Partial Completion and a Preorder

Hey there! I have not one, but TWO exciting updates today.

First: the all-important audiobook update. All first-round editing sessions are now complete. All initial bits that needed to be rerecorded have been rerecorded. Next step is to patch those puppies in. I’m not doing that today because I have different tasks to attend to.

I also have a preorder! Wild Spirits of the Hollow is now available on Amazon for $1.99. The price will go up when the book comes out.

If you’re a blogger and/or a reviewer, I am planning a blog tour. If you’d like to sign up and snag an advance reader copy, be sure to check out the blogger/reviewer page here.

Here’s some info on the book and the link to the preorder. The book comes out 8/28/2018.

WS-ebook-cover

 

Shannon lies to almost everyone she meets. When she gets lost and winds up trapped in an Appalachian valley village, her lies don’t get her far.

Mistwalk Vale may look like a fairy-tale, but nightmares lurk in the shadows. Villagers are dying grisly deaths, their bodies reduced to bones and left in the streets for their friends and family to find. Worse, some people suspect that Shannon is involved. They accuse her of coming from the tribe of vicious earth witches down in the hollow.

A man named Owen believes Shannon is innocent. He tries to protect her as best he can, but there’s only so much he can do. She feels herself falling for him, despite her plan to leave as soon as she gets an opportunity.

Caught between angry mobs and an ancient darkness, she will be forced to fight for her survival. Can she save herself and the village before evil consumes them all?

Preorder on Amazon

 

 

Advertisements

The Listen Edit

I am so excited that today is Friday! I don’t have any real plans for this weekend, except for book working, which = much productivity!

During one of my last few posts, I mentioned that I was going to have a robot voice app read my most recent book to me. I did this with the hope that I would hear typos. My eyes skip over things and autocorrect for my brain, which is all well and good when I’m not trying to proofread.

Typos were found, but that wasn’t all. I heard unintentional repetition, perspective switches, all kinds of stuff.

The listen edit was life-altering, for real. I’ve never really 100% trusted human eyes or spell checks. While extremely helpful, I realize now that more was needed.

This week, I listened to the book I have coming out in August and started on Love and the Dark because that’s my next audiobook project.

I found so much that I needed to fix, more so with Love and the Dark, which was disconcerting because that book is actually out. No worries, though. I’ll fix it right up and publish updated versions before I record the audiobook.

If you write books or stories or whatever, I highly recommend that you do a listen edit. There are free apps. Robots don’t autocorrect when they read. What is on the page goes directly into your ears, for better or worse, and as long as you’re actively listening, you will hear things that don’t belong there or things that are missing.

Skeleton Coast

I don’t remember where I first read about the Skeleton Coast. It was several years ago; I can tell you that. And it actually ended up in my list of random tidbits in my book ideas binder. This was the picture that really stuck in my mind.

house.jpg

How fantastically eerie is that? It’s a picture of a building in a diamond mining ghost town called Kolsmanskop. Here’s another shot with a bit more detail.

house 2

I think the village is technically south of the official “Skeleton Coast” area, but it shares the coastline and certainly has the same otherworldly vibe.

As for the official Skeleton Coast, Wikipedia has this fantastic intro: “The Skeleton Coast is the northern part of the Atlantic coast of Namibia and south of Angola from the Kunene River south to the Swakop River, although the name is sometimes used to describe the entire Namib Desert coast. The Bushmen of the Namibian interior called the region ‘The Land God Made in Anger’, while Portuguese sailors once referred to it as ‘The Gates of Hell’.”

map

O.M.G…The Gates of Hell?

It’s a scenic and sandy landscape at the edge of the ocean and is littered with abandoned buildings, shipwrecks, and bones. What kind of bones? Oh, not much: seals, turtles, whales, human.

Here are a few more pics for your viewing enjoyment.

 

So, how does all that stuff and up there? The short/easy explanation is that the Benguela current in the Atlantic ocean pushes stuff like shipwrecks and dead things onto the beach.

current

You’d like to visit, you say? Me, too! However, that might be easier said than done if nothing has changed since this 2013 CNN travel article. Here are a couple of quotes.

“The territory extends from just north of the city of Swakopmund to the Angolan border in northwest Namibia, taking in 500 kilometers of shoreline and 2 million hectares of dunes and gravel plains. It forms a national park, divided by rivers.

Independent travelers can apply for permits for day trips but only to the south — and it’s the northern extremes, the Skeleton Coast Wilderness, that most people want to see. Visitors to the latter part of the park are restricted to around 800 a year to preserve the fragile environment.”

“The only way to reach the north is to join a fly-in safari — an exclusive, if expensive, experience. A typical four-day trip costs around $6,000 per person.”

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/namibia-skeleton-coast/index.html

So, a visit might be slightly out of reach. Luckily, there are plenty of pics online.

Sources and further reading

This link has a great slideshow: https://www.ifly2017.com/en_us/48

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolmanskop

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeleton_Coast

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/namibia-skeleton-coast/index.html

 

Product Amore

Hey-o! My friend started a YouTube vlog that will feature reviews of things she likes. The first episode is Breakfast and Books, and guess who wrote one of the books she featured. Me! I was a little disappointed that she didn’t say that I was the greatest writer of all time,  because when else would I hear that? But it was still nice and good. You should watch her vlog and then follow her.

 

Thanks, Diane!

Getting It Completed and Other Plans

So last weekend, the husband was occupied, and I decided to have an audio editing extravaganza. It was magnificent! I edited 7 chapters over the course of 3 days, which was about 40-45 finished minutes, which a TON of work. Audiobook production is not for the lazy, that is FOR SURE! I took yoga breaks. I took Skyrim breaks and Dead Space 2 breaks. Caffeinated beverages and wine were consumed but not at the same time.

