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.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Not a Chance in Hell… But!

The finalists for the Bram Stoker Awards, presented by the Horror Writer's Association, came out last week. I won the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel in 2005, but it’s been crickets since. In the intervening years I've done a lot of writing and become better because of it. This years nomination marks the third time in five years I’ve been a finalist -- for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction, Short Fiction, and now, Fiction Collection. Interestingly enough, the works that were nominated for Long Fiction and for Short Fiction are in the Collection that has been nominated.

Here’s my Bram Stoker Award history by year:
2005: Scarecrow Gods by Weston Ochse
2008: Miranda by John R. Little
2009 : "In the Porches of My Ears" by Norman Prentiss
And now for 2011
Connolly, Lawrence C. — Voices: Tales of Horror
Fowler, Christopher — Red Gloves: The London Horrors
Kiernan, Caitlin R. — Two Worlds and In-Between
Morton, Lisa — Monsters of L.A.
Oates, Joyce Carol — The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares
Ochse, Weston — Multiplex Fandango

Borrowed from Lawrence Connolly's site

It’s an exceptionally strong field. 

Lisa Morton has already won Bram Stoker Awards in the last few years for Superior Achievement in First Novel, Anthology, Long Fiction, and Short Fiction. An HWA officer since at least 2005, she’s also won the President Richard Laymon Award, twice. If I was a betting man, Lisa would win this one a well.

Caitlin’s work is always impeccable. She was nominated in 1998 for her First Novel SILK, but lost out to Mike Marano (although Silk did win an International Horror Guild Award, as well as the Barnes and Nobles Maiden Voyage Award). She did win three other IHG Awards and was a James Tiptree Jr, Award Honoree. Incredibly, she’s had over 20 award finalist nominations.

 Joyce Carole Oats, who has appeared on Oprah and every other television show and magazine of import, was nominated in 2000 for Long Fiction, but lost out to Steve and Melanie Tem’s ‘Man on the Ceiling.’ But that was one of the only times this sensational luminary has found herself in someone else’s shadow. Just take a look at this list compiled by Wikipedia.

Winner:
·         1968: M. L. Rosenthal Award, National Institute of Arts and Letters - A Garden of Earthly Delights
·         1970: National Book Award - them
·         1973: O. Henry Award - "The Dead"
·         1990: Rea Award for the Short Story
·         1996: Bram Stoker Award for Novel - Zombie
·         1996: PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Art of the Short Story
·         2003: Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement
·         2005: Prix Femina Etranger - The Falls
·         2006: Chicago Tribune Literary Prize[36]
·         2006: Mount Holyoke College Doctor of Humane Letters [37]
·         2010: National Humanities Medal[38]
·         2011: World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction - Fossil—Figures

Yeah. Notice that Bram Stoker Award for Novel? She's won that, too.

Then of course there’s Christopher Fowler. I just love his work. Roofworld is just a terrific creation and I covet my signed copy of Paperboy. Chris has been nominated for many awards and is winner of the Edge Hill prize 2008 for 'Old Devil Moon' and the Last Laugh prize 2009 for 'The Victoria Vanishes'. On top of that he's a swell guy.

Last but not least is Lawrence  C. Connelly. A writing instructor and visiting professor at Seton Hill, he’s been well published the last few years. Although I haven’t read his work (I will now), I’ve heard terrific things about it.

So as you can see, by the credentials held by the other nominated folks, I don’t have a chance in Hell. 

But let's look at the Bram Stoker Award for a moment. What does the award do for you if you win? When I won for First Novel in 2005, the skies didn’t open up, publishers didn’t begin calling, agents didn’t flock to my door, and not a single woman I passed by lifted her blouse to show me her breasts. So what good is the award? It looks handsome on the shelf in my office. If a burglar came in and I couldn’t get to my Ruger long barrel .357 magnum fast enough, I could use it as a weapon. I could bang it against my computer the next time it hangs.

But in all seriousness, here’s what I think. I believe that to come this far you have to have demonstrated a certain amount of ability to tell a story that is at once memorable and accessible. I also think that if you make the final ballot, you’ve managed to hit on something a little bit better than everyone else – probably talking the literary equivalent of a millimeter. Having the membership and the additions jury tell you this is pretty cool, too. 

It does make me happy inside. It’s a warm fuzzy feeling. Because I do love and appreciate my Bram Stoker Award. In addition to it being a possible weapon, it symbolizes to me that for one fine moment I achieved an excellence that moved other people to point to me and say, "Hey! Look at that guy. Look at what he did! It's awesome!" And because of that, when I sit at the Awards Ceremony in SLC next month, I’ll be pretty nervous. Because even if I don’t have a chance in Hell, there’s one thing that I do know… even a blind squirrel can find a nut on a clear day in March.

Good luck to all of you. I’m humbled to be amongst you. I hope we all win.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Google Analytics - Thank You Argentina

2011 marked the first year people from Argentina visited my site.

How do I know this? Thanks to Google Analytics I can know how many visits I received at www.westonochse.com and from what continent, country and city. So to those two people in Buenos Aries-- THANKS!

Thanks also goes out to folks in:

Bogota
Perth
Jakarta
Kuala Lampur
Brisbane
London
Moscow
Alexandria
Cairo
Seoul
Shibuya
Nei-Hu
Stockholm
Kotka
Etten-Leur
Paris
Dubai
Bangalore
Karlsruhe
New Delhi
Aukland
Pasig
Hong Kong
Kyoto
Osimo
Bologna

and a hundred others, including cities across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

The most interesting-named city was Sugar Land, Texas.

The one I absolutely had to look up was Szeged, which as it turns out is the third largest city in Hungary.

On an interesting note, more people visited me using the Firefox browser than Internet Explorer. Sorry Bill and Melinda.

How did people get to this site? As it turns out, typing it in directly was the number one method, which means it was either from my business card or from the back of a book (I wish there was a way to track which one). Number two was through google searches and number three was through Facebook.

Not that I know what to do with any of this information, I just find it immensely interesting. I mean, as a kid laying bed at night, I knew of these far-flung places. And now to have someone socializing with me from those same places can't help but make me smile.

So to all of you who have stopped by my website in the last year, thank you, well met, and I hope to see you again.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Blood Ocean Primer (3 of 3): Why I Wrote This

As promised, here is your third and final primer for Blood Ocean. If you haven't read the first one, which discusses the Pali Boys, you can find it here. And if you haven't read the second one, which discusses character and setting, you can find that here

So why did I write this? I mean besides the fact that I'm getting paid a fine sum of English pounds with worldwide distribution of a beautiful-looking paperback book. I can't include that in my reasons, because I never knew any of that when I first pitched Abaddon when they first started out way back when.

I don't know where I was at the time, but I do remember that I heard about a new publishing house called Abaddon Books and asked for their bible about Afterblight. I sent a quick pitch, and I mean quick, and I got back an email from Jon Oliver, then Editor-in-Chief of Abaddon, now Editor-in-Chief of both Abaddon and Solaris, that he was intrigued about the idea and would I send him a full pitch, which has a sample chapter as well as a chapter by chapter outline. So I found myself working on this for about a month. In fact, I finished the pitch while I was in a hotel room in Alexandria, Virginia, working on my laptop while the Steelers beat the Colts in the Superbowl.

My pitch at that time was about Native Americans in the Southwest, who must team up with an L.A. gang of biker samurai to fight off the Radiant Dawn - the white folks who want their blood. It was a damn good pitch. I sooo wanted to write that book. But the problem was that every Tom, Dick and English Harry submitted a pitch about Native Americans too.

Needless to say they didn't need me.

So I did what every other writer would do in my shoes... I sulked and wrote something else.

Then about a year later, I was at the Book Expo of American in Los Angeles. My agent and I went around and had some table-side chats with a few of the editors, one being Jon. This was our first face to face. Being an outgoing person - those of you who know me will agree with this - I enjoy face to face conversations. I thrive on them. Jon and I got to talking. He mentioned that he liked my pitch and was sorry to have to pass on it, but why not send him a pitch for a zombie novel.

Sweet Nadine who was too scared to go past Chapter 3
A zombie novel? It had never occurred to me to write a zombie novel.

But I did. I sent him a pitch and it became Empire of Salt which sold out everywhere and was a smash hit! (still available as a used book and on kindle)

But I still wanted to to write an Afterblight novel. There'd been a burning inside of me that had not gone away. So even as Empire of Salt was premiering in Brighton, England at the World Horror Convention, I was verbally pitching Jon a sprinkle of an idea. He told me to put it on paper when I returned to America and send it to him. I think he saw how eager I was, plus, I think I was keeping him from the pub. So whether or not he meant it or not, I took that as a YES, mentally pumped one arm, and began to work on an idea which revolved around an idea of a monkey being surgically attached to a person's back.

And when I returned to America, I wrote the pitch. Took me about a month as everything came together. And to be totally honest, at first he wasn't sure and didn't accept it right away. But like a dog with a dead rabbit, I shook that idea and shook it, and tweaked the pitch until finally he liked it enough to say those magical five magic words - I'll send you a contract.

And in a few days everyone can read Blood Ocean.

I'm extremely excited about this book. There's some violence. I've done some horrendous things to some nice people and made a nice race do something terrible. As I was writing this, I tried not to pull any punches. I wanted this to be as graphic a novel as anything I've ever written, but with my usual characterization. A few reviewers have socked me for doing some of these things, but I didn't write this for them. I wrote this for me. And I wrote this for you. And I wrote this for all of you who grew up on Post-Apocalyptic novels and movies. Fans of The Horseclans and Road Warrior will dig the hell out of this, because they know that when society crumbles, so do the niceties. Our behaviour is traded in for survival and we'll do whatever it takes to do that, whether it is to kill, maim, lie, cheat, or eat our neighbor.

Please drop me a line when read Blood Ocean.

Until then.

Shaka!

Weston Ochse
Enroute to Australia
Somewhere over the Pacific

Friday, February 10, 2012

Blood Ocean Primer (2 of 3): Setting and Characters


As promised, here is your second primer for Blood Ocean. If you haven't read the first one, which discusses the Pali Boys, you can find it here.  

Why set this in the Pacific Ocean? Why not the Atlantic or Mediterranean? The answer to that lies with the plague. The very nature of the plague is that only people with O Neg blood survive. It just so happens that more Asians have Oneg blood than most other races, so it seemed a good choice to place the setting aboard a floating city in the Pacific Ocean. Also, since I've traveled extensively throughout Asia, I could write about many of the peoples and their microcosmic cultures with a sense of understanding.

Link to Book
Here's what I used in my initial pitch:
SETTING: Nami No Toshi.
Definition. City on the Waves (Japanese). Created by survivors of the Oneg plague off the coast of California. At the core of NNT is the Freedom Ship. Initially idealized by American President Richard Nixon, this ten story floating city, four times the size of the Queen Mary, was created by the Mitsubishi Corporation to support natural disasters. NNT was quickly overrun by those attempting to escape the violence and the gangs operating in the aftermath of the plague. Little is left to identify it as it once was. Now, more than a thousand ships, submarines and barges have been attached to NNT. The original ship is governed like a Japanese corporation (called Corpers), but all other areas and places aboard the other vessels have set their own governments and ways to survive. Other places are usually aligned by economics, and or ethnicity. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Corpers – The remnants of the Mitsubishi Corporation who live in the Freedom Ship. They have a dirigible that can travel from the city to shore. They also have computers and other sophisticated machinery, powered by nuclear reactor.
  • Saru No Kyuden (Japanese) – Monkey House (run by the Corpers).
  • Boxers (Chinese) – Fists of Righteous Harmony, or Boxers (from the Rebellion of 1898).
  • Taeyang-ui Sallam (Korean) – People of the Sun.
  • Sky Winkers – Satellite Worshippers. Scientists from all walks of life who are actually recording information blinked from a pair of satellites.
  • Water Dogs - Those who choose to live beneath the city. They control the water, and everything outside the Corpers fish bins. If you fall in, you are ransomed. If your family can’t pay, you are bait for the bigger fish. They trade in trash, fuel, and anything of value. If it floats or sinks, they eventually get it.
  • Mga Taos (Filipino) – The People are monkey worshipers. Most of the time they just follow monkey-backs around.
  • He-Shes - Multi-ethnic group of cross-dressers
  • Vitamin-Vs -The crew of a disabled Russian sub who spend their days distilling vodka
  • Los Tiburones (Spanish) – The Sharks. The drug dealers of the city.
  • The Real People – Multi-ethnic (non-Asian) group of North Americans.
  • Pali Boys (Hawaiian) - Young men who live on the edge, and do the most dangerous things as homage to their warrior ancestors and King Kamehameha’s defeat of the enemy armies at Pali Point, Hawaii.

One of the things I love about books like these are the various and myriad characters. Anyone who has read Velvet Dogma will know this, especially with the Day Eaters and the Ack Acks. Maybe it comes from Watching and loving Warriors as a kid. Or maybe it's all the other books I grew up reading, such as Robert Adams' Horseclans books or any of the Conan books (Yes, I said Conan), or any number of Fantasy books filled with interesting groups and characters. These sorts of creations provide depth to the world building.




I have links to brick and mortar and online stores in Estonia, Czech Republic, Romania, India, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, Germany, England, United States, United Kingdom and many more. I have world wide links with free shipping. I have links to book clubs. I have links to your favorite store.

Note that I've left the links in the event you might want to cut and past this list or a portion of it and share it with your friends (hint hint).

Also, if you have a link I don't have or know of a place that's carrying it, please shoot me the information.

As on Pali Boy to another - Shaka Shaka!


Book Groups

Brick and Mortar Bookstores (Note that all of these stores have online ordering options)
Belgium, Europe, Ireland, Netherlands, and U.K. – Waterstones - http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/weston+ochse/blood+ocean/8689794/
England – Blackwells - http://tinyurl.com/88fb2n9
England – Foyles - http://tinyurl.com/7uyet7k
England – The Guardian Bookshop (Free Shipping within UK) http://www.guardianbookshop.co.uk/BerteShopWeb/viewProduct.do?ISBN=9781907992865
United States - Mysterious Galaxy - http://www.mystgalaxy.com/book/%5Bmodel%5D-17
United States – Powell’s Books - http://www.powells.com/biblio/62-9781907992872-0


 Online Bookstores
New Zealand and South Pacific – Wheelers Books - http://www.wheelers.co.nz/books/9781907992865-blood-ocean/


Simon and Schuster

Amazon Links

Barnes and Nobles

Alibris Link

Worldwide (Free Shipping)

Europe Online

For Librarians – Library Search

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Interview at This Is Horror


On the eve of Blood Ocean coming out from Abaddon Books, I've been interviewed by This Is Horror (UK). They asked me some pretty fabulous questions. I was as honest as I could be.



http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/read-horror/meet-the-writer/weston-ochse/


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Killer in The House!

So there I was sitting at my computer working on a psycho story for John Skipp and putting together an email to a producer who'd asked me to send him a script, when out of the effing blue comes a black masked killer with a machete!





As it turned out, the black-masked killer was none other than my wife, Yvonne Navarro. She was cleaning out a closet and just happened on these two pieces of extraneous stuff (junk). She did what 99% of all women in the world would do when provided these two things-- she put them on, channeled Freddie Kruger and scared the shit out of me. Oh wait-- 99% of the women in the world wouldn't have done that. Or would they? I just love my wife.


As it so happens, this was a special machete, by the way. You can barely read the letter O and J, but would you believe that this was a special limited edition O.J. Simpson Memorial Machete we bought in Mexico back in 2000. On the back was an etching of the slow car chase. Just awesome. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Blood Ocean Primer (1 of 3): Who are the Pali Boys?

One of the major groups I populated the floating city with in my new post-apocalyptic novel Blood Ocean are the Pali Boys. When constructing the Pali Boys it wasn't hard to use both Peter Pan's Lost Boys and William Golding's Choir Boys from Lord of the Flies as a jumping off point. Both had groups of boys who threw caution to the wind and reveled in their own freedom. But this was just the beginning. To know the Pali Boys, you also have to know where the name derived and how their culture dictates their actions.

Cliffs of Pali
Pali Pass is rich in history. It 'was here where King Kamehameha I fought his last battle in his war to unite all the Hawaiian Islands with an army of 10,000 soldiers. In 1795, a few hundred warriors were driven off the cliff to their death 1,000 feet below by Kamehameha’s men. Legend has it that on certain nights, one can still hear the screams of the warriors. According to reports, workers unearthed 80 skulls believed to have belonged to the warriors during a road construction in 1848.(Cite)'

A Hawaiian friend of mine, Kimo Kalanui, once told me a story about how the trade winds were so fierce that many a young wanna-be Hawaiian warrior would leap out from Pali Pass into the tradewinds, leaving their fate to Pele. Having stood at the edge of the pass, it was a place I could lean at a forty-five degree angle and not fall over; and that was on a normal day, so it was easy to imagine how on a windy day someone could jump out and be hurled back by the strength of the winds.

So I took the idea of the young warriors leaping out and turned it into a rite of passage aboard the floating city; a rite of passage for my Pali Boys.

Blood Ocean takes place sometime between 20 and 100 years into the future. It really doesn't matter, because everything has gone to shit. Here's the premise of the novel:

Survivors of the Cull, a Plague that wiped out people without the blood type O-neg, struggle in the floating Sargasso City jigsawed together with ships, submarines, barges and oil tankers off the coast of what was once known as California.
Separated by demarcations of turf, ethnicity and fear, it’s not so much living as existing. High above it all swing the Pali Boys: descendants of Hawaiian warriors, they desire to lift themselves and the spirits of the residents below by performing an increasingly impossible series of extreme stunts, designed to test their manhood, and demonstrate the vibrancy humanity once had.

But as a conspiracy of murder unfolds and blood attacks increase, Kavika a single under-sized Pali Boy must strive to overcome his lowly status and the condemnation of his peers in order to save them all from an enemy living within.
The floating city is filled with many groups. These groups are separated first by ethnicity, then by social strata. There are groups of transsexuals, drug dealers, scavengers-- The Boxers, He-Shes, Water Dogs, etc (More on those in the next primer.) Then there are regular folk. Because the O Neg plague spared more Asians than Caucasians, the ship is populated with many of the ethnicities found along the Pacific Rim.

The Pali Boys comprise the male youth of Hawaiian contingent. To become a full-time Pali Boy one must be without fear and leap into the face of a typhoon to allow the goddess Pele to hurl you back. They raise hell with pretty much everyone, flying through the rigging like wanna-be Tarzans, playing games of follow the leader all across the length and breadth of the city. They deliver messages, steal fish, perform petty crimes, and do good deeds. They work on their stick fighting and Kuai Lua martial arts. They seem to be out of control... BUT!



There is a method to the Pali Madness. How do you keep a host of young men ready to be warriors at the end of the world when there's really no one to fight? How do you keep them from getting board? How do you keep their skills sharp and ready as a honed blade in the event they are needed?

Yep. You know the answer. The Pali Boys.

And they will be needed.

Stay tuned for the next Primer where I will talk about all the other groups. Then the last primer, to be published later next week will talk about the process of writing the novel.

For links to bookstores in virtually every country around the world, go here.

And remember. Blood Ocean premiers 14 February in the U.S. and 16 February everywhere else.

Ciao.

Weston Ochse
Tarantula Grotto
Sonoran Desert

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blood Ocean Preparedness Plan - TWO WEEKS LEFT

Are you prepared for Blood Ocean?

Have you read or reviewed the preparedness plan?

Do you now where to buy it?

Have you pre-ordered?

If you have, then you are ready and you're already on your way to being a Pali Boy.

But if you're not, I don't want to leave you hanging. Where ever you live, I have a link for you. There isn't a corner of the globe where you can't buy Blood Ocean when it comes out in TWO WEEKS!

I have links to brick and mortar and online stores in Estonia, Czech Republic, Romania, India, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, Germany, England, United States, United Kingdom and many more. I have world wide links with free shipping. I have links to book clubs. I have links to your favorite store.

Note that I've left the links in the event you might want to cut and past this list or a portion of it and share it with your friends (hint hint).

Also, if you have a link I don't have or know of a place that's carrying it, please shoot me the information.

As on Pali Boy to another - Shaka Shaka!


Book Groups

Brick and Mortar Bookstores (Note that all of these stores have online ordering options)
Belgium, Europe, Ireland, Netherlands, and U.K. – Waterstones - http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/weston+ochse/blood+ocean/8689794/
England – Blackwells - http://tinyurl.com/88fb2n9
England – Foyles - http://tinyurl.com/7uyet7k
England – The Guardian Bookshop (Free Shipping within UK) http://www.guardianbookshop.co.uk/BerteShopWeb/viewProduct.do?ISBN=9781907992865
United States - Mysterious Galaxy - http://www.mystgalaxy.com/book/%5Bmodel%5D-17
United States – Powell’s Books - http://www.powells.com/biblio/62-9781907992872-0


 Online Bookstores
New Zealand and South Pacific – Wheelers Books - http://www.wheelers.co.nz/books/9781907992865-blood-ocean/


Simon and Schuster

Amazon Links

Barnes and Nobles

Alibris Link

Worldwide (Free Shipping)

Europe Online

For Librarians – Library Search

 
ABOUT 
BLOOD OCEAN
Released on 16th February in the UK 
and 14th February in US & Canada

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907992-87-2
$9.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-907992-87-2
Will also be available as an ebook

In a world reduced to ruin by all-consuming plague, one young boy embarks on a mission of revenge after one of his friends is found dead … harvested for his blood!

Kavika Kamalani is a Pali Boy on Nomi No Toshi, the floating city. The post-plague heir to an ancient Hawai’ian warrior tradition that believes in overcoming death by embracing one’s fears and living large, Kavika’s life is turned upside down when one of his friends dies – and he sets out to find the killer.

When he is kidnapped and subjected to a terrifying transformation, Kavika must embrace the ultimate fear – death itself. It is the only way if he, his loved ones, and the Pali Boys are to survive.

This stand-alone title is the latest pulse-pounding story of post-apocalyptic survival in The Afterblight Chronicles series from Weston Ochse – a writer who pulls no punches.

“Weston Ochse is an artist whose craft, stories and voice are so distinct and mesmerising that you can’t help but be enthralled.” – Dani Kollin, Prometheus Award-winning author of The Unincorporated Man

About the Series
The Afterblight Chronicles is a post-apocalyptic series in which a devastating epidemic has ravaged the world. In the Afterblight, pockets of humans attempt to continue civilization amidst the mounting chaos of the collapsed infrastructure . Mobs run rampant while cults and warlords fight for authority over the survivors of the global plague.

One of the three series with which Abaddon Books launched in 2006, The Afterblight Chronicles is a collection of stand-alone novels that has showcased the talents of a number of brilliant, up-and-coming authors, including Scott Andrews, Paul Kane, Jasper Bark and Rebecca Levene. Blood Ocean is the eleventh Afterblight Chronicles title.

About the Author
Weston Ochse is the Bram Stoker award-winning author of various short stories and novels, including the critically-acclaimed Scarecrow Gods and Tomes of the Dead novel, Empire of Salt.

He is much in demand as a speaker at genre conventions and has been chosen as guest of honour on numerous occasions. Weston lives in Southern Arizona with his wife Yvonne and their menagerie of animals.