Weston Ochse is the author of more than twenty books, most recently SEAL Team 666 and its sequels Age of Blood and Reign of Evil, which the New York Post called 'required reading' and USA Today placed on their 'New and Notable Lists.' His first novel, Scarecrow Gods, won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel and his short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in comic books, and magazines such as Cemetery Dance and Soldier of Fortune. He lives in the Arizona desert within rock throwing distance of Mexico. He is a military veteran with 30 years of military service and currently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How to Eat Healthy and Live Dangerously

Living Dangerously is all about rejecting the norm. It's about deciding you're not going to take the simple path. As Robert Frost would say, I took the one less traveled by. Is there danger with doing things other people don't do? Some people think so. To them the very idea of change is dangerous. I've been doing it for so long danger is the norm.

I need change.

I reject commonality.

I want to be different.

So as you noticed in yesterdays post, I explained how a 4 day vacation resulted in 4 pounds gained. Most people would lock themselves into a fall out shelter and eat oatmeal and smoothies the rest of the week. That's the easy way to lose the weight. The dangerous way is to confront the food. Eat well. Eat healthy. And exercise.

Here's my menu for the week:

Monday - Leftover cauliflower fried rice with leftover bbq pork ribs. That's like a double leftover meal. Served over steamed cabbage.

Tuesday - Scrambled eggs with onions, capers, white wine, garlic and fennel. Served with a sunburst tomato and mint salad. Yes, you can have eggs for dinner.

Wednesday - BBQ Chicken Salad with leftover bbq chicken breast, grilled corn, black beans, onions, lime, cilantro and low fat blue cheese dressing.

Thursday - Grilled Trout with Sardinian Couscous with steamed clams. I caught the trout but haven't made the couscous before. But I do have a recipe so we'll see how it turns out.

Friday - Farmers Market Pappardelle Pasta with Pan-seared Scallops. I love this pasta. Drizzled with a simple sauce of meyer lemon olive oil it's going to be fantastic. I might use shrimp instead if scallops are too expensive.

Saturday - Out for Dinner with a friend from out of town.

Sunday - Grilled Salmon with Cucumber Quinoa Salad. I love love love grilled salmon. I could have it every day. The cucumber quinoa salad is a nice bright fresh accompaniment.

Notice what you don't see. You don't see any beef or bread. You don't see anything premade or processed, which usually contain unholy amounts of sodium as well as other unsavory ingredients. You don't see anything cooked in butter. I'll use EVOO instead.

What's for breakfast? Usually coffee, yogurt and a piece of fruit.

What's for lunch? Either a salad, soup or leftovers. Small portion.

What's for snack? Fruit. We have 4 pineapples cut up in the house this week. I graze on that.

And of course, exercise. Yesterday I burned 600 calories by doing a spin class and lifting weights. Today I'll probably run and burn about 400 calories. It's important to exercise every day, if only just a little.

So what are you eating?

Are you living dangerously?

Or are you living safe?

Come on, live dangerously. I dare you!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Whoops! What Did I do? Need to exercise Quick!!!

We took a mini-vacation to Jerome, Arizona the last four days in celebration of yet another of my mother's 21st Birthdays. We had an incredible time, especially our stay at the Surgeon's House Bed and Breakfast. You know you're having a great time when you're still there and trying to figure out when you can come back. Yeah, it's that sort of place.
One of the Brekkies we had at the B&B

I managed to exercise only once during the four days by doing some stretching and yoga exercises as I stared across a thirty mile view. It was stupendous. 

But alas, with all the food and lack of exercise and wine -- oh boy was there food and wine -- I gained four pounds. One for each day, I suppose. Good thing I wasn't there for a week.

But no regrets. This was a vacation. You're supposed to enjoy yourself.

I don't regret the 12 oz NY strip.

I don't regret the almost pound of shrimp I had for breakfast one day.

I don't regret the 1/3rd pound venison burger or the heaping French Fries.

I don't regret the copious amounts of wine I drank.

You know why? 

Because I'm allowed to cheat every now and then.

But you gained four freaking pounds? What are you going to do about it?

I'm not going to panic. I know my body and I know how to exercise. Here's what I'm going to do for the next week-
  • Limit my carbs
  • No beef
  • Watch salt content
  • Eat yogurt for breakfast and take probiotics
  • Increase fresh veggies and fruit intake
  • Drink lots of water
  • Daily Exercise
I mean, Who Can Say No to a Venison Burger
The last one (Daily Exercise) means I have to do something every day. For me, something constitutes at least 400 calories burned during a session. I have a Suunto Ambit 2 watch, so it tracks it for me.

Today I did a spin class and some bench presses, burning 600 calories. Tomorrow I'll probably do a long yoga workout. If my legs aren't killing me, I might run and then do a short yoga workout.

It's all good.

No reason to panic. 

I bet that I'll be 4 pounds lighter by Friday.

Easy Peasy Japanesey!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Trout Fishing on the Lower Provo

Accidental selfie.

You can't live dangerously without a little fishing. If you're a follower of this blog, then you'll remember when I posted the blog about fishing when I was in Afghanistan called When I Used to Be a Fisherman. Somewhere along the way I'd stopped fishing. No more.

Ever since I came back from Afghanistan in the fall of 2013, I've been trout fishing where I can. We have a little alpine lake close by that has rainbow stockies. Really no more than 9 or 10 inches if you're lucky. On day I latched onto a school of them and caught 30 8 - 9 inch trout (or maybe there were only two and they took turns leaping onto my lure). But these fish are small and hard to find. The best part about Parker Canyon Lake is that I can take my fishing yak on there. Now that's fun.

My son and I went up to Silver Creek last fall. We tried to fish, but a deluge and subsequent flood spoiled that for us. Seriously. The creek flooded within 30 minutes of us arriving. Sigh.

I recently tried to fish the Lower Salt River in Arizona and was skunked. Nothing. It was a freezing morning and no one was catching anything.

