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.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hate Mail for my Stoker Finalist Story

I never used to get hate mail. One of my stories has changed that. It's called RIGHTEOUS, appeared in the Black Dog and Leventhal anthology PSYCHOS, and is a final ballot nomination for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction.

For those who haven't read the story, 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. It's also the idea that patriotism might be like alcoholism and too much of it might just be bad.

Here's a sampling of some of the emails I received, with my replies:

"You don't know what the f&ck your (sic) talking about. There's no excuse for your character's behaviour (sic). He's a f&tard!"

My reply: Well, actually, I do know what I'm talking about. I'm a retired army soldier with twenty years of service and am currently civil service employee working for the department of defense. I'm also deploying to Afghanistan next month. I get patriotism better than most. It's why I wrote the story.

"It saddens me that you've decided to join the lefties."

My reply: If by lefties, you mean those who see both sides of things, who take the time to think through things, and who are concerned with everyone's rights, then yes.

"How dare you trample the red, white and blue! You claim to be a soldier, but you couldn't have been. I was a soldier and am proud to show my flag and I'll kick anyone's ass who wants to try and stop me."

My reply: I never said anything about flying the flag. Thanks for your service.

"F&ck you F&ck you F&ck you F&ck you F&ck you! My brother died in Iraq."

My reply: Sorry for your loss.

"Your idea that a recruiter might be an accomplice to a soldier's ultimate sacrifice is distasteful. Everyone has a choice, whether to serve or not to serve. There isn't a draft, but rather a choice to join and become something you might not be able to become otherwise. Recruiters work long hours and should not be the target of anyone's anger."

My reply: The idea that there is a choice is a little sophistry. Many under-privileged and inner-city young men and women don't really have a choice but to join the service if they have any chance of pulling themselves out of poverty. I agree that recruiters work long hours  I have several friends, whom I respect tremendously, who are recruiters. But recruiters, like society, are (perhaps unwitting) accomplices to the deaths of America's children. As long as we promote the idea of patriotism at all costs, then this is what we grow.

The story was one I questioned writing. I stand by the story. I stand by what it says. I even stand by Mutt, the talking dog. I especially stand by the grieving father. God bless him.

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tattoo Stories - Cowboy of Ra - Vampire Outlaw


I constantly get asked about my tattoos, especially the words inside of each forearm. People want to know what they mean, but the meaning goes deeper than the mere words. See, when my mom went to college in Sioux Falls, S.D. back in 1971-72, she came home and read to me the works she had to memorize. There was a particular poem that had a certain beat that I loved and begged her to read over and over.

Fast forward to 1998. I go to college and take a lit course and find this poem in my Norton anthology. I read it and immediately feel that I've found a familiar friend. I call up my mom and we talk and she tells me the above. I had totally forgotten.

What's interesting, is that this is an identity poem. It's about who you are and who you want to be. Reading the words, I realize I've become many of these. Through some form of osmosis, the words of the poem meant something to me. They actually made me. They formed who I am today

So enough of me. Let me present the poem in it's unaltered state.

One more thing. Ishmael Reed is from my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and currently resides and a professor at Berkley.



I Am a Cowboy in the Boat of Ra
by Ishmael Reed

'The devil must be forced to reveal any such physical evil
(potions, charms, fetishes, etc.) still outside the body
and these must be burned.' (Rituale Romanum, published
1947, endorsed by the coat-of-arms and introductory
letter from Francis cardinal Spellman)


I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra,
sidewinders in the saloons of fools
bit my forehead   like   O
the untrustworthiness of Egyptologists
who do not know their trips. Who was that
dog-faced man? they asked, the day I rode
from town.

School marms with halitosis cannot see
the Nefertiti fake chipped on the run by slick
germans, the hawk behind Sonny Rollins' head or
the ritual beard of his axe; a longhorn winding
its bells thru the Field of Reeds.

