ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

CopperCon 30 Report - No Porn Stars Injured

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Double-breasted potato boobs, hot pad warmers for my jimmies, and master of ceremonies at the masquerade ball could confuse my dear reader into believing I attended a porn industry convention, or even the soon to be mentioned FroliCon. Although there were some moments of delightful sexual innuendo, let me assuage your fears and say that no porn stars were injured during the course of this convention; at least not in my presence.

Stephen R. Donaldson and Weston Ochse
From CopperCon 30

CopperCon began for Yvonne and me with a harried morning of packing, taking the dogs to the kennel and generally getting things ready. I’d made a superb dinner the night before of homemade sweet potato risotto and veal loin chops. The only thing I burned was my left hand, sizzling the hell out of it until I had raised ridges from grabbing the handle of the frying pan that I’d used to finish the meat in the oven. After trying several things, I tried a cold tea bag, which miraculously by the next morning reduced the swelling and the heat until there as almost nothing there. Which was a godsend, because I was dead set against having a bandage on my hand the whole convention so I could explain to everyone how stupid I’d been. I prefer to unveil my stupidity on my own terms, thank you.

From CopperCon 30
After a 3.5 hour drive to Phoenix on a clogged interstate, we entered into Mesa. The first thing we learned was that the words ‘Retirement Resort’ was translated into English as ‘Trailer Park for 55+.’ The wide streets were virtually empty. There were hundreds of royal palms shooting a hundred feet into the air and at the base of each one huddled ten or twelve trailers, whose communities rested on the foundation of keeping kids and any reminder of youth as far from them as possible. We had a quick dinner at a local restaurant at five in the afternoon and were the youngest patrons by thirty years. Liver and onions was the first item on the menu. Was this to set the tone for the weekend? Was the fact that the hotel was surrounded by a church on one side, a golf course on the other and a mortuary on the other to be an indication of the events that were about to transpire?


Although the weekend had its share of glitches, the good far outnumbered the bad.

Thanks to mine and Steve Donaldson’s requests, the convention invited a local indie bookstore to the dealer’s room to ensure that the authors at the convention had books to sell. The Poisoned Pen did brisk business, but not with any of my books. The reason? A shipment of all my books and half of Steve Donaldson’s didn’t make it on time. When I found that out, I ran down to a local Hastings bought all my copies they had in stock, and brought them for the fans. Dave Summers sold them from his publishing table. All 12 copies sold.

Met some new fans like Chad, an NPR stringer recently relocated from Indonesia. This was his first convention and had he not come to my reading late Monday, it would have been a lonely hour. Lucky  (or unlucky) for him, he got Weston one on one.

Spent some great time with old friends like Kevin and Jeannie McAlanon, Adam Niswander, David Summers, Lord Craig of White Cliffs, Craig Porter, Cary Swaty, and Lee Whiteside.

Met some new author friends like Gini Koch, Dani &Eytan Kollin, and Michael D’Ambrosio.

Gini is the author of Touched by an Alien from Daw books. On my late night panel on Saturday, I was  assailed by her, the other female panelist and her three minions, as she called them. And where were FOW? Not a one in sight. You all ought to be a shamed of yourselves. But I handled myself like I was besieged by a battalion of commies, with only myself, knee deep in hand grenade pins, and a bottle opener to protect me. Which means I gave as good as I got. Being a little cold in the room, one of her minions tossed her a pair of recently crocheted hot pads to keep her  ‘girls’ warm. She did then set them on the table as everyone laughed. However, the laughter turned into a shocked silence as I grabbed the pads and held them up and said, ‘mind if I use them to keep my jimmies warm?’ The girl who was crocheting them, Chrissy, glared at me and said, ‘those are for my grandma.’ ‘Then make sure you tell her that these have been touched by a horror author, ‘ I said, then dipped them below the level of the table. The room erupted into laughter. She seemed about to cry, but then joined in, albeit a little leery of whether I’d warmed my jimmies or not. Needless to say Gini and I are now friends. Shout out to her daughter and Chrissy, who bought a copy of Empire of Salt which I signed, ‘Thanks for letting me give your grandma a little somethin’ somethin’.’

Dani and Eytan Kollin are friends of Cody Goodfellow. That should be enough to describe them, but if you know Cody, that could mean so so many things. Enjoyed meeting the Kollin brothers. Google them and check out their story. Suffice it to say that their first novel, The Unincorporated Man from Tor, is flat amazing. Superb read. They’re also quite the pair. One person called them The Sci Fi Smothers Brothers.  They’re definitely brothers by the way they interact. They invited me to participate in their neverendingpanel.com experience when I’m in L.A. in October. I think it will be a blast.