Then in January I tried to fly fish the Lower Provo River in Utah. I'm not a very good fly fisherman yet. I tried nymphing. But again. Freezing. And nothing. Not even a strike.

So when I returned to the Lower Provo River this time, I decided to fish the way I normally fish and that's with spinners. Only question was which spinner to use. And oh yeah. In the middle of April it snowed and got down to --you guessed it-- freezing.

But the day I went fishing dawned nice and beautiful. No snow and the temp raised to the mid-50s. So I hit the river, found a spot and began working through my spinners. First one I tried was one the guy at Cabellas told me to use. Ten minutes and nothing. The next one was a spinner mimicking a rainbow. Nothing. Then the next one mimicked a little brown trout. Still nothing.

I was beginning to wonder if I'd lost the touch. I'd done my research. I'd read the blogs. I'd bought what others had said worked. But still nothing.


Then I noticed that my lures were a little large. I also didn't like their action. So I tried a little spinner mimicking a brown trout. Three casts in and a fish rolled it's belly towards the lure, showing me the yellow and white of the brownies tummy. My heart leaped into my throat. I told myself to move slow.

Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.

Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.

Don't fumble this.

I was working my way up stream with waders, casting up towards the deeper waters at a 45% to 60% angle. I cast over where the fish rolled, retrieved the spinner, and BAM! It took it with only about ten feet of line left, so near I saw it take the lure and try and run with it.

Oh the joy and excitement. There's nothing like it. Catching a fish, especially a big fish like this after so long not catching anything is an almost indescribable feeling.

I brought it in, took a picture, then released it.

Funny thing. I've never done catch and release before. But I was traveling. Hell, my suitcase had my two travel rods, two reels, my lures, my Simms waders, and my Korkers boots. What was I going to do with a fish? Stuff them in my socks? I had to let it go.

Of course before I left my wife had said, You spend all this money on fishing gear to catch a fish just to let it go. You're so weird.

I thought it would bother me not keeping the fish. But you know what? I enjoyed it. And yeah, dear, it did feel a little weird.

That first brownie was not the last. Over the next six hours I worked different parts of the Lower Provo and caught and released ten fish.

Let me share them with you.

2nd Fish caught about two minutes after the first.

3rd fish caught about ten feet from where I caught the second. I was constantly inching upstream. 

I think this was the 3rd fish's brother.

Last one at this location. Then I moved on. When I returned to my car I met a fly
fisherman who'd come all the way from Switzerland to fish. He was in for a great time. 

This one wasn't as fat as the next one, but it was long and rangy.

I caught this one on a first cast in a place where I knew a lot of people had passed.
Just goes to show.

This is the same as the last one. It was a huge fish and fought the hardest of all of them.
I was pleased to return it to the river.
This one was barely a keeper but it fought like it's big brothers.

Two guys were about thirty yards down stream fishing
from a bridge. I walked up and first cast. Boom!

How'd this Rainbow Get here?? About 15 inches.
So that's it folks. After the rainbow, I called it a day. I drove around a little looking at spots I might try next time. 

Here's my Gear:
  • Akuma Trio High Speed Reel
  • St. Croix lightweight Travel Rod
  • 6 pound test
  • Simms Waders
  • Korkers Boots
  • Licence from Cabellas
  • and some lures.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Grunt Traitor Gets a Cover Blurb

As a young man, I remember leaning against the inside of  the TC turret of my armored personnel carrier and reading a new book called Legion of the Damned by this author named William C. Dietz. I really should have been watching the road, especially if we were about to be attacked, but Legion
of the Damned was such a damned good book (see what I did there?) and really something new to hit the military science fiction streets in ages, I couldn't put it down.

Lucky for me, we were just driving the APCs from the rail head at Yermo to the cantonment area at Fort Irwin. There were no real bad guys who were going to attack us. At least not until the exercise at the National Training Center started in a few days. So while every other TC ate dirt and stared squinty-eyed at the vehicle ahead of them, I wore a dust rag around my face and descended into a world where the dying or incarcerated could have a second life as cybernetic soldiers. I was so entranced, that I barely noticed the 104 degree heat. Okay, that last bit wasn't true. The heat had bitch slapped me good and proper and was an unrelenting hell of a gal. 

But at least I had Legion of the Damned. 

Fast forward 22 years - God, has it been that long? - and I'm writing my own military science fiction. Grunt Life was the first in my new series. I had the temerity to send it to Mr. Dietz. We'd corresponded a few times (he asked that I call him Bill). So I sent him a copy of Grunt Life and after some time, I received an email that I could not have imagined receiving those 22 years ago riding in the hatch of an APC in the middle of the Mohave Desert. 

He'd sent me a blurb.

This is what's going on the front cover of Grunt Traitor, the sequel to Grunt Life.

“Add Grunt Life to your list of must-have books.  
This is action adventure at its best.”
 —New York Times bestselling 
author, William C. Dietz

To say that I am honored is beyond words.

To say that I am stunned is obvious.

And to think that a young corporal with dreams of becoming something more, managed to do so.

One of the best things about growing old and becoming a successful author is being able to make friends with those whom I've grown up reading.

It's an awesome benefit to a ton of hard work and inspiration.

If you haven't yet pre-ordered Grunt Traitor, you might think of doing so. Selling out the first print run means I can write more books.

If you haven't yet red Grunt Life, then what are you waiting for. After all, if William C. Dietz likes it, then you know it's great.

You can pre-order them from the links on the right, or you can order them from Mysterious Galaxy or Mostly Books, who both have signed versions of Grunt Life they can ship to your door.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Lamb Merguez Sausage Rigatoni - Recipe


Lamb Merguez Sausage Rigatoni
Author: Living Dangerously
Duration: 30 minutes
Average Cost: $12.00 US
Serves: 4-6

I discovered Lamb Merguez Sausage last year and I don't know where it's been all of my life. Seriously. As a lover of lamb, this North African spiced sausage is just wonderful. Plus, to find it out in the wilds of my little corner of Arizona is truly miraculous.

