I was pleased to get an advance sighting of the cover for my forthcoming Avalon Western The Miracle of Santa Maria. I've been lucky in the past in that Avalon have always provided me with evocative and appropriate covers, but I reckon they've excelled themselves this time.
It has a nice image of the setting with an appropriately miraculous feel and it even uses an interesting font type for the title. Although I hope that anyone who reads it expecting an inspiring Christian tale won't be too put out when they find instead a bishop who makes Bishop Brennan from Father Ted look reasonable, a cowboy version of Romeo and Juliet, a serial killing box and the Wild West's first and worst planetarium. Anyhow the book is out later in 2011 and here's the blurb:
The Mission Santa Maria catered to Sundown’s needs until bandits murdered their nuns. The young Maria is the only survivor, yet the massacre she witnessed sends her into an endless sleep. For two years she lies unconscious in the mission, gradually becoming weaker, before Bishop Finnegan notices. Unsympathetically, he decides to close the mission, which is sure to speed her demise.
With her outlook quickly becoming bleak, the devious snake-oil seller Fergal O'Brien rides into town. Although Fergal is typically interested in making a quick dollar, Maria's plight touches him. He attempts to wake her with what he claims is his universal remedy. Not surprisingly, though, his tonic fails.
An undaunted Fergal vows to help her by persuading Finnegan to keep the mission open. The bishop, however, decides that the lawless Sundown is too dangerous for a mission. The only options are to hope for a miracle or clean up Sundown with fearless gun-toting skills. Unfortunately for Fergal, though, he has never used a gun in his life.