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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Weston's Favorites of 2012

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This is my 2012 Capsule of all my favorites for the year. I'm going to bury it in your psyches and fifty years from now we're going to open it and laugh at how silly we were back in 2012. Of course, I'm sure some of you will already laugh at me, because you are just so damned ahead of your time. All is well, though. Feel free to make fun of me as you get this not-so-rare glimpse into my thinking.

Favorite Word - Slacks. I was pretty upset when the New Yorker pegged this terrific word as the worst word in the English language? I mean, who the hell do they think they are? I'm going to make it my mission to use this word at least once a day. Slacks. Watch for it. There will be a resurgence.



Favorite Saying - "I have binders full of women." Gotta love that joker. He's a peach. I laugh every time I hear it. When I had binders full of women, my mother got mad and threw them away.

Favorite Political Meme - This one of Bill Clinton is so profanely adolescent, I can't help but laugh, with the presidents expression saying, "Oh, here we go."

Favorite Comic Book - Conan the Barbarian, Dark Horse

Favorite Fast Food Sandwich - Carl's Junior Jalepeno Turkey Burger. I know it's Turkey but I can't help it. The sauce, the jalapenos, the crisp lettuce, all serve to compliment the burger.

Favorite TV Show - Californication. (sorry. I'm a HANK MOODY FAN!!!!)

Favorite Song - Hey, Ho. The Lumineers.It's just so damned catchy and I don't want it to end.



Favorite Song You Never Heard Of (with video) - Anywhich Way by Scissor Sisters*




Favorite Video of the Year - Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders "Call Me Maybe" By Carly Rae Jepson Military Tribute by U.S. Military - This makes me smile every single time I watch it. Tell me you didn't smile. Come on. I dare you.





Favorite Weirdest Video of the Year:- Night and Day by Hot Chip or as NPR says, the video that makes you want to join and egg-worshiping disco cult




Favorite Beer - 1554  

Favorite Wine - Cupcake, Petite Syrah, Central Coast, 2010

Favorite Video Game - Skyrim

Favorite Novel -Tie between Westlake Soul (Rio Youers) and The Ritual (Adam Nevill). These books couldn't be more different. In fact, The Ritual (I believe) actually came out in 2011, which would make Rio's the best of this year. But since I read both of them in 2012, they're my 2012 books. I seriously encourage you that if you haven't read either of these, do it. Seriously.  And wear slacks and eat turkey burgers while you're doing it.

Favorite Trilogy - Dog Faced Gods by Sarah Pinborough

Favorite Recipe - This is something special. I don't usually share, but here it is.

Original which inspired my recipe
Weston's Smoke Salmon Pasta

3 tablespoons cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 large tomato (when chopped, no juice)
6 - 8 oz pound smoked salmon
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound pasta (preferably linguini), cooked past al dente, drained, and tossed with 3 additional tbs olive oil
Freshly grated imported Parmesan cheese

Cut into small, equal-sized pieces tomato, salmon, onion, add dill and let rest in refrigerator for 1 hour in ceramic bowl.

Cook pasta.

In a large skillet, heat half the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add refrigerated ingredients and sauté until translucent, but not browned (about 5 minutes). Pour in the cream and reduce to simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Be careful how much salt you add because the smoked salmon and capers are both salty. Add pasta to each single serving bowl, and add ingredients to pasta in bowl. Toss pasta with ingredients to coat. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of dill. If served family style, then use one large bowl.

*Note: I had this at Anthony's Restaurant at Point Defiance, Washington, and recreated it. It's creamy and has the taste of smoked salmon without being overpowering.
And that's it folks. I hope you can try out my favorites and see if they might become your. Thank you 2012 for all that you have given. Now on to 2013. I wonder what's in store for us all when we're in the middle of next year wearing slacks?

*Song and video created in 2010. I know it's not 2012. So sue me.

Friday, December 28, 2012

SEAL Team 666 Invades WEST COAST

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After more than 1900 miles and 16 bookstores in 8 days, my West Coast Booksigning Tour is over.

Malibu
I've been to bookstores in Scottsdale, Burbank, Beverly Hills, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Encinitas, Huntington Beach, Santa Monica, San Diego, Rancho Panisquitos, Ventura and Coronado Island.

I've met readers, distributors, store clerks, community relations managers, store owners, event planners, event coordinators, and people just shopping for presents.

