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.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Grunt Traitor Makes Another Best of List While Grunt Hero Makes Another Most Anticipated List

Love love love the fact that so many people are loving Grunt Traitor -- the second book of my PTSD alien invasion series which began with Grunt Life. Add to the fan base, Elitest Book Reviews who listed it as one of their Best of 2015.

Here's part of their original review:

EXCERPT: Weston Ochse’s GRUNT LIFE was one of my favorite novels released in 2014. It was also one of the finest Military SF novels I’d read, and I’ve been anticipating the sequel ever since. After the follow-up novel, GRUNT TRAITOR, arrived I took it with me on a plane trip…and ended up reading the whole novel that day. To put it mildly, GRUNT TRAITOR was a page-turner. GRUNT TRAITOR delivered on it all, making it the best Military SF I’ve read in years, and a huge step up (somehow) from the first book in the series. -Elitest Book Reviews
Elitest Book Reviews also has a most anticipated list where they list Grunt Hero (the third forthcoming book in the series) along with many other books, including ones by Joe Abercrombie, James S.A. Corey (an Expanse novel), Lois McMaster Bujold, Patricia Briggs, Daniel Abraham and Kevin Hearn. I'm in very good company. If I had a single wish this year it would be to sit down around a dinner table and just chat, drink wine, and eat a magnificent dinner with these fine people, many whom I know (Kevin, Daniel, Corey) and one whom I've publicly and rather pathetically crooned a love poem too (Briggs) while I was toastmaster at TusCon and she was Guest of Honor. Yeah. I do shit like that, but what the hell. You only live once, right?

You can see their whole list here.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Living Dangerously's Favorite Books of 2015

I read a lot. I read so much, it's a wonder I'm able to write anything. But I started out as a reader, not a writer, and I continue to be a reader first and a writer second. I think if there ever comes a day when those are reversed, by life will be less interesting, because no matter how much I enjoy living in my own imagination, it can't compare to living in the imaginations of many exceptional writers. I read a lot of terrific books in 2015. In fact, this year marked the first year I read more books on Kindle rather than in print, largely necessitated by my travel schedule. Let's face it. It's far easier for me to carry a single iPad instead of a box of books. It's pure logistics. So here's my list. Not all of them were published in 2015, but I read all of them in 2015 and it's my list and I can do what I want with it.

So which ones were standouts for me?

 Let me first begin with what I'm calling the Ghost Quartet. These are Little Sister Death, Head full of
Ghosts, The Boy Who Drew Monsters, and The House of Small Shadows. 

Little Sister Death by William Gay was published posthumously in 2015, but was probably written twenty years ago. It's the story of a writer who moves his family to Tennessee to chase a ghost story and then, you know what happens, gets in over his head. But its so beautifully written you don't even care if its sort of Amityville-esque. I probably never would have read this had the author's name not come up in a conversation I was having with David Schow over drinks this summer. I'm hugely glad I read it.

Everyone's been electronically shouting about A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. It's a novel about a possession and how a young teens possession was made into a TV show and how that experience effected the entire family. It's a story within a story, which I love. The tension is ratcheted throughout and Paul really nails the POV of the young girl protagonist. Just nails it.

The Boy Who Drew Monsters could be the American cousin to the next book- The House of Small Shadows. Keith Donohue ingeniously plots a novel wherein a child seemingly can't stop drawing monsters which makes his parents think he might be crazy. Reviewed by none other than Peter Straub for The Washington Post, the atmosphere of the novel is compared to Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, and The Haunting of Hill House. I have to agree with Peter and wait until you find out why he's drawing. I mean, that's what you want to know when you read the title, right?

The fourth of our Ghost Quartet is Adam Nevill's The House of Small Shadows. It's a very crafty pastoral novel that brings to mind Shirley Jackson. And there is a haunting, but its such a clever and complex haunting I never say what happened next coming. It's another story within a story, and the pay off is wondrous. I'm a huge Adam Nevill Fan and read everything he writes. If you liked this also consider reading The Ritual and Last Days.

The Death House by Sarah Pinborough felt a lot like these other novels, but it lacked a ghost. Instead, it had this ethereal claustrophobic quality similar to  Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. The book is a romance at its heart-- a first love romance -- and the ending is probably the most powerful ending of any book Sarah has written. Terrific job, Sarah!

I was eager to include The Lost Level by Brian Keene. This thin tome couldn't be more different that the previous five books, but it brought me back to old Edgar Rice Burroughs novels with the feeling of around the corner expectation I experienced in Arthur C. Clark's Rendezvous With Rama. This first foray into The Labyrinth makes me eager for future novels. Takes me back to my boyhood.


And now for a non-fiction interlude. Yes, I read non-fiction as well. The Telling Room by Michael Paternti, or its full title -- The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese -- is the tale of the author's relationship with a larger than life cheese maker named Ambrosio. It's about perception, how events change perception, the loss of innocence, a Castillian blood feud, and the futility of harboring grudges. The book is both entrancing and extravagant in its descriptions leaving me feeling as if it was I who traveled to Spain. Plus, there's wine and cheese galore. What's not to like about that?

Now back to fiction where I can talk about a first novel published by a small press that probably no one read, which is really too bad, because The Whisper King by Wil Radcliff should be on everyone's best of list. You know those shadows in your room that scared you when you were a kid. Well, what if those shadows were real and what if they were coming for you and what if when they got you they took you to another dimension for a reason you won't ever see coming. Yeah. That's this book.

Talk about claustrophobic, then read Nictophobia by Christopher Fowler. It's a haunted house novel but its not. It's more than that. Sure, the Shirley Jackson comparisons can be made for sheer atmosphere, but this is such an inventive treatment on the idea of light and dark that this novel will stand out for quite some time. Let me ask you this: to what extent would you change your life to ensure that those you loved remained alive?

