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.

Friday, January 30, 2015

What's Everyone Cooking for Superbowl Sunday - Chorizo-stuffed Clams and Brie Quesadillas

I'm going to spend the weekend writing and working out. I'm staring down two serious deadlines and need to get the work done. Yvonne is going to be in art classes all weekend as well. So unless our Great Danes sprout opposable thumbs and fix dinner for us, it's going to be a challenge making something tasty and interesting without resorting to ordering out or using the microwave.

Then I saw this link on my Flipboard and read it while sitting in the Pharmacy waiting for my number to be called.

This one jumped out at me. I think I'll save the recipe for later though.Buffalo-style Pork Chops Covered in Cheese.  Yummmmm!

There are seriously lots of great foods here. I've saved the link. We boiled it down to two recipes we'd make -- well, I'd make. She's going to be in class all day so the least I could do is to have these ready for her when she gets home.

The first one is this:

Chorizo-stuffed Clams

The second one is this:

Spicy Brie and Mango Quesadillas
I get seafood and Yvonne get's her two favorite food groups: Brie Cheese and Mangos.

These aren't the healthiest choices, but hey! It's Superbowl Sunday. It could be a 3,000 calorie pizza followed by 2,000 calories of chicken wings. What's a little 5,000 calories going to do?  HA! Famous last words.

You can check out the recipes for these and all the other great snacks at the link above.

Now tell me, what are you going to eat?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kickstarter, Viking Babes, and Machine Guns on Dinosaurs

I've been a big fan of Kickstarter since it launched. The very idea of crowd-funding something warms my heart. Not only does it enfranchise everyone, but it allows for the democratization of ideas.

There have been some truly stupid Kickstarter campaigns that have been funded like the $8,000 dollars raised for a squirrel census, seeing Lionel Ritchie's head inflated, or the Grilled Cheesus Sandwich Press that was funded with $25,000 and promises getting the face of Jesus on any of your sandwiches. Wait a minute. Did I just say that seeing Lionel Ritchie's head inflated was stupid? Now that was actually uber cool and the first time a member of the family has had a head bigger than Nicole Ritchie since she partnered with sex-bot heiress Paris Hilton.

Okay. I can get behind that. Performance art for a dollar? They got my buck.

There are also some terrific projects out there that have never been funded, however. I guess it's all in how you get attention, hold attention, and make someone want to be a part of your campaign. I've contributed to dozens over the years. I've been a part of one or two, most recently the revival of Carpe Noctem. This was a print magazine that I killed back in the day when they actually accepted one of my stories. They accepted and the magazine folded. I did that with a magazine called Bloodsongs too! The folks at Carpe Noctem wanted four grand to fund the 20th Anniversary Edition. They got nearly five grand. Here's the link to that campaign.


I recently stumbled across a campaign that I would have thrown some pretty serious money at had I known. Not the $10,000 which put you on screen and in the movie, nor the $4,000 for Thor's hammer... (he says now that it is safely over), but certainly a hundred bucks which is serious money for this goucho.

It's none other than Kung Fury. Have you seen it? An ex-cop goes back in the past to fight Kung Fuhrer (Hitler), goes back to far, and enlists the help of a Viking Babe (aka machine gun-weilding valkrie) and Thor. They wanted $200k and they got more than $600k.

Hell yes they did!

I know. This isn't about saving a puppy, or feeding a family, or raising a herd of cattle for a poor Indonesian family.

I got it.

This is about entertainment.

This is about jumping the shark on everything you've ever known. This looks so bad it looks good and this coming from the guy who thinks that Barry Gordy's The Last Dragon is one of the best martial arts movies ever made - SHO NUFF!!

More importantly King Fury is about Viking babes, Machine Guns on Dinosaurs, Thor in Nazi Germany, and kicking the shit out of a Kung Fu Hitler.

I for one hope that I get to see this. 

Here's the link to their uber-cool kickstarter.

Word has it that it will be released on Youtube for free in March.

