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.

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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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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The Crucifix Fish

Because I collect all the things, I have a modest fossil collection. I’ve been fascinated by fossils since I was a kid.

One of the places I shop for fossils is kind of a weird store. They carry a whole bunch of new age randomness like crystal balls and different rocks/gemstones, Native American trinkets and fairy trinkets, some Christian/angel things, a whole bunch of carved jade animals (there’s a frog with a coin in his mouth that I REALLY want), every kind of bead ever, incense. It’s just a strange place. You can get a psychic reading if you go on Saturday, FYI.

I was there recently, and I noticed an item that I either hadn’t seen or it was new to the store. At first glance, it looked like some kind of flat skull wrapped in plastic. I picked it up to look at it because that’s what I do when I see unusual looking dead things in stores.

There was a card identifying it as a crucifix fish. I did not take a picture at the store, but this is basically what it looked like.

Image result for crucifix fish

I was torn between feelings of: “Holy crap, this is creepy. I should put it down and back away slowly.” to “Holy crap, this is creepy. I should totally buy it.” In the end, the heebie-jeebies won out. I can’t say this is a permanent no, but I didn’t purchase it.

So, let’s look at this thing. The crucifix fish as it is packaged is the skull of top sail catfish. When it’s alive, the fish looks something like this.

catfish

 

The full skeleton of the fish looks like this.

fish skeleton

Hello, nightmare fuel. 

There’s a poem by Conrad S. Lantz about the fish that kinda serves as the “legend”, I guess. It’s what’s printed on the cards that come with the fish skulls. Wanna hear it? Here it go.

“Of all the fishes in the sea
our Lord chose the lowly sailcat
to remind us of his misery.

His body on the cross is outlined.
The hilt of the sword
that was plunged into his side
is clearly defined.

Look at the back of the fish’s bone.
The Roman shield is shown.
When you shake the cross
you will hear the dice being tossed
for our Lord’s blood stained dress.
Those who can hear them
will be blessed.”

And thus, a fish skull becomes a religious symbol.

The “dice” in the poem are actually the fish’s otholiths (endolymphatic infillings), which are parts of the inner ears that help the fish with direction and balance.

I can totally see the crucifix. It’s not like that piece of toast with Mary’s face, and you have to tilt your head and squint your left eye to see it. Does that make it less creepy? I think not.

People actually hang these things on their walls.

wall

 

No thanks. And this coming from a girl with a bear skull hanging on her wall. This fish thing…it’s just too much.

Or is it just enough?

Yes, Another New Cover

Greetings! Okay, last cover redesign for a while, I promise.

I failed with this book. When Pestilence Rising first came out back in 2014 (wow, has it been that long?), I concentrated most of my promotional efforts on getting reviews. I got a few, nothing crazy. I sold like no copies. Even to this day, it isn’t selling squat. I have literally sold 2 digital copies of this book. 2.

The new cover is an attempt to fix that. I’m also revamping the description, recategorizing it, and implementing advertising.

The first cover was…not that great. This is it.

Pestilence Rising jpg cover

I guess it could’ve been worse. It could’ve been one of those horrible covers I sometimes see that look like someone took a bunch of tiny, random pictures and made a half-ass collage with them. Oh, if you’re wondering why my name is “L. Ryan” on this one, it’s because at the time, I was reading about how people would rather read books by men, so some ladies use initials instead of their first names like JK Rowling.

Ahem.

Anyway, so the second cover was a little better.

new PR cover

Still not fantastic or great for the genre, but at least it looks more…artsy?

With the new push comes the new cover. This is the one I’m going to use from here on out.

new pestilence rising cover

I still might monkey around with the font a bit, but I am pleased with it overall.

Hopefully, this new push will help. I dropped the ball with this book, which is dumb because I really did like it. I still do.

I was also thinking about doing an audiobook version after I finish Beneath Oceans of Sky and Love and the Dark. That might be weird, because the main character is male. My voice isn’t overly girly, though, so I might be able to pull it off.

Tune in tomorrow for a super creepy fish post. The fish is creepy, not the post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Various Updates

OMG, today is a great day. I recorded Chapter 20 of the Beneath Oceans of Sky audiobook! 20!!! I usually record one chapter at a time, but today I was so close to number 20 that I just pushed on ahead.