This is the brand I use. I see that you can order it online if necessary
Here's what happened. We go to the nearby town of Bisbee a lot. It's a cool little town with a lot going on. We always stop at the High Desert Market. They have a freezer with super expensive cheese, some goat, sometimes some Halibut, and other sundries. Clearly many of these things have been requested by some locals so the market likes to keep them in stock. One day I check and find five completely frozen packages of Lamb Merguez Sausage. Not knowing if it's good or not, I grab one. We go home and I cook it up throw it in some pasta with red sauce and then I get to experience how damn good it is.

The next day I drove thirty miles back to Bisbee and bought the other four packs. HA! Poor dude who had them order it for him was probably wondering what happened. Now there are two of us!!

Ever since, whenever they have the Lamb Merguez Sausage in stock, I buy every damned one of them. Sometimes they are not in stock. for weeks I wonder if it's that dude doing the same thing to me.

Lamb Merguez Sausage wars!!!

So the other day I was jonesing for some Lamb Merguez Sausage. We were having company over, so I decided to make it with some pasta. I knew I wanted something hollow, so I pulled some rigatoni mezza out of the pantry. This is perfect because it lets the ingredients coat the inside and the outside. I also didn't want to use any cream or any sauce. I wanted this to be rustic. This is the best version of it so far and with no butter or cream it's about as healthy as possible.


     Bag of Rigatoni Mezza or similar hollow pasta
     6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling (I use Meyer Lemon)
     6 fresh Merguez  sausages cut into very small pieces but not minced
     8 ounces mushrooms, sliced4 spring onions, thinly sliced.
     6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
     Freshly ground pepper
     2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I prefer yellow sunbursts because of the color)
     1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or beef broth
     1/2 cup white wine
     1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, plus more for serving.
     2 oz goat cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.

Meanwhile, heat 4 tbs olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up any of the larger pieces with a wooden spoon, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add spring onions and cook until softened, about 3 more minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the last 2 tbs of olive oil.  Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they soften slightly, about 3 more minutes.

Add the wine to the skillet, then the broth to the skillet and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in the pasta and cheese, adding more wine to loosen, if necessary. Fold the mixture together completely so that the rustic ingredients get into the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. 

This is a terrific meal. Serve with a salad if you want. Something light and green. Hold the tomatoes because this has that wonderful taste in spades.

What's in merguez? Always check the ingredients, but our friends at wilipedia say this:  Merguez is a fresh sausage made with lamb, beef, or a mixture stuffed into a lamb-intestine casing. It is heavily spiced with cumin and chili pepper or Harissa, which gives it its characteristic piquancy and red color, as well as other spices such as sumac, fennel, and garlic.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Corrupts Absolutely - Anthology of Antiheroes

Corrupts Absolutely is back in a new edition -- this one from Ragnarok Publications -- and it has my story Hollywood Villainy. In the world of meta-humans and anti-heroes, my boy Valiant Fang stands tall, even though he's really just over five feet tall. Ellen Datlow selected the story as an honorable mention to her best horror stories of the year. I thought I might offer you a free excerpt to get you to go and buy the book here, but first, here's what some folks said about Valiant Fang. 

"Ochse delivers an off-beat story with an unconventional character in Hollywood Villainy. His style moves the reader through the story with suspicion of every single character we meet. Has Marvel actually straightened out his life? Is Jimmy a pedophile or just a porn addict? And most importantly, is Valiant (who calls himself The Shadow) as heroic as The Shadow from the radio show? Weston doesn't let us know until and ending that makes us realize that Stephen King could not have penned this story better." - Geeking Cool

"Editor Lincoln Crisler has gathered 21 stories in this fine collection; tales which delve into the minds of beings who possess superhuman attributes. For some, the anomalies are an affliction, while others lose what remains of their fragile human side. It is that loss of humanity and humility that creates the utmost horror. “Hollywood Villainy” by Weston Ochse best exemplifies that horror. The author fashions an individual who is, indeed, absolutely corrupted by his powers. Mired forever in the body of his boyhood, the concocted aged entity revels in sadistic acts. Taking a page from Stephen King’s Carrie and other works concerning vengeance by abused misfits, Ochse superbly executes the deranged venom of his protagonist." - Hellnotes
""Hollywood Villainy" by Weston Ochse delivered a great take on mind-reading, as a Chinese kid hounds a couple of two-bit hoods in L.A. by getting in their heads and doing some Machiavellian-style manipulation." -- Wagging the Fox
“Hollywood Villainy” by Bram Stoker Award-winning author Weston Ochse, was my favorite in this block of stories and ultimately the entire collection. A fifteen year old Chinese boy born Valiant Fang (pretty cool, huh?) hasn’t aged a day since 1937 and now he tools around Hollywood on his old bicycle making a real mess of the world, destroying lives by utilizing his mind-reading powers. Valiant Fang, a.k.a. The Yellow Shadow, didn’t start out that way. In fact, when he discovered his mind-reading ability, he set out to be a hero like the ones all kids admire. Unfortunately, he “soon learned that no one liked a little Chinese kid superhero.” And that’s the hook to “Hollywood Villainy.” - Dreadful Tales 