I've been asked about my book, where the restrooms are in the store, which Nook is the best one to buy, if I can get them a glass of water, which romance novel is the best one, where I get my ideas, did you know how fast you were going, if they could use my chair, if they could borrow my pen, could I sign their book, could I sign their body parts, could I sign a piece of paper, how to be published, how to get an agent, how to write a novel, how to self publish, where Bill O'Reilly's book is, and if I was single.

I felt like I encountered the full breadth of humanity, and although the recent political climate brought out the beasts in many of us, I found the majority of the people I met people I am proud to share the planet with.

Special thanks to Dirk and Barbara Foster, Greg and Eunice Magill, and Hal and Gene for opening their homes to me.

In Ventura
Special thanks to Barbara and Will at the Poisoned Pen, Del and Sue at Dark Dels, Maryelizabeth for both Mysterious Galaxys, Erna for Bay Books, and the CRMs at all the Barnes and Nobles that had me in to sign books.

Some highlights include-

  • Selling more than 25 book in Ventura
  • Chatting with Amber Benson
  • Staying at the Peirpont in Ventura
  • Eating late night Korean with Hal and Gene
  • Eating Korean pork belly with Dirk and Barbara
  • Waking up to Santa Monica Pier
  • Driving the Pacific Coast Highway through  Malibu
  • Yvonne joining me on Friday
  • Hanging with Eunice and Greg
  • Lunch with Gini Koch
  • The young man from VCU deciding to ditch 50 Shades of Grey in favor of Triple Six
I was asked several times how much the publisher was paying me to do this book tour. I explained that I was being paid nothing, and that I felt that it was part of my job to promote the book. They said why not just do it from your webpage. The answer is all of what I said above. If I had stayed at home, I never would have had those highlights. I also wouldn't have a smiling agent and publisher. And let me assure you, my agent and publisher smiled with every signing, every update, every shared photo, and every blurb.

L-R: Nancy Holder, Eunice Magill, Yvonna Navarro, and Me
Yep. SEAL Team 666 invaded the West Coast.

And the West Coast is better for it.

I wonder who will be next.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

As The Tour Ends

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I've already covered more than 2000 miles. I've been to bookstores in Scottsdale, Burbank, Beverly Hills, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Encinitas, Huntington Beach, Santa Monica, Ventura and Coronado Island. I've stayed with friends, in hotels, and once, I was so tired it was beside the road.

But this isn't about being tired.

This is about fifteen years of writing, nine novels, more than a hundred short stories, and god knows how many conventions.

This is about me finding my stride.

This is about walking into stores and having clerks excited to see me.

This is about seeing old friends who know how long and hard you've been working and seeing the love in their eyes.

This is about meeting new people and watching them as they get excited about what they are about to read.

You know, Charles Dickens went around America, reading his novels in installments, often writing them just before he presented them. He sold his books and looked into the eyes of the readers. I get why he loved doing it. I also get how tired it must have been.

This is a great life. I do not take it for granted. This morning I awoke in a suite with an ocean view and wrote 3500 words on Age of Blood, the next Triple Six book. I also talked with my agent about a possible signing of a few more books (more later). I have other projects. And it occurs to me I could just start playing video games and never write another word. It might be cool for about three weeks. Then I'd go crazy. You see, I have to write. I love to create. It's part of my DNA.

Yeah. It's a great life.

Now on to tomorrow.

Say, do you have Triple Six?  If not then WTF? How can the NY Post, USA Today and the Denver Post be wrong?  Lol.

Thanks for listening.

Ignore my blather.

Ciao.

----
Hotel Room
Torance, California
1152 PM





Thursday, December 6, 2012

Italy, SEAL Team 666 and Wine Sabotage

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SEAL Team 666 has invaded Italy.

How do we know?

Could they have been part of the mysterious night raid that destroyed 80,000 bottles of wine?


The mystery night raiders turned on the taps of Case Basse winery's giant wooden casks in which the wine was maturing, and let more than 62,000 litres of prized Brunello di Montalcino pour out.
Bottles of Brunello di Montalcino red wine are displayed at a wine shop in the Tuscan town of Montalcino in central Italy in this September 22, 2004 file photo. The United States will not allow shipments of Italy's Brunello di Montalcino to enter the country beginning on Monday, unless U.S. importers attest that the bottles actually contain the storied wine. But the action comes too late for many U.S. consumers as several importers said they had already brought in between half and 95 percent of their allotments of the 2003 vintage. Italian authorities seized hundreds of thousands of bottles in April because they suspected winemakers were using grapes other than Sangiovese -- the only grape allowed in Brunello di Montalcino -- to produce more of the premium Tuscan wine. REUTERS/Max Rossi/Files       (ITALY)

