Weston Ochse is the author of twenty books, most recently SEAL Team 666 and its sequel Age of Blood, which the New York Post called 'required reading' and USA Today placed on their 'New and Notable Lists.' His first novel, Scarecrow Gods, won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel and his short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in comic books, and magazines such as Cemetery Dance and Soldier of Fortune. He lives in the Arizona desert within rock throwing distance of Mexico. He is a military veteran with 29 years of military service and currently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. Please contact him through this site.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Writing on Borrowed Time: The Lindsay Lohan Method

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Random Elvis Picture (From Azteca Mexican)
I don’t know if it’s the monsoons, shooting stars, or the constant need to babysit our new hyperactive Great Dane, but my imagination is running wild these days. I have more ideas now for things than I’ve had in many moons. It’s really hard to contain the creativity whirling about in my head. Three short stories, a screenplay, four novels, a novella, and little old me, this is in addition to what I’m already contracted. As it stands I only have about three hours a day now to write. Most of the time it’s enough to work on the current project, but I can’t imagine how cool it would be if I had entire days to work. I know that if I did, I’d partition the time; something to allow me to work on a novel, story and a screenplay each day. I envy my friends who work full time.

Maybe I should go to jail. According to Lindsay Lohan’s lawyer, “She’s writing a lot. She’s creating art…” Hell. People pay for this sort of author’s retreat (Ians).

But alas, I am unwilling to head to the big house. Not only don’t I want to be someone’s love puppet, but I just hate the feel of jumpsuits against my crotch.

Karen Fenech recommends doing what I normally do, which is to rationalize your goals. “Part of my problem with getting my writing done was that I wouldn’t write unless I could reserve a big block of time to do it. I rarely could do that, so I didn’t write at all. Once I stopped thinking in terms of hours-- and started thinking in minutes-- I got my writing done.”

Personally, I like to set goals. Tom Piccirilli once told me his secret of magical output: five pages a day. I keep to this mercilessly when I’m on task.  My fellow National University alumnus Sahag Gureghian also agrees. When finding time to write, he believes in setting goals. “I can’t stress the importance of this. Having goals is key. I’ve found writing my goals down really helps me stay focused. Whenever I get distracted, I read my goals and am reminded of what I am trying to do and why.”

But even with a goal of five pages, when my allotted time is up, that’s really all I’m able to do. Karen thinks in terms of minutes, I think in terms of pages. Maybe I need to up the quota. Maybe seven pages. Or ten. Or 15. Maybe by virtue of having a greater goal, I'll be able to achieve it.

Buddy Brian Keene squirts 15,000 words on a Saturday. But knowing him, he’s chained to the computer, blood pouring from his eyes, fingertips taped to keep the nails in place, as he works all day and into the wee hours of the morning. I just can’t do that.

I once read a copy of Esquire that gave me an idea. I can’t remember the issue, but I know it was published in the mid-90s and it had Steve Martin on the cover. Anyway, this issue had an article about berthing aboard merchant ships. Evidently, merchant ships have a few passenger berths. You can get the solitude, the ocean, and the voyage, without the hassle of screaming children, buffet stampedes, and high seas karaoke. The author of the article packed a case of wine, his laptop and sailed to Asia. By the time he arrived, his novel was complete.

Short of an overseas voyage, I’m starting to think seriously of the Lindsay Lohan method. Imagine days where all I have to do is write. It sounds like heaven to me. Even if I do have to wear jumpsuits. Even if I do have to be someone’s love puppet.

Works Cited

Fenech, Karen. “Finding Time to Write When You Have No Time To Write.” Absolute Write.  n.d. Web.  30 July 2010. http://absolutewrite.com/novels/finding_time_to_write.htm.

Gureghian, Sahag. “Finding the Time to Write.” We the Bistro. 22 February 2010. Web. 30 July 2010.  http://mediabistro.posterous.com/finding-the-time-to-write.