Hollywood Villainy
By Weston Ochse ©2012

No one pays attention to the body.
Instead they watch the antics of the paraplegic pimp and his one-legged midget hooker. He holds her by a leash attached to a spike dog collar around her neck as she hops around his wheelchair in a crazy cavorting dance. This is what they came to see. Not the stars on the Walk of Fame. Not the hand prints in the Chinese Theater. Not the gargantuan Hollywood sign that had once announced a suburb. But theater in the raw—the misfits and characters that make Hollywood the adult Disneyland promised them by every David Lynch and Tony Scott film.
The pimp has enough studs poking from his face that he could have been a cyborg. A young girl points at them and says as much to her father. The midget hooker has had a boob job that makes her look ridiculous, even if she hadn’t been a half-pint, one-legged fuck machine. The detraction is sad, because the death of the man had been majestic to behold. And that his body lay square atop the Hollywood Star of Orson Welles was a grace note that I’d never thought to pull off. Still, people never look to the heart of things; instead, they grasp at any shiny object that happens by, no matter how shallow or meaningless it may be.
 ‘Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men. The Shadow knows.’
This is my mantra. This is what has fueled me through these years of too much, too young, forever. The notion of the shadow, of someone who can manipulate the minds of men to his own ends, is something that I enjoy. I say it. “Only the Shadow knows,” and follow it up with dramatic baritone laughter. But I am far from the figure of a tall handsome masked and cloaked avenger. In fact, no matter how many years pass I’ll never be tall, I’d never be old and I’ll never be handsome. Instead of portraying the Shadow like a masked and cloaked avenger, I have no choice but to present myself as I am—fifteen, Chinese-American, short, odd-shaped face covered in acne and glasses the movies referred to as RPGs, or Rape Prevention Glasses, because they were so ugly. Still, even though I was born Valiant Fang in 1922, I AM the Shadow and the Shadow always knows.
“Watch it kid,” an older man growls as he tries to get by.

My 1949 Schwinn Phantom is positioned in the middle of the sidewalk. I’d parked on John Wayne’s star. It is as good a view as any. It also gives me a jumping off point. After all, in an entire world filled with people, how am I to go about selecting my targets? I let the stars guide me. Not those up in the sky, but the ones set in concrete as flat monuments to pop culture greatness.
And then I see him.
And he is perfect.
Especially the pink straw cowboy hat—pink enough to make John Wayne roll over in his grave.
Especially his connection to an old memory that I’d long thought forgotten.
I begin the chase.


Wanna read more? Then you have got to get the book where you can read my story and twenty others. Go here - Quickly! And don't stop if you see a Chinese kid on an old bike wearing RPGs. In fact, press the accelerator hard!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

PARMESAN EGGPLANT FRIES - A Living Dangerously Recipe

Author: Living Dangerously
Duration: 30 minutes
Average Cost: $3.00 US
Serves: 4-6 (or two who just can't stop eating)

Who doesn't love fries? I could eat an entire plate of them virtually every day. I remember when I was stationed in Afghanistan in 2013. Every Sunday night I'd have three baked chicken breasts and a heaping plate of fries. So nice. So good. So damned fattening.

But now I think I've discovered a way to eat them and get away with it. Yes! Baked Eggplant Fries.
These are seriously good and taste just like they're fried.

I kid you not.

So, get out  your cutting board, baking sheet covered in foil and rack, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Here we go.

Peel medium eggplant. Starting on the longest edge, slice the peeled eggplant into 1/2-inch pieces. Lay the widest pieces, from the center, cut side down, and slice in half length-ways so all the pieces are equally about 1/2 by 1/2 by 4 inches in length.
 Place the flour in a medium bowl and season with the salt and pepper. Place the egg whites in another bowl and beat until frothy, about 30 seconds. Combine the Parmesan and bread crumbs in a third bowl.

Coat the eggplant pieces in the seasoned flour and pat to remove any excess flour. Dip the floured eggplant in the egg whites and then into the Parmesan mixture, gently pressing the mixture into the eggplant. Place the breaded eggplant pieces on a rack on a baking sheet. This should really be done with a rack, so if you don't have one, consider getting one. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Toss in a bowl with a little garlic salt (or not) and serve. 

Cook's Note: The eggplant fries can be dipped in ketchup, marinara sauce, pesto, ranch dressing, vinaigrette, or really anything you want. We used curry ketchup, but next time I think I'll try a Dijon-lemon-mayo mixture.

1 Medium Eggplant
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten free substitute)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 egg whites
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or gluten free substitute)

Friday, February 13, 2015


GARLIC BUTTER SHRIMP AND QUINOA: Low country cooking meets high country health
Author: Living Dangerously
Duration: 30 minutes
Average Cost: $16.00 US
Serves: 6 with small salads

Use two kinds of quinoa for added color

Can butter be healthy? Do you mean there's a meal with six tablespoons of butter that's healthy?


Here's the answer- Yes and No. 

The No = If you eat a meal loaded with fats and carbs and then throw in a stick of butter then hells yes it is unhealthy. That much butter, especially on a regular basis is bad for your heart and a big turbo boost to bad cholesterol.  
The Yes = If you eat a light meal with ancient grains and no fat, then a little butter, even a stick of butter won't hurt too bad as long as it's not every night. We're talking once a week or every two weeks. If this is the case then, yest, it can be healthy.

Full disclosure. This is a dish I modified from Taste of Yum. Not that this was the first place I'd seen it. I'd had something like it when I was in the Golden Isles many years ago (Jeckyll Island specifically), but it was served with couscous. When you think about it, this is nothing more than a healthy version of shrimp and grits, a staple of low country cooking.

So why quinoa?  According to authoritynutrition.com, here are the health benefits:

  • Protein: 8 grams.
  • Fiber: 5 grams.
  • Manganese: 58% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
  • Folate: 19% of the RDA.
  • Copper: 18% of the RDA.
  • Iron: 15% of the RDA.
  • Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
  • Potassium: 9% of the RDA.
  • Over 10% of the RDA for Vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
  • Small amounts of Calcium, B3 (Niacin) and Vitamin E.
Sautee low and slow for tenderness
This is coming with a total of 222 calories, with 39 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fat. It also contains a small amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. Quinoa is non-GMO, Gluten Free and usually grown organically. Even though not technically a grain, it still counts as a “whole grain” food (11 Proven Benefits from Quinoa).

So yeah... Quinoa... duh!

I'm also a terrific fan of shrimp. Although deveining is a pain in the back, I always try and get uncooked shrimp because it's the only way to still impart flavor. I cook shrimp really slow which keeps it from getting rubbery. I usually wait until there's about five minutes left in the cooking time for the quinoa before I even fire my pan for the shrimp. Try and find medium to large shrimp. I try and get them to be forefinger-sized.

