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.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Cheeseburger Cheeseburger - But Not On An Omelet

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Who doesn't like cheeseburgers?

They're everywhere.

My favorite might be the Sonic Drive In Double Cheeseburger because of how the bread melts into the cheese and the cheese melts into the burger creating a new element on the scale called Double Cheese Burgerium. 

Saturday Night Live had a great Cheeseburger skit with John Belushi based on a real Chicago restaurant. There's a Florida-based restaurant chain called Cheeburger Cheeburger and I wonder if they might have based their name on the skit.

I even like Cheeseburger Pizza. Our local Vinny's Pizza has a remarkable Cheeseburger Pizza.

My favorite appetizer of all time were the Cheeseburger Egg Rolls at Applebees that in a stunning moment of mediocrity took off the menu.

 

This morning I went to Ihop. I don't usually go, but my wife has a fondness for them. Decades ago she worked the night shift Fridays and Saturdays at one and made enough money to get her out of debt. So this morning, I took her out to breakfast and she said, "Let's go to Ihop."

Sure, why not.

I admit, when I saw the Cheeseburger Omelet on the menu I knew it was sketchy. I was okay with the
pickles. I love pickles on pretty much everything. But the lines of ketchup and mustard had me concerned. As they should have. I think having mustard on eggs is akin to crossing the streams of the proton cannons in Ghostbusters.

What did Egon say?

"Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light." 

Yes. That's bad.
Super bad.

Like Cheeseburger Omelet Bad!

Not a fan.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Adventures in Kindling - The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky

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I love cosmic horror. I heart conspiracies larger than ourselves. So, when I began reading The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky I fell immediately in love.

A young teacher named Isabel meets a gnarly old one-eyed poet simply named Avendano. They've both fled their homeland in South America and now make their home in Spain. The cafe and literati scenes reminded me in all the best ways of Roberto Bolano's works, such as The Savage Detectives. The way Jacobs slides us into the setting is so gentle I feel as if I've been there all the time.Then Avendano, like a cosmic lure, propels Isabel into such an otherworldy mystery that I actually found I couldn't breath in many places.

I've read everything Jacobs has ever written. His writing was marvelous with Southern Gods and just keeps getting better. The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky is so fabulous, I can't imagine him achieving anything greater. For many, this would be the crowning achievement. The novella is dark and touching and lovely with enough conspiratorial nastiness that even this old soul was satisfied. All this said, I know he'll come back with something special. Might it be a sequel? I can only hope.

I've read a ton of books this year and two stand out as incredible. Victor LaValle's The Changeling which won the American Book Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the British Fantasy Award, among others. The other is John Hornor Jacobs The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky, which hasn't won any awards so far. I'm thinking that will change. At least it should. At the very least, I encourage you to read this lovely dark cosmic novella and ask yourself, what is the price of home?


 
 
 (Adventures in Kindling TM is Trademarked by Weston Ochse)


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Scary Rednecks Is BACK!!!

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ONCE UPON A TIME...

David Whitman and I wrote a book of short stories. 

This was our first book. 

It outsold the creator of Babylon 5's book from the same publisher. 

Our book was the first Print On Demand book ever sold by Barnes and Nobles. 

It was groundbreaking in many ways and is considered a fan favorite. 

Then years later after the publishers went under, the collection was republished in limited edition hardback.

Well, while it's been available from Crossroads Press as an ebook, it hasn't been in print in almost two decades. As of now that changed. It is now in print and you can get your copy here.

The original can be purchased for as cheap as $39.

The limited edition can be found for as little as $110.

The new paperback edition can be found here for under  $20.

"SCARY REDNECKS collects twenty-three stories of horror, madness, and humor set in the rural south of America’s heartland. The stories run the gauntlet from terror to outrageousness. Packed with everything from abusive parents, cannibals, deer hunters, demonic catfish, UFO abductions, voodoo priestesses, vampire moonshiners, and other Appalachian monstrosities; it will amuse you, disturb you, and leave you hungering for more."


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Five Books About Heroes Who Shouldn’t Babysit Your Kitten

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I was asked to write an essay for Tor.com and came up with this brilliant idea. I mean, how many of you have been tempted to let your fictional heroes babysit your kitten? First of all, what were you thinking? Second of all what were you thinking?

Consider this a public service announcement -- Your own PSA to protect your kittens.