Ians. “Lindsay Lohan Spending Time in Jail Writing and Eating.” Entertainment Daily. 29 July 2010. Web. 30 July 2010. http://blog.taragana.com/e/2010/07/29/lindsay-lohan-spending-jail-time-writing-and-eating-153456/.





Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

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I am a dog person. I've owned several mutts, a Blue Tick Coon Hound, a Bull Terrier and four Great Danes. Or rather, they owned me. Right now we have three Great Danes in our casa. Allow me to introduce them.

Goblin is a 170 pound merle with golden eyes who was abused by a man, which means he is terrified of all men, which means he is terrified of me sometimes. Even after five years he still shivers and shakes. He's 7 yrs old.
Left to Right -Ghost, Goblin, Yvonne and Ghoulie

Ghost is a 120 pound white with blue eyes. She's deaf. She was set on fire when she was six months old and has a large scar by her front leg. Now she's 5 yrs old and other than being ravenous at mealtime, she's well adjusted, and as ditsy as can be.

Ghoulie is our newest. She's a 100 pound 10 month old puppy. She's white as well. And she is as blind as a Ray Charles bat. We just got her 4 weeks ago after a 4000 mile road trip in 5 days to Charlotte. Now, when she'd not sleeping in the crate, she's being watched by either Von or me. I spend about 3 hours every night repeated the words, watch it, no, and stop about 50,000 times. She is the canine equivalent of a toddler... a toddler on a hotplate. For she will leap wildly at anything and anyone who makes a noise near her.

I am relearning patience. I am enjoying the love of this new dog. I am also trying not to laugh when she runs into the wall. It's not funny. Not really. Well. maybe a little bit. Still, I try not to laugh.  Just so you know.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

NECON 30 REDUX

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NECON has come and gone. I feel at once energized and exhausted. But like always, I’m glad that I went.

For those of you who don’t know, NECON is one of the best kept secrets of the horror genre. It stands for North East Horror Writer’s Convention and was started by Bob Booth thirty years ago. Most of the time it’s held at Roger Williams University and is more of a summer camp than a convention. By that I mean instead of focusing on the panels, the convention focuses on events that bring people together. Whether it be mini-golf, croquet, midnight darts, softball or just hanging out in the quad until sunrise, most of the NECONites, as we are known, stress the Camp-esque qualities of NECON over the Con-esque qualities.

When I think of NECON I think of sitting drinking scotch with Peter Straub. I think of shooting the shit with Jack Ketchum, who sometimes calls me Warren, even though I’ve known him for more than ten years. I think of the Cabal, Brian Keene and FUKU, who are usually in attendance. I think of the New York Contingent with my spiritual mentor Douglass Clegg, my horror enabler Matt Swartz, Red Ranger Alexa DeMonterice, Ginjer Buchanan, Gina and Jane Osnovich, Nick Cato, Nick Kaufman, Tracy Carbone, Lisa Manetti, Dave Simms, Monica O’Rourke and Linda Addison. I think of Holly Newstein and Rick Hautala, who I know would be even better friends if I could make them move away from the frigid north. West Coasters Hal Bodner and John Skipp were a treat. Shout out to Rich Dansky, Jack Haringa and Nate Kenyon.

So what’s new from NECON this year? The rumors about me wearing a dress may or may not be true, but if they are true, it was only as part of a costume to roast Elizabeth Massie and Courtney Skinner. Joe Hill popped in and we had some nice conversations about motorcycles. Heather Graham came in and almost stole the show. Rio Youers slipped past border patrol and managed to grace his way into everyone’s hearts with his guitar and “aw shucks” demeanor. The McIlveen girls are almost all of legal age now which is about as dangerous as the US vs Russia circa 1980. Any attempt to touch them would certainly cause Mutually Assured Destruction, emanating from Papa John and any number of Big Brother NECONites.

