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.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Esquire Magazine's 79 Story Contest

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Esquire Magazine is having a fiction contest. You must tell a story in 79 words. No more. No less. I'm not so good at this sort of flash fiction, but I thought I'd try it. In fact, I'm hoping to get advice from you kind and talented folks. 

The entries will be judged on the following criteria: plot (25%); characterization (25%); theme (25%); and originality (25%).

The deadline is September 1st.

So here are my four I created today. Hopefully you all will like one of these. Excluding the title, they are all 79 words.

Which one do you like the most? Which one the least?

VACATION
She held the corners like Steve McQueen’s mustang, digging in and letting go at all the right times. I told her I loved her. I come back to her every time I’m in Amsterdam. She’s always ready. She’s always a pro. Why don’t you marry her, a friend once asked? I explained, you can’t live on vacation. When I returned home, I kissed my dear wife promising to never leave again, but I was soon longing for another vacation.  

SALAD DAYS
She had me dig and watched as I struggled with the desert scrabble. Blue sky up to God and a vicious sun spit lava through my veins. I told her I wouldn’t ever hit her again, but she didn’t believe me. She had me sit in the hole, then filled it in with the dirt until only my head was free. Now you know what helpless feels, she said. She walked away as the combine began picking the lettuce.

LINE LOGIC
Gomez straddled the border as he hiked west. Neither in America or Mexico, he was in both and nowhere at all. Whose laws should he follow? He stepped to the right when the Zetas came. He stepped to the left when he saw border patrol. Funny how a line meant so much. Days later he delivered the bag of cocaine to a cousin in San Diego. Its street value was measured in grams, but it was enjoyed in lines.

PATRIOTISM
She wipes tears away as she watches him go through security. Six months in Afghanistan, then return. She wonders where her boy had gone, that child who’d pointed at the moon and announced he’d one day go there. His legs are doing better now. Metal is so much more sturdy than flesh. The detector alarms and men scramble towards him. They make him hold his arms like a criminal, her boy, her soldier, her red, white and blue dreamer.

Muchos Gracious for your help. It's not too late for you to write something too. Maybe you'll win one of the prizes. Maybe we both will. Maybe we'll find ourselves in NYC laughing about this as we drink free wine and eat free food.

We'll see.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

IndieBound, Independent Bookstores and SEAL Team 666

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Have any of you ever been to IndieBound?

Those of you who have know what a terrific resource it is. Those who haven't need to keep reading.

Essentially, IndieBound is a community of independent bookstore owners, writers and readers. It's a way to find bookstores near you, whether you are at home or traveling. It's also a way to get to know bookstores and booksellers and order books from them without leaving your home. Sort of like Amazon, but a lot more personal.

But don't listen to me, here's their mission statement in their own words:

IndieBound is a community-oriented movement begun by the independent bookseller members of the American Booksellers Association. It brings together booksellers, readers, indie retailers, local business alliances, and anyone else with a passionate belief that healthy local economies help communities thrive. Supporting local, indie businesses means that dollars, jobs, diversity, choice, and taxes stay local, creating strong, unique communities and happy citizens.
It's a powerful tool for booksellers to communicate their part in a national movement supporting independents--and lets everyone know just how many independent bookstores there are. It's powerful for authors to show their dedication to indies nationwide, easily done through linking to thousands of indie bookstores through IndieBound.org. It's powerful because IndieBound encompasses and supports all types of independent retailers, not just booksellers--and local or regional shop local campaigns and independent business alliances, as well. And it's powerful for consumers to feel a part of a larger movement, to know that their choices make a difference and that others are working toward the same goals.

I've been a member for years. I love IndieBound.

What'd you say? What about Barnes and Nobles? No, they're not the enemy. They're booksellers just like the rest of them and deserve absolute respect. One of the differences, though, between an Indie bookstore and Barnes and Nobles is that an Indie can choose what so sell and how to sell their books, while B&N decides that through corporate decision making.

I've found some of the neatest bookstores through this...

Book Soup in West Hollywood has write-ups for all their books done by the staff

Myself, Sam Sykes coolly admire the swirls James A. Owen uses in his autograph while signing at The Poisoned Pen


Atalanta Books is in Historic Bisbee. Just a terrific location. And the author sits outside and gets to talk to everyone.




And if you join and if you have a hankering to, add SEAL Team 666 to your IndieBound wish list. It doesn't mean you have to buy it, but it shows the community that there is interest in this book. The more people who see that there is interest, the more likely they are to stock SEAL Team 666 in their stores.