Five Books About Heroes Who Shouldn’t Babysit Your Kitten
Who doesn’t like kittens? Kittens are what cats used to be before the irony of a two-legged universe got to them, making them the moody judgmental purring balls of fur they are today. Kittens are fun. Kittens are daring. Kittens are little evil feline ninjas with razor teeth and spikey claws. Kittens wake up every morning and treat the world like it’s their own personal frat house and the air is spiked with catnip. I love kittens. I also love me righteous protagonists in books and comics. So, I was wondering the other day—I’d trust these folks to save the world, but would I trust them to babysit a kitten?

To read the rest, go to Tor.com at this link

You won't be disappointed and your kitten will thank you.








Friday, October 19, 2018

How to Connect with Leisure Readers about My Novel Burning Sky

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Becky Spratford who is the American Library Association's Superhero and their expert on horror fiction, provided a terrific booklist review of Burning Sky. On her blog RA for All: Training Librarians to Help Leisure Readers she has advice for librarians on how to get certain books into their hands. It occurred to me that this same advice might help folks who have read Burning Sky and loved the book and wanted to find ways to share it.

While I'm going to reference some parts of her post, I'm not going to use it all and I highly encourage you to follow this link and read the entire post. I also encourage you to make RA for All one of your daily readers. If you like books and if you like scary books, there are few better places to go. 

I think my favorite part of it is this: Burning Sky is a love letter to servicemen and women who have toured in Afghanistan.

After a synopsis of the book, she provides a section for you to be able to compare other books to Burning Sky:

Further Appeal: I cannot stress enough how the occult elements here never overwhelm the real life horrors of war, rather they serve to underscore the terror and make it feel even more real. Even readers who usually like realistic military fiction, but want a more modern war setting will enjoy this. The cosmic horror elements are incorporated into the frame of Middle Eastern mythology, and the way Ochse introduces them, it feel real; like it could happen. The pairing of the realism and supernatural is seamless, so much so that it makes the book scarier.

Again with the theme of cosmic horror. It's funny, I didn't set off to write cosmic horror, but that's what I did. Now that I know, I'm actually ratcheting it up for the sequel.
 
Becky Spratford also has a section called Read Alikes that will allow you to compare other books to Burning Sky:
Readalikes: The best match is the Joe Ledger series mentioned above. I also mention Cormac McCarthy because the entire story is framed by the novel Blood Meridian but also, the writing itself is similar. If you like the way McCarthy writes, this novel is a great suggestion.

Fans of literary fiction about war, especially post-9/11 wars and its effects on veterans is also a great option like Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Fountain or The Yellow Birds by Powers.

Books set in Afghanistan and told from the local perspective might also be of interest here. Khaled Hosseini is a mainstream option, but check out this page of books tagged “Afghanistan”by readers on Goodreads.

You could also give this book to fans of military SF for which there is A LOT. Again via Goodreads. Really anyone who likes military fiction as it is crafted within any genre might enjoy this novel
I'm always very proud to have my books compared to my friend Jon Maberry's Joe Ledger books. Those are amazing books and share many of the face paced elements we both enjoy.

I was also very pleased to see her mention Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. I loved that movie before I went to Afghanistan because, more than most any movie, it really showed the repartee and comradeship among a close knit group of soldiers. It also shows how stunning PTSD can be, something I appreciate even more now that I am back. 

If you don't have a copy yet, you can click on one of the book links on the left, or go to the following links for your favorite stores.



 
Or just hit me up with a question.
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

PK Dick, HP Lovecraft, Cosmic Horror, and Burning Sky

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I've met David Agranoff, the reviewer, several times. In all honesty, when I asked him to review Burning Sky I was worried because David knows his shit. He's balls out into the genres and knows how to think and talk critically about all the best and worst books - Where I feel like a blithering idiot when I talk about others books. As it turns out, he loved the book. Fist pump!
him to

We conducted an interview, which you can see here on his podcast called Dickheads, while I was in Astoria convalescing after my return from Afghanistan. He brought up how I must have been heavily influenced by PK Dick because he could see the influences in my writing. Then I flummoxed him by stating that I hadn't read any PK Dick. None. Nada. Zip. I know, I know. My loss. I accept that. I've also never read any Lovecraft, unless you include his essay on the supernatural,  but that doesn't mean I don't understand cosmic horror. Lovecraft didn't invent cosmic horror in the same way that Dick didn't invent conflicting realities. 

