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, July 29, 2012

Bacon-infused Gastropub in Tucson - The Parish

Yvonne and I made our bi-monthly trek to Tucson yesterday to support their economy. We had about five stores to go to and usually plan on going to a different restaurant each trip, time permitting. I'd done a little research and found a little out of the way gastropub on Oracle called The Parish. What jumped out at me was the lamb chorizo flatbread. Then I saw the bacon popcorn, the goat cheese rellino and a dozen other dishes I'd eat in a second.

So about one in the afternoon, after going to three of the stores, Yvonne and I drag-assed to The Parish. First of all, it was smaller than I thought it would be. Still, we'd missed the lunch rush, so we easily found a table. I ordered a Gordon Brothers Chardonnay (buttery), and the waitress, who'd somehow recently lost thirty pounds in a restaurant that has bacon in every other dish, told us about the special. Let me just say that I thought of you, dear reader, when she told me about it. I knew that you'd want me to have it. Hell, I could hear you begging me.
These are the Bacon-shell Tacos
So good, it could be a poem


Goat Cheese Rellino

 The bacon-shell tacos are in the Top 10 Best things I've ever eaten. The red bean puree acted as a flavor balancer between the adobo pork and the bacon. The salsa, queso fresco, and cabbage not only enhanced the taste, but added a three-dimensional texture to the tacos. Seriously. It's three pieces of bacon that make up the taco. You have that many at breakfast. You have got to try this. It literally is a life-changing experience.

Next we had the goat cheese rellino with a balsamic reduction. It was tremendous. Although it tasted rich, it didn't cloy. It was fresh where it could have been dry. Just a fabulous appetizer.










Bacon and Eggs

Then it came time for us to order the main course. Steve, one of the owners came out, and apologized for the fact that they were out of the the Lamb Chorizo Flatbread. He said they'd had a record night the previous evening, and that they'd run out. They'd made new dough this morning, but it needed all day to set. Still, he brought out a cup of the lamb chorizo. After I pried it out of Yvonne's hands, I had a taste. Oh yeah!  I'll be back for that.

So for my main course, I decided something different. I'd have the homemade fries with white truffle aoli and the Bacon and Eggs appetizer, constituted of hollandaise, a fried grit cake, pork belly and a poached egg. The taste really was phenomenal. I loved every bite. I thought the pork belly was a little one note, but then again it's is pork belly and already succulent. I would have liked to see it marinated in something. If it had it would have put the dish over the top, for sure.




Yvonne ordered the oyster po-boy. This was a little disappointing. Although the oysters weren't cooked through, which I don't mind, they had a heavy oyster flavor, which usually is the case when the oysters aren't rinsed before they're cooked. We won't order this again, still, we forgive them the error. With everything else terrific and still more than a dozen items to try on the menu, including bacon-wrapped frog's legs (poor legless frogs), bacon popcorn, Haitain pulled pork, and a blue cheese burger that'll make you wanna slap your momma.


We're going to go back to this place. We thought about not telling my parents, who live in Tucson, because they have a tradition of finding restaurants and not telling us. Seriously, they hide them like children, but we decided to be the adults and take the high road.


You an find them online here.

Their address is: 6453 North Oracle Road  Tucson, AZ 85704, (520) 797-1233


We'll be going back for sure. I highly recommend The Parish. Now get your hunger on and go there!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

In the Beginning Came the End - Prologue



This is the prologue from my eBook novel Blaze of Glory (originally titled Once Upon the End, when published by Bloodletting Books in limited edition), which follows with an 8000 word essay warning what not to do in Hollywood. I thought I'd share.  

