A pause in work

I can’t do any writing, right now.  I probably ought to be, but I can’t.  I can’t think.  This week sucks.  It started Sunday.  And I’m not sure when the suck is going to stop.

My father-in-law passed away in his sleep Saturday night or Sunday morning.  Funeral is set for Friday of this week.

And I’ve been randomly leaking tears since.  And it doesn’t help.  At all.  Honestly, all it does is make things worse–it doesn’t ease the emotional pain, and it causes a nasty sinus headache.

So.  No writing.  Not now.  Can’t.

 

AARRRGH!!!!

I guess I’m still learning LibreOffice.  Because I’m having some major issues with trying to format the stupid TOC.  I get it the way I want, and the page numbers are wrong.  I try to fix that, and it goes back to the way it was (very, very wrong) before I started trying to futz with it.

I’m updating the program, hoping that that will let me update the page numbers.  Or that I can figure it out.  This is really, really frustrating, because I’m otherwise finished with one of the last edits before I put it out on Amazon.

I really miss Word’s functionality.

In any case, I’m not giving up.  I may just have to try something a little different.

Like pulling in an old computer with an old version of Word.  If we have one that works.

Gods and Monsters sample chapter

I just finished an edit.  And I have another chapter to write and insert.  But I did promise a sample chapter, so…

All Kracken Must Be Kept on a Leash

A deep, gurgling, howling, reverberating moan shook Poseidon out of a deep sleep. Medusa stirred next to him, humming as she woke, too. “What was that?” she mumbled, spitting hair out of her mouth. She wrinkled her nose and smiled, petting the dampened strands of hair, enjoying the feel of hair that didn’t try to bite her.

I’m not entirely sure,” Poseidon hedged, rolling out of bed. “It sounds like it’s coming from deep water, though. I’m going to go check it out. Be back as soon as I can.”

You do that,” Medusa groaned, turning over onto her side and hitching the covers higher. “Just tell me what it was in the morning.”

Poseidon chuckled, planting a kiss on her bare shoulder. He bent and picked his cutoffs up from where he’d kicked them the night before and padded from the bedroom. He leaned against the wall in the hallway and untwisted them, then pulled them on, buttoning and zipping carefully. He’d shed them when he went into the water, but people nowadays frowned on nudity at nearly any time, on this continent.

The god of the sea could have gone back to the old world, but the people—and their priests—had made clear to him that he wasn’t welcome in any of the old places. He’d stayed away for centuries, and now that he was welcome again, he wouldn’t go back. Not for any price, not after the way he’d been rejected by his lands and people.

The sand under his feet had lost most of the heat from the day as he made his way down to the water’s edge. He stripped the shorts off, felt for how strong the tides were and would be, and wadded them up to chuck them farther up the beach than the water would go, even with the added reach of a storm out in the ocean proper boosting the waves’ power. There was a storm, but it was a lot further out despite what the cloud cover suggested, and he hoped to be done before it hit land. He waded until the warm water lapped at his chest before he dove in.

Another burbling moan echoed through the water. Poseidon relaxed and directed the currents to bring him and whatever was making that gawdawful noise together. It had been a while since one of the creatures living deep had needed help, but that sound, now that he was in the water and could hear properly, was absolutely a cry for help. And there was pain involved.

Poseidon frowned as he darted through the water, and directed the current to move him faster. He closed his eyes, relishing the caress of his ocean on his skin, and reached out with his power, checking through the rest of his domain for more trouble…or more trouble brewing. There was…something, right at the edge of his perception, but he couldn’t figure it out, and he had other, more pressing concerns at the moment.

The overcast night, clouds speeding toward land, heralded the storm that Poseidon had sensed pushing the waves ahead of it. He hadn’t left the daylight zone depth, yet, but with the cloud cover, he might as well have done.

And the storm in the Atlantic was picking up speed and force. The currents would have it making landfall not far from where his home stood. But by that time, he’d be long back, and the barrier islands would weaken it by a good bit.

It likely would do damage, even weakened, were he not who he was. The ocean couldn’t harm him, or his home.

But it could and would do damage to the homes around him. He sighed. Made a mental note to watch out for idiots doing stupid things in flood waters. He couldn’t prevent the storm from making landfall, and wouldn’t redirect it, but he could prevent loss of life to water.

Something loomed, changing the way the currents flowed, pushed by a different current from behind. The conflicting currents eddied around, then slowed and stopped at Poseidon’s will. A huge tentacle—almost as big around as he was—reached out, gently gathering him in while a massive body curled around him to protect him from the last of the eddying currents. As he made contact with the creature’s body with both hands, he realized exactly what it was: the Kracken. The Greater Kracken, the last of its kind that hid from sailors and scientists alike.