Here's something David said about Burning Sky-  
 "This is also a fun novel at times, with entertaining action, monsters, ancient gods and Philip K Dick worthy time shifts and alternate realities that will remind readers in all the right ways of Jacob's Ladder. There is a What the hell is real twist that is so well executed I was shocked when Weston told me in a e-mail that he has not read much PKD. That is a round about way to say this is a mind expanding cross genre read that I can't recommend enough." 
Several reviews have said that Burning Sky is cosmic horror. I had to ask what cosmic horror was. Here are two comments from my FB page:

David Thomas Moore, Editor in Chief of Solaris says:  "It's the category of horror of which Lovecraft is the exemplar: horror in which the supernatural element is existentially threatening, supercontextual and largely - to mortal understanding - incomprehensible. "Cosmic" in scope, as it were."

Marc Weiner says: "Cosmic horror is another way I saying Lovecraftian...which Burning Skies surely was." 

Maybe according to DTM's definition it is.

But is Burning Sky Lovecraftian? I'm not so sure. I certainly never set out to write it that way. Do I have Elder Gods? Sort of. I do lean heavily on Zoroastrian mythology and real history. Are they Elder Gods? Well, they are older than any other mythology, I think, so that definitely makes them older. And being so old, they are also mysterious because we know the least about them.

Here's something else David says about Burning Sky-

"Much like his last Grunt trilogy Burning Sky is very much about PTSD, but Burning Sky takes that theme and goes beyond. This novel is about what drives war. It explores the deep trauma not just of the warriors but society. The book points to key moments covered by the news in the last few conflicts that lead to Trauma that we felt collectively. The theme is expressed so beautifully in some of this novel's most horrific moments. As a writer, reader and fan of Weston I honestly pumped my fist in the air at one of these moments."

Those key moments he's speaking of are the iconic images of the Falling Man, Napalm Girl, and the Burning Monk, which I talk about here
 
I urge you to read David's whole review.

Burning Sky will be available September 25th. Please pre-order so we can sell out the print run before publication. That will help guarantee more books in the series. You can click on one of the book links on the left, or go to the following links for your favorite stores.






Friday, September 21, 2018

First Paragraph of My New Novel 'Burning Sky'

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After announcing the signing of a contract for a new mass market paperback to be published by Solaris called Burning Sky. I sat down and wrote the first 1111 words (here and unedited). I discovered that the main character, who is referred to by his team and others as Boy Scout, has an affinity for Cormac McCarthy, Herman Melville, and those books that pit man against nature.

I thought I might share the first paragraph with you.






What Booklist has to say about Burning Sky-


"This dark, twisted, and unnerving cosmic horror is framed by Middle Eastern mythology, with a sense of unease that increases with the relentless pace of the action." - Booklist on Burning Sky


"Without slowing down, Ochse also offers a thoughtful commentary on the human cost of war. This is an excellent example of the emerging genre of military horror, combining details of army life and technical jargon with a well-constructed supernatural thriller." - Booklist on Burning Sky


"Ochse's writing finds the beauty in the language of brutality, which will appeal to fans of Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (1985)." - Booklist on Burning Sky

Burning Sky will be available September 25th. Please pre-order so we can sell out the print run before publication. That will help guarantee more books in the series. You can click on one of the book links on the left, or go to the following links for your favorite stores.



Thursday, September 20, 2018

"Burning Sky is the beginning of something remarkable... prepare to be astonished."

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Mass Movement Magazine recently reviewed Burning Sky and blew the roof off the world.

The review begins with-

"Few authors are capable of successfully combining the established tenets of genre fiction, moulding them and reshaping them and then seamlessly welding them together to create something new, inspiring and unique. Weston Ochse is one of that all too rare breed. Having first become aware of his work via his outstanding Seal Team 666 trilogy and having them moved on to his engrossing Task Force Ombra series, I slowly, but surely, became aware of the fact that Ochse had rapidly become one  of my favourite authors. So it was with great anticipation and much nervous excitement that I began Burning Sky, the first of Ochse’s T.S.T. novels. Six hours later, my mind spent and my imagination locked in overdrive, I read the final line, closed the cover, put Burning Sky  down, made a pot of the strongest Java I had to hand and then started reading Burning Sky again."

I'm always honored when people read my books. After all, I'm a kid from a broken home who didn't have a lot to show for it, joined the army, and puttered away a future that had been pretty bright. That I was able to ressurect it amazes me still. And to have someone re-read by books just blows my mind.

