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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Introducing MULTIPLEX FANDANGO

I am proud to announce that the hype machine has been turned on for my first ever short story collection. This went out on the Dark Regions Newsletter today:

Available for preorder in May is a best-of collection from Weston Ochse with an introduction from Joe R. Lansdale and cover artwork by Vincent Chong!

(Check out the amazing cover)

Multiplex Fandango is subtitled "A Weston Ochse Reader" for good reason. This collection contains a comprehensive representation of short fiction and novellas by the Bram Stoker award winner and Pushcart Prize nominee, including his recent powerful Stoker finalist short story, "The Crossing Of Aldo Rey" and his brilliant Stoker finalist novella, Redemption Roadshow, as well as acclaimed favorites, "Catfish Gods" and "Big Rock Candy Mountain". Also included in this omnibus volume of sixteen short stories and novellas are six original new works of short fiction written especially for this collection including such future classics as "Tarzan Doesn't Live Here Anymore", "Low Men Weeping", and the stunning, "City Of Joy".


"This is a book that could almost have been written for me."
- Joe R. Lansdale on Multiplex Fandango

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Great Dane Railway to Yuma


 The Yuma Book Tour went awesomely. We survived the dust storms and the driving rain. We outlasted my GPSs decision not to work. And we met --again-- a slew of extraordinary people, not to mention the Nazi Gold Hunter.


Let me tell you about it.

Liljana, Steve, Rudy, Landi and Lucas at B&N

They'd prefer to sit in the front seat with us
It's a six hour drive from our house in southeastern Arizona to Yuma in southwestern Arizona. Normally that wouldn't be an issue. Yvonne would kick back and I'd put the car on cruise, zone out until aliens or highway patrol provoked a response. But this was no ordinary trip. Ordinarily we don't bring any dogs with us, much less three Great Danes. So the 375 pounds of dogs in the back of our SUV provoked me to be vigilant that they didn't decide to play fetch, fight with each other, chase mailmen, or chew the SUV from the inside out. The Mitsubishi is NOT a chew toy!

But alas, this is about a book signing, not the dogs. Or is it?

Like a barrel of monkeys
We'd arranged the book signing back in January. The assistant store manager of the Yuma Barnes and Nobles, Sarah James, took it upon herself to take last years inventory of zombie goodies and provide them as giveaways. Zombie tattoos. Adopt a Zombie Kits. Zombie bookmarks. Etc. She also, with the encouragement of the staff, contacted the local zombie club. (who knew?) Press releases went out the the local newspaper, the army base and the marine corps base, and National Public Radio. Word of mouth had it that two horror authors were coming into town.

This is how it's supposed to look.
Back to us on the road. The dogs were actually great. Ghoulie, our blind Great Dane, tried to chew the car only a couple times. Without sight, it's one of her tactile outlets. We got through Tucson without a hitch. We got past Picacho Peak and Eloy. We stopped to get gas. Then we turned on to I-8. For those of you who don't know about Interstate 8, it is proof that there is gold at the end of the rainbow. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, along the road. Empty swirling masses of desert only interrupted by the occasional tree and the ever-present and ever-optimistic border patrol agent. By the time we passed Gila Bend, the weather started to change.

Yuma is known as the sunniest city in America. It's on their brochures. They're proud about it. But when horror authors come into down, there is no sun. As you can see from the pictures, we hit not one but two dust storms. At least 40 mph winds. The dust was so thick we couldn't see 20 feet in front of us. A tumbleweed (yes my East Coast peeps who've only seen them in Roadrunner Cartoons) the size of a Fahrvergn├╝gen-trumpeted VW Bug hit us broadside. He hit another and carried it on our grill for 50 miles. The sunniest city in America my ass.

This is NOT how it's supposed to look.
But we got there. And we checked into the flea bag motel that allows great big dogs with no extra cost. And we took the dogs to their Great Dane Mafia Hook-up. Thanks right now goes to Amy Breckenridge Smith for her Great Dane Mafia connections. I contacted her and asked if she knew someone who had Danes in Yuma. Turns out she did and they own the kennel Urban K9. I contacted the kennel owner, Victoria Dixon, who offered to watch our dogs for us while we were at the signing. Saved us tons of money and gave the dogs the chance to play and bark with other dogs.