Want to keep track of them?  GO here.

You'll thank me later.

Or you can thank me now.


Friday, January 23, 2015

My Best Reads of 2014 - The Shibboleth, Red Rising, Soda Pop Soldier - Plus a Surprise Recommendation

Every year I like to take a moment and call out some great works. As an author, I know how soulless it can be sitting alone and writing and wondering if you're not writing crap. As narcissistic as we are, we are also terribly afraid that we're only an inch deep. So I want these folks to know how good I think they are. I want them to know that they need to keep writing because they're terrific. I'm sure they already know it, but now it's my turn to lend my old raspy voice to the chorus. So in no particular order, here are my top three of 2014.

THE SHIBBOLETH by John Hornor Jacobs. Now Jakes and I go way back. I remember when he hadn't even penned his first work, Southern Gods. So far, everything he writes is gold. So when I had the chance to read the first two books of his new YA trilogy, I leaped at it. This fits nicely in the YA kids with super powers subgenre. But the narratives doesn't rely on the characters strengths. Instead, it relies on their weaknesses. I read this as a 49 year old adult and loved it. You will too.

Here's the starred review from Booklist: *Starred Review* Jacob’s The Twelve-Fingered Boy (2012) was exactly what the teens-with-powers subgenre needed: a full-body beat down that reminded us that having such powers would really, really suck. This hefty sequel follows 16-year-old delinquent Shreve, who can possess people’s bodies, as he shifts from juvenile facility to psych ward to, at last, the Society of Extranaturals, a boot camp of sorts for “post-human” kids run by the highly untrustworthy Mr. Quincrux. Their (supposed) goal: to destroy “the elder” that is causing a nationwide wave of deadly insomnia. This is a dyed-in-the-wool middle book—filled with training, planning, and sinister omens, its chief achievement is to foment excitement for the finale. And in that it succeeds splendidly, courtesy of new friends and new foes, none of whom exist in either camp comfortably. As before, Shreve’s appealing truculence is weighed down by the anguish of sharing the memories of too many damaged people. Jacobs works his ass off here; that’s the best way to put it because you can feel the work, in the best of senses, to make each paragraph a battling push-pull of bruising toughness, electric wit, and dazzling metaphysicality. This fits uncomfortably in every box in which you’d try to put it—in other words, it’s totally unique. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

RED RISING by Pierce Brown. When I saw the cover, I thought to myself, oh, another book about angels, and I passed it by. Not that I dislike angels, I just wasn't in the mood for angelic-inspired-starring fiction. But when I asked Pat Heffernan at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego what the best book he'd read recently, he pointed to that one. So I bought it sight unseen. I picked it up the next morning and finished it that night. It's not about angels. It's a far future story about caste systems, bio genetics, and intergalactic posturing. What's stunningly unfair is that it's Pierce's first book. Worse yet he's a good looking and likable guy, so I can't even hate him for his incredible success. Instead, I'm super happy for him and hope that he has a long successful career. 

Again I'll  let Booklist tell you what they think: A lot happens in this first installment of a projected trilogy. Darrow, living in a mining colony on Mars, sees his wife executed by the government, nearly dies himself, is rescued by the underground revolutionary group known as Sons of Ares, learns his government has been lying to him (and to everybody else), and is recruited to infiltrate the inner circle of society and help to bring it down from within—and that’s all inside the first 100 pages. This is a very ambitious novel, with a fully realized society (class structure is organized by color: Darrow is a Red, a worker, a member of the lower class) and a cast of well-drawn characters. Although it should appeal to all age groups, there is a definite YA hook: despite being a veteran miner and a married man, Darrow is 16 when the novel begins. If told well, stories of oppression and rebellion have a built-in audience, and this one is told very well indeed. A natural for Hunger Games fans of all ages. --David Pitt --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

SODA POP SOLDIER by Nick Cole. This is a truly awesome book. I actually reviewed it on my site, which I rarely do. But I was so engrossed in the book and loved it so much, I just had to say something. Here's what I said. 