This is a great recipe for weeknights because it only takes 30 minutes to make. But it's also something to cook and serve with friends over, sitting around and chatting and drinking a nice white wine.

I used meyer-lemon olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
5 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
2 cups uncooked quinoa (1 red & 1 regular)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 yellow, red, or orange pepper (not green)
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
6 tablespoons salted butter, divided
2 pounds raw tail-on shrimp
salt and pepper to taste
lime zest for top and juice for shrimp
fresh cilantro for serving
fresh lemon juice for serving

Heat the oil in a large nonstick pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of the garlic and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add the uncooked quinoa and ½ teaspoon chili powder. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1 tsp of chili powder. Saute for another 1 minute to add flavor to the quinoa. Add the broth, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 15-25 minutes (depending on elevation). When the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and toss with fresh minced parsley. While the quinoa is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot and the butter is melted, add the shrimp and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder directly in the pan and juice of one lime. Season with salt and pepper and saute until no longer translucent and golden brown on the outside. Just at the end of the saute, add 1 teaspoon garlic and swirl around in the pan until the garlic is very fragrant. Melt the
Picture is Too Fuzzy but you get the point
remaining 5 tablespoons butter with the 2 teaspoons garlic to make a sauce for drizzling (for this, crushed garlic or garlic paste would work really well but minced is also fine). Toss finely diced red, yellow, or organge pepper into the quinoa for color and crunch. Serve the quinoa and shrimp together in one dish, with shrimp layered on top, topping with fresh chopped parsley and lemon juice if desired. When the butter is melted and cooled slightly, drizzle over the shrimp and quinoa. Drizzle lime zest over top. Serve immediately, while still hot.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Confession of an Apocalypse Weird Author

COMING OUT OF THE CLOSET-- Yes. I'm an Apocalypse Weird author. This is a phenomenal shared world concept with easter eggs, rabbit holes, and associative media within each novel. One novel -- THE RED KING -- has already dropped and is free. Five more novels are dropping on February 23rd. My novel is in the next wave. This is a shared universe and it's as gritty and weird and apocalyptic as you an imagine. Each novel is like a friend with benefits.

For more information, to sign up for the news letter, and to get a free copy of The Red King, go here  http://apocalypseweird.com/

To sign up for the Facebook Page you can go here - 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Catcher in the Rye - Is it Still Being Read?

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know
the truth."

First line of J.D. Salingers Catcher in the Rye.

I read it in the 1970s when I was thirteen, probably the perfect age to read it. We had to buy a copy in a brown paper bag from under the counter of the local Walden Books. It was very influential to me.

I wonder if young boys even read it now?

Or has it lost its relevance.

One thing was for sure-- it was my Hunger Games.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Cormac McCarthy, Ridley Scott, and The Counselor-- Why All The Haters?

Yeah. There are spoilers, but not a lot of them.

I caught this on TV today. I was frankly enthralled. I loved the characters--
  • Javier Bardeem as a bronzed drug kingpin whose taste in clothes is a cross between Miami Vice and Lady Gaga.
  • Brad Pitt playing an El Paso scoundrel-drug mover, his visage prettied-down with long stringy hair and bruises.
  • Cameron Diaz as an ex-stripper, hypersexual, upward-climbing panther
  • Michael Fasbender as the philisophical foil for the action
  • Ruben Blades dispensing wisdom and justice like the Angel Gabriel
Parts of the movie I thought were beautiful. Like the conversation about snuff films and Ruben
Blades final scene. I said to myself, 'Who wrote this. It's beautiful.'

Come to find out it was written by Cormac McCarthy so of course it's beautiful.

Only I seem to be the only one thinking this.
A great writer's pompous idea of pulp fiction, treated with stultifying seriousness by everyone else involved. - Guy Lodge of Time Out 
It's filthy, nasty, sexy, absurd, appalling, and exhilarating, and it succeeds as a musky union of novelist Cormac McCarthy's bleakness and Ridley Scott's sense of chic. - Wesley Morris of Grantland 
The Counselor is the cumbersome end product of a high-minded writer trying to slum and a slick director aiming for cosmic depth. - Sam Weisberg of The Village Voice

It's been described as MUMBLECORE. What the fuck is mumblecore? A few clicks later and the internet tells me that it's a real thing.

Mumblecore is a subgenre of independent film characterized by low budget production values and amateur actors, heavily focused on naturalistic dialogue. Filmmakers often assigned to this movement include Andrew Bujalski, Lynn Shelton, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Aaron Katz, Joe Swanberg, and Ry Russo-Young. The term mumblegore has been used for films mixing mumblecore and horror gore.

There's even a list of Mumblecore Directors and a list of ten essential Mumblecore films.

Seriously? Which is the problem. Critics take themselves too seriously. so seriously they had to crete a term for movies that don't rely on CGI or big budgets or high paying actors, movies where people talk naturally. Shit. I call those movies. Some of them are pretty smart too like Clerks and Bottle Rocket. Wait? One of the Owens brothers is in that film. Does that make it not Mumblecore? Does Quitin Tarantino write Mumblecore. I'm just asking because there's an awful lot of talking in his movies... NATURAL TALKING even.

Back to The Counselor.

Andrew O'Herir of Salon.com literally hates it. I mean he hates it so much he calls it THE WORST MOVIE EVER MADE-- 

There are a couple of decapitations in “The Counselor,” possibly as many as three, along with two shootouts, one of them entirely non-germane to the so-called plot. Oh, and there’s a scene where a woman has sex with a car. We’ll get to that. But the narrative of the film is almost entirely discursive, and largely consists of the Counselor sitting around with his obviously crooked associates —Pitt in a dingy white suit, stringy hair and a black eye; Bardem in hilariously ugly designer duds, accessorized with girly cocktails — having stilted, stylized conversations about women and money and snuff films and the meaning of life that don’t go anywhere. It’s like a mumblecore movie about a bunch of Sarah Lawrence philosophy majors, made by coked-up rich people for 100 bajillion dollars.

And that's a bad thing?