The voice behind Mass Movement Magazine and the reviewer, Tim Cundle, concluded the review saying this-

"If Clive Cussler had a PHD in creative writing and literature and used it to tell tales based around, and upon, the ideas of Phillip Pullman and Richard Morgan, then he’d come close to being half the story-teller and writer that Weston Ochse is. Burning Sky is the beginning of something remarkable. Prepare to be astonished."
Again, blown away.
If you want to read the entire interview, which I urge you to do, please go here.

Burning Sky will be available September 25th. Please pre-order so we can sell out the print run before publication. That will help guarantee more books in the series. You can click on one of the book links on the left, or go to the following links for your favorite stores.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Trigger Warning - Iconic Imagery in Burning Sky

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I was recently interviewed by My Life My Book My Escape where I talk about Cormac McCarthy and how iconic images change us. I specifically talk about The Falling Man, Napalm Girl, and the Burning Monk, who are all part of Burning Sky and the idea of them intrinsic to the plot.

We all know how seeing something can change our lives. Many things we've seen we can't unsee. I remember when the video of the poor man being beheaded was being passed around. There were those who would eagerly see it and those like me who wouldn't. My imagination filled in the blanks. I didn't need to see the real thing.

Because I knew it would affect me.

When I was a child I saw both the pictures of the Burning Monk and Napalm Girl in a big Time Life book and they haunted me to this day. Then after 911, the image of the Falling Man came to light. All these images are touchstones to history, mnemonics of how terrible we can be to each other.



Excerpt from Interview:

DJ: What were some of your influences for Burning Sky?

Weston: Cormac McCarthy was a huge influence in the book. His continuing theme of man vs nature and man’s inability to overcome nature is the fulcrum in the novel which the plot circles. I especially mined his masterpiece Blood Meridian, using some of the motifs like how he never names any major character but instead uses titles for them. In Burning Sky, the members of the team are never referred to by their names while in Afghanistan. I also loved the way McCarthy landscaped Blood Meridian and tried to use some of the landscape in Burning Sky as a dark mirror to the McCarthy’s terra damnata. I also mined several cultural icons that when seen, can’t help but bring us memories and stir our thinking. Images such as The Falling Man from the Twin Towers during 9/11, or the Burning Monk and the Napalm Girl from black and white photos from Vietnam. Each one of the images is shorthand to something terrible and I used them as interactive touch points for readers.

If you want to read the entire interview, which I urge you to do, please go here.

Burning Sky will be available September 25th. Please pre-order so we can sell out the print run before publication. That will help guarantee more books in the series. You can click on one of the book links on the left, or go to the following links for your favorite stores.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Dark, Twisted, and Unverving Cosmic Horror - Booklist on Burning Sky

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The review has been published so I can share it now. Booklist loved my new book, which means librarians will love it, which means that readers will as well. I feel like I hit the trifecta.


Burning Sky. By Weston Ochse 
Sept. 2018. 420p. 
Solaris, paper, $14.99 (9781781085295)
The members of the Tactical Support Team (TST), army veterans turned private contractors, sawhorrifying and improbable things on their last assignment in Afghanistan. Now, six months later, these men and women are experiencing things too eerily similar to be classified as PTSD. Ochse (Reign of Evil, 2014), a veteran himself, begins his new military-horror series by unveiling the diverse and complex backstories of the TST before sending them back for the ultimate mission: a fight for their souls. This dark, twisted, and unnerving cosmic horror is framed by Middle Eastern mythology, with a sense of unease that increases with the relentless pace of the action. Without slowing down, Ochse also offers a thoughtful commentary on the human cost of war. This is an excellent example of the emerging genre of military horror, combining details of army life and technical jargon with a well-constructed supernatural thriller. Perfect for readers of Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series, and Ochse's writing finds the beauty in the language of brutality, which will appeal to fans of Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (1985).  — Becky Spratford for Booklist


Here are some gems that I urge FOWs to share with their own people.

"This dark, twisted, and unnerving cosmic horror is framed by Middle Eastern mythology, with a sense of unease that increases with the relentless pace of the action." - Booklist on Burning Sky

"Without slowing down, Ochse also offers a thoughtful commentary on the human cost of war. This is an excellent example of the emerging genre of military horror, combining details of army life and technical jargon with a well-constructed supernatural thriller." - Booklist on Burning Sky

"Ochse's writing finds the beauty in the language of brutality, which will appeal to fans of Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (1985)." - Booklist on Burning Sky

Burning Sky will be available September 25th. Please pre-order so we can sell out the print run before publication. That will help guarantee more books in the series. You can click on one of the book links on the left, or go to the following links for your favorite stores.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Book Review - Every Wicked Man

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https://d1gbp99v447ls8.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/31102437/every-wicked-man-e1535725487876.jpgOUT TODAY!!!

