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.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Depreciation of Gratitude

I've been bothered for some time about the depreciation of gratitude in America. My wife says I'm overthinking things, and she's probably right like she is most of the time, but words matter, dammit.

Words mean something. And some words if you use them too much, cease to have the impact or gravitas for which they were created.

"What am I talking about?" you ask.

"What are you driveling about, Mr. Ocheesy?" comes from the cheap seats.

It's the overuse of Thank you very much. And it's done so dramatically too, as if the speaker might think they're being recorded for Facebook Live or Youtube which might get watched by a Hollywood producer or director. Next thing he or she knows, they've gone from expressing extreme gratitude for the absolutely smallest amount of effort to appearing on a reality TV show and signing endorsement deals for lattes. Thank you so very much, he says breathlessly, careful that the 15 megapixel camera on his iPhone gets his good side.

Insert eye roll here.

"Is that it, Mr. Ocheesy? Is that what you're babbling about?"

Yes, thank you very much. (See, here it was used sarcastically, so it's fine)

Thank you very much. I see and hear it everywhere.

A barista hands a young girl her Trenta five shot half-caf pumpkin spice latte with no foam at 210-degrees, slightly bent, eyes imploring, seeking the connection and says, Thank you very much.... or worse.... thank you so very much.



Frazzle Fart!!

A woman on an airplane gets handed her too-heavy piece of carry-on luggage from the overhead storage and smiles wanly in her best Katherine Hepburn as she says, Thank you very much.

A man who has the door held open for him by a young lady holding a Trenta Iced Green Tea No Syrup Splash of Cold Soy Milk in one hand and bows saying, Thank you very much.

I've seen it all. I can't go a day without hearing thank you very much five or six times.

"Why is this an issue, Mr. Ocheesy?"

Here's why it's a big deal. What do you say to someone who pulls your child out of the way of a speeding truck? Thank you very much? Congratulations. You've just given the level of thanks equal to getting a cup of coffee. I know. It's not your fault. You're not the one walking around thanking everyone very much about every single thing ever done to them (or maybe you are).

What do you say when you discover that someone found your purse and returns it with all your money and cards inside?

What do you say when you discover that someone helped your grandma out when she became disoriented in Wal-Mart by calling you.

I'd normally say, Thank you very much, but because of the gross misuse of the words, in order to express the appropriate level of appreciation, I now have to add several qualifying words and end up saying, I want to say thank you very much, but what you did was so much more than holding a door open or getting down luggage or accepting the Fat-Free Iced Caramel Macchiato Upside Down Extra Caramel you ordered from the cross-eyed barista, so let me express instead my extreme thanks to you and much appreciation for your above and beyond the call of duty actions.

"But Mr. Ocheesy, why is it a bad thing that America is becoming more polite?"
The fact is that they aren't. America is as impolite as they've always been. Thank you very much is a smokescreen. People are just throwing the words out there without thought. I can see the blankness in their eyes, their false expressions. They're just being lazy. They're a hunter shooting squirrels with a 50 caliber sniper rifle. They're a long haul trucker hauling a single box. They are giving the maximum gratitude for minimal effort, thus depreciating the sentiment.

Let's do something together.

Let's take back our gratitude.

Let's use words like thanks and thank you and I appreciate it and much obliged. You can even deliver your appreciation in a more worldly style, using such terms as arigato and gracias. Even a delivery of many thanks is better than the now uber-common throw away appreciation, thank you very much.

Words mean something.

Get inventive.

Create new ways of expressing your gratitude, because only Elvis had permission to say thank you very much and he's dead.

Let's express the appropriate level of gratitude for the effort put forth, unless you're being sarcastic, then thank you very much is often the most appropriate sentiment. 

So, thank you so very much for reading this. 

New Book Contract - Burning Sky (Solaris)

Just signed a contract with Solaris Books for a novel called BURNING SKY. It's about an O.S.T. or Operational Support Team. OST is the movement security detail for VIPs within Afghanistan. Comprised of active duty military, civilians, and contractors, all veterans of military police, security services, special operations units, and other combat agencies, these men and women spend seasons in hell to, not only try and fix what’s broken in each of them, but also to make enough bank to change their futures. They are  stress junkies and the world is better for it. But seven months after their last mission, safely back on American soil, Land of the Big PX, they feel like they've left something undone... like maybe even they've left something or someone behind. And the feeling is driving them crazy. One by one they come together, and discover that they've all been having the same dream... a dream of a woman, a goat, and a sky that won't stop burning.

I orginally wrote this pitch in the fall of 2013. Several other houses looked at it and it wasn't until Solaris looked at it that it found a home. Thank you Solaris. I think I've made an impression there. The fine men and women who work at Solaris know I do a quality job and get the work in on time. From Grunt Life to Grunt Traitor to Grunt Hero, and then back to Blood Ocean and Empire of Salt. Although the latter two were with Abaddon Books, I'm working with the same editors, so this will make six books with them. Natch!

What's interesting about the pitch, is I never name any of the characters. Instead, I labeled them by their archetype (e.g. Boy Scout, Preacher's Daughter, Narco, etc). Now I get the fun of naming them.

The book is scheduled for release sometime between Fall 2017 and Summer 2018. It will be published in the UK in trade paperback and in the US in mass market paperback.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Las Vegas Here I Come -- STOKERCON Schedule

Been on the silent side with my blog for a while. A lot of it has to do with writing-- both good and bad. But I'm back, just in time to publish my schedule for the upcoming horror convention in Las Vegas -- STOKERCON!!!

10am - 11am  ~ Reading in Red Rock 5 (Wonder what I'm going to read.)

2pm – 3pm  ~ Panel: Research: Where to Begin and How to See it Through in Red Rock 3

3pm – 4pm  ~ Presentation: Book to Film: How to Write Movie-Ready Fiction in Laughlin 2

5pm - 6 pm ~ Signing: Midian Unmade Anthology in Dealers Rooom                                      

6pm - 9pm   Dinner with Agent


11:30 am ~ Library of the Dead signing in Dealers Room

3:30 pm ~ Signing in Dealers Room

7:30 - 10:30~ Bram Stoker Award Dinner (Where I get my swag on. I might even wear a tux)

9am – 10am ~ Panel Crossing Boundaries: Horror Genre Mash-Ups in Red Rock

Hope to see everyone there!