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.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Coupons for Crack Babies


I see then in magazines, newspapers, fliers. We get the Wednesday paper just to get all the coupons.

Coupons are good.

And coupons are bad.

I've always been of the mind that coupons are like crack. The more you use them the more you want them. I know that I've not intended on buying things and have changed my mind because I had a $2.00 off coupon. So  I spent $10 to save $2.00. Even my simple math can tell me that is a $8.00 loss. But at least I have something to show for it.

When I'm at the grocery store I see women with binders filled with current coupons. I can't imagine how long they take every day putting the new coupons in, replacing the old, and cross referencing. I wonder if they are arranged by food group or by food type. I've always thought I'd arrange it by aisle, especially since I go to the same store 98% of the time. In fact, I go to Fry's so often that I should have my own parking space.

My Wife's Crack Ice Cream Habit
Let me talk about Fry's for a moment.  For my corner of Arizona, it's a pretty decent store. They have good meats, good wine, and good seafood. They are my wife's crack ice cream dealer. They are my wine distributor. They have most vegetables and fruit I want and hold frequent sales. I can get a free bite of sushi if I time it right. They have a great deli counter that has my own crack version of meat - mortadella. All in all, besides some hiccups along the way it's been a good store.

And like most stores nowadays, they issue you a VIP card that gives discounts and points towards free gas. When you buy something, the machine spits out additional coupons for something they think you'd buy based on your purchases. They probably use a modified eighth-grade version of the algorithm which is use by Google or Facebook.  If you like this, then try that. If you're friends with this jamoke, then you should friends with this jamoke. That sort of thing.

But when I buy wine from the self-serve checkout a strange thing happens.I get coupons for Enfamil. So the algroythm is saying that people who buy wine also buy Enfamil. The odds are that somewhere a lot of men or women are buying both of these together at great frequency. It has to be. Why else would they offer me baby formula EVERY TIME I BUY WINE!

I wonder if I should bring it to the stores attention.

Me- Excuse me, sir?
Manager- Yes?
Me- Do you know that every time that I buy wine that it gives me coupons for baby formula?
Manager-Isn't that nice.
Me- Don't you think you might be promoting something... unhealthy?
Manager- There's nothing unhealthy about baby formula.
Me- But why do you offer it to everyone who buys wine?
Manager-Wouldn't you?

And so on. The manager I am sure has no idea whatsover. The algorythm was probably created by the same Russian man who offers phone assisstance using the name Peggy.

I mean, I'd understand it if I was buying vodka. At least then I could use the Enfamil to make White Russians.  Yummmm.

Got formula?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Killercon Survival Rate

Back from Killercon and the Killercon Survival Rate is Las Vegas 0, Me 1. Woot!

This is an excerpt from my reading-- Go ahead and play it as you read the rest. It makes great background music... Thing of it as Weston Rock Star Radio.

Like everyone else, I had an awesome time. I twitted, twatted, facebooked, and message board to all of you living vicariously through me. Here's what I put on Shocklines after Day 1:
Angel McCoy, Chris Marrs, and Eunice Magill
Killercon Sightings Latina Hookers. German Tourists. Ed Lee. Crack-addled cross-dressers. Drug pushers. And I kid you not, a man pushing a woman in a wheelchair down the street, trying to pimp her out for wheel chair sex. Yes folks, we are in THAT part of Vegas. (and I love it) After having dinner with my agent, had a few drinks with Gene O'Neil, Gord Rollo, John Mantooth, Shane McKenzie, Bob Meracle, Nate Southard, and Erik Williams. They saw Lee, but failed to bring him around. They said he looked like he was a man on a mission. Hopefully he wasn't chasing down a wheelchair. Nice to be with fellow writers.
The next day, which was the actual first day of the convention, I spent most of it working in my room on SEAL Team 666.
The Beast and Roy Robbins
More Killercon Sightings Last night was rabid. Had a great time. Interesting sightings included-- Tanya, the six foot tall slender black woman who looked like a rail thin Diana Ross. I'm 90% sure she was a woman. I'm a 100% sure she was an escort. She offered me a discount and gave me her phone number. I thanked her, wished her luck and left her off on the 23rd floor. An hour later returning down from the 24th floor, the door to 23 opened. I half expected it to be Tanya and was wondering what to say: "Have a good time?" "Did everything turn out alright?" I mean, what do you say to an escort, post service? But instead of Tanya, it was Suzanne and Rebecca. They were each about 6 feet in heels (what's up with all the tall women?) I'm 100% sure they were women. Suzanne was in a white short wedding dress. Rebecca was in a black short wedding dress. They were going across the street to get married to each other. I wished them a great life. They both wished me the same.
Me Getting Down
At one point there was a headline that worried folks that Killercon had gotten out of hand -- 1 dead, 2 hurt in Nevada casino brawl

 Really, Can't you get an idea of the spirit of Vegas yet? Can't you feel it?