It was awesome seeing James A. Moore and Chris Golden. These guys are at the top of their game and shine brightly. Speaking of the top of the game, F. Paul Wilson and Tom Monteleone were also there. Steve Spruill was supposed to come, but he had a last minute engagement and was sorely missed.

Some new folks I haven’t mentioned yet that it was a pleasure to meet (and those I rarely see) include Sheldon Higdon, William Carl, John Dixon, Mike Arruda, Danny Evarts, Scott McCoy, Jason Harris, Mike Meyers, Norm Prentiss, Shelby Rhodes, L.L. Soares, Doug Winter and Craig Wolf.

Images that will stick in my mind are: Mickey Sardina doing a belly dance in a Godzilla Costume (Hubba Wow); Anya Martin lip-sinking to “Tea for Two”; Dan Keohane, my favorite Hawaiian author, screeching Yeeehaaa over and over ( I thought he was going to pop out an eye); Kelly Laymon expending the energy drinks she drank four years ago by doing the 1980s Man Dance; James Roy Daley (killer new writer beating the bongos ); Matt Bechtel with his hand up his own ass (you had to be there); and of course Mattie Brahan faux tap dancing with a murderous Cthulhu doll.

I can’t forget to thank Sara Calia for picking me up and Dan Foley for dropping me off. Thanks to the Booths, one and all. And most of all thanks to my editor-in-chief from Abaddon Books, Jon Oliver, for sending 50 copies of Empire of Salt to the campers. They loved it and we left them wanting more.

I also can’t forget my amazing wife. While I might have been dressed as Elizabeth Massie, she also might have been dressed like Courtney Skinner. Is it me, or does she still look hot with a bald head and old man suspenders.

Thanks to everyone. If I left you out it was for no other reason than I ran out of steam. Each and every NECONite made my trip an excellent one. Now if only I can figure out how to get there without having to take ten different flights, with a dozen screaming babies on each one.

Hmm.

Where’s Dan Simmons and his Farcaster when you need it?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July Update - Zombies, BBQ Clams, Krystals Burgers and Rescued Great Danes

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Lots of things happening the last couple of weeks. Let's start with the trip to San Francisco. Yvonne and I went to spend time at our friend Rain Graves marriage. As a bonus, we also spent time with our nephew, Tad Dodson. When we weren't having an
From San Fran 2010
excellent and extravagant time at the wedding and ensuing reception, we visited The Castro, went to Marin County, Experienced the amazing culinary experience of BBQ Clams from Olema Farmhouse, and spent time walking the streets of San Francisco. It was an awesome weekend spent over Father's Day and my Birthday. (Pictures of the trip)

Next we found it necessary to travel 4000 miles in 5 days by car back and forth across America. Why? Because there was a blind Great Dane at a rescue in Charlotte, N.C. we needed to pick up and take home. This makes three Great Danes in the house, all of whom have their own quirks and problems. It's stunning how much time a blind toddler takes up, though. At 9 months old Mad Dog Ghoulie Sonar Brain is about 100 pounds and acts like a hyperactive toddler on a hotplate. Oh My. We have our hands full.
From Operation Get Ghoulie
(Pictures of the trip)

Then came the Fourth of July, but before that I had a book signing at Barnes and Nobles Westside Tucson. We sold all 20 copies and it was a blast. (Pictures)

Then the 4th, then I was away for a week on business to Virginia Beach.

Now I'm back, but I also had a book signing in Bisbee, AZ yesterday. We sold 6 books, but the store kept six. Add that to the 12 that was burned in the truck fire,
From Bisbee Signing
then that makes 24. Yes. I said truck fire. Evidently, a truck from Ingram's Oregon warehouse had a tragic accident and caught fire. The driver was hospitalized. No books survived. (Pictures)

Now today is a relatively peaceful day. I got up early and walked all three dogs, watered plants, fed dogs, made coffee and a frittata for my wife who's been under appreciated these last few weeks.

Next week is NECON. It's going to be a special one.