H.R.R. Gorman’s Author Newsletter – July 2019

I took things a little slower in July. Even so, I got a few things accomplished that I’m really proud of, and I wanted to talk about them here and hint to things coming.


Short Story Submissions

I hate this part of author life. God knows I do. I did three (maybe four) last month, and my goal was to get three this month. Well, I wrote three stories, but I only got two submitted because I have no idea where to submit the third one. If you know of a place to submit weird alien stories, let me know.

Still no “yes” from anyone. Hopeful about some of the June ones, but not really expecting anything at this point.

Dark Divinations

I submitted a story to Dark Divinations. The prompt was a Victorian era horror about divining the future. Since my cultural background was highly influenced by events in the Victorian era, I took an Appalachian approach to it – and I hope they like it!


This magazine publishes Christian stories in interesting contexts. I decided to try a sci-fi story because I bet they get way more fantasy. I hope to stand out, and perhaps that will give me an edge! I also think religiously inspired sci fi is WAY too rare, so this is right up my alley.

An Unexpected Success!

Last year at about this time, I decided that I needed to discover what people liked about poetry. I needed to know what someone meant when they said a passage was “poetic.” I believed that the understanding of poetry would improve my prose if nothing else, and I looked for ways to learn it.

One of my favorite poetry teachers is Colleen Chesebro. Her weekly micropoetry prompt/contest is chock full of excellent hints, tips, and – most importantly – feedback. Even if she must leave a quiet comment one week, I can still look at who she chose as the winner and try to divine why it was considered the best. I can’t imagine how much work she must do to curate such a fantastic contest.

Anyway, I was stunned to find out I’d been chosen as Poet of the Week on July 22nd! My poem, The Woman at 106, was written for Colleen’s first ever photo prompt. What an honor! I am very pleased that my dedication to learning a new craft is showing fruit.


Camp NaNoWriMo

This was my first month of Camp, and I… succeeded?

Basically, what I learned was that I should have dedicated a number of hours to writing rather than a number of words written/edited. Because I tend to go backwards on word count when I edit, I could NEVER reach my goal. However, I think I reached my goal in spirit, so I think that counts a lot.

Will I do Camp again? I’m not sure. I didn’t find it all that much different from a normal month, save for an additional obligation and a few extra cheerleaders. I’ll think about it!

Blog Recap

I stayed pretty on par this month with my June month, and for right now this feels more sustainable than my “post every day” schedule. Sadly, there wasn’t a late-July Carrot Ranch prompt, but hopefully y’all didn’t hate that blank spot! I did a lot of prep for later months, though, and I think I’ve come up with some great surprises for the beginning of 2020 (no promises, though! I need to make sure I have enough material to actually do it justice). I’ve also nearly gotten all my 2019 reading done (1.75 books away)!

Here’s a few of my favorite blog posts from the month:

Some Things from Real Life

This month has been full of IRL things. I went on vacation (day trip one weekend to Battleship North Carolina), worked a LOT (good Lord), and had to go help my mom when she came down with gout.

Aaand because of the gout, my mom is now convinced it’s time to retire, and I could be looking at her showing up at my door any day now ready to move in. She doesn’t really plan things out sometimes, so she could come unannounced. I love my mom, and I do think she should come live at our house at least until she sells her own house (which is 3 hours away), but I also don’t really want to share it long-term right yet. Am I selfish? I feel like I am. I’m also worried that she hasn’t saved up enough for retirement, and I’m not old enough to have that much savings built up (I’m not 30 yet – I have old parents, in case you’re wondering about that).

Anyway, I hope I’ve done right by my mom, but I worry I’ve not.

18 thoughts on “H.R.R. Gorman’s Author Newsletter – July 2019

  1. Jules says:

    I’ve had my MIL live with me twice. I don’t think I could have my own mom… we just clashed too much. It isn’t a unique situation, but one you’ll hopefully figure out.