 At the con, it was great to spend time with and sometimes meet for the first time Wrath James White, Laura Hickman, Ray Garton, Jack Ketchum, Rose, O'Keefe, Carlton Melnick III, Jeff Burk, Jeff Mariotte, Jeremy Wagner, Monica O'Rourke, Brian Lumley, Hal Bodner, James James Gurley, Edward Lee, Monica S. Kuebler, William Gagliani, John Skipp, Nate Southard, John R. Little, Misty Dahl, Gene O'Neil, John Palisano, Gord Rollo, Wendy Cooper, Erik Williams, Mercedes Yardley, El G Grande, PS Gifford, Gabrielle Faust, Ben Etheridge, Evil Ed Coulter (Who is from my hometown!), Mike and Michelle Calvillo, Bill Nola, Jasona nd Sunni Brock, Norm Rubenstein, Steven Booth, Bailey Hunter, RJ Cavender, Jason Reinhardt, John Mantooth, Guido Henkel, Chris Marrs, Robert Devearoux, Jack Staynes, Angel McCoy, David-Matthew Barnes, and so many damn others I know I'll be adding to this for days. And although I appreciated Ed Kurtz challenging me to fisticuffs on Twitter, I'm glad that he demured later on.

If @westonochse doesn't meet me at the casino bar he is thereby admitting I could best him at fisticuffs. There: I said it. Ed_Kurtz_Bleeds

Oooh the fun and games at conventions! Lol. The thing was that I was in the middle of my Rock Star Reading of Playlist at the End, which appeared in Shock Totem Magazine recently. The real question was, where was Ed? Shane McKenzie was cool to meet. Gotta love somene who tweets - Weston was a bad-ass gross-out bouncer. Elvis glasses, baby! Shane won the Gross Out Contest with a very well-wrought tale of grandma sex--- barf! Great convention. The highlight, of course, came on Saturday when my agent, Robert Fleck, brought me the St. Martin's Press contracts for SEAL Team 666 for me to sign. I can be seen here doing just that-- Pictures taken by Rose O'Keefe. Special thank to Eunice Magill for the wine. And to Walter Danenhower and Bob Meracle for being such great fans!

Mike Calvillo

Walter Danenhower

Jon Mayberry, me and Jeff Marriotte's Eyes

Jason Brock and Ben Ethridge

Gene O'Neil, Gord Rollo, John Palisano, and Chris Marrs

Guido Henkel

Ed Kurtz

Skipp and Lee and the Deadly Four Fingers of Death

That's all for now. There are plenty of other pictures out there, but these are some of mine.

Thanks Killercon.

Thanks Vegas.

No hookers were injured during the making of this blog.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Velvet Dogma Reviews

Several reviews this week forVelvet Dogma.These folks have been included in the contest.

HORRORWORLD: Horror World used the words 'blown away,' 'pleasantly surprised,' 'rip-roarin'' and 'incredibly handsome,' when they recently reviewed my original eNovel, Velvet Dogma. Okay, one of those is made up, but it was 'insinuated' okay? Please read the full review and if you haven't managed to get your copy yet, which is less than the cost of a Happy Meal.

I was blown away at the quality of the author’s prose.  Talk about smooth!  I am not a technologically adept man, but Ochse did a marvelous job of taking me through a world that is nothing short of an electronics engineers dream.  I still don’t pretend to understand how even half of how the gizmo’s in Velvet Dogma work, but Ochse did a great job presenting them to the reader in such a way that his succinct descriptions of their concepts alone was enough to get me into the story.  And most importantly for me, Ochse kept the names of the characters, buildings, events, and even most of the gizmo’s simple enough where I could remember them without having to create a spread sheet to keep track of them all.

