So the story goes like this . . .
Photo © 2007 Ellen Datlow|
Yvonne Navarro & Weston Ochse
During the World Fantasy Convention in Phoenix in 2004, editor Stephen Jones saw me headed for an after hours soiree with
a newly-acquired gold laminae Elvis jacket. I'd found it in a second-hand shop in L.A. and was proud to wear it. When Steve saw me,
he gave me a look that incorporated every disapproving look your parents had ever given you and said something it's taken years of
counselling to forget.
But I got him back. I posted an entirely fictional web page telling how Steve had been cross-dressing Elvis since he was a kid and
that his one true passion in life was Elvis, complete with pictures, links and quotes from famous people. I posted the URL to it
on Shocklines. Within two hours it got over 1,000 views but no comments, as if everyone was taking a collective breath waiting
to see if I'd ever be published again. I finally got a call from Brian Keene.
"Dude. What the fuck did you do?"
That year 'The King, in: Yellow,' written by Brian Keene, which had originally appeared in a Darkside anthology, was selected by
Silence. "I fucking love it."
"Think Steve will every publish me in one of his anthologies?"
"Me neither." Then he added with a chuckle, "This is so cool I want to be you right now."
Steve Jones to appear in Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. Had Brian been me that might never have happened.
Photo © 2007 Weston Ochse|
Hound Dogs - Stephen Jones & Weston Ochse at the Stokers
Think of me as the Elvis who threw himself under the bus.
Several years passed.
Then I was asked to participate in the Stokers this year at the World Horror Convention. I was to give
away "Best First Novel" along with Brian Keene (Both of us previous winners).
Steve then said the oddest thing. "And wear something flashy like that Elvis jacket you have."
Had I been drinking something I would have done a "spit take".
For months heading into the event he checked on me to make sure I was going to wear something Elvis.
For months I led him on.
Then came the evening and I appeared in a regular tux with a black tux shirt and red vest. He actually looked disappointed. He
even mumbled something discouraging as he walked away with his head down. Finally he came around and grudgingly said that I
looked classy, but I could still see his disappointment in his eyes.
Come the moment where Brian and I are to present the award and it went something like this:
To the right is a video of the event including Jonathan Maberry's acceptance speech. Sorry for the quality, the camera wasn't meant for
something like this.
"Brian, I thought you were going to come dressed as Tim Lebbon?"
"I couldn't get my hair that short," Brian said as he rubbed his scalp. "You know Tim, we used to be good-looking guys." Lots of
laughter at this reference to an earlier joke. Then Brian looked at me, "I thought you were going to dress like Elvis?"
"Well, Steve Jones said he wanted to class-up the act and I thought Elvis was a little too over-the-top, so I wore my best suit
instead." Three or four giggles, but otherwise the roomful of 200 people was totally silent. "So, without further ado, I'll read
the nominees." I pulled out the card, then added, "But wait . . . I need my glasses." With nary a flourish, I pulled out a set
of Elvis shades and placed them on my face. Steve was the first to burst into laughter followed by the rest of the room.
Once again, I got Steve.
$1,000.00 airfare to Toronto.
$6.99 for Elvis shades in Las Vegas
$50.00 Banquet cost for Stokers
The look on Steve Jones' face . . . he,he . . . priceless.