So we hit the store. After we navigated the city using Kentucky windage because my GPS decided AT THAT FREAKING MOMENT to stop working. Still, I'm pretty good at not getting lost so we found it. I'd like to say there were lines out the door, but there weren't. We got inside and found our set-up in the back of the store beside the sports books and in front of the bathroom. It was a good location because of the proximity to the bathroom. Most people used it. The problem is that they were so intent on reaching the bathroom, they didn't even see us. So we adjusted the location twice, ending up near the front door in the end. And the minute we did, we sold six books in five minutes.

Beth taking the Zombie Test
Sarah had created a Zombie Test for people to take. Shown here is Beth taking the test and Acing it. She loves zombies and had no trouble with it. It asked questions about the nature of zombies, what would you do if you are being chased, etc. I made each person take the test. We treated it like a master's thesis. I'd ask them the questions out loud and they'd have to defend their position. It was a lot of fun.

Representin' Zombies Worldwide
Cafe Manager Holding a Zombie Heart Cupcake
We probably sold 20 books for the store that day. We had a lot of conversations. The zombie club came. They all bought books. A lot of folks just wanted to chat and that's always cool and encouraged. Yvonne went to look for something for a moment, and when she was gone, two diminutive retirees came up to me. One sat down in Yvonne's chair and the other, the woman, stood patiently. I, of course, offered her my chair, which she took. They were unfazed when someone asked them for an autograph. They frankly didn't understand. They were from Ukraine and didn't speak great English. So when I signed a book, they finally noticed something was going on. I explained to them what I wrote and it scared them. (Of course it did) Turns out, Ivan was looking for a book on buried Nazi gold because he'd heard that there was treasure in the surrounding desert. He's so lucky. I could have sold him the Brooklyn Bridge to the Seven Cities of Cibola where I know Hitler personally buried his stash of gold, but I refrained.
Yvonne Can Find Great Danes in Bookstores

When Yvonne came back they moved on. My the force be with them.

The guys at the Cafe were awesome. The Cafe Manager took it upon himself to create a special menu of drinks and cupcakes. They sold like Doritos at a post smoking festival. Everyone was ordering Zombie Blood, Graveyard Dirt, Ghostly Mist and The Cure. I had Graveyard Dirt with was an oreo cookie drink with a gummie worm on the bottom. Yum. Then they had the cupcake called Zombie Heart. It looked amazing!

Three hours and it was all over.

We truly had a blast.

The hotel room later with the three Danes was crowded but doable.

The authentic Indian food lamb dishes were actually beef (you can't fool a Welshman), but they were tasty.

Good Looking Author Seeks Booklovers.
It was good news all around.

Thanks to Barnes and Nobles. Thanks to Sarah and the crew at the store. You all were awesome. Most of all, thanks to the People of Yuma-- you Yumanites were great hosts to us.

Until next time.

Steve eating a zombie heart
Danes in the hotel room
Note the zombie drink and food menu


The rest of the pictures (there are about 70 of them) can be found at this location.  CLICK TO SEE. 

Yvonne and I will be at the Tucson Festival of Books this coming weekend. CLICK HERE to see our itinerary so you know where to find us.

Monday, March 7, 2011

On Sherman Alexie

Allow me to introduce him to you, if you've never heard of him... or have heard of him but don't know exactly who he is or what he's about.


Taken from The Best American Short Stories, 1994.
But before I start, let me make an admission.

So here’s this thing that’s kind of freaky. I always thought Sherman Alexie was an old guy. Maybe the mistake came from me going back to get my Master of Fine Arts in my early forties. Although I’d seen Smoke Signals and read his poetry in short fiction, no one had ever made me read his work. Once I’m made to read someone, it lends a sort of supernormal importance to the work and the author. My own ageism caused me to assume that Sherman must be older. After all, someone can’t be that successful and actually be younger than me, can they?

Of course they can. I am a victim of my own ageism. Shame on me.

As it turns out, Sherman is a year younger than I am.