And someone email Mr. O'Herir and let him know that mumblecore movies don't have big budgets or stars or at least according to the definition they don't.

Was the movie stylized? Sure. It's as stylized as a Tarantino film.

Were there long sections where they talked and nothing happened? Sure, like a Tarantino film. But in my opinion all the conversations in The Counselor and Tarantino films are important.

Like Cameron Diaz in the confessional. The priest won't let her confess because she's evil and there is no redemption for pure evil. 

Ruben Blades conversation is characterized as worthless. Check this out--

RubĂ©n Blades, playing some kind of Mexican drug lord. McCarthy really thinks he’s writing up a storm here; the speech goes on and on, signifying nothing beyond sorry dude, you’re screwed. Fassbender, here as throughout the film, stands in for the audience in his blankness, his pigheadedness, his lack of qualities. We were repeatedly told it was a bad idea to watch this movie but we went ahead and did it anyway, and now it can’t be undone. As Blades’ pseudo-Shakespearean soliloquy more or less puts it, whose fault is that?

But it has a purpose. Look at all the other movies out there. Normally, there's a happy ending where the hero wins. The point of this movie, the point against everything Cormac writes, is that you can't win against the very nature of a thing.

Cormac writes about man against nature.The Crossing was a book about man's inability to overcome nature. You can't argue with it. You can't cheat it. You either win or you don't. Blood Meridian was the same way but in this case the Comanches represented nature.  The Road was the same way as The Crossing as was No Country For Old Men, except in an irony, Javier Bardem plays 'nature' as an irrestiable force that cannot be stopped.

It's no difference in The Counselor. It's about man against nature. In this case nature is law/trust. If you break it there's no going back. There's no arguing through it. The justice nature delivers is as immutable and determined and concentrated as the Old Testament. It's fucking black and white with no 50 Shades of Gray.

The only two problems I had with the movie was the title and Penelope Cruz. The title made everyone think this was a movie about a lawyer, which is why I didn't go to see it. Had they changed it, it would have definitely earned out. And Cruz's character was a little flat. The part was necessary, but by casting her, you come to expect more. They could have cast an unknown and had the same effect.

Mumblecore my ass.

The problem is that viewers (especially critics) forgot what Cormac McCarthy writes about. Sometimes there are no happy endings. Sometimes you just can't win. Sometimes you shouldn't do things you know are wrong. Sometimes Bad Shit Happens.

I loved this movie


Friday, January 30, 2015

What's Everyone Cooking for Superbowl Sunday - Chorizo-stuffed Clams and Brie Quesadillas

I'm going to spend the weekend writing and working out. I'm staring down two serious deadlines and need to get the work done. Yvonne is going to be in art classes all weekend as well. So unless our Great Danes sprout opposable thumbs and fix dinner for us, it's going to be a challenge making something tasty and interesting without resorting to ordering out or using the microwave.

Then I saw this link on my Flipboard and read it while sitting in the Pharmacy waiting for my number to be called.

This one jumped out at me. I think I'll save the recipe for later though.Buffalo-style Pork Chops Covered in Cheese.  Yummmmm!

There are seriously lots of great foods here. I've saved the link. We boiled it down to two recipes we'd make -- well, I'd make. She's going to be in class all day so the least I could do is to have these ready for her when she gets home.

The first one is this:

Chorizo-stuffed Clams

The second one is this:

Spicy Brie and Mango Quesadillas
I get seafood and Yvonne get's her two favorite food groups: Brie Cheese and Mangos.

These aren't the healthiest choices, but hey! It's Superbowl Sunday. It could be a 3,000 calorie pizza followed by 2,000 calories of chicken wings. What's a little 5,000 calories going to do?  HA! Famous last words.

You can check out the recipes for these and all the other great snacks at the link above.

Now tell me, what are you going to eat?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kickstarter, Viking Babes, and Machine Guns on Dinosaurs

I've been a big fan of Kickstarter since it launched. The very idea of crowd-funding something warms my heart. Not only does it enfranchise everyone, but it allows for the democratization of ideas.

There have been some truly stupid Kickstarter campaigns that have been funded like the $8,000 dollars raised for a squirrel census, seeing Lionel Ritchie's head inflated, or the Grilled Cheesus Sandwich Press that was funded with $25,000 and promises getting the face of Jesus on any of your sandwiches. Wait a minute. Did I just say that seeing Lionel Ritchie's head inflated was stupid? Now that was actually uber cool and the first time a member of the family has had a head bigger than Nicole Ritchie since she partnered with sex-bot heiress Paris Hilton.

Okay. I can get behind that. Performance art for a dollar? They got my buck.

There are also some terrific projects out there that have never been funded, however. I guess it's all in how you get attention, hold attention, and make someone want to be a part of your campaign. I've contributed to dozens over the years. I've been a part of one or two, most recently the revival of Carpe Noctem. This was a print magazine that I killed back in the day when they actually accepted one of my stories. They accepted and the magazine folded. I did that with a magazine called Bloodsongs too! The folks at Carpe Noctem wanted four grand to fund the 20th Anniversary Edition. They got nearly five grand. Here's the link to that campaign.


I recently stumbled across a campaign that I would have thrown some pretty serious money at had I known. Not the $10,000 which put you on screen and in the movie, nor the $4,000 for Thor's hammer... (he says now that it is safely over), but certainly a hundred bucks which is serious money for this goucho.

It's none other than Kung Fury. Have you seen it? An ex-cop goes back in the past to fight Kung Fuhrer (Hitler), goes back to far, and enlists the help of a Viking Babe (aka machine gun-weilding valkrie) and Thor. They wanted $200k and they got more than $600k.

Hell yes they did!

I know. This isn't about saving a puppy, or feeding a family, or raising a herd of cattle for a poor Indonesian family.

I got it.

This is about entertainment.

This is about jumping the shark on everything you've ever known. This looks so bad it looks good and this coming from the guy who thinks that Barry Gordy's The Last Dragon is one of the best martial arts movies ever made - SHO NUFF!!