Only ten chapters left! Can you believe it?

I really like recording, and editing is starting to grow on me, maybe because I’m better at it and the process is now less tedious. I think running the Authors Read podcast has really done wonders for my confidence level and skill level.

I’ve found a few parts to fix in the book, too. They’re not a big deal, but they do need a fixin’ and a fixin’ they shall have. So if you plan to read the book and haven’t yet, you might want to hold off for a smidge longer. Once I finish recording, I’m updating the ebook version and then creating the print version. There isn’t one yet.

I’d like to get at least 2 audiobooks out this year. The one I’m working on now and then one for Love and the Dark.

If I still have time after that, I might do one for a novella that isn’t out yet. A novella that is about to ship off to Lady Editor. That might be out around Julyish.

And then, my scifi/fantasy/horror thing that I’m working on right now, that should be out by the end of the year. I’m currently wading through that rough draft, and holy fishsticks, that is a ROUGH draft.

It was last year’s NaNoWriMo project. That’s probably what I get for trying to crank those words out so fast.

Current Favorite Distraction: Dead Space 2

I have to go edit audio now.

BeeLoo

Black-Eyed Children

Okay, guys. Super exciting day! I’m switching up the blog content a smidge to make things more interesting for both you and me. I’m going to write about some paranormal things, stuff I find weird, strange, and/or spooky, perhaps some bits on myths and various creatures. I spend a lot of time reading about that stuff anyway; might as well slap some up on the blog, right? Right.

Don’t worry, I’ll still post about my books and writing, too. I just wanted to shake it up.

So today, we have the black-eyed children. This falls under the Urban Legend category.

 

black-eyed children

Image from Wikipedia

 

Wikipedia describes these adorable, little demons thus: “Black-eyed children (or black-eyed kids) are an urban legend of supposed paranormal creatures that resemble children between the ages of 6 and 16, with pale skin and black eyes, who are reportedly seen hitchhiking or panhandling, or are encountered on doorsteps of residential homes. Tales of black-eyed children have existed since the 1950s.”

They remind me a little of that movie: The Grudge. Do you remember it? There was a creepy kid that looked like this.

 

grudge

Grudge movie pic

 

 

Anyway, the creepy black-eyed kids in these stories are different. In this case, they run around, bumming rides and begging for change and…showing up on doorsteps, asking to use the phone?

The latter is, of course, the creepiest. According to what I’ve read, they get rather demanding if you try to ignore them.

Personally, I’d love to see who the little creepos would call. I’d totally eavesdrop on that weirdness. I wouldn’t let them in, though. No, thank you.

Some theories as to what they are include: aliens, vampires, or ghosts.

Let us briefly explore the possibilities.

Aliens: hmm. Maybe. I could see it. Say you’re trapped on an alien planet. At some point, you need to find a way to function on said planet. You study a species for a while (preferably the one with the most comfortable lifestyle), figure out what motivates them to share whatever you need (such as maternal instinct), and whip up a disguise that elicits the response you want. I get it.

Vampires: Pale skin, weird eyes, these are some vampire characteristics. Plus, they really want that invitation into your house. A vampire might also require rides, money, and phone calls.

Ghosts: Again, pale skin, dark eyes, ghostly ghostness, for sure. Ghosts are souls who are supposedly stuck here because of unfinished business. I guess, ghostly unfinished business might include needing a ride, money, or a phone call. You’ve got to facilitate that, somehow, amIright?

Basically, this whole urban legend boils down to creepy kids asking for stuff. How scary is that, really? Not very. As long as you don’t let them in your house…

More info

Wikipedia

Stories of black-eyed children 

A Book is Out!

It actually came out last Friday, but this is the first I’m blogging it.

The new book is the 2nd Desmond Winters book. It is currently only available on Amazon and only in ebook form. There will be a print version once I put it together. I do not have an ETA on that at the moment. If you’d like to view the book on Amazon, please click this link or the cover art below.

Ghosts Cover

Also exciting is that the first Desmond Winters ebook, Desmond Winters in the Realms of the Caged Sun, is now free in several places, including Barnes and Noble and Kobo!

Oh, yeah. Free book.

I want to make it free on Amazon as well. I have reported the lower price to Amazon, so hopefully, they will match the price soon.