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 22, 2011

Living Dangerously Weekly - Frog Stranglers and Monsoons

This post seems longer than it is to me because this is the third fourth fifth time I've written it. For some reason Blogger hasn't been saving my edits. But I'm on to it. I know what it's trying to do (DRIVE ME CRAZY). Seems the new editor won't work in Firefox and I have to use creepy old IE.

Anyway...

For those of you who follow Living Dangerously, you'll remember that it was just a month ago when my little corner of Arizona was threatened by fires. We were evacuated twice. More than 60 homes burned. The Huachuca Mountains were on fire for weeks. It was a humbling and terrifying experience. Which is why the irony of complaining about too much rain isn't lost on me. And not only is it the rain, but it's also the humidity. I put a battery in my daughter's car this morning and was drenched in sweat. I mean come on. I might as well live on the East Coast if you're going to do that to me.

 
But the gratification comes with the knowledge that we only have about a week of this left. Which is awesome. Since July 4th we've been hit daily with frog stranglers, worm gurglers... Monsoons. The desert soil isn't made to soak up water, so it sheets to the lowest level. With the mountains burned and deforested, those next to the mountain are getting hit the hardest.

 
Probably the craziest thing are the frogs. The Arizona Spadefoot Frog to be exact. These damn things estivate (sleep in dormancy in the dry soil until the monsoons hit. It's like having dehydrated frogs. Just add water and POOF!


Instant Frog!

And with a thousand of these screaming in the night, it's something out of a horror movie.

So that's been my week.

Projects currently working on:
  • Blood Ocean (Abaddon)
  • Seal Tealm 666 Outline (Thomas Dunne)
  • Living Death Race 2000 (Books of the Dead)
  • Black Fever (With Mike McCarty)
  • Blight (Comic Book)
  • Killing Time (Comic Book)
  • 4 short stories
  • 2 Novellas
  • and a partridge in a pear tree

 

 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dread Central Fandangos

Dread Central is a pretty awesome clearinghouse of everything horror. They decided to take a look at MF. Here's an excerpt of what they said --

"There are names in the field of horror literature that everyone knows. Names like Barker, King, Lovecraft, and Straub are firmly implanted in the collective consciousness and most people can tell you who they are. Then there are names that you instinctively know you've heard, know you should know, yet can't remember why. These names include some of the best writers that the genre has to offer. In the sphere of horror authors, these guys are at the top of their game, even if mainstream success hasn't caught up with them yet. Such a guy is Weston Ochse, and while you might not have heard of him, he's considered a writer's writer, damned fine at his craft, and someone the rest of the horror loving world should be reading. Here's an example of why."

To find out when you can order this book or just want information about my comings and goings, sign up for my Living Dangerously Newsletter (top right) so we can live dangerously together.I promise I won't spam you.  Or just go to Dark Regions to get it while copies last.

Reposted from http://multiplex-fandango.blogspot.com/

Friday, July 15, 2011

Nancy Goats - Undead Rat Reviews and Dad Talks

Undead Rat reviewed Nancy Goats recently. (For those who don't know, Nancy Goats is part of the Delirium Novella Series. It's a small book. It had a print run of 150 copies (ten left) and is now available in digital.)




This was a tough story to write. I wanted to deal with the issue of identity, especially from the perspective of a young man coming out. Doubly hard is that I can only view this from the outside in, but I hoped that my empathy would carry me through.

Here's what I wrote for the introduction: I originally conceived of Nancy Goats in 2002. I’d written a straw man short story, but wasn’t exactly happy about how it turned out, so I held onto it for awhile. The biggest issue was that although I wanted to write about gay issues, especially because of a recent rash of gay bashings in L.A. at the time, I didn’t want to be disrespectful to anyone. Thanks to Mikey Huyck and Mike Oliveri for looking at early versions of this and providing advice.
Mississippi Sissy
Thanks also to my Kuai Lua instructor in San Pedro, Mark Nunez, for not only teaching me Hawaiian blend jujutsu, but also for letting me be the bouncer at several MMA matches before UFC was a big deal. That gave me the opportunity to see firsthand fighters and their trainers in small octagon matches in downtown L.A. and Wilmington. I met the normal and the crazy. Most often I couldn’t tell the difference between
the two.
Thanks also to Kevin Sessums for his memoir, Mississippi Sissy. Reading this amazing piece of work reminded me that I had yet to finish Nancy Goats and inspired me to complete

So I wrote it. Delirium Books solicited a novella from me for their series and I decided to turn this one in. Serra did the amazing cover (it's a humanized goat in drag), then it came out. For awhile there was nothing but crickets. Then came two reviews back to back. Both of them slammed the book. Both condemned it for not being horror (I think it is). Both also had problems with a thing that happens just over halfway through the book. I can't go into it here, because it is a major spoiler, but there were several  foreshadowing events.

