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.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Morpheus Tales Gets Me to Say I'm Afraid of Butterflies and Other Stuff

Graffiti from Bisbee, Arizona
Yeah, I know.

What a pansy.

Afraid of butterflies.

Which is what made my mother's idea a few years ago to make the day after Christmas a tradition to
go to the Tucson Butterfly House where you can stand inside and let hundreds of various species from around the world land on you a terrifying proposition. Now picture me standing in the middle of said house, butterflies all over me, sweat beading on my brow, my fists clenched, totally unable to move. Yeah, I tried to tough it out. Didn't work. Thankfully, that was a short-lived Christmas tradition. But nice try, mom.

So why am I afraid of butterflies?

Notice whenever a butterfly lands on your finger that they grab it much like you'd grab a chicken wing. They wrap their feet around you, not for balance, but because they're mouths are located in their feet. These cute, slowly flapping, colorful butterflies are tasting you, sucking on you, wishing they could eat you, at the same time you are oohing and aahing. Yeah. Let's see you do that if they were ten times the size.

Yes, the image I have is of you running.

Also in the interview are some great questions that have never been asked before. So if you want to know about me, my writing process, and the Grunt Life military sci fi series, then this cool free supplement is for you.  For the interview go HERE!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

84 Million Reasons Why Not To Sell Your Soul for Exposure

I recently read Wil Wheaton's blog called 'You Can't Pay Your Rent with the "unique exposure our platform and reach our site provides" and was exceptionally pleased with his response. It takes a certain amount of balls-chutzpah-audacity-guts for someone to turn down HuffingtonPost.com. I just googled 'audience reach of Huffington post' and clicked Huff's own braggadocios post which says that in 2014 they had 84 million hits. So let's take them at their word for the purposes of this blog.

84 million hits.

How many of you would sell your soul to get 84 million readers to read your work?

So when Huff Post kindly asked WW if they could reblog his blog Seven Things I Did to Reboot My Life he was obviously intrigued.  (BTW, it's a really good blog. Make sure you read it after you finish mine.)

Then Wil asked what the pay was, you know remuneration, ducats, mullah, coin, dollas, recompense-- you know, what the hell will you pay me for my blood, sweat and words-- the response was “unfortunately, we’re unable to financially compensate our bloggers at this time. Most bloggers find value in the unique platform and reach our site provides, but we completely understand if that makes blogging with us impossible.”

Sigh. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me to give them words for free I could at the very least buy a good used car with pinstripes and probably a sunroof.

BTW, I'm a WW fan. The above photo was taken when I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013. My wife (Yvonne Navarro) and I normally attend Phoenix Comiccon, but because I didn't attend because I was knee deep in the Hindu Cush (boy that sounds dirty), my wife didn't attend either. She'd previously established having me as 'Weston on a Stick' when military duties pulled me away from conventions, etc, so the super cool people at Comiccon put both she and I on a stick and had various celebs photo with them, including WW, as you can see above.
Now back to the blog...

Why people give their work away is beyond me?


Bullshit.  I'm dropping the bullshit flag right here! You are offsides! Get back in line and look at those books, magazines, electronic fropperies you gave your work away to. What's the distribution? 84 million? What? Can't hear you? 84? Maybe? What? Oh, your mother read it? Gimme a break.

WWWWD=What Would Wil Wheaton Do

WW told the kind hard-working paid editor at Huff Post, no thanks.

Okay, I see you're defensive. You're saying to the screen BUT THAT WAS WIL WHEATON.

I get that. Fair point.

I recently was paid to give a presentation to a local Sisters in Crime chapter. (I only mention I was paid because I want you to see the trend.) In it, I talked about my strategy to be a professional from the earliest of my writing days. You see, professionals get paid. Whether you're a plumber, a doctor, a priest or a hooker, if you're a professional, you get paid for it. Sure you can give your services away for free, but why do it? Of more than a hundred published short stories less than a handful were given away and those were to charity markets and less than another handful were less than pro rates. I only did the latter because friends asked me and I acquiesced. Not every time, mind you, but when I could. My very first story was a pro-rate story. Sure, it took a long time, but instead of selling my soul and giving away mediocre work, I was forced by my desire to be a professional and be published by professional markets to produce professional-grade work.

