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, November 30, 2012

John Skipp Forced to HALO by SEAL Team 666

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.

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Thanks, Skipp!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

SEAL Team 666 Mixtape

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!!!

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

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.

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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

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...

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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

 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

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.


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?


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.

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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

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

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

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

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:

Monday, November 12, 2012

42 Days of 666 - World Premier of SEAL Team 666

SEAL Team 666 is not due out for another 15 days. No one on earth that's not part of the publishing house has the book for sale... except for Mysterious Galaxy Books for a period of the three days of TusCon 39. Maryelizabeth Hart was able to get an event exemption to sell the books ahead of time, which made the flavor of the convention even more special. Long time convention organizer, Joe Palmer, said, "getting to pre-release SEAL Team 666 is one of the great moments of TusCon." And this for a convention that's had the entire pantheon of science fiction and fantasy greats as Guest of Honors.

Speaking with Mysterious Galaxy, the unofficial sales number for the convention was 39 copies sold of the hardback of SEAL Team 666. This not only shattered the record of a single book sold at the convention, but those records that were all shattered were those of Guests of Honor. I wasn't the Guest of Honor. S.M. Stirling was. That said, even though not one of his novels sold more than SEAL Team 666, they were selling all of his novels, so I have no doubt his books far outsold mine. Hell, I bought some of his books. I love his books. Still, the sales numbers of Triple Six were thrilling.

Credit for the first book being signed goes to long time friend, fan, and fellow veteran, Jim Webbert. In fact, the copy I signed for him was the first copy of the hardback I'd ever touched.  So nice.

Then came the onslaught.

Please, I can deal with more onslaughts like this. People wanting books signed, people coming up and talking to me about Triple Six, still others wanting to talk about writing military supernatural thrillers.

Then on Saturday at 11 AM, the convention held the official release party. We had about thirty people in attendance. Mysterious Galaxy mounded a box's worth of books on the table, and stood by to let people buy copies. I explained about the making of SEAL Team 666, cover design, logo design, the editing process, some of the problems we had-- basically, a behind the scenes look at a book everyone has been eager to get their hands on. It went over very well. People laughed at my jokes, which is always good. Then afterward, they queued up and I began signing.

Please, more onslaught.

The weekend ended as it had to on Sunday afternoon. I was sad to say goodbye to all the people. But on the way out the door, an older gentleman passed me with a copy of 666 in a bag.

"Excuse me, sir?"

He turned.

"Do you want me to sign it?"

He stared at me.

"The book," I said, pointing at his bag.

Then he looked at my name tag and broke into a huge smile. "I thought you were gone. They said you'd left."

"Almost. Not yet."

He handed the book and I saw in his eyes a pleasure that turned his sixty-plus years into that of a child. Once I finished and handed it back, he chuckled, shook his head and left.

To engender that feeling in someone is beyond cool.

More onslaught.

Much more onslaught.

42 Days with SEAL Team 666 - VETERAN'S DAY

Happy Veteran's Day to all of you who have served, had loved one's who served, or have benefited from someone's service. Which means Happy Veteran's Day to everyone in America. I'm not going to wax on about this day. Instead, I'll let the immortal Walt Whitman speak for me:

Dirge for Two Veterans

Walt Whitman (from Leaves of Grass, 
first published in the 1867 edition)


   The last sunbeam
Lightly falls from the finish’d Sabbath,
On the pavement here—and there beyond, it is looking,
   Down a new-made double grave.


   Lo! the moon ascending!
Up from the east, the silvery round moon;
Beautiful over the house tops, ghastly phantom moon;
   Immense and silent moon.


   I see a sad procession,
And I hear the sound of coming full-key’d bugles;
All the channels of the city streets they’re flooding,
   As with voices and with tears.


   I hear the great drums pounding,
And the small drums steady whirring;
And every blow of the great convulsive drums,
   Strikes me through and through.


   For the son is brought with the father;
In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell;
Two veterans, son and father, dropt together,
   And the double grave awaits them.


   Now nearer blow the bugles,
And the drums strike more convulsive;
And the day-light o’er the pavement quite has faded,
   And the strong dead-march enwraps me.


   In the eastern sky up-buoying,
The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin’d;
(’Tis some mother’s large, transparent face,
   In heaven brighter growing.)


   O strong dead-march, you please me!
O moon immense, with your silvery face you soothe me!
O my soldiers twain! O my veterans, passing to burial!
   What I have I also give you.


   The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music;
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
   My heart gives you love.

Please thank a veteran. It doesn't have to be veteran's day. For a veteran, every day is a veteran's day.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

42 Days of 666 - Day 18 with Michael Huyck

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.