IN THE BEGINNING CAME THE END
Once upon the time, there was Once Upon the End, a novella written by an author of little note but great ambition. The novella was published to moderate acclaim, created a small yet consistent buzz within a small community of horror fans and authors, and made a few people notice this author who wouldn’t normally notice him. As a bonus, because the editors were asking for extras, the author provided a screenplay based on the novella. One long night at a convention, an agent asked this author a question that he’d never been asked before—have you considered selling this as a screenplay? The author remembers taking a sip from a drink before shaking his head. 
Once Upon the End as a movie? 
He’d written the screenplay, but only as a sophomoric afterthought. For all he knew, he’d done it all wrong. Yet images and dialogues from the novella suddenly took shape in the silver screen of his mind. His sophomoric screenplay took life. Characters were cast. A soundtrack blared the end sequence to a cacophony of applause. 
Looking around the busy party, the agent spotted someone more important than this green author and made to go. But before leaving, the agent leaned down and said something that would mold events for this author over the next five years- “You really should. There’s humanity in your screenplay that’s rare. Plus, it’s very visual.  Remember when dealing with Hollywood, visual is good.  Visual is always good.”
So this is my story of Once Upon the End, a novella that became a screenplay that reached heights I’d never imagined. I’ll detail my successes and mistakes. I’ll list those who showed interest as well as those who blew it off.  This is everyone’s tale. Many have been there before me, many will come after me, but this is the story of my journey. 
But remember, “Once Upon a Time stories” don’t always have and they lived happily ever after endings. This tale might be a tragic one. There are those of you who still hope to see your name in lights.  There are those of you who look at the system with wide-hopeful eyes. For you this tale may be too scary.
But I urge you to follow my main character, Once Upon the End, as it travels from nothing to an agent, to directors, producers and their assistants, and to Wesley Snipes and forest fires and beyond. Experience the highs and lows, the vulgarity and the hilarity, the happiness and the loss of hope, as Once Upon the End was promised, passed, courted, and used like a two-for-one whore at a Shriner's convention.
Beware is all I say. Let it not be said that I didn’t warn you. Consider this the small print on the prescription bottle of your Hollywood ambition. 
So poll your thoughts, interrogate your dreams and decide if you want to continue reading. And if in the end you decide to learn the true story of Once Upon the End travels along the Dantean road to movie production, then we are well met. 
But first, allow me to introduce what was once Once Upon the End and is now Blaze of Glory. Before you are to know what happened to the screenplay, you have to experience the end of the world as my characters did...awash in death, destruction, marijuana smoke, crack-addled grannies, giant monsters and a garbage man with heroic ambitions.
So sit back.
Grab the popcorn.
Cue the soundtrack.
And enjoy.

Weston Ochse
June 2008
Mexican Border





If you're at all interested in Blaze of Glory,
 it can be found here for Amazon and Nook.









Friday, July 20, 2012

My Homage to Batman-- Starring Julie Newmar, Wonder Woman, and my Puberty


This has seen publication before, but on the evening of the new Batman movie, I couldn't stop thinking about Julie Newmar. So allow me, with a little bit of red face, to share this with you.


The Legend of Julie Newmar and
What Could Have Been with Wonder Woman
By Weston Ochse © 2007



So allow me to relay both my tale of Julie Newmar and my hypothesis as to what could have been with Wonder Woman, I'f only I might have had a driver's license, a car, and a way to drive from Tennessee to California. You might realize how much pre- and post-pubescent thought went into this. Many of you will understand why. For those of you who don't get it, move along. There's nothing to see here. Frankly, it's even a little embarrassing.

I believe that timing and placement are everything. How many times have you seen beautiful women with average dudes?  Beautiful women with ugly dudes?  And how many times have you walked away mystified, wondering what kind of drugs the dude was feeding the woman (and where could you get some)?  How could that be?  Not to over-simplify, but there is a great belief in circles, some of which I bang around in, that women care more about the way they are treated, what the man is thinking, and don't put as much weight upon the Brad Pitt-Sexy-Meter of their partner. Not that looks aren't as important, they aren't as much as the main attraction as they are with sexually heated bull men who generate more testosterone than brain cells. For those of you shaking your head, move along. There's nothing to see here.