Some 80,000 bottles of wine were lost, each of which can sell for at least 170 euros – a total estimated value of more than 13 million euros. The saboteurs did no other damage to the estate's "cantina", nor did they steal anything, suggesting that it was less a random episode of vandalism and more an act of spite.
The raid wiped out the last six vintages of the 6.5-hectare vineyard in the hills of southern Tuscany, from 2007 to 2012. Case Basse is a small but highly acclaimed producer of Brunello di Montalcino, making around 10,000 bottles a year.  (Entire Article)

Was SEAL Team 666 involved? Until someone steps forward we can't rule them out.

But what we do know is that they've been sighted in Vicenza, Italy.

On the marksmanship range?

In the tactical command headquarters?

At the ammo resupply point?

No. At the Hair Salon. It seems like one of my old friends and fans discovered that Consuela and the other stylists had SEAL Team 666 wishlisted for audiobook. Once my friend, Tracy, found this out, she convinced them to download the book and listen to it as they work.

So if you find yourself in Vicenza and are in need of a haircut, you might want to be careful. After all, the lady with the scissors wearing the headphones might just jump while she's cutting.

And then all bets are off. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thank You Sarah Pinborough - Dog-Faced Gods

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Let me introduce a concept to my fellow Americans.

Dog-Faced Gods.

Yep. You read it right. Dog-Faced Gods. This is the trilogy (Gollanz) from London author, Sarah Pinborough and it's unbelievably incredible. I picked up the first book, Matter of Blood, at our local bookstore that someone had remaindered. It was the British edition, so I don't know how it got to this dark and sandy corner of the American desert.  Short version is that I read it and just loved it. The writing reminds me of Peter Straub, but with the certain grace that Sarah continually pulls off. My guess is that she doesn't even realize she's doing it. It's just something natural she does. I even find it hard to describe what it is, but once you read it, you know.

So I went online and bought the second book in the series - The Shadow of the Soul. I read that in just a few sittings and was like, "Damn. This is so good." I emailed Sarah and told her so. Then she offered me the third book to read, since it wasn't out yet in America. I took her up on it.  About halfway through The Chosen Seed, this third book, I began to get depressed. I was realizing that I would soon be finished and there would be no more story.

And the story?

Cass Jones is a London detective who can see the glow. What the glow is and why its there is at the heart of the story. Why Cass is special and how it all fits together is a brilliant piece of architectural plotting. I really can't get more into it without giving it away. Let me just say that this is a story that really began a long, long, time ago and Sarah begins in media res.

If you've never heard of this, or if you've been putting of reading them, then I'm excited for you. You're in for something special. Go find this trilogy and buy them.



Friday, November 30, 2012

John Skipp Forced to HALO by SEAL Team 666

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The 42 Days of 666 are over, and we weren't going to talk about SEAL Team 666, but we had to, because Triple 6 snatched John Skipp, put a bag over his head, took him up to 25,000 feet with no oxygen, then tossed him out, clawing and gasping at air, doing the airborne cat climb, finally managing to remove the bag on his head, John Skipp realizes he's HALOing through the sky, where he cries like a little girl as he crashes into the triple canopy rainforest, ricocheting from branch to branch, until he gets just above the ground where he finds a trampoline that lets him bounce across a field of dead-headed daisies to a wrestling ring, where he rebounds off the top rope, somersaulting into the face of Hulk Hogan where he is picked up, body slammed, neck cranked, figure foured, and super wedgied, then hurled into a squad of chaste cheerleaders, knocking them down like porn star bowling pins, only to come up in an open armed salute with the International Kazoo Korps of Kalamzoo humming Tadaaaa!

Yeah. That's the Skipp I know and love.

A survivor.

I've known Skipp long enough for an entire generation to grow up and not know what the after midnight static on a television was or what a treat the monthly centerfold was. 

His official bio says: John Skipp is a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning anthologist turned filmmaker. His latest books include the anthology PSYCHOS (with a story by guess who!), the twisted-triple bill of horror screenplays SICK CHICK FLICKS, and THE DARK, a metaphysical thriller by Scott Bradley and Peter Giglio on Skipp’s Ravenous Shadows line of books. You can watch his short film STAY AT HOME DAD (co-directed with Andrew Kasch, from a script by Cody Goodfellow). 