The Civic Literature of Walt WhitmanSo I sat down and talked with my dad about this book. First of all, let me tell you two things. 1. My dad is an English PHD and a full professor. 2. My dad never reads my work.  For some reason, however, he read this one. Interesting, because it is pretty damn violent and not something I'd consider suitable for a Whitman scholar (My Dad's book is just there) and an expert on everything Shakespeare. Still, he parsed the violence, understanding that it was needed. When he finished, he called me. He said that he admired my skill with this story, because although it's violent and although it's decidedly horror, it is at its core a literary story.

Before all of you all go getting your pants in a pretzel, what he meant by that was that the story was centered around the emotional well-being of a character and the issue of identity, rather than anything concrete or physical. There was no quest. There was no physical goal. All there was was a figurative understanding that had to be attained before the story could conclude. I thought this was interesting and appreciate that my dad read one of my books. I also appreciate his comments because I think it puts some of the reviews in perspective. Not that these guys don't read or can't understand a literary story, but I camouflaged it too well. They weren't expecting it. They thought they were going to get a straightforward horror tale of violence and payback, but instead they got something else. Now I get it.

Undead Rat blurbs the story wonderfully: "Nancy Goats is violent but not gory. It’s full of hatred and dehumanization because of differences between people. And it’s about one young man who has struggled to make an identity for himself and then having to fight to resist the Family Pain’s attempt to brutalize and strip away his humanity; lest Paco truly becomes a goat."

Try and pop on over to Undead Rat's Website and give him some props, if nothing more than to click his Publicity Box on top.

Nancy Goats can be found in three places. It's at Amazon for Digital. It's also at Darkside Digital and will get you discounts on other Horror Mall products. And there's also 10 copies of the limited hardcover left at a reasonable price.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I guess now I'm a certified Badass!

Excerpt from Bastardized Version:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


WHY I'M BADASS: Weston Ochse

ART BY RUSS DICKERSON

Tennessee. Humpback humpback, crooked letter crooked letter. Wait. That's Mississippi.

Okay, let's start over. Tennessee. Home to the Dollywood Mountains and the timeless classic, Hee-Haw. The land is covered verdant rolling hills, cradling Nashville to its ample bosom - the town that brought us Miley Cyrus and Garth Brooks and Regions Bank. Tennessee, known for the dental hygene and higher education of the top 5% of its citizenry - beating out Arkansas and Mississippi by mere fractions. (Thank god for Mississippi and Alabama, sayeth the Arkansan, or we'd always be in last place.) Tennessee, where the barbecue is more piquant than sweet due to the copious use of vinegar.

In this fiery cauldron of country music, religious fervor, snake handling, and gigantic breasts, a warrior was born. A warrior unlike the world has seen before.

A warrior to praise before all others. A warrior whose coming was foretold in the Book of the Dead and the 1957 Almanac.

The original badass, Weston Ochse.

Tennessee, where Weston doesn't live anymore. He lives in Arizona, where all the great warriors of this dimension go to fuck and feast eternally at the Table of Kings, where they serve fajitas, higado encebellado and really strong margaritas, sometimes topped with a shot of Grand Mariner (for only $4.99 more), and other delectable victuals for your eupeptic delight and where it takes a month to get a reservation. There. That's where he lives. Badassville.

Please give a standing 21 gun salute to author Weston Ochse, total badass.

----------

JHJ: Why are you badass? Please explain your badassery.

WO: I’ve been to 55 countries, jumped out of aircraft, swam in the Coral Sea, hiked through Death Valley, eaten snakes, bugs and maggots, fought for the honor of women, friends and my country, stared down enemy soldiers and fired rounds in certifiable anger. I entered the crucible of badassery and was spat out the other side as a 230 pound man who can kill with chopsticks, eviscerate with a machete, and remove any obstacle by placing the claymore mine with the side that says ‘This Side Towards Enemy,’ at whatever target I desire and depressing the clicker. I’ve driven tanks, fired artillery, and boarded U.S. Navy ships at sea. I’ve faced down cannibals in Papua New Guinea, skipped along the Great Wall of China, played a game of golf through two warring tribes, and pissed on the DMZ between North and South Korea. I’ve conducted jungle operations in the Golden Triangle, ran from four forest fires, and been stung by more than 200 bees and yellowjackets. I am the badass of badasses. I’ve convinced bad people to tell me secrets and removed terrorists to places where they can do the least amount of harm. I’ve walked into prisons in more countries than a redneck has toes and come out the other side without a hair out of place. I’ve been knocked out three times, had my nose broken eight times, broke my hand, my wrist, my ankles and still came back fighting. I’ve been a bouncer at UFC cage matches and stared down more badasses that most people see in their entire life. I’m a badass father to two badass kids, son to badass parents, and husband to a wife so badass, I had to up my badassery just to marry her. Yeah, I’m a badass.