Let's take Julie Newmar for example. She was the first and hottest Catwoman starring on the Bif Bop Pow Batman TV series with Burt Ward and Adam West. She was also a Playboy Bunny hopping along the Hefner trail. In the 60s and 70s she was about as hot as they came. Boys and priests, when they weren't lusting after each other, lusted after her. To put it simply, she was a sexpot.



The father of a (now ex) in law-type relative of mine who shall remain nameless told a story about one summer when he and four of his college pals made a road trip from Maine to California. When they got to Los Angeles, they partied, had major sex, a few drugs and lots of fun. A tidbit of information came to them, the tidbit being the address of the aforementioned Julie Newmar. Boys being boys, they decided that Julie's life would be empty without them, so they hopped in their car and trundled up the coast until they arrived at her ranch. As one ten-armed, ten-legged sex-hungry tongue-twisted teenage monster, they rushed to the door. And when the living breathing Ms. Catwoman herself answered, they could not have been more stunned. Four of the boys stammered and were unable to conjugate a greeting. The father of my in law had no such problem. Whether it was intelligence, a more elevated level of suave, or pure dumb fucking luck, he was able to clearly articulate a sentence beginning with "Hello, Ms. Newmar," and ending with "I'd love to help you around the yard today in exchange for a good meal and some conversation."  So while the other four were sent back to the minor leagues, this young man destined to be the father of an ex in-law proceeded to prove my idea of timing and placement. To this day the man will swear to you on a stack of silver age X-men Comics and a Gideon Bible from a Malibu hotel that his dessert after his home-cooked meal was none other than the tenderest parts of Ms. Newmar served up hot, rare and smoking. For those of you shaking your head, move along. There's nothing to see here.

You don't believe it?  Come on. Go to the mall and look around and ask yourself how some of those regular galoots get those beautiful babes. Time, placement and a good line will get you in the door. What you do after that is up to you.

What does Linda Carter have to do with all of this? Ponder this one my fellow denizens of the Dark Place. If you are like me, you spent part of your teen years ogling over her costume, praying to the gods of vertical hold that she'd explode right out of the red, white and blue material. Many nights I closed my eyes dreaming of being tied up with her rope and telling the truth. I think puberty makes you stupid, and the combination of puberty and Wonder Woman made me a fucking moron.

Then I grew up and found out that Linda Carter (unfortunately) spent her entire time playing Wonder Woman drunk off her star-spangled ass, allegedly willing to be with anyone, and everyone who'd take the time to say Hi, or I'm a Fan, or Knock Knock, Landshark. Volumes have been written about her now embarrassing exploits. Any of us could have made our dreams come true. Any one of us. It could have been me. That thirteen year old kid that I was had no sympathy for her. Like I told you, puberty made me a fucking moron.

So here's my hypothesis. Any man with brains, moderate looks and personality has a better than average chance of hooking up with any celebrity on the planet. It all comes down to timing and placement and a little luck.     

For those of you shaking your head, move along. There's nothing to see here.

Realize that I've accomplished the same thing. A guy like me got a girl like Yvonne Navarro. If that doesn't prove it, I don't know what does. 


For those of you who stayed till the end, thank you. Now dream about Julie Newmar. I know I still do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vote Aaron Sorkin for Class President

Aaron Sorkin has returned to television.

Thank the gods of verticle hold!

From An American President to A Few Good Men, his screenplays have been brilliant. But I think television is where h's best. I was enraptured with Studio 60 when it came out. Although short lived, the dialogue was what every writer strives to attain, at once humanistic, relevant, quick, and real. Just damn amazing. Of course a lot of the magic is made possible because of casting and with Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Bradley Whitford, Steven Weber, D.L. Hughley and Timothy Busfield, we had a group of actors with the chops to deliver Sorkin's words.

But Studio 60 was short lived. 22 episodes and out the door. And Damn it was good. I for one missed it terribly.