But really, Skipp is who I wanted to be except I grew up. I tried not to. I really did. But the army forced me to change. So when I start feeling old, I look to Skipp, our Dark Knight Peter Pan, and gleefully become as silly and as badassed awesome as I want to be, without fear or retaliation from a society that just doesn't get it.

But enough of me.

Let's hear from Skipp.


1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?

I’m gonna go with Joseph Heller’s novel CATCH-22. One of the greatest, most importantly formative books I’ve ever read.


2. Why is it your favorite? Here’s where you can ramble a bit.

CATCH-22 captures the immensity of the insanity of war on so many levels that it’s fucking ridiculous. The catalog of black comic absurdities is so thick and hilarious – from the out-one-tube-and-in-the-other eternally-hospitalized Soldier in White to Colonel Cathcart’s careerist obsession with “black eyes” vs. “feathers in his cap” to Milo Minderbinder’s wholly amoral chocolate-covered wheeler-dealing – that when the genuine mind blowing horror of Snowden’s secret is revealed, or the “friendly propeller” bisection of Kid Sampson sends McWatt into suicide shame, you’re not so much blindsided as gut-punched into emotional recognition.

I can’t even tell you how much this book defined me as a horror writer, a satirist, a young thinking man trying to grapple with the Big Picture. Almost everything I’d ever want to do to a reader is in that thing, one way or another.



3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?

 I don’t think you can say “war is hell” often enough. Anything that tells the human truth is a-ok with me.

+   +   +

Thanks, Skipp!



AND REMEMBER, SEAL TEAM 666 IS OUT NOW SO GO AND ORDER  (pretty please)!!!








Thursday, November 29, 2012

SEAL Team 666 Mixtape

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Remember those old mixtapes.

Or are you too young to even remember such a thing as cassette tapes. Well, once upon a time, after the dabacle of the 8-Track and before the invention of the CD, there was this thing called a cassette deck and many of us would tape from the speakers of a radio, too poor to buy the music ourselves. I had dozens of these tapes. Some meant for driving, some meant for going crazy and some meant for getting cosy.

So now, with the help of the internet, I'm able to make a mixtape for SEAL Team 666. These are the songs I listened to when I was writing and these are the songs you should listen to while reading. This is 3D for the reading experience.

To listen for free to SEAL Team 666 mixtape in sensoround, click the following link.

SEAL Team 666 by Queens of the Stoneage, Johnny Cash, Kid Rock, Rolling Stones, Guns and Roses, White Stripes, The Killers, Creed, Journey, Tower of Power, Boy Hits Car, and AC/DC - Uploaded by: Weston Ochse - @westonochse

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

42 Days of 666 - PUBLICATION DAY!!!

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Dear my 1,100 followers on Twitter, my 3,166 best friends on Facebook, and the unnumbered hords who have been patiently waiting for the 42 Days of 666 to end and for my book to become available. Thanks for taking the journey with me. We've come to the end of the virtual road. Publication day is here!

Pausing for applause and sighs of mission accomplished.
First official sighting of Triple Six (with Mark Assur)

But wait.

This is the end of my journey. You still have one more. The first week of sales are the biggest. If you've been wanting to buy a copy of SEAL Team 666, which I'm sure you have if you journeyed with me this long, please get it this week... before Friday. Either got to your favorite bookstore or follow one of the links I've provided below.

To make it fun, I'd love to see a picture of you and the book in the store, along with what store it is and the location. You can either send it to me here, link it, or share it on Twitter, Facebook or Stumbleupon (links you can find on the upper right).

To make it even more fun, I'm going to take one of you and make you a character in the sequel to SEAL Team 666, SEAL Team 666: Age of Blood.

So don't quit now.

You're almost there.

One last step.

Thank you.


Powell's Amazon B&N ~ Indiebound Overstock WalMart Books-a-Million ~ Mysterious Galaxy ~ Poisoned Pen ~ Dark Delicacies ~ Hastings Books and Music  



(Note that if you purchase the book at Mysterious Galaxy, Posioned Pen or Dark Delicacies, you can ask them to have me inscribe it to you when I sign there in mid-December, just in time for Christmas)

Monday, November 26, 2012

42 Days of 666 - One More Day with David Morrell

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For the past 42 days we're going to be counting down to the release of SEAL Team 666. Why 42? Because it's the answer to the universal question

Tomorrow is the big release day for SEAL Team 666 and I have the ultimate pleasure and honor of hosting David Morrell, master of the high action thriller and author of the generation-influencing book, First Blood. He's also the author of three of my personal favorite thrillers, The League of Night and Fog, Brotherhood of the Rose, and The Fraternity of Stone. David doesn't know this, but those books, as well as First Blood, influenced who I've become today. I've only had the privilege of meeting David on a few occasions, the most treasured of which was at the Bram Stoker Award dinner in Toronto, where we sat and had dinner together, discussing such things as interrogations and neuro-linguistic programming. I reminded David of this and he remembered the dinner as fondly as I.