For the full review go here.

From Wendy Trakes: Another action-packed adventure, Velvet Dogma shows us a frightening potential future shaped by technology and natural disaster through the eyes of Rebecca Mines who has just been released from a 20 year extended vacation in solitary confinement. Rebecca finds herself a visitor in her own city as she is chased from one part of Los Angeles to the next by both police and the criminal element, creating a snapshot image of the high tech new world and the underbelly of society. The crime she committed continues to haunt her as she is hunted from the very moment of her release. This imaginative high-tech thriller is filled with twists and turns, underground worlds and mad scientists, medical miracles, gangs and mystical prophets. For the full review go here.

Three more days in the review contest. If you want to be included, please make sure that you post, video tape, or spray paint a review of VD somewhere!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Living Dangerously Weekly: You Are Who You Read

I saw an article about Gary Paulsen in a trade magazine the other day and clipped it out. For years I'd been trying to think of the title of this book I'd read when I was a kid, and there it was in the article.  Hatchet

Or so I thought. 

Hatchet By Gary PaulsenYou see, when I lived in New Jersey as an eight year old kid, I'd read this book that stuck with me.  It was about a boy who is lost in the woods... you'll have to forgive my memory. Some of the details are sketchy. The setting was the Catskills, which were not all that far from where I lived. As a kid in 1973, I had a pretty idyllic life. I had the run of the small town we lived in, pedaling my bike furiously from one place to the other. I had one of those banana handle bar, ten dollar, indestructible bikes bought from a creepy guy at the edge of town who sold bikes and lawnmowers and probably hooch. My folks worked far away and I remember getting out of school, rushing home, throwing my books down and taking my bike everywhere. There wasn't a trail in the woods I didn't know.  I knew of the special places, like the bushes with the broken beer bottles where I'd occasionally kneel and sniff like an animal, the smell of stale beer as foreign to me as it would be to any creature of the forest. I remember finding the skeleton of a small animal and storing it in a box that I buried in the woods; one which I'd come back to and investigate with the reverence of a Smithsonian scientist. 

Then my mom brought home a book.     

My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics) Hatchet is about a young boy who survives a plane crash in the Yukon, but that wasn't the one I was thinking of. My Side of the Mountain is the one I'd read back then and damn, but that book affected me. This boy runs away from home and lives off the land in the Catskills for two years. He carved fish hooks. He made his own bowls.  He was like a Jedi-Eagle Scout and I remember wanting to be him.  Every time I'd pedal away from home after that I told myself that I could survive out there if I wanted to. I could run away and be able to fish and eat and hunt just like that kid.  There were times I almost didn't come back. After all, I'd read the book, and like any How-to Manual, as long as I followed the directions of Jean Craighead George, I'd be able to survive.

My Brother Sam Is DeadThe next year I read My Brother Sam is Dead.  By James Lincoln Collier, I think this was the first book that made me cry. The novel thrust me into the American Revolution with the protagonist who lived and breathed 1775. I learned about patriotism, duty, loyalty and death. This novel truly affected me. Later when I was a father, this was a book I bought specially for my son, just so he could maybe experience some of what the book meant to me. 

The next year we moved to Tennessee. This would be about 1975 when I was ten, or maybe the next year, I can't be sure. I remember ordering a book from the weekly reader program. I brought the exact change in, put it in the envelope with the paper I'd filled out, and waited an impossible three weeks. When it came, I was astounded.  For the life of me, I cannot figure out the title, though.  I googled and searched, but I just can't find it.  But I can tell you the plot. The book was about a young boy kidnapped and taken to communist China by his father's nemesis. The boy learns Chinese and the ways of the people. He's treated as a second son by the Chinese man, but the boy knows better an always holds the hope of rescue in the back of his mind.  Eventually his father comes and saves him. After a perilous journey, they both escape China. To this moment I can remember lines in that book. I know that you have to boil the liche nut to get it to make a dye so you can cover your skin. 

Fast forward to now.

I've read thousands of books, but arguably, these three books I mentioned affected me more than any others.  They directed my life.  After twenty years in the Army, most as an intelligence guy who speaks Chinese, I can't help but believe that each of those books had a major influence in my life.  I can set a snare as easily as I can boil a liche nut.  Sam taught me humanity, the same humanity I levied as a soldier bearing one of the greatest responsibilities a country can bestow. 