JHJ: And you forgot to add that we've both seen General Wesley Clark buck naked. That guy ain't afraid of dropping trou right in the Little Rock Racquet Club locker room, let me tell you. Moving on. What’s the most bad-fucking-ass thing you’ve ever done?

For the rest of my badassery, go here.

Southern GodsPS. John Hornor Jacobs is a badass himself. Keep your eye out for Southern Gods, coming soon from Night Shade. I read an advanced readers copy. That is one Badass Southern Cthulhu book.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Passage

The Passage: A Novel I'd heard about The Passage since early last year. Then I listened to an interview with the author on NPR. I have to admit, I was immediately intrigued. But like most of us, our TBR piles are gargantuan. So it took me until this summer to get around to reading it.


And I'm glad I did. I didn't think I'd love this book as much as I did. Such a broad sweeping tale, I was doubtful Cronin could hold my interest. But he succeeded not only because of his plotting and pacing, but also by using different narrative framing devices. The latter showed a writing musculature I didn't expect. Cronin's use of stream of consciousness, 3rd Person, first person flashback, or diary entry invigorated The Passage and kept it fresh.

Looking forward to The Twelve. 


Here's an excerpt from the NPR interview that has been archived:

Prof. CRONIN: I decided that I would go about writing this book the way I wrote all my other books. The difference here was one of scale and I suppose also urgency. All novels come down essentially to moments in which characters make choices that they can't un-choose - where things change, they can't be changed back. You can do this at, you know, with an awkward dinner party. Or you can do it by strapping your characters essentially to a runaway train of a plot, which is what I decided I was going to do.

Plot is different from story. Plot is something you can describe in the abstract, it's a series of events, every book's has got one. But story is where plot and character meet - thats where they combine. And I'd learned to be a writer by writing about people, by writing about characters. And that just because I had this very large canvas and very energetic plot, I wasnt going to go about it differently in any way.
I've never met even a secondary character that I didnt want to spend time with and figure them out. For the duration in which Im writing them, they feel like the main character to me. And the way I go about this is I always make sure that I know every character's secret, what they're not telling anybody. And once I do that, their humanity just kind of ignites.

But the range of characters in this book is, you know, much broader than anything I'd attempted before. And each time I went into a new character, you know, a homeless man in Houston, Texas who ends up on Death Row; an FBI agent; a sort of mystical nun from Sierra Leone - I mean, this is the kind of range that I had in this book and it was it was a lot of work and required a lot of concentration. But it was also really a lot of fun to do it. I got to have this whole vast cast of imaginary friends for the duration of writing the book.

Slight Spoiler--The only problem I did have was with his character Auntie. She was too much like Mother Abigail. Her character was unneeded and served only to remind me continuously of Stephen King's The Stand. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

House of Fear

House of Fear was an invitation only anthology from Solaris Books. Known previously for being a straight science fiction imprint, since it's recent purchase by Abaddon Books, Solaris has now branched out to horror.

The editor invited me to the anthology, which by the way, is not an automatic acceptance. I've had my share of times when I just didn't deliver. Thankfully I delivered this time. The editor used the words Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon and my name in the same sentence for his introduction to my story. This actually made me blush. 

From the cover copy: The tread on the landing outside the door, when you know you are the only one in the house. The wind whistling through the eves, carrying the voices of the dead. The figure glimpsed briefly through the cracked window of a derelict house.

Editor Jonathan Oliver brings horror home with a collection of haunted house stories by some of the finest writers working in the horror genre, including Joe R. Lansdale, Sarah Pinborough, Lisa Tuttle, Christopher Priest, Adam L. G. Nevill, Nicholas Royle, Chaz Brenchley, Christopher Fowler, Gary Kilworth, Weston Ochse, Eric Brown, Tim Lebbon, Nina Allan, Stephen Volk, Paul Meloy and more.

The full table of contents:

Objects in Dreams may be Closer than they Appear - Lisa Tuttle
Pied-a-terre - Stephen Volk
In The Absence of Murdock - Terry Lamsley
Driving The Milky Way - Weston Ochse
The Windmill - Rebecca Levene
Moretta - Garry Kilworth
Hortus Conclusus - Chaz Brenchley
The Dark Space in The House in The House in The Garden at The Centre of The World - Robert Shearman
The Muse of Copenhagen - Nina Allan
An Injustice - Christopher Fowler
The Room Upstairs - Sarah Pinborough
Villanova - Paul Meloy
Widow's Weeds - Christopher Priest
The Doll's House - Jonathan Green
Inside/Out - Nicholas Royle
The House - Eric Brown
Trick of The Light - Tim Lebbon
What Happened to Me - Joe R. Lansdale


UK Release date - 1st October - ISBN 978-1-907992-06-3
US Release date - 27th September - ISBN 978-1-907992-07-0