You Never Know What You’ll Find At the Beach

My family and I are in the mountains of North Carolina this week, taking a much-needed break. I still wake up at 5 am and write, the exact current time as I write this. My wife and son are downstairs asleep and probably will be for hours. 
   Besides being an author, my primary job is as a stay-at-home dad. The pre-dawn hours are where the writing magic happens by necessity. Once our 4-year-old wakes up when we’re at home, I’m on Daddy Daycare Duty. 
   This past Saturday, while my wife was at work, I took my son to the playground at the Myrtle Beach State Park. He played for a bit, then we took a short walk on the beach. Usually, the state park isn’t an ideal spot for seashell collecting, at least not for us. But on this day, for whatever reason, there were more shells than I can ever remember being there in the nearly two years since we moved to the area.
    I’m inexperienced at finding shark’s teeth, but I know to keep my eyes peeled for black triangular objects in the surf and sand. As we walked along the shore, dodging around tourists in town for Laboe Day Weekend, I looked down and saw what I thought was a large shark tooth half-buried in the sand. I reached down, rinsed it off in an incoming wave, and picked it up. It wasn’t a tooth, that was for sure. I put it in my pocket and went about my day. What I found is pictured above. It’s about an inch and a half in length.
   My wife is the one who’s the shark’s teeth hunter in the family and is part of several shell and fossils Facebook Groups. She didn’t know what it was and suggested that I post it on Facebook. One group she suggested was the Fossils of Myrtle Beach South Carolina Facebook Group
   The Labor Day weekend went by and several people suggested it could be a vertebra, a sea robin skull, a deformed shark’s tooth, etc. 
   On Tuesday, as I was loading our car to leave town, the admin of the group answered. Their reply caused my wife’s jaw to drop. Mine too.
   “According to p. 397 of “A Beachcomber’s Guide To Fossils,” it is a “hyperostotic neurocranium element from an indeterminate Pleistocene fish species.””
   In other words, it’s part of a fish skull that is between 12,000 and 1.25 million years old. How cool is that? Have you ever had any finds like that on the beach? I’d be interested to know. 

   Death Washes Ashore, Book 2 of the Myrtle Beach Mysteries, is now available for preorder in paperback at many retailers. Here are a few AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Target,
   If you live in the Myrtle Beach area or will be in town around the book’s release on December 7th, I’m in talks with an oceanfront resort about hosting a launch party two days before the release (Sunday, December 5th), where attendees will get signed advance copies of books, and have a chance to win prizes. I’ll talk about the book and series and read the first chapter, we’ll have coffee and pastries from local businesses, and several other surprises. Believe me, if you’ve read the end of Death on the Boardwalk, you’re going to want to hear that. Stay tuned for details.