But enough about how much I appreciate David Morrell. Let's read his answers to the usual questions.



1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?

My favorite military-themed television series is THE UNIT. Created by Eric L. Haney and based on his book INSIDE DELTA FORCE, the series aired on CBS from 2006 to 2009. David Mamet (GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS) wrote and directed several episodes.



2. Why is it your favorite? Here’s where you can ramble a bit.

The series is based on the way Delta Force operates. With technical assistance from Eric L. Haney, it had unusual authenticity and accuracy of details.


3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?

THE UNIT varied its themes, but in general, in the thriller field, I think a couple of themes are being overused. One is the search for the long-lost secret buried in the past that will save the world from destruction. Another is the the hunt for the terrorist with the biological weapon. Often this terrorist is hunted by a former intelligence operative who has a problem with authority, is going through a divorce, has a drinking problem and so on, but he (or she) just happens to have intimate knowledge of the bad guy and so is reluctantly brought back into the intelligence world by the operative's former superiors.



+   +   +

Thanks, David!

To keep up with David's domination of the high action thriller, visit him daily at David Morrell.




And everyone please don't forget tpre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store. You have one more day to do so.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

42 Days of 666 - Day 3 with Brian Keene

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For the next 42 days we're going to be counting down to the release of SEAL Team 666. Why 42? Because it's the answer to the universal question.

With three more days until the release of SEAL Team 666, we have the honor of having my oldest writing friend, Brian Keene, stopping by. I've known Brian since before I sold my first story. We've been friends since. I've come to count on his advice, and have stood beside him whenever the universe has decided it was time to mess with him. I've enjoyed watching his success and admire what he has done both for and to the genre. And the best of all, I can unequivocally state that although I don't see Brian but once every two years or so, that if the world were to end today, we'd be on each others survival squad.


1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?

I have many favorites, from Full Metal Jacket and Saving Private Ryan to Red Dawn and Force Ten From Navarrone. But my all-time favorite is certainly Platoon.

2. Why is it your favorite? Here’s where you can ramble a bit.

Because more so than any other, it captures the absolute pathos that can and will grip a band of brothers, be it during war time or peace time. Yes, brotherhood and honor and bravery exist in the military, but so do deception and hatred and betrayal and fear. You can't put people from such diverse cultures and backgrounds together and expect otherwise. That's they very reason wars are fought -- because people can't get along. Why would we expect anything different, then, of those we send to fight those wars? It's one thing to serve in a foxhole next to a guy. It's another thing to serve in a foxhole next to a guy who might stab you in the back later, just to save himself.

3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?
Circa 2002 with Brian before he found greatness, Roy Robbins
before he found God, and me before I found out that I am awesome.

War is hell. Not overused, but a truthful observation that I think everyone knows by now. Shame we forget it in real life...



+   +   +

Thanks, Brian!

To keep up with Brian's domination of the horror fiction and film universe, see him daily at www.briankeene.com.

Check out this trailer for Dark Hollow, the next movie to be released based on Brian's books.



And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:




Friday, November 23, 2012

The UK 666 Cover and Two Reviews

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 Welcome to Black Friday. If you can pull yourself away from that popcorn maker that's 87% off at Wackerdoodles, I'd like to share two new reviews of SEAL Team 666 and the UK cover.

Here's the cover. At first I was like...'they changed the logo! Who are they to change the logo?' But then I was like... 'Oooh. I like the logo." And then I was like... "Hey! Is that a tail?"



NOW IS GONE published a review which you can find here. This is Katy Sozaeva's site. She received an arc as an Amazon Vine reviewer. She gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Like it!

NOT THE BASEBALL PITCHER published a review which you can find here. This is Randy Johnson's site (see the title of the blog). Randy recommends it with nary a negative comment. 

