Letters From the Labyrinth 357
Weston Ochse passed away yesterday, around 2pm Arizona time. His health had been declining for the last few years now, dating back to his last deployment to the desert as a civilian contractor. (Most of you will only know Wes as an author, or perhaps you knew he was a veteran but what you didn’t know is he was pretty much a real life Jack Bauer. I know many of the things he got up to, even in his later years, but I will take those things to my grave, and he trusted me with them because he knew I would treat them as such. Also, I am 99.9% certain he once called me from a secured line inside Area 51. And no, I’m not joking).
But I digress.
Wes had been sick for a while now. He didn’t want the public knowing, so only a small number of us have had knowledge of the situation. We were able to talk to him and get some closure. He fought right to the end, which is what he has always done in life. Someone — I can’t remember who, it may have been Coop or Pic — said they’d never met someone as stubborn as me, until Wes came along. He absolutely never gave in, even here at the end.
I’ve eulogized too many friends before their time. I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t have it in me to write a lengthy remembrance. It will fall on others to do that, and that’s okay. There will be many. But I will say that it was a helluva 26 years together, my friend. Right now, you’re in that convention hotel afterlife bar with Jesus, Dallas, Dick, Little Dave, Dave, Gak, Pic and all the rest. I know they are happy to see you. I’ll be happy to see you again, too, when I get there.
Instead of words, here are a few pictures from over the years. I’ll post more on my Patreon every morning this coming week.
Cabal 4 Life, brother. Punch Buggy Red…
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This past week was one of those weird ones where I got a lot of writing business stuff accomplished, but very little actual writing got done. I also got a lot done related to the bookstore. (If you missed last week’s newsletter, Mary and I are opening a physical bookstore — VORTEX BOOKS & COMICS).
We want to thank everyone who has donated to the GoFundMe, or shared it, or wished us well in our endeavor. Thanks to your generosity, we've obtained our cash register, POS system, commissioned a logo design, and begun purchasing hardware (such as pricing guns, etc). We appreciate each and every one of you. Know that each and every one of you will have a welcome home in our store.
Next week we will begin purchasing new inventory. We already have a storage unit full of used books, magazines, pulps, and comics, but we’ll also be carrying new releases, as well. We’re in the process of setting up accounts with Ingram and other distributors, and have arranged with several small presses (including Cimarron Street, Crossroad, Cemetery Dance, DV, and Valancourt) about direct orders, as well.
Many wonderful folks have asked about donating books to the store. We are grateful for that. If you are a close friend and know our home address, you can send them there. However, for the general public, we will begin accepting those in February, once we move into the building.
Our official opening month is March. Can’t speak to the exact date yet, but hope to know that soon.
Once the store is open, we intend to have events every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. These will include book launch parties, readings, signings, open mic nights, poetry slams, seminars, writing workshops, horror trivia nights, casual Magic the Gathering games, and much more. We will also be offering online sales for those who live far away. Like Dark Delicacies does, these will consist of signed store stock from the in-store signings. We will also allow people to pre-order signed books directly from us.
Two old friends will also have a permanent presence in the store.
The first is the Hylinus satyr statue, designed by Paul Campion (The Devil’s Rock, THE NAUGHTY LIST, Lord of the Rings, Constantine, etc). This is a life-size seven foot tall statue that was made for the teaser trailer for a film adaptation of DARK HOLLOW (that unfortunately never happened). Hylinus will need some repairs, because when Dallas, Stripe, and Bubbles were little, they decided that he was a giant cat toy.
But that’s okay, because Mike Lombardo says he can fix it for cheap. He said he’d need a can of spray foam from Walmart and that I’d also need to fly Paul over here from New Zealand to supervise.
So, no. I’m not sure Mike actually understands what cheap means…
The second old friend hanging around in the store will be author J.F. Gonzalez, whose family has graciously agreed to allow a portion of his ashes to reside in the store on a permanent basis. Given that the vast majority of his old friends will be visiting, I think he’d like that. And yes, we’ll display him in such a way that his fans can visit and pay their respects.
We’ve begun building our website. It’s still under construction, but will give you an idea of our hours and such.
More importantly, we’ve started a separate Substack newsletter which will focus solely on the store (so that Mary and I aren’t constantly talking about the store in our writing-related newsletters).
Chuck Wendig invited me to write a guest essay about it over on his Blog. You can read that here.
And my Patreon subscribers were treated to an early look at the physical building.
Again, thank you for the outpouring of support this past week. Please keep sharing the GoFundMe if you can.
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This is the last call for the autographed, limited edition collector’s hardcover of SPLINTERED: THE LABYRINTH Book 3, which is up for preorder from Thunderstorm Books. The cost is $110. I’m told there are less than a dozen left, so if you want one, reserve your copy here.
The most thrilling, terrifying, fast-paced installment yet in bestselling author Brian Keene’s critically acclaimed The Labyrinth series!
All is lost in the aftermath of the Seven’s confrontation with Leviathan and Nodens. Frankie, Bloom, and Lucifer are missing and feared dead. Tony is in ancient Rome. The Exit is imprisoned outside of space and time. Teddy, LeHorn, and Sarah are on a quick excursion to Teddy’s hometown, where both old friends and older enemies await. The remaining Thirteen are on the offensive, Heaven and Hell are mustering for war, the Labyrinth is damaged, the splintering of reality has begun, and the universe’s last remaining hope may be… Ob, Lord of the Siqqusim?
SPLINTERED: THE LABYRINTH Book 3 — The End continues, and this is the last dance…
Paperback and eBook editions of the novel should also be on sale in time for the December holidays (as were the first two volumes in the series). The cover for the paperback is in production now. Soon as that is finished, it will go on sale. The audiobook is now also in production, but those take longer, so I suspect no audiobook until January.
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Currently Playing: Clash of Clans
Currently Listening: Brian Keene Radio
Currently Watching: Logan (Prime) and Seinfeld reruns (Netflix).
Currently Reading: Gone To Seed by Justin Lutz, Snarl by John Boden, and Ghosts of East Baltimore by David Simmons.
I had the pleasure of hearing David Simmons do a reading at VoidCon, and he blew the roof off the place. Sincerely one of the best live readings I have heard in years — right up there with Joe R. Lansdale and Carlton Mellick III. His prose packs a helluva punch, as well. Definitely a writer to watch.
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And that does it for this week. If you have people in your life whom you love, make sure you tell them. Thanks, as always, for reading. And thanks again for donating to the GoFundMe. I appreciate all of you, and I’ll see you back here next Sunday.