I heard him on the radio while driving to work recently. He was on Radio Times, being interviewed by Marty Moss because one of his books was selected by Philadelphia for their One Book Program.
http://whyy.org/cms/radiotimes/2011/02/21/sherman-alexie-war-dances-2/













From NPR: Two books by Sherman Alexie, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" and “War Dances” have been selected by the Free Library of Philadelphia as this year's One Book One Philadelphia. A returning guest to Radio Times, Marty Moss-Coane interviewed the novelist, poet and film-maker about “War Dances” after its publication in 2009, which went on to win the 2010 PEN/Faulkner award for fiction. Alexie grew up on an Indian Reservation fifty miles north of Spokane Washington and "War Dances” is a collection of short stories filled with characters dealing with complex issues as wide reaching as a failed marriage, alcoholic death, hate crime, obituary writing and courtship. Alexie has received many awards including the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award, the O Henry Award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the 2007 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature for "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian."

I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. Sherman is clearly a political animal, a creation of his reservation upbringing as a member of the Spokan Indian Nation, and has the ability to get to the point using beautiful and deadly arrows.

I was first introduced to him through his short story “Tonto and the Lone Ranger Fistfight in Heaven.” It discusses the popular beliefs whites have for Indians* in such a terrifically metaphorical manner, it had me laughing out loud (Sherman uses the term Indian rather than Native American because he believes that they should own the word that was once used to demean them).



Since then, whenever I have the chance, I read Sherman Alexie.

“Writing has liberated me from poverty, liberated me from fundamentalist thinking,” I remember him saying in the interview. Frankly, I think his success rests in that he has so much to say. There are significant problems with Indians and reservations. We look at Casinos and wave this away saying, they’re rich, they’re fine. If it were only so.

Poverty of Mirrors

You wake these mornings alone and nothing
can be forgiven; you drink the last
swallow of warm beer from the can
beside the bed, tell the stranger sleeping
on the floor to go home. It's too easy

to be no one with nothing to do, only
slightly worried about the light bill
more concerned with how dark day gets.

You walk alone on moist pavement wondering
what color rain is in the country.
Does the world out there revolve around rooms
without doors or windows? Centering the mirror
you found in the trash, walls seem closer
and you can never find the right way

out, so you open the fridge again
for a beer, find only rancid milk and drink it
whole. This all tastes too familar.
Copyright ©1992 Sherman Alexie

The sense of laconic loss is so palpable.

What I also learned in the interview was that Sherman is passionate about basketball.  He has argued before the court to keep the Seattle Supersonics in Seattle and watches the game like it is his second life. In this poem he paints a visual picture of Indians and basketball:

From The Unauthorized Biography of Me
Late summer night on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Ten Indi-
ans are playing basketball on a court barely illuminated by the
streetlight above them. They will play until the brown, leather ball
is invisible in the dark. They will play until an errant pass jams a
finger, knocks a pair of glasses off the face, smashes a nose and
draws blood. They will play until the ball bounces off the court
and disappears into the shadows.

This may be all you need to know about Native American literature.

(Borrowed from the Brooklyn Rail)

Daniel Grassian in his book Understanding Sherman Alexie says that this description suggests that “perhaps the fierceness, commitment, and drive with which they play basketball represents the larger, centuries-long struggle against colonialism that still exists today.”

I suddenly want to watch Indians playing basketball.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in HeavenAfter listening to the interview, I sat down and wrote a complete short story called "Boot." I was so inspired by listening to him, so energized by his honesty and art, that I couldn’t help but do so. I wasn’t raised on a Res, and I’m not downtrodden or underprivileged, but I have been in situations. So I took one of those situations and wrote it thinking of Sherman Alexie. I chose boot camp and the cadences they use to brainwash us.

And it’s good.



Sunday, March 6, 2011

Read an Ebook Week with Weston Ochse and Live Dangerously

Three eBooks from Weston Ochse for you this week-

Butterfly Winter
Butterfly Winter. Inspirational thriller. Sort of science fiction. Sort of military. Just 99 cents.

A bomber crew crash lands in a remote area of China after dropping their bombs on Chinese cities in a terrible future war. The survivors are embraced by a hamlet filled with children, only to learn that doom might have come to claim them all.