You can do that here- SEAL Team 666.

Or just click on over to INDIEBOUND and support your independent book seller.

Please do it today.

Thanks!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Dream of Hank Moody - Californication

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An author's commentary on the things he likes in life...

CALIFORNICATION

They call it a dramedy-- a Hollywood word for a comedy that's a drama and a drama that's a comedy. Isn't that how life is? Isn't it a dramedy, too?

I just finished watching the final episode of Season 5 of the Showtime series Californication. I had it recorded, but in one of those terrifically-timed Direct TV moments, the TIVO decided to record only the first five minutes of that episode, so I was left breathless all this time until I found a free episode on the web.

So it was almost five months later that I saw it.

But before that, let me tell you a little about me and Hank Moody. If you haven't met him, he's an award-winning novelist, living the life in L.A. trying to make it as a writer. He's a broken toy. He's morally bankrupt, except for some surprising sparks that elevate the other 99% of his behavioral. He's an addict-- to alcohol, to drugs and to being miserable. He loves his wife and he loves his daughter, but he loves himself more (or is it that he hates himself more than he loves them).

But behind all the terrible, Hank is Don Quixote tilting at the windmills of life. He's the indestructible hero, forever battling the legions trying to bring him down. He's Sisyphus, pushing his ego up the hill, only to see it roll back down to be pushed up once more, at the beginning and end of every season.

I can relate to Hank Moody in so many ways. I've been him. I've been stupid and I've been great. I've found myself in situations where I've gone one way, usually the moral way, and Hank Moody has gone the other. I've seen what could have been and it's not pretty. Hank is who we all could have been if we lacked moral filters. Still, for as bad as he is, Hank Moody is that terrible man who continually fucks up that you have eternal hope for.

That's why when I saw the final episode of season 5, where he was about to abandon his life and move in with his wife and daughter and live an upstanding life, only to be overdosed by an ex-lover who couldn't let him go... I almost cried. He was so close. He was there. All he had to do was to not have that drink she offered him.

But you know what? In classic Hank Moody style, he couldn't say no. He just had to have one more of something, anything, in this case a dope-laced highball of fuck-it-all-let's-end-it whiskey.

Californication is in my top five favorite shows on television. It always has been.I pay for Showtime so I can get 12 episodes of Californication. All the rest of the time I ignore it. Yes, even the softcore porn. There's also the advent of David Duchovny. When I used to see David Duchovny, I thought of Fox Mulder. That time is long since gone. He's Hank Moody all the way and he's as cool as Steve McQueen.

Yeah. I said it.

And now I discover that in 2013 there's going to be a Season 6.

Which means Hank Moody didn't die.

That's cool, but it's also fucking sad because it also means he didn't get the life (I think and hope) he deserves.

His ego ball has rolled down the hill and for one more season I will happily (morosely) watch him push it back up the hill.

Waiting impatiently for 2013.

Hank Moody!

Call me.

We gotta talk.

You need some better advice.



Friday, August 10, 2012

Love They Neighbor What...?

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It all began when we ordered something online.

Then about Tuesday we wondered where it was. I checked the tracking and it was allegedly delivered on Friday. So I called FEDEX and gave them the WHAT FOR and the WTF. They opened an investigation and promised to get back with me. They still haven't.

Meanwhile, in our neighborhood, unbeknownst to me, the package with the thing we'd ordered had been sitting on a neighbor's stoop since last Friday. And it's a big box. If dropped on someone's head it might kill them. If slung in the chest of a neighbor, it would surely knock them down. Finally yesterday, I spied this box, about five houses down, on the same side of the street, a home with similar numbers.

So I went up to the door, which was partially blocked by the box, stepped around it, and knocked on the door. I peeked through the window and saw toys strewn from one side of the house to the other. The television was on a Maury Povich-like talk show. A child with wild hair, food on her face, and a look like Jack Nicholson gave after he stuck his head through the hotel room door plastered her face to the window. A man holding a baby opened the door. He looked all the world like a meth-addicted Tom Green (even though Tom Green often looks meth addicted).

The conversation went something like this:

ME: Hi. I think FEDEX mis-delivered my package.

NEIGHBOR: Okay.

ME: I live just down the street.

NEIGHBOR: Okay.

ME: I saw this on your porch and thought I'd stop by.

NEIGHBOR: Okay.

ME: It was delivered last Friday.

NEIGHBOR: Okay.

