My Aha moment came 13 Years after I sold my first story to Mindmares Magazine for two cents a word. So there I was, it was 2010 and I was knee deep in hand grenade pins, sitting at my comic book cover covered desk, writing a horror novel with some pretty wickedly disgusting scenes, when I get an email from a NY editor. Essentially he posed the question, why aren’t you writing military fiction? In fact, why aren’t you writing military supernatural fiction? I shook my head, thought it was a stupid question and began to reply. Only, I didn’t have anything to say. It was a good question.
In 2010, I had 26 years of military service. I’d been to more than fifty countries, seen more things and done more things than the combined experiences of the students of most graduating high school classes. I spoke several languages, knew more than 8 silent ways to kill a man (nod to Joe Haldeman), have dangled from helicopters at two thousand feet and leapt out the backs of them over the skies of Bangladesh. I should have died a hundred times. I should have broken something a hundred more. Frankly, that I survived to write this short essay is a testament to sheer dumb luck and the vicissitudes of a comic god.
So then why hadn’t I taken that experience, distilled it, and produced quality fiction for the masses to consume? What was I waiting for? It seems like I used a character here and a character there. In fact, looking back, all of my novels and most of my successful short stories and novellas had central characters who served in the military. It had been there in front of me all along.
So I basically wrote back, “I don’t have any friggin’ idea.”
And SEAL Team 666 was born.
Since then, I’ve had a whole sale change in attitude. I think maybe I believed that no one would want to read about the military. It had been done before. Other people had written about it. But that was exactly the point. Other people had written about it, not me. My voice had yet to be added to the men marching in cadence. Who knows, maybe mine would provide a deep bass undertone, maybe it would be a brilliant tenor, soaring above all the other notes, or maybe my work would land in the middle of the crowd and add to the chorus.
Hey Hey Diddly Bop, I wished I was back on the block!
Whatever! I needed to do it.
In fact, I am doing it.
You know they say you’re supposed to write what you know. I knew that. I’ve taught that. So why did it take me so long to do it?
Stubborn, I guess. Or maybe I just didn’t listen close enough. Either way, watch out, world here I come, and as Ed Lee said about me more than13 years ago, with creative brawn, brains, and balls, the guy's locked, loaded, and switched to full-auto, blazing away with his unique and original brand of modern horror military (insert genre here) fiction. One of the few new writers, I'd say, who will help re-define the field for the future.
Yeah. That’s me.
Pleased to meet you.
On Deployment and
Living the Dream
Weston Ochse is pronounced ‘oaks,’ and when combined with his first name, according to Harlan Ellison, sounds like a nursing home or a trailer park at the end of the road. Weston is the author of ten novels, most recently SEAL Team 666 from St. Martin's Press (U.S.) and Titan Books (U.K.), which the NY Post called Required Reading. His work has been published in magazines such as the Tampa Review, Cemetery Dance Magazine and Soldier of Fortune Magazine. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award five time, and won the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel. When he’s not a traveling idea salesmen to places like Afghanistan, he lives in southern Arizona with his wife and three Great Danes.
He also has a great new novel out by the name of Babylon Smiles. Here’s the link-- http://www.amazon.com/Babylon-Smiles-ebook/dp/B00CI9UTWU
Thank you for your service, Weston.