More importantly King Fury is about Viking babes, Machine Guns on Dinosaurs, Thor in Nazi Germany, and kicking the shit out of a Kung Fu Hitler.

I for one hope that I get to see this. 

Here's the link to their uber-cool kickstarter.

Word has it that it will be released on Youtube for free in March.

Want to keep track of them?  GO here.

You'll thank me later.

Or you can thank me now.


Friday, January 23, 2015

My Best Reads of 2014 - The Shibboleth, Red Rising, Soda Pop Soldier - Plus a Surprise Recommendation

Every year I like to take a moment and call out some great works. As an author, I know how soulless it can be sitting alone and writing and wondering if you're not writing crap. As narcissistic as we are, we are also terribly afraid that we're only an inch deep. So I want these folks to know how good I think they are. I want them to know that they need to keep writing because they're terrific. I'm sure they already know it, but now it's my turn to lend my old raspy voice to the chorus. So in no particular order, here are my top three of 2014.

THE SHIBBOLETH by John Hornor Jacobs. Now Jakes and I go way back. I remember when he hadn't even penned his first work, Southern Gods. So far, everything he writes is gold. So when I had the chance to read the first two books of his new YA trilogy, I leaped at it. This fits nicely in the YA kids with super powers subgenre. But the narratives doesn't rely on the characters strengths. Instead, it relies on their weaknesses. I read this as a 49 year old adult and loved it. You will too.

Here's the starred review from Booklist: *Starred Review* Jacob’s The Twelve-Fingered Boy (2012) was exactly what the teens-with-powers subgenre needed: a full-body beat down that reminded us that having such powers would really, really suck. This hefty sequel follows 16-year-old delinquent Shreve, who can possess people’s bodies, as he shifts from juvenile facility to psych ward to, at last, the Society of Extranaturals, a boot camp of sorts for “post-human” kids run by the highly untrustworthy Mr. Quincrux. Their (supposed) goal: to destroy “the elder” that is causing a nationwide wave of deadly insomnia. This is a dyed-in-the-wool middle book—filled with training, planning, and sinister omens, its chief achievement is to foment excitement for the finale. And in that it succeeds splendidly, courtesy of new friends and new foes, none of whom exist in either camp comfortably. As before, Shreve’s appealing truculence is weighed down by the anguish of sharing the memories of too many damaged people. Jacobs works his ass off here; that’s the best way to put it because you can feel the work, in the best of senses, to make each paragraph a battling push-pull of bruising toughness, electric wit, and dazzling metaphysicality. This fits uncomfortably in every box in which you’d try to put it—in other words, it’s totally unique. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

RED RISING by Pierce Brown. When I saw the cover, I thought to myself, oh, another book about angels, and I passed it by. Not that I dislike angels, I just wasn't in the mood for angelic-inspired-starring fiction. But when I asked Pat Heffernan at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego what the best book he'd read recently, he pointed to that one. So I bought it sight unseen. I picked it up the next morning and finished it that night. It's not about angels. It's a far future story about caste systems, bio genetics, and intergalactic posturing. What's stunningly unfair is that it's Pierce's first book. Worse yet he's a good looking and likable guy, so I can't even hate him for his incredible success. Instead, I'm super happy for him and hope that he has a long successful career. 

Again I'll  let Booklist tell you what they think: A lot happens in this first installment of a projected trilogy. Darrow, living in a mining colony on Mars, sees his wife executed by the government, nearly dies himself, is rescued by the underground revolutionary group known as Sons of Ares, learns his government has been lying to him (and to everybody else), and is recruited to infiltrate the inner circle of society and help to bring it down from within—and that’s all inside the first 100 pages. This is a very ambitious novel, with a fully realized society (class structure is organized by color: Darrow is a Red, a worker, a member of the lower class) and a cast of well-drawn characters. Although it should appeal to all age groups, there is a definite YA hook: despite being a veteran miner and a married man, Darrow is 16 when the novel begins. If told well, stories of oppression and rebellion have a built-in audience, and this one is told very well indeed. A natural for Hunger Games fans of all ages. --David Pitt --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

SODA POP SOLDIER by Nick Cole. This is a truly awesome book. I actually reviewed it on my site, which I rarely do. But I was so engrossed in the book and loved it so much, I just had to say something. Here's what I said. 

Nick Cole's new Soda Pop Soldier is as different from The Wasteland Saga as Skyrim is to Donkey Kong. Not that The Wasteland Saga is as emotionally bankrupt as Donkey Kong. It's not. And it's awesome. It's just so different it seems as if someone else wrote it. In a way, it was. It's clear that John Saxon wrote this book while Nick Cole wrote the other one--John Saxon being both an actor who starred in Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon as well as being the nom de guerre of the main character of Soda Pop Soldier.  And Nick Cole can level up with 10,000 cool points for channeling the great unsung pop-culture icon of the 1970s.

The great great grandchild of Neuromancer (Gibson), Soda Pop Soldier shares its inventiveness, themes of moral bankruptcy and greed, and isolationism with it's siblings Reamde (Stephenson) and Ready Player One (Cline). But it achieves more. I'm not sure if John Saxon used these as stepping stones, or came up with the premise whole cloth in the vacuum of his shag-carpeted, spinning disco ball, scotch soaked mind, but whatever +5 Potion of Inventiveness he sucked down, it worked. To read the rest of the review, you can go here.

OUR LOVE WILL GO THE WAY OF THE SALMON. I know I said my top three, but I think one more shout out is necessay. There's a guy living in the Pacific Northwest I want to give some literary love to... a fellow authorly high five and a backslap. His name is Cameron Piarce. I was able to pre-read Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon before publication. Cameron sharpened his blade on the bizzaro grindstone, so I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. As many of you know, bizarro fiction can take you to places you've never gone, never thought of going, and in some cases, never ever EVER want to go again (much love Carlton!). There's a hint if bizarro in this collection of short stories. But the stories also contain a literary sensibility that I appreciate. The writing is as lean and spare as Raymond Carver, who described his own style as "inclined toward brevity and intensity." I loved this book. I'd like to see more of Cameron's fiction. In fact, and I told this to Cameron, I'd like to see the first story wholly fleshed out and made into a novel. I want to visit that world again and not just with the tip of my toe. I want to swan dive into Desolation Lake so I can swim with the memories of when there were Salmon.