I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra. I bedded
down with Isis, Lady of the Boogaloo, dove
deep down in her horny, stuck up her Wells-Far-ago
in daring midday getaway. 'Start grabbing the
blue,' I said from top of my double crown.

I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra. Ezzard Charles
of the Chisholm Trail. Took up the bass but they
blew off my thumb. Alchemist in ringmanship but a
sucker for the right cross.

I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra. Vamoosed from
the temple i bide my time. The price on the wanted
poster was a-going down, outlaw alias copped my stance
and moody greenhorns were making me dance;
   while my mouth's
shooting iron got its chambers jammed.

I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra. Boning-up in
the ol' West i bide my time. You should see
me pick off these tin cans whippersnappers. I
write the motown long plays for the comeback of
Osiris. Make them up when stars stare at sleeping
steer out here near the campfire. Women arrive
on the backs of goats and throw themselves on
my Bowie.

I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra. Lord of the lash,
the Loup Garou Kid. Half breed son of Pisces and
Aquarius. I hold the souls of men in my pot. I do
the dirty boogie with scorpions. I make the bulls
keep still and was the first swinger to grape the taste.

I am a cowboy in his boat. Pope Joan of the
Ptah Ra. C/mere a minute willya doll?
Be a good girl and
bring me my Buffalo horn of black powder
bring me my headdress of black feathers
bring me my bones of Ju-Ju snake
go get my eyelids of red paint.
Hand me my shadow

I'm going into town after Set

I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra

look out Set   here i come Set
to get Set     to sunset Set
to unseat Set  to Set down Set

               usurper of the Royal couch
               imposter RAdio of Moses' bush
               party pooper O hater of dance
               vampire outlaw of the milky way

Monday, February 18, 2013

Coming in the Next 365

Here's what's coming in the next 365 days from me in one manner or another. I hope I didn't leave anything out, but I have a nagging feeling I did -

Short Fiction

Behind Enemy Lines - A collection of four supernatural military thriller novellas from Weston Ochse, Michael McBride, Gord Rollo and Gene O'Neil. My novella is titled Tranquility Tides. To be published by Dark Regions Press (Complete)

Death Race 2000 - A woven collection of four novellas, to be published by Roy James Daley, Books of the Dead Press (Working)

When I Knew Baseball - Short story appearing in World War II Cthulhu ebook anthology published by Cubicle 7 (Complete).

Note this is a Mock Cover
The Weight of a Dead Man - a short story co-written with Yvonne Navarro and edited by Paul Kane and Charles Prepolec and published by Titan Books, appearing in Beyond the Rue Morgue (complete).

Lovers Leap of Faith - short story appearing in Inhuman Magazine (complete).

Gravitas - Short story appearing in Nightmare Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams (Complete).

The Fine Art of Courage - dark fantasy Hemingway story appearing in Cycatrix Press anthology.

Beneath the Scorpion Tree, reprinted in the Haunted Mansion Volume II (Complete).



Novels

Halfway House, Novel, published by  Journalstone Books. Haunted house novel set in Los Angeles (Complete).

Grunt Life, Novel, published by Solaris Books. Military science fiction novel set in the near future (Working).

SEAL Team 666: Age of Blood, published by Thomas Dunne Books. Sequel to SEAL Team 666 (Complete).

SEAL Team 666, U.K. Edition, published by Titan Books.





And don't forget my books in print, like SEAL Team 666, Blood Ocean, Multiplex Fandango and the rest. Just click on the thumbnails on the right (if they're not there, you can always just google too)


Sunday, February 17, 2013

What happens during the weekend...


Spent a guy's weekend with Brian Keene, Drew Williams, and M Stephen Lukac (with guest appearances ffrom Bob Ford and Robert Swartwood) at Casa de Keene. Brian showed us terrific hospitality. Highlights include waking up groggy both Sat and Sunday mornings to surreal discussions about New Criticism vs Reader Response Theories, which was bizarre considering how steeped in the silly we got long into the night. Talked about comics, writing, publishers, movies, and other important world-changing topics. Determined the hierarchy of the new government we'll form after the Apocalypse (Brian HMFIC, me Sec of War and Cooking, Drew Sec of Education and Entertainment and Steve Sec of Finance and Recycling). Cooked some kickass salmon, drank nasty boxed wine, Dos XX and Knob Creek.

We also watched HELL GOES TO FROGTOWN and MST3000ed DEAD ALIVE.

I even managed to write several thousand words in the final scenes of SEAL Team 666 AGE OF BLOOD.

A much needed hiatus from real life, especially since I'll be knee deep in the shit soon. Thanks Brian and the guys for putting up with this old boy. It was a terrific time. I already miss it.

But time waits for no man. Got to get back to work. With any luck, I can type THE END on the first draft of AGE OF BLOOD this weekend.

Here are some photos:









Saturday, February 2, 2013

When I Was A Little Terrorist

So this is a true story.

I'd forgotten about it almost entirely.

My mother is probably going to read this. She never knew it happened either, but the statute of parental limitations expired many years ago. You see, I had to be ten or eleven when I was a little terrorist. That I got away with it is the story.

I was writing a section of SEAL Team 666:Age of Blood today and looking up the nomenclature for a smoke grenade when I remembered using one when I was a kid. Not the AN/M-18 Colored Smoke Grenades used by our armed forces, but the little gray, round balls with a wick that you'd light and it would pump out smoke.

I was living in Signal Mountain, Tennessee at the time. We're talking 1976 or 1977. I was a latchkey kid and spent all my time playing war in the woods, riding my bike, and trying not to get into too much trouble. But on this day I did the first two very well, and the last one not so well.

You see, I had this little smoke bomb. It was the last one and I had to put it to good use. Then it hit me. I'll smoke bomb the bank. (WTF? What kind of kid thinks that?)

I took a circuitous route through the woods so no one could follow me. I hid in a treeline and waited until someone drove up and the teller opened the metal drawer. Then in a daring act of treasonous glee, I lit the bomb, pedaled to the window, dropped it in the drawer,and pedaled away. In my mirror-- yes I had a mirror, and a six foot orange plastic whip on the back of my bike that served no other purpose than to look cool and ultimately to later giveaway my position-- I watched the teller pull the drawer inside, I heard her scream, then she shoved it back outside and the smoke billowed. The woman in the car pulled away like she'd just learned of a ten for one sale at Penny's. I pulled to a stop in the weeds. Hid my bike behind a tree and got down to watch what I'd done.

As expected, the cops came screaming into the parking lot. There was quite a ruckus  Nothing like this had ever happened on sleepy Signal Mountain. The most that ever happened was you'd hear a huge explosion some nights and you just knew someone's still blew up somewhere in the woods.

Eventually a cop spied the orange whip on the back of my bike. As he got nearer, he got more suspicious. I scootched further into the brush.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

At this point I realized the importance of an alibi. I didn't have one. So I said the most intelligent thing I could think of. "I'm looking for my comic books."

I was treated with silence. Either he was drawing down on me or he was wondering why I was reading coming books in a thicket. I didn't know because my little terrorist eyes were closed.

"Come out of there." Thankfully he left off, with your hands up.

"No," I said.

"Come out of there," he repeated.

"No," I said firmly.

It was a standoff.

Have you read SEAL Team 666?
I'm not sure what happened at that moment. I don't know whether he was called by a fellow officer, he decided to leave my poor little terroristically terrified body alone, or that he remembered that he'd left the oven on, but he left. It wasn't long before the police called an all clear and everything went back to normal.

I made my way back home and promptly forgot about this for the next 36 years.

And then came today.

What I note on the picture above is that very little has changed. The strip mall on the north side of the highway beside the entrance to Cauthen Way wasn't there when I was a kid. The bank was the first building on that side.

Thankfully I'm no longer a terrorist. I just write about them now.

Weston Ochse
Sonoran Desert