With two more good reviews and a new cover in the bag, I think it's time to embrace Black Friday. Now where was that popcorn maker at Wackerdoodles? 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

42 Days of 666 - Day 6 with Drew Williams

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For the next 42 days we're going to be counting down to the release of SEAL Team 666. Why 42? Because it's the answer to the universal question.

Today we have Drew Williams, scholar, juicer, scientist of the fop, and author. I've known Drew since 2002 and am pleased that we met. We've bounced the Gross Out Contest, we've shook our fists at the sun, we've argued the finer points of literature, and we've eaten scrapple together. I once compared him to Leon Battista Alberti, for being a polymath excelling at many things. Drew is the sort of friend whom I don't see often enough, but when I do, it's almost as if no time has passed.

Here are his questions and answers:

1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?
.
GETTYSBURG-1993 starring Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels and Martin Sheen. Based on the novel by Michael Sharra(spelling?)

2. Why is it your favorite? Here’s where you can ramble a bit.

Why?

Masked Gross Out Contest Bouncers: Drew in forefront
For me this is a perfect military film on several different levels.. First and foremost it is  gripping movie, full of compelling characters and exciting action. The battle sequences are some of the most intense and realistic ever filmed. But unlike a standard "battlefield movie", Gettysburg does a remarkable job of treating the subject matter with respect and historical verisimilitude. It does not take sides, but rather portrays the armies of the North and the South with equal attention, demonstrating a balanced perspective of the dignity of the men as well as the mundane. Taken from the letters and diaries of many of the men who fought there, the dialogue is poignant and reveals a rare insight to the thoughts and concerns of those who actually was there. From an historical perspective, it is as close as being period authentic as possible- no confederate generals sporting mullets or cavalry officers firing 13 shots from a pistol. I love this movie because it offers up a realistic glimpse of, arguably, the most important single battle in our nation's history, and glorifies the men who fought in it without glorifying the war they fought in.

3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?

Overused?

I'm not sure if there are any overused tropes or devices in military films and books. Like any genre, there are certain elements that have to be in there. But what I would like to see are fewer films that turn the soldier into a comic book action hero ala Rambo, and Delta Force, and The Marine films, and more films that turn a more critical and/or satirical eye toward war and combat. Growing up in the 70's I had first run exposure to such films as The Deer Hunter (which I saw portions of it filmed in Clairton PA), M*A*S*H (the movie), Coming Home, and a forgotten classic, The Boys in Company C. I'd like to see more films like these and The Hurt Locker and Brothers then stuff like Act of Valor and Behind Enemy Lines.


+   +   +


Thanks, Drew!

On Drew's request, please go over to Nothing but Nets to see if there's anything you want to do. From volunteering in Africa to fighting for U.S. Veterans, it's a gateway that explains how to help..


And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:




Tuesday, November 20, 2012

42 Days of 666 - Day 7 with Rio Youers

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For the next 42 days we're going to be counting down to the release of SEAL Team 666. Why 42? Because it's the answer to the universal question.

Today we have international male model Rio Youers. We first met at a NECON, and since bump elbows at the usual conventions. We share a love of living life, Elvis and serious fiction. I look forward to each time we get together, no matter how brief.

1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?

Hell, there are so many. The books that spring to mind are Heller’s CATCH-22, Louis de Bernièries’s CAPTAIN CORELLI’S MANDOLIN, and BIRDSONG by Sebastian Faulks (which is, in fact, one of the most perfect novels I have ever read). As for movies and TV shows … BAND OF BROTHERS was ten episodes of gut-wrenching awesome, then there’s APOCALYPSE NOW and PLATOON, of course. But if I have to pick a favorite, I’m going with THE DEER HUNTER.

2. Why is it your favorite? Here’s where you can ramble a bit.

First off, you have that beautiful, haunting soundtrack—Stanley Myers’s CAVATINA (umm, yeah, I had to Google that). It provides the perfect tone for the movie, at once powerful and heartrending. Then you have possibly the greatest performance of Robert De Niro’s career … and Christopher Walken, too (who deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor—and no, I didn’t have to Google that). And what can you say about the Russian roulette scene in the POW camp? It remains to this day the most tense piece of filmmaking I have ever seen, and I still watch it with my heart running at approximately 2,000 BPM. But what I really like about the movie, and where I think it truly succeeds, is how it illustrates the damage war inflicts beyond the battlefield—how it can tear friendships, families, and lives apart. It’s a painful, yet brilliant movie about humanness, loss, sacrifice, and hope.

