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.

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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.

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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?

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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

Cover Time!

Greetings, lords and ladies! Today, I have a cover.

I’ve decided the current Desmond covers remind me of Scooby Doo, which isn’t a bad thing in my world. I do love me some Scooby.

Ghosts Cover

Soooo, you might have noticed that it’s quite purple. The color violet (yes, I am aware that the shade on the cover is probably not exactly a perfect shade of violet) plays a really important role in the book.

I had to play with the colors on this cover several times because I didn’t want it to look like Barbie wrote the book (yes, I know the book would be pink if the Barbie minions wrote it) or an Easter egg. This is what I’ve settled on for the moment.

I still might tilt the shade a little closer to blue. We’ll see where we land.

The book may be out next week. No hubbub this time, just book. I do plan to stop releasing books that way because it’s not good for sales or rank or pretty much anything else.

Next book: significantly more hubbub.

In Which I Wednesdayed

Does everyone know what today is? I do!

perfect date

Aside from that, it’s also a learning day for me. I’ve had a bunch of those lately. I’ve been reading a lot of books on marketing. I’ve gotten rusty at such things.

Many of the recommendations involve asking people for things.

Ask authors for blurbs!

Ask bloggers and readers to review your books!

Recruit people to be on your book launch team and then ask them to share things on social media, etc!

I’m bad at asking people to do things. I have questionable social skills as it is, and I’m not sure adding the requesting of favors would add bonus points to my charisma rating.

Plus it makes me feel icky. The introvert in me (which is pretty much all of me) is not keen on bothering human beings that are likely otherwise occupied with the business of life. We are all very busy, running around like maniacs, trying to get everything done.

Speaking of getting things done: I am almost done with the cover for the 2nd Desmond book. In fact, I’m going to go work on that right now and hopefully post it by the end of the week.

Now here is a picture of our overcast Indiana spring. I did get to see the sun for like half an hour today so I was really excited.

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Busy Bees Gather No Moss

or something like that. I’ve been crazy busy, just the way I like.

The Authors Read Podcast is going pretty well. I ended up added recording services to the mix due to email request. There’s a charge for that, of course, because that’s way more work than simply putting together a post. I’m happy to help out my fellow authors, but when we start getting into hours of labor, we need to talk moola. Know what I’m saying?

Also, I received the proof for the updated print version of the first Desmond book today. This is what it looks like.

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Shiny, shiny. This is the second proof I ordered because the color on the first one was way jacked up. Printers really like a certain range of colors. If you feed the printer a color it doesn’t understand, it freaks out and just kind of does whatever. Apparently, the first version had one of those “off” colors. It did not look nice.

This print version is not yet available. I’m still deciding whether to move the title up a few notches. I probably will.

Roboreading

Greetings and salutations! Another week, another round of book-related shenanigans. Audiobook production update: 16 chapters recorded, 10 chapters edited. Yes, I’m behind on editing. I’m working on it!

Today I was listening to a podcast that mentioned using text to speech to create audiobooks. They were excited because someone managed to get the computer to use some inflection. They played a sample. It was…okay.

I’ve used text to speech before because I have more time to listen than to read. While it is functional, after a while, the robo voice becomes abrasive. It’s stiff and unnatural like trying to cover up with a cardboard blanket.

An audiobook is a performance. Good or bad, that’s what it is. I’d rather hear a human read.

The worse part is that I’m sure the robo reader will eventually get to the point that it will be indistinguishable from a human performer. That makes me sad, not just because I’m working on creating an audiobook.

It’s sad because it seems like no industry is safe from automation. These fantastic strides in technology are going to put people out of work. They already have put people out of work. At what point does it stop? When no one has a job anymore? That’ll be fun.

And does no one remember the Terminator? That was a cautionary tale, people!!

Our robot overlords will not be benevolent.

terminator

 

 

 

More Comicon Stuff

So many tasks left this evening, so little brainpower remaining. I have a couple of other comicon pics to share. I meant to post them with the other ones, but I forgot. Such things happen. But first…an audiobook update.

11 chapters recorded (double digits!!!), 8 chapters edited! And after I go answer some emails, that number may grow by as many as 1 more in the edited category today.

On to Comicon. It was a fun time. It was our first time going, actually. We had previously gone to Gencon because it was the closest thing we had to a comicon in the area, but that’s more for the gamers (and not really for the kind I am).  This one had far more that we were interested in seeing.

They had some decent guests. Jonathon Frakes (aka Commander Riker) was there. I would’ve loved to get a picture with him but his photo time slot was over by the time we got there. I probably wouldn’t have had the patience for the line anyway. There was a LOT to see, and waiting in a line on top of all that walking and looking at stuff probably would’ve put me to sleep in the middle of the thing. Do I sound old yet?

My favorite dressed up person (not really a cosplayer?)  was an elderly man dressed as Boy George, who carried around a boombox that was playing Boy George songs. I got to hear Karma Chameleon. It was pretty much the best.

There were some AMAZING artists there. Like, for real. And so many of them. They were the kind of people I was jealous of back in art class, the ones with more skill and patience than I could ever dream of possessing.

There were some pretty cool panel things/activities, too. There was a lightsaber academy, during which they taught you one of 3 fighting styles. I might do that next time if they offer it in the future.

Okay, here are aforementioned pics. I thought I took one of an aisle, too, but I don’t see it on my phone. Oh, well. I guess we’ll just go with these!

 

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Okay, I’m off to see the wizard. Don’t forget to back up your files, kids.