I also met Michael D’Ambrosio. He’s a small press author with big plans. He’s been to near every convention running in America and gave me the low-down-skinny on many of them, including one in my hometown called Con Nooga  that I want to attend, and one called FroliCon, which Yvonne will never let me attend. You can see for yourself.

A stunned Donaldson attempts to conjure what kind of food it is
 CopperCon 30
You know I just had to
From CopperCon 30
And of course I got to spend quality time with Steve Donaldson. I have to say, signing a copy of Empire of Salt to him with the inscription – You are the reason I almost failed out of seventh grade—was a highlight. We had a terrific dinner at a local German restaurant. Those round things that look like size 40 DDs are actually potato dumplings. And of course I had to put two of them together. I mean, come on, did you expect any less? Spent a lot of time with Steve just talking about stuff, not writing, just stuff. I enjoyed that. I also enjoyed seeing the look on his face as I compared his character Thomas Covenant to Michael Chikl's’ character on The Shield, which I don’t think anyone had done before.


Then there was the Masquerade Ball. They’d lured me into performing as the Master of Ceremonies. They said it would be easy. They said it would be fun. So it began with 12 minutes of contestants followed by 45 minutes of me standing out in front of the audience looking incredibly intelligent while the three judges ate pizza, washed their laundry, caught a movie, finished a Sudoku book, spell checked War and Peace, watched a Filipino jailhouse version of Doctor Zhivago backwards, and did a shadow puppet show of the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy using only six hands… and finally tallied the score. It almost got to the point where I was telling pirate jokes. God forbid.

So thanks mucho to all my friends and fans and the convention for a swell time.

My next big convention is Rincon in October, where Wil Wheaton and I will play Rockstar until one of us passes out from laughter.

Here's a link to more pictures from CopperCon 30.

12 comments :

  1. Dude, really...Nicole is not my daughter. She's one of my Minions, yes, but NOT my daughter. (Nicole's a tad older than she looks, and my daughter was busy with Sorority Rush at ASU, thankyouverymuch. Though both Nicole and my daughter are beautiful girls, so I can understand your confusion.)

    And I think "assailed" is kind of harsh, Winston.* ;-D I prefer to think of it as us giving you an opportunity to show how quickly you can think on your feet. (Chrissy may even forgive you. One day. I do hear her grandma can't wait for those oven mitts...)

    *You have to love a man who can embrace the fact that you screwed up his name multiple times and just go with it.

    See you at RinCon! (Yes, they've added me on...be afraid...be very afraid...)

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  2. Not your daughter? HAHA. That's a good one, Julie.

    Seriously, it was fun meeting you and your minions. When you come south, though, beware. FOWs abound.

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  3. You know, I kind of like the name "Winston." Perhaps I shall use it at "opportune" times...

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  4. As much as I would love to be Gini's daughter, I'm not. =(

    Thanks for the shout-out! Had such a great time meeting you last weekend.
    PS: I "borrowed" one of your pics for my blog post.

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  5. Nope, haven't forgiven you yet. Although if you wanted me to, you probably shouldn't have memorialized the event in my book's inscription. Now I can never forget. But that's okay! I can afford to be patient...

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  6. i'm sure you were an absolute brilliant M.C. Just whip out a bit'o'the fop and all is well.

    DREW

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  7. Poor, Weston. Only cock er I mean rooster, in the hen house. However did you survive man?!?
    And Nicole,would be my daughter! ;)

    Had a great time meeting you last weekend. Thank you for signing my book!

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  8. We could have a lot of fun with Winston. I picture him wearing a cowboy hat.

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  9. Nicole, Chrissy and Terese-- You all rock. If you get tired of being an old minion, I can make you an FOW - Follower of Wes (or Winston if you prefer). Not that you stop being a minion, heck no. I'd hate to see Julie cry. This way you can have aliens and zombies. Be a Minion and an FOW.

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  10. I really don't want to see Julie aka Gini cry! But who could resist not becoming an FOW?!?

    Have fun with Winston!!

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  11. But...do you hand out awesome swag to your followers, Winston? If you DO, then count me in as well. If not, well...maybe you should learn from your hens. ;-D

    (And I think it's wicked cool that Yvonne's now going to call you Winston at "appropriate" moments...she's clearly one of us. :-D)

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  12. Alright Winston... if you really want us to be FOW's I think that we deserve the beer you never got us at CopperCon, as well as some t-shirts. Team Gini got t-shirts... What do FOW's get??

    Mama Terese and I are in agreement on this one... Gotta give swag to get the minions!

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