Sports Night which premiered in 1998 was also short-lived. Although the writing was just as terrific, the casting wasn't as good, nor was the decision of the network to use laugh tracks instead of a studio audience. I've always heard there's a special dynamic with an actual audience, and this was lost here.

Then there was West Wing. WW was terrificly casted and presented. At times it got a little bit too far into the political jungle, but when you have actors like Martin Sheen with his strident beliefs that's bound to happen.

But let's talk about now.

Let's talk about HBOs new series The Newsroom.

Just. Fucking. Wow.

Casting. Check.


Script. Check.


Filming. Check.


It features 'ensemble cast including Jeff Daniels as anchor Will McAvoy, who, together with his staff set out to put on a news show "in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles and their own personal entanglements."[1] Other cast members include Emily MortimerJohn Gallagher, Jr.Alison PillThomas SadoskiDev PatelOlivia Munn, and Sam Waterston.' (Wiki).


The wittiness of the dialogue keeps me smiling throughout the entire show, with the serious news articles interspersed at regular intervals. There's good drama here with not only the main players, but the new cast members as well.


Jeff Daniels, whom I've never really thought of as a leading man, is a badass anchor with more problems than the American economy.


I have to admit, the show got me with the opening of the first episode. Three people (Daniels is one of them) are answering softball questions. Daniels doesn't want to participate, then is forced to, then shocks everyone by saying America is not the greatest country in the world. In fact, don't listen to me, see it here, which btw, are all words we should take to heart and try and live by:




Episode Three began with a newscaster making a mistake.  When does that ever happen? Look at this short making of episode 3:





One thing about the series that is great is that it's not fake politics. It's not fake history. The events of The Newsroom takes place about two years in the past. In episode 4, which ended with perhaps the most powerful ten minutes of television, especially for this Arizona resident, the assassination attempt on Gabby Giffords.



Played to the tune of I Will Fix You, those minutes had me so riveted, I watched it three times.

In the epsiode 4 clip, Sorkin explains that he took the MASH template. He lets the characters do their hijinx, but when the helicopters with the wounded are inbound, everyone comes together in all seriousness.

There are people who won't like this because Daniels' character attacks the Tea Party and other things. But instead of feelings and emotions, he uses logic and fact. It's sometimes hard to disagree with what he says. I know that some of you reading this who are y friends and fans probably hate the show. And I'm sorry for that. At the very least, as a writer, I am in awe of Sorkin's ability. He's really a genius.

And I'd definitely vote him as class president.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Zombies Attack Barnes and Nobles - Authors Survive... barely

Metropocalypse 2012

It was meant to be a fun day of book signing, zombie walking, costume contesting, and general undead frollicking. No one anticipated it would turn out the way it did. No one thought it would be so devastating to the community. As of current count, 177 Barnes and Nobles customers were turned into zombies this past Saturday. On one hand, the undead population of Phoenix rose by a fraction, allowing the undead to join  the new minority of the un-taxable, but on the other hand, 177 Barnes and Nobles customers stopped reading. They exchanged their voracious hunger for books for a voracious hunger for the other white meat-- People!




 Shown here is a man who once read Hardy Boys, loved books on the Civil War, and had a subscription to Cat Fancier.

No More.

He can now be found downtown, feeding on the homeless.





And these young zombies. They meant well. They'd planned to come for the scavenger hunt and maybe check out some new Adam Nevill or David Moody books. Then they were infected, and all they wanted to do was a cha cha out the door to flavortown.


Probably the saddest of all is this young wanna be Barnes and Nobles customer turned into a zombie before she even knew what the letter Z was.



Okay. He's waayy to cute for me to continue this lie. In truth, no one really died or became undead or whatever.

It was all part of Metropocapylse 2012. Put together by Sarah and Dallas at the Metro Barnes and Nobles, it was everything zombies and apocalypse. I was asked to come because they love me to death, and I was asked to bring some other partners in zombie and apocalyptic crime.













