A Downward Spiral and a Smallish Absence

Greetings! I am currently caught in a downward spiral of perfectionism (which, regrettably, never actually results in perfection).

The bad news: I basically trashed my entire audiobook recording…again. I can’t help myself. Here’s the deal: so I switched out my recording equipment maybe…halfwayish? The new mic was way better than the old mic, which presented 2 problems: inconsistent audio quality and the better mic picked up more room noise, ie a slight echo.

The good news: I revamped my booth with better insulation. Foam is out; mover blankets are in, and that has helped tremendously. I already rerecorded the entire book. I did that in a week plus a weekend, so I guess that tells me how lazy I was previously being. I do need to edit those files, which I’m getting ready to go work on.

Due to a super heavy, self-inflicted workload, I might be absent from the blog for a bit. I have a lot that I want to finish in the next 2-3 months. I will definitely be on during mid-late August and early September for the Wild Spirits of the Hollow release. I will also still be running the Authors Read podcast.

I might pop in here if I just can’t help myself.

Catch ya later, percolator.

word vomit

 

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Moving and/or Shaking

Alright. I was mostly absent from the blog last week because I was CRAZY busy. Did I even post? I don’t remember.

So, I’ve got a few things going on. First, I got the proof for Wild Spirits of the Hollow.  Wheee! Here’s a picture.

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I couldn’t get a clear picture with my phone because it’s being annoying. It probably wants more light or something.

Anyway, I was super happy that the cover art looked okay. You never know what might happen with photos. I was worried it would turn out too dark or too blurry, but it did not. As of right now, this is the only print copy, unless someone at Createspace took liberties.

What else. Oh, I did release a new thing that is not really a new thing. The prequel to Pestilence Rising received a fresh round of editing, a new cover, and a slightly altered title. Llewyn’s Faith is now Llewyn and is free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers and $1.99 if you’re not.

Llewyn-cover-RGB.jpg

Link to the story on Amazon

I’ve been poking around my backlist to see if there was anything short I could line up for audiobook narration. I decided to do this one, so that was the reason for the fresh round of editing, etc. As I was in the process of giving it a makeover, I noticed that I really half-assed it the first time around: the editing, the cover art, the description. It was just kind of a mess.

The story was a promotional thing for the novel that goes with it, so I didn’t value it like I should have. I was also impatient.

I should add that in the back of the story is a link to subscribe to my email list and get a free download copy of Pestilence Rising.  So basically, you could get the story and the book for $1.99 instead of dropping $4.99 on the ebook. But don’t tell anybody.

In August, the book below is coming out, and I have a story in it! The story is called Carnival and is creepy, I hope.

Indianas Emerging Authors

I’ll post a link once the book is available.

Minor less exciting updates.

Beneath Oceans of Sky audiobook: Editing bits have been patched in, and I’m about to start my final round of listening. Next step, uploading files and dancing with ACX quality control people. Gosh, I’m looking forward to that.

Echoes (abbreviated title because the real title is so cool that someone might actually steal it) – This is my scifi/fantasy/horror novel that has a tentative release day in November. I finished the first read-through/rewrite today! Quite exciting. Hopefully, the next round of edits will be easier.

I think that’s all for now. Time to go work.

 

 

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.

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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.

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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?

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