ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Velvet Dogma - Orphaned No More


Velvet Dogma.

It rolls off the tongue doesn't it.

Gotta love that title. I've loved it for six years. Yes. Six years. Because that's how long ago I first wrote the novel. Fresh on the heels of winning the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel with Scarecrow Gods, I was told of a publisher who was looking for something specific. They wanted a novel with a strong female protagonist. Hell, I can do that. I did that recently with Tomes of the Dead: Empire Of Salt. But back then, it was a definite stretch. Yet the opportunity was there so I wrote the outline and first three chapters and pitched the novel. Amazingly the editor loved my idea and accepted it. She didn't offere me a contract, but she told me to write it. And I did.

It took me five months. That was the fastest I could write it. I edited it. Friends and readers read and critiqued it. And six months later I turned it in. The editor read it. Then I got a message on my answering machine. It went something like this, "Wes, this is XXX. I want you to know that I'm accepting Velvet Dogma, but I'm leaving tomorrow for a new job."

For me it was all good news. That is until the next day, or really a few weeks later when I tried to contact the new editor.


More Silence.

Even more silence.

Then I cold called the new editor. She knew who I was and told me that she wasn't working with any of her prdecessor's projects. This, my friends, is what the undustry calls 'orphaning' a book. I was stunned. I had a novel proposal accepted. I wrote it. I submitted it. It was accepted. And all this from a major New York house. Now it was back in my lap with no love.

I half heartedly sent it out to another publisher who immediately loved the idea. So immediate that two years later, they got back to me and told me that they didn't want it.

At that point I as pretty sick of the whole thing. It sat. I think I asked my agent to send it to one or two publishers. I can't remember. I had other novels published and written in the meantime. I'd move on.

Finally, this year, I got over myself. I decided to dust it off and publish it as an eBook. After all, Velvet Dogma is a damn good book. It was accepted by a major house, only to be orphaned when an editor packed her bags and moved on.

HuskShit happens. Then you die. Then I publish an eBook. Or actually, Crossroads Publishing publishes it. I went to them and asked if they wanted it. They jumped at the idea. The cool thing was that I'd been thinking about this for some time now. In fact, I'd been in contact with Danielle Tunstall, whom I'd discovered this spring looking for some pictures for a different project. Her photos and digital enhancements are just amazing, as you can see. She did the cover for Matt Hults' book HUSK. I contacted him and we talked about her, then I got her contact information and bought the rights to the picture. I wanted to make sure that this picture was the cover. Not only is it perfect for the novel, but it has a lot of movement.

So what's Velvet Dogma about you ask?

In the year 2040, the world has finally achieved the perfect merging of human and machine by developing a method by which the computer has direct integration into the brain. Called Personal Ocular Devices, or PODS, the interface fits over the eye feeding information directly along the optic nerve into the brain, allowing minds and computers to become one.

But not for Rebecca Mines who has been held in solitary confinement for the last 20 years. Arrested under the 2002 Patriot Act as a cyber-terrorist for unleashing a program called Velvet Dogma, her parole restricts access to all computers and all but the simplest of machines. Although the government is still fearful that she'll resume her previous profession, Rebecca wants nothing more than to find a place to exist in peace. She has a life to live, and twenty years of personal stagnation from which to recover.

But she discovers that things have changed dramatically since she’s been in prison. Not only is organ theft sanctioned, but all of her organs have already been levied to the highest bidder. No sooner does she promise the judge that she’ll be a law-abiding citizen, then she finds herself on the run from not only Chinese Black Hearts, eager to confiscate her organs, but the authorities who realize that they’ve let her out too soon.

Velvet Dogma will be published in September.

If you're an eBook reviewer, let me know. I'll make sure you get a complimentary copy.

More to come...

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