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.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Toastmastering 101

Toastmastering. That's a word, right?

I've toastmastered twice now. Both times as a stand in for the esteemed Ed Bryant. The first time was a few years ago. I got 24 hours notice and was asked to introduce John Ringo. As it turned out we had a lot in common. We both served in the Army. His hometown of East Ridge, Tennessee, bumped up against my hometown of Chattanooga. We like the color mauve and long walks on the beach too. It was pretty cool, although I was pretty nervous.

Then last month, 22 hours before opening ceremonies of TusCon 38, I was asked yet again the toastmaster. On this occasion it was to be for Patricia Briggs. She's pretty famous, although I hadn't read any of her work. And the convention committee wanted me to be funny and professional and spontaneous and entertaining, with me not knowing hardly anything about her.After all, they gave me 22 hours, right?

So I did what anyone would do. I created a musical bumper and read her a love poem. It went something exactly like this.

Play Bumper first ---

Then read poem as if you are a complete and adoring idiot.

Ode to Patricia—
Oh Patricia, Oh dear Patricia,
I think of you in the night. 
When it’s dark. 
And it’s night. 
In the black dark.
I dream about being a monster in one of your books.
They are hot. 
And have sex.
Oh Patricia. 
Oh dear Patricia. 
Make me a monster. 
In the Night. 
In the Dark.
In the black dark of your awesome nasty monster sex books.

It brought the house down. There was a lot more after this, but I'll demure to other folks. Needless to say it was a success. I was a lot less nervous this time. Everyone was gracious. I might have goofed a little, but hey. I'm still a beginner. Not at all as good as Ed Bryant or Jeff Strand.

Thanks to the TusCon Convention committee for having faith in me. You know I'll be there for you again if you need me.

From Left to Right: Marsheilla Rockwell, me, Gini Koch and Patricia Briggs

(Note that the music sample was from the Black Eyed Peas - Pump - and is sampled by Fair Use. If you like the song, I recommend going to your favorite music store and buying it.)

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