The burbling moan shook the water again, vibrating along Poseidon’s bones, accompanied by a rumble from the creature’s digestive tract.

Poseidon reached hard with his power and made contact with the Kracken’s mind. “What’s wrong?” he murmured.

It answered. Not in words, but in impressions that Poseidon’s mind automatically translated. [belly. Hurts. Bad food.]

Poseidon took one hand off the Kracken. Now that contact had been made for the first time, he didn’t need to touch to maintain it. He only needed to maintain his position relative to it in the water. He scratched the stubble along his jaw. “Bad food?”

[bad. Bad food.] the Kracken agreed. [did not want to be eaten. Still lives, still fights, hurts belly. It bites. It thrashes. Bad food.]

Poseidon rubbed his forehead. The alien thought processes were starting to give him a headache. “What? What was it?”

[do not know. Rose from deepest. Weak. Strange. Like food, not like. I hungered. I ate. Bad food still lives, still fights, hurts belly.]

Poseidon shivered. That sounded something like what his father had been warning them about. “Can you bring it up?”

[bring…up?]

Poseidon winced as the thought stabbed through his head, from temple to temple. The confusion in the thoughts were even more painful than the straightforward thoughts had been. “Vomit. Can you?”

The Kracken’s body heaved, then heaved again. The great beak opened, and the beast heaved again. Pieces started coming up. Pieces of something Poseidon didn’t recognize until the Kracken managed to expel the head. The head’s tenticles were thrashing, and the polydexterous hand-things were twitching. No wonder it had harmed the poor Kracken.

Ah,” Poseidon breathed out. He gathered the fluid around the thing, using the salts from the waters and the acid from the Kracken’s digestive juices to create a massive crystalline prison that kept all the pieces separated. He managed to finish trapping it just before the whirlpool it attempted to create was able to form and propel it to the surface. “Charibdis. I was wondering where you went, you cunt.”

[bad food what?] the Kracken asked.

Something I thought was dead that apparently only slept in the deep. I had no idea she was immortal. She was trying to make a whirlpool in your guts and eat you…no wonder it hurt.” Poseidon sighed. Patted the poor creature, reached deep with his power over all the creatures in the sea, and pushed healing until the Kracken twitched.

[hurt gone. Hungry. Go hunt, now…]

Go deep,” Poseidon ordered absently, considering asking for a mate for the monster from someone who could help him make it. “Not-food on surface. Will hurt you again.”

[I go.]

The Kracken flipped, surfaced for a moment, eyeing the clouds balefully, then dove down to the rocky bottom, below where Poseidon could see. He could feel it scudding toward a trench in the deepest part of the ocean, where the waters were warmed by volcanic vents, and occasional food drifted close enough for the Kracken to grab without coming where it could be noticed.

He sighed, then smirked as he felt the monster in the salt crystal prison trying to form whirlpools and put herself back together. It…wasn’t working. She couldn’t break the walls between the different parts of herself, mostly because there wasn’t enough water in any given chamber to really give it a good try.

Poseidon grinned, set his waters to reject the prison, then followed it to the surface. He urged the current to nudge the ball full of angry, hungry, dismembered immortal to shore, and followed. He made it to the entrance of his private bay, and used the mouth of the bay to form a portal to his brother’s realm.

He smirked, made the ball utterly indestructible with smooth coral growths, then launched it through to bounce to Cerberus’s feet. A happy yelp echoed through the portal and he grinned as he closed it. He started for shore but stopped as a cigarette boat flashed lights and blipped the siren as it pulled up and slowed to a stop.

Yes?” he asked, using the water to push him upright so he could cross his arms across his chest.

If you happen to be Poseidon,” a young voice called respectfully, “I would appreciate you taking the time to have a word.”

Poseidon sighed, stepping up out of the water’s embrace (even as he kept a modesty-protecting ring of water around his hips—for the youngster’s sake, since he didn’t give a shit). He moved over the suddenly glassy-smooth surface of the water to the boat. He started to seat himself on nothing, and ended up seated gracefully on the throne that the waters put up for him. “Yes?”

About twenty minutes ago, I had a speedboat of Cuban cartel members turn themselves over, begging to be run in. They said they’d dumped the drugs overboard, and just wanted off the water before the monster got them.”

Sounds helpful,” Poseidon commented.

Was there, in fact, a sea monster?” the young voice—a woman, Poseidon thought—asked, “or were they sampling their own merchandise?”