I actually blurbed this book. Here's what I said: "Part Terry Bisson, part Cormac McCarthy, part rocket launcher--Pierce's Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon brilliantly uses the fishing prism to examine loss, living without, and never having had."

You can order these books from Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore at this link

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Elitest Book Review Selects Grunt Life One of 2014s Best

Grunt Life was reviewed by Elitist Book Reviews (Steve Diamond) back in August. Here's a link to that review. Bottom line is that they liked it--liked it so much that in a recent interview they chose it as one of the best books of 2014 according to an interview with Stuart Charles Flynn at scflynn.com!

'Ochse has an excellent narrative voice. Line to line, paragraph to paragraph, page to page. It’s all extremely smooth. I never had to go back and reread a section for clarity—though I did reread sections because of how much I enjoyed a turn of phrase, or a character moment. The action—and there is a TON of it—is super clear and effortless to follow.' -Elitist Book Review of Grunt Life

'Weston Ochse is an awesome author. I put his stuff next to Correia and Maberry without hesitation. While I was curious about Ochse’s work before, now I’m excited to read it. All of it. It's pretty easy to see that Ochse is one of the better authors for action SF out there, and GRUNT LIFE was an absolute blast to read.' - Elitist Book Review of Grunt Life

They also selected Grunt Traitor - sequel to Grunt Life - as one of their most anticipated books of 2015. This is the first mention of Grunt Traitor in the wild and most welcome. 

You can read all about Steve Diamond, Elitest Book Reviews, and their other picks at this link. Looks like I'm in terrific company with Joe Lansdale, Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, Sarah Pinborough, Robert McCammon and others.

Very humble. Thank you Elitist Book Reviews. Solaris Books is going to be extremely happy about this.

Eating, Restraint, and the Best Thing I Cooked in 2014

I've been slacking. There are a bunch of blog posts I've been wanting to make--I actually have a list of them-- but I've been sick on and off for a month and deep in the nightmare realm of writing deadlines and edits. I know it's a terrible excuse, but it's all I got, so it will have to do. 

As many of you know, I take a lot of food pictures and do a lot of cooking. I even host a FB group called Taste of Sierra Vista highlighting the foods of the town and region in which I live. I'm not doing it to show off. I'm also not doing it to brag about my mad cooking skills because as a chef I am a complete work in progress. I cook like I live life, two steps forward and one step backward. No, I write and blog about food on the occasion because I once weighed sixty pounds more than I do now. I got that way by eating crap. And a lot of crap. Basically, I'd shove down my big fat maw anything that tasted good. I was like a kitchen krakon, eating anything you'd offered me.

But no more.

That was then. This is now.

If it's something loaded with calories, then it better be damn good and special. I need to be convinced to expend the calories and it has to be a rare occasion.

For instance, if I'm going to have a burger, I'm not going to go to a  fast food restaurant. I'm going to
APE Burger - Brie, Bacon and Apple Burger
expend those calories on the best burger I can think of-- best burger available. I'm not going to do it often, but when I do, it's going to be the best ingredients, cooked the best possible way, and in the coolest place. For instance, my go-to burger spot is a place called The Cafe in Sonoita, Arizona and run by Chef Adam Puckle. They have the APE Burger (APE-Adam Puckle Experience). It's a half pound of either farm-raised beef or bison, prepared your way, with his choice of toppings. It's mad good and an experience to boot. So when I said it needs to be special, THAT'S what I'm talking about.

By the way, I wrote about this burger place back in September in an article called Burgers with Chefitude. You can find that here.

Don't get me wrong. I expend calories for food all the time, but most of the time it's pretty healthy. For instance, last night I cooked Miso Glazed Cod over Steamed Cabbage and Basil with a sesame, mirin, and lemon vinaigrette, with quick pickled cucumbers in matcha mirin. It was pretty freaking awesome. But I'd be surprised if the entire plate was more than six hundred calories. It was light, it was filling, and it was sumptious and it's something I'd definitely cook again. (I can provide the recipe to anyone who asks.)

So driving into work today, I listened to a Mimi Sheraton being interviewed about her book 1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die. You can listen to it here if you want. It got me to thinking what was the best thing I ate last year. I was surprised to say that it was probably the Razor Clams I had in Portland back in May. Razor clams are one of my new favorite foods. I'd move to Oregon if I could have them everyday. THAT's how much I love them.

Then I asked myself what about all the food you cooked--which recipe do you like the best? It came to me right away. There was a simplicity to this dish, but there was also a depth and combination of flavor that I loved. This wasn't my wife's favorite dish by far. I think she'd say the Pacific Lobster Tails or Penne Con Ragu di Mortadella, which is a dish I love that I stole from Chef Michael White, which is his go to dish when he's hungry late at night. 

No, this is merely my favorite and I'll share it with you here.

Let me start by saying that this isn't my recipe. Sometimes I make up my own recipes based on ingredients available and the taste I want to cultivate. Other times I look at a recipe and tweak it, making it my own. In this case, I followed someone else's recipe-- Master Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. 

The Recipe is -- Orecchiette with Shrimp, Pancetta and Fresno Chiles

Orrechiette is sort of the perfect pasta. It means small ear in Italian and is the perfect pouch for containing small ingredients. I want to use it more. In fact, in 2015 I WILL use it more (You didn't see it, but I just pinky swore to myself).

I'm not going to rewrite the recipe. You can find it here. You should try it. It's awesome. Truly.

I'd be curious to see if you'd make it and then get your opinion. Please share it here if you do.

I'm also curious to know of all the things you cooked last year which is your favorite. I'd like to know.

Now back to writing and editing. So many ideas, so many works in progress, so much glorious life to live and so little time.