Excerpt: Pearson stared down at his hands as they shook above the small keyboard. This was his moment. He had a choice. He had the power to make a difference. A statistic flashed through his mind: Shanghai has 861 regular secondary schools with 795,400 students and 76,600 teaching staff. Shanghai has 1,021 primary schools with 788,600 students and a teaching staff of 61,300. The attendance rate of school-age children is 99.99%. What got him every time was the attendance rate. 99.99 percent. Every time he remembered this fact he couldn't help but imagine that the one tenth of one percent who didn't go to school must surely have felt left out. And in the Xu Hui district, in the southern part of Shanghai west of the Huangpu River, primary target of the Morning Star and sister city to Irvine, California, 451,000 students were just waking for school.

 ~~~~~~~~~~




Tomes of the Dead: Empire Of Salt
Tomes of the Dead: Empire Of Salt Zombie fiction. Character driven. The mass market paperback sold out in USA stores. Just $4.79

A DREAD TIDE! The Olivers have a chance to make a new home by the Salton Sea. Looking forward to Californian fun, sun and adventure they are unprepared for the ecological devastation they find. The sea is rotting, the town of Bombay Beach is dying and the citizens are like bait, waiting to be plucked from their homes by what comes from the sea. For just off the coast something lies in wait, a government secret gone wrong, a deadly experiment that has created a breed of zombie like no other.

Beware the coming of the green, the townsfolk say. Beware the coming of the night! 


 ~~~~~~~~~~

Scary Rednecks & Other Inbred Horrors
Scary Rednecks & Other Inbred Horrors. I know the title sounds crazy. This is the book that broke us on the map and was immensely popular when it first came out in 2000. Just $2.99.

Review

"This is better than the hype.  I don't want to go overboard, but stories in the book will remind many readers of the good stuff by Edward Lee and Joe Lansdale and probably Bill Faulkner."  --Richard Laymon

"Once a year, the field of horror literature produces a short story, novel, anthology or collection that pushes the limits, breaks new ground and raises the genre to new heights. This is such a book." --Brian Keene

SCARY REDNECKS collects twenty-three stories of horror, madness, and humor set in the rural south of America’s heartland. The stories run the gauntlet from terror to outrageousness. Packed with everything from abusive parents, cannibals, deer hunters, demonic catfish, UFO abductions, voodoo priestesses, vampire moonshiners, and other Appalachian monstrosities; it will amuse you, disturb you, and leave you hungering for more.
 ~~~~~~~~~~
About the author: Weston Ochse is the Bram Stoker-winning author of five novels, including Scarecrow Gods, Empire of Salt and Blaze of Glory. His short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in comic books, magazines and Writer's Digest How-To guides. He lives in southern Arizona.

Weston's andTucson's Festival of Books

Here's a great website put together by Lee Whiteside that has all the Arizona authors SF authors and our locations during the festival. I think it's awesome that all of them are coming to my festival. And I'm glad to have them showing off their wonderful books.

In addition to me, you can find internationally know authors such as Alice Hoffman, J.A. Jance, Elmore Leonard, Philip Caputo, John Lescroart, T Jefferson Parker, and Simon Ortiz. They've all graciously accepted my invitation and will be joining me for this celebration of The Book as Art. They'll be signing, giving lectures and readings, and making themselves available to you.

If you want to find me specifically, I can be found a:

Beyond Belief in the Southwest
When: Saturday 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Where: Integrated Learning Center – Room 150
Genre: SciFi/Fantasy
Authors Jeff Mariotte, Charles de Lint, Weston Ochse
Moderators Mark McLemore

Eagerly Awaiting the Zompocalypse
When: Saturday 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Where: Integrated Learning Center – Room 150
Genre: SciFi/Fantasy
Authors Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, Jeff Mariotte
Moderators Brian Gross

And I'll be signing with Yvonne Navarro at the Mysterious Galaxy Tent at 2:00 PM (Booth #249 - #251)

Empire of Salt: Tomes of the DeadIn addition to books, authors and publishers, I've arranged with the city of Tucson to provide food vendors of all types to highlight the myriad flavors available in the Southwest.

Scarecrow GodsIf you want to keep track of me while I'm at the Festival, you can email me at westonochse@gmail.com with your location and we can get together to shoot the breeze and talk about how awesome my festival is. This email shoots straight to my phone.

I'll be signing copies of Empire of Salt: Tomes of the Dead as well as  Scarecrow Gods. You can either order them here and bring them, or you can get copies at the Festival. Whichever is easiest for you.



Cheers!