ME: I've been looking for it.

NEIGHBOR: Okay.
I tried once more to get single word man to explain WTF he kept my box on his front porch for a week rather than bringing it down.

ME: Just five houses down (as I point towards my house).
His vapid expression changes.
NEIGHBOR: I didn't see it.
Really? For a week? You didn't see it? You had no idea? Seriously? For a whole week?

But trying to be a good effing not the sort to shoot someone kind of neighbor I smile weakly.

He closed the door. Through the door I hear:
NEIGHBOR'S DEMENTED OFFSPRING: Who was that, Daddy?
EFFING VAPID POS NEIGHBOR: Just a wierdo, honey.

Really?

Seriously?

I'm the wierdo?

Sigh.

Love thy neighbor what?






Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Criminal Element and Me

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I've been asked to do a series of blogs on Criminal Element this year.

The first one is up is titled AIRPORT TRAVEL FOR THE PARANOID AND DELUSIONAL

I'll be doing others like USING ESPIONAGE TECHNIQUES TO GET WHAT YOU WANT AT A PARTY, MY BENE GESSERIT BOX, and TRAINING CHALLENGES IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA.

I have to up my blog game a little. Hope I pull it off.

It would be cool if you all could flip over and maybe comment once or twice.

In addition to mine, there are quite a few interesting bloggers on Criminal Element. I particular like Dave Richard's blog, Westeros Noir: A Game of Thrones as Crime Fiction, where he parses the plot to demonstrate the crimeness of it.

Neat!

Now I REALLY can't wait for GAME OF THRONES.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

My Japanese Oni Tattoo - Part One

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I shared this live as it was going on through Facebook, but want to have a more permanent place for the pictures here on my site. This is part one of my Oni Tattoo. Part two occurs on Wednesday, when I get it colored.

What is an Oni?  According to the gods of wiki it is:
Oni (?) are creatures from Japanese folklore, variously translated as demonsdevilsogres or trolls. They are popular characters in Japanese artliterature and theatre.[1]Depictions of oni vary widely but usually portray them as hideous, gigantic creatures with sharp claws, wild hair, and two long horns growing from their heads.[2] They are humanoid for the most part, but occasionally, they are shown with unnatural features such as odd numbers of eyes or extra fingers and toes.[3] Their skin may be any number of colors, but red and blue are particularly common.[4][5]

But why an Oni on my arm? I've always liked them. Here's the one I saw that was my inspiration for the tattoo:

In doing research, this is not just an Oni, but a Hannya as well.  According to the great demons of wiki:

The Hannya (般若) mask is a mask used in Japanese Noh theater, representing a jealous female demon or serpent. It possesses two sharp bull-like horns, metallic eyes, and a leering mouth split from ear to ear.[1] 
The name hannya (般若) is a Sino-Japanese word for prajna or wisdom. One tradition states that this name was given to this mask because it was the name of an artist monk Hannya-bô(般若坊) who is said to have perfected its creation.[2][3]Another explanation is that Perfection of Wisdom sutras and their variations were considered to be particularly effective against female demon. An alternate explanation is that the artist would need a great deal of wisdom in order to create this mask.[4] 
The Hannya mask is used in many noh and kyōgen Japanese plays, as well as in Shinto ritual kagura dances.[5] The Hannya mask portrays the souls of women who have become demons due to obsession or jealousy. Plays in which a person may wear the hannya mask include Aoi no Ueand Dōjōji; its use in these two plays, two of the most famous of the Noh repertoire, and its distinctive and frightening appearance make it one of the most recognizable Noh masks.
The Hannya mask is said to be demonic and dangerous but also sorrowful and tormented, displaying the complexity of human emotions. When the actor looks straight ahead, the mask appears frightening and angry; when tilted slightly down, the face of the demon appears to be sorrowful, as though crying. The oldest hannya mask is dated 1558.

So when it was my turn to get a new tattoo, I went to my favorite joint to see Mike, who'd given me the rest of my tattoos.


HA HA!


This is Mike's version of the drawing I brought in. 

This is Mike's space at the tattoo parlor. He's been there 25 years. 
You can't swing a dead chicken in town without hitting someone who wears his ink.


What does a tattoo feel like when it's being applied? Sometimes like a sharp knife through the skin and sometimes like a low level current of pain. In the end, though, you have control, so you can manage the pain however you want.



This is what it looked like during the first break... after the first hour.



This is what it looked like after the second hour, all done. Now all we need to do is color it in.