nothing is ever what it seems in The Cowboy and Vampire Thriller Series.

Along with the unforgettable landscape and the quirky little town, we wanted to do something with the beautiful sunstones as well. Vampires, as we all know, are affected by the sun, so it made sense to give the lovely little gemstones special powers over the undead.

To find out what those powers are, check out Blood and Whiskey. To find out what Plush and the surrounding vicinity looks like, check out our photo album Armchair Tour of Plush and Parts Beyond on Facebook.
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Published on May 16, 2012 21:32 • 1,139 views • Tags: blood, cowboy, hippies, plush, sunstones, tofu, vampire, whiskey