R-L: Mikey Huyck, Brian Keene, Mike Oliver, GAK (2002)
Today we have Michael T. Huyck, Jr., or Mikey to me. I've know Mikey for as long as I've been writing. An original member of the cabal, we used to pass nights in the Horror-Net chatroom, waiting for F. Paul Wilson, Doug Clegg, Ray Garton, or Tom Picirilli to stop by and lay upon us their great and grand wisdom for the genre. In addition to being a fantastic writer, Mikey was also a fiction editor for Carpe Noctem magazine (one of the five magazines I have managed to kill). A veteran like me, and much smarter than I am, I looked forward to Mikey's answer to my questions.

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

For me choosing between a favorite movie, television show, and book is like choosing between a banana, a tennis shoe, and the theory of relativity. Each of these ain't like the other, so I need an approach option. Choose one of each? Nope, that violates the rules. Everyone knows I'm a sheep and don't violate the rules. Variation on a theme - how about I write a narrative where I weave one of each into a homogeneous answer? That sounds like mucho work. Nope. So fine, by default I'm going to invoke the "books are always better" rule and just not think about movies or television.

In the book category the nominees are FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS by Ernest Hemingway, WAR AND PEACE by Leo Tolstoy, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE by Stephen Crane, THE CAINE MUTINY by Herman Wouk, FAIL-SAFE by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler, and my eventual winner: ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute.

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

 If you're not familiar with the novel, please become so. It's Nevil's best (IMO, of course.) If you are, you might be crying foul right now. For those not in the know, ON THE BEACH is, on its face, more a post-apocalyptic novel than anything. I say "on its face" because ON THE BEACH avoids all the cold war-centric apocalyptic themes except for the USA and USSR largely being responsible for the end of the world. That part's consistent. For the record, two European countries start the war. Bulgaria and Italy, if I remember (I'm in a plane right now and can't look it up.)  Egypt bombs the USA and we blame the USSR and the USSR retaliates and decides to toss in some other attacks as well. The world's now a zombie, still grinding away and not aware it's already dead. Of course that's one of the military angles. The other is that a good portion of the story is told from the perspective of the USS Scorpion (SSN-589) and some of its crew. They undertake a mission from Australia to Washington (the state, not the district) to look for survivors inferred by a regular Morse signal. A few disparate details have always made this navy sinking more interesting to me than others - 1) I was a US Navy submariner in the nuclear power program, (2) I used to work for a guy who went to sea on the USS Snook (the Scorpion's sister boat) for sea trials at the same time the Scorpion went on its last mission, and 3) the Scorpion sank on my 4th birthday. No, I don't remember it, I just find it...interesting. The Scorpion is one of only two US nuclear submarines (trivia: we sub sailors call submarines "boats" and surface ships "targets") lost at sea, with the other being the USS Thresher (SSN-593.)

I digress, but it's an informative digression. Something about this history helped me connect to ON THE BEACH in a way lacking in similar books from the era (such as Mordecai Roshwald's LEVEL 7.)

Was that all it took to make this beat out THE CAINE MUTINY (a fantastic story) or FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (one of the best books written - ever)? No. What made it best was Nevil Shute's writing. Clean and clear and pointed. He develops his work like a wicker basket, its plots and devices set inside and its characters woven to carry them. While not all that emotional, they are true to the common motivations of man: survival, love, duty, sympathy, pride, all the things that separate us a few degrees from the crocodiles and dust bunnies. The story has legs, alternately on land in two different continents (that I remember, don't hold me to that) and, of course, at sea. It's stark, really. And sad. Sad isn't one of my favorite threads in fiction. In fact, it's the principle reason I don't care for drama in television or movies. There's enough real life in life for me to regularly avoid the fair in my fiction. For reasons I really don't understand myself, it works in ON THE BEACH. Perhaps because of the writing, perhaps because of the story, or perhaps because of where I was at mentally when I read it. I really don't know. But I do know that I'll never forget it.

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

A consistent failure of the era's fiction regarding the cold war was the beating of the "what we're doing is insanity" drumbeat. Yes, that's true, what we did during the era was insanity. It was two of the school's largest bullies in a staring contest and everyone's ass would be beat when someone blinked. Thematics such as this work as a thesis, but they're not adequate for good story. In ON THE BEACH the cold war and nuclear Armageddon aren't the story, they're a pretext for the essential human story. Unlike much fiction of the era, Shute doesn't come across as heavy or preachy either. I found it had what a novel needs to work, specifically to reveal the human condition imbued. We all need our war stories pregnant with tension, sure, and we need our loves and losses. But the most important thing is that the human beings in the novel do the things that human beings do. This is what makes ON THE BEACH work, regardless whether you call it a post-Armageddon or military work.

+   +   +

Thanks, Mikey!

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