Bottom line, I don't give my blood, sweat and words away and I'm no Wil Wheaton. Now for the 84 million dollar question. If Huff Post asked me to reblog one of my posts for only a wink and a nod, I'd be hard-pressed to say no. I might eventually capitulate and sell my soul. I haven't been fortunate enough to have to make that decision yet. 

But that's not the point.

The point is that my first response would have been - Pay Me! And when they came back and said no, I would have been pissed. 

Sure, I might have paced the room and spat about like a glaring of wet cats. 

Sure, I might have shook my fist at the fickle internet gods and goddesses and then shouted in my best English accent which actually sounds Pakistani - CRY HAVOC! UNLEASH THE GODS OF WAR!

But then I'm not sure what I would do.

84 Million is a fucking lot!

1 Million is a fucking lot!

All I can say is that I'd first think WWWWD and then try and do it.

Because god forbid, I sell my soul for exposure. 

It's just not the thing cool professionals do.

And this is what Merle Dixon (aka Michael Rooker) thinks about people who give their blood, seat and words away.

As The Thing was oft to say, NUFF SAID!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Poisoned Pen Book Signing for Grunt Traitor

The Poisoned Pen Bookstore will host Weston Ochse for a signing, reading, and conversation on Sunday, December 6th at 2 PM. Weston is a military veteran with 30 years experience and will be signing copies of Grunt Life, Grunt Traitor, SEAL Team 666, Age of Blood, Reign of Evil and FUBAR. This will also mark the first signing and appearance of his book, Red Palm, which is set in the shared-world Apocalypse Weird Universe. For those who would like to attend or order a signed copy in advance, please contact The Poisoned Pen at 4014 N Goldwater Blvd #101, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 or 480-947-2974.

The Poisoned Pen Bookstore, founded in 1989 by Barbara G. Peters, is an independent bookstore specializing in fiction. Discover with us current and classic works of mystery, thrillers, historical and literary fiction, and literature of the American Southwest, much of it offered in Autographed First Editions and imports. Our Book Clubs bring exciting new work right to your door. Located in Old Town Scottsdale’s Art District, The Pen is celebrated for its schedule of author and literary events and its global outreach through webcasts and worldwide shipping. 

If you haven't been to Old Town Scottsdale, this is a great opportunity to go. Lots of good restaurants. I especially like the Cornish Pasty Company which is right next to the bookstore. Check out their menu. If you know me, you know I love the Lamb and Salmon pasties!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Unlikely Potomac Convalescence

I've been feeling a bit down lately.

I'm pretty swamped with my day job. In fact, I'm writing this from a hotel in Washington D.C. I've

had meetings all day, you know, the kind where you walk around in a suit and tie with various badges and clearances to get into this building or that building. Sometimes I don't even know where I'm going. The kind of meetings where you're looking for someone and end up lost in the basement of a building, only to enter into the set of what looks like Star Trek, but is actually Cybercom... and I wasn't even looking for it.

I've also been pretty swamped writing. I'm going 90 miles an hour with Grunt Hero. I've knocked out about 40k words so far with another 50k or 60k to go by Jan 1. I have an X-Files short story due Nov 1. I also have a video game script due Nov 2 that I've already been paid for = extra stress. Any day now I'm going to start writing a Person of Interest  (CBS\Bad Robot) novel too. Plus, I have two other stories, one which I am contracted for due Jan 1 and the other one I've been invited to be a part of anthology due Dec 1 (OMG I really want to be in this anthology because this editor hasn't invited me to anything ever).

So, you see, I'm busy.

Plus, I'm wounded. Brought low by my own hubris. I ran the Bisbee 1000 last Saturday. I was all fine after the race, but I think somewhere between the 1000 concrete stairs and the 4.5 miles, I strained my knee. As far as I can tell, I
have Runner's Knee  (Insert Big Frown Here).