Nick Cole's new Soda Pop Soldier is as different from The Wasteland Saga as Skyrim is to Donkey Kong. Not that The Wasteland Saga is as emotionally bankrupt as Donkey Kong. It's not. And it's awesome. It's just so different it seems as if someone else wrote it. In a way, it was. It's clear that John Saxon wrote this book while Nick Cole wrote the other one--John Saxon being both an actor who starred in Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon as well as being the nom de guerre of the main character of Soda Pop Soldier.  And Nick Cole can level up with 10,000 cool points for channeling the great unsung pop-culture icon of the 1970s.

The great great grandchild of Neuromancer (Gibson), Soda Pop Soldier shares its inventiveness, themes of moral bankruptcy and greed, and isolationism with it's siblings Reamde (Stephenson) and Ready Player One (Cline). But it achieves more. I'm not sure if John Saxon used these as stepping stones, or came up with the premise whole cloth in the vacuum of his shag-carpeted, spinning disco ball, scotch soaked mind, but whatever +5 Potion of Inventiveness he sucked down, it worked. To read the rest of the review, you can go here.

OUR LOVE WILL GO THE WAY OF THE SALMON. I know I said my top three, but I think one more shout out is necessay. There's a guy living in the Pacific Northwest I want to give some literary love to... a fellow authorly high five and a backslap. His name is Cameron Piarce. I was able to pre-read Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon before publication. Cameron sharpened his blade on the bizzaro grindstone, so I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. As many of you know, bizarro fiction can take you to places you've never gone, never thought of going, and in some cases, never ever EVER want to go again (much love Carlton!). There's a hint if bizarro in this collection of short stories. But the stories also contain a literary sensibility that I appreciate. The writing is as lean and spare as Raymond Carver, who described his own style as "inclined toward brevity and intensity." I loved this book. I'd like to see more of Cameron's fiction. In fact, and I told this to Cameron, I'd like to see the first story wholly fleshed out and made into a novel. I want to visit that world again and not just with the tip of my toe. I want to swan dive into Desolation Lake so I can swim with the memories of when there were Salmon.

I actually blurbed this book. Here's what I said: "Part Terry Bisson, part Cormac McCarthy, part rocket launcher--Pierce's Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon brilliantly uses the fishing prism to examine loss, living without, and never having had."

You can order these books from Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore at this link

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Elitest Book Review Selects Grunt Life One of 2014s Best

Grunt Life was reviewed by Elitist Book Reviews (Steve Diamond) back in August. Here's a link to that review. Bottom line is that they liked it--liked it so much that in a recent interview they chose it as one of the best books of 2014 according to an interview with Stuart Charles Flynn at scflynn.com!

'Ochse has an excellent narrative voice. Line to line, paragraph to paragraph, page to page. It’s all extremely smooth. I never had to go back and reread a section for clarity—though I did reread sections because of how much I enjoyed a turn of phrase, or a character moment. The action—and there is a TON of it—is super clear and effortless to follow.' -Elitist Book Review of Grunt Life

'Weston Ochse is an awesome author. I put his stuff next to Correia and Maberry without hesitation. While I was curious about Ochse’s work before, now I’m excited to read it. All of it. It's pretty easy to see that Ochse is one of the better authors for action SF out there, and GRUNT LIFE was an absolute blast to read.' - Elitist Book Review of Grunt Life

They also selected Grunt Traitor - sequel to Grunt Life - as one of their most anticipated books of 2015. This is the first mention of Grunt Traitor in the wild and most welcome. 

You can read all about Steve Diamond, Elitest Book Reviews, and their other picks at this link. Looks like I'm in terrific company with Joe Lansdale, Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, Sarah Pinborough, Robert McCammon and others.

Very humble. Thank you Elitist Book Reviews. Solaris Books is going to be extremely happy about this.