I suppose they may have seen the Kracken on his way in. He’d eaten something that disagreed with him, and came to me for help,” he mused, feeling through the depths for the drugs. He found them and fished them out of where they’d dropped, bringing them to himself.

Kracken. Is that a sea monster?” she asked. “Because the only Kracken I know of is the black rum my dad drinks.”

Hundred fifty foot squid, not a monster,” Poseidon corrected. “Why?”

Do they even get that big?” she asked dubiously.

Oh, yes.” Poseidon paused in thought, then shrugged regretfully. “Or at least, they used to. The Greater Kracken are all but extinct, now, though.”

Does it swim at the surface waving tentacles?” the young woman persisted.

Poseidon nodded slowly. “Rarely, but it does happen sometimes. When it’s been hurt, or something it’s eaten has disagreed with it. Like tonight.”

That means they were telling the truth about the sea monster,” she mused. “Maybe even about the dumped drugs, too.”

Poseidon smirked and brought the drugs—a bale of white the size of his torso, wrapped in plastic—to the surface, then flipped it into the boat. “They were telling the truth about all of it,” he agreed.

Wow. Thanks,” she said breathlessly. “But I need to ask you to keep sea creatures that size out where they don’t panic boaters. Out of sight. Or under obvious control. It helped with the drug bust, but there’s a lot of legit fishers out here, too. And I do appreciate the assist, but I don’t want to hear about Cthulu rising ever again,” she said, her voice rising. “Especially not on a night where it looks like he could!”

Working…

So, I’ve got the document copy/pasted into the old CreateSpace template for 6×9″ hard copy, and I’m going through it repeatedly.  I’ve done edits suggested by three of four beta readers, and working through the fourth.

And I wound up adding about 400 words to the end of a chapter because something occurred.  And I liked it.  I’ll have to edit that, too.

But I’m kinda in the home stretch.  I’m working through the fourth set of comments (just started–this one had a lot of suggestions).  And then I’ll do the front matter and author stuff at the end.  And then I’ll be pestering my cover artist one more time for the art I want.

Stay tuned–I’ll probably post the sample chapter next week.

Tedious

I’ve been using LibreOffice since…October or November.  I don’t remember specifically when I quit being able to access Word.  It works, for the most part, much like Word.

Except in some formatting things.  I can’t hit select all, then change the little formatting thing I want.  I have to go in and change every little instance of it by hand.

The thing that’s frustrating me right now: as a reader, I detest giant chunks of white space at the bottoms of pages where the widow and orphans default moves text to the next page to not break up paragraphs.  I HATE that.  So I don’t do it in my books.  And I’m having to go through, little bit by little bit, and fix that, because LibreOffice isn’t letting me do it all in one go like Word did.

(I’m also going to have to go through and re-center every scene break mark I put in.  Because they’re all sitting firmly on the left margin (spaced in a bit for the first line indent).  But that’s another frustration not really related to the other gripe.)

Ugh.

On the upside, this means I’m doing the last edits (and formatting in the template for publishing) for Gotds and Monsters.  Which means the brain fog has lifted a bit.

Well, it’s either that, or I’m trying to avoid interacting with the kids…which is a valid thing, right now.  Introvert’s feeling crowded with scraped raw nerves…and I’m really trying hard not to take it out on my extroverted children.  Who don’t get it.  And really don’t deserve the fallout.

Did I ever mention I don’t like summer while they’re out of school?

Um…no May flowers…

They’ve been flooded out in a lot of areas.  So have farmers.  We haven’t flooded (more than our front yard and driveway covered by a temporary flash flood), but that’s a function of where we are, more than anything else.  And if the drainage was better (or it hadn’t poured 3″ on us in less than an hour that one time) we wouldn’t be flooding at all.

It doesn’t get up to the house.  But that’s about all I can say for it.

The kids are on their second week out of school for the summer.  So far, they’re keeping up with their assigned chores, for the most part.  Kathryn didn’t do hers, yesterday, but she’s got a nasty case of contact dermatitis all over her face, hands, and on the insides of her knees.  It looks like poison ivy, but isn’t spreading to anyone else, and it’s not weeping.  She needs to not roll in freshly cut grass, I guess.

I’ve gotten word back from all but one of the beta readers for Gods and Monsters, and I’ve started the revision process.  When the brain fog lets me focus on actually thinking–yesterday was really bad.  Wish me luck.

 

Verging on ridiculous

Yesterday, I wrote a post about treading water.

Last night, my area had several major storm systems converge and emerge, spitting out tornadoes left and right, and dumping several inches of rain on us.

This morning, I woke up to an utterly flooded front yard and driveway.

Y’all, yesterday’s post was supposed to be a metaphor, not a prediction!