Weston Ochse is the author of twenty books, most recently SEAL Team 666 and its sequel Age of Blood, 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 29 years of military service and currently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. Please contact him through this site.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Where Weston Makes Hooch

So I made my own hooch.

I know. Some of you aren't surprised. After all, what redneck can't make a little moonshine?

But I've since left my days of redneckery (redneckedness?) behind. I'm no longer that mountain boy fresh out of the forest doing the by-golly-Jesus at the world. I've been places. I've done things. And ever since my wife and I went to Naples, we've had a love for lemoncello.

Me in Italy circa 2008
But those of you who were thinking moonshine aren't far off. See, lemoncello to the Eye-talians is hooch. Every mom and pop store, every family, every restaurant makes their own. Some is sweet enough to crack your teeth. Some is strong enough to put you on your ass. No two places make it the same.

Well, I've been wanting to make this for some time now.

We recently had a killer Eye-talian restaurant open in Sierra Vista called Cafe Mimosa. They are the real Neopolitan deal. Vickie and Wendall Gilbert have just a terrific thing going. They also make their on hooch. So I asked for the recipe. Now, Vickie treats that thing like it's part of the crown jewels, and holds it closer than Colonel Sanders does his fifteen herbs and spices. But you see, Vickie has a penchant for zombies. She likes to read horror. So picture me laughing as I asked for the recipe.

And I got it.

And you know what? It's pathetically simple. I just substituted 100 proof vodka for the base instead of everclear-- that's too strong for this little man.

Recipe:

20-30 Lemons, zested only. No pulp, juice or plith
4 cups simple syrup
1.5 liters of 100 proof vodka

Put in container, cover and steep for ten days.  And this is what you get.


I used to make Meade in this bad boy

I couldn't find any cheese clothe, so I got a strainer with
holes so small, I couldn't drag a gnats ass through one

I triple filtered it to get out all the goo.


Then using a ladle (after I spilled), I began filling what I could.

And this is the result. See that golden color of liquid sunshine?

One glass for me.

Ahhh!

And because I'm rolling in the lemoncello right now, I think I'll make a lemoncello buerre blanc for my salmon this evening.

Ahh.

Yum.

Burp.



Friday, June 22, 2012

NPR and Edits and The Loup Garou Kid

This has been a big week. On Tuesday, my son drove down to spend a few days. I haven't seen him for six months, and with deploying to Afghanistan in November, I might not see him for another year. So it was very special to have him down. Wednesday was my 47th Birthday. I engorged myself in seafood at a local sushi bar, especially loving the Hamachi Kama, or Grilled Yellowtail Cheek.

Of course, also on my birthday I was given a present by St. Martin's Press-- 400 pages of copy edits for SEAL Team 666. This came with a style sheet, a list of questions and a manuscript marked up with enough pencil marks, I thought a blind man had had an epileptic seizure.  You never would have known I'd had three previous edits. Whomever is working for St. Martin's is on top of it. He or she caught some previously missed inconsistencies, as well as smoothed some prose that got broken from all the insertions and deletions from previous edits. I'm about half way through. I need to have it back to them by Wednesday, so I have to get cracking.

While doing edits yesterday, I was called by Arizona Public Media, the state National Public Radio Station. Mark McLemore, host of Arizona Spotlight, wanted to run an interview we'd previously conducted. He had some follow up and framing questions and we spoke for about forty minutes. It was a very pleasant interruption. I'm writing this blog after having heard the first broadcast. I'm becoming more accustomed to hearing my voice on the radio. I actually think I sounded semi-intelligent, if not partially intellectual. The interview can be found here (or there is a link here to follow).

Last week saw shipment of The Loup Garou Kid to collectors. I didn't want this to get lost in all the hooplah of summer. The Loup Garou Kid finishes the story started by Vampire Outlaw of the Milky Way, and continued in Lord of the Lash. This is the final tale of our young epileptic hero, Jimmy Kinder. He gets to meet the characters in real life he thought only lived in his mind. This is a fine finish to the trilogy. I especially like the cover. It represents a Boris Vallejo-themed pose, while giving nods to the characters love of comic books and Saturday morning cartoons.

If you have a hankering, there are still a few copies of this limited edition, signed and numbered chapbook left.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blaze of Glory Contest Winners!


Elvis has spoken!


First a review of the contest. Here are the rules:



Here's the BLUF: The first ten people to review Blaze of Glory on Amazon or Barnes and Nobles will have the opportunity to win the signed, limited, leather-bound hardback copy, valued at $50. I'm including four runner up prizes, as well, signed copies of the Burning Effigy Press novella and Bram Stoker Award Finalist for Long Fiction, Redemption Roadshow. That gives you a 1 in 2 chance of winning. That's fifty/fifty. Better than the lottery and you know how much money you spend on the lottery with a microscopic chance of winning. Here you win when you read the book -- everything else is gravy.