I have 4 chapters left to edit, and I have to record the closing credits. Then I’ll have to go back through what I recorded and read along to make sure all the words are there and correct. I made some changes as I was recording, too, adding a couple of speech tags, etc, so I need to update the print editions to make sure they match those parts.

Damn, my life is glamorous.

After I finish this project, I’m revamping the soundbooth a bit. Moving blankets might dampen the sound more effectively than the foam setup I have now. The foam is…decent, but the moving blankets are heavier and more solid. There’s still a tiny bit of an echo in there that I’d like to get rid of. I might use the foam and the blankets together if I’m not happy with just the blankets. The blankets will look better as well, perhaps less like a serial killer’s lair, not that the appearance really bothers me.

I would also like a light because the big light in the room is somewhat blocked. I’m thinking one of those battery-operated nightlights that stick to the wall.

Another thing I plan to work on after Oceans is done is the Iyrico audio. That was the short story audio project that I rage-quit a while back, before I started recording Oceans. It was a lot of work, and I’m starting to feel ridiculous for abandoning it. If I can shape it up without having to rerecord the whole thing, I might go on and do that.

I also came up with a brilliant idea for editing my print books that is somewhat related to the audiobook thing. One’s eyes have a tendency to correct mistakes as one reads. That’s not very convenient for me when I’m looking for typos. One of my rounds of editing is now going to involve having an app read the text to me. I’m hoping that my ears might catch a few issues that my eyes do not.

Now, please enjoy this picture of Bleu’s ginormous kitten eyes.

20180521_215336

 

Ye Olde Spirit Communication Devices

Okay! Sorry for the delay on this post. I meant to schedule it for last week, but it took longer to write than I thought it would. It turns out that there are A LOT of devices that were invented to speak with spirits. Seriously, I probably could’ve written a book if so inclined. But I am not inclined to do that, so this post is what I have for you.

Back in Victorian days (my favorite time period that is not the present), there was a fascination with conversing with the dead. A religious movement called Spiritualism was prevalent, maybe because a whole bunch of people were dying of things like consumption. The living really wanted their loved ones on afterlife speed dial, and who can blame them?

Mediumship was popular. Séances were popular. Lucky for the would-be mediums, they had some tools at their disposal. Let’s check out a few of them, shall we?

Let’s start with the planchette. Here’s an old ad for one.

planchette

Planchettes are used for “automatic writing” or “spirit writing”, which is where a spirit communicates through a living person by moving their hands and forming shapes or words. If you’ve read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, one of the lady characters uses one. Here’s an example of what spirit writing might look like. This page was done by Hélène Smith.

spirit writing

A planchette can also be used with a ouija board. Participants ask the spirits a question. Planchette scoots across the board, pointing to answers. I think most people know what this one is, given that they’re pretty easy to find.

ouija

Next up, we have the spirit trumpet. I really want one of these, just because it’s so darn odd.

spirit trumpet

It works thus: the trumpet is placed at the center of the séance table. When a ghost is present, the trumpet supposedly lifts from the table, floating, and amplifies whispers from ghosts.

Groovy.

Now, we move on to the Telepathic Spirit Communicator. With such a fancy name, it simply must be legit! This bad boy is a dial-plate planchette invented by WT Braham.

Pease

There are other devices that are of somewhat similar design with dials and letters and such:
Isaac Pease’s Spiritual Telegraph
Daniel Hornung’s Emanulector
George F. Pearson’s Cablegraph
Hudson Tuttle’s Psychograph

There is another psychograph (someone didn’t trademark the name?) invented by Adolphus Theodore Wagner. This one looks far more interesting than Tuttle’s. We’ve got some paddles and arms that are used to point to letters on the table. I could see people getting mad and yanking on the arms of this thing, like séance tug-of-war.

psychograph

Okay, last one. Robert Hare’s Spiritoscope. As you can see, the medium sits where they can’t see the letters on the dial. Hare believed that this meant the medium was less able to interfere with whatever the spirits were trying to say.

spiritoscope

 

That’s it for today, kids.

Various Sources:
http://mysteriousplanchette.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_writing

https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1035&context=cpo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouija

An Audio Update and Yard Shenanigans

Monday! Oh, how I have not missed you all that much.

I have a goal to finish all primary recording sessions for Beneath Oceans of Sky this very week! I actually recorded 3 chapters today: a retake of chapter 20 and then chapters 24 and 25. I usually only record one at a time, but I’m trying to get faster at the whole audiobook production process, hence the longer session.

I’m not worrying about keeping up with editing this week. It’s an all-out recording run! I have a three-day weekend and the husband will be occupied for some of it, so I can have an audio editing extravaganza. If I really buckle down, I could actually finish this thing in the next 1-2 weeks. I’m super excited.

A thing that I am not excited about is the spiders I keep finding in my basement. This one was hanging out over my sound booth the other day.

20180521_201219

They gotta go, for real! I like spiders but not when one could potentially sneak out from behind my sound dampening foam and steal a snack while I am otherwise distracted.

In the yard, we’ve had much cuter intruders. Baby robins and baby cardinals! The top picture is one the husband took of the cardinals before they grew up extremely quickly and flew away. Picture number 2 is one I took last weekend. The robins are also growing extremely quickly. They took up residence in a preexisting nest.

IMG950291 (1)

Resized_20180519_140406

That’s all for now. I should have a post about antique spirit communication devices at some point this week.