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.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Corrupts Absolutely - Anthology of Antiheroes

Reactions:  
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.

//END OF FREE EXCERPT//

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

Reactions:  
PARMESAN EGGPLANT FRIES
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.


Ingredients
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 - A Living Dangerously Recipe

Reactions:  
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?

Seriously?

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.


INGREDIENTS
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

INSTRUCTIONS
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

Reactions:  
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?

Reactions:  
"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?

Reactions:  
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



  .