Bottom line is that I need reviews. Yes! Reviews! Those strung together groups of words that talk about your feelings about the content of something you read.
Blaze of Glory is doing awesomely. It's number #1 still in African-American Horror Fiction category and in the top ten of several other categories. And all that without any reviews. But it's time to step up our game.
Buy the novel for $2.99, read it, review it, then drop me a line saying who you are and that you reviewed it.
Jack Ketchum liked it: “BLAZE OF GLORY turns the Monster-Apocalypse subgenre on its gory ear. It’s funny, suspenseful and resolutely quirky, with a great cast of characters.”




My Elvis and he's not looking so happy.
Blaze of Glory is one of his favorites and he
doesn't want to have to stare at the empty
space on the shelf.



 After a long conversation with my animatronic Elvis and a roll of my old 10 Sided Dungeons and Dragons dice, Elvis chose the five winners.  Thanks so much for taking the time to read the book and for all of your just amazing reviews. You didn't have to post all good reviews, although I am happy you did. I would have given you a prize for a bad review too.

The winners are:

1st - Zengal - Winner of the Limited Edition copy of Blaze of Glory
2nd - Troy Knutson - Winner of a signed copy of Redemption Roadshow
3rd - Kevin Starkey- Winner of a signed copy of Redemption Roadshow
4th - Dawn the Glass Bead Maker- Winner of a signed copy of Redemption Roadshow
5th - Larry Meier- Winner of a signed copy of Redemption Roadshow



Please contact me so I can arrange for shipment.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hollywood Titles and Two Act Movies -- Erg!!!

I'm not hard to please. Give me a decent plot, good actors, and a director who knows what he or she is doing and I'll be happy. Like the rest of the universe, I want a three act structure, or modified for seven acts-- either way, think of it as a good beginning, middle, and end. So when Yvonne and I sat down last night to watch two movies, the one I thought was going to be the best left us groaning.

What'd we see? Chronicle and The Grey.

---SPOILERS--

Chronicle was a much better movie than I thought it was going to be. Although even a blind pygmy could tell the abused boy was going to become a supervillian, you sort of rooted for him in a cringing, Carrie sort of way. My only problem with this flick was the title. Did they pick some random word like the Korean kids are doing with T-shirts? Chronicle? Really? For all I knew, it could have been the life and times of Edward R Murrow.

We had the same problem with the revenge-flick Faster, starring The Rock. It says nothing at all about the movie. Personally, I like both of these a lot, but feel that Hollywood messed up in the naming of them. How do they do this? A focus group? A dart board? A talking dog? "Look, Mr. Scott, the dog said Prometheus."

Chronicle? How about Supervillian? It's not like we didn't know what was going to happen by the fifth minute of the movie.

Faster? How about simply Vengeance!  I mean, come on. This isn't rocket science.

Titles not withstanding, at least those movies had an ending. At least they had three acts.

The Grey is nothing more than a frigid Lady in the Water. Neither of them had a third act.

What happened? Did they run out of money? Did the snow machines break? Did the animatronic wolves demand a raise for poor working conditions?

Or did the director, in an artsy snap-your-fingers-in-a-jazz-club moment, say, this is the perfect ending because it represents the universal fight between man and nature. ::snap snap::

Puh-leeese.

Just give us a fucking ending. Don't have the alpha wolf and Liam Neeson face off and then cut to credits. That's such a cop out.

If you wanted to make that comparison, the better ending would have been to have them chased over a rise, only to discover there's a town there, with lights, and vibrance, etc. Then, later, when Liam is having a drink on the porch, reconsidering the value of life, which he learned during the chase, the alpha walks down main street and snatches him off the porch and pulls him back into the wilderness.

That's a much better ending.

Hell? I could think of better endings all day long. In fact, I'm going to power up my animatronic Elvis and we're going to make a list and send it, Care of GOOD FUCKING MOVIES, HOLLYWOOD, CA

Screw a talking dog. I have Elvis!


Monday, June 11, 2012

What I've been reading...

Where I talk about Middlesex, The Romanian and Just a Geek...


I'd seen Middlesex for quite awhile. I was aware it had won the Pulitzer in 2002. I was also aware it was about androgeny, or intersex. And I also thought it took place in rural England. Although I play with words for a living, I thought the title had more to do with geography than a state of being. But during a recent book signing, while waiting for the hordes of fans to descend upon me, I happened upon a copy of this book and bought it. It was to be my first big summer reading book. And it wasn't at all a let down. In fact, it was terrific.

The writing reminded me of John Irving in both scope and style. Since I'm a huge John Irving fan, this was delightful. For two weeks, I read the history of the Greek family, their movement to America, their lives in Detroit, and the continuing saga of intersex.

This is a delightful novel. I see why it won the Pulitzer and am happy to have read it.




I picked up The Romanian at the bed and breakfast I stayed at in Valencia, Spain. It had a vivid cover, which initially drew me. On the heels of Middlesex, the subject matter was easily accessible. Basically, it's a (semi-autobiographical) docudrama about a male journalist who becomes emotionally and physically entangled with a Romanian street hustler. It's one of those odd books that I couldn't put down.

The author, Bruce Benderson, won the French literary Priz de Flore, as the only American to win this award designed to recognize youthful authors. It's a pretty frank book, but one that rings true. I highly recommend this one to those who enjoy reading about characters redefining themselves mid-life.