3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?

Rio, Peter Straub, and me
I’m not sure if you can call it an overused theme, but I loathe the schmaltz Hollywood attaches to its take on war—a glamorization, of sorts. I’m thinking about movies like TOP GUN and PEARL HARBOR, replete with beautiful people and over-the-top heroes. Don’t get me wrong, I love action flicks as much as anyone—hell, I’ll take a side-order of schmaltz from time to time—but my preference is that war movies and fiction portray something more gritty, hard-hitting, and realistic.


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Thanks, Rio!

Before you go, please take a moment to check out Rio's novel Westlake Soul. It's a crowning achievement for anyone, much less a writer so young in his career. Here's what I said in a review of the book (I don't hardly review anything)--Westlake Soul is the grandchild of Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Get His Gun, Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Tom Robbins' Jitterbug Perfume, and a hippie voodoo love child from the 1970s.

And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:



Monday, November 19, 2012

42 Days of 666 - Day 8 with Ed Kurtz

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For the next 42 days we're going to be counting down to the release of SEAL Team 666. Why 42? Because it's the answer to the universal question.


Today we have Ed Kurtz. Now, I met this jamoke last year at Killercon. He indelibly etched his name on my memory when, as I was doing a live performance of my rock and roll serial killer story, PLAYLIST AT THE END (Shock Totem), he texted me with a challenge to come drink whiskeys with him at the bar or else fisticuffs would ensue. Nevermind that he promised to attend said performance. To his credit, once he found out that he'd missed it, he was a little embarassed by his shenanigans. That didn't keep me from having a drink with him later, nor from befriending him. Ed Kurtz is one of the new fast movers and will be someone whom all of you will soon read, if you already haven't. So sit back a moment, and read his thoughtful position regarding my questions about milistrivia.

1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?

I tend to enjoy (read: obsess over) movies that are more in the exploitative vein, so military-themed films that make my list include The Inglorious Bastards (Enzo Castellari, not QT), Eagles Over London, The Last Hunter—macaroni combat pictures of that sort. I also immensely enjoy John Wayne’s old WWII flicks, Sands of Iwo Jima specifically. Though in my view, Jean Renoir’s The Grand Illusion is probably the best war/military picture ever made.

Literature-wise, my tastes run more sober. And as I’ll explain below, my favorite military book is actually three books (I just had to break the rules, didn’t I?): Red Badge of Courage, The Killer Angels, and Coal Black Horse.


2. Why is it your favorite? Here’s where you can ramble a bit. 

I have a keen interest in history, particularly American history, and a solid half or more of my fiction output reflects that. Often this narrows down to the American Civil War, a setting for several stories and a novel of mine, and accordingly my reading treads those waters often, too. Three of the finest novels of the Civil War, in my opinion, are well read together: Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (1864), The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (1974), and Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead (2007). Between these three novels, a broad spectrum of war, its horrors and vile necessities, are covered from the lowly disillusioned private in Red Badge to the impossible decisions forced upon the top brass in The Killer Angels to how the aftermath of the bloodiest conflict in American history is seen through the eyes of a naïve boy from an isolated West Virginia hollow. And though the perspective and historicity varies, in all three books one point is made alarmingly clear: that no one escapes war untouched, whatever the color of his uniform or the medals on his chest.

To me, stories are very often best told in a historical context for a number of reasons, among them the heightened believability, the time-machine factor for the modern reader, and the simple fact that history makes us, and its “us” that I’m writing about in the broadest sense. To that end, I also find that the history of human beings is quite usually a history of violent conflict. Human stories are, therefore, frequently military stories. So when I find myself searching through volumes for a time and place to set a tale, more often than not that place isn’t far from a battlefield.

In most cases, what I write is generically classified as horror. In the widest terms possible, this amounts to fiction designed specifically to frighten, alarm, or disturb the reader. Yet I often find myself puzzling over how, in this day and age, the ghouls and goblins of yesterday can possible scare the globally aware, interconnected reader of today? My response is to take the Robert Bloch approach and make my monsters more human. And I’ll be damned if I can think of anything more human than the horror of war.


3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?

As I stated previously, the crystal-clear image of war as fundamentally transformative runs deep in all three of these novels, though I would be loath to call this theme overused. That would be like claiming the whole “Wow, the Holocaust was really terrible and fucked up and hard to understand” theme overused. Conversely, it can’t be said enough. From the lowest-on-the-totem-pole, fresh-faced private to the most grizzled, experience veteran of battle, war changes the course of historical and social experience on a grossly personal, individual level. And since that theme, as a message, clearly hasn’t hit all the way home yet, I expect it needs to keep being used.