Joe McKinney, Joe Nassise, and myself were on hand to sign a ton of books. (ashamedly I forget the other gentleman's name)

At one point there were more than 150 people in the store for the event. It went over tremendously well. I know a bunch of my fans came. They already owned my books, but left with other swag.

It was a terrific day all around.

They want to do it again next year... this time, bigger and better and more undead.

I plan on being there.

What about you?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Butterfly Winter Get's Chromed and Straubed!

New cover - Check out the blurb from Peter Straub. Want to see the style of work SEAL Team 666 is going to be like? Try this novella on for size. Would you believe it's only 99 cents?

Click if you want Butterfly Winter


A Bomber crew crash lands in a remote area of China after dropping their bombs on Chinese cities in a terrible future war. The survivors are embraced by a hamlet filled with children, only to learn that doom might have come to claim them all. 

Excerpt:

Pearson stared down at his hands as they shook above the small keyboard. This was his moment. He had a choice. He had the power to make a difference. A statistic flashed through his mind: Shanghai has 861 regular secondary schools with 795,400 students and 76,600 teaching staff. Shanghai has 1,021 primary schools with 788,600 students and a teaching staff of 61,300. The attendance rate of school-age children is 99.99%. What got him every time was the attendance rate. 99.99 percent. Every time he remembered this fact he couldn't help but imagine that the one tenth of one percent who didn't go to school must surely have felt left out. And in the Xu Hui district, in the southern part of Shanghai west of the Huangpu River, primary target of the Morning Star and sister city to Irvine, California, 451,000 students were just waking for school. 

Click if you want Butterfly Winter for .99 cents

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Seeking Credit Card Thief for Long Walks on the Beach


Dear Credit Card # Thief who lives hetween Skokie and Vernon Hills Illinois,

I hope you enjoyed your dinners at Epic Burger and Jason's Deli. I hope the movie at AMC Theaters was awesome. Looks like you took your whole family AND got popcorn. Good for you. And also congrats on the new outfit from TJ Maxx, the gas and the parking meter fee. Also terrific that you went online and sent your father a gift. I'm sure he appreciates it. I'm only sorry Macy's and Trader Joe's declined you. Oh well, you can't win them all.

Luckily, my bank isn't charging me for any of these or the several other odd purchases we'll keep between us.

Unlucky is that I'm told they have pictures of you. I hope you combed your hair that day. With the amount of folks looking at it and the BOLO, I'd hate for them to see you when not at your best. I hope your outfits from TJ Maxx make you the handsomest criminal in Chicago's Northwestern Suburbs.

                                          Best Wishes and Bonne Chance,

                                                The Credit Card Owner



PS. I hear the double Epic Burger with Fried Egg is to die for. Try it before it's too late... only this time, sadly, you'll have to buy it not using my money.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blood Ocean Scarrage and Interviews

On Blood Ocean - "Fans of China Mieville may also notice similarities with his sprawling and gorgeous “The Scar” with its floating city, cultural diversity and grotesque body modification, but those heavy sociopolitical depths aren’t attempted here. In fact, ignoring the horror content, this almost feels like a book for younger audiences. That’s not because this is euphemistic or lightweight storytelling. I think it’s partly due to a sense of optimism despite the odds, but mainly because it’s a wild ride driven by a fresh-faced youth that doesn’t contrive to be disturbing or profound, but concentrates on shovelling coal into its furnace." (Full Review)


Someone just sent this to me. 


I read it when Matthew Fryer first posted the review, but it's sometimes nice to revisit them. I found The Scar to be an amazing book. My favorite of China's thusfar. There's so much lyrical description in The Scar, it's one of the few books I intend to reread. 


I think the 'younger audiences' comment is attributable to the universal theme of hope, even in the face of hopelessness, that really identifies us as a species. Ray Bradbury captured that often in his work. I think that sort of implacable naivete is what strikes me so much about his writing and what I automatically inculcate into my own.