Eating, Restraint, and the Best Thing I Cooked in 2014

I've been slacking. There are a bunch of blog posts I've been wanting to make--I actually have a list of them-- but I've been sick on and off for a month and deep in the nightmare realm of writing deadlines and edits. I know it's a terrible excuse, but it's all I got, so it will have to do. 

As many of you know, I take a lot of food pictures and do a lot of cooking. I even host a FB group called Taste of Sierra Vista highlighting the foods of the town and region in which I live. I'm not doing it to show off. I'm also not doing it to brag about my mad cooking skills because as a chef I am a complete work in progress. I cook like I live life, two steps forward and one step backward. No, I write and blog about food on the occasion because I once weighed sixty pounds more than I do now. I got that way by eating crap. And a lot of crap. Basically, I'd shove down my big fat maw anything that tasted good. I was like a kitchen krakon, eating anything you'd offered me.

But no more.

That was then. This is now.

If it's something loaded with calories, then it better be damn good and special. I need to be convinced to expend the calories and it has to be a rare occasion.

For instance, if I'm going to have a burger, I'm not going to go to a  fast food restaurant. I'm going to
APE Burger - Brie, Bacon and Apple Burger
expend those calories on the best burger I can think of-- best burger available. I'm not going to do it often, but when I do, it's going to be the best ingredients, cooked the best possible way, and in the coolest place. For instance, my go-to burger spot is a place called The Cafe in Sonoita, Arizona and run by Chef Adam Puckle. They have the APE Burger (APE-Adam Puckle Experience). It's a half pound of either farm-raised beef or bison, prepared your way, with his choice of toppings. It's mad good and an experience to boot. So when I said it needs to be special, THAT'S what I'm talking about.

By the way, I wrote about this burger place back in September in an article called Burgers with Chefitude. You can find that here.

Don't get me wrong. I expend calories for food all the time, but most of the time it's pretty healthy. For instance, last night I cooked Miso Glazed Cod over Steamed Cabbage and Basil with a sesame, mirin, and lemon vinaigrette, with quick pickled cucumbers in matcha mirin. It was pretty freaking awesome. But I'd be surprised if the entire plate was more than six hundred calories. It was light, it was filling, and it was sumptious and it's something I'd definitely cook again. (I can provide the recipe to anyone who asks.)

So driving into work today, I listened to a Mimi Sheraton being interviewed about her book 1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die. You can listen to it here if you want. It got me to thinking what was the best thing I ate last year. I was surprised to say that it was probably the Razor Clams I had in Portland back in May. Razor clams are one of my new favorite foods. I'd move to Oregon if I could have them everyday. THAT's how much I love them.

Then I asked myself what about all the food you cooked--which recipe do you like the best? It came to me right away. There was a simplicity to this dish, but there was also a depth and combination of flavor that I loved. This wasn't my wife's favorite dish by far. I think she'd say the Pacific Lobster Tails or Penne Con Ragu di Mortadella, which is a dish I love that I stole from Chef Michael White, which is his go to dish when he's hungry late at night. 

No, this is merely my favorite and I'll share it with you here.

Let me start by saying that this isn't my recipe. Sometimes I make up my own recipes based on ingredients available and the taste I want to cultivate. Other times I look at a recipe and tweak it, making it my own. In this case, I followed someone else's recipe-- Master Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. 

The Recipe is -- Orecchiette with Shrimp, Pancetta and Fresno Chiles

Orrechiette is sort of the perfect pasta. It means small ear in Italian and is the perfect pouch for containing small ingredients. I want to use it more. In fact, in 2015 I WILL use it more (You didn't see it, but I just pinky swore to myself).

I'm not going to rewrite the recipe. You can find it here. You should try it. It's awesome. Truly.

I'd be curious to see if you'd make it and then get your opinion. Please share it here if you do.

I'm also curious to know of all the things you cooked last year which is your favorite. I'd like to know.

Now back to writing and editing. So many ideas, so many works in progress, so much glorious life to live and so little time.