Normally, when I want to get away from how swamped I am, I go out running. Here in Old Town Alexandria, I love running the cobblestone streets to the river and then along the river. It's so picturesque and peaceful. So imagine my frustration yesterday, when I dressed in running gear, put on my special extra thick soled Altra running shoes, turned on my wireless earplugs and synced them with my phone, then turned my running playlist on my phone and then secured it in my flipbelt around my waist, put on my running hat, donned my sunglasses, synced my GPS watch with the satellite and heart rate monitor, then went outside, took two running steps, then stopped, because I couldn't take another step without fear of something breaking... and of course there was the pain. It wasn't debilitating, but I knew if I took more steps, it would become so.

So I walked.

And I grumbled.

And I walked.

And I grumbled.

Eventually I found wine and was better for a time.

Because of yesterday's No Exercising, when I got back to the hotel after the day's meetings, I was determined to do something exercisy. I went across the street to the CVS and bought a knee brace. My knee was already starting to hurt a little from the day's walking-- strange that it isn't swelling, but it is hurting. Still, the moment I put on the knee brace, it felt good. Real good. I tried a few running steps, and they weren't as bad as yesterday, but I could feel that secret little twinge of pain.

So what's a guy to do?

Did you know that in addition to my hotel providing me a guppy to love every night that it also has a stable of bikes? 

So what did this guy do?

I checked out a bike

And from the minute I got on that sweet wonderful clunky rattling blue and white contraption, I had a smile on my face that couldn't be wiped away. 

The wind couldn't do it.

The gnats couldn't do it. 
This was my route.

The grumpy old man with resting bastard face sitting on the park bench growling at me couldn't do it.

The chain coming off the bike couldn't do it, nor could the grease I got on my hands and my flipbelt.

Certainly the girl in the bikini couldn't do it.

I mean I was smiling like a complete idiot. 

People might have seen me and ran the other way.

I ended up doing about 12 kilometers. I drove the the Wilson Bridge, then around the buttresses, then all the way along the Potomac through Alexandria to Dangerfield Island and then back to my hotel. There was a spot by the river where the air was so aromatic, so perfumed with honeysuckle, you wanted to hyperventilate, filling your entire system with a natural healing restorative. I wished I had a Go Pro with Smell-O-Vision just so you could feel a scintilla of the happy effervescence radiating, 

Yes, it was a healing ride. 

I'm still grinning.

Because I feel better.

I'd been feeling a bit down lately.

But not anymore.

Thanks Potomac.

Thanks Kimpton.

This is a short video to show you how cool it was.
And I'm not really sideways at the end.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Reign of Evil Finalist for New Mexico - Arizona Book Awards

I'm once again honored to have a SEAL Team 666 novel nominated for the New Mexico - Arizona Book Awards. SEAL Team 666 was a finalist and won the award in 2013. Age of Blood was a finalist and won the award in 2014. Now with Reign of Evil poised to win the award again, the books are poised to do a clean sweep.

I am so happy that the awards presenters and judges love these books. I know a lot of you love them as well, so it's nice to see your love getting the credit it deserves.

The only difference between this year and years past is that the book is in a different category. While in 2013 and 2014 it was in the Sci Fi Fantasy Category, this year it is in the Adventure Drama Category. Let's hope that the judges in this new category love the SEALs as much as the previous judges.

Here's the full category finalists. Best of luck to everyone involved. Writing and being published is such hard work. Everyone deserves to win.

Standing proud at the ceremony in Albuquerque
Fiction – adventure or drama

The Big Wheel
Jones, Scott Archer
Southern Yellow Pine Publishing

The Height of Secrecy
Mitchell, J.M.
Prairie Plum Press

Reign of Evil
Ochse, Weston
St Martin’s Press

Sparky and the King
Baldwin, Dan
Four Knights Press

What the Owl Saw
McFarland, Gerald
Sunstone Press

Zorn and Grayall Find Murder By The Way
Chanda, Val

Wasteland Press

For the full list of finalist books and all categories, 
go to the NM - AZ Book Award Page

Yvonne and I will be attending the awards in Albuquerque this year.

And thank you to Thomas Dunne of Thomas Dunne Books for publishing the SEAL Team 666 Series!!!