Every Wicked Man by Steven James is the 11th book in the Bowers Files, where a criminal mastermind’s chilling terrorist plot forces FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers to the brink. 

Approaching the second or third book in a trilogy or a book in an existing series has always been an act of trepidatious yearning. The cover snaps your head or the title intrigues, but you wonder: Will I be lost? Will I feel like the new kid in high school listening to the indecipherable shorthand of the popular kids thus multiplying my feelings of inadequacy and inferiority, or will I be embraced and feel immediately at home? Diving into Every Wicked Man and slipping across the first few pages was an organic experience in reading something that feels fresh and new and beautiful.

Every Wicked Man is the 11th book in the Patrick Bowers franchise, so you can maybe see why I was worried. But never did I feel lost or not part of the in-crowd. What connections there were to past experiences—which were few, and you will see the reason why in a moment—intrigued me.

Patrick Bowers is an FBI agent specializing in environmental criminology. I wasn’t even aware the specialization existed, but this interested me because of my own love for the environment. Why does the FBI need such a specialization? What sort of criminals does Special Agent Bowers come into contact with? As it turns out, he’s not that kind of environmental criminologist...

*     *     *
To check out the rest of the review, please pop on over to Criminal Element.  Bottom line is that it's a great book.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Appearances and Signing Tour for Burning Sky

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My publicist and I set up a few appearances for Burning Sky. If you are in the Southwestern United States and are a bookstore, library, or reading/writing group, I can make an appearance. If you want me at your fav bookstore library, help me set it up. For now, here's what I have. Mark you calendar.

29 Sep - 1400-1500 Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA
30 Sep - 1600-1700 Dark Delicacies, Burbank, CA
01 Oct - 1700-1600 Space Cowboy Books, Joshua Tree, CA
05 Oct - 1700-1800 Barnes and Nobles East Side, Tucson AZ
06 Oct - 1200-1300 Poisened Pen, Scottsdale, AZ
13 Oct - 1300-1430 Dusenberry-River Library, Tucson, AZ
09 Nov - TusCon Convention, Tucson, AZ
10 Nov - TusCon Convention, Tucson, AZ
11 Nov - TusCon Convention, Tucson, AZ
17 Nov - 1400-1530 Himmel Park Library, Tucson, AZ


I'll update this as new dates and times appear, but for now, plan on this.

And if you have tons of cash and tons of money, I will fly anywhere at anytime and appear anyplace. 

Burning Sky will be available September 25th. Please pre-order so we can sell out the print run before publication. That will help guarantee more books in the series. You can click on one of the book links on the left, or go to the following links for your favorite stores.




Saturday, September 1, 2018

Sea Lords of the Columbia and my Homage to Fritz Leiber

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When I was asked to write a story for an anthology of rockabilly horror, I only said yes because I was asked by Eric Guignard, my former mentoree and now peer. I had no idea what I was going to write until I was in Astoria, Oregon last summer and saw the Desdemona - a bar made from the remains of an old frigate that was shipwrecked on the Columbia Bar. Then it came to me. And as I began writing the story, I realized that my characters had a startling resemblance to Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. Part of me said to stop and change them, but another part, a louder and more obnoxious part told me to roll with it. I not only did, but I intentionally paid attention to Fritz Leiber's creations and tried to get them to inhabit my characters of Hemmo and Doogie.

Growing up playing Dungeons and Dragons and reading any fantasy book with swords and sorcery, I was very familiar with these scourges of Lankhmar. One hulking and one small and both deadly, like a bad ass version of Gilligan and the Skipper but without the slapstick. I saw in Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser the sensibilities I needed for Hemmo and Doogie. 

Then came the story. I needed an epic sword and sorcery tale in the vein of Leiber but set in 1950s Astoria right after the Korean War. So what did I do? I have sentient talking sturgeon and prostitute mermaids and all sort of fun monsters to inhabit our real world. I think that was the most fun, and the sort of things I like to read -- magic in real life.

Here's a snap of the first page:

Sea Lords of the Columbia appears in Pop the Clutch: Thrilling Tales of Rockabilly, Monsters, and Hot Rod Horror which is up for pre-order at Dark Moon Books.

This isn't the only time the Sea Lords will make an appearance. I can hear them calling. They want a new adventure. Soon, I think, I will give one to them.