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Thanks, Ed!

Ed Kurtz is the author of Bleed (Abattoir Press), Control (Thunderstorm Books), and numerous short stories. His work has appeared in Dark Moon Digest, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, BEAT to a PULP, Shotgun Honey, Horror Factory, Mutation Nation, and Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally Insane. He is also a contributing writer for Paracinema Magazine. Ed resides in Texas, where he is at work on his next novel and running his genre imprint, Redrum Horror.


And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:



Sunday, November 18, 2012

42 Days of 666 - Day 9 with S.G. Brown

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For the next 42 days we're going to be counting down to the release of SEAL Team 666. Why 42? Because it's the answer to the universal question.


Today we have S.G. Brown, who I've known since I met him at the Stoker Awards Ceremony in Burbank. Like Cody Goodfellow, our last guest, it was also Eunice Magill who pimped Scott on the masses. Since then we've been to haunted mansions together and other feats of obnoxious courage. I count Scott a friend and admire him for his cool and easy writing style. All of his books are terrific, but I adore Lucky Bastard.

BIO: S.G. Browne is the author of the dark comedies BreathersFatedLucky Bastard, and I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus, as well as the eBook short story collection Shooting Monkeys in a Barrel. Feel free to check out his writing at www.sgbrowne.com.

1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?

It's a toss-up between M*A*S*H the movie and M*A*S*H the television show, but I'll have to go with the TV series since that's what I grew up on.

2. Why is it your favorite? Here’s where you can ramble a bit.

I'm a fan of dark comedy and the TV show excelled at using it to great effect. The humor was a perfect fit for the subject matter and did an excellent job of showing how the members of the M*A*S*H unit dealt with the daily stress of being doctors in a combat zone. The show also managed to maintain consistency in its tone and quality despite the turnover of major characters, though I thought the show lost its heart once Radar left. But I can still remember characters’ names, specific episodes, and certain lines as if I saw the show yesterday. The show, especially with the original cast, remains one of my favorites of all time, military or otherwise. Frank Burns eats worms.

3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?

As for what themes are overused, I don’t recall ever feeling like I got beat over the head with anything, though occasionally Hawkeye (Alan Alda’s character) could get somewhat didactic with his soapbox speeches but I forgave him. So all in all, I’d say the show managed to espouse truthful observation as opposed to overused themes.




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Thanks, Scott!




And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:




Friday, November 16, 2012

42 Days of 666 - Day 11 with Cody Goodfellow

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For the next 42 days we're going to be counting down to the release of SEAL Team 666. Why 42? Because it's the answer to the universal question.

Today we have Cody Goodfellow. I've known Cody since 2004, I think, when the vivacious Eunice Magill pimped him to the community. Cody didn't need any pimping. He's damn good his own self, but I suppose it never hurts to have a pretty woman show you around. His most recent work is All Monster Action.


1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?
I love a lot of the same ones everybody else does... One of my favorite books in any genre is Life During Wartime by Lucius Shepard, but my favorite military novel that nobody else seems to have read is Dream baby by Bruce McAllister. 


2. Why is it your favorite? Here’s where you can ramble a bit.

So many war novels follow the format of the memoirs and do one soldier's experience, which loses the sheer, inconceivable scope of modern warfare. Dream Baby is a massive oral history with journals and debriefing transcripts and memos that crackle with authenticity and convey the reality of the war as this insane imbalanced stage for an equally insane mission. McAllister spent ten years researching this book and yet it never feels like a history dump. When he's done with you, it seems utterly plausible that our government tried to exploit soldiers with apparent psychic abilities to win the war in the dirtiest possible way.
It can be elevator-pitched as Apocalypse Now meets Scanners, but you'd lose a lot of what makes this book so damn great. 


3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?


There's so many that do the audience and the military a disservice, but the one that bugs me is the Rambo stereotype. The tormented lone ex-Green Beret who shies from violence but becomes a cyclone of spontaneous defenestration when provoked. Audiences have to be sold on the moral rectitude of anything the protagonist does... a hero can be a hit man if he's forced out of retirement for one more job, etc... So the good guy has to go through a lot of redneck kabuki ("Hey John, they kidnaped your wife!") before we can get our gun porn on. 


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Thanks, Cody!




And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store: