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.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Equations of Life Gave Me Siezures...

in a good way.

EQUATIONS OF LIFE by Simon Morden
Winner of the 2012 P.K. Dick Award

From my Goodreads Review: Okay. I gotta say, the cover hooked me. I mean, come on. If it doesn't hypnotize you, then it'll leave you quivering on the ground in a seizure. I found myself traveling without a book to read. I can't take two steps without a book on call, so I popped into a local Barnes and Nobles, scoured the shelves and BANG!


Then I opened it. I'm not sure what to call it. Post-apocalyptic cyberpunk? Apocalyptic Punk? Whatever you call it, Equations of Life is a terrific entry book into the world of Simon Morden. Reading the acknowledgements and the interview afterwards, I see our mutual friend Brian Hopkins (BaH) had something to do with Simon's success in his early days. That Simon has written so extensively in this universe rings clear and presents an authentic, texturally rich and wholly believable landscape.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and finished it within 24 hours. I'm signing books at another Barnes and Nobles today (For SEAL Team 666) and plan on getting the next two books of the trilogy, which I believe have equally seizure-enticing covers.

Terrific Job, Mr. Morden.

Keep them coming.

For more info on Equations of Life click here

Monday, January 21, 2013

RIGHTEOUS, Story about PTSD, Makes Preliminary Bram Stoker Award Ballot


My short story RIGHTEOUS made the nomination list for the Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction. Even though I've been through the process six times before, it's always kind of interesting that people care enough about my writing to read it and vote on it. Especially this story, which is one that was a catharsis for me as I wrote it. I can remember penning the final few pages in Sandy, Utah, in a hotel room. With all my time in the military it was difficult for me to write a story about a father who is stalking the man who recruited his son, the same son who never made it back from Iraq. RIGHTEOUS is a story about PTSD. It's a story about a thing called Secondary PTSD. It's also a story about guilt, both shared and individual, both human and that of our nation. It's a story about America's love of war. And of course it's a story about an insane father who talks to his dog. And of course, because it's a story written by me, the dog talks back.

Here's a very small sampling--

Five sentences changed my life forever.
Yes, I’ll marry you, is how Susan changed my life.
It’s a boy, is how a wide-hipped, chippy-eyed nurse changed my life.
Metastasized means that your wife’s breast cancer has spread to her lymph nodes is how the medical community gave up trying to save Susan and changed my life.
On behalf of a grateful nation, I present this flag as a token of our appreciation for the faithful and selfless service of your loved one for this country, is how a straight-faced Uncle Sam socked me in the heart.
Then one night I was three sheets to the wind with a bottle of Cutty Sark and Pulp Fiction blasting on television. When Samuel L. Jackson screamed the words from Ezekial 25:17, I sat up and was beset by a moment of clarity as he talked about the path of a righteous man. Then he said the words that started me on this path of the righteous man.
“Blessed is he who in the name of charity and goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”
And always, as Mutt is eager to point out my errors. Those are seven sentences, Dude.
“But they are seven good sentences,” I offer.
Mutt thinks for a moment, then nods. They are. Especially for an asshat.

Thanks to John Skipp for editing the Psychos anthology and for letting me be a part of it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Fourth Third of Novel Writing

I'm writing my tenth novel. With the exception of the first novel, which took more than two years to complete, my writing, as it applies to novels, follows an established pattern. This pattern has remained unbroken since 2002, and will probably remain unbroken until I finally succumb to my arch-nemesis. I thought it would change, hell, I hoped it would change, but it looks like this is my particular style. So, I now present to you my four thirds of novel writing.

The First Third. The characters are fresh in my head. I don't really know them, but I'm eager to do so. I mean, come on, they are so damned interesting. The plot is still the best plot anyone has ever conceived. My working title is brilliant. The writing is crisp and awesome and absolutely bound to be the winner of at the very least a National Book Award. My god, I am so good and this is so much fun, how come I'm not writing two books right now instead of one. Wait? Is that Stephen King calling for advice? I'll put him on hold. I don't have the time. I'm too busy being perfect.

The Second Third. My characters are stupid and they suck. I can't even remember who they are. They all merge into silly pretenders who shouldn't even be characters on a daytime soap opera. And who's the asshat who came up with this plot? Seriously? Does Marvel comics know you've stolen their formula for Overused Plot #14? And dude, what the fuck is up with all of the gerunds you keep slapping in sentences. Don't you know it's illegal in seventeen states? And another thing. Split Infinitives is not a Marvel superhero alternate world character arc! It's a crime!

The Third Third. I calm down. I go back, I massage the text and realize it's not even half as bad as I thought. In fact, had I not listened to my inner Satan, I'd be finished by now. Self Doubt is a cowardly arch viillian and my long time arch-nemesis and it can strike down even the best of us, without warning and without mercy. I don't actually get a lot of writing done during this period, but by the time I'm finished with the Third Third, I'm on the downward slope of the novel, into act three, and sliding head first towards the final climactic set pieces. Everything is going to be just fine. I might not be awesome, but I'm pretty damn good. I find my pride beginning to return.

The Fourth Third. Wait, who are the characters? What are they doing? Do you mean you're getting paid actual money to write this dribble? What? You mean you've already been paid? Don't you think you should give the money back. Fuck you. No. Fuck you. Leave me alone and go bother Brian Keene. Fuck you, he's too strong for us. Then go bother John Skipp. He's a lot of fun. He knows porn stars. No triple fuck you. Skipp has the  +5 Cloak of Self Doubt Protection. I can't get past it. (-- an internal battle ensues too graphic for this page, involving Facebook, Twitter, Googling old college roommates, browsing vintage clothes on Ebay, rearranging my library chronologically according to author's birth dates  genre, and publisher, rebuilding my website, drinking great gobs of wine, writing articles about writing, and singing along to old Brittany Spears videos) Then, in a passion-filled two weeks, I finish the first draft of the novel, keeping one step ahead of my arch-nemesis. By the time I type THE END, I'm restless to be done with this book and move on to something else, to go somewhere my arch-nemesis doesn't frequent.

But that's not it.

You thought it was over, didn't you.

The Fifth Third. Eventually you'll have to return to your novel, unless you're a LuLu author or have your girlfriend/mother/sister/brother/aunt edit it for you followed by you self-publishing it and spending the next four years sitting behind card tables at craft fairs and conventions calling yourself an author. In this fifth third, you're impassioned  You've already fought so many battles, you're a tired warrior. You find yourself hacking and slashing the first brilliant third of you novel like sleep-sundered Conan after he wakes up in the Land of the Lotus-eaters. By the time you've finished your edit, the novel is more lean and filled with less brilliance. It is now a work you can turn loose upon a legion of real editors. If you're lucky enough to work for a major publishing house, you'll have half a dozen editors, many fresh out of an Ivy League college stuck being an editor until they can write their own great American novel. These editors know more about grammar and sentence structure than you'll ever know. If you're not so lucky, your cousin Gregg and his fiance will edit it with post-it notes, followed by a group of beta readers whose knowledge of the English language was learned through comic books and role-playing games, and an endless string of Tolkien pretenders (like your own). However it's done, the novel needs edited many times. It's gone from brilliant to craptacular back to moderately good. Will it ever be brilliant again? That's not for you to decide. That's for the Readerverse. In fact, you don't care. By now you're working on your next novel, and let me tell you, it is fucking brilliant.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Coming Year - Afghanistan and New Book Contract

With my West Coast book signing trip behind me and the advent of the new year, I can relax and kick back and count my laurels. Right?

I wish.

I wish I had the time.

Especially, since I'm hard up against a very specific deadline.  On April 22nd I'm supposed to have my feet firmly planted on Afghani soil.

In the meantime, I have to finish SEAL Team 666: AGE OF BLOOD, a zombie novella and a new Military Sci Fi book I'm signing a contract for next week. From whom you ask? All I can say is it's a mass market paperback.

Not to mention, all the edits St. Martins is going to deluge me with over AGE OF BLOOD.

That's what we call in the trades  a shitload of writing. I might not be able to do it by the time I'm supposed to be in Afghanistan. So St. Martins might experience having to send edits to a war zone. Wonder how many times they've done that before? I also might have to work on the Military Sci Fi novel there too... in my spare time.  Like I'll have any.  Riiiight.

The good thing is that if I leave on time, I'll be back around Thanksgiving. I can spend the holidays with my wife and family. And come January, I'll have four books out:
  • SEAL Team 666 in mmp
  • SEAL Team 666:AGE OF BLOOD in hardback
  • Halfway House in limited edition hardcover and paperback
  • Military Sci Fi novel in mmp
That'll be fun.

Here's  a link you'll find interesting. It's a video of my interview at the Poisoned Pen.



Oh yeah. And don't forget to pick up a copy of SEAL Team 666 or any of my other books, especially the novella Butterfly Winter which isn't getting the love it deserves. I also have copies of Empire of Salt for sale. This book is sold out in America, so I'm the only one who seems to have any copies. For information about these books click here.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Gary Stu Reviews and Twicrap Opinions

Everyone has their own opinion. I shouldn't be surprised, especially after such a divisive American election year as 2012. Yet I still find it funny when someone hates something of mine which so many other people love. It sort of makes me want to hold a psychological board to discern what it is about them that created within them an optic so different from other people. The result could possible be that we'd discover how to make a work of art everyone would love, but that hasn't happened since the first issue of Mad Magazine, which in and of itself was lightning in a bottle.

So I get google alerts when my name is mentioned. Most of the time I don't have time to check them, but on this occasion I did. And I learned two new words. Twicrap and Gary Stu.

From Simon Branford, Evolutionary Biology Researcher at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Reading comes this notation:

    
Twicrap Award for Worst Book - Blaze of Glory by Weston Ochse. I decided to give a couple of the indie e-book bundles a go. It was a fairly predictable outcome – some books were OK, most rambled on for too long, and a couple were dreadful. This one was the worst – a Gary Stu monster apocalypse.

Twicrap seems easy enough to understand, but Gary Stu? I looked it up and it's interesting. I think it's a specifically English reference, because I've never heard it before, and I do get around quite considerably, but then again I might not be traveling in the right Mary Sue circles.

According to Wikipedia, Gary Stu is a variant of Mary Sue and it goes something like this:

Mary Sue stories—the adventures of the youngest and smartest ever person to graduate from the academy and ever get a commission at such a tender age. Usually characterized by unprecedented skill in everything from art to zoology, including karate and arm-wrestling. This character can also be found burrowing her way into the good graces/heart/mind of one of the Big Three [Kirk, Spock, and McCoy], if not all three at once. She saves the day by her wit and ability, and, if we are lucky, has the good grace to die at the end, being grieved by the entire ship.[4]  
 Interesting. I don't think it fits my plot at all, but interesting. My protagonist is really just a garbage man with a passion for survival. He's really not good at anything. The use of this word along with the mentioning of the authors he actually likes (noted in the link on his name) made me realize that good man Simon reads YA books. Blaze of Glory is decidedly not a YA book. Maybe that's where some of the breakdown occurs.

Take for instance Adam Cesare. He's a self-professed reader of adult horror. He reviewed Blaze of Glory and loved it.  Among many things he says -

    Blaze of Glory is a first rate literary creature feature, it’s got an eclectic and likable cast of survivors, some thoughtful allusions to the sub-genre’s past, and a host of creatures that are both creepy and original.  Oh, and it’s also got Dylan Thomas poems being recited while our protagonists douse salt-sensitive monsters with Supersoakers.


Is it as simple as a reader not knowing what he was getting into? After all, the cover even warns HERE THERE BE MONSTERS.

Probably not. And will probably never figure it out.

All of the above twicrap is nothing but sophomoric sophistry. Although I'm still left wondering what it was that made it Master Simon's Worst Book of the Year, I'm sure this is something I'll never really know. And perhaps I shouldn't. After all, there are things I don't like that a lot of people seem to really appreciate. Like Strawberry Lattes.


Liking and hating is what makes us all different. Maybe Master Simon is as I type this conducting evolutionary research on the subject. We can only cross our fingers and hope.

But Master Simon did do me a favor. He taught me the term Gary Stu. I'm going to use that. Like the word Slacks. And when I whip it out-- the word --people are going to look at me cross-eyed wondering what the hell I said. And in that moment, I will channel Master Simon and stare at them in my best interpretation of an Evolutionary Biology Researcher, and they will think me wise.

Now peel your Gary Stu asses away from my blog and do something useful, like shopping for some bell-bottom slacks.

Laters.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

20 New Year's Resolutions for Those Who Don't Have Any

Can't figure out your own New Year's Resolution? Can't figure out how to improve your life? I've provided a list of some randomly sampled resolutions from the geniuses on Twitter. Pick one and it's yours:


  1. Have less hairy nipples and more hairy armpits
  2. Stop using my cat as an excuse for a boyfriend
  3. Avoid employing my strikingly-decent impression of Mickey Mouse's voice when having sex
  4. Never ask my drug dealer how her life has been recently unless I have an hour to spend hearing about it
  5. Randomly sew one sequin onto every piece of clothing I own
  6. To stop saying 'you go girl' outloud to myself
  7. Get me some of those C-Tate abs the ladies are so crazy about
  8. Learn brick laying? I've always fancied knowing but dunno if you actually have to become a bricklayer to learn?
  9. Figure out how to get into the secret tunnels under disney world
  10. Not to meet any girls online anymore and to actually see one in public
  11. Dedicate the whole year to bang a north korean chick, a scientologist and meet chuck bass
  12. Won't sit and do nothing from now on, will stalk people on Facebook instead.
  13. Don't sit with my phone on twitter all day, must try to stand every now and again
  14. Live like I'm dying; Get healthy physically & spiritually; Stop ppl pleasing; Dev a new perspective on life; Love
  15. Stop adding my own home made butter and cream to store-made donuts during the diet
  16. Put daily markings on my anti-social neighbour's car and house door till he leaves”
  17. Stop spitting in other people's drinks at parties
  18. Get my body waxed this year so I can wear a bikini at Walmart and make the website.
  19. Jump up and down every time I'm in the grocery store and make people refer to me as Pogo Man
  20. Stop speaking in an evil little voice whenever I get into an elevator.
And there you have it. 20 New Years Resolutions to try. 

Choose one. 

Choose them all

These are free for you to use.

Do you have any you want to add to the list?