Andersonville by Ed Erderlac is about the horrible conditions of the real life Civil War prison camp where Union Soldiers were lucky to survive each night. Add to this real life horror a secret mission, voodoo, magic, and the supernatural. Erderlac has woven this rich and complex tapestry into a masterful quilt of violence, spit, and rage. I actually blurbed this novel and said: “Andersonville is a raw, groundbreaking supernatural knuckle-punch. Erdelac absolutely owns Civil War and Wild West horror fiction.”

The best Military Sci Fi I read in 2015 definitely goes to William C. Dietz's Andromeda's Fall. I first read Legion of the Damned when I was stationed at Fort Bragg a lifetime ago. This is a return to that world with a strong broken female protagonist. With all out balls to the wall warfare, a suitable amount of intrigue, and The Legion of the Damned (imagine the French Foreign Legion a thousand years in the future whose brains and souls are now embedded in robotic machines), this is the first book of a slamming trilogy.


I've bad a secret bromance with Ernest Cline ever since he wrote Ready Player One. The guy must spend many secret hours in my head because everything he writes seems as if he's thinking to himself, what am I going to write for Weston next. Armada is The Last Starfighter meets Dungeons and Dragons meeets Star Wars with a little Enders Game thrown in. Alex Rogan--I mean Zach Lightman-- begins the novel seeing a space ship out his high school window, something all of us wished we'd done, especially me sitting in Ms. Hardaway's geometry class. It's really an incredible ride. Probably the best thing I read this year. I rarely go back and read novels, but I'm looking forward to going back and reading this one if only to sooth and satisfy my inner geek. Or I might just get this as an audio book. I hear Wil Wheaton did the reading for this--yeah!

So that's my Best of List of the books I read. If you haven't read any of these, give them a try. If this old kid from a trailer park on the edge of the universe likes them, chances are you will too.
Probably the best book I haven't read was Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning. I've heard him read two of the stories from that book and they are incredible, especially the story called July (is that right?). I think I want this as an audio book if he's reading it. If not, I'll settle for the hardback. I just checked! Yes! He narrated it. Okay, so I'll probably get both and talk about it on next year's list.

Speaking of next years list, I already know that John Irving's Avenue of Mysteries will be on it. Such a spectacular novel, I'm actually holding back finishing it so I can savor the ending. This could possibly be the best book he's ever written, which is saying a lot considering A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, and Dark Night at Twisted River are such amazing tomes.

 Now get out there and read something. 

Maybe even something of mine.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I Made Tangent Online 2015 Recommended Readling List with American Golem

So it looks like I made Tangent Online 2015 Recommended reading list. This is super important to me because when I first started writing in the late 1990s Tangent Online was one of my GO TO places to get inspiration, look for markets, and learn the craft of writing. So to be mentioned there is seriously very special.

There were 416 stories on this year's list: 353 short stories, 47 novelettes, and 16 novellas.

Here's how they were graded:
"As is our custom, there are four sections to each length category. Those making the list in the short story, novelette, and novella lengths but having no stars, and those with either one, two, or three stars, according to how well the reviewer or reviewers valued a particular story."

My short story American Golem received three stars. Very cool. I was so pleased to be in John Joseph Adam's anthology Operation Arcana with so many talented authors. This was one of those rare times I was asked to be in the anthology and was terrified that I'd mess it up. Fans of the story will be pleased to know it will be available in Audio soon. More on that later.

I also wanted to give a shout out to fellow Operation Arcana author Genevieve Valentine for her story "Blood, Ash, Braids." Very well done!

You can view the full list here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Grunt Life Chosen As Top 5 Books for 2015

The end of the year tends to be a time for reviewers and readers to reflect on what they
thought was he best things they read the previous year. I'm sure you've seen a lot of things posted about it. You might have written your own list. I know I still plan on doing it, but I'm a little behind.

On the heels of Sci Fi Gazette choosing Grunt Traitor as one of their Top 3 Sci Fi novels of 2015, comes this. The review site Shattered Ravings just listed Grunt Life as one of the Top 5 Books they read in 2015. This is very timely and apropos since I've just finished the third book in the series that Grunt Life began. And to think that the publisher and I were worried that Grunt Life and the ensuing books which dealt in great detail about PTSD and its deleterious effects wouldn't be read and would be panned. I'm honestly glad I was able to pull it off.

Thank you Matthew Scott Baker and thanks Shattered Ravings. And congrats to the others who were on the list.

For the full review, go to Shattered Ravings.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Sci Fi Gazette Selected Grunt Traitor as One of Their Best Novels of 2015

In this season of awards and recognition, it's super nice that such a hallowed site as Sci Fi Gazette would take the time to not only read Grunt Traitor but select it as one of their Top 3 Science Fiction Novels of 2015. Mentioned along with Fallout 4 and The Expanse, this is truly a top honor!

Both Grunt Life and Grunt Traitor have received rave reviews from fans, but it's another thing to get a critical reception by reviewers whose job it is to not necessarily enjoy a book, but to break it down and look at its components for concrete and existential value and THEN enjoy it. It's also difficult sometimes for Military Sci Books to get reviews because well... they're military focused and have guns and blood and guts and stuff that not every sci fi fan wants. But I've always thought that the best Military Sci Fi has a lot of heart as well. With my characters suffering from PTSD in an end of the world alien invasion scenario, I took care to try and pull this off. It seems that it worked.  Whew!

Here's a snappy of the page.

For the full article about Sci Fi Gazette's Best of 2015, you can find it here.

Thank you, Sci Fi Gazette!