    Continued success with your submissions and writing. I’m not into that …yet.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      My mom and I don’t really clash. Honestly, what gets my dog hide is how she’ll take *any* gift or service you want to give her and turn it into a burden on herself. If you get her a gift, she’ll return it and buy something for you. If you make her a cake, she won’t eat it because she thinks she’s starving you. So she’s super nice, but she makes it hard to deal with on a long term basis because there’s no way to give and take.

  2. Chelsea Owens says:

    I’m all for the they-have-their-own-place thing, but it’s (of course) expensive all around.

    Congrats on the successful month (ha! My phone changed that to “stressful month”), especially the poetry win. I love specific feedback and appreciate Colleen as well.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Thanks! And I agree – with my mom’s retirement situation, I don’t even know what the best plan would be. My younger brother isn’t married and travels a lot, but he can’t afford to buy a house alone, so right now I’m thinking he and my mom will go in together on a house. Mom’s credit will help him get it, and she’ll have a payment she can afford.

      Same time, that may be me putting off my problems. Technically, I have a house with multiple rooms that we don’t even step into. Honestly I have no idea why we got something this size. It would be cheapest and easiest to just have her stay here with no monetary obligations. Le sigh…

  3. Alexander Elliott says:

    Sounds like July was good to you! Congrats on all the accomplishments.

    The situation with your mom is a tough one. If she’s anything like me, she would rather live in a corner of your basement than be dumped in a nursing home. I’m confident you’ll do the right thing.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Oh, no, she’s not at nursing home stage. I consider that to be when you need ready access to medical care you can’t get at home. The problem is what level of independence does she want, is she capable of, and am I able to handle. She’s only 62 (hence part of the money issues), so she’s got plenty of spark, just not the funds.

  4. Alexander Elliott says:

    I’m kind of in the same place, living paycheck to paycheck and without any retirement money. It’s very scary wondering where I would end up if my kids can’t or won’t take me in when the time comes. Of course, it’s not easy sharing a home with your parent/child, especially when you are both used to doing your own thing. It sounds like you have worked out a couple of good options already, so take it one day at a time and see what happens.

  5. Colleen Chesebro says:

    Wowser! Thanks for the awesome mention. You do all the hard work, my friend. I’ve always thought that writing poetry makes us better writers and you are certainly in that category. Thanks again. ❤

  6. Almost Iowa says:

    Basically, what I learned was that I should have dedicated a number of hours to writing rather than a number of words written/edited. Because I tend to go backwards on word count when I edit, I could NEVER reach my goal.

    Long distance runners have this thing they call “junk miles”. It’s an artifact of meeting a quantity goal (miles) without meeting the quality goal (building and maintaining speed and endurance).

    When we write for word count, we tend to be wordy. When we write for time, we tend to waste it. Neither is really that much of a problem, if we maintain quality and sometimes focusing on “junk” is just as much a waste of time as generating it.

    Speaking entirely for myself, I break my writing into two sessions, the first is oriented toward quantity, the second toward quality. It works for me (sometimes) but everyone has to do what works for them.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I was doing camp for the first time, just to see if it was fun. Some parts of it were, but a lot of it felt like making a meaningless goal. I think meeting my goal in spirit is better than meeting it in reality, honestly.

  7. Jade M. Wong says:

    Good luck on the story submissions! I too hate this part of author life. I have yet to hear back from my book proposal submissions, and the waiting is excruciating. Congratulations on succeeding (in spirit) Camp NaNoWriMo. It always felt like too much pressure and anxiety for me to participate in and I’m in awe of all the writers who undertake this goal every year lol. As for your mom moving back in with you, I don’t think it’s selfish to continue wanting your own space away from your parents. That doesn’t mean you love them any less, it just means you’re a grown adult and need your own space and independence to live your own life. Hopefully your mom will give you some sort of reasonable advance warning before she packs up her life and plops it on your doorstep lol!

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I hope so! I know it won’t be before her retirement date of August 26th, but after that anything goes! I’m hoping she decides to make the move in early November, because I have a major work deadline in October and won’t have time to focus on anything except that come September.

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