Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Things That Go Bump 2014 Issue #2, and BOOK RELEASE!

Pictured above is the improved Tesla Radio featured in last week's entry. Note the pair of sadly unadorned black boxes on the right and left sides of the receiver chassis -- the box on the left houses a simple single-transistor pre-amp circuit, while the box on the right contains a basic LM386 amplifier chip with all the trimmings and a speaker large enough to easily be heard.

As you may recall, last week I hooked the receiver directly into my PC's sound card and recorded its output for later playback. That's all well and good, if one is willing to drag around a heavy tower PC, a monitor, a power supply, and of course a desk to put everything on. One will look awfully silly setting that up in a graveyard, so I built some amps.

The idea here is to put my portable microphone next to the LM386 speaker. That way I can conduct EVP sessions simply by speaking, and have the mic record both the Tesla radio's output and the sounds in the area.

That does mean walking around in cemeteries and haunted houses with some odd-looking machinery, but ghost hunting is itself a rather odd hobby.

With the solder-joints on the new amp still warm, I headed up to the big cemetery in Oxford yesterday. I've captured several EVP voices there before, and I was hoping the Tesla might catch a plaintive ghostly moan or two as well.

In case anyone is curious, below are the plans for my LM386 amp. The plans for the little pre-amp don't exist; it's just a single NPN transistor, a 9 volt battery, a couple of resistors and a capacitor or two. You can find that circuit all over the web. There's nothing special about any of this gear.

I use 1/8 inch mono cables and mono jacks to connect everything.

So, what mysterious and phantasmagorical sounds did I capture, armed with such fancy equipment?

Um. Well. That is to say, er, nothing. Okay, around ten minutes and 43 seconds in, there is what might be a very faint whisper. A whisper which says, after nearly 30 dB of amplification is added, I hate your horse. 

But anything you have to amplify to that degree is almost certainly just noise, so I'm not even going to post the sample.

Look, we're just not in the mood today.
I will put up a link to the entire session, which runs a little over 15 minutes. I was planning to go longer, but both my Zoom mic and my camera batteries died at the very same moment, and I was starving, so Science was defeated by Supper and I headed for home.

Here's the entire session, including bird songs, hoarse radio preachers, and one exuberant drunk, who yelled HEY MELANIE from his window a number of times while the unfortunate Melanie walked briskly away.

St. Peter's Cemetery Full EVP Session Here

I'll head back again soon, this time with plenty of spare batteries and a bucket of BBQ ribs. In the interest of Science, of course. Science!

Tuesday Book Release!

As I may have mentioned here before some eleventy-seven zillion times, the new Markhat book The Five Faces goes on sale this Tuesday, June the 17th. 

Just look at that gorgeous cover, courtesy of artist KaNaXa. Note the fierce determination on Markhat's chiseled face! See the courage in the set of his manly jaw! 

He's sure, you see, that this book is the one that catapults the series to heights of fame never before experienced by yours truly. In fact, the image above depicts him striding resolutely toward the nearest bank, the better to deposit his sudden windfall and just possibly purchase a new pair of shoes. 


5. It's less than five bucks. Seriously. I paid twice that to see Pacific Rim, and it was just Independence Day shot with stompy robots. I promise you that at no time will you feel led to stand up and shout 'This is freaking STUPID' in a movie theater, partly because it's too dark to read in movie theaters but mainly because my editor won't allow stupid bits in our books. 

4) I used every letter of the alphabet. I'm not one of those lazy authors who can't be bothered to reach all the way up to the top row of keys. No, due to my strict workout regime and meticulous pre-writing stretch sessions, I am equally adept at hitting QWERTYUIOP as I am the other rows. I've even received high praise for my stylistic choices involving T and W, which were once described as 'Coffee is on aisle 9' and 'Sir, you can't park in the drive-thru.' So there's that.

3) My hero, Markhat, is real, and can see you through the pages.  Hard to believe, but it's true. Fans of the series describe brief meetings with Markhat himself, who sometimes appears as a sports team mascot or a bookstore advertising standee before dispensing nuggets of wisdom, encouragement, or household cleaning agents. "Markhat appeared in my kitchen, made himself a sandwich, and got me free HBO," reports one fan. "I turned around to thank him, and he was gone, leaving behind a tattered paperback copy of The Banshee's Walk and an outstanding balance at a rent-to-own place, which he still hasn't paid." 

2) My muse, the short-tempered and plain-spoken Visavarevagsitaga, is ready to quit and install a marmot in her place.  "Look," she said in her last email to me. "You're nice enough for a no-talent hack with delusions of grandeur and a skill-set better suited to a sled dog, but unless this book gets some numbers, kid, I'm putting you on the Small Mammal Circuit, nothing personal, I hear they like peanuts." 

1) Due to a complex series of unlikely events and activities which might not be what most Grand Juries would label 'legal,' the Russian Mob warned me that unless The Five Faces breaks the Amazon Top 500 within a week of release a series of even more complex and unlikely events will befall me, many of which involve farm implements and antique firearms. There's a lesson is this -- mainly, don't steal 45 million in Bitcoins from people named Vladimir -- but that aside, good sales numbers mean an author (me, for instance) can keep writing books in a series, and readers (you, let's say) can keep reading that series. Too, the way Vlad described the use of the anvil and the plow still gives me nightmares. So buy a book? Please?

'Nuff said. Here's the link again:


Don't even think about clicking the link below, or sending it to your friends, or Tweeting it, of Book-facing it or whatever it is you crazy kids do out there on the Interwebz these days. Seriously, don't. Just close the browser. CLOSE IT NOW.


  1. Of course I clicked "The Link Which Dare Not Be Clicked!" LOLOL! Love that accent. Congrats on the book - hoping it breaks every category!

  2. Hey, where's the bean dip recipe. I came for the bean dip recipe....

    Oh well. Major gratz on the book!

  3. Thanks Lyse and Nicole! Confession time: I know nothing about bean dip, or why one would want to dip beans. But thanks for commenting!