Thanks Abaddon Books for letting my play in your sandbox.


BTW- getting interviewed by Kellie Hwang today about the Metropocalpyse Event on July 14th. Kellie is the entertainment reporter for The Arizona Republic Newspaper.


I'm also getting interviewed Friday, live on Blog Talk Radio.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Invasion of the British Snatchers

Sarah and me giving away an award at the 2010
Bram Stoker Awards in England - that's her laughing
at something I'm saying... probably dorky.
First of all, it's a coincidence that this post is up against the London Olympic Games. I am not an official sponsor of the London Olympics. They asked me to be, but I as informed I'd be paid in mushy peas. I like peas. I really do. But if I wanted mine pre-chewed, I'd order them that way.

Second of all, I'm not an Anglophile. I'm a Welshman in exile, so you can figure that out pretty easily. Several times while writing this I actually cramped up. It's hard sometimes to give credit where it's due.

In all seriousness, there were three English-made projects I saw this year that literally blew my socks off and I am obligated to give them their due. (I know that some of these were made in 2010, but to me they were new, so...)






Adam Nevill's The Ritual was the first book I read last week-- Sarah's was the second --and let me tell you what a terrific week of reading it was. I don't think I've met Adam, but we have the same publisher. Still, when I saw the cover and his name, I knew I wanted to read it. I've wanted to read Adam for some time now, so... I gave the book clerk my money, and left with a bag of books. I literally dove into The Ritual. To say it's atmospheric is to say San Francisco has a little fog now and then. This book is steeped in the creep. The story of a group of college friends who set out to hike through an ancient Scandinavian forest, they begin to encounter things that would make the Blair Witch pee her little black panties. This dire book left me gasping several times... the sign of an amazingly-skilled writer. I'm definitely going to read me some Nevill again.





I've known Sarah since we met in Montreal in 2001 (has it been that long ago?), when she quit being a school teacher (or was in the process of quitting) to become a writer  in Toronto or New York circa 2007ish (according to what we can piece together). I'd read some of her earlier books, which were good, but her latest works from Gollancz (coming to America by Ace) are amazing. Regarding A Matter of Blood, what on the surface appears to be a police procedural in a nearby future, slowly becomes one man's destiny to discover what the glow is and who the Dog-faced Gods are. This is epic dark fantasy disguised as a simple mystery. Sarah's prose in this book is enviable. As an author, I know she spent considerable time working her sentences. These aren't first draft throws. These are artful without being stodgy.  I could fawn over them for hours. This book is hard, cold, but with glimpses into a reality far deeper than any furrow in our flesh. I've tracked down book two and it's on the way. Book three will be in my hands shortly afterward. With any luck, I'll have read the trilogy before the first one is printed using American ink. I'm so pleased for Sarah. If this doesn't get her name in everyone's conversations, I might have to come to each of your homes and smack you over the head with this book. Maybe that will get your attention.


Now let's talk about The Jaw-- or Kiera Knightly as the rest of the world knows here. I first saw her in King Arthur, but you probably know her from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, or the cute movie, Bend it Like Beckam. Well, I was sick one day after we moved into our new house and I flipped to a movie that was just staring. It captivated me. It shocked me. It was so damn terribly fabulous. How come I never heard of it? The movie was Never Let Me Go. It's an alternate history science fiction drama about cloned kids who grow up as organ donors for their 'real' versions. I think about this movie all the time. The acting was so powerful. Not just from The Jaw, but from the rest of the cast, especially Carey Mulligan. This movie is at once hopeful and hopeless. It's about as powerful a movie about the nature of what it takes to be human as anything I've ever seen.

Get on your Netflix or favorite shopping store and buy this movie. Then buy Adam's and Sarah's books. If you can, buy them from a bookstore, and when you go there, tell them that I sent you.