I've become a major Wil Wheaton fan since about mid-May. A nice and pleasant guy, he's the sort I'd hang with if I lived in the same town. I enjoy watching his episodes of Tabletop. I follow his doings occasionally on Twitter. I was even able to say hi to him a few times recently at Phoenix Comicon.

While I was there, I first tried to pick up a copy of this book from The Poisoned Pen, but by the time I got there they were sold out. Then I tried to get a copy from Wil, but I just couldn't make it, because of my own schedule. I was on nine panels...count 'em... NINE.

Anyway, I appreciated his frank (second use in this blog) and honest approach to this book. Some of the insights into TV and Movie land were terrific, as were the behind the scenes with Trekkies. I found myself laughing aloud on several occasions. Yeah. This was a terrific book.



So that's what I've been reading these past few weeks.

What have you been reading?

Have you read these yet? What are your thougts?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

On Teaching Writing

Talking with Michael Stackpole at Phoenix Comicon, I realized I was missing an opportunity.

You see, I like to teach. I've taught for a number of years at various military schools. I have a Master of Fine Arts so I conceivably have the creds to teach anywhere. I've even taught an online workshop called the Guerrilla Fiction Writing Workshop (GFWW). Both times I taught it, I had a full house and it was loads of fun. But as I lamented to Mike that I missed teaching, I looked over and saw -- low and behold -- various and sundry CD courses he was selling at his table. 21 Days to a Novel. The Secrets to Writing Fiction. And others. These were courses he'd taught-- is still teaching -- but are also being sold as CD classes, and as it turns out, online. In fact, he was teaching the class at the convention for some nice change.

Just as my friend Mort Castle does at conventions.

And Brian Keene.

And others.

You know, I can see something, but not really see it.

So I'm trying something. I'm seeing if my $99 class can sell for $9.99. GFWW is a pretty innovative approach to writing fiction, using screenwriting techniques and applying them to the preparation and writing of, in this case, a short story.


Here's the link to the class- Guerrilla Fiction Writing Workshop (Guerrilla Fiction Writing Series) Note that if you have Amazon Prime it's free for a short period of time. Nothing beats free. Do me a favor. If you do take advantage of the free sharing, please review it and or 'like' it.

This is a work in progress. I'm not super pleased with the way mobi skewed the internal formats. I'm still tweaking those. Hell, there's so much I don't know. All I do know is that I want to share. I want to teach.

I've already finished a class on Grammar.

I'm also working on a class on texturing the short story.

Next year I've been invited to teach a class at Comiccon next year. Hopefully I'll be back from Afghanistan in time to make it, because it's something I'd definitely like to do.

NOTE: I've since gone back and corrected much of the format errors. This should be a much cleaner version.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pain... The Final Frontier


So my wife and I got into an argument last night.

In the end, it's not about the argument, but rather what precipitated it.

But for those of you who shop at Walmart and who watch WWE, I'll share with you the highlights.

It goes back when I was in Kindergarten... the first time. I used to get hurt all the time. And when I got hurt, the other kids would laugh. Ever get hurt and have someone laugh at you? It makes you mad, right? If I knew the glory of Samuel L. Jackson cursing when I was five, I would have slaughtered them with my verbiage. But I was four. And I was in pain. So I reacted angrily... sometimes violently.

Fast forward to last night. We bought a new house with a double-thick pad and a high-end, thick carpet. It was glorious until about three weeks ago. Two words -- static electricity. Not your everyday static electricity, but three inch sparks shooting from every surface to my skin. I can't even walk through a doorway on the second floor without all the hairs on my arms standing at attention. No I've been shocked before, but that's just an ooh. These are all OWs or  even SHITS! Walking from my office to Yvonne's office, which can be only a matter of thirty feet, I commonly get shocked three times... and not even touching anything.

So late last night, after the zombies were heading towards the wall and the Game of Thrones season two ended, Yvonne wanted to know why I was crabby.

And I was crabby.

I attributed it to the shocks.

She tried to act like it was a normal thing.

I differed substantially. Even when she tried to say it shocked her the same way. The fact is it didn't. But my wife is feeling considerable pain. And that was the real reason I was crabby. You see, my wife is hurting and there's nothing I can do about it. She's actually in severe pain. Any of you who saw her at Comicon can vouch for how badly she was hobbling around. My wife, you see, has no more cartilage in her right hip. She's going to have to get it replaced. Until then, her hip and knee is causing her severe pain, to the point that she sits on the couch and gasps.

And here I am being crabby about it.

I know. The thing is I can't help her. I can't fix it. I can't toss her over my shoulder and carry her from place to place, even though I've tried.

What irony! I want to help her because she'd in pain, but end up giving her emotional pain.

I really need to work on being patient and understanding.

This really never was about getting shocked, although I'd love to fix that. It's about Yvonne and mitigating her pain and being there for her and understanding her pain until she has surgery... and then it'll be another hill to climb.

I need to step up my game. If I can write about understanding characters, I need to be able to play one.

I reacted like I had when I was in kindergarten. That was forty-two years ago. You'd think I could have learned something in the intervening years.

This isn't about me. It's about my wife and she needs me.