This is properly cool. Like, "Holy f***ing c**p this is cool!" cool.
Weston Ochse's redneck-zombie-filled opus, the extraordinary Empire of Salt, has made it onto the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel!
If you're not sure what that is, the Preliminary Ballot is essentially the long-list. Members of the Horror Writers' Association vote on the preliminaries to produce the shortlist, from which the eventual winner will be selected. Making it onto the shortlist means that Ochse goes to the awards ceremony to sit, fingers and toes crossed, and see if he'll be recognised with the most prestigious award in horror writing.
And it's not a long long-list either. The final ballot will, if I recall correctly, consist of five books; the preliminary ballot only has eleven. This is essentially the HWA's recognition that Empire is one of the eleven best horror novels of 2010.
Hell of an achievement, even if it doesn't go any further. And, you know, it might. You can even help; do you know anyone in the HWA? Bother them! Leave copies of Empire lying around significantly when they come to visit. Frequently remind them of how cool a book it is. Mention how, maybe, you'd like to bear Weston's child, if the option were there. That sort of thing.
So, anyway, awesome news. Well done, Weston. We're dead chuffed for you.