It's utterly amazing how books can influence us.  And with that knowledge, I'm becoming more and more cognizant of what I write.  There were times as I was learning my craft that I wrote pretty much anything that came to mind.  And that was fair.  After all, I was in the learning process.  How could I learn without practice?  But now I feel I have the bones to do about anything I put my mind to. 

A few years ago, I was asked and wrote a story that I took the greatest care with in the WW II anthology A Dark and Deadly Valley. I was concerned that, because I was writing about the immediate aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima, I might not do the horrible day justice. I spent an inordinate amount of time researching and trying to find the perfect way to write the story. Eventually I settled on a personal account by a survivor who'd related how he'd been waiting for a train in the station when the bomb had gone off.  When he awoke, he and hundreds of other commuters were fused together, their skin melted by the blast. I decided to begin there.  So far every review has pointed that story as a star of the book. Hiroshima Falling is a story of which I'm proud. I couldn't have written it ten years ago. I couldn't have written it five years ago. I doubt I could have even written it two years ago.  I think I've grown in my writing and in that growing found a way to see past the story to the reader.  

I hope one day I can write a story that will affect a child or an adult in the way those books affected me. I could have been a businessman, I could have been a doctor, or I could have been a priest.  But those books, the amazing writing and characterization and description somehow wove their way into my subconscious and directed who I was to become. 

To direct one's future.

Now, that's talent.

Incidentally, the rest of the Gary Paulsen article went on about how he was proud to be a teller of tales.  So I'll leave you with this:

"I'm a teller of stories.  I put bloody skins on my back and dance around the fire, and I saw what the hunt was like.  It's not erudite; it's not intellectual.  I sail, run dogs, ride horse, play professional poker and tell stories about stuff I've been through.  And I'm still a romantic; I want Bambi to make it out of the fire."

I think I'm more like Paulsen than any other writer. I write about the stuff I've been through. Pretty much all of my writing is experiential fiction. I envy those who can create whole cloth plots from the ether.

I'm not that guy.

And I'm not sure if I'm a Bambi guy, either.

But I am a romantic and I'd give anything if Old Yeller would survive.

Velvet DogmaWeston Ochse is the Bram Stoker-winning author or Scarecrow Gods, as well as the author of a number of novels including Empire of Salt, and soon to be published Blood Ocean (Abaddon Books). His most recent publication is an original eNovel called Velvet Dogma.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Velvet Dogma - Live, Naked and in Your Room

Today is the day.

Ironic, really. On the day that I type THE END onto my latest novel Blood Ocean (Afterblight Chronicles),  the very first science fiction novel I wrote goes on sale. I've already told the story of Velvet Dogma on this blog with -- Velvet Dogma Orphaned No More -- where I told the tale of how it came to be and what happened to it on its publishing journey. I gotta say that I am just damn thrilled that you all are going to be able to read my efforts. It's been six long years and now it's here-- Live, Naked and in Your Room for you to read.

Velvet DogmaVelvet Dogma has been compared to PK Dick and William Gibson. That's someone else's comparison, not mine. My hubris isn't of sufficient stature to place myself among these giants. I do owe credit to and my mind was stimulated by Gibson's Neuromancer, however. That novel along with Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash are two of the best cyberpunk novels ever written-- hell, best science fiction novels written. You'll notice in Velvet Dogma the influence. Thanks to both these literary genius gentlemen for laying such a brilliant foundation for me to play upon.

So here it is. The book is only published in eBook. I've already been asked to publish it in paperback but I said no. I want to try this medium, which is perfect for a novel about the internet and computing. I've taken Joe Konrath's advice to heart and used some of his eBook guiding principals, primarily in the cover. Isn't it awesome? I've also used a lot of his other advice. Notice inside the book you will find links and excerpts to other books, not all of them my own. Thanks Joe for the help.

Here's where you can find Velvet Dogma for $3.99
Amazon - Velvet Dogma
Barnes and Nobles - Velvet Dogma
Smashwords - Velvet Dogma with a free 20% preview and in all formats

PS - Note to all readers. Please Plus 1 this, comment if you can, click a reaction and share it to twitter or